Crew Leader

 

As the Crew Leader, have a waterproof notepad and a space pen.  Write out the KP chart a week before you leave.  This will make a huge difference in making you feel organized, competent and in charge.  The KP chart should have several duties listed with everyone, minus the adults, taking a turn.

 

Our KP chart listed:

1.     Fetch Packhorses in the morning

2.     Return Packhorses in evening

3.     Get Food (find out from Wrangler which days we get food)

4.     Put up Dining Fly

5.     Put up Bear Bags

6.     Boil water and prepare dinner

7.     Oops bag/clean-up

 

Write the itinerary in your notebook.  Every evening, after the Chaplain Aid does “Thorns and Roses",  go over the next day's itinerary, any information that the Horseman had imparted to you and assign the KP duties for the next day.

 

I would also recommend assigning everyone to two different teams for the packhorses (depending upon the size of your Crew).  Our first year, we had four packhorses.  The Crew Leader put everyone into either Team One or Team Two.  Each team was responsible for packing two packhorses.  There was also a Team Leader for each team.  By being organized, we were able to pack four horses in 1.5 hours. 

 

Make sure your Chaplain Aid makes use of “Thorns and Roses (and buds)”  I can’t emphasize enough how much it means to a Crew at the end of the day.  The kids loved it.  It can take a difficult situation and have the entire Crew laughing.  However, there are two very important rules.  Yes, we can talk about our thorns but keep whining to a minimum.  Laughing about a thorn is far more effective.  An even more important rule is that no one is allowed to complain about or be mean to another individual. 

 

Depending on the experience level of your Crew, you might want to partner up more experienced riders with less experienced riders.  This partnership will help keep stragglers to a minimum.  We personally included adults into this partnership.  It doesn't necessarily have to last the entire trek either.  For us, it was only for a few days until all the participants felt more confident.  

 

For every trek, I purchased a bag of leather arrowheads from Tandy leather (http://www.tandyleather.com/en-usd/search/searchresults/4166-25.aspx).  These cost money, so it is just a thought and certainly not necessary.  Anyhow,  I punched a hole on the pointy end, attached a leather thong and gave them to the Crew Leader.  When we got to an area where there was branding, the Crew Leader passed out two leather arrowheads to each participant.  The kids had something they could brand.  They can also brand on their boots, hats, water bottles, etc.  Be sure to write the name of each participant with a sharpie on the back of each arrowhead.  That way, when you find an arrowhead lying in your campground, you know who it belongs to. 

 

If, as the Crew Leader, you don't want to keep the bag of arrowheads in your stuff sack until you reach a branding area, you can pass them out before you leave for the back country.  If the names of the participants are written on the back of the arrowheads, they act like a name tag for the stuff sacks.  If you do this, you just might have room in your stuff sack for a bag of M & M candies (or whatever you like).  Cover them in a paper sack or a nylon bag with your name on it, so the other kids don't know what it is.  After all, it will have to go in the bear bag at night.  At the end of a difficult day or some time in the middle of the trek, pull out the M & M candies.  A treat/chocolate goes a long way towards restoring humor and you look like the hero. 

 

When you reach your camping site, be sure to set up camp before you check in for program. Tents, dining fly and bear bags need to be up and organized.  You don't want to get caught in an afternoon shower or set up in the dark.  However, there may be times when you do choose to do program and set up later.  Obviously, bear bags are the exception to the rule.  The bear bags always need to be up before a Crew leaves their campsite without exception.

 

With regards to your Sister Crew: be friendly.  There is something of a competitive streak in sister Crews.   Emphasize to your Crew to make an effort to be friendly.  Lead by example.  This makes Gymkhana more fun for everyone