Schoolyard Pick
New Aitu tribe absorb
The revised Aitutaki Tribe.
Survivor Gameplay
Description: The opportunity to choose a starting tribe or
A mechanic that creates new tribes from those already competing
Appearances: Thailand
The Amazon
Cook Islands

A Schoolyard Pick is often used in Survivor for choosing tribes.


When a Schoolyard Pick is presented to the castaways, the opportunity to forge a stronger (or weaker) team is made. There is no one-way to form new tribes and several methods have been used.


  • In Survivor: Thailand, Jeff announced at the start of the game that local tradition dictates that the eldest are of the highest importance, so it was only fair if they chose the tribes. Jan Gentry and Jake Billingsley were the two oldest members, therefore they selected the two tribes.
  • On Day 13 of Survivor: The Amazon, Tree Mail requested the presence of the youngest member from Tambaqui and Jaburu to meet at an overnight summit. Jenna Morasca and Dave Johnson met and enjoyed a night of trading stories, strategies and alliances. The next morning, Jeff announced that they would become tribe captains and choose new tribes.
  • In Survivor: Vanuatu, local Vanuatu tribesmen entered the Lopevi and Yasur camp sites. They demanded somebody be chosen as their Chief. Lea Masters and Scout Cloud Lee were selected and taken away until the next Reward Challenge where Jeff stated that new tribes were being drafted. Scout would select who would join which tribe and Lea would select which tribe to join.
  • During the opening days of Survivor: Palau, the two Immunity Necklace holders Ian Rosenberger and Jolanda Jones chose first as to who would join their tribe, with the person they selected choosing the next and so on until one man and one woman were left unpicked and eliminated from the game.
  • Survivor: Panama closely mirrored the format used in Palau, but the person left without a tribe was sent to Exile Island and would join the losing tribe after their Tribal Council.
  • Survivor: Cook Islands featured a Schoolyard Pick at the final 18. There were two sets of captains (2 men, 2 women). They would then select someone of a different ethnicity, who would then select someone else from a different ethnicity and so forth until each ethnic group was evenly represented on their tribe. The captains would all then break an egg at the same time to reveal who was on which of the two new tribes.
  • After living together for two days, the Survivor: Fiji castaways selected Sylvia Kwan as the person who led the group into building the luxurious (and future Moto) campsite. She was then ordered to pick the two tribes ahead of the first immunity challenge. After selecting the tribes, she was sent to Exile Island where she would join the losing tribe after Tribal Council following that immunity challenge.
  • In Survivor: Micronesia the tribes were rearranged at the final 16. The remaining contestants were told to pick a colored rock to determined team captains, who would choose the next contestant from the previous opposing tribe.
  • At the start of the competition in Survivor: Gabon, the castaways introduced one another and in a similar fashion to Thailand, the two eldest castaways, Bob Crowley and Gillian Larson, were tasked to select the first members of their tribe, and then in the same style of Palau and Panama until no contestants were left to be picked.