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advancement requirements impact on patrol method

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  • advancement requirements impact on patrol method

    In the other thread, several people commented on the benefit (or lack thereof) of the various required MB's for advancement. it got me to thinking bigger picture, and whether the entire advancement process has a positive impact on patrol method. Requirements are done as individuals. Awards are given as individuals. Sure, there the honor patrol award is available, but do more than a few troops use it or even promote it? Is it held in as high esteem as Eagle scout? I think not. Fostering citizenship and character are to a large degree based on doing things for others; helping others; yet the highest award is based on individual effort.

    Would scouting be better off if being in an honor patrol meant more than eagle scout?

  • #2
    Requirements are signed off on an individual basis, but that doesn't mean they are "done" as individuals.

    I stole jblake's line and used it on our PL's: "Take care of your boys." As far as the requirements are concerned, our PLs are given the T2FC grid from troopmaster on their boys. They are to set their agenda based on the requirements most boys need/want to work on for their next rank.

    Now that we have most of our boys at 1st Class, they decide what MB's they might want instruction on. We might invite a counselor to a meeting so he can give his contact info to the boys and arrange more follow-up.

    FWIW, honor patrol is not on our boys' radar.

    My woodbadge buddy reorganized his troops COHs so that the SPL calls the boys up by patrols, and awards are given to the boys by rank in each patrol.


    • #3
      When I was a scout, patrols were mixed from ages 10 to 17. Our Patrol leaders usually drove to meetings, so they were typically very experienced and mature. Usually a scout stayed with the same patrol they joined for most of their scouting career. Since new scouts in those days joined by age instead of as a group, the troop and patrols received new scouts all year long. As a result, skills development was a constant all the time patrol responsibility to get the new scouts up to speed.

      Now I say skills development because from a patrol standpoint, skills development was as much a priority as rank advancement. Patrols back then were very competitive and skills proficiency was important for measuring against each other.

      So Im not sure that advancement is really a major part of Patrol method. My personal opinion is the advancement method is a high influence on effective leadership, citizenship and personal skills development. Done correctly, the advancement process exposes and develops personal skills that enhance team performance. Advancement also develops personal self-reliance and self-initiative. All those skills enhance the patrol method experience because they sharpen the cohesiveness of a team working together. But they arent team skills, they are personal skills that improve the scouts ability function effectively with others.

      One example is the recommendation of scouts seeking the MB counselor by contacting the SM, then contacting the counselor to set up meetings, then filling out the MB Card to present to the SM. We found that those three steps greatly help develop the confidence of younger scouts communicating with adults along with developing organization skills through the paperwork process. In fact, we saw that after three MBs, a 10 year old scout had complete confidence in making phone contacts with adults without any need for help or encouragement. That gave them a lot of confidence in how they worked with their patrol mates in their personal patrol responsibilities. We really saw this with older scouts who joined our troop and didnt have these personal skills.

      But its not just the MB part of the advancement program, teaching a scout to set goals through the process of learning scout skills and taking initiative to complete those skills is a huge growth process in how these scouts work as leaders and team members later on down the road. Its surprising how few Scoutmasters teach scouts that reaching eagle is taking one very small step at a time. Adults are so focused on getting to first class as fast as possible, they set up classes designed for the scout to walk in and just learn A skill instead of teaching the scout to set the goal of picking a skill, setting the goal of completing the skills and initiating the process of finding an instructor to teach and with the result of reaching the goal. Its a huge difference in developing personal skills and independence.

      Well I can see Im babbling again. My oppologies.



      • #4
        It's good to ramble. A lot of good thoughts come out.

        I was thinking along the lines of alignment of advancement and patrol methods. I think of the often seen phrase used in sports: "There is no I in team". Extending to the patrol method, there is no "I" in patrol. As you say, skills development is a key in a patrol. A team or patrol works best with no "I". Teams are all about the group and the group accomplishments. The best person on a team can't win if there is no teamwork. The win is the award for performing well as a team, and is the incentive to get better as a team. I don't see a similar award for incenting performance as a patrol. Rather, scouting puts greater emphasis on the "I" through the awards given as individual awards rather than as patrol awards. Since typically one gets what one incents, individual advancement fequently trumps the group. It's easy to see when patrols frequently have 2/3rds or less of patrol members at meetings and outings. The citizenship lesson of being there for your patrol, of being trustworthy and helpful to the patrol; the character trait of showing up because the patrol needs you, even if there is something else that you would rather have done tht night, the loyalty to the patrol; are not very well incented by the advancement method.
        In that respect, team sports may actually do more to develop citizenship and character than scouting - because the impact of not showing up to a team practice or game is greater on the team than not showing up at a scout event is to the patrol. Sports does provide some individual awards - most improved, MVP, etc., but they are typically less important than the team award. In scouting, that seems to be reversed.

        note: it doesn't have to be that way, but it is the way that the incentives are lined up.
        (This message has been edited by venividi)