Announcement Module
No announcement yet.

"Unfair" older patrols?

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
Conversation Detail Module
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • "Unfair" older patrols?

    Well the snow in on the ground, and its nearly time for the Klondike Derby!
    Last time our troop did this there was some grumbling about some larger troops 'stacking" their patrols. Seems they formed patrols just for this campout made up of their oldest and fastest. They took first place in nearly every event.
    The normal patrols had very little chance. Now I understand wanting to win, but where is the glory in a bunch of 15-17 year olds beating a bunch of 11-14 year olds?
    Some say we should set up some sort of age or rank based handicap system.
    That sounds overly complex to me, perhaps a two level contest and each patrol can choose which level?
    Or some rule that a competing patrol can not be made up of all 17 year old Eagles?

  • #2
    The best thing the "normal" patrol can do is to make up their collective mind to beat those old teen patrols, decisively, without the aid of a handicap/age/rank system. They'll learn that determination and extra training will make the victory all the sweeter.

    But that's the kicker--the extra training. Can't wait until the last troop/patrol meeting before the derby to brush up on skills. Must start at least a month prior. If they've got the gumption, they can do it.

    PS The key lesson for the patrol is the fact they have to overcome the challenge, without the help of the adults. How they do this is the wonderful thing about working together as a patrol.
    Last edited by desertrat77; 01-03-2014, 07:43 PM.


    • #3
      If other troops use age-based patrols then they would naturally send patrols of uniformly older boys to the derby.
      Just because someone loses doesn't mean someone else was cheating.


      • #4
        As scouter99 says, some troops simply have patrols that are made up that way, with the tenderfoots in a new patrol, then after that if they don't mix them up age wise, they always stay age based.. Sometimes these can be stronger not only for the reason they are all older scouts, but they are older scouts who have figured out very successful teamwork over being together in the same patrol for years and years.. Besides this to be able to stay age based, without having to shuffle at least a few grades together as they thin out, means it's not only a large troop, but a large troop that keep the boys interested and engaged right up to their eighteenth birthday, with little drop out.. It is a troop doing everything right..! Never belonged to one of these, but I do know a few like this, they are definitely a sight to behold, and very hard to beat, especially the older boy patrol.

        I have been in a troop that tried it both ways.. Age based with a new patrol, and annually shuffling the patrols up, to fix patrol that got too small due to drop outs, and also get a combo of older & younger scouts as well as try to keep the scouts that tend to fight each other in separate patrols.. Both have advantages and disadvantages..

        Also, sometime for a Klondike or some other camporee, a patrol has been created out of several different patrols.. But, not to win a competition. More like only 6 boys are going 2 from this patrol, 1 from this patrol, and 3 from the third patrol.. So presto, the group together to make one patrol for the camporee.. Not the best solution, as the boys haven't worked together at all.. (Could never get boys to commit to anything until the Thursday scout meeting when the camporee started either that Friday night, or Saturday morning.)
        But, if you are sure that some troops do cheat, and combine their boys for an ultimate "winner" group.. Then, you could beat them by practice and a pure desire to do so.. They might practice for a month also.. But, if your patrols work on various teamwork activities all year long, then have a month of practice, you will have an advantage..

        I find it hard to believe a troop will do this though.. To do this, they would have to pick the "winners" and the "loosers" between the scouts in their troop.. Even if it is totally by age, this is not a good feeling to have your patrol broken up, and you be placed in the "looser" patrol. Would make me as a scout really want to attend the camporee.. Whoopie.. I'm a looser !


        • #5
          I found it hard to believe too, until I bumped into a "patrol" of 7 scouts with 3 PLs, 1ASPL, and led by a JASM. They said that a number of troops did this the year before, I can only surmise that the remainder of the troop being stripped of their leaders, fared quite poorly


          • #6
            Oldscout448, I share your frustration.

            Just once, just once, I would like to see some courteous and kind Scout Spirit from the winning patrol of 17yr old Uberscouts whereby they say "Thank you, but FIRST place belongs to (in distant second place) Hawk Patrol (consisting of 13-14 year olds)". I would then feel Scout character building had been achieved in those scouts about to age out and that would be the real win.

            My $0.02,


            • desertrat77
              desertrat77 commented
              Editing a comment
              Schiff, I'd like to respectfully offer the flip slide of the scenario. If I was in the distant second patrol and the uberscouts declined 1st place and gave it to my patrol, I wouldn't like it. It would seem patronizing. They won and I wouldn't want their sympathy gesture. Granted, my PL days are almost four decades distant, but I remember those hyper-competitive camporees quite well. If we lost fair/square, we lost, shrug it off and go back to camp for cocoa and baked apples. But if we detected some kind of adult-inspired shenanigans that stacked the deck so that the wins were spread to prevent hard feelings, ironically enough, that was when the hard feelings appeared.
              Last edited by desertrat77; 01-04-2014, 11:44 AM.

            • RememberSchiff
              RememberSchiff commented
              Editing a comment
              Around here, there is no competition. Typically, one or two troops have an Uberscout patrol of just 3 or 4 big guys and they just shellac the other younger patrols, all fair and square. Even sports has a "mercy rule". Wonder why registration is down the next year. Well at least, the Ubers don't compete against the Webelos.

              Agree with you about the adult shenanigans.

              I should have noted our unit Uberscouts are not competing, they are staffing stations.

              Giving everyone a trophy, that's a good laugh. This isn't Little League...yet.

              Another $0.01
              Last edited by RememberSchiff; 01-04-2014, 12:06 PM.

            • desertrat77
              desertrat77 commented
              Editing a comment
              Schiff, good nostalgia is only helpful to a point. The situation in your neck of the woods is the reality in many places in the BSA, these days. Not as many troops, not as many patrols, and when the uberscouts beat everyone, heck, they aren't beating 30 patrols as in camporees past, but just a handful. Thanks for the perspective check.

          • #7
            Well then if that is the case, then their weakness will be the fact they are not a well oiled team, so in order to beat them, it is getting that teamwork solid in your patrol..

            Also what I saw of older patrols were they really knew how to pump up and over excel in team spirit, they had a lot of fun with laying it on thick, real thick.. You have certain ages in scouts that seem embarrassed to be exuberant.. If that is the case with yours, try to get your scouts to notice this in them.. Scout spirit is very easy to do, but you have to give your shy scouts, or scouts who are trying to look more mature, to see these older scouts with this over done scout spirit, and how it really helps them wring out extra points for their team. Then work on that over the next week also..

            Is it just the Klondike?.. These other troops don't do this for the other camporees?.. Weird..

            I always like the cub scouts chuckwagon. At least the way we do it here, have to remember other places don't do it the same.. They ask the Packs to put together teams with a equal mix of tigers, wolves, bears, and Webs.. You don't get the teamwork, but you get an mix of knowledge from the various groups.. Some Webs have forgotten things learned in Tigers, and of course Tigers or wolves will not know much about things learned in Bear or Webs..


            • #8
              I have the solution, I've seen it used in YMCA little league in our area. Don't keep score and give all the scouts who participate a trophy at the end. It's not very good for developing character, but nobody goes home disappointed either, especially the adults. I came from a very competitive troop and the first question I ask all of you is what if the scouts don't want to play? To be competitive, the scouts have to practice a lot. I've never seen a competitive patrol or troop that didn't have some adult motivation behind them. I'm sure even the super patrol the OP describes has an adult in the back ground. How bad do "you" want your scouts to win? That is likely the measure of well the scouts will do. Like every competition in life that we participate, practice is required to accel. Are you as an adult willing to accept that because the scouts will need a little help. Barry


              • moosetracker
                moosetracker commented
                Editing a comment
                I see something in it, but not the part of giving everyone a trophy.. That's the everyone's a winner, and give everyone bling to make them feel good.. Better if you just don't have any competition, create a camporee that attracts simply for the fun of it, meaning raise the bar on the challenges offered at the event.. It may be hard to maintain, but perhaps if you just do it for a two years or so, then go back to a competition they will give up the cheater platform..

                But, pushing for patrols to be more team oriented doesn't necessarily mean a lot of adult leadership, maybe at the beginning to give it a push, but the outcome of very team oriented patrols means working well together without the adult influence.

              • desertrat77
                desertrat77 commented
                Editing a comment
                When my kids were younger, they played soccer and basketball in those "all scores tied/everyone gets a ribbon" leagues, and believe me, no one was happy, especially the kids. Even the youngest seemed to know that they won, but were not allowed to celebrate it because of the overbearing treacle from parents and officials about "no you didn't win, we are all winners." At best, the kids played in a ho-hum manner...after all, why hustle? A table loaded with participation ribbons awaited for all.

                Sure, when my kids got older and moved to win/lose leagues, there were some hurt feelings about tough losses, poor calls by officials, etc. But they learned to deal with adversity, overcoming obstacles, good sportsmanship whether you win or lose, and the like. They became more resilient.

                If a patrol has the gumption to figure out a way to win, they'll do so. If they want to sit around and sing the blues, so be it. As adults, we give them an opportunities to succeed or fail. When kids succeed without gimmicks, or adults stacking the deck in the kids' favor, only then will the kids truly know the meaning of the word "success." Even if they strive and fail, they've learned something, namely, that adults aren't going to constantly be sweeping their path in life.
                Last edited by desertrat77; 01-04-2014, 11:39 AM.

              • Cambridgeskip
                Cambridgeskip commented
                Editing a comment
                I struggle with that idea. Scouting should not be all about competition, but from time to time a bit of competition does them good. And if we are preparing young people for the real world then we need to introduce them to the fact that there will be winners and losers. Eventually they will get interviewed for a job and the fact is only of those interviewed will get that job. The rest are not going to be sent home with a week's pay for taking part.

            • #9
              Another solution to ask the scouts is if they want to attend. In my troop, during their annual planning they assumed they had to do _____ because that is what has always been done, None of them really cared for it, but a few of the adults that have been around really like it and these scouters try to sell the district and council camporees to the scouts. These adults wonder why all but the most involved scouts (read: those who never miss anything) don't go. The scouts were surprised when they realized they didn't have to put ____ camporee on the calendar.

              Often boys do only what they know and/or think they are allowed/expected to do. Sometimes reminding the boy leaders that THEY get to decide what the trip will be. Some might not realize they can contact other troops and do joint trips, heck even a klondike derby outside of the council/district. If the boys know they have options and that the adults support their decisions. I use the 3 questions 1. Is it safe? 2. Is it Scouting 3. Is it fun? as the deciding metric with my boy leaders.


              • moosetracker
                moosetracker commented
                Editing a comment
                Excellent answer DuctTape !! I love it !!

            • #10
              Reason 16 we don't do Klondike. Our district runs two separate camporees for younger and older Scouts, but even within the smaller demographic groups, there are still troops which create patrols specifically for Klondike. Of course the swear up and down they don't stack the patrols. My problem is that with this system troops with mixed-age patrols are required to shuffle their patrols by age in order to meet the camporee rules. So you Green Bar has spend a year training his patrol, developing a team and honing his leadership, but because his birthday falls a few weeks before the camporee, he's sidelined. Why? There are other rules which work against the patrol system I don't care for.

              And yes, I spent three years working through the system trying to get the Ol' Boys to make some reasonable accommodations for the different ways troops apply the program. Not a chance.


              • #11
                Mixed emotions on this. One one hand as others have mentioned, some troops do use aged based patrols. Me personally, I prefer mixed aged patrol to a point. When your older Scouts start taking on troop responsibilities, I prefer to put them together in a venture patrol, what was called in my day the Leadership Corps (LC). ASPL doubles as the PL for the LC, and members were the troop's librarian, instructors, quartermaster, etc. Reason being that sometimes troop duties interfere with what needs to be done with patrols, i.e. patrols are setting up their campsites while the older scouts are setting up the compass course. Another reason I like this set up si that sometimes the older Scouts need more of a challenge. I still remember the troop doing the 14 mile Vicksburg trail on the road, while the LC did the 12 mile cross country orienteering trail, and when one year that trail was closed, doing both the 14 mile and 7 mile road trails.

                BUT when a troop is stacking their scouts into a "super" patrol, sorry that is wrong. I've seen that happen a time or two, and it's real easy to spot the patrol that has no flag or reuses the same flag over and over, everyone has different patrol medallions on, and they have 3 PLS and 4 APLS. Thank goodness uniform inspections are part of the camporee process in my neck of the woods, and they usually lose points in that area as a result.

                Desertrat brings up a great point. We had a patrol that was referred to by some Scouts as the " $#!* Patrol " because all their members were in the 15-17 year range, were Life and Eagles, and went to Philmont about 4 months before camporee, and they were bragging up a storm. That year, the district allowed a Venturing Crew that had just started up about 6 - 8 months before to compete at camporee. Since many of the members were also Scouts in troops, only the girls competed in the competition. They cleaned everyone's clock in the competition and anihilated the Philmont patrol. not only the Venturers who competed were proud, but also the male Venturers who worked with them, but competed with their troops.


                • #12
                  Each patrol reserves the right to choose whether or not they are going to compete in the camporee competitions. My younger boys always like to "practice" on their own during the competition times. If there are are 5 competitive activities they might only compete in one or two of them. The choice is theirs and they are not "put down" for choosing to opt out of any embarrassing situations. If they know they can't start a fire, then I give them the option to stay in the campsite and work on that skill without some judge looking over their shoulder evaluating them. I have them go through the whole process as if it were a competition and then when the awards are handed out, compare their scores to the patrols that get awards. If their numbers are competitive they have the option to opt in on the next competition when it rolls around.

                  There is nothing worse than the boys doing their best and finding out they didn't even place in the ballpark. This way the practice time can be best spent as a learning opportunity, not a judgment. They may never be good a fire starting, but why submit oneself to that point being thrown back at them each time a camporee rolls around? The boys are there to learn and have a good time.



                  • #13
                    Our Camporee's have separate judging and difficulty for Venture - so the older "killer" groups tend to fight it out there. I agree on the challenge of NSPs vs. mixed ages. My Troop has gone to NSPs this year, so my younger son will be headed to Camporee two months after bridging with a group of not-yet-Tenderfeet Scouts probably.

                    The issue I don't like is when an event is based on upper body strength, so younger/smaller Scouts have ZERO change of competing. I have seen that before, and I have seen the look on the Scout's face. Yes, they can come back in 3 years after puberty hits and they bulk up - but they have no chance of nailing the event prior to that.