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  • Parent Patrol

    I was Cubmaster of my son's pack and now we are in Boy Scouts. For the first couple years I chose to "just" be an active parent and not a leader. I am getting back into the committee side and am seeing that we are going through some growing pains. One of the parents went to Wood Badge and he brought back an idea called Parent Patrol. This is where a small group of parents would form their own patrol, stand in formation during flag, organize their patrol's food on camp outs, wear full uniform, etc. Much of what the boys do without the advancements and awards. The concept to this is to show a form of leading by example. We would show the boys first hand what we expect as well as form Parent Advisors who would mentor. Parents will make mistakes and they can take that experience to mentor the boys with it, or maybe even the boys will catch the mistake and teach the parents. We are having very strong feelings on both sides of the fence from the parents. For every problem it seems to help, it creates another. The parent that introduced it is very black and white...they taught it to him in WB and it was explained as a win win, therefore it must happen. I was initially totally for it but now I am not sure.
    Here's my questions: Has anyone done this before? Success? Failure? Tips?

  • #2
    I'm not for this, but I can't put my finger on why exactly. I've never seen an official BSA publication or anything historical advocate for this approach, nor am I aware of it being part of Wood Badge.

    Comment


    • #3
      Parents need to find a social outlet other than dove-tailing in on their children's activities. Kinda like get a life of your own sort of thing. I don't want to say grow up, but be a parent instead of just trying to be a friend to your kids. One might even want to think about developing a relationship with the spouse. In a few short years they will be the sum total of your life unless you have worked it out that all your kids continue to live in your basement until they are 40.

      Here's how it works. All the parents of all the boys that want to do BSA things, get together and go someplace other than where your kids are. You don't have to babysit them and you might actually have a good time getting to know other adults who are looking for something other than babysitting their kids, too. You don't have to wear a uniform and you can have your wife and other siblings go along with no hassle. It's a win, win. Your boy grows up and so does the parent.

      If someone other than on the forum came to me with this idea, I would bet good money it was a joke. On this forum it seems like the place for a lot of really bad ideas get aired out. This is one of them.

      Stosh

      Comment


      • #4
        Welcome to the forums Snave001!

        I have heard of this (old goat patrol/geezer patrol/adult patrol). I have not seen it in action so I don't know how they work in real life. I do however have philosophical objections and they are why we don't do this in our troop:

        1. We are adults, not scouts. We work together because that's what scouters do, not because we are a patrol.
        2. Scouts should be watching their leaders, not the adults.
        3. Adults should not be teaching scouts. Scouts should be teaching scouts. They learn by doing, not by watching.
        4. The only scout allowed (briefly) in the adult campsite is 1. the SPL or 2. a safety victim (bullying, first aid, etc).

        Your gut is correct. Think about how it conflicts with boy-led and let your conscience be your guide.

        Other items to think about: What is the WB parent's position in the troop? What's their job? Why are they suggesting program ideas? Why is the committee suggesting program changes? That is the Scoutmaster's realm. What happens when the scouts (who should be 300 ft away) ignore the adults? Are the adults going to call them over and demand they watch?

        The objective of the patrol method, is not efficiency, discipline or uniforming. It is for a PL to learn how to organize and lead, how to communicate, and how to work together towards an objective for the rest. All this needs to be done via experience, and not watching adults.

        Does that help put words to your thoughts?

        Good luck!

        Comment


        • #5
          So many things come to mind as to why this is a bad idea (If a Wood Badge instructor was promoting this they should be stripped of their beads in public though I'm guessing it was an idea someone attneding Wood Badge brought up since it's not generally something taught in Wood Badge). First, who is their SPL? The 14 year old Life Scout? Do you think they'll take direction from him? A rather good size portion of parents couldn't camp their way out of a Holiday Inn, who is going to take the time to teach them the skills needed to serve as an "example" to the boys?

          My quick answer to the idea is this: "It's the BOY Scouts of America - it is NOT the Parent Scouts of America". If parents want to observe, they stand in the back of the room or hang out in the "adult" camp - if they want to wear a uniform, they become Scoutmasters and Assistant Scoutmasters - and they get properly trained.

          If the Parents want to play at being Boy Scouts, let them go out camping and hiking on their own, on separate trips, to different places.

          Comment


          • #6
            There is something to be said for the adult leaders being in their own area, camping and cooking their own meals. There is he added benefit of introducing new ideas to the Scouts while keeping the adults out of the Scout's kitchen. Until we did this a few times, the Scouts were convinced that Friday night dinner was required to be hot dogs and/or BBQ beans. But to treat the adults as a full blown patrol. is wrong. The idea works if it is simply the adults standing WAY off to the side and letting the Scouts do their own thing.

            Comment


            • #7
              We did this for a while when we had large numbers and lots of dads who really liked to camp. It really only lasted for a couple of outings. The advantage was it actually got us out of the boys' hair. We didn't mind being accountable to the SPL. And we could cook up a storm!

              The disadvantage was not every adult wanted to uniform and nobody really wanted to compete with the boys, so we disbanded before we could create our own patch and flag.

              Boys appreciate us being available to assist them. They appreciate us doing our own creative things. They don't appreciate us imitating them.

              Comment


              • #8
                I've not heard of this this side of the pond but I would be pretty uncomforatble with it.

                One of the big things kids get from scouts is being away from their parents and gaining a sense of independence. Making mistakes without havign Dad present to witness them makes them a lot easier to learn from.

                Get the adults out of the kids hair and let them get on with it.

                Comment


                • #9
                  300' between patrols and 30 miles between kids and their hovering parents. Unless one is registered and trained as an adult leader they have no business on the trip other than maybe providing a ride to and from the event. And if the event is 200 miles from home base, the adults get a hotel and or made the trip twice. But they don't stay anywhere near the boys. They are not registered and they are not trained to be there, neither are their spouses and their siblings ... or their pets, or their grandparents.... or their.... It's kinda like an opportunity for the boys to gain a sense of independence like Cambridgskip says. I thought that a character development/leadership program would have assumed that without having to have it spelled out like this.

                  Stosh

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Our adults typical cook as a separate group, but we don't try to mimic the boys patrols. We've got a good group of leaders that enjoy each other's company and that enjoy camping and backpacking. As a result, we function like a patrol - a group of friends that work together to do what needs to be done. The boys will learn more from that example than if we tried to mimic the boys with uniforms, patches, yells and flags - which, when you think about it, are poor substitutes for real team building.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The reason 20th Century Wood Badge was created because the old course was taken out of context by unexperienced adults using the format as a model for their own program. Adults who lacked a scouting experience as a youth started guiding their scouts to run a Wood Badge lite troop where the adults ate with the patrols and the Kudu horn was blown at openings. It became enough of a problem that National blew up the old Wood Badge course and started over with a whole new curriculum. This adult is trying to do the same thing.

                      My experience is that this isn’t helicopter parents wanting to hang around and watch and protect their kids, it’s the kid in the adult wanting to play Boy Scout. Most every troop has them, but the leaders are responsible for teaching these adults how boy run program works and why they don’t use some of the ideas that would interfere with the vision of the program. While it is true the role modeling is the primary method for boys to learn and grow in the troop program, the objective is for the "scouts" to be role models for scouts. The troop leadership needs to guide the adults as to how giving boys independence of making choices without the influence of adults creates an environment of growth and trust. A patrol of adults standing next to them doesn’t allow for scouts to feel that independence.

                      I disagree that the troop should discount the parents and keep them away. Units that I’ve seen do that usually end up kicking out a few adults including the Scoutmaster and starting all over. There is fine line between a program that encourages enough distance to give scouts room, and a program that forces parents away from the activities. Council leaders also discourage it because of the abuse risk. And let me just say once parents start to feel suspicious of the troop leadership, threats of litigation aren’t far behind. A better approach is allow the parents to attend the activities, but at a distance the boys don’t feel the pressure of making decisions based on what they think the adults want. It’s really not that hard. 100 feet, 200 feet, even a half mile in some activities. Even at summer camps our troop typically puts the adults in a completely different camp site to give the scouts their distance. It might just be across the road, but it is enough for the scouts to feel independent.

                      Be respectful to this adult, but tell him no thanks and teach him why.

                      Barry

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Snave001 View Post
                        I was Cubmaster of my son's pack and now we are in Boy Scouts. For the first couple years I chose to "just" be an active parent and not a leader. I am getting back into the committee side and am seeing that we are going through some growing pains. One of the parents went to Wood Badge and he brought back an idea called Parent Patrol. This is where a small group of parents would form their own patrol, stand in formation during flag, organize their patrol's food on camp outs, wear full uniform, etc. Much of what the boys do without the advancements and awards. The concept to this is to show a form of leading by example. We would show the boys first hand what we expect as well as form Parent Advisors who would mentor. Parents will make mistakes and they can take that experience to mentor the boys with it, or maybe even the boys will catch the mistake and teach the parents. We are having very strong feelings on both sides of the fence from the parents. For every problem it seems to help, it creates another. The parent that introduced it is very black and white...they taught it to him in WB and it was explained as a win win, therefore it must happen. I was initially totally for it but now I am not sure.
                        Here's my questions: Has anyone done this before? Success? Failure? Tips?
                        While it's informal (and we don't line up), the SM, ASMs and whatever parents are along act as a patrol on campouts. We cook, clean, eat together. Now, we don't plan menus together--we volunteer to plan the menu and shop.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          We're really informal in my troop. SM brings his own food. ASM brings her own food. They have a campsite. Patrols bring their own food and have their own campsites. No arrangements are made for anyone beyond that.

                          The only cheating on that formula above is when me (SM) brings the Mrs. She has attended when asked by the boys and the activity is benefited by her presence. She's a forester by trade, naturalist by hobby, Master Gardener for plant identification, and expert kayaker. She has camped, hiked and kayaked the Alaskan wilderness far more than anyone in the area. Now if I can get her to sign up as ASM I'd be all set, but she's usually out kayaking/hiking/cross-country skiing when the boys plan their activities. They need to ask her directly to attend and present/assist a program.

                          I would have no problem if a parent were to come along under similar circumstances. It's never a "fun" weekend for Scouters on my outings, it's a working weekend as defined by G2SS and to provide programming resources if asked.

                          Stosh

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            We have a parent 'Patrol' in that we camp and cook patrol-style at camp outs. Put in enough time and do a week at summer camp you can get a patrol patch at a COH to put on your brownshirt. But really it is just a little fun thing but not to teach the boys anything. I suppose we set a good example by doing a lot of cheerful service, greeting and hand shaking and we do cook patrol style at the campouts (we have our own patrol box). But really it is just something to make the outings more fun for the dad's.

                            We are very careful to keep our camp site away from the boys (they have to ask permission to enter--mostly to keep boys from hanging with their dad's) and we work hard to let the boy led unit remain boy led. But if their is any demonstrating to be done (lining up, flag folding, etc. etc.) that should be done by the older boys.

                            I have seen this backfire in a few troops where it dissolves into 'Man-Scouts'. WB can do that...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              A lot of metropolitian areas have hiking, backpacking, kayaking etc clubs for adults. I think that some parents need to look into those. What I see happening is you get parents that had little exposure to the outdoors / camping there son gets involved with scouts and the parent realize that this is fun. But they don't know how to do it on their own so they leverage off of the scouts.

                              Comment

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