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  • Consequences of ad-hoc Patrol un-Method. ".

    So my sucky Troop has age based "patrols" and ad-hoc patrols on outings. Summer Camp this year is Patrol cooking and the division the scouts/SPL came up with has many of the adults fighting. "It's to hard for 2 third years to lead 3 first years", "being stuck with 3 younger scouts is not fun, I'm not going" says the Paper Troop Guide. SPL must be in same patrol as the other 4th year scout or he is not coming back. We have 4 second year scouts and one got pushed off into another patrol while the three others are still together. This is just nuts. My thought is put the 5 1st years with the 2 4th year scouts, 6 3rd years and 4 2nd years in patrols and call it a day. It doesn't help that we are in transition to a new SM/ASM duo. Any suggestions?

  • #2
    If my calculations are correct, you have enough for 2 patrols, with one extra or 3 patrols, one patrol shy one member. 17 is a difficult number to deal with.

    Put all the boys into one room, tell them they need 2 or 3 PL's and 2 or 3 APL's and 2 or 3 patrols minimum of 6, maximum of 8 or 3 patrols of 6 with one patrol short one member. The first new boy in the troop automatically goes to that patrol. When they have figured it out, they can come out and tell the SM/ASM what it's going to be from now on as far as patrol structure. 3 patrols of 6 or 2 patrols of 8. Odd man out on the 2 patrol selection would make him ad hoc SPL.

    That should solve it. All the excuses as to why it won't work goes out the window. It's up to them to figure it out and make it work. Excuses and threats are only for the adults. No adults involved, no excuses, no threats, just results.

    This is their chance to structure the patrols way they want them to be structured. If it doesn't work out, it's no one's fault but their own. Can't even blame it on the adults.

    If they don't like doing it themselves, let them know up front that there will be two patrols. Either 1) picked by adults randomly or 2) two patrols sorted out by them. Option 1: That way no one's happy. Option 2: at least they had their chance to make it the way they want it. This is their chance, better make the most of it.

    Why in the world would adults be fighting over this? This is what boy-led patrol-method is all about, the boys make decisions on such simple matters and adults mind their own business which is probably more important than patrol membership selection.

    Stosh
    Last edited by jblake47; 05-24-2014, 08:34 PM.

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    • #3
      Yeah, let the scouts choose their patrols on their own. Don't assign them. Don't even have the SPL assign them. "being stuck with ... not fun, I'm not going." That's what I'd expect out of 50% of the scouts for one camp out and 100% of the scouts if you do it month after month.

      One big reason scouts do scouting is to be with their friends. Assign the patrols and scouts ditch their patrols to be with their friends. They might cook with them. Might tent with them. But at the first free time they ditch their patrol to be with their friends.

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      • #4
        Oh my. Nuts is right. How about starting with the interaction between the SPL and adults. The SPL made a decision which, by itself, is a good thing. Honestly, getting a scout to just make a decision is big. The adults are fighting over the decision he made. That is a sure way to crush his confidence in making decisions. What is the absolute worst thing that can happen with the way the SPL broke out the patrols? Maybe some scouts will get hungry. There will be no hurry cases so why not just let the SPL live with his decision? Does the SPL care enough about the scouts in his troop to watch out for them, to help the PLs? Do you trust the SPL?

        ​If I were the SM I'd talk to the SPL. I'd ask him why he made the decisions he did, about friendships, about the scouts being taken care of (not getting hungry), about the leadership (is the troop guide really ready for this, because in my troop I have 3rd and 4th year troop guides that can easily handle 6 new scouts per 2 of them). I'd ask him what his measure of success is for summer camp and whether he thinks he is ready and I'd ask him if he needs any help. Then I would tell him there are a bunch of adults that don't trust him but I'll go to bat for him, buy a bunch of ding dongs, and tell them to stuff one in their mouth every time they open it. I did something like this before and it's amazing the kind of respect you develop with the scouts this way. Some adults watched and learned (a good thing) and some adults just got mad at me (not so good)

        ​But you are not the SM. You may need to work with the new SM. One thing I can tell you is the last thing a new SM wants to hear is how to do his job (I got plenty of that and none of it was worth beans). The only words he wants to hear are"how can I help?" You may need to be creative in how to help him and encourage boys to lead.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by King Ding Dong View Post
          ... Summer Camp this year is Patrol cooking ...
          Hoorah! Our troop loves patrol cooking. Steak night is AWESOME!
          Originally posted by King Ding Dong View Post
          ... and the division the scouts/SPL came up with ...
          Huzzah for the boys!!!!
          Originally posted by King Ding Dong View Post
          ... has many of the adults fighting. ...
          Well maybe two out of three ain't bad. Especially, if you are positive and maniacally enthusiastic about the boys to the nay-saying adults.

          Originally posted by King Ding Dong View Post
          It doesn't help that we are in transition to a new SM/ASM duo. Any suggestions?
          Get beside these two adults in those new positions and listen to how they feel about everything. They may be able to leave the other adults' bickering along the trail like the remains of a head cold. Or they may need you to run interference for them. Follow their lead. If you think it would help, teach them useful sayings and maxims that may comfort consternated adults. Things like "I'm not about to be bothered by the burrs up anyone's butt, especially yours."

          Be open to the idea that this could be tough on the boys and nightly open-ended evaluation may be in order. Have your people learned "Thorns and Roses"?

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          • #6
            BSA 2014

            A patrol is that small group of boys and friends under their own leadership . . . .
            Bill:

            In a Troop in which the boys are shuffled together a frequent intervals and dealt out into new Patrols according to the whim of the Scoutmaster, there obviously can be little opportunity for the development of Patrol morale and Patrol traditions.
            BSA 2014

            Patrol spirit is the glue that holds the patrol together and keeps it going. Building patrol spirit takes time, because it is shaped by a patrol's experiences—good and bad.
            Last edited by TAHAWK; 05-25-2014, 10:58 PM.

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            • #7
              Tahawk ... great quotes. Fully agree with them. My oldest son entered with six scouts in his patrol and left with three when he aged out. It was a great experience for him. In those years, the only time patrols were re-organized was when an individual boy wanted to switch and the receiving patrol said sure we'll take ya.

              I've also been in a troop that switches patrols. Kids with the wrong patch on. Kids that don't know their patrol because it switched last month when they were at a swim meet.

              As far as I'm concerned, troop leadership (youth and adult) should keep their noses out of patrol membership. Let scouts choose and resolve it themselves.

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              • #8
                disagree that new Scouts automatically go to the "short" patrol. Scouts should be in patrol in their own neighborhood so they can walk/bike to meetings instead of having to be driven everywhere

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                • #9
                  If a patrol is a a small group of boys and friends, then their fiendships determine where they go, yes?

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                  • #10
                    There are a few points I am not clear on. If the SPL is not a member of a patrol, what do you do with him? Does he cook with the old goats ? If patrols go on separate hikes does he just sit in camp and twiddle his thumbs? If the adults are to keep their noses out of patrol organization, what happens if you get really even patrol sizes ? A NSP and no one wants to actually do the job of troop guide ? If on a campout 1,2 or 3 scouts from a patrol attend ?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by King Ding Dong View Post
                      There are a few points I am not clear on. If the SPL is not a member of a patrol, what do you do with him? Does he cook with the old goats ? If patrols go on separate hikes does he just sit in camp and twiddle his thumbs? If the adults are to keep their noses out of patrol organization, what happens if you get really even patrol sizes ? A NSP and no one wants to actually do the job of troop guide ? If on a campout 1,2 or 3 scouts from a patrol attend ?
                      Unless the troop has 4-5 patrols and has need of a corp of troop officers, SPL's are but a waste of time energy and an easy path to a do-nothing POR requirement fulfillment. The SPL, ASPL, QM, Scribe, etc. are effectively a patrol of their own. If your troop is not big enough for troop level support officers, then one doesn't need an SPL either.

                      You have pretty much summed up the effective SPL of a small troop. No place to go, nothing to do, member of no patrol.

                      A NSP with no TG? Let them figure it out on their own. Sounds like servant leadership training for the older boys. Might want to start that now so that next year's NSP might have a chance at a TG. Until then, why not suggest to have your do-nothing SPL step in and help the new boys as a TG? He fulfills his POR and actually has SOMETHING TO DO.

                      1-2-3 attending from a patrol? Sounds like they aren't going to have too much fun and be at a disadvantage for the weekend. That was their choice and their problem to solve.

                      Too often adults feel the need to step in and make things better. It disrupts the dynamics of the patrol-method and pretty much wastes adult time and cheats the boys out of a learning experience opportunity. The adults should be the ones sitting around twiddling their thumbs, not running around trying to "fix" everything that appears to be broken.

                      I had 4 boys at the meeting last night. All first year scouts. The PL took the boys outside to work on the physical fitness/improvement requirements for TF. One boy did not come back in. The PL said he came back in early because he was mad about something. Immediately the 4 other adults sitting at the adult table started formulating a search plan to find the boy. I told them to stay seated, the boys can figure it out. The PL sent the boys out looking for him with the instructions not to leave the building. They found him, but he didn't want to come back in the scout room. The PL asked what he should do. I offered to talk to the boy, but as PL it was really his job. He went off and within two minutes all four boys were working together on the next TF requirement.

                      It was a really good lesson for the adults. Offer advice/suggestions, but stay seated. The boys figured it out.

                      NEVER underestimate the leadership capabilities of even your new scouts. Lazy scouts know that if they act lazy long enough some well-meaning adult will come along and do it for them.

                      Stosh

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                      • #12
                        All of your questions fall outside the "summer camp" category, but anyway ...
                        Originally posted by King Ding Dong View Post
                        There are a few points I am not clear on. If the SPL is not a member of a patrol, what do you do with him? Does he cook with the old goats ? If patrols go on separate hikes does he just sit in camp and twiddle his thumbs?
                        More importantly, what does he do with you? Often, we encourage the SPL to touch base with us and assign us to administrative tasks like patrol visits, SMCs, BoRs, keeping the fish biting ... Aside from that, he inspects camp for cleanliness, coordinates with the camp director about any activities in which the troop may participate, does final bed-check in the evening.

                        The old goats, if few in number are assigned to eat with a different patrol each day. The SPL sets that roster. We do not help with food prep. The PL comes and gets us when breakfast is served. We do not help with washing up. (I only stay long enough to wash my porcelain espresso cup and gay floral patterned silverware.)

                        Never had a problem with the SPL being a member of a patrol. Never had a problem with him being in no particular patrol. If he's putting in the time backing up the PL's, he is free to join any hike he chooses, or sit back and drink coffee with adults and discuss career choices and politics.

                        Originally posted by King Ding Dong View Post
                        If the adults are to keep their noses out of patrol organization, what happens if you get really even patrol sizes ? A NSP and no one wants to actually do the job of troop guide ? If on a campout 1,2 or 3 scouts from a patrol attend ?
                        Don't worry, be happy. Look up the patrol method thread. There are lot's of ways of dealing with this. We usually just leave it up to the boys and let them know that there's absolutely nothing wrong with a patrol of 1, but there's also absolutely nothing wrong with two patrols combining for a particular event.

                        Whatever they decide we will support them.

                        P.S. - I generally discourage the "patrol of 1" because it usually winds up being one boy the SPL and maybe a couple adults shadowing them.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by King Ding Dong View Post
                          There are a few points I am not clear on. If the SPL is not a member of a patrol, what do you do with him? Does he cook with the old goats ? If patrols go on separate hikes does he just sit in camp and twiddle his thumbs?
                          ​If the all the other PORs are doing their job, then yes, thumb twiddling is fine. If they need help learning their job he could help them or he can help some other scout develop leadership. or he could join another patrol just to have fun. i.e., you shouldn't have to decide what to do with him. If he doesn't know what needs to be done start asking questions.

                          Originally posted by King Ding Dong View Post
                          If the adults are to keep their noses out of patrol organization, what happens if you get really even patrol sizes ?
                          I'm not sure how that would be a problem.

                          Originally posted by King Ding Dong View Post
                          A NSP and no one wants to actually do the job of troop guide ?
                          There is an issue. If scouts decide who's the next PL by drawing straws ("I don't want it, it's your turn") then nobody respects the position. That's a chicken and egg thing. Nobody respects it so nobody takes it seriously so nobody tries so nobody gets anything done so nobody respects it, and the adults always step in to save the day. Get the adults to stop saving the day, talk to the best scouts and tell them you need their help, ask lots of questions, let them fail, celebrate success. The SPL should be doing most of this but he may be learning at the same time.

                          Originally posted by King Ding Dong View Post
                          If on a campout 1,2 or 3 scouts from a patrol attend ?
                          Two could be a patrol. One should be a PL or APL.

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                          • #14
                            If the SPL is incapable, having him do nothing is a plus.
                            If he is capable, he should be able to stay busy running the troop and observing, coaching and mentoring.
                            Training him to be capable and find things to do is the SM's No.1 job after safety.

                            All of this assumes one agrees with Bill about the troop having a life apart from the separate life of each patrol.
                            Last edited by TAHAWK; 05-27-2014, 07:40 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MattR View Post

                              Two could be a patrol. One should be a PL or APL.
                              Tenderfoot Requirement #9 - Buddy system. One boy should not be attending and where's the PL who's supposed to be taking care of his boys? Sounds like a breakdown in leadership big time.

                              If I was that boy, I'd be looking for a new patrol like, maybe, yesterday!

                              Stosh

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