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  • small troop patrol leaders training

    I have a troop of 5 boys 3 show regularly (different boys randomly)
    does any one have some advice on team building/trust activities or games for such a small group? what I got from wood badge was for more than two patrols where they competed with each other to build trust and confidence as well as the ever important leadership skills needed to succeed in their lives.

  • #2
    Spend extra effort on making it nice for the boys when they do show up. If they have a productive good time, they will come back more often and might even invite their friends if it's a really good time. Once the boys figure out that not showing up is not a good idea, things will turn around.



    • #3

      "what I got from wood badge was..."

      Note how far the Wood Badge Staffers were camped from the participants' Patrols, and then separate your Troop's one Patrol (the participants) at least Baden-Powell's minimum 300 feet from the adults' (your Troop's "Staffers"). See:

      Those ever important "leadership skills" needed to succeed in their lives will occur spontaneously through the Spirit of Scouting, without even a single EDGE PowerPoint presentation

      Yours at 300 feet,



      • #4
        There's a bunch of teamwork activities on
        These might work for your guys:
        Brain Bender Water Jugs
        Bowline Trust Lean
        Clove Hitch on Tree
        Fire Transfer
        Group Morph
        Newspaper Architects


        • #5
          The kids showing up is not the problem.(we are in a small town and I know where and what they are doing) . it is finding the teamwork building games that I need help with.


          • #6
            Also, consider group projects that may take up a Saturday or several evenings. Things like building/ refurbishing a Klondike derby sled or other equipment.

            Our boys planned and baked cookies at our CO. Lots of team-building over a two week period. (Week 1, pick recipes from mom's cookbooks and order ingredients. Week 2 cook and eat.)


            • #7
              If 3 of 5 consistently show on a random differentiation, yes, you do have a attendance problem. One cannot build group cohesiveness when people arbitrarily come and go. This group dynamic is always a problem and it runs with different hats at different times. I.e., group building is harmed with the mixing of patrols at major activities. Group dynamics of team building/trust require everyone to be there and participate.

              Does everyone in the group have a responsibility. And NO I'm not talking about wearing POR patches on their shirt. Does everyone feel they have something to contribute to the group or are they just hanging out? If someone feels indispensable, they are less likely to randomly skip meetings. "If I'm not needed this week, why show up?"

              Is something expected from each person each week? If I'm expected to come ready to teach something to the group, I'm less likely to skip.

              Is my contribution worthwhile? I have to come up with a new game for everyone to play, should be fun and involve everyone. It's my turn to do flags. etc. All of which lets me know it's important for me to be there.

              Do I get along with everyone else in the group? Am I the new guy, and what do I have to offer and what do they expect of me?

              Who's really running the show? Do we do our own thing or are we doing things the adults want us to do? Nobody really wants to go to the camporee this month, but the SM said we had to. Nothing worse than a non-member dictating to the group. On the other hand, if Mr. SM is doing all the deciding, maybe he should be doing all the planning and maybe, just maybe we will show up to see how it works out for him. If I'm busy that weekend, no problem, we'll hear about it at the next meeting.

              The way adults arbitrarily mix and match, direct, etc. go a long way to deter group dynamics of a patrol. The boys know better what's going on than either the SM or the parents. Let them have at it. Watch, listen, monitor, and if asked offer a suggestion as to an opportunity they might want to consider.

              If all you are looking for is a team building gimmick/game, that's an over simplistic approach to a complex problem. Once the game's over, so is the need for a team.

              Stosh(This message has been edited by jblake47)


              • #8

                How far does your Scouts' Patrol camp from the adults?

                How far do they hike at least once a month (if only on Troop campouts) without adult supervision?

                Those minimum "team building/trust activity" requirements for the "Real" Patrol Method should keep them busy enough.

                To that end is Green Bar Bill's "Intensive Patrol Leaders Training in the Green Bar Patrol" course:


                Yours at 300 feet,



                • #9
                  You are right in looking for team building exercises, but you can make just about anything a team building exercise.

                  You might have heard about the team building model of forming, storming, norming and performing. The objective of a team building exercise is to force the group through the storming phase so that they are working on the norming.

                  It might be that your adults misunderstand the storming phase of the team building because it doesnt appear friendly, courteous or kind. Or it could be the adults just dont like to watch the boys struggle. As a result they rescue the boys before they get to the norming phase. It also could be that the program is so well laid out that no storming occurs. It's a normal parent reaction. Being a good scout leader takes as much practice as it does for the boys to become good scouts.

                  Back when our troop was very young, we decided to reward the patrols with banana splits. So we set down three grocery sacks of ice cream and other required mixes then we step back to let the scouts figure out how to get the ingredient laid out to prepare their treats in an orderly manner. It was challenging at first but eventually a natural leader steps up and starts to direct the process. There is some loud questioning going back and forth but the motivation for a banana split eventually forces the hungry scouts into a team to complete the task before the icecream melts.

                  That was a very simple task that challenges and forces scouts to form and work as a team. I have found that the more intense the task, the faster the team forms and works through the team building exercise. On average I would say it takes a patrol about three months of challenging patrol tasks to start to become a team. But anyone who has attended High Adventure Crews sees it happen in three days. The difference is the intensity and stress of working together every day under stressful activities. The task forces the group to form and storm just to get relief of the norming phase. Backpacking 15 miles up a mountain creats a mighty big appetite. It requires a functional team to cook a meal that satisfies that pain. It works every time provided the adults dont interrupt the process, which happens more often than not.

                  The fastest I've ever seen a team build through the four phases is indoor laser tag. It was amazing to watch, but groups are given only a few short minutes to organize into a functional team intended on beating the other team. Indoor laser tag is fast and intense and it forces the more natural leaders to step out and start setting members into position and a making a plan. Storming occurs quickly with members who arent on board with that plan. The games occur quickly and the success or failure of the plan and leader are exposed almost instantly.

                  But you see my point, you need activities that force enough stress on the boys to proactively find a solution to prevent failure. The goal of the activity can be anything, but it should be worthy of working through the storming phase. It should be fun so the boys enjoy the results and dont mind storming again. It can be as simple as making banana splits or as intense as winning at laser tag. But a series of small team reqired activities can lead into the norming of a functional team. Just getting ready for a campout should have a series of team required acitivites. Can you think of a few?

                  All that being said, maybe the first step is for the adults to recognize their part in all this. Are you rescuing the scouts too early? As I said, its a normal reaction. Are you building a program that challenges the groups. Pushing scouts to camp out of site and sound of the adults naturally puts them in many small situations that force the group into the storming phase. Its a little scary for the adults at first, but they will get use to it and learn how to deal with the results of good and bad choices.

                  I get the feeling you are looking to do a Patrol Leadership course, and that is OK. But you dont have to. Look to mix up the next meeting. Set little fun challenges that forces the boys to work as a team like settingup tents to check for mold then putting them back in their bags all in 10 minutes. That was fun, do it again with blind folds to simulate setting up in a hard rain. Reward them with banana splits. The challenge isnt so much getting the boys to do team building. The challenge is the adults learning how to encourage a normal program of team building. The 100 yards type of program.

                  We wish the best on this because we have been there.



                  • #10
                    Thank you all for the valuable input. This gives me something to work with.


                    • #11

                      I have to say that I am very impressed with your post to this thread made on 12/6/2012. So much so that I am saving it to a stash of training materials that I have for new scouters to our troop.

                      I have not paid that much attention to the process of Storming, Norming, ect. before, as I took a cursory look at it a while ago and thought at first that it was just a gimmick they did at adult training these days. But you have shown me that this is the thing that patrol cohesion is made of. I had a scoutmasters conference with a scout last night for Tenderfoot rank. This scout has been with us since August, and when I asked him what his favorite camping trip was, he told us it was a trip in September in which it rained the whole weekend, and half the boys emerged in the mornings cold and hungry. This was the first camping trip since the troop of one patrol became two patrols, camping separately and cooking apart. My scout really liked this trip, despite the hardships of rain and confusion. This trip had unexpected results, but these results fit with the "stressing" you described, and it came naturally.

                      I am indebted to you for a wealth of insight. Keep up the good posting.


                      • #12

                        I agree with your comments.

                        Building on Barry's insight, it makes apparent why it is counterproductive to form ad-hoc patrols on campouts by combining members of various patrols when only a few members of each patrol attend; the benefit of attending a patrol cooking summer camp rather than a dining hall camp; the benefit of real inter-patrol competitions at troop meetings, campouts, and events. It is all structured to provide an environment where the patrol storms naturally.


                        • #13
                          Thank you for the kind words allangr. Insights are reflections of humbling experiences.

                          I didnt mention the forth step of "performing because its not really important for this discussion. "Performing" is the most rewarding step for the adults because the scouts have taken true ownership of their program. You will know when the group has reached the performing step because the scouts actions are automatic and without a second thought or being asked. It will appear as if the scouts read each others minds. Adults cant make that step happen, it only occurs when the scouts have truly become a functional team.

                          Yours isnt the first time Ive heard a scout say the rainy campout is their favorite. Rain is scary for young first time campers who havent yet experienced real survival in challenging conditions. But when they master that challenge, the young boy feels like a man who can conquer the world, and they brag about it to their friends next Monday at school.

                          Now that you understand the true power of challenges, don't be surprised by the funny looks from the other adults as you smile when rain approaches.