Oh wow. I've been lurking off and on throughout the discussion, but it suddenly exploded.
Yeah, previously we had mixed age patrols. As the new Scouts ended their first year, we were placed in a patrol based upon sizing by adults (split up so patrol numbers were nearly equal). I was going to suggest doing the same sort of thing with the age-based since we have three permanent patrols (except let the Scouts choose based upon vacancies), but wanted to see what other people did.
I glanced through many of the posts, so I'll look at them more tomorrow. I can say that I used to be a Bobwhite and I never recall patrols changing. I think Beavah's point was that these WB patrol don't change in the duration of the course. Because yeah, they'll obviously change with a new class. Iunno.
By all means, continue the back-and-forth. I'm just here to evaluate opinions and avoid catastrophes (if any).
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- Jul 2011
There seems to be a lot going on here!!
I'm very much OK with there being different courses for different horses.
While of course my ego isn't ever going to allow me to say that what I've been doing is wrong.
Still if someone finds something that works for them?
Then not going with it, might seem kinda daffy.
I'm not in favor of age based Patrols.
In part because I never used the idea.
I also tend to think that this isn't the way it ought to work.
I'd never seen or heard of age based Patrols or New Scout Patrols before coming to the States.
Back in the UK, when I was a Lad and later when I was SM (Scout Leader.)
Little fellows moved from the Pack to the Troop on their birthday or as close to their birthday as possible.
For a month or so ahead of time they had visited the Troop and got to know their way around.
The PLC met and discussed which Patrol they would join.
Lads who joined from the street. (Not from the Pack) As a rule hung out with their friends or the person who brought them for a few weeks then moved to a Patrol, again this was something that the PLC had agreed on.
This seemed to work well. Mainly because there wasn't a big number of New Scouts all joining at the same time. (No big Cross Over in February.)
When I was a Scout, the Troop I was in stayed very much about the same size. About 36 or so Scouts.
Patrols were Patrols of about six and there were six Patrols.
Chances were that if you joined a Patrol that would be the Patrol you remained with.
This is kinda unusual.
Troops as a rule, go through Peaks and Valleys.
Either new Patrols are being formed or Patrols are being down sized because the Troop is becoming smaller.
I like the idea that the older Scouts take the younger Scouts under their wing and look after them.
This happens a lot better when the little Lad is a member of the same Patrol as the older Lad.
Mixed age Patrols, where the Patrols are about even allows for inter Patrol competition.
A big mistake I have seen both here and in the UK, is that many (Not all.) Adults seem to not to be able to look down the road.
While many of us at some time or another have things just where we think they should be.
A great group of Scouts, who get along well and work together well.
We forget that the most important person for the future of the Troop is that new little fellow that we really don't know that well.
I've also seen it where the adults are so busy catering for the older Lads that younger Lads just feel welcome and leave.
My son was a Scout in a Troop with same aged Patrols.
The year he crossed over the Troop got 16 new Scouts.
These new Scouts made up almost half of the Troop.
They became two Patrols.
By the following December, there were only 13 of these new Scouts.
They remained as two Patrols.
By the time he was 13 the two Patrols became one Patrol.
He attended almost every Troop meeting and event until he was about 15.
Then he got involved in sports and school plays.
There had been several New Scout Patrols join over the years. Each time they seemed to account for about 50% of the Troop size.
As SPL he did his best to look after these "Little Kids". - But other than that? He wanted no part of them, mainly because he didn't know them that well and he had no need to.
By the time he was 16 and had his driving license. He had for the most part out-grown what the Troop had to offer.
Him and a the few older Scouts that were still around were herded into an "Eagle Patrol"
These older Scouts, tended to just visit the Troop if and when they had the time and nothing better to do.
They didn't participate in the Camp outs.
Most worked at the Summer Camp, so they didn't camp with the Troop.
I don't know if having them not be part of the Troop was a good thing or a bad thing?
I'm not sure if they had mixed aged Patrols if they might have felt that they were needed?
I do know that had it not been for the OA my kid would have quit.
With so many Troops seeing a large number of little fellows crossing over each year.
I do see that keeping them together as a group can make sense.
For me the Patrol is very much about older Scouts leading and taking care of the members of their Patrol.
To this day I remember how much I looked up to my first P/L.
I never remember looking at the younger Lads in my Patrol (When I was a P/L) As being "The little kids." - They were first and foremost Patrol Members.
I wanted them to do well as when they did it made me and my Patrol look good.
>>A big mistake I have seen both here and in the UK, is that many (Not all.) Adults seem to not to be able to look down the road.
I think the biggest issue on this forum is that people take the expression of a different opinion as an attack on their model. Everything on this forum has to be "I'm right", "my troop does it right."
Eagledad: If a Troop has mixed age patrols, and the Boys themselves, or the PLC makes that decision, than it would be boy led. If you, being an adult, are making the decision, I think I would be more than implying that isn't Boy leadership. Correct or no?
Through my time in Scouts, I was in a mixed age patrol (besides my first year in the NSP). I was in the Cavalry Patrol. Still have the little golden sword pin we used instead of a patrol patch.
Furthermore, On who's authority is it that patrols staying around forever is a good thing? That's your opinion, not a verifiable fact. Boys don't always stay in the same groups. They don't always keep the same friends. They don't always keep the same interests. 7 years of Scouting is a large amount of time in the life of a Boy. The people I considered to be my friends have changed quite a bit since I was 11 years old.
"Just because a program has a pre-designed long range structure does not mean in any way that the adults are controlling or that its not boy run. I will match our boy run program to anyone here. Our patrols were camping 100 yards apart long before that became popular on this forum. Successful mature programs require some kind of structure that uses the methods of program to reach the aims."
Again. At least with me, there I'm not advocating an I'm right, you are wrong sort of argument here. By all accounts, your Troop is boy led. They use mixed age patrols. That's their decision. Other Troops have Boys who have reached a different conclusion. Nothing wrong there. Except you and Beavah keep saying it is.
"Like Eamonn, the PLC picked the patrol for me and my best friend when I was a boy."
That's right. Thats boy led.
"A Brief history lesson here, the BSA didnt start encouraging the aged based patrol structure until around 1990. That is also when they switched to the tradition of crossing over new scouts in one group at the beginning of the year. The intent of the changes was to decrease the first year scout losses which were, and still are, the BSAs largest single loss of scouts. Eagle92 knows the history better than I, but that is why the literature is written the way it is. "
And in the Scoutmasters handbook post 1990's they actually talk of having New Scout patrols and Regular patrols. With kids of similar ages and interests. What of it? If having mixed age patrols in your troop has worked, and the results are good why change it?
Sentinel947(This message has been edited by Sentinel947)
Not in any way trying to hijack the Thread.
I haven't taken the time to look back at my old postings.
I do however think that over the past few years, I'm not a mule headed as I used to be.
I'm not saying that I was wrong! Lord forbid me to ever admit such a thing!!
I'm just more accepting than I once was.
While we can all advise and chat away here in the Forum.
If the truth be known. When it comes to Patrols, Patrol size and what age the Scouts in the Patrols are?
We work with the Scouts we have.
Some Troops have for one reason or another older Lads, while the Troop down the road might well have younger Scouts.
My big fear of having age based Patrols is that if they manage to retain a lot of older Scouts, these older Lads scare the younger Lads away.
I found that me not seeing myself as the keystone but more of a Stewart helped me a lot.
While trying to ensure that each and every Scout gets the program he deserves is very important.
As a Stewart I'm also focused on the Troop as a whole and where it will be five years and maybe even ten years down the road.
Some adults seem to think that "Boy Led" is "Hands Off".
This is rarely true.
The first big hurdle is having the adults understand what it means for a group (Patrol or Troop) To lead themselves.
The next is for the Scouts to come to grips with it.
Some of this will be determined by the history of what has happened in the past and the Troop culture.
There are times when things go wrong.
The adult knows that things are not going right.
A lot of the time there will be some kind of a consequence when things don't go well.
Depending on what the consequence is?
The adult might very well allow whatever it is to play out.
Not rush in and try and fix it. (This can be very hard for a lot of adults.)
There is however no point in doing things this way if there is no follow up.
No!! I'm not talking about moaning and carrying on about how they messed up.
Chances are they will have worked out this already.
I really like using reflections so as they not only see where they went wrong but also look for what they could have done so as not to mess up.
Sometimes just having an adult around, one who can just be there and keep his trap shut! Will make this work and not become a group of Lads blaming each other.
>>Except you and Beavah keep saying it is..>Eagledad: If a Troop has mixed age patrols, and the Boys themselves, or the PLC makes that decision, than it would be boy led. If you, being an adult, are making the decision, I think I would be more than implying that isn't Boy leadership. Correct or no?
I think I've been talking past myself for a while here. Falling victim to my own observation. Taking things too personally on this forum. I apologize Eagledad.
I think I specifically said in a different post in this thread that your troop seems boy led to me. Anywhere else where I might be implying otherwise is not true.
"I notice you seem very offended with my opinion of dying patrols, but does it not make sense why you feel dying patrols are normal and I wouldnt sense aged based patrols have to die when the same group reaches age, while mixed age patrols are constantly being fed new blood. Its not even a matter of agreeing to disagree, our different opinions of dying patrols are each logical based from our experiences of the two different styles of patrols. However, the OP was asking the question from a mixed age patrol perspective. My answer would have been like yours if he was asking from a same age patrol. "
That pretty much sums it up for me. I can't elaborate any better than you did.
I misinterpreted some of things I read earlier on.
Certainly from a mixed patrol perspective, having patrols die is not normal. It would be a sign the troop is doing poorly. In a same Age patrol troop, it's completely normal.
The OP asks about Age based patrols. He asked how they ensure the patrols don't die. In an age based patrol system... they do die. That's my opinion on the matter based on experience.
And Eagledad, I certainly respect your experience. I respect everyone on this forum, almost all of whom have more time as Adults in Scouting than I do.
Yours in Scouting,
If a patrol wanted to order pizza on every campout, or eat only poptarts and cheerios for every meal because the didn't like to cook, would you let them? If you didn't let them, would that be an indication that the troop is not boy led?
"If a patrol wanted to order pizza on every campout, or eat only poptarts and cheerios for every meal because the didn't like to cook, would you let them? If you didn't let them, would that be an indication that the troop is not boy led?"
If a patrol wanted to order pizza on a campout, that's certainly not Scouting. Or camping really. I don't think myself or the Adult leaders shooting that down is not being Boy led.
With regards to Poptarts and cheerios. Sure. Why not let em try it? They'll find out really quick when other patrols are eating dutch oven meals that poptarts and cheerios aren't really all that tasty and would be really not fun in the winter. We had a patrol that always wanted donuts for breakfast. When it got to be 20 degress in December, they realized that donuts aren't a great breakfast choice. However I do see your point.
If the boys want to hike Mount Everest, is saying no not being boy led? I certainly don't think so. I'd say the Scoutmaster needs to step in. Perhaps steer them to a more feasible adventure, like the AT?
I think you've taken my position on letting boys pick what patrol system they'd like to operate and grossly exaggerated it. Perhaps I havn't been very clear in one of my other posts.
I'm certainly not advocating that the Scouts can literally do ANYTHING they want. There is a program that the adult volunteers do have to carry out.(This message has been edited by Sentinel947)
It was not my intent to exaggerate your position, and if that is how it came across, I apologize. I was merely trying to make an analogy, and perhaps didn't do such a great job.
I wholeheartedly agree with your statement "I'm certainly not advocating that the Scouts can literally do ANYTHING they want. There is a program that the adult volunteers do have to carry out."
In addition to a program, we have been given aims of character, citizenship, and fitness. As adult leaders, we mentor our charges. We guide them based on what we want the scouts to get out of the program. Some of us want scouts to hang out with their friends and learn a few outdoors skills. Some of us want scouts to learn leadership skills.
So in my mind, I see little difference between guiding scouts to select meals that need to be cooked and guiding scouts in structuring patrols.
Cooking requires scouts to work together; it helps them become self confident by learning and continually practicing a skill. Something we want, so adults either require it, set expectations, or use a socratic method to help the scouts arrive at the same conclusion.
Patrol structure impacts how scouts learn leadership. From my view, one structure teaches leadership by scouts first learning to be followers of other, more experienced scouts, and then are able to emulate that when they want to try their hand at PL. The other structure tends to put a scout in a leadership position in more of a trial and error situation, where he has to try to lead scouts when he has not had the experience of being led by another scout, does not know any more than the scouts he is leading, nor have any more experience than the rest of the scouts in his patrol.
I think that mentoring scouts in meal planning, in selection of destinations, and in patrol structure is within the purview of the ScoutMaster, as part of helping to achieve the aims of scouting.
(This message has been edited by venividi)
"I think that mentoring scouts in meal planning, in selection of destinations, and in patrol structure is within the purview of the ScoutMaster, as part of helping to achieve the aims of scouting."
I wish I could have been that succinct with my words.
"So in my mind, I see little difference between guiding scouts to select meals that need to be cooked and guiding scouts in structuring patrols."
That's certainly valid. As Beavah said, it all depends on goals and expectations.
I liked your analogy of cheerios and poptarts. It made me laugh because We had a patrol when I was lad that tried something similiar with donuts. And when the December Klondike derby rolled around, they weren't very pleased with their donuts. Needless to say they learned something from that experience.
On the flip side, after I aged out, we had a new Scoutmaster. When a different patrol tried something similiar to the poptarts, donuts, whatever scenario, he told them to remake their meal plan. I don't think that's a bad thing. It's expanding their knowledge, their cooking abilities, and forcing them to try something new. Not bad at all.
However: You made a great point... Let me see if I can find it: AHA! here.
"Cooking requires scouts to work together; it helps them become self confident by learning and continually practicing a skill. Something we want, so adults either require it, set expectations, or use a socratic method to help the scouts arrive at the same conclusion."
" or use a socratic method to help the scouts arrive at the same conclusion"
I really like that.
I think part of my problems on this forum is I fail to fully capture my whole opinions on subjects and leave posts not fully explained.
- Aug 2008
In regards to NSPs, yep 1989 is when they officially came about, along with a lot of other changes. First mention of a "new Scout patrol" (sic) in Scouting literature is page 10 of the 10th ed. BSHB. And then it states that folks stay in it until First class or 7th grade and a Troop Guide is appointed to them with an ASM working with them.
Prior to 1989 unless you were a guinea pig, and I was one in 1986, you were in a mixed age patrol from the get go. My troop experimented with a NSP in 1986 and I was appointed PL, which would correspond to Troop Guide today since I was appointed by the SM. Again it was a mess, and at the end of a year doing the NSP, we went back to mixed age patrols. Although my remaining Ravens stayed together, we got some of the new Scouts and one person from another patrol
Doing some quick research on Patrol Method, and it's interesting. 3rd edition SM HB suggested several methods of forming patrols. One was letting the Scouts play some games with them picking the teams, with the SM making sure things are balanced and there are no problems. When things work, announce that patrols are formed.
Another method was by neighborhoods, i.e. all the scouts in one area are one patrol, scouts in a different area another patrol. A third method was by school, i.e scouts attending one school are X patrol.
Last method gets complicated, but I've seen something similar work. Scouts write on a secret ballot A) who they would want to be in a patrol with and B) Who their first and second choice for PL would be if in that group.
Way my troop did it was simple: every six months, unless we got enough new scouts to add a patrol before that, the troop allowed everyone to switch patrols and elect new PLs. To join a patrol, you walked to that patrol's meeting corner. SPL and/or SM may make a change or two to balance out the patrols, but I honestly don't remember that happening except once or twice. Once everyone was in their patrol, PL would be elected.
Usually you stayed with your patrol until A) we grew and added a patrol, B) we loss members and had to merge patrols C) You were elected into the Leadership Corps after meeting the requirements. Usually PLs once elected tended to get reelected. Not unusual for a PL to have 12-18 months tenure. Most of the time, PLs moved up to the Leadership Corps.
Again I have had problems with, and seen problems with NSPs. I've seen leaders get too involved in NSPs for my taste, and the last time I saw an NSP in action, it was total as evidence by previous posts on the camp out several months ago.
The rational behind the NSP concept, just like the concept of removing time requirements for T-2-1, was based upon retaining members. And I think that BSA didn't really look at ALL of the data.