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Forming Patrols - whose input matters most?

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  • #16
    We just went through figuring out patrols. We also had to add a patrol but we started with 6. Before doing any of this I asked the scouts to write down 3 friends they wanted to be with and I made a big graph of this. The PLC sat down and we talked about servant leadership. Then we talked about what the patrol leaders wanted for support (mostly strong scouts). Then we talked about what the younger scouts needed (friends and wise old scouts). Then we talked about what everyone wanted (friends). Then I gave them limits on the number of scouts (6-9). Then I said "this is your troop, figure it out." Then all I did was keep them focused so it wouldn't take 8 hours. I'm a bit worried about one patrol being the "hooligans" and they will certainly need an adult with patience, but all in all they brought up more details, characteristics, and personalities about the scouts than I knew. It's as good a setup as I've seen. For the most part the old patrols stayed together. One thing great about boy led is it takes the stress off the adults to do it "right" as there is no right.

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    • #17
      Why do the scouts want to spit into two patrols; before anything else is done this questions needs answered. BTW, an earlier post got it backwards. Your scouts are one patrol, that happens to be the only patrol your troop currently has. Patrols should not act as one troop. A troop is made up of patrols, a troop is not divided into patrols.

      A patrol can function as six scouts, but 100% of those scouts better make every outing. If you elect a SPL & ASPL, how will the patrols have enough scouts to function? Honestly you need 4-6 more scouts to split. The big question remains, why do the scouts want to do this?

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      • #18
        A troop with one or two patrols do not need an SPL.

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        • #19
          Youth decide. Growing up we had 3-4 patrols depending upon size of the troop: 2-3 mixed aged patrols and a Leadership Corps, what would now be called a Venture Patrol. Every six months we got to decide where we would go and elect PLs. Rarely would folks move about, but it occurred. New Scouts would be "buddied up" with a scout an placed in a patrol at the Webelos Overnighter, so when they joined the troop, they joined their buddy most of the time.

          Leadership Corps got interesting. had to be First Class or higher, served as a PL, and be "elected" by the LC to join them. Very informal election process. Yes or no.

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          • #20
            So, for the curious: here's the result:

            ASM and I discussed it at summer camp. While he understood what I was getting at, he still said that he didn't think the boys were old enough to make these sorts of decisions (our boys ages range from 10-14, with most being 11 or 12). While I agree that they don't have the experience an more established troop might, they have been doing this for a year and need to start learning. He said we'd have to "agree to disagree".

            I took that as "I'm not happy, but I'll deal with it." Unfortunately, when we announced the new patrols at the Court of Honor, he exploded on me immediately afterwards (even before the parents had left). He said he told me that he wanted his son in that patrol and I had to make it happen. He said that *his* son had not asked to be in that patrol (untrue) and that I was showing favoritism by putting *my* son in the other patrol (also untrue - my son requested it). I tried to get him to discuss it somewhere else, but he wouldn't. Unfortunately, I got a little upset (as did my other ASM, who rushed to defend me). So while I didn't raise my voice or anything, I did say that "if you don't buy into the idea of a boy-led troop, maybe you need to find another troop." (Argh! I wish I could take it back!) He stormed out.

            I followed up with a call, which he ignored. Then I sent an e-mail letting him know that I handled it poorly and should've been more clear about how it was doing things. (Wish I'd seen 2CubDads post before.) I also told him that although I still believed in how the patrols were divided, I would move his son to the other patrol if he asked me to. He did not respond.

            Last night was our first Troop Meeting after the incident. Both he and his son showed up, but neither one in uniform (which never happens). He refused to talk to me during the meeting (understandable since there were lots of adults and scouters around) but told me that he needs more time to reflect before deciding what to do.

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            • Basementdweller
              Basementdweller commented
              Editing a comment
              Sorry to hear about your issue....Sounds like he is going to leave.

              I wouldn't have done the patrols at a court of honor, but at a meeting just prior to a campout.......

              I still don't see his objection to the way the patrols are set up???????

              Is it a case of hero's and zero's???????

            • qwazse
              qwazse commented
              Editing a comment
              Don't knock yourself, DFS. There is no amount of polite that makes youth-led easier for folks with narrow gullets to swallow. They just have to shape up or ship out.

              When I started as a crew advisor, I made that very clear by not accepting a youth application if it looked like any part of it besides the signature was completed by a parent. (There were some folks who wanted me to just automatically enroll every eligible scout in the troop!) That was the "yank back" that some folks needed to realize that their meddling hands in the lives of my youth were gonna be slapped if they kept it up.

              Some left. Never missed them. Other folks who didn't like my approach, told me to my face, but sucked it up and got with the program. I was glad to have them.

              The same attitude trickled over to our troop, with the dissenters starting new units. I'm fine with that. They get to rule their roost. We're smaller, but our boys are starting to show it's worth it. Compare two recent Eagle Courts of Honor. Theirs, the committee chair MC'd and gave the SPL led the pledge. Ours, the ASPL reviewed our script, recruited and commanded the color guard for the opening and closing, asked the reverend to give the invocation and benediction, introduced four other scouts who had speaking parts, and offered me the floor to be M.C. He then reminded me to arrange a photo opportunity for the Eagle Scout and our state senator who was in attendance.

              The difference in who "owned" the troop couldn't have been more stark. Made it well worth any sparks that flew over the past few years. Do I wish there were a smoother way? Yes. But lacking that, I have no regrets about the "sanding" that folks may have had to endure on my account.
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