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The Patrol Method of William Hillcourt

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  • The Patrol Method of William Hillcourt

    Originally posted by Thelopais View Post
    Rethinking it a bit…I will likely do an initial training session where we meet and do a high level overview/discussion from the older Patrol Leader Handbook (i.e. job descriptions, handling different types of boys, planning a meeting, hike/campout). Then do the monthly "Intensive Training's"
    Job descriptions, planning a meeting, hike, and campout, even handling different types of boys are all part of the "Intensive Training" meetings, but it is strictly practical hands on, "how to do it" material geared for boys, rather than "high level."

    In other words, the goal of the course is to teach them by example how to physically lead a Patrol:

    For this training purpose the Patrol Leaders Council takes on the aspects of a Patrol, with the Scoutmaster as its Patrol Leader, and the boy leaders as members. Throughout this training discussion we shall refer to the Patrol Leaders Council group as the "Green Bar Patrol."

    This "Green Bar Patrol"... is then conducted in a manner similar to a regular Patrol, with meetings, hikes, camps and special features such as might be planned and executed by a normal Patrol, with the possible exception that many of its activities, such as games, contests, handicrafts, become "condensed," i.e., started as demonstrations of what might be done in a Patrol rather than carried through to their absolute conclusion.

    Hillcourt did assign chapters to be read before each session. I have now added those reading assignments to coordinate the course with the 1950s edition of his Handbook for Patrol Leaders:


    Last edited by Kudu; 09-20-2013, 03:20 PM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Thelopais View Post
    For the training described would each of them take on multiple 'roles' as needed in the training ( I have a SPL, 2 PL's) or would the APLs be included as well? (our quartermaster, scribes are just at the Patrol level).
    Yes, the Assistant Patrol Leaders are included as well:

    The plan provides for you to gather with your Patrol Leaders, Assistant Patrol Leaders and the other leaders of the Troop, for one meeting a month for six months, and for one hike and one short-term camp.

    That would make a Patrol of six for your Troop (counting the Scoutmaster as "Patrol Leader")
    Last edited by Kudu; 09-20-2013, 03:47 PM.


    • #3
      Originally posted by Thelopais View Post
      Also what about Training for the Patrol positions (Grubmaster, Treasurer, Cheermaster, etc) is that all on the PL
      Yes, in Hillcourt's Patrol Method the Patrol Leader is ALWAYS the expert, in this case because he has done each of those jobs during Patrol Leader Training:

      (h) Election of Members: to fill the jobs of Patrol Treasurer, Scribe, Quartermaster, Hikemaster, Grubmaster, Cheermaster...Rotate these jobs monthly to give each boy a chance.
      Originally posted by Thelopais View Post
      I was looking at having our committee Treasurer or ASMs training those positions.
      Then they would give a demonstration of each job to the Patrol Leaders at the first Green Bar Patrol Meeting.
      Last edited by Kudu; 09-20-2013, 03:48 PM.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Thelopais View Post
        What modifications have you made for today’s Scouts?
        When "leadership skills" replaced Hillcourt's Patrol Method, the popularity of Scouting crashed. As a result, today's Patrols are often spread over a larger geographical area.

        1) The purpose of the course is to teach the Troop's most talented leaders (the Patrol Leaders) how to hold neighborhood Patrol Meetings, Patrol Hikes, and Patrol Overnights. In most young Troops the Patrol Leaders hold the Patrol Meetings at weekly Troop meetings, and the Patrol Hikes at Boy Scout camps during the Troop's monthly campouts. Likewise, when a Patrol is ready, the Patrol Overnights should at first be at Baden-Powell's minimum 300 feet between Patrols (scaled up and down to each Patrol's proven maturity level). When I took Wood Badge, each Patrol's Overnight was located at a separate "secret" compass-bearing location on the far-flung edges of the Boy Scout camp.

        2) In Hillcourt's "Real" Patrol Method, the most mature members of the Troop (the Patrol Leaders) pick the SPL, and the PLC is not otherwise dominated by the leadership skills "Troop Method" (no "Troop Guide," no ASPLs). In other words this is not "leadership skills" training. The purpose of Patrol Hikes is for the Patrol Leader (NOT the "Troop" Guide) to teach advancement skills:

        The real Patrol Leader will...find that the requirements are not something separate from Scouting. On the contrary, Scouting is the Requirements. When you go hiking and camping the subjects contained in the requirements come up all the time.

        3) In today's young Troops you might hold a Green Bar Overnight (or Green Bar Hike) every three months, to teach the Patrol Leaders how to teach the skills they in turn will teach on the next three campouts.

        These Green Bar Overnights are popular with the "older" Scouts.
        Last edited by Kudu; 09-20-2013, 03:54 PM.