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Single Patrol Troop

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  • Single Patrol Troop

    I'm helping to rebuild our troop and have come across and interesting question. We only have one patrol at the moment for 9 members. Does there need to be a PL and a SPL? Or do they only elect one and he does the responsibilities for both?

  • #2
    My little troop runs with one patrol and has for several years (our community population is <1000). I'd say run with an elected PL and let him appoint an APL. We tried the SPL route for a while but found the overhead unnecessary.

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    • #3
      Definitely drop SPL position until you have 3 (maybe more) patrols to coordinate. Use PL and ASPL.

      If you have a skewed age distribution (e.g. one boy over 16 and the rest below 15), consider letting the oldest boy(s) be Jr. Assistant Scoutmaster. A JASM has a lot more freedom to stick around with the old farts and map out the rest of his life, but then bunk with the lads, offer to teach a skill to the first years, coach the PL, etc ...

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      • Kudu
        Kudu commented
        Editing a comment
        If you use what Hillcourt called the "Real" Patrol Method in a single Patrol unit, the Scoutmaster should want the Troop's most competent and mature Scout as the Patrol Leader, leading Patrol Hikes, to keep the Patrol members from harm's way.
        Last edited by Kudu; 10-01-2013, 08:23 AM.

    • #4
      Only the PL is necessary in this case. What's the SPL supposed to do? He can't run the troop, there's no troop, only a patrol and the PL is handling that.

      Stosh

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      • #5
        A single Patrol unit is the purest form of the Patrol Method.

        Baden-Powell designed Scouting to be run by Patrol Leaders, with SPL unnecessary in Troops as large as 32 Scouts.

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        • #6
          we have about 20 active boys in any troop meeting. it works more like a single patrol. we do have 3-4 patrol, but all the boys more or less belong to a "troop" rather than each individual patrol.

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          • qwazse
            qwazse commented
            Editing a comment
            That will only get you so far. Our boys had the same attitude, but it's made it difficult to recruit. Rather than a group of buddies who challenge each other, a visitor is faced with a swarm! Now we are nearly one patrol large! There will be a two year gap between our crossovers and the youngest of our boys. That is - if we get cross-overs!

          • jblake47
            jblake47 commented
            Editing a comment
            20 boy troop needs multiple patrols. A single troop run by an SPL (Super Patrol Leader) just doesn't allow for much of the BSA program. Multiple PL POR's are useless positions and only one boy at a time gains actual leadership opportunities. Whereas with multiple patrols, 3-4 boys gain leadership opportunities. Also in a patrol there is more necessity for team building in that each boy can have important input into the group rather than hiding in the back pew coasting along doing nothing.

            There are professional teachers out there that often find it difficult to handle 20 students at a time, and yet this is the expectation of the SPL? Definitely not going to work.

            The troop method is NOT a BSA program, but it is a convenient excuse to have adult-led especially when the SM and adults find it necessary to control all aspects of the program.

            As far as qwazse's comments, the "feeling of size" on a troop negates any necessity for recruiting. Basically it is difficult to manage 20 scouts, a Webelos group coming in would overwhelm the existing structure and program. No one wants to rock the boat so no recruiting takes place. A patrol with 4-5 members but needs 6-8 to be viable will recruit! If the PLC said all troops need 6-8 members in a patrol, or they will be absorbed into other patrols, they will indeed go out and recruit.
            A troop of 20-25 will simply say, we have all we can handle, we'll recruit next year.

            A single patrol troop of 25 that doubles to 50 will find their membership doubled, but if they
            choose the patrol method, they will go from 1 PL/APL to 6 PL/APL leadership teams and an SPL/ASPL team That means a 700% increase in leadership opportunities and no one boy has more than 8 others under their responsibility instead of trying to maintain control of 25.

            A troop of 25 facing an increase of 20 webelos crossovers will gladly register them, but within a year the number of active scouts will still be 25 unless the program changes. I have seen this process in operation for 15 years as an ASM and watched hundreds of boys drop out of the program because of it.

            When I quit that troop, I became SM of a 5 boy troop that went to 25 in 2 years and lost maybe 2-3 scouts over that time. The third year we went to 35 and that's when the troop removed me because I was boy-led, patrol-method and heavy into leadership development. Over the past two years, they have gone back to the old ways and now have 15-20 boys, 4 of which are the new SM's sons.

            Stosh

          • bullet08
            bullet08 commented
            Editing a comment
            we are changing things as we are moving along. the scout skills are now done completely by the troop guides. we have implemented full uniform starting this yr. and discussed with the SM about the patrol method. everyone seems to be happy.

        • #7
          As I read this discussion, the one main thing being left out are the goals of the program. Mainly in this case the Aims: character growth, fitness (mental and physical) growth and citizen (social selfless giving) growth. The BSA gives explicit guidiance to going toward those Aims with the Eight Methods. The patrol method is the best way for scouts to use a "balance" of the methods to reaching the Aims. Now there is a lot of adult theory in this discussion that seems to complicate the questions. So instead go back to basics by using the Patrol Leaders Handbook and SPL Handbooks and let the scouts figure out the best ways to solve their problems using the simple guide of those books. But remember their isn't a troop method in the BSA, only the Patrol method. We adults tend to complicate situations when we want help scouts in their struggles. But really if we keep the program simple (patrol method), the scouts can figure it out. Get back to basics by reading the material and cutting out the clutter. Then see what the scouts do with it using their handbooks. If they can make the SPL work, great and leave them a lone. If a position is too much overhead, trust me they will change it. They just have to know you trust them. Barry

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          • jblake47
            jblake47 commented
            Editing a comment
            Well said.

        • #8
          Nothing wrong with a single patrol. If you miss "patrol competition," find another/other patrol(s) in another "troop."

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