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  • #16
    Clarke Green writes:

    ""We could return to the same campsite ten times a year and do ten different things, or the same thing each time, but in the end applying the patrol system is all that really matters... Some Scoutmasters complain if patrol leaders choose the same activities from year to year, there are a few that require they don’t repeat anything from one year to the next. I don’t see any appreciable difference between a camping trip to a local park where patrols are functioning at a high level, cooking, hiking, playing games, and a ... big exciting activity or challenging adventure..."

    I don't see any appreciable difference either. Troop camping in a manicured park, and most "High Adventure" activities are Troop events.

    It was BSA camping in local parks that inspired Baden-Powell to coin the term "Parlour Scouting."

    Now leadership skills have brought us full circle.

    What makes me sad is that leadership enthusiasts like Clark Green have begun to use Baden-Powell's term "Patrol System" to refer to the leadership skills "Troop Method."

    As most of you know Baden-Powell's Patrol System is run by the Patrol Leaders. There are no "Boards of Review" or "Scoutmaster Conferences," and the Troop committee is not indoor moms and dads, but the Patrol Leaders themselves. When "Patrol System" Patrols camp as a Troop, they camp at least 300 feet apart, but the real business of the Patrol System's Patrol Leader is to lead his Patrol into the woods without other Patrols.

    The purpose of a Patrol is to go out on patrol.


    Because Troop Method Patrols are not trained to patrol, Troop campouts become the Troop Method's big event, the place to "gain very advanced leadership skills with independent authority to determine direction."

    The irony here is that in Baden-Powell's "Patrol System," Troop campouts are a place where Patrol Leaders relax a bit, set the theme for the weekend, but can delegate the details to the Scouters including (believe it or not) the menu!

    In Bruce Tuckman's Wood Badge, Scouting in its highest form is doing the same thing year after year if it means "youth leaders" (ugh) "gain very advanced leadership skills with independent authority to determine direction" (ugh).

    But Scouters' training in the real Patrol System is all about Baden-Powell's Wood Badge. The idea here is that Troop campouts provide the opportunity for Patrol Leaders to learn from the Scouters' example.

    See, for instance, John Thurman's "fly on the ceiling" account of a Patrol Leaders meeting in the real "Patrol System:"

    PL Woodpeckers: We talked this over in the Patrol and we suggest that one meal should be Backwoods Cooking, preferably Saturday night's supper.
    SPL: All right, what do you others think of that?
    PL Cuckoos: I think it's a rotten idea. Last time we tried it I didn't get any supper at all.
    SPL: Ron, what do you think?
    PL Pigeons: I'm all for it: I'm not too sure about the Patrol though, but I'll ask them.
    SPL: Who's going to arrange it? I wonder if the ASM could have the right sort of food available?
    ASM: Yes, I can do that. Will you just leave it to me or does anybody want to suggest anything in particular?
    PL Owls: I'd only say that it is a rotten time of the year for eating rabbits and I hope they won't be on the menu.
    ASM: All right, Tom; duly noted. It will probably be hedgehog instead.

    (John Thurman) 
    Last edited by Kudu; 10-30-2013, 03:12 PM.