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Ideas for a Patrol of 17

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  • #16
    Well, I'm currently a scout, yes, but that title will eventually leave me. I'd rather use "scouter" and not have the name be outdated and bugging me in X number of years should I eventually decide to go back to scouts after college and all. (That, and MapleScouter is a pun of something else.)

    Anyways, I don't hold educational choices and values against any of the scouts in "my" patrol (since saying the patrol to which I am the patrol leader of sounds awkward). I respect all of the kids in my troop, regardless of the school they attend or their values. What if I in my post I had replaced the mention of my school with a program like NYLT? It's not like I'm conceited towards everyone that hasn't attended NYLT, but I would feel a degree more qualified than those who hadn't.

    It's just that based on the historical lack of patrol outings, I feel that the chance of them having a patrol outing in a patrol other then my own would be much less and their program would be weaker. Again, if they feel that they would be better off in making their own patrol, they're allowed to go ahead. I can't veto that, and if I could I wouldn't. But I feel that these younger scouts, having been in the program less than a year, are better off (at this present time) under a patrol leader who I feel to be reliable and dedicated.

    When they're all good proactive scouts pursuing the "ideal" patrol method, of course a split will be in order. I don't think at this stage in their scouting career, though, they're ready. Definitely when they feel (or I feel) that they can do it on their own, I'll let them schism or replace me as PL, but not now with all these new scouts as they are. Again, they know that they can leave the patrol if they want to. Patrols are open within our troop, and they'll vote with their feet if they feel I'm not giving them enough responsibility.

    And, it's not like I don't "tolerate" mediocrity. I would just very much like to see everyone excel in their scouting career, and, although it might initially come a lot from me, I eventually hope for all of them to become self sufficient. Youth development is one my main goals with the patrol. Yes, they need their chances to fail, but I don't think failing as a PL is the best option for them right now.

    I'll be sure to be open to their comments and concerns.

    Thanks all of you. I'm taking all your comments into consideration.
    Thanks Behavah, in particular, I hadn't though of consulting the opposing PL's.

    And I would hardly call these treatises. Maybe in the issues and politics forum there are some ideas that are borderline, but not here. hehe

    ~Maplescouter(This message has been edited by MapleScouter)(This message has been edited by MapleScouter)


    • #17
      I meant "treatise" in jest, as I'm sure you recognized. I would caution you to be careful in how you use your words, though. As Beavah said, the College Board would not look kindly on misuse of "permeated" or "conceited." That's not really important to this discussion though and I'll keep my feedback brief this time.

      1) NYLT and a rigorous high-school curriculum are focused on different things so, actually, reading that you are NYLT-trained would be encouraging. Are you?

      2) Does your troop do annual "Troop Leadership Training" for your Scouts? That training can make a big difference for your Scouts.

      3) Again, why not spin off the older Scouts into a Venture Patrol so that you can spend time mentoring these younger Scouts? That takes care of your size problem and forces the older Scouts to practice what they have already learned.

      I'm impressed that you want to contribute so much to Scouting but I also know that high-achieving youth (Scouts or not) tend to take on big tasks when delegating would suffice. I would really encourage you to split your patrol, and use patrol games and competitions to develop their skills, instead of trying to cover all of this yourself. Lean on your older Scouts to help you too. One way to bring discipline to unruly older Scouts is to challenge them to take on leadership roles (mostly as Instructors). You may be surprised by the results.


      • #18
        Caesar had ambition; look where that led! When did you become PL? How many patrol outings have you taken your patrol on since then? Any community service activities?
        Before you design the perfect patrol, have you asked your patrol what they want out of Scouting? Remember that the best leaders are invisible. The goal is to have the patrol say, "Yes, we did it ourselves!" The leader's job, then, is to sweep up after the parade is over.
        I would skip the pins and other accoutrements; those are private school motivational garbage. It is the scribe's job to use Googledocs, or whatever, to enter any data. You can suggest, but delegate.
        As for promoting Camp B: Have you been there lately to check on program offered? Does it really exist, or is it just on paper? Do you have recent, as in this year, photographs of their program in action (not just scenic shots)?
        I tend to agree with the others. 17 is too large; part needs to be spun off


        • #19
          I just left the boys at camp where an SPL was managing three patrols of six. His situtation is similar to yours ... different school, somewhat different interests, more a manager than a drill instructor.

          All that to say, you're an SPL with a PL patch. You've already identified the need for other active "sub-PL's" if you are to be successful. And you've realized that coordinating with other units (in this case, those other large patrols) is important. But, the numbers/patch game is irrelevant. If these boys see each other as a patrol, then they will be even if adults split them.

          The bottom line then, is how much lattitude your SM will give you and how many ASM's there are to back up a troop that may have preferences for very diverse BSA activities.

          The key? Communicate communicate communicate. I think you have the right idea for trying to make good use of electronic media tools. One tip: quickly evaluate each tool you use, and if it doesn't work as expected (e.g., if your key boys and their parents can't or wont use it), drop it for "lower tech alternatives".

          Regarding the PLC's "electoral college" preference for camp B, listen very carefully to why they prefer it. (Be forgiving if the reasons are poorly presented, you're fishing for substance here, not form.) If there is enough in reasons for you all to work out a compromise (e.g. one camp one year, the other the next) I would strike that deal. It would impress the adults more that you worked out a unified strategy on your own. (Can you tell, I'm no fan of powerpoint debates?)

          Anyway, all the best. You're off to a good start.


          • #20
   I've let this sit for a I could try to give you the "outside looking in" perspective.

            Unfortunately, I could not bring myself to dress down a child ...

            But I will leave to say that if my Scout was in your Patrol, I'd find another troop.(This message has been edited by Engineer61)


            • #21
              Not particularly impressed here, either.


              • #22

                Congrats for taking your job seriously,

                You may be over analyzing things a bit. I have managed teams for years and have always felt my span of control broke down after 5 or 6 people. A patrol of 6 just feels right. I managed 14 and broke them into sub-groups but it was a lot less fun. I think your sections will be less optimal even if you make them work.

                I would heartily concur that you spin off 2 new brother patrols. The new PL's can "conspire" with you on additional outings--I think you will find you can get more accomplished that way. Basic leadership-mentor new leaders with their own commands. I did that at work and while I missed the guys I "spun off" I am still very proud of their success and take some small credit in getting them started. In your case it is not every guy that can boast of being the "father" of 3 patrols.

                In out Troop we had a massive patrol like yours and they split into 2 patrols. Even kept the same patch just called themselves "Donkey A" and "Donkey Z" Patrol. Eventually (for other reasons)they both dwindled down and recombined. Nothing to say you cannot do that later if need be.

                As for the summer camp issue --split the Troop if need be.

                In any case, good luck.


                • #23
                  Hi MapleScouter,
                  First, I apologize if I'm beating a dead horse here. First, a little background on myself: I'm an NYLT staffer and have been a PL and acting SPL. My advice for you: Split your patrol into 2 or even 3 patrols. I was the PL for a patrol of 11 two years ago. I will tell you this- anything more than 8 is basically a small troop. A group of 17 will only serve to give you headaches eventually. The age difference, while it is usually a good thing, is something you should be aware of. When I took NYLT, the staff accidentally put a 16 year old in the 13 year old patrol. The 16 year old ended up almost being asked to leave, and one of the 13 year olds went home as the result of bullying. Age differences can create enormous rifts in patrols. My second reason: The scouts deserve more independent leadership experience. You might want to look into becoming a troop guide for the younger scouts and their PL, as you seem to have a wealth of leadership ideas to share. However, more of the scouts should be functioning as PL's and APL's. My final word of advice to you: Don't refer to your patrol as a socio-governmental experiment. This was the attitude I had as a new scout patrol leader. The only direction that will lead is the scouts resenting you and it will undermine your leadership ability. Also, if you have not, I highly, highly recommend that you take NYLT and possibly NAYLE after that. You sound like you have many great ideas, and that you are doing the best for the scouts in your patrol. Best of luck in your endeavors.


                  • #24
                    MapleScouter: Two questions for you. 1) Why are you in your particular scout troop since you describe yourself as "I'm philosophically/ ethically/ morally/politically/ and etc. differently minded from my scout friends"? Either your morals and ethics mirror the Boy Scout Oath and Law or your Scout friends' ethics and morals mirror the Boy Scout Oath and Law. Either way this incongruity will be an impediment to the growth of all the scouts. 2) Is your forum name a play on the slang term "maplesucker" which means Canadian resident?


                    • #25
                      Honestly, I didn't really want to touch this topic at first. There is just so much wrong in the op, I didn't want to get involved. But I can't help myself.

                      Maple, you are a kid in a boy scout troop. Act like it. The best place for a socio- governmental experiment is not a group of scouts that are expecting you to lead them on fun camping trips. To treat them as such would be a disservice to them. If I was in a patrol that ran like that, I would leave it.

                      The best way to lead your peers is to let them lead themselves. Instead of making presentations yourself, you realize it needs to be done and identify the right person in the patrol to do that job. That brings me to my next point: split up your patrol. The main reason is that a group that large makes it extremely difficult for you to have an intimate knowledge if your patrol members strengths and weaknesses, which is the basis of leading.

                      I think I'm done for now. Just remember, the point of a patrol leader is to lead a patrol in what THEY want to do, not what he wants to do.