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How long do Patrols last?

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  • #16
    Well this is another one of those things that bothers me and that my son also notices.

    I know this doesn't rank up there with, say, whiffing on a part of your Eagle project, but if the requirement is to know your patrol yell and flag, you should know your patrol yell and flag.

    The answer that "our yell is silent and our flag is invisible"...not right IMO.

    Added to the troop MBC's major pencil whipping on the personal fitness badge that I detailed in another thread.

    I am stuggling with whether and how to address this kind of stuff.


    • #17
      When I'm running a station I don't start until the boys do their yell.


      • #18
        I really like this article from the Scouting Magazine. It reflects my thoughts. The comment from "Scouter" on May 1, 2012 at 12:00 is pretty good too.


        Tampa Turtle: When they are moved from the new scout patrol to the forever patrol, are they in that patrol forever? Is the new patrol their choice? Can they switch if they want?

        Just wondering about patrol identity and ownership of the scouts over their own patrol.


        The only problem we've had is when a SPL or youth leader goes to a council led leadership training program and hears that patrols should be re-organized and scouts told what patrol they are going to be in. That's fine, but it's not how our troop has historically done it. Most scouts that have discussed it prefer the historical model. You are in a patrol with your friends and scouts of same age with similar experience level. But then they are told that's not how it's supposed to be. Sort of frustrating. We have to unteach some of that stuff by refering to scoutmaster handbook and boy scout handbook.


        I think the main reason I like age based / friend based patrols is that scouts tend to sign up for events by age and friendship. Snow huskies weekend is for new scouts ages 11 - 12. Spearhead requires scouts to be 13. High adventure 13 or 14 and up depending on event.

        With age / friendship based patrols, it is higher odds that more members of the same patrol are signing up to do the same activities together. Otherwise, it's a hodgepodge of scouts from a hodgepodge of patrols. (not sure if hodgepodge is a word)(This message has been edited by fred8033)


        • #19

          Thanks for the link, Fred. Interesting article, though I thought that scouter could have made his point without calling the viewpoint that he disagreed with "misguided". The BSA model for most of its history included mixed age patrols, so it must have at least some advantages, (or perhaps scouter thinks BSA was misguided for most of it's history :-). I will have to pull out my SM handbook, as I seem to recall that the new scout patrol was defined as a temporary patrol, with the scouts moving to regular patrols after 6 months to a year or so. But perhaps that has changed as well.

          My thoughts, the adult leaders determine their vision for what they want the boys to get out of scouting, and then put an environment in place to foster that vision. There are advantages and disadvantages to both mixed age and same age patrols. Which model to follow depends on which better aids in achieving the vision.

          Barry frequently makes two points that I think are appropriate to be considered here. Paraphrased: 1)Scouting is an adult world brought down to a scout size. 2) A boy learns most of his lessons about leadership while he is 11 - 14 by watching other boys. (Barry, forgive me if I didn't get this exactly right).

          Some questions to consider while determining how to create the scout sized world to foster your vision are things such as:
          Will a boy learn different lessons by watching his 16 YO patrol leader in a mixed age patrol than he will by watching his 11 YO patrol leader in an aged based patrol.
          Will a patrol leader have a greater chance of developing good leadership skills in an environment where he has some patrol members that look up to him as a role model as should happen in a mixed age patrol?
          Is an 12 YO patrol member more likely to take direction from a PL that has more experienced than him (i.e. a 14 YO with 2 additional years of experience), or from another 12 YO that has the same level of experience?
          Are there advantages for boys to develop strong bonds across age groups?
          How do you balance activities when some patrol members are capable of (for example) hiking 10 miles, and the newest members can only hike five miles?

          These are just some examples to consider. The model to follow depends on so many different factors that one cant be called "best" without first defining the vision, the tradeoffs involved and the criteria on which to make the selection. And it is possible that one's view changes over time as conditions change and as one tries new approaches. Mine has.
          (This message has been edited by venividi)


          • #20

            We do allow especially in cases where their are brothers. A few were in a same Patrol and wanted to split. A few others begged to be kept together. Occasionally if a great buddy is in another Patrol. So we will move for special circumstances.

            Guys do hang with their same age buddies too. I won't lie it was rocky at first. It cost us a few older scouts who didn't want to "baby sit" but truth be told they were not the best examples of Scouthood to start with. Now no big deal with the mixed age. What is nice to see the boys develop friendships with boys 2 or 3 years older. I see Patrol mates getting invited to (non-scout) paintball or video-game playdates. Some of the older boys in High School still like having fun even if it is not cool with his peers and seem to enjoy some time with a younger guy who jumps at the chance. Just an observation, but a sign that things are working.

            Another thing I observe is when the sweet little 10-12 year olds turn into wild bucks of 13-14 it is the older 15-17 year olds who keep them in line. The 13 year old guys are so crude and it is fun to watch an older boy tell them to cool it--and they listen.

            So, in short, their is truth in the mixed-age theory. The younger guys keep the older guys in touch with their inner boy longer and the older boys help the younger boys grow into man. Most of it is informal and outside the program. I think this does not much happen in the school and sports environment and is not accomplished with adult direction.

            So when this happens the Patrol should stay and prosper. When it doesn't things start to fall apart.


            • #21
              Tampa Turtle - Great points with very good reasons.

              "... but truth be told they were not the best examples of Scouthood to start with. " .... I've seen that tool. I think it's the age though as they test new more challenging boundaries such as dating, work and friends that drink or do drugs. In a way , I like the insullation of similar age patrols because older scouts tend to have more "interesting" conversations. Also, it's nice to not have older-scout attitude rub off on younger scouts. But that's me.

              I guess it comes down to what the troop wants and is hoping to achieve. When I look at my first two sons, I really like the experience my older son had. I'm sad for my second son because his patrol which has changed sever year to 18 months just has no identity and they break up to go be with their friends anyway. Sort of sad.

              Maybe it could have been done better. I don't know. I just know both of my sons started Boy Scouts with strong friendships with the other Webelos crossing over. my oldest now has life long friends and they quickly learned skills, leadership and how to help others. My second son has good friends but it's just not the same.

              Another reason that I do like age-based patrols. The older scouts tend to get chosen for SPL, TG, ASSPL, etc. Older patrols seem to survive better with members who pop in and out because of PORs. Younger scouts need to stick together more.

              Tampa though your points are still well taken.


              • #22
                Well Fred,

                I think the Mixed-Age vs Same Age is a well traveled topic. Some Troops cycle back and forth. I think it depends on how the Troop is functioning and if you need to shake things up.


                • #23
                  Man yall all seem to be exceptional troops...

                  In Troop 6 in the 80's we rarely had more than 7 boys at a Time...
                  we had no choice but to stay in a Patrol... I think the largest i ever saw it was 13 Boy Scouts at one time