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  • Merging Patrols

    We currently have three patrols.....One has 8, 6 are active. second has 5, 2 who are active and the last has 5 who are active....

    So I would like to discuss with the boys about merging the last two patrols together.....

    Thoughts about how to approach the discussion????

  • #2
    For me it's easy. I would ask the boys if they liked the way the patrols are set up now, are they getting enough boys at the activity to function as a patrol, and if not, give them permission to make whatever changes they wish. I just use the 6-8 framework to begin with and they usually do a pretty good job of figuring out what works best for them. For me there's nothing to really "discuss". However, if the boys think that they are locked into a patrol structure set up by adults, they will be intimidated to leave well enough alone. Otherwise, I would simply state, "The patrols are kinda messed up with only a couple of boys showing up for patrol #2 and #3 running a bit short, why don't you guys all sit down, and make up patrols that work for you." Then I'd go get a cup of coffee.

    Of course, that's what boy-led, patrol-method means to me. Otherwise, feel free to make up a ton of rules and regulations so that the boys are fully aware that the adults are running the show.



    • #3
      Agreed. I can forsee that patrols 1 & 3 may be okay with the current structure and not see the issues from the perspective of patrol 2. Depending on the age and maturity of the guys I may coach the boys that they should consider forming two patrols and let them figure it out from there. If they decide to merge 2 and 3 or 1 and 3 each takes a few guys from #2 or if they decide to go the full fruit-salad toss-up route, let them have at it.

      I envy you. Try this with 60+ kids.


      • #4
        I think a patrol of 6 or 7 is a good size. We have been keeping patrols near the 10 registered with 7 or so in attendance at any one meeting. Just seems like they have so much to do that the average boy misses meetings on a regular basis.

        When we get a new batch of boys in we let the new boys choose their patrol. When a patrol gets to 10 that patrol is closed and they have to choose another. Most patrols end up with 8 or 9 boys and rarely does a patrol get filled.

        Merging a patrol would go the same way. have the members of the closed patrol choose their new patrol. I've never had to do this though.


        • #5
          >>So I would like to discuss with the boys about merging the last two patrols together.....


          • #6
            Well functioning......They show up to meetings, day events but camping they have avoided it.....

            I suspect they don't want to cook or just hang out together at meal time. I think the merger would help their camping attendance.


            • #7
              >>I suspect they don't want to cook or just hang out together at meal time. I think the merger would help their camping attendance.


              • #8
                About three years ago, when our outing attendance dropped down to about 6 to 8 Scouts (out of 24 or so) per outing, I made a suggestion at a committee meeting. Since we were discussing reorganizing patrols, I said that it would make sense to form a patrol out of those 6 to 8 Scouts that went on every outing.

                Another committee member, a dad, whose son was not one of the active ones, actually shouted at me. "NO! You can't put all the good kids in one patrol!".

                I let that hang for a second and said, "listen, I'm not talking about good or bad or anything else -- I'm talking about rewarding those that are on every outing with a real patrol of their own."

                Since then, there's been a lot of changes in the troop. One thing, though, is that those who are pretty much inactive (some older Scouts, for example) are all in the same patrol.

                My younger son has been lamenting the patrol he's been in lately (his PL just moved up to ASPL). I told him "gather the guys you want to be in a patrol together and then go tell the SM that's your new patrol". I also cautioned him to be careful about picking and choosing, that you dont' want anyone to feel left out. He is sensitive to that kind of thing.



                • #9
                  One of my biggest mistakes years ago in scouting was around the structure of patrols. The patrols were imbalanced. I thought it would be good to fix that. So I brought it up at a committee meeting. Well, everyone had to have their two cents. Hours of discussion before it even reached the scouts. Then, it ended up as something that was forced onto most of the scouts either thru the agreement of the SPL or other. Many were upset. Some quit. To this day, the patrol loyalty is not what it was.

                  IMHO, patrols work well when scouts have ownership and loyalty to the patrol. If you break that ownership ... if you break that loyalty, you break much of what is best in the patrol method. With that said ...

                  Let the scouts deal with it. In our troop, I hope it's understood now that scouts can switch patrols by simply requesting a switch from the SPL. That's it. Nice and simple. We don't even want the SPL to dictate who's in what patrol.

                  Suggestion - Before figuring out if you need to restructure patrols ... First figure out what you want out of the patrols.

                  I view it as two possibilities (thought there may be others ... or you could structure the problem domain differently)

                  #1 - Patrols exist as a structure for teaching. Older scouts teaching younger scouts skills and leadership. In this model, the number one teacher is the patrol leader.

                  #2 - Patrols exist as a structure for doing things together. A group of friends that get out to go hiking, swimming, camping, etc. In this structure, the number one teacher is the troop guide.

                  I strongly prefer #2. And now I'd argue that a patrol of three 17 years olds is not necessarily a bad thing.

                  Good luck!


                  • #10
                    Being a stickler for 6-8 boys in a patrol means that if there are 3 17 year-olds out there that want a clique group to hang out in, bothers me that the resources those boys possess go wasted for the younger boys.

                    If there are 3 17 year-olds out there that want to hang together, at least put them in the "troop/honor/leadership" "patrol" with POR's assigned to them. They don't belong to any patrol, but they still have responsibility for the others in the troop. The leadership corps group of SPL, ASPL, TG, QM, Instrutor, etc. have no minimum number of members, but camp, hang together so as to not interfere with the work of the PL's in the patrols.



                    • #11
                      this is merely to get the two boys who don't seem to want to camp into a patrol where they are not responsible for 100% of the meal prep and clean up......

                      I believe this is the biggest reason they don't participate in our outings.

                      My plan is to get the 2 boy patrol together and just simply ask them if it is the case....

                      these are 12 year olds not 17 year olds....


                      • #12
                        Heck I prefer being an adult where 100% of the cooking responsibility falls on me! I get to pick the menu and if the other adults don't like what's being served that night, they always have the PBJ option, I never have to settle for PBJ.

                        Having cooked for myself for 50 years around a campfire, it's no big deal and with the dutch oven, even cleanup is a breeze.

                        Over the years I have learned all the shortcuts to meal prep/cleanup. I teach them to the boys and some pick up on it, others don't. Not my problem.

                        Occasionally I have sometimes suffered through a polite response to have a meal with a patrol. I survived.

                        I even got yelled at once as an ASM by a SM of an adult led program that was upset with me when I did the breakfast prep/cooking for the boys. I really missed the opportunity to cook for a large group. I let the boys do the cleanup because the SM insisted.

                        I find that most camp chores are a "burden" to the boys because they have not been trained properly. We shoot through the advancement requirements that most boys have an "exposure" to camp chores, but no real experience. If I didn't know how to campfire cook, I'd be miserable on the outings as well.

                        I find that most boys balk at chores because they really don't want to admit they are in over their heads.