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    • I keep reading because I keep thinking I'm missing something.  Especially as I see people say BSA has long done mixed age patrols.  I just don't see that.   Baden Powell ... "The Patrol is the unit of Scouting always, whether for work or for play, for discipline or for duty."   Bill Hillcourt ... One of the main driving influenced and respected BSA leaders Bill HillCourt wrote a series of essays ... in addition to writing much of hte BSA program  ... http://www.inquiry.net/patrol/hillcourt/method.htm .... "This gang, this natural unit of boys for boy activities, is the all-important unit in Scouting. It changes it name, it is true, from gang to Patrol, but it is a "gang" just the same, a small, permanent group of boys allied by similar interests, working together under the responsible leadership of one of its number—the Patrol Leader." 1950s Boy Scout Handbook (page 88):  "The Scout patrol is the finest boys' gang in all the world.  The patrol is the unit that makes Scouting go.  It is a group of boys, usually six to eight, who pal together because they like to do the same things."  Scouting Magazine ... How Scout's friendships strength patrols. ... https://scoutingmagazine.org/2012/04/how-scouts-friendships-strengthen-patrols/ Woodbadge ...  Meant to mimic a scout's experience in scouts.  The new scouts (class attendees) are put into patrols where everyone is brand new.  No existing leaders in the patrol.  Patrol members have to figure it out.  TGs regularly reach in and mentor the patrol.  Lots of mentoring as the patrol gets started.  Less later on.  The patrol does not start with a certain percent of the patrol coming from a previous Wood badge course or part of the leaders of the course.  Instead, everyone in the patrol starts the same.   Though people argue about the past, it seemed fairly consistent.   My issue is I just don't really know what BSA recommends anymore.  BSA has lost it's vision of why patrols beyond the shallow statement they are important.  
    • I don't accept your premise and I believe mixed age requires similar mentoring from outside.  Just now you are mentoring an older PL on being a leader ... because he's the older scout and he's usually the leader because older scouts can can intimidate younger scouts ... and the patrol that is designed to teach rank requirements internally still has scouts going to brown sea programs and splitting off to learn knots and first aid with scouts from other patrols.  ... But now also add a power imbalance that naturally occurs when you put a 16/17 year old in the same social group as a 11/12 year old.  Add that not every scout wants to mentor younger scouts but is now in that forced structure.   It's why I do NOT like the new leader guide.  Our debate here is also now represented briefly in the BSA troop leader guide with no offered solution or recommendation.  BSA split from the long held recommendation into this misplaced argument and has wrongly started using the term "same age."  I don't remember that in the old Scoutmaster Handbook.  If a term should be used, it should be the "same interest patrol" or "friends patrol".  Patrols should exist because they want to spend time together and want to do similar things.   My frustration is with the new leader guidebook.  The Scoutmaster Handbook seemed to promote a direction / concept.  That concept seemed consistent with my experience and what I've read from Baden-Powell, Hillcourt and previous publications like the 1950s Boy Scout handbook.   I ask the question because I think it's the real issue.  We've lost vision on why we have patrols.  Do patrols exist primarily to teach and the scouts get the side benefit of activities?    Or do patrols exist to be active and do things and. thru the doing as a side benefit. the scouts learn and grow.  I really think the later is what scouts is about.  Focus on activities and through activities scouts learn many things.   Do patrols exist to TEACH or to DO ?  You say the first.  I say the second.  ... In my view this is the key issue.  This is important because it shapes how we view and interact with our patrols.     I read this Scouting magazine article many years ago and I still think it's very well written on the topic.  How Scout's friendships strength patrols.  https://scoutingmagazine.org/2012/04/how-scouts-friendships-strengthen-patrols/   I strongly recommend this reading.  
    • The other thing to remember when retiring flags, particularly with younger scouts, is the hazard presented by melting and dripping synthetic fabrics.
    • There is a nice article in the Bryan on Scouting blog about this subject. https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2014/09/08/retiring-worn-out-american-flags/ There is also a link to a script very similar to one we used a few years ago at Cub Day Camp. http://usscouts.org/ceremony/flagret1.asp
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