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The Patrol Method

Lessons and questions of Scout leadership and operating troop program


    • Our troop is in the process of switching from Troopmaster to Scoutbook. We would also like to have a stand-alone website that could serve as a front-end for Scoutbook (similar to TM), that would also be able to access cloud storage for documents and photos. Am wondering how you integrate Scoutbook with a stand-alone troop website. Thanks,
    • New scout patrols:  Webelos III at best.  Usually a demotivator for new scouts.  Some troops avoid these issues by providing outstanding leadership to the new scout patrols; most troops do not. Operation First Class:  when this was first announced in '89, I was an ASM.  My SM and I wrote a letter to National expressing our concerns and disapproval.  We made a conscious effort to be polite.   We received back a rather dismissive reply from an exec.  The exec's opening sentence, if I recall correctly, ran thus:  "I find it interesting when people complain about things they aren't really informed about."  Dude, we were briefed at district round table!  So he told us to stop complaining, that everything would work out because he said so.  The key selling point was "stats show that if a scout makes it to first class, he'll stay in scouting longer."  National never considered the quality of programming at the unit level that motivated these scouts to stay.  Instead, they just compressed the time line to make first class quicker.  Which is not the same thing.
    • The BSA should be out there talking a lot more about what it is doing and why.  The point isn't to blame those suing the BSA or to criticize those attacking it.  The point is simply to explain and get the message out there.  By doing nothing, the BSA is letting others define it.  The BSA is doing itself more harm by not saying anything than by simply stating what is going on. If someone says - "the BSA should be punished", then engage in a conversation about how 1.5 million kids in the program today are paying to benefit from Scouting.   If someone says - "the BSA should pay those abused", then engage in a conversation about the fund the BSA is creating. This conversation can entirely be positive and affirming.  None of this is about blaming any victims or trying to avoid responsibility.  It's about trying to do the best for both groups - those abused and those who are members today.  
    • My thoughts.   I. HATE. NEW. SCOUT. PATROLS!  In 34 years of seeing them used, I have never seen it used successfully. Either the Troop Guide, or Patrol Leader as I was called when my troop was asked to try it out in 1986 before it became the recommendation in 1989, gets overwhelmed working with  bunch of new Scouts by himself, or adults need to intervene so much that it becomes Webelos 3.   OPERATION FIRST CLASS, as the idea was originally called in 1989, is based on skewed data. More on that later
    • I am going from memory here, so bear with me. The COR or IH must write a letter with name, and if possible the membership ID, to the Scout Exec and Registrar stating the person is to be removed from the unit charter.
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