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About George

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  1. Given that the BSA requires two registered adult leaders 21 years of age or over are at "all Scouting activities, including meetings," it seems that the old ideal of weekly Patrol meetings outside of the Troop meeting--at, for example, a Patrol member's house--is more unlikely than ever. As a result, is it time for Troops to reallocate more of their weekly meeting time and space to Patrols? @Kudu reprints some of Green Bar Bill's advice to Scoutmasters on this subject at http://inquiry.net/patrol/troop/index.htm: For those Troops who wish to be especially faithful to the Patrol method, why not ditch weekly Troop meetings so that Patrols may use the same time and space for their meetings? Say, for example, that a Troop presently meets every Monday. Instead of the Troop meeting in the usual way every Monday of the month, why not substitute Patrol meetings on the second and fourth Mondays, retaining Troop meetings (with Patrol corners) on the first and third Mondays? Do any of your Troops meet less frequently so that Patrols can meet more frequently? Is two Troop meetings a month enough? What about only one Troop meeting? Thanks in advance for your observations.
  2. I would also like to read the draft. Thank you!
  3. Fair point. I'm especially interested in criteria for day hikes in the 5-10 mile range. Thanks!
  4. As you all know, "[t]here are instances, such as patrol activities, when the presence of adult leaders is not required and adult leadership may be limited to patrol leadership training and guidance. With proper training, guidance, and approval by troop leaders, the patrol can conduct day hikes and service projects." In your units, what "training, guidance, and approval" do you require for no-adult patrol activities?
  5. Why not just recognize the already-existing Corps of Discovery?
  6. We have elected officers. We're hoping to have the Council VOA officers instruct ILSC (they previously did Crew Officers Orientation for us); we're just waiting for them to complete their changeover to schedule it. In the meantime, I have been introducing some of the key points at relevant moments. We're also waiting for the VOA meeting schedule to begin sending one or more crew representatives (the previous VOA officers met on the same night as our crew meeting night, so we have not previously sent representatives). Upon chartering, we elected officers, completed Crew Officers Orientation, and then did a very abbreviated form of annual planning--more like quarterly planning--so that we would have activities on the calendar and activity chairs appointed to organize them right away. “A [youth] on joining wants to begin Scouting right away," after all. We conducted our first outing, a full-moon night hike in a nearby national park, less than 30 days after starting. We then went backpacking and fishing in that same national park, had an evening of belaying instruction and then free climbing at a local climbing gym, completed wilderness first aid training, and most recently had a service project for Memorial Day. We're two weeks away from our next outing, a weekend camping trip to our Council's rustic/primitive campground. We have now completed program planning for the rest of this calendar year. For each event, there has been an adult--an associate advisor, committee member, or me--designated as the consultant/supporting volunteer for the activity chair to call on for advice/assistance, as needed. Our youth are likewise a mix of Boy Scouts, (former) Girl Scouts, and non-Scouts. The Boy Scouts come from local troops that are patrol-based only in a very superficial sense; they're essentially "troop method" outfits. The (former) Girl Scouts left the GSUSA for lack of outdoor programming. The non-Scouts just enjoy doing outdoor things and are absorbing the conceptual framework of Scouting through osmosis. I agree with your point (and Balsillie's) that inter-patrol competition would not be their cup of tea.
  7. Thanks for your comment, qwazse. I should have mentioned this in my original post, but this possible discussion with the crew president about the patrol system will be broader than just a discussion about that one system. My intent is to pose questions about organization and whether what has worked for us as a small crew will continue to work as we become a larger crew, what adaptations or adjustments need to be made, how to make sure new Venturers are able to participate in the crew's decision-making, etc. If they want examples, I was going to suggest the current Venturing structure, the Explorer Scout "program committee" structure, and the patrol system. Your point about activity chairs forming subgroups around that activity is interesting. We have only had one activity chair do that, and it happened at last week's meeting. If that becomes a trend, then it might check some of the same boxes that the patrol system checks, especially the ability to ensure that every member can influence the unit's program. Thanks again for your comment.
  8. One additional data point: Melville Balsillie, Running a Senior Scout Troop: An Official Handbook for Scouters 23-24 (1964), available at http://www.thedump.scoutscan.com/runningsenior.pdf.
  9. I'm the Advisor for a new (6 months and counting) Venturing crew with 12 Venturers. To date, we have been following the organizational structure suggested in the Handbook for Venturers and Venturing Advisor Guidebook. As we continue steadily growing, I've begun to consider discussing with the crew president whether we should look into implementing the patrol system. But the BSA's Venturing publications make no mention of patrols. I can only assume this was an intentional decision; after all, the earlier Explorer Scout Manual organized Explorer Scout posts into patrols (called "crews"). (Interestingly, Explorer Scouting also used program committees comprising at least one member from each crew, which would seem to water-down, at least to some degree, the patrol-centric nature of the "classic" system.) Does anyone have any information about this decision? Do any of your crews use the patrol system? As an aside, it's not immediately clear to me whether the BSA's decision on this point is in keeping with international practice. While Canadian Venturer Scout companies seem to use ad hoc "expedition teams" rather than patrols, at least some British Explorer Scout units use patrols. WOSM publications, like "Empowering Young Adults: Guidelines for the Rover Scout Section," direct that "[t]he team [patrol] system is a fundamental element of the Scout Method and it exists in every section of the Scout Movement in a way that is adapted and specific to each age group." Does anyone with international Scouting experience mind sharing their observations? Does Venturing adapt the patrol system to our age group, and I'm just not seeing it? Thank you in advance for your thoughts on this topic. Yours in Venturing, George Advisor, Crew 4 (Great Smoky Mountain Council) VenturingCrew4.org
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