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About captnkirk

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  1. Frist off, congratulations on taking on such a monumental task with limited support from your adult leaders. This is a task that adults struggle with (as many of the other posts here will show you) as well. I'm glad to hear you've had the success you've had. If you don't already have one, get a copy of the Patrol Leader's Handbook. (If you can convince the troop to buy several copies, then you can lend them to your PLs.) That will help you out, especially with planning Patrol Meetings and such. In my opinion, the best device for using the patrol method is during campouts. Have each patrol camp in seperate areas of the site, have them cook their own meals and plan their own menus. If you can, encourage the adults to camp as a patrol as well (if you have enough on a campout.) Nothing motivates a patrol better than when they're eating beans and franks, the patrol next to them is having chicken alfredo, and the adults are having a Thanksgiving-style turkey dinner. Have them do every activity as a patrol. Run round-robin programs if you can so that each patrol can be working on different skills. (This also has the advantage of making smaller groups which are easier to control.) Try to think of competitions where they can work together against the other patrols. (First aid scenarios, string-burning contests, as well as regular games like relays and steal-the-bacon.) Another big boost to patrol morale is to choose new patrol names, cheers and yells. (This also makes a good patrol meeting activity.) And then get them to use them regularly. (The patrol who can give their patrol yell the loudest gets to line up for dinner first.) Generally speaking, the hardest part is often getting your PLs to take charge of the patrol. The best thing you can do is provide them a motivated patrol to lead. Have them come to PLCs, (bribing them with food works well for this) and ask them what their patrol thinks. Give them a heads-up the week before so they can bring it up at the Patrol Meeting. This A) prevents the PLC from becoming the only ones who decide what the troop does (much like what you're TLC was before) and B) makes the PL responsible for his patrol. If your council or a nearby troop offers a Junior Leader Training Conference (JLTC), you should attend, and you should encourage your PLs to do the same. JLTC uses nothing but the patrol method. I hope some of this helps you. Again, congratulations on doing a great job. P.S. It's nice to see someone other than us "old farts" on these forums. Eamonn, I think by "homework," he means homework from school, and I assume a TLC is simply an adults leaders meeting.
  2. There was a question posed in another thread (JLTC, SPL, & dealing with older Scouts) as to the value of JLTC. Specificly, "So how does a SPL go to JLTC and then come back to deal with this real world?" SMs, ASMs, CMs and any adult volunteer should have a real understanding of what is learned at JLTC for several reasons. The first is to understand just what it is that the Scout has learned, and the second is to continue to help him learn it. JLTC does not end after one week. It doesn't end after the participant completes his LGA (Leadership Growth Agreement, similiar to the Woodbadge Ticket). I took the course in 1998, served on staff for three years, and I am still learning and refining my skills. The core of JLTC is the eleven leadership skills, which are then reinforced by activities, games, and tasks where the participants can begin to apply their new skills and begin to understand how to use them in the "real world". I could rewrite the entire manual for you here, but it's a lot easier to talk to your Council Training Chair or your Scouts' JLTC Course Director. Another reason to know what goes on before you send anyone is to prepare your Scouts for what they're in for. I've seen a lot of Scouts show up expecting a second week of summer camp, and end up very disappointed and wanting to go home on Day Three. It's a lot of hard work, sitting in what is basicly a classroom half the day, and then trying to lead a patrol of Scouts who you met yesterday, at least one of whom thinks they could run the patrol better than you. But back to dealing with the "real world," if you know the program, you can help your SPL by pointing out that he has the skills to deal with whatever situation he is facing. In the case of a group of older Scouts who do not want to teach a group of Tenderfoots how to tie knots, remind him that he needs to "Understand the Needs and Characteristics" of the older Scouts, and that if he properly "Represents the Group" in his "Planning" for the meeting, he won't have to worry about half his troop walking out the door to play football (unless of course that's his program.) We had a saying on our course. "If you don't take what you learned here and use it in your own troops, then you weren't here." The real learning for a leader doesn't happen at JLTC, it happens when he gets home, and the adults troop leaders need to be the teachers there.
  3. Getting scouts to plan activities is one of the hardest things sometimes, especially when the scouts don't want to take the initiative. It seems like you don't have much precedent in your troop for boy-led activities. My first advice is to start small and work your way up. Make sure the boys are planning their own menus before they move on to weekend programs. As far as the older scouts, the only way to get their interest is to move the program to thier level. They'll never get excited over lashings and treating head wounds. Get them to find something that would be exciting for them. (The scouts in Boy's Life always seem like they're doing things like rock climbing and sailing and caving. All we ever do is go to camp and build fires and practice knots.) A varsity patrol is a great way to do this without leaving the younger scouts behind. Eamonn mentioned an annual plan, which is another good way to start. However, since sitting down with your PLC seems like it will only create another teeth pulling session, you may want to try a different approach. During a troop meeting (my troop often plans a Saturday session for this so we have more time) have each patrol leader sit down with his patrol and brainstorm ideas for activities, different camps to visit, and merit badges or other program ideas. You may also want to ask for ideas for service projects or fundraisers. Have the PL write everything down on a flip chart. Remember, this is brinstorming, so make sure they write down everything that's said, even the silly comments shouldn't be judged. (I've found that the silly answers are at least answers, and that they often inspire someone else to think of something.) Then have them go through and pick out the ones that the patrol as a whole would want to do. (This is where the silly answers are eliminated.) Have the PL write these down on a seperate list. Then have the PLC come together and compare lists. Have the SPL write these down on a flip chart as well. Then let your PLC decide which activities the troop should do for that year and schedule them on a calendar. (Note: Any that aren't picked could be done as patrol activites, but that's a matter for a different thread.) The PLC should then divide the planning and preparation for each of these up between the patrols. (Each patrol is in charge of two merit badges and a camp-out program.) The trick is to make sure that you and the SPL check in on the plannning at each PLC to make sure it's proceding. I know it can be tough, and I hope this helps. Good Luck!
  4. First off, I resent the implication that none of us on this forum (with the exeception of BW) had any idea that patrols could go camping. I think at least most of us knew that, and that patrol camping is encouraged as well. What has been a revelation to many of us is that adults are not required on these outings. Second, I know for a fact that we have been trying to encourage the patrols in our troop to start doing patrol activites for years now. Unfortunately, there is no precedent for it within the troop, and many of the boys are too busy (or in some cases too apathetic) to plan their own camping trip. If you find this hard to swallow, either you've been blessed with a troop of extraordinary Scouts, or you haven't spent much time around teenage boys. On the matter of BSA properties, if BSA insurance truly won't cover an unsupervised patrol in a Scout camp, why should BSA pay "all court costs and fines against you" for a private land-owner? Bob, I don't think any of us mean to say that if we can't send patrols to Scout camps they won't camp at all. We're just still trying to draw the line of what activities should be supervised and which shouldn't, and this BSA policy has us confused.
  5. So in another thread, Mike F. was asking for lists of creative patrol names, and several of us supplied names that we had run into. This got me thinking. When I was a Scout, we were allowed pick whatever patrol name we wanted, and quite often we picked the strangest, silliest, or cleverest name we could think of. And every once in a while the SM would encourage us to change the name if he felt it was inappropriate. But a few years ago, the adult leadership decided that all Patrol names had to be a traditional one (Panther, Cobra, stuff like that.) Personally, I see Patrol Names as free expression on the part of the boys. The name expresses the personality of the Patrol. The Pyro Patrol is probably pretty good with fire building, and the No-Name Patrol probably has a hard time deciding on things. While I admit, many of the more creative Patrol names aren't politically correct, is it really fair to say "You must pick your name off this list"?
  6. While I don't know of any lists posted anywhere, I myself have belonged to several creatively named patrols. (Badger Patrol wasn't enough in my troop.) Among them were: The National Association for Disturbed Scouts (NADS, we had a great patrol cheer.) The Wunderbar No-Name Patrol, The Overused Lollypop Sticks, and my favorite, The Grand Mystic Royal Order Nobles of the Ali Babba Temple of the Shrine, Second Chapter International Membership Associated Counsel for the Advancement of Deviants.
  7. I agree with Bob. Life has its risks. Even an adult's pressence does not guarantee safety. We can only try to keep Scouting as safe as we can. The difference of opinon is how to do that. Some say that the best way is to have an adult monitoring the situation at all times. Others would say that following the program and BSA guidelines is enough to ensure safety as best we can. It was pointed out in another thread along this same topic that the world has become a much more dangerous place since many of us were Scouts. But we also live in an age where we have things like cellular phones which allow us to get help much more quickly if we run into trouble. So should we send a patrol of 11-year-olds into the woods, armed with a cell phone and expect them to fend for themselves for a week? No. But can we trust Scouts to get help when things get out of their control? I think so. For every boy that freezes up there's at least one who knows to run for help. Our job as leaders is to foresee these situations as best we can, and prepare for them. Whether that means requiring adult supervision, or simply trusting our Scouts.(This message has been edited by captnkirk)
  8. I would not trust my son's safety to a group of 14- and 15-year-olds. If you wouldn't trust the safety of another person to a 15-year-old Scout, then an adult has not done their job. I would trust the safety of another person to A 15-year-old Scout. I would not neccisarily have the same trust in a GROUP of 15-year-old Scouts. It was not so long ago that I myself was a 15-year-old boy (6 years now) and I remember quite well the mischief we used to get into. I suspect even some of the older former Scouts out there can remember doing things in Scouting that did not reflect well on the Scouting movement. To go out on a short hike, work on requirements, or participate in a social activity (like Putt-Putt) without adult supervision would be fine, but we must remember that when the adults aren't looking, 15-year-old Scouts revert to 15-year-old boys. There is a lot of tempation there, which is often only made worse by peer-presure. Any Patrol activity should be approved by the SM beforehand, and it should be his call whether they need supervision. That is the adult's job. Bob, while I think you have a lot of valuable advise, I've noticed that often your solution is "THat's the SM's fault. You need a better SM." All the SM's I know are human. They can't quote Scouting literature by chapter and verse, and quite often they make mistakes. So rather than blaming them, what can we do as ASMs, as Committee people, as parents, and as District and Council Officials to help them when they do make mistakes?
  9. I see absolutely no problem with having "Patrol Coaches" assigned to each patrol. (Note: They should not be assigned to only one patrol, as this would be taken as a sign to the others that there's something wrong with that patrol.) The problem is, that those adult leaders (and even older Scouts, in my opinion) need to know how to point the patrol in the right direction, without becoming the Patrol Leader. In my experience, there are two methods that accomplish this. 1. Follow the chain of command. Never pass over any youth leaders, if at all possible. Observe the boys in their patrols, but don't address the patrol directly. Call the PL (or SPL) over to you, speak to him, and have him speak to the group. This way, the patrol will recognize him as the one in charge, rather than just as someone with the title of PL. 2. Don't tell them anything. Lead from behind. When I was on JLTC staff as a youth, we used to use a method of instruction called "Questions." If a participant came up to a staff member and asked what time lunch was, we were to respond "Where could you find out that information?" The idea is to continue asking questions of the participant until they answer the question themselves. (In the case of lunch, that he should ask his PL what the schedule given at the PLC says.) This can also be used as a method of counseling. If you notice that a PL isn't prepared for a meeting, afterwards call him over and ask him how the meeting went. Keep asking him questions about what he could do better next time, until he suggests planning the next meeting ahead of time and in more detail. By doing this, you can not only train your youth leaders better, but you maintain their position of autority with the other boys. (Obviously, in the case of the duty roster above, the boys did not see their PL as the one in charge. They needed an adult to tell them and give him authority directly.) Tim(This message has been edited by captnkirk)(This message has been edited by captnkirk)
  10. Scoutdad, The 11 leadership skills are presented in the council-level JLTC, which is the youth counter-part to Woodbadge (or is that vice-versa?). I'm not sure if they occur anywhere else in Scouting literature, but you can find several web sites that discuss them at http://www.scouter.com/compass/Training/Junior_Leader(JLT)/ *note: You'll have to type that link in because of the (JLT). Following the link won't work. Or you can just surf around Scouter till you find it.
  11. So this may not belong in "The Patrol Method" and my deserve a new thread, but as long as we're on the subject of the rules governing the committee and such, perhaps you can help me out. Over the past several years, the ASMs in our troop (I'm one of them) have been accepted into committee meetings and the lines between the two positions blurred. While the ASMs realized we were not part of the committee, we attended meetings and voiced our opinions on what came up. In short, what was originally a "committee" meeting became more of a "leaders" meeting. A few months ago, a former SM returned to the area and became a member of the Troop committee. In an attempt to return the troop to going "by the book," the chain of command was gone over at summer camp and those present (I was not one of them) agreed on the roles of each position. A few weeks later when we gathered for a "committee" meeting, there was an incident at summer camp that needed to be discussed by the committee. Now I'm the biggest fan the chain of command has, and I agree with what the other leaders decided. However, as soon as this particular incident came up, the former SM stated that the ASMs would have to leave. This upset just about all of us, as we felt we had a right to voice our opinion on the matter. Do the ASMs have a voice in the troop? If not, what do we have that CMs lack? The lines have blurred and I don't know where it should be drawn.
  12. Wow, there are a lot of things that have been brought up in this thread. As a new adult leader but a very old Scout, I'd like to comment from the perspective of the boys, if 20 isn't too old to do that. Our troop just switched over to this idea of electing the ASPL and then after 6 months he becomes SPL. I have to say, I don't like it. First off, it requires a whole year's commitment from the boy, which can be difficult if he's engaged in another activity that may take him away from Scouting for a while (swim practice, or in my troop the main culprit is marching band.) Often, when boys are elected, they don't stop to think 6 months ahead, and whether or not they're going to be able to attend meetings then. My second concern is that it elimates the possibility of an SPL serving a second term. I myself served for a year and a half as SPL. This may seem like a long time to some people, but there was a large gap in age between myself and most of the other boys in my troop, they all being quite younger than me. I personally was thankful for being able to serve for more than six months, as it allowed me to accomplish more. My younger brother, who is still a boy in the troop, was SPL when this policy went into effect, and was upset that it would deny him a second term. He was assured by the Scoutmaster that he would be allowed to run again. He did and won, but found himself having to go through 6 months as ASPL just to get back to a position he had already held. He found it much more difficult to serve non-consecutive terms, as was not able to get as much accomplished as he would have liked. As far as a de facto policy where the ASPL is automatically elected regardless of ability, you are very right not to interfere with the boys election. If the boys don't elect their leader, they may resent him and not follow what he says. The only solution, unfortunately, is to let them live with their decision. This is very difficult to do, because as leaders we don't want to see the troop falter, and the temptation to step in and cover for the SPL is great. But, the only way the boys can learn to elect someone who will do a good job is to let them see what happens when they don't. Also, the issue of electing both the SPL and ASPL has come up. I'm totaly in agreement with ASM7. This is another objection I have to electing an ASPL rather than an SPL. The SPL needs to be able to work with his assistant and know that if he can't fill some responsibility, his ASPL will. That's just the opinion of an upstart ASM who thinks he knows how to run a program because he was a Scout.
  13. As stated above, each troop sets their own requirements for Senior Patrol Leader. In our troop, we required that a boy be 13 and at least First Class to run for SPL, but these requirements could be changed if there weren't enough boys who met that requirement. (Unfortunately, this has been the case in the past.) The requirements in our troop are set by the Scoutmaster, but they must be approved by the committee. A few years ago, after electing an SPL who did a particularly poor job, (he didn't really want the job in the first place, but wasn't given a chance to really consider it until after he was elected,) a new set of requirements were set up to prevent it from happening again. I don't like these requirements, but it wouldn't be fair if I didn't give them as an option. Certain boys are selected by the Scoutmaster as qualified for the position. If each of these boys is interested, they are nominated for the boys to vote on. However, these boys are only elected to the position of ASPL, and after 6 months as ASPL, they become SPL. Also, because of this, nominees must be approved by the SPL they will be serving under as well. Like I said, I don't like these requirements, as they have several downfalls, and don't fix the problem they were intended to solve, in my opinion. For one thing, they require a year's commitment from the boy. Many of our Scouts are involved in other activites that can take them away from meetings for some time. (In our troop it seems to be marching band.) Also, it takes away the nominations from the boys. Plus, I think an SPL should choose his assistant, not be handed one, even one he approved. The basis of this idea was to give the boy six months to train for the position. I think that the boy should definately be trained, but I personally feel that this requirement can easily be filled by Junior Leader Training or by experience in any number of positions, not merely ASPL. Well, I hope that this will be some help in giving you some ideas for requirements for SPL.
  14. Unfortunately, in our council JLTC and youth training seem to be overlooked in favor of adult programs like Wood Badge and the training formerly known as Scoutmaster Fundamentals. As a result, very few units in our council actually do Troop JLT sessions, and the most training a boy is likely to receive is a week at JLTC. Even in my own troop, while I've proposed the idea before, the other adults say it's a good idea, but they never put their full support behind it, and many of the boys, especially the older ones, don't realize the need for it. I'm lucky if I can get anyone to attend the council's course. Several of the adults invovled with JLTC have proposed doing a JLT program just among several troops based in nearby towns. This seems to come close to this idea of a district level youth training program. I personally am unfamiliar with the current program laid out for Troop JLT programs, but since those involved have been involved at the council level for years, I imagine it would be primarily based on the 11 leadership skills presented there. I'd be happy to keep in contact with anyone interested in our program, as this thread probably won't be active when the program actually happens, which will probably be either in the spring or the early part of the summer before summer camp.
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