I'm sorry I didn't see this sooner! I am taking over as SM for a Troop where the patrol method was loosely adhered to. There are eight boys approaching age 16-18, most getting their Eagle. I don't think they will be participating enough. . . the Rangers. There are four active 8th graders well on the way to Star/Life . . . the Lightning. And four active 7th graders at 1st Class. . . the Falcons. I graduated to Boy Scouts with 22 webelos last February and we formed two NS patrols. . . . the Scorpions and Dragons and they are entering 6th grade. We completed a fantastic summer camp with 14 of new scouts, and ready for 2nd Class in a few months. There was a large drop out of two years worth of scouts between the Eagle-ready scouts and the NS patrols. I expect at least 16 of the NS to remain active. My dilemma, should I leave the friends and patrols alone or shuffle the cards to group 6th, 7th and 8th together? I've really been struggling with this. My instincts tell me parents and scouts would be happier with their current group of mates. We can gradually implement a successfule patrol and JLT program as we grow. Especially some of the parents . . . they are used to having the "retired" SM and other adults do all the meetings. I want to implement the Patrol Method but I don't want to throw everything on its head. Maybe I could just downsize the Dragons and Scorpions into three patrols. Any advice?