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What Is It Based On?

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Tonite, I will gain "personal experience".

It is the first Troop Committee Meeting of the year. We are a smallish troop (maybe 20 or so boys) and the dictum of 'the jobs get done by whoever shows up' is very true.

The idea here, originally, is to start planning and laying out the years activities and assigning adult leaders/sponsors for them. I suggested to son (SPL, brag) that he might want to call SM and ask to come to the Committee meeting to talk about what the boys might want to do. His response, "aw, they won't let us do them". But he eventually called SM and SM said "sure, bring your ideas". Son was surprised and said so.

So son and I have spoken about what Troop might do in the coming year. He often finds his 4H and Church youth group and camp more exciting and rewarding than Scouts. Altho I encourage his interest in the other things, I am dissappointed that he does not find more satisfaction from his Scout involvement. Too often, those schedules take precidence over Scout stuff.

Possibilities that son and I have discussed: attendance at Canandian Jamboree instead of regular summer camp, canoeing, horseback riding overnight, target shooting at local indoor range, more trail hiking/camping.

He also has a hard time believing that the other boys would be interested in some of his ideas, and he has reason to feel that way, judging from response to many of last years activities. But I tell him, he needs to put forth the things he would like to do. That all one can do is offer, if the SM and TCom support his ideas, then he can make it happen.

But it won't happen if he doesn't ask.

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btphelps writes:


Came across this info, written by Bela Banathy in his 1963 master's thesis, Parameters of a New Design in Leadership Development, which I thought I'd share. "In his book Scouting for Boys, Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting, established the principles of training junior leaders when he suggested that the Scoutmaster should select 'a party of six to eight youth or bright boys, and carefully instruct them in the details of peace-Scouting.' These boys, he then says, could act as patrol leaders in training each five to six more boys in Scouting.


Leadership Development destroyed this "Patrol of Patrol Leaders" in 1972.


In all the world, the most detailed and ingenious version of this training was written by William "Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt who had learned Baden-Powell Scouting as a boy in his native Denmark (the "Patrol Method" was not introduced in the BSA until 1923).


This BSA Patrol of Patrol Leaders was called the "Green Bar Patrol." It was composed of the Scoutmaster acting as Patrol Leader, the SPL acting as Assistant Patrol Leader, and the Patrol Leaders acting as Green Bar Patrol members. It is still used in Troops from Canada to Ireland to Australia that use Baden-Powell's actual methods.


The course called "Intensive Training in the Green Bar Patrol" took six months to complete. Typically Green Bar Patrol Meetings would be held once a month after the PLC. A Patrol Leader learned how to run a "Real Patrol" by taking part in an ideal Patrol run by the Scoutmaster.


After each Green Bar Patrol Meeting, the new Patrol Leader returned to his own Patrol to hold the same meeting and try the specific techniques he had just learned. If he ran into problems with group dynamics, then THAT was the time for the Scoutmaster, SPL, and/or older Patrol Leaders to discuss theory--when the young Patrol Leader had a very practical need for the formula:


1. Be a Leader

2. Be a Friend

3. Be Ahead


It is very important to understand that the Green Bar Patrol did not sit around and discuss leadership formulas just in case a Patrol Leader might need an abstraction next month, or in some other "leadership" role later in life.


Training based on the practical and very specific application of Scoutcraft Skills for single Patrol use in the great outdoors is what distinguishes Traditional "Patrol Leader Training" from Leadership Development's "Junior Leader Training."


Before 1972 the BSA defined a "Real Patrol" as a Patrol that hiked on its own without adult supervision. Intensive Training in the Green Bar Patrol was a model of exactly how to hold a Patrol Meeting; and then how to use a Patrol Meeting to plan and hold a Patrol Hike. Patrol Hikes typically passed the time with Scoutcraft activities including some that counted toward Patrol-Based Advancement (which before Leadership Development was the Patrol Leader's job). The six month training course ended with the ultimate Patrol Hike, sometimes called a Patrol Camp or Patrol Overnight. This was the true test of the most mature and gifted Patrol Leaders' ability to lead without adult supervision.


"Intensive Training in the Green Bar Patrol" can be found at:




In 1972 Traditional "Patrol Leader Training" was destroyed to make room for Leadership Development's "Junior Leader Training." An example of this new "one theory fits all temporary positions of responsibility" idea was the "Nine Leadership Skills." See:




The use of the term "junior leaders" as in the Bela Banathy quote above, is one way to spot Leadership Development masquerading as the tradition of Baden-Powell's principles of training.


Above all else the object of B-P's training was to identify the very strongest natural leader and teach him how to operate a Patrol independently of adult supervision.




"One of our methods in the Scout movement for taming a hooligan is to appoint him head of a Patrol. He has all the necessary initiative, the spirit and the magnetism for leadership, and when responsibility is thus put upon him it gives him the outlet he needs for his exuberance of activity, but gives it in a right direction."--Baden-Powell, from the article "Are Our Boys Degenerating?" circa 1918


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