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The "Patrol Method" Presentation in SM-Specific Training

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In kcs_hiker, post he/she was merely presenting a comparison between an unregulated gang and a Boy Scout patrol. SR540Beaver, your words that this poster and Kudo are rejecting civility is a mis-characterization of the issue. Clever, but misdirected.


Thus if I will argue that Baden Powell conceived of less adult equalized gang than we presently teach too.


I can't believe I am writing this but it seems warranted, I am not against civility.


There is something wrong with the BSA Boy Scout program for the application of patrol method.


A "program" or a process should develop a desired outcome based on the following: the quality of the input, the programs internal performance and the operator's ability to use the program correctly. The more complicated the program, the harder it is to use. Also the more complex and multiple results required the more difficult it is to train people on it and the more varied output will be.


Strong patrols and strong PL's just don't readily pop out of the BSA program. Even when the quality of the input (the scouts) is high. You can blame the operators (SM, ASM CC, COR) but the program is complex and somewhat unstable. Every six months the program is reconfigured by elections.


The BSA program seems to squeeze units into the troop method. The 10-15 minutes allotted at meetings for patrols is completely insufficient. Patrols can meet externally but even after sending scouts to NYLT this is not happeninmg. Patrols can do outings seperatly put it doesn't happen unless adults push the issue.


So in the end I agree with Kudo, the BSA program requires adults to lead the patrols towards individual autonomy. Not the other way around.







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Mafaking is correct, the main problem in the boy scout program are that many leaders can not apply what they learn in their own troops, many times it is because the lack of quality of the instruction or the misunderstanding of the literature by the instructors. The other problem are those scouters who think they have a better vision for their troop and ignore the training info.


IMHO all boy scout training should begin with a copy of Baden Powell's book Handbook for Boys, to be read before training, in order to give every scouter a sense of the vision he had for scouting, and gives everyone an equal starting point, then supplemented with current policies and procedures and techniques to give each leader a complete all around picture of what scouting is suppossed to be.

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Here's an idea concerning those patrol meetings.


Boys elect/select leaders, but PLC (with adult leader guidance) can establish some standards for successful completion for rank advancement credit. By the end of our 6-month Troop JLT, I have a signed contract with every leader concerning his responsibilities for his term in office. We expect more initiative and leadership as guys are climbing the ranks and it's all in writing. Guidance and mentoring along the way is crucial.


For Patrol Leaders, one of the requirements is that they conduct at least one patrol meeting every month which is separate from Troop meetings. This can be anything from meeting at a pizza place to an hour of hard-core skill instruction in someone's backyard. It took a while to catch on, but new PLs now know the expectation and it's been working great for the last few years. In the troop I serve, it's not uncommon for the guys to come up short at the end of the term - especially in their first position. That's OK - it's about helping them learn and grow. That's why we're here.


BadenP - I like your thinking! Since I know most leaders attending training won't read it, maybe we should start the training with a few minutes to introduce them to the high points as a way of setting the stage.

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It was a simple question in relation to the last two sentence of kcs_hiker's post - "The difference is that 100 years, those 'weaker' boys either got stronger, or stopped participating. Today we don't demand that they get stronger, we demand acceptance of their 'weakness'."


The question is if demanding acceptance (being civil) is a bad thing? A blind kid can't see. Do we accept his handicap and help him get the most out of the program or do we allow him to be the butt of jokes and hope he develops a thicker hide?


It was not a criticism of kcs_hiker. It was a question seeking clarification. It was not a criticism of the boy led patrol method which I am a proponent of and believe is alive and well in the unit I serve as well as other well run units. And lastly, it had nothing to do with kudu.

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While we have to stay on point during training, the syllabus isn't Soviet dogma..."This isn't Russia, is it Danny?" to borrow a line from a great movie.


Two issues: content and presentation style. Three actually: trainer attitude.


The people that are sitting in the chairs aren't dopes. Even if they are new to scouting, they are employees, employers, parents, and they know canned baloney when they hear it. Just because some old timers are are in love with staying strictly with the party line, it doesn't mean that the new people need to buy into it.


The beauty is this: the most wildly successful aspects of scouting are timeliness and appeal to almost everybody. If they are in the syllabus, great. If not, let's add them...as Eagle 92 pointed out, listeners always respond to real world application. And they will welcome the break from plodding along, point by point, slide by slide, hour after hour...when presenters put down the powerpoint clicker and actually talk human to human--it's welcome relief and always well received.


The "dogma" part of my initial adult leader in 1985 was a complete and utter bore. I still recall those days in the church annex, where some old buffoons condescended to us new folks. And yes, I used the "buffoon" word intentionally. They were the bullet-proof Council Old Timers, the Keepers of the Secret Scout Handshake, etc. Though several of us were former scouts, the entire student class was treated like simpletons.


The best part of that training? When we all--cadre and students, escaped the church annex after 2 long weekends of warming metal folding chairs, and went outdoors. The patrols camped, cooked, competed...everyone had good time. Sure ended on a high note.


Post Script: if the new folks think the training is boring, then the burden is on seasoned scouters to change what we do. People aren't bored by Real Scouting. They walk way because life is challenging enough without sitting through dry briefings and enduring the needless debate that we old guys enjoy so much.

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