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MattR

Important Ideas About The Patrol Method

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@@qwazse, I'm game. I think you've mentioned the noun/verb distinction before. Unfortunately I didn't quite see what you were getting at. I'd say what we are is what we do, so there's not much difference. But that's not what you're trying to get at. So please explain further.

 

Here's a guess. If I were to define the verb to scout I'd say there are two parts, adventure in the outdoors and service to our community. Are you saying "to scouter" is to encourage scouting? That I could fit in easily.

This has to do with vision. What image do we want to put in kids' (and parents') heads when they hear the word "Patrol"?

I think we want them to imagine imitating those boys who dashed out into the British countryside after reading BP's reports on his military scouts. We want them spying out the land.

 

I was talking to a retired fella after church about his motorcycle rides with the Mrs through the countryside. Some of the boys' favorite hikes crossed his favorite rides. The conversation ended with "We live in a really great country."  This is what patrolling should do: build a collection of discoveries that boys can share with one another.

 

Patrolling is not about leadership development, although well-developed leadership improves it. It's not about building fellowship, although fellowship should happen in the process. It's not about skills acquisition, although you need to acquire skills to succeed. It's not about planning, although an SM is not approving a poorly planned overnight activity.  It's precisely learning the lay of the land ... through night and day ... fair weather and foul ... independent of your "generals" ... and for the good of your unit.

 

That is what patrolling is. That's what boys should be shooting for: the pinnacle scouting experience of hiking and camping independently with your mates.

 

The patrol (i.e. the action of patrolling) then becomes the evaluator (as opposed to, say, some instructor giving "advancement grades"). If you patrol well, it's proof that your boys have developed leadership, fellowship, service, skills, etc ...

If you aren't patrolling well, you will quickly learn what skills need to be gained, what leadership needs to be changed, what service could be done, or how to increase fellowship.

 

To scout, I think, is simply patrolling as an individual.  I don't mean "without a buddy." I mean being individually responsible for everything your patrol (and in turn, your unit) may need to achieve success.

 

To scouter? I figure that's just demonstrating scouting by being a caring adult. In doing so, I guess we're encouraging scouting. (E.g., if a group of youth come to you with a great plan for camping on their own, you help them ... maybe even loan them the keys to your car.)

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Interesting ideals, but kinda flawed in certain areas.

 

Patrols are empowered to run their own program, EXCEPT when others tell them differently. How often is EXCEPT acceptable? Older boy patrol wants to do HA for the summer, PLC says they have to go to summer camp>

 

In all my years as a youth and adult in scouting, I've never heard of that happening. In fact, I found the opposite more the reality when I worked with older scouts on JLTC (NYLC) courses.

 

As much as "boy run" is given credit for patrols excelling past patrols in adult run troops, adults are, more often than not, the catalysts for scouts thinking out-of-box. Some boys need to be shown how to look at the world outside their window, some boys just need permission. Whatever the reason, show me scouts who follow their dreams and I'll show great adults somewhere in the shadows. Experienced SMs know what I'm talking about.

 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad

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In all my years as a youth and adult in scouting, I've never heard of that happening. In fact, I found the opposite more the reality when I worked with older scouts on JLTC (NYLC) courses.

As much as "boy run" is given credit for patrols excelling past patrols in adult run troops, adults are, more often than not, the catalysts for scouts thinking out-of-box. Some boys need to be shown how to look at the world outside their window, some boys just need permission. Whatever the reason, show me scouts who follow their dreams and I'll show great adults somewhere in the shadows. Experienced SMs know what I'm talking about.

Barry

Shadowlords!

 

But, not so much. Adult association is also a method. Why is it a method? Because it's not, by definition, patrolling. Which means @@MattR, your last paragraph should probably boil down to "see adult association".

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Are we making this too difficult?

 

"Scouting is not an abstruse or difficult science: rather it is a jolly game if you take it in the right light. In the same time it is educative, and (like Mercy) it is apt to benefit him that giveth as well as him that receives." B-P, Aids to Scoutmastership

 

*******************************************************

 

Here are some neat Patrol Method resources from Scouts Canada:

 

http://www.thedump.scoutscan.com/patrolseries.html

Edited by LeCastor

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I never use the term "boy-run".  An adult-led program can be boy-run.   Boy-run is just a way of saying adult-led without actually running afoul of the intent of Boy Scouting.  Oh, but of course my boys run the program but do they lead the program?  Who's making what choices?.  Thus the words used convey the message of intent.

 

BSA shows it's hand when they say adult leaders because in the back of their mind they don't worry too much about boy leadership as much as merely having the boys run through the actions necessary to operate a troop enough to call it boy-run.

 

One of the methods is Adult Association, not Adult dominance, leadership, or control.

 

Associate

  • v.verb
    1. To connect in the mind or imagination.

    2. To connect or involve with a cause, group, or partner.

      Wasn't she associated with the surrealists?

    3. To correlate or connect logically or causally.

      Asthma is associated with air pollution.

    4. To join in or form a league, union, or association.

      The workers associated in a union.

    5. To spend time socially; keep company.

      associates with her coworkers on weekends.

  • n.noun
    1. A person united with another or others in an act, enterprise, or business; a partner or colleague.

    2. A companion; a comrade.

    3. One that habitually accompanies or is associated with another; an attendant circumstance.

    4. A member of an institution or society who is granted only partial status or privileges.

  • adj.adjective
    1. Joined with another or others and having equal or nearly equal status.

      an associate editor.

    2. Having partial status or privileges.

      an associate member of the club.

    3. Following or accompanying; concomitant.

 

Where in any of those definitions do we have the leaders directing, controlling, guiding, or making the decisions for the boys?  NOWHERE!  Associating is nothing more than being there with them.  So why do we have this as a method?  Because boys of this age tend to pretty much associate with their peers primarily and their families secondly.  They do not have a general experience of knowing a lot of adults other than in a dictatorial relationship.  Parents tell them what to do, teachers tell them what to do, pastors tell them what to do, their peers don't.  They just hang out together and enjoy each other.  Scouting is intended to get these boys ready for adulthood and if someday these adults are going to be their peers they need to have contact with them and learn the dynamics of what adults that are friends do.  

 

Redefining the relationships of scouting using language often gives a clear message of intent.

 

Sure the boy-run their patrols, but they can't make any choices other than those set forth by the adults who have made it quite clear the expectations mandated to fulfill the job.  Where's your patrol calendar?  Where's your duty-roster?  Who do you have doing what this meeting?  Your patrol was assigned.... About two or three years of that and the boys are eyeing the door.  And I don't blame them one bit.  It's no different than at home, at school or anywhere else the adults hang out at and make the rules.  Thus you have the youth club houses and gangs popping up all over.  No adults run these groups, just peers.

 

"If you're not part of the gang, you don't make the rules for the gang."  Every scouter will argue that this is not what Scouting is all about.  But I'll argue that point all the time.  BP did not use the military words for the command structure to design his youth program.  The boys are not known as soldiers, their APL's are not corporals and their PL's are not the sergeants.  They are PATROLS, a small group of individuals with a mission AWAY FROM AND DISCONNECTED from the main body of officers.  It works TOTALLY INDEPENDENT of the military structure.  It survives on it's own resources and has a mission to accomplish that it is in full control of choosing what to do to complete that mission.

 

In no way do those dynamics fit in the BSA program of today. 

 

The adults who complain that they are ending up babysitters today are such of their own making.  They complain about the helicopter parents, but they are themselves helicopter babysitters for these boys.  Isn't that what an Eagle Mill is?

 

My boys call all the shots, always have, always will.  I associate with them as a peer, not a leader.  I support their objectives, their plans, their development on their terms.  And for some reason I still produce Eagle Scouts, I still get the boys out in the woods, and I still have far less disciplinary problems as those being discussed on this forum.

 

So one can accuse me of being a maverick and running my own program outside the BSA all you wish.  It makes no never-mind to me, because it's not my own program outside the BSA that is being run, it's the boys' program the way they want to run it and they're doing just fine because they are the one's calling the shots and leading the patrols.  

 

The only "trouble" I have run into over the years is in the area of adults wanting control in the unit.  Once they gain that control and start directing the boys, is my cue to leave.  To me that's not what Scouting is all about.  There's no adventure in a glorified extended family.  There is adventure in a self-contained gang.

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I wish we could gather at a brew science establishment and talk about this. I do appreciate everyone's comments.

 

I want as concise a description as possible that gives enough that someone new to this can make it work. I have to keep it on a page or people will wander away. The reason I'm doing this is the descriptions out there are not working. If they were then most troops would be doing this. This is going somewhere and it's not a power point, but more on that later.

 

The major feedback I'm getting is: If the scouts read this they won't realize that what they should be doing is having an adventure in the outdoors. Given this is the major benefit of the Patrol Method, I'll work on it.

 

Also, adult association can make or break this. There is a fine line between leaving a patrol alone and stomping on their freedom. What does support a patrol really mean? They need to encourage the adventure with a gentle touch. However, that's too vague. @@Eagledad or anyone else, any chance you can boil your experience down regarding adult association to something concise and still informative enough that a new leader can grasp the basics?

 

@Stosh: My troops does have some troop wide activities. Opening and closing flags and games come to mind. We have troop wide service projects. Swim tests are troop wide. Getting the trailer packed. That's all I meant by the SPL leads troop wide activities.

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@Stosh: My troops does have some troop wide activities. Opening and closing flags and games come to mind. We have troop wide service projects. Swim tests are troop wide. Getting the trailer packed. That's all I meant by the SPL leads troop wide activities.

 

I have never had a patrol that didn't want to participate in the opening and closing flags.  I did have the boys walk off a parade ground because the boys didn't like what was being done.  They went back to camp and did their own flags.  We had 3 patrols at the time and they were all in agreement as to how the troop reacted.  The PL's keep track of who does the flags each time, or if they can't remember, one will volunteer his patrol.  Right now with the new troop it's not an issue because we have only one patrol.

 

If a patrol has a service project, they can through the PL's (or PLC if one has one) offer invitations to the other patrols to join in.  Usually, but not always, they do.  Even if a patrol as a whole says no to a service project, I have had the minority voters still join in the service project activity.

 

Swim tests are done every year at summer camp otherwise they are done as a patrol activity.

 

We don't have a trailer, each boy is responsible for his own gear and the patrol QM handles the patrol equipment.

 

When I did have an SPL in my former troop, the SPL's job was supporting the PL's in their work.  If the reports came back that three patrols all wanted to go to different summer camps, the SPL would work with the adults to make it happen.  He was the liaison support person between the adults and the patrols.  He basically did very little except what it took to support the patrols.

 

As one can see, the SPL is somewhat important once one gets up to 3-4 patrols, but pretty useless prior to that.  Once the PL's feel the need for such a support person, THEY select someone to fill that role.  My SPL's are selected by consensus of the PL's who will be relying on him to help them.  If they pick the wrong person, it's their own fault and they know it.  More often than not the boys usually pick one of the best APL's to be the SPL.  That person is usually recommended because of the help he has shown to the PL who submits his name.  It always seemed to work out well.

 

When all the dust settles, the selection of PL's is vastly more important than the SPL.  A lot of troops don't look at it this way and struggle with POR fulfillment because of it.   This is where the long lists of PL duties, SPL duties, QM duties all come from.  I've never had a list of duty requirements for my POR's.  The boys quickly figure out what needs to be done or they are replaced by someone who does.

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Swim tests are done every year at summer camp otherwise they are done as a patrol activity.

 

How do you address safe swim?

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How do you address safe swim?

 

Our high school has a competition pool indoors with open swims in the evenings.  During the winter months, we suggest to the patrols to take advantage of the fun and at the same time review the swim test requirements.  The NSP is encouraged to practice the test to be able to pass it once they get to camp.  The pool has a lifeguard on duty during the swim.  Until we have a swimmer token showing the boy is a swimmer, he has to stay in the shallow end unless he can pass the test.  Lifeguard may allow him in the deep end, our PL's don't.

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Also, adult association can make or break this. There is a fine line between leaving a patrol alone and stomping on their freedom. What does support a patrol really mean? They need to encourage the adventure with a gentle touch. However, that's too vague. @@Eagledad or anyone else, any chance you can boil your experience down regarding adult association to something concise and still informative enough that a new leader can grasp the basics? ...

@@MattR, I have a feeling you're gonna be writing the next great BSHB, just because you keep asking the right questions!

 

Adults may ...

  • Provide a list of land-owners who may grant permission for overnights.
  • Offer their shop or garage for a project. (I still remember building that first Klondike sled in my PL's basement .. bless his mom.)
  • Procure a council calendar for each PL.
  • Provide transportation ... including a connection for MP3 players to the stereo sytem.
  • Bring back event flyers from rountables for the boys to consider.
  • Provide a list of community leaders and their offices to hike to and dicuss citizenship.
  • Offer sewing services in exchange for D/O cobbler.
  • Offer D/O cobbler in exchange for sewing knots.
  • Counsel an MB representing their favorite interest.
  • Be prepared with a tall tale, upon invitation.
  • Swap patches.
  • Certify in BSA guard, or Wilderness First Aid, or Climb on Safety, or Campmaster.
  • Gently herd other adults to some background task.

So, to be consise adults:

  • Assist the SM.
  • Listen to the boys, advise only as requested.
  • Camp at a distance ... only as needed.
  • Engender other adults' trust.
  • Count smiles.

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Interesting ideals, but kinda flawed in certain areas.

 

Patrols are empowered to run their own program, EXCEPT when others tell them differently.  How often is EXCEPT acceptable?  Older boy patrol wants to do HA for the summer, PLC says they have to go to summer camp>  

 

As Blanchard said in his version of the WB syllabus (before it was rewritten to evade royalties), being directive in a volunteer organization is not good tactics.   As in all Scout program, it's up to the PLC to convince the Scouts that they want to support the program that the PLC hopes to schedule.  The vote with their feet.

 

And, in every troop I know of, HA is in addition to Summer Camp.

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This has to do with vision. What image do we want to put in kids' (and parents') heads when they hear the word "Patrol"?

I think we want them to imagine imitating those boys who dashed out into the British countryside after reading BP's reports on his military scouts. We want them spying out the land.

 

I was talking to a retired fella after church about his motorcycle rides with the Mrs through the countryside. Some of the boys' favorite hikes crossed his favorite rides. The conversation ended with "We live in a really great country."  This is what patrolling should do: build a collection of discoveries that boys can share with one another.

 

Patrolling is not about leadership development, although well-developed leadership improves it. It's not about building fellowship, although fellowship should happen in the process. It's not about skills acquisition, although you need to acquire skills to succeed. It's not about planning, although an SM is not approving a poorly planned overnight activity.  It's precisely learning the lay of the land ... through night and day ... fair weather and foul ... independent of your "generals" ... and for the good of your unit.

 

That is what patrolling is. That's what boys should be shooting for: the pinnacle scouting experience of hiking and camping independently with your mates.

 

The patrol (i.e. the action of patrolling) then becomes the evaluator (as opposed to, say, some instructor giving "advancement grades"). If you patrol well, it's proof that your boys have developed leadership, fellowship, service, skills, etc ...

If you aren't patrolling well, you will quickly learn what skills need to be gained, what leadership needs to be changed, what service could be done, or how to increase fellowship.

 

To scout, I think, is simply patrolling as an individual.  I don't mean "without a buddy." I mean being individually responsible for everything your patrol (and in turn, your unit) may need to achieve success.

 

To scouter? I figure that's just demonstrating scouting by being a caring adult. In doing so, I guess we're encouraging scouting. (E.g., if a group of youth come to you with a great plan for camping on their own, you help them ... maybe even loan them the keys to your car.)

Tell me again where the purpose of a patrol is to patrol.  I am having trouble finding it except in the forum in certain member's posts.  Then we can compare that source with what BP and Bill said.

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Previous post failed due to software error.

 

 

 

Interesting ideals, but kinda flawed in certain areas.

 

Patrols are empowered to run their own program, EXCEPT when others tell them differently.  How often is EXCEPT acceptable?  Older boy patrol wants to do HA for the summer, PLC says they have to go to summer camp.

 

As to your first question, I suspect you are troubled by what is DONE rather than the words.  The words are perfectly clear. The boys are to do all the program planning and all the program leading. 

 

As to a conflict between the PLC and a single patrol, managing conflict was once cogently addressed in the third version of Wood Badge in, surprise!,  "Managing Conflict."  Blanchard wrote, in effect, that being directive leads to Scouts leaving.  Consensus is the goal and the PLC's job, directly and especially through the PLs, is to convince the Scouts to support the program.  Where did that language go?  It disappeared when BSA had less than fully-incompetent people rewrite the Blanchard syllabus. Think of hiring someone to translate the Latin Mass into Greek who speaks neither Latin nor Greek and is a Baptist.

 

I have never heard of a choice between high adventure and summer camp.  I have seen high adventure replace summer camp   I have regularly seen older Scouts do HA and not so summer camp.  Any PLC ordering Scouts to go to any activity is evidence of a SM who has failed in his first duty after health and safety - training the troop's leaders.

 

 

"Patrolling"

 

Says who?  Besides a couple of members on this forum, who?

 

 

 

.But, not so much. Adult association is also a method. Why is it a method? Because it's not, by definition, patrolling. Which means @MattR, your last paragraph should probably boil down to "see adult association".

 

"Adult Association"  is use by BSA to mean adults exhibiting to the Scouts behavior that conforms to Scouting values.  Period.  It is certainly not "patrolling," whatever that means in this forum.

 

 

 

I never use the term "boy-run".  An adult-led program can be boy-run.   Boy-run is just a way of saying adult-led without actually running afoul of the intent of Boy Scouting.  Oh, but of course my boys run the program but do they lead the program?  Who's making what choices?.  Thus the words used convey the message of intent.

 

BSA shows it's hand when they say adult leaders because in the back of their mind they don't worry too much about boy leadership as much as merely having the boys run through the actions necessary to operate a troop enough to call it boy-run.

 

My problem with BSA is not the words.  They are very clear.  BSA says "boy-run" means the boys plan all the program and the boys lead all the program.  If that's what you mean by "pickle-run," it's fine with me and consistent with BSA's words.

 

As for BSA "showing it's hand" by calling adults "leaders," which I too think is unfortunate, Bill called them "leaders" and BP called them "leaders" or "officers,"  as in the officer appoints the patrol leaders.

 

The problem is not words.  The problem is behavior.  What is BSA doing to give effect to their very clear words?   Almost nothing, but I put that down to competence issues, not conspiracy.

 

 

 

want as concise a description as possible that gives enough that someone new to this can make it work. I have to keep it on a page or people will wander away. The reason I'm doing this is the descriptions out there are not working. If they were then most troops would be doing this. This is going somewhere and it's not a power point, but more on that later.

 

The major feedback I'm getting is: If the scouts read this they won't realize that what they should be doing is having an adventure in the outdoors. Given this is the major benefit of the Patrol Method, I'll work on it.

 

Also, adult association can make or break this. There is a fine line between leaving a patrol alone and stomping on their freedom. What does support a patrol really mean? They need to encourage the adventure with a gentle touch. However, that's too vague. @Eagledad or anyone else, any chance you can boil your experience down regarding adult association to something concise and still informative enough that a new leader can grasp the basics?

 

Matt, there has not been a complete description of the Patrol Method  by BSA in decades.  But try to be accurate.

 

Information from members, including me, is not a primary source material.  You need to know, not guess or jump to conclusions.  Not a single leading spokesman for Scouting, including Bill or BP, ever said in any existing writing that the purpose of Scouting was adventure in the outdoors or that adventure in the outdoors was the primary benefit of the Patrol Method.   They did speak to the purposes of Scouting and the benefits of the Patrol method at great length.  What they said is consistent with BSA's words, if not its actions in making those words into reality.  Read.

 

 

Again, "Adult Association" means nothing other than adults as models of Scouting values.  Fairly concise   Adult Association is only tangentially related to the Patrol Method in the sense that adults in Scouting who do not support the Patrol method are not "Trustworthy" because they are failing to support the promised Patrol Method.  BP told folks who could not, in good conscience, support Scouting policy to leave.

Edited by TAHAWK

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As Blanchard said in his version of the WB syllabus (before it was rewritten to evade royalties), being directive in a volunteer organization is not good tactics.   As in all Scout program, it's up to the PLC to convince the Scouts that they want to support the program that the PLC hopes to schedule.  The vote with their feet.

 

And, in every troop I know of, HA is in addition to Summer Camp.

 

Somehow I can't seem to get my mind wrapped around the idea of PLC doing servant leadership by coercing and convincing rather than taking what they have been given and working to help get it done.

 

Also I have heard that while the older boys want HA during the summer, the younger scouts don't qualify for a variety of different reasons, and thus with mixed patrols, the whole concept of patrol method goes out the window for the summer's big events.  But supposing one does have aged patrols of common friends. If the troop has both HA and summer camp planned, what's the problem.  The younger boys go to summer camp and the older boys go to HA.  End of discussion.  No older boys to help at summer camp?  Too bad, work around it.  No younger boys qualify for HA?  Too bad, get your prerequisites done and maybe you'll qualify next year.  Mixed patrols?  Too bad, some in your patrol are going to be happy and some are not.  Have a patrol morale problem then?  They'll  get over it, the PLC will convince them... or else.

 

I just see the makings of too many problems with such a dysfunctional PLC who thinks it's its job is to get everyone to think the same way when for a variety of legitimate reasons they don't have to.

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"Patrolling"

 

Says who?  Besides a couple of members on this forum, who?

 

Oh, sources. Lessee ... Webster:

PATROL

1 a :  the action of traversing a district or beat or of going the rounds along a chain of guards for observation or the maintenance of security b :  the person performing such an action c :  a unit of persons or vehicles employed for reconnaissance, security, or combat

2 :  a subdivision of a Boy Scout troop or Girl Scout troop

 

Or, nodding to that British officer, Oxford:

Definition of patrol in English: noun

1A person or group of people sent to keep watch over an area, especially a detachment of guards or police: a police patrol stopped the man and searched him

1.1The action of keeping watch over an area by walking or driving around it at regular intervals: the policemen were on patrol when they were ordered to investigate the incident

1.2An expedition to carry out reconnaissance: we were ordered to investigate on a night patrol

1.3A routine operational voyage of a ship or aircraft: a submarine patrol

1.4A unit of six to eight Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts forming part of a troop.

 

verb (patrols, patrolling, patrolled)

[with object] Back to top   Keep watch over (an area) by regularly walking or traveling around or through it: the garrison had to patrol the streets to maintain order [no object]: pairs of men were patrolling on each side of the thoroughfare

 

I suppose I should brace myself for some masterful counter-quote of BP saying that Boy Scouting's use of the term as a noun is in no way to be confounded with the traditional uses of it as a verb. If so, it doesn't seem his scouts got the memo. To quote one of his scouts regarding Brownsea:

"... we were ready for the first days activities.

That proved to be "patrolling." B-P wanted to find out if the patrol method he had devised ... would work."

-- Arthur Primmer, via Hillcort, Boy's Life, August 1982. p 32.

Edited by qwazse

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