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Sentinel947

New Scouts, Patrols, A thought experiment.

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I think both NSP's and mixed age patrols for new Scouts can be equally viable. Like most organizations, this depends on the unique factors of your troop. (This is a slightly different discussion then using mixed age versus same age patrols in your troop as a whole, as we're only focusing on new scouts. If this experiment goes well, I'll create another thread for all patrols, not just what to do with new scouts.) 

Here are the parameters of my little game. 

Game:

What I'm looking for: Explain how your unit handles new scouts. Describe your troop. How big is your troop? How many adults do you have? Do you use a New Scout Patrol? Do you seed them into existing patrols? What are the roles of Scoutmasters and ASM's in your system? Give your pros and cons for why you do what you do. Do you think it's working? Would you consider switching? Why? Feel free to add something I didn't think of. It's not about answering my direct questions, as much as explaining your troop and how ya'll do things. 

What I'm not looking for: Why your unit down the street uses XYZ and it sucks, so don't use XYZ.

Make sense? I'll start:

My Troop: My Troop is a pretty large suburban troop. We have about 80 Scouts on the roster. our retention is pretty good, but I don't have the numbers committed to memory. We have A Scoutmaster in addition to 4 ASM's. We have 10 patrols, some average more than 8, some less. We have 1 SPL, and two ASPL's. 

We use new scout patrols. The Scouts come in as Cub Scouts in March. In January, the Troop elects POR's for the Jan-May. Even though it's not BSA kosher, all POR's are elected. Troop Guides are elected and their job is to work with the new scouts, to teach them the skills they need, and to work with the PL the new scouts will elect. The Troop guides are the only position in the troop with a year long term, but we're pretty flexible if a scout has another commitment and can't complete the whole year. 

This is helpful because the guys who run for Guide self select into being the guys most interested in working with new scouts, avoiding the scenario where older guys ignore the newbies, or worse, push all the work onto them. 

This is a challenge because like well meaning adults, well meaning older boys will sometimes try to do all the work, and not give the new scouts the chance to do camp tasks like cook or make the evening campfire. Training Troop Guides is really critical. We like to get them sent to NYLT whenever possible. (This is another can of worms, My council does NYLT very well. I know that's not the case everywhere.) One of the ASPL's works with the Guides. My role in the Troop is the new scout ASM. I observe the guides and the new scouts as discretely as possible. I work with the ASPL to coach and train his guides. Ultimately, I do very little. Since it was only 6 years ago that I myself was a Troop guide, it's a weekly struggle to sit on my hands and not interfere. =P

So our new scouts cross over in March. The Troop Guides meet with them and help the new guys break down into patrols. From there, the Troop guides break themselves into groups and assign themselves to patrols. The Troop guides help the new patrols conduct patrol elections to select their first patrol leader.  

For the first few months, the new scouts work with the troop guides to prepare for outings. This also helps them complete T2F requirements. They are more or less separated from the Troop, so the troop can conduct a full program, and not have to return to the basics with the whole troop every year. 

I'd say maybe half of the new scouts achieve first class in the first year with the Troop, but it's not something we stress.

It's also important to stress the chain of command, or lack of in my Troop. While it may look like one. ASM>ASPL>Guide>NSP PL. It isn't really. If the ASPL doesn't want my help, then I'm content to observe, the ASPL has to train the Guides, but not actively interfere with the Guide doing his job. the Guide needs to keep in mind that the NSP PL is a PL, and to help that PL lead, not do the job for him. 

The Scouts stay in this system until the end of the year. When the Troop goes to do elections for the following January-May term the NSP is no longer the NSP. They can stay together, they can split up. Some can stay, some can go to other patrols. The Adults nor the SPL sets the rules for how that transition happens.

It doesn't work perfectly, but we generally have between 15-20 new scouts to start the year, and maybe lose 4-5 though a year, either to sports or them finding out that scouts isn't that thing. We almost never lose new scouts to going to another troop. 

We would consider switching if the scouts pushed for it, or if we started bringing in too few scouts to create a patrol. Overall we are pretty happy with what we have right now. We think it orients the new scouts, gives the Guides a good mentoring role, the ASPL a good training role, and lets the rest of the Troop program operate a little more regularly without having to stop and take new scouts up to speed. 

Sentinel947

Edited by Sentinel947
Thanks to KenD500 for giving me another point to consider in my post.

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I like this because my troop is NOTHING like yours!

 

I think both NSP's and mixed age patrols for new Scouts can be equally viable. Like most organizations, this depends on the unique factors of your troop. (This is a slightly different discussion then using mixed age versus same age patrols in your troop as a whole, as we're only focusing on new scouts. If this experiment goes well, I'll create another thread for all patrols, not just what to do with new scouts.) 

Here are the parameters of my little game. Time to get out of theory land into the fun mud puddle of reality.

Game:

What I'm looking for: Explain how your unit handles new scouts. Describe your troop. How big is your troop? How many adults do you have? Do you use a New Scout Patrol? Do you seed them into existing patrols? What are the roles of Scoutmasters and ASM's in your system? Give your pros and cons for why you do what you do. Do you think it's working? Would you consider switching? Why? 

What I'm not looking for: Why your unit down the street uses XYZ and it sucks, so don't use XYZ.

Make sense? I'll start:

 

My Troop: My Troop is a pretty large suburban troop.   My troop is in a blue-collar section of a moderate sized city.  It's the only troop within it's 6 miles radius

 

We have about 80 Scouts on the roster. We have 2 active and one inactive scout 

our retention is pretty good,  Obviously ours could use a lot of work

but I don't have the numbers committed to memory. We have A Scoutmaster in addition to 4 ASM's.  1 SM, 1 ASM

We have 10 patrols, some average more than 8, some less. We have 1 SPL, and two ASPL's.  We don't have a patrol, or troop at this point.  We chartered 7 and have lost 5 our first year.

We use new scout patrols.  That's all we have to work with.

The Scouts come in as Cub Scouts in March.  Our Cub Scouts come in at the first of June.

In January, the Troop elects POR's for the Jan-May.  Our boys do not do elections, they select their leadership.

Even though it's not BSA kosher, all POR's are elected. Our boys do what's necessary to get the job done, no one wears patches except the PL.

Troop Guides are elected and their job is to work with the new scouts, to teach them the skills they need, and to work with the PL the new scouts will elect. The Troop guides are the only position in the troop with a year long term, but we're pretty flexible if a scout has another commitment and can't complete the whole year. Other troops in the area were asked through the district to provide TG for our new troop/boys,  That was a year ago, we're still waiting.

This is helpful because the guys who run for Guide self select into being the guys most interested in working with new scouts, avoiding the scenario where older guys ignore the newbies, or worse, push all the work onto them. 

This is a challenge because like well meaning adults, well meaning older boys will sometimes try to do all the work, and not give the new scouts the chance to do camp tasks like cook or make the evening campfire. Training Troop Guides is really critical. We like to get them sent to NYLT whenever possible. (This is another can of worms, My council does NYLT very well. I know that's not the case everywhere.) One of the ASPL's works with the Guides. My role in the Troop is the new scout ASM. I observe the guides and the new scouts as discretely as possible. I work with the ASPL to coach and train his guides. Ultimately, I do very little. Since it was only 6 years ago that I myself was a Troop guide, it's a weekly struggle to sit on my hands and not interfere. =P  In our situation, any warm-bodied, interested scout would have been qualified because it would have been better than nothing. 

So our new scouts cross over in March. The Troop Guides meet with them and help the new guys break down into patrols. From there, the Troop guides break themselves into groups and assign themselves to patrols. The Troop guides help the new patrols conduct patrol elections to select their first patrol leader.  

For the first few months, the new scouts work with the troop guides to prepare for outings. This also helps them complete T2F requirements. They are more or less separated from the Troop, so the troop can conduct a full program, and not have to return to the basics with the whole troop every year. 

I'd say maybe half of the new scouts achieve first class in the first year with the Troop, but it's not something we stress. After our first year of operation, one scout is Scout Rank, the other is waiting for his Tenderfoot BOR.  We have no experienced committee and all requests from other troops to hold a BOR have been declined.

It's also important to stress the chain of command, or lack of in my Troop. While it may look like one. ASM>ASPL>Guide>NSP PL. It isn't really. If the ASPL doesn't want my help, then I'm content to observe, the ASPL has to train the Guides, but not actively interfere with the Guide doing his job. the Guide needs to keep in mind that the NSP PL is a PL, and to help that PL lead, not do the job for him.   Our chain of command is one link.  We have a PL.

It doesn't work perfectly, but we generally have between 15-20 new scouts to start the year, and maybe lose 4-5 though a year, either to sports or them finding out that scouts isn't that thing. We almost never lose new scouts to going to another troop.   Of the 5 boys we lost this past year.  One went to another troop that is more "Eagle Oriented" and less work than staying with us.  His friend just quit when his buddy left.  One had a parent step in and say he couldn't continue with scouting, it was a worthless program. One quit because it was too much work and he didn't like to camp, and the last boy says he's interested, but hasn't shown up since marching in last year's Memorial Day Parade.  That leaves us with the current two boys.

We would consider switching if the scouts pushed for it, or if we started bringing in too few scouts to create a patrol. Overall we are pretty happy with what we have right now. We think it orients the new scouts, gives the Guides a good mentoring role, the ASPL a good training role, and lets the rest of the Troop program operate a little more regularly without having to stop and take new scouts up to speed.

 

The four of us, 2 boys  and 2 adults, we have shifted gears and are currently implementing a major Plan B.  Last night at the meeting we laid out a schedule from now to the end of June that entails basically designed to take over the Webelos dens of our closest three packs.  Yes, all four of us are in unanimous agreement it is being shifted to an adult-led program temporarily.    One pack meets twice a month and holds a pack meeting on one of those gatherings and an activity on the other.  There are no den activities.  None of the boys earn any awards except those worked on individually with their parent.  We'll call this Pack 1.  Pack 2 has a good WDL and is working nicely with his boys, but his direct feeder troop is an Eagle Mill and not all the parents are on the same page as far as automatically crossing over to that troop.  Pack 3 has an over-burdened WDL that doesn't have much help and basically is just hitting the highlights.  She is overwhelmed with the new Cub program and hasn't done anything to get a handle on it for the boys.  This Pack is our direct feeder pack, but with no troop previously, they go to other troops regularly in the past.  Pack 3 meets now at our CO, at the same time as we do. 

 

So what we are going to do is run our troop as a Webelos II program for any boy wanting to get his AOL.  Pack 1 is ecstatic and will probably be sending most of their boys to the program.  Pack 2 will send when we offer program that they haven't already covered.  Pack 3 will be sending up the boys on a regular basis to make sure they get AOL.

 

So this leaves us with an interesting dilemma... What are we as a troop going to do next year with the potential of 20-30 new boys who have 5 months experience of coming to our location for scouting?  We don't have the option of really being a boy-led program right away.  We don't have the option of having mixed-aged patrols.  We don't have enough adults to give each patrol a "mentor".  Our current PL will need to be the TG for half the patrols.  And our other boy will be TG for half the patrols as well.

 

I'm thinking our first year starting in June is going to be focused totally on S2FC advancement, but that doesn't automatically mean we are going to be an adult-run Eagle-mill either.  :)  The 2 boys and 2 adults have made a pact that this current plan is a one-time only and will revert back to boy-led as the new boys get up to speed.  It is our stated goal that from now to June it's AOL training for Cub Scouts, then June to December for S2FC training and leadership development.  Then in January 2017, the whole process should be back to boy-led, with enough boys to push the AOL program on their own and maintain the troop as well.  We were thinking this AOL award alone is a possible boon for troops to teach so that the Webelos II boys really get a chance to know a troop before crossing over.

 

So, @@Sentinel947, what say ye to help us with our program?  :)  I sure am glad I got 45 years of experience under my belt because I would be tempted to just push off the boys to another troop instead of taking it on head first.  I have an obligation as SM to make the troop work for my boys.  That's my job and I practice what I preach I'm gonna take care of my boys whatever it takes!  ;)

 

Edited by Sentinel947
Sentinel947- edited my name out of Stosh's reply. Made it look like he was quoting me in his final paragraph.
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@Stosh 

That's exactly what I'm looking for in this thread. It gives me a really clear idea of why you do what you do. I give you a ton of respect for pushing forward in a situation like that. I don't know if I would. 

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I have experienced three answers:

 

NSP in strict accordance with BSA guidelines.  It worked as well as the Troop Guide understood his proper roll.  If he thought he was the boss, did not work so well.  The troop has not given the TGs any special guidance or training, so it's "pot luck."

 

NSP "given" a Scout who had already been a PL with the expectation that he would be elected PL for the year (They used one year terms of office.).  They took great care is selecting the "ringer" and gave him special training.  Over half the time, the "ringer" is elected SPL the following year.  In terms of participation and retention, has worked well ever since the NSP arrived.   Another factor may be at work: this troop is very strong on furnishing good Den Chiefs to their feeder pack and periodically inviting Webelos to troop outings.

 

New Scouts distributed among existing patrols by decision of SM, ASMs, and SPL.   Consistent 50% loss the first year. Then they tried pairing new Scouts ("Who do you want to stay with?") in existing patrols. Finally, last Spring they asked the new crossovers, 5/6 of whom came from the same den, what they wanted.  They wanted to be a patrol.  The troop agreed but, in this first year of changed system, assigned an ASM to be, in effect, Troop Guide.  He and I have talked a lot.  He has finished basic training and will take Wood badge this Spring.  I think he is doing a good job of staying as far in the background as one could hope - leading by questions ("How much time do you think that will take?" etc.)  (He seems like the best candidate to become SM when the current guy moves on as he has said he will in 2017.)  The strong group loyalty of these six boys is also clearly a factor.  The one from another pack fit right in.

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We have a small, suburban Troop.  Surrounded by LDS Troops (small) and non-LDS Troops (big 60-120 Scouts).

 

Started 2015 with 5 Scouts; 1 being inactive.  1 SM (me) & no ASM.  Scouts were 16, 16, 15, 14, 12.  They functioned as 1 Patrol. 

 

At cross-over, we got 3 more.  They continued to operate as 1 Patrol but during Inter-Patrol activity time, they would split up.  They usually split by ages.  After 1 month of this, I proposed that they create 2 Patrols split where they had usually split.  The 12 y.o. became the PL of the younger group.

 

During the summer, we had 3 more.  They all went into the younger group.  When the Scouts originally visited, they worked with the younger Patrol so when they joined, that's who they knew.

 

Adults - 1 SM, 1 ASM - he was originally on the committee as we needed the numbers, 7 on the committee.  We had the District Advancement Chair come in to train a core group of 3 how to do a BOR.  The CC has trained the others.

 

Roles of adults - we teach the skill session portion of the Troop meeting when asked.  Seems to be about once every other month or so.  I have been leading the flag retirement ceremonies until this weekend when I had a Scout volunteer.  He did great and I can take another step back.

 

Dilemma we currently have:  The older Scout Patrol (Merlins) will soon be down to 2 due to age out.  What we (PLC & I) are pondering is if we have 3 or more Webelos cross this spring to have the youngest Scout from the younger Scout Patrol (Ghosty Goats) form a Patrol with the cross overs.  And have the Merlins continue to operate as a Patrol & be the Troop Leadership Corp.  We don't want to split the Patrols already formed.

 

So far, age based Patrols are working for us.  Mental maturity level is approx the same amongst the Patrol members.  When I hear New Scout Patrol, I think a temporary Patrol that is split up among the other Patrols as the Scouts advance.  Using that definition, we don't use NSP.

 

I think I answered everything.

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@Stosh 

 

That's exactly what I'm looking for in this thread. It gives me a really clear idea of why you do what you do. I give you a ton of respect for pushing forward in a situation like that. I don't know if I would. 

 

I had a situation where I had one boy who wanted to go to this church group activity 300 miles away.  I took him (This was in the days before 2-deep, but his parents and I were neighbors and good friends).  Anyway he came back so pumped up with what happened, the next year I had to get my CDL for school but and the school let me use the 66 passenger bus to take the kids.  Fortunately I did pick up a second adult to go.  :)  Big problems are always the most fun.   65 kids in downtown Minneapolis in the middle of winter was quite the challenge but it was a blast anyway!

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So far, age based Patrols are working for us.  Mental maturity level is approx the same amongst the Patrol members.  When I hear New Scout Patrol, I think a temporary Patrol that is split up among the other Patrols as the Scouts advance.  Using that definition, we don't use NSP.

 

I think I answered everything.

That reminds me to clarify that. Thanks for your insight. You have a smaller troop than I do, but what you're doing seems to be working well for you. 

 

Thanks to @@KenD500 I added a post to my original post. But I'll copy it here. 

 

"The Scouts stay in this system until the end of the year. When the Troop goes to do elections for the following January-May term the NSP is no longer the NSP. They can stay together, they can split up. Some can stay, some can go to other patrols. The Adults nor the SPL sets the rules for how that transition happens." 

Edited by Sentinel947
Edited for clarity!

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So far, age based Patrols are working for us.  Mental maturity level is approx the same amongst the Patrol members.  When I hear New Scout Patrol, I think a temporary Patrol that is split up among the other Patrols as the Scouts advance.  Using that definition, we don't use NSP.

 

I think I answered everything.

 

Gee, if one is going to define it that way, I don't use NSP's either!  :)

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For more than three years, our NSP was a "no scout patrol" -- no crossovers 'cept younger brothers  who just fit in to a one patrol troop. By the end of last year our youngest scout was 14.

 

Now we merged with the other troop who was garnering the bulk of the community's Webelos. Only a few of their boys (close friends of our scouts) were between 15 and 16. So, 3 patrols are somewhere between ages 12 and 14. The older boys are kind of in the patrols, kind of in a leadership corps, and kinda in a venturing crew. They are doing a decent job of determining program, instructing, and bringing the young PL's up to speed.

 

Anyway, the plan is to let cross-overs be a NSP for about 6 months until everyone gets to know everyone else. We are providing two options for summer camp (one to the west - dining hall, one to the east - patrol cooking) on the same week, so that might influence how things settle out.

 

We are flush with adults. Our challenge is to get them to back off. Adults of young scouts are helicopterish, adults of older our alumni scouts are critical of how rough the young ones do things.

 

I really like the new SM.  I myself am beginning to feel like I can stop worrying about the troop and focus on the crew.

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Stosh,

 

 

    I realize you're not looking for approval for your plan, but I still like it and I approve. I've been in scouting for many years, and wish my community was in a position to do just what your planning. I like everything about each step your taking. Just keep your assistant and two scouts involved at all levels so they feel completely invested. With your experience and knowledge, I'm looking for these current and new scouts to have an absolutely fantastic program.

 

No limits,

 

sst3rd

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Rural troop with 22 on paper, but more like 16 active. We got reestablished about 6 or 7 years ago Up until this year we only had the SM at every meeting. The ASM was also the CM and could only guarantee camp outs IF the camp out was scheduled for a weekend he was not on call. 1 ASM attneded meeting as he could, and did camp outs either F-Sat. or day trip Sat.  He is also the IH. Within the past year, we've gotten another SM who attends when not out of town on business, Me switching from committee to ASM since I dropped Cubs, and a MC who is no longer CM of my old pack and is starting to make the switch to ASM.

Troop doubled in size when my son joined. We went with the NSP concept. TG wasn't really effective, and honestly I and one of the dad got a little more involved than we should. That is our 12-13 year old NSP as advancement hasn't been a focus until this year, But what helped when they were in their first year with the troop was A) coming from 2 Packs that had a relationship B) the entire patrol going to summer camp together. Also they love to camp. I don't consider them a NSP, but according to current BSA literature, they are since only 1 is First Class.

 

Our 10-11 year old NSP  came about with December 2014 Cross Over. Some did transfer to another troop. Originally from 2 packs, but a third pack had their troop fold, and they joined us in March/April of last year. Plus we had a few more join in June. Not everyone went to sumemr camp, and one of those who did go to summer camp left early. Unlike the other patrol, can't get all of them on the same campsite.

One of the things I do not like is the election and appointment process. SPL and PLs are nominated and voted on. OK cool with that EXCEPT you cannot nominate yourself. Someone else has to nominate you. Also with the NSP, those nominated felt obligated to nominate someone, even if they didn't want the position.

 

What I disliked is that once the SPL and PLs were elected, the Scouts were allowed to nominate who the APLs and troop level PORS were. Once Nominations were done, the SM appointed positions. After seeing how things were done, I can see how the confusion came about when I first switched to ASM. People were appointed to positions, but never showed up. And when someone stepped up to the plate, they were not recognized for serving in the role. Big proponent of the SPL pickign his staff, and the PL picking his APL.

 

Traditionally troop got the bulk of their new Scouts at the December Crossovers. With the troop that folded, we got their new Scouts in the march-April timeframe.  We also get one or two new Scouts in June, when those Webelos who can transfer over early will do so. We got 1 new Scout this December, and is anticipating another 2 in March since my pack decided to wait until then to do Cross Over.

 

HOWEVER we are anticipating 14, with the potential for 23, new scouts in December when the CO's pack does their Cross Over, and my middle son's den will be Crossing Over too. Unfortunately you can read about that pack's CO's Troop in other threads.

 

We've done NSPs, but we've had some serious issues this past year. We are contemplating going mixed aged in May, but are going to talk to the Scouts and get their input. 

 

We do not separate the New Scouts from the troop at all. And advancement hasn't been a focus of the troop until this year. We got a few Scouts who need First Class in order to go to Philmont, and we want all the current Scouts to get to First Class under teh pre-2016 requirements that they started with.

 

 

We have lost scouts. For some, we are not as organized as some other troops.  Several troop in our area are heavily adult oriented. the best troop In our district is about 2 miles form us, and they are extremely organized by the youth. BUT the troop has been around since before the council existed. They got a lot of experienced Scouts and have a great program. If it wasn't for their mandatory fundraiser, I would have paid them a visit as they remind me the most of my troop growing up. The fundraiser is what thew me, and a few others.

 

We've also lost scouts because we are not advancement oriented. Some moms and dads want Eagles.

 

Because we have been following the BSA's current model, and because we have not emphasized advancement, everyone is pretty much in the same patrol they started in.

We are considering switching things up. 3 Scouts have commented on the NSP situation. And we need to start preparing for the 14-23 new Scouts in 11 months.

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......One of the things I do not like is the election and appointment process. SPL and PLs are nominated and voted on. OK cool with that EXCEPT you cannot nominate yourself. Someone else has to nominate you. Also with the NSP, those nominated felt obligated to nominate someone, even if they didn't want the position......

I wonder about the origins of these sorts of rules, did it come form a long ago scout or from an adult, and now it just stands as SOP because the boys don't know anything different? (as in the boys don't even know that they CAN question it or change it..)

& these are the sort of things where i want to echo comments I've read here before.... that's adding to the requirements...

 

In my troop, i just learned that they have specific term periods for various positions.  Nothing wrong with it I guess, but it's the same sort of thing.  Why should it be that if they made a mistake in say a PL, that the patrol would have to suffer for X months before they can fix the problem?

..... 

What I disliked is that once the SPL and PLs were elected, the Scouts were allowed to nominate who the APLs and troop level PORS were. Once Nominations were done, the SM appointed positions. After seeing how things were done, I can see how the confusion came about when I first switched to ASM. People were appointed to positions, but never showed up. And when someone stepped up to the plate, they were not recognized for serving in the role. Big proponent of the SPL pickign his staff, and the PL picking his APL.

makes good sense to me

 

Because we have been following the BSA's current model, and because we have not emphasized advancement, everyone is pretty much in the same patrol they started in.

We are considering switching things up. 3 Scouts have commented on the NSP situation. And we need to start preparing for the 14-23 new Scouts in 11 months.

maybe they are in the same patrols because they like their patrol mates.  why does that have anything to do with BSA's model or advancement?

I actually think it makes sense for them to stick with the same patrol... but not forced to, only if they want to

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Eagle94-A1, blw2 beat me to the answers I would have given.  If the SOP doesn't make sense then take measures to do what it takes to make sense for the boys one has at the present time.

 

I hold no elections, I have no terms of tenure and seem to operate just fine.  Even to the point where I was removed from the SM position once for expecting too much leadership from the boys.  In other words, they were expected to actually operate the whole troop by themselves!  Heaven forbid that ever happen.  The boys organized their patrols, they selected their leadership, if a job needed to be done, they rolled up their sleeves and did it because there wasn't any adult going to do it for them. Being a smallish troop of about 25 scouts, they had to all pitch in to make it work and that's what they did.

 

Once the boys know they can create any of their own SOP's, life in the troop seems to run a lot smoother. 

 

And since when are elections, terms of office, etc, requirements that can't be added to or changed?  That's news to me.

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40 scouts. Suburban. Money is becoming more of an issue, but that's mostly because HA trips are going up in price. Lots of adults sign up but there's a natural culture to back off, as they're all busy. I have few adults that work with scouts. After what I've read here I should count my blessings. Two years ago I made a big push for boy led and am now seeing the results.

 

As I said in another thread, our NSP is roughly March to June and we have two troop guides per patrol. They are at least 15. The process of selecting them is usually one of Jedi mind tricks. I usually walk up to a couple of scouts and ask if they've ever thought of being a TG. But anyone can ask. The idea of having TGs guide a PL within the NSP is honestly new to me, and I think it's a great idea. Since our NSP is so short in duration the focus is on developing teamwork. I'm usually happy if the scouts are tenderfoot by the time summer camp is over. This FCFY thing is driving me nuts. I believe in ALOFFYPAMAATSW (a lot of fun first year plus as much advancement as the scout wants). Some love advancement. The scouts that need scouting the most typically do not.

 

Our scouts decide the length of their PORs. Since I'm always preaching developing their replacement I haven't seen anyone go much longer than the 6 month period anyway. One benefit is we don't see a new group of PLs all at once.

 

I'm always willing to change things. After what I've read here I'd like to better set goals for what the TGs are trying to accomplish. Teamwork and finding a patrol they want. There has always been the assumption that at the end of the NSP scouts are broken out into the other patrols. I would like to revisit that idea. There are more options and getting the new scouts' input is something we should do more of. It's an opportunity for the scouts to solve a problem.

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