Jump to content
Eagle94-A1

The PLC Has Decided: Mixed Aged Patrols in May

Recommended Posts

Yeah, I believe scouts want to hang with their friends.  And for the most part you can't force it.  

 

I wish you the best.  Changing from mixed age to scouts choosing their patrol is relative easy.  Switching from age based or self-picked to mixed age is harder.  Switching to "assigned" patrols I've seen too.  Scouts have quit over it.  Mainly because they are now being told they can't hang with their friends.  Usually, it's the 14/15 and higher ages that it hits hardest. 

 

That is something I'm afraid of. Why I and other leaders have talked to the older Scouts about the situation and have just about begged them to come up with ideas to solve it besides going mixed aged.  One thing that the older guys are holding on to, and one that we adults need to keep faith with, is allowing them to do some separate activities, i.e. backpacking trip while the rest are hiking, doing a more difficult train at a place that has multiple trails, etc.

 

:)  No matter what process one uses, if they let the boys decide, then when things go awry, they have no one but themselves to blame.  I always go for that option whenever possible.  I never want to get holding the bag.

 

The Scouts decided the process: picking out of cups. I admit, I would have liked to have the older Scouts decide who to buddy up with to form new patrols. Then have the rest of the troop pick which older Scouts they want to be with.   I realize that so solution is going to perfect. Hopefully this will make transition work well, especially since they had ownership of the process. I believe if they own the process they will accept it better.

 

 

 

Eagle 94, I know that you probably wouldn't really know and its not like its something you could easily find out I suppose... so this is just "thinking out loud" stuff here...

But I would find it very interesting to do a survey or study of sorts with your scouts

something they could respond to in private away from other's ears....perhaps anonymous...

to explore things like 

how many scouts are completely happy with the outcome?

How many favorable pairing ended up happening....ie how many scouts are going to be hanging with his friends?  all of them?  some? only one of them?  etc...

how many new toxic pairings might result (& I don't mean the original ones that they clearly separated)

how many scouts just aren't happy with the outcome, even if they'll live with it.... like maybe got in with one or two of his best friends but the rest boys that he's less agreeable with

how many are on the verge of quitting over it

.... stuff like that.

 

 

Good Questions.  I started a chat with my son on folks' thoughts, and I just found out how the new pairing was announced last nite (I was in another room talking to a parent about summer camp when they annoucned the new patrols in May). Essentially an ASM announced it just before the meeting ended. The ASM announced the new patrols and not the SPL. No explanation on why this came about, no explanation on why it's being done, and no explanation that the PLC, their elected officials, decided on this.

 

NOT HAPPY ABOUT THAT (emphasis)

 

His feelings is that he can live with it. What's funny, and frustrating, is that we keep telling folks about the potential influx of 13 to 24 new Scouts come December. One reason we needed to come up with a new way of doing things NOW is to get ready for this potential mass of new Scouts that will increase the troop 50-100%

 

 

@@Eagledad

 

I agree with you 110%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!could not have said it better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's always worth playing with the structure of things. I think this is a good process. Also, I believe adults have a role to play in this, I don't think you or another leader has overstepped (​based on what you've told us.)

 

But I will reiterate, scouts go to what patrol they want to be in. Roughly five years ago our SPL and PLC tried to experiment with a variety of methods to make more balanced patrols. Despite the adults reservation (I was just finishing up my time as a youth) they allowed us to give it a try. It didn't work for us, it may work for you all. The scouts just informally hung out in their natural patrols.

 

Your PLC has made the decision, and your job as an adult is to help them learn to manage and execute their decisions. 

 

​Best of luck, and feed us regular updates, I'm really curious to see how your scouts do with something mine couldn't make work.

 

​Sentinel947

 

 

II think the ASM announcing the new patrols, was overstepping. Especially without explaining why. Again when we talked to the older guys to come up with ways to get the situation resolved because of the massive influx headed our way. Yes they had concerns, but that potential is a massive thing to be concerned about.

 

 

Going off on a tangent and slipstreaming some.

 

What are some ideas you guys have to make the switch more palatable for the older Scouts?

 

We got one, some special activities for them based upon their skill levels.

 

One that I want to do, and was shocked that it wasn't being done, is having the SPL, PLs and a few others signing off on the S-T-2-1 requirements. Grant you there is no guarantee that the older scouts will be elected PLs. But hopefully the scouts will realize they need the best being leaders instead of anyone who wants the job.

 

Anyway, I'd love to see the PLC and selected others be able to sign off on the S-T-2-1 requirements for all the ranks they have passed. I think giving them responsibiltiy and ownership of advancement will help them and improve the troop.

 

Another thing I thought would help give them more ownership is actually running Courts of Honor. Ok I've been to only 1, but if all of them are like it, the adults run it with little to no fanfare. I'd like to see the youth run it, and incorporate some ceremony to it. I think making the rank aadvancement memorable is another way of giving ownership to the Scouts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How many patrols are we talking about?  I'm of the opinion that most patrols, no matter how they are formed, never really get a chance to gel.

I agree. We re did patrols about a year ago. I told the scouts to figure it out and do right by the younger scouts. They all ran around and picked friends and somehow the globs grew into patrol sized globs. They grouped more by personality than friends. You'd think that would be good, but in fact, no. The short version is summer camp was rough. there was a bit of moving around. But by now patrols do not want to change anything. I did spend a lot of time talking to patrols to get them to work through their people issues. The one thing that helped me is nobody could blame me for how the patrols were put together because I had nothing to do with it. Now the problem is going to be how to work a bunch of new scouts in with minimal disturbance. A lot of these guys do not want to split up. There are a couple of scouts I wish would split up but I'm keeping out of it.

 

As for using a random number generator to make patrols, that sounds like a bad way to break up friendships. Depending on how many patrols there are, for those scouts that have one or two really good friends, it's likely they won't be in the same patrol.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have 3 patrols currently, and will keep 3 after the switch over.  I think some "horse trading" regarding keeping toxic combinations apart dealt with friends. While they may not be with their best buddy, they do have friends together.

 

I've been doing a lot of thinking on the matter.I was with the PLC when they made the decision. I was not around when the new patrols were selected.Talking to the son, he said he thinks the adults pulled the names out of the cups and not the SPL. If that's the case, I'm having some concerns. 1) Even if the selection went without a hitch and done exactly as the PLC wanted, there will be the appearance that this was the adults decision, not the Scouts. 2) Who decided on the avoidance of toxic combinations? If it was the adults, then A there is no youth ownership and B) the youth didn't learn a valuable life skill: organizing groups of people.

 

I feel like the move to a true Boy Led troop is two steps forward, one step back. Gotta remember that we are progressing, and keep in mind getting the 23 Scouts we currently have fully ready to lead the 14-23 new Scouts we can get in December. It's going to take the entire troop to being prepared to take on that many new Scouts.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

6-8 boys per patrol, come up with a leader, when you're done, come tell me who's in the patrol and who's leading it.  End of discussion.  Everything from that point on is up to the boys to figure out.  If they have a problem with what they have chosen, not your problem, it's their problem.  Leader isn't doing the job?  Either help him be a better PL or get a new one that will do the job!  Your choice, your problem, figure it out.

 

The more they struggle getting the group and keeping the group happy, the more they will gel.  Adult interference in any of that will negate all that they have worked for.

 

PL has two scouts that are not working well together?  Then he better figure out how to fix it, it's his job as PL.

 

Best buddies in two different patrols?  Talk to the PL's work it out!  Whatever it takes to take care of your boys!!!

 

2 patrols of 8 and one new boy cross-over, one too many for either patrol.  6-8 boys/patrol, figure it out.  Get creative, think outside the box, problem solve.  All good learning opportunities for the boys!  Let them have at it!

 

Can the PL approach an adult for support and advice?  Yep!  Can the adult fix it for him?  Nope! 

 

Surprisingly this stuff does work itself out and the boys learn as they go.  This is how it's supposed to work....AND IT DOES!  Trust the boys, let them lead!

Edited by Stosh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

6-8 boys per patrol, come up with a leader, when you're done, come tell me who's in the patrol and who's leading it.  End of discussion.  Everything from that point on is up to the boys to figure out.  If they have a problem with what they have chosen, not your problem, it's their problem.  Leader isn't doing the job?  Either help him be a better PL or get a new one that will do the job!  Your choice, your problem, figure it out.

 

The more they struggle getting the group and keeping the group happy, the more they will gel.  Adult interference in any of that will negate all that they have worked for.

 

PL has two scouts that are not working well together?  Then he better figure out how to fix it, it's his job as PL.

 

Best buddies in two different patrols?  Talk to the PL's work it out!  Whatever it takes to take care of your boys!!!

 

2 patrols of 8 and one new boy cross-over, one too many for either patrol.  6-8 boys/patrol, figure it out.  Get creative, think outside the box, problem solve.  All good learning opportunities for the boys!  Let them have at it!

 

Can the PL approach an adult for support and advice?  Yep!  Can the adult fix it for him?  Nope! 

 

Surprisingly this stuff does work itself out and the boys learn as they go.  This is how it's supposed to work....AND IT DOES!  Trust the boys, let them lead!

Over the years of watching 1000s of boys in scouting, I have concluded that prepubescent males think of responsibility as work and and adventure as fun.

 

You tell us that you order your new scouts to pick a leader and figure it out. If they don' t like it, tough, figure it out. They don't know how to set up tents, they don't know how to cook, many are still afraid of the dark, but you order them to figure it out. And you don't  think that style of scoutmastering is a type of adult run? 

 

I guess it could work, but you are scoutmastering your 3rd troop in roughly five years.

 

I can't help but feel that you have left out 95% of how you run your troop. Certainly nobody here reading your posts could duplicate your claims by reading your thoughts of the process. If anything, your style sounds on the edge of abusive neglect. Maybe it just has to be seen to be understood.

 

I need more meat with your potatoes to understand your vision. What is your vision?

 

Barry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The more I deal with the troop I'm currently in, the more respect my old SM gets, and trust me I got him on a pedestal already ;) . I think a lot of the challenges the troop is facing IS because the adults are meddling into things, helping them out too much, and not letting them struggle some.  Scouting is suppose to be a place where kids can screw up royally in a safe environment and learn form their mistakes. Adults need to step away and let them struggle, intervening only when needed. I've compared the situation I feel I am in as being on a tight-wire on a ropes course without the belaying gear on. I'm trying to balance mentoring and letting Scouts grow on their own, but realize that in today's environment, kids are so use to adults telling them what to do and how to do it, they can't think on their own. My SM growing up knew how to balance that, and keep adults away form the Scouts.

 

He also had a cadre of older Scouts who would mentor and mold the younger ones. Unfortunately we don't have that in the current troop.

 

I know that struggle can solidify a patrol. There is something about overcoming a challenge that motivates folks. I know that those of us from my troop who went to Canada, while in separate patrols, did keep in contact with the other members in our 1/2 of the troop. ( 4 patrols total: 2 patrols formed one group with one set of guides, 2 patrols formed a second group with one set of guides).  My friend who treated me for hypothermia was in a different patrol, but still looked out for me when the 2 patrols were in camp together.

 

And while the 2 groups did have different experiences, they were similar enough to form a strong bond among us after the event.

 

This month the TG has basically said "you are on your own." At the patrol meeting this weekend, he's reiterating that for this camp out, he's there for supervision only. The hope is that the struggle will solidify the patrol. Grant you I do have some doubts, but I have been surprised by these guys a lot of time before.

 

Please keep it up, and thanks for bearing with the rambling.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The more I deal with the troop I'm currently in, the more respect my old SM gets, and trust me I got him on a pedestal already ;) . I think a lot of the challenges the troop is facing IS because the adults are meddling into things, helping them out too much, and not letting them struggle some.  Scouting is suppose to be a place where kids can screw up royally in a safe environment and learn form their mistakes. Adults need to step away and let them struggle, intervening only when needed. I've compared the situation I feel I am in as being on a tight-wire on a ropes course without the belaying gear on. I'm trying to balance mentoring and letting Scouts grow on their own, but realize that in today's environment, kids are so use to adults telling them what to do and how to do it, they can't think on their own. My SM growing up knew how to balance that, and keep adults away form the Scouts.

 

He also had a cadre of older Scouts who would mentor and mold the younger ones. Unfortunately we don't have that in the current troop.

 

I know that struggle can solidify a patrol. There is something about overcoming a challenge that motivates folks. I know that those of us from my troop who went to Canada, while in separate patrols, did keep in contact with the other members in our 1/2 of the troop. ( 4 patrols total: 2 patrols formed one group with one set of guides, 2 patrols formed a second group with one set of guides).  My friend who treated me for hypothermia was in a different patrol, but still looked out for me when the 2 patrols were in camp together.

 

And while the 2 groups did have different experiences, they were similar enough to form a strong bond among us after the event.

 

This month the TG has basically said "you are on your own." At the patrol meeting this weekend, he's reiterating that for this camp out, he's there for supervision only. The hope is that the struggle will solidify the patrol. Grant you I do have some doubts, but I have been surprised by these guys a lot of time before.

 

Please keep it up, and thanks for bearing with the rambling.

 

Yep, you got it!  Your TG is a keeper, needs to be a perpetual TG for every new patrol in your troop.  There comes a time when they need to get the boot out of the nest and take on the challenges of life.  Never underestimate the ability of your fledglings to fly.  The can and do!  Ya just gotta, "Train 'em. Trust 'em. LET THEM LEAD!" William "Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt  :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Troop guide wants a break. BIG TIME. :D  Funny thing is, I saw the list of scouts in the patrols and the "older Scout" has a good chance of being SPL again. The other older scout hasn't been seen in 3 months. Long story short, I have a feeling HE will be the "older Scout" in his patrol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The more I deal with the troop I'm currently in, the more respect my old SM gets, and trust me I got him on a pedestal already ;) . I think a lot of the challenges the troop is facing IS because the adults are meddling into things, helping them out too much, and not letting them struggle some.  Scouting is suppose to be a place where kids can screw up royally in a safe environment and learn form their mistakes. Adults need to step away and let them struggle, intervening only when needed. I've compared the situation I feel I am in as being on a tight-wire on a ropes course without the belaying gear on. I'm trying to balance mentoring and letting Scouts grow on their own, but realize that in today's environment, kids are so use to adults telling them what to do and how to do it, they can't think on their own. My SM growing up knew how to balance that, and keep adults away form the Scouts.

 

Eagle I'd say we are on the same page. 

 

Some other ramblings of mine.

 

The common error I see is adults who zig when they should zag, and zag when they should zig. 

 

What does that mean? 

 

SM's like to step in to avert disasters, but youth are pretty clever and can handle winging decisions in the moment. (And our identification of what a disaster is is too generous.) In my own unit, adults step in too much. Yet many SM's don't spend time outside the meeting help their youth leaders prepare plans for the meetings and outings. "We are a boy led troop they say." They've zigged when they should zag. Planning is not the strong suit of most American teenage boys. 

 

This doesn't mean we do the planning for them, and have them execute, but a good SM helps his Scouts plan their events by asking questions, prodding them when they get stuck, and challenging them when necessary. He ensures a plan is made, not that it's the most fabulous best thing ever, because it won't be if the Scouts are doing it themselves. When the actual execution of that event takes place, short of safety issues, the SM should have little reason to be involved, his scouts are prepared and they are the leaders. 

 

I spend very little time actively involved in the meetings or outings, but my primary activity is chatting with scouts (especially the ones in POR's) on the sidelines after a meeting, after a campfire, or before lights out hearing their thoughts. 

 

"Train em, Trust em, let them lead"  ;) 

 

Sentinel947 

Edited by Sentinel947
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One must be available to support the youth leaders in the troop.  If a boy is finding it difficult to plan ahead with activities and things just muddle along, there's nothing wrong with the SM (or SPL if there is one) asking the PL, "What can I do to help."  Leave the lead to the PL to define what he needs.  Too often adults step in and push what they think is needed.  Always a disaster waiting to happen because the PL immediately loses ownership in the problem.  "You have the solution to the problem?  It's your baby, Mr. SM! Knock yourself out!"  The PL is totally justified in doing that in my opinion! 

 

The only thing the adult needs to remember in this whole process is that he/she is not the solution to whatever problem the PL is having, he/she is the backboard to bounce PL ideas off of.  The first thing I ALWAYS ask my PL's when the come to me with a problem in their patrol, "What does your APL think about this?"  If he doesn't know, then the next question is, "Why?"  Isn't the APL supposed to be functioning as the PL's right-hand, go-to assistant?  If not, the PL needs to get someone in that position to help him lead the patrol, that's what an assistant is supposed to be doing anyway.  Two heads are better at solving problems than one.

 

Surprisingly at that point, most conversations cease and the PL/APL team go after the problem together and generally work things out.  To many PL's out there feel alone and abandoned when their right-hand man is sitting there on his hands waiting for him to skip a meeting so he has something to do.

 

Train your boys to lead and they will and the adults will naturally fade into the background as support staff to the troop.  I have found that the more one interferes in the operation of a trained troop (notice the past tense) the more problems there are.  What happens most often is that the boys get management training but no leadership training and they need to constantly go back to the adults for the advice, authority, etc. because the adults can't trust and let go of the reins.

Edited by Stosh
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Troop guide wants a break. BIG TIME. :D  Funny thing is, I saw the list of scouts in the patrols and the "older Scout" has a good chance of being SPL again. The other older scout hasn't been seen in 3 months. Long story short, I have a feeling HE will be the "older Scout" in his patrol

When we moved from NSP to mixed age patrols (years ago) we (and by the I mean the PLC) revamped the TG position. The new role essentially ran and managed all service projects and became a de facto counselor for new Scouts. Once we did that we saw more guys WANTING to be TGs.

 

Side Benefit: The guys who were TGs had kick butt Eagle projects because of the all the experience doing service project management.

Edited by Krampus
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When we moved from NSP to mixed age patrols (years ago) we (and by the I mean the PLC) revamped the TG position. The new role essentially ran and managed all service projects and became a de facto counselor for new Scouts. Once we did that we saw more guys WANTING to be TGs.

 

Side Benefit: The guys who were TGs had kick butt Eagle projects because of the all the experience doing service project management.

 

This is why my TF scouts of the NSP have been known (and often expected) to "take the lead" on service projects for their patrol and even for the troop at times.  Some of my older boys were doing Service Project/Eagle Project work without bothering to do the paperwork and jump through hoops.  They just would pick one to do the hoops/paperwork just to get Eagle credit for it.  The older boys eventually would back off on the projects and help the younger boys pick service projects to learn as they got closer to the time when they would need to pick one to do a write-up on.

 

I have seen my boys over the years do many "Eagle Projects" that simply didn't get written up but involved far more management and leadership than what I see some EP's of today doing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the updates Eagle94

 

one observation...When these types of conversations come up, I've noticed that they usually move to the NSP concept, and how the BSA "fabricated" the idea and everything was ok with "mixed age"

I'm thinking there are a couple things going on that have us tripping over semantics...

In my view it shouldn't have anything to do with "New Scouts" or "Mixed" at all.  Mixed age is not the goal I would seek, nor is the NSP as its commonly thought of.

Instead

the hybrid approach as old BP defined still seems very logical.  Friends hanging with friends.  Simple as that.

Yeah sure its about learning to work with others

and an older scout in the patrol can really be of a help to the newer scouts

BUT remember, it's gotta be fun for them too.

 

 

Way too far in the weeds. 

 

Let the scouts do their thing.   Unless life/limb/abuse are involved, we don't need to overcomplicate the situation, nor throw a wet blanket on it.   Granted, we're just talking here on the forum and the scouts are none the wiser.   But I see this dynamic in action at times, and it stifles the scouts.  

I don't agree that it's too far in the weeds.  

Clarke Green one talked about this game being Boy Lead, not Boy defined

There's a certain guidance that the adults need to bring to the party.  Sure the boys can and need to think on their own, but at this age they wouldn't possibly know it all (nor do adults, but that's another thread)

my point is that guiding scouts through these times (or not guiding them) is something all scouters could improve with...

and so for all scouters, but especially relatively new ones like me, these weeds are helpful.

 

B-P would have an issue with current troop sizes, BSA training, the cost of uniforms, etc. By the time he got around to Jimmy and Timmy needing to be in different patrols because they'd eventually stab one another with their buck knives, B-P would already have defibrillator paddles firmly affixed to his chest. ;)

 

We need to get over that one part about boy-led that precludes any adult interference. There's a fine line between the boys having their way all the time and Lord of the Flies. ;)

exactly!

 

I was involved in a troop where the scouts "choose".  What I also saw were adults heavily influencing the scouts behind the scenes or outside the meeting.

 

It's like that kid in every grade who stands up as a representative for some unpopular view because his dad or relative was involved even though it makes him less popular with the girls.  When I was young it was my friend who supported nuclear power because his dad helped build and run nuclear power plants.  His opinions were heavily influenced from the relationship and comments of his dad.

 

When I saw going from scouts choosing their patrols to the PLC assigning the patrols, I remember some parents talking about it with their sons about it being the right way to do things and how it was done when they were a kid.  Those scouts then argued for it because essentially they were defending their opinion of their dads.

 

So when i hear ... "The PLC decided" ... an eyebrow goes up and I apply a filter of common sense to understand the decision.  

 

In any event, good luck.  It can work.  I prefer scouts choosing and NSP.  But that's me.  

I have that same eyebrow raise when I hear "the scouts decided"

If the only way they've ever seen it done is ___, then that's the first thing that'll come to their minds.

At this age, this respect is starting to wane a bit, but when their dad is rambling on about something like this at home, they're certainly going to put value in that "direction" or "suggestion" from the person they probably respect the most.... even if it wasn't meant as direction/suggestion to them at all.

 

 

How many patrols are we talking about?  I'm of the opinion that most patrols, no matter how they are formed, never really get a chance to gel.  One thing our Troop tried (and it worked pretty well) was to have a camping trip where each Patrol had their own campsite - not just 300 yards and in sight.  We used Camp Lakota, our local Boy Scout camp (sadly on the chopping block in 2017) and the campsites weren't really in visual or normal sound range of each other.  The adults and senior Scouts had their own campsite.

 

That doesn't mean the Patrols were left to their own devices - each had a walkie talkie to be able to communicate with the SPL/Base Camp and the Troop did come together a couple of times over the course of the weekend (including a late Saturday afternoon wide game - patrols versus each other in a capture the flag game) but otherwise, they were on their own.  There was a Friday night fire for the entire unit but Saturday night, each Patrol had their own.  They had to plan their own activities for most of the weekend.  Was it a struggle for them?  Sometimes - but at the end of the weekend, the Scouts all thought it was one of the best camping trips they had been on, and the Patrols really worked well together after that.

 

I would love to encourage our troop to do this kind of thing.  really at pretty much every campout, event, or meeting it might be good on many levels for the patrols to really be independant patrols.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Regarding me suggesting things and the Scouts following. That is what I'm most scared off. I want them to think for themselves. I want them to try something new, fail, and learn from it. I don't want them just coming up to adults and doing exactly what they are told to do, nor listening to ideas the adults give out and following exactly the suggested idea. In the past, that is exactly what has been done.

 

On the opposite side, the Scouts have only seen things done one way. They sometimes cannot think outside fo the way they were shown. Even at the PLC, someone mentioned doing age specific patrols, essentially the current set up.

 

Big ole balancing act.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...