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Patrol leader election questions

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"With everything I have said about boy-led,"

 

Stosh, I have tremendous respect for you as a Scouter, but none of us is the final arbiter of what is, or is not, Boy Scouting, though many seem to think so.

 

No one abandons BSA Boy Scouting without thinking their personal way is better,   

 

Everyone of the quote you provided in the previous posting fits very well into the model I use.

 

 

"Rule #2, they need some prodding and a whole lot of support. I regularly call scouts and ask what they need help with. I know, the SPL should be doing this but we just aren't there yet."

 

They sure do.  But under the Patrol Method is this not primarily a responsibility of the PLs? PLs, in turn, might delegate this duty, in some aspects, to the Patrol Scribe or ASPL.

 

Everything is the responsibility of the PL's in the Patrol Method.  That's how he takes care of his people.

 

If the PL discovers some need that he wants help with, he can communicate with the SPL  who can go to the SM as needed.  Maybe a training session on a particular problem is required, Mr. Head Trainer.

 

Sounds like a PL directive with a flow from PL to SPL to SM if needed.  That's exactly what I promote.

 

A regular part of PLCs I have seen is the SPL going around the table asking each PL how "things are going" in his respective patrol.

 

That's fine, but if there is a problem the PL should go to the SPL for support immediately, not wait for the PLC and what is of concern to the one patrol probably has nothing to do with the other patrols.

 

The SPL, in turn, should be watching for signs of problems in the patrols and identifying situations where a PL needs support..

 

Yep, with a close eye on the new boys' patrol.  (with the help of a TG who's doing that as well)

 

If we are talking about advancement, that activity is primarily to be going on in the patrols.  

 

Yes, fit's "my" model no problem.

 

"[Patrols are] ... small groups of Scouts who camp together, cook together, play together, and learn together."    B.S.A. , Orientation for New Scout Parents (2016).

 

Yep, totally independent and autonomous from the "troop".

 

"[The patrol members] interact in a small group outside the larger troop context, working  together as a team and sharing the responsibility of making their patrol a success."   B.S.A., Scouting.org (2016)

[emphasis added]

 

Yep, see above.

 

"[The patrol is] the place where boys learn skills together, take on leadership responsibilities, perhaps for the first time."  B.S.A., Scouting.org (2014)

 

Yep, the #1 goal of the new scouts patrol.

 

"Patrols will sometimes join with other patrols to learn skills and complete advancement requirements. [emphasis added] . . . At other times they will compete against those same patrols in Scout skills and athletic competitions.  B.S.A., Scouting.org (2016)

 

Yep, optional PLC if they sometimes need it.

 

Helpful adults do not instinctively do things this way.  When they see the pancake burning, their instinct is to be "helpful."

 

Thanks for making my point.  No where do I see where the SPL, the PLC or the SM take the reins of leadership from the PL's.  In the Patrol Method the PL's are in charge, everyone else supports their efforts of maintaining the Patrol Method.

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As I personally believe that patrols ought to meet several times before the troop ever meets and that the Scout is to primarily experience Scouting in the patrol (which I see as the sum of BSA's official pronouncements), I am  not sure how that flowy thing works in my "model."    Of course, I am "not sure" about a number of issues.  I go back and forth about the NSP, for example.

 

Also, because it seems clear that under the Patrol Method - BSA's official "model,"  the leaders (Scouts) are elected and the SM is not supposed to directly lead at all, I not sure how that flowy thing works there either..  

 

Read what I posted with an open heart about PLs going to the SPL when they think they need help.  Cannot one be a coach and resource without being "in charge"?  I hope so, as that is the adult role as BSA defines it (and Bill defined it) is supposed to be part of the Patrol Method.  Of course, the PL is to lead his patrol.  Hence "Patrol Method."  And in the PLC, the patrols control the troop program, having more votes than the SPL's one vote.

 

How a minor, the SPL, signs up any Scouts for summer camp escapes my limited experience and imagination -- unless the "summer camp" is not a council camp and does not require formal paperwork. One year my old troop did "summer camp" on private property in the mountains, and the owner didn't require any formalities.  Otherwise, as BP found, adults will have a role.  As always, the PLC had decided where the troop went to camp, for those troops that use the Patrol Method - that is Boy Scout troops.

 

You also seem to have dumped Bill's entire chapter on how the patrol is loyal to the troop in which its Scouts are registered.  Pretty smart guy, Bill.  Probably BSA was right is calling him the most influential Scouter ever. I would be reluctant to ignore his teachings based solely on dedication to my personal version of Scouting, but everyone has to direct their own feet.

Edited by TAHAWK

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Personally, TAHAWK, I don't think we are all that far apart in our thinking.

 

 

As I personally believe that patrols ought to meet several times before the troop ever meets and that the Scout is to primarily experience Scouting in the patrol (which I see as the sum of BSA's official pronouncements),

 

Same for me.  Total agreement here.

 

I am  not sure how that flowy thing works in my "model."    

 

Think of it this way.  If the Patrol Method (PM) is primary to the program, then the PL is primary in directive of the patrol's operation.  The SM doesn't dictate patrol operations, nor does the SPL.  Just the PL directs.  The SPL and SM only support the PL and help him be successful as he directs them to be helpful.

 

Of course, I am "not sure" about a number of issues.  I go back and forth about the NSP, for example.

 

To me the NSP is nothing more than a patrol of new guys coming into the program.  They're going to need some special attention/support in their organization and orientation to the troop.  An SPL has a fair amount of support duties with the regular patrols and the venture patrols so a TG is assigned to focus his support solely on the new guys.  What's it gonna take to HELP the new PL get his patrol up and running in the troop.  Nothing more, nothing less.  It's not a big deal, or at least not as big a deal as everyone seems to make it out to be.

 

Also, because it seems clear that under the Patrol Method - BSA's official "model,"  the leaders (Scouts) are elected and the SM is not supposed to directly lead at all, I not sure how that flowy thing works there either..  

 

Here is where the servant leadership of the SM and SPL come into play with the duly (s)elected PL's.  They are there to help, support, cheer on, give options and advice, but just not interfere with the PL's operation of the patrol.   PL: We've never gone to summer camp before, we don't know what we're doing.  TG: well, I can tell you what the other PL's are doing and maybe that will help you with what you need to be doing.  I know the venture patrol is heading out of council for their summer camp, but maybe you would like to consider doing something close to home this first time to kinda get your feet wet and learn about how summer camp works.  What do you think?  PL:  I think that's probably a good idea, let me check with my boys and see what they think.  .... PL:  The boys want to do the council camp like you suggested.  Can you give me some help on what my next step should be?  TG: Sure....

 

Never once does the TG take over, he just helps the PL be successful in his duties as PL.

 

Read what I posted with an open heart about PLs going to the SPL when they think they need help.  Cannot one be a coach and resource without being "in charge"?  I hope so, as that is the adult role as BSA defines it (and Bill defined it) is supposed to be part of the Patrol Method.  

 

Of course an SPL, TG (in the NSP situation), SM and ASM's can help... as long as it is just help!   PL: Mr. SM, I need a tour permit for summer camp, what do I do, or is that something you need to do as an adult?

 

Of course, the PL is to lead his patrol.  Hence "Patrol Method."  And in the PLC, the patrols control the troop program, having more votes than the SPL's one vote.

 

If one is teaching proper protocol in the PLC, one could naturally use the Robert's Rules of Order to facilitate the PLC from deteriorating into a free-for-all, which most PLC seem to do.

 

SPL chairs the meeting, he does not have a vote.  The PL's are the voting members  One vote per patrol with the elected representative (PL) in attendance.  The PLC votes only on troop issues, never on issues of patrol operations.  For example the PLC with 1 NSP, 2 Regular, and 1 Venture patrols cannot vote that everyone HAS to go to COUNCIL CAMP this summer when the venture patrol wants to try something new in a camp they found on line that sounds really great.  PLC cannot dictate to the patrols.  If the SPL and SM are dedicated to supporting the PM, they must be prepared to support the PATROLS first which means 3 patrols are going to council camp and the venture patrol is going someplace else.  SPL and SM?  Make it happen!  This is what the PATROL Method is all about in my book.

 

Now if the PLC decides that out of all the patrol QM's Little Johnny needs a POR and would like to take on being the Troop QM for 6 months, should he be given a chance?  Let's vote.  That is a troop organizational decision and has nothing to do with patrol operations.  It does help the patrols by having troop support of the patrol QM's.

 

If the number of patrols is only 3 or 4, the 3 or 4 PL's can generally work these things out by themselves, but once one gets 4-5+ patrols, the PLC becomes an organizational and communication facilitator and can support the work of the PL's in their patrols.  How many patrols going to council camp this summer?  Okay 3, those 3 PL's can work together.  Where's the others going?  One ot camp A,? 2 to Camp B?  You three sure on that?  what's the difference between Camp A and B?  Maybe the three of you can come together on this, if not, we'll need adults for 3 different camps this summer.  As SPL I'll start working on that right away.

 

How a minor, the SPL, signs up any Scouts for summer camp escapes my limited experience and imagination -- unless the "summer camp" is not a council camp and does not require formal paperwork. One year my old troop did "summer camp" on private property in the mountains, and the owner didn't require any formalities.  Otherwise, as BP found, adults will have a role.  As always, the PLC had decided where the troop went to camp, for those troops that use the Patrol Method - that is Boy Scout troops.

 

And yet there's nothing major about trying to accommodate as many boys as possible for THEIR scouting experience.  If the PLC decides ALL patrols MUST go to council camp, have they not taken away the autonomy of the patrol method and now are operating as Troop Method?  Is it really SUPPORT being provided when it is designed around the easiest solution for the "helpers" and not the wishes of the patrols?  It is here that I can see the PM dynamics beginning to fall apart due to such things as simplification of adult efforts warrants troop operations if they are going to support the boys.  The whole becomes more influential than the individual parts and the move from PM to Troop control begins.  Because it's easier for adults to run a troop than it is for them to support the individual patrols.  This is the #1 problem in troops thinking they are using the PM when they really aren't.

 

 

You also seem to have dumped Bill's entire chapter on how the patrol is loyal to the troop in which its Scouts are registered.  Pretty smart guy, Bill.  Probably BSA was right is calling him the most influential Scouter ever. I would be reluctant to ignore his teachings based solely on dedication to my personal version of Scouting, but everyone has to direct their own feet.

 

But by going to the Patrol Method does not automatically mean one is disloyal to the troop.  Patrols work and play together all the time.  Just because they form individual autonomous patrols doesn't mean they don't see themselves as part of a greater whole.  I'm in high school as a freshman (NSP) .  Does that mean all the seniors (Venture Patrol) have to do the same thing as me?  No.  Does that mean because we do things differently that we're not all part of the same school?  This model for PM reflects the real world all the time.  Does the Engineering Department at work do the same things and have the same needs as the Accounting Department?  Are they all part of the same company?

 

For the life of me I can't figure out how there are those here on the forum think I'm running a renegade BSA operation when nothing I'm doing is any different than what BSA promotes and what is reflected in the every day lives of the scouts AND their parents/scouters.

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"Rule #2, they need some prodding and a whole lot of support. I regularly call scouts and ask what they need help with. I know, the SPL should be doing this but we just aren't there yet."

 

They sure do.  But under the Patrol Method is this not primarily a responsibility of the PLs? PLs, in turn, might delegate this duty, in some aspects, to the Patrol Scribe or ASPL.

 

Sure, that's the goal but I'm not there yet because it's the PL that needs the prodding.

 

What I was trying to get across is that boy led is not binary. It's not that one day a troop goes from adult led to boy led. I tried that a couple times and it fell flat. Rather, it's evolving.

 

What I see is scouts learn from scouts, not adults. But scouts that haven't seen it done right before won't suddenly start doing it. That leaves a chicken and egg situation. My approach to solve that is to make small changes, and that might include prodding the scouts.

 

Paraphrasing what @@Eagledad said, you don't just come up to a new 13 year old patrol leader that's never seen it done right and tell him he needs to motivate his scouts. I tried, no luck.

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But scouts that haven't seen it done right before won't suddenly start doing it.

 

More than just that, eh?

 

Troops run downhill over time.   Older boys move on, adults turn over, da focus becomes just gettin' the next thing done rather than embracin' a vision.   The tree of Patrol Method and Youth Leadership and Values must be periodically refreshed by da blood, sweat, and tears of Scoutmasters. :p    And sometimes of great PLs and SPLs.

 

If yeh go back and read ol' Green Bar Bill's stuff, there's a lot about how Patrol Leader Training is an ongoing thing, eh?  More along da lines of a special campout yeh do every month with da PLs than it is about an indoor session where yeh read canned job descriptions and talk leadership theory once a year.  That sort of ongoin' PL trainin' changes over time, eh?  Sometimes it might be about cookin' and meal planning for da young PLs who are strugglin' with that or learnin' how to teach it to their patrol.   Sometimes it's about how yeh work with difficult younger boys.  Sometimes other things. 

 

Da SPL and JASMs and such can be a great help with that, but Patrol Leader trainin' and coachin' in the BSA has always been an adult role, eh?   Yeh identifity da reality of where your current troop is at, rather than imaginin' that every troop must instantly fit da BSA ideal model.  Yeh pick the few things that will be the most useful to get your boys to the next step on the journey, and yeh work at those.  

 

Down the road a bit da conditions will change, kids' skills (and interests) will change, and what yeh do to coach and support 'em will change as well.   But yeh don't disappear, eh?  Adults, parents, etc. are part of the system of support and growth for kids.

 

Beavah

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I'm trying to wrap my head around stoshs leadership flow structure and I realize that, at least for me, it's not a leadership flow structure as much as it is an experience structure. Older more experienced scouts are naturally ambitious to move into positions where they can effectively "take care of their boys" from a perspective of working with Patrol Leaders. Too often rank and leadership are confused as positions of stature or authority instead of positions knowledge and maturity. When the 12 year old Patrol Leader needs advice, will he instinctively go to the 11 year old Patrol Leader, or the 16 year old SPL? And scouts don't stop "taking care of their boys" just because they aren't patrol leaders.

 

Barry

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OK.  Right.  There is nothing inconsistent with the Patrol Method for a PL needing advice to ask whomever he wishes to ask.  The SM is the head leadership teacher, but nowhere is it written that a perplexed leader (Scout) cannot ask for input from a another leader (Scout), regardless of title and on any subject .Indeed, channeling Scout's questions from adults to leaders (Scouts) is a traditional tool to encourage the Patrol method.:  "Have you asked your Patrol Leader?"

 

Let's say I overhear a teacher in a practice teaching situation telling his "class" of fellow education majors that North Vietnam "won" the campaign labeled the "Tet Offensive."  Let's say further that I have a more nuanced understanding of the history of the Vietnam War. Do I simply take over the classroom?  How does that help the teacher grow?  How does such behavior by me impact that teacher's "rep" with the "class"?

 

 

 

In Boy Scouting, the head Scoutcraft/advancement "teacher" for his patrol is the PL.  BSA says that occasionally, such instruction may be on the troop level.  

 

After safety, It's the SM's No. 1 job, not to "teach the class,"  but to make the PLs better teachers.  If they are not good "enough" at his/her primary job, the SM may need training in teaching.

 

The language about the leaders being "ready" to lead (or the patrol or troop "ready" for Scouts to lead") is most commonly used to rationalize endless adult-leadership. ("We have been trying for eight years to become boy-led.")  So if the troop is not "humming like a finely tuned machine," the adults take the bats, balls, and gloves from the boys, and the adults play the game of Scouting until they deem the boys ready to play to a satisfactory level.

 

Bill addressed this matter of performance expectations.  My SM told me he had attended a talk by Bill to Scouters involved in military dependent Scouting In Europe.  When Bill delivered his famous, ":Never do for a Scout what he can do for himself," a Scouter got the floor to ask "To what standard?"  My SM told me Bill looked surprised for a split-second and them replied with a smile, "Why to a boy's standard, of course."

 

Again, it would be nice if BSA had a training course with the learning goal of the participants knowing what the Patrol Method is and a syllabus that actually explains the Patrol Method.   It might include:

 

"Let them lead in practically everything. Let them work out their own problems, interfere as little as possible—but be ever ready to give wise guidance—not when you think they need it, but when they seek it. Keep in mind that unwarranted, ill-advised interference discourages leadership and that those boy leaders of yours are "learning by doing."

 

Mistakes, some of them serious, are bound to be made; therefore, be ever ready with a kindly and friendly spirit to urge them to try again.

 

Help them occasionally with constructive criticism. But do your coaching on the sidelines always, never in front of the Patrols. And then, when the Patrol Leader succeeds in his job, praise him for it. Commendation which is justified and not overdone is an absolute necessity. Such statements of approval should be made occasionally before the interested group. They like it, and so does the leader, as long as it is short, free from 'soft soap,' and genuine." 

 

                   Bill

 

"It can be a very messy business, and painful to watch. Meetings where the boy leaders are in charge can be very chaotic.  And it can be very tempting for adults to jump in and sort things out, because that is what adults do.

 

That is how they learn—even from disorganization and failure.

 

The role of the adults is not the destination, but  the journey. 

 

That is, our responsibility as adults is to promote the 'process' of Scouting.

 

Adults understand that their role is to create a safe place where boys can learn and grow and explore and play and take on responsibilities—and fail, and get up and try again.

 

                   B.S.A, Orientation for New Scout Parents (2016

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That article sure brought back memories. Lots of blood, sweat, and tears. But great memories I will always cherish.

 

The three of us new adults starting the new troop had no problem with patrol method because we came from Greenbar Bill patrol method experiences. What threw us was New Scout Patrols. Before NSPs new scouts joined troops individually all year, not as groups of dens in January.

 

Doesn't seem like a big deal until you find that troop schedules become wrapped around January crossovers. Before NSPs, patrols were mostly responsible for getting their new scouts up to speed with scout skills and basic camping skills. There was no set troop agenda because patrols received new scouts any time of the year. Patrols were by default responsible for their scouts growth. But once whole dens crossed over, all the patrols were forced on the same schedule. And the nature of humans naturally shifted new scout growth to the troop level just to be more efficient.

 

Since we came from boy run troops, we were trying to achieve the same goals for our troop. And of course we tried all the BSAs recommendations along with our own experiences. We found NSPs by their nature are more adult intrusive unless the troop guides are are very mature. I have often said that we never had a TG 14 and younger that was any better than terrible. And we never had one 15 and older that was less than fantastic. But no matter how the troop guide is used, they are not natural to patrol method.

 

We have a pretty good system now of using TGs when we have to and we mix new scouts in mixed age patrols within six months. But it took several years to figure out.

 

Barry

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Joe Smith

"According to Assistant Scoutmaster Joe Smith from Troop 1002 in Richmond, Texas, many Scouters mistakenly think a troop is either Scout-led or it’s not. Instead, he points out that being Scout-led is “a spectrum, not a condition; the level of independence given to the boys is dependent on the maturity and cultural personality of the troop.â€"

 

Boy Scouts of America:

 

           

            [T]he Patrol System is not one method in which Scouting for boys can be carried out, but it is the only method.

 

                        B.S.A., The Patrol Method (1930).

 

            "nless the patrol method is in operation, you don’t really have a Boy Scout troop.â€

 

                        B.S.A., Scouting.org (citing Baden-Powell) (September, 2015)

 

            (d) The membership of a troop shall be organized on the patrol system.

           

                        Rules and Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America (2016).

 

I'

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Joe Smith

"According to Assistant Scoutmaster Joe Smith from Troop 1002 in Richmond, Texas, many Scouters mistakenly think a troop is either Scout-led or it’s not. Instead, he points out that being Scout-led is “a spectrum, not a condition; the level of independence given to the boys is dependent on the maturity and cultural personality of the troop.â€"

 

I think he's pointing to the reality we all see. Some units are boy led, some are not. The issue is not with the boys, but the adults unwilling to deal with the controlled chaos necessary for boys to learn...especially young, immature boys who don't know better.

 

I see a lot of troops from that area of Texas that say they are boy led but are really adult run. February we were at a State Park camping. Four other troops there.

 

Troop #1 wakes up at 5:30am, makes a HUGE racket getting up and packing. Only have a 2 hour drive to get home. Leave their camp sites a mess and honk their horns as a wake up call to get the boys up.

 

Troop #2 wakes up at 7am. The adults make breakfast for everyone. No cooking or KP, just doughnuts, cereal and playing around. Adults in charge shouting for boys to do this and do that.

 

Troop #3 wakes up at 7am. Cook breakfast. Half the troop doing work, the other half trashing the bathroom. Adults sitting down letting the Lord of the Flies routine to continue for three hours. Kids running all over every camp site, yelling, screaming and stepping on wild flowers and fauna.

 

Troop #4 wakes up at 7am. SPL tells the PLs to keep voices to whispers. Every patrol cooks a hot breakfast. Patrol QMs check out patrol gear during breakfast. KP takes a while but is eventually done well. All gear is checked and approved to be turned in to the QM. Again, takes a while but the boys are in charge...and quiet.

 

Troops #1, #2 and #3 are visited often by the Ranger for various infractions. Troop #3 is put on a list not to come back to that park because of the damage to the bathroom. These troops are all from the Houston area. All adult run.

 

Troop #4 was praised by the Ranger and give stickers for being so good and quiet. Only boy led troop of the four.

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If you read the article, it is a defense of units not being Scout-led because they are "not ready" and have the wrong "culture."  A a result, the boys do not run things as "smoothly" as the adults and so need more preparation to be "ready."  "Oh we're all for it - when they're ready." Until then, we play and they watch.

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If you read the article, it is a defense of units not being Scout-led because they are "not ready" and have the wrong "culture."  A a result, the boys do not run things as "smoothly" as the adults and so need more preparation to be "ready."  "Oh we're all for it - when they're ready." Until then, we play and they watch.

 

It appeared to me the article was how to make your troop boy led (or more boy led).

 

The comments below were, well, a bit disappointing.

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@@TAHAWK and @@Krampus

 

One must also remember that there are troops out there that use the "Patrol Method" where the PL's are assigned by the SM, the patrol members are dictated by the SM nd these patrols  are assigned by the SM & staff as to who cleans the latrines, who cooks the troop meals, who does the campfire, etc.  An ASM advisor is assigned to make sure they are guided and mentored into compliance of their duties.  The SPL of these troops is, if not the SM's son, at least one of the sons of an ASM.

 

Now one has the "Patrol Method" in place, every boy is assigned a PL and a patrol and given a patch and having been given their directives, they are to "lead" their patrol in whatever is mentored by the SM.  The SPL, will report back to the adults whether or not the work has been completed.

 

And there you have it, the perfect Boy Led, Patrol Method troop!

 

And that, my dear friends is exactly what my first troop was all about and the SM was Silver Beaver as were two of the ASM's and this troop went every year to summer camp and either Sea Base, Philmont or Northern Tier.  Of course the SM assigned ad hoc patrols at Camporees guaranteed a high number of blue ribbons at the patrol competitions and accolades from the SE on down.  This was the model troop that all other troops were encouraged to emulate.  The SM's oldest son's picture hangs prominently in the Council Office.  It's the only picture hung.

 

And yes, I'm a bit touchy about the subject of Boy Led, Patrol Method.  :)

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If you read the article, it is a defense of units not being Scout-led because they are "not ready" and have the wrong "culture."  A a result, the boys do not run things as "smoothly" as the adults and so need more preparation to be "ready."  "Oh we're all for it - when they're ready."

 

Yah, sometimes this is really the case, eh?

 

If you're startin' a new troop with a bunch of 10 year olds, then it's really silly if yeh think the lads are goin' to right off the bat be makin' outing plans from scratch, callin' to negotiate prices and make reservations, plan safety and food and instructional activities and all da rest on their own.

 

So yeh figure out what's reasonable for them to do with some coaching, and yeh handle the rest.  

 

As they grow, yeh quietly fade and shift more of da challenge on to them, eh?

 

Success in small things gives 'em da practice and confidence they need to tackle bigger things.   Boys' success in small things while communication and safety seem strong gives parents comfort and confidence to let their boys tackle bigger things on their own. 

 

Patrol Method, youth leadership, and all of Scoutin' are a journey, eh?  Sometimes you're climbin' a mountain together with some young hikers and yeh have to take more of da load and be more encouragin'.   Sometimes you're cruisin' on the flat or the downhill and they're goin' on their own.   Yah, and sometimes as yeh get old and crotchety it's the lads helpin' da adults up the mountain. :)

 

There are lots of ways to travel on da Journey of Scoutin', and lots of different roads to da destination, and lots of different groups on the trail.

 

Beavah

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