Jump to content
Eagle94-A1

Two Steps Forward, Two Steps Back.

Recommended Posts

:)  Okay, Eagle 94, I'll play Devil's Advocate for you too.

 

I wish my patrols had flags. Out of the three old patrols, only the NSP had a flag, and that was because one of the Scouts took it upon himself to make it. I have no idea what happened to the older Scout patrol's flag, if they ever had one.  My son's patrol had a pillowcase with their emblem drawn on it as a flag. But it was hastily a produced one and it was not taken care of. It got wet, put up wet, and mildewed. A PL was suppose to make a new one, but quit before he ever did.

 

So how is anyone supposed to get through the Tenderfoot requirements without a patrol flag?  It must mean it just gets pencil whipped?  The first step in patrol method is patrol identity.  Regardless of the patrol makeup, it needs a patrol identity to even get started.

 

Yes, I admit I am for mixed aged patrols. BUT that is so the older Scouts can train and work with the younger ones so they are ready for the same adventures. 

 

...and in the mean time the older boys can't have any adventures?

 

I'm also for forming a venture patrol, Leadership Corps, whatever you want to call it of the older Scouts that can do their own thing occasionally.  

 

Ad hoc patrols in the patrol method structure.  I would be interested in knowing more about how that builds the patrol method.  Why not just have a full-time Venture patrol as recommended by the BSA?  :)

 

And essentially that is what we have: an older Scout patrol, and 2 mixed aged patrols, although some of the Scouts in those patrols are still acting like new Scouts.

 

So?  With mixed aged patrol, what's the incentive to have to mature?  The older boys can handle it and eventually I will have to grow up, but not today.

 

My issue with the decree about the canoe  is that the younger Scouts wanted this trip, and wanted it in July while the older Scouts were at Philmont. SPL and older Scout PL said no because the older scouts wanted to be able to do the trip as well. So compromise was made. Now the adults are "altering the deal. Pray [the adults] don't alter it any further."

 

So why can't the older boys do both?  They should have the were-with-all to be able to plan two trips?  Why can't the younger patrol make it's own decisions and do their own adventures without having the older boys and adults messing with their patrol?  Obviously there's plenty of growth potential on the boy-led, patrol-method continuum going on here.  Hedge talked about being a younger scout and having the older patrol boys ignoring and looking down on the younger boys, but they can still call the shots?  When does the younger boy patrol get to start calling their own shots or even troop level shots?  NEVER?

 

And that is the problem too much adult involvement.

 

That's pretty much obvious.

 

An aside. While I go to my Oldest to get ideas, he sees the problem and wants it fixed, I didn't realize that Middle Son is observing and listening to our conversations, and is putting two and two together. Oldest did a survey, but forgot to include himself, and is doing a form. Middle son sees the survey and comments, "Don't let my friends see you rank the troop as a 3 (out of 10). I want them to join the troop with me." I then had a conversation with him, and he point blank told me who the problem was. I asked why, and he said that on the second camp out with the troop, Gunship told the NSP they were building the fire wrong, took over, but then could not get it to light. Yet the NSP had a fire started.

 

But of course, they're just dumb little kids!   If the boys think that the older boys ignore and look down on them, what do they think about the adults who are doing that?  My Webelos II boys this past weekend built his fire all wrong too.  On Saturday morning, he got up (temp was in the low 30's and it was cold) and he had a fire going by 6:00 am and had water going for hot chocolate.  This was my ADHD boy who hadn't gotten his meds yet that morning.  I wonder what kind of adventure awaits him in a couple of weeks when he STARTS BOY SCOUTS!

 

Seriously people, working with a boy-led, patrol-method program of young boys is like wiring a house with the electricity turned on.  You're scared half to death at what could happen but are totally blown away by what really happens.

Edited by Stosh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So how is anyone supposed to get through the Tenderfoot requirements without a patrol flag?  It must mean it just gets pencil whipped?  The first step in patrol method is patrol identity.  Regardless of the patrol makeup, it needs a patrol identity to even get started.

 

They make a "patrol flag" with the First Year Camper program, and it gets signed off at summer camp. I don't like that, but apparently the SM takes it for what it's worth. And I agree the patrol needs an Identity before getting started. Then they need to build Spirit. That is something the troop does indeed need to work on.

 

...and in the mean time the older boys can't have any adventures?

 

Yes and no. As originally set up by the PLC, the complete mixed aged patrol would be for 6 months, letting the older Scouts get everyone up to speed so that  the younger Scouts could take over when the mass migration of Cubs happens in December. However, the Older Scouts were suppose to be going to Philmont, now the AT. So the Older Scouts would be doing stuff separate from the younger guys in the form of prepping for, and doing the backpacking expedition.

 

Again the issue with the canoe trip is the younger Scouts compromised on when to do it so that the older Scouts could go canoeing as well. Now the adults are changing the rules, and it looks as if some fo the younger ones will not be able to do it.

 

An Aside on this topic. I talked to Oldest today, and telling him the current Older Scout patrol will probably be permanent. His concern was how to gt the younger ones up to speed. It FINALLY dawned on him that he and the other 3 "younger" Scouts who went with the older ones on the prep trip ARE experienced Scouts and can improve the scouts in their patrols.

 

We chatted about how him being a PL, former SPL, and TG, in addition to hanging with the Older Scouts would be entry to my troop's Leadership Corps back in the day. He reminded me that in my troop, he would never be SPL (we had a minimum rank requirement and PL requirement), but I reminded him he was a PL  and TG. With that conversation, and the surveys he's doing to improve the troop, the light bulb is FINALLY lighting up that  HE IS A LEADER IN THE TROOP REGARDLESS OF THE GREEN BARS OR LACK THERE OF! (Yes I'm shouting in joy because he finally gets it).

 

So I am slowly getting the Scots to realize they are capable of change. Now I got to get the adults on board.

 

Ad hoc patrols in the patrol method structure.  I would be interested in knowing more about how that builds the patrol method.  Why not just have a full-time Venture patrol as recommended by the BSA?  :)

 

Here's the funny thing.  I WANT THE OLDER SCOUT PATROL TO STAY PERMANENT NOW! (emphasis, not shouting). Again I've been thinking, talkign to the Scouts, etc.  The complete mixed aged patrol would have been the true "ad hoc" patrols since they would not be permanent, lasting only 6 months. part of that reasoning was that some of the Scouts doubted their ability to influence their peers, as well as their knowledge and skills. This past weekend was a good wake up call for 3 of them.

 

BUT, when I suggested that we form a permanent venture patrol comprised of those going to Philmont so that they could do their own activities to get ready, the reply was , no we are going back to the mixed aged plan come December.  I'd like to see the patrols permanent and that involves not only creating an identity, but also building Scout Spirit, and increasing the Scouts' confidence in themselves. Kinda funny and sad when some leaders have more confidence in the Scouts than they have in themselves. But I'm not goign to push the subject. Remind them what they are capable of doing, YES. Encourage them to get out of their comfort zone, YES. Force them to do things. HECK NO!

Why I'm not pushing oldest to do the AT when the trek leader, and several Scouts asked him if he wanted to tag along. Actually all 3 were asked to tag along on the AT. Son  wants more practice, and also thinks he can be more influential with change where he is at.

 

So?  With mixed aged patrol, what's the incentive to have to mature?  The older boys can handle it and eventually I will have to grow up, but not today.

 

Only because I know whatcha doing and where you are going that I am not upset that you asked this question. ;)  We both know the older Scouts would not put up with the younger scouts' slackness, barring adult interference, and put them into their place. Plus a lot of the younger ones hero worship the older ones, thinking they walk on water. They will do what the older Scouts tell them. As for those who don't hero worship the older Scouts, again the Older Scouts would deal with them accordingly.

 

So why can't the older boys do both?  They should have the were-with-all to be able to plan two trips?  Why can't the younger patrol make it's own decisions and do their own adventures without having the older boys and adults messing with their patrol?  Obviously there's plenty of growth potential on the boy-led, patrol-method continuum going on here.  Hedge talked about being a younger scout and having the older patrol boys ignoring and looking down on the younger boys, but they can still call the shots?  When does the younger boy patrol get to start calling their own shots or even troop level shots?  NEVER?

 

Now this is why I like coming here: thinking out of the ways my troop does things, even if I should know better. To a degree I was already thinking like this. Specifically I was thinking that those who do not go on the troop canoe trip can do another, non- canoe trip that same weekend. Why not do a second canoe trip on an easier river if that is the challenge, on a different weekend?

 

But of course, they're just dumb little kids!   If the boys think that the older boys ignore and look down on them, what do they think about the adults who are doing that?  My Webelos II boys this past weekend built his fire all wrong too.  On Saturday morning, he got up (temp was in the low 30's and it was cold) and he had a fire going by 6:00 am and had water going for hot chocolate.  This was my ADHD boy who hadn't gotten his meds yet that morning.  I wonder what kind of adventure awaits him in a couple of weeks when he STARTS BOY SCOUTS!

 

With you as a leader, he will have a blast!  Middle son's den is getting to this point, they are 6 months from crossing over. While they need gentle reminders, they  are getting the job done. At Webeloree, they were the only den to build a catapult on their own. they were the only den to set up the catapult on their own. they were the only den top launch the balls on their own. They were the only ones to carry the catapulton their own. Only thing an adult did was hammer 4 of the 6 stakes, and that was because of the rocky terrain and after the Cubs were having challenges. And the Judge told the adult to help them out!

 

One reason why IF we go with assigned ASMs to patrols in December I will NOT let Gunship, and a few others, be the patrol counselor for the new Scouts from this den. They are already functioning as a patrol, and did a better job than the old NSP. They do not need someone who interferes with them, except for health and safety of course.

 

Seriously people, working with a boy-led, patrol-method program of young boys is like wiring a house with the electricity turned on.  You're scared half to death at what could happen but are totally blown away by what really happens.

 

HEHEHHEHEHEHHE :D Never heard the patrol method described as such, but you are 110% correct. One reason why I'm passionate about the patrol method, and adults getting the heck out of the way.

Edited by Eagle94-A1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

And this is why we have 18+ year old MB counselors teaching the MB on Canoeing!  And if that isn't enough, that's why we have FUNCTIONAL Instructors doing POR work.  It's totally bogus to dump all the instructional work on the "Older Boys" all the time.  They earned the right to use what they have been taught.  Teaching boys to canoe and then have fun is the goal.  It is not so that they can teach others.  There's no value in teaching someone to canoe unless they can use it.  Simply teaching canoeing so that they can teach canoeing is really pointless in my book.  Your mileage may vary.

 

Our mileage does vary.  We do a canoing trip down the Delaware river each year.  Anyone in the troop is permitted to do the trip.  We've done sea kayaking -- anyone in the troop is permitted to do it.  Horseback riding, backpacking, winter camping, rock scrambles, mountain biking, etc. - anyone can do it.  The older guys watch out for the younger guys naturally.  Had a 12, 13 and 14 year old do our 50 miler last summer.  

 

 

I guess that's one of the pitfalls of the mixed patrols.  ALL the boys have to be in the kiddie pool because the inexperienced boys aren't safe in the deep end of the big pool then.  So much for Scouting adventures and challenges.  

 

 

 

 
See above - nobody in the kiddie pool, our guys jump into the deep end.

 

That is an issue of refocusing the attitudes of the boys, and has nothing to do with the patrol method.  How can the younger boys feel ignored if they have a functional SPL, a functional TG, functional Instructors all working with the boys to get them UP TO THE LEVEL OF THE EXPERIENCED BOYS AND ON EQUAL FOOTING WITH THEM?????  Why is it always necessary to drag the experienced boys down to the inexperienced levels.  Why not step up the game and raise the experience level of the younger boys?  Never could figure that out.

 

 

 

By putting the younger boys in patrols with the older boys, they are stepping up to the level of the experienced boys.  It actually results in the younger boys learning faster than if they are kept isolated.  Additionally, it leads to higher retention because they feel like real Boy Scouts, not stuck together in a Webelos III den.

 

One assumes that it is the adults making the same age patrols?  Sorry, I totally stay out of the patrol membership issue and they naturally want to be with their buddies and boys of the same age and experiences.  I would have to make an adult pronouncement/requirement in order to accomplish a mixed patrol situation.  I have no problem with the BSA recommended tier levels of NSP, Regular and Venture patrol set up because that's what naturally occurs with my boys anyway.

 

To move our troop to same age patrols would require the adults making a pronouncement. 

 

Our guys are used to answering that question. We have backpacking treks where the older guys start a day earlier and do 10 more miles before they meet up with the younger guys.

 

So the groups are separated out right from the start?

 

We have done low COPE together as a troop and then split up with the older boys doing high COPE and the younger boys doing a rock climbing wall.

 

Again, the patrols are being segregated out and not operating as a patrol.  

 

 The boys are doing a boating campout where you can pick a canoe, row boat, kayak or sail boat depending on your ability.  

 

And my boys would agree as a patrol and go have fun together.

 

 
Activities like kayaking, canoeing and small boat sailing tend to be individual or two person activities.  It is hard to fit an entire patrol in a single canoe. :D  When all of the boys are on the water, they are having fun together with their patrol AND with other patrols.  Backpacking for our troop is an individual activity - we teach boys how to do it in a manner that they can continue to enjoy backpacking after they age out of Boy Scouts.

 

 

Also, there is nothing wrong with having an outdoor program organized by the PLC at the Troop level.

 

There is if one is not all that interested in the patrol method and have turned the unit into a boy-led, troop-method program.  It does wonders to destroy patrol continuity and esprit-de-corps.   And in the long run it's really difficult to run a troop program when the patrols are all 300' apart.

 

 With four patrols in our troop, that would require at least 8 adults camping out each month if each patrol did a different activity.  

 

If that's what it takes to support a patrol-method program, then the answer is YES!

 

That just isn't feasible.  

 

That's just an excuse to maintain an adult controlled program.  I hear it all the time, "gotta have an ASM advisor for every patrol".  Okay that's the SM and 3 ASM's for a 4 patrol troop.  Two-deep with a parent chaperone and all 4 patrols can easily be covered.  Taking care of your boys applies to the adults as well.  They need to step up their game and make sure the adventure happens for the boys.  If something isn't feasible, then there's something seriously wrong with how that troop is structured.  And seriously how many 4 patrol troops out there can't come up with a SM and 3 ASM's.  Most adult run troops have twice that many adults hanging around.  And how often do the 4 patrols want to go in four different directions on the same weekend?  DO WHAT IT TAKES TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR BOYS.  My job as SM is to support the boys in their decisions, I make it happen per their request.  If this month the boys want to go in 4 different directions, I do what it takes to make it happen.

 

Just because the outdoor program is organized as a Troop, doesn't mean the boys don't function as patrols on outings.

 

And that's been addressed too.  A token gesture here and there on a troop run program doesn't make it a patrol-method troop. 

 

The 8 person number was 4 patrols each needing 2 deep adult leadership for outings, NOT having a certain number of ASMs assigned to patrols.  We don't assign ASMs to patrols in the outdoors - that is what the PLs are for.  There is a mini-PLC meeting on Friday night when we arrive and the adults sit back until Sunday after everything is packed up.

 

The assumption that all of a sudden a troop is a "Troop Method" troop or "Adult-Led just because the outdoor program is organized on a troop basis, is absurd.  Maybe I should have just said, "the Patrol Leaders at the PLC meeting decided that all of the patrols will do the same outdoor activities for each month during the year." 

 

 

Seriously, Hedge, I see your point of view and as a UC, see it in many troops working quite well, but I also see a lot of boys dumping scouts after a couple of years because they never really get a chance to break out and do some really neat things unless they break up their patrols and ad hoc into high adventure contingents or going the Venturing route.  They have to abandon their patrol method to do either of these things. 

 

Many years ago I was at a scout summer camp in a location far from my ingrown area of the world.  There was a group of boys in the next site over that didn't do any MB's didn't do any activities, just sat around, went up to the mess hall, came back, sat around the fire, went for a meal, came back hung out.... etc.  You get the picture.  I got curious and went over and visited with them.  It would seem that they were all Eagle Scouts, they had been buddies since Cub Scouts and this was their last hurrah summer camp before breaking up and going their individual ways in the world.

 

It was that afternoon sitting with those Eagles that proved to me it is feasible, it is possible, it is the right thing to do and so I quit as ASM of an adult-dominated, troop-method program, found a struggling troop of 5 boys and went to work learning all I could on patrol method, servant leadership and functional adventures for the boys!  

 

As a boy I had a bad experience in scouting.  I told myself I would never do to a boy what had been done to me.  I didn't realize it, but that was exactly what I was doing.  Not any more.  My boys deserve the opportunity to have the adventure that BSA promises through the boy led, patrol method program.  And that's what my boys get, the opportunity to be the best they can and want to be and that's how I see my job as SM. 

 

 

We have no retention problems.  Yes, some of the older boys don't camp as much due to other constraints in their lives, but we have 18 year old ASMs that stick around after they have aged out.  Over the last three years, we've camped over 70 nights, hiked over or backpacked over 250 miles, sea kayaked, canoed, rode horses, biked 25+ miles to a campout, did orienteering courses, COPE courses, hiked waterfalls, did 15 mile lightweight backpacking treks, camped on the beach, camped in lean-tos in 14 degree weather, done urban hikes and campouts, done a 50 miler, had cooking contests while camping in cabins, camped in cabins with only a wood stove and outhouse in 10 degree weather, done long hikes in the snow, etc.  And guess what?  Any boy was welcome to join in the adventure.

 

Do we have ad hoc patrols on campouts because all 50 guys don't make every campout?  Yes.  Do the guys function as patrols?  Yes.  Do the boys lead in the outdoors?  Yes.  Do I make the best coffee for the adults to drink?  No doubt.

 

Just like with boy-led, there are degrees of using the patrol method.  Your way might work better (and I'm open to trying it if that is what the boys want), but the way our troop does it works within the structure of the boys WANTING mixed age patrols.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yah, hmmm....

 

My experience pretty much aligns with @@Hedgehog, eh?  And @@Eagledad and some of da others.  I see a lot of different troops, but the ones that IMHO do the best Scoutin' and have da best outcomes for kids are the mixed-age patrol troops where real patrol method of older boys leadin' younger boys has become part of da culture.

 

That was da BSA model for patrols for most of its history, eh?   Neighborhood gangs, with older gang leaders and middle gang members and younger gang inductees.  Mixed-age was Green Bar Bill's method.  Boys gain in responsibility and leadership within their patrol, eh?   Every boy, not just the one older boy who is PL while all da rest of the older boys are bored, waitin' for their turn in da leadership rotation for POR credit.  Patrols were permanent, eh?  Not somethin' that got switched or reorganized as friendships changed over time. 

 

I get where @@Stosh is comin' from, eh?  These days, boys don't play in neighborhood gangs.  All their experience is with same-age, same-ability level groups.   Sports, band, school, whatever.  Same age, same ability is artificial and adult-created, eh?  But it's what they're used to, and often da only thing they know.  So if yeh give 'em a choice initially they'll just do what they're used to. 

 

That's not natural, though.   That's why troops that have a real Patrol Method culture and have done da mixed-age thing rarely go back unless an adult pushes it because they're pushin' their own philosophy at the lads.

 

I think yeh see lots more growth in boys in mixed-age environments.  Young fellows don't learn by bein' in a "class" with a TG, eh?  They learn by watchin' older boys and modeling their behavior off of 'em.  NSP was an awful idea and a radical departure from Green Bar Bill's Patrol Method.

 

Yeh see lots more outdoor adventure for everyone in mixed-age environments as close as I can tell.  The young boys get to go climbing and canoeing and skiing and whatnot because they're bein' led and taught and supported by older boys watchin' out for their own mates.  Yeh see lots more independent patrol activity, too, because older boy PLs generate such things in ways that a typical younger lad can't without adult support.

 

Yeh can have real patrol competitions, instead of fake patrol competitions where pretty much da older boys can almost always thump the younger ones.

 

Advancement works better, because lads are steppin' into PORs naturally when they need 'em.  Yeh don't have to do artificial "rotations" and such.

 

Yeh get much more patrol spirit, because patrols are permanent, eh?   They don't disappear as attrition happens or boys age out or da troop periodically "reorganizes" because friendships have changed.   While no modern boy is likely to ever come up with a patrol flag, permanent mixed-age patrols will develop slogans and yells and cheers and stories on their own.

 

With more activity and adventure and competition and spirit and carin' for younger lads yeh just see more growth in boys then yeh do in a same-age environment.   Lots less hazing and negative stuff too, eh?   Hazing happens when bored older scouts feel superior to the young fellows.    Yeh can fix it almost instantly by givin' those bored older scouts real responsibility as PLs.  They're no longer bored, and now they want to help the younger fellows because it matters to 'em.

 

Yah, yah, older lads need some space of their own too.   That's what da PLC/Senior Patrol/Venture whatever is for, eh?  Yeh use that older scout space to do instruction for your leaders and higher adventures, and then they take what they have learned back to their patrols as the "experts".

 

Scoutin' means givin' back, eh?  Not goin' off and sittin' in your private "cool older kids" clique.  Leadin' and helpin' other lads isn't draggin' yourself down at all.  It's steppin' up as confident, mature, adult-like fellow.  Boys love it, and it teaches lessons of character that last a lifetime.

 

Beavah

Edited by Beavah
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hedge, in no way am I disputing your process, I only identify areas where we differ.

 

My first troop was majorly adult led, troop method.  It was the envy of other troops in the council.  If one wanted to get into major high adventure scouting this was the unit to join.  They had 40+ boys 10 miles out into the country and the next closest troop was in town and they were struggling to get the 5 boys needed to recharter each year.  So adult led, troop method can and does work.  No doubt about it.

 

It's just not my cup of tea and it's not how I see BSA promoting it's program.  It's a leadership program and this troop produced a lot of Eagles most of which were not leaders.

 

 

Our mileage does vary.  We do a canoing trip down the Delaware river each year.  Anyone in the troop is permitted to do the trip.  We've done sea kayaking -- anyone in the troop is permitted to do it.  Horseback riding, backpacking, winter camping, rock scrambles, mountain biking, etc. - anyone can do it.  The older guys watch out for the younger guys naturally.  Had a 12, 13 and 14 year old do our 50 miler last summer.  

 

My boys do this kind of activity as a NSP,  This is why they have a TG to guide them through the process of getting it done.  Yes.  I have had the NSP patrol do 50 miles on a canoe trip they planned.  It is definitely not Webelos III.  We are a new troop we don't have older boys.  That doesn't slow my boys down one bit.  This past weekend my Webelos II boys did pretty much everything a standard patrol would have done except the cooking.  That was not part of the AOL training we are working on.  Otherwise they did everything the standard patrol would have done.

 

 

 

 
See above - nobody in the kiddie pool, our guys jump into the deep end.

We don't have a kiddie pool either.  It's sink or swim from the very first day. 

 

By putting the younger boys in patrols with the older boys, they are stepping up to the level of the experienced boys.  It actually results in the younger boys learning faster than if they are kept isolated.  Additionally, it leads to higher retention because they feel like real Boy Scouts, not stuck together in a Webelos III den.

 

With no older boys, they have to start out at the level of the experienced boys.  :)  When Mr. Stosh doesn't do it for them, they figure it out very quickly.  My Webelos II boys all put up their own tents, packed their own packs, and operated at a level equal to that of a Second Class Scout this first weekend.  They aren't Scouts yet, they are Webelos II boys that have yet to cross over.  They will in a couple of weeks, but the Webelos II training for AOL is heavy in the Scout-TF requirements along with the patrol  method emphasis.  They have their "PL" Denner and they have a "patrol" Den Flag, and are pretty much on their own.  Not many Webelos II boys get scout training as the new program is better designed to do.

 

To move our troop to same age patrols would require the adults making a pronouncement. 

 

Then don't.  I only tell them it's entirely up to them, but they need to keep the 6-8 boys to a patrol.  How they do that is none of my business.

 
Activities like kayaking, canoeing and small boat sailing tend to be individual or two person activities.  It is hard to fit an entire patrol in a single canoe. :D 
 
No, then one would not have buddy boats.  There is no water activity in scouting that is an individual or even two person activity.  The patrols stay 300' apart just like the camp set-up. 
 
When all of the boys are on the water, they are having fun together with their patrol AND with other patrols. Then it's a troop activity.   Backpacking for our troop is an individual activity - we teach boys how to do it in a manner that they can continue to enjoy backpacking after they age out of Boy Scouts.  With the patrol method NO activity is an individual activity nor is it sanctioned by the BSA for safety reasons.  No one back packs in a group of less than 4, double buddies.   That's half if not all of a patrol.

 

 

The 8 person number was 4 patrols each needing 2 deep adult leadership for outings, NOT having a certain number of ASMs assigned to patrols.  We don't assign ASMs to patrols in the outdoors - that is what the PLs are for.  In my unit, that applies to the indoors as well.   There is a mini-PLC meeting on Friday night when we arrive and the adults sit back until Sunday after everything is packed up.  Never held a PLC meeting in the field or on an activity even when we got up to 4-5 patrols.  Nothing to discuss.  The PL's were in charge of their patrols and the other patrols just did their own thing as well.

 

The assumption that all of a sudden a troop is a "Troop Method" troop or "Adult-Led just because the outdoor program is organized on a troop basis, is absurd.  Not really.  Maybe I should have just said, "the Patrol Leaders at the PLC meeting decided that all of the patrols will do the same outdoor activities for each month during the year."  

 

To which I would always ask WHY?  Why does everyone have to do the same thing if it's a patrol method program?  If everyone had to do the same thing, wouldn't that be the classic definition of an troop method program regardless of who's running it?

 

 

 

 

We have no retention problems.  Same for me. Yes, some of the older boys don't camp as much due to other constraints in their lives, but we have 18 year old ASMs that stick around after they have aged out. Yep, same for me.   Over the last three years, we've camped over 70 nights, hiked over or backpacked over 250 miles, sea kayaked, canoed, rode horses, biked 25+ miles to a campout, did orienteering courses, COPE courses, hiked waterfalls, did 15 mile lightweight backpacking treks, camped on the beach, camped in lean-tos in 14 degree weather, done urban hikes and campouts, done a 50 miler, had cooking contests while camping in cabins, camped in cabins with only a wood stove and outhouse in 10 degree weather, done long hikes in the snow, etc.  And guess what?  Any boy was welcome to join in the adventure. 

 

And how many of the first year boys were ready for all of that?  You seriously had first year boys backpacked over 250 miles?  Out of 50 boys, how many did ALL OF THE ACTIVITIES listed in the above paragraph?  What was the breakdown by age? 

 

Do we have ad hoc patrols on campouts because all 50 guys don't make every campout?  Yes. That then brings into question how strong one is pushing the patrol method.  Ad hoc patrols are not patrols.   Do the guys function as patrols?  Yes. Being a patrol and functioning as one are two different issues.  Do the boys lead in the outdoors?  Yes.  Do I make the best coffee for the adults to drink?  No doubt.

 

Just like with boy-led, there are degrees of using the patrol method.  Your way might work better (and I'm open to trying it if that is what the boys want), but the way our troop does it works within the structure of the boys WANTING mixed age patrols.

 

And as I mentioned before there are troops out there that do things differently than I do that are the envy of the Council, but that doesn't make it the BSA program or even trying to be the BSA program.

 

When one gets to the point where an established patrol finally does decide to do something new and different and is not on the PLC established calendar for the TROOP.  What's going to be the reaction?

 

 

Hedge, in no way am I disputing your process, I only identify areas where we differ.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And how many of the first year boys were ready for all of that?  You seriously had first year boys backpacked over 250 miles?  Out of 50 boys, how many did ALL OF THE ACTIVITIES listed in the above paragraph?  What was the breakdown by age?
 
We typically averaged 3 to 4 out of 8 first year scouts on every campout, probably more for the sea kayaking and COPE / rock climbing.  The bicycling was 7th graders and up with the boys who just crossed over meeting them at the campsite.  The camping in lean-tos in 15 degrees was all 8th graders.  The 50 miler included one guy who just finished 6th grade, two guys who just finished 7th grade, one guy who just finished 9th grade and one who just finished 11th grade.
 
The 250 miles of hiking and backpacking is cumulative over 3 years that I've been in the troop.  My son has logged 215 and I'm around 239.  Planning 50 more this summer (a 20 ile trek and a 30 mile trek).
 
I think the only scout that did almost all of those activities over the past three years is my son (he's missed one campout and one urban hike).  I think he will be around 70 nights camping after this weekend.  There are another five or six scouts who probably did 90% of the activities.  Probably around 30 scouts did at least half of the activities.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For the few dedicated scouts that's a pretty impressive level of involvement, but it would seem that the teamwork, group dynamic, patrol method doesn't seem to reflect enough boys to ad hoc even one patrol on a regular basis.  Doing COPE with boys not in your patrol does okay for the individual but nothing for what COPE was designed to do, build relationships between members of a team.

 

Yes a few individual boys might be excelling at the personal development processes of scouting but leadership actually by definition needs others to follow, therefore expecting some sort of group dynamic process, i.e. the patrol structure/method.  By ad hoc patrols, one never really builds any team work, any bonding, any camaraderie, the glue kinda thing that holds a band of brothers together.  8 boys that all work together to get all 8 boys to Eagle is a powerful testimony to the patrol method.  If one is constantly switching out the players, it somewhat defeats the purpose.

 

If only half the boys are showing up on a regular basis that's really not defining a strong showing and if NSP dynamics are used, would really cripple the operation of the patrol.  So if each patrol had 2 new boys in it and 4 didn't show up, it would hardly show any impact on the operation of the patrols.  But if half the new boys didn't show up for the activities in the NSP it would make a noticeable and necessary focus of attention for the boys using the NSP and the patrol method.  Hey, Guys!  You weren't there for the outing, what's up, the patrol needs you for the competitions. vs. Where's the two new guys?  I dunno.  Well, we have competitions to do, we can get by without them.

 

Yes I do a fair amount of drinking coffee at scout events, but I do the bulk of my work watching and listening to the interaction and interplay among the boys.  Who's doing what?  Why aren't boys coming to activities.  Shouldn't the Venture Patrol be pushing themselves a bit more?  Next year the older regular patrol might have to become a second Venture Patrol.  NSP isn't really progressing this year, Anyone notice why?  Has the TG or PL asked for help?  Might want to keep an eye on that. 

 

These are the things that are constantly being processed by myself and my ASM.  It's quite easy with only one patrol of young boys, but it was a real challenge when I had 4 patrols and trying to keep tabs on everything that is going on. 

 

Just this past weekend, with my new Webelos II boys going to come into the troop.  Who's the leaders, who's going to need extra help, Are my second year boys capable to being an effective TG?  What happens if the older scouts aren't selected as the PL?  What suggestions are going to need to be brought out.  How far should things struggle before some intervention will have to be done...if any.   

 

Yeah, I joke about the SM's coffee but I do tend to wander around observing the boys, watching and learning so that if asked for help I don't need a lot to get up to speed on the issues.

 

I don't know as if all SM's are really doing all that much.  But with all that I do along these lines, I really doing have a lot of time to worry about who's in what patrol, and who's the PL, etc.  That's all written down and can be reviewed, but for the most part if it ain't broke, don't fix it.  Because every adult knows that they can do it better, more efficiently and a lot quicker, I have to spend a lot of the time keeping them from trying to fix things that ain't broke.

 

So are my older scouts teaching the younger scouts?  Sure, but the younger scouts are teaching each other as well.  I constantly hear this hype about older scouts teaching the younger boys when the younger boys do rather well teaching themselves.  I had one of my quiet Webelos II boys who figured out the bowline that they had to learn and for 45 minutes he worked with the others in the Den until each one of them was proficient in tying the knot.  No one asked him to teach, he just thought it was a good idea.  Do I have a future Instructor here or a future PL?  Probably both.  How would I know any of this unless I stepped back out of the situation and learned by watching and listening?

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yah, hmmm...

 

My boys do this kind of activity as a NSP,  This is why they have a TG to guide them through the process of getting it done.  Yes.  I have had the NSP patrol do 50 miles on a canoe trip they planned. 

 

@@Stosh, can yeh explain this a bit?  How do yeh do that in light of da BSA's Safety Afloat/Aquatic Supervision requirements I'm wonderin'?

 

Around these parts, at least a third of da new lads aren't swimmers yet, and few are competent paddlers let alone strong enough for a 50-mile open water paddle with gear, eh? 

 

Are yeh supplementin' with a lot of adult support?  Does your troop only accept lads who are swimmers and more fit than da average?  What you're describin' seems irresponsible to this old paddle sports fanatic.

 

I think the point @@Hedgehog is tryin' to make is that when yeh have mixed-age patrols yeh have older experienced boys and middlin' capable boys and as a result it's easy to support and teach a few young inexperienced boys, eh?  Even on more "advanced" trips that the young lads couldn't safely or comfortably manage on their own.

 

By contrast, if yeh put ten inexperienced 11-year-olds on the water together with one instructor/babysitter/troop guide, yeh have a fairly significant safety/supervision problem, eh?  Yeh usually have to switch to a "class" format so the instructor can watch out for 'em all, or yeh have to choose a more limited trip, or (usually) both.   Either that or yeh really are adult-running the thing.

 

Beavah

 

P.S. See my request in da other thread.  I can't figure out how to interpret what yeh write when in da same posting yeh say that you're a new troop and don't have older boys, and you say you have 18-year-olds who stay around as ASMs. :huh:

Edited by Beavah

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yah, hmmm...

 

My boys do this kind of activity as a NSP,  This is why they have a TG to guide them through the process of getting it done.  Yes.  I have had the NSP patrol do 50 miles on a canoe trip they planned. 

 

@@Stosh, can yeh explain this a bit?  How do yeh do that in light of da BSA's Safety Afloat/Aquatic Supervision requirements I'm wonderin'?

 

I don't wonder one bit.  If one follows the requirements, there isn't any reason why NSP boys need forego an adventure the same as the Venture Patrol.  Assuming things on your part isn't really a productive process of trying to understand issues.  Just ask question, leave the commentary and judgmentalism at the door.

 

Around these parts, at least a third of da new lads aren't swimmers yet,   Well my boys are and if they aren't and they still want to go, they go with their parent.  Most of the boys have an aversion to that and learn to swim.  and few are competent paddlers let alone strong enough for a 50-mile open water paddle with gear, eh? And who said it was 50 miles on open water with gear?  I said a 50-mile canoe trip they planned and executed, you have added all the color commentary to confuse yourself. 

 

Are yeh supplementin' with a lot of adult support?  Only parents in the canoe with non-swimmer scouts as per the requirement.   Does your troop only accept lads who are swimmers and more fit than da average?  No, all boys of any size or fitness.  Again, more assumptions than logic going on here.  What you're describin' seems irresponsible to this old paddle sports fanatic.  Everyone's entitled to their own opinions.  I stick with those approved by the BSA.

 

I think the point @@Hedgehog is tryin' to make is that when yeh have mixed-age patrols yeh have older experienced boys and middlin' capable boys and as a result it's easy to support and teach a few young inexperienced boys, eh?  If that's what's working for Hedge, then that's great.  But what works for Hedge doesn't mean it works for everyone else.  Even on more "advanced" trips that the young lads couldn't safely or comfortably manage on their own.  Could it be that if offered the opportunity and the boys wanted to do it, my assumptions on irresponsibility is appropriate to say no?  Here we have the classic example of no valid rationale of an adult imposing their will on the adventure and planning of scouts.

 

By contrast, if yeh put ten inexperienced 11-year-olds on the water together with one instructor/babysitter/troop guide, yeh have a fairly significant safety/supervision problem, eh?  My patrols are limited to 8 boys maximum, so your exaggeration is not valid.  If you must know, 8 boys in 4 canoes, buddies in buddy boats, one Instructor (POR Youth who is teaching canoeing) the TG who accompanies the NSP patrol as always and 2-deep adult leadership, both highly experienced in fast water kayaking and canoeing.  All four of these extra people are in kayaks, one assigned per canoe.  So, NO I do not have a safety/supervision problem, EH?  If one is thinking outside the box, taking care of their boys and supporting them in their activities, it works just fine.   iYeh usually have to switch to a "class" format so the instructor can watch out for 'em all, or yeh have to choose a more limited trip, or (usually) both.  If that's the way you think it has to be done, go for it.  I do not.   Either that or yeh really are adult-running the thing.  Clearly it is obvious that having 30 years experience handing NSP boys on fast current water is not your expertise.  I've got a ton of experience and have had NO INJURIES OF ANY SORT on any canoe trips with first year scouts.  If the SM does his job, knows his regulations, knows his safety issues, knows his skill, knows his boys and their skills, knows the water like the back of his hand, then YES, NSP's can plan and conduct their own 50-mile float, have a blast and have bragging rights that most boys that are not part of the troop only dream about.  Yes this type of thing would be way out of league with any SM who doesn't use the NSP, who doesn't have the skills or is willing to get the skills, and fully supports the boy's adventures of whatever it takes.  The NSP wants to do a 50-mile float?  I do what it takes to make it happen.  That's my job as SM

 

Beavah

 

P.S. See my request in da other thread.  I can't figure out how to interpret what yeh write when in da same posting yeh say that you're a new troop and don't have older boys, and you say you have 18-year-olds who stay around as ASMs. :huh:

 

Seriously?  With the reputation dings being handed out like candy at a parade and having to justify every little "assumed" movement one makes, it leaves very little room for any incentive to spend any time responding.

Edited by Stosh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When only 8 out of 34 boys made it through Stosh's Webelos program, its not hard to believe that his New Scout Patrol can handle 50 miles in a canoe.  They could probably storm the Somme.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:)  I wish I had had the opportunity to have all 34 boys, but half ended up getting their AOL from their pack and traditionally went with their feeder troop, the other half kinda split and some decided to go with the second troop.  Of the 9 of 15 remaining boys who started with me all but one should be finishing up their AOL.  If this batch of boys want to do the 50-miler this summer, I'm all for it.  I will be doing it a couple of times with or without the scouts.

 

The Mrs. and I are also on the docket for doing 100 miles of the North Country Trail in honor of the NPS Centennial this year.  Of course any boys are welcomed to come along on that too.

 

I make opportunities, it's up to them whether or not they take advantage of them.  No skin off my nose, they're the ones running the show.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yah, @@Stosh, I reckon if yeh dish it out to others yeh should be able to take it without gettin' too upset, eh? :D

 

Sometimes I just find it hard to interpret what you're writin' is all.   Might be a problem with my bifocals.    For example:

 

And who said it was 50 miles on open water with gear?

 

Well if it was on a closed pond, then it was a Cub Scout trip, eh?  Also makes it hard to do 50 miles. ;)  Sorry, I was referrin' to da BSA Aquatics version of open water, not the normal English definition.  :o  Yah, I blame da bifocals.  Easier than blamin' my brain.

 

Seriously, though, some of the other things do confuse me:

 

My boys do this kind of activity as a NSP,  This is why they have a TG to guide them through the process of getting it done.  Yes.  I have had the NSP patrol do 50 miles on a canoe trip they planned.  It is definitely not Webelos III.  We are a new troop we don't have older boys.  That doesn't slow my boys down one bit.

 

If yeh don't have older boys, I'm wonderin' where da Troop Guide came from, eh? :blink:   And the other older boy POR Instructor. 

 

I agree if yeh add two older boys and two experienced adults in kayaks with safety gear and parents in some canoes yeh should be able to manage 8 new boys in canoes on a lazy waterway, at least until the boys in boats by themselves start gettin' tired or the wind picks up. 

 

I'm just wonderin' in all this if yeh notice that you've created a class, rather than a patrol... and a situation where da adults are integral rather than incidental? 

 

Beavah

Edited by Beavah

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

×