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BSA indicates three types of patrols.  They seem to fall into those categories naturally.  Obviously the new guys coming in are the Tenderfoot/greenhorns that need a bit of help getting their feet on the ground.  So they are identified as a patrol of new scouts.  But after a while, it's only natural to identify them as more regular patrol.  Then again, after a few years, those boys have kinda been there, done that and the conversation starts focusing on a more experienced challenging kind of venture patrol.

 

Yah, hmmm...

 

For a few years now I've watched da show "Deadliest Catch" about Alaskan crab fisherman, eh?  It's interestin' because they're real folks dealin' with small-team dynamics in da outdoors I suppose.

 

In da crab fishery, it's fairly common for a boat to take on a new "greenhorn" or two at half-share for the season.  Usually it takes a year or two for 'em to work up to a full share fisherman, under the watchful eye and gruff friendship of da more experienced hands.

 

In the real world, what happens "naturally" is that new greenhorns join teams and work their way up, buildin' workin' relationships and friendships with different folks.   Doesn't have to be Alaskan crab fishin', eh?  It's every business and most neighborhoods.  You'd never consider sendin' a patrol/crew of greenhorns out together on an Alaskan fishin' vessel.   They'd all be dead within a day or two.

 

There's nuthin' "natural" about puttin' all da greenhorns together, eh?  That's as artificial and adult-driven as yeh can get.  It's da school world, where we put da inexperienced folks away in a special jail so that the rest of us can get on with our adult business.  Hopefully they'll learn somethin' and then maybe we'll let 'em out of jail.   Until then they're not part of our group.

 

Mixed-age is more natural in Scoutin', because scoutin' is supposed to prepare boys for the real world, not for school.   There are a lot more small troops than big ones, eh?  Median troop size in da US is 14 boys if I recall.   When yeh have a troop of 8 lads or so, that's one mixed-age patrol.  

 

If yeh grow from there, da natural thing at some point is to split into two mixed-age patrols, each with a natural older-boy leader, eh?  No boys would choose a fellow greenhorn as da person to follow.  The natural thing is to seek out and glom onto an older lad yeh think is cool.

 

It's only if yeh introduce somethin' artificial that boys segregate by age.  Most likely it's an adult tellin' lads they should be with their school friends, or that they have to be in same-ability groups so that it's easier for the adults to teach 'em.  If yeh put all da greenshorns in da kiddie pool then maybe the adult can have more fun with da older boys in the deep water.   Maybe it's adult fears that givin' the older boys responsibility for da younger ones will lead to bullying or just not be "safe" because safety is an adult responsibility.  Maybe it's just da lads gettin' stuck in school mode because that artificial adult-ordered same-age environment is all they know.

 

There are some OK reasons for school-like ability segregation, eh?   It's OK if yeh choose to do that in your scouting.  I help troops that do a reasonable job with it, and have happy boys and families.  It has da advantage in that it's familiar, like school or same-ability sports teams/leagues.

 

Just don't pretend it's "natural".

 

Beavah

Edited by Beavah

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There's nuthin' "natural" about puttin' all da greenhorns together, eh?  That's as artificial and adult-driven as yeh can get.  It's da school world, where we put da inexperienced folks away in a special jail so that the rest of us can get on with our adult business.  Hopefully they'll learn somethin' and then maybe we'll let 'em out of jail.   Until then they're not part of our group.

Ya see though, it's the "puttin" that I have a fundamental problem with.

 

Your analogy falls apart way to quickly, in my thinking anyway.... You wouldn't put a full crew of greenhorns together on a working commercial boat (or anything else commercial for that matter) form a safety standpoint primarily, but also form a productivity/financial standpoint too....

 

We're not sending a patrol out into the ocean on their own for one thing.... and we aren't trying to maximize the profit for the other thing.

 

Remember the whole basis for where this patrol idea came form (for Boy Scouting anyway)..... it was the group of friends that were playing together anyway..... they were not PUT together.

 

 

Mixed-age is more natural in Scoutin', because scoutin' is supposed to prepare boys for the real world, not for school.   There are a lot more small troops than big ones, eh?  Median troop size in da US is 14 boys if I recall.   When yeh have a troop of 8 lads or so, that's one mixed-age patrol.  

 it just aint so....

again, go back and read Baden Powell's stuff.

When you get down to it, the GSUSA has it more natural.... in that each "troop" is a group of friends led by one of the moms typically.  It's not a mix up of several different groups

but not to get hung up on terminology..... their troop = our patrol

 

 

 

It's only if yeh introduce somethin' artificial that boys segregate by age.  Most likely it's an adult tellin' lads they should be with their school friends, or that they have to be in same-ability groups so that it's easier for the adults to teach 'em.  If yeh put all da greenshorns in da kiddie pool then maybe the adult can have more fun with da older boys in the deep water.   Maybe it's adult fears that givin' the older boys responsibility for da younger ones will lead to bullying or just not be "safe" because safety is an adult responsibility.  Maybe it's just da lads gettin' stuck in school mode because that artificial adult-ordered same-age environment is all they know.

 

There are some OK reasons for school-like ability segregation, eh?   It's OK if yeh choose to do that in your scouting.  I help troops that do a reasonable job with it, and have happy boys and families.  It has da advantage in that it's familiar, like school or same-ability sports teams/leagues.

 

Just don't pretend it's "natural".

 

Beavah

this is where I almost start to agree....

it is the school thing that drives the group up by age.... but only to a degree of rigidity....

 

Tell me.... when was the last time you saw a 17 year old absolutely best friends, through everything, with a 10 year old?

 

If we didn't have any other outside influences

lets set an example of a small town out someplace, with no structure or outside influences

the kids running around playing, learning, and exploring would naturally form up loosely into patrols and a troop

you'd have the primary friend groups of a similar interest, and ability would more or less segregate by age.... such as a patrol

then you'd have the other patrols.... some of which would be helpful to the less experienced ones in an ideal setting

you'd have patrols of young girls doing stuff that interested them.... maybe playing my little point

you'd have patrols of older girls doing their kinda stuff, and little boys doing stuff that wouldn't interest the older boys.....

They'd get together to play games or do some things together, and they'd stay apart when they wanted to play more age appropriate stuff.

Yep I can still see it....

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What about a den crossing over where all the boys get along fine?  If they are friendly, their age is secondary, yes?

 

 

My first PL was 16 (Eagle) when I was 11.  I didn't come from cubs.  Was he my friend?  He was friendly and kind.  I thought he was fantastic - the big brother I never had,  

 

I never knew who decided I should be a Panther.  I felt lucky to be in that patrol.  The PL announced at the first meeting that I had "joined" the Panthers.  

 

Was there a Plan B if it didn't work?  I suspect so.  The SM was very big on Plan B.  One new Scout settled in in the fourth patrol he "joined."

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Well, Beav, again, one as to know the full story to make a sound judgment.

 

Winter crabbing is a very dangerous endeavor.  However, the greenhorns you're referring to are usually seasoned summer salmon fishermen with plenty of experience.  Like a boat load of high school/college aged kids with a parent "captain".  The only reason they don't do crabbing is because they are in school.  Duh! 

 

My bonus son worked his way through a prestigious eastern school and came out debt free with the last summer after college of salmon fishing.  It's good money and fairly dangerous, but two of my bonus daughters worked the same boat.  Keep it in mind, that what you're watching on TV "reality" shows is no where near reality.  One show I think it was Alaska, the Final Frontier?  Yeah, well when they weren't out hunting to keep from starving over the winter, they were in town teaching high school.  Those shows are a joke.  Please don't use them for any meaningful analogies.   :)

 

Tiger cubs survive very well without the help of the Webelos

Wolves survive very well without the help of the Webelos

Bears survive very well without the help of the Webelos

 

New cross overs survive very well without the help of the older boys hovering over them in a  patrol.  A functional TG is all that is needed to get them up and running.  If they don't want to be a patrol of the friends they have had since Tigers, they can choose to find a different patrol.  Maybe it has an older brother in it and the younger brother wants in.  Maybe the older brother doesn't want hm in.  I don't care.  I don't get involved, I just change the records to show who's in what patrol.  End of discussion.

 

Most of the patrols I have dealt with have pretty much established themselves and their membership.  They don't necessarily want some new boys coming in that they have to train.  It also messes things up with the older boys wanting to do more challenging things and they have to leave a part of their patrol behind.  Not what they want.

 

I'm thinking that a lot of the reason why some troops have gone to "mixed aged" situations is because they don't have functional TG's, Instructors, etc. that will work with the new boys without disrupting every patrol in the troop with having to take on some new boys.  With functional POR's one can have the layered system of patrols suggested by the BSA.

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This is quite and interesting post. When I listen to someone with little experience describe to folks with scars of experience of the perfect world, I think of the idealistic progressives of the seventies describing Utopia.

 

Your post bleeds of comparisons for your Utopia with (or more fairly against) my 20 or so years of actual experience. And not just my experience, but the experiences of several forum contributors with real boy run experiences. I just don't want to have brag to make a point with your Utopian ideals. If you need the details of my experience, we can do that in private, but I'm going to try and respond with generalizations I learned from my experiences if you don't mind. No theories here.

I'm just throwing out my observations as food for thought for others.....hoping to help some boys out there to have a better and more full experience from scouting.....nothing more.

 

...and its not that "Mixed Age" patrols isn't in my heart..... I'm just fundamentally opposed to "FORCED age" patrols)

 

Forced? All patrol formats are forced. Does a new scout put in a room with scouts he has been with for five years have the choice to ask for a patrol outside the room? Our troop does give the choice, but at the same time we learned over the years from our experience that new young boys who don't know anybody except the scouts that he crossed over are too uncomfortable to not stay with the group. It took a father of one such cub once to request he be moved away from the bullies he suffered with for five years.

 

Forced? You swing that word around like it chains a boy from have a great scouting experience in your Utopian Troop. What you don't understand is the number one reason the NSP was created was because troops lacked enough structure to give new scouts the confidence to continue in a program of free will. The BSA looses more scouts during their first year in a troop than any other age group. 

 

The reasoning is simple, the 10 year old boy is jumping from an adult guided and protected lifestyle to an environment of making personal decisions that will determine his future and relying on other boys for personal safety pushes new young scouts out of their comfort range. And many of them quit. Many of the scouts actually quit of the first meeting. 

 

See it's about a structure that helps give new scouts just enough confidence to come back to the next meeting, and the next, and the next. I watched and learned over the years how build enough structure to give a new scout that confidence, but not so much that it takes away from the experiences of the  patrol method.

 

The BSA decided to attack the problem of the huge first year loses with the creation of the NSP. This is the patrol that you say isn't Forced. LOL But the truth is that it is more structured than previous patrols so that it can be controlled by the adults. That was the intent anyway. The adults now can take the boys as a group instead of one and two at a time and guide them through the process of the troop in a more orderly and controlled manner. Is that really a bad thing. I think so, but for the Utopian idealist, it isn't as forced. 

 

But it all about structure. Beaverah said something about this more eloquetly in another post, but for new scouts to get started forward on a path, they need minimum structure to not only show them direction, but to also give them to confidence to try. Truth is the difference between the Cub and Troop program is like walking out of the bright sun into a dark cave without a flashlight. It is that much of a shock and most adults don't give it enough respect.

 

Structure gives thew new scouts just enough light to walk forward instead of turning around. So while Utopian idealist consider putting new scouts into existing patrols as forced, we scouters with a lot of experience understand that ALL patrols are some kind of Forced structure. 

 

So how well is the NSP helping the new scouts dropout problem you ask, well as of about 10 years ago, the numbers had remained the same. The NSP same age patrol structure isn't anymore effective than the more traditional mixed age structure. 

 

Why not? Where the fix? That is a different discussion and honestly one that you aren't ready for as long as you believe that mixed age structures are more forced than the NSP.  

 

Here is the deals 

 

I've given it a lot of thought ( a whole lot more than I should have probably) and it just stands up to the "smell test".... of what just makes good simple sense to my brain.... there are just simply many more negative question marks that come to my mind about forced aged patrols than there are about similar aged ones.

   boys are in this for fun

Yep, scouting is adventure and adventure is fun. Not sure why you think mixed age patrols aren't fun. What in your one year experience have you seen?

 

   boys want to hang with their friends

Utopia is a place where all new scouts come in groups that they have hung around with for years. The reality is most troops receive new scouts in twos or threes. You put four groups of twos in one NSP and you have don't get eight friends. For each two of the scouts, the other six are strangers. How is this different than the two scouts going into a mixed age patrol?

 

And please don't assume young scouts don't want to be with older scouts, even Tahawk told of his positive experience with older scouts in his patrol.

 

   boys don't want to be forced into doing stuff they do not want to do

And you assume that a patrol of new scouts all know what they want to do, AND that all eight of those new scouts want to do the same thing? Hmm. I'm lost on the idea that scouts in a mixed age patrol with years of scouting experiences wouldn't know what is FUN and how to do it.

 

And please someone explain this; If scouts are developed from day one to take care of your scouts, why would older scouts not want to take care of the younger scouts? Honestly, I can't even conceive this kind of rational thinking

 

   boys do not want to be forced into hanging with anyone in particular that they don't choose to - i.e. you can't pick their friends

In Utopia, all new scouts cross over in dens, but in reality, the majority of new scouts crossover in two or threes. So having to make new friends is inevitable. You don't see it, but you are building a "structure" around imaginary idealism, not a practical real life situation. As TAWHAK said of his SM, build your program with plan "B" in mind. This is tough because plan be suggest "forced", I understand. But remember, boys needs some kind of structure. Planned "B" isn't more forced that plan "A", it is just a different structure.

 

   boys aren't even thinking in terms of "age", not directly anyway, so why do we need to label it?

Because this is a discussion on generalized differences for patrols and how those patrols reflect in the performance of the program. A NSP patrol is same age and if left up to the idealistic visions of the creators, those scouts will stay together until they leave the troop at 17. So yes, it is an based structure that many adults try to force until the scouts leave the program. I'm using force in a derogatory way like you did, forced is a reality of the program, whether some here are willing to admit or not.

 

and it all just fits so nicely right in there with what BP wrote too.....

I've noticed that BPs quotes are often taken a little out of context. BP is describing an existing patrol. Not nessarily the relationships fo scouts before they merged into a patrol. I can assure you that after their first camp out, most new scouts are friends with the strangers they met on their first day of joining the troop.

 

And by the way, BP also hand picked his patrol leaders and left in that position until he decided a change was needed. Is that structure forced? 

 

And every time I hear or read about an example of failure (as to your point), I can't help but wonder.....

.... could it be that it failed because of adult influence, even if it was sub conscientiously?.... &/or because of preconceived notions (youth or adult)?.... &/or because the scouts are just doing what they have seen modeled and aren't working "outside the box"?..... &/or because it was "Try", as opposed to "Do"?.....etc....

 

Do you really believe a Utopian same age patrol is without struggles? Do you believe that new adults to the program will be perfect in your same age patrol troop. Come on, seriously?

 

We moved our old refrigerator to my sons home. In the move, something broke. When he called to tell me he fixed it, I asked him how he knew what to fix. He said he looked at YOUTUBE. He said you can find the fixes to just about anything on Youtube. Why do you think scouters come to this forum? 

 

and every time I hear or read someone throw out the term "successful program", I can't help but wonder based on what or who's definition of successful?  It's just such a subjective concept....

 

Hmm, I'm curious what someone with less than a year as a troop leader thinks is success?

 

And furthermore, every argument I can recall that was pro-mixed or Forced age, center around

   problems that seem to have easy and often natural work around and alternatives that might just happen on their own anyway        (such as not enough in-patrol experience or leadership)

   problems that are adult driven and defined (such as a need for advancement on a calendared schedule)

 

I really don't know what you are saying here, but I would love to watch you as an adult in a new troop with new scouts on their first day not intrude on your scouts program. Your expectations of adults is unrealistic. 

I think it's great that you imagine the ideal troop program and consider the details of your machine, I wish other scouters would. But when your perfect vision leads you to imply that the experiences of other scouters isn't a match to your lofty idealist visions, maybe you should at least consider being more reserved with your opinions of the opinions of adults with real experiences until you can compare and balance experiences. Apples to apples so to speak.

 

Thanks for your time.

 

Barry

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Ya see though, it's the "puttin" that I have a fundamental problem with.

 

Your analogy falls apart way to quickly, in my thinking anyway.... You wouldn't put a full crew of greenhorns together on a working commercial boat (or anything else commercial for that matter) form a safety standpoint primarily, but also form a productivity/financial standpoint too.... We're not sending a patrol out into the ocean on their own for one thing.... and we aren't trying to maximize the profit for the other thing.

 

Yah, but we are sendin' da patrol out into the woods on their own, or at least 300 feet  :) .   And we are tryin' to maximize da personal growth and teamwork, eh?   Developin' skills to be on their own, learnin' to grow and be part of a team... those are the same things that make commercial enterprises profitable and make men advance successfully in life.   We are teachin' 'em to Be Prepared for Life.

 

Remember the whole basis for where this patrol idea came form (for Boy Scouting anyway)..... it was the group of friends that were playing together anyway..... they were not PUT together.

 

Nope.   Patrols and Patrol Method came from Baden-Powell's personal experience with da British Public Schools' house system, eh?  Think Hogwarts houses, which are modeled on the same system.  B-P was a house leader as a youth and it had a profound effect on him.   Houses are PUT together, just like neighborhoods or sports teams or work teams.  That's life, eh?  It's what's natural.   Then yeh grow and build friendships on the team or at work.

 

Tell me.... when was the last time you saw a 17 year old absolutely best friends, through everything, with a 10 year old?

 

I was just at a crew meetin' two weeks ago where it was pretty clear that an 18 year old and a 14 year old had become really great friends in da course of the crew's spring break trip. I've seen lots and lots of boys at EBORs say that they really looked up to and still kept in touch with that boy who had been a 17-year-old when he was 10.   And I've seen young men give back to Scoutin' because they enjoyed spendin' time leading and helpin' younger brothers grow.

 

If we didn't have any other outside influences

lets set an example of a small town out someplace, with no structure or outside influences

the kids running around playing, learning, and exploring would naturally form up loosely into patrols and a troop

you'd have the primary friend groups of a similar interest, and ability would more or less segregate by age.... such as a patrol

 

Nope.   If yeh look at what really happens in primitive cultures (and even in da U.S. through the end of the 1800s) youth of Boy Scout age leave their moms and join da mixed-age adult world.  They become apprentices and greenhorns, supported by older lads and adults.   Midshipmen in da U.S. Navy joined at age 10.   Many were commandin' prize vessels by age 13.  

 

Boys' brains are biologically wired to want to go off and challenge themselves and explore and grow when they pass into adolescence.  When we hold 'em back in da same-age kiddie pool we get boredom and angst and lack of attention and rebellion and dependency.

 

 

New cross overs survive very well without the help of the older boys hovering over them in a  patrol.  A functional TG is all that is needed to get them up and running.

 

Nah, yeh said that for your canoe trip, the NSP needed a TG and a senior scout Instructor and two highly skilled adults hoverin' over 'em.   That, and easier less adventurous water to paddle in. 

 

Most of the patrols I have dealt with have pretty much established themselves and their membership.  They don't necessarily want some new boys coming in that they have to train.  It also messes things up with the older boys wanting to do more challenging things and they have to leave a part of their patrol behind.  Not what they want.

 

Nah, you've made it clear that this is the way you think about things as an adult, eh?   In mixed-age environments, kids are actively recruitin' new incoming guys to join their patrol, because their's is the best.   Go Beavers!   So what I'm seein' is that yeh push your way of thinkin' on the boys.  

 

That's OK, eh?  In some ways all troops conform to da vision and limitations of the lead adult.  Da question is whether yeh feel you're gettin' the outcomes yeh want for the boys.   From afar, what you describe shows levels of attrition that I personally wouldn't be comfortable with, but we all have our own goals and every CO is a bit different.

 

I'm thinking that a lot of the reason why some troops have gone to "mixed aged" situations is because they don't have functional TG's, Instructors, etc. that will work with the new boys without disrupting every patrol in the troop with having to take on some new boys.  With functional POR's one can have the layered system of patrols suggested by the BSA.

 

in a good mixed-age situation every PL and APL is a functional guide and instructor who works with the new boys.  Plus there are lots of other lads who aren't (yet) PLs or APLs who take on instructional and mentoring roles.   In da mixed-age troops I know, yeh could ask any APL to take over some other troop's NSP as a TG and the boy would do fine (other than he might struggle a bit to put together group curriculum/lessons at da start).   The point is there's no reason to switch to da Troop Method with troop PORs to support the new guys.  Yeh can just keep up regular Patrol Method.

 

Besides, rather than only one or two older boys learnin' and growin' as instructors and takin' on responsibility, LOTS of boys get the benefit of helpin' teach.  This prepares 'em for being Patrol Leaders, and SPLs, and eventually young ASMs. It gives 'em ALL the chance to really earn da teaching requirements for various ranks.    And it prepares 'em for life.

 

 

Again, there's nuthin' wrong with doin' the troop method school thing, eh?   Yeh can have a successful program.   There are times when it may be the best choice.   Very large troops often have this structure for some reason.

 

They're just not my own favorite, eh?  In terms of da results I see and care about for boys' growth, mixed-age troops just do a better job for more kids.   Just MHO.

 

Beavah

Edited by Beavah

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Again, there's nuthin' wrong with doin' the troop method school thing, eh?   Yeh can have a successful program.   There are times when it may be the best choice.   Very large troops often have this structure for some reason.

 

They're just not my own favorite, eh?  In terms of da results I see and care about for boys' growth, mixed-age troops just do a better job for more kids.   Just MHO.

 

Beavah

yeah, you might very well be right....

but then again.... membership is in steady decline as I understand it..... 

might it be that if more scouts thought it more fun, then maybe more kids might get to experience the good from it?

 

 

Eagledad

I've gotta say... your reply leaves me feeling a little bit "adult led" here.... Is that how you lead this "boy run experience", you refer to?

 

light hearted sarcasm -on....

Oh sorry, I forgot.  I shouldn't question that....everyone knows that perfection comes from time alone, nothing more..... and that once perfection is reached, the door to new ideas should be closed....  What was I thinking?

 

Oh wait... that whole time thing....I've got some of that too....I've been walking this earth for almost 50 years.  Not feeling like an old man yet, but I guess I'm there.... and I'll just say this.  I haven't had my eyes closed the whole time.... some of it maybe, but not all of it...

sarcasm -off....

 

Seriously though Barry, I appreciate your experience and thoughts, as I do everyone else's here too...... but I think you're blowing my points out of proportion a bit, and getting too worked up over it too.  

 

It's observation, it's conclusions drawn, it's opinion and food for thought about one aspect, it's not the total of a program, or how it should be.  Most of all I'm not trying to force it down your throat.

 

I've seen the glossy eyes of a scout waiting for the adult to run out of steam.

I've seen the scout just wanting to hang with his friends....

those things aint good by my estimation

 

sure in scouting there is a time for helping, a time for tasks, a time for work

   but there is also a time for just hanging and bonding with your friends.... well in a fun program the boys aren't be dragged to there probably is anyway....

I can't properly insert the quotations, because of the way it was posted, so I'll have to cut and paste a bit 

"Forced? You swing that word around like it chains a boy from have a great scouting experience in your Utopian Troop. What you don't understand is the number one reason the NSP was created was because troops lacked enough structure to give new scouts the confidence to continue in a program of free will. The BSA looses more scouts during their first year in a troop than any other age group. "

But could it be that said troops (not yours, the ones BSA used as a basis for the ideas) lacked the necessary "structure" because the environment with other patrols didn't foster helpfulness?

And please someone explain this; If scouts are developed from day one to take care of your scouts, why would older scouts not want to take care of the younger scouts? Honestly, I can't even conceive this kind of rational thinking

EXACTLY! ..... and no reason that couldn't be one patrol helping the other now, could it?

or could it perhaps even be that the measure of "necessary structure" was adult defined.... the scouts didn't want it anyway?

 

I'll not counter every point, except to go back to what I wrote before..... I'm still left with more negative question marks about the idea, than positive ones.

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Twenty years is a good start.   :D

 

There is no need to discard aspirations on the grounds that they are unlikely to be achieved --  even most of the time.  A Scout is . . . ..

 

I am in favor of whatever patrols the Scouts are for.  They need to figure it out.  When a Webelos II den crosses over that got along well, then they almost always to want to stay together as a patrol, at least for a time.  I have often seen mixed-age patrols work well where there is good leadership in the patrol. (And it's the adult responsibility to develop that leadership.)  

 

My first thirteen years in Scouting were in a troop with all (6) mixed-age patrols (with less choice for the two Explorer "crews" then allowed to exist within a troop).  The PLC [actually the TLC] interviewed incoming Scouts, consulted with the SM, and told the newbies they were joining the X Patrol, subject to it being "a good fit." The main considerations were: 1) had he been recruited for a patrol; 2) did he have one or more friends in a given patrol.  Moving was not common but was known to happen, and, since expected, didn't cause a fuss,  The "good fit" in a team was the goal.

 

Later, I spent over twenty-five years with a troop in the NSP Age, and the troop used the NSP.  We were very careful about the Troop Guide (usually a former PL or someone thought to be future SPL material.  Once, it was a former SPL.).  The culture was that the Troop had gone on since 1908 and the new kids were the new blood that kept Troop 22 going.  Senior leadership (boys) regularly reminded the relatively older Scouts that the new kids were important and praised them when they displayed that attitude (most of the time).

 

What I think is wrong is adults playing upset the basket day once a year to have "balanced" patrols or frankly ignoring the boys' wishes becasue they "know better,"

 

"Friend" is a term of art.  The degree of friendship varies.  Friendship may come over time.  But I have never seen a Scout happy in a patrol where he cannot name one person he regards as a "friend."

 

Unless something has changed (and things change), B.S.A. suffers it's greatest loss from Webelos who fail to cross-over.  It has been as high as 50% in some years.  Over and over, we are told to use Den Chiefs, invite Cubs to troop activities, and just be nice - all antidotes for the fear of a 10-year-old when confronted by high school kids.   :eek:   Putting them in a group they want to join would appear to be good tactically.

 

I hope Scouters and Scouts come where to get ideas from reasonable people who treat each outer reasonably.

Edited by TAHAWK

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Webelos boys cross over, kinda hang together, but half quit anyway because their TG wasn't good, they didn't all go to summer camp as a group, their PL was inexperienced, everything was new and different.

 

Webelos boys cross over, adults split them up into other patrols, but half quit anyway.  Only had one friend in the new patrol, if that, was at the bottom of the pecking order, didn't get much attention from the PL who had someone else always teaching skills, always had to bunk with the other kid that got stuck in the patrol with him.  It'll be years before anyone will take him seriously, and the other boys are all buddies and the new guys aren't.

 

Yep, the mixed patrols do better at retention than the NSP's  oh, wait, was it the other way around, I can't remember.  The guys on the forum aren't any help, some say NSP, some say mix them up, and Stosh, well, no one knows what he's up to half the time.

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My first thirteen years in Scouting were in a troop with all (6) mixed-age patrols (with less choice for the two Explorer "crews" then allowed to exist within a troop).  The PLC [actually the TLC] interviewed incoming Scouts, consulted with the SM, and told the newbies they were joining the X Patrol, subject to it being "a good fit." The main considerations were: 1) had he been recruited for a patrol; 2) did he have one or more friends in a given patrol.  Moving was not common but was known to happen, and, since expected, didn't cause a fuss,  The "good fit" in a team was the goal.

 

Later, I spent over twenty-five years with a troop in the NSP Age, and the troop used the NSP.  We were very careful about the Troop Guide (usually a former PL or someone thought to be future SPL material.  Once, it was a former SPL.).  The culture was that the Troop had gone on since 1908 and the new kids were the new blood that kept Troop 22 going.  Senior leadership (boys) regularly reminded the relatively older Scouts that the new kids were important and praised them when they displayed that attitude (most of the time).

 

 

Yah, this was my experience with da 1990 transition as well, @TAWHAWK.  

 

Prior to then troops were mostly mixed-age patrols and functioned the way yeh describe.  That was Scouting for most of da BSA's existence.

 

The 1990 revision was when we finally dumped Green Bar Bill's stuff and introduced the New Scout and Venture (age-based) patrols.  First Class - First Year also got started around then.   Da rationale was to make the transition easier from cub scouting, eh?  The boys would be movin' from a Den Leader/Den Chief to a Troop Guide/ASM-New Scouts and keepin' the den intact.  Advancement would proceed on a schedule as a group, just like cubs.   Da transition wouldn't be such a big jump that way.  

 

This is where da term "Webelos III" comes from.

 

Some troops switched, some didn't.   Some did like @@Eagledad's and switched and then went back.  New troops all started up with da new program of course.

 

My lived experience over that time is that da troops that didn't switch or switched back are still around, eh?   For da rest, we've been seeing more churn, which is also what @@Stosh describes over da years.  The change never lived up to da promise of improvin' anything.  In fact, followin' the change we've seen nuthin' but declines.  Not just in membership, but in Patrol Method and skills.   Some of that's unrelated of course, but some ain't.

 

There's nuthin' wrong with da same-age school approach.  Schools do fine things.  Baden-Powell never wanted Scouting to trench on da work of schools though.  We were supposed to be different, more like military scouting.

 

 

sure in scouting there is a time for helping, a time for tasks, a time for work

   but there is also a time for just hanging and bonding with your friends.... well in a fun program the boys aren't be dragged to there probably is anyway....

 

Yah, this is a description of da adult-run school model if ever there was one.   A time for study, a time for recess, etc.

 

For older boys, real fun is stretchin' your wings and taking on adult-like challenges and bein' responsible and recognized for that, eh?   For younger boys real fun comes from bein' out doin' excitin' stuff that they wouldn't be able to do just as young guys.  For both young and old boys, real bonding comes from doing things together.

 

Just hangin' isn't bonding, it's a sign of boredom!  It's what yeh do when you're waitin' around for da next bit of less pleasant adult-run work.  Yah, yah, it's better than sittin' in a MB class or a 2nd Class Skills Class, but it's not "fun".   You'll never hear a lad tell a story with glowin' eyes about da time he was just hangin' out.

 

Beavah

Edited by Beavah

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Heresy !

 

Go with what works!  :)

 

I went from a adult led troop to one where I gave the boys free rein.  They went from 5 scouts to 28 in 3 years.  During that time I watched what they were up to and they tended to stay together as those about the same age except where the group was so small it was a mixed patrol, but only of younger scouts.  I've never had a patrol of high school aged scouts mixed with middle school kids.  THEY didn't want that. 

 

As I have said all along, I DON'T get involved in the patrol selection, but what I have ended up with is NSP/Reg/Venture levels of patrols.  They've always worked for me so I don't mess with them..  If anyone complains about the patrol set up, they have no one but themselves to blame.  I like it that way. 

 

I have bigger fish to fry than worry about patrol configurations.  As long as the boys are happy, I'm happy.  If they aren't happy, they have the authority to fix it.  I simply don't get involved.

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Yah, this is a description of da adult-run school model if ever there was one.   A time for study, a time for recess, etc.

 

For older boys, real fun is stretchin' your wings and taking on adult-like challenges and bein' responsible and recognized for that, eh?   For younger boys real fun comes from bein' out doin' excitin' stuff that they wouldn't be able to do just as young guys.  For both young and old boys, real bonding comes from doing things together.

 

Just hangin' isn't bonding, it's a sign of boredom!  It's what yeh do when you're waitin' around for da next bit of less pleasant adult-run work.  Yah, yah, it's better than sittin' in a MB class or a 2nd Class Skills Class, but it's not "fun".   You'll never hear a lad tell a story with glowin' eyes about da time he was just hangin' out.

 

Beavah

yeah, describing adult run if it is.... but if it's just allowed to be at the boy's and the boy leadership's discretion, is it still?

 

and the just hangin and bonding is boring..... well yeah, sometimes it is..... but the only time I have seen that happen on BS campouts is when the troop guide or instructor starts reading out of the book and doing some teaching..... otherwise that hangin takes on the form of Zombie Tag.... or whatever they call it.... looks like a lot of running around and laughing to me....

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Eagledad

I've gotta say... your reply leaves me feeling a little bit "adult led" here.... Is that how you lead this "boy run experience", you refer to?

 

That is because you haven't experienced a boy run program. Anything other than your Utopia doesn't fit your boy run definition.

 

But could it be that said troops (not yours, the ones BSA used as a basis for the ideas) lacked the necessary "structure" because the environment with other patrols didn't foster helpfulness?

 

Helpfulness? What you are wanting to talk about here is why new scouts leave the program. I would love to get into this discussion, but it will take a bit of an open mind. And it's very important to understand that the problem has little to do with patrol methods. If that were the case, one patrol method would stick out as a better performer than the rest. In reality the problem isn't about relationships in the program, they are about developing an immature mind in an independent thing environment. In other words the scout feels very alone in a dangerous place. The losses don't come from a types of patrols and troop programs because  the fear isn't about relationships. It's about discovering that they don't have safe place. I talked in another thread about how new scouts urinated on their tents because they were too terrified to find the latrine in the dark. That is symbolic of the minds of new scouts. 

 

 

And please someone explain this; If scouts are developed from day one to take care of your scouts, why would older scouts not want to take care of the younger scouts? Honestly, I can't even conceive this kind of rational thinking

EXACTLY! ..... and no reason that couldn't be one patrol helping the other now, could it?

or could it perhaps even be that the measure of "necessary structure" was adult defined.... the scouts didn't want it anyway?

 

ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT PLAN "B"? But let me guess, if the scouts think of plan "B", it is wonderful credit to Utopia. But if the adults think of plan "B", it's "Forced" and should be......... 

 

Yes, our troop uses Big Brother patrols (that is what we call them)  sometimes, but I don't know if we are a bad troop or good troop because I don't remember if the PLC or adults thought of it. 

 

They work ok, but it is not the solution to the new scout's problem. Remember, I said the solution requires and open mind. What is the one BIG thing that a boy looses when jumping  to the troop culture? It's the warm holding hand of the adult. See, somehow you have concluded in your short scouting career that any adult participation is evil and forced. But to the average boy that crosses over into the troop, the adult has been the safety net that has protected him from real harm all his life. Does a big brother patrol have adults? Is the intervention of a big brother patrol all that different than intervening adults trying to help new scouts get comfortable with their fears? If you think so, why? And be careful, because likely your answers are exactly what the forced mixed age patrol provides. 

 

I'll not counter every point, except to go back to what I wrote before..... I'm still left with more negative question marks about the idea, than positive ones.

 

OK,but your negative question marks are the result of your fears, not your sons. If that weren't the case, you would be more open to explanations outside your own negative visions. Instead of considering all of what makes the adults part of scouting wrong, you should be considering what adult participation is needed to enhance the patrol method program. You have a big gap to cross.

 

Barry

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I went from a adult led troop to one where I gave the boys free rein.  They went from 5 scouts to 28 in 3 years.  During that time I watched what they were up to and they tended to stay together as those about the same age except where the group was so small it was a mixed patrol, but only of younger scouts.  I've never had a patrol of high school aged scouts mixed with middle school kids.  THEY didn't want that

Off hand, I can think of a half dozen troops that grew faster than your troop. Is that really a good measure of a boy run program?

 

And as for what your scouts want and don't want in their program, Scoutmasters' set the tone of how their program takes direction. You said it yourself, you told your scouts how they are to select their leaders. Is that Forced? Maybe, but I have never seen scouts drive their program from ignorance.

 

Barry

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