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John-in-KC

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Barry, you seem angry about this.  why is it such a hot button for you?

 

It's like you're trying to slap me down into submission or something.....

 

I'm not afraid, I'm not battling fears, I'm not questioning, I'm not trying to force it on you or your scouts..... you can choose to use it and learn from the discussion, or not.  It's your choice, not mine.

 

To me, it's just an interesting and contrasting philosophical issue about patrol structure, interpersonal scout friendships, scout comfort and happiness, and patrol bonding and spirit.... how we have a tenancy to label things, sometimes unproductively...and how those labels can grab our focus and re-direct us away from what is important....

 

and now, leading back to the original topic of POR's and the discussion creep leading to patrol POR's

 

I am sorry if I crept the thread in a way that is upsetting to you.

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For all of Bill's career in Scouting, there was an option for older boy patrols in a  troop.

 
Senior Scouts started in the 1920's
 

Explorer Scouts started in 1933.

 

In 1944, we had the second new exploring program - "Explorers" with the optional cool green uniform and a separate advancement system - Apprentice, Frontiersman, Woodsman, Ranger.  At first, Explorers belonged to Explorer Troops, but soon there were Explorer Posts.

 

Prior to 1949, older boys in a troop were "Senior Scouts B.S.A.." or "Explorers."

 

From about 1949 to 1958, a boy became an Explorer at 14 and could simply remain in a regular patrol, join an Explorer Crew within the troop, or join an Explorer, Air Explorer, or Sea Explorer post or ship. An Explorer earned "Rating Strips" leading to Bronze, Gold, and Silver awards.

 

Effective 1959, with the third new program for older boys, we had Senior Scouts in troops again, but the title "Explorer" and the cool green uniform were reserved for members of posts, and the special Exploring ranks, such as Silver Award," went away.

 

 A "Venturing patrol" is just "everything old is new again."

 

Blink, and the Bronze, Gold, and Silver Awards flashed by again.   :blink:   

Edited by TAHAWK

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Yah, @@TAHAWK, that's true, eh?

 

I think da natural thing is to structure patrols as mixed-age, but also to have space where the older boys come together to be older boys.    We've called it different things over da years, but it's always pretty much the same thing.

 

In a mixed-age environment, it's da PLC/Senior Patrol/Leadership Corps, etc.  - the place where the older boys come together to share ideas for their patrols and plan adventures and learn new stuff that they can take back to their patrol.   Yeh can do this with PLC/Patrol Leader Training outings and adventures, or a Venture Patrol, or an affiliated crew or post.

 

In a same-age environment it became da old Venture Crew (now called a Venture Patrol).  Works fine for bein' the older-boy thing.   What I think it misses is that it both breaks Patrol Method and it eliminates the whole bit about bringing what yeh learn back to serve the rest of the troop.

 

By breakin' the patrol method I mean that da high adventure stuff always ends up bein' sort of a pull-out program.  The guys who have the time or resources or interest to do a particular HA trip.  For da next HA trip it's a different group.  Venture Patrols only function as patrols for one superactivity.  If yeh have 2 of 'em they're almost always mixin' and matching.

 

By not givin' back I mean exactly that.  In Bill's scheme, the lads who were doin' patrol leader training or leadership corps or senior patrol or patrol leaders' council were always takin' what they learned back to their patrols as leaders leadin' other boys.  The lads who went on da Boundary Waters trip were leadin' their patrols on the patrol canoe trip, etc.  The ones who were goin' on special PL training trips were comin' back and teachin' their patrols.   Age-based patrols mean that most of the older lads stick to themselves, unless yeh go Troop Method so da real leaders aren't the first year PL, it's the TG.  And it's not da second year PL, it's da Instructor.

 

Beavah

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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.

 

Yah, hmmm...

 

Except yeh haven't been seein' great results, eh?   This year yeh lost most of your first year boys, includin' one boy who quit because his position as PL blew up with his peers and the adult blamed it on the boys.  Another who stopped campin'. 

 

In your prior troop, yeh blamed it on the boys when they wouldn't step up, and eventually da parents got frustrated and pushed yeh out for not doin' enough to support the lads.

 

Out of 36 Webelos, you're down to 9... and if da trend continues, by this time next year you'll be down to 3 of those.  I'm not sure why yeh like it that way.

 

I think your heart and your ideas are in da right place, eh?  But you're fallin' in love with your ideas a bit too much and not lookin' as clearly as yeh might at the data. 

 

Mrs. Beavah has been in education for quite a while, and what she tells me is that yeh can't tell da quality of a teacher by how their best students do, eh?  Good students aren't good students because of their teachers, they're good students because of their own talents and their families.   Yeh tell da quality of a teacher by how the average or strugglin' students are doin'.  They're the ones where teachers actually matter.

 

Seems like you're just holdin' on to your best lads, mate.  That's not a result of da program, it's an indictment of it.

 

Beavah

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One has to take into account that there ARE NO OLDER BOYS in a brand new start up troop.  NO ONE IS ABOVE THE TF RANK

It's really difficult to have a mix-aged option for boys that are all the same age.  :)

 

I have boys that are either going to step up and lead or they're going to flat out quit.  In the mixed age patrols, the new boys have the option to coast for a year or two while the older boys do the heavy lifting.  Well, I don't have that luxury and neither do my boys.  I have boys functioning at a level far beyond their maturity level in many cases.  Boys that don't want to work generally drop out of the program or move to troops where they don't have to work at being part of a greater whole. 

 

The one boy who fell out of favor as a PL and left for another troop came back and was bragging about how he's fast tracking his Eagle, is FC and has enough money in his ISA for Philmont and the next national Jamboree.  The only thing holding him back from being a super star scout is he isn't old enough for Philmont yet and by the time national rolls around he'll just make the age limit.  As my two scouts have said all along, he is only interested in himself.  That doesn't make a good leader in the long run.

 

The non-camping boy has gotten heavy into 4-H which was his family's forte anyway.  It's a good leadership development program and he's doing just fine raising his calves.  Scouting just isn't THE answer for all kids.  At least he gave it a try.

 

It's not the ideas that are the problem, it's just that the situation doesn't allow for a lot of options for the boys to choose from.  Having a mixed-age patrol is not an option on the table at this point of the game.

 

So, if one wishes to know what transpires in my neck-of-the-woods?  Take all your Webelos boys coming in this year, add only two other boys from the existing troop, but neither can be above Tenderfoot, and then run your program as boy-led, patrol-method..   Let me know how it works out for you.  :)  This is also just the troops second year of operation.  Last week the boys held a wrap up meeting on their AOL requirements and did an after action review of the previous weekend's camp out.  Then on Saturday they did a service project of cleaning up the gardens at one of the cemeteries in town.  Last night they placed flags on the veterans' graves at yet another cemetery, followed by a session on Build a Hero activity where various veterans addressed the boys, this Sunday they will be doing an all day fund raiser manning a food booth, Monday they will march in the Memorial Day Parade and on Tuesday they will earn their AOL and cross over into Boy Scouts.  So, tell me, does that sound like a troop that can't get its act together?   So the biggest conflict?  The boys are arguing who gets to carry the flags in the parade.  I'm confident they'll have it figured out in time to march.

 

And do the math correctly.  3 packs and 3 troops.  Traditionally the two troops have divided the boys from the 3 packs.  With my new troop coming in and snagging 1/3rd of them is a BIG WIN in my book.

Edited by Stosh

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From a Scout Leader's Guide to Youth Leadership, p. 38:  

 

[At Brownsea, Baden-Powell] invited boys aged 10 to 17 (the average was 14) from different walks of life to participate in his great experiment.  Some of the boys were sons of B-P's friends in the military and had attended private private schools.... Others were sons of common laborers recruited from the "Boys Brigades" from nearby towns of Bournemouth and Poole. 

 

When all Scouts had reported to camp, B-P divided the scouts into four patrols.  B-P chose names for the first scout patrols ever:  the Wolves, the Bulls, the Curlews and the Ravens.  B-P seeded each patrol with boys of different backgrounds and experiences.  B-P deliberately separated brothers into different patrols.  He mixed town boys wiht "publis school" boys in each patrol.  B-P selected the four patrol Leaders from among the public school Scouts in attendance."

 

I can only imagine the slings and arrows that B-P would have to endure on this forum for what he did.  I can hear the chorus of "adult-led" or "forced patrols" and the predictions of "that is never going to work." :confused:

 

I love to quote Richard Covey (the late author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People) when he says seek first to understand and then to be understood.  From being on the debate team in college and being a lawyer, I understand that everything cannot be black and white.  In reading all of the posts regarding the mixed age vs. new scout patrol, it is obvious that there are both benefits and disadvantages to each approach.  It is also obvious that whether a troop uses a new scout patrol or mixed patrols is or was an adult dictated decision - whether we admit it or not.

 

Our Troop's lore is that a group of scouts abolished the same aged patrols because they didn't like how they were treated when they crossed over.  The felt ignored and segregated in meetings and on outings.  That was a failure of the older scouts.  But when these guys became older scouts, they made a decision to change how patrols were made up so that the older scouts were with the younger scouts and that the older scouts knew their job was to welcome them in as part of their patrol and to teach those scouts.  Over a period of around 8 years, the troop grew from 14 to over 50.  Last year, we had a large number of new scouts crossing over and tried to have a new scout patrol based on some wide-eyed ASM (that would be me) idea that new scout patrols were essential to the BSA model.  We assigned a former SPL who was a JASM to work with the patrol.  After three weeks, he reported back tothe PLC that the new scouts were getting restless, weren't that interested in learning skills and kept asking "when do we get to be part of a real patrol?"  The SM told the PLC to decide what to do and they decided to integrate the new boys into the existing patrols.

 

We typically lose 1 scout out of around 6 that cross over.  I can tell you who that scout is by the end of June.  If they don't do a campout before the end of the school year and if they don't do summer camp, they won't be back in September.  Scouts don't stay or leave based on patrol structure.  Scouts stay or leave based on whether they are having fun.

Edited by Hedgehog
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Wow, Hedge. We would criticize the guy for not following a policy that did not exist?  That is tough !!!

 

 

But "work for" what?  Teaching kids to lead?  Kinda' hard to do that if they are not allowed to actually lead.  (B-P said that, in effect.  Partial responsibility=partial results.  I would add, "No responsibility = no results, if the "what" is leadership.)

 

 

Compared to other issues that we have, this is not a critical issue.  B.S.A. is not in its steep decline over mixed-age patrols vs. NSP, whatever any of us personally prefer.  

 

 

If you missed it, the Orientation for New Scout Parents prepared by some doughty person(s) at Corporate says the Patrol Method is a "component of the boy-led troop."  That is evidence of massive lack of knowledge, and ignorance kills.

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I understand B-P gave each Scout who attended a meaningless patch to boost their self-esteem and encourage them more too.

 

That is where the Bling-for-Nothing movement started. ;)

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What's ironic is the mixed-aged patrols that offer a NSP option do nothing and know little on how to support it.  Thus it fails.  It's easy to blame the system at that point.

 

On occasion I have had a purely NSP with a functional TG do well.

 

I have had NSP select an older boy to be their PL along with a functional TG do well.

 

I have had a stray boy or two here or there come into the troop and slip into a patrol relatively close in age to theirs.

 

As it stands right now.  With a new troop start up, I do not have the option of mixed age patrols to offer my scouts.  I am  experienced in all types of patrols so I really don't care what option they pick or get stuck with.

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@@TAHAWK - I have no doubt if I posted that the SM in our Troop decides on the patrols for summer camp and appoints the PLs and APLs and then provides the names of the patrols and designs their flags like B-P did, our Troop would be firmly derided.

 

The "it wouldn't work" comment was a reference to how folks on this forum seem to think that the minor details can derail the whole program.  Obviously, B-P's adult lead experiment did work to generate scouting across the world.

 

As for leadership, leadership can be learned in many environments and through many different methods.  It can range from leaving the boys alone and expecting them to figure it out, to guiding the boys through adult interaction to even having the boys lead in limited circumstances with close adult supervision.

 

I agree that it is not a critical issue, but I suspect others here do not agree.

 

Although the BSA's statements on the patrol method is inacurate theology (we all know that the patrol method is the only method for boy scouts) but it really is just an attempt to explain that the two go hand in hand.  The patrol functions as the "just right" number of scouts that can be lead by a Patrol Leader.  With a 24 boy troop without patrols would be too much for one boy to lead.  So you break it down into three patrols of 8.  That is managable.  The Patrol Method allows a troop to be boy led.

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Other than the change Bill made as to how the PL gets his job, Boy Scouting, as promoted by B-P, was as far from adult-led as you can be.  He said the Patrol Method - boys leading boys -- it was the one thing that most differentiated Boy Scouts from other youth organization.  You have to know that.  I know you know that.

 

And while it is true that BSA troops were pretty much adult-led at first, Bill led the move to the Patrol Method with elected leaders.  That was the way it was in the 1950s and 1960s when membership was at its peak.

 

Do you believe that a boy can learn to lead by watching adults lead?  I don't think it works well, if at all.   It's like adults taking over pitching in Little League.

 

B.S.A. says, officially, that it's not optional.  What B.S.A. does is another story due to it's goals .  What YOU do it up to you, Boy Scouting or not?

 

I think that, unlike NSP VS mixed, use of the Patrol Method is absolutely critical, and failure to use it is a good part of the reason for the decline of the movement in the U.S.  Kids have less tolerance for fraud than adults.  They are promised one thing, in writing, and expect what they are promised.   (The failure to keep the fun and adventure promise is another big issue.)

 

And "boy led" is just part of it, as I am also sure that you know.

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What's ironic is the mixed-aged patrols that offer a NSP option do nothing and know little on how to support it.  Thus it fails.  It's easy to blame the system at that point.

 

The NSP option failed because it didn't fit in Hedgehog's Troop design. They simply didn't need the NSP to indoctrinate new scouts into their troop. Trying something new is a normal process of working toward a better program, as is dropping the parts that drag the program down. Loosing 1 scout for every six shows their success without the NSP. They might change their new scouts policy for those years when 25 new scouts join at the same time.

 

Barry

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What's ironic is the mixed-aged patrols that offer a NSP option do nothing and know little on how to support it.  Thus it fails.  It's easy to blame the system at that point.

 

 

As we like to say in the legal profession, assuming facts not in evidence.  We had someone who had served as a PL and SPL working with the NSP.  The only way we could have had more experience and knowledge was to have an adult do it.

 

 

My point was that B-P used mixed aged patrols that were assigned by the SM and that seems to have worked out pretty well.  Some folks use the NSP concept well.  I like the idea but realized it didn't work in our Troop.  Unlike Stosh, I didn't attribute it to the complete and utter failure of our (very experienced, now Eagle) scout leading the NSP, but to the dynamics of our Troop.  The single age, NSP concept might work in other troops.

 

I think that, unlike NSP VS mixed, use of the Patrol Method is absolutely critical, and failure to use it is a good part of the reason for the decline of the movement in the U.S.  Kids have less tolerance for fraud than adults.  They are promised one thing, in writing, and expect what they are promised.   (The failure to keep the fun and adventure promise is another big issue.)

 

And "boy led" is just part of it, as I am also sure that you know.

 

I don't think we are disagreeing at all. Regardless of how the patrols are set up, using the patrols as the basic unit of scouting IS what Boy Scouts is about.

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As we like to say in the legal profession, assuming facts not in evidence.  We had someone who had served as a PL and SPL working with the NSP.  The only way we could have had more experience and knowledge was to have an adult do it.

 

 

My point was that B-P used mixed aged patrols that were assigned by the SM and that seems to have worked out pretty well.  Some folks use the NSP concept well.  I like the idea but realized it didn't work in our Troop.  Unlike Stosh, I didn't attribute it to the complete and utter failure of our (very experienced, now Eagle) scout leading the NSP, but to the dynamics of our Troop.  The single age, NSP concept might work in other troops.

 

A major factor in this process is also what did the boys want?  Nothing kills off either kind of patrol faster than boys not having any ownership, or at least some say-so, in the process.  In my troops it has always been an individual's choice as much as possible.  We don't have adults saying, "No, you can't do it that way."  Nor do we have any youth saying, "No, you can't do it that way."1  If the boys want a NSP, we provide a TG.  If the boys want in on the other patrols, if there is room, go for it.  In the later, I have noticed that the age differences between the youngest newbie and the oldest in the patrol is seldom more than a year or two at most.  Usually a older brother is a factor in that choice.  If there is more than just a couple of years difference between brothers, the older boy really doesn't want his little brother tagging along on his adventures.

 

 

I don't think we are disagreeing at all. Regardless of how the patrols are set up, using the patrols as the basic unit of scouting IS what Boy Scouts is about.

 

I know we are not disagreeing on anything.  I have seen both situations work out very well.  A small troop of  only one patrol HAS to be able to function well as a mixed age patrol.  Two is necessary for a choice whether the new boys want to blend or do their own thing.  As SM one has to be knowledgeable on supporting both options.  All in all, in my area, the NSP/Reg/Venture layering seems to be the boy's choice, but when we got up to 4 patrols, one could definitely see the older boys wanting to do their own thing in the venture patrol setting.  They felt they "paid their dues" and there were enough eager boys in the regular patrols to fill the POR's needed for advancement.  The new boys kinda liked to hang together having all come from the same pack usually.

 

 

1.  One of the reason why my PLC never really matured in my previous troop was because the patrol members didn't want other PL's dictating what they as a patrol could or could not do.  I don't think my PLC ever really made a voting "decision" on anything.  Our patrols rather enjoyed their autonomy and didn't like "outsiders" saying they couldn't go to a new summer camp if they wanted to.  Although I was off having coffee and jaw jacking, I did hear after a PLC meeting that 3 of the four patrols wanted one summer camp  and the older boys wanted to go somewhere else.  They voted, the older boys said they wouldn't be going to camp that summer, nor would they work to help pay for summer camp camperships.  The vote was immediately rescinded and everyone got to go to the camp of their choice.  The PLC ended up being more of a communication between patrol mechanism rather than any ruling body.

 

Just because we were boy led, does not mean it was a miniature youth replica of adult control.  It seemed to work for them, at least other than that minor voting issue which was quickly corrected, it never needed any adult intervention to make it work.  At least no one ever said anything to me about it.

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Although I was off having coffee and jaw jacking, I did hear after a PLC meeting that 3 of the four patrols wanted one summer camp  and the older boys wanted to go somewhere else.  They voted, the older boys said they wouldn't be going to camp that summer, nor would they work to help pay for summer camp camperships. 

 

Yah, hmmmmm....

 

I'm wonderin' how anybody can consider that an act of character and good citizenship?

 

Structures, like how we apportion districts for voting, provide da support and mechanism for practicing character and leadership.   Just because a structure is provided by B-P, or by da Constitution, doesn't mean we've taken away all opportunities for leadership, eh?  Like as not we've enhanced opportunities for citizenship and leadership by providin' that structure.

 

Structures do matter, I reckon.   Da U.S. Constitution gets yeh somewhat different outcomes than da Russian constitution or da British parliamentary system.   Age-based patrols get yeh somewhat different outcomes than mixed-age patrols.    So a lot depends on what yeh care about in terms of outcomes.  When I say that personally I prefer mixed-age patrols it's because I think they do better at da personal growth and citizenship outcomes that I care about, eh?    From da quote above, @@Stosh values different outcomes, where older boys doin' stuff that leaves da other lads behind has a higher value than it does for me.  So it's worth sharin' those perspectives, even though we might not all care about da same things.

 

On da other hand, lack of structure often just gets yeh caught in storming, eh?  If yeh look at da developin' world and countries tryin' to build new constitutions and such it's largely a tale of failure.  No reason da same thing shouldn't be true for kids, eh?   To do the wide-open kids-decide-da structure thing, yeh need a lot more adult control.  Sort of like an occupyin' army.  :huh:   With a strong existin' structure, though, kids can make changes and amendments and try new experiments just fine.

 

Patrol Method, Advancement, Values/Oath/Law, Uniform, etc...  all of our Methods are adult-provided structure, eh?  The lads don't come up with their own Oath, they don't set up their own awards.   I might wish they'd have a bit more say in da Uniform, but da notion is an adult one.  Scoutin' is hardly hands-off youth run, eh?  It's an example of a structure set up by adults to achieve particular outcomes.

 

So focus on da outcomes yeh want, and then use Scoutin' structures in ways that help yeh get the lads there.  Scoutin' Methods serve da Aims of da BSA and da goals of da Chartered Partner, not vice versa.

 

Beavah

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