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TAHAWK

Journey to ? 2017

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It's almost Christmas again, and I am hoping Santa will bring Boy Scouting a metric for troops that actually encourages the Patrol Method.

 

JTE encourages patrols, patrol leaders, SPL, youth leader training, and PLCs.  It does not encourage the Patrol Method.  All the listed scoring criteria typically exist in the adult run, troop-method troop.  (And, to compound the failure, there is  STILL no coherent explanation of the Patrol Method in official BSA adult training.  That's seventeen years and counting.)

 

Journey to Excellence COULD encourage the Patrol Method by giving points for: 

 

>patrol and troop leaders elected by the Scouts;

>significant separate patrol program;

>advancement instruction and passing requirements primarily in the patrol context;

>every patrol member with a functioning job;

>Scouts planning the program of the patrols and troop, not just being "involved" in some                  unspecified way; and

>SPL running the troop-level program and the planning thereof. 

 

But JTE does not give points for the actual indicia of use of Scouting's "most important method."

 

In fact, JTE continues to imagine that the Patrol Method is solely about developing youth leaders (which would be the Leadership Development Method): "Patrol method: Use the patrol method to develop youth leaders."

 

If you don't know where you're going, it's hard not to get lost. 

 

Watering down Scouting's "most important method" is not a path to excellence in Boy Scouting.

Edited by TAHAWK
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I concur. The Journey to Excellence program gives good insight into the administrative workings of a given unit - but not much clue as to whether or not true Scouting is taking place within them. There should be a way to measure that, but quantifying it would be more difficult to ascertain than their easy tallies and percentages I'm afraid. :-(

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It sure sounds like you're volunteering to write one up. Thank you. I look forward to seeing the first version.

 

I'd use it not only to score my troop but also to teach my scouts and parents.

 

One of the things the official one does is make it obvious to score. So, there isn't much subjectivity. If you could keep that it would be good. Starting with some subjective measurements might not be a bad way to start a discussion, though.

 

Anyway, now is a good time to do this and you'd be great at making this happen. let us know what help you need.

 

Thanks again for helping out with this.

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We have not used to JTE for years. Of it's faults, IMO the most glaring was the SPL signature is not required as scouts are out of the loop.

 

No doubt TAHAWK could do this, but to his point, a group of SPL's from scout-run troops should draft the replacement metrics.

 

My $0.02

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Good point.  Has to be measurable.

 

So compare the below to current language (  http://www.scouting.org/filestore/mission/pdf/2017_JTE_Troop_Scorecard.pdf )

 

Patrol Method - Use the Patrol method as defined at pp. ____ of the Scoutmaster Specific Syllabus (which would require that it again be defined) to insure that Scouting primarily takes place in a patrol context.

 

Bronze level:  Have patrols, each with a Patrol Leader elected by the members of their respective patrols.  If there is more than one patrol, have a Senior Patrol Leader elected by the Scouts of the troop.  The PLC meets at least nine times per calendar year to plan and evaluate troop program.  Each patrol meets independently at least nine times. Each patrol member has an identified patrol position including Assistant Patrol Leader, Scribe, and Quartermaster.

 

Gold Level: Achieve Bronze Level plus PLC, under the chairmanship of the SPL and with counsel and support of Scoutmaster, democratically plans annual troop program and SPL presents that program to Troop Committee to ask for its support.  Each patrol has two independent campouts, two independent hikes, and two independent service projects.  The troop conducts Introduction to Patrol Leadership (the youth training we actually need since troop leadership is supposed to be of secondary importance) for every elected leader who has not taken that training.  There is some evidence that each patrol member is functioning in his patrol position.

 

Silver Level: Achieve Gold Level plus each Scout spends at least 75% of his time in unit-level Scouting, not considering Summer Camp, in a patrol activity.  At least one Scout attends N.Y.L.T.  At least one Scout attends Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills. Each patrol meets at least twenty times in each calendar year, has three independent campouts, three independent hikes, and three independent service projects. The SPL or a Scouter actually observes at least five of these patrol activities led by Assistant Patrol Leaders.

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We have not used to JTE for years. Of it's faults, IMO the most glaring was the SPL signature is not required as scouts are out of the loop.

 

No doubt TAHAWK could do this, but to his point, a group of SPL's from scout-run troops should draft the replacement metrics.

 

My $0.02

 

SPLs could certainly do this.  They have done a great job of planning our district's Klondikes and leading its events for over twenty-five years - after I subverted the adult committee who had been stinking up the place doing the planning with near zero unit or youth input. (To bore from within you have to be within.)

 

But the SPLs would have to know (subjunctive) what the Patrol Method is.  It has not been laid out in a coherent presentation anywhere in BSA literature since before almost all of them were born.  It is the unusual Scout who plows through all the current writing to find the piece-parts after reading what Bill wrote to help him know what he is looking for..

 

In fact, there are clearly incorrect and contradictory statements in current BSA writing.  The misstatement above in JTE about the purposes of the Patrol Method is only one example.  For another example, BSA says the Patrol Method is part of the "Youth Led Troop."  That would be backwards.  BSA says the annual planning meeting is driven by the SM's goals and done by a consensus of the PLC,Troop Committee, all uniformed Scouters, the COR, and the Unit Commissioner.  So the Scouts would be easily controlled on every issue.  

 

A problem is, as one very high-ranking National Scouter told me, in writing, some at National don't know much about Boy Scouting. That's why they have "misplaced" the Patrol Method.  Not a conspiracy or change in policy - ignorance.  The statement in the newest Handbook that a troop is composed of patrols is just one step on the road back to Boy Scouting.

Edited by TAHAWK
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Good points.

 

I would clarify that the term "independent" means patrol-planned. This would solve program planning for older scouts/Venture patrols as they would already be doing it themselves. Hmmm, what if, annual patrol planning took root?  Troop planning would focus on membership, fundraising, summer camp, adult leader training,..

 

Agree with qwazse regarding Bronze-Gold-Silver order.

 

Another $0.02

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With all the different "definitions", iterations of the Patrol Method, and lack of support from National is it any wonder those who try to use boy led, patrol method in their troops find themselves basically groping in the dark and everyone around them telling them they are doing it all wrong?

 

Scouting's Journey to Excellence

 

"Scouting's Journey to Excellence" is the BSA's council performance recognition program designed to encourage and reward success and measure the performance of our units, districts, and councils. It is meant to encourage excellence in providing a quality program at all levels of the BSA.  - http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/Awards/JourneyToExcellence.aspx   Notice the total lack of the word patrol anywhere in the literature?

 

I had to promote the JTE program as a unit commissioner, but I never ran it in my unit.  We didn't even get a participation ribbon... didn't qualify if we didn't participate.

 

When scouts can register for District and Council events as a patrol, we'll stop doing what we're doing and start to listen.  Until then we'll need to settle for our "off the reservation" patrol method were the boys make the decisions and run the show in their patrols and use the troop as the only means of communication between patrols.  It may not be perfect, but it is closer to boy led, patrol method than any other unit in the Council and from listening to the debate on the forum, I'm still okay with what my boys are doing.

Edited by Stosh

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Some random thoughts, because the family is around:

 

What about something to encourage feedback within the patrol? Not sure how but it seems boys just stew over problems rather than bring them out. This might not be the place to teach it, but if there were a simple metric it might be useful to teach the scouts and the adults that the scouts can and should solve their problems rather than the adults.

 

How about borrowing the troop membership metric and applying it to the patrol. Keep 6-8 members in your patrol. Actively recruit for your patrol. Many of the troop wide metrics might work at the patrol level and make more sense. Not all, but some.

 

I also see scouts really struggle with planning. Teamwork in the moment they can easily grasp. Planning is an amazing challenge. Again, maybe this isn't the place but something simple might help. Again, the equivalent troop wide metric might translate well to a patrol level.

 

Or maybe there should be a section for the adults to encourage them to do what they should do. Not sure what that should be.

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The only language I use is..."Bummer!"

 

Mr. Stosh, we have a problem....

 

Bummer!

 

Mr. Stosh, we forgot to bring.....

 

Bummer!

 

Mr. Stosh, Joey won't do what he's told.....

 

Bummer!

 

The #1 dynamic of leadership is problem solving for the group.  If the boys can't do that.... Bummer!  Better learn quickly!

 

Boys that learn to rely on the adults to pull them through the tough spots will never learn.  Suck it up, figure it out!

 

When I was deployed to NC for Hurricane Matthew, I was put into a situation I had absolutely no experience and 1 hour worth of web-based  orientation/training.  You're a Shelter Manager go to.... and set up the shelter.  Bummer!   I ended up with 150 people, no electricity and I had never made an MRE in my life.  It was 8 days of problem solving, one after another, in adverse conditions.  Bummer!  My Scouting background, my expired EMT training, group dynamic training, Greenleaf's Servant Leadership basis, and the totally irrational thought that "I can do this" got me through.  I was the classic example of a 10 year old PL of the NSP.  Bummer!  :)  It can be done, quit whining, roll up your sleeves and figure it out.

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Stosh, I understand if you reject the entire concept of JTE

 

If you don't or if you assume that it is not just going away, how can its Patrol Method metrics be improved to actually encourage use of the Patrol Method?

 

Otherwise, bummer.

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PM metrics?  Sounds like a management issue, not a leadership issue.

 

So, if it's management one needs, here's the metric...

 

At least 50 patrol meetings a year.

 

Sounds like what a troop would do, but each patrol meets separately focusing in on their own particular interests and needs.  The Venture patrol plans Venture activities and doesn't worry about what the NSP is doing.  They are doing their own thing such as S->FC training.

 

Each patrol must camp 12 times a year.

 

Sounds like what a troop would do, but each patrol can decide if it wants to coordinate with the other patrols. i.e. going to a camporee, or whether they wish to do something on their own.

 

Each patrol must do a service project 12 times a year.

 

Sounds like what a troop would do, but each patrol decides what's important.

 

Each patrol must have 2 activities planned and coordinated by the APL

 

This is important to develop future leadership/management and to have a ready supply of experienced PL's for other patrols if the need should arise. 

 

Each patrol must have 6 activities each year involving two or more other patrols.

 

Inter-patrol activities are necessary to stretch one's diplomatic skills outside the limits of one's patrol.

 

Troop level POR holders must function under an ASPL as a patrol separate from the other patrols.

 

Troop POR's need to be separate from patrol activities to avoid any conflict of interests or favoritism.

 

SPL is the "PL" to the PL's of the patrols and this "patrol" is the PLC.  It is to meet once a month and cannot make any decisions concerning the patrols.

 

SPL is the enabler, communicator between the PL's and the SM.  He is there to help, not make decisions and impose them on the patrols.  His tact and diplomacy is developed at this level along with that of his ASPL's who are PL's of the various Leadership Corps groupings.  The PLC is for support only.  For example, 3 patrols cannot force the 4th patrol to comply with what the other three want done.  3 patrols want to go to summer camp and the 4th wants to go to HA.  SPL needs to put on his problem solving hat, work with this Leadership Corps and Adults and make it happen the way the Patrols want it to happen.

 

Not only are these measurable metrics, they are measured in terms of the patrol NOT THE TROOP.  The awards for JTE should be by patrol, not by troop!  Change the focus and it will change the culture!  Maybe the JTE patch should be a donut shaped patch that goes around the patrol patch!

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