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sheilab

How many in a patrol

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Looking for a feedback on what is the minimum and maximum in a patrol.

Seems everywhere I look it appears to be different, is there an official page for min and max?

This website appears to be from the Troop Leader Guidebook http://troopleader.org/types-of-patrols/ and this website http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/BoyScouts/PatrolLeader.aspx .

Both are good but seem to differ.  Our situation is, we have 7 new scouts that joined last night.  The scouts decided to put them into a new scout patrol.  Our current scouts, which are 4 or 5 scouts.  4 or 5 because one just became Eagle and will probably not continue.  These scouts decided to be in another patrol; however not sure if that is advisable due to only having 4 boys and both the SPL and ASPL are in this patrol and are not part of a patrol.  Of the two remaining scouts, one joined 3 months ago and is not a scout yet and the other is tenderfoot.  What would you do?

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Let the boys decide. If the newer boys are all together without any older boys, then an older boy should serve as a troop guide to help the new patrol leader best serve his patrol. The older boys should be encouraged to set the example, and to provide help and guidance especially at troop meetings.

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Yes one of the older boys is going to be troop guide.  How can you have a patrol with 2 scouts and one being not a scout rank and the other a tenderfoot?  They do not know much yet.

Edited by sheilab

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1) You need to let the Scouts figure this out. In my experience, when adults intervene they only make matters worse. And I've seen  a 2 man "patrol" ( SPL and ASPL), and a 10 man patrol before ( two patrols merged for a competition).

 

2) One of the disadvantages of the New Scout Patrol concept. Ever since my troop was a guinea pig and tried the NSP before it became the recommended model, it has been a failure. Every troop I've been in went to traditional patrols. BUT THAT IS FOR THE PATROL LEADERS' COUNCIL TO DECIDE AND NOT THE ADULTS (caps for emphasis, not shouting)

 

3) It appears that you are a brand new, just crossed over from Cub Scouts  adult. To quote Master Yoda, "you must unlearn what you have learned." You have just spent X number of years being a leader. It is hard to sit back and do nothing. BUT THAT IS WHAT YOU ARE SUPPOSE TO DO NOW! (again emphasis). And Trust me I know it's hard making the transition from Cub Scout leader to Scouter, and I knew better. Once my troop growing up got a feeder pack, I hated when we got new Scouts because their parents and leaders caused so much trouble until the SM or CC stepped in and got them out of our hair.

 

4) good luck.

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The best solution is no solution.  This is a question one should not even be asking if they are over 18.  We tried this, we tried that, we did this, we did that and nothing seemed to work.  Why is WE even trying to do any of it. 

 

Let the boys decide and if they screw it up, you are still off the hook.  My boys have always liked the NSP, it works because they make it work.  I have seen mixed patrols and they work...because the boys make it work.  This is not an adult issue.

Edited by Stosh

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Yes one of the older boys is going to be troop guide.  How can you have a patrol with 2 scouts and one being not a scout rank and the other a tenderfoot?  They do not know much yet.

Patrols have a natural life span.  The question now is for the Scouts.  What do they want to do?  Patrols are supposed to be self-selected.

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....  These scouts decided to be in another patrol; however not sure if that is advisable due to only having 4 boys and both the SPL and ASPL are in this patrol and are not part of a patrol.  Of the two remaining scouts, one joined 3 months ago and is not a scout yet and the other is tenderfoot.  What would you do?

As long as the boys work well together, and are willing to loan one of their members for a while to guide the other, younger patrol, support their plan.

I would, however, try to disavow them of the notion that a troop of two patrols needs an SPL/ASPL.  If each patrol fields a PL and APL, these four come together to form your PLC. If another boy is good at being scribe, he joins them to take meeting minutes.

 

Don't rush advancement. Focus on helping each patrol find skill-appropriate activities. Have fun.

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That's great that you nearly tripled the size of your troop in one day. That's going to make for some changes but it's a high class problem you have.

 

As others have said, SPL and ASPL is overkill for 11 scouts, you probably don't need either.

 

You haven't really described the existing patrol. One scout is about to get Eagle and leave. How old is he? Two are young and likely not much different from the 7 that joined. That leaves 2 other scouts? What ages and abilities are they? Patrols form based on personalities. You might not end up with 2 regular patrols. You might end up with 9 newish scouts and 2 others that are the "leadership patrol" that train the patrol.

 

Talk to the scouts about the issues and let them decide.

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My boys tend to group up by age and I recommend they keep the numbers from 6-8 boys.  More than that tends to be overwhelming for most fledgling new leaders.  Heck, dens of 8+ boys are often times overwhelming for adults.

 

Less than that, say 4-5 boys is still workable, but many of the tasks in the patrol need the members to wear two hats.  This can be a bit confusing at times.

 

I had one "patrol" of two boys that thought they could be PL/APL and "recruit" new members.  They just wanted to hang out together.  This worked out to their "advantage" until one of them was hurt the day before summer camp and the other boy spent his week "solo".  After that, the two joined up with another patrol and that ended that experiment.  If left alone, they can figure it out on their own.

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Let the scouts decide.  

 

Be careful.  Even when you say "let the scouts decide", adults strongly influence the scouts.  That influence can support or defeat the scout's how scout's work together.

 

The idea behind "let the scout's decide" is more than just they will choose right.  It's about their owning the decision, learning from their choices and bonding as a troop.  Also, it keeps the adults out as scouts will become passive when adults make even the most passive comments.  It's really about how scouting works.  Scouting is for the boys to grow and explore.  To do that, you need to let them take leadership even in the early beginning.  Ask and guide.  But be careful how much you inject.

 

You'll find new scout patrol versus mixed age patrols as a big debate.  People will try to label one as traditional and one as not.  Looking back on how scouting started, it can be argued the new scout patrol is the original model.  But it's a moot issue.  

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I'm usually on the side of "let the scouts decide"

But I think this is one case where it's maybe helpful to offer guidelines up front (assuming the situation is starting form scratch and they don't have a clue or any established structure already)

There are after all some rules or guidelines to any game right?

 

Send them packing with a loose assignment.... "guys, go sort yourself into patrols...roughly around about maybe 6-8 scouts per patrol...more or less, and let me know when you've figured it out just so that I know....".  Might even open up the number to make it rounder...as in "like maybe roughly 5-10"

Gives them an idea but doesn't really restrict them much....just steering them away from patrols of two....or patrols of 20

 

on this topic, I think this is very interesting, from BP in his Aides to Scoutmastership....

   well now I can't find the passage I was really looking for.  Maybe it was in something else he wrote.... or maybe it was something from Greenbar Bill....anyway, it was about how boys will generally normally group up around about 6-8 kids..... it's sort of a natural size for a group of friends that run around together.....

even non-scout groups....

- neighborhood "gangs" in the old fashioned sense (ie groups of friends in the neighborhood)

- when kids break up into teams for sand-lot ball games, the teams will generally be 6-8 kids..... and this whole thing makes me wonder about the evolution of a lot of sports games... baseball for example fields what 3 basemen + 3 outfieilders + 1 pitcher + 1 catcher = 8.... then I wonder if the short stop wasn't an add later on.... since it seems like an afterthought

- and when I think about how many friends most folks have.... I'd guess just based on my experiences and observations that on average folks have 1 to 3 really close friends + around about 3 more or so good friends.  Any more friends than that & they are probably really more like good acquaintances

 

anyway, these are interesting I think

http://scoutmastercg.com/aids-scoutmastership/#ThePatrol System

and

http://scoutmastercg.com/aids-scoutmastership/#OneReason Why a Troop Should not Exceed Thirty Two

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I understand what others are saying about "let the Scouts decide", but if the result is that the Tenderfoot and not-yet-Scout with three months in the troop are their own patrol, it seems unlikely to me that they are going to get the benefit of the patrol method.  Maybe the answer is to have two patrols of 5 and 6, or 5 and 5 with an SPL if the Scouts decide to have one.  Maybe the SPL could keep his title but in effect serve mostly as the troop guide for both patrols.  There really is no need for an ASPL position at this point; that Scout should be in a patrol.

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blw2, I think those are good guidelines, but this is a troop of 11 kids, 7 of whom have been Boy Scouts for less than a week.  The realistic options are kind of limited.

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blw2, I think those are good guidelines, but this is a troop of 11 kids, 7 of whom have been Boy Scouts for less than a week.  The realistic options are kind of limited.

yeah, well a little bit.....but still plenty of options

 

1) kinda big for one patrol, but that's an option

2) 5 + 6

3) 4 + 7

 are all potential patrol sizes

outside of that probably not a great idea but there are a few more.....

 

.....and then those patrols could be made up of many different combinations of the individual scouts.... (ie John, Bill, Dave, Bob, and Ben in a patrol together, OR John, Steve, Pat, Ben, and Jake in a patrol together, OR .......)

I'm extremely rusty on my permutation calculations.... but If I'm doing it correctly, its maybe 462 combinations with some limit on patrol size above say 4 or 5

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