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Welcome to the forum @@HulkSmash!

 

The biggest practical concern that folks here may have (that may or may not come with underlying opinions about sex and development) is the level of experience implementing the patrol method.

 

With a Boy Scout's resume that experience is measured straightforwardly by years in a patrol, as a patrol leader, as SPL, etc ...

 

What about your female staffers' experience do you take as equivalent to the patrol method ... or what about her performance did you decide could be translated into being a guide to nascent PL/SPLs?

Only in theory does a Patrol Leader lead.  Not to repeat too much (as I repeat), BSA advocates the Patrol Method, has not explained it in its literature in decades, does not measure its USE in Journey to whatever, provides no incentive to the adults to allow its use, provides no disincentive for adults who do  not use it, does not train youth in it short of the minority experience of NYLT, and not completely even there, and does not train adults in what it is since the 1970's.   If it happens, it's by chance, luck, and the Blessing, not by design backed by behavior.  

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Only in theory does a Patrol Leader lead.  Not to repeat too much (as I repeat), BSA advocates the Patrol Method, has not explained it in its literature in decades, does not measure its USE in Journey to whatever, provides no incentive to the adults to allow its use, provides no disincentive for adults who do  not use it, does not train youth in it short of the minority experience of NYLT, and not completely even there, and does not train adults in what it is since the 1970's.   If it happens, it's by chance, luck, and the Blessing, not by design backed by behavior.  

All that is to say that it is equally likely that any given NYLT staffer could have had more PM experience from being outside of a Boy Scout troop than from being in.

So, what does NYLT a course director look for in their SPL?

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Thanks for the welcome.  With regard to the patrol method.  It is as much if not more the adults as it is the youth's ability to facilitate.  I find that in more cases than not it is the adult leader who is not allowing the patrol method to operate rather than the youth.  I have been very critical in my adult staff selections to ensure that I get adults who are willing to be in the background.  I would support that argument as evidenced in the wood badge course criteria.  The entire course is modeled around putting adults in a unit setting to emphasize the patrol method (among other things of course but you get the point).  I find that when you have adults who are willing to step back and let the youth lead the patrol method tends to implement itself.    

 

From a perspective of a females ability to implement the patrol method, I have been fortunate in having multiple females who have staffed NAYLE, been to Philmont/Northern Tier/Kodiak staffed Wood Badge/Powder Horn and a variety of other leadership courses.  That in itself does not qualify them, however from an experience standpoint it surely helps.  To be candid, the patrol method is something that can be taught and shown to a good leader and for females in active crews they are entirely youth led already so it is very easy.  When I am looking for my youth staff I look for young men/women who have the following traits:  

  1. Have the organizational skills, drive and commitment to show up to all meetings and put the work in to prepare for the course.  
  2. Their heart must be in the program.  Knowing the syllabus is one thing but living the values and being a true servant leader is something altogether different.  
  3. Maturity.  Both females and males.  I don't have tolerance for staff drama.  There are too many things going on during a course for me to have to divert attention to staff issues.  

The biggest decision I feel I make as Scoutmaster is my SPL.  I want the best leader possible out of the group regardless of sex.  I pick someone I feel has the traits above and we then start the process of selecting additional staff.  That's where the patrol method starts.  I trust my SPL completely.  From staff selection to SD scheduling and organization I work directly with the SPL but he/she makes the calls and organizes everything with my confirmation and/or guidance in the background.  They understand from the start that they are responsible for their staff and their development.  At the same time they know the adults are there for support but they run absolutely everything leading up to the course.  If there are any questions about patrol method on SD1 they are quickly resolved by the time course starts because all of our meetings are run by the youth leaders.    

 

Hopefully this answers some questions.  Sorry it was long winded.  

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Wood  Badge may do many things, depending on the quality of the Staff.  

 

It teaches the Patrol Method hardly at all and emphasizes the "troop method."

 

Let's bounce Wood Badge III against BSA's EDGE method.

 

EXPLAIN

In what session are the elements of the Patrol Method explained to the participants?  As those elements have not appeared coherently in BSA literature in decades, it is hardly surprising that the answer is "Nowhere."  Example: The Scout primarily experiences Scouting in the context of his patrol.

 

DEMONSTRATE

Are the patrols largely self-selected groups of friends? 

Do the participants spend most of their time in separate patrol activities?

Does learning primarily take place in a patrol setting vs a troop setting?

Do the participants democratically plan the program for their respective patrols and, through their elected representatives, for the troop as well?

Do the participants elect the SPL?

Are the PLs elected by the other members of their respective patrols?

Who primarily directly leads, the PLs and the SPL they elect or the adult analogs, the Staff?

Does Troop 1 exist for the administrative convenience of the patrols or visa-versa?

 

GUIDE

You cannot "guide" what is not allowed to happen.

I am told that "guidance" happens in the PLC meetings.  Not only is that guidance primarily about troop leadership, which is secondary to patrol leadership in Boy Scouting, but most of the decisions have already been made by the "adults."  After all, the "adults" know best.  The remit of the PLC is to decide limited issues from among a choice set supplied by the "adults."

 

(Do I propose that learners or trainees plan their training?  That would be interesting to try,  but no.  Just don't claim this training primarily or even significantly trains in the Patrol Method by example or by doing unless you are prepared to show how that is true.)

 

ENABLE

What are the PLs enabled to do as leaders as a percentage of what is going on?  One of them is PL when their patrol plans its "backpacking"

menu and patrol gear (See the wagon-loads of gear rumbling down the road.).  Hardly planning the "what, where, and when," only planning the details of what the "adults" have planned.  He or she could also lead  planning the patrol project, the "adults" already having decreed that there should be a "project" and the timing of it.  The patrol's choice how to comply with the "adults" vague charge OR, inconceivably in this authoritarian setting, whether to face the consequences of not obeying the "adults." Far from a "school of democracy."

 

I submit that the claim that Wood Badge teaches the Patrol Method is indefensible.  A far better argument is that It teaches the adult-run troop method.

 

It teaches other things and those primarily by lecture, a path we have been warned against since B-P started the hike.  More school than learning by doing - more school than Scouting.  The "mountain top" is far away.

 

It does serve as a very good tool for networking and the topics taught are significant and useful, just in isolation from the Patrol Method (and, really, the Outdoor Method).

 

Perhaps the current review will turn Wood Badge into something greater.  

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TAHAWK you make good points.  With that said I guess it depends on how the course you were a part of is run.  The course I went through and the courses I staffed I felt like the patrol method was emphasized heavily through a number of games presentations and activities.  I believe it also depends on how we would define the "patrol method."

 

For a WB course there are things that are pre-determined.  The same is for NYLT.  The participants do not pick their SPL, the patrol they are in or the games they play.  Those would simply be unrealistic to do given the planning and preparation necessary for a successful course.  I feel like the fact that we do not conduct troop elections in these training settings and that we have structured activities does not take away from the ability to teach and instruct the proper methodology.  That's just my outlook and opinion but I see where there are valid points to both sides.  It will always be a struggle to model it 100% in a training environment.  I too am looking forward to how a re-write will help to improve the courses.  

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Hulkster,

 

BSA has not defined the Patrol Method in decades.  However, BSA says a number of definitive things about it, here and there, that can be brought together and summarized -- and should be brought together and summarized -- in training and elsewhere in BSA literature.  Meanwhile, some at BSA say wholly inconsistent things:  the Patrol Method is optional and may be disregarded if it does not produce a well-oiled machine of a troop (as if it was about troops) OR the Patrol Method is one aspect of the "boy-led Troop" (as if there were a "troop method")  This behavior led the head of training to say that the Patrol Method had been "mislaid."  There really should be no debate at least as to what we aspire to achieve, but the inept communication and any lack of dedication to delivering what we promise leave room for some to imagine that what they are creating is Boy Scouting. 

 

Can a Staff overcome the limitations of the Syllabus?  Sure, but we wouldn't want to talk that way,would we?  Holy Writ, and all that, internal inconsistencies and all - to the letter - "must."

 

And if we are supposedly committed to EDGE, where in blue blazes is the explanation that it to precede all else?  Given a good explanation, and 45 minutes is plenty, even with discussion, then the almost total departure from the Patrol Method in the supposed "demonstration" might be at least understood to be departures. The Keepers of the Mysteries need to improve their performance while there is something left to save.

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Training in the patrol method in "modern" era of Scouting is constantly being sabotaged by the adults.  No matter how much one tries, they are still viewed, like teachers, religious leaders and parents and the go-to person when needing help.

 

Adults make the token gesture now and then to ease their guilt for not teaching it properly.  For example, when a scout comes and asks for help from the SM, the standard answer is, "Go talk to your PL."  Yeah, like he's been trained to handle it.  No, when a boy approaches the SM looking for leadership, the SM takes the boy to the PL and asks the PL, "Why is he bugging me, He's your responsibility according to the patch on your shirt and you're not taking care of him or he wouldn't have to ask me to."

 

If a boy came to the SM and said he cut his finger whittling, the SM wouldn't say, "Don't talk to me, go talk to the camp nurse."  So what's with the blow off we give to the PL's.

 

SM's are there to train and empower the PL's, not just check off the box on their record after 6 months and hassling them about not doing their job.

 

Every boy that has attended NYLT has found it a waste of time and money.  More likely they will say they learned more about leadership from me than what the BSA is doing, and I do it for free.

 

A handful of my church youth got together, organized a group to go down to the local community dinner and help serve, the adults that went (and no, not just their parents, but other congregational members) commented that they were impressed with the "leadership" the kids were doing on this activity.  Where was Mr. Stosh?  In the kitchen running the dishwasher.  I did exactly what everyone else in the group did.  We walked in and asked, "What can I do to help?" 

 

How many of your PL and APL's ever ask that question?

Edited by Stosh
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Stosh, BSA has not told anyone - 1,2,3,4,5 - what the Patrol Method is since Nixon was President.  I suggest that this behavior has consequences.

 

What would the adults do if:

1) They were told what it is ?

2) They were  told it is mandatory, which it clearly is not now in practice?

3) There were incentives to use it ?

4) There were disincentives for not using it?  Even as gentle as publicly not getting unit recognition like the ones that do use it.  "I'd favor a written warning with a time limit.  We have too many units and too few Boy Scout troops.  

We will never know until BSA talks the talk AND walks the walk.  It does neither.

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You forgot one other issue.  There are a number of SM's out there that THINK they are using the patrol method when in fact they aren't.  Just holding elections and grouping the boys up by name doesn't make it a patrol.  Of course, troop camping and cooking doesn't reinforce the patrol method, but it is a lot easier to run a scout troop if the boys don't keep getting in the way.

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Heck, some adults appear to think Scouting would be jolly fun - like a card-club or bowling league - but for those darn kids.

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Interesting discussion.  I would say our Crew does the patrol method better than our Troop.  I've told them that "in Venturing everyone is a leader" and that means each of them have roles they are responsible for in helping the Crew suceed.  They work together, take care of each other and have each other's backs.  The best evidence that it is working is that they don't want to leave after meetings and would prefer to hang out together.  I think two of my female Crew members will be doing NYLT this year with one of my male members on staff for a neighboring council.  To me, that means that the Crew will only get better.  Moving the troop more toward the Patrol Method is another (long) post.

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If done right according to GBB's training, everyone in the patrol has a responsibility.  Some get patches (PL) some get patches and no credit (APL, QM, Scribe).  Some don't even get patches (GrubMaster, CheerMaster, etc.)

 

If one were to stop and think about it a minute, Hedge is correct, at one time or another throughout the day, each one takes the leadership role for their expertise.

 

Some of the early literature reflects a bit of this in the nicknames for the boys.  Would "Doc" indicate he's the expert on first aid?  No patch for it, but if one gets hurt, he's the go-to guy.

 

One of the reasons we have no leadership in many of our troops is because 1) the adults don't want to give it up and 2) no one really expects it out of these scouts.  After all, they're just kids, ya know.  Whadda dey know.

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Can a Staff overcome the limitations of the Syllabus?  Sure, but we wouldn't want to talk that way,would we?  Holy Writ, and all that, internal inconsistencies and all - to the letter - "must."

 

It's really more complicated than that. As the creator of a Patrol Method Council level youth leadership course, the real problem is repeatability of presenting consistent quality courses. As much as many of us harp on Boy Run and Patrol Method, we don't discuss what that really is. Patrol Method is for the boys the independence of making their own decisions and dealing with the consequences. Trust me, that is really really hard to write in a course curriculum. One Scoutmaster working with several patrols over several years works because the program is held together with one consistent vision. But try a new course leader every year.

 

The challenge of finding like minded adults of the same basic vision was so great that our course was dropped after three years even while the troop leaders deemed it a huge success. The challenge of boy run and patrol method is having a consensus of how to apply boy independent thinking.

 

'm open minded, but youth level courses are very limited by the course directors. After being a course developer for both youth and adult leadership courses, I personally would rather develop a patrol method course for adults so they can take what they learn back to their units because what the scouts learn really doesn't matter if it isn't supported by the adult leaders.

 

Because the success of what a scout uses from a course is mainly dependent on the Scoutmaster, the better youth level courses teach techniques for troop management and operations, not leadership. Leadership requires repeated experiences of decision making and courses just can't provide those kinds of experiences.

 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad

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I personally would rather develop a patrol method course for adults so they can take what they learn back to their units because what the scouts learn really doesn't matter if it isn't supported by the adult leaders.

 

Yes. Maybe a 3 month long course would do it. And the flip side is if the course doesn't send something home with the scouts then the adults don't know how to emphasize what was taught. So I like the idea of a course just for teaching the adults patrol method.

 

There's another issue here. Today's scouts have much less experience at dealing with each other than scouts did 40 years ago. They don't have any experience at dealing with people problems because they aren't allowed to deal with people problems. The default behavior is to just ignore any difficulty and hope it goes away on its own. The biggest challenge I had was getting scouts to just try. If they'll try - anything - then the rest is easy. It's easier to work with a dictator than a scout that's afraid to rock the boat. It takes a lot of time and impatient parents that don't understand this will be a problem.

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"I'm open minded, but youth level courses are very limited by the course directors. After being a course developer for both youth and adult leadership courses, I personally would rather develop a patrol method course for adults so they can take what they learn back to their units because what the scouts learn really doesn't matter if it isn't supported by the adult leaders." [emphasis added]

 

:excl: 

 

Adults are the teachers or, more likely lately, the destroyers of true Boy Scouting

 

But you and I are talking about different "it"s  -  different issues.

 

Everyone experiences a course differently because he filters what he thinks he hears, sees, and experiences through their own fairly unique combination of experiences and beliefs - and absorbs (or not) by means of his personal abilities to absorb and understand information and experience. [standard, non-PC English usage.  Yes I know we have female Scouters.]

 

The rationale for "the Syllabus, the whole Syllabus, and nothing but the Syllabus" is the unattainable goal of every participant having the same experience and "getting" the same message.  They will not and do not.  Some adults come back from Wood Badge confirmed in  their belief in the adult-run troop because that is what they saw and experienced.

 

Then there are the errors and contradictions in the Holy Writ or contradictions with other authoritative, and often newer, BSA pronouncements.

 

We used to swear to deliver "the message BSA intends" and "use" the BSA course materials.  That left flexibility to deal with incorrect information, contradictions, and new learning.  Surely BSA did not intend to teach dish-washing that violated the health codes in all fifty states, even if that what was in the syllabus (and Handbook).  No such room to maneuver today in the minds of some "powers that be."  1+1 = 4 because it says so in the syllabus, even if elsewhere the same syllabus says 1+1 = 2 or BSA says 1+1 = 2  in some other publication.

 

Notice the unannounced shift in the original 13th edition Handbook back to unsafe dish-washing from the tardy correction in the 12th Edition, then back to the legally-mandated method as of the 2015 "printing" of the 13th.  (BSA "printings" have often been new editions over the years.)  Sorry, this does not lead to the rationale conclusion that BSA is the ultimate source of all wisdom.  If I ever had that opinion, it went flitting away when I read that it was bad practice to drink water when thirsty (Suck on a pebble instead.) or saw the totally incorrect illustration of how to tie the triangle lashing that kept appearing and disappearing over the decades.

 

And the official line on Duty to God and reverent in the Scoutmaster Position-Specific syllabus.  A very clear line is drawn -   contradicted by other clear and not withdrawn official statements by BSA on the topic and, especially, contradicted by BSA's  behavior over decades and to this day.  

 

Which meets the requirements?

Atheists

Some atheists

Open atheists

Some open atheists

Polytheists

Some polytheists

Deists

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