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@@TAHAWK, you describe the organization's errors on particulars (although if you are a person affected by those particulars, they may loom large).

 

The thing that truly undermines course directors and SPLs is a pervasive vision of big ticket scouting to Jambo and HA bases (including to some extent CoHs and service project bragging matches) -- all requiring chaperons -- all somewhat ancillary to what we're really after.

 

We may pitch the pinnacle scouting experience of hiking and camping independently with your mates, but parents and many youth only see that red-white-and-blue knot or the Jambo or HA patch. Thanks to BSA marketing, we'll be the first (and maybe only ones) to tell them to look to the first class scout. So, we're basically asking our trainees (be they adult or youth) to set aside the polished marketing that they've seen for decades, give ear to our pitch for an hour or a weekend, and buy a timeshare of our vision ... one that they thought was secondary, but we're telling them is central.

 

That's where a female SPL might have the advantage. Most of the BSA marketing is probably poppycock to her. The trail to Eagle is closed to her. If she's after bling, it's an obscure specialty award that won't betray her reason for being there. Philmont is just a foothill on the way to El Capitan. Jambo is a very hard sell to her. She likely loves scouting because she realised that a small campfire somewhere is better than palatial halls anywhere. That adults are your friends, not your minders. That to be trusted to manage your own adventure is the only first class rank that matters. So, when she speaks about doing the work for yourself and letting the adults try to keep up, it might just real enough to buy in.

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qwarze,

 

Those were examples that support my point - that BSA materials should not be regarded as beyond question.  They were prepared by mere mortals.

 

Course Directors and SPL face very different problems and excessive worship of BSA materials is only one of them.  

 

I personally do not see promotion of big-ticket mega events as a big problem.  It has been going on for generations. I has not been a distraction in any troop I have Scouted with since 1954.  Since few of the Scouts over those years ever experienced the big-ticket events (save for the 1960 Jambo that was attended by units, not contingents, and that was paid for in Troop 43 by our booming fireworks business) what was experienced and attractive was not mega-events becasue they were not experienced.  Nor was there any mooning over missing them.  The focus was on the Klondike or Camporee, our own troop-run summer camp every other year (sometimes backpacking summer camp), and for twenty-five Troop 22 years, Iron Chef Thursday at summer camp every year, whether at a council camp or our camp.

 

The training materials, whatever their imperfections, do not pitch big-ticket events.  They just do not.  I am finishing preparations for every session of combined Scoutmaster Specific and IOLS 'cause I will be presenting them all at least once at camp this Summer, and what you describe is not mentioned even once.  The "high point" described is summer camp.

Edited by TAHAWK

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qwarze,

 

Those were examples that support my point - that BSA materials should not be regarded as beyond question.  They were prepared by mere mortals.

 

Course Directors and SPL face very different problems and excessive worship of BSA materials is only one of them.  

 

I personally do not see promotion of big-ticket mega events as a big problem.  It has been going on for generations. I has not been a distraction in any troop I have Scouted with since 1954.  Since few of the Scouts over those years ever experienced the big-ticket events (save for the 1960 Jambo that was attended by units, not contingents, and that was paid for in Troop 43 by our booming fireworks business) what was experienced and attractive was not mega-events becasue they were not experienced.  Nor was there any mooning over missing them.  The focus was on the Klondike or Camporee, our own troop-run summer camp every other year (sometimes backpacking summer camp), and for twenty-five Troop 22 years, Iron Chef Thursday at summer camp every year, whether at a council camp or our camp.

 

The training materials, whatever their imperfections, do not pitch big-ticket events.  They just do not.  I am finishing preparations for every session of combined Scoutmaster Specific and IOLS 'cause I will be presenting them all at least once at camp this Summer, and what you describe is not mentioned even once.  The "high point" described is summer camp.

it's nice to know we breath different air.

Jambos pitched nonstop at roundtable. Troops thrilled about "winning" the HA lotteries -- obligating them to months of payments and lots of conditioning. There is almost an expectation for half the scouts that they will be have one of these adventured of a lifetime. Nice attitude to have, until the economy tanked.

 

Our poor camporee staff have had the dickens of a time getting our units on board. This year they actually did poll SPLs and line up a canoe trip than nobody signed up for. The units with the most enthusiastic boys raised safety issues, so they changed the theme of an event ... Which then became a non-starter.

 

There's a lot to like about my district. This screwed up vision is not one of them. I think I'd like your district.

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Our council does a Spook-a-ree for the Cub Scouts and the Boy Scouts are encouraged to come and help out with the activities.  Klondikes are limited to one maybe two of the districts if that.  The spring camporees  are down to 7 - 10 troops showing up....if they are organized by a troop.  District no longer does it. 

 

Pretty much a crippled program from what it was 20 years ago.

 

Took 2 Jambo contingents to Centennial Jambo, Managed to get one together last time.  Struggling to get the boys to consider this next one.  Might have to advertise slots in neighboring councils.

 

Only people we hear going to BWCA in our area are scouters.

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Gee, might a crippled program have some relationship to falling membership?   :(

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To bring it back around a bit to the original question regarding a female SPL.  Much of the conversation has been regarding the difficulty that would arise in her implementing and/or executing the patrol method.  We obviously have a variety of opinions here which is great so from a course execution standpoint where do you feel the challenges lie if any with a female performing in that role?  Additionally, I would be interested to hear what we consider "the patrol method" as a standalone entity.  I have a feeling that with the multiple generations of experience on this thread alone that we all may have a slightly different outlook on what that means.  

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According to BSA today, if not collected in a single place, the Patrol Method means:

 

1. The patrol, not the troop,  is the primary setting in which a boy experiences Boy Scouting.

The necessary corollary is that the Scout is to spend most of his Scouting time in a Patrol

context, doing patrol stuff: patrol meetings, patrol hikes, patrol Scoutcraft instruction.m  "Occasionally" Scoutcraft may be taught at the Troop level.

 

2. A patrol is a small, largely self-selected  team of friends who, under the leadership of a Scout they elect,  experience a Scouting program they collectively plan.

 

3.  The troop is . . the youth-led “league†- a boys' league - in which patrol teams play the “game†of Boy Scouting beyond the patrol level,  as planned by the PLC under the chairmanship of the elected SPL.

 

4. Adults play the critical roles of:

     a. Safety officers

     b. Teachers of leadership

     c.  Coaches and mentors

     d. Resources

     e. Examples of Values

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To bring it back around a bit to the original question regarding a female SPL.  Much of the conversation has been regarding the difficulty that would arise in her implementing and/or executing the patrol method.  We obviously have a variety of opinions here which is great so from a course execution standpoint where do you feel the challenges lie if any with a female performing in that role?  Additionally, I would be interested to hear what we consider "the patrol method" as a standalone entity.  I have a feeling that with the multiple generations of experience on this thread alone that we all may have a slightly different outlook on what that means.  

Well sort of.. Based from our own personal life experiences, we all have different opinions of what we want the scouts to get out of the patrol method. As a result, there are several different aspects of experience of patrol method in this forum. For me, patrol method is giving the scouts the "independence" (meaning little or no outside influence) to make decisions as a group and learning (growing) from the consequences of those decisions.

 

It's all about growth for me. As a result of my experience as both a boy and adult, I find same age patrols don't provide a good atmosphere of growth because the old scout mentor is missing. Without that experience, growth is much slower and more narrow. Outside influence is required to speed up or even sometime start growth. 

 

However, several forum members here are very pro "same age patrols" because the scouts all know each other. The interpret self-selected team of friends as their Cub Den or same age friends. That is an example of a different outlook among members on this forum. 

 

I was in your shoes a few years ago and your challenge is that the course is still so structured in scheduling that it's hard for the groups to make independent decisions that wouldn't have an effect on the other patrols. Your course was designed with decisions already made. So while you could put them in patrols, experiencing Patrol method in the limited time of the course would be next to impossible.

 

Since we looked at our course as a senior level leadership course instead of mid level patrol leader course, we created groups of PLCs instead of Patrols. Then we had all PLCs meet twice a day to review past troop performance and plan the rest of the week, once after lunch and once after dinner. Each PLC had a list of activities that had to be attended by the scouts. The activities included classes, three meals a day, unit meetings or camp fires each night, and free time or leisure time. Each PLC was asked to create a schedule for the week with the activities left to be completed. Then one schedule each day was selected randomly for all the groups to follow the next day. The selected PLC was responsible for managing the schedule and contracting the staff for teaching and cooking. If they weren't contacted, there was no class and no meals for all the participants and staff. They were truly responsible for everyone's (including the staff) lives during the week. 

 

When the first PLC schedule wake-up at around 9:00am, everything kind of fell apart and supper wasn't ready until 7:30 pm, AS SCHEDULED. And they suffered the anger of hungry scouts. They also still had one more class to attend that day along with a Troop meeting. You can bet the next PLC rescheduled the next day a little better, and the next even better and so on. The scouts were totally responsible for the how the course was presented by the staff. The staff was told not to do anything each day until the acting PLC contacted them. 

 

By the end of the week, each PLC had done 12 PLC planning sessions and managed one course day. They learned how to structure and prioritize every activity of each scouts day. They learned how to communicate "clearly" to each group and each staff member on the course, otherwise nothing happened. The minimum age of our participants was 14 and 95% of them had never experience the level of decision making, planning, and program management as they experienced all week. Not only were they confident that they could go back and lead their troop, they were a bit cocky about.

 

You have basically five days with the scouts. What do you want them to learn? Keep asking yourself that question and form your course around that answer. Is a patrol method experience necessary for your goals? Maybe not. As I said, they don't really have the time to experience enough patrol method lessons in a week to take back to their troop and make a difference. But, they do have time to experience making choices and working from the consequences.

 

Our goal was to teach organizational, management and group communications skills. Those may not be your goals.

 

Hope that helps.

 

Barry

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 For me, patrol method is giving the scouts the "independence" (meaning little or no outside influence) to make decisions as a group and learning (growing) from the consequences of those decisions.

 

From a troop perspective I could not agree more.  I think your statement of "independence" speaks volumes as to what the patrol method stands for.  At least for me.  From a national structured course perspective, you are going to get a toned down and/or modified version for sure.  I liked your PLC example though.  That sounds like a great course to be a part of.  

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From a troop perspective I could not agree more.  I think your statement of "independence" speaks volumes as to what the patrol method stands for.  At least for me.  From a national structured course perspective, you are going to get a toned down and/or modified version for sure.  I liked your PLC example though.  That sounds like a great course to be a part of.  

The Scoutmasters certainly liked the results their scouts brought back with them. The problem was finding like minded adults to continue the course over the years. I had plenty of support from the council professionals, but not the council level volunteers. 

 

We treated the participants as students attending a profession training conference. But many adults use to the old NYLT courses just wanted the scouts to be patrols on a troop like campout. Our thinking was senior age scouts have been camping in patrols with their troop for 3 or more years. Why did the course of learning new managing skills need to duplicate what they already knew and experienced? Many adults wanted the scouts to cook because that is what boy scouts do. But we found cooking took up almost 15 hours of additional prep time that could be used for learning instead.

 

I had learned from training in our own troop that learning skills in an entirely different atmosphere raised the awareness and excitement of learning new skills.  We treated these young men as adults in a professional training environment learning only new skills to help them manage patrols in a boy run troop. That was it.

 

I have helped a lot of units and districts develop training courses and the first point I made with all of them is to first list the goals of the training, then build your course around obtaining those goals. Don't get locked into developing a course that doesn't really apply to the goals just because that's they way it's always been done. If you want to teach patrol method, then develop a course that pushed the participants to practice patrol method, whatever that means to you. But a lot of folks get confused that developing a course with a lot of camping and scouts skills activities will teach patrol method. Actually it just teaches camping and scouts skills, that's all.

 

If you want to teach patrol method, then create activities that forces the group to make decisions the effect the whole group. One of the better simple quick exercises forcing a group to organize and make decisions for the group I've seen is giving the group of a sack of ingredients to make sandwiches. The group is force to organize and develop a system to make sandwiches for everyone. Actually our troop does it with icecream and the fixins for banana splits. Much harder than sandwiches and more tasty after a long hard physical exercise outside. Time is critical for learning from group decisions. The faster a group has to respond to a situation, the faster they make decisions that teach them from the repercussions of that decision. That's why I like tight agendas on our campouts. Time is a great teacher of living by the scout law because we humans learn best under stress.

 

The point is focus on the objectives and build a fun program toward your goals. Think outside the box so the scouts don't know what comes next. There's a lot of pleasure in the unknown. But more importantly, treat your scouts as adults. That will be a new experience for many of your participants. They will be immature, but the course will help them grow up a little.

 

Good luck and have fun.

 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad

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“ ‘You set up a structure—six to eight Scouts—and let them figure it out,’ he says. 

 

‘Boys are going to want to stick together if you can use their friendships to put together a team.’ â€

   

    B.S.A., Scouting (May-June 2012)(quoting child psychologist 

      Dr. Brett Laursen )

 

No necessarily Webelos -> Scout groups

 

Is it the quality of decisions, guided by the wisdom of someone other than their Troop Guide or adults in the coach/resource role, or allowing them to make decisions and process the results?

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Time is critical for learning from group decisions. The faster a group has to respond to a situation, the faster they make decisions that teach them from the repercussions of that decision. That's why I like tight agendas on our campouts. Time is a great teacher of living by the scout law because we humans learn best under stress.

I've used this as much as possible. But it's not fool proof, in an odd way. I had a training campout and I packed it really tight, just to add a time stress. I told the scouts if they didn't work together they'd fail. They had fun and at the end I asked them what they thought of the training and they said it was great. The thing they liked the most was how much time they had to do things. Say what? Turns out they took my advice to heart and worked so well together that everything went much more smoothly than normal. So, did it work when they got back to their patrols? They certainly are much better than before, but not nearly as good as they were on that training.

 

Eagledad, you said earlier that cooking took up time from training. We put some challenges in their cooking. We gave them something they hadn't cooked with before (ingredients, methods, equipment). It worked well. Something like the banana split thing. They knew there was a challenge so they got into it. I think that's why the time stress training worked so well.

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Eagledad, you said earlier that cooking took up time from training. We put some challenges in their cooking. We gave them something they hadn't cooked with before (ingredients, methods, equipment). It worked well. Something like the banana split thing. They knew there was a challenge so they got into it. I think that's why the time stress training worked so well.

Yes, we do that at district patrol leader training where we are teaching team building. But the course I was referring to was a Council level course where focus was on management skills. Not that team building isn't important for managing a troop patrols, we just assumed they had that kind of training. Personally I believe is one of the most challenging team activities in the program.

 

Barry

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Barry,

 

Could you tell me more about the district-level youth patrol leader training?   Is the syllabus available on line?  Around here, that training disappeared by 2001 except to the extent that my former troop ran it several years and invited other troops send participants.

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