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Patrol Method - Best Practices

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Seeing how as the Patrol is the fundamental unit of Scouting, that the Patrol Method is the only method and that today in Scouting we do not see patrol method being used enough or very well, I thought I would start a thread on Best Practices.

Not just how to define what patrol method is, but what adult leaders can do, and maybe more importantly what they should NOT do in order to create an environment where a true boy-led patrol method environment takes hold.

I'll start with a few:

A gang of boys, friends, with common goals and interest, that work together to have fun and accomplish their goals. To use current vernacular, I see patrols as self-organizing and self-directing.

Self-organizing in the sense that I don't think adults should assign boys to patrols except in rare circumstances. They boys need to figure out their won patrols, who they want to hang out with. The boys pick their own leaders and for how long.

Self-directed meaning they make their own plans about what they want to do, what is important to them. They decide how they are going to make their Scouting experience fun. They divvy up responsibilities how they see fit. They fix their own problems. They put their own plans into action and ask for adult help when needed to accomplish that.

Adults step in when asked, when safety is an issue or when a youth cannot accomplish the task, (like driving them somewhere, or signing waivers, permission forms and contracts). Adults coach from the sidelines, one-on-one (staying with-in YP guidelines) and discretely.

More importantly adults lead by example. I make it a point to ask PL if I can speak if I feel the need. When I am done, I thank the PL for allowing me to speak to HIS patrol. This way they boys know it is their patrol, not mine, and the the PL they selected in charge, not me. 

Please add you thoughts. The best way to help spread patrol method is to talk about it so others see the example.

 

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A few thoughts

 

1) camping 300 feet away from other patrols and adults. That way are close enough in an emergency, but far enough away to be independent

2) Adults don't interfere except for safety

  2a) Adults make sure it's a true emergency. Had an incident where one ASM jumped on a Scout's case because he thought the Scout was playing with fire, when he was cooking his meal over an open flame.

3) Let the Scouts make any rules like " no consecutive terms," have to be X rank for PL, SPL, etc.

4) Don't tell Scouts who to vote for. Yes, heard about that one twice now. Once for OA elections, once for troop elections.

5) LET THEM FAIL!!!!!! "The best teacher, failure is."

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Very timely given the weather we're having....Im an ASM (though pas CC).  Whenever a parent calls/texts me "Are we having a meeting tonight?"  Before I answer, I ask if they have asked their Scout and remind them that he should know  

  • a) that we are not because we've been announcing it at meetings for several weeks
  • b) that we are not because school is out/out early _due to weather_
  • c) that we are because A and B are not true
  • d) to call his PL (or SPL if cannot get ahold of PL) if there is still doubt

 

 

 

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@Eagle94-A1's #1 is almost my exclusive challenge to all adult leaders.

Physical distance makes a patrol. It's implicit in a vision of the pinnacle scouting experience being hiking and camping independently with your mates.

There's no point in a patrol flag if you can ask a boy standing at a few feet which  patrol site that is. No point in a bugler, if an SPL can shout "assemble at the flag!" No point in a patrol yell if you are within talking distance. No point in planning the menu-to-win-all-cook-offs, if the other patrol is at an adjacent table and can overhear/see your menu.

Can physical distance "break" a patrol? Sometimes, if the boys aren't really friends, or if they are thugs and bent on no good. But you will never know if you are working anything close to a patrol method until the patrol is in its own space.

Edited by qwazse

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I always stress that EVERY member of the Patrol should have a job/role to fulfill/play.  If everyone is engaged then no one is sitting on the bench feeling left out.  The PL should ensure every member of his Patrol is valued.

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Dump NYLT and go back to GBB Patrol Method training.

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43 minutes ago, LeCastor said:

I thought it might be a good idea to post some resources on here that might help us inform our fellow Scouters how best to let the Patrol Method/System run rather than trying to run the Patrol Method/System.  

This one is from our Canadian friends at The Dump.  

Patrol System.pdf

 I swiped this fron LeCastor's post in another thread.

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Here's a sneak-peak of some of the GBB documents I plan to scan and post in the resources topic.

 

image.jpeg

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On 1/15/2018 at 1:28 PM, jjlash said:

Very timely given the weather we're having....Im an ASM (though pas CC).  Whenever a parent calls/texts me "Are we having a meeting tonight?"  Before I answer, I ask if they have asked their Scout and remind them that he should know  

  • a) that we are not because we've been announcing it at meetings for several weeks
  • b) that we are not because school is out/out early _due to weather_
  • c) that we are because A and B are not true
  • d) to call his PL (or SPL if cannot get ahold of PL) if there is still doubt

       

 

 

 

 e) (If you please)  have you asked your son's Patrol Leader?

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On 1/15/2018 at 3:40 PM, Stosh said:

Dump NYLT and go back to GBB Patrol Method training.

The average Scoutmaster has just under 9 months on the job, has no idea what the Patrol Method is, and is not inclined to allow boys to plan or lead.

Nor does BSA do anything to change this.  The new SM is pretty much on his own.  2/3 have no UC, assumning they are competent.  There is no training on the Patrol Method, much less what Bill was doing fifty+ years ago.  There is no pressure to use it and no recognition if you do.  If his Scouts take NYT, he is not inclined to allow them to do what they have just been taught to do: "That may be how they do it, but that's not how we do it."

 

 

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5 hours ago, TAHAWK said:

  If his Scouts take NYT, he is not inclined to allow them to do what they have just been taught to do: "That may be how they do it, but that's not how we do it."

I was fortunate to have an SM who was a long time Scouter, and allowed us to use what we learned at BA22. When I staffed JLTC, SMs were suppose to attend a precamp conference. about 1/2 did. On the final day, there was a graduation ceremony that SMs were invited to attend, less than 1/4  showed up (it was on a Saturday). Purpose of those two events was to get the SMs behind the Scouts. When we had a post conference meeting to see how folks were doing, the #1 complaint was that the SM would not let them run the troop like they were taught.

The troop locally that was dying until last year at one time had 4 NYLT grads. They all Eagled and left, or transferred to another troop, when the new SM would not listen to them and essentially took over.

 

And I wouldn't blame it on new SMs either. Sometimes the old SMs, some who should know better, won't let the Scouts do what they want.

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9 hours ago, LeCastor said:

Here's a sneak-peak of some of the GBB documents I plan to scan and post in the resources topic.

 

image.jpeg

Be still my beating heart. I have been giving this speech for years. You got good patrol leaders a lot of things take care of themselves from the bottom up. Unfortunately adults (and some scouts) try the SPL as management from the top down and it doesn't work.

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One, two, three, four or five Patrols may form a Troop, but the Patrols are the working unit whenever practical and the Troop organization is designed to provide supervision, coordination, institutional loyalty and service.
                                    B.S.A., The Patrol Method, 1938 ed. at p. 3

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Not sure if you all knew, but Boys' Life has a pretty decent archive going back a long way. You can find a number of the GBB "from the campfire" or "from the hiking trail" columns from him there. Our PLC is frequently pointed in this direction when they need good inspiration.

One word of caution: The navigation is a bit weird. Sometimes your search results show up with a link back to your search results...sometimes it doesn't. If can get a bit aggravating if you are in a hurry.

Figured I would share this trove if you hadn't already found it. 

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