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MattR

Dynamic patrols and the patrol method

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Asking for 10 full weekends a year plus a week in summer is hard on many scouts. Why this is is another thread, it just is.The result is mixing and matching patrols the meeting before a campout or, as in the case of my troop, small patrols on campouts. This tends to hurt the patrol method in our case or just chuck it completely where troops mix and match scouts.

How about borrowing a bit of venturing? Venturing has little structure and anyone can lead an event. I certainly wouldn't want to go that far but a little more flexibility could make things easier. Keep regular patrols but create temporary patrols for major outings like campouts, high adventure, a special event that only a few scouts want to do, or older scouts that might want to do their own thing. Rather than make up patrols the meeting before an event make it up a month ahead of time and stick with those patrols during the preparation and the event. After the event go back to the regular patrols. The PLC is still running the troop but for each event the PLC can designate temporary patrols and leadership. The benefit is more time for a patrol to get ready for an event, patrols that are a better size, and more opportunity for scouts to lead shorter events. The disadvantage is an added layer of complexity.

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9 minutes ago, MattR said:

Keep regular patrols but create temporary patrols for major outings like campouts, high adventure, a special event that only a few scouts want to do, or older scouts that might want to do their own thing. Rather than make up patrols the meeting before an event make it up a month ahead of time and stick with those patrols during the preparation and the event. After the event go back to the regular patrols. 

That’s how my troop does it since we are small.

We only have 2 patrols, Sr and Jr. Sr has 3 and Jr has 8 about. Whenever we have a camp out usually not everyone goes, usually around 7-9 out of 11. So why have a Patrol with 2 scouts and one with 6 or a Patrol with 1 scout and 8 scouts? I don’t know if other small troops do it, but we do it. We just register with the Patrol name of the most scouts that are attending. It makes life easier for me as well. :laugh:

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2 hours ago, MattR said:

How about borrowing a bit of venturing? Venturing has little structure and anyone can lead an event. I certainly wouldn't want to go that far but a little more flexibility could make things easier. Keep regular patrols but create temporary patrols for major outings like campouts, high adventure, a special event that only a few scouts want to do, or older scouts that might want to do their own thing. Rather than make up patrols the meeting before an event make it up a month ahead of time and stick with those patrols during the preparation and the event. After the event go back to the regular patrols. The PLC is still running the troop but for each event the PLC can designate temporary patrols and leadership. The benefit is more time for a patrol to get ready for an event, patrols that are a better size, and more opportunity for scouts to lead shorter events. The disadvantage is an added layer of complexity.

This describes our troop when I was with the troop. I imagine they are still using the program because the Scouts really liked it. Any scout any age can start and/or lead the activity, event, and trek. They have to provide a plan to get accepted. It has no effect on the existing patrols. We averaged 6 temporary patrols a year. 

Barry

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At the moment we have 3 patrols and whomever shows up, shows up. Patrols have approx 8 each. But we have our issues.

 

Someone here suggested 12 man patrols, so that if only 50% show up, it's enough to function.  Might be something to look at.

 

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2 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Someone here suggested 12 man patrols, so that if only 50% show up, it's enough to function.  Might be something to look at.

We did that years ago and 12 people is hard for anyone to lead the rest of the time. And if 10 scouts show up on a campout then it's really hard to cook. I think the 6-8 is there from experience.

I'm also wondering if deciding who can make it a few weeks ahead of time, when these temp patrols would be set up, might help. We tell the PLs to give everyone a job. No matter how many scouts they have they should all have a responsibility. If a scout knows he has a job to do then hopefully that will help encourage him to show up.

 

3 hours ago, Eagledad said:

This describes our troop when I was with the troop. I imagine they are still using the program because the Scouts really liked it. Any scout any age can start and/or lead the activity, event, and trek. They have to provide a plan to get accepted. It has no effect on the existing patrols. We averaged 6 temporary patrols a year. 

Barry

I guess that means I'm either brilliant or really slow. ;)

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5 hours ago, MattR said:

Asking for 10 full weekends a year plus a week in summer is hard on many scouts. Why this is is another thread, it just is.The result is mixing and matching patrols the meeting before a campout or, as in the case of my troop, small patrols on campouts. This tends to hurt the patrol method in our case or just chuck it completely where troops mix and match scouts.

My first question is what solution did the Scouts come up with?

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7-9 Scouts at a campout is a patrol camping.  If that's what you have, you have a patrol, not a troop.  That's OK because Scouting, starting with Scouting for Boys is about patrols. With notable contradictions that cannot be supported by changes in policy and that come and go, that is what BSA has been stating - if not coherently teaching or competently encouraging - since Bill re-imagined Boy Scouting in time for the first  Handbook for Patrol Leaders in 1929 and The Patrol Method in 1930.  As the Patrol Method has declined in practice,  BSA and Scouting have declined in reach and impact in our communities.  Once two of every three boys were registered in BSA at some point in their lives.  Now, BSA reaches about 5% - under that in our rotting cities.   That, not the "boy led troop,"  is the Scouting imperfectly described in the last few editions of the Handbook and which we registered adults in BSA are supposed to be delivering.  :D

“ ‘[T]he Patrol System is not one method in which Scouting for boys can be carried out, but it is the only method. . . . ’”

        B.S.A., The Patrol Method (1930)

“The patrol method isn’t one way to run a troop. It’s the only way.”
 
           B.S.A., Scouting.org   (2014)
 
"Unless the patrol method is in  operation, you don't really have a Boy Scout Troop
 
         B.S.A., Scouting.org (citing Baden-Powell) (09/2015)
 
"Scouting happens in the context of a patrol"
 
        B.S.S., Scoutmaster Position Specific Training (syllabus 2018)

[to the Scout:] "Your boy scout troop is made up of patrols, with each patrol's members sharing responsibility for the patrol's success

        B.S.A., The Boy Scout Handbook, 13th [curren] 'Ed. at p. 25.

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Edited by TAHAWK

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For as long as I can remember in our Troop, the Scouts have never traveled as "Natural Patrols". An SPL is selected for each trip to offer an introduction to leadership for any Scout. The Scouts who signed up to be Cooks are spread out across each of the Patrols. The SPL and his 2 ASPL's will shuffle all of the Scouts into patrols for 6-8. This has worked and the Scouts haven't come up with a better way. We do the same thing with Summer Camp so that the SPL can assign camp and dining hall duties to each patrol. It's worked fine in camp as well. 

Last weekend I was talking about this with a one of our bright new ASM's. He suggested keeping the natural patrols intact as much as possible and simply combining 2 patrol fragments to make one patrol for the trip. I thought that this was a great idea and I asked him to propose it the PCL at the next meeting. I'm hoping that this is another small step towards the pinnacle of scouting. 

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11 minutes ago, .40AET said:

For as long as I can remember in our Troop, the Scouts have never traveled as "Natural Patrols". An SPL is selected for each trip to offer an introduction to leadership for any Scout. The Scouts who signed up to be Cooks are spread out across each of the Patrols. The SPL and his 2 ASPL's will shuffle all of the Scouts into patrols for 6-8. This has worked and the Scouts haven't come up with a better way. We do the same thing with Summer Camp so that the SPL can assign camp and dining hall duties to each patrol. It's worked fine in camp as well. 

Last weekend I was talking about this with a one of our bright new ASM's. He suggested keeping the natural patrols intact as much as possible and simply combining 2 patrol fragments to make one patrol for the trip. I thought that this was a great idea and I asked him to propose it the PCL at the next meeting. I'm hoping that this is another small step towards the pinnacle of scouting. 

I’ve never heard of switching a SPL every time and making a new Patrol every time. I personally don’t like that.

The “new bright ASM” is just saying how it’s suppose or usually happens. There’s suppose to be “natural” patrols, but then for a small troop you may need to combine on  trips. There usually are terms for leadership. Troops do it all different ways, I’ve seen every 6 months, 12 months, and so on. 

How does your troop have PLCs? How do they run meetings? Who plans the meetings if there is no PLC? How do you have a PLC with new leadership every camping trip? I feel like the way your Troop is doing it must be a headache.

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5 minutes ago, ItsBrian said:

I’ve never heard of switching a SPL every time and making a new Patrol every time. I personally don’t like that.

The “new bright ASM” is just saying how it’s suppose or usually happens. There’s suppose to be “natural” patrols, but then for a small troop you may need to combine on  trips. There usually are terms for leadership. Troops do it all different ways, I’ve seen every 6 months, 12 months, and so on. 

How does your troop have PLCs? How do they run meetings? Who plans the meetings if there is no PLC? How do you have a PLC with new leadership every camping trip? I feel like the way your Troop is doing it must be a headache.

I don't like it either, and I've been busy looking for a new way. 

I'm excited to have a bright new ASM, he brings a new perspective to the Troop. We have been looking at things the same way for years and he brought a big idea right away. We have natural patrols, they just don't travel together. We have 11 patrols and if 3 Scouts from each patrol sign up for a trip, they can't function on a campout as a natural patrol. Thus, the SPL moves them into patrols for the campout. 

I didn't say that we don't have a PLC. 

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14 hours ago, MattR said:

 

I guess that means I'm either brilliant or really slow. ;)

Im not sure, you are certainly not slow, but what are the odds of 2 brilliant Scouters on the forum.:rolleyes:

Over the years Matt, you have represented yourself as a big picture person and a problem solver. Now that you’re not in the midst of the chaos, the picture is probably more clear. 

I have mentioned our temporary patrol program several times over the years, but one contributer here consistently responded that we were adult run because in his mind, patrols are to be aged based and “alway only” do activities together. I’m sure the interference from the discussion turned readers away.

I wish more Scouters were problem solvers like you, then there would more drive to understand the goal of program. It’s hard to fix problems if one doesn’t know how it supposed to work. Natural Patrols? Why? 

Boy run is hard for adults because a lot of times the boys don’t know and keep wallowing. How far and how long are the adults supposed to let scouts fail before bringing in some kind of infusion? 

 I use to tell our adults that we are doing it wrong if the Scouts don’t want to play the game anymore. It’s hard for many here to understand that the adults are in charge of the “game with a purpose”. Boy growth requires balancing and risk. Risk for letting Scouts push the boundaries too far to find their limits. And balance of just enough of adult interjection to keep the boy run patrol method program working towards the vision.

Natural Patrols? Why?

Barry

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2 hours ago, .40AET said:

I didn't say that we don't have a PLC. 

If you change SPLs every trip how is a PLC led?

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The age-based stuff is relatively new and inconsistent with everything else BSA has said about the patrol method over the decades.  Patrols are supposed to be friendship-based.  Now that usually means close in age, but it need not be.  The team is whatever group wants to associate as a team.

The objective is not the "well-oiled machine" so pursued by adults.   The objective is the boy-run machine - run, as Bill said, to "a boy's standard," not to an adult's standard.  The theoretical basis of that objective is that one learns to plan, lead and problem solve by planning, leading, and trying to solve problems. 

“[The patrol members] interact in a small group outside the larger troop context, working together as a team and sharing the responsibility of making their patrol a success.”
                    B.S.A., Scouting.org (2018)[emphasis added]
 
“[T]he essential thing is that there should be small permanent groups, each under responsible control of a leading boy . . . .”
                   Hillcourt, William,  The Patrol Method , B.S.A. (1930)
 
“Patrol spirit is the glue that holds the patrol together and keeps it going. Building patrol spirit takes time, and because it is shaped by a patrol's experiences—good and bad.”
                   B.S.A., Scouting.org, 2018
 
  Boy run is hard for adults because a lot of times the boys don’t know and keep wallowing. How far and how long are the adults supposed to let scouts fail before bringing in some kind of infusion?
 
“Empowering boys to be leaders is the core of Scouting. Scouts learn by doing, and what they do is lead their patrols and their troop.
                      B.S.A., Parents’ and New Leaders Guide to a Boy-Led Troop (2018)
 
The adults' primary job in Boy Scouting, beyond insuring safety, is teaching the leaders how to lead.  That is not an easy job and your patience will be tried.   If they are poor at it, you have not succeeded.  

“It can be a very messy business, and painful to watch.  Meetings where the boy leaders are in charge can be very chaotic.  And it can be very tempting for adults to jump in and sort things out, because that is what adults do.”

                      B.S.A, Orientation for New Scout Parents (2018)
 
Scouts learn by doing – even imperfectly.  “That is how they learn—even from disorganization and failure.”
                    B.S.A., Orientation for New Scout Parents (2018)
 
“The role of the adults is not the destination, but  the journey.  That is, our responsibility as adults is to promote the 'process' of Scouting.”
 
                  BSA, Orientation for New Scout Parents (2018)
 
“Adults understand that their role is to create a safe place where boys can learn and grow and explore and play and take on responsibilities—and fail, and get up and try again.   If you were involved with Cub Scouting, this is a very different role that can take some time getting used to."
 
                B.S.A., Orientation for New Scout Parents (2018)
 
“Never do for a Scout what he can do for himself.” 
Do to what standard?  “Why to a boy's standard.”
 
            Bill
 
Bill didn't see the "big picture"?    He invented what we call Boy Scouting here in the U.S., and was the author of the literature that defines it to this day. 
"Creds"?
Bronze Wolf -  the highest award of the World Organization of the Scouting Movement.
Silver Buffalo - BSA’s highest award.  In his s citation,  BSA calls him “The Voice of Scouting.”
Acclaimed “Scoutmaster to the World”  by the Journal of  Scouting History and the World Organization of the Scouting Movement and by BSA in Scouting, December, 2017.
Recognized by BSA in 1985 through Scouting, as “the foremost influence on development of the Boy Scouting program.”
Author of 157 Scouting books, including the first Handbook for Patrol Leaders, numerous Handbooks, the first Fieldbook, and The Patrol Method.
 
 
“We just have to remember that our business as adults is not the same as the business of the boys. It is up to them to get things done.
 
It is up to us to make sure they have what they need, but (within the bounds of health and safety) not what they do with it.”
 
                                    B.S.A., Scouting.org  (2018)
 

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6 hours ago, TAHAWK said:

Bill didn't see the "big picture"?    He invented what we call Boy Scouting here in the U.S., and was the author of the literature that defines it to this day. 

 

I don’t how you can say that. You said it yourself, he invented American Boy Scouting.  His vision of how Patrol Method changed boys is the big picture. The rest of your post is very good, but I respectfully disagree on this.

Barry

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