Jump to content
TAHAWK

BSA definition of the Patrol Method

Recommended Posts

1 hour ago, ParkMan said:

It feels to me like angst is causing more concern than is needed here.  I've seen no evidence that the BSA is doing anything to the patrol method.  The BSA's changes in language over time probably have more to do with whoever wrote the latest material that references it.  Somehow I don't think there is a vault at the BSA where they hold "the defintion of patrol method".

I see what you are saying, but my angst is that while "Patrol Method" isn't being changed in the general text, it is being minimalized by unrelated program changes. For example, our troop lived by the 300 feet separation guideline between patrols and adults. Is that guideline legal now with the recent youth protection changes. Even more important, is the idealistic goal (independent thought) of that guideline realistic in today's program? You don't see it now because your troop is following a habit of policies and procedures that satisfactory reach your goals. But what about the next generation of leaders and their interpretations?

The Patrol Method my sons experienced were pretty close to the Patrol Method my dad experienced in the 1940s. Will your grandkids experience your Patrol Method experience? My Eagle son doesn't think so. When I asked him if he was considering his kids in the BSA, he said probably not, it is a different program. We don't talk about specifics of the BSA's changes. So, what makes him think the program has changed?

Barry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

I see what you are saying, but my angst is that while "Patrol Method" isn't being changed in the general text, it is being minimalized by unrelated program changes. For example, our troop lived by the 300 feet separation guideline between patrols and adults. Is that guideline legal now with the recent youth protection changes. Even more important, is the idealistic goal (independent thought) of that guideline realistic in today's program? You don't see it now because your troop is following a habit of policies and procedures that satisfactory reach your goals. But what about the next generation of leaders and their interpretations?

The Patrol Method my sons experienced were pretty close to the Patrol Method my dad experienced in the 1940s. Will your grandkids experience your Patrol Method experience? My Eagle son doesn't think so. When I asked him if he was considering his kids in the BSA, he said probably not, it is a different program. We don't talk about specifics of the BSA's changes. So, what makes him think the program has changed?

Barry

I fully appreciate what you're saying here.  Based on years and year of experience, recent decisions by the BSA appear to make it much harder to implement patrol method.  That creates a lot of angst and even apprehension about what the BSA is doing.  This leads to concerns that the BSA is trying to move away from the patrol method.

I suspect that nothing has changed with respect to the desire of the BSA leadership to feature the patrol method in the program.  However, I do believe that the same BSA leadership is being forced to deal with new realities that were not present at other points in our past. 

For example, I think the recent two deep leadership rule changes were all about dealing with insurance companies and the threat of litigiation from abuse.  In addition, our society has changed to be one where it is expected that if a precaution could have been taken, that it should have been taken.  Since one of the growing concerns is that of youth on youth abuse, the BSA leadership is now compelled to deal with that.  So, the BSA leadership said: "We have to address our insurance needs.  What's the best way to do that in the context of our program?"  So, they arrived on the new G2SS rules that they did.  Does it mean that they want to get rid of Patrol Method?  No, it does not.  Does it make it harder to implement?  Yes, most certainly.

In this, is our society damaging institutions like the BSA?  Most certainly it is. Has the BSA leadership made the right choices here to support their insurance (or whatever else) needs?  Probably not.  But, I don't think the decisions by the BSA leadership are nefarious.  At most I'd call them shortsighted.

I'd argue that this is where we need really seasoned Scouters to develop the next wave of leaders.  We need Scouters who can find ways to make this work and impart that knowledge to the next generation.  I see it as a personal challenge in my own Scouting to take a program that I love, understand the challenges of today, and find the way to end up with a stronger program when I'm done.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey @Eagledad what book is this in and what page is it on?  "For example, our troop lived by the 300 feet separation guideline between patrols and adults."

Just asking as I don't see that as a guideline in the Scouts BSA handbook on page 25-26.   Is it somewhere else?  

@TAHAWK quite a bit of information about the patrol or the patrol method in the Scouts BSA handbook or the older Boy Scout handbook 13th edition if you don't have the Scouts BSA one yet.   The index will get you to the citations quickly.   

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

'd argue that this is where we need really seasoned Scouters to develop the next wave of leaders.  We need Scouters who can find ways to make this work and impart that knowledge to the next generation.  I see it as a personal challenge in my own Scouting to take a program that I love, understand the challenges of today, and find the way to end up with a stronger program when I'm done.

Human nature will find a "way", but I think the "way" will be foreign to seasoned scouters. So, I think you are wrong, seasoned scouters is the problem. Not that that seasoned scouters don't like a challenges, but are they willing to put an effort into something they don't like? My experience of watching many units work toward a change is that the old guard needs to move on and make room for fresh imaginative visionaries who don't have the obstacles of doing it the old ways. I was directly involved in a very successful boy run program that grew from 14 to 100 scouts in five years. I was trying to imagine the other day how I could have that same success with just one patrol under the resources and restrictions of today. I couldn't see it. It's not that I'm unimaginative, it's that I can't see reaching the goal any other way. Expectations of goals and methods for reaching those goals need to change for a plan of success. Maybe a family program at all levels is exactly what is needed for future success. Not my cup of tea, but look where the YMCA ended up.

Barry

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, RichardB said:

Hey @Eagledad what book is this in and what page is it on?  "For example, our troop lived by the 300 feet separation guideline between patrols and adults."

I think Badon Powell said it or something, I don't really remember. But it's one of many little sayings or philosophies to keep our program on course toward the vision. Goes along with "raise the scouts so the program wouldn't change if the adults didn't show up", or "put the adults out of business". It's easier than explaining that a scout's self driven decision requires that the adults are out-of-site and out-of-mind. Scouts can only discover or their true character when there is no adult intimidation to leverage a decision. 

Where did all that come from? Experience I guess. Push the program outside the envelope of fear often enough, a base of confidence and wisdom develops.

Barry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
27 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

I think Badon Powell said it or something, I don't really remember. But it's one of many little sayings or philosophies to keep our program on course toward the vision. Goes along with "raise the scouts so the program wouldn't change if the adults didn't show up", or "put the adults out of business". It's easier than explaining that a scout's self driven decision requires that the adults are out-of-site and out-of-mind. Scouts can only discover or their true character when there is no adult intimidation to leverage a decision. 

Where did all that come from? Experience I guess. Push the program outside the envelope of fear often enough, a base of confidence and wisdom develops.

Barry

Yep. 

 

Each patrol should have its own separate tent at some distance (at least 100 yards) from the others. This latter is with a view to developing the responsibility of the Patrol Leader for his distinct unit.

--Baden-Powell, "The Object of Camping"

 

In Scouts' camps the tents are not pitched in lines and streets as in military camps, but are dotted about, 50 or 100 yards or more, in a big circle round the Scoutmaster's tent. This keeps each Patrol separate as a unit.

--Roland Philipps, The Patrol System, Patrol in Camp.

 

 

Edited by DuctTape
  • Thanks 2
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a different view on this topic. It's not malice so much as simple incompetence. We were trashing the GSUSA model of units for a lack of permanence and lost knowledge but it looks to me like there's a loss of knowledge in the BSA due to corporate structure. Where I'm getting this is what I've seen locally and it's possible I'm missing something, but let me explain.

I'm so frustrated with my council that I turned in my resignation last night as camping chair. While I'd really enjoy to keep working on the camping committee making fun programs for scouts, I just can't deal with the council anymore. Anyway, I think my frustration comes from the same thing that's keeping patrol method from being described anywhere. Look at the advancement model in the BSA. Everyone comes in as a DE and gets paid peanuts. So automatically it cuts out a lot of people that might be good and enjoy it. I've known a few good DE's that quit because they can double their salary. At the same time, DE's are not paid based on unit quality. They are paid on numbers. Besides, many have no experience in scouting so this idea of Patrol Method is foreign at best and unimportant. At the same time the structure within the BSA is very top down. The word from above is get numbers so that's what they focus on. The idea of helping or supporting units is secondary to numbers. Next, all hiring is internal. We have a CE that should be fired for incompetence and it can't be done. I suppose the board of trustees could fire him but it's just a good old boy network. Pay your $5k and you're on the board. Whether you know anything about scouting or not. Anyway, even if the CE were forced out the next one has to be hired from within a limited group. There's no option to hire from the outside. I can imagine that a retired VP from a local company could fix the mess in 30 minutes a day. The real money comes from making it to national so one has no interest in supporting those below, it's all about who's above.

As for this thread, patrol method is not an issue for the DE's. Most DE's don't have any scouting experience, they aren't measured on quality of units, and once they move up a level it's even less important for them. By the time they get to the point where they're writing the manual this idea is long gone.

Back in the 70's when Hillcourt was pulled out of retirement to fix things the problem I described above was already in place. It just took another generation to set it in stone. What Hillcourt really needed to do was change the culture at national. I have no idea how that can be done.

 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×