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mrkstvns

"Good" Groups vs. "Bad" Groups

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Scouters have all heard the oft-repeated quote that in scouting, "the patrol method isn't a method, it's THE method".

Okay.  So what is a "patrol"?  Well, it's a group of scouts. Ideally, a group that can learn to work together and to develop and follow it's own leaders.

So, if a group is "good" for helping youth develop their own leadership dynamics via "the patrol method", why are groups of friends viewed as a "bad thing" in other contexts?

There was a story today on NPR about a school that is battling "cliques".  That made me wonder how those "groups of friends" differed from the "groups of friends" we promote in scouting...

Any thoughts?

 

Story:  https://www.npr.org/2019/10/23/772560418/wisconsin-school-breaks-up-lunchtime-cliques-with-assigned-seating 

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Good and Bad has to be defined. Cliques have a negative connotation, but aren't necessarily bad. I remember a story in Readers Digest about the filming the original Planet of the Apes. There were several different types of apes in the movie and Charlton Heston noticed at lunch one day that the different ape groups each hung together during breaks even though there was no reason to. Cliques are natural. Their behavior is what defines them as good or bad.

I think the discussion for patrols can be more defined by casual friends and teams. I found that new patrols of casual friends didn't like holding each other accountable because they didn't like risking the friendship. But teams working toward a common goal will take the risk of holding each other accountable to support the effort of reaching the goal. Casual friends will act as a team when the common goal requires it but a patrol of causal friends without goals to drive them to work together isn't really a patrol in the patrol method since. They are just a group of friends with a common patrol patch on their sleeve.  

The patrol method itself doesn't build a team or patrol, the goals that drives the group to work together is the motivation to come together. Patrol Method is the Scouting process for developing good habits through the action of making decisions while working toward their goals. No goals, no decisions, no patrol method. Even something as simple as preparing a meal is a goal that forces the causal friends to team up. As the goals get more complicated like planning and doing a backpacking trek, the team makes more decisions, which typically forces the team to grow closer together from the growing respect of each other's efforts. 

Barry

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2 hours ago, mrkstvns said:

So, if a group is "good" for helping youth develop their own leadership dynamics via "the patrol method", why are groups of friends viewed as a "bad thing" in other contexts?

There was a story today on NPR about a school that is battling "cliques".  That made me wonder how those "groups of friends" differed from the "groups of friends" we promote in scouting...

I think that one big difference is the attitude towards newcomers or outsiders.   The term "clique" is often used of groups that exclude or heap scorn on outsiders or on those who do not measure up to their standards.  (For girls it might be:  not stylish enough,  not thin enough, not rich enough, haven't lived in town long enough . . .)

A group of close friends who is friendly and welcoming to newcomers would not merit the derrogatory term "clique".    For a patrols,  the practical question is how well do they treat new patrol members.  Are the scouts truly being "A friend to all, and a brother to every other scout"?   (Or "sibling", if the girls prefer that terminology.)

 

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I have a low bar:

If a clique is robbing liquor stores to buy drugs, it's bad.

If a clique is lofting a projectile to land loudly yet harmlessly on the SM's tent ... not so bad.

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On 10/23/2019 at 3:21 PM, qwazse said:

If a clique is robbing liquor stores to buy drugs, it's bad.

I think I'd call that a "gang".

Unless the gang was shunning the new kid because his had a pink ski mask....then the gang could be a "clique" because some people just do NOT belong!

While the word "gang" has negative connotations today, it has historically been used by Baden Powell and Green Bar Bill as a term to describe the patrol method.  For example, Green Bar Bill was once quoted as saying, "Patrols are gangs of boys led by boys." 

I guess it really pays not to get too hung up on language, especially language used in earlier, perhaps gentler, times.

 

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I'm not a fan of changing language on whim of fashion. But there are plenty of other applications for the word that don't imply thuggery. (Folks still say, "The gang's all here." Don't they?)
American street gangs pride themselves to taking care of one another, giving their young members the dignity that their family and society has failed to do, and living by a code of honor. The problem is that code runs afoul of law and order.

BP was determined to turn the term "gang" on its head in much the same way as he was transforming the term "scout" to be a tool for peace, not war. Scouting for Boys stood in stark contrast to Scouting for Military Agents.

I think we do well to keep up that tradition.

Edited by qwazse
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