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26 minutes ago, dkurtenbach said:

What you are suggesting is (1) holding Scouts back from advancing to Second Class and First Class even if they have the desire and the dedication to do so; (2) lock-step advancement for new Scouts rather than letting them each advance at their own pace; and (3) holding them back from learning advanced skills in specific areas that are at the Second Class and First Class levels.

You're reading a lot into my words. What I am suggesting is scouting should

not

be

like

school

If a crossover has the dedication an desire to master a rank a month, he can do so. His patrol leader who is still working on tenderfoot can test and sign off with the guidance of the TG. (Wow, a TG who actually guides instead of signing off!) The PL might learn something in the process.

There is nothing lock-step to mastering Tenderfoot skills. Some scouts will be excellent with knots, others armed and ready for that 1st camp-out, others ready to start that month of physical conditioning, others, none of the above. But, nearly all of them will want to try adventure, will want to hike across town for an ice cream, will want to actually help on a project, or wear their new uniform, or sing a silly song.

No NSP's agenda (or the agenda of any patrol) for that matter should be hijacked by someone else's fictitious advancement needs. There are troop competitions and camporees to win.

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I'm tired.  Forgive me if I babble.  "First Class First Year" ... It's about program planning.   The stats may be self-fulfilling stats.  Motivated scouts rank up quick and stay in.  Scou

Regarding your final statement ... let me reassure you as calmly as possible: First Class First Year is a lie. Tell your crossovers and their parents the truth: it is hard to obtain First

So very, very true.  So much of Scouting today -- rank requirements and merit badges -- is presented in school format. A large part of that is due to how requirements are written. It is wrong, it is s

Our troop uses NSPs for the first six months after crossover.  For the most part we want to make sure the newest scouts don't get lost in the maelstrom that is a troop using the patrol method.  Things really are new and different for brand new scouts.  For most of them it's the first time they're away from home without a parent, it's the first time they're responsible for tending their own gear, the first time they're more than half a school day removed from the comforts of home and hearth, and the first time the folks in charge of them are amateur youth leaders rather than seasoned parents and other adults.

We concentrate with them on skills not advancement, and by skills I don't mean sitting around learning knots and first aid, I mean conquering all those things I listed above that are brand new.  If they're participating in the activities and campouts they will learn the skills necessary to advance if that's what they're interested in at that time.

At the end of six months, we leave it up to the scouts whether they want to remain a separate patrol or integrate into the other patrols.

I wanted to add something about the Troop Guide.  The TG is not the patrol leader, he helps the PL understand what he needs to do, but his primary role is as teacher and skills developer.  One of the most important things we emphasize with the TG is that he's not the only one responsible for this, and like all good leaders he will be most effective when he can bring other people in and delegate much of what he does.  We tell him very explicitly it's his job to get all his friends to help him with the new scouts.  When they need help learning how to cook he should grab the best cook in the troop and get him over there teaching the new guys.  When they need to clean up he should get the best cleaner to show them how it's done.  And when there are a couple scouts who are just struggling with tents and gear and everything, it's his job to get his buddies to lend a hand.

My best analysis on retention, which is supposed to be what FCFY is all about, is that kids who have fun on campouts, who learn to be successful taking care of themselves, and for whom the game of scouting gives them a sense of both joy and success, are the ones who stick with it.  The reverse is also true, a kid who is miserable on an early campout, because he's wet or cold or over tired or most importantly because he is young and just is not quite ready for all the work AND not getting all the help he needs to relieve that work, is going to be the kid who just stops coming.

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We got a large group of AOLs who bridged over.  They were allowed to form their own patrol to stay together... and the results are mixed.  The issue we are having is they have bad behavior.  They don't have older scouts in their troop to model good behavior for them.  They have learned to not respect the rank of older scouts in the troop.  It's like their patrol is an extension of Cub Scouts and not what it should be.

They are so unruly, several scouts in our troop no longer want to camp with them.ever.again.  They finally now have an ASM assigned to them, but not looming over them like they probably need to be doing.

And we have another large group coming this year and, frankly, it terrifies me we could have a repeat.  Scouting should be fun and for it to be fun for everyone, they need to use the patrol method for everything, get a boot camp if they need it to understand what exactly it is and what expectations there will be.

At U of Scouting, they said that buddies who are kept together tend to stay in scouting far longer.  So it's a terrible dilemma.  You want to integrate them, but you also want them to have those bonds that make them want to keep scouting.  Personally speaking as a scout parent/CM, I would not do two separate patrols unless you have assigned TG's to each patrol and a dedicated ASM who is willing to roll up their sleeves and put in the work to help build the patrol up into a finely oiled machine, if even by whispering in the PLs ear and helping him/her make smart decisions and enforce discipline.  That's my two cents!

 

Edited to add:  The goal of the NSP was to get them to rank up and move out.  Instead, they want to stay together and not many of them are doing well on rank advancement.

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11 hours ago, Mom2Scout said:

We got a large group of AOLs who bridged over.  They were allowed to form their own patrol to stay together... and the results are mixed.  The issue we are having is they have bad behavior.  They don't have older scouts in their troop to model good behavior for them.  They have learned to not respect the rank of older scouts in the troop.  It's like their patrol is an extension of Cub Scouts and not what it should be.

They are so unruly, several scouts in our troop no longer want to camp with them.ever.again.  They finally now have an ASM assigned to them, but not looming over them like they probably need to be doing.

And we have another large group coming this year and, frankly, it terrifies me we could have a repeat.  Scouting should be fun and for it to be fun for everyone, they need to use the patrol method for everything, get a boot camp if they need it to understand what exactly it is and what expectations there will be.

At U of Scouting, they said that buddies who are kept together tend to stay in scouting far longer.  So it's a terrible dilemma.  You want to integrate them, but you also want them to have those bonds that make them want to keep scouting.  Personally speaking as a scout parent/CM, I would not do two separate patrols unless you have assigned TG's to each patrol and a dedicated ASM who is willing to roll up their sleeves and put in the work to help build the patrol up into a finely oiled machine, if even by whispering in the PLs ear and helping him/her make smart decisions and enforce discipline.  That's my two cents!

 

Edited to add:  The goal of the NSP was to get them to rank up and move out.  Instead, they want to stay together and not many of them are doing well on rank advancement.

I'd ask if you have competing issues here.  Do you have scouts that use scouting as a hiding place away from parents where they can display bad behavior?  That does happen.  Scouting is good for all kids, but not all kids are good for scouting.  

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18 hours ago, Mom2Scout said:

... Edited to add:  The goal of the NSP was to get them to rank up and move out.  Instead, they want to stay together and not many of them are doing well on rank advancement.

This is where NSPs go wrong. As I mentioned earlier, no patrol should have rank advancement as it's goal. Broadly, the goal of a patrol is, according to Webster, " reconnaissance, security, or combat". A scout is, according to the same source, is " to reconnoiter." Therefore a scout patrol's goal is, in the purest sense of the term "reconnaissance." They are to observe and report.

Obviously, at a youth level, that act of patrolling is scaled to their abilities. And for our program, the goal of the patrol is to go hiking and camping. The goal of the patrol leader is to qualify to take his/her patrol hiking and camping. The goal of the NSP, therefore, should be to pick up a bit of troop discipline, find out about whatever upcoming hike or campout is on the troops calendar, and get to know the scouts in other patrols.

Last night our latest batch of crossovers started their NSP. They are very anxious to be assigned to their "real" patrols within a month. When the SPL suggested it might be a little more than that, they were displeased. Sitting in a room with their TG for much longer than a few weeks is not on their radar!

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18 hours ago, Mom2Scout said:

Edited to add:  The goal of the NSP was to get them to rank up and move out.  Instead, they want to stay together and not many of them are doing well on rank advancement.

This is what I meant about the struggle with bringing in girls. It's the not girls that dilute the experience Boy Scouting, its the inexperienced adult leaders who drive the fun out of the program by pushing a naive agenda.

No disrespect Mom2scouts, it's not your fault. I've been watching the BSA loose experience scouters to non experienced scouters for 30 years. I think it's the reality of the times. How can we teach inexperienced adults to use fun as the primary source for acheaving all the other goals? It's a game with a purpose. Adults need to learn the game.

Barry

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On 3/1/2020 at 6:54 PM, dkurtenbach said:

Curving back a bit toward the original topic, I was taught that one of the Patrol Leader's jobs is to monitor the advancement of each Scout in the patrol so that a Scout having some difficulty will get help, and so that Scouts get credit for what they know and can do.  This a responsibility that would probably fall to the Troop Guide in a New Scout Patrol.  It could be very challenging with a bunch of boys working on Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class, plus merit badges, all at the same time.

It is extremely challenging. Not only are you responsible for keeping up with all their advancement, you are also responsible for teaching them and supervising them. One experienced Scout to  8 new Scouts and you will get overwhelmed. And the new Scouts will get frustrated. Compared to a Traditional Patrol where an experienced Scout buddies up with a new Scout to teach and help supervise.

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1 hour ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

It is extremely challenging. Not only are you responsible for keeping up with all their advancement, you are also responsible for teaching them and supervising them. One experienced Scout to  8 new Scouts and you will get overwhelmed. And the new Scouts will get frustrated. Compared to a Traditional Patrol where an experienced Scout buddies up with a new Scout to teach and help supervise.

This situation is why I'm not a big fan of NSPs,  or really the process of crossing everyone over about the same time. Before NSPs (in my youth), scouts crossed over when they reached a certain age. So, troops didn't receive herds of new scouts all at once. They typically received two, maybe thee new scouts a month. Maybe even a couple more, I don't remember, but patrols typically receive one or two new scout every few months. So, patrols weren't overwhelmed with the responsibility of new scouts and advancement was done by the patrol as a whole. This week some first-aid, next week some knots. It wasn't hard or overwhelming like todays herds of scouts needing the same rank at the same time. 

I find the NSP process frustrating because when the patrols controlled advancement, there was not an annual troop activities agenda every year designed to get new scouts up to rank. The patrols controlled advancement, not the troop. But most troops today have a typical annual agenda they repeat every year intended to get all the new scouts up to rank. They aren't purposely wanting to make everyone the same rank at the same time, but the annual agenda forces scouts to make decisions they wouldn't normal make.  This month's troop theme is First-aid, next months is Pioneering for Knots. NSPs take away some of the independence and creativity for planning activities.

National wasn't trying to take away a little bit of patrol method from the scouts, but they did. They found that the BSA looses more scouts in their first year troop experience than any other age. Their thinking was that if they moved the scouts together with their friends in one big swoop, they would improve troop membership numbers. But, to counter the problem of growth (advancement and getting scouts assimilated into the troop environment), they created the Troop Guide and a program called NSPs. Again, the NSP seems to fit the Patrol Method design. It looks good from a concept, so the scouts aren't really loosing anything. Supposedly. 

But, one thing leads to another and the Patrol Method Boy Run process becomes more diluted into adult run and the troop program as a whole looses it's power for developing leaders of integrity and citizens of character. First, all growth has to come from the outside of the patrol. I know, TGs aren't considered outside, but yes they are. In a year, the TG is gone and the patrol is on it's own. See, in a natural ideal patrol, the young scouts don't learn by constant lectures from the older patrol mates. The young scouts learn simply by watching. 90% of everything a scout learns by 14 years of age was likely learned by watching, especially leadership. But, a NSP doesn't have the older experienced role models, so growth has to come from outside the patrol. And typically, initiated by adults. 

Second, National change the expectation of the patrol design from the traditional mixed age patrols to same age patrols so that NSPs would naturally continue together until they aged out. Again, from the initial design perspective, leaving the scout together seems reasonable. But, if maturity is gained from the experience of observing older scouts in action ( let's say leadership), then where do scouts with no experienced leaders learn how to lead. Well, here comes Junior Leadership Training (JLT). And who implements JLT? Adults. The problem with JLT is that training at best only highlights what a leader needs to be effective. JLT works great to help experienced leaders learn new tricks to be a better leader. JLT is terrible for teaching experienced leaders how to lead. So, who fills in the gaps of leadership when the leader runs into a situation that they don't know how to control? Adults.

And it gets worse. As adults take over more of the scouts growth, the feed on it and take on more and more. I once listened to a SM explaining why he didn't let scouts young than 14 lead PLCs. They were just plain to immature. 95% of troops for 100 years let their scouts lead PLCs, but he just couldn't see it in his scouts. 

Is it right to blame the trend of less youth responsibility for their grwoth experience? Maybe not, but NSPs are a huge reason for it.

It's been a few years, but I did look at the National numbers for new scouts and found that the NSP had not improved the first year troop numbers. It turns out that the reason scouts quit in their first year is more complicated. But we are stuck the NSPs. 

Barry

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The Patrol Leader of the New Scout Patrol is a "New Scout."  He is, thus, not very "experienced" and needs good coaching, mentoring, and resources in the form of the Troop Guide plus the adults.  BSA recommends that the job be rotated among the "New Scouts" through the year so all Scouts get some experience, as the goal is "leadership development,"  not a "well-oiled machine."

The patrols control the respective patrol agendas by democratic consensus, consistent with Aim "citizenship development" and, with coaching from leaders and Scouters, can plan patrol program that inherently leads to advancement. 

In the minority of a Scout's time that is to be devoted to troop activities, the PLC controls the agenda.  Since I checked a day before presenting on this topic at Area, I can confirm that there still is no "Troop Method" in Scouting, as ever defined by BSA.

"In Scouting, a troop is composed of several patrols. Boy Scouting happens in the context of a patrol."  Scoutmaster Position-Specific Training, at p 20 (https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/training/pdf/511-213_WB.pdf)[Including "famous" "quote" from Baden-Powell that he never said or wrote].

 

 

Edited by TAHAWK
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On 3/3/2020 at 9:49 AM, Eagledad said:

I've been watching the BSA loose experience scouters to non experienced scouters for 30 years. I think it's the reality of the times. How can we teach inexperienced adults to use fun as the primary source for achieving all the other goals? It's a game with a purpose. Adults need to learn the game.

Older (experienced) Scouts teach younger (inexperienced) Scouts.

Experienced adults teach inexperienced adults.

Easy peasy.

If a Troop doesn't work that way, there's a problem. The lack of shared knowledge and experience need not be part of that problem.

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I won't get too long on the keyboard, I'm not in favor of NSP.  I like to disperse new scouts to established patrols to learn from the more experienced scouts.  It breaks up old groups, makes everyone integrate/join any new scout, lets them progress as an individual, and many like the new environment.  Like-age/grade groups may be good for cubs, but many have already spent years together.  Let them learn from an established patrol and trained youth leaders.   

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"I like to disperse new scouts to established patrols"   


I too experienced the mixed-age patrol as a Scout, and that's fine so long as the Scouts decide who goes where and no one is forced away from friends against their will. Adult ideas of "balance" are irrelevant to friendship.

 

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“Again, although the Scoutmaster may often

  advise with the Patrol leader …concerning new recruits, the admission of a

   new [Scout] … to the Patrol should be with the  approval of the Patrol members.”

 

                        Hillcourt, William

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3 hours ago, DuctTape said:

I have never seen it done, but has anyone ever had a plc induct new scouts into their patrol like a "draft"? 

Not like a sports draft, but our PLC has decided to reorganize and form multi-age patrols.  The initial breakdown they decided to use involves drawing names from two hats, then tinkering where necessary. 

This will happen tonight, so I will post how it goes. 

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