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George

Does your Troop meet less so that Patrols can meet more?

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Posted (edited)

Given that the BSA requires two registered adult leaders 21 years of age or over are at "all Scouting activities, including meetings," it seems that the old ideal of weekly Patrol meetings outside of the Troop meeting--at, for example, a Patrol member's house--is more unlikely than ever.  As a result, is it time for Troops to reallocate more of their weekly meeting time and space to Patrols?

@Kudu reprints some of Green Bar Bill's advice to Scoutmasters on this subject at http://inquiry.net/patrol/troop/index.htm:

Quote

 

How Often Does The Troop Meet?

Although many Troops meet every week, this is by no means a requirement for running a good Troop.  Patrol work is the important thing.   Troop hikes and camps come next.  Troop meetings are only necessary to hold the gang together and help the boys to steer the right course.

The idea, then, is to have just enough Troop meetings to round out the Troop's program of hikes and camps and Patrol activities.

If you have smoothly working Patrols and a Patrol Leaders' Council that's running in high gear, one meeting a month may be just enough to supplement your outdoor activities.

Or you may find that your schedule of hikes, Patrol meetings, and leaders' meetings, will suggest a Troop meeting every two weeks.  The monthly arrangement for the whole gang might then be somewhat along this line: Patrol meetings every week . . .Troop meetings, first and third week . . . planning meeting of Troop Leaders Council, second week . . . training get-together of Leaders' Patrol, fourth week . . .Troop hike or camp, third Saturday.  This arrangement has proved satisfactory to numerous Troops.

Some Troops may come to the conclusion that they can manage weekly Troop meetings, besides the weekly Patrol meetings, regular leaders' meetings, and Troop hikes.  Fine--but only if such a schedule strengthens the Patrols.  If weekly Troop meetings crowd weekly Patrol meetings off the calendar, then you'd better take stock and reconsider--the tail may be wagging the dog, the Patrols may be losing out.

In all events, let the Patrol Leaders' Council make the final decision.  The boy leaders know how much time their Scouts can give to Scout activities without impairing their school work and home life.

 

For those Troops who wish to be especially faithful to the Patrol method, why not ditch weekly Troop meetings so that Patrols may use the same time and space for their meetings?

Say, for example, that a Troop presently meets every Monday.  Instead of the Troop meeting in the usual way every Monday of the month, why not substitute Patrol meetings on the second and fourth Mondays, retaining Troop meetings (with Patrol corners) on the first and third Mondays?

Do any of your Troops meet less frequently so that Patrols can meet more frequently?  Is two Troop meetings a month enough?  What about only one Troop meeting?

Thanks in advance for your observations.

Edited by George

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12 hours ago, George said:

Do any of your Troops meet less frequently so that Patrols can meet more frequently?  Is two Troop meetings a month enough?  What about only one Troop meeting?

Not yet...but that is the goal/vision...currently, we do camp less frequently as a Troop so the Patrols can camp more as a Patrol.  We are currently at one Patrol camping event per quarter.  It is usually the adult support that is the limiting factor.  The older Scouts really enjoy this, as they get a break from "supervisory" duties and get a chance to just hang out with their buddies.  It seems to refresh them so they are more engaged on the Troop camping trips when the younger Patrols (yes, we use age-based patrols) need their guidance.

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In the troops I was in in the 80s-90s, we just split the weekly meeting.  We opened and closed as a troop.  Maybe had a few announcements.  Did training by rank, and games as a troop.  Patrol meetings mostly concerned themselves with planning campouts to nest with the troop campouts.

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We open and close as a troop and then breakout into patrols for skills training. We then do inter patrol competitions using these skills. Then we close as a troop.

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One of the troops that I help has, for several years, had troop meetings and patrol meetings on alternative Mondays.  

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9 hours ago, fred8033 said:

"Weekly meeting" don't have to be a recurring, 6:30pm sit in a chair thing.  IMHO, that's part of what is killing scouting.  ... Camping?  That's a meeting.  Activity setup by the program patrol?  That's a meeting.  Service project?  That's a meeting.  ... Regular cadence of scheduled meetings is important, but scouting isn't about meetings.  

My son's troop monthly cadence was:  1st & 3rd Monday troop meetings ... 4th Monday PLC (with separate committee meeting) ... one camp (11 of 12 months a year) ... one activity ... one service project.  That was five meetings a month.  Six if you count PLCs.  ... Outside that, scouts often met and socialized.   Any given month, 4 or 5 happened.  Some months we had six.  A few months had three activities.  But our cadence was 2 meetings, a campout, an activity, a service project.   ... In addition, our annual cadence was one high activity, one moderate activity and then something special.  

I was exhausted with that cadence for 15 years.  Then add cub scouts.  ... Having two more Monday scheduled meetings each Monday would have been just too much.

The best troops are ACTIVE, but "meetings" don't make you an active troop.  Troops should have things going on all the time.  


IMHO ... if you are going to have a meeting, be productive and do something meaningful.  Scouts can see through filler and make-work meeting topics. 

Yes. Our Troop insists on meeting weekly even though the meetings are deadly dull and scouts don't want to go to them. Plus they are sitting there being bored while facing hours of homework when they get home, especially the older high school scouts who are generally in AP courses, etc. If Covid has taught us something it's that you don't need to meet much to get activities organized. The activity should indeed be the focus. 

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On 10/5/2020 at 7:01 PM, George said:

Do any of your Troops meet less frequently so that Patrols can meet more frequently?  Is two Troop meetings a month enough?  What about only one Troop meeting?

I did not answer the original question.

No.  Our troop generally followed BSA's standard troop meeting.  We did have a service patrol and a program patrol.  Patrols cooked and camped together.  Patrols often socialized together.  Patrols were long standing.  Beyond that though, patrols were a way to make the troop manageable.  

I would have liked seeing patrols being tighter and more significant.  I would have liked seeing Patrol Leaders having a more significant role.

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With the adoption of the Patrol Method, troops were way to support patrol programming.  Patrols could be individually chartered onto the 1960s.  With the demise of Scouting, that has changed.

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59 minutes ago, TAHAWK said:

Patrols could be individually chartered onto the 1960s.  

Really?  I never heard that.  Is there a reference I could read?  I'd like to learn more.

Edited by fred8033

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Lots of stuff out there to learn.

I was a Scout starting in 1953.  A "Neighborhood Patrol" camped with us a couple of times so they could experience patrol competition.

Turns out  "Neighborhood patrols" were chartered into 1969 at least:

No sponsor

No Committee

"Scoutmaster is selected by three fathers from the community."

As few as two boys

"NEIGHBORHOOD PATROL: a small neighborhood group of from 2 to 8 Scouts may be organized as a 'Neighborhood Patrol."   A Neighborhood Patrol requires no sponsorship. Three fathers in the community must approve the Scoutmaster.  Meetings are held in homes or other suitable places as often as the membership desires to meet."  Boy's Life, June, 1938, at p. 27.  Gettysburg Times  June 12, 1940:

13. Enlist and train a boy as a Tenderfoot for his own or any other Troop, Tribe, or Neighborhood Patrol, or as a Lone Scout; or enlist and train a boy as a Bobcat in a Cub Pack, or as a Lone Cub. OR If such enlistment is impossible because of Local conditions, train another Scout in at least three Second Class requirements involving Scout Skills." First Class Requirement September 1944 until June 1948

PCroi8K.png

QOr4ERa.png

Qu3JeSb.png  SEE "WANTS TO START SOMETHING."

HlyYBS4.png

CdwVhR3.png

jofEJIL.png

 

Be sure to let me know if you want more examples.

More information.

http://www.troop162nh.org/about/history

https://www.seacoastonline.com/article/20150601/NEWS/150609905

https://chestofbooks.com/outdoors/scouts/Rural-Boys/The-Neighborhood-Patrol-Budget-Plan.html

https://goreadingberks.com/history-of-holy-guardian-angels-boy-scouts-of-america-troop-161/

https://prezi.com/dieoyh11ywrh/boy-scout-troop-700/

See Dr. Briscoe's fouth paragraph: https://oa-bsa.org/history/arrowmans-profile-desegregation-oa

 

 

 

Edited by TAHAWK
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On 11/18/2020 at 2:36 PM, TAHAWK said:

More?

Outstanding.  Kudos.  I appreciate the info.

In some ways, I could see individually chartered patrols as a nice option.  I think several of my sons would have liked that.  The only challenge would be as youth drop out or age out, how to keep the patrol alive for the remaining scouts.  It's the issue girls scouts have.  Girls that want to continue often are left without a Girl Scout troop because so many have left.  

Edited by fred8033

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On 11/20/2020 at 11:37 AM, fred8033 said:

...  The only challenge would be as youth drop out or age out, how to keep the patrol alive for the remaining scouts.  It's the issue girls scouts have.  Girls that want to continue often are left without a Girl Scout troop because so many have left.  

Fred, it’s the small troop problem. Either, the patrol runs its course and then disbands. Or, it relocates under a CO that will continue to promote it well beyond the founders’ tenure.

 

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