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gilski

Patrol Method older boys with crossover boys?

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Yah, but FScouter, you're making a bunch of assumptions there, eh?

 

You're assuming that those of us with mixed age patrols have the adults splittin' up and assigning kids randomly. I don't know about the others, but we work the way my fellow Beaver described: the PLC "adopts" kids into different patrols based on their friends, and personalities, the older boys they think are cool, their own requests, etc.

 

Strikes me that shovin' all of the new scouts into one patrol and makin' them stay as a group until they quit is far more of an arbitrary adult-run assignment. It'd be like your banquet committee sayin' that all the 1st year scouters have to sit together, and the 2nd years, and on up until the numbers get so few you have to combine tables.

 

As Eagledad says, mixed-age patrols require a certain culture of care/service/responsibility to younger guys, and stronger use of boy leadership and patrol method. It's not something to move to in gilski's case, as an adult-imposed response to problems. It's something to move to when you're running fairly well and you want to do a better job.

(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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We use mixed age patrols. we have tried NSP a few years, and it just didn't work in our situation. We find the young scouts look up to the older scouts, and our older scouts actually enjoy working with and teaching the new scouts. They enjoy the new blood in the patrol. Hazing is non- existent. The new boys are not just randomly put in patrols though. I consult with the Webeloes II leader and find out who is friends with who, who should not be put in the same patrol due to some baggage in the past, etc. For us it works.

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New Scout patrols have their place - Whether they stay together for 6 months or a year or whatever is a matter of what works best for that troop. How long do you consider them new Scouts? When the time is right, let them choose.

Ours always divide into the other patrols.

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We are experimenting with using temporary "Super" patrols (more than 8 or 10 for a short time) instead of a NSP this year. Mainly because our PLC wanted it that way and due to the complete failure of our NSP last year to retain any new boys. It is anticipated that the "Super" patrols will be a place for the newcomers to learn about the patrol method and get good training in scoutcraft from the older boys. We expect for the patrols to get back to normal size around June, after our new kids get some experience and decide if they want thier own patrols. Should be an interesting experiment. If it works, I'll report back :>

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>>We are experimenting with using temporary "Super" patrols (more than 8 or 10 for a short time) instead of a NSP this year

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Eagledad makes a good point in that these new boys have never seen idependence from an adult. They seem to have no sense of responsibility for themselves. It's a challege to get them to listen to announcments. Their attitude is that it's someone else's job to listen to them, make the decisions for them and then tell them what they are going to be doing.

 

The other good point Eagledad makes is the importance of a good Troop Guide and ASM assigned to new scouts. Without these people trained and in place, a new scout patrol does not work as well. Do some troops choose to go with mixed patrols because they can't or don't know how to staff these positions?

 

In repy to SR540Beaver, I will merge patrols if their numbers go down due to attrition. But the merger is with boys closest to their age as possible. I will form a NSP if I can, or put them with the twelve year old patrol if there is not enough. My older boys all enjoy teaching skills to the younger scouts. They don't have to be in the same patrol to do this. At summer camp, we buddy up an older boy with a new boy to act as mentor. At the end of each day, they go through what they have learned and sign off on requirements after they have been properly demonstrated. If the older boys don't want anything to do with the younger boys, it won't matter what type of patrols you have. Sounds like you just had a bad experience with a poorly run/trained troop.

 

 

 

 

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Eagledad-

What are you doing differently than how the BSA guidelines say it should be done?

 

From your description it sounds like you are following exactly what the BSA guidelines suggest.

 

And it only took six tries to discover that what the BSA suggests you follow works and works well?

How many kids did you lose in your experiments?

 

I dont remember any training where we were told to go ahead and experiment with different things until we found something that works.

When I signed the application to be a leader in the BSA I agreed to use the BSA program. Not once have I ever been told that its OK to "experiment" with the program.

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CNY, it might be a good idea to take a breath here. I understand and agree that the BSA program is a national program and that units who claim to be part of the BSA should do their best to subscribe to and provide that program to their members.

 

On the other hand:

 

1. Every unit has its own circumstances and there is a great deal of flexibility built into the BSA program so that units can provide programs that "work" for their members.

 

2. It is also possible to get the "patrol" thing basically correct and still provide a terrible experience that fails the rest of the BSA methods.

 

3. I have had the privilege of getting to know a lot of units in my area. Not one delivers the program in exactly the same way as any of the others, and I'd wager that someone with a chip on their shoulder (or a BSA policy book in their pocket) could find something that each unit is doing that isn't strictly speaking, BSA policy. I'm not talking about big, egregious violations of G2SS or YPT or the like; I'm talking about minor variations. Some of these variations need to be changed or done away with; units are nearly always works in progress and they make errors along the way. Units change and what works at one point may not, at another point in time.

 

4. I know from personal experience too, that taking a confrontational and accusatory tone is about the least effective means of bringing about positive change. If it were my unit and you responded to me in the way that you responded to Eagledad's post, I know my first response would be "who is this guy and why is he acting like this?" rather than, hmm, maybe I should think about what he has to say. The approach is just as important as the substance.

 

5. You've had numerous posts about how you aren't happy with the units in your area and how none of them truly follow the patrol method. That may well be true and I can understand your concern. On the other hand, I hope you aren't approaching any of them in the way you approached Eagledad here, because I don't think you'll get the kind of reception - let alone results - that you might like.

 

The point of this forum as I understand it is to exchange experiences and ideas. Personally, I'm glad that eagledad and others have been willing to share their experiences - good, bad, and ugly - with the rest of us so that we can draw from their experiences as we think about how to improve our own units.

 

Lisa'bob

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>>Eagledad-

What are you doing differently than how the BSA guidelines say it should be done?>I dont remember any training where we were told to go ahead and experiment with different things until we found something that works.

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Sorry, I was trying to be sarcatic but it didn't come off that way.

 

No I was not suggesting that you should have stuck with a failed program.

You post that its OK to try different things, but after trying 6 different ways of doing things you ended up with the program that is outlined in the BSA program and say it worked the best.

 

Why spend all your time and energy trying to figure out a program to use and instead spend that same time and energy to run the program already outlined?

 

I do agree that most troops do not know how to use a NSP corectly. They then claim they don't work.

I think the same goes for the Venture Patrol.

 

As far as its OK to experimant, where in the SM training syllabus does it say this?

We were given strick instructions by the course director to stick to the syllabus and would like to know where I can find this.

 

 

 

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>>We were given strick instructions by the course director to stick to the syllabus and would like to know where I can find this.

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Actually, CNY, if you read Eagledad's post carefully, he isn't doing NSP by-the-book. It's only running for six months, not one year; he says nothing about thrusting new scouts into a PL/leaderhip position but instead says that the troop guide is the real PL. And he mentions that accepting new scouts into existing patrols worked best for his troop as long as there weren't too many. NSP's were a good second choice.

 

So a careful read of Eagledad is that they started with the "by the book" BSA program, doing the best they could with it, and then discovered that they had to fix parts of it to make it work better. They tailored what they did to match their people, youth and adults. They did not tailor their people to match the canned, "ideal" program.

 

The thing is, what Eagledad did is exactly what the BSA wants and expects to happen. He got to the purpose and principles of the BSA program, even though he had to manipulate the details.

 

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Regarding New Scout Patrols, Page 20 of the Scoutmaster's handbook says,

 

"Many troops have a new-Scout patrol for 11-year-old boys who are just joining."

 

-Why should a troops have this? It continues,

 

"The new Scouts function together as a patrol during their first year in the troop, working towards their goal of completing the requirments for the First Class rank."

 

 

-Then the handbook contridicts itself in saying,

 

"Some troops phase their new Scouts into regular patrols after three to six months"

 

-No reason is given in the handbook as to why a trooop would do this. If the previously stated reason for keeping them together is to work towards their First Class rank, how does phasing them into regular patrols after three months accomplish this?

 

Is the confusion as to what a troop should be doing with their new scouts causing leaders to try different ways of doing things?

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EagleDad-

 

I have to apologize in that you didn't use the word "experiment" it came fromm the quote for NIscouter.

The impression I got from your post was that you tried 6 different programs looking for something that worked and not just making small changes to the NSP idea.

 

It'just that I am seeing that when Troops are being told that it's OK to make changes to their program and there doing just that.

They're throwing away the patrol method and the boy-led concept. MB's are setup by adults so the scouts can take them in large groups.

I have now visited over half the Troops in my district and not a single one follows the Troop meeting planning guide that is given out and gone through at SM training.

 

I have been involved with a Troop that changed the program so much it no longer looked like a Scout Troop. It was just a camping club that did Merit Badges.

 

Our council is seeing massive drops in scouts and I keep running into "Eagle Mill" after "Eagle Mill". They all complain that they can't keep older boys in the program yet none use the Venture patrol and a good deal of them try to the Troop method (one size fits all).

Yet, the few Troops that are growing are the ones that are making the effort to follow the BSA guidelines but these are few and far between.

 

My son's troop switch last year to mixed age patrols. This year they have lost all but one scout who crossed over and have lost a good deal of the older scouts who now find the program boring. They are seaching for an answer to fix this and have want to try anything but picking up the Scoutmasters Handbook and following the guidelines.

 

It's even worse at the Cub Scout level. We have an area in our council where there is 1 pack feeding 7 Troops. I just talked with the CC of the Pack near me. They always have had a very large pack (80 to 90) and they had a 30% drop in kids and had one of the worse recruitng year she could remember.

I'm hearing the same thing about the Cub Scout program. I know that the Pack program is much more flexible but most of the Packs around here don't come anywhere near what the BSA guidelines for what a Pack should be.

 

I am not sure what I am going to find for a Scouting program, if there is one left, in 3 years when my youngest becomes old enough to join.

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