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KoreaScouter

Shuffle patrols due to turnover?

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Our troop is located on a military base, and we expect significant turnover of many of our families this summer. Experienced Scouts (and a few new Scouts, too) will leave, and others will come in (as usual) between June-September. This is phenomena we deal with every summer, but this year it seems to be more significant.

 

Looking at the rosters, two of our four patrols will be down to two experienced Scouts each, one (NSP) will be full-up of course, and the fourth will have four Scouts left. We're getting five more Webelos 2 Scouts bridging later this month, and will likely create another NSP for them.

 

I'm inclined to leave all the patrols intact for a variety of reasons (lineage, heraldry, patches, flags, pride, new Scout migrations), rather than reduce the number of patrols to keep the patrol populations between 5-8. Some of the Scouts in our current NSP should start moving to their experienced patrols this summer. We always get experienced Scouts move in during the summer too.

 

What would you do in our situation? What's more important, the patrol size in the short term or the patrol identity in the long term?

 

Thanks for your advice.

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Which approach will most easily integrate new boys into the troop? I'd suggest it's by retaining the existing patrols and adding boys to them equally as they appear. Couldn't the two short-handed patrols work together until next fall? I'm still pretty new to how a troop works (I think my name's a dead give-away), but my son's troop seems to think nothing of combining patrols on campouts if not enough boys can make it.(This message has been edited by CubsRgr8)

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I remember one time when a bunch of young people in my neighborhood all graduated and left for college the same year. Some families were left as empty nesters, others still had a few kids at home.

 

The ones with children did not shift their kids to the ones who had none. ;)

 

The families stayed together.

Keep the patrols together.

 

Bob

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Bob I'm suprised at your response. I would have expected you to say that it was up to the boys, if they wanted to stay together they could but if they wanted to regroup it was their call. I personally would rather if the boys stayed in their respective patrols and figured a way to deal with the reduction of members. Once a Bear always a Bear. My troop has realigned itself several times because the boys wanted to regroup. I let them. The Senior Patrol changes the most, naturally but I'd rather see unity among patrol members. The idea of having the two smaller patrols work together for a while sounds good but I would promote it just that way. Two smaller groups working together for a common goal.

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Longhaul,

 

I leave it up to the boys when they form or enter the patrol. Once the patrol is there, the scouts need to know that it's their patrol, and they have a responsibility to keep it going.

 

The Bobster

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As usual, I appreciate your quick feedback -- all of it appreciated. I did put two of them together at a recent overnighter for duty roster, tenting, and cooking purposes -- no worries.

 

I try to never interfere with the Scouts' decisions as long as they're showing Scout Spirit, not dangerous, etc., etc. But, I had to throw my .02 in a few weeks ago when one of my patrols told me they wanted to change their patrol name, and by extension their patches, flag, equipment, patrol record book, Troopmaster rosters, blah, blah, blah. I couldn't understand it because they have lots of patrol spirit. They said they wanted to change the name because they didn't like the hand-drawn scorpion on their flag -- said it looked like a lobster. "Any other problems with your patrol name?" I asked. "No way, Mr. H., Scorpions rule!" "Then, why don't you just re-do your flag so it doesn't look like seafood?" For a second, they just stared at each other, then it was off to the races. They ended up designing a flag that they had custom-embroidered downtown...now all the other patrols want one like it too.

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Way to go, Mr. H! You didn't overrule the Scorps -- you just asked a simple question to help them see and address the real problem.

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Just a suggestion.

When they get the new flags retire the old ones to a "Wall of Honor" during a Court of Honor. When I was a scout we hung all retired patrol flags on the wall of the scout hut. It looked very cool and helped to foster a sense of history of our troop.

 

Patrols are not disposable, they are not there to simply organize kids into managable groups. They are there to give Scouts a sense of identity and unity within the troop. I try to keep patrols together as much as possible by encouraging the members of each patrol to look out for one another. This includes calling the guys they haven't seen lately and asking them what's up and when are you coming back we need you. I like the concept of once a XYZ patrol memeber always a XYZ patrol member and try to support that. I would only reorganize if it became impossible for a patrol to function and even then it's up to the Scouts to decide the new makeup.

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