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Sdriddle

Seperate Patrol Activities

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I am a new Scout Mom and the troop we joined is growing faster than some of the leadership can handle. They have gone from 8 boys three years ago to 32 this spring with another 15 coming next spring. Transportation is a problem as everyone cannot fit on one church bus anymore. An AS and I have been looking at individual patrol activities to take some of the pressure off everyone going to same place at the same time. When it is brought up, CC and others say that two deep leadership is required for any activity including individual patrol outings as per the Guide to Safe Scouting and training. Right now the boys are all fairly close in age but that is changing and soon the boys are going to have different interests and ability levels. How do other troops handle patrol activities and growing pains?

 

Sheila

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Two Deep Leadership is required by Scouting, thats a given. And I think parol outings are a great way to develop scout skills and patrol spirit, however....

 

That being said, if you are trying to develop patrol outings to mask a larger problem, then stop where you are. A troop of 32 scouts should not have any problems arranging transportaiton on its own without a bus. I come from a troop of 90 scouts and we dont have a bus. (we also dont have 90 scouts on an outing either. How many scouts go on an average outing? If you have 20 scouts for an event, you will need 5 cars (figure 4 scouts a car and a driver). The troop adult leadership requirement is 2, so three more drivers must be found. If your troop cant find 3 more drivers for a week end, you have problems patrol outings wont solve

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Sdriddle,

To answer a specific part of your question.

Not all scout activities require two deep leadership. you will find that the Guide to Safe Scouting, The Scoutmaster's Handbook, The Boy Scout Handbook, as well as other BSA resources allow for individual patrols who have the Scoutmaster's approval (as well as meeting other guidelines) can go on overnight campouts, hikes and other activities "on their own" with no adults present. (I expect the new Patrol Leaders Handbook will address the topic also.)

 

Rather than go into specifics here I recommend you read the related materials and then I would be glad to answer any questions you have.

 

Bob White

 

(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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Bob,

Gotta ask! Wouldn't letting a patrol go on an outing without adult supervision be flying in the face of danger??? And would the SM want to be held accountable if something happened & there wasn't an adult present??

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

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Ed,

Not at all. The use of patrol activities (without adults) has been an established part of the patrol method since 1907 and can be found in every handbook for boys and adults since that time.

 

It was used heavily for many years and is still used by many troops throughout the country. The main reason it is not used as much is that most leaders don't actually read the handbooks and so don't realize that it is allowed.

 

I remember as a scout going on patrol hikes and campouts about every other month. We alwys had to have SM permission, as is still the rule today. We also had to have written permission from parents stating they were aware that no adults would be present.

 

Remember that during the summer, when kids are out of school and parents are working, kids do all sorts of activities without adults, why not scouting activities. To say to a teenager that they can ride their bikes with their friends without adults around but cannot ride with their Patrol without adults present is silly.

 

As a SM for several years the troop's PLC established rules for Patrol Activities. They included, required permission, an activity plan (there had to be a constructive purpose to the event), a travel plan (hike, bike or be dropped off by parents), an emergency plan, all patrol members First Class or higher, and a report to the troop on completion of the event.

 

Patrols who did independent activities had better troop attendance, advanced further, had better skills becuase they practiced mor, had better patrol spirit and stayed in the program longer than patrols that didn't.

 

Why train them, if you don't trust them to do a good job while you are not around? The goal of the program is to help them function as individuals in a positive way.

 

If they are First Class or higher and they do not have the skills needed to do this, that's the troop's programs problem to fix. If they don't have the behavioral attitude then they don't get to go until they can behave. If they choose not to do patrol activities then that's their choice as a patrol.

 

Until they are ready to go alone you can give them the opportunity to go with two adults. When we did this the adults stayed within sight of the patrol, but had little or no interaction with the scouts.

 

Some of the things the scouts that I served did without troop adults were;

 

>overnight fishing at a local river on private land.

 

> Bike Hikes of 10, 25 and 50 miles in a day

 

> a garage sale for patrol equipment.

 

> lawn service for a patrol member's elderly neighbor

 

> Swimming at the local public pool

 

> Bowling

 

> one night campouts on private land.

 

> Clean-up projects at local parks

 

> In-town hikes to various museums, airport, fishing spots etc.

 

> Clean-up hikes

 

 

Never had a problem...Never had an injury.

Lucky?

Nope!

Well trained scouts, and good plans.

 

Hope this helps,

Bob White(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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Thanks for all the information. I now have the Guide to Safe Scouting. I wish their was more specifics about patrol activities. All the references I find seem to be contradicted elsewhere. Does the patrol leader handbook have suggested activities and guidelines or does the PLC come up with them? Are patrols allowed to have their own fundraisers as a seperate activity? After just joining, it is a big expense to upgrade uniforms and such and then pay for summercamp with only one fundraiser for the troop before then.

 

Thanks a bunch,

 

Sheila

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sdriddle,

 

i have not seen the new Patrol Leaders Handbook yet and so I am not sure how patrol activities are being addressed.

 

However, in the "Junior Leader Handbook which is being replaced by the new "Patrol Leader's Handbook" It suggests, hikes, weekend campouts, service projects, and simple good turns as just a few of the activities a patrol can consider.

 

Actually the All the handbooks tell alot about Patrol activities if you look at them right. the Sm handbook, Scout Handbook, Troop Program features volumes, 1, 2, and 3 all help teach scouts how to plan and make good decisions, and that is really what Patrol Activities are about. its putting those lessons into practice. The resources don't list specific activities because it should be what the patrol wants to do not what the books or leaders tell them or even suggest to them. The choices are so many and varied that you couldn't list them all. It's what that particular Patrol is ready and wanting to do at a particular point in time.

 

We give them the tools, they make the decisions.

 

Bob

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Patrol activities update....

 

Just thought I'd share this. I just got my new Patrol Leader Handbook today. By the way I like it alot, much better than the Junior Leader Handbook it replaces(cost is $7.95).

 

Anyway, I wanted to share this paragraph from page 28 "Your Patrol Activities"

 

"Most patrol activities take place within the framework of the troop. However, patrols may also set out on day hikes, service projects and overnighters independent of the troop and free of adult leadership as long as they follow two rules:

> The scoutmaster approves the patrol activity.

> The patrol activity does not interfere with any troop function."

 

The next paragraph goes on to say,

" A patrol activity without adult supervision should be allowed only when it has been thoroughly planned and the Scoutmaster is satisfied the activity is well within patrol member's levels of training and responsibility. If the scoutmaster has any doubts, he should encourage the patrol to reconsider its plans or should assign adults to accompany the patrol during the activity."

 

The handbook also contains suggestions of things to do and has a planning sheet the patrol can fill out to give to the scoutmaster detailing their plan.

 

This should establish without any question that individual patrol activities, without adults, continues to be part of the patrol method and is an approved and recommended program element.

 

Bob White

 

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Thanks Bob, I'm going to get that book as soon as possible. Obviously leaders and boys alike should be familiar with its contents.

 

Sheila

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I read this exchange with some sense of irony. I was a scout years before the two deep rule, etc. etc. I led my patrol on numerous independent outings because our troop was so weak. We had a nominal scoutmaster, but we really were on our own.

 

This is not to put down the newer rules. I think two deep, tour permits, wearing PFDs, etc are all good ideas. We created our own patrol program to fill a vacuum at the troop level.

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