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justmomof3boys

How are patrols picked?

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Out troop is only a couple of years old (my son has been there a year and another just crossed over). They have just recently implemented the Patrol system. The oldest boys are 14. Our Scoutmasters have grouped the patrol about 3 times in the last month since no one is sure how it should be done. So the boys have no idea where they are supposed to be each week. It's getting frustrating for the boys and parents. Some say keep the boys (or start them off) by ranks, one has said have a star or life scout be in charge of a patrol of Tenderfoots as their patrol leader. Some think the older boy will eventually resent it. The scoutmasters made the rule that a patrol leader has to be at least First Class and an Asst. needs to be at least a Second Class. They even had the whole troop vote on patrol leaders before dividing the patrols. I thought the individual patrols should vote on their OWN patrol leaders. One Scoutmaster who was and Eagle himself would like a complete mixture of ranks in each patrol, but he doesn't like the idea of patrol outings. Isn't it up to the boys? The scoutmasters said each patrol will have to find a dad to become an assistant Scoutmaster to be their adult advisor at meetings and campouts. I'm really confused because i thought the Scoutmasters were supposed to be there for the whole troop and not just one particular patrol. Am I wrong? All this has been frustrating to the boys, parents, and Committee. The meetings lately have been pointless. Any suggestions I can take to our Committee meeting and to our Scoutmasters on this? Thanks in advance!

YIS,

Theresa~

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Hmm...The patrol system should not be changed that often. It will underscore the loyalty factor, big when it comes to successful patrols.

 

Patrols, however, really can be grouped however you want them to. You will find people on this site who like setting them up in different ways: some will say "same age," others will advocate "close in age," and others will argue the spectrum. It really comes down to what you like the most and what proves to be effective. Personally, I'm a fan of the similar in age approach, where your patrol consists of Scouts within two or three years of each other. You get leadership and continuity without "resentment."

 

Patrol trips and patrol Scoutmasters are OK. Patrol trips just reinforce patrol loyalty and can be valuable tools in teaching teamwork. In the past, our patrols have gone on ski trips, down to the state capitol, on day hikes or swimming outings, etc. Patrol Scoutmasters (ASMs) do not necessarily need to be working for the whole troop. Often ASMs specialize, working with the Venture Patrol, advancement, etc. Patrol Scoutmasters are helping the whole troop by helping their patrol.

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As far as I know, patrols can be grouped anyway you like. Some Troops opt for patrols by age. Others like to mix older Scouts with the new ones. I prefer this method.

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

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It sounds like your SM is a bit new to the SM job. I know when I first started I was unsure of what was best for the troop. Have the SM and ASMs beed to leader training? If not, they need to go. As others have said, Patrol organization can take many forms and in some troops you'll find a combination of forms. All forms have pros and cons. It comes down to what works best for your troop.

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Weekender makes some very good points. There are different ways to group the patrols. the important things to keep in mind are:

 

1. A troop is not divided into patrols, the patrols gather to form the troop. (it is a very important distinction!)

 

2. You can't choose someone elses friends for them. When you were younger, and even today, you get to choose who you socialize with, for that reason patrol membership should not be formed based on "however the leader chooses" but on however the boys choose.

 

3. The Scoutmaster Handbook, on page 20, recommends 3 patrol levels. New Scout, Regular and Venture. They are divided this way for very specific reasons. Then within these divisions the patrols would choose their own membership and leadership. It would be worthwhile to share this section with the leaders and committee.

 

I also agree with Weekender that it sounds as if the Scoutmaster has never been through training. many of the decisions being made have no connection to the scouting methods. The committee needs to strongly encourage training for ALL adult vounteers.

 

Best of Luck,

Bob White

 

 

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I agree with some of the others, it looks like your son's scoutmaster and the other leaders need some training. Another resource might be their unit commissioner. This individual's job is to assist troops that might be off track, and it sounds like this troop qualifies for that.

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My troop just went from one patrol to two patrols for the first time in about four years. We ended up grouping them by age for right now. Our new Scout patrol has a 13 year old patrol leader who actually relates better to the 11 year olds than his peers. When October rolls around (six months after forming the patrols), we plan on opening up the patrol membership in both patrols for all troop members so the numbers are fairly even (right now, our new Scout patrol has eight while the experienced patrol has five). Next spring, we hope to add another new Scout patrol. In fall 2003, we'll fill in empty spots (add three for a patrol of five, etc.) from the new Scout patrol and hopefully, there will be enough new Scouts available for a strong third patrol. This process will be repeated as we grow and need to fill holes left by Scouts leaving the troop or becoming the troop SPL or ASPL.

 

It seems to be working out pretty well so far, but we're only a few weeks into it. We'll see what happens in a month or two.

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In our troop of 52 boys we divide them into three groups: New Scout patrols, Experienced Patrols, and a High Adventure Patrol. Any scout who has not yet achieved First Class goes into the New Scout patrol, since their meetings concentrate on First Class requirements. Since we tend to receive new scouts en masse from two Packs, we generally keep Webelos dens intact as a new patrol. Any Scout who is First Class or above, but not yet 14 years old, transfers into the Experienced Scout Patrol, which focuses on more adventuresome outings. Once he reaches 14 a Scout may transfer to the High Adventure patrol, which goes on the types of outings that are better suited to boys who can work with minimal supervision and who's physical development allows them to participate in more strenous activities (like hiking to the 10,000-foot level of Mount Rainier). The boys seem to enjoy the grouping. Older boys who are new to scouting tend to advance to First Class more rapidly so they can join their peers in what they see as the more "fun stuff". Our system isn't right for everybody, but it works well for us.

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WA_Scoutmaster,

Great job. Exactly as the Scout handbook, SM handbook and scout leader training teaches how to do it. The only difference is in the labels. The scout handbooks call them new Scout patrols, Regular patrols, and Venture patrols.

 

It's no surprise that it is working for you.

 

Bob White

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Changing the names was just wordsmithing among the ASMs. We decided to get away from the "venture" label just so they aren't confused with a venture crew, and "experienced patrol" is, from the boy's perspective, a snazzier label that emphasizes their extended exposure to scouting. I always tell the parents that I'm not the best Scoutmaster there is, but I'm the best one in the Troop! OK, so I'm the ONLY one in the troop, but let's not get mired in details...

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I may have missed this, but once the patrols are picked the older patrols should be recrurting the younger boys into their patrols. The patrols job is to grow. Once the patrols are assigned the 1st time, the patrol should be deciding who joins the patrol not the adult leaders. exception would be made for older boys coming into the troop

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Bringing this up to the top for further discussion -

 

We are a smaller troop where our 18 boys are mostly 8th - 10th graders (various ages)

 

It would seem that most troops are organizing their patrols by rank advancement, which roughly parallels age/grade.

 

Our bulk of boys are in 8th grade - and range from scout to star. Some are highly motivated by advancement, others aren't into it as much. Most participate in activities ALOT - but have a wide variety of interests.

 

The "more advanced" ones are highly competitive, high energy, love testing their abilities in activities like 30m+ bike rides and 50 mile backpacking trips, mimimalist "leave no trace camping", etc.

 

however, we also have some who are up in rank - 2nd class or first, same grade/age but have no interest in "physical" testing, are not athletic, & are more interested in studying bugs or astronomy than in plowing through it full throttle! or they have special needs - an asthmatic with a heart condition, an ADD "dreamer", and some who are just quieter and more introspective.

 

The problem we are having is that these less physical boys are not going on trips because they are too physically tough or not interesting to them - and the "fast pacers" say the slower ones should be pushed to do more or stay home. They don't want to make accomodations for them.

 

We are just starting to re-instate the patrol system in our troop - and one of the problems (as I see it) is that the patrols were assigned by a former SM. Part of this was done to separate 2 boys who were ALWAYS together and practically make their own patrol, and part of it was to divide an abrasive personality kid from the few he continually rubbed the wrong way. To some extent, this works - in others - well, the two "buddies" do make a great team - but I guarantee if they were together, they would be elected PL and APL and would run the patrol THEIR way. they are popular,but are overwhelming -not willing share the limelight or decisions!

 

Personalities and egos are a touchy thing in our troop.

 

We have an election coming up in 2 weeks to correct some of these problems.

 

Does anyone have patrols divided by interests? I was thinking of a High adventure patrol for those of Star /15 and above & Maybe a new scout patrol if and when we get any "new scouts". For the "middle" boys - an "adventure" patrol(High physical activity) and an "explorer" (low physical activity - higher learning experience) choice. the Adventure patrol might do a 50 miler backpacking trip - while the Explorer group might choose a shorter historic trail with a visit to a civil war re-enactment - or a hand's on activity.

 

What do you think of this idea?

 

How do boys go about changing from one to the other? do they "apply" for membership to the other patrol? or do they just ask the SM to transfer if their interests change? Can a patrol plan, say a 50 mile backpack trip and "invite" the others in the troop to participate individually? (there's always going to be some crossover interest - I think)

 

If we break into different patrols by boy choice - how do we keep it from being a popularity / "in crowd" competition?

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You have a lot of questions packed in there LauraT7, lets see if I can sort a few out.

I'd like to answer your last question first.

"If we break into different patrols by boy choice - how do we keep it from being a popularity / "in crowd" competition?"

 

When you chose the friends you hung around with as a teen did you pick the people you liked and liked you or did you choose to hang with people you didn't get along with? If you could choose your own cooworkers in your department at work would you choose people you enjoyed working with and shared common interests with? I'll bet in both cases you chose to be with people you liked, and that's OK, in fact thats normal human behavior. Is there any reason that the scouts today feel any different than that, or deserve anything different than that?

 

Next the patrol of 15 or Star Rank in a troop is already an option and is called a Venture Patrol. Your PLC can set whatever requirements they choose. Their activities are of a higher adventure and physical level than the regular patrols.

 

I noticed you make advancement sound as if it is separate from activities..Some are highly motivated by advancement, others aren't into it as much. ...Most participate in activities ALOT - but have a wide variety of interests.

 

Advancement should be what happens as scouts participate. If most the boys attend the activities than they should make First Class the first year if you are doing the right activities. By using the New Scout Patrol, Regular patrol and Venture patrol structure you can meet all the needs and characteristics of the scouts as they develop. After they reach first class there is a wide enough variety of MBs for the scholars and the athletes to work on.

 

Two last thoughts, The scouts may say they don't want to do physical tests but they do it every year in Phys. Ed,. class. Have the gym teacher sign their books if they do the requirements. And finally moving an abrasive scout without addressing his character is not helping anyone especially the scout or the patrol you thrust him into. First help the scout behave like a scout.

 

I hope this answers some of your questions.

 

Bob White

 

 

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Our troop will have a group of 7 Webelos bridging to our troop. They are wearing the Boy Scout shirt, and have selected a patrol name. When they bridge over, they will be our new scout patrol.

 

At some point they will advance and no longer be new, but more of a regular patrol. I suppose that we could let them stay together as a regular patrol if that is what they want. But suppose that some of them want to join one of our established regular patrols? Id be happy to see all of them move into the regular patrols because the established regular patrols only have 3-5 boys each, which isnt good. The new scout patrol would then be dissolved.

 

What would be a good way to encourage the boys to move to an existing patrol when theyre ready?

 

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rather than encourage them to move to an existing patrol, consider encouraging them to make their own decisions. they can join an existing patro; upon making First Class or they cna stay in their existing patrol. Also encourage the existing patrol to develop a patrol program that would entice scouts to join them and encourage them to recruit friends into the patrol from outside of scouting.

 

Bob White

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