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morganfam7

Ideas for small patrols?

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Hello,

 

We are Lone Scouts living in a rural area. Last night, my three boy scout age sons elected the oldest to be PL, the second oldest was appointed ASPL, the next asked for Historian, and then their sister (working the Girl Scout program) was assigned the job of scribe. We hope that Lone Scouting will develop into a regular county-wide troop chartered through our home school group, but until that time my sons can reap the benefits of being scouts.

 

We're all in our first year of Scouting. My husband has a little experience with scouting when he was 12. Do y'all have any suggestions about making the patrol method work for our small "patrol?"

 

Last night at the lake, we had a full scout meeting. We merged the New Troop Meeting Plan (out of the SM book) with the Camping plan (from Program Features). After we got back home, the newly elected PL watched as I planned the next 3 weeks worth of meetings and campout. I think we're on our way, but I thought someone here might have experience with small patrols that might help us avoid some rough spots.

 

Thanks!

 

Marcy

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What a fantastic opportunity you have! I used to think that youth couldn't possibly learn leadership skills without being part of a large group... Wrong!

 

In the early days of Scouting, a boy would find a publication that explained how to become a Scout [such as "Scouting for Boys"]. With little to no adult involvement, he would read this book and talk his friends into joining him. They'd organize and implement everything!

 

In a sense, you can see the patrol method unfold before your eyes.

 

My ideas? (1) Encourage them and (2) become a resource for them. As their small patrol grows, the benefits of using the patrol method will become more apparent. I would even take the three weeks their wonderful mother planned and explain that "this is a sample." Then encourage them to plan their own activities and meetings, since it's their patrol. You'll be amazed and proud at how well they do. In the meantime, I would take a few hours and research the history of Scouting. You'll find that having the Scouting vision is more important than having all of the short-cut paperwork and trick ideas. Feel free to post more specific questions... I'm excited about their patrol!(This message has been edited by alki)

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Thanks for the encouragement, Alki!

 

My husband and I spent about 5 minutes (as a closing) sitting with the kids at a picnic table after dark with a hurricane lantern (no campfires allowed in a state park), and we explained that the activities and fun we had was just a taste of what they could do. We tried to strike the balance between keeping them excited about the fun but emphasizing that this was their "baby," If it is going to get done - they would do it. We also made it clear to them that we were there to help and provide guidance and, on rare occasions, veto (only M&Ms for breakfast on a campout! etc.) We're really trying to do this right, but we feel like the blind leading the blind sometimes. Oh, and we explained to our oldest son, the PL, the 4 step method of training new leaders, so he knows he will be planning the meetings soon. He will start being responsible for the setup and running of the weekly meetings next week. He really liked the idea of the 4 steps. And I really like the idea of the leadership skills he will be learning.

 

Yours in Lone Scouting,

 

Marcy

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LOL. Two things you said brought back a lot of memories: that it's their "baby," and that you feel like "the blind leading the blind." I think I've told the boys "It's your baby" more than anything else... and I remember feeling like the blind leader!

 

A few years ago, I was asked by a group of teenagers to help them start a Venturing Crew... We don't have a cool website or climb Mt. Everest, and only one has earned the Ranger award. But the Crew has had a lot of fun together and they've become pretty amazing leaders. There are only four of them. I also understand that Venturers have different needs and abilities than younger scouts...

 

My only recommendation would be to not veto the M&Ms for breakfast! As a parent, I know it's hard to allow a heavy dose of sugar, but as a Scout leader... sometimes experience is the best teacher. Certainly veto immediate threats to their health, but otherwise let them find the joy in doing it "their way." It may turn out to be a wonderful tradition for them, and 20 years down the road they'll cheer one another up by bringing over M&Ms for breakfast!

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