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How do you use patrol method in a troop thats only as big as a small patrol?

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As my troop is in the growing stages (we've gone from six to eleven in the past year and a half), I know what you are going through. A lot of the previous suggestions are great (I've dug the posters here for advice many times). Here is what we did and why:

1. The top youth leader was the patrol leader. One, because he wasn't leading a troop, but rather a patrol. When we added a second patrol in April, we promoted our PL to SPL and elected two patrol leaders.

2. For a long time, the troop acted as the Patrol Leaders Council. Now, we have a PLC with the SPL, two PL's, and scribe, plus anyone else who wants to come. We used to spend a lot of time at meetings planning, but now anyone that wants to be involved in the planning process has to come to a separate meeting (things get done much fast with 4-5 Scouts versus 10).

3. We slowly added staff positions. Our PL appointed the staff positions after the Scouts applied for which ones they wanted. We taught them what they needed to do and they are doing a pretty decent job.

4. Try to keep the decisions at the youth level. With a small, young troop, there will be a strong tendacy for parents and other adults to try and run things the Scouts are capable of running.

 

If you have any other questions, feel free to email me at chippewa29vigil@yahoo.com

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A off the wall method. Elect a SPL to run the troop during meetings and be the turn to person at camp. For each camp have the scouts elect a patrol leader for that camping trip to be in charge for that outing (Planning, staging and running). This will help in many ways, Each scout will develop a understanding of leadership roles, As your troop starts to grow the scouts you have know will have the basic skills to be patrol leaders, Your SPL will learn how to support and lead different scouts as patrol leaders. Your SPL should help each new scout get ready for the campout.

 

BRAZZIN

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I started a new troop three years ago with 4 youths from running a troop with over 50. Had the same issue, I did what BRAZZIN suggests and keep changing as the troop grew and the kids increased. I focused on making the campouts a blast as they would say while working in youth leadership. I even changed the campout leader each day as activities changed. Going on a campout which was a blast with being in charge of something was a big deal to the scouts. I had parents call me after the campout telling me that their 11yr old has done nothing but talk about how much fun he had and how one day he was in charge of cleaning the latrine, or making bunks, or cooking. Many remark they cannot even get them to that at home.

 

Teach the kids they run the program, make it fun, and be a kid yourself. My CC says he has to go on all the campouts because hes the only adult there as Im the biggest kid. In my tenure of scouting Ive only seen parents causing problems, sure you have a kid that acts up, but usually youre in a battle with the parent too. I would like to suggest do NOT take any adult thats not trained but I know finding adults for some is always an issue. But, I try to only have myself and 3 other adults as a maximum. All four of us are WB trained, ones an Eagle Scout (30 yrs ago), members of the OA, my CC has a Ph.D. in scouting and is our DC, and we all work as a team. Take 30 kids camping with two adults and youre forced to use youth leadership and thats what I do. Ive had 70 on a camping trip with the only adults being myself and my CC (or as he would say he was the only adult) and you know what it was a blast. NO issues because actually I had 10 additional leaders, you got it SPL, ASPL, and the PLs. It works and works real well.

 

Good luck

 

 

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Here's another side of the small troop challenge: As a roundtable commissioner I often hear from Scoutmasters of small troops that they can't use the patrol method because on troop activities, not enough Scouts show up to function as complete patrols. They then form a "provisional patrol" with no real trained leadership or organization, and the adults end up running things.

 

My advise is to form a single patrol, even if there are a dozen Scouts in it. Elect a Patrol Leader, and start working on your participation and recruiting, then, if successful, reorganize as a multi-patrol troop.

 

You will always have challenges that aren't described exactly in BSA literature. That's when you have to use some creativity. Just remember, your goal is to eventually bring the troop in line with the methods of Scouting.

 

Art Franz

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