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Scotts_Scout

New Scout Patrol (NSP) vs. Mixed Patrol

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I've only been a trained leader for a short time. When my son and I joined our troop, the troop leadership (both boy and adult) had previously determined that we needed to form mixed patrols (new scouts with older boys). They believed that this structure would make it easier for the younger boys to relate to the older boys for guidance, advancement, and leadership. I know that the BSA structure SM handbook recommends there SHOULD be a new scout patrol and the older patrols and troop leadership would help this new patrol live the scouting experience. Even though my son has definately benefited from current structure I;m not sure that it's great for the future. There's a crossover in the early part of February with quite a few new scouts (I believe we'll have more than 10) and I was going to propose to the committee that we go back to the NSP method. I personally don't see any glaring problems between either of the methods. Any comments or opinions?

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I have good news. You can have your cake and eat it to in this case.

 

You can create a temporary new scout patrol to place the new recruits in. They should probably stay in that patrol for at least a few months, possibly as long as a year. Normally new scout patrols are supposed to help get the scouts oriented in the troop and help them get their first class.

 

After these new scouts get their bearings within the troop, and are no longer "new" they can then choose to move into the permanent mixed patrols (with a little guidance from youth and adult leaders), or form their own patrol if that is what they really want.

 

The purpose of the new scout patrol, as I understand it, is to provide just such an option. You don't have to have age based patrols. You don't have to throw new scouts directly into a mixed patrol.

 

I hope this helps. Others can probably provide some better information based on direct experience.

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I heartily recommend a new scout patrol IF:

1) the NSP has at least one Troop Guide assigned to it, a scout who really wants to help, not just fulfill a POS requirement for his rank;

2) the NSP has at least one ASM assigned to it, working with the TG to make sure that each boy has the opportunity to earn 1st Class within a year of joining;

3) the NSP PL job rotates monthly, so that every boy gets a chance to attend a PLC and get a feel for leadership and no one boy gets saddled with trying to be a leader before he is a 1st class scout; and

4) the SM support the idea, because without it, nothing happens in a troop.

 

Those are just my observations, based on my son's experience with his troop over the last two years.

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I like the NSP keeep the same kids together from Webelos. Let them build as a patrol and work together sometomes they may get lost in the mix of older boys

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We started using the new scout patrol thing back in the 80's. I'm not sure the BSA even had it as an official policy back then, but we found a lot of advantage to it.

 

Originally, we used the new scout patrol as a temporary haven in which the new scouts could learn about the troop and all the other scouts in it. The SPL would assign another senior scout to be what the Troop Guide position is now...a mentor for the new scout patrol leader...thus having an interface with another scout for introductions to the troop (rather than an adult). Even though the SPL was 'the' guy to see, the assigned senior scout and the new scout patrol leader knew that there was one specific ASM whom they could get assistance and information from when necessary. Just about the time school got out for the year, we'd already have made the new scouts aware of the requirement that they choose one of the standing patrols in the troop to join. That way, we kept the 'mix' of ages in the patrol. The SPL and ASM would work with the boys to make sure that no single patrol became overloaded, and if creating a new patrol was necessary, then it was accomplished. We had a large enough number of active patrols to accomodate most years influx of new scouts.

 

Then, about very late 80's or early 90's, (memory for dates ain't what it used to be) we began to question the notion of mixed ages. The scouts were the ones to first raise the question, so we took it under consideration and discussed it. Long story short...we dumped the 'mixed age' thing and allowed the scouts to reassemble the patrols as they saw fit (one time shot, here), with the assistance of the SM and SPL (for numbers). Once the patrols were reassembled, it became obvious that similar age won over mixed age. So since that time, the new scout patrol has pretty much remained intact from beginning of Scout career to end.

 

We (adults, and sometimes the PLC) still see benefits to both methods, but the scouts had to make a decision they were happy with, so long as they understood that reassembling the patrols would not happen every year. That would have created a record keeping nightmare.

 

 

(This message has been edited by saltheart)

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Props to cubsRgr8, and SM Ron,

 

When you look at the Scoutmaster Handbook you will see that the definition of a Patrol is a group of scouts of the same age and skill level. It then recommends that three patrol types are best; New Scout, Regular, and Venture. The make up of each is dependent on age and skill level.

 

There are only two times the scouting program recommends NOT using the New Scout Patrol. First if the troop is too small to do it effectively (less than 12 scouts). secondly, if the scouts are from the same immediate neighborhood and would make a strong patrol by virtue of their proximity.

 

You will find that the results of the NSP program far outperforms mixed age patrols in almost every case. Keep them in a New Scout Patrol program with a Troop Guide and an assigned Assistant Scoutmaster until First Class rank is achieved. See the Scoutmaster Handbook for more info on that.

 

A poster or two will probably come on board to say the The NSP is an option, a recommendation, NOT something you have to do. This is true. But why choose not to do what the BSA has developed as a very succesful program simply because it is recommended and not mandatory. None of the methods of scouting are mandatory, but it is in using these methods that we deliver the scouting program and all of its benefits.

 

Your decision following training to establish a New Scout Patrol program is a good one and shows that you are developing as a leader, and as a provider of good scouting to your community. Stay your course.

 

I would also recommend, that with ten new Scouts, you have 2 New Scout patrols, each with its own Troop Guide and put them both under the guidance of the same Assistant Scoutmaster.

 

Happy Scouting,

Bob White

 

 

 

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There are benefits to both methods. The decision is up to you. The one thing I wouldn't do is change patrols from one year to the next. Each patrol will develop it's own "life" & needs time to grow. Switching patrols year over year prevents this.

 

Ed Mori

1 Peter 4:10

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Who makes the decision to have a new scout patrol or not to? Is it the PLC or the Troop Committee or the Scoutmaster?

 

I am an ASM right now and I would like to see our troop have a new scout patrol and a venture patrol. I think that the scouts would be in favor of both but I fear that many of the adults would reject the idea.

 

Dave

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I would begin by sitting down with the scoutmaster NAD the Scoutmaster Handbook. I'm hopefull your SM is trained and understands the purpose of the ptrol types. If not you may have to do some counseling. Then as the ASM be willing to supervise and take responsibility for on of the three Patrol types.

 

Good Luck, You are doing the right thing.

Bob White

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"When you look at the Scoutmaster Handbook you will see that the definition of a Patrol is a group of scouts of the same age and skill level"

 

I recently read the Patrol Leader's Handbook and I found it interesting that all of the Patrol Leaders shown were older scouts and the Scouts that they were leading were the young guys. Go figure.

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A picture may be worth a thousand words but it isn't a thousand words. Don't try to deliver a scouting program just by looking at all the pretty pictures in the book. There is a reason that they surrounded them with bunches of words.

 

Bob White

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>>I am an ASM right now and I would like to see our troop have a new scout patrol and a venture patrol. I think that the scouts would be in favor of both but I fear that many of the adults would reject the idea.

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Barry,

I have a question. You do not see scouting as a one shape fits all program, and by the way scouting agrees.

 

Yet, you say that one shape of patrol works for all scouts? Scouting one the other hand says that three different shapes of patrols works best to better serve the different shape of boys at different stages of development.

 

Who is walking the talk, you, or scouting?

 

You see separate patrols as high maintenance. Can establishing and developing the character of a random ever-changing group of youth ever be low maintenance? Good scout leadership is often low profile but seldom low maintenance.

 

Perhaps Scotts is not the only one who could consider being open to change?

 

Bob White

 

 

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>>You see separate patrols as high maintenance. Can establishing and developing the character of a random ever-changing group of youth ever be low maintenance?

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