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New Scout Patrol (NSP) vs. Mixed Patrol

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Eagledad

You have me totally baffled!

You wrote that great article on how the First Year Scouts need help coping with boy lead. Yet this post you totally blow it off?!

Are you saying that some troops needs NSP and some do not? How could that be?

I truly respect what you have to say, but I wonder what your motatvation was for that last post.

 

You and Bob White say almost the same thing most of the time, but you 2 seem to rub each other the wrong way. I sit and read what you and BW say and think they are saying the same thing in a different way.

 

A open mind is a learning mind.

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Thanks for all the great posts. I found out some more info after our Monday night troop meeting. Our troop consists of around 40 boys. We are expecting to have 15 rather than 10 Webelos crossover in Feb. 2004. The troop as a whole would like to keep four patrols with around 10 boys in each with no Venture Patrol. I spoke with our Troop Committee Chair and I suggested having a fifth NSP patrol. He said that was a good idea but it should be more of a short term patrol. I suggested we could have an NSP for about six months, or until the boys were comfortable with scouting (It could also work out that they were at the rank of Second Class). We will be discussing this at the next committee meeting. Some great info thanks again.

 

Scott

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>>Eagledad

Are you saying that some troops needs NSP and some do not? How could that be?

I truly respect what you have to say, but I wonder what your motivation was for that last post.>You and Bob White say almost the same thing most of the time, but you 2 seem to rub each other the wrong way. I sit and read what you and BW say and think they are saying the same thing in a different way. >A open mind is a learning mind.

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Once again with feeling

 

No where in the BSA (that I am aware of) does it say the Scoutmaster must assure a new scout will make first class in a year. The BSA does reccommend, insist, really leans on you to have a program that would allow a scout to become a first class scout in a year. There is a huge difference between making sure the boys attain first class and having a program that enables the scout to become first class, if the scout shows up at meetings, activities, shows scout spirit, etc.

 

As far as Venture Patrols and Venturing Crews we could do several threads on that alone, what am I thinking, we already have!!!

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Mind if I jump in. As much as I appreciate Eagledad's effort to explain how I think, a more accuate method would be to ask me.

 

I don't think I have ever said or suggested "adults first need to apply the tools correctly and they will understand the goals". I believe my message has been very consistent, The BSA has a specific mission. They look to accomplish that by affecting three specific areas of life that they call the 3 Aims. They accomplish this through the use of specific methods. Each program level has its own methods that are designed to meet the needs and charactristics of youth members in that particular program. It is these methods that create the elements of the scouting program.

 

Without the use of these methods you are NOT scouting, you are simply doing stuff in a scout uniform. You cannot know which method to use if you do not know the aims, You cannot reach the aims effectively if you do not know the mothods. It is all inter-related.

 

The most common problem I see as a trainer and in my years in commissioning, is that everyone seems to grasp the Aims, but many do not know, do not trust, or simply do not use the scouting methods.

 

In the first few pages of The Boy Scout Handbook, we promise every Scout certain things, adventure, fun, leadership opportunities AND that if they are active in their troop and patrol they will achieve their First Class Rank in the first 12 to 14 months.

 

Who is responsible for see to it that all those promises are kept? We are, every SM, ASM, committee member, and COR. We make the Scouting Program happen. If a scout keeps his part of the bargain and attends the meetings and activities then he should complete Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class ranks in 12 to 14 months as promised by the BSA program.

 

But that means every unit needs an action plan based on those requirements each year that a new scout joins. That action plan is called The New Scout Patrol. If you do not do this than you have broken the promise of scouting. Your new scouts will leave at an unacceptable rate. You will have a poor program base to build future activities on, and your scouts will lack the needed basic skills for safe, fun activities.

 

Forget about which way the flag patch should be pointing, or optional uniform kilts, or who is in charge of who. How good was your last troop meeting? How much better is this week's? That is the only thing that matters to the scout!

 

Whether or not your program keeps the scout coming back, and whether or not we achieve the mission of scouting, is dependent on all of us understanding the aims, and knowing and using the methods of scouting.

 

I quote the handbooks not to imply that you should know the books inside and out, but to show that most the things posters waste time trying to debate is already decided. Our responsibility is to deliver the program not to be couch quarterbacks and determine it. Do your job right and you will get the opportunity to have input on scouting. But first let's do our job right.

 

The program says that Patrols are made of Scouts of simmilar age and abilities, NOT mixed-up. The program allows for two exceptions, otherwise, if you want to offer an effective. BSA program you should do it the way the program recommends.

 

"I didn't realize that it was my job to keep them busy. I must have missed that day of Scoutmaster School."

 

Well color me surprised to hear that! Aren't we suppossed to be program leaders? What exactly is the point of a planned program if not to have the participants PARTICIPATE.

 

What is going on at this weeks meeting? Would it make any boy of Boy Scout age want to return? Does it affect Character, Citizenship, or Fitness?

 

The question for debate should not be NSP or mixed. The question is "Do you follow the Scouting program or not?

 

 

"Those who say it can't be done should get out of the way of those who are willing to do it"

 

By the way Eamonn impresses me more with every post.

 

Bob White

 

 

 

 

 

(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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>>The BSA does reccommend, insist, really leans on you to have a program that would allow a scout to become a first class scout in a year. There is a huge difference between making sure the boys attain first class and having a program that enables the scout to become first class, if the scout shows up at meetings, activities, shows scout spirit, etc.

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"What would happen if National said nothing about getting to first class in a year. Instead the text encourages the adults to develop a program that is prepared for any scout to work on advancement and scout skills any time he wants, when he wants? How would the program be different?"

 

Well for one thing, there would be far fewer scouts in it. A Scout at approximately 10 1/2 years of age who has been in a advancement structured program for 4 1/2 years needs a transition from the Cub Advancement program to the self-driven ranks of Star, Life and Eagle advancement. That is one of the reasons for the New Scout Patrol program, to create over the first year of a 7 1/2 year tenure in the troop to form bufferzone while a foundation of skills to allow the scout to go from an adult dependent program to a state of near independence from adults is formed.

 

">>The BSA does reccommend, insist, really leans on you to have a program that would allow a scout to become a first class scout in a year. There is a huge difference between making sure the boys attain first class and having a program that enables the scout to become first class, if the scout shows up at meetings, activities, shows scout spirit, etc.

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"...But ask me to make him acheive a rank, and I will fail everytime."

 

To be blunt, who is asking you to do this?

 

Its not the BSA, so tell whoever it is to go screw up some other organization, we both love scouting too much to put up such misconceptions.

 

 

On another topic? A WoodBadge ticket that says 100% of all new scouts will be first class in a year? Are you serious? (I mean you must be, you said it) That is so wrong from so many different angles, I scarcely know where to start. At our Woodbadge course we were told not to write ticket items that depended on the actions of others, such as something like this. You couldnt say you were going to start a troop at a certain church, unless you had an agreement with the church already.

 

Bob,

 

Your post just attived as I was doing mine and I must say I dont understand your response to what I wrote. Perhaps I didnt word it as well as I should have. What I was driving at was the BSA does not dictate that every troop have a new scout program, but they have all the materials and support information and statistics to show why First Class First Year should be part of the troops program.

 

I was also comemnting on the absurd notion that it is the Scoutmasters duty to drag every scout kicking and screaming if necessary to first class. The Troop program should be structured to allow the scout to attain first class, support in the form of a troop guide and ASM directing the FCFY is to be presnt, a killer of an exciting program is key, but if the scout decides soccer and baseball are more important, then it will be tough to make first class in a year.

 

Thats what I was trying to say in my own clumsy way(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)

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>>The question for debate should not be NSP or mixed. The question is "Do you follow the Scouting program or not?

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OGE, We agree completely.

 

Barry, I have no problem with your last post as long as you are willing to preface your comments with the disclaimer that it is an academic arguement and not an endorsement to ignore or alter the scouting program as each of us has promised to follow and deliver.

 

But, I do not get the feeling that that is your intention. Rather, you seem to want to validate your right to pick and choose what parts you decide to use and which parts you want to ignore regardless of the program guidelines that make what we do Scouting. What your rational for not using the methods of scouting are does not matter. It is not your responsibility to change the program.

 

And that is where our differences reside.

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I think it's unfair to say a troop isn't "doing Scouting" if it employs mixed-age patrols rather than same-age patrols. You can certainly criticize such a troop for not following the current BSA guidance on how to do things. It's also fair to argue that BSA has created a good, organic program, and that people shouldn't pick and choose parts of it (as long as you have reasons for why it's good beyond "BSA says so"). But mixed-age patrols have been around forever, and although you might think it's not the best (or even a good) way to do Scouting, it certainly is "doing Scouting."

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I hate to accuse anyone of anything, or make claims about someone else's actions.

 

However, I think it seems justified in this case.

 

BSA is not doing a good job of explaining the patrol method and its current form of implementation. The blame goes to the pros, the volunteers, to everyone in the BSA in a leadership role. Certainly some people, programs, places have the system working fine and are teaching it well. That seems to be far from universal.

 

Back when I was first elected to be SPL I went out and got as much information on how the troop was supposed to function as I could. I studied the BSA Handbook, the Junior Leader Handbook and whatever else I could find. My conclusion based on my studies was that patrols were supposed to be semi-mixed age. Not a patrol with 12 year olds and 17 year olds. Patrols with enough difference in skill level and age so that members of the patrol are capable of teaching at the basic level to other less experienced members of the same patrol. I understood the NSP to be a temporary home for the new scouts until they moved into a permanent patrol. I also understood that the Venture Patrol was more of an optional older Scouts patrol.

 

While I do not doubt that Bob White and others are correctly representing the BSA program, I think that the average adult leader would disagree about some aspect of the patrol method and its implementation. This is not an indictment of those advocating BSA policy, it is a charge against the training system and those that do not actively seek training.

 

I think BSA is right that patrols should be of similar age. That doesn't mean the same age. Patrols could easily contain at least a 2 year age difference without serious problems. If you were to look at the system in a somewhat flexible rather than rigid method (not picking and choosing BSA policies, but adopting to local conditions) the NSP would cover the scouts until about 11.5 years, then regular patrols until some time after 14 when they could choose to join a Venture patrol. Those advocating a 3 tiered patrol system, and those advocating that basically a cub den turns into a patrol that stays together through Scouting, are both going to end up with patrols made up of boys of similar (though not necessarily the same) age.

 

I think many of the differences of opinion expressed here are due more to the format than the content. The limits of forums and the limits of language are getting in the way. Different people are saying the same thing in a differnt way and causing confusion.

 

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

OK. Now I have a practical test to see how you think a troop/patrol system should be organized. Yes, I know the boys choose their own patrol. However, adult leaders must guide those decisions.

 

In my troop there are currently 16 youth. (gained 6 new Scouts one week, lost the JASM the next [but gained an ASM])

There are 10 Scouts approx 14-15 years old, that have been in the troop for several years. Currently I believe 4 are life, 5 star, and one first class. All of this group are within a year and a half of being the same age.

Five of the new Scouts just joined from Webelos.

One new Scout is just slightly younger than the older boys, but is just joining Scouting.

The troop is likely to gain another new scout from Webelos in the next few weeks.

In spring another Webelos den may bridge with an unknown number.

 

So, what would be the optimal method of arranging these boys? If the older boys are split into 2 patrols there are not enough in each patrol to really be able to operate independently due to less than 100% participation in meetings and outings. If the older boys are placed in one patrol there are too many for the normal patrol size.

 

It would seem that the younger Scouts are a no brainer, but the one older new Scout presents a problem. He is a older than the other new Scouts, but is still in the same place advancement wise.

 

If the suggestions provided seem to make sense I will gladly forward them to the SM next time I am in touch with him.

 

 

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Proud Eagle,

 

If the troop I served had the membership make-up that you did I would use two patrols. One New scout patrol the other would be either a Regular Patrol of 7 members (or a Venture Patrol depending on the skill level of the majority of the scouts). The remaining three scouts would consist of the offices of SPL, ASPL and Troop Guide.

 

That way with the Troop Guide added in you would have two patrols of 7 members, and 2 senior leaders.

 

The next step is recruitment so that you do not have another 3 to 4 year gap without new scouts joining.

 

Hope this helps,

Bob White

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There is nothing that states each unit MUST have a NSP and all new Scouts MUST earn 1st Class in their 1st year. These are recommendations. And if they work for your unit great. BUt if they don't, it doesn't mean you aren't "Scouting"!

 

Ed Mori

1 Peter 4:10

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Hi Proud Eagle

 

BW give a good solution or even just leaving all the older scout together would probably work as well. The youth leadership will come from the older patrol, so at least two or three of them will always be busy with Troop administration and managment. In our troop, those guys are so busy, they don't have time for cooking or normal patrol duties, so the rest of the patrol supports them. It works great for us.

 

As for the new older scout, you will have to get a feel for why he joined your troop, but I found that if he has gone through puberty, he will never be happy with the new scouts. If that is the case, than the SM and SPL will have to work with him to help him catch up and grow. He can still attend the same classes as the new guys, but will probably be happier being a member with the older guys.

 

My experience with these scouts is they feel kind of the old ball and can burn out quickly if they don't ever feel as part of the gang. What keeps them in is getting positions of responsibilty that make them feel adult, and exceptance from the patrol. It will work, but the adults need to understand the challenge.

 

This scout is kind of important in that he will be the oldest scout in the troop in the not to long future. He will have a lot of responsibility thrust on him even if he doesn't want it. Some do OK with it, I find most have a hard time with it. I find that adults naturally will push these guys in advancement which is OK, but what they really need is a lot of experience in leadership. Most of habits and skill of leadership scouts use as they become the troop leaders where learned in the first two or three years. So your scout has a lot of catching up. It will work OK if you know that and guide him where he struggles.

 

Good Luck, everyone will learn a lot from these situation.

 

Barry

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