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CubsRgr8

Staff Patrol - Not A Good Idea

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This thread was spun from another thread.EagleFoot mentions that he's thinking about starting up a staff patrol when his troop is large enough. I say don't do it.

 

My son's troop has a staff patrol, which consists of the SPL, 2-3 ASPLs, 2-3 troop QMs, 4-6 TGs, and occasionally other troop positions, depending on whether or not most of their friends are in the staff patrol.

 

They tends to be older scouts (high school age), which results in low patrol attendance at troop meetings, campouts and activities.

 

They typically have the messiest campsite AND the most "personnel" issues during our week of summer camp.

 

The SPL has to act as a PL to in addition to being the troop's SPL.

 

When a scout is removed from his POR, he is assigned to another existing patrol, and usually disappears for a long time out of embarrasment.

 

These are my observations over the past two years. Does anyone's experience show otherwise?

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In my Troop these patrols were also know as the "Senior Patrol", and we have also had a "Venture Patrol". The Venture Patrol has the red letters on tan background, and is put above the right pocket above the BSA. Not to be mistaken for a Venturing vrew. The Venture Patrol exists in the Troop.

 

I have found that in some cases you are right. In some cases if the older guys all get together they may feel they are too cool for the rest of the troop. Keep their camp a mess, and be unorganized, wear incorrect uniform etc... This is a stigma that happens with older guys.

 

It really depends on the quality of your scouts whether or not to put them into one patrol. If you have scouts that are very active, wear the unifrom correctly, and set a good example, these scouts may do well in their own patrol. If you have scouts that do the opposite, putting them together may be a bad idea. You can also have some kind of standard to get into the older patrol. Maybe a certain number of campouts, and setting a good example in the troop will earn them membership into the older patrol.

 

There are many pros to these older patrols. These older patrols try to fix the "older boy problem". If you are with your own age group doing more exciting things there is incentive to stay in the troop longer. Sometimes older scouts get too old to be hanging around with the younger boys. This is why older scouts quit scouting; they get bored. So an older patrol may keep them interested longer. As long as you provide a program to them that is challenging and fun they will want to stay around longer. This also is looked up to by the younger boys. They see the older scouts excited about being in the older patrol, and getting the oppertunity to do bigger and better things, the younger boys will work their best to achieve that too some day.

 

Again, it all comes down to the quality of your Scouts.

Hope this helps!

 

VentureScoutNY

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Hi all

 

I have found what you guys are saying is true when the scouts aren't guided in their goals and responsibilities as scouts in the troop. Staff Patrols and Senior Patrols are not the problem. Not that you will have a perfect world otherwise, but scouts tend to get lazy about their place in the troop when they aren't reminded who they are or held accountible to their responsbilities.

 

I strongly agree with VenturescoutNY that older scouts hang around when the program is challenging. Problem is most adults don't know what challenging is for older scouts. I once polled our older scouts on what they felt would make the program more exciting for them personally. Only a third said they wanted more high adventure. Yet, most adults look to high adventure as the cure to older scout problems. Scouts at all ages want to be challenged both mentally and physically for their age and maturity.

 

We adults confuse older scouts as older boys, when in reality older scouts are young men. I find the reason older scouts don't want to hang around younger scouts is because adults treat the maturity of older scouts the same as the maturity of the younger scouts. And we might send an older scout off to go teach the new NSP first class knots, but we tell them step by step how to do it, which translates to the older scout as babysitting. Next time ask the older scouts to design a fun program where the new scouts learn their knots. Instead of giving them what appears to be busy work, you now have given them your trust and responsbility for an important part of the troop program.

 

Set expectations in all your scouts that we are all role models. Role models have the responsibility to teach and live by the scout oath and law. Treat your older scouts as young men and allow them some room to be adults. Our Troop is mature enough now that we have 18 and 19 year old scouts going on trips as adults. In reality, there isnt much difference in the way they perform because our older scouts pretty much run the troop, but they love the idea of officially being and adult.

 

Good subject.

 

Barry

 

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That would depend on the boys and the leadership they are given. If their site is such a problem why has the SM not adrressed it?

 

The SPL and ASPLS need to be and are instructed in the BSA program to be separate from patrols. You cannot be the leader and the lead at the same time. So they have to be somewhere. The other troop offices can remain in their patrol since they are support staff not leadership staff. The Troop guides should be with their assigned New Scout patrols.

 

Why not have the SPL, ASPLS, and JASMS w2ork together as a patrol at campouts? This would enhance their opportunities to paln, evaluate and carry out their responsibilities as a team.

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I had a good experience with the staff patrol in my old troop. Generally, whenever a Scout made Eagle, he became a JASM and was assigned to the staff patrol. I don't really know all the thinking behind it, but I remember it was to make way for the younger boys to assume leadership positions in the patrols. We essentially served as an ad hoc group of troop instructors and guides and did much of the teaching.

 

On campouts we camped with the leaders and were exempt from participating in Camporee inspections and competitions. That was considered one of the perks of the office. Thinking back on it, we did all the cooking camp work for the leaders -- somewhat of a "white-washing the fence" arrangement, but it worked for us.

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We've been using "Staff Patrols" since we started our Troop years ago. It has never gone the way that is described in the original post.

 

We call our Staff Patrol the Leadership Corps. I guess that would be the pre-venture patrol (70's-80's). All our Leadership Corps are members as is the ASPL. Our ASPL is the patrol leader of the Leadership Corps. If we have more than one ASPL, then we make sure everyone knows who is in charge. WE have not had any problems. They do the exact same things as a regular patrol but their responsibilty is to service the regular patrols or NSP, if we have one. The SPL is not part of the Leadership Corps. He may tent with them or the JASM's.

 

Our Leadership Corps is also dependent on membership. During high membership, our staff patrol is large. This is to help the various patrols function properly. During low membership years. We may or may not have one.

 

As posted earlier, it helps the younger Scouts move up the chain in elections or appointments. It also moves them to the next level of challenges or opportunities. They receive perks but are not outside the realm of the unit standard. They are still subject to the same inspection as the rest of the unit.

 

For Scouts moving on after their term or pulled out for disciplinary situations, which we have yet to have, these Scouts are transferred to the Charter's Venturing Crew since most of our Leadership Corps members are 14+ yrs. old. Some are appointed as JASM's if they are 16+ yrs. old.

 

Matua

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I agree w/Matau on this. Our troop is young and small right now, so we don't have a "Leadership Corps", but I expect we will very soon. All of the troops I've worked with used this basic concept, and it seems to work well. (I'm not sure why BSA dropped the Leadership Corps, but I'd like to see it brought back). One troop in the area actually still uses the LC concept, including the patches. I'm not sure if they just bought a ton of them, or if they have them custom made.

 

What we're planning on doing is having an Eagle Patrol. (They don't have to be Eagle Rank to be in it, it's just symbolic). This will in essence be the Leadership Corps. It will be the SPL, ASPLs, and Troop Guide.

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It sounds like what I observe in my son's troop is the exception when a staff patrol is used. Unfortunately, that just underscores my concern that my son's troop does not use the patrol method very effectively.

 

I would greatly appreciate hearing how your troops structure their patrols. Are they permanent or reorganized annually? Are there NSP, regular and venture patrols? How do staff patrol members re-integrate into a regular patrol when their POR ends? Who decided that is was going to be the way it is - PLC, committee, SM? Can you think of any ways to improve how your troop structure their patrols?

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Our Troop is 39 years old, which means only that we have some traditions but appear to be organized the way of the BSA program. We have an additional challenge however, in that our Pack is being recreated and hasn't had any Webolos graduates, this will be its 5th year. So, the Troop went out to neighboring Packs promoting our excellent program. Several Troops hate this, and I understand why, but we want to grow.

So anyway, we have two Blue and Gold banquets to attend this weekend where we are receiving 5 AOL graduating Webolos. Because this is a rare event for us, we're trying to tread carefully.

Traditionally in our Troop, the SPL and however many ASPL's he needs, are with the adults and out of the Patrols. They have programs to run, and need to be out in front of the Patrols. Since our newly elected SPL, and his hand picked ASPL, were from the old Venture Patrol, our Venture Patrol is down to three members. We have one regular Patrol that's growing with at-large recruiting, so we're starting a New Scout Patrol with a total of 6 new Scouts and these three older Scouts. These three older Scouts will mentor these younger Scouts, with the old Venture Patrol Leader being the Troop Guide for the New Scout Patrol. He'll run th

So, no to the Staff Patrol. All Troop Officers are regular Patrol members. Only SPL and ASPL's are removed from the Patrol.

 

sst3rd

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We like a mix rather than a hard and fast policy; seems to keep things more responsive and fresher. Varies depending on the activity and the turnout which I think is a good thing.

To the question, when the adults cook separately we invite the SPL and Troop Guides to join us at their option. I'd be concerned about the elitist aspect of this 'Staff Parol'.

And our Venture Patrol is spread amongst the other Patrols within the Troop and has some separate activities - again variety.

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