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OneHour

Patrol Spirit

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Can y'all advise on how we can get our boys into the "patrol spirit?" After the Camporee this past weekend, I am convinced that our boys don't really care about the patrol spirit thing! Seeing other troops' patrols, I'm somewhat envious! Let's put it this way, the two older patrols (2nd class - 1st class ... the upper ranking boys went on a high adventure trip!) only wanted to enter into 2 events and that's it! At the events, they were lethargic ... not even trying to do anything. Any competitivenes went out the window. They never had any interest before as well.

 

Thanks for the feedback.

1Hour

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Have to admit too not understanding all that you posted. I got lost somewhere around the high Adventure Trip?

The off the cuff answer would of course be that these Lads have taken an oath to do their best. Maybe a spluttering of examples of people doing their best when they didn't really want to could be in the Scoutmasters minute.

Patrol Spirit needs to start when the Patrol is formed. Patrol Flags and Patrol yells need to be used not just every now and then by as much as possible.

Were the patrols at the Camporee "Real Patrols"? Or made up patrols just for the camporee? It is kind of hard to have patrol spirit when it's not a real patrol.

Did the Scouts who attended the Camporee really want to be there? Again it is hard to be really enthusiastic about an event that you didn't want to be at in the first place.

How enthusiastic were the Adults? The Scouts do follow our lead.

You might want to try doing more patrol activities at your weekly troop meetings, relays and that sort of thing add silly challenges such as the Patrol that cheers the loudest.

Many years back we challenged the patrols to choose a hymn and make it into their Patrol Song.

The list of how to recognize a patrol is endless. Even down to when you recognize a Scout you also recognize his patrol.

Good Luck.

Eamonn

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"Have to admit too not understanding all that you posted. I got lost somewhere around the high Adventure Trip?"

Sorry, hastily typed. 20 boys are mostly Tenderfeet, 2nd Class, and 1st Class. Most of our older boys Stars, Lifes, and Eagles went on a High Adventure trip on the same weekend.

 

 

"The off the cuff answer would of course be that these Lads have taken an oath to do their best. Maybe a spluttering of examples of people doing their best when they didn't really want to could be in the Scoutmasters minute."

It's definitely a good opportunity to reflect.

 

"Patrol Spirit needs to start when the Patrol is formed. Patrol Flags and Patrol yells need to be used not just every now and then by as much as possible."

It tapered off after the various patrols have to combine in various forms at various campout to have enough boys for a patrol or two. Our area suffers large sport activeness, band-ness, orchestra-ness, etc. So patrols lost their identities! We are in the process of re-org the patrols so that we can have a "core" group of boys for every patrol.

 

 

"Were the patrols at the Camporee "Real Patrols"? Or made up patrols just for the camporee? It is kind of hard to have patrol spirit when it's not a real patrol."

These three patrols are real patrols.

 

"Did the Scouts who attended the Camporee really want to be there? Again it is hard to be really enthusiastic about an event that you didn't want to be at in the first place."

Yes, they want to camp, but do not want to compete.

 

"How enthusiastic were the Adults? The Scouts do follow our lead.

You might want to try doing more patrol activities at your weekly troop meetings, relays and that sort of thing add silly challenges such as the Patrol that cheers the loudest."

We have some of the craziest adults! Patrol activities (relays, etc) during troop meetings is something that we lack. The boys simply are not interested! So they opt to do something else, ie. merit badges, games, etc. Yes, we can incorporate the skills in the game, but they set the meetings and they choose what activities they want to do.

 

"Many years back we challenged the patrols to choose a hymn and make it into their Patrol Song. The list of how to recognize a patrol is endless. Even down to when you recognize a Scout you also recognize his patrol."

interesting ideas

 

At tonight's PLC, one of the PL said, "I wish that we had won something." My eyes lit up and I replied, "So what are you all going to do about it!"

 

May be this is the spark that I'm looking for! ;)

 

Thanks,

 

1Hour

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Hi, 1Hour!

 

Camporees can be a challenge, but also an opportunity.

 

If I understand right, most of your older boys didn't go to the camporee because they attended a high-adventure activity. Allowing the older scouts to schedule an alternate activity certainly sent a message to the rest of the scouts in the troop - obviously camporee wasn't important or the older guys would have been there, too. But maybe this high-adventure activity wasn't completely optional - was this a council-sponsored event of some kind? (For example, we had a council Philmont training campout at Hamman this weekend that took out most of our guys 14 and up. Fortunately, our district camporee isn't for a couple of weeks.) If this were the case, there may not have been many good options.

 

After puzzling over similar camporee symptoms in one troop, I've finally concluded the scouts in that troop don't like camporees because their skills are tested in public and they get embarrassed because they don't know the basics like they should.

Another troop is good at the skills, but takes a beating in Patrol Spirit (usually worth 30% at each event) because their adult leaders have them convinced patrol flags and yells are for wussies. (My attempts to point out that Navy SEAL teams all have unit flags and yells fall on deaf ears.)

Yet another troop uses camporees to build the troop (really patrols) up. For a month or two before the camporee they run most of their meetings using possible camporee events. This gives them the chance to beef up weak areas and get the guys ready. And they have fun with the inter-patrol competitions. By the time the camporee arrives, these guys are pumped up and ready to shine.

 

In between camporees, keep emphasizing everything by patrol. On troop campouts, have every patrol set up their own area. If there are only 2 guys from a patrol on the campout, they still camp as a patrol. Work hard to encourage independent patrol activities. Actual meetings where they worked on advancement skills or planning would be great, but there's a lot to be said for just getting together to have some fun - go bowling, go out for pizza, whatever. These types of things build patrol friendships and camaraderie.

 

Good luck! (I'll be looking for you at Scout Fair this weekend!)

 

-mike

 

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1Hour,

Sorry - our notes crossed - I didn't see your latest when I launched mine.

We're plagued by same wide range of outside activities and are currently considering reducing our total number of patrols and increasing number of members in each so we have a better chance of maintaining critical mass in each for a majority of activities.

 

Keep up the great work!

 

-mike(This message has been edited by Mike F)

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Well ... it's not just the Camporee. The other leaders and I noticed the lacsidaisical attitude throughout (meetings, campouts, etc.). Campfire ... no interests in doing anything other than sitting around for about 5-10 minutes and then off to play capture the flag.

 

Call me old-fashion, but I would like to go back to the time where a patrol is a "band of brothers" (forgive me for borrowing the title). I am very envious of other troops that have patrols act and behave like the tradition!

 

1Hour

 

Mike ... I'll be in and out of Pack booth and the Troop booth. See you there.

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This is a problem that I've seen in my son's troop and other troops. The patrols just don't have an idea of esprit de corps. I'm not even sure if I see it among sports teams (I do see it among the fans), especially boys teams. The game is over and they head for the hills.

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1Hour,

Now I understand - wish I had more ideas, but these kinds of things depend on so many different things and personalities.

I expect we'll hear more good ideas here. In the meantime, you might check in with some of the local troops you were observing at the camporee. I've visited other troops to observe them in action, then talked to the leaders. I've never met a scouter who wasn't willing to share all the things that are going right in the troop they serve - we're all in this together.

I know what the books say, but it appears to me that patrol spirit - and really the application of the patrol method - is a cultural thing. By that I mean that each troop has its own attitudes and ways of doing things. If they don't think of patrols in terms of fun, friendship, identity, team work, etc. (i.e., FOG's esprit de corps), it's a difficult thing to change. I know it can be done.

More ideas out there?

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When I took over as scoutmaster of our troop last fall, implementing the patrol system was one of my greatest challenges. The troop was small and all the boys either considered themselves members of one unnamed patrol (no one wore patrol patches) or thought we did not do patrols. We now have two strong patrols in place.

 

I'd say stressing the patrol method in your regular meeting program is key to having it function when you get to a camporee or summer camp type setting.

 

I'd also suggest you consider reshuffling the patrol rosters. I've done this a couple of times. Alas, some boys tend to not get along with select others. Perhaps then you will have a better shot at achieving espirit de corps.

 

This past weekend we participated in our spring camporee. The boys received a red ribbon for the campsite inspection and a rather thorough uniform inspection, by patrols, as well. We discussed their scores and what we could have done better. We had points knocked off for not setting up separate patrol camp sites and no patrol flags. When reviewing the trip last night, I had a number that wanted to know when we'd get to work on the patrol flags. I considered that a small sign that they were taking pride in their patrols and troop.

 

 

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Patrol Spirit can be a complicated thing. What makes some groups gel and others not depends on a lot of things. Why it doesn't work is in your group is hard to say without know a lot more detail. Here however are some tips on what can help it to take place in most cases.

 

These are in no particular order.

 

1) Let the scouts choose their own patrol configurations based on friendships. It doesn't matter if one patrol has 8 scouts and one has 10 and one has 6 members. If each scout gets along with the majority of boys in his patrol that is more important. Kids need to be able to choose their own gangs.

 

2) Don't rearrange patrol memberships. Groups go through specifc phases before they become productive as a team. Conflict is an early phase and will pass, but every time you rearrange that group they will go through those forming processses again and productivity will once again be delayed. Form them right the first time and then keep them together.

 

3) Help them to form a unique identity. They don't have to just be the Wolves the can be the Vicious Wolf Patrol. encourage them to develop their own t-shirts, hats, neckerchief slides etc.

 

4) Develop their abilities to where they can have their own patrol events, hikes and campouts. (read the Boy Scout Handbook about patrol activities).

 

5) Use inter-patrol competitions in the troop meeting and on outings. Have some kind of recognition for the winners.

 

6) Make sure that Patrol Leaders run the patrols and not the adults or the SPL or other junior leaders.

 

7) Train the patrol leaders to have pride in their group and what they accomplish. Have him share that pride with the patrol members.

 

8) Make sure the scouts are at events because they want to be there not because you want them to. Learn how to get the junior leaders excited about scout activities so that they will make good scouting choices.

 

There are some additional pointers in the Patrol Leaders handbook.

 

I hope this helps,

Bob White

 

 

 

 

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OneHour, are you saying the older scouts from these "non-spirited" patrols were all off on a high adventure activity?

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"OneHour, are you saying the older scouts from these "non-spirited" patrols were all off on a high adventure activity?"

 

Yes. Some of these boys belong to a patrol themselves and that patrol has no identity either. These older boys don't like to go on a "regular" camping any more (at least they hardly show up).

 

1Hour

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Could someone please define "patrol spirit?" I know most people think of it as the patrol's positive attitude demonstrated through partol yells cheerful spirit and whatnot, but I once participated in a camporee where one stationmaster clearly said that he doesn't want a patrol cheer, because scout spirit is a matter of the patrol's participation in the event.

 

All too often patrol cheers do not reflect any of the patrol's morale, and I personally agree with the stationmaster on this topic...

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I would like to take a shot at defining Patrol Spirit.

 

A flag and a yell is not patrol spirit. They are the afterthought at the end and the spark of inspiration to begin. Most flags have colors and symbols that are historical in origin. A patrol flag is the same. If a new patrol wishes for a goal, then their history has begun and so has the making of their flag. The flag reflects the group's identity and history.

 

A yell is insignificant when taken out of context but when it is put into context with the meaning of that unit then it takes on a new life, as well as bringing the group a reminder of who they are and what they want to become.

 

Does a patrol need a good leader to make patrol spirit? Yes, it will be done much quicker because the leader will set the example. What example? Good uniforming, sharing duties, good directions in camp arrangement, keeping the group together, and keeping them going. He will delegate fairly and will represent the group by knowing what the group desires.

 

Does it take a brotherhood? Yes, because they support their leader and are willing to follow in the right direction. It is first a good patrol leader and first (not second) a brotherhood of Scouts dedicated to making themselves the best they can be.

 

Two more points, the first is that to have good patrol spirit the unit has to be willing to seriously discuss and act on what it means to help other people at all times. Why? Because it is the basis of our identity as a Scout. Life provides us with opportunities to do good and to do bad. Usually the bad has many more benefits and enjoyment than the good. But if you could look back on both events, you will find that the good things in life have a richness much like a cool breeze over an extended period that the bad never does. Secondly, the unit must make a decision to be brave. Why? When choosing the right things to do in life it takes a strong person to make those choices. When a group decides to be brave, then making those choices will be easier. The third point (you thought I said two!) A Scout is cheerful and so goes the patrol. Try being ugly, mad, argumentative and see where the patrol goes.

 

Lastly, for those Scouts who like a little knowledge about rocks. Fools' gold is bright and fairly easy to find. Real Gold is not always easy to identify and almost always hard to find. Patrol Spirit has the same qualities of Real Gold. Don't be fooled. Choosing Patrol Spirit will be well worth your time to develop. It will pay off in hundreds of ways. So, give it a chance to see if I am right.

 

FB

(This message has been edited by Fuzzy Bear)

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I would like to see the patrol spirit in our troop increase also.

A small checklist to promote patrol spirit will be presented to the troop at camp next week. It simply rewards patrols for their attendance, participation, and extra patrol activities - similar to the information at http://www.inquiry.net/patrol/competition.htm but on a smaller scale. After 3 months, the patrol with the highest tally will choose their patrol reward. Then, the PLC will decide to use it for another 3 months or not.

I'm also hoping that a couple patrols will push it a bit and earn the National Honor Patrol award ( http://www.scoutingmagazine.org/issues/0401/d-gbar.html )

 

I can send you the document if you want.

 

Paul

 

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