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altabill

Dwindling Patrol...what do you do?

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I have looked through the various posts but can't seem to find the answer to this question. Forgive me if it has been asked and answered already.

 

Our troop has about 24 boys in five patrols. One of our patrols, we'll call it the Flaming Arrows, was strong. Its members crossed over last year and were doing well. For reasons that really dont matter here, the Flaming Arrows went down in flames (forgive the pun). Yesterday they lost two boys and are now down to only two boys.

 

Both of these boys are 12 years old (almost 13). They are both 1st Class. There is a patrol at their same age level (6th grade boys), one NSP (just crossed over), and two older patrols. One older patrol is made up of boys in the 7th/8th grade. The other consists of high schoolers (9th and 10th grade).

 

Our PLC recognized that two Scouts don't make a patrol. They decided to merge the Flaming Arrows patrol with the other 6th grade patrol. This will take effect at our next election. That way they will elect a new leader to represent them collectively.

 

I thought this was a pretty good solution and had seen it used in our troop before (when patrols dwindled to low numbers). I am curious what other units do in similar situations. One of the moms is upset (mildly put). She wants her boy in with the high schoolers. If not there, she wants him with the slightly older boys. I know this is a tough question to answer given the limited facts butwhat would you do?

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What patrol or patrols do the two Scouts want to be in, and what patrol or patrols want them? Why not let the boys decide rather than the parent or the SPL deciding where they are going to go?

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Bob,

 

One boy is okay with the placement. The other is not (or at least his mom is not). The SPL did not decide but it was a collaborative decision by the patrol leader's council (including the flaming arrows patrol). They discussed it and moved the boys, together, to a place where they thought the boys and the troop would benefit most. I don't think any patrol would overwhelmingly "want" either of these boys. Some boys would like to have them in their patrol while others would oppose their joining.

 

I guess my questions come down to these...

 

#1: In this instance, do we support the PLC's decision or do we cater to the boy and mom?

 

#2: What should we be doing in the future? Letting the individual boy decide where he goes (brings up new issue of a patrol not wanting him) or let the PLC decide?

 

My vote is to support the PLC even if it means some ruffled feathers.(This message has been edited by altabill)

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24 boys in five patrols.

Yesterday the Flaming Arrows lost two and are now down to two.

I think that you have Patrols that are too small.

You don't say how big the NSP is? But something isn't working.

I would meet with the PLC and see what could be done to recruit more members or go down to three patrols.

In my book the PLC always overrides a Mom and her son, unless it is a safety issue.

Welcome back to the Forums.

Eamonn

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I was a Flaming Arrow.

 

When we've consolidated patrols, they have always been with those closest in age/rank. It's never been an issue.

 

I generally concurr with Eamonn.

 

Our Troop is similar in size and we have 4 patrols.

A NSP, 2 regular patrols of 7th & 8th graders and 1 Senior Patrol of High Schoolers.

 

I am curious as to why the Mom would want her 12/13 year old in with the older scouts?.

 

SA

 

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Mom isn't the Scout. So what she wants doesn't really matter. Go with Eamonn's post.

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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Go with what the PLC decides. I don't know if I would let the 2 Flamming arrows decide on which patrol they want to be in...what if that patrol they choose does not want them. If one of them decides they want to be with the older boys, maybe the other will also. Maybe the enitre NSP patrol will want to also be with the older boys. Stick to your set up as it is, let the PLC decide whether the boys should be able to choose, or told where to go.

 

I agree with Eamonn, 3 patrols may be the way to go. If you have 24 scouts, in 5 patrols, thats 4-5 boys in each patrol... 2 boys dont show up one night, there is hardly any patrol. Bring this up to the PLC and maybe 4 patrols should be formed, or even 3... Depends on how many active scouts you have...

 

Goodluck, keep us updated.

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I'm with Bob White - patrols work best when the scouts have a say in where they go and who they accept. If a scout doesn't really want to be there or they don't want him, it's very hard to generate that patrol spirit we've been talking about in other discussions.

 

As I've said before (and would prefer not to go into a great length again), I'm not a fan of forcing scouts together into same-age patrols (beyond NSP). Having a mix of ages and skills generates a lot more opportunities for the older scouts in a patrol to teach and lead the junior members. The junior members learn leadership by example and are better prepared to effectively lead in a year or two when they are the senior members. We encourage our patrols to invite junior members to keep new blood coming in and it's working great.

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I'd like to see the PLC discuss it, and have one or more of the patrol leaders step up and invite one or both of the boys to join his patrol. That, coupled with the desire of each boy should do it.

 

I don't think boys should be "moved", as if they were names on a chart. Mom, the SM, and the PLC should not be dictating this. The primary question to be satisfied is "What do the Flaming Arrows want?"

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Mom shouldn't be a deciding factor on which patrol her son is in. That's the boy's business. I'm inferring that Mom wants High School age boys looking out for her young son. What young son wants may be very different.

 

As to the PLC deciding which patrol which kid should be in, I don't think that's such a good idea. I agree with Bob White that the Scout should be the primary chooser of his patrol. Especially if you want him to stay in Scouting.

 

When I was a patrol leader, (a long time ago) it was in a troop with about 40-45 boys. We had 6 patrols or so. My patrol had 14 members, another patrol had 4. Each Scout was allowed to choose his patrol.

 

I don't think that we had issues with Scouts we didn't want in our patrol, but memory fades over time. I wouldn't concern myself too much over that if I were you . . . it's a hard lesson that we're not all always liked everywhere, but it's one that has to be learned sooner or later. It's probably better dealt with sooner rather than later.

 

 

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I agree that mom should not be the deciding factor, but certainly the boy's wishes must be be given considerable weight. Patrols should be groups of friends. Who picked your friends for you when you were his age? To just assign him to group without considering who he wants to be with (and who wants him), is certainly a recipe for failure.

 

Had the scout been given the opportunity to choose then mom would not have had the need or opportunity to insert herslf into the situation.

 

 

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I agree that mom should not be the deciding factor, but certainly the boy's wishes must be be given considerable weight. Patrols should be groups of friends. Who picked your friends for you when you were his age? To just assign him to group without considering who he wants to be with (and who wants him), is certainly a recipe for failure.

 

Had the scout been given the opportunity to choose then mom would not have had the need or opportunity to insert herslf into the situation.

 

 

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I read your question and went directly to the message box. I now realize by listening (reading) to twenty other posts, it intereferes with the indivdual's answer significantly.

 

My answer is similiar to the reason I came straight here.

 

Mom is not a Scout and she doesn't get a vote on this particular issue. Since she interested in the Troop, train her, get her into a support role like the rest of the adult leaders. The Scouts always need another willing hand to help with THEIR program.

 

 

F. Bear

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