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badgerface

Patrol

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My troop has 2 problems.

 

1. Our meetings are not very fun. The best meetings we have are the tops 5 meetings a year that we have just for fun. We attempt to teach the same skills every single meeting. This gets repetitive and is only done for advancement purposes. Most of the adult leaders realize that the meetings have not been very fun lately. I, and other scouts, have also noticed this. I have tried, the past 2 or 3 PLCs, to bring this point up that everything is not for advancement. It seems that no one has realized that the adults just try to push all of the new scouts through up to first class very quickly. I realize this mine, and other scouts, fault for not planning the fun meetings but its the PRESSURE put on us all that we NEED to advance.

 

2. There is no patrol activities. We follow parts of the patrol method, in that the patrol elects a patrol leader and we have a PLC that plans almost everything, but there is no sense of patrol unity. No patrol on record has had a patrol only outing or meeting. The only time we even set aside 'patrol time' durring a meeting is to plan a menu and duty roster for the next campout. A group of boys that sleep in tents together and cook together is not what makes a group a patrol.

 

Has anyone else overcome a similar situation and know how to solve it. Currently everyone in the troop, scouts and adults, are willing to work together to fix these two problems. I think that if the meetings become fun the 'need' to advance will become less, but the patrol unity is a serious problem. I look forward to any suggestions

 

Badgerface

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1) Scouting is advancing. Problem is, if it isnt fun scouts dont stick around. In our troop we have a game every meeting for 15-30 minutes. Sometimes its scouting related, other times its just sports like basketball or dodgeball. Sometimes some adults forget what Boy-run really means and that the program is for the scouts first, not for the adults. You need to voice your opinion about this problem to the scoutmasters the way you did here on this forum. Take charge.

 

2) One month minimum a year set aside as strictly patrol trips. Each patrol leader orginizes a trip for exclusivly his patrol, he creates the program, contacts the adults for supervision and does everything. Patrol trips are an important experience in regards to learning about leadership. Also, incorporate more competition between patrols. In our troop we have the month of April that is set up as our Troop Olympics in which the meetings and the camp out consist of many activities ranging from backpack relays, cooking contests and feats of teamwork. The winners go on a plaque or trophey.

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Badgerface? There's a picture. It seems you guys already know your problems and are really looking for a way to change bad habits. Actually a more common problem than most would think.

 

Since your adults want to work with you, ask them to get your troop a copy of Troop Program Features. They are loaded with "fun" theme ideas that can acheive the adults goal with the first year scouts as well as kick your program back into the fun gear. The meeting agenda examples are easy to learn and apply. They will help your first meeting.

 

Then get copys of the Patrol leaders Handbook for the patrol leaders and a copy of the SPL Handbook for the SPL and SM. Then make sure the SPL and SM work together using the handbooks to get the patrol method back on track.

 

Then ask your adults to go to Scoutmaster Specific training where that course does a pretty good job of explaining the program. If nothing else, hopefully it will help them understand the real purpose of the First Class First year thing.

 

I think those suggestions are the quickest way of getting your program back on the fun track. I know others will have some great suggestions as well.

 

Oh, the patrol campout idea is a great idea too.

 

Barry

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We've been working on this in our troop as well. The above suggestions are excellent. A couple of other suggestions that seem to be working for our scouts:

 

1) On troop campouts, divide into seperate activities by patrols. Go on different hikes or do activities based on what the patrol wants and needs.

 

2) At troop meetings, divide training among patrols, again based on what the patrol needs. For example, the new scout patrol might be trained by the troop guide for a cooking requirement. Another patrol would have a scout look up (or learn from an ASM) how to build a box oven for camping and would teach the others. Small group training seems to work better anyway.

 

3) As you work to develop patrols, do patrol games to help them work together. Anything where you work together as a group solving a problem or doing something together.

 

Good luck.

 

DonM

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One thing that worked in my troop as a kid (given it was a big troup with 6-7 patrols) was having and "Honor Patrol". It would be based on (friendly!) interpatrol competitions, (patrol that was best at scout skills for example), and also which patrol was the most active with eachother outside of the troop events/meetings. I didn't realize it was anything special, but we had a close knit brotherhood going, once our patrol just got too small and had to be disbanded, and sent to different patrols, we were in tears because our patrol had meant so much to us. Give the scouts time during each meeting where they are encouraged to plan things of their own (for us it was the first 20 minutes after the opening flag ceremony, during our 2 hr meetings) During that time, we also had an adult patrol advisor who kept a nice balence of work and play. Basically, give the boys some reasons to have pride in their patrol, and find ways to make them realize that scouting is only fun if they make it fun :-D

good luck

-Curtis

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