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ScoutMomAng

Crossed over to scouts & Parents concerned about Patrols

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This forum is great! Thank you all for your advice, stories, and pointers. We are making progress.

 

I think I realized what went wrong; thanks to Barry/Eagledad for making it painfully obvious. We never really told the new Scouts what to expect regarding patrols when they first crossed over. Our "Welcome to the Troop" packet does not spell out the mechanics of how patrols work/form in our troop. We describe the patrol method, but not how Scouts transition from their Cub den to their Boy Scout patrol.

 

So when we first mentioned disbanding the NSP (just recently) it was quite a shock to the boys.

 

It will take some time to work though this with this group of boys, but will definately not make the same mistake spring '06.

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My question is why break the NSP up if they wish to remain together? Why not hold an election and convert this NSP into a regular patrol?

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Yes, PNW makes a good point. A few years ago we had three new Webelos Scouts join our troop. They were NOT put into a new NSP but folded into a patrol of boys who were one year older.

 

The next year we had about sixteen Webelos Scouts join and they formed two NSPs. One year later the NSP label was removed and they are now "regular" patrols - not melded into existing patrols.

 

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You both make a good point.

 

As this peticular situation unfolds, it looks like we are going to be able to keep them together. We are now thinking that we could move one boy from one regular patrol to the other (moving this boy would slove a personality conflict that has been brewing for a while now).

 

This would make the patrol losing the boy able to receive all 4 without being overly full; and the patrol gaining the boy would only be one boy smaller then the other patrol.

 

We try to avoid moving boys once they have chosen their patrol, but I think this warrents an exception.

 

To respond to the idea of transitioning a large NSP into a regular patrol, I have only one reservation: We have found age diversity within the patrols to be a wonderful thing. It gives the younger ones boys to look up to, and gives the older ones great leadership trials (some of the boys even take on a "protective older brother" mentality and take one of the younger boys from their patrol "under their wing" -- and I absolutely love watching the dynmanics of that kind of relationship develope).

 

Anyway, that's the only thing I would modify. Instead of creating an entire patrol of 12-year-olds, I would want to get some older boys in there too.

 

Any thoughts? experiences (alike or different)?

 

Andrew

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You mention some important points about mixed boys in patrols but in our troop we have the same thing going on with same age patrols. Even though they are in different patrols the older boys still help and try to maintain control over the younger boys. When we go camping the older boys will set up their site then help the younger boys, if the younger boys are having trouble cooking, they will ask help from the older boys, etc. On patrol outings the ASM or adults will help the younger boys. The problem with a mixed patrol is different age group doing different things. What do you do if the older patrol wants to go rafting, white water rafting, etc? The boys that meet high adventure requirements go and the rest of the patrol stay home? Also, I see it unfair to the older boys because they are always going over things they have learned instead of learning or doing new things. They may be helping boys at a meeting by working on 2nd class or 1st class requirements instead of doinf something they want to do or the reverse, at the PLC they decide they want to work an a tough merit badge when the new scouts haven't yet learned how a compass works. I also try not to split up boys that do not get along. I keep them together, figure out which one is causing it and deal with that or if both are, deal with them both.

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In our Troop, we leave it up to the Green Bars to decide when Scouts are ready to move to an experienced patrol, and which one they'll move to. I'm not exactly sure how they do it, or in what forum. All I know is that the SPL will usually come up to us after a standup PLC or a campout, or a COH, and say something like: "...Martini and Rossi are ready to move, and they're going to the Hawks...". Troop Guide and PLs already know, and the Scouts do, too. All we have to do is fix TroopMaster. We don't have this in a written policy or flow-charted or anything -- it just happens.

 

The Green Bars know the Scouts much better than we do; that social engineering is best left to them. I'd probably screw it up.

 

KS

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I also think that sometimes parents simply aren't ready to let their boys go. We lost a boy that crossed over in March. He has been on one camping trip with us and that was the one where we invite the parents of the new boys. His father kept trying to do everything for him. He was setting up his tent for him when the SM ask the father to come over to the adult patrol area. The father said he needed to make sure he did it right. Our SM explained that that was the PL and APL's job.

After we got back the SM and I were talking and both of us figured he wouldn't stay in. Daddy simply isn't ready for his baby to grow up.

 

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In our troop we have used mixed age patrols for over 5 years now and it has worked great. The crossovers are put in groups of three and put into an exsisting patrol, where each of the older boys take a turn being their guide. This results in two positives I have seen, first the crossovers integrate into the troop much faster than if kept in their own patrol, which we have tried before, and second for some reason we have excellent retention and much more rapid advancement. First Class - First Year has become routine in our troop.

 

My own feelings for this success are that we have an extremely dedicated PLC who want the troop to be welcoming, especially to new scouts, and successful. Since most of the older scouts in the patrol get to practice their leadership and training skills with the younger guys, no one person has to take the full load on themselves. Each older scout shares their own area of expertise with the younger boys, so it gives the older guys a vested interest in the younger guys advancing. Now I know there are those who believe that this setup violates "the patrol method", but it has been working much more efficently than the NSP ever did. It works for this troop, and was the original patrol method before the NSP came along.

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I think, atleast in theory, combing the new scouts after one year has the most merit. However, the one problem that our troop has with it is inconsistant recruitment numbers. We may bet 15 new scouts one year, and only 3 the next. Some years our membership numbers double overnight. The problem this creates is that to intigrate the new scouts into patrols, the patrols either need to become gigantic (12+ scouts) or you need to recreate the patrols every year (hard to create patrol identity when it is constantly changing). Anyone have a solution to this problem, that keeps the patrols intact year to year, and intigrates new scouts into patrols (either right away, or after a year in the NSP)?

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