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kittle

Would you always put New Scout in NSP?

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I have a Webelos that went for a Troop visit Monday night. He did not like the NSP that has already been formed by the new crossovers. He had went on a campout and got along great with last years NSP.

 

This boy is going to check out another Troop.

 

I just didn't know if I should approach the SM and let her know how this boy felt about the NSP. I have seen this NSP in action and I know what the boy didn't like. I have to agree with how he felt.

 

This is the Troop that my son is in and I respect the leadership. The Troop has been good for my son. I (and the boy) just don't think it is right for him if he has to stay with the NSP.

 

I can answer any questions that you have that might make advice easier. I just want to help this boy make the best decision for him and his Scouting future.

 

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NSPs are usually set up as a temporary means to help a scout get acclamated to Boy Scouts. They exist for a purpose, to ease the transition. Our NSP is dissolved after about 10 months, I've heard of some troops that only keep them as short as 6. At that point, we do a patrol reallignment, where the guys get into patrols with who they want.

 

The point I'm making is that the young scout needs to understand that it is likely a temporary situation. Come aboard, work on his early rank advancements. Get to know the guys in a variety of settings. In all likelihood he can be in that other patrol in a fairly short time.

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I don't think the boy should be "put" anywhere. If he is "put" where he does not want to be, he will not have a good Scouting experience. 6 or 10 or 12 months is a very long time to be miserable in a patrol in which he does not want to be a member.

 

My advice is to let any patrol invite him to join their group. The SM is there to help boys make decisions on their own, and here is a good opportunity. Unless his joining would be detrimental in some way (how?), or would increase the patol size to more than 8, why not let him be happy?

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A new Scout joining a troop should be able to join any patrol he wants. He often feels most comfortable with fellows in his own age cohort, but there are lots of reasons why he might want to hang with another group. Maybe he has an older brother in another patrol, maybe a best friend. Maybe he doesn't like someone in another patrol. It doesn't matter. The SM should not decide where to "put" any scout.

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kittle -

 

You say, "I have seen this NSP in action and I know what the boy didn't like. I have to agree with how he felt."

 

What do you mean? What was it about the NSP in action that he did not like (and you apparently do not like either)?

 

I'm about to accept 8 new crossover Scouts, and with our existing Patrols already full, we either do a complete remixing of the Patrols and form several new Patrols, or start a new NSP for the incoming. I'd like to know what problems you (and the Scout) see in the NSP you describe so I can avoid.

 

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Our troop uses NSPs. They tend to morph into permanent patrols. This has drawbacks, I know, but that's how it is. From observations last year (when my son joined) and this year I can see a few things that would be bothersome to some - but not necessarily all - new scouts.

 

1. personal relationships - really disliking a particular boy (for good reason) and being put in a patrol with him anyway might be enough for some boys to look elsewhere, or quit. I think being separated from friends is less of a problem - after all, the patrols do interact, right? And he'll make new friends in his patrol pretty soon. But serious and long-standing personality conflicts are harder to overcome. Since the SM in our troop generally knows very little about the new scouts prior to setting up the NSPs, he just goes ahead and creates the NSPs according to his own logic (which may, or may not, be aligned with these personality issues). Maybe not the best way to do it but I'm willing to bet it isn't uncommon.

 

2. organization - some boys have a very hard time with highly disorganized settings, which NSPs are more prone to than established patrols of older boys. For some boys, this would be so exhausting or so upsetting that they might prefer not to be there at all.

 

3. maturity - some boys are just more mature than their age cohort, either physically, or emotionally, or both. If the disconnect is tremendous, it makes it hard for them to ever fit in, especially since they may consider themselves as outsiders and not particularly want to fit in.

 

I have to agree with FScouter that telling a boy to deal with it for 6-10-12 months until patrols are re-aligned isn't the best option if the boy has a serious concern. IMO a boy in that situation is at high risk of quitting because he'll be stressed out and unhappy every time he has to go to scouts. It wouldn't make for a smooth webelos-scout transition in my book!

 

Lisa'bob

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Lisabob makes a couple of good points about the NSP. Disorganization in a NSP is a possibility. That is why a troop guide and an assistant Scoutmaster should be assiged to work with and guide the new patrol to show them the ropes and get them started off to a successful experience.

 

The maturity aspect is a good argument for age-based patrols versus mixed-age patrols. A NSP of young boys can still have plenty of interaction with older more experienced Scouts through the use of troop guides, instructors, and other troop positions of responsibility where the older Scouts work with everyone in the troop, including the young ones.

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Last year I had two new scouts join that couldn't stand each other after years in the same den. As I only had 8 scouts joining, I put them in the same patrol over one of the scout's (and his mother's) objections. I assumed they would learn to get along.

 

Stupid - stupid - stupid. They both had a bad year until one of them dropped out.

 

I won't make that mistake again.

 

DonM

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We had a similar situation to Don's, except we only got two new Scouts this year, and after several years in the same den, they were downright tired of always being in each other's company.

 

Since there weren't enough new Scouts to form a NSP, my son (SPL) recommended that one boy go to each of our troop's two patrols, that way each patrol needs to step up to help bring the new boys up to speed. It's worked out really well.

 

Elizabeth

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Our experience is two new scouts can be added to a patrol before it adversly affects patrol dynamics. Our troop likes to mix new scouts into existing patrols unless we get more new scouts than two per patrol, or the new scouts just want to start their own patrol. Sounds like a pretty good SPL.

 

Barry

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starwolfmom - That's a great solution for that situation. I think it depends mostly upon whether the boys want to be together and the makeup of the patrols they're going into (are they willing to do what it takes to bring him up to speed).

 

It now looks like we're going to get 4 or maybe 5 Webelos over the next month or so. We're putting them together along with two scouts that joined in the fall. We had planned on them staying in that through next February, when we would realign the patrols again. I'm not sure if we'll do that or not. They may be too small a group to keep for that length of time. Then again, if we can recruit a couple more....

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I've been reading this thread hoping to get some answers.

 

Our Troop unfortunately never has a big crop of crossovers to make a new scout patrol. We usually get new scouts one or two at a time. This past year, that has helped us to finally create two real patrols - one with a couple of new scouts from last month mixed with a few older scouts, and one consisting of all older scouts.

 

Next month, we will be accepting 2 new scouts from crossover. Where to put them? Not enough for a New Scout Patrol. The patrol we have with a few new Scouts and a couple older Scouts is doing great. The other patrol, all but one are older Scouts is doing poorly - leadership is still trying to learn to overcome the adult-led method.

 

So, what do we as the Troop do? Put the 2 new Scouts in with the older patrol in order to increase its numbers and give the older guys a sense or purpose and help turn that patrol around? Or, put them in the younger patrol that is getting with the program?

 

The two new guys have no ties (older brother, friends, etc.) with the troop.

 

Any help, advice, suggestions, as always, are greatly appreciated.

 

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>>The two new guys have no ties (older brother, friends, etc.) with the troop.

Any help, advice, suggestions, as always, are greatly appreciated.

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I'm with Barry on this one (and most of what he says!). Here is my situation.

 

When I became Scoutmaster we had about 12 boys in two patrols. The next year we added three boys (crossover) and one from another troop (second year). We added them to existing patrols. The next year we had sixteen Webelos join - eight from one pack/den and eight from another pack/den. Easy solution - two NSPs. The next year we had four new boys and some attrition so we added the new boys to what were the NSPs. Now, we have three more boys joining, all from different packs and our existing patrols are a patrol of 3 (all with five years experience), a patrol of four (5, 4, 4, 4 years), and two patrols of 8 (all with 2 years experience except for three boys with one year) and an SPL and ASPL with three years of experience. With the three new boys - 28 boys, in all now, I didn't want them to go to the younger patrols, they would be too big, and didn't want them to be added to the patrol of 3 (that would then consist of the three oldest with the three youngest boys) so I made a swag an four patrols of seven (I based it totally on age but did not tell the boys). I then instructed them that they were free to change patrols with the stipulation of patrol size staying consistent at seven. Well it took all night and much haggling but they worked it out. One patrol now exists of all high school age kids. The other three patrols are roughly age based with a few exceptions. Next week, new elections for SPL (who will appoint his ASPL) and then PL elections! Again, I hated to "bust up" the patrols (not good for patrol unity) but it is imperative that the boys take ownership of who is in their patrol. They cam away feeling that it was their decision, not mine, on who their patrol mates were going to be. Now, they are already planning new flags, cheers, etc. Just like adults, some were resistant to change but by giving them ownership and empowerment - they are accepting and soon will be relishing their new found make-up. God, I sound like I took one to many team building seminars at work!

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One thing that helps older scouts find a new sense of motivation and inspiration is to give them something to do. Ive learned that when faced with an older guy (12-13) thats drifting is to pair him up with a brand new guy to work with on advancement. Its good for a few reasons, it gives the new blood a sort of older mentor to look up to, it adds to the self esteem and purpose for the older guy and it keeps both parties busy. I have found in the past that this has turned around scouts in our troop that were constant issues, making us adults mutter in hushed tones over a pint at the local pub after meetings "That ones never going to make Eagle", but 6 months later these boys are scout of the year.

 

So, if yu were to place the new blood in the older patrol it will take close monitoring and guidance from adults but it could be great for both parties. It just needs to be all out on the table when talking to the older guy, "look, this is what id like to see, show me what yu are capable of."

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