Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Stosh

Patrol Temporary Realignments

Recommended Posts

I was kind of surprised at the last roundtable I attended. When I suggested the patrols compete at the camporee, it was unanimous that because the camporees are so poorly attended, the troops just provide one combined "patrol" for the competitions because no one patrol can get enough people to show up. This practice didn't really surprise me, it was attitude of general acceptance as being normal to scouting that bothered me more. How much patrol method scouting can be created when the boys show up, grab the first flag they come to out of the trailer and that's who they're going to be for the weekend?

 

Stosh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately this type of thing seems to happen quite often in the real world. I sometimes wish I lived in the ideal world they portray in the training videos. Of the 17 boys we took to summer camp last summer 6 of them will be returning to summer camp this year. A couple of others still show up sometimes. We have 12 so far committed to camp and will probably be back close to the 17 with crossovers and all. Some of this is just life in Florida several of the boys have moved with their parents and some have just lost interest due to other claims on their time. Our patrol situation never seems to be stable too much turnover for the members to really bond properly. We do our best and keep plugging them in. On the other hand our core youth leadership is very stable. We only lost one due to his family moving. We are pressed to have patrols competing as patrols at camporees especially since our JLC is its own patrol. Most camporees we attend are troop vs troop competition. Of course our district has a lot of small (less than 10 scouts) troops so at their best they are only a patrol.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi All

 

>>This practice didn't really surprise me, it was attitude of general acceptance as being normal to scouting that bothered me more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds to me like we're treating the final symptom, not the root cause.

 

District Activities and Camping Operations Committees need some feedback (they might even remember it's a gift! :) ) from unit serving Scouters, and, Heaven Forbid, the Scouts themselves. They might find they need to rework their program.

 

Youth these days are consumed with demands on their time. For that matter, so are parents. What falls off the calendar first? The activity which has the biggest BLAH factor.

 

Like it or not, it sounds like Scouts interpret this particular District Camporee as one huge BLAH.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps the greatest tragedy of so many untrained leaders, or ones that do not understand or follow the program,is that they take their lack of knowledge with them to other levels of scouting where they negatively affect multiple units rather than just one.(This message has been edited by Bob White)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Having chaired many camporees and klondikes, I have seen a lot of these temporary patrols. They make sense when a troop is not big enough to have patrols that can compete at a camporee under their own flag. I don't mind these patrols competing - at least they are trying to follow the patrol method, if only for the term of event. And the scout's don't mind telling you that their patrol is only temporary if you ask them.

 

Accepting this as being normal to scouting bothers me also. District leaders should try as much as possible to encourge the patrol method, especially at camporees. Instead of accepting it as the norm, they should be working on increasing attendance at these events.

 

It bothers me also that the unit leaders at a roundtable were able to vote on camporee policy decisions. That should be done by the district activity or program chair - the person with the experience and training in such matters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is where I see an obstacle to nirvana on this issue:

 

Because there is no standard for how Patrols are formed, even if an intact Patrol were to attend a Camporee or Klondike, it could be a New Scout Patrol, a regular Patrol, a Venture Patrol, or a mixed age Patrol. Setting up competitions and hoping that everything will sort itself to make the competition fair is next to impossible.

 

When it was our Troop's opportunity to lead the Klondike, we set the competitions up for 1st Class and under, and Star and over. For a Troop to arrange a group of guys under that format makes it very difficult to also promote real PAtrol Method.

 

However, I believe your point is a good one. Perhaps it could be arranged so that only those with the same Patrol patch on their sleeve can participate as a Patrol. Then, if a Patrol of brand new Scouts shows up, a handicap could be applied.

 

I'm not so sure there is a good answer for this, at least not in the "real world".

 

Tough issue.

 

Mark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

About poor attendance - Our district's spring camporee is sometimes scheduled pretty late in the game, after many troops have set their annual calendars and already have a camp out planned for that month. Units often worry about scheduling conflicting events and/or having two camp outs in one month because it draws down attendance from one or both camp outs and puts additional strain on adult leaders to support two events in one month. So a lot of times unit participation in district camporees isn't great.

 

This year, my son saw a flier for the upcoming camporee, which his troop had not planned to attend. The theme - siege of Mafeking - sounds really exciting to him and he wants to go. But the troop isn't attending since they already have another (also high-interest) camp out scheduled that month (not the same weekend). My son is trying to drum up patrol interest, but most of the other boys in the patrol do NOT want to attend 2 campouts and give up 2 weekends that month. So they choose one or the other and they mostly all will choose the troop camp out. Now my son is willing to do both but he needs guys to go with. His options are either a) give up and skip the camporee or b) cobble together a temporary patrol of boys from throughout the troop who also want to attend.

 

Given the options, while I'm not thrilled to death with temp. patrols and I understand jblake's concern, I'd rather he do that than not attend at all. So there's a short-term and a long-term issue here. In the long term, I would like to see better planning of district events so troops know when they'll be and can include them in the annual planning process. On the other hand, much of what I see happening in scouting as a by product of being volunteer-driven is short-term in focus. And so we make short-term decisions on an on-going basis because the long-term problem never gets addressed or resolved. That's frustrating.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Up until the beginning of this year we made a problem with every campout we had to temporarily realign patrols for each campout we attended. We never had enough scouts from each patrol to have the actual patrols. A lot of times we were stuck with having 2 patrols forged together.

 

At the beginning of this year the Scoutmaster and myself (an Assistant Scoutmaster) looked at the patrols and looked for a solution. We included the Senior Patrol Leader and Jr. Assistant Scoutmaster in our discussions. We knew that we had 20-25 active scouts (with 33 registered). The next thing we looked at was that we had 5 patrols. So this is the part we fixed. Instead of having 5 boys in a patrol we put 8 boys in a patrol. We expanded them to the highest amount that national recommends.

 

This has helped us quite a bit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe having 8 in a patrol is meant for a reason. I simply can't figure out why with 8 boys they need more than one patrol. They merge them together every chance they get anyway. Maybe it's just so some scouts can get their POR in rather than actually function as a patrol.

 

I have 23 boys and 3 patrols. Works really nice.

 

Stosh

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If there are 8 members of the Hawk Patrol and when the campout comes up only 4 can attend, then the Hawk Patrol is a patrol of 4, if 5 attend then they are a patrol of 5, and if 2 attend they are a patrol of 2. There is no reason to reorganize the patrols.

 

If the Yankees and the White Sox have a game and the Yankes go through their entire pitching staff they do not get to borrow a pitcher from the Sox. What makes leaders think that patrols are different? How do you expect scouts to form patrol identities if you do not respect the integrity of the patrol?

 

Why should a scout be concerned about making events if their absence has no effect on the patrol because you are just going to move folks around to fill in the gaps.

 

That is not what you were taught about the Patrol method was it? At least that is not what the BSA teaches.(This message has been edited by Bob White)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Possibly a reason for this attitude by the planners of the camporee is the size of the troops attending and the percentage of scouts attending from the troops. And based on the history of past attendance of the camporees. If you have troops that number around 10-12 scouts and you get 50-75% troop membership attending there may be only 7 or 8 scouts showing up. And not necessarily an even split from the patrols. (ex. 5 from Hawks and 3 from Ravens) I guess you could let the Ravens compete with 3. I know most of the troops in our district are not made up of 25-30 scouts they are mostly around 10-15.

 

As far as promoting the patrol method what has been difficult for me as a SM is the inconsistency of our troop size. We can go from 6 to 14 within a year due to families moving, small crossover classes, and boys/families deciding to focus on other activities. (Sports, music, etc.) I am sure there are small troops with very successful patrol method programs. It is just more of a challenge. If the troop size was more consistent the ability to develop the patrol method would have a better chance for success. And even with 3 scouts from a patrol they could compete.

 

Maybe this is going on in some of the troops too and that is why there is an acceptance of the practice at the camporee. I dont think it necessarily a lack of training or a desire to not follow the program that can cause this attitude. It is just the Patrol Method is not as strong as it should be in the troops. I know it has been a struggle for me but I continue to plug away. And there are ups and down in the process. (Currently on an up.)

 

(I also agree with Lisabob and late or poor camporee planning being a reason for poor attendance. We keep May open on our Programm planning but sometimes the weekend is not set early on calendar or changes late)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My troop suffered from a similar problem. After observing for a year, I am now the Scoutmaster trying to fix it.

- Every campout was getting provisional patrols.

- The patrol boxes are marked with very old patrol names, since nobody "owned one" and they were just issued a new patrol box for every campout.

- No patrol flags are used EXCEPT at camporee.

- Patrols die out. Once they are made, they exist until the last member leaves the troop. This gives us patrols of 1-3 Life scouts working on eagle, a New Scout Patrol, and 3 decent patrols.

 

What I have done so far:

 

1) No more provisional patrols. We do allow patrols to take guests, but the patrol with the members is the patrol camping, with a guest from another patrol.

2) We just picked up 8 Scouts. After camporee, at least 2 of them will transfer immediately to a regular patrol, which will bring that patrol up to 9.

3) Patrols will be encouraged to build up to 10. Based on observation, 10 gives us 6+ on a campout.

4) Two older scouts have been assigned to the New Scout patrol as their PL and APL. They have a challenge to get the new Scouts trained in Scout skills (with a reward).

5) I will be looking at our older semi-active patrols to see what can be done with them.

6) Patrol flags will now be required at troop meetings.

 

I am going to have to do a lot of work to clean up the troop organization. Luckily I have some older Scouts interested in helping, a newly energized committee, and a desire to light some fires. I also have had two good years of recruiting, and next year is already set up for victory as well. It will take a while, and it also requires keeping a positive attitude. Everything I have done has been met with a comment of, "we tried that and it did not work." My response has been to smile and state that I want to give it a new try.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my troop a scout is "unassigned" to a patrol until he sews his patch on. It usually only takes one week of missing out on the fun to get the patch on. As a matter of fact, the SM has needle and thread and will be happy to show the boy how to sew the patch on. It's either get with the program, miss out on some fun, or get a sewing lesson from the SM. Most opt for getting with the program. This concept also applies to POR patches as well as rank. :^)

 

Stosh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. At the end of a year or when First Class is reached our new scouts are placed into regular patrols. We look at these scout's interest and match them into one of our existing patrols. We have never had a complaint because of this.

 

2. Bob White in an ideal world scouts would feel obligated to go to campouts if they knew that it would effect their patrol. HOWEVER, many scouts are involved in multiple school activities, church youth group, Boy Scouts, Venture Crews, driving, working, 4H, etc. A lot of times it is a combination of these things. This prevents a lot of scouts from going on campouts regardless of how obligated they feel or how pressured they are. For that matter expecting a scout to pressure another into going camping is usually not going to happen. Even if they enjoy camping they will simply talk about the fun that they had and the events that happened. They will not use peer pressure on a scout to go camping.

 

The other thing is that 2 11 or 12 year olds cannot be expected to go camping as a patrol of their own. They will not have fun having to do everything (splitting wood, building a fire, cooking, dishes, setting up a campsite, packing gear, garbage lines, etc.). Instead of these scouts pressuring their friends to go camping they usually lose interest in camping. Once a scout loses interest in camping it is hard to get him to even attend meetings.

 

Plus the sports analysis is not really fitting. Of course the Yankees and White Sox would not share players. A lot of this has to do with contracts and the large investment of money that clubs put into players. Not because they don't want to or because the integrity of the teams would be in jeporady.

 

A comparable comparision would be little league baseball and American Youth Soccer Organization. In these sports if one team is short and the other team has extras then the extra team will provide a player or two to the short team. The reason for this is to give each team enough players to make the team operate smoothly and to provide enough players so that players aren't run ragged.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×