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Kudu

Whither the Patrol Method?

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So... the Patrol Method cannot work in a Troop setting? Interesting. I think someone should have told that to B-P and Green Bar Bill.

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There is the problem that todays youth have more activities than in years past. So, where you might have had full patrol participation for an outing you now have 1/3 - 2/3 of the troop. I support the patrol method, but some people think it is no longer practical for some situations. My troop still tries to use it when we have enough participation, though.

 

If any of you were/are Scouts, did your troops successfully use the patrol method?

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I have 2 patrols of 7 and 1 patrol of 3. One of the patrols took an unusual attrition drop this past couple of months with boys moving away, if one left, so did another, etc. Attendence at events doesn't determine whether a unit uses a troop focus or a patrol focus. If the patrols are constantly in flux and never really developing any kind of true identity other than a convenience thing for troop organization, then it's really not using the patrol emphasis. We had a patrol of one person win the overall camporee competition this past spring. Of course there were a number of others from other patrols that made up the numbers.

 

Maybe one needs to consider the patrol emphasis is not something one does, it is what one is. Ever notice that everyone who goes through WB identifies themselves as from a certain patrol and for the most part doesn't even consider the fact that that patrol represents Troop 1?

 

Stosh

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Been a while.. This thread is old yet I feel compelled to pipe up..

 

Woodbadge - Agree with Kudu 100 percent.. My Woodbadge experience was a halfway baked version of the leadership/management classes I has taken so many times in my profession.

 

I got to meet a lot of nice people and a lot of pure Duds.. Some of them outright nasty - some of them openly defiant of the Patrol Method - so much that as we formed into "Patrols", I pulled out a duty roster form and two guys said they don't need that 'stuff'.. 'They'll do all the cooking..' And they were proud of the fact that at their Troops the adults did ALL of the cooking .. I could go on and on about WB.. !!

 

In terms of Patrol Method/ Boy training and Leadership..

I just wrapped up a pretty big project at work - and a hugely succesful one at that .. Even now ~30 years later, words and experiences from my TLT /Phoenix Course as a teenager SPL come to mind as I faced and solved challenges through out the recent effort.. Things I learned and applied.. Valuable pahrases like "Know and use the resources of the Group" reel off like silk out of my old brain from TLT.. Of course these experiences all mix in with the next 20 years of development and growth as a leader..

 

TLT was my first structured leadership training class and maybe my most memorable (next to NROTC in college) They called it the "Phoenix program" Troop Leader Training, but it was solid Patrol Leader Training through and through -- I still have all of my materials and essays and notes from the week-long camp. I just can't toss them.

 

I'm proud of Woodbadge only because of my Ticket work - and I consider it a badge of patience - as I patiently sat through the crap to enjoy a few bright shiny spots here and there.

 

Oh yeah and I had to pateintly endure the teasing from the "space alien tent" crowd as I settled in my Whelen Lean-To each night.

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So Nessmuck if I understand your post the contents of Wood Badge, the advanced leadership course for adults in BSA, was very similar in content to leadership courses you have taken professionallY? That is great and of no surprise. Certainly you understand that BSA volunteers come from all walks of life and not everyone has had the professional leadership training exposure outside of scouting that you have had.

 

Your complaint about Wood Badge seems not to be about the course but about the characteristics of some of the participants who came to Wood Badge with poor leadership habits.

 

When you go to a hospital do you not expect to see people who are sick? When you go tho church do you not expect to see people who sin? What better place is there to go for volunteer leaders who have the poor skills than to a training course where they can be exposed to better methods.

 

So you learned leadership from BSA training courses, that's great. You know there were alot of folks who didn't like TLT and yet you say you learned a lot fron it especially after you had gained experience afterward to mingle with it. Well by coincidence there are some people who do not like the current training, but many of the people who take it will, like you, find value in it as they gain more experience and have more opportunities to apply it.

 

I am happy to hear that the training you gained through the BSA has been successful for you.(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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Don't get me wrong.. Woodbadge was not all bad. I just did not expect that they would not reinforce the Patrol Method and go into advanced Scouting topics. The leadership training was way overemphasized and people - no matter what walk of life - just don't need it presented the way I saw it prsented. You teach some basics of communication, organization, interpersonal / team dynamics and that's enough.. Get to the Scouting stuff.

 

And we wathed a poor choice for a leadership movie and sang a really uninspiring song that I suppose is the sam everywhere.

 

I think maybe my gripe is more with the overall training prgram and especially the videos that National puts out. Most adults have to be dragged to training because the materials and curriculum are so bad.

 

The basic training needs to be revamped and some standards are needed in what is taught.

 

 

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Nessmuk

Somewhere along the line I think you missed the big bold print ion the Wood Badge promotional materials. Wood Badge is not a Scout Skill training course and hasn't been for many years. I forst attended Wood Badge 28 years ago and even then it did not have advanced scout skill training.

Wood Badge is not promoted as being aboiut scout skills. It is a leadership skills training, hence the constant emphasis on...leadership skills.

 

Focusing on the patrol method would be a good idea if Wood Badge were a scoutmaster skills course...but it's not.

 

Spending time on the datails of the patrol method will not help a pack committee chair, or a district commissioner, or a den leader, or several other positions in scouting all of whom attend the same course. Which is why the focus is on leadership skills that can applied in any leadership role in or out of scouting.

 

For information specifically for troop leaders I would recommend local Roundtables, University of Scouting, and Philmont Training Conferences, many of which deal specifically with advanced skill training for scoutmasters and asst scoutmasters.

 

 

 

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Nessmuk,

 

Just for fun, lets pretend that the BSA came to you and admitted that their training program stunk and they wanted you to revamp it. What would you do?

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I guess I don't have all that much problem with the actual training, there are some foci that don't seem to impress me, but after-training execution by the trainees that seems to pose the greatest problem. There isn't much BSA can do about that.

 

I do like the concept of annual refresher courses being taught other than a scattering of ideas presented at such places as Roundtables and University of Scouting. These optional training opportunities don't seem to be doing as effective job as a required 1 hour intense training to renew the training by bringing everyone up-to-speed on what is expected by BSA to make sure the leadership is current with the concepts of BSA. This should remove the idea that the training after 2000 and that which occured pre-2000 is something different and thus better in some respects. There are a lot of scouters out there that could fulfill their up-dated training without having to start all over from scratch at added monetary expense and time.

 

Stosh

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What would I do differently..?? Well -- alot.. But first let me answer by saying that I HAVE DONE quite a bit differently as I have conducted most of the basic training programs in addition to Pow Wow - where I have great flexibility to build my session plans. When I first started helping out in training, the course leader said - "Here, cover this section."

 

I added some of my own elements and ideas on the fly that very first time and the Trainer liked it..So I kept on building my own library and lesson plans to add to the official materials.

 

1) Kill the current training videos.. They are embarrassing - if not idiotic.

2) Replace the above with substantive and serious material that shows people that they are not wasting their afternoon (or whole day), but are being trained to serve in a serious and important role.

3) Get rid of the silly components like "building the paper bridge" part of the Basic Cub Scout Leader Training, or maybe it's in NLE??

4) Stick with the foundational and basic elements of Scouting and emphasize them. Uniforms and Patrol Method, Citizenship, Principles of the Promise and Law, etc..

5) Provide all leaders with a REAL Handbook - not the 3 Ring Binder Admin thing that ends up in the garbage.. Good leaders will build their own 3 ring binders full of resources, ideas, and reference materials.

I use the 30's and 40's SM Handbooks a lot and it is wonderful - even today..

6) Use real hands-on (learn-by-doing) activities..

I always fold in active Cub games for adults to play - like the stave wrestling challenge.. I usually pick the strongest males in the group to challenge me and get beat (or surprise them) or if I have a lot of WEBELOS Leaders - do a blanket & pole litter demonstration as an example of the types of activities they should be doing in WEBELOS meetings.

I recently conducted a Den Chief session (4 hours) and I had several similar actrivities to keep the Boy's attention..I showed the importance of games for Cubs and emphasized meeting the variety of needs by pointing to a pile of boxes and my craft junk bin and said "Build a bean bag toss game in 5 minutes".. They built one with a variety of targets and various ranges and a scoring system - It looked first rate for 3 boys working 5 minutes. They used balloons and also figured out how to make bean bags with ziploc baggies and beans or beads..

 

7) Stop telling leaders they can't say the names of "Jesus" and "God". Instead explain to them at the 30Kft level that they need to be sensitive to different religions and use their judgement and knowledge of the families/ boys in conducting prayers and religious activities.

 

I was working at one training event (OLS I think) and during the Scout's Own Session, we nearly had a mutiny on our hands when the instructor said something like this. We had a handful of people who were highly educated and immediately engaged in a serious theological discussion/debate - along with several less educated but equally faithful who challenged this instructor --who will probably not ever aagin make such silly remarks as if they were rules to be followed.

 

8) Stop teaching the G2SS as a set of rules to blindly follow, but explain it as a guide and delve into a basic presentation of Risk Management (ORM for Gunny) and go over the anatomy of "how and why bad things happen" to Scouts and Adult Leaders.

 

9) Set expectations about the example they are to set. Give them a high target to aim for and inpsire them. Don't tell them " Do what ever you wanna do, cause nobody can do anything to you" and "anything is better than nothing".

 

Read them stories of boys who have saved lives because of what they learned in Scouting..Quotes from war heros and astronauts who were Scouts etc. etc..

 

Most people (deep inside) want to be challenged (just like boys do) and if they are going to spend lots of time (which they will likely) on Scouting, it ought to have real meaning for them.. How anyone could look at the current videos/ training materials and get inspired is beyond me..

 

I wanted to run out screaming the first time I saw them, but I resolved instead to be a Trainer someday and toss the things in the can.

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SR540Beaver writes:

 

Just for fun, lets pretend that the BSA came to you and admitted that their training program stunk and they wanted you to revamp it. What would you do?

 

Just for fun, SR540Beaver?

 

OK, first I would praise them for admitting they have a problem. That is the first step in recovery :)

 

To recover the Patrol Method, we must first admit our addiction to business manager theory.

 

The problem begins in SM & ASM Specific training, where the "Patrol Method" (the basic Method of Scouting) is limited to a 25 minute session in which leadership is mentioned 50 times (once every 30 seconds) but the "Patrol Method" is only mentioned once, in a fake Baden-Powell quote.

 

This prepares the participants to falsely use the term "Patrol Method" when they are really talking about indoor business management theories.

 

The "Matching Leadership Styles to the Needs of Scouts, Patrols, and Troops" section is worth mentioning since it is the meat (or tofu) of the Patrol Method session (note that the term "Patrol" is NEVER used alone in the entire session unless it refers to an adult-led situation):

 

A Scoutmaster can fill that need through directing--that is, giving clear guidelines. Telling Scouts, "Have the members of your patrol use buckets of water to put out the campfire, and then we can remove any traces that it was here," is one example of directing.

 

This was obviously written by some clueless business manager, otherwise he or she would have mentioned a Patrol Leader at least once in the entire Patrol Method session. For instance, the above adult-led situation might have read "A Scoutmaster can direct the SPL to tell the Patrol Leader to use buckets of water."

 

The most glaring error is that the Delegating "Leadership Style" should have been clearly identified as the actual real Patrol Method. However if you read the description carefully (page 59) you will note that the term "Patrol" is never used, Delegating refers only to Troop Method events.

 

Kudu

(This message has been edited by Kudu)

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I agree with Kudu that here is a strong "Business Manager" sense to the whole training program..Whereas older Scout training books and current NOLS or other similar references are more about Outdoor Leadership - which can apply to other than outdoor situations - where Business Management applies very little to what we want to do in Scouting.

 

Even in my professional life, it is understood that much of what is pushed in management classes makes little sense in the "real world".

 

 

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