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kahits

another patrol question

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Hey, everybody... having been on this board since my sons crossover in January of 06, our small, but old, troop finally got the shot in the arm it needed, last night, when we crossed over 10 Webelos (9 from one pack). Now I'm reading all these posts on patrol organization, and I have some simple questions.

 

First, after a tumultous spring where we had 3 of our older, scouts leave the troop, for mostly personal reasons (they were friends, which is how they came, one by one, to the troop). They joined the troop as 7th and 8th graders and just never quite embraced the program, as they saw it. It did end up making the way for 3, new, 5th grade boys, who were much more enthused with being Boy Scouts, having come from 2 different packs. Not including our mostly inactive, HS aged scouts, and one who is out of state, for custody reasons, we have 4 active scouts. My 14 year old son is SPL, and will be Life in December. The other three are coming up on 2nd class. All 4 went to Brownsea22 this summer, and just completed JLO, this past weekend. 9 of the new crossovers are either 10 with their AOL and the other boy is 11 and new to scouting.

 

I spoke with the CM from my son's former CS pack, and she has 1 or 2 boys who are semi active as Webelos II's, but are not pursuing their AOL in their den, which is a combined WebelosI/II den. Both are old enough to crossover now. If either of these boys are interested, we could have as many as 12 new scouts. I'm wondering how this could be done, in terms of restructuring the troop, that is not just one, small, older patrol (a whole year older) of slightly higher ranking boys, and a very large patrol of new scout rank boys. One of the boys in the older patrol was concerned about someone looking out for the new scouts, and volunteered to be their troop guide. Now I'm seeing a really lopsided patrol structure, especially if we get more boys from the other pack, to bring the NSP up to 12. The three, slightly older boys are good friends, but I think the boy who volunteered to be TG was concerned that the other two had a tendency to be inappropriate, from what he saw at this past summer's, scout camp. So, that being said, perhap just 2 of the 3 boys in that small patrol are tight, and the 3rd is a little leary, because of his own personal code. What might be the best means to balance this unit, with this influx of new, young scouts? We did not have a PLC, with just the 4 boys, so there is no means to make a decision in that way.

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First, I would create two New Scout Patrols and not one. And since you really do not have a scout with sufficient scout skills to be a Troop Guide, I would have an Assisitant Scoutmaster for New Scout Patrols work with each NSP until the two of the currently Tenderfoot scouts earn 1st Class and can then be considered for a Troop Guide position.

 

If I were your unit commissioner I would be very concerned. Commissioners rate unit health in three colors Green-healthy, Yeloow-cautionary, Red-Fatal.

 

You would be a red/yellow. Without the influx of new Webelos you probably would have folded. Now you have a lot of new scouts and not enough skilled scouts to support the growth. For the next year you will need a lot of adult support and you have like what 3 or 4 other scouting positions?

 

You also have three scouts who in over a year are still Tenderfoot which suggests a real program problem.

 

I do not know what Brownsea22 is since it appears to be a local program, or what JLO is since the last time I saw that used was for a course called Junior Leader Orientation which was phased out 20 years ago. So I am unsure how those courses effect your situation.

 

The telling sign will be a year from now when we see how many scouts have learned their skills through First Class, and how many are still in the troop.

 

I think you have a very challenging year ahead that is going to require some very active assistant scoutmasters and a very well planned program.

 

 

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Thanks, Bob...

 

I needed to hear this. The other 3 scouts came in the beginning of this year, from January to March, so it's only been 6 to 8 months, and they are close in both 2nd and 1st class, but have only completed tenderfoot, as of this month. We are planning on them completing both ranks by December, with the campouts we have scheduled. I think there will be enough for 2 NSP's, as you suggest, but with only one, active, ASM, we will have our hands full.

 

I agree, without these new scouts, the troop probably would not have survived, but I knew that going in (Jan.06) with most of the troop aging out, and no new scouts to take their place. Of course, I thought I had more boys and leaders coming from my pack, which never materialized, so it's been awfully personal over the past 2 years, to get to this point.

 

I have been making visits to this pack for the past two years (the pack will be three years old, in January, while we will be 71, the same month). We meet with the scouts and parents, this weekend, to plan the troop program, and will be discussing additional adult leader positions. The pack CM's son is now in the troop, but he wants to stay back to make sure the pack program does not suffer, but I don't know if we will have the luxury to let him do only that, because the Webelos DL is replacing our advancement chair. We are definitely light in the ASM department, but there are other parents who are willing to help, if we can lay this out. Unfortunatly, the leader training was last weekend, with IOLS, this weekend, so the timing could have been better, but they scheduled the crossover. I plan to share this with our Unit commissioner, and if we are looking at 2 NSP's, we will have our work cut out for us.

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Hmmm, I thought Brownsea 22 was available everywhere, but I guess I'm wrong. It definitely is available in my council, but then again, they just call it Brownsea training (the "22" has historical significance).

 

As I recall, Brownsea 22 was introduced nationally sometime around 1976 (I was in my old council's first "graduating class" as it were). It was kind of a "back to the basics" patrol method youth leadership training, patterned after B-P's very first week-long encampment on Brownsea Island. If you recall the program revisions of 1973, it's kind of interesting that national saw fit to introduce "back to the basics" only a few years later.

 

In any case, my local council now offers two youth leadership training weeks. They commonly refer to NYLT as "Woodbadge for Boys" and consider Brownsea training to be more oriented around patrol method.

 

Guy

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Congrats on your new growth! That is a sign that parents have faith that you can successfully guide the Scouting program for their sons. Heres what Id do, a little different perspective:

 

Name your life Scout as SPL, the one that offered to be TG as PL, make one of the remaining two most mature guys ASPL /QM, and the other as the APL; that puts you back to 14 new in the patrol, forget about the possible next two for now. Therell be a couple you wont see much right away due to football/soccer. In about a month, you will lose about three to basketball/swimming/hockey/chess club/academic challenge. Thatll knock you back down to 10/12. Youll lose another one over the winter due to being too busy. Youll lose another one to two through early campouts when they realize this isnt Webelos camping and M&D arent there to wipe their nose anymore/weekly meetings are too much/monthly campouts are too much. If you pick up these extra two, or maybe one or two come and go in between other activities, it may be a wash. My point is you will lose at least a quarter of these guys by February, guaranteed (at least not active). I would wait until this spring, after you start to see the natural leaders bubble up and who is borderline on this Scout stuff. If, at that time, you feel you can sustain two patrols I would then split them up. And by sustaining, I mean having being able to count on a minimum of 4 Scouts in a patrol at any given campout. If you set up two now, you will lose more because you will overload them with all this before they are ready. Setting up a new 11 year old as grubmaster in a new patrol with no experienced PL to guide him is a recipe for disaster at a campout (he will get frustrated, then M&D take over, they get frustrated, and you may lose the kid/family over it). The only way around that leadership void is to dump all kinds of adult intervention and that needs to be kept to a minimum so your older guys can develop.

 

Now, your SPL will be mainly just a figure head, as he will only have one patrol, but he can run your PLC to make sure the meeting and campout programs support the new guys and lighten the load a little on a PL that will suddenly have 12 new Scouts to manage, no easy job. This will be a huge growth period for the PL and SPL, and the ASPL / QM can watch and learn so hell be ready next term to move into one of the two PL jobs. Your fourth older scout will hopefully learn by osmosis and observation and see how much fun leadership can be.

 

Make these four a team and it can work. But you have GOT to keep the parents out of it and YOU need to be there as much as possible guide and support them. Have your other Scouting parents ready as resources to teach some skills as determined by your PLC. Your PLC will be a little light in some areas and need a break here and there to work on their own advancement; but put a lot of it on their shoulders, keep their spirits up and I think they will be fine. Theyve had the training they need, let them apply it. Within a year, you could have two kick butt patrols with some great young leaders if you nurture them along now and they dont get burned out or overloaded.

 

JTS

(This message has been edited by jtswestark)

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I have to respectfully disagree with JTS.

 

You may lose some boys over the next year, but don't plan to lose them. You need 2 new patrols, because a patrol can have only 8 members, 6 would be ideal. You have 12 new boys coming in, so 2 new scout patrols of 6 each would be just right. Have the whole troop elect a SPL and have the boys choose their own patrols and their own patrol leaders.

 

Trust that the patrol method works.

 

Tim

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Excellent Post MR.T

 

The only thing I would add is to consider having the new scouts each serve as a Patrol Leader for two months. That would give the Assistant Scoutmasters for the New Scout Patrols an opportunity to give each scout some basic patrol leader training so that at the end of a year they could elect a regular patrol leader having some knowledge of each persons performance in that role.

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Yah, kahits, here's some thoughts from da archives:

 

http://www.scouter.com/forums/viewThread.asp?threadID=152302#id_152333

http://www.scouter.com/forums/viewThread.asp?threadID=152463#id_152463

http://www.scouter.com/forums/viewThread.asp?threadID=143584#id_143731

http://www.scouter.com/forums/viewThread.asp?threadID=173695#id_173708

http://www.scouter.com/forums/viewThread.asp?threadID=178645#id_178662

 

Big decision for yeh on how you move forward and see your program grow. BobWhite's right, eh? Yeh need two patrols here at least. Makes for better results and good patrol competition, eh?

 

I think you're goin' to be usin' all four of your older boys as full-time guides for da young ones, eh? I'd psych 'em up for that task. For me, it just seems awkward to have two older lads doin' TG work and then your son and another lad campin' by themselves or whatnot. Especially since the older lads are only 2nd Class and so not really quite up to what da ideal TG should be.

 

I'd be inclined to attach two older guys to each patrol as PL/APL and let 'em have at it as leaders. Da four of 'em are your PLC. That gets yeh two balanced patrols with more experienced leaders to compete with each other. Yeh really don't need an SPL or troop-level positions with only two patrols.

 

Beavah

 

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Another option that I have used successfully is for an older boy operate as PL of the NSP. This precludes the need for a TG which seems to be a weak option in the troop.

 

Instead of rotating the PL as suggested to train leadership skills, the NSP rotates APL's into that position and are lead/guided/mentored by the PL. This proximity of an older boy did very well. The PL understands that his job is to train leadership as well as advancement for these boys so the APL becomes an actual leader during his tenure and not just a tag along as most APL tend to be.

 

My PL's all knew that how well they functioned in this manner set the example of if the PL can train good APL's surely this process can be adapted easily to a SPL being able to train good PL's next year. This is the process I'm engaged in at the present time in my troop.

 

Kahits' situation sounds very similiar to the situation I found myself in last year and we took our Webelos boys (18 of them) and put them into three patrols with an older PL in each one. It worked extremely well for some and not so good for others depending on the skill set and attitude of the PL's.

 

Stosh

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Kahits, congrats on getting such a large group of Webelos to join your Troop. I know from reading your posts that you've struggled with recruiting and reinvigorating your Troop. I have certainly been able to relate to your struggles.

 

We are also facing a sudden influx of Webelos after years of only recruiting one or two new boys a year.

 

Here is what our guys have in mind. It may work for you too.

 

Currently we have 8 Scouts, ranging in age from 11-16 and rank from Tenderfoot to Life.

 

We already have five Webelos signed up to join our Troop in the next couple of months. We also have good signs that another 5-7 will be joining us in the Spring.

 

Our guys have actually been operating as two very small patrols, mostly for competitions and such, but even on campouts they like the ease of cooking for only two or three guys rather than for eight. So, their plan is to accept the first group of Webelos into one of the patrols and then the next group into the second patrol. Each patrol already has an experienced Patrol Leader. In addition to the Patrol Leader, another Scout in each Patrol will be selected to be Troop Guide for the new Scouts joining.

 

In your case, you could do essentially the same thing. Take your four active Scouts and assign two to each of two patrols and fill in the ranks with an even amount of the new Scouts you get. Your four current Scouts would be the PL and APL for the patrols.

 

Since your existing Scouts are somewhat inexperienced themselves, you will probably have to have an ASM linked to each patrol to help them learn along the way, but by next year these Scouts will have a very clear idea of what to do and you will be in a great position to accept another crop of new Scouts.

 

Good luck to you.

 

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Our Troop has had 9 new scouts join our troop this past spring and the spring of 2007. We lost 2 scouts from the "Class of 2007"...and none yet from the class of 2008.

 

We have them in patrols where they learned together how to lead and feed themselves...we suffer through the sports-induced losses of what ever sport is in season...but we let all our sports-scouts now we'll be here when the season is over...Scouting season doesnt close.

 

Keep 2 patrols...12 is way too big to be effective...2 patrols will allow more opportunity for the members to advance...especially the requirements for 1st class cooking.

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Thanks, GWD... we had our meeting, this past Monday, and even though there were 1 or 2 boys missing from the two, new patrols, I let them go ahead and select their patrol leaders. It was difficult (especially when everyone voted for themselves, in one patrols case), but we got it done. We decided to use two of the next older (by one whole year, but lots more camping, Brownsea, JLO, and summer camp experience..) boys to serve as guides, with my ASM (I think I have one stepping up from the crossover parents, who is the Pack CM)to oversee, the both of them, to start with.

 

This way we can use our SPL and ASPL to work with the PLC and QM's, which will give us 3, patrols on campouts. I made a few more calls to my son's old pack and they have one WII about to finish his AOL, and a 6th grade boy who came out of the blue. He would go in with the next older patrol, and it looks like things are at least moving in the right direction. We have lots to get organized, but the boys are very excited, and that is good enough for me, for now.

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