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thoughts on a "1st year" patrol

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My son's troop tried using a New Scout Patrol for one year. It didn't work well at all. As someone else said, they knew NOTHING and really struggled in the first too many campouts. Yes, the troop assigned an older Scout to help them, but the older Scout didn't really want to do that at EVERY meal, and so the younger Scouts struggled.


The next year we mixed the patrols and had much MUCH better results. Once a Scout earns Star and is at least 13 years old, he can move up to a Venture patrol. Our troop is smallish, so we have two regular patrols, one Venture patrol, and the SPL & ASPL eat with the Venture patrol ... unless enough of the Venture patrol is attending, then the SPL & ASPL can split meals between the two regular patrols.


For now at least, we've had the troop voting for the "next" SPL and then previous ASPL becomes the SPL (a kind of training period), but I do wonder if they need a way to vote the ASPL out if they decide they don't want them. Maybe its time to just go with the straight up vote ... with SM approval of the nominees.


The adult leaders are another patrol and try to camp/eat a good distance away.


BTW, we've found the patrols work best if camping/eating a good distance apart. I've read others who recommend that. It gets real messy when they have to cook/eat right next to each other.

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We have a unique situation coming up this year. We currently have two full patrols. We have about 20 Webelos crossing over in February. To put the new Scouts in patrols with older Scouts we will need to at least partially break up the current patrols that are functioning quite well. There are several options here from complete reshuffling to pulling a few from each.


My solution, yet to be discussed with the Scoutmaster, is to have the PLC decide. If they decide to make new patrols I am going to recommend that we have the Webelos decide if they want to be their own patrol(s) or join existing patrols. Each new Scout can choose what he anyway he likes. If they choose the stick together path they will be assigned a troop guide(s) as is typically done. Since there could be as many as 3 new scout patrols our older Scouts are going to be stretched leadership wise either way.


Any other suggestions?

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I would suggest you Not break up the two patrols because you would in a sense be starting over. Its hard enough developing patrol bonding without breaking them up every time the troop becomes imbalanced. Instead you use the existing patrols as a resource for future new patrols.


This is the one time that I would use the NSP. I have experienced this very scenario a few times and learned the hard way from the experience. You will be a lot farther a head with the first two patrol staying together and growing stronger.


I think you need at least three NSP with 20 scouts to be manageable. I think you need at least two Troop guides per patrol and another ASPL or JASM to help manage work with the TGs them without actually being involved with any patrol.


There are several ways of getting the two scouts per patrol, but there is one way we did it that worked pretty good. We assigned an old patrol to work with a NSP. We called them Big Brother Patrols. The NSP would set up their camp near the old patrol. Far enough to have patrol separation, but close enough that the Troop guides can walk over in just a few seconds. The work together the first few months as separate patrols, but in the same groups so that the new scouts have role models to watch.


The problem is you have three NSPs and only two existing patrols. If you choose this idea, this might be one reason to only have two NSPs, but you have to understand the work required of working with 10 untrained, undisciplined 11 year old boys. The scouts need to see it coming and understand how to deal with it without yelling and getting frustrated.


There are several ways you can approach the 20 new scouts, but everyone needs to understand the future problem of mixing the new scouts into existing patrols later, or if that is even possible. When we have NSPs, we mix the new scouts into existing patrols in about six months. If we need to create new patrols, we ask if anyone in the existing patrols would like to start a new patrol. We also allow the NSP to become a permanent patrol also, but that has never happened. There is usually a couple older scouts that would like to create a new patrol and recruit scouts (new and old) to join their new patrol. That is how you can create new patrols without breaking up the old patrols. But you dont want to do that at the beginning because it requires to much work on the older scout to develop the new scouts up to speed to where the work within the existing patrols. The NSP is the better route in this case.


Does that help at all?




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