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OneTime Runner

WHY the patrol method works

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It's easy to tell parents that the patrol method works.

It's easy to tell parents what the patrol method is.

It's easy to tell parents how the patrol method work.

It's not so easy to convince them that it WILL work.

 

Regardless of the fact that it's been working for 100+ years now, I'm still getting resistance from some of the parents on our council.

 

What I'm finding is that the resistant parents, even though they know what the patrol method is, don't believe it will work. I think they're refusing to believe it for two reasons:

 

1) They want to stick with what they're comfortable with: being a parent.

2) They're afraid of the patrol method because they don't understand WHY it works.

 

They don't believe that advancement, skill, and character can develop when adults aren't teaching it. To them it sounds like I'm saying, "step back and watch an eagle scout magically appear!"

 

So my question to the forum is this: "Why does the Patrol Method work?"

 

I already have my own thoughts on the subject, but I'd like to see what other people think first. So tell me, what's under the hood? Why does the patrol method work?

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As those of us who have made more than one trip around the block will attest, there is no better teacher than failure.

Experience failure and the point will be driven home and not forgotten unlike those lecures I heard in high school & college.

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Why does it work?

 

1) The boys EXPERIENCE it, not read about it or be lectured on it. There is something about living through something, whether it's working with your patrol on your Cooking Skill Award, or going with your patrol on a 64 mile canoeing expedition in the Candadian Wilderness, you gain knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) DOING things. If you could learn everythgin from books, then why have internships, student teaching, and other hands-on programs in college.

 

2)The boys get peers that they look up to. As a Webelos, I thought my Den Chief could walk on water. In my second troop, I thought the PL was awesome b/c he looked out for me, or had another one of the "older scouts," try 12-14 y.o., look out for me and work with me. And as a new PL, the SPLs I worked under were true mentors, who when I was ASPL I would always ask what would Jim and Larry do?

 

3)Safe environment for failure. As others have said failure IS a great learning expereince. Scouting provides an environement where if you screw up, there are folks who will provide a safety net. Heck I am still making mistakes after all these years :) I was a CSDC program director, tried to extend the day to include dinner and a campfire the last day of day camp, and it was mixed results.

 

4) IT IS FUN. There is something about being with a bunch of your friends on your own.

 

 

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Just a couple of observations from working with kids in a variety of different programs and why I think BSA's patrol method is the best.

 

1) Program ownership is in the hands of the people who benefit the most from it.

 

2) Youth deserve/need opportunities to learn experience on their own, not just follow along with what the parent, teacher, coach, teacher tells them to do.

 

3) Builds self confidence in knowing that they can, if they want succeed, at things adults didn't think they could.

 

4) Kids will design the proper activities if given the free rein to work it out on their own, problem solve hurdles, overcome challenges, do teamwork that they control, not some adult.

 

5) Experience true leadership of their own design that meets their skill levels, interest levels, and speed of progress. Every group (patrol) is different with it's own unique characteristics that can accomplish things that other groups (patrols) can't and thus like individuals excel at what they set out to do.

 

6) The bonds developed in a small group will stick with them a lot longer (assuming that someone doesn't consistently disrupt them). 8 Boys coming into Tigers together and eventually all having a ECOH together will probably be life-long friends.

 

7) Small groups with self-leadership is a unique experience for most adolescents in today's US society. They cannot get this opportunity anywhere other than in the patrol method of Scouting.

 

8) Because of it's unique nature the learning curve of the Patrol Method is quite a challenge, but then again, so is growing up and taking on adult responsibilities is too. It's just that these youth get the opportunity to do it in a safe, caring environment before they reach 18.

 

Your mileage may vary,

 

Stosh

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//Safe environment for failure//

 

This is what makes the BSA different and patrol method successful.

 

Barry,

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:)

 

If you truly believe in your boys, you never expect them to fail.

 

My boys never fail! They struggle, they stumble, they miss out, they screw-up, but they never fail because every struggle, every stumble, every missed opportunity is nothing more than a lesson in obtaining success.

 

"Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success." - Dale Carnegie

 

"Failure is success if we learn from it." - Malcolm Forbes

 

"In order to succeed you must fail, so that you know what not to do the next time." - Anthony J. D'Angelo

 

"One secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes." - Benjamin Disraeli

 

Scouting gives opportunity to succeed, not fail. In a small group of 8 buddies, they can and will succeed every time.

 

Your mileage may vary,

 

Stosh

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>>>>>>They don't believe that advancement, skill, and character can develop when adults aren't teaching it.

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Summarizing post so far:

 

1) Provides Hands on Experience.

2) Gives the scouts real responsibilities.

3) Gives the scouts a safe environment to experience failure, and learn from those failures.

4) Gives the scouts the opportunity to succeed on their own.

5) Creates an environment where the scouts can have, and be, positive peer role models.

 

And I'll add my two cents in now:

 

The Patrol method works because it uses peer pressure to reinforce positive behavior, discourage negative behavior, and motivate advancement.

 

 

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//Oh, and his character will probably turn out OK, but save that speech for some other aspect of the program.//

 

To each his own I guess, but I am anal that living the scout law is developing character and every right decision a person makes requires some combination of those traits. A boy has to make more decisions in a patrol environment than just about any other youth organization in the community. I'm one of those who believes that the more wrong decisions one makes, the more their character grows. I wanted my guys to screw up. :)

 

Barry

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Eagledad:I wanted my guys to screw up.

 

Telling the parents that won't win me any converts. ;)

 

Everyone else:

 

Let's see if you agree or disagree with these statements:

 

When the patrol method is working well, the only skill that the adult leaders should be teaching on a regular basis is leadership.

 

or:

 

In order to implement the Patrol Method, leadership is the ONLY skill we need to be teaching.

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>>>>the scout law is developing character and every right decision a person makes requires some combination of those traits

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The patrol method works because we know it works because it's inherent in boys/men.

 

B-P used the patrol method because he saw that it worked on the streets of London, Gangs worked then, and Gangs work today,

 

The patrol method is the gang method, just that Patrol is a heck of a lot more palatable than saying the Gang Method, the basis is the same.

 

Think of some of the Greatest Movies of all Time (besides Follow Me Boys) they are gang/parol stories

 

Dirty Dozen

Kelly's Heroes

The Magnificent Seven/Shichinin no Samurai

Remember the Titans

October Sky

 

Youth coming together to overcome obstacles, its a timeless theme, who wouldnt want to be a part of something bigger than yourself?

 

 

(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)

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The more I think about it the more I begin to ponder the idea that the patrol of just a few buddies provides an singular environment that isn't duplicated anywhere else for the boy to develop in.

 

Sports are larger groups lead by adults

School is larger groups led by adults

Church is yet another large group led by the pastor

Family is a small group but it is led by parents

Hanging out at the mall is usually a small group, but no real leadership/organization

 

And yet, where can a boy learn about marriage (buddy system) and or family (patrol method) except using the patrol structure in BSA. It's a size he can actually lead and be successful in while building real life experience he will someday need.

 

Your mileage may vary,

 

Stosh

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One time,

I would say our job as leaders isn't so much as to teach leadership, but be there as a guide and mentor as needed. The Scouts can teach leaderhsip on their own. I know my PLs and SPLs taught me alot about leadership not only through the training they conducted, they did the TLT and not the SM, but also by their example. Also I had youth and young scouters teaching leadership to me at Brownsea 22,and not adults.

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