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time length of transition to Patrol Method

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Green Bar Bill training was the old leadership training of the 1960's. More emphasis on leadership than management. The boys did well with TLT on the management aspects, but not much on leadership, i.e. taking the reins and going out and putting it together for the welfare of the patrol.


One of the draws of the boy-led, patrol-method of that troop was it was different from the large adult-led, troop-method troop in the area. It was beginning to get some real traction with the reputation in the area, but once it went back to adult-led it it no longer was a choice between boy-led and adult-led in the area, it was now just a choice of small troop vs. large troop. Most parents preferred to driver their boys 15 miles out of town to get the option of the large troop.


Really too bad because the potential was there.



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"Green Bar" Bill Hillcourt defined working as a patrol outdoors as the linchpin method of scouting. (The "Green Bar" patrol was the cracker-jack group that we all tried to live up to.) Some of the founders of this forum have close ties to him. Most of us got to know him for through his articles in Boys Life.


I think I stopped using a flashlight to walk through the woods on a moonlit night thanks to him. But, I'm sure through other adults who were influenced by his training, I can attribute most of the fun stuff I know about scouting to him.


Wood Badge is touted as the premier leadership training course that scouting has to offer. Some here debate that hotly. Unlike outdoor leader skills courses, it's a whole lot of talking, so if you do ever take it, I would suggest you find a course that they tailor to the hearing impaired.

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William "Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt was "DA MAN" Click on his picture for more info,or look him up in Wikipedia. He did a brief autobiography if memory serves in BOYS LIFE magazine in the late 1980s, early 1990s. I wish I still had the article.


Essentialy from about 1926 until his first retirement in 1965, every single Boy Scout related handbook was written by him. Scoutmaster handbooks, Boy Scout HBs, Patrol Leader HBs He was part of the first WB course in the USA, and was the SM for the second. He wrote extensively on scouting topics and the outdoors, both for the BSA and the general public. And he was involved in international scouting as well.


After his retirement, folks tried to modernize the BSA, and screwed up royally, when they introduced the Improved Scouting Programin 1972. They took the outing out of Scouting, evidenced by Camping MB NOT being an Eagle required MB from 1972-1979, and scouting numbers dropped drastically. Only units that tended to survive were established units by "old Fogeys" who knew what Scouting should be, and didn't change their programs.


In order to save the BSA, national had to get Green Bar Bill out of retirement. He started with BROWNSEA 22, a back to Scouting's basics for a troop junior leaders, which has developed and morphed into NYLT today, and wrote the 1979 ed. of the Boy Scout HB. If it wasn't for GBB, BSA would not be in the shape it is today.


Problem is a lot of the pros and current leaders were Scouts or Pros at that time. Pros are changing the program slowly and repeating mistakes form the 1970s IMHO. As for leaders, some do not have the outdoor skills that previous Scouts, and succedding scouts who had GBB's last BSHB have, and the also are less oriented on the outdoors. And combine that with FCFY, BSA has issues.


OK off the soapbox.

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Oh SR540Beaver... *wiping laughter tears


I roared laughing at your comment of

'Just keep everyone a minimum of 300 feet apart and the rest takes care of itself. Sorry, couldn't resist.'


Sometimes signing and speaking is ASL does it naturally... *laughing


Most don't realize that ASL and spoken English are two different language yet I want to keep the Deaf parent involved... *smiles


Qwazse.. already took the Wood Badge and cried a few tears. Staff was well aware I was deaf so powerpoint and handouts were a big help plus a wonderful mentor and patrol. I actually would like to go through it again without the ticket work angle to gain a different understanding. sometimes when one goes through something they focus too much on one things,, for me getting it that little things like patrol method development point was totally missed. funny part is they matched me up with a gal who knew a little sign and our first looks at each other was oh craps. mine of her she can't sign. and hers of me, deaf, why me? I'm struggling to hear out of ear and couldn't they have talked to me FIRST?. we're now the best of scouting buddies.. *grins


Eagle92.. I use the more formally name William Hillcourt so its no wonder I'm lost on the nickname... *laughing

*teasing.... Didn't realize so many older timers here as so handy with a computer in this techno age. Now if my committee and ASM was the same as y'all, I'd be in 7th heaven. I exchanged phone number with my ASM when I was first pulled on board my troop. asked him if he text and he says no and then my jaw drops as he pulls a 'dinosaur' cell from his pocket. It was eye opening to realize in 3 years I had yet to see one of those since everyone around me had a smart phone of some sort. Then again if it wasn't for the Deaf parent they would have never know what a VP phone was.. *laughing


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When my older son moved from Webelos to an adult-led troop-method troop, when I asked the SM about patrol method, he'd only answer "we're working on that." It took awhile to figure out what was wrong and how to approach fixing the problem. Now it is more than four years later, and we are much closer to a youth-led patrol method troop than ever before. It wasn't easy (in fact, all advice I read online was along the lines of "just find another troop") and we're not all the way there yet.


Several things had to happen along the way -- for one thing, another like-minded adult joined the troop, and we worked together. One of our biggest issues was that the SM ("World's Oldest SPL") would undermine youth leadership, unknowingly mostly. We had to wait until he was ready to step down. We targeted a particular Scout for SPL...he wanted the job badly, so we started training him when he was a PL. We didn't exactly manipulate the vote, but we did scare away some "marginal" candidates by saying that we were going to expect accountability. We offered weekend youth leader training (the old SM didn't consider it important to train youth leaders).


The like-minded adult who joined after me -- at first he was our advancement chair. He started insisting on accountability in BoRs. Pissed off at least one dad in the troop by not allowing a "no show" Scout to advance on first request. Since then, that Scout has actually participated, and has actually fulfilled a PoR. He'll be an Eagle soon, perhaps before the year is out. This same advancement chair is now our SM.


Lots of other changes too: in the past, outings were chosen by adults, and signups were handled by them too. The last straw, for me, was when one outing was cancelled at kind of the last minute. We'd planned to camp on a Boston Harbor Island. But when I checked online, I saw that it wasn't open for camping until a few weekends later. The adult who was organizing the outing sent out email about changing to a Martha's Vineyard bike trip, and said that unless at least 10 Scout signed up immediately, the monthly outing would be cancelled. All he heard was crickets chirping.


Since that incident, outings happen no matter what. The new SM and his son will camp by themselves if that's all who can go. Our only exception, in the last two years, has been plans for snowshoeing this last February. Even up until the last day, we were hoping for snow, but it didn't happen. So it got changed to just a local day hike.


Here's the biggest lesson we learned along the way: just do it. Don't talk about ways to transition to youth leadership, just do it. Don't talk about the need for youth leadership training, just do it (I put together a weekend outing, for all prospective youth leaders, that got down to the details of how to plan a meeting, how to plan an outing, etc. We started that weekend on Friday night, with a mock patrol meeting, where they planned a menu for a weekend outing -- that was the menu they used that weekend). Talk to your PLs about accountability, and then just do it. SM Conferences have to focus on them fulfilling their PoRs, and BoRs have to hold them accountable. Set a schedule for weekend outings, and then stick to it. Go no matter what. Identify the adults that unknowingly undermine youth leadership, and then talk to them.


We were lucky that we found a local summer that supports the patrol method concept (!!! --> it is not just patrol cooking, it is patrol program too). Our council, in addition to NYLT (which we haven't taken advantage of) still offers the old Brownsea 22 curriculum, which is a great reinforcer of the patrol method. We've sent two Scouts so far, and may send 3 this year.


The places where we're still falling short -- there is still a tendency to do group cooking when there are just a few Scouts attending an outing. The problem is that our outings have been so popular (used to be an average of 8 to 10 on an outing, now more than doubled) that the group cooking thing isn't working any more. We're in an "awkward phase" :-).


I could go on and on, but I won't. I'm sure one of you could come in and observe and then point out yet another place where we're falling short, but we really are working on that now, rather than just paying lip-service.



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Thanks for taking the time to write. Lots of VALUABLE advice to take from yours as you pinpointed a couple of issues that are happening already in mine. Especially love the 'DO IT' comment.. *smiles


I like how you did the training approach. Troop meetings are just too short to do it. You give me possibilities there with that mention.. *grins


Did you have a problem with 'tools' like rope, flags, compass and etc. and having them handy for Troop meetings?

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Deaf Scouter writes:


"*wiping laughter tears I roared laughing at your comment of 'Just keep everyone a minimum of 300 feet apart and the rest takes care of itself. Sorry, couldn't resist'."


Um, that's what Baden-Powell's Patrol System is: Patrols 300 feet apart when camping together as a Troop. You only have enough Scouts for one Patrol, but YES, if your one Patrol of Scouts camps 300 feet away from your Patrol of adult leaders, then everything else will fall into place.


The fact that you have an SPL in a seven-Scout Troop gives me the impression that have fallen for a bunch of office manager theory.


It is as if you, Deaf Scouter, have been asked to coach a soccer team or a football team, so every week you have the boys sit in the end zone and hold elections for new team captains so they learn valuable lessons about "citizenship." Then you spend the rest of practice inspecting their uniforms, explaining the role that nutrition has on fitness, and then testing them on the EDGE Method.


So when someone suggests that your boys would learn much more about soccer or football if you taught them how to run around the 300 feet between you and the other end zone? Well you roar with laughter as you wipe the tears from your eyes.


Green Bar Bill's "Intensive Training in the Green Bar Patrol" can be found at the URL below, but let me warn you: The goal of this Patrol Leader Training is to teach your Scouts how to conduct their own Patrol Hikes (and camp) without "adult association" helicopters. They can do this kind of thing on monthly campouts, but it means no more camping close together in the Webelos III End Zone:




Yours at 300 feet,





So it results that Scouts' camps should be small -- not more than one Troop camped together; and even then each Patrol should have its own separate tent at some distance (at least 100 yards) from the others. This latter is with a view to developing the responsibility of the Patrol Leader for his distinct unit (Baden-Powell) http://inquiry.net/patrol/index.htm


Here's the biggest lesson we learned along the way: just do it (GKlose)



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Sorry, Deaf Scouter -- I've been away for a few days, and I'm just now reading this thread again.


But I can't really answer your question -- meeting planning is one area we're still working on. Many meetings have been in the "wing it" category, and a few too many meetings (for my taste) have been group merit badge sessions. One recent example: PLC decides to feature cooking on a weekend outing (and I think they expected me, a Cooking MB counselor) to just sign off everything for everyone on the outing. I was asked to do some "classroom work" at the next troop meeting. And I did.


But I didn't sign anyone off. We talked about food-borne illnesses, safe handling, likely kitchen accidents, a little about nutrition, and what makes a good menu (for different circumstances). I'm done with the group work -- if an individual Scout wants to come to me to finish the MB, we'll go through all the details. But meanwhile, we had a bunch of Scouts that hopefully have learned more about cooking, and can think ahead to their T, 2C and 1C rank advancement too.


Anyway, we haven't run into the materials and supplies issues yet, w.r.t. meeting planning.



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After our 'indoor' camping (we wanted the television to do the Citizenship in the Community movie), I'm realizing parents and newbie Scouters need Patrol Method training as well... *sigh


Indoor camping does not incorporate the Patrol Method at all.


One of the parents really got defense when I spoke up about leaving stuff on the floor for the youth leaders to clean up. Even though I explained they need to so the sweep themselves and explained what Leave No Trace is.


KUDO... Thanks again for the lesson plans!! I had the patrol flag, yell, and etc. on my agenda but it never materialized as we never got into the 'indoors' until 4 pm and went right into our MB session, dinner and then a movie. I would have much rather set up tents and a canopy.


Gonna definitely print the Green Bar lessons into agendas so parents can see what is taking place and my Troop guide will have something to follow. My Troop Guide does make comments of 'I never did this or that and why must we' even though he takes the lead well when directed into what role he needs to do or what topic he needs to cover in written for him to follow like having a sheet with the differences of the cub scouts and boy scouts, types of knots, or Time to Tell video.



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I've found the transistion from Cub Scout to Boy Scout is harder on the parents than the Scouts themselves. And double the difficulty for CS leaders. Let's face it we spend 3-5 years being told to do it all for meetings and activities, then after Cross Over, BOOM! you let the boys do it themselves.


Heck even some of us old fogeys who know better have relapses. See some of my other posts.


Beleive it or not I've been impressing upon the difference between Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts for a year now with my Bear parents. Luckily I have two with a Scouting background as youth, and another parent is leader with the troop.


I hope in 20 months when oldest Crosses Over, I don't have relapses. Esp. since I'm going back to Tigers June 1 with middle son.

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E - You mean someone had been picking up for their cubs indoors? Wonder if DS's parent had been doing that all these years.


There is no reason, starting at age 6, that cubs can't be responsible for clean-up at their den and pack meetings. That includes sweeping and mopping, if necessary.


You might need parents to follow-up, and make sure things are polished. but clean-up is part of the activity (as I say to the Mrs. when she gardens 'till she drops and I'm roaming around the next day finding tools left out in the rain)!


Of course I caught a couple of boys in my crew feeding my co-advisor the line that they didn't know how to slice green peppers. They actually got her to start "demonstrating"!!!

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Worse part too Eagle is they were all Pack Committee as well.


A good example: I asked at the pizza parlor where we ate for a broom from the manager as I wanted to assign the youth leaders the job of cleaning the floor. (we had brownies and dropped several crumbs) Was told several times by the manager no, he would do it in spite of my persuasion. Next thing I know my ASM had the broom and duster and was doing it himself... *sighs


With Kudos 'PM lesson plan' I'm going to be sure to email it ahead of time plus have printed copies so parents and Scouters see what we are doing step by step each week. I'm going to email each person separately with their 'coaching' area and forms that they need to show and then let the youth leader do. This will help educate the parents and the Scouters in boy-led Patrol Method.


I'm already pushing for IOLS training for all Scouters and parents. Asked the Committee for approval to help with half the cost.

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DeafScouter -- I think everyone needs to be on the same page. I know I still have some "training" to do, but most of our adults get it. The new adults coming in? Reports are some do, and some don't. So we'll start in on training them too.


It's also common advice on this forum. Stosh, as I recall, taught his youth leaders to say "with all do respect, I will take care of that" in addressing an adult that was meddling a little too much.



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I think one of the challenges is to show parents that they have opportunity to offer something truly unique. It's not that sweeping floors is bad, but what youth really need from adults is their knowledge and experience.


I had a boy corner me at the last meeting wanting to discuss Eagle projects at length. If I was busy doing what any boy could do, I would not have been available to him to serve as the sounding board he needed.


Let those parents know they may be losing sight of where they may be really needed. Tell them that stepping back and observing helps a lot. One of my crew dads told me he would just sit back and observe the entire trip, by day two he had the boys out in the bay and was teaching them everything he knew about kayaking. His daughters weren't interested because they had "been there, done that", but those boys will be greatful forever. Now if that dad was preoccupied with lighting fires and sweeping tables, would he have found his niche?


Also, teaching parents "with your permission Mr. SPL, may I...?" goes a long way.

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My advice on getting new Boy Scout parents on board with youth led and the patrol method is to start getting them familiar while they are Cubs.


Again I constantly talk about the differences between Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. As I posted elsewhere, I get help fromt eh 2 dad who were scouts as a youth, and the dad who is a MC in the troop. My last Bear den meeting of the year is focused on the Webelos program, what to expect, and how it helps the transition. The next 18 months should be spent weaning the parents away from the scouts.


One thing that helped was that I had a Den Chief when they were Wolves, and I used him well if I do say so myself. that showed the parent what the scouts are capable of. My only problem with him is I gave him up to the Webelos den. They lost their WDL, and needed someone with the outdoor KSAs, and with his permission, I offered my DC to them to help. That really helped them. Unfortunately they lost him at the end of the year when he became SPL, but the foundation was set and the leaders and parents actually learned a bit from him and the other scouts in the troop. If memory serves, not only did all crosss over, all are still in the troop.


One thing I am begging the SPL and PLC to do is invite both the Webelos I and IIs (I know unoffical terms but commonly used) to more outings and events b/c A) I want the Webelos to see what fun lies ahead, B)I want the parents to see what Patrol Method and youth led looks like (organized chaos ;) ) and C) my den is chomping at the bit to do more camping. They know that they can go camping as a den and are working on some plans on their. But I rather they work with the troop so that when they cross over, everyone, youth and adult alike, are comfortable.



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