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Creating problems, intentionally, about participation

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The way I see it, there should be more rewards for the ones that are committed. And really, there are. The committed ones get to go to the cool trips, the committed ones earn more ranks and merit badges and are more recognized.


My sons are not very good at sports. They like them, they play in recreational leagues every year, but scouting is priority. So for my sons, they are much more likely to put "Eagle" on their college application than "played 6 football games a year". So yes, they make it a priority.



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MattR, have you looked into the requirements for the national honor patrol awards?


My son's current troop has some patrols who pursue this award and it becomes sort of a reinforcing circle. Some requirements include that the boys meet in separate patrol meetings at least a couple times a month, and that a certain percentage advance a rank over a period of time. What I'm seeing is that the patrols who are seeking this award do a LOT more together and have a LOT of camaraderie . The other boys - esp. the younger ones - see how much fun these honor patrols have, how they are really a team, how "cool" it is to be part of those patrols, and they start to follow the same model, themselves.


Having the honor patrol stars is a matter of great pride in my son's current troop. And it gives the boys ways to put friendly peer pressure on their low-performing or low-attending patrol mates. My ("advancement isn't my thing") son who has been in boy scouts for 6 years now and hanging out at Star for a long time, suddenly found that the boys in his patrol - not annoying adults - were pushing him to rethink his attitude and go for Life & Eagle - and boost his scout skills, be more proactive in leadership, and generally just have more fun & pride in scouting. Cool. :)


My son's previous troop had nothing to do with this - and patrols were weak, spirit was lacking, camaraderie was non-existent. Not saying honor patrol is a cure-all, but it seems like patrols who do the things required for this award are strong patrols all the way around.


Maybe it will be a tool in your tool kit.

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I know there are some folks that will jump on this like a duck on a junebug. We are a very boy-led troop, but when it comes to patrol formation, the SM has a hand in it. He has a pretty good understanding of which boys will work well together and which boys won't. We do a new scout patrol(s) each year that begins in February and around October or November, they get assimilated into our mixed age patrols. How we handle inactive scouts is we form our patrols a little on the heavy side in way of numbers. Instead of having a patrol of 6 to 8, we will have patrols of 10 to 12. We balance out the active scouts with the sports and band kids and the fair weather campers. Even if only half the patrol showed up for a campout, you have 5 to 6 boys present. It has worked for us for years now. All of that being said, we do quiz the new scouts on which patrol they would like to go to and quiz the patrols on which new scouts they would like to add. If a boy really doesn't want to be in his patrol, we are sensitive to that too.

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Kids of Scouting age embarass easily, and seem overly sensitive to peer ridicule. They may skip your camping because they don't have the "proper" gear as shown in Boys Life.

Otherwise, to make camping more of a draw, post pix of the last trip on the troop bulletin board, get an action shot posted in the weekly paper.

Also post pix at your stationary fundraiser. When Mr. & Mrs. Smith ask why you never have a shot of Johnny, tell them he never bothers to camp.

Other than that, some just don't like to camp. That's just how it is

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The punishment part, if the Scouting program in your Troop is good, will be automatic. The P/T Scout will not advance as fast as his fellows, and will not have the privileges thereby.


Back in my day, my Troop had an annual Patrol contest. Points for attendance, points for contest winners (at least once a month, sometimes more often, at Troop meetings, a competition between Patrols. Knot tying, lash up a tower, signaling a message, tug o'war, fire building, something), points for campout stuff (neat campsite, camp gadgets, etc.) . SPL and the PLC did the judging and point awarding. We had 4 Patrols. The points were posted on the wall in the Troop room for all to see.

The winning Patrol received an all expense paid trip to someplace special, a campout at Assategue Island, or down to Norfolk, or such. The Troop treasury footed the bill and the Troop dads did the planning and arrangements, we just had to show up. It spurred a great deal of effort on all Boy Scouts part, I think.





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  • 2 months later...

This is why I favor large patrols, of 10 or 12. Yes, unwieldy at meetings, but we're working on


the camping event as the primary thing being the best. So with 70% attendence, that's 8


scouts, and a workable patrol.


We've tried this to good success: If two patrols are low in number, we'd make an adhoc patrol.


They didn't like this, so we suggested the low number patrols go backpack style, paired up.


Light weight, hiker food, etc, and they like it. We're in discussion now moving the whole troop


in this direction.


I am against punishment for a scout's limited participation. A scout with 40% camping ratio is


better than a kid with ZERO participation. You'll have no impact on that boy.


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