Question about the BSA Troop Operations Plan
Ronald Oakes (oakes@PEACH.RTSG.MOT.COM)
Tue, 8 Feb 1994 15:22:58 -0600
Last Thursday at the Boy Scout Leader's roundtable for Signal Hill
District, Northwest Suburban Council, BSA -- covering the town and villages
of Palatine, Barrington and Lake Zurich IL -- we had an extensive
discussion about the current "Troop Operation Plan" supported by the Boy
Scout's of America. I would like to extend this discussion to the larger
Roundtable of this list. Obviously, scouters who are not associated with
the Boy Scout program in the BSA will not have experience specifically with
this plan, but are welcome to provide input.
The current Troop Operation Plan was started sometime around 1989, when
the BSA revised the program. One of the goals of this revised program was
to encourage scouts to reach First Class (the third "rank") within one
year. This was based on research that showed that if a scout reached
First Class in his first year, he was more likely to stick with the
One of the major aspects of the Troop Operation Plan is the "New Scout"
patrol. This is a patrol were most new scouts are placed. Idealy, the
scouts in the patrol joined at the same time, and already know each other.
This is optimal if an entire Webelos den joins your troop together. The
New Scout patrol functions as a normal patrol, almost. They are
specifically under the guidance of an Assistant Scoutmaster for the New
Scouts, and are aided by one or more Troop Guides, who are older scouts.
Additionally, New Scout patrols will rotate Patrol Leader every few months
to allow all of the scouts a chance to lead.
The discussion at the Roundtable meeting centered around whether troops
used New Scout patrols, and whether they planned on continuing to use them.
By and large most of the other leaders were less than impressed with the
New Scout patrol. Many were not planning on continuing.
I have two related topics for discussion. First, what do the leaders on
this list think about the New Scout patrol? Second, what advice do you
have on my problem described in the next paragraph.
I have a fairly small troop (10 Scouts, 8-10 active). Currently they are
in two patrols. One is the almost former New Scout Patrol, consisting of 5
scouts all who have been in about 11 months. The other is made up of the
rest of the troop, 3 second year scouts and two older scouts we have added
in the last year as Star scouts. I am expecting to receive 6-10 new Scouts
from the Webelos Den's in the pack that is at the same Church and School
(Catholic Church and School). I see three ways I can go: I could keep the
existing patrols as my experienced scout patrols -- possibly allowing the
boys to switch patrols if they wish, and add the new scouts as one or two
New Scout patrols; I could combine the two older patrols into a large
patrol, and add the new scouts into New Scout patrols; or I could add the
New Scouts into 2 or 3 patrols of mixed Scouts.
I expect to need to make this decision sometime in the next two months.
Personaly, I am leaning towards the first option.
Ronald B. Oakes
Scoutmaster, Troop 91
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City