Re: Question about the BSA Troop Operations Plan
Settummanque, the blackeagle (waltoml@WKUVX1.WKU.EDU)
Tue, 8 Feb 1994 17:53:16 CST
While we have had this discussion four times over the past two years
on this forum (you can check out the archives for our previous
discussions on this topic), your comments, the phone call I (barely)
got this afternoon (why do people call you when you are one step from
shutting the door behind you on the way out?? hheehehe), and
frustration from the "field" about this program prompted my reply and
comments. Take them for what they are, *my* comments. But clearly,
the BSA is NOT happy with the results from this element of the new
program and they are REALLY confused!
Ronald Oakes <oakes@PEACH.RTSG.MOT.COM> writes:
[great background on implementation of the Troop Operations Plan and
in particular, the New Scout Patrol....deleted for space only ]
>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.
And it looks like the BSA is conceeding their loss of this element.
This afternoon, I spent a hour and seventeen minutes (that's 77
minutes, according to the "hold" program on my computer at the house)
talking with my great friend, the Council Scout Executive in Ohio.
Among other topics, we discussed the fact that the BSA is presently
deciding whether or not to discontinue the "New Scout Patrol" and the
position called Troop Guide. During Regional "All Hands" Meetings
(attended by professionals), the matter has been discussed and the
National Program Group is now reviewing all of the information.
Word from "the field" (and Ron confirms this) is that most Boy
Scouters are extremely unhappy with the results that they get by
using the new plan. Scouts are complaining that they are forced to
"remain in the same Patrol" for their entire Scouting experience, or
until they are given a Troop leadership role. They are also
complaining about the fact that most of the members of the New Scout
Patrol gets no opportunity to serve as Patrol Leader, as the program
was supposed to work; in many Troops, one or two Scouts were given the
PL's job and they stayed that way for a quarter or a half of a year at
at a time. Scoutmasters and Troop Committee Chairs and members have
complained that the Troop Guide is little more than a glorified
Den Chief and that there is little or no training available for those
"leaders of leaders".
So, it's back to the ol' drawing board for this program, which was
supposed to increase the number of Scouts reaching First Class by
"grouping them" in "classes" (echoes of "cooperate and graduate")
as they spend the first year in a Boy Scout Troop. The other outcome,
in keeping the Troop free of those "bullies" that would prey on new
members *never* washed with me...I don't care how small or large the
Troop is, there will ALWAYS be some wisecracker in there that will
want to push around younger boys!
>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 don't like the New Scout Patrol and I have several reasons why I
don't like the concept:
One, "What is the role of the Patrol Guide"?? If the purpose of the
Patrol Guide is to advise and train the Patrol Leaders and their
Assistants (as the roles is supposed to rotate among each patrol member
"monthly" (says the guide; most Scoutmaster Fundamentals courses say
quarterly)), then where do they get that training to do this job?
What does that leave the Senior Patrol Leader in training ALL of the
Patrol Leaders?? How about the Scoutmaster?
If the purpose of the Patrol Guide is to run and manage the Patrol
(what really happens; the Patrol Leader and Assistant serves as
"puppets" of the Patrol Guide, whom tells them what to do and when to
do it (but forgets the essential fact, neccessary for leadership
development, of WHY to do it), how come the Patrol Guide is NOT the
Two, "What is the purpose of having a DEDICATED ASSISTANT SCOUTMASTER
for THIS PATROL ONLY?" The answer is, according to the plan, is to
orient and advise the Patrol Guide and the Patrol Leaders, and to
assist with the transition from WEBELOS Den to Boy Scout Troop Patrol.
WOW!! Where *was* this man or woman when *I* transitioned from my
WEBELOS Den to the Eagle Patrol of Troop 63?? Where were these adults
when thousands of other Scouts moved upward from their WEBELOS Den
(which was one of the few positions in a Pack available to men ONLY
for the longest time!!) to Scout Troops?? This position is totally
UNNECCESSARY and in my opinion, only serves to further hand-hold the
new Scouts while they spend the first year in a new environment (the
If the role of the adult is to orient and advise the Patrol Guide,
then why have a Senior Patrol Leader and why not spin this group off
to a new unit, under the leadership of the Guide and Assistant
Three, "Patrol members should come _as_a_group_ from their WEBELOS Den
upon graduation. Why?" The answer is so that they can benefit from
the familiarily of the Den/Patrol while they are placed in the new
This really assumes that EVERYONE in that Den-to-be-Patrol WANTS to be
in that Troop! What happens when one (or more, as it frequently
happens) wants to be in ANOTHER Troop? National advises Scoutmasters
to try to keep that from occuring by hosting joint Troop-Den
activities in order to get the unit "accustomed" to the new members.
But what REALLY happens is that you get Scouts to stay with this new
Patrol for two or three months, and then leave the program for good
because "they couldn't get into the group they wanted to get into
with" (either another Patrol or another Troop).
The deal whereby some units shorten the time in the "new Scout Patrol"
from one year to eight months or shorter seemed to help, but its too
little too late. New Scouts (and WEBELOS graduates ARE new Scouts!!)
should be able to pick and choose which Troop they want to join and
within that Troop, if they feel that they can handle working with an
existing Patrol, they should be given that option with the provision
that if things don't work out, that they can move back to the "New
Four, "The SuperPatrol". I thought that we got rid of the idea of
having a specialized Patrol when the BSA scrapped the Leadership Corps
program!! Someone don't subscribe to the idea that "history repeats
itself" and not only gave the Varsity Scouts their own Assistant
Scoutmaster, they gave this Patrol an Assistant Scoutmaster. This
situation leads to a lot of heated discussions between Scoutmaster and
Assistant Scoutmaster: I, as New Scout Patrol ASM want to take the
Patrol out by themselves (I've got another father to help me supervise
this thing, and to give it two-deep leadership). The Scoutmaster
wants to take the entire Troop together for a camping trip that same
weekend. Who wins there? Who loses?? The Scouts lose!! Why?
Because they don't know WHO'S IN CHARGE: the Scoutmaster or the
Assistant Scoutmaster (whom in most probabilities came with the
Den/Patrol from the Pack where he served as WEBELOS Den Leader)!!
Five, "Rotating Leadership". Yeah, I understand that one of the
reasons why the BSA wanted the members of this Patrol to rotate the
leadership among the members was so that the Assistant Scoutmaster and
other leaders can look at each person before making a decision on whom
to place permanently in charge. Additionally I understand that each person
has a chance early in their Scouting experience to be a leader of
something (one of the reasons why many young Scouts leave..."I'm never
in charge of something because I'm too young!").
But by the time the Patrol Guide "seemed" to get things down pat with
the new Patrol Leader and Assistant, it's time to swap them out again
for two more new Scouts. Remember, we haven't given the Patrol Guide
*any training* in how to deal with Scouts. This kid has probably NOT
even served as a Patrol Leader or Assistant before!
Six, "Drop-In Newbies". What do we do with the new WEBELOS that
graduate late (not with the rest of the Den in the spring) or after
summer camp? Do we place him with new Scouts that we get from Roundup
(fall recruitment drive) or do we tell him to find another Troop? Me,
I could use EVERY SCOUT I CAN GET MY HANDS ON! So, its placement into
another "new Scout Patrol" (except that this one is NOT composed of
former WEBELOS and instead is composed of the more "traditional" new
members --straight from the streets) because under the new plan, I
should NOT place them in traditional Patrols (even if those Patrols
have only five or seven members in them...and adding this new kid
would round out the Patrol to a good even eight!)
Finally, seven, "Working Together". In the WEBELOS Den, the effort
was on group work and group projects. In Scouting, the emphasis was
supposed to be on individual acheivement and working at each person's
pace. However, the New Scout Patrol's emphasis is on getting
everyone to First Class. A great goal! But many Troops insist upon
going about it in the "group mode" instead of allowing each Scout the
challenge of going about earning Tenderfoot, Second Class and First
Class in their own way, doing things not so much in lockstep but
>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.
Here's Mike Walton's way of doing it and National's recommended way of
Keep the existing patrols as your experienced "regular" 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 would combine the two older patrols into a "regular" Patrol, and if
you CHOOSE to use the New Scouts Patrol, to make the new boys that
come in (from WHATEVER SOURCE) members of the new patrol. Since the
entire WEBELOS Den is NOT coming your way, you could either choose to
continue to use the name of the old "new Scouts Patrol" or have the
members to create a new flag and name.
If you choose NOT to use the New Scouts Patrol, I would still combine
the two older patrols into a "regular" Patrol, and give each boy that
comes into your Troop the option to go into a brand new Patrol (led by
the Patrol Guide UNTIL the Patrol elects their own leader, in which
the Patrol Guide's job would END) or to the existing Patrol (which
when it gets over nine, you should split it or offer to move Scouts to
the other Patrol).
Settummanque!@HEY! Happy Birthday, BSA!!!
Settummanque, the blackeagle... (MAJ) Mike L. Walton (
AIS/MR Recreation Specialist, LifeSkills Inc. ___)_
(h) 502-782-7992 (f) 502-781-7279 (w) 502-842-2274 |-=-|]
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"Not speaking for Lifeskills, Inc. or WKU...but I do speak well!!"
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