Re: Question about the BSA Troop Operations Plan
Gregory Benesh (BENESHG@BAYLOR.BITNET)
Wed, 9 Feb 1994 14:57:16 -0600
I want to say a few words in support of the New Scout Patrol. It has
worked in our troop over the last four years, and we are not about to
abandon it. Regarding Mike's points:
1) What is the role of the Troop Guide? Ours ha been to assist and
instruct. He has not taken leadership away from the patrol leader. He
does, however, offer some useful suggestions.
2) The dedicated ASM's job is not to hold the hands of the New Scouts.
Ours have spent a lot more time holding the parents hands, or at least
explaining to them the differences between Cub and Boy Scouts. For that
reason we try not to use the former Webelos Den Leader in this position.
The WDL is used to arranging everything for the boys, not letting them
try things for themselves (at least, not as much as in Boy Scouts). Also,
the parents are used to the 'lockstep' procedure' (see #7), and need to
be prepared for more individual advancement. Also, they aren't going to
pass off a lot of requirements at home. The ASM tries to help the parents
loosen the reigns, and encourages the New Scouts to exercise more respon-
3) Why come as a group? I guess it's convenient, but I have no problem
adding other New Scouts to a former den. If only part of a den comes, then
fine -- fill it out with other newcomers.
4) A superpatrol? I'm not sure of the problem here. Our patrol activities are
subordinated to the troop activities which are already on the annual
calendar. Certain;t, good communication is necessary.
5) Rotating leadership. It has not ben our practice to choose a permanent
patrol leader. The patrol members elect each PL. They generally rotate
the leadership, although occasionally someone is reelected. Our New Scout
Patrols have gone on to become regular patrols at the end of the first
year -- so eventually everyone gets an opportunity to lead.
6) Drop-in newbies. We don't hesitate to put them in existing New Scout
patrols. My own son joined a New Scout patrol in this way one September.
That was 3 and one-half years ago. So far, three members of that patrol
are Eagle Scouts, and three are Life Scouts.
7) I don't like the First Class Emphasis myself. It seems too much like
'Every Student Graduates' slogans that tend to grant diplomas to undeserving
students. The New Scout patrol should NOT advance lockstep together.
However, good ASM's and Troop Guides should see that there are plenty of
advancement opportunities designed at those below First Class rank (say,
by laying out a compass course on a couple of campouts).
The best patrols we have in our troop right now have started as New Scout
Patrols. Retention has generally been good. I hope we aren't alone in
getting good results.
Greg Benesh ASM, etc. Heart O'Texas Council
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City