New Scout Patrol Success!
Neal L. Wood (70612.3014@COMPUSERVE.COM)
Thu, 10 Feb 1994 12:28:21 EST
A long posting follows. Executive Summary - the program will work well,
but you have to put a significant effort into it.
The New Scout Patrol concept can and does work! We have been using it in
my troop for three years. I know of two other local troops which have had
good success with the program.
There are some requirements for the program to work which may not be
obvious. You must have an assistant scoutmaster whose sole responsibility
is to work with the new scout patrols. You also need your the best junior
leaders as troop guides. We operated for six months without a senior
patrol leader because we needed our oldest and brightest as troop guides.
How we do it.
We run a semi-split program. During all meetings, the new scouts work on
separate programs from the "experienced" scouts. On some campouts, the
entire troop has the same program (canoeing, skiing). Where possible,
the PLC plans a more challenging program for the "experienced" scouts.
An example, we will drop off the "experienced" scouts with their adults
ten miles from the campsite so they can backpack in. The new scouts will
be dropped off only one or two miles from the site. When the troop goes
caving, the new scouts will explore several short caves, while the older
scouts may spend six hours in a large cave. Both groups get to
participate in the activities, and each group gets appropriate challenges.
The ASM and troop guides are solely responsible for running the new scout
program. The program is planned by the troop guides and the new scout
patrol leaders with guidence from the ASM. Each meeting focuses on one
or more tenderfoot to first class requirements, which are taught by the
troop guides with help from other leaders. The new scout patrols operate
as patrols at all times. The entire focus of the new scout program is on
the basic scout skills the new scouts need for camping and advancement.
The new scouts learn the skills they need to participate in our regular
programs quickly, and soon want to graduate into the "experienced" scout
program. By completing requirements and ranks relatively quickly, the
scouts seem to stay enthused about scouting (because they are making
The troop has another assistant scoutmaster devoted to the "experienced"
scout program. We have found that this is a much more difficult program
to run. We base this program on merit badges. The trouble we have is
getting merit badge counselors who are willing to come to a troop meeting
and work with a group of scouts. We also include some high adventure
preparations into the program. The "experienced" scouts get to work on
new and different subjects, which seems to be keeping their interest in
The troop has been retaining scouts well into their teens. The level of
advancement has increased dramaticaly. We have a varied and exciting
program, which helps us to recruit more scouts.
The down side of this is our continuing need for trained adult leaders.
For the program to be scout led, the troop leaders need a lot of training
and guidence. This takes trained adult leaders.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City