Re: New Scout Patrol
G Schmit (gschmit@AOL.COM)
Sun, 13 Feb 1994 15:16:48 EST
By the time I download the mail, read it, and finally think about a response,
the discussion has gone on to something else just as interesting. This time,
however, I'm going to backtrack.
The New Scout Patrol began 3 years ago; we said "Good Grief" here in Troop
18. (We still like the Skill Awards.) But it's the new policy, so we'll
make it work. The Webelos crossover in early May, so we set up two new
patrols and found Troop Guides and ASM/Patrol Dads (each of our patrols have
an assigned ASM, a nice luxury! No Dad can be the ASM for his son's
patrol.). At the end of the first year, we had good retention, fewer Scouts
making First Class, and we lost the two Troop Guides.
So we talked about it. We had another group of Webelos crossing over and
needed to do something with the yearlings. We decided that the New Scout
Patrols would be disbanded after one year and the Scouts, whether First Class
or not, would select an older patrol. We also decided to limit the time a
Troop Guide could remain with the New Scouts because we wanted him to advance
and enjoy some of the benefits of the other tiers in our program, the
complaints of the 2 we lost. (We have about 40 Scouts and run New Scout,
regular, and High Adventure/Venture programs.) We added to the New Scout
experience a June campout attended by their Guides, SPL, ASPL, and Scouters;
this was a shakedown, etc., for summer camp. At the end of the second year,
we still had our Troop Guides but New Scout retention was down and First
Class ranks were mostly earned by the 2nd year Scouts.
So we talked about it ... and got a little smarter. We asked the PLC what
was happening. They told us that the Troop Guides were those who volunteered
and that they volunteered to be with friends or younger brothers. Even
though they were first class and had to go through training with the ASPL and
ASM-Advancements, the PLC (with New Scout PL's and TG's sitting there) said
that the TG's didn't have enough seasoning (skills+experience). The PLC
suggested using the Instructors (currently age 15+, Star rank+); this would
solve the friendship conflicts and allow the Instructors to float in and out
as needed; no one would be stuck and have to miss the High Adventure trip.
We are and have been satisfied with the Scouts' camping skills; we have not
been satisfied with the speed of advancements (simply getting requirements
signed off) or with Troop unity. We plan a 2-tier Skills Instruction program
for most meetings. The ASPL and New Patrol PL's decide if the "older"
program is relevant and interesting to them; if not, they plan their own for
specific advancement needs.
At last Thursday's meeting, while the Scouts were preparing for the Court of
Honor, the adults met in a corner with the SM. He announced that he wasn't
satisfied with the New Patrol method and he wanted us to think about it so
that we could discuss it at the Scouter Meeting on the 22nd; he hadn't wanted
to bring it up because he felt that we were sold on the program. I was
floored; our SM is BSA policy all the way. We all have had doubts, but we
all seem(ed) to believe it can be made to work if we try a little harder, try
this modification, try ...
So we'll talk about it, ask the PLC, and modify. I think the SM wants to
"modify" it right out the window and go back to traditional patrols from day
one in Boy Scouting. I'm taking printouts of some of your comments to the
meeting on the 22nd; I'd like to thank all for your discussion before I knew
I'd need your comments.
ASM, Trp 18 Caz
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City