Re: New Scout Patrol Numbers
(no name) ((no email))
Sun, 3 Dec 1995 22:53:56 -0600
Don Tobin wrote:
>We are in the process of setting up new scout patrol(s) and would like to
>know others experience in the "perfect" number. Right now we have enough for
>seven. Is that too many?
Well, let's see what the books say. The BSA's Patrol and Troop Leadership
books all say that eight is the most "ideal number". Why eight?
With eight members:
you can divide the patrol into two teams with four members each
you can have four tents with two Scouts in each tent
you can divide the camp chores/tasks into four two-Scout teams:
fuelers, preparers, cleanupers, programmers.
Many management books state that eight is also an ideal number for something
called a "span of control". This is the largest number of people that
someone can exercise leadership over effectively.
Finally, the eight members to a patrol is how Baden-Powell envisioned and
"designed" the patrol to operate under. This is what "Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt
stated in the 1929 Handbook for Patrol Leaders:
"Eight boys is usaully considered *the* number for a patrol. A Patrol
Leader, his Assistant, and six other Scouts who take care of the rest of the
Patrol's duties is very often believed to be the best.
But this doesn't neccessarily have to be so. It doesn't exactly that a
Patrol is incomplete, if it has less than eight members. What is
neccessary, is that the Patrol shall have the right gang-formation.
Six might be just the figure for your Patrol. In fact, if you look around,
you will see that there are possibily more successful Patrols with a
membership of six than there are with eight. It sometimes seems true that
that it is easier for the average Patrol Leader to handle five rather than
No hard and fast rule can be laid down as to size, but as a general rule it
can be said that the best number is from six to eight. Fewer than six will
often mean inconvience because there aren't enough boys to fill the places
in Patrol competitions, on camp trips and so forth, while a number bigger
than eight often will prove impossible for the Patrol Leader to handle."
Use your best judgement, Don, but anything from six to eight members in a
Patrol is the best bet.
(MAJ) Mike L. Walton (Settummanque, the blackeagle) (
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