New Scout Patrol/Experienced Scout Patrol
George Hay Kain, III (ghkain@CYBERIA.COM)
Wed, 28 Feb 1996 14:35:49 -0600
We have a troop of 38 registered Scouts and plenty of adult leaders. We
have a functioning PLC, and have lots of good Scouting and good program
activities. However, a somewhat heated discussion is continuing within our
Troop Committee, and I would greatly appreciate some input from the
collective wisdom of Scouts-L.
Our oldest two patrols are at about 3 or 4 active Scouts each. The
third-oldest patrol, the Cobras, is at about 8-9 active Scouts. The newest
patrol (they crossed over from Webelos in March, last year), the Flaming
Arrows, is 13 strong. Since our Pack graduates its Webelos into our Troop,
almost all our patrols are essentially the Cub Den/Webelos Den that
graduated into the troop in any given year. The Cobras have been Scouts for
two years, the Flaming Arrows for one year. Almost every one of the Flaming
Arrows have made First Class in the first year of Scouting in accordance
with National's guidelines. They have more patrol meetings, wear their
uniforms more frequently, and do more "neat Scouting stuff", than the rest
of the troop put together. They almost beat the Cobras, one year their
seniors, in getting to be all First Class Scouts.
The issue is that some of the Troop Committee feel that once the "New Scout
Patrol" has completed its first year, it should be broken up and the members
farmed out to "round out" the other older patrols in membership. They point
to language in the Boy Scout Handbook, p. 10, which reads as follows: "Once
you have earned the First Class badge or have entered the seventh grade, you
will have learned all you can from your new Scout patrol. You will be ready
to join one of your troop's experienced Scout patrols."
Others feel very strongly that since this group of boys has been together
for six years (they were Tiger Cubs, Wolf, Bear, Webelos I, and Webelos II)
together, and since none of them want to join any other patrols and in fact
want very much to stay together ("We've come this far together, we want to
make Eagle together!"), they should not be forcibly broken up just to
satisfy some adult's interpretation of the Handbook. They argue that the
Handbook concept of a New Scout Patrol followed by a transfer to experienced
patrols may be fine for situation where boys join a troop at random times
(versus all at once in the Webelos cross-over), and where they don't know
each other to begin with (unlike here where the boys have a six year track
record together). I fear that forcible or entreated breakup and transfer of
this patrol is likely to actually kill the current enthusiasm these boys
have for Scouting, and for helping each other to "make Eagle together." I
am well aware I betray my bias in the way I have reported the situation, but
I believe my facts are stated correctly.
If the boys wanted to break up and transfer into other patrols, they could
do so at any time, since our current Troop policy is that patrol transfers
are permitted at any time with the consent of the Scoutmaster and of the
PLC. I am just against forcing them to do so, and I'm against "lobbying"
them to do so. I.e., I don't want the committee members of the opposite
viewpoint to be telling the boys, "It's your choice, but the Handbook says
you should be disbanded, and as good Scouts, you want to follow the
Handbook, don't you?"
If I'm wrong, and the boys really should be encouraged to join other
patrols, I'm willing to listen. I want what's best for the boys. I would
really welcome any thoughts pro or con that you experienced Scouters may be
able to offer.
/s/ George Hay Kain, III <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Attorney at Law (Estates & Trusts)
29 North Queen Street, York, PA 17403-1428
Telephone and Fax: 717-848-3500
Assistant Scoutmaster for Training, Troop 25, B.S.A. (aka The Cyber-Eagle)
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