Re: Senior Patrol
Alan Houser (troop24@EMF.NET)
Fri, 4 Oct 1996 23:27:52 -0700
Robert Sharek <drdaddy@ICANECT.NET> asked:
>How do you troops out there handle the "senior" scouts? We had a senior
>patrol made up of 14 year old (and older) and had Life rank. We had hoped
>that they would be involved in the teaching of skills to the younger boys
>but they evolved into a bunch of prima donnas. Tonite, we disbanded this
>patrol and integrated them into the other patrols.
>We dont want to take away from them the fact that they got this far in
>rank. But we need them to use the skills they learned and pass it on.
>How does everyone else handle this and what can we do to keep the older
>boys excited (other than OA and that sort of stuff)?
We had a landmark event this year: two members of the Senior Patrol
opted to step down and back into regular patrols. This is the first
time that's happened in the 6 years I've been there. One, a former
SPL, is still the Venture Crew Chief, the position he held last year
after stepping down as SPL. The other is now a JASM, after serving as
Scribe and Instructor. Both made it a point not to be candidates for
Patrol Leader, but both are in patrols where they can be of assistance
to the Patrol Leaders.
Actually, last year (95-96) the PLC decided to have the Senior Patrol
elected, and one member was not returned to the Senior Patrol. He became
a Patrol Leader when he returned to his old patrol. Not coincidently,
that patrol scored the highest at camporee among the 4 patrols we sent.
The key thing here is whether it is considered a demotion. The one
fellow who didn't get voted back did feel a bit upset about it, but
he worked through it fine. The two who stepped down voluntarily have
no such feelings, of course.
Now that the precedent is out there (and one of them who stepped down
is an Eagle Scout; the other starts his project tomorrow), I'm hoping
that the others see it as a natural course of events: to allow new
leadership to come forward, and to avoid draining the patrols of
leadership as well. I think the current Senior Patrol members are also
discovering it's a lot of work to be a troop leader, and maybe they
will have earned a little respite afterwards.
As for your second problem, how to get them to teach the skills that
they have learned, we have been very fortunate in keeping our older
Scouts active. Two reasons come to mind: (1) the troop is their
responsibility -- I don't run it, they do. If they are planning the
program, it's what they want to be doing. (2) Our Venture Crew program
is open to those older Scouts who are active in the troop and doing
their part in passing on skills and otherwise showing leadership. No
sliding along waiting for the good stuff.
It seems to have worked pretty well -- we've only lost two Scouts who
didn't want to work for the fun stuff in 3.5 years. Mostly they turn
18 & go away to college. The median age in our troop is now 14, up
from 12 four years ago. We have five 17-year-olds, and one who turned
18 today, in a troop of 33 Scouts. Which reminds me, I'd better move
him over to the adult leadership web page....
Alan R. Houser ** Scoutmaster, Berkeley Troop 24 ** email@example.com
** WWW page ** http://www.emf.net/~troop24/t24.html **
Scoutmaster, Mt. Diablo Silverado Council Contingent Jamboree Troop #3
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City