NEW BOY PATROLS [long-ish post] (fwd)
Paul H. Brown (phbrown@CAPACCESS.ORG)
Thu, 17 Apr 1997 10:11:30 -0400
From: DOMINICK S CARIDI
Date: 4/17/97 9:01AM
To: DOMINICK S CARIDI
Subject: Re: NEW BOY PATROLS [long-ish post]
BTW, I agree completely with you, Scouting is about values and
principles not fires and tents. Fires and tents are the means to an
end, not the end!
I agree with Kirk Barley and others Newboy patrols can work. We have
entered our second year using the New Boy Patrol methodology and we
find it significantly better than the method we were using before.
We have an ASM, JASM, TG, and TI responsible for the monitoring and
delivering patrol's learning. The boys elect a new PL every month, or
so, in this way every boy gets to understand the importance of
leadership and followership.
We are keeping last year's new boy patrol as a patrol. We are doing
this for several reasons.
First, group cohesion is a fragile thing. Once we've created a team,
I don't want to go back to the forming stage by changing personnel
around. I find the standard group dynamics model of team behavior,
forming-storming-norming-performing, is a good model for understanding
how patrols function. It takes nearly the year to get that new boy
patrol to a point where they really function like a seasoned,
performing, team. Moving them into already established patrols not
only destroys the team that they have become but, also forces the team
that they've joined back into a forming stage.
Second, as the new boy team moves through stages of
forming-storming-norming-performing, the team responsible for
monitoring and delivering patrol's learning, the ASM, JASM, TG, and
TI, moves through stages, as well. The stages they move through are:
Third, keeping the new boy patrol as a permanent patrol fits our
organization. Over the last several years we've moved into an
aged-based patrol set up. No one really engineered that change, it
just happened. In fact, everyone, both youth and adult, tried very
hard to keep it from happening. The older boys especially, expressed
their concern that moving into aged-based patrols would create a
situation where the older boys would not get to know the younger boys.
So there we were, boys in mixed-age patrols having a wonderful time.
The boys sat together at meetings, advanced together, went to other
Scouting events together and tent and cook together at campouts. The
only problem was that what was together was not the patrols but the
aged-based groups. So the boys got together and reviewed the situation
and decided to let form follow function and establish aged-based
patrols. The quid pr quo for the aged-based patrol was that the older
boys had to take an active role in extending friendship and training.
An added benefit is that the adults didn't have to help monitor for
age-appropriate conversations that often occur in mixed age patrols
when 2 eleven year-olds sit in on the conversation of 2 sixteen year
olds and learn about "stuff" that girls have before they are mature
enough to handle the information.
I know there are many that would suggest that this is not the way to
implement the program. But I would disagree, at least for my
situation. We have made integration of the troop am important value.
Having the boys really know one another is very important! An the
older boys set the example. They have done an outstanding job of
getting to know the younger boys both formally, through training, and
informally [through other activities]. For example, last Fall we
visited a Coast Guard Station. The boys were so well behaved that the
NCO-IC offered to give the boys swift-boat rides. To take his
invitation we had to go in shifts. The patrol of oldest boys paired
themselves off with the patrol of youngest boys.
For me, measurement of success is provided by my customers [the
scouts, the parents, the chartering organization, the BSA
organization, and the Aims & Methods of Scouting]. The boys in the
troop say they are satisfied. They also show that they are satisfied:
we've grown in size and our retention rate is better. Right now, at
this rechartering, we number 56 boys. There have been no drop-outs
from the newboy patrol and the high school-aged boys have grown to 24
boys [lost 2 to age] representing 2 patrols.
I've many good friends in Scouting who also happen to be Mormons. It
would be immodest of me not to identify the fact that I've blatantly
used their model as a guide. In my assessment and limited knowledge,
Scouting within the LDS church does an outstanding job of
understanding the nuances of youth as they mature from pre- to post-
adolescence. The LDS Scout moves from Scout to Varsity to Explorer.
Now, I realize that this fits nicely with the LDS religious education
program [Deacons, Teachers, Priests] but, at more fundamental basis
they are implementing a more comprehensive view of what we present as
"ages and stages" in the SMF course.
YiS & WWW,
SM T1509, GWD/NCAC
SM T436 [Jambo]
George Washington Dist Boy Scout Program Training Chair
National Capital Area Council
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City