Re: Adult/Leader Patrols
settummanque, or blackeagle (blkeagle@DYNASTY.NET)
Tue, 2 Dec 1997 00:08:53 -0600
Stephanie asked us all:
>I am looking to the collective wisdom of the List for advice regarding
>adult or leader patrols in a boy scout troop. The ASMs and a couple of
>the more active committee members (including me) would like to establish >a
leaders' patrol in our troop in order to (1) teach and lead the boys by
>example rather than trying to direct them from behind, and (2) to help
>keep the adults out of the boys' way so we can become a more boy-led
>troop. However, the SM is reluctant, because he fears we would be
>"abandoning" the boys, especially on campouts.
And he's right, Stephanie!! Here's some advice I gave to Tim a couple of
years back...it's still valid:
Nov 06 02:13:44 1995
To: SCOUTS-L Youth Groups Discussion List <SCOUTS-L@TCUBVM.IS.TCU.EDU>
From: "Settummanque, the blackeagle (Mike Walton)" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Leadership Corps
>In our Troop what we do is we have the Leadership Corps work as a >patrol
but we add the Adults to that patrol too. What happens is that the
>Leadership Corps goes out into the field working with the patrols and
>assisting patrol leaders as needed (the new classification would be they
>are serving as Troop Guides). The adults share in the duties of the patrol.
>This ends up being a rather large patrol so when duties are assigned,
>there are always extra people to go work with the other patrols.
I have some problems with both youth and adult members of a patrol. It may
work well for your Troop, but my understanding of the "rules of the game of
Scouting", is that youth members call the shots to youth members...and us
adults are only there to keep them from hacking each other's fingers off and
to stand around drinking warm beverages while talking about how the youth
members have grown mentally, physically and experience-wise in the Troop.
Troop Guides *only* work with the New Scout Patrol, and NOT with established
Patrols. That's where that Troop Leader Training your Troop and the local
Council offers comes into play.
> The way that scouts get into the Leadership Corps is that they are voted
>in by the Corps. They have to be a Life Scout, demonstrate leadership, be
>a good example and then they go through what is called a Leadership >Corps
board of review.
Huh? This sounds like a cross between the Order of the Arrow and some new
advancement rank. Be careful with this, Tim...some kid's parents can get
their noses bent to a point where your Council will be involved
....boards of review are ONLY for Scout advancement, NOT for leadership
>During the BOR the corps discusses what the expectation of a >Leadership
Corps member is, finds out the scout's attitude about >scouting, etc. We
(Leadership Corps and myself as Scoutmaster) discuss >the candidates before
a decision in made.
What happened to the Senior Patrol Leader making the decision, with the
Scoutmaster's consent? Why do you need a "board of review"?
>Those that do not make it into the Corps have an opportunity to ask why
>not and we will discuss what they need to improve on prior to being
>appointed to the Leadership Corps. At times we will move these scouts
>where they can demonstrate more leadership (offer to let them move to
>ASSIST a weaker patrol if their present patrol has larger group >Leadership
Corps candidates). We have a limit to the size Leadership >Corps as well.
The Leadership Corps also does plan things as a patrol >and at times serves
a role model for the other patrols. For us it works >great and the scouts
strive to get into this patrol. I feel it keeps them on >their toes and when
they are in Leadership Corps. I as a Scoutmaster >have much more contact
with them (understand that our troop has 60+ >scouts so my time is limited,
the assistants help) to help instill Scouting >ideals and principles. The
Leadership Corps works very much with the >PLC but also identifies problems
and works on solutions to these >problems so that the PLC can work on the
program. I personally would >not have it any other way. It works for us, it
may not for a smaller group, >it has been a while since I have had that
experience. I will tell you that >right now I have about 14 scouts (23%)
that are 16 years or older in the >program. It is hard to say that they are
not an asset to the younger >scouts. They love it as well. I can only talk
about my experience.
That's fair, but I still have this concern about what happens to that 17
year old Life Scout, nine months from Eagle, without a leadership position
and after appearing before your Troop's "leadership corps board of review",
fails it. What does this tell him about his chances for attaining Eagle?
What does it tell him about his chances for a Troop leadership position with
nine months left before his 18th birthday?
>Now the reason that I heard for elimination the Leadership Corps was it
>created a group of scouts that ended up hazing the younger scouts. The
>reason that they separated the ages was to eliminate the possibility of
>this hazing. I can understand that reason, but that is something that
>should be address by the leadership of the troop. To me that is a lack of
>good leadership of the troop. Don t eliminate the entire program for one
>problem, retrain the leaders to deal with the problem.
The reason for the elimination of the Leadership Corps, Tim, was because it
wasn't working the way the BSA intended it to. Your Troop's Leadership
Corps example here is an excellent example of why the BSA chucked the LC in
favor of the Varsity/Venture programs (and later chucked the Varsity program
in the Troop).
As I've wrote before, the LC was somehow viewed as a "super patrol", led by
an Assistant Scoutmaster that thought that this "patrol" should be THE
example, the "do it all"s ("We have a parade to march in...let's put the
leadership corps in charge of it"; "We need to have a patrol to set up the
campsite...put the leadership corps in charge of it, because they're
experienced and they know what they're doing...") of the Troop instead of
just serving as "trainers and coaches to the members of the Troop" (taken
from the Leadership Corps booklet).
By creating a "special group", complete with a special board for entry and
placing adults in the same group, kinda comprises the intent of youth
leadership of the Troop as well as youth execution of the Troop's program.
I'm sorry, but while it may work within your Troop, I don't see it being
exportable to other Troops.
The most important concern I have is that how are you handling the
leadership requirements for those Life Scouts being "placed" into the
Troop's Leadership Corps? As someone else already pointed out here, if you
place "Leadership Corps" on the Eagle application, you stand a 98 percent
chance of getting it returned either by your Council or by the Eagle Scout
Service at National, along with a note to your Council Scout Executive
informing him or her of the problem.
If you are "appointing them" as Instructors, that's not going to work
either, since Instructor is not in the list of Troop positions that will get
them toward completion of the leadership development requirement for Eagle.
And "Troop Guide", while will work toward the Eagle rank, when he attends
the Council or District's Eagle Board of Review, how does he explain what he
does as "Troop Guide" when he's not working alongside a New Scout Patrol and
it's Patrol Leader?
While it's sounds really great, Tim, I would try to tailor the organization
of your leadership corps into the Venture program. In that way, you can
retain the adults, retain the youth (drop the "board"...who are you kidding?
As Scoutmaster, I *knew* which Scouts are "destined for leadership" in MY
mind and which weren't...but it really doesn't matter what I thought...the
leadership corps should be there for ANY Scout that meets your Troop's rank
and age requirement. The entire intent of a
"leadership corps" should be to allow those to learn and use skills of
leadership in your Troop and community, not to just get those that would
"make good leaders" and put them in all in a "group". You, me, or anyone
here on the list has no idea of whom would be a "good leader" in your Troop
or our own and whom wouldn't. This is why we have such a problem dealing
with Senior Patrol Leaders that the Troop elects, that one may the best SPL
ever...and the other the absolute worst.
As I've stated before about Troop leadership, you need to let them "sink or
swim", offering them advice and coaching but let them succeed or fail on
their own terms. If you do this, I guarantee that your Troop operation will
be smoother, you will have less yanking of hair and usage of Maalox (tm),
and best of all, the youth leaders know that they are responsible and will
act and react accordingly. If you constantly have your "leadership corps" to
do everything for your Troop, your Troop-elected SPL will eventually give
control of your Troop over to the "leadership corps", and won't worry about
planning or coordinating or evaluating....and the same will go with your
Patrols as well. If they know that if they mess stuff up to a point, and
that your Leadership Corps members will come in and "fix it", they won't
learn how to lead a Patrol and will be dependant upon the
Leadership Corps for their survival.
The BSA built the original Leadership Corps concept to eventually "put them
(the members of the Corps) out of business" within a couple of years,
replacing them with new members that need the additional leadership
experiences, which eventually will "put them out of business", and so on. It
wasn't made as a ongoing, self-sufficent "patrol". It's not a patrol,
because of the number of members ("should be no more than eight members, or
one third of the active Troop membership, whichever is less"
-- also taken from the LC booklet), and there's only one or maybe two adults
assigned to work with them.
Again, the program sounds great and it may be a godsend to your Troop. But
if I was a Scoutmaster right now, I wouldn't do it. I trust my Senior Patrol
Leader, my Patrol Leaders and the adults that assist me in doing their jobs
and teaching each other the "game of Scouting". If they don't do their job,
the Troop will know it well before I will, and they won't get elected to
serve as a leader again. It's simple. A misable campout in which poor
planning contributed to it's demise is more of a teaching point
than a group of youth and adults camping off on their own, "showing the rest
of the Troop" just "how's its done".
If your recall your Wood Badge experience, Tim, there was a Leadership Corps
there. They didn't "camp off on their own and showed everyone how things
were done"; they were the teachers, the coaches, the ones that did the
instruction and provided the positive modelling for the Troop's Patrol
Leaders and their Assistants. The Leadership Corps had only one advisor, the
Second Assistant Scoutmaster (now, it's the Assistant Scoutmaster -
Venture/Varsity). That's the way the BSA intended the
old Leadership Corps to work and the present Venture program to work as well.
(That's where I as the Scoutmaster would come in and work with my Assistants
and the Senior Patrol Leader to make sure that the event, while a terrible
experience, becomes a teaching experience and everyone at least eats, sleeps
and keeps from chopping off each other's fingers and toes...while I and my
Assistants talk about how it could be a better experience the next time
while drinking warm beverages. *smiling*)
Substitute the "youth and adult Leadership Corps" for your pure adult
leadership patrol and you see that for the same reasoning, I don't recommend
it and I side with your Scoutmaster. Let your young Troop grow....and give
those youth members chances to see what GOOD and BAD things happen. It
requires a lot more "teaching and coaching" and perhaps a little less
"camping", but the end result is a STRONG TROOP that can STAND ON ITS OWN
and not dependent upon adults "showing them how it's done".
Hope this all helps!
(c) 1997 Mike Walton ("no such thing as strong coffee,...") (502) 827-9201
(settummanque, the blackeagle) http://dynasty.net/users/blkeagle
241 Fairview Dr., Henderson, KY 42420-4339 email@example.com
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