Keith Wood (kwood@CJNETWORKS.COM)
Tue, 2 Dec 1997 09:40:28 -0500
>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.
Over the years, even as the official program has wavered back and forth on
a Leadership Corp type patrol, our troop has operated with an older Scout
patrol called the Guiding Eagles. Generally these are Life and Eagles.
Most of their peers have left the troop over time and they are the combined
remnants of several patrols. But they know their stuff and they work well
together, providing leadership and example, sometimes with counseling from
In turn, we form the adults into a patrol - the Old Goats. The Old Goats
camp together as a patrol, set up duty rosters, have a patrol leader who
attends the patrol leaders councils, eat together- never with the boys, and
set the example too.
This does not mean that we don't interact with the Scouts, teaching skills,
counseling, moving through campsites and offering advice and counsel,
helping with advancements, etc. It does mean that we don't do for the boys
what they should be doing for themselves, such as making decisions about
where to set up the patrol campsites, setting up rosters, conducting
meetings, and so on.
Does it work all the time? No, of course not, depending on the strengths
and skills of the patrol leaders and senior patrol leader. Sometimes the
meetings are really ragged and we have to grit our teeth, but it's their
program, not the adults. Sometimes the olders Scouts provide more help than
other times. It works more often than not. We have grown over the years
to about eighty Scouts on the roster, many stay until their 18th birthday,
we have a higher than average rate of Eagles.
Most importantly, the Scoutmaster does not have to shoulder the whole load.
He is not abandoning the boys. He is helping them become independent,
confident leaders. And that has worked through the tenure of five
Scoutmasters in 18 years. It will be hard for the Scoutmaster to step
back and take a hands off approach, but he needs to do it.
The answer to your question: yes, allow a leadership patrol to develop and
keep the adults out of the patrols.
Assistant Scoutmaster T-59
(Former Scoutmaster, District Commissioner, etc.)
"I used to be a Lightning Bobwhite."
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City