Re: Adult/Leader Patrols
Alan Houser (troop24@EMF.NET)
Tue, 2 Dec 1997 22:42:09 -0800
Stephanie Everett <everetts@ANNAP.INFI.NET> wrote:
>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.
>Some background... Our troop is mostly young scouts: out of about 25 boys
>only 5 are First Class or above; only 3 are 14 or over. The Troop is 5
>years old, but had always been very small until the year before last; all
>the current members except one have joined the Troop in the last 2 years.
>The sudden growth has been tough on everyone, including the SM. We have 2-4
>adults actively working with each of the 3 patrols (all but 1 (me) are
>trained ASMs; 2 are currently doing their Woodbadge tickets). However, from
>what I observe, the troop has never been truly boy-led. With such a young
>group and so many adults, I fear we're in danger of being a "Cub Scout
>Troop", if you know what I mean.
What I would do in this case is to hold a campout for the boy leaders
with the adult leaders. During this time, you can certainly work on the
regular Junior Leader Training (JLT) program (I recommend it), but I
would supplement it with some hands-on-teaching of teaching techniques.
Review the skills that the First Class Scouts should have, and show them
how to teach those same skills to the younger Scouts. Here your Wood
Badge-trained colleagues can show their stuff.
The idea is that all of this adult-led stuff takes place away from the
rest of the troop. Once everyone goes back to the troop, the boy leaders
should know that you will support them in any way they need to get them
READY to run the troop by themselves, but you won't run it if they don't.
When we started with boy-planned, boy-run, I did make it clear that the
adults were not there to watch them play games. If they wanted to have a
Scout meeting or campout, they would have to plan a Scout program and make
it happen. Otherwise, the adults would just send them home. We never had
to do that, but we were fortunate to have had a few Scouts who had been
through the council JLT program.
Mistakes will be made, but lessons will be learned with a bit more impact
than listening to lectures.
When my oldest son first joined Troop 24, the troop grew from one patrol
to two. This was the beginning of the New Scout Patrol program, so we
partitioned the troop along the lines of First Class or not First Class.
A couple of the guys who had been in the troop before this explosion
ended up in the NSP. When it came time to plan the menu for the first
campout, these veterans assured everyone that the older Scouts always
took care of the menu anyway, so "Let's play." After a 12 mile hike
into camp, the NSP asked the older Scouts, "What's for dinner?" They
weren't quite prepared for the answer, "What did you bring?"
They never, ever failed to plan a menu again. And no, they didn't go
hungry. The troop quartermaster had included a large can of minestrone
soup and some instant oatmeal in their patrol box. For emergencies.
As for the adult patrol, I recommend it. It is easier to get new parents
to realize that you're serious about the boys taking care of themselves
if they really are. If you have an adult hanging out with the patrol,
there is no way you're going to get that adult to keep his or her hands
and parental instincts out of the way. Even with that, I have still had
to (figuratively) slap some hands.
And you're right, there is some leading by example there. We would show
them that there are other meals besides warming up a can of beef stew or
boiling some hot dogs. They could always come taste our stuff, but they
had to eat their own cooking first. By the time that first NSP became
the seniors, they were fixing some pretty fancy food and in the same
amount of time as the younger patrols would spend with the basics. And
when they wanted to improve the level of cooking in the patrols, they
held their own cooking contest!
At our summer camp, the Scouts eat in the dining hall all week, except
for "Cook's Day Off" -- Wednesday. On Wednesdays, each troop would
receive from the kitchen the ingredients and menus for the day. Break-
fast and lunch were a slam dunk. Dinner was a bit more work, beef
stew, with bisquik (for dumplings or bread-on-a-stick) and apples with
cinnamon and brown sugar. The first year I got to stay all week at
summer camp, I asked about the apples. "Oh, we're supposed to bake
them, but everyone just eats them plain."
I took out my knife and started coring the apple. A Scout wandered by.
"What are you doing?" I explained how I was preparing to bake my apple
in the coals. Another Scout wandered by. Pretty soon, there were a
dozen Scouts coring apples, stuffing them with cinnamon and brown sugar
and a bit of butter, wrapping them in foil and putting them into the coals.
Every single apple got baked that year. And eaten.
Alan R. Houser ** email@example.com
** Scoutmaster, Troop 24, Berkeley, California **
** WWW page ** http://www.emf.net/~troop24/t24.html **
Scoutmaster, Mt. Diablo Silverado Council Jamboree Troop #637
** http://www.geocities.com/Yosemite/Trails/9637/ **
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City