Scouts-L Mail Archive for June of 1999: Re: New Scout Patrol question
Re: New Scout Patrol question
Wed, 9 Jun 1999 10:56:01 -0700
Anthony Mako <ajmako@NLS.NET> wrote:
><Roman Smith wrote, snipped>
>New scout patrols have never been very successful in our troop, but
>these guys have already shown that they can work together. After
>discussing with our troop leadership the idea of keeping them as a
>patrol, the troop wants to split them up into the existing patrols.
>My thought is that if we keep them as a group, the retention rate may
>be better, as there may be more peer pressure to stay on with their
>friends. But I do not want to start my tenure by vetoing the first
>decision that the troop leadership makes.
>I have two questions: 1) Why haven't NSPs been very successful? 2) Who
>do you mean when you say "troop leadership"?
>If you can figure out why NSPs haven't been successful in the past,
>this may give you a few clues as to how to fix them in the future. Ask
>the remaining Scouts from those "failed patrols" what they think the
It took us several years to iron out the workings of the New Scout
Patrol method, and one of the key helps was input from the Troop
Guides and the surviving Scouts about how to improve it.
Here's what we found:
1) The Troop Guide is absolutely critical to making it go. He has to
be a Scout who knows his Scouts skills inside out and who can teach
those skills to the younger Scouts. If he doesn't do his job well, we
could lose the whole patrol. Incidently, Troop Guide appears to be on
the career path to Senior Patrol Leader in Troop 24. He learns a whole
lot about leadership. Since we started the NSP method, only one SPL has
not been a Troop Guide.
2) The Troop Guide is a member of the NSP. He meets with them during
meetings, he camps and hikes with them on outings. He cannot be effective
if he has to divide his attention between the needs of the New Scouts and
the needs of his old patrol. To compensate for his need for hanging out
with the older Scouts, he can participate in Venture Patrol activities
when he is not needed by the New Scouts.
3) Support your Troop Guide. At the very minimum, he needs an Assistant
Scoutmaster as a resource. Last year for the first time, we added a
Junior Assistant Scoutmaster as well, and it was very useful in working
with a large patrol. This year, I could not persuade any of my older
Scouts to serve as a JASM with the Troop Guide, so I added a second
Troop Guide to help the first.
4) Although BSA says that the New Scouts should move into regular patrols
as they make First Class, we have found that the patrol chemistry works
better to keep them together for the first year. More than once, the
NSP has earned the Patrol Spirit Award (a Troop 24 award) for the year.
5) A critical mass is necessary. It works best when you have a Webelos
Den bridge into the troop together. If you have fewer than four New Scouts,
the NSP method breaks down, and it may be better to integrate them into
regular patrols. However, when we do that, we have to work harder with
the Patrol Leaders to get them to teach the skills to the New Scouts. We
have had much less success with New Scouts advancing under traditional
patrols than with the New Scout Patrol method, probably because we have
shifted to the NSP method as our standard.
After a year, the New Scout Patrol is no longer comprised of New Scouts,
so they have the ability to move to any other patrol, or to remain
together as an older Scout patrol. Earlier this year, because of a
number of inactive Scouts in the older patrols, we opted to combine 3
patrols into 2. As last year's NSP was nearing the end of its year,
we offered them the chance to move if they wanted to. Their response:
Alan R. Houser ** firstname.lastname@example.org
** Scoutmaster, Troop 24, Berkeley, California **
** Committee Member, Crew 24, Berkeley, California **
** Boy Scout Roundtable Commissioner, Herms District **
** WWW page ** http://www.emf.net/~troop24/t24.html **