Scouts-L Mail Archive for June of 1999: Re: New Scout Patrol question
Re: New Scout Patrol question
Thu, 10 Jun 1999 15:20:21 -0400
<Alan Houser wrote>
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.
Evaluation and Reflection are important skills for Troop Guides AND
Scoutmasters. Leadership involves constantly asking yourself "how can
we make this better?"
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.
While the TG is directly involved with the NSP, there should be an
emphasis on the fact that the TG is a troop leader. He may spend most
of his time within the patrol, but should maintain some distance so he
isn't tempted to take control. Remember, the TG has two tasks: 1) to
teach the new Scouts the basic Scout skills and help them advance
toward 1st Class; and 2) to teach them how to work together as a
patrol, make decisions, and live under their own leadership. If he
gets too involved in this process the second task suffers.
3) Support your Troop Guide ... we added a Junior Assistant
Scoutmaster as well, and it was very useful in working with a large
Ever wonder what to do with a JASM? Acting as the NSP-SA is a perfect
job. It involves a lot of adult responsibility, and is perfectly
suited to a 17 year old Scout. He is still close enough to the Scout's
age to have a pretty good idea what their concerns and motivations
are, and he's close enough to being an adult to accept the challenge
of this role. If you have a few JASM's and not very many SA's, it a
good job for a JASM. Thanks Alan, that really hadn't occurred to me
until you mentioned it.
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
The problem I have with the BSA notion of the NSP is that we spend a
lot of time and effort teaching Scouts how a patrol works then, when
it finally _is_ working, we take them out of that patrol and put them
in a different one. The BSA's concept, it seems to me, removes the
emphasis on a troop being MADE UP of patrols and puts it on a troop
DIVIDED INTO patrols.
If you have fewer than four New Scouts, the NSP method breaks down,
and it may be better to integrate them into regular patrols ... We
have had much less success with New Scouts advancing under traditional
patrols than with the New Scout Patrol method...
Probably because the focus of a "permanent" patrol involves the
advancement of all of the Scouts in the patrol. In the NSP, it's
easier to advance because all of the members are in the same boat -
they all need basically the same requirements. In a "traditional"
patrol the new Scout's needs must be weighed against the needs of the
rest of the patrol. Being outnumbered, he usually has to advance on
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 ... 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: NO WAY!
Good for them! They probably figured it would take much less effort to
continue together. Remember, a Scout does his best, but that doesn't
mean he always has to do things the hard way. That last sentence of
yours illustrates what I believe is the fundamental flaw of the NSP as
designed by the BSA. I don't even like calling it the NSP. They choose
a name, that's who they are!
A. J. Mako, firstname.lastname@example.org , Scoutmaster Troop 381
Home of the Unofficial Win95 Boy Scout Desktop Theme,
Old Portage District, Great Trail Council, BSA
"I used to be an Eagle (C-7-97), but I'll always be an Eagle (1981)"