scouts-l Mail Archive for April of 2000: Re: Jumble Patrols
golden cliff (c60clg1@CORN.CSO.NIU.EDU
Tue Apr 18 2000 - 18:00:42 CDT
> On our outings, the turnout is so low that we can only form one effective
> of 6 or more. So the scouts get jumbled into a "patrol of convenience".
I see no evil in combining patrols on an activity when the numbers or
situation make it necessary.
Patrol Method involves boys working together under boy leadership in a
natural grouping. That's what patrol method is about. It teaches
teamwork, responsibility, cooperation, social skills, and leadership. It
is also a very convenient and structured way to organize projects and
The Method is what is important, not the structure.
An example of where combined patrols are the norm would be a Philmont
crew. You certainly don't try to maintain patrols of two or more Scouts at
Philmont. It wouldn't be practical. Although you have combined patrols,
"Patrol Method" is alive and well at Philmont Scout Ranch. It's just
taken a different form, that of a crew.
Our troop uses Patrol Method in a variety of forms. Camping by
patrol is considered the norm. For high adventure activities where we
take small groups for LNT purposes we combine boys from different patrols
and camp as a crew.
We have several activity "crews" active (I know the term "crew" is no
longer pc in troops). Scouts belong to permanent patrols, but may join a
temporay crew for specific activities.
On a few special events we might even cook as a troop, like our holiday
campout where everyone pitches in to cook a gigantic feast where we all
Boys experience citizenship by working together. That is what we're
trying to do in Scouting, a patrol is a good method for accomplishing that
goal. That's what Patrol Method is about.
Sometimes people treat the patrol as a sacred cow that cannot be altered
for any reason for any activity. That is narrow thinking and can be
counter productive to what we are trying to do.
I think it's more about using Patrol Method, that it is about specific
patrol structure. Keep a natural group of boys working together. Keep that
at the central core of what Patrol Method means, then work from there.
Whether or not to combine patrols isn't the biggest issue you need to
worry about here though.
Why aren't the boys coming out on activities?
Was the program planned by boys or adults?
There are a number of questions that need to be addressed. Patrol
structure isn't the issue, lack of participation is the real problem.
That's a question you need to ask the boys.
Scoutmaster Troop 33