Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting, said “The Patrol system is not one method in which Scouting for boys can be carried on. It is the only method.” Based on a Roundtable presentation given by Kamal Amer, Armadillo District Training Chair, here’s 5 ways you can make the Patrol method work for your Troop.
- Are the Patrols made up of 6 to 8 Scouts with similar experience (new Scouts, mid rank Scouts, and older Scouts)?
Patrol members will have more in common with each other (age, rank, experience, goals) so their Patrol activities can be more age-appropriate. To help reduce opportunities for bullying, there should be no more than three years of age difference between a patrol’s oldest and youngest members.
- Does each Patrol have boy leadership (Patrol Leader, Asst. Patrol Leader, Scribe, and Quartermaster)?
Leadership development is an important part of Scouting and it begins in the Patrol. While Patrol Leader is obviously the most important role, the positions of Scribe, Quartermaster, and Chaplain give Scouts the opportunity to demonstrate the competence and reliability their peers will look for in selecting future Patrol Leaders.
- Does each Patrol have a name, a flag, and a yell?
A Patrol takes pride in its own identity, and its members strive to make theirs the best Patrol possible. While they see their Patrol as their home in Scouting, they often cooperate with other Patrols during Troop games, adventures, and opportunities to learn skills and to complete requirements for advancement.
- Do they have Patrol meetings to plan for outings and activities, work on skills, maintain their Patrol gear, rehearse ceremonies, and play games?
Planning, preparing and enjoying a successful campout, hike, or other Patrol activity develops leadership, teaches cooperation, and builds confidence. Working together as a team, Patrol members share the responsibility of making the Patrol a success.
- Are your Patrols working to achieve and maintain the National Honor Patrol Award?
A great way to build Patrol spirit is to promote the National Honor Patrol Award, which is given to Patrols that meet prescribed requirements over a three-month period.