I guess if one is going to have mixed aged setups, they have to make extra rules to accommodate the "exceptions". So along with the extra rules now there has to be rules for buddies, too. I may not toe the line with mixed patrols, but I don't have all the extra rules and none of the hassles. I guess that makes my life easier and the boys aren't complaining either. Two boys to a tent they are all within a year or two of each other, no big deal.
Same age patrols require as much massaging as mixed age patrols. If one were unwilling to admit that, they are only fooling themselves that it is different. My experience of mixed age patrols along with our success as adults is very successful. End of story. LOL
Mixing scouting into mixed age patrols is irrelevant in the big picture of the program. The new scouts join right in and make friends immediately. In fact they make friends in mixed age patrols faster than they do in a patrol of same age strangers. The older experienced scouts know how the patrols should function and get the new scouts involved immediately. Same age patrols have to wait for the TG to get the ball rolling and even then it's not like the mixed age patrols that move on as they have been doing.
It appears by how hard one has to defend same age patrols that they are a lot of work. AND THEY ARE. They require a lot of adult observation and a somewhat skilled TG. And our extensive experience in both patrols haw shown over and over that new scouts in mixed age patrols mature and grow faster from and environment of older scout role models than the same age scouts who struggle from day to day to just do boy scouting stuff.
Now working at the district and council level, not all adults are adapt to running mixed age patrols. First off some adults just don't like the idea of older and younger scouts mixed. Some adults don't know how to not intrude on the patrol method and same age patrols work better for them. In most cases, Eagle mills and mega troops are aged based because they are easier for adults to manage. Pure patrol method requires giving the patrol full independence and many, if not most, adults really struggle giving boys that.
As for our troop, independent growth is the most important objective in the program. Independence requires an environment of not making scouts feel guilty for being different of having different goals. That includes not having goals or not advancing or taking on leadership responsibilities. That is very hard in a same age patrol because the pressure for all scouts to grow at the same rate is very strong. A scout should develop confidence to grow and that usually comes from someone of experience that the scout respects. Our observation is that the NSP rely heavily on the TG for that respect and honor. Which is fine, but the respect of the TG who acts as the Patrol Leader is different from the respect of patrol mates who just living the normal life of a patrol mate. Of course the new scouts can be leaders too, but they don't have the experience for ideas and the confidence to work through struggles, so they usually fall back on the troop guide of adults. As a result growth in the same age patrols is slower.
One keeps suggesting new scouts can move out of their same age patrol if they don't like it. But that is true of all patrols including. The difference we saw is a new scout feels too intimidated to speak up about leaving his patrol. I found it was usually the parents that came to us with relationship problems. That can happen in mixed age patrols, but it is less likely because mixed age patrols sense when part of their team isn't happy and they will accommodate whatever change is required. Scouts in same age patrols just feel stuck and frustrated until someone, usually an adult, pries and ask questions. There is that adult thing again.
We have theme in our troop that says "the adults job is to put themselves out of business". We want the program to mature so that if the adults didn't show up, nothing would change in the scouts behavior. We found that maturity struggled in same age patrols because they were always looking outside of their patrol for ideas of adventure. They struggled with their own independence.
Now as I said, we are very good with using mixed age patrols and we understand the dynamics of mixing boys into patrols. Some adults can build a good program around same age patrols and the boys are completely satisfied. I'm not about to go and tell adults of a same age patrol mega troop they are doing it wrong. They have literally hundreds of families that are totally satisfied with that program. But it is a different kind of program and it's not for adults who know how to be build a successful program around mixed age patrols. In the end, it is the adults who decide what is success in their program and they dictate how to point their program in a successful direction, whether that program is mixed age, same age, boy run, or patrol method.