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Troop Guide in Mixed Age Patrols Without New Scout Patrol


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#1 Hedgehog

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Posted 12 June 2016 - 11:17 AM

Our Troop has 4 mixed age patrols with a Troop Guide assigned to each patrol.  The TG's role is to assist with advancement of the scouts through First Class and help integrate the new scouts into the Troop.  Our new scouts come from one to four packs in any year and we get anywhere from 2 or 3 to 10 new scouts.  Our Troop's experience has been that the NSP doesn't work because the new boys want to be part of the regular patrols.  Our boys have decided that they don't want a NSP and I'm not going to overrule that decision.

 

My first thoughts are that we aren't using the Troop Guide the way that position was designed and that our Troop Guides are functioning mor as Instructors.  My sense is to make one Scout the Troop Guide who performs all of the functions except working with the NSP and to convert the other Troop Guides to Instructors (which appear to be designed to be Troop PORs that can be dispersed into patrols).

 

I'm interested in thoughts on my idea and any input on how other troops use Troop Guides where there is not a NSP.


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#2 Stosh

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Posted 12 June 2016 - 11:32 AM

A TG with no NSP is like a PL with no patrol. 

 

I have no idea how to jury rig the POR into something other than what it was intended.  I'd go with independent Instructors that all have different forte's and they rotate around the various patrols doing what they do best. 

 

I can see a power clash between TG of a mixed aged patrol and the PL.  The PL is responsible for his people, the TG is only going to get in the way.

 

Maybe the reason the NSP doesn't work in the troop is because one has not figured out to best utilize the TG.  All my TG's have been great with the NSP's.  One of my best TG's was one of my Eagle Scouts. 


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#3 qwazse

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Posted 12 June 2016 - 11:42 AM

This is where an SM earns his cup of coffee. If you have four groups of boys on varying schedules and trajectories towards 1st class on account of their different patrols or other things, maybe you do need 4 guides. If in each patrol there is a natural "guide" (may be PL or APL, or other) you might not need any TGs. If you have boys who instruct as well as guide, and maybe even do it for Star or Life scouts, maybe it's time to just pull out the JASM patches!

In general, I'm a big proponent of assigning patches according to the work that's actually getting done, not to blanks being filled on organizational charts. This allows boys to do a little more accurate after action review.

Based on what you've described, I'd lean toward no guides, a couple of instructors based on boys with particular scout skills, and a JASM if you really think one has the maturity to "look in" on new scouts in their respective patrols without disrupting the PL.
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#4 Hedgehog

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Posted 12 June 2016 - 11:58 AM

A TG with no NSP is like a PL with no patrol. 

 

I have no idea how to jury rig the POR into something other than what it was intended. 

 

In a way, that is what I'm struggling with.  However, there is more to the description of the POR in ILST than just the new scout patrol:

  1. Troop Guide

    • Introduce new Scouts to troop operations.

    • Guide new Scouts through early Scouting activities.

    • Help set and enforce the tone for good Scout behavior within the troop.

    • Ensure older Scouts never harass or bully new Scouts.

    • Help new Scouts earn the First Class rank in their rst year.

    • Coach the patrol leader of the new-Scout patrol on his duties.

    • Work with the patrol leader at patrol leaders’ council meetings.

    • Attend patrol leaders’ council meetings with the patrol leader of the new-Scout patrol.

    • Assist the assistant Scoutmaster with training.

    • Coach individual Scouts on Scouting challenges.

    • Set a good example.

    • Wear the Scout uniform correctly.

    • Live by the Scout Oath and Scout Law.

    • Show and help develop Scout spirit.

    • Teach basic Scout skills. 

 

This is where an SM earns his cup of coffee. If you have four groups of boys on varying schedules and trajectories towards 1st class on account of their different patrols or other things, maybe you do need 4 guides. If in each patrol there is a natural "guide" (may be PL or APL, or other) you might not need any TGs. If you have boys who instruct as well as guide, and maybe even do it for Star or Life scouts, maybe it's time to just pull out the JASM patches!

In general, I'm a big proponent of assigning patches according to the work that's actually getting done, not to blanks being filled on organizational charts. This allows boys to do a little more accurate after action review.

Based on what you've described, I'd lean toward no guides, a couple of instructors based on boys with particular scout skills, and a JASM if you really think one has the maturity to "look in" on new scouts in their respective patrols without disrupting the PL.

 

I guess I am trying to look at what is being done.  The JASM patch would seem to be too much for just monitoring the advancement for Scout through First Class.  The instructor patch would seem to be too limited because the task is more than just teaching, the job is really taking care of the new guys.  The Troop Guide seems closest, but as Stosh points out, there isn't a NSP.


Edited by Hedgehog, 12 June 2016 - 11:59 AM.

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#5 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 12 June 2016 - 12:13 PM

Back in the dark ages before NSPs and Troop Guides, the PL was responsible for getting his people up to speed. In my troop, the PL assigned someone to buddy with and learning was one-on-one. PL was the one to look out for his guys.

 

Then in  August 1989, NSPs came out and TGs. IMHO they combined the duties of a SPL and an Instructor so that the brand new, inexperienced, just crossed over to Boy Scouts PL would have someone to work with 24/7.

 

I gotta agree with Stosh, if they are mixed aged patrols, there is no need for a guide. PL can handle it.


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#6 desertrat77

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Posted 12 June 2016 - 12:40 PM

  The TG's role is to assist with advancement of the scouts through First Class and help integrate the new scouts into the Troop. 

Hedge, I may be a bit old (heck I am old), but these were normal duties for the PL prior to the BSA's push for NSPs (Eagle94 summed up well).

 

Stosh's point is right:   to have both TG and PL is to have neither.   If the TG and PL are really leading and have initiative, they'll be stepping on each other.   Scouts in the patrol may be more loyal to one over the other.   

 

Saw this dynamic in the military--squadrons with two first sergeants had more issues than those with one.   Best to just let one go-getter take on the extra duties than have the confusion and overlap of having two.

 

Recommend letting the PLs lead their patrols, and find challenges for the other leaders.  


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#7 Stosh

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Posted 12 June 2016 - 01:04 PM

In a way, that is what I'm struggling with.  However, there is more to the description of the POR in ILST than just the new scout patrol:

 

:)   Here's the rub for me.  Why have 4 TG's doing the work of what 1 TG could be doing efficiently in a NSP?  Or worse yet, why have 1 TG running around to 4 different patrols trying to do his job?  I just don't quite figure out how one is going to be efficient yet productive as a TG under a mixed grouping of scouts.

  1. Troop Guide

    • Introduce new Scouts to troop operations.  Not needed when the PL of the mixed patrol can do that.

    • Guide new Scouts through early Scouting activities. TG not needed, let the PL do it.

    • Help set and enforce the tone for good Scout behavior within the troop. Again, that's the PL's job.
    • Ensure older Scouts never harass or bully new Scouts. Where's the PL?  It's his job.
    • Help new Scouts earn the First Class rank in their rst year. PL's job in a mixed patrol.
    • Coach the patrol leader of the new-Scout patrol on his duties. Although it is implied that the TG works with the NSP, you don't have one so don't worry about it.
    • Work with the patrol leader at patrol leaders’ council meetings We still talking NSP here or are they to guide the experienced PL?
    • Attend patrol leaders’ council meetings with the patrol leader of the new-Scout patrol. Again, one can ignore this  because there is no NSP.
    • Assist the assistant Scoutmaster with training.  So no only does he interfere/duplicate the PL's job, he can do the Instructor POR too????
    • Coach individual Scouts on Scouting challenges.  PL's job
    • Set a good example.  PL's job
    • Wear the Scout uniform correctly.  PL's job
    • Live by the Scout Oath and Scout Law.  PL's job
    • Show and help develop Scout spirit.  PL's job
    • Teach basic Scout skills.  PL's job

I guess I am trying to look at what is being done.  The JASM patch would seem to be too much for just monitoring the advancement for Scout through First Class.  The instructor patch would seem to be too limited because the task is more than just teaching, the job is really taking care of the new guys.  The Troop Guide seems closest, but as Stosh points out, there isn't a NSP.

 

I find this process very convoluted and ridiculously awkward for both the TG and the PL's.  If one is not going to have NSP's there is no need to have a TG unless one needs to wear a patch and do no work.  Then it's a great POR.

 

One dare not have an ASM assigned to the patrol to meddle in the operation of the patrol with the new boys, but it's totally okay to have another boy (TG) meddle in the operation of the patrol under the disguise of boy led, patrol method.

 

So one has 8 new boys and they buddy up and go to 4 different mixed aged patrols.   A TG is assigned to work with 2 boys in a single patrol?  That's really not a whole lot better than wearing the patch with no work.  The only thing that TG can do is get in the way of the mixed patrol trying to assimilate the new boys along with whatever else they are trying to do.  I just see it as a major distraction to 4 patrols when the whole business could be put into one patrol, they select their leadership and a TG is on-hand to do the things described in the list of duties mentioned above.  All  the new orientation/instruction is focused into one area, not spread around to the various patrols to all deal with differently under different PL's.  The PL has better things to do with his time running his patrol than worrying about teaching some new scout how to tie a square knot, and everything else, every time a boy joins his patrol.

 

This doesn't have to be complicated and isn't when done according to the BSA training set-up.

 

I'm thinking troops who are having trouble with NSP's and champion mixed patrols are those that haven't figured out how to best and most effectively use a TG.  They are the key to NSP's.


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#8 qwazse

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Posted 12 June 2016 - 01:48 PM

.... The JASM patch would seem to be too much for just monitoring the advancement for Scout through First Class. The instructor patch would seem to be too limited because the task is more than just teaching, the job is really taking care of the new guys. The Troop Guide seems closest, but as Stosh points out, there isn't a NSP.

Some adult-led troops have an ASM dedicated to tracking boys through the early ranks. A youth who does the same thing is suddenly no longer the SM's assistant?

Either you have a boy who is not a SPL or PL or Instructor who is really helping you out in a unique way to tend to these boys or you don't. If you do, pick a patch for him based on the character and maturity of the boy. If you don't, stop trying to draw lines that don't exist on your org chart!

Edited by qwazse, 12 June 2016 - 01:50 PM.

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#9 Beavah

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Posted 12 June 2016 - 01:53 PM

Yah, @Hedgehog, da key is in da title, eh?   Troop Guide.   Da position is part of the Troop Method, not the Patrol Method.  Or put another way, TG==Den Chief, ASM-NSP==Den Leader, in da Boy Scout Webelos III approach. ;)

 

Since yeh have a functioning Patrol Method in your troop that the kids have bought into, yeh should work that instead.   Make the Patrol Leaders and the rest of the new lads' patrols responsible for helpin' 'em with advancement.   That's their role, eh?  To take care of their guys and work to improve the patrol. 

 

One way yeh can do it is with patrol competitions, eh?  Havin' all your patrol-mates up-to-speed on various skills is how yeh can kick those silly Bobwhite's butts on the next campout.   Could be that the second-year boy sees a chance to teach the first year lad how to tie a knot or do better in fire-building to help his patrol, eh?  It doesn't have to be da PL or some assigned "instructor".

 

An alternative that I've seen 2 troops use is to do "Patrol Points" like Hogwarts points.  This was a part of Green Bar Bill's BSA program back in the day, where patrol competitions went on for 3-6 months.  Yeh could get points for havin' a boy advance a rank, or earn a badge, or for da patrol to complete X number of man-hours of service or win the meeting night knot race or whatever.

 

Another permutation yeh can try that I've seen one troop use is that only da PLs can sign off on requirements for S-T-2-1, but they can't sign off for their own guys.   So they have to prepare their guys to go to a different patrol's leader for testing and signoff.   It works well for 'em, because it makes da PLs really pay attention to preparin' their guys well. 

 

Always remember that positions and job descriptions and organizational charts and all that are adult impositions on da boys' world.  Boys organize themselves more organically and naturally, and learn better that way.   Yeh just provide challenges and incentives, and let them figure it out how to play the game to win.  Think video game, eh?  Not corporation.

 

Beavah


Edited by Beavah, 12 June 2016 - 01:58 PM.

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#10 Hedgehog

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Posted 12 June 2016 - 02:23 PM

So one has 8 new boys and they buddy up and go to 4 different mixed aged patrols.   A TG is assigned to work with 2 boys in a single patrol?  That's really not a whole lot better than wearing the patch with no work.  The only thing that TG can do is get in the way of the mixed patrol trying to assimilate the new boys along with whatever else they are trying to do.  I just see it as a major distraction to 4 patrols when the whole business could be put into one patrol, they select their leadership and a TG is on-hand to do the things described in the list of duties mentioned above.  All  the new orientation/instruction is focused into one area, not spread around to the various patrols to all deal with differently under different PL's.  The PL has better things to do with his time running his patrol than worrying about teaching some new scout how to tie a square knot, and everything else, every time a boy joins his patrol.

 

 

Having an NSP is a non-starter.  Been there, tried that.  Listening to feedback from new scouts they unanimously say the best part is that they are part of a patrol with the older guys from the beginning.  I like the NSP idea, but I can't impose that over the boys decision.

 

I'm in agreement that having a TG for each patrol is overkill.  It take most guys around 18 months to get to First Class - some in 12, some in 24.  They set their own pace.  So there probably are around 4 guys in each patrol that are below First Class at any point in time.  That is why I was thinking having one guy do the job.

 

I also don't think advancement is an all encompassing endevor that supplants the patrol's regular activities.  It could just be a boy who keeps track of where the guys are, what they need and then works to provide opportunities -- "hey, a bunch of guys need lashing requirements - let's keep that in mind when the patrols are deciding what to do for next month's activities" or "hey, can we camp at Camp Igotnodirection so they guys can do the orienteering course requirement?"

 

Some adult-led troops have an ASM dedicated to tracking boys through the early ranks. A youth who does the same thing is suddenly no longer the SM's assistant?

Either you have a boy who is not a SPL or PL or Instructor who is really helping you out in a unique way to tend to these boys or you don't. If you do, pick a patch for him based on the character and maturity of the boy. If you don't, stop trying to draw lines that don't exist on your org chart!

 

 

I've got the boy and got the job.  Unfortunately, he's not 16 so the JASM patch doesn't work.  TG seems the closest, but still not a perfect fit.  

 

 

Yah, @Hedgehog, da key is in da title, eh?   Troop Guide.   Da position is part of the Troop Method, not the Patrol Method.

 

Exactly.  That is why I have a problem with four Troop Guides.

 

Since yeh have a functioning Patrol Method in your troop that the kids have bought into, yeh should work that instead.   Make the Patrol Leaders and the rest of the new lads' patrols responsible for helpin' 'em with advancement.   That's their role, eh?  To take care of their guys and work to improve the patrol. 

 

I can't disagree in theory, but I don't see it happening in practice.

 

One way yeh can do it is with patrol competitions, eh?  Havin' all your patrol-mates up-to-speed on various skills is how yeh can kick those silly Bobwhite's butts on the next campout.   Could be that the second-year boy sees a chance to teach the first year lad how to tie a knot or do better in fire-building to help his patrol, eh?  It doesn't have to be da PL or some assigned "instructor".

 

If I could mandate patrol competitons every week, I would.  The best I can do is to encourage the boys to plan interactive activities where everyone is doing some scout skill or another.


Another permutation yeh can try that I've seen one troop use is that only da PLs can sign off on requirements for S-T-2-1, but they can't sign off for their own guys.   So they have to prepare their guys to go to a different patrol's leader for testing and signoff.   It works well for 'em, because it makes da PLs really pay attention to preparin' their guys well. 

 

I like that idea, but we have enough problems with guys signing off for the boys in their own troop (despite trying to designate one meeting a month to follow up on advancement) -- and that is with 4 TGs.

 

Always remember that positions and job descriptions and organizational charts and all that are adult impositions on da boys' world.  Boys organize themselves more organically and naturally, and learn better that way.   Yeh just provide challenges and incentives, and let them figure it out.

 

Agreed.  However, advancement is an adult defined structure, I'm just trying to come up with a boy-led solution.

 

 


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#11 qwazse

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Posted 12 June 2016 - 02:42 PM

... I've got the boy and got the job.  Unfortunately, he's not 16 so the JASM patch doesn't work.  TG seems the closest, but still not a perfect fit.  
 ....
 
Agreed.  However, advancement is an adult defined structure, I'm just trying to come up with a boy-led solution.

Why do you need to hand out a patch at all? Explain to the boy you have a special service project that is JASM-ish, but considering his young age, you will give him a focused mission.
The "deliverables" will be those few items you fear will fall through the cracks because you're dropping TGs and are concerned that PLs aren't fully ready to take up the slack.
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#12 Beavah

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Posted 12 June 2016 - 02:52 PM

 

I can't disagree in theory, but I don't see it happening in practice.

 

 

I can walk down to da church at the end of my block and see it happen every week.  :)    This isn't theory, mate, this is what lots of troops do in practice.  The boys get it pretty easily, because it's natural.  No special trainin' on job descriptions or organizational charts required. ;)

 

 


If I could mandate patrol competitons every week, I would.  The best I can do is to encourage the boys to plan interactive activities where everyone is doing some scout skill or another..... However, advancement is an adult defined structure, I'm just trying to come up with a boy-led solution.

 

 

 

Nah, not mandate.  What self-respecting lad ever cheerfully did what an adult mandated that he do?   :p  Just seed and encourage, eh?   Boys are naturally competitive.

 

There's an old story about a factory manager who was tryin' to get better performance out of his shifts.   So he came onto da floor at the end of the day shift and asked how many widgets they completed, and he was told "6".   So he got out a can of paint and a paintbrush and painted a big "6" on the floor.

 

When the evening shift came in, they asked what was up with the "6"?  Someone said the boss came in and painted it there, because it was the number of widgets they had completed.  

 

The next morning when the day shift arrived they saw that the evening shift had painted over da "6" with a "7" in a different color.  "What, do those guys think they're better than us???".   By the end of their shift, they'd painted out the "7" with a "10" of their color.  And so on.

 

Your job is to be that factory manager, eh? :)

 

Beavah


Edited by Beavah, 12 June 2016 - 02:53 PM.

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#13 Stosh

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Posted 12 June 2016 - 03:44 PM

One has to look at the overall outline of what BSA is trying to do with their tiered patrols.

 

First of all lets look at the mixed age patrols.They incorporate boys from BSA's three tiers at the same time.  Each patrol is a "regular" patrol that have to do certain things in order to make the process work.  Yes, when a new boy comes into the group he's with experienced boys and they are responsible for taking care of him.  He's enough of a minority so no one really notices.  However, if the Troop Instructor is going to teach S->FC lessons, the new boys will need to break out of the patrol to do so, otherwise, Troop Instructors are pretty much a useless POR.  So that interrupts patrol activity.  Now the older boys want to do Philmont, but obviously not everyone in the patrol is on the same page so once again, an ad hoc arrangement is made to get the older boys to high adventure again breaking up the continuity of the patrol method.  Otherwise, one can simply ignore those dynamics that BSA points out as important and go with nothing but regular patrols.  The new guys can figure it out on their own and the opportunities for high adventure will never be a patrol activity.

 

New boys that are overwhelmed with "hit the road running" will drop out, and the older boys will tire of never getting to do the big stuff and buy cars, get a job and find a girlfriend, any of which is more exciting than taking on new 6th grade scouts yet again.  I kinda like the BSA tiered approach, it has a little for everyone, age appropriate and opens up more opportunities that a one-size-fits-all doesn't.


Edited by Stosh, 12 June 2016 - 03:46 PM.

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#14 desertrat77

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Posted 12 June 2016 - 05:35 PM

The PLs can handle the duties.   Train and encourage.   Then stand back and be amazed.

 

Once a scout is actually allowed to lead, there's no stopping him.


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#15 Hedgehog

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Posted 13 June 2016 - 06:09 AM

Why do you need to hand out a patch at all? Explain to the boy you have a special service project that is JASM-ish, but considering his young age, you will give him a focused mission.
The "deliverables" will be those few items you fear will fall through the cracks because you're dropping TGs and are concerned that PLs aren't fully ready to take up the slack.

 

I like that idea.  I still think giving a "path" will more strongly instill a sense of purpose and recognition, but this is a workable solution.

 

I can walk down to da church at the end of my block and see it happen every week.  :)    This isn't theory, mate, this is what lots of troops do in practice.  The boys get it pretty easily, because it's natural.  No special trainin' on job descriptions or organizational charts required. ;)

 

The problem is that the PLs have not been historically attentive to advancement because they are focused on their other duties.  We've got a group of young PLs coming in next year and my concern is that they will be spending their time getting up to speed on other duties that are more urgent (but not neessarily more important) than advancement.

 

One has to look at the overall outline of what BSA is trying to do with their tiered patrols.

 

Stosh, we have a significant retention rate of boys that join our troop.  Over the last three years, we had two boys drop out within the first year out of around 20 that crossed over.  One didn't like camping and I'm not sure why the other dropped.  The older boys stay engaged -- at least for the weekly meetings.  We have a drop out of the participation of the older boys in outings which is more related to the conflicts of other activities rather than the level of adventure in our outdoor program.  The new guys are told "you can do it" and they do it.  

 

That being said, I understand what you are saying about having a TG without a NSP.  I'm considering trying the NSP again (from crossover up to summer camp) expecially because the boy who I'm thinking of for TG is already the Webelos 2 Den Leader.

 

The PLs can handle the duties.   Train and encourage.   Then stand back and be amazed.

 

Once a scout is actually allowed to lead, there's no stopping him.

 

 

I'm trying to get to a more boy led toop by giving a boy who wants to lead real responsibility.  The alternative is having the SM and ASMs doing this role as has happened in the past because the PLs didn't get around to it.  I understand where you and Beavah are coming from, it should be the PL's job but I haven't seen it happen in three years despite training and encouragement.  To me it just made sense to give the job to someone who wants it and avoid having to encourage, cajole, push or require someone who isn't focused on the job to do it.


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#16 Stosh

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Posted 13 June 2016 - 08:25 AM

:)  Hedge,   You are correct with your thinking, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."  That is a good adage to live by.  Unfortunately the horse and wagon concept worked great for hundreds if not thousands of years.  Even if it "ain't broke" leave the door open for ways of making "what works" better.

 

:)  When I have a NSP with a TG watching over it and SPL backing it up, and maybe a 2nd or 3rd year scout trying out his wings as a PL of the NSP, I have in reality a mixed aged patrol, but the dynamics are far different than what BSA would call a regular patrol.  Same set of different parameters for the Venture patrols.  There's nothing in the rule book about a hot-shot younger brother of someone in the venture patrol inviting his younger brother into the patrol. 

 

It's just that if there is any "mixing" in my patrols it is for functionality and efficiency.  The new Webelos boys cross over and want to select their DC as their PL?  Now one has a mixed age NSP.  If the boys want to scatter the new scouts throughout the other patrols fine if that works, but what works for the unit... is it what works for that particular group of new scouts joining or are they square pegged into the unit's round hole because that's the way the round hole says it works best? 

 

Every group of new boys that come into my units has always been evaluated on what works best for them according to THEIR choices.  Not the other way around.  It cuts down on a lot of group dynamic issues that would otherwise arise.


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#17 Eagledad

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Posted 13 June 2016 - 08:35 AM

I always look a the bigger picture and it seems you are looking for problem to fixed. The only struggle that really seems to stand out is in your last post mentioning "advancement". Are the new scouts not advancing? Are you trying to fix that because the PLs aren't doing a good job helping the new scouts advance? Why is there a concern on advancement? Who is complaining? 

 

Am I completely missing your concern here?

 

Barry


Edited by Eagledad, 13 June 2016 - 08:37 AM.

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#18 MattR

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Posted 13 June 2016 - 09:15 AM

Hedge, it does seem like an unusual use of what a troop guide normally is. It might not be bad but whenever I see someone from outside of the patrol assigned to the patrol for some function then it can be troublesome.

 

It sounds like the underlying problem being solved is having someone look out for the new scouts in a regular patrol. I think that's a worthy problem to solve. You said the PL's are busy doing other stuff. Why not make a patrol troop guide, much like a patrol quartermaster? The PL picks him and not the SPL. This offloads some work from the PL and teaches him how to delegate, gives a scout some leadership, and keeps the patrol working as a unit without outside interference.


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#19 Stosh

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Posted 13 June 2016 - 10:15 AM

I think what I might be doing is a "regular" patrol made up of all new scouts with a TG helping the new PL stay on course for the first year or so.  I just call it a NSP.  :)  At the end of that time period, the TG goes back to his regular patrol and the "NSP" is now a real regular patrol.  It's just a matter of semantics.  I guess.  This is how my scouts in my former troop preferred to do it and out of necessity this is how my new troop is doing it.

 

One of my current unit's NSP has selected one of the TF boys to be their PL.  That will be as it is.  There are no other older boys.  The other NSP has the other older boy but not as the PL.  I have given him the heads up he will need to function from "behind the scenes" in support of the new PL as their stand in TG.  One NSP with an older PL and no TG and one NSP with a newbie PL and a TG.  Been there, done that, both ways.  It'll work.  Is it the new "tradition" for the troop?  I doubt it, every year the boys can recreate themselves anyway they wish.


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#20 Hedgehog

Hedgehog

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Posted 13 June 2016 - 06:26 PM

Every group of new boys that come into my units has always been evaluated on what works best for them according to THEIR choices.  Not the other way around.  It cuts down on a lot of group dynamic issues that would otherwise arise.

 

Valid point.  The problem is our recruitment is like a box of chocolates -- we never know what we are going to get.  

 

I always look a the bigger picture and it seems you are looking for problem to fixed. The only struggle that really seems to stand out is in your last post mentioning "advancement". Are the new scouts not advancing? Are you trying to fix that because the PLs aren't doing a good job helping the new scouts advance? Why is there a concern on advancement? Who is complaining? 

 

My first concern is that we have four Troop Guides and no NSP patrol - not really "standard" BSA practice.  With that structure, I am seeing some problems with advancement where it seems that some scouts are falling through the cracks - having completed requirements and not having them signed off or just not knowing what to do to get the next requirement completed.  My sense is we have four guys not taking responsibility.  Like the saying goes - if everyone is responsible, no one is responsible.  I think having a boy who's job it is to be responsible for helping all the guys below First Class advance is a good idea.

 

Hedge, it does seem like an unusual use of what a troop guide normally is. It might not be bad but whenever I see someone from outside of the patrol assigned to the patrol for some function then it can be troublesome.

 

It sounds like the underlying problem being solved is having someone look out for the new scouts in a regular patrol. I think that's a worthy problem to solve. You said the PL's are busy doing other stuff. Why not make a patrol troop guide, much like a patrol quartermaster? The PL picks him and not the SPL. This offloads some work from the PL and teaches him how to delegate, gives a scout some leadership, and keeps the patrol working as a unit without outside interference.

 

 

I think that is the idea that started the structure we have and then we stuck the Troop Guide label on the boys responsible at the patrol level for looking out for the new scouts.

 

So, I'm thinking about three options:

 

1) Give a boy the responsibility with or without the patch for TG

 

2) Change the current TG's to instructors and have them assist the PLs with more coaxing from adults to pay attention to advancement

 

3) Push the NSP idea again and have the TG work with the new scouts from when they cross over until the end of the school year and then have the TG continue to coach them (and any others below first class) as they progress as members of various patrols.


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