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#1 sheilab

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 03:53 PM

Looking for a feedback on what is the minimum and maximum in a patrol.

Seems everywhere I look it appears to be different, is there an official page for min and max?

This website appears to be from the Troop Leader Guidebook http://troopleader.o...pes-of-patrols/ and this website http://www.scouting....trolLeader.aspx .

Both are good but seem to differ.  Our situation is, we have 7 new scouts that joined last night.  The scouts decided to put them into a new scout patrol.  Our current scouts, which are 4 or 5 scouts.  4 or 5 because one just became Eagle and will probably not continue.  These scouts decided to be in another patrol; however not sure if that is advisable due to only having 4 boys and both the SPL and ASPL are in this patrol and are not part of a patrol.  Of the two remaining scouts, one joined 3 months ago and is not a scout yet and the other is tenderfoot.  What would you do?


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#2 DuctTape

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 04:57 PM

Let the boys decide. If the newer boys are all together without any older boys, then an older boy should serve as a troop guide to help the new patrol leader best serve his patrol. The older boys should be encouraged to set the example, and to provide help and guidance especially at troop meetings.
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#3 sheilab

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 05:35 PM

Yes one of the older boys is going to be troop guide.  How can you have a patrol with 2 scouts and one being not a scout rank and the other a tenderfoot?  They do not know much yet.


Edited by sheilab, 29 March 2017 - 05:36 PM.

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#4 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 06:39 PM

1) You need to let the Scouts figure this out. In my experience, when adults intervene they only make matters worse. And I've seen  a 2 man "patrol" ( SPL and ASPL), and a 10 man patrol before ( two patrols merged for a competition).

 

2) One of the disadvantages of the New Scout Patrol concept. Ever since my troop was a guinea pig and tried the NSP before it became the recommended model, it has been a failure. Every troop I've been in went to traditional patrols. BUT THAT IS FOR THE PATROL LEADERS' COUNCIL TO DECIDE AND NOT THE ADULTS (caps for emphasis, not shouting)

 

3) It appears that you are a brand new, just crossed over from Cub Scouts  adult. To quote Master Yoda, "you must unlearn what you have learned." You have just spent X number of years being a leader. It is hard to sit back and do nothing. BUT THAT IS WHAT YOU ARE SUPPOSE TO DO NOW! (again emphasis). And Trust me I know it's hard making the transition from Cub Scout leader to Scouter, and I knew better. Once my troop growing up got a feeder pack, I hated when we got new Scouts because their parents and leaders caused so much trouble until the SM or CC stepped in and got them out of our hair.

 

4) good luck.


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#5 Stosh

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 07:12 PM

The best solution is no solution.  This is a question one should not even be asking if they are over 18.  We tried this, we tried that, we did this, we did that and nothing seemed to work.  Why is WE even trying to do any of it. 

 

Let the boys decide and if they screw it up, you are still off the hook.  My boys have always liked the NSP, it works because they make it work.  I have seen mixed patrols and they work...because the boys make it work.  This is not an adult issue.


Edited by Stosh, 29 March 2017 - 07:12 PM.

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#6 TAHAWK

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 07:13 PM

Yes one of the older boys is going to be troop guide.  How can you have a patrol with 2 scouts and one being not a scout rank and the other a tenderfoot?  They do not know much yet.

Patrols have a natural life span.  The question now is for the Scouts.  What do they want to do?  Patrols are supposed to be self-selected.


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#7 qwazse

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 10:00 PM

....  These scouts decided to be in another patrol; however not sure if that is advisable due to only having 4 boys and both the SPL and ASPL are in this patrol and are not part of a patrol.  Of the two remaining scouts, one joined 3 months ago and is not a scout yet and the other is tenderfoot.  What would you do?

As long as the boys work well together, and are willing to loan one of their members for a while to guide the other, younger patrol, support their plan.

I would, however, try to disavow them of the notion that a troop of two patrols needs an SPL/ASPL.  If each patrol fields a PL and APL, these four come together to form your PLC. If another boy is good at being scribe, he joins them to take meeting minutes.

 

Don't rush advancement. Focus on helping each patrol find skill-appropriate activities. Have fun.


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#8 MattR

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 10:29 PM

That's great that you nearly tripled the size of your troop in one day. That's going to make for some changes but it's a high class problem you have.

 

As others have said, SPL and ASPL is overkill for 11 scouts, you probably don't need either.

 

You haven't really described the existing patrol. One scout is about to get Eagle and leave. How old is he? Two are young and likely not much different from the 7 that joined. That leaves 2 other scouts? What ages and abilities are they? Patrols form based on personalities. You might not end up with 2 regular patrols. You might end up with 9 newish scouts and 2 others that are the "leadership patrol" that train the patrol.

 

Talk to the scouts about the issues and let them decide.


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#9 Stosh

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 07:21 AM

My boys tend to group up by age and I recommend they keep the numbers from 6-8 boys.  More than that tends to be overwhelming for most fledgling new leaders.  Heck, dens of 8+ boys are often times overwhelming for adults.

 

Less than that, say 4-5 boys is still workable, but many of the tasks in the patrol need the members to wear two hats.  This can be a bit confusing at times.

 

I had one "patrol" of two boys that thought they could be PL/APL and "recruit" new members.  They just wanted to hang out together.  This worked out to their "advantage" until one of them was hurt the day before summer camp and the other boy spent his week "solo".  After that, the two joined up with another patrol and that ended that experiment.  If left alone, they can figure it out on their own.


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#10 Tampa Turtle

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 07:47 AM

6-8 seems to be the natural size IMHO.


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#11 fred johnson

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 08:04 AM

Let the scouts decide.  
 
Be careful.  Even when you say "let the scouts decide", adults strongly influence the scouts.  That influence can support or defeat the scout's how scout's work together.
 
The idea behind "let the scout's decide" is more than just they will choose right.  It's about their owning the decision, learning from their choices and bonding as a troop.  Also, it keeps the adults out as scouts will become passive when adults make even the most passive comments.  It's really about how scouting works.  Scouting is for the boys to grow and explore.  To do that, you need to let them take leadership even in the early beginning.  Ask and guide.  But be careful how much you inject.
 
You'll find new scout patrol versus mixed age patrols as a big debate.  People will try to label one as traditional and one as not.  Looking back on how scouting started, it can be argued the new scout patrol is the original model.  But it's a moot issue.  

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#12 blw2

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 08:41 AM

I'm usually on the side of "let the scouts decide"

But I think this is one case where it's maybe helpful to offer guidelines up front (assuming the situation is starting form scratch and they don't have a clue or any established structure already)

There are after all some rules or guidelines to any game right?

 

Send them packing with a loose assignment.... "guys, go sort yourself into patrols...roughly around about maybe 6-8 scouts per patrol...more or less, and let me know when you've figured it out just so that I know....".  Might even open up the number to make it rounder...as in "like maybe roughly 5-10"

Gives them an idea but doesn't really restrict them much....just steering them away from patrols of two....or patrols of 20

 

on this topic, I think this is very interesting, from BP in his Aides to Scoutmastership....

   well now I can't find the passage I was really looking for.  Maybe it was in something else he wrote.... or maybe it was something from Greenbar Bill....anyway, it was about how boys will generally normally group up around about 6-8 kids..... it's sort of a natural size for a group of friends that run around together.....

even non-scout groups....

- neighborhood "gangs" in the old fashioned sense (ie groups of friends in the neighborhood)

- when kids break up into teams for sand-lot ball games, the teams will generally be 6-8 kids..... and this whole thing makes me wonder about the evolution of a lot of sports games... baseball for example fields what 3 basemen + 3 outfieilders + 1 pitcher + 1 catcher = 8.... then I wonder if the short stop wasn't an add later on.... since it seems like an afterthought

- and when I think about how many friends most folks have.... I'd guess just based on my experiences and observations that on average folks have 1 to 3 really close friends + around about 3 more or so good friends.  Any more friends than that & they are probably really more like good acquaintances

 

anyway, these are interesting I think

http://scoutmastercg...mastership/#ThePatrol System

and

http://scoutmastercg...mastership/#OneReason Why a Troop Should not Exceed Thirty Two


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#13 NJCubScouter

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 08:45 AM

I understand what others are saying about "let the Scouts decide", but if the result is that the Tenderfoot and not-yet-Scout with three months in the troop are their own patrol, it seems unlikely to me that they are going to get the benefit of the patrol method.  Maybe the answer is to have two patrols of 5 and 6, or 5 and 5 with an SPL if the Scouts decide to have one.  Maybe the SPL could keep his title but in effect serve mostly as the troop guide for both patrols.  There really is no need for an ASPL position at this point; that Scout should be in a patrol.


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#14 NJCubScouter

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 08:49 AM

blw2, I think those are good guidelines, but this is a troop of 11 kids, 7 of whom have been Boy Scouts for less than a week.  The realistic options are kind of limited.


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#15 blw2

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 09:21 AM

blw2, I think those are good guidelines, but this is a troop of 11 kids, 7 of whom have been Boy Scouts for less than a week.  The realistic options are kind of limited.

yeah, well a little bit.....but still plenty of options

 

1) kinda big for one patrol, but that's an option

2) 5 + 6

3) 4 + 7

 are all potential patrol sizes

outside of that probably not a great idea but there are a few more.....

 

.....and then those patrols could be made up of many different combinations of the individual scouts.... (ie John, Bill, Dave, Bob, and Ben in a patrol together, OR John, Steve, Pat, Ben, and Jake in a patrol together, OR .......)

I'm extremely rusty on my permutation calculations.... but If I'm doing it correctly, its maybe 462 combinations with some limit on patrol size above say 4 or 5


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#16 qwazse

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 09:57 AM

yeah, well a little bit.....but still plenty of options

 

1) kinda big for one patrol, but that's an option

2) 5 + 6

3) 4 + 7

...  permutation calculations.... but If I'm doing it correctly, its maybe 462 combinations with some limit on patrol size above say 4 or 5

Close. 462 ways to have 5 + 6, plus 330 ways to have 4 + 7.

 

However, it sounds like @sheilab's boys have made up their mind. So, the question becomes: how to help them succede in their desired configuration? I've already suggested ditching the SPL/ASPL positions until the troop is three times as large. If the boys keep the patches, fine. But their real duties to the troop will fall along these lines:

  • A guide for the new scouts. Not knowing your Eagle, it would be hard to say if he's the right person for this. But if he has another 5 months in the troop, this would be a great way for him to earn a Palm.
  • A quartermaster. This will involve teaching the new scouts how to take care of gear as well as getting the older scouts to inventory supplies and figure out what you all need for the upcoming year or two.
  • A scribe. This boils down to recording motions and filling out a calendar. Maybe even filling out meeting plans, and recording which patrol was assigned to duties like contacting a speaker for special meetings, set-up, and clean-up, etc.

Collectively, the older scouts should be tasked with identifying activities that interest them, then figuring out locations where they can pursue those while the younger scouts camp in the vicinity and build their First Class skills.

 

As the boys get to know each other, they can start asking younger scouts to fill positions of responsibility as a need for them arises. But generally, I would be content if those new scouts just pick a PL and learn to collectively become responsible for their gear and tracking their own advancement.


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#17 Stosh

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 12:38 PM

With the vague determination of 6-8 boys one must also be aware of the fact that even if the boys make decisions, there are still ways to "suggest" to the boys ways in which they might benefit from some other guidelines.  There's a lot of negative discussion on the NSP's.  Surely 8 new boys coming in without any assistance is going to be a disaster.  But a qualified SPL will assign a TG to that group to help them make better judgments based on a few years of experience. 

 

Then there's no rule in the book about the NSP selecting an older scout to be the PL of the group either.  This, along with the TG, gives guidance to the NSP directly from older boys who are focused on the success of the NSP. 

 

Then Little Johnny, younger brother to Big Billy, might want to be in his brother's patrol.  But does Billy who's a sophomore really want his 6th grade brother hanging around?  The high school freshman/sophomore boys are just starting their high adventure activities and don't want a 6th grader hanging around who isn't qualified to go along with the more mature plannings.

 

I find that the NSP boys really don't know, nor do they want to hang with juniors and seniors either.  They want to hang with their buddies that they hung with since Tigers.  What I have witnessed over the years is that if Little Johnny has a big brother Billy, they quite often ask for big brother Billy to be the PL if he isn't assigned by the SPL to be the TG.  This way, for at least a year anyway, the older patrol can still make high adventure plans and in most cases, PL Billy gets invited back into his old patrol for the duration of the HA activity.  Billy may need the POR and would like to work with the NSP anyway for advancement credit.  Solves two problems at the same time.

 

Again, the NSP isn't necessarily an age designation in as much as a maturity, learning level designation.  The new guys tend to hang together in their newbie status and the older boys, seeking HA and more challenging activities tend to hang together at the top.  The "regular" patrols tend to be quite mixed with kind of a younger regular patrols where the boys are working on Star and Life and the older regular patrols grouping towards the Life and Eagle emphasis.  That's not to say the Life/Eagle boys don't start functioning as a Venture patrol before that time, just not full time.

 

With the boys making the decision on patrol composition, it is a very fluid process.  TG and NSP PL's tend to operate more like DC's and have on one or two occasions in my troops, been the NSP boys' DC in Webelos II.  It was only natural that they selected them because they were familiar with them and the DC enjoyed it enough to stay on with them as the PL or TG.

 

Another consideration is that the boys can at anytime with the approval of the PL's move around in the patrols until they find a "home"  There's no waiting 6 months, or 12 months, or certain rank levels before they can try out another patrol.  Three weeks into the new year, Little Johnny decides hanging out with his older brother Billy isn't working out, he can go back with this buddies in the NSP.  No one has to put up with personality clashes. 

 

Once the groups are somewhat determined, there might be 9 in a patrol, because older brother Billy returns to his former patrol after doing a year's stint as NSP TG.  No rule against that.

 

The first couple of months of every new year is quite interesting to watch as they boys work it out among themselves how they want to be set up.  After that, except for one or two scouts, things settle down and things get back to "reasonable normal".


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#18 Eagledad

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 03:12 PM

Close. 462 ways to have 5 + 6, plus 330 ways to have 4 + 7.

 

However, it sounds like @sheilab's boys have made up their mind. So, the question becomes: how to help them succede in their desired configuration? I've already suggested ditching the SPL/ASPL positions until the troop is three times as large. If the boys keep the patches, fine. But their real duties to the troop will fall along these lines:

  • A guide for the new scouts. Not knowing your Eagle, it would be hard to say if he's the right person for this. But if he has another 5 months in the troop, this would be a great way for him to earn a Palm.
  • A quartermaster. This will involve teaching the new scouts how to take care of gear as well as getting the older scouts to inventory supplies and figure out what you all need for the upcoming year or two.
  • A scribe. This boils down to recording motions and filling out a calendar. Maybe even filling out meeting plans, and recording which patrol was assigned to duties like contacting a speaker for special meetings, set-up, and clean-up, etc.

Collectively, the older scouts should be tasked with identifying activities that interest them, then figuring out locations where they can pursue those while the younger scouts camp in the vicinity and build their First Class skills.

 

As the boys get to know each other, they can start asking younger scouts to fill positions of responsibility as a need for them arises. But generally, I would be content if those new scouts just pick a PL and learn to collectively become responsible for their gear and tracking their own advancement.

I like this approach. I'm no a fan of throwing new scouts in deep with patrol responsibilities, especially in a more boy run program. The young scouts learn best by observing, so let them observe older scouts dealing with patrol responsibilities and wean them into the habit of being responsible by first starting with decisions that involve them personally. Patrol method in a Troop is enough of a cultural shock that the BSA looses more scouts during the first year in a troop than any other year.

 

Barry


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#19 Stosh

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 04:29 PM

On the other hand most modern educational theorists believe one learns more from doing than from observing.  Schools are structuring away from observing and taking in information from an instructor (lecture) and moving more towards those that use a more practical, activity based approach like EDGE which will gain adherence to the subject matter faster and retain it longer.

 

This is why I still champion the level playing field of the NSP for the new boys in the program.  They are not just there to observe, but even in Cub Scouts were able to experience a bit of "running the show" as a denner for a short period of time.  Why when they get to Boy Scouts is that process put on hold for 2-3 years until they have observed long enough, or at least had the older boys age out and reduce the competition for the leadership positions. 

 

This is why we hear about so many SM's having to mandate that certain scouts be in advancement POR's so they can move on to the next rank, and yet complain loudly that the boys don't or even can't function because they have in fact no experience in the position.

 

Keeping the numbers low in the patrols insures the opportunity to learn best suits the learner.  If 8 boys is too much for the NSP patrol structure, push for 6 if possible.  The boys should be given the best opportunity to be successful and that does not mean postpone their practical experiences to sitting and observing.  It means give it a try and mentor (TG and maybe the PL if not a new scout) towards success.  Should the TG be mentoring the new boys? or doing it for them? Same for the PL?  Is he to be their just their leader or does he have a responsibility to mentor and develop his replacement from within the group?

 

Boy quit scouts the first year for a variety of different reasons.  Scouting is not for them.  They like the arts and crafts, but going out into the woods is a whole different thing.  Parents are burned out and drop out.  Everyone else gets to do things and I have to sit and learn to tie knots while the other guys are having fun DOING things.  To boys at this age, learning scoutcraft skills isn't doing the adventure that they thought they were going to get in the first place.

 

Everyone puts an enormous amount of energy into making Webelos II a transition into Boy Scouts, but it's not Boy Scouts.  The NSP finishes the transition because now it's supposed to be for real Boy Scouts.

 

Keep the patrols small, keep everyone active and doing POR within the patrols from PL to APL to QM to Scribe, etc. GBB's patrol method training has everyone working, no one is observing older boys.

 

For 1-2 years Little Johnny sat around tying knots, cooking meals, setting up tents, lashing poles, doing first aid, and now that he's First Class, he needs to do a POR.  Good luck with that.  If he happened to have a good PL he might do alright, but if one hasn't done it before, it makes for an intense learning curve of high expectations. 

 

Having the boys lead small groups of 5-6 boys, make your mistakes there, that by the time one gets to FC, they at least have experience in what to do.  This is why the patrol method is so important to the boy's learning of leadership. 

 

I have never gained experience in anything in life by sitting around watching other people do things.


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#20 Eagledad

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 08:43 AM

On the other hand most modern educational theorists believe one learns more from doing than from observing.  

Not according to my Child Psychology friends (one who was a scoutmaster), and later on my observation of life. Not only humans, but until puberty, most mammals learn their behavior by observing.  

 

Our scouts were not pushed into group leadership very quickly after they joined the troop. We instead encouraged they take on roles where they had smaller responsibilities that required some communication and guidance to members of the control like Cheer Master and Grub Master. They were encourage to take on more responsibility as the gains confidence. By the time scouts did get into the more responsible roles, they had a great deal of confidence in the skills they started using. Even older scouts who transferred into the troop made comments that younger scouts had more confidence and leadership skills than their own units. They found it intimidating at first. 

 

It works.

 

Barry


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