My best friend in my Scout Troop and I had completely opposite personalities. I was serious; he was the ‘class-clown’. He found plenty of ways to pick on me and I looked for the best way to frustrate him.
We considered each other the most annoying Scout in the Troop.
This all started to change as we went camping, a bond of friendship slowly started to develop. We argued all the time, but through Scouting together we found common ground. There were quite a few things we agreed on and shared many of the same interests.
Music was one thing we had in common. I played piano, he played guitar. It was only a couple of years before we were getting together to write and play songs. After we graduated High School, he moved away to go to college, and I stayed where I am now. To this day, I still scratch my head wondering how two guys who started as polar opposites ended up getting along so well.
A real Patrol is a real group of friends. Friendships aren’t accidental; friendships are built. Sure, there are people that you just naturally ‘click’ with and enjoy being around, but you can also build friendship intentionally.
I’ll bet at least one Scout in your Patrol is the complete opposite of your personality. I know from experience this doesn’t mean you can’t be friends; I learned that very different people sometimes form the strongest friendships!
I encourage you, as Patrol Leader, to be deliberate about building friendships. It’s not always easy, but it can be done. Take the initiative to build a friendship with the ‘most annoying Scout’ you know (he probably finds you just as annoying)!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you’ll be absolute best friends with everyone in your Patrol; but, if you work at it, you can have some level of friendship with everyone .
You’ll find building friendship happens by doing things together. Everything the patrol does together doesn’t have to be what we normally think of as “Scouting”. There’s some connection (like the interest in music I shared with my friend) you have in common with each Scout. Be intentional; make it your goal to find those connections!
Don’t isolate Scouting from the rest of your life. Members of your Patrol can become part of your circle of friends at school. You can invite them out to your house, see if your parents want to invite one of their families over for dinner one day. Is there a cool movie that you all want to see? Go see it as a group!
As you intentionally build friendships with each guy in your Patrol, you’ll learn much about many aspects of dealing with other people. The communication and relationship skills you will develop will stay with you and help you tremendously through the rest of your life.