A Patrol was off on a camping trip, and everything was going smoothly until the Patrol Leader twisted his ankle. Thankfully it wasn’t anything serious, but it made it difficult to walk. The Patrol Leader couldn’t go on the hike they had planned, or do much of anything else for the last day of the camp.
That Patrol continued to operate as neatly and efficiently as ever instead of falling apart without their leader, like you might expect. How did they do this? The injured Patrol Leader had prepared the Assistant Patrol Leader! He taught him everything he knew about leading, and made sure he had the chance to apply what he learned by helping lead the Patrol. When a bad ankle put the Patrol Leader out of commission his assistant was ready and able to keep the team going.
Any good leader has a “right hand man”; someone they can trust with responsibility, who will take over in their absence. The Patrol Leader’s “right hand man” is the Assistant Patrol Leader. But the Assistant Patrol Leader isn’t just there for emergencies; they have a vital role in any successful Patrol.
Imagine your Patrol is a baseball team, and opportunities to lead the Patrol are going up to bat. How would you feel if the same player was always getting up to bat while everyone else sat on the bench? Sometimes an Assistant Patrol Leader is ‘benched’ and never get’s the chance to go up to bat! Don’t let this happen in your patrol. Give your assistant plenty of chances at bat. Get him to lead the Patrol in activities and meetings, whether you’re there or not. Take him into your confidence, discuss all the plans and ideas you have for the Patrol together.
The Assistant Patrol Leader ought to be in charge of some things; in an active patrol there is plenty of work for both of you. Whenever you feel like you’re trying to do two things at once: stop and put your assistant in charge of one. Sharing routine jobs will lighten the load and strengthen the patrol at the same time.
Choose your assistant carefully; who will be the best leader for your Patrol? Look beyond friendship, this is an important choice and favoritism shouldn’t sway your decision. Your assistant should have lots of Scout Spirit, demonstrate leadership potential, and have your complete trust.
Your Patrol will flourish if you have a strong “right hand man”, if it’s a “one man show” you’ll never get very far.
Do you have an Assistant Patrol Leader? Is he an active part of your leadership team? Leave a comment below or sign on to the GreenBar Life forum and and let me know!