A virtual question and answer session with Green Bar Bill about the patrol method from the December 1943 Edition of Scouting magazine. If you aren’t familiar with Bill “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt check out these articles to learn more. Download this article as a PDF document below. The Boys Ask Green Bar Bill About the Patrol Method GENTLEMEN, […]
What is a Junior Assistant Scoutmaster?
I’ve struggled to understand the role of a junior assistant Scoutmaster. It’s right there on the organizational chart, it has a (kind of fuzzy) job description, but (like many of you) I never found a way to apply this role to my complete satisfaction. When our older Scouts became junior assistant Scoutmasters they seemed to enter some kind of limbo and […]
Ten Ways to Frustrate a Youth Leader
How do I know what frustrates a youth leader? I have been guilty of each of these ten things at one time or another. People who volunteer to work with Scouts are generally good-hearted, well-meaning folks who want to do their best to guide Scouts towards growing into useful, good hearted people themselves. But this goodwill is not enough, we have to strive to […]
Leadership, Power, Responsibility, and Service
Anyone who takes on a position of responsibility as a leader will feel pretty self-important at first. After all, you have been chosen, or you stepped in when no one else did. It’s a big ego boost to have a title, to have people follow your directions. That’s a pretty heady feeling isn’t it… all that power? Power scratches an itch, […]
Every Scout is a Leader
We tend to focus only on directive leadership roles when we are thinking about engaging our Scouts in leadership, but every Scout can (and ought to) be a leader. Here’s some thoughts you can use to encourage all of your Scouts to engage in leadership. Leadership is much more than standing in front of the group […]
Youth Leader Training
Like most three-year-olds my granddaughter is a expert learner – she soaks up everything around her like a sponge. There’s a new discovery every hour of the day, it’s a challenge keeping up. How do three-year-olds learn? Through a process of discovery. They get curious, they watch other people, get their hands on things; what is it for, […]
Scoutmaster Podcast 276 – Patrol Method
This encore presentation features an interview with the authors of Working the Patrol Method, a Scout leader’s guide to youth leadership training. I think this is the best work on the patrol method since ‘Green Bar’ Bill Hillcourt’s Handbook for Patrol Leaders last published in 1965 or Baden Powell’s Aids to Scoutmastership originally published in 1920. It’s about […]
Developing Youth Leaders – Ready, Fire, Aim
I want to encourage you to stop training youth leaders and start developing their leadership skills – two very different things. Scouts learn best experimentally, “ready, fire, aim” is an apt description of the process. Directing the archery and rifle range at our camp many years ago I learned some important lessons about how to help Scouts develop skills. Most Scouts that […]
A Troop Revolution
Vilhelm Hans Bjerregaard Jensen was a Danish Scout who became a Scoutmaster during the early years of the Scouting Movement. He decided to see something of Scouting around the world, worked his way through Europe and England, arrived in the United States in February 1926 and took a job with the national headquarters of the Boy Scouts of America. James West (the BSA’s […]
Scouts Canada has created a clear, uncluttered, engaging process in the “Plan-Do-Review” component of the Canadian Path. Scouting is made up of intuitive principles that are intended to be taken at face value. Simplicity can be elusive; we tend to prefer complications. At first blush there’s nothing groundbreaking or new about this approach. It’s so intuitive and simple I think most […]
Training or Developing Youth Leaders?
I taught my step-son to drive from the passenger seat of a beat-up, old, standard transmission Honda Civic. I am pretty sure the best way to learn how to start from a stop with a clutch is sitting behind the wheel, feeling the clutch engage, pressing the gas pedal, and stalling the car a couple of times. “Push the clutch in all the […]
10 Ways to Develop Youth leadership
1. Promote Ownership If youth leadership is actually responsible for the running the program, (meetings, outings, the whole megillah), they must have sense of ownership. Without ownership they will not have a sense of responsibility. 2. Praise publicly, criticize privately Critique and advice are tempered by a sense of care and support and quietly offered. Praise is frequent, always overheard, and shared […]
Positions of Responsibility
Get a PDF version of this infographic below. I’ve written extensively about developing youth leadership but this article focuses on how our youth leaders are selected. Before we delve into specifics let’s agree that there’s a danger of losing the distinction between suggestions, rules and regulations, and mandated practices. Any “how to” instructions should be built on understanding of the […]
The Authority of Youth Leadership.
Compel Force or oblige someone to do something. Delegate To give or commit (duties, powers, etc) to another as agent or representative. Empowered Give someone the authority or power to do something. The authority of youth leadership is not based in compelling young people to do something. The authority in youth leadership is not delegated (One […]
A New Scoutmaster in the Volcano
I received this email from a new Scoutmaster a day or two ago: I was presented with the opportunity to take over as our new Scoutmaster some months ago and asked your advice. I had some concerns about the level of adult involvement in what should be a boy-led troop. In your response you suggested I define […]
Origins of the Patrol System
The Patrol System was published by the General Council Boy Scouts of Canada in 1960 and is available in PDF format here (do make sure to check out The Dump). The principles of the Patrol System were first introduced by the Founder, Baden-Powell, when he was with the British Army in India. The system he devised enabled […]
Lucky? Not Really.
Saw this comment today: “He’s got a bunch of older Scouts who run his troop for him, he’s lucky!” Lucky? Not at all, that’s how Scouting works. “He’s got a bunch of older Scouts…” Yes, we have a bunch of older Scouts, when I think “older” I think about any Scout over thirteen. Younger Scouts are often just as capable, […]
Leadership Development Landmarks
It’s not possible to train leaders in the classic sense by teaching theoretical information in a theoretical environment. We can’t sweep a big crowd of Scouts or Scouters together, put them in one end of the training machine, and have leaders come out the other. Developing actual leadership skill is a complex, individualized, process that only […]
Patrol Log Book
I set up this logbook for my Scouts to keep records of meetings, camping trips plans, adventures and memorable moments. They use the information to help their patrol understand what they should start doing, keep on doing or, perhaps, stop doing. By reflecting on things that worked well and things that don’t go as planned they can avoid […]
Patrol Operations Plan Part 3 – Field Treks
Once your Patrol starts taking on a life of it’s own your Scouts will want to do more ambitious activities. A field trek is hiking adventure with a purpose, and it’s a great thing to do with your Patrol. Make sure field treks are part of your Patrol operations plan. The purpose of the trek […]
Scouts Australia Patrol System Video
Working the patrol system is a challenge no matter where you are. I think that the scenes with Scouts huddled together in a dim room and feeling hopeless speak volumes! I laughed out loud when the Scouter says “A written test?!? Of course!”. Thanks to Mike Beck and David Smith for letting me know about this […]
Where Does Scout Advancement Happen?
Scout advancement is a natural result of applying the patrol system. Requirements without the patrol experience are a lifeless checklist. Tenderfoot 2. Spend at least one night on a patrol or troop campout… 3. On the campout, assist in preparing and cooking one of your patrol’s meals. Tell why it is important for each patrol member […]
What Do Scouts Decide?
There’s a lot of discussion about who makes decisions about what activities Scouts put on their schedule. What do Scouts decide? Should adults be part of that process, or must we always allow Scouts to make these decisions? Some would argue that who makes these decisions is a good test of whether a troop is […]
Fifteen Minute Patrol Leader Training
Patrol leader training is not an event; it is an ongoing process of coaching and mentoring. Good coaching comes from a solid, simple, shared understanding of the fundamentals. To my mind a trained patrol leader knows these fundamentals. Here’s how I train patrol leaders in fifteen minutes. I usually conduct this training just before or […]