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 […]
Podcast 246 – Classes, Chow, and More!
Another agonized alliteration! In this podcast I answer emails about merit badge classes, patrols cooking their own chow, a Scoutmaster worried about Scouts who change troops, Scouting’s chimeras (or urban legends), and a little troop leadership election chicanery. Hows that for one jam-packed alliterative podcast? Here’s the first chapter of the narrative: A New Scoutmaster. Here’s the […]
Podcast 243 – What is the Context of Scouting?
What is the context of Scouting, and why does it matter? The game of Scouting has it’s own set of rules, it’s own playing field, or context. I discuss a couple of common questions that are answered by understanding this context. In addition we’ll discuss conflicts of interest for an Eagle board of review, whether […]
B.P.’s Blog – Patrol System
During his lifetime Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the worldwide Scouting movement, wrote many books and articles directed to Scouters. Each Sunday I’ll publish a selection from his writings in the hope that you’ll draw inspiration and understanding from his timeless ideas. Many Scoutmasters and others did not, at first, recognize the extraordinary value which they […]
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 […]
Patrol Teamwork Part 5 – Patrol Burglar?
How can you capitalize on patrol teamwork? In“The Hobbit” the company of Dwarves decides that they need a ‘burglar’. The burglar would be the company’s eyes and ears: scouting out locations along the way. At the recommendation of the wizard Gandalf the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins was chosen to be the burglar. Just as the Dwarves depended on Bilbo to […]
Patrol Teamwork Part 4 – Information Specialist
I wish my Patrol had kept good records when I was a Patrol Leader. I didn’t think it was all that important at the time, but I know better now. I did buy a little notebook and tried to keep it up to date, but I was so busy that I forgot to write stuff […]
February Scout Circle – GreenBar Life
In this Scout Circle Enoch Heise, Arlen Ward and myself discuss youth leadership in Scouting. Enoch is the author of the GreenBar life articles found at ScoutmasterCG.com. He’s a 19 year-old assistant Scoutmaster with a great perspective on helping youth leaders get going and keep going. Our central interest is developing a go-to resource for youth leaders […]
Get A Life Part 2 – It Starts With YOU!
In part 1, I said that your Patrol shouldn’t be just a ‘paper-patrol’. Your Patrol will only become a great Patrol if you care enough to make it so. You’ve got to really care about your Patrol! I mean really care! The Scouts who are in your patrol now are the foundation. You’ve got everything […]
Get A Life! Part 1 – Paper Patrols?
Get a life! I mean for your Patrol! Many Patrols are lifeless. These are called “paper patrols”. They have a name on paper, but it doesn’t mean much in real life. Your Patrol can be different. An active Patrol is a real team: a real group of friends! It can have a real life that […]
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 […]
How to Fix Scout Patrol Problems
Here’s a question I recently received asking how to fix Scout patrol problems: I’m a Scoutmaster with less than a year under my belt and I’m faced with a ‘good problem’ ; we’re growing. We currently have 4 patrols and we anticipate that we will get about 7 Scouts from the Pack in February; they […]
Adult and Youth Leadership Ratios on Scout Outings
When we talk about boys planning, preparing and leading Scout outings some folks reply “Good grief, how can you leave the Scouts in charge when the troop is going on a strenuous hike to Jones Mountain and they have no experience? As Scoutmaster, isn’t it my responsibility to be closely involved in each Scout’s preparation […]
The Patrol Leader’s Real Power and Authority
A new patrol leader may think, at first, their position is one of great power and authority. Truth be told patrol leaders do have great power and authority but it’s not aimed at bossing people around or commanding their respect. The patrol leader’s real power is the example they set for their fellow Scouts. A patrol will follow […]
Patrol Method in Practice – Making It Happen
This is post number four in this four part series on the patrol method 1. The Character School, 2. The Adult Role, 3. Objections, The first post in this series about the patrol method paints a picture of the patrol as the central unit of Scouting, next we discussed the adult role followed by discussing the usual objections that arise […]
Unqualified, Unskilled, Immature: Perfect!
Experience, maturity and skill are not prerequisites to leadership; they are the traits produced as we practice leadership. We often get email or comments from Scoutmasters with a troop of young Scouts wondering how they can be anything like boy led. They look around a bunch of immature 11-year-old boys and don’t see anyone who measures up to their preconceived […]
Lead by Walking Away
Adult leaders often say things like; “I don’t override the boys decisions at all. ” “I asked them what they wanted to do.” “This was their decision.” What most of us fail to recognize is that many of these ‘boy led’ decisions were probably coerced, at least in part, by the presence of adults when they were discussed. It’s not that the […]
Patrol Choice Chart
Patrol Choice Chart PDF FILE I am often asked about how patrols are formed, who does the choosing and how the choices are made. Scouts do the choosing and one way for them to choose is using the chart above (open the PDF file to see the chart in detail). To divide a group of Scouts […]
Storming, Storming and Storming
Bruce Tuckman first offered a theory of group development in the mid 1960’s. Tuckman’s model has been a part of Woodbadge training for about a dozen years. Here’s Tuckman’s three stages: Forming Individuals want to be accepted by the others, avoid controversy or conflict. The group is busy with routines: who does what, when to meet, […]
From The Patrol System Published by Scouts Canada in 1960. Not a new idea, but a good one none-the-less. What would happen if you put this information in the hands of your patrol leaders? You want your gang to become a real Patrol—and only a hiking Patrol is a real one. We can break Patrol […]
Scoutmaster Podcast 40 – Patrol Method Book
Scoutmaster Podcast 40 Interview with the authors of a fantastic patrol method book – Working the Patrol Method. Applying the patrol method is a perennial challenge for all of us, indeed it is the subject of much of the Scoutmaster blog and podcast. I cannot recommend Working the Patrol Method strongly enough – an essential tool for […]
I’ve recently taken over as Scoutmaster and we are working on reorganizing patrols. We have 38 scouts in 3 patrols. One has 11 or 12 scouts, all young and most of them go camping; the second has about 6 active scouts, 2 camp regularly. Patrol 3 is led by a Life Scout that is great with younger […]
Continuing an examination of Patrols based on the 1960 Book The Patrol System (opens PDF file). ‘Patrol Spirit’ as described below is key to fostering strong Patrols- Patrol spirit doesn’t spring up like a mushroom overnight. It can’t be made to order. But it can be developed in the same way that a small tree […]