I was Patrol leader when my Patrol competed with dozens of others at our District Camporee. One competition was building a fire with flint and steel under a string tied horizontally about two feet off the ground, the object was to be the first to burn through the string. My Patrol had been practicing our skills in the weeks leading up to the Camporee, so we were ready. At the start signal, we each had a different task; one collected the tinder, another collected the kindling, one prepared the flint and steel, one collected the fuel, we all had something to do.
Everything happened quickly. The shower of sparks from our flint on steel caught the tinder on fire, we gently fanned that small flame, and soon the fire was strong and high enough to burn through the string. We ended up winning the whole competition! I will never forget how amazing it felt to watch the my Patrol come together to accomplish the task!
The Patrol is the team where Scouting adventure really happens! What makes it more than just a bunch of individual Scouts? What makes a fire more than a bundle of sticks? When a team comes together, something amazing happens! It begins with a spark, grows into a small flame, and becomes a blazing fire.
The spark is Patrol Spirit! Patrol Spirit transforms a group of individuals into a powerful team for adventure the same way the spark from a flint and steel can turn a pile of sticks into a blazing fire.
You can’t throw a bunch of sticks on the ground and hope for a fire, you have to build it. Patrol Spirit doesn’t just happen either! It takes some work, some intention, and you can be the spark that makes it happen.
Here’s some ideas that will help you fan the spark of spirit and fire the enthusiasm of your Patrol:
1. Be Active
The biggest builder of Patrol Spirit is doing things together as much as possible. Don’t limit yourself to the regular troop schedule; get together for a hike, have a special session to practice skills, get together to play games. The more active, the greater the spirit!
2. Inspire Morale
Morale is the confidence, enthusiasm, and discipline of a group. Patrol symbols (Patrol name, yell, patch, and flag) are powerful things that can inspire morale; own them! Show respect for the Patrol and for each other, wear them proudly! The whole Patrol ought to be involved in creating their own individual, meaningful, identity.
3. Build a Team of Leaders
Each Scout should have a stake in leading. Everyone has some talent or ability they can lend to making the Patrol great, find out what that talent is and give it plenty of encouragement.
Does your Patrol have the spark of spirit I am talking about? Are you ready to make it happen? Leave a comment below or go to the GreenBar Life forum and let me know!
In the next post, I’ll go into more detail about some of the cool things you can do with your Patrol!