Ok.. So to get back to the Future.. we need to focus on those basics that I referred to in the last post. I am going to, in the next few post expand on what I think we need to focus on. This is the world according to Jerry… and Baden Powell..
We start where it all starts and ends.. the Patrol.
The Patrol method is not just something we do to group boys together. It is the method that ties the Troop together, it is the basis for teaching and coaching the three elements of Citizenship, Character, and Fitness that are the primary goals of the Scouting program in achieving our Mission.
Again, I turn to Aides to Scoutmastership and see what Baden Powell has to say about the Patrol method.
The Patrol System is the one essential feature in which Scout training differs from that of all other organizations, and where the System is properly applied, it is absolutely bound to bring success. It cannot help itself!
That is correct, if we do not use the patrol method we can not and will not be successful in our mission. While other clubs sort their youth in age groups, gender groups, or interest groups, Scouting creates groups that will self govern, learn decision making, establish friendships, and challenge one another and the Patrols around them.
An invaluable step in character training is to put responsibility on to the individual. This is immediately gained in appointing a Patrol Leader to responsible command of his Patrol. It is up to him to take hold of and to develop the qualities of each boy in his Patrol. It sounds a big order, but in practice it works.
There always seems to be resistance in this area. Some adults either have no faith in the boy, or find it easier just to do it themselves. Which one develops the boy? Give a Scout responsibility and training and he will rise to it. I think you will be surprised when you see even a first year Scout lead to his level. You will see his character develop as he is placed in situations that will test his strength of character. He will have to choose right over popular, he will have to choose discipline over chaos. He will have to take charge and responsibility and understand that his needs are secondary to those of the Scouts he leads. He is first up and last down. He ensures that meals are prepared and done correctly. He develops communication techniques that allow him to effectively represent his patrol at the Patrol leaders council and get the information back to his patrol so they can be full participants in the program. He is the cheerleader of the patrol, he is the compass that keeps the patrol heading in the right direction. The Patrol leader is the motivator and goal setter. At the end of his term, he will have taken a step towards being a better leader in his School, home, and among friends, not to mention in his troop.
The best progress is made in those Troops where power and responsibility are really put into the hands of the Patrol Leaders. This is the Secret of success in Scout Training.
Amen BP.. Take away the Patrol Method and you essentially do not have a Boy Scout Troop.
The Patrol Method is supported by the Patrol Leaders Council. The PLC is the heartbeat of the Boy Scout troop. Without an effective BOY LED Patrol Leaders Council, you do not have a Boy Scout Troop. You have an adult led club.
The Patrol Leaders Council makes the decisions for the troop. They plan the troops activities and meetings and by and large the training that will occur for first year Scouts and skills that are required for specific activities. The Patrol Leaders Council is led by the Senior Patrol leader. He is trained and seeks advice from the Scoutmaster.
The Scoutmaster’s primary job is to train that Senior Patrol leader. Then he can watch as the SPL in turns trains and guides using the EDGE method those Patrol leaders. A great opportunity for leadership development and training is the use of Troop guides. These Scouts are part of the Patrol leaders council and assist the Patrols were needed, especially those younger Scout patrols.
The Patrol Leaders Council, I can not stress enough must be allowed to function, even when it’s ugly… the Scouts that make up the council need to be allowed to make mistakes, they need to be allowed to make a decision and then fully realize the consequence of the decision. Adult leadership should stand back and coach when needed not allowing safety to be compromised or the general welfare of the Troop. Using the assessment tools that are part of Junior leader training, or the new National Youth Leadership Training program. The Patrol leaders council can evaluate themselves and learn from success and failure.
This is the learning ground for Patrol leaders and will assist them is developing sound leadership, as rough as it looks sometimes.
The bottom line. Back to basics.. back to the future starts with the Patrol Method. Period.
As the founder taught us; “”The patrol system is not one method in which Scouting for boys can be carried on. It is the only method.”
Have a Great Scouting Day!