William “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt described his ideal boy run as follows:
“Troop No. 3 has its share of Merit Badge Scouts and streamers testifying to its proficiency at Council Rallies and Camporees. Yet, its Scoutmaster is never much in evidence. He keeps himself in the background and offers only such stimulus, guidance and is necessary for the best development of Patrol efficiency and Troop spirit. The meetings of the Troop are planned and executed by the boys themselves through their chosen boy leaders. Always one Patrol or another has a surprise to spring on the others, such as a stunt, a game, a contest. There are never any problems of discipline, because the discipline comes from within each boy and is not stamped upon him from without. Advancement is steady because the boys of their own desire are actually practicing Scoutcraft, not only at Troop meetings and occasional Troop hikes, but at numerous individual Patrol meetings and hikes in which no adults take part. Each Patrol does its own thinking and can be trusted to carry a job through to the end under its own leadership.
And he provided an easy test to see if your troop is using the Patrol Method:
An old experienced Scoutmaster said once: “The test of the Patrol Method is in the easy chair!” His audience looked nonplused, so he elaborated his statement: “Get an easy chair and place it in a corner of the Troop meeting room. If you can sink into it just after the opening ceremony and just sit throughout the meeting, without a worry for its success, without lifting a finger or moving a foot until time comes for the closing-well, then your Troop is run on the Patrol Method-your boy leaders are actually leading.”
That, figuratively, is the test-as exemplified by Troop No. 3 above and indicates the condition toward which you should aim for the future of your Troop. For unless a Troop makes use of the Patrol Method it cannot be considered a Scout Troop, since “the Patrol Method is not ONE method in which Scouting can be carried on. It is the ONLY method.”
And the two-fold secret of success is simple:
I. Make the Patrol the unit ALWAYS, in and out through thick and thin, for better and worse in victory and defeat, in games arid on hikes, and in camp.
II. Train your boy leaders for their positions, place the responsibility of leadership on them and let them exercise it.”
Thanks Green Bar Bill!
Have a Great Scouting Day!