Patrol Organization

Administering the troop, solving problems, building on success, and using key program elements like the Patrol Method.

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Patrol Organization

Postby Aaron A » Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:24 pm

Hello all.

I've been out of scouting for almost 20 years and have been getting back into it. I have two boys, one that is turning 11 in Nov 2011, and is close to getting his Webelos, and another that turned 8 a few months ago and almost has his wolf. I am the Troop Committee Chair for our troop and I'm trying to help get the scouting program off the ground and exciting for the boys involved. I also want a good program in place for when my boys cross over.

I understand the troop positions such SPL, ASPL, QM, Bugler, webmaster, and such... and that they report to the ASPL according to the chart at this link: http://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php/Im ... -troop.gif

But what are the duties of the other boys in a patrol that are not patrol leader and assistant patrol leader?

If I had a patrol of 8 boys, 1 is the PL, another is the APL, what are the other 6 boys?

If I had multiple patrols are they all the same?

Thanks!
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Re: Patrol Organization

Postby smtroop168 » Fri Jan 14, 2011 8:45 am

Welcome back and welcome to the Forum!

A Patrol can mirror the Troop positions within their patrol. You can have a Patrol Scribe, Patrol QM, Patrol Grubmaster etc.

Patrols should be the same size with a mix of experience if possible.

Some troops use the New Scout Patrol Method with a Troop Guide.
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Re: Patrol Organization

Postby FrankJ » Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:46 am

If you thinking in terms of POR for rank, it is only the one mentioned in the scout handbook. In terms of patrols, the boys can create any structure that works for them. While guidance is good, the boys should be driving the process.
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Re: Patrol Organization

Postby Nuts4Scouts » Fri Jan 14, 2011 11:35 am

Where is the Scoutmaster in all of this?

The Scoutmaster is the program side of things, the Committee Chair the business side. Have you talked to the SM about his/her vision for the Troop?
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Re: Patrol Organization

Postby Fred Johnson » Fri Jan 14, 2011 2:08 pm

Warning ... TANGENT / SIDE COMMENT ...

smtroop168 wrote:Patrols should be the same size with a mix of experience if possible.


Our troop is re-balancing the patrols as we have several patrols that are aging out. We are trying to let the scouts lead the process, but one "parent" is strongly inserting his ideas through his son.

In the past, we've let our patrols be by friends or age or as they join. This parent is pushing for a mixture of age and experience. I can understand that view as to the objectives. Better training. More opportunity for leadership. My main fear is that once the patrol finishes their business (cooking, MBs, camp outs, ...) or even during their activities, the scouts will sneak off to be with their friends who are stuck in other patrols because of breaking up of the natural grouping of when you joined, age and skill level.

I know it is good to mix age and skill for some reasons, but I'd hope the primary reason for being in a patrol is that you want to do things together. If some scouts are at brownsea (new scout training at summer camp) and others are MB sessions and others are at high adventure course, where's the patrol unity / purpose. Heck, an experienced patrol (all first class or up) should be able to go camping on their own at times. Or go on hikes. Or do activities together.

IMHO, fundamentally a patrol is a group of boys who want to do things together. I'm worried the "together" is getting lost. Instead, they will be stuck with their patrol mates until they can get back to their friends.

I'd rather use troop guides as BSA says. Otherwise, what's the purpose of even having troop guides if we mix patrols by age and experience having the more experienced patrol members teaching the less.

As a final note, patrol members should share their tents with other patrol members. I'm uncomfortable having a patrol such that a 17 year old and an 11 year old could be sharing tents. The power and life experience differential is too much. I'd "prefer" (not require) to keep the age ranges closer together. It could still happen the other way, but it is more probably if we force the mixing of ages and experiences.

Just a thought....
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Re: Patrol Organization

Postby alex gregory » Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:07 pm

To answer your questions:

The other Scouts in the patrol are Scouts not serving in any position of responsibility. We can't all be chiefs all the time. With regular elections every six months there will be plenty of opportunities for rotation of leadership. Appointed positions should be rotated regularly as well so that all Scouts have a chance of getting leadership experience.

Ideally each patrol works as a team with decisions being reached by consensus, so each member of the patrol will have a say in whatever needs to be decided regardless of who is the "patrol leader". A good patrol leader (and senior patrol leader) basically acts as a chairman of the board. The patrol leader also participates in the monthly Patrol Leaders Council, and acts as the patrol liason to troop leadership.

I'm not sure what you mean by "if I have multiple patrols are they all the same?". Basic patrol organization is the same. Patrols may vary in ages or not, depending on what works for your troop. Some troops like to mix up different age Scouts. Some troops tend to keep similar age Scouts in the same patrol in order to avoid some of the friction that can develop among boys between the age of 10 and 18 (suffice it to say that the older scouts usually prefer to hang out with older scouts). I imagine most troops have a New Scout patrol for boys who have recently crossed-over and have not yet quite figured out how Boys Scouting is different from Cub Scouting.

From your post I suspect that you have a fairly new boy scout troop, with mostly young scouts. Ideally you will have enough scouts for at least 3 patrols of 5 to 8 scouts each. If you adopt the reccommended patrol method and let the boys figure it out without being Akela you'll do just fine.
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Re: Patrol Organization

Postby Aaron A » Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:50 pm

Thank you all for the replies.

By "All the same" I mean does every patrol have a Patrol QM, Patrol Webmaster, etc, etc.

The Scout master is new and we are all researching and helping each other out. I look at my Job as Troop Committee Chair to make sure that the scout master and boys have everything they need to be successful. We are small, so we don't have a full committee, I find myself running down to the scout office to buy awards and turn in tour permits and such, I ask lots of questions and read lots of materials. At our troop committee meeting we discuss what is going well, what needs improvement, and try to make sure we are doing things by the book. The boys planned and carried out a court of Honor last month and it was awesome. Rough around the edges but awesome!

Now I have another question. If every patrol has its own quartermaster; What patrol does the Troop Quartermaster belong to? Since he and the other positions that report to the ASPL seem to be off to the side are they not in a patrol or are they in a separate patrol or are they still in whatever patrol they start out in and only report to the ASPL when performing their troop duties?

Thanks again.
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Re: Patrol Organization

Postby Mrw » Fri Jan 14, 2011 4:56 pm

Our troop, 43 boys, has just re-organized from age based patrols to mixed age patrols.

The age based patrols worked reasonably well when we had a few older boys as the troop leaders and lots of young kids and nothing in between. Some had merged over time due to attrition.

Our current structure has three mixed age patrols plus a leadership patrol. The leadership patrol is the SPL, ASPLs, QM (?) and a couple boys who are older and have already been through the ASPL/SPL position. They are serving primarily as mentors for the kids moving into these positions. Our current SPL/ASPLs are on the younger side and will probably want to reintegrate back into regular patrols with buddies when they are done in their positions. We left a couple of the much older, working to finish Eagle between jobs, girls and school before they age out as unassigned. We figure they are not there often enough to be fair to a partol leader. They help out whomever needs some when they are there.

Even in mixed age patrols, the kids will sort themselves into similar aged tent mates for campouts, so I do not think you really need to be all that concerned about that.

Each Patrol should have a PL and APL. Ours also have a scribe and a QM. Unless the patrol has its own website, a patrol webmaster would just be silly.

When we get new cross-over scouts in a few months, they will go into a new scout patrol (with guides) until the end of summer and then be split into the existing patrols as it makes sense at the time. This gives us time to see who is going to stick around for a while and to see if there are kids who need to be together (or separate) as they go into regular patrols.

The changes were jointly initiated by a new SM and a new PLC and the boys seem to be fairly happy with how it is going right now.
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Re: Patrol Organization

Postby alex gregory » Fri Jan 14, 2011 8:14 pm

Don't make this too hard on yourself. Simple is best. Just follow the BSA reccommendations for patrol method and you will do fine. You've taken the training and there is lots of helpful information on this site and other scout forum.

You don't need a patrol Quartermaster. Frankly, it sounds like some troops are just a little too organized. Too many cooks in the kitchen will ruin the soup. What is the purpose of a Patrol scribe, QM, etc., etc., etc. A PL and APL should be able handle the job of keeping track of the patrol box and writing up next weekend's menu plan. It's really not that hard, and they need something to do. Don't turn your troop into a Dilbert cartoon.

Patrol gear is troop gear that is assigned to a specific patrol. There is one Troop Quartermaster who is responsibile for taking care of troop equipment, making sure each patrol has what it needs, making sure the patrols return their gear to the equipment locker clean and ready for next month's outing, and letting the SM or Committe Equipment Chair know what needs to be replaced etc.

If patrols are so large that they actually need to delegate a patrol scribe and QM, maybe you need more patrols. A patrol QM sounds like a nice title, but it counts for nothing toward rank POR requirements.

Troop officers still belong to their patrols. They don't go a form a new "leader's only" patrol. In my troop even the SPL and ASPLS still belong to their patrols, and mess with their patrols if they are not too busy doing troop leadership stuff.
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Re: Patrol Organization

Postby Quailman » Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:55 pm

Aaron A wrote:But what are the duties of the other boys in a patrol that are not patrol leader and assistant patrol leader?

If I had a patrol of 8 boys, 1 is the PL, another is the APL, what are the other 6 boys?


They are patrol members. Each should have a chance to run for PL and APL in 6 months. When duty rosters are prepared for campouts they'll have interim assignments. In the meantime they should just participate and have fun.
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Re: Patrol Organization

Postby scoutaholic » Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:42 am

Aaron A wrote:... If every patrol has its own quartermaster; What patrol does the Troop Quartermaster belong to? Since he and the other positions that report to the ASPL seem to be off to the side are they not in a patrol or are they in a separate patrol or are they still in whatever patrol they start out in and only report to the ASPL when performing their troop duties?...


Normally, the SPL, ASPL, QM, and Scribe are not a part of any patrol. The concentrate on the operations of the troop as a whole. When boys are working in patrols, the troop leaders will visit different patrols as needed. Hopefully, they will visit all of the patrols and work well with everyone rather than focus on always working with the same patrol because that is where their best friend is.

If you want to have the youth leadership work as a (small) patrol at times, you could call them your leadership corp. I've even seen some use a leadership corp patch that goes in the place of the patrol medallion.
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Re: Patrol Organization

Postby WVBeaver05 » Sun Jan 16, 2011 10:15 am

scoutaholic wrote:
Aaron A wrote:... If every patrol has its own quartermaster; What patrol does the Troop Quartermaster belong to? Since he and the other positions that report to the ASPL seem to be off to the side are they not in a patrol or are they in a separate patrol or are they still in whatever patrol they start out in and only report to the ASPL when performing their troop duties?...


Normally, the SPL, ASPL, QM, and Scribe are not a part of any patrol. The concentrate on the operations of the troop as a whole. When boys are working in patrols, the troop leaders will visit different patrols as needed. Hopefully, they will visit all of the patrols and work well with everyone rather than focus on always working with the same patrol because that is where their best friend is.

If you want to have the youth leadership work as a (small) patrol at times, you could call them your leadership corp. I've even seen some use a leadership corp patch that goes in the place of the patrol medallion.

In years gone by, I have heard it referred to as the "green bar patrol" (you can figure out why). Never saw a patrol patch used though.

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