Comments on the Patrol Method (offered during our court of honor program)
“The Scouting program has three specific objectives, commonly referred to as the “Aims of Scouting.” They are:
- Character development,
- Citizenship training, and
- Personal fitness.
To accomplish these goals, there are eight equally important “methods” used to help scouts grow.
- Advancement – that’s our awards program
- Ideals – these include our Scout Oath; Scout Law; Motto and Slogan
- Outdoor Program – Arguably the best part of scouting – camping, hiking, boating, cooking, eating!
- Adult Association – to learn to work with and talk with adults comfortably
- Personal Growth – Doing Good Turns, service projects and working on religious emblem awards
- Leadership Development – Leadership training programs, and practicing leadership through Positions of Responsibility within the troop
- Uniform – developing a sense of teamwork through uniforms and treating each other consistently
…And Number Eight is the Patrol Method – something I’d like to discuss tonight.
A Patrol is a group of Boy Scouts who belong to the same troop and who may be similar in age, development, and interests. The patrol method gives Boy Scouts an experience in group living and participating citizenship.
The patrol method allows Scouts to interact in small groups where members can easily relate to each other. These small groups determine troop activities through elected representatives.
While the troop determines the requirements for patrol leaders, such as rank and age, it is the members of each patrol who elect one of their own to serve as Patrol Leader. This places responsibility on young shoulders and teaches boys how to grow into active leadership.
A patrol takes pride in its identity, and the members work together as a team. They share the responsibility of making their patrol a success.
Patrol spirit is the glue that holds the patrol together and keeps it going. Building patrol spirit takes time, because it is shaped by a patrol’s experiences—good and bad. Often misadventures such as enduring a thunderstorm or getting lost in the woods will contribute much in pulling a patrol together. Many other elements also will help build patrol spirit. Creating a patrol identity and traditions will help build each patrol member’s sense of belonging.
Patrols can earn the National Honor Patrol Award by completing specific requirements over a three-month period, including having their own meetings, outings, and service projects.
In closing, I’d like to offer some historical quotes about patrols:
- Robert Baden-Powell said, in his book “Aids to Scoutmastership”:
“In a Patrol the Scouts learn to work with others, while the Patrol leader learns responsibility for others. Both have to give in a part of their personal interest for this.”
He also said; “These patrols are therefore more important than the Troop. Patrols must be kept intact under all circumstances, which means working, tenting, learning, cooking, so surviving together.” — Robert Baden-Powell, Aids to Scoutmastership, 1919
- Finally, William “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt said; “…a Troop is not divided into Patrols. A Troop is the sum total of its Patrols”
The patrol method is something we’ve embraced here at troop 113 and it helps the scouts remember that this troop collectively belongs to them.