The Patrol Method
The patrol is a group of Scouts who belong to a troop and who areprobably similar in age, development, and interests. The patrol methodallows Scouts to interact in a small group outside the larger troopcontext, working together as a team and sharing the responsibility ofmaking their patrol a success. A patrol takes pride in its identity, andthe members strive to make their patrol the best it can be. Patrolswill sometimes join with other patrols to learn skills and completeadvancement requirements. At other times they will compete against thosesame patrols in Scout skills and athletic competitions.
The members of each patrol elect one of their own to serve as PatrolLeader. The troop determines the requirements for Patrol Leader, such asrank and age. To give more youths the opportunity to lead, most troopselect Patrol Leader twice a year. Some may have elections more often.
Patrol size depends upon a troop's enrollment and the needs of itsmembers, though an ideal patrol size is eight Scouts. Patrols with fewerthan eight Scouts should try to recruit new members to get their patrolsize up to the ideal number.
Patrol meetings may be held at any time and place. Many troops set asidea portion of each troop meeting for its patrols to gather. Othersencourage patrols to meet on a different evening at the home of a patrolmember. The frequency of patrol meetings is determined by upcomingevents and activities that require planning and discussion.
Patrol meetings should be well-planned and businesslike. Typically, thepatrol leader calls the meeting to order, the scribe collects dues, andthe assistant patrol leader reports on advancement. The Patrol Leadershould report any information from the latest Patrol Leaders' Councilmeeting. The bulk of the meeting should be devoted to planning upcomingactivities, with specific assignments made to each patrol member.
Most patrol activities take place within the framework of the troop.However, patrols may also conduct day hikes and service projectsindependent of the troop, as long as they follow two rules:
- The Scoutmaster approves the activity.
- The patrol activity does not interfere with any troop function.
Patrol spirit is the glue that holds the patrol together and keeps itgoing. Building patrol spirit takes time, because it is shaped by apatrol's experiences—good and bad. Often misadventures such as enduring athunderstorm or getting lost in the woods will contribute much inpulling a patrol together. Many other elements also will help buildpatrol spirit. Creating a patrol identity and traditions will help buildeach patrol member's sense of belonging.
Every patrol needs a good name. Usually, the patrol chooses its namefrom nature, a plant or animal, or something that makes the patrolunique. A patrol might choose an object for its outstanding quality. Forexample, sharks are strong swimmers and buffaloes love to roam. Thepatrol may want to add an adjective to spice up the patrol name, such asthe Soaring Hawks or the Rambunctious Raccoons.
Every patrol has a patrol yell, which should be short and snappy.Choose words that fit the patrol's goals. Use the yell to announce toother patrols that your patrol is ready to eat or has won a patrolcompetition. Some patrols also have a patrol song.
The Patrol Leaders' Council
As a Patrol Leader, you are a member of the Patrol Leaders' Council, andyou serve as the voice of your patrol members. You should present theideas and concerns of your patrol and in turn share the decisions of thePatrol Leaders' Council with your patrol members.
The Patrol Leaders' Council is made up of the Senior Patrol Leader,who presides over the meetings; the Assistant Senior Patrol Leader, allPatrol Leaders, and the Troop Guide. The Patrol Leaders' Council plansthe yearly troop program at the annual troop program planningconference. It then meets monthly to fine-tune the plans for theupcoming month.
Your Duties as Patrol Leader
when you accepted the position of patrol leader, you agreed to provideservice and leadership to your patrol and troop. no doubt you will takethis responsibility seriously, but you will also find it fun andrewarding. as a patrol leader, you are expected to do the following: