The Patrol Method
The patrol is a group of Scouts who belong to a troop and who are probably similar in age, development, and interests. The patrol method allows Scouts to interact in a small group outside the larger troop context, working together as a team and sharing the responsibility of making their patrol a success. A patrol takes pride in its identity, and the members strive to make their patrol the best it can be. Patrols will sometimes join with other patrols to learn skills and complete advancement requirements. At other times they will compete against those same patrols in Scout skills and athletic competitions.
The members of each patrol elect one of their own to serve as Patrol Leader. The troop determines the requirements for Patrol Leader, such as rank and age. To give more youths the opportunity to lead, most troop select Patrol Leader twice a year. Some may have elections more often.
Patrol size depends upon a troop's enrollment and the needs of its members, though an ideal patrol size is eight Scouts. Patrols with fewer than eight Scouts should try to recruit new members to get their patrol size up to the ideal number.
Patrol meetings may be held at any time and place. Many troops set as idea portion of each troop meeting for its patrols to gather. Others encourage patrols to meet on a different evening at the home of a patrol member. The frequency of patrol meetings is determined by upcoming events and activities that require planning and discussion.
Patrol meetings should be well-planned and businesslike. Typically, the patrol leader calls the meeting to order, the scribe collects dues, and the assistant patrol leader reports on advancement. The Patrol Leader should report any information from the latest Patrol Leaders' Council meeting. The bulk of the meeting should be devoted to planning upcoming activities, 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 projects independent 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 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.
Every patrol needs a good name. Usually, the patrol chooses its name from nature, a plant or animal, or something that makes the patrol unique. A patrol might choose an object for its outstanding quality. For example, sharks are strong swimmers and buffaloes love to roam. The patrol may want to add an adjective to spice up the patrol name, such as the 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 to other patrols that your patrol is ready to eat or has won a patrol competition. Some patrols also have a patrol song.
The Patrol Leaders' Council
As a Patrol Leader, you are a member of the Patrol Leaders' Council, and you serve as the voice of your patrol members. You should present the ideas and concerns of your patrol and in turn share the decisions of the Patrol 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, all Patrol Leaders, and the Troop Guide. The Patrol Leaders' Council plans the yearly troop program at the annual troop program planning conference. It then meets monthly to fine-tune the plans for the upcoming month.
Your Duties as Patrol Leader
when you accepted the position of patrol leader, you agreed to provide service and leadership to your patrol and troop. no doubt you will take this responsibility seriously, but you will also find it fun and rewarding. as a patrol leader, you are expected to do the following: