I have been involved with BSA for quite a while with a Chartered Organization that rarely has more than one patrol. We have a new Chartered Organization as of a few weeks ago. I believe we have a good potential of becoming a large troop and would like to organize and train the youth to be sustainable as the troop grows.
Even though I have been a Scoutmaster or equivalent multiple times and gone through most of the training many times (including training staff, training chair, course director), I have almost finished taken all of the available and applicable training that I can for anyone working in a troop. I am trying to do it with a new outlook, new lenses, whatever you want to call it.
Below are some thoughts that I had:
- In one of the videos, it said something to the effect of it is not the troop that defines the patrol, but the patrol that defines itself and creates the troop.
- As I thought about some of the training, it shows the youth as the apex of a pyramid, supported by the patrol, supported by the troop, supported by the committee, supported by the district, etc.
- One of the methods of Scouting is Patrol Method, not the troop method
- Program Features has weekly troop meeting with about 40 minutes broken out to “Skills Instruction” (about 25 minutes and at different levels, I read as patrol) and “Breakout Groups” (about 15 minutes and practice as patrol, patrol meeting, etc.)
- To me, this might not be enough time, for example, a “New-Scout” patrol (or any in each of the patrols) trying to work on requirements through First Class
- Patrols typically have 6-10 members of the patrol
- Wood Badge models troop AND patrol meetings plus the Outpost Camp is at a patrol level
- It would be rather difficult to go on outings with a large troop (camping, backpacking, back country, hiking, bicycling, just about everything in the outdoors, and even field trips to planetarium/aquarium/zoo/museum, police/fire station, court house) . . . thinking about Leave No Trace, Tread Lightly, etc.
So, with the above in mind, it SEEMS to me that:
- Patrols probably should have their own patrol meetings
- Patrols probably should have their own campouts, hikes, etc.
- Troop should also have campouts, but maybe more limited to maybe four months: Scout Camp, Camporees, Klondikes)
- Requires a great Troop Committee
- Requires great Assistant Scoutmasters (probably at least two per patrol)
- Scoutmaster focuses on training and advising the SPL & ASPL and make sure they pass the tools to the rest of the PLC
- Scoutmaster helps train & advise the ASMs
- Scoutmaster may rotate around through patrols’ campouts & meetings as a fly-on-the-wall or as a special event
- Scoutmaster may meet with each youth maybe once a year for Scoutmaster’s Conference, maybe just periodic or for certain rank advancements or helping youth that are not advancing
- Other Scoutmaster’s Conferences may be delegated to ASMs
Now my questions:
- How large is your troop?
- What are your thoughts on my line of thinking?
- Am I thinking down the right path or did I wonder down some wild tangent?
- If some topics are correct or wrong, I would like to know which are which and how you would change it?
- Did I miss anything?
I hope that I did not miss anything and if I did, I may add comments to the topic below. I appreciate your time, opinions, and service to the youth!