As I have mentioned before, one thing our troop continues to struggle with is our implementation of the patrol method. Since our troop reorganized a few years ago, it has been inconsistent. We try to train the youth leaders to help them carry it out, but it is difficult since they have never really seen how it is actually supposed to work.
One thing that we’ve noticed over the past few year is that the campmasters seem to be taking on a lot of the patrol duties themselves. (Campmaster is what we call the Scout who is doing the overall planning for the campout.) Instead of focusing on the activities for the campout they are organizing equipment and purchasing food. And the troop has ended up functioning as one big patrol instead of two smaller ones.
I’m not sure how this has happened. I think the campmasters (and their advisors who are usually their parents) think it is supposed to work. And the youth leaders aren’t really stepping in on their own, mostly because they don’t even know where to start. Now nobody wants to volunteer to be campmaster because planning a campout seems like too much work. Well of course it does with one Scout trying to do everything for both patrols!
So it seems to be time for more specific training and some tangible aids to help. First of all, we are going to try to make clear to the youth leaders and campmasters that the campmaster’s job is to secure a campsite and plan some program for the weekend. So we will be really focusing on this with the SPL, ASPL, and patrol leaders over the next few months.
We have identified three positions that we recommend each patrol should fill for each campout – patrol grubmaster, patrol quartermaster, and patrol transportation coordinator. For each of these positions we are providing slips of paper for the patrol leaders to hand to the people they have assigned to those positions with a brief description of what they should do. And we are also providing a checkoff list for the SPL and ASPL to use with the patrol leaders to help them make sure they are following up and doing a few other things.
The hope is that after a few months, this will provide some consistency so that our youth leaders will do more planning and delegating without as much adult intervention. I think if we provide them with some help and training and they try it, they will see that the patrol method really does provide a way for everyone to share in the duties and makes planning campouts easier.
So to see the patrol planner we gave them to help get them started, use the link below.