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Patrol Activities in a Scouts BSA Troop

In the heart of every successful Scouts BSA troop lies a solid foundation built upon the patrol method. With its emphasis on teamwork, leadership, and self-sufficiency, the patrol method serves as a crucial element in developing well-rounded Scouts. There often remains ample room for improvement. Patrol activities enhance independence, teamwork, and foster a strong sense of patrol spirit.

What Is the Patrol Method?

The Patrol Method is a crucial element of Scouting, aiming to develop character, citizenship, and fitness in youth. It involves organizing Scouts into small groups called patrols, with elected patrol leaders. The patrols function as independent units within the troop, dividing tasks and working together to achieve goals. Developing a strong patrol spirit and fostering pride in their accomplishments as a team is key.

Building Independence through Patrol Activities

Occasionally troops need to revive and reinforce the patrol method. One critical aspect that deserves attention is the introduction of patrol activities. While the troop program offers various exciting adventures, it is essential to provide space for patrols to thrive independently. Encouraging patrols to engage in activities separate from the larger troop allows them to develop self-reliance, decision-making skills, and a deeper understanding of teamwork.

Hiking, Advancement, and Campouts

When considering patrol activities, the possibilities are as vast as the imagination of the Scouts themselves. Hiking provides an excellent opportunity for patrols to explore nature, build camaraderie, and develop essential navigation and outdoor skills. Additionally, patrols could organize gatherings to collectively work on merit badge requirements, fostering a sense of shared purpose and personal growth within the patrol unit.

Furthermore, organizing patrol-specific campouts can be highly beneficial. These outings allow patrols to plan and execute their own adventure, gaining valuable experience in logistics, leadership, and problem-solving. Campouts present a chance for patrols to bond, share responsibilities, and reinforce their identity as a cohesive unit. By experiencing these activities independently, patrols will develop a stronger sense of purpose and accomplishment, nurturing their growth as teams within the larger troop framework.

Benefits of Independence

Promoting independence among patrols serves as a catalyst for overall troop development. When patrols have opportunities to function autonomously, they become more self-reliant and better equipped to handle challenges. By facing and overcoming obstacles together, patrols build trust and forge stronger bonds among their members. The development of independent decision-making skills empowers Scouts to take ownership of their patrol’s success and instills a sense of responsibility and accountability.

The essence of the patrol method lies in the creation of patrol spirit—a shared identity and pride that unites its members. Patrol activities contribute significantly to the cultivation of this intangible but powerful force. As patrols engage in their own adventures and tackle unique challenges, they strengthen their unity, camaraderie, and loyalty to one another. These experiences build a deep-rooted sense of patrol spirit, which not only benefits the individuals but also enhances the overall cohesion and effectiveness of the troop as a whole.

Revitalizing and reinforcing the patrol method within a Scouts BSA troop is an ongoing journey. Emphasizing the importance of patrol activities empowers patrol leaders and scouts to embrace independence, develop teamwork skills, and foster a strong sense of patrol spirit. Through hiking, advancement activities, and campouts, patrols will grow in self-reliance, cooperation, and unity. Strive to create an environment where each patrol flourishes, contributing to the success and vibrancy of the troop as a whole.


3 responses to “Patrol Activities in a Scouts BSA Troop”

  1. Clarke A Green Avatar
    Clarke A Green

    One way to make this happen is to replace a Troop activity for a patrol activity.
    We opted to have at least one patrol night a month on those nights we normally had Troop meetings. We have also designed outings to emphasize the patrol. Sometimes this means that the patrols simply camp in their own area, sometimes it means that we go where they can plan their own activity independently.

    Trying to add patrol activities to our Scout’s already overbooked schedules was not going to work. Exchanging Troop time for patrol time works great.

  2. Kirsten Miles Avatar
    Kirsten Miles

    Getting that started can be a challenge, but once it is begun the bonding that can occur is powerful, and really helps when it is time to work on Eagle projects. Suggesting something as innocuous as a pizza party and/or movie night(at someone’s house or going out) can be cheap and a very easy first meeting/activity. Although it isn’t entirely productive, sometimes that is what it takes to really get in the spirit of doing things on a patrol level.

  3. Marc Schultz Avatar
    Marc Schultz

    Thank you for thes suggestions.

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