Developing strong patrols at camp
The Patrol Method is at the foundation of Boy Scouting; it is the Patrol Method that executes everything else in attaining the three Aims of Scouting: Character Development, Citizenship, and Physical Fitness.
The Patrol method is practiced in the outdoors and the best opportunity for success can be found at summer camp. Camp offers the structure and program that builds Scout skills while the Patrol to spends time together. This is important as over a six day venture they will learn about each other, eat together, sleep together, test one another and themselves, and learn to give and take. This strengthens the bond of the Patrol. It tests citizenship, developing skills to cooperate and concede. Summer camp forces decisions to be made. Merit badges, free time, and camp wide programs further enhance the process of decision making.
Patrols are encouraged at camp to develop as a team. It takes every Scout in the Patrol to work on advancement, participate in programs, and pitch in with their patrol and troop to earn Honor Patrol, Honor Troop or other team awards. This all tests the Scouts’ character. Does he put his patrol before Polaris: National Youth Leadership Training [Editor: now known as NYLT, held at Camp Cooper] himself? Does he selflessly pitch in and understand the goal of the patrol? Staying at camp for six days will test thesein each and every Scout.
As the Patrol enjoys the week at camp, they practice the other methods to reach the Aims too. They are uniformed, even in an activity uniform, they keep each other in line and look the part of a Patrol. They develop their adult interaction, working both with counselors and unit leaders.
The Scouts of the Patrol live daily the ideals of Scouting found in the Scout Law, Oath, Motto, and Slogan and hold one another accountable for these ideals.
“The patrol system is not one method in which Scouting for boys can be carried on. It is the only method.” - Robert Baden-Powell
Patrol members work towards advancement, helping each other along the way, encouraging those that need to work on the Trail to First Class, and by the end of the week they have all grown and have watched each other grow. The Patrol leader develops more leadership skills as his Patrol learns by his example. This leadership will last a lifetime and make the patrol better for years.
The outdoor experience found at summer camp is invaluable. There is no substitute for outdoor program takinga captive patrol of excited Scouts and allowing them to play the Game With a Purpose. The Patrol that goes to Summer camp together will experience a life long thrill that will develop themand make them better Scouts. Scouts that camp as a Patrol learn lessons that will become the foundation of everything in their lives. Character, Citizenship, and Fitness (Physical, mental, and emotional).
The Patrol method is the foundation of Scouting. It is in the Patrols that Troops are formed and kept alive. It is in Patrols that Scouting lives, breaths and grows. It is Patrols that Summer camp is elevated to a teaching and learning experience that carve into the Scout everything great about Scouting.
According to Lord Robert Baden-Powell, “The patrol system is not one method in which Scouting for boys can be carried on. It is the only method.”
Presented by Jerry Schleining, Scoutmaster, Troop 664; originally published in the summer 2007 edition of CPC Times.
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