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 troops
elect 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 aside
a 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
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: