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The Patrol Method

Dear Scouts, Leaders, Parents, and Friends of Troop 409,

We are now entering a new camping season with a number of GREAT trips planned, and more on the horizon. It seems an appropriate time to revisit ‘why’ we go camping at all, and some of our rules.

The goal of Boy Scouts is to build boys into young men, but in a very specific way. The tried and true way of doing this is via the Patrol Method. Doing this makes us a ‘Boy-run Troop’, whereby we allow, encourage, and even insist that our scouts do some things within the framework of the Patrol Method.

Briefly, the Patrol Method is about the scouts leading one another, influencing one another, and ultimately developing as a team and as individuals. For scouts to learn to lead, they need to practice leading, and have to allow themselves to be led. To develop self reliance, they need to practice self-reliance, and team reliance. The Patrol Method is not an option; it is core to Boy Scouts from the beginning. Without the Patrol Method, we really aren’t even real Boy Scouts.

Our troop camping trips are about facilitating the Patrol Method. For this reason, the trips are planned by the scouts and provisioned by the scouts. Furthermore, the scouts will camp as a patrol, prepare their food as a patrol, and clean up as a patrol. Their leader is normally another scout whom they have elected to provide such leadership. The adult leaders (Coffee Pot Patrol) are there mainly to facilitate the Patrol Method, and provide safety oversight. All other adults and family are guests of the CP patrol.

Our family-member guests are welcome on any of our campouts, but are reminded of the following basic rules.

1. The campouts are troop campouts, not family campouts. Scouts are to be with their patrols, and family-member guests are to be with the Coffee Pot patrol. There are other organizations and venues for family camping.

2. Family-member guests are observers. They are not ‘helpers’ for their son. Please allow the Patrol Method to work. Let him ‘learn by doing’, and find help in the right way. Parents should not eat, feed, camp, sleep, or shelter with their scouts. As guests, parents are asked to follow the directions of the Scoutmasters.

3. Non-scout children are also considered guests of the Coffee Pot patrol but must remain the responsibility of their parent or guardian. At no time will troop members (adults or scouts) be placed in a responsible position for non-scout children.

4. Scouts need to work within their organizational structure. If they face challenges, scouts need to work through their Patrol Leader, their Senior Patrol Leader, and then through the Scoutmaster and his assistants, in that order. All Coffee Pot guests are asked to refer and defer scouts to this chain.

5. When arriving at a campsite location, please wait and follow the instructions of the Scoutmaster on where to place your personal campsite. The scoutmaster will determine this in consultation with the Senior Patrol Leader scout. The adult/guest campsite area will be one designed to allow the patrols to have their necessary space.

6. Of course, in matters of danger to life, limb, and/or property, any and all guests are encouraged to intercede, but then immediately inform and then defer to a Scoutmaster.

We recognize that some of our scouts have special needs. Parents are encouraged to meet with the Scoutmaster and together find an accommodation that meets the needs of the scout, but very importantly doesn’t diminish the workings of the Patrol Method.

All parents are encouraged to learn more about the aims of Boy Scouts, how Boy Scouts is intended to work, and the Patrol Method, by taking the appropriate adult leader training offered by the local Boy Scout Council.

Yours in Scouting…

Mr. Doerry