One of the great secrets of successful Patrol leadership is to share leadership with members of your Patrol. As Patrol Leader you are not expected to be the best at everything. Maybe your Second or number three in the Patrol is a better hiker than you are, or is more interested in orienteering than you - so let him take charge of the planning and organisation of the Patrol hikes or orienteering exercises. In a strange way, the more you share your leadership, the stronger will be the Patrol, and the more firmly your position as Patrol Leader will be entrenched. In your regular planning, look at the jobs that have to be done and other functions which can be undertaken. Assign these to Patrol members. What are the responsibilities which can be shared out in the Patrol?
This list is not final. You might decide because you have Patrol members with particular skills, or because there is a need for the good running of your Patrol to appoint other duties. It is a good idea when giving responsibility to look for and people who are keen, sometimes it is necessary to persuade people to do jobs. It is a good idea to change the duties of No's 3 to 8 every six months or so, so that each member of the Patrol has an opportunity of doing various tasks.
That's you - and your job is to lead. This is a job in itself, so you will normally not take on any other duty.
One of your first big decisions is to appoint your Patrol Second (Assistant Patrol Leader, or P2). You will decide on who you think will be your best right-hand man, and ask your Troop Scouter to let you appoint him. You must trust one another and speak with 'one voice'.
In turn, you will help your Second to learn all he possibly can about leadership so in time he will be able to lead his own Patrol successfully.
A Patrol Second's Job
Things which the Patrol Second will do:
- Take charge of the Patrol in the absence of the Patrol Leader
- Assist the Patrol Leader in planning and running Patrol meetings, activities, camps and hikes
- Take on special duties given to him by the Patrol, e.g. help to get the Patrol ready for all Troop activities
- Be responsible for the smartness of the Patrol in uniform
- Taking responsibility for training some of the Scouts in skills
- Set an example in behaviour and attitude, especially in the Scout Law and Promise, and wearing of uniform
Try to give your Second encouragement, confidence and lots of genuine experience. It does no harm every now and then to deliberately leave some of the leadership of the Patrol to the Second while you take your place as a Patrol member - or busy yourself with training the new Patrol recruit. Scouting is very much a matter of learning by doing - so your unselfishness in really letting your Second have lots of chances to lead will do them a great deal of good.
Patrol Den Keeper / Den Warden
If your Patrol has a den, or when it gets a den, this Scout is in charge of keeping the den or Patrol corner clean, well stocked and in good shape.
The Patrol Scribe is responsible for all Patrol records - like the progress chart, attendance, and Patrol logbook. They also record the details of the Patrol-in-Council meetings when the Patrol meets to make decisions. Some Patrol Scribes produce a monthly or quarterly Patrol newsletter for members and their parents, or they can write patrol articles on your Scout Group website.
This member can help budget for camps and hikes, and collect the fees, keeping a record. If a patrol buys their own equipment or patrol den decorations, this member can collect the money for this.
This member of the Patrol will look after, and take charge of Patrol equipment i.e. camping equipment, training equipment (ropes and staves and triangular bandages and compasses), keeping them in good condition, and making sure they don't get lost. They will present the equipment and records to the Troop Quartermaster.
This duty goes to the member of the Patrol with the most interest and expertise in First Aid. He will collect together a First Aid Kit and look after the cuts and scratches in the Patrol. The kit will be used on camps and hikes.
Every Organisation must keep records. The Patrol will have an attendance register, address book, list of equipment and such records to keep. They can build up a library of training books and charts and keep good care of them. A well kept noticeboard in your Patrol den or Patrol corner is essential for good communications.
Responsible for planning and buying of food for camps, hikes and Patrol meetings. This person is likely to be the chief chef and caterer on patrol activities, and will have a passion for cooking. They need to draw up a menu that will cater for all Patrol members' diets.
If you have the right sort of cheery outgoing type of Scout this is a useful person to have. He will lead the Patrol in its Patrol yell and song; will probably lead the Patrol campfires and singing on the hiking trail.
Public Relations / Photographer
This member will look after the Patrol noticeboard; will set up an information Communication network to contact the Patrol quickly if necessary; he might also be the Patrol Photographer and Instagrammer.