The Patrol System
A Scout's advancement depends a great deal on the correct operation of the Patrol System. To progress through the system you need to take part in the activities carried out by the Patrol.
All Patrols should hold several hikes, camps, outings and participate in all the activities of the troop each year. If you take part in all the activities and plan what you are going to do well in advance you should be able to progress one level each year.
For the Patrol Leader it is important to keep ahead of the Patrol members. He or she sets the example and for Scouts will follow. The Patrol Leader should be organising the activities for the Patrol remembering that advancement should form part of every Patrol Meeting or activity.
The Patrol Leader must also keep an Advancement Progress Chart up to date in the Patrol Corner and encourage the Patrol at regular Patrol Meetings to carry out the various activities, which will help them to advance.
If you are a member of a Patrol you should be helping your leader to carry out the plans and assist him or her in training the younger Scouts in the Patrol. You will also be organising activities for the Patrol yourself to qualify for some of the advancement activities.
Roles in a patrol
Each Patrol member should have a job and be given the chance to actually carry out the function that has been allocated to him or her. Below is an example of Patrol jobs allocated to Patrol members:
Patrol Leader (PL)
Plans, Organises, Leads, and Controls the Patrol.
Assistant Patrol Leader (APL)
Assists the PL with training (so can others in the Patrol if qualified in the skill), possibly responsible for smartness of the Patrol – uniform, First Aid, etc. The APL must be able to fill the role of PL in the PL’s absence.
Write up and maintain Patrol Books, Progress Chart, Patrol news for the Group Magazine, etc. – i.e. he/she is the Patrol Secretary. May also be the Patrol Treasurer – looking after any Patrol funds.
Plans and organises Patrol hikes, camps or other similar activities (to be discussed at Patrol Meetings).
Responsible and in charge of all Patrol Equipment and catering for Patrol camps, hikes, etc.
Responsible for the cleanliness, tidiness, repairs, decorating, notice board updating, etc., of the Patrol Corner.
If you have them, make them assistants to one of the others. As PL you must make sure they get the opportunity to assist others.
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.
Patrol Spirit isn’t something you buy and save for use when you need it, like a tent or rucksack. It is something special that some Patrols just seem to have.
- It’s something special inside each Scout that comes out when you play a game, set up camp or just sit around a campfire.
- It’s a good feeling. The fun of working and doing things together.
- It’s that “I’m-glad-to-be-one-of-the-team” feeling.
- It’s called “esprit de corps” once you’ve got it, you know it.
A Patrol with good Patrol Spirit is a group who enjoy being together, doing Scouting together, learning from each other and helping each other.
A good PL with plenty of ideas for activities and proper organisation of his/her gang is the most important factor in developing Patrol Spirit.
- The Patrol must do things together, winning or losing a game, Patrol hikes and camps, doing good turns, Troop meetings – in all these the Patrol must feel like a small rugby or soccer team. Every Scout should have that little voice inside him saying: “I must not let my Patrol down!”
- Patrol members must know each other – in other words you must have a stable Patrol and not one where members from other Patrols are moved in and out every so often.
- There must be pride in patrol traditions – the Patrol must have, and use must be frequently made of the Patrol name, call, yell or song, signature, special skill (good at pioneering, cooking, etc), flag or badge, corner or
den, logbooks, equipment, jobs delegated, uniform.
Scout Spirit is not something that just happens – it is built up gradually by doing Scouting activities together as often as possible. The PL must make the Patrol Spirit work in your Patrol. Patrol Spirit will come ... from good leadership, enthusiasm, interest and example!
Last but not least make sure your patrol earns a “gold star” every year. This will create opportunities for each member to progress up the Advancement ladder.