Developing a good Patrol spirit is an important task of the Patrol Leader. A good PL with plenty of ideas for activities and proper organisation of their gang is the most important factor in developing Patrol Spirit. Scout Spirit is not something that just happens - it is built up gradually by doing Scouting activities together as often as possible. Patrol Spirit will come from the Patrol Leader's good leadership, enthusiasm, interest and example. The best size for a Patrol is between six and eight. A larger patrol will be hard to manage.
Good patrol spirit
- 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, Skill (good at pioneering, cooking, etc.), Flag or Badge, Corner or Den, Logbooks, equipment, Jobs delegated, Uniform.
- Ensure the Patrol is successful. Somehow success brings the team together, making the members of the team glad to be a part of it. Success is not only in inter-Patrol competitions (though obviously you will work hard to win them), but also in projects you undertake. Plan well, and complete your plans.
- Work hard to give attention to each Scout in the Patrol. Make friends with them. Get to know them and their family. Find out their interests. Most importantly help them to progress in their tests and along the Scouting Trail.
- As their leader, think of your Patrol as a team. A good tip is to think and talk about OUR Patrol, OUR den and not MY Patrol or my den. Talk with the Patrol members a lot, and try to keep them informed.
- Try to build traditions of high standards in your Patrol. No one wants to belong to a sloppy show - everyone wants to be part of a success story.
Do things together
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 hidden voice inside them saying: "I must not let my Patrol down!" - and you as PL must tell a Scout if he is "letting his Patrol down."
- Plan together - Get the whole group's ideas and involvement on what you are going to do. Plot the progress of each individual Scout.
- Do' things together - Try to have something special for your Patrol at each Troop meeting and have at least one weekend outing a month. Make your plans happen - together.
- Identify together - Each Patrol will want its own Patrol flag showing your Patrol name and emblem; a Patrol yell; a Patrol song and your Patrol Logbook.
- Stay together - Aim to keep the Patrol together at all times. Stick up for one another. Support each other in the Troop, and at school. Work to find a Patrol den of your own (which only you have access to) which is safe enough to keep your own library of Scout books and your own camping equipment in.
When your Scouts say such things as:
- we don't camp in a sloppy way - our campsite is always clean.
- you will never see one of us looking untidy in Scout uniform.
- no-one from our Patrol ever misses an outing or meeting.
then you will know you are running a good Patrol.