The Patrol Method
Everyone wants to belong, and this is especially important to teens. Everyone in White Stag belongs to a team or patrol. The patrol is the basic unit for White Stag leadership development. We stress team building and team leadership.
Joining a new group gives you a chance to leave behind old patterns of behavior, possibly negative association, and to try out new ways of interacting with others. We help you achieve a strong feeling of belonging, loyalty and partipation, resulting in a close-knit team. You are challenged to work in your patrol to accomplish sometimes difficult goals, and through this experience you develop self-discipline. Your patrol has a unique, historical name, and we encourage each patrol to develop an identity by rewarding you for developing a patrol flag and yell. We stress patrol teamwork, loyalty, and hard work.
Patrols model the basic dynamics of working life. While it used to be that one man could hollow out a tree and make a canoe, or perhaps cut the wood and forge the steel required to build a stagecoach, today's society is a maze of complex tasks that create tremendous specialization and cooperation. Civilization is a group effort.
The Power of Association
Patrols give you a chance to learn from role models. The youth staff and the adult staff act as leaders, guides, counselors, and mentors. They are expected to act with great integrity and compassion. All the White Stag leaders know that you are constantly watching; that at any given moment you may see them and take a mental "snap-shot" of their behavior, and act accordingly. While White Stag leaders are not without error or fault, they strive to be individuals that you can respect.
The leaders of White Stag are inspired to do their best and stretch their personal limits. They are ambitious, hard-working, and convicted that this program makes a difference in other people's lives. They are dedicated to continually improve the program and help it grow by helping you grow. They are conscious of the examples they set and what actions will carry out those examples.
Everyone is given an opportunity to grow regardless of age or position. Positive examples are publicly recognized. Those who seek challenge are given increased responsibility and opportunities for growth. the chance to learn from others who have a vision is a significant factor for personal development.
To encourage group participation and remove some individual distinctions, everyone wears a distinctive White Stag T-shirt ("Class B") uniform in camp during training, and a White Stag polo shirt ("Class A") for ceremonies and meals.
This simple uniform:
Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting, intuited the dynamic power of the patrol method long before sociologists could prove it worked in youth or adult groups. He wrote, "The formation of boys into patrols of from six to eight and training them as separate units, each under is own responsible leader, is the Key..." This, he felt, was Scouting's most essential contribution to education.Twenty years later, commenting on the successful use of the patrol method, he says, "The sum of the whole thing amounts to this—every individual in the patrol is made responsible, both in den and in camp, for his definite share in the successful working of the whole."
For more information, see Creating the Patrol Method.