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Junior Leader Training -- White Stag Leadership Development

Unit of Training for Patrols In Action

From No. 6564 © 1972, Boy Scouts of America

Thanks to Lew Gardner for providing this article.


A Scoutmaster's job is to train and guide a boy leader to run a good patrol, permitting the patrol to work out its own problems under his leadership.

The purpose of this learning experience is to help the Scoutmaster know what the patrol method is, what it does for boys, how to set it up, and to help him understand the functions of a patrol leader and his own relationship to them.


As a result of this unit of training the Scouter will be able to:

  • State the purposes of the patrol method.
  • Form patrols in a new troop or form new patrols in an established troop.
  • Name the boy leadership positions in the patrol and describe their functions.
  • Describe how the patrol operates as a part of the troop and as a patrol.
  • Describe the role of the Scoutmaster in relation to a patrol leader.
  • Describe how to develop techniques for making the patrol method happen.
  • Distinguish between authority and responsibility and show the need for their linkage.


Scoutmaster's Handbook, No. 6504 - chapter 10
Patrol and Troop Leadership Handbook, No. 6502


Filmstrip -- The Patrol Method

The Patrol Method

The patrol is usually made up of a gang of good friends. They enjoy being with one another and doing things together. They work as a team to get things done. The test of the patrol method is what the Scouts get out of it.

(Discuss the ideas presented in the following pages of the [1972] Scoutmaster's Handbook.)

  1. Natural size (page 145)
  2. Boys are needed (page 145)
  3. Responsibility (page 145)
  4. Citizenship learning (page 145)
  5. Leadership practice (page 146)

Setting Up And Maintaining Patrols

Troops are composed of patrols. A troop with only eight Scouts hould be composed of two patrols even though they are small and weak. (Page 146) The leader who wants to make the patrol method go has to be willing to set up small patrols and help them grow. He can insure their success by giving them maximum responsibility, opportunities to compete and cooperate. Help the Scouter to understand how to set up and maintain patrols in his troop. . (page 147)

  1. Setting up patrols (page 148)
  2. Maintaining patrols (page 151)

Patrol Leadership

Any group needs a leader. A patrol elects its own leader. As a backup the patrol leader appoints an assistant who should be equally able to carry out the functions and duties of a patrol leader. The troop leaders' council establishes the criteria for a patrol leader, age, progress award status, time in the troop, etc.

The functions of the patrol leader related to his patrol are:

  1. Keep the patrol intact.
  2. To get the job done.

The patrol leader is automatically a member of the troop leaders' council. His chief functions as a member of this group are:

  1. Represent the patrol's position on any question to the troop leaders' council.
  2. Represent the troop leaders' council position on any question to the patrol.

Give the Scouter an opportunity to ask any questions he has about the functions of the patrol leader and patrol organization.

Patrol organization (page 152)

The Patrol In The Troop

A patrol works best when there are two or more patrols in the troop. The troop creates conditions under which patrols can succeed. The troop provides support services that a patrol could not have on its own, equipment, meeting place, adult counseling and guidance, etc. Help the Scouter understand in the early life of the patrol, it will do things mostly as part of the troop. As it becomes experienced and competent, the patrol will be able to function apart from the troop. It will plan and carry out activities in which the troop is not involved at all.

  1. Patrol meetings (page 153)
  2. Patrol hikes and camps (page 154]
  3. Other patrol activities (page 154]

The Role Of The Scoutmaster

The Scoutmaster has two roles in relation to the patrol leader or (assistant patrol leader). He is a

  1. Manager of learning
  2. Counselor

His influence and techniques as a Manager of Learning and counselor are passed on to patrol leaders as a part of their development as leaders. The success of the patrol will be determined as he develops his patrol leaders to use techniques to make the patrol method happen.

Help the leader understand how he can help his patrol leaders develop necessary leadership skills.

  1. Training patrol leaders (page 155] Help the leader understand motivation through recognition as a means of encouraging the patrol method.
  2. Patrol recognition (page 158]
  3. Setting up a recognition plan (page 159]

Patrol Method Survey

Reproduce Survey locally.

Ask the leader to make the statement on the Survey that applies to him to see how well he is using the patrol method. Discuss how this Survey can guide him to use the patrol method in his troop more effectively.

Conduct Survey

How many "A"s were checked? They're the indication that he's on the right track. As for the "B" answers, they represent some things he ought to be doing something about. Suggest he work on them.

The Patrol Method Filmstrip


This filmstrip, formerly used in Scout Leader Training, [was] available in local councils and [was] used to establish a better understanding of patrols in action. Use it if you feel it will help the learner.