Working the Patrol Method

A Scout Leader's Guide to Youth Leadership Training

by four eagle scouts

Working the Patrol Method

A Scout Leader's Guide to Youth Leadership Training

by four eagle scouts

“Leadership training and mentoring in a Scout troop is actually very simple. Any Scoutmaster who puts his mind to it can do it. Trust and respect your Scouts. Use the Patrol Method. Give your Scouts real responsibility. Mentor. Motivate. Recognize results.  While the basics are simple, the devil is in the details.

“Our modest goal in writing this guide was to help bring ourselves and our fellow Scouters back to practicing Lord Baden-Powell’s basic “game with a purpose” for leadership training.

The Patrol Method Is the Recipe for Scout Leadership Training

“Baden-Powell’s Patrol Method is the recipe for youth leadership training. “Many 21st century teenagers are perfectly willing to sit back and let adults take care of all the headaches. After all, in America’s increasingly suburbanized lives, that is what most parents do with their teenagers — take care of all their problems and make all their decisions for them.  In a Scout Troop, the Scoutmaster sets the standard for leadership. Effective youth leadership training begins with the Scoutmaster.”

Leadership Training and Mentoring Is Hands-On, not Theoretical 

“Baden-Powell believed leadership training should pervade the entire Scouting program. He created Patrols to offer leadership opportunities to as many Scouts as possible. That can happen only in a natural Scout Troop such as yours. Nearly everything a Scout Troop does is an opportunity to train Scouts to lead. The BSA has given us a mission: train Scouts to lead. We need to exercise careful focus, dedication and discipline if our unit’s program is going to effectively train young leaders.”

How This Guide Is Organized

Section 1 “Understanding and Telling ‘The Why’ ” describes a basic approach of logic and explanation in leadership and leadership training. American boys are more willing to be led when they understand the reason why they are being asked or told to do something.

Section 2 “’The Why’  of Scout Leadership Training” provides historical perspective on how B-P designed Scouting to train leaders.

Sections 3 and 4 on “The Patrol Method” are the heart of this guide. These Sections provide practical advice and guidance on how to use B-P’s basic Patrol organizational structure and method to train Scouts how to lead other Scouts.

Section 5 “Striving for Excellence: Doing Your Best” provides some inspirational explanation about the importance of doing our best along with techniques for motivating Scouts to do their best.

Section 6 “Caring Leadership”  discusses the role of ethical decision-making in training Scouts to become leaders. Ethical servant leadership is the starting point for the “Be-Know-Do” principles underlying modern Scout leadership training.

Section 7 “Planning: How to Facilitate It Without Taking Over” provides practical guidance on how to get inexperienced planners to plan more effectively and accomplish goals. Planning is a life skill. It is also an essential part of modern Scout leadership training.

Section 8 “Shared Leadership”  explores delegating, situational leadership and other ways to share leadership.

Section 9 “Techniques that Support the Patrol Method” is a series of special topics we have found useful in training leaders.

Section 10 “Create Your Personal Legacy of Leadership” steps back and gives a long-term perspective.


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This book and website are not an official publication of the Boy Scouts of America. Photo © 2007 Hector Escudero All Rights Reserved