The ONLY Method
"The Patrol Method is not ONE method in which Scouting can be carried on. It is the ONLY method!"
Take any thirty boys, turn them loose in a closed street, a playground, or a sports fieldand you know what happens.
Shortly something will be under way. A clatter of many eager voices raised in discussionand out of the large group will evolve a number of smaller groups, in gangs, ready for game or mischief.
Such are boys. The impulse of forming gangs is natural to them. They cannot help themselves.
What Constitutes a "Gang"?
In its simplest form the gang is merely a group of boys who habitually play together after school or after work. Accidents of various sortsage, neighborhood, similarity of interestbring together a somewhat random group. Immediately the boys react on one another. One or more leaders come to the fore. They take their positions naturally, with little form or ceremony.
The gang organizes itself, finds or makes its meeting place, begins to do things. Usually it has some particular objective in which it is interested, such as baseball, football, going on trips, orin bad gangsstealing. Gang spirit is strengthened by this common pursuit and gang honor and gang loyalty thrive. The gang develops a collective mind, and sets forth as a unit to carry out schemes and activities which would hardly so much as enter the head of one boy alone.
The gang is, in short, a little social organism, with a life of its own, reaching beyond the sum of the lives of its several members.
The Gang Becomes the Patrol
This gang, this natural unit of boys for boy activities, is the all-important unit in Scouting. It changes it name, it is true, from gang to Patrol, but it is a "gang" just the same, a small, permanent group of boys allied by similar interests, working together under the responsible leadership of one of its numberthe Patrol Leader.
However, the Scout Patrol is far more than the casual gang of the street corner, the fly-by-night, strong one day, gone the next. It is made permanent and effective through the guidance of an understanding adult. Its activities are laid out according to a plan, full of variety and boy-interest. It is strengthened through adherence to a man-made but boy-accepted code of honor. It is stimulated through association with other similar groups. And yet, throughout, it is fundamentally a boys gang.
One, two, three, four, or even five Patrols, each under its own boy leader, form the Troop. The Patrols are the working units in Scouting, while the Troop organization provides supervision and coordination, and establishes loyalty and opportunities for service.
In other words, a Troop is not divided into Patrols. A Troop is the sum total of its Patrols.
The strength of the Boy Scout Program is its ability to satisfy the boys own wants and at the same time to direct those wants into social channels. The strength of its organization is its fidelity to the boys own way of organizing. But the reason for our using the Patrol Method in Scouting is not alone because it fits in with the boys nature and his desires. The remarkable thing is that it fits equally well with the adult leaders aims and purposes.
In our Movements objective of character training for good citizenship we emphasize not only the development of men of good character, but of leaders of men. It is by using the Patrol Method that we may succeed in this.
The only way to develop leadership in a boy is to give him a chance to practice it. The Patrol method provides this practice by placing upon the boys themselves the responsibility of running their own gangs, of making themor breaking them. It gives the boys the opportunity to lead. It brings forward boys of decided leadership abilities and awakens in others their latent powers. It gives to all of them their chance.
When you place an order with Amazon.Com using the search box below, a small referral fee is returned to The Inquiry Net to help defer the expense of keeping us online. Thank you for your consideration!
To Email me, replace "(at)" below with
If you have questions about one of my 2,000 pages here, you must send me the
"URL" of the page!
This "URL" is sometimes called the "Address" and it is usually found in a little box near the top of your screen. Most URLs start with the letters "http://"
The Kudu Net is a backup "mirror" of The Inquiry Net.
Last modified: October 15, 2016.