By Utah National Parks Council
Oct 13, 2015

Scoutmaster Training Part 2: The Patrol Method

This is session 2 of 6 in the Scoutmaster Training Course. After completing these 6 sessions and the Introduction to Outdoor Leadership Course, you will be considered a TRAINED leader. This course is designed to guide you through your first several weeks as a Scoutmaster so you can go on to have a successful and fulfilling experience as an influential mentor of young men.

Other sessions of this training include (please go in order):

Already past your first few weeks as a Scout volunteer? That’s okay, this course can be a great refresher for even a seasoned Scoutmaster. So let’s get started with this session on the patrol method!

This second part of the scoutmaster training includes the following:

Scouting Aims and Methods

Watch the following video on the Aims and Methods of Scouting.

VideoComingSoonClick HERE to read the transcript.

What is a Patrol?

To learn more about the function and purpose of a Boy Scout patrol, watch the video below.

VideoComingSoonClick HERE to read the transcript.

Establishing Patrol Leadership

patrol leaderNow that you understand what a patrol is, let’s go over how you might actually establish working patrols in your troop. Your troop may already have patrols and youth leadership set, but it is still good to understand the method behind it.

NOTE: Before any decision is made regarding patrols and the organization of boys, make sure to counsel with the bishop of your ward. The bishop holds the keys of the Aaronic Priesthood and the boys in the troop and quorum are his responsibility. There are many different ways you can organize patrols, and the bishop makes the final decision on what is best for the boys (see the LDS Scouting Handbook 4.1). What is offered here are suggestions and best practices. Scouting is most successful when closely aligned with the priesthood and priesthood lines of authority.

When it comes to patrols and youth leadership, LDS Scouting units differ from traditional units in a couple ways:

First, patrols are typically formed from Aaronic Priesthood quorums.

Here are a few “If, Then” scenarios for how this works:

IF you have 12 deacons and three 11 yr-olds, THEN you could have two patrols: one patrol of 12 deacons and one patrol for the three 11 yr-olds. (There is a total of 12 boys in a quorum, though 6-8 boys is the best size for a patrol)

IF you have 13 deacons and three 11 year-olds, THEN you could have three patrols: one patrol of six deacons, another patrol of seven deacons and one 11 year-old patrol.

IF you have three deacons and two 11 year-olds, THEN you could have two very small patrols: one for the deacons and one for the 11 year-olds. (The 11 year-olds will always maintain a separate patrol. Even when your patrol is small, you can adapt the program and make it work. But remember, you can be a good missionary and recruit more boys from your community.)

This way of forming patrols is common, but if your bishop wants to organize patrols another way, take his counsel. For example, patrols could be organized by advancement goals, interests or even ages as approved by the bishop.

Second, youth leaders are nominated by the bishopric and sustained by quorum members.

There are two main youth leadership positions in a troop, the patrol leaders and the senior patrol leader.Patrol Leader

In LDS units, Scouting leadership is often one of the responsibilities of deacons and teachers quorum presidencies and the assistants to the bishop in the priests quorum. The youth leader is usually the quorum president, but another worthy young man may serve, whether a member of the Church or not. Other youth leaders in Scouting units are nominated by the quorum presidency, approved by the bishopric, and sustained by the quorum members (LDS Scouting Handbook 5.2).

Different troops have different leadership needs. With the guidance and approval of the bishop, you and your patrol leaders determine which positions will most benefit the troop. Youth positions should be changed every 6 months to a year to give more Scouts opportunities for leadership.

Here’s a PDF of troop youth leadership positions that includes brief descriptions of responsibilities and resources for each position.

Scouting and the Aaronic Priesthood

Watch the video below to learn more about how Scouting and the Aaronic Priesthood work in harmony to teach young men to lead and become like Christ.

VideoComingSoonClick HERE to read the transcript.

How to Have a Quorum Presidency/Scouting Meeting

The quorum presidency, with help from the quorum adviser(s), meets to correlate each Scouting activity with other quorum activities. The president presides at and conducts the meeting. If another young man is called to be the youth Scouting leader, the president should invite him to conduct the Scouting portion of the meeting and show support for his leadership. Quorum advisers attend this meeting to provide adult support and direction to those who preside over the meeting. All Scouting meetings should open and close with prayer and may include an inspirational message by the adult unit leader (such as a Scoutmaster’s Minute) LDS Scouting Handbook 5.2.

It can be hard to navigate the correlation of Scouting and quorum meetings. The easiest way to ensure both quorum and Scouting needs are discussed is to use the quorum presidency meeting to meet those needs as outlined in the Handbook 2, 8.9.3.

At times you may need to have a separate Scouting leadership meeting. For example, when you have more than one deacons quorum in the troop you would want to have a strong senior patrol leader lead a patrol leaders council separate from quorum presidency meetings to ensure that the troop as a whole is coordinating for activities. Examples of patrol leaders council meetings can be found in the Patrol Leaders Handbook.

Boy-Scout-Image-Youth-LeadershipYou may also split a quorum presidency meeting into two parts: quorum business and Scouting business. Then, if youth and adult Scouting leaders are not already present, they may be invited into the meeting for the Scouting part of the discussion. This way, young men of other faiths who hold leadership positions in the Scouting unit may be included. The quorum president continues to preside over this part of the meeting. He may invite a youth Scouting leader to conduct it.

But above anything else about youth leadership meetings, remember THE BOYS LEAD, even if that means their plans falter and fail. The Scoutmaster’s role in these meetings is to be an observer, a resource and to offer positive reinforcement. The only time a Scoutmaster should give much input into a meeting is when there could be a safety issue. Other guidance can be given individually to the leaders of the boys and through a Scoutmaster’s minute.

Why Scouting Matters: Pillar 2 – Service

Pillar 2 – Be prepared through personal growth and learning to serve others through charity and doing a good turn daily.

Watch the  following video centered on the second pillar – Service.

VideoComingSoonClick HERE to read the transcript.

End of Session 2

Congratulations! You have completed the second session of the Scoutmaster Training Course.

Feel free to leave comments below if you have any questions about this course.

Continue to the next session  → Annual Planning

Review Previous Sessions:

Scoutmaster Training Part 1: Getting Started

PrintNOTE: This course was designed for volunteers in the Utah National Parks Council and is authorized as a substitute for the Scoutmaster Leader-specific Training requirement within it’s borders. Those outside of the Utah National Parks Council seeking to receive credit for this course should contact their local council service center.

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2 thoughts on “Scoutmaster Training Part 2: The Patrol Method

  1. AvatarAndy

    I have taken BSA training and was looking for LDS correlation. I cannot find in the LDS Handbook or other places where it says how the troop is organized for the different quorums. I see that deacon are regular scouts, but then once they are teachers and priest there seems to be some divide that they do not associate with the deacons any longer. I think think there is some misinterpretation and just looking for guidance on how it should be setup. I understand the Bishop is the one over it for key positions, but that would presume the Bishop understands fully the Patrol method. I see non LDS units work so much better, in my opinion, on youth lead troops. I would expect an older boy to be a SPL and then have patrol leaders, as this page does suggest, for each quorum. If there are enough boys to have more than one patrol per quorum. I just have seen it implemented that deacons are the SPL and then also have only a single patrol really doing anything. Teachers are a team for Varsity and priests are organized as a crew (yet I have really not seen either function in the way I have learned for BSA). I am only seeing knowledge to help the organization so it becomes the learning aspect for the boys that I believe the Church intends it to be. I am just not sure where to get LDS specific training, as it seems so many “called” leaders have not been BSA trained themselves so it makes one question the things being said.

    Any references to help is greatly appreciated.


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