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Thread: Recommended amount of Scouts in a Patrol ?

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    Question Recommended amount of Scouts in a Patrol ?

    Howdy Folks

    I'm wondering what peoples opinions are for the amount of scouts in a patrol? We currently have 19 to 3 patrols, however we are gaining 8 new scouts moving up. So with 27 scouts is it better to have 4 smaller patrol groups or is it better to have 3 slightly larger ones? Or is this whole topic so subjective that's its best to work it out when we have all the scouts in the hall one night.

    Thanks in advance

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    Senior Member Mallah's Avatar
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    I always found it more manageable to have about 6 in a Patrol with a max of 8 as I found even the best PL had difficulty keeping control of more. On occasions some went down to 4 temporarily between those moving on and others coming up etc. With 27 it might be an opportunity to create another Patrol and have 3 of 7 and 1 of 6. It depends on how long you expect to have 27 or will that increase before long?

    He who receives a good turn should never forget it; he who does one should never remember it.

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    Assistant Beaver Leader Keith's Avatar
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    I would suggest roughly six per patrol.
    Keith "Hawkeye"
    Assistant Beaver Scout Leader (Woodbadge)
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    Thanks Mallah for the advice. We are in a slightly unusual position for our group as we have 8 moving up but no scouts of age to move onto Explorers. So 27 (so long as there is no drop outs) will be our number for the year

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    AESL & AGSL shiftypete's Avatar
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    We have always aimed for between 5 and 8 in each patrol without too great a mismatch in the numbers between patrols

    Peter Andrews AESL of Headingley Pirates ESU, Assistant Group Scout Leader & Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
    www.falkonerscouts.org.uk

    Wike, North Leeds District Campsite - www.wikecampsite.org.uk
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    Please note all views expressed are my own and not those of any organisation I'm associated with

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    To me 6 is the perfect number, 8 or more and it's time to split, 3 or fewer time to merge. Though probably best to have an even number of Patrols to make games easier.

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    Six is the traditional number, and works best. With fewer, it's hard to have a real, varied team working together, with younger members learning from older. Also, if one or two are away you don't have a workable group. With more, it's too many for any PL to manage.

    We do let the odd Patrol creep to seven, and sometimes we've got out of balance and actually had eight, but in general I'm looking to create an extra Patrol when we have enough for five or six in each. We've just formed the Tigers on that basis, as our sixth Patrol.

    The Scouts seemed quite interested that the Eagles and Falcons had the longest history, the Kestrels (I think, it gets hard to remember) had been disbanded for a time when we got down to a dozen, and then reformed, and the Otters and Bulldogs had been formed in more recent years. Each new Patrol has enjoyed choosing its name (hence the lack of any kind of boring consistency about using names of birds or whatever).
    SL, 11th Hitchin

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Management thinking is that seven is the optimum number for any working group, any fewer or greater and the efficiency of the work unit diminishes - wow, I remembered some management theory.

    I've always thought seven was ideal.
    Ewan Scott

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    Senior Member johnmcmahon's Avatar
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    It's a balancing act. I start by looking at who to have as PL's, and that's not necessarily the oldest.

    Leaders decide the SPL who chairs the PLC.

    The PLC (think!!) they promote the right people. Strangely it's always the names that the Leaders have already decided on.

    If I've got enough PL's then I try for 5 to 7 per Patrol. The content of those Patrols is decided by my PLC who are always really good at spotting conflicts.

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    Senior Member CambridgeSkip's Avatar
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    We generally have patrols of 6 or 7. We have gone up to 8 but I would consider that the absolute maximum. Less than 6 and you only need to lose 1 or 2 on a given evening or camp and the patrol ceases to be viable for that event.

    Big thing to remember is that if you want to run things at arms length with the PLs doing as much as possible what is the most you can ask of a 13 or 14 year old? I think any more than looking after 7 others and you are asking too much of them. So in your situation I'd go for 4 smaller patrols.

    Of course you could try the system some American troops use. Put them all in a room and ask them to form patrols with an insistence of a minimum and maximum per patrol then let them sort it out! Not sure I'd go for that myself but it's an option....

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    With 27 Scouts - IMHO 4 patrols of 6/7 would work better than 3 patrols of 9 Scouts -- plus you now have a better basis for competitions between patrols - Patrols A & B play a game while Patrols C & D do a couple of different activities then swap round - it worked for me in the past - plus it is much easier to keep attention when teaching anything with smaller Patrols.
    A week of camp life is worth six months of theoretical teaching in the meeting room. Baden-Powell

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    Quote Originally Posted by CambridgeSkip View Post
    Of course you could try the system some American troops use. Put them all in a room and ask them to form patrols with an insistence of a minimum and maximum per patrol then let them sort it out! Not sure I'd go for that myself but it's an option....
    We do a slightly modified version of this. Rather than do it in one meeting we gave them a week. It turns out the scouts know everyone's personalities a lot better than the adults. I figure I shouldn't make decisions that they can. It helps them take ownership and they will fix people problems. That was a few years ago and we haven't had to reorganize all the patrols since.

    They tend to sort by personalities. A quiet patrol, a patrol that likes challenges, and of course a patrol with all the misfits. So, when things fail they do so spectacularly and we always know where the problem is. But misfits often become leaders and that's what happened with this group.

    I did keep a maximum number limit. For scouts under 15 I'd push for 6 just because of how hard it is to manage that many people. The introverted scouts also prefer smaller numbers. Some scouts were quite happy with 4 on a campout. As they get older the other problem that shows up is cooking for all those people.

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    Senior Member ChrisA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack.Denvir View Post
    Howdy Folks

    I'm wondering what peoples opinions are for the amount of scouts in a patrol?
    I always tried to set at six - because that was a comfortable number in a 12 foot Niger (yes, I know it all depends on how you stack 'em) and we had quite a few of those tents.

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    a quiver full of barbs merryweather's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack.Denvir View Post
    Howdy Folks

    I'm wondering what peoples opinions are for the amount of scouts in a patrol? We currently have 19 to 3 patrols, however we are gaining 8 new scouts moving up. So with 27 scouts is it better to have 4 smaller patrol groups or is it better to have 3 slightly larger ones? Or is this whole topic so subjective that's its best to work it out when we have all the scouts in the hall one night.

    Thanks in advance
    iirc, we ran with 5.33

    ma was always a problem on some nights.

    it was better when martin turned up.

    TM
    going...going...

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