Archive for the ‘patrol’ Category

My family room has served as the troop’s Scout room for over two and a half decades. Patrol Leader Council meetings were held there, along with training sessions and some smaller troop activities. Committee meetings were held around the table once a month. One third of the room is a showcase for Scouting awards, memorabilia, and Eagle Scout photos.

I was cleaning up and sorting through some things last night and discovered a little gem I forgot was part of my Scouting collection. It is a training flip chart from 1955 regarding patrol advancement. It is for patrol leaders and discusses how to make their patrol become a First Class Patrol! It is 36 black and white pages, with the cover page, and is in excellent condition considering it is 65 years old.

As I was looking through it (yes, I had to stop and look at it) I began thinking it could be fun to scan the pages and turn it into a training video. Well, at least an interesting look at an old training resource. I was thinking about reading each page myself but then thought it would be much better if I could get one of our Scouts to read it.

I began working on it tonight. I have been in contact with one of the troop’s dads and he thinks his son may be interested in doing the reading. I have begun scanning the pages, which it going to take awhile. My old scanner is not the quickest by any means. In fact, each page is taking me over 3 minutes to set up and scan.

I will have to work with the Scout to be a good narrator. I do not think he has ever done anything like this but I think, after a couple read throughs and a few pointers, he will do an excellent job. I have even thought of trying to find an old uniform for him to wear during an opening introduction, but I am not sure if that will happen.

Would you be willing to take ten minutes or so to watch a video featuring an old training resource from 1955? Is this a project that is worth my time? Let me know in the comments!

Vintage Boy Scout PatrolFor the last several years Boy Scout Troop 68 of Melrose was holding on to life with a small group of Scouts, only about 8 of them. The Cub Scout Pack has also had a rough time recruiting members which meant that the troop has only had 2 Webelos Scouts transfer to the troop during the last 7 years. Due to that low number there has only been one patrol.

The Boy Scouts really went out this year and tried to recruit their friends into the troop, and they have been quite successful. They have brought six more boys into the program. The troop now has 13 members. That means there is too many for one patrol so for the first time in seven(?) years we have two patrols, which the Scouts formed last month.

The patrol with most of the older boys decided to keep the existing patrol name, the Border Patrol. The mostly younger boy patrol has decided to call themselves the Striking Cobras. Last week I presented the patrols with a competition. A patrol needs a patrol flag, of course, so I gave them the challenge to come with the best patrol flag. The flags will be judged at the  court of honor to be held on December 23 by myself and two committee members. The patrol with the best flag will be presented with the Best Of Flag prize, which will be something they can eat.

During the troop meeting tonight the patrols spent their patrol meeting time working on the designs of those flags. It looked like both patrols are taking the competition seriously. If fact, the members of the Border Patrol did not even want me to see the various rough drafts of their flag design. I just smiled to myself as I walked away.

Having more then one patrol in the troop has been a learning experience for both the Scouts and the new scoutmaster. The boys have learned very quickly that patrols can be used as teams for game time during troop meetings. It will be interesting to see how menu planning and patrol campsites will be done on the next camping trip. I have to admit that it is nice to have one more patrol leader attending the patrol leader council meetings.

I promise that in December, after the court of honor, I will post pictures of the two patrol flags. Maybe I will have you readers be the judges of an online vote for your favorite flag.

Troop Meeting TrainingI have collected a fair number of Scouting related items during the thirty-plus years I have been involved with our local Boy Scout Troop. One of these items is a vhs tape of Boy Scout Leader Fast Start Orientation from 2002. You see, there was a time, not that long ago, when adult leaders could not readily go to the internet to watch training videos. They had to borrow a vhs tape from their council office. I know, hard to believe.

While I am stuck at home recovering from neck surgery, I decided to make a digital copy of this 2002 training tape I received from the council when they decided to throw it out several years ago. Once I had a digital copy of it I thought it might be fun to share this 11 year old production with the viewers of the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast. The whole video is 32 minutes long so I broke it down into three parts.

This first part takes us through the process of planning and conducting a Boy Scout troop meeting. The video covers things very well and is still very reverent to today’s program. Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68 has followed this format for decades with a lot of success. If you have new adult leaders in your troop I would recommend they sit down and watch this. I also think it is fun to watch a training video from 11 years ago.

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If you have been watching this blog and podcast for awhile you have seen many skits and songs performed by the Boy Scouts of Troop 68, but you have seen very little performed by the troop’s adult leaders. Well, the time has come. With episode #88 of the Melrose Scouting Productions Podcast you are about to see something that only people from Melrose have seen before.

Boy Scout Troop 68 was doing very well in 2001. There was over 30 Boy Scouts and a lot of adult leadership. This leadership formed their own patrol for troop camping trips and outings. They named their patrol the Jedi Patrol. Their patrol call was “Do, or do not. There is no try.” They even had a patrol flag. Of course, this was all designed to set an example for the other patrols, but the adults did have fun with it while it lasted.

During the troop’s 2001 Laughs for Lunch Show, the Jedi Patrol decided to participate and sing a song. What would they sing? Was there any question? It would have to be Weird Al’s spoof on Lola, which he named Yoda. The patrol practiced a couple times. Most of them knew the melody, but there was not enough time to memorize the words so they would carry music stands onto the stage. The rest is history.

Can the members of the Jedi Patrol sing? Can they do it in harmony? Do they mess it up? Watch the video podcast and decide for yourself.

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What is in a name? When it applies to a Boy Scout patrol it could mean a lot. It might offer a hint to the patrol members’ interests. It may describe the patrol’s attitude or personality. But then, it may mean nothing at all. It may just be a name most of the members agreed upon.

There have been a lot of patrols during the twenty eight year Troop 68 history. A few patrols have nearly faded from troop history. A few have accomplished great things. And a few will be remembered for being unique, or troublesome.

Some patrols did not last long. Members quit or Scouts moved to other patrols. Patrols change their names. Other patrols last for five or six years. Once in a while one patrol will absorb a smaller patrol, thus increasing its membership and lasting awhile longer.

Usually, at least in our troop, when a new patrol chooses a name they will open the BSA catalog and pick one from the many patches already available. I call these the “traditional” patrol names. Troop 68 has had patrols named the Flaming Arrow, the Falcons, the Wolves, the Cobras, the Lightning, the Bats, the Scorpions, and the Flying Eagles.

Patrols have used the traditional patches but tweaked patrol names to make it more their own. The Soaring Hawks, the Ferocious Tigers, the Blazing Buffaloes, the Rad Reptiles, and the Hazardous Hawks fit into this category. We have even had the Wild Boars and the Pink Panthers.

Some patrol names fit the interest of the patrol members. For example, we once had a patrol who really liked to play the Dungeons and Dragons role playing game. They named their patrol The Warriors. We have even had a Dangerous Dragons Patrol.

Of course, there has also been a few unique names. The Hillbillies and the Black Talons come to mind. I thought the Charging Chipmunks was very original. (For some reason I kept seeing thousands of chipmunks running down the hillside toward our campsite.) The most unique name came about when a patrol decided to name themselves after their favorite shoes, and thus became known as the Chuck Taylor Patrol.

As a scoutmaster, I have found a patrol name to be a great way to remember a group of Scouts. Sometimes, the memories are not so squeaky clean. For example, when I was a Boy Scout in the mid-1970’s we had a patrol called the Cougars. It seemed most of the troop’s troublemakers were in the Cougar Patrol.

Fast forward twenty years later. Troop 68 has a patrol called the Courageous Cougars. In time this patrol would boast of three Eagle Scouts. This patrol also happened to be one of the laziest patrols who also liked to push the envelope any chance they got. They nearly succeeded in getting this scoutmaster to resign his position during one camping trip. (Fortunately, we all got past that and are now friends who still stay in touch.)

A patrol name can be important. It can be a name to rally around during a competition. It can be a victory cry! It can help a patrol build an identity that lasts for years. Former troop members still refer to themselves as a member of their Boy Scout patrol.

I was a Falcon when I was a Boy Scout. I was a Penguin during Scoutmaster training. I was a Jedi when we had enough assistant scoutmasters to form our own patrol for weekend outings. I became a Bobwhite when I participated in three weekends of Woodbadge. And I am proud to be a member of each and every one.