Working the Patrol Method

Whether you’re a new Scoutmaster or not, Working the Patrol Method – A Scout Leader’s Guide To Youth Leadership Training is a MUST-READ for both alike!  It’s one of those “tools” you wish every Scoutmaster got when he accepted his role in a Unit (including me).  Authored by four Eagle Scouts, the book does an excellent job explaining:

  • Why the Patrol Method is important,
  • What Scoutmasters can do to support the Patrol Method,
  • How the boys can work the Patrol Method,
  • Different leadership styles and what works (or what doesn’t),
  • Great insights into applying skills such as planning, delegation, follow through, coaching, mentoring, trust, communication, decision making, praise and recognition.

I’ve learned about some of these topics the hard way…through trial and error that has taken several years to grasp.  Even still, 3 years into it and I’m still figuring out what I should Start, Stop and Continue doing as a Scoutmaster.  I can see why adults need to stay in this position for no less than 5 to 7 years, and even 10 if possible.  It almost takes that long to practice these principles, to work out your own personal kinks, to fail at it a few times and to try, try and try again.  As the book points out:

“Scouting is an on-going opportunity to learn a body of knowledge that will serve the Scout[er] well over his lifetime.  We cannot be good at everything, but we can learn a variety of helpful skills and leadership lessons during our time in Scouting.”

What’s even more important to realize here is that the game in constantly changing every time your troop gains or loses a Scout (or even an Asst. Scoutmaster).  The group dynamics are in a continual cycle of Forming, Norming, Storming and sometimes Performing (which concepts are also summarized in this book and covered in much greater detail during Wood Badge).

Working the Patrol Method is very well written, easy to read and includes many real stories that illustrate the points these authors are making.  If there is any other book you read to understand how this program should work (other than the Scoutmaster Handbook), you really should read this one!

For more information about this book or to get a copy, visit

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