Patrol Method

"The patrol method isn’t one way to run a troop. It’s the only way."   Lord Baden-Powell

What is the patrol method?

The patrol’s a small team of eight or so Scouts, and it’s more than organizational convenience or a Boy Scout version of the den.  It’s the place where boys learn skills together, take on leadership responsibilities (perhaps for the first time) and develop friendships that will last over a lifetime.

What are the three types of patrols?

How are patrol meetings different from troop meetings?

Some troops hold patrol meetings during their regular troop meetings. Others encourage patrols to meet on their own time, perhaps on a Sunday afternoon at the patrol leader’s home.  While we have patrol meeting time during our normal troop meeting times.   Troop 431 encourages all Patrol to meet desperately and bond either camping as a patrol or through some other activity. 

Here are some ideas patrols do during patrol meetings:

Can patrols do activities outside of the troop, other than meet?


Patrols may have their own day activities, such as a service project, or working on advancement, or merit badges, or things like that.  If they go overnight, they need to have adult supervision, but they can do lots of things on their own.  Service projects are a great thing for patrols to do.

What’s patrol spirit?

Patrol spirit is the glue that holds the patrol together and keeps it going. Building patrol spirit takes time, because it is shaped by a patrol’s experiences—good and bad. Often misadventures such as enduring a thunderstorm or getting lost in the woods will contribute much in pulling a patrol together. Many other elements also will help build patrol spirit. Creating a patrol identity and traditions will help build each patrol member’s sense of belonging.

Every patrol needs a good name. Usually, the patrol chooses its name from nature, a plant or animal, or something that makes the patrol unique. A patrol might choose an object for its outstanding quality. For example, sharks are strong swimmers and buffaloes love to roam. The patrol may want to add an adjective to spice up the patrol name, such as the Soaring Hawks or the Rambunctious Raccoons.

A patrol flag is the patrol’s trademark, and it should be a good one. Have a competition to see who comes up with the best design and who is the best artist. Make the flag out of a heavy canvas and use permanent markers to decorate it. In addition to the patrol name, the patrol flag should have the troop number on it as well as the names of all the patrol members. Mount the flag on a pole, which also can be decorated. Remember, the patrol flag should go wherever the patrol goes.

Every patrol has a patrol yell, which should be short and snappy. Choose words that fit the patrol’s goals. Use the yell to announce to other patrols that your patrol is ready to eat or has won a patrol competition. Some patrols also have a patrol song.

Other patrol traditions include printing the patrol logo on the chuck box and other patrol property. Many troops designate patrol corners somewhere in the troop meeting room; patrols may decorate their corner in their own special way. Some patrols like to specialize in doing something extremely well, such as cooking peach cobbler or hobo stew

What does the patrol leader do?

When you accepted the position of patrol leader, you agreed to provide service and leadership to your patrol and troop. No doubt you will take this responsibility seriously, but you will also find it fun and rewarding. As a patrol leader, you are expected to do the following:

Ten Tips for Being a Good Patrol Leader

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