The patrol is a group of Scouts who are probably similar in age, development, and interests. The patrol method allows Scouts to interact in a small group outside the larger troop context, working together as a team and sharing the responsibility of making their patrol a success. A patrol takes pride in its identity, and the members strive to make their patrol the best it can be. Patrols will sometimes join with other patrols to learn skills and complete advancement requirements. At other times, they will compete against those same patrols in Scout skills and athletic competitions. The members of each patrol elect one of their own to serve as Patrol Leader. To give more youths the opportunity to lead, Patrol Leaders are elected twice a year. Patrol size depends upon the troop’s enrollment and is typically eight to ten Scouts.
Troop 903 sets aside a portion of each troop meeting for its patrols to gather. Additional patrol meetings may be held at any time and place. The frequency of patrol meetings is determined by upcoming events and activities that require planning and discussion. Patrol meetings should be well planned and businesslike. The Patrol Leader should report any information from the latest Patrol Leaders’ Council meeting. The bulk of each patrol meeting should be devoted to planning upcoming activities, with specific assignments made to each patrol member.
Patrol spirit is the glue that holds the patrol together and keeps it going. Creating a patrol identity will help build each patrol member’s sense of belonging. Patrol names, patches, flags and cheers are all ways to build patrol spirit.