The Patrol Leader
“The patrol system is not one method in which Scouting for boys can be carried on. It is the only method.”
– Lord Baden-Powell, Scouting’s founder
Each patrol has a patrol leader, elected by the Scouts / Guides in her patrol, to serve for a time determined by the troop and the leaders. They vote for her, just as any responsible citizen votes for candidates for public office.
Before voting, read over the duties of the patrol leader, then ask yourself, “Will she do a good job? Is she the kind of Scouts / Guides who is fair or will she be bossy? Will she speak for everyone in our patrol at the Court of Honor? Does she have ideas that are fun and exciting?
These are important questions, for the patrol leader is in charge of seeing that things go well and smoothly. Here are some suggestions for the patrol leader’s duties.
- Conducts regular patrol meetings using agenda made at Court of Honor with the troop leader and other patrol leaders.
- Learns what her patrol wants to do by leading discussions and offering suggestions.
- Represents her patrol at regular Court of Honor meetings by reporting on patrol progress and activities, getting needed assistance and sharing ideas with other patrol leaders.
- Works with her assistant patrol leader and shares some of the leadership of the patrol with her.
- Helps herself and others in her patrol to learn or practice Scouting skills.
- Takes charge of any special assignment given to her patrol
- Assigns duties to patrol members and sees that they are carried out.
- Helps her patrol organize to get jobs done.
- Consults with troop leaders for special help on plans or problems, and keeps them up-to-date on patrol activities.
- Tries to live by the Promise and Law; she needs to set an example for the members of her patrol.
You may say to yourself, “What a lot for one Scouts / Guides to do!” Remember, though, that the patrol leader should have the cooperation of all the Scouts / Guides in her patrol. She can always call on the troop leader for advice, too, so she has help whenever she needs or wants it. Also, remember that a Cadette or Senior patrol leader may be ready to assume more responsibility than a patrol leader in a Junior troop.
The Assistant Patrol Leader
Another Scouts / Guides elected by the patrol members is the assistant patrol leader. She serves for the same time as the patrol leader and her job is to help the patrol leader in every way she can. The assistant patrol leader does these things and others that she may be asked to do:
- Takes over the job of the patrol leader in her absence.
- Carries out leadership responsibilities delegated by the patrol leader – such as making a kaper chart or organizing a flag ceremony.
Every patrol needs a patrol leader and an assistant patrol leader, but a patrol that really gets things done sees that every member has a definite permanent job. This allows it to whirl into action, not confusion, to get the necessary things done quickly and save time for the real heart of a troop or patrol activity – to turn spur-of-the-moment ideas into fun-packed afternoons. Here is one plan for dividing the work of the patrol:
The Patrol Treasurer or Finance Manager is in charge of patrol financial matters.
- Collects troop dues from patrol members, keeps a record of troop dues, and turns them over to Troop Treasurer.
- Handles all money for the patrol.
- Keeps financial record of patrol income and expenses.
The Patrol Secretary or Recorder is in charge of patrol records.
- Attends to patrol correspondence (invitations, thank-you notes).
- Keeps log of patrol programs and attendance.
- Fills in necessary information on permission slips.
- Keeps a written record of each Scouts / Guides’s progress toward awards.
The Transportation Manager is in charge of transportation for patrol events.
- Makes a sure driver receives a thank-you note from secretary.
- Works with Health and Safety Manager to make sure patrol members understand health and safety precautions for travelling by car, bicycle, foot, canoe, etc.
- Finds out about interesting places the patrol can visit, how to get there, and how much it will cost.
The Commissary Manager is in charge of patrol food.
- Arranges for refreshments for special occasions.
- Appoints shoppers for food and sees that it is purchased.
- Sees that food is delivered on time, properly packed and stored.
- Makes sure food is attractively served; works out plan for cleanup.
The Equipment Manager is in charge of patrol equipment.
- Makes up list of personal equipment needed for program and gives a copy to each Scouts / Guides.
- Makes out list of patrol equipment needed.
- Secures, distributes, packs, and stores patrol equipment.
- Makes sure equipment is labeled and kept in good condition.
- Initiates making of patrol equipment (tin-can stove, cook kits, etc.)
- Returns borrowed equipment.
Health And Safety Manager
Make sure a first aid kit is available at all times.
- Keeps first aid kit stocked, replacing items as necessary.
- Alerts patrol to good health and safety practices.
- Makes sure patrol members know what to do in case off fire, storm, accident, lost person, etc.
- Knows how to reach the nearest doctor or hospital or emergency services number.
- Sets up an emergency call system for patrol.
No matter which plan you use, yours, or the one suggested, make sure you can answer “Yes” to the following questions.
- Does each Scouts / Guides in the patrol have a specific job?
- Does she have a brief description of what she is to do?
- Will she really have an opportunity to do her hob because it is based on actual plans for the troop and the patrol?
- Are copies of each description with the name of the Scouts / Guides who has the hob kept in one place so everyone can see who is responsible for what/
- Is there a plan to evaluate the division after two or three months? Check to see if jobs need to be rearranged; if each Scouts / Guides has the job best suited to her talent; is it working for both the troop and patrol activities? Some troops elect new officers two or three times a year.