Being the patrol leader of a patrol like Bateleurs is not a stagnant position. It’s a role that throws curveballs and has a lot of different facets. I enjoy the challenges it presents and the people I am able to work with while fulfilling this responsibility!
First comes the Advancement side of being Patrol Leader. This includes providing opportunities to pass off scouts on advancement, and providing scouters with the experience to do so. The spanner in the works is the fact that everyone has different requirements and is on different levels. However, the equal prioritization of and effort into everyone’s advancement is one of the most important aspects of being a patrol leader.
The way Bats has done this in the past is an attempt to incorporate advancement into every activity, be it last year’s survival camp, having a camp totally dedicated to advancement or a hike to pass off casts and prints. Camps are the best place to advance, and scouts usually take a huge leap in advancement after a camp.
Event planning is a big thing – who wants to be in a patrol that doesn’t go out and do anything fun? Any event a Patrol Leader plans will present an administration aspect. The most important part of this is communication with scouts and parents. The best way to do this, I have found, is via email with a
WhatsApp Broadcast group, to send reminders to respond to emails and attend activities. This works especially well for parents and scouts who do not check their emails regularly.
Communicating with the Assistant Patrol Leader is also very important. Training is a huge priority for me, and I try to reflect this with my communications with my APL. We try to meet quarterly to discuss the upcoming terms and share responsibilities such as running activities.
Of course, there is a lot more to any patrol than the day-to-day running and admin – there are also the people. The scouts in Bats are a wacky bunch at the best of times, but are a good, motivated group to take on activities. Leading Bats requires me to keep everyone motivated and ensure everyone’s thoughts are heard. During an evening activity, planning our approach to a challenge is always a group discussion, and I try my best to make sure everyone gets a say in how something could be carried out.
There are the tough times where extra motivation is needed – I think back to the Survival camp last year when I say this. It was raining the ENTIRE time and we were all pretty cold, but keeping things light and making sure everyone has fun and avoids hypothermia always makes for a fun activity.
Managing patrol dynamics is also important. You learn early on what motivates each individual, and which combinations of scouts work together well. Scouts’ individual talents are also things that a Patrol Leader has to note. Telling an artist to build a catapult while getting the pioneer to draw up a dinner invitation will never produce good results, and the scouts will take less enjoyment out of the activity.
In short, I thoroughly enjoy being a Patrol leader, and my Bats patriotism has never been higher! The activities are fun, the emails are endless and the people make it all the more worthwhile.