As I approach my last few months as a scout, I wish to reflect on what it has been like to lead a group of children ranging in age from eleven to fourteen. This experience has been one of a kind with me learning new things through the people I have had the privilege of meeting as well as the situations I have been thrown into.
For the past two years I have had the great opportunity to lead the Eagles patrol. During this time there have been a number of changes. As the PL I have dealt with a few changes such as having APLs stepping down, new patrol members joining us as well as having members moved to other patrols. These changes have more just needed to be dealt with rather than changes I have intended to make. My role as a PL has been to lead my patrol through these changes.
The second change in the patrol has been the culture. This change was intended and it has been a great honour as a PL to develop our patrol culture. This culture has been to keep to the main objective of a Patrol System which has entailed delegation, transparency with regards to opinions as well as healthy discussions regarding concerns for the Troop.
“The main object of the Patrol System is to give real responsibility to as many scouts as possible. It leads each scout to see that they have some individual responsibility for the good of their Patrol. It leads each Patrol to see that it has definite responsibility for the good of the Troop. Through the Patrol System the Scouts learn that they have considerable say in what their Troop does.”
After all these administrative tasks I have had as a PL still the best part is being able to lead my patrol every Thursday through cooking evenings, photo hunts, patrol evenings, first aid emergencies and so much more. All these evenings have had me
having to think about all the different possibilities as well as manage my patrol and assign them tasks based on their abilities that I have had to take my time to learn, which honestly could be estimated at a few hours.
I believe the best way to conclude this article is to make a statement to all current PLs, promising APLs and aspiring juniors. Patrol Leadership is an extremely demanding role without a doubt there will be sleepless nights trying to organise events. There are moments where are trying to sort out your patrol advancement while ensuring it’s a “fun” evening and there are times where you are tired because mistakes were made and it’s on you as the PL to fix them. But all these annoyances are irrelevant when you are able to see one of the scouts in your patrol raise their arms as they complete a requirement that you helped them achieve. That is, in my opinion, the true goal of a Patrol Leader – to raise the next generation of leaders that our society needs.