Twelve Questions for Patrol Leaders

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Here’s an interesting self-test to give to the patrol leaders at your next patrol leaders’ council meeting. It comes straight out of the 1939 edition of the Handbook for Patrol Leaders but is as relevant today as it was then.

  1. Do I know about every Scout in my patrol—each fellow’s strong and weak points; ambitions; home life; special needs?
  2. Can I plan and conduct patrol meetings worthwhile enough to insure the bunch attending, and steady enough to provoke a second invitation from the fellow’s parents in whose home we meet?
  3. Can I salute and report “All present or accounted for,” at every troop gathering?
  4. Can I interest the fellows in continuous and thorough work for advancement in Scouting?
  5. Can I divide the actual leadership of the patrol so that every Scout gets a chance to do his best part in helping with the meetings, hikes, games, Good Turns, new recruits, etc., so that all the fellows in my patrol have a chance to develop leadership?
  6. Can I patiently handle any boneheads or wise guys or roughnecks, so that they will either come through with the right Scout spirit, or when every possible chance has been given them, eliminate them for the good of the patrol and the troop?
  7. Can I keep the Good Turn idea strong in the minds of all boys in my patrol, so that Good Turns are a habit?
  8. Can I make the fellows proud of our patrol’s appearance, dependability, progress—so that the patrol spirit will be strong and wholesome?
  9. Can I plan a patrol hike and lead it well enough so that eventually my Scoutmaster can trust me with the patrol for a day without adult supervision?
  10. Can I wisely lead my patrol in its part of the troop enterprises and have brains enough to think of new things for the patrol to do besides?
  11. Can I justify my Scoutmaster’s confidence in my loyal and thoughtful cooperation under his leadership for the development of the whole troop?
  12. Finally, can I make my own Scout life an unboastful example and encouragement to every fellow in my patrol, commanding thereby respect and confidence?

Note: Some readers may be surprised that activities without adult leaders (as described in question 9) are still permitted. They are under certain circumstances. Here’s the relevant section of the Guide to Safe Scouting:

There are a few instances, such as patrol activities, when the presence of adult leaders is not required and adult leadership may be limited to training and guidance of the patrol leadership. With the proper training, guidance, and approval by the troop leaders, the patrol can conduct day hikes and service projects.

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