Patrol Adult Advisors
What is the Adult Advisor Role About?
Context about our Troop’s Operations:
At the end of the scouting year, the Troop’s PLC put together a listing of events, what it would like to accomplish. In addition, BSA has national, council and district goals/events that we may be supporting. Also, the Patrols themselves may have goals they would like to achieve. The SM is working with the Senior Patrol to understand the big picture and put together a “strategy” for how the Troop is to successfully support these demands. The Senior Patrol comes to the PLC meetings to lay out the strategy for the Patrol Leadership and then looks to the Patrol Leadership for a response on what it wants to do, what it can do and what the Patrol Leadership is going to need to successfully execute. Example, we have learned our scouts execute best when they have 4 troop meetings to plan/prepare for a campout event.
To sum this up, the Troop’s operations are really defined by the ability of our Patrol Leadership’s ability to lead and execute.
What is an Adult Advisor?
Based on the context above, the role of an Adult Advisor is to support the Patrol’s leadership team (Patrol Leader, Assistant Patrol Leader, Patrol QM) so they are successful becoming a leadership team for leading the Patrols planning and execution. For the patrol leadership to be successful, they will have to develop good communication, leadership and decision making skills.
How do we accomplish this?
The way we do this is to use visualizing, Mentoring, reflection, empowerment and building confidence. Most of the effort is done behind the scenes prior to the troop meetings, campouts or events. Below is an example based on our weekly troop meeting planning effort. Whether it is a troop meeting, campout or other event, the overall approach and method apply.
The PLC Meetings are the key!!!
The PLC Meetings are where the SPL works with his PLC leadership to define the next 4 to 5 weeks of vision, what the troop is doing when and why. It is paramount that the 3 Deep Patrol Leadership attend the PLC Meetings to be part of the vision forming so the scout leaders are owners or have an ownership stake in the vision.
Troop Meeting Planning – Patrol Leader’s Weekly Calls:
– Monday when the Patrol Leadership calls, discuss how they visualize or see Thursday’s meeting happening. What are they comfortable with, what is a challenge for them? Define and discuss the “Top 3”
- “Top 3 List” – In our JLT (Junior Leadership Training) we are teaching the scouts to take a 3x5 card and list their top 3 items, goals their patrol needs to accomplish in that troop meeting. During Monday night’s phone call, the objective is to have the Patrol Leadership create this index card. At the troop meeting they are to pull this card out at the start of the meeting and read it to their patrol. The Patrol then executes to accomplish these top 3.
– The time of the Troop Meeting or Event can be one of the toughest parts. This is where you have accomplished the planning and now it is time for the Scouts to execute. Sometimes it goes well, sometimes not so well. When it is not going well, my thinking is to only prompt or re-direct just enough for the patrol to accomplish the bare minimum for the upcoming event. Take really good notes and document where things could have gone better. You’ll use these to reflect and train in the next step.
- When you do have to step in or redirect, follow the steps in the mentoring handout.
- NOTE – Unless it is a safety item, this is not the most effective time to take corrective or improvement measures due to the emotions or stress of the moment as the Scout is trying to lead. Reflection is the optimal time for training.
– On the Monday call, ask the Patrol Leadership to reflect upon the last meeting. What went well, what did not go so well. Share with them your observations.
- This is the time when most of the training will take place for improving future events. The stress is reduced, emotions are reduced and the Scout leader is in a sharing mode, not trying to lead in front of his peers.
- Thought - Reflecting on the Monday call is probably the most consistent, effective and powerful training tool you have available.
– Basically, encourage the Scouts to test the limits of their leadership taking on what they want or think they can do. Always enforce this is their Patrol, their Troop and asking them where they want to lead it? We have specifically chosen the word “advisor” because our adult roles are a safety net and backup to the Scout.
- If I have to step in and redirect with Mentoring as described above, I try to do this by putting the 2nd in charge scout in charge and taking the 1st in charge off to the side but still with-in sight of what is taking place. Using Mentoring, seeing through each others eyes we agree upon a game plan, ensure the Scout is confident he can accomplish the plan and then send him off.
- I find if I ask the question “Scout Jim, I know and believe you can do this, I believe in you, what do you need from me to support your efforts?”, the scouts know they are the lead and they achieve better results.
5) Building Confidence
– This may sound simple, but is more challenging than it appears because we are focused on leadership which is a concept, not a physical object. The key is to help the scouts understand where they are doing a good job and how they are making a difference. My experience in this area is that the scouts don’t realize just how effective they are in getting results. Once you share with them your observations of them being successful, they start to understand and become open to more challenges because you believe in them and they believe in themselves.
Adult Advisor Objectives:
Here are some objectives from discussions involving our scout and adult leadership.
1) National Honor Patrol - With Adult Advisors mentoring the patrols, we should increase the number of patrols that make National Honor Patrol
2) Patrol consistently accomplishing meeting goals
3) Patrol advancement becomes consistent for all scouts – The Patrol Leadership has a Pocket Booklet where they are tracking the advancement of their scouts. Use the campout planning sheets to get the most accomplished out of a campout by listing what each Scout is going to accomplish. Try to improve advancement results with scouts accomplishing more requirements at our outings.