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By:    On: 2011-10-24

Early in The Scoutmaster’s Other Handbook I talk about balancing the methods of Scouting—making sure you’re using all eight methods on a fairly even basis. The problem is that Scouters often focus so much on one method (usually advancement, outdoors, or youth development) that they forget to use the others (usually ideals, personal growth, or uniform).

From time to time, in fact, one method even cancels another out. I recently chatted with a Scout leader about a problem his troop was having. On several occasions, the PLC had set aside a month for patrol outings instead of scheduling troop outings. The patrol outings never materialized, however, which meant that nobody went camping during those months.

How could you solve that dilemma? An easy way would be to schedule a troop outing but leave the Saturday planning up to each patrol. One patrol could take a day hike, a second patrol could practice pioneering skills, a third patrol could plan and cook a feast for the entire troop for Saturday night. You get the idea.

So how is your troop doing? Are you running on all eight cylinders? If not, maybe it’s time to schedule a tune-up!



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