The Patrol Leader’s Mission

Patrol Corner Bobwhite“Get all the fun you can out of being a Patrol Leader! But remember that there’s much more to it than fun. Your greatest thrill as a leader will be your chance to turn an ordinary gang of boys into a real Patrol, to help five or six or seven fellows become good Scouts.

Every one of your boys will have a part to play in making the Patrol whatever it turns out to be. But the biggest responsibility is yours. Your leadership, your friendliness, your example will count the most.” – William Hillcourt, “Handbook for Patrol Leaders”, 1950

When talking about how a Scout should act, Baden-Powell said: “A Scout is active in doing good, not passive in being good.”

This is one of my favorite quotes of Baden-Powell because it captures the spirit of the Scout. A Scout isn’t content with just staying out of trouble or not making bad grades in school – this is simply ‘being’ good. A Scout wants to do things. A Scout wants to actively contribute to making the world a better place. A Scout is active!

In this quote from his ‘Handbook for Patrol Leaders”, William Hillcourt explains how Patrol Leaders should apply this active spirit to their leadership of the Patrol. He describes every P.L.’s job as a mission – to turn an ordinary gang of boys into a real Patrol. This is a very important mindset to have!

When I became a Patrol Leader, I was inspired by reading old Scouting books and pamphlets by men like John Thurman and Baden-Powell. It was this inspiration that made me want to take my Patrol to the next level. A mission formed itself in my mind: I wanted my group of guys to be the perfect Scout Patrol!

Patrol Leader DelegatingWith a mission like this, there was no being passive. I read as much as I could, communicated with my Patrol, planned extra activities, and tried my hardest to improve my Patrol and make it the best it could be.

There were a lot of things I wasn’t successful in, but it was this process of trying that made Scouting a success for me and the guys in my Patrol. We learned skills more thoroughly, we became better communicators, we learned how to work through difficulties, and a hundred other things. We were being active.

I wish every Patrol Leader could be inspired like I was and develop a ‘mission’ attitude toward their job as leader. Because it’s not achieving a perfect looking Patrol that makes Scouting a success – it’s actively trying to be the best Patrol possible that makes Scouting a success!

This is what Scouting Rediscovered is about! If any Patrol Leaders are reading this right now, I encourage you to try your very best to make your Patrol the greatest it can possibly be! I’ll tell you right now it won’t be easy; there will be a lot of difficulties and disappointments. But if you give it your all, you will get so much more out of Scouting than you would’ve otherwise, and you will impact the members of your Patrol in ways that can last a lifetime!

Scout On!

[N.B. I apologize for not posting very frequently lately. I’ve been kept very busy with trying to start a business of my own. I hope to start posting again once a week. If you have any thoughts, comments, questions, or things you’d like me to write about, I’d love to hear them! Just leave a comment below. Also, if you like what you’ve read here, I would very much appreciate if you share this article with Scouts and Scouters you know. Thank you!]

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2 Comments on "The Patrol Leader’s Mission"

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The Powell quote is excellent! The more I learn about scouting the more I see how much of it relates to life in general. It’s these nuggets of information that I try and get to stick with the boys. But as always with scouts, it’s not obvious what is and isn’t sticking. It is always great when you see things “just happen”. We’re going camping this weekend, we’ll see what new we can all learn.


Thanks for the comment, John!

Absolutely, I know I’m applying so much of what I learned through Scouting to my life right now.

Of course, as a Scout, the more you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it and the more it will stick with you.

I hope you had a great camping trip last weekend. I’d love to hear about it if you have the time.