Star Awards – PL’s guidelines

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Star Patrol Evaluation form: Scouts-and-Scout-Leaders-Star-Patrol-2014


Star Patrol Notes

Creating Teams That Win

Successful teams are based on a number of essential group member behaviours. One of the keys to a group’s success is its size. In Scouting, we learned much from the founder of Scouting.

 Robert Baden-Powell. In 1888, he wrote:

The formation of the boys into Patrols of from six to eight and training them as separate units each under its own responsible leader is the key to a good Troop.

How you know your team is NOT working

Individual attendance is spotty or inconsistent. Meetings are irregularly held and sometimes consist of extended periods of games or goofing off interspersed with something resembling a meeting. There’s no youth in charge, but perhaps a single individual who tries to rally the group into doing something constructive. The adults are frequently telling the youth what to do, or are disciplining youth who are out of line. Teams are organized haphazardly, by age group, or without consideration to a mix of senior and junior members. The older youth are inadequately prepared to train the younger members. The older youth have not attended any junior leader training in more than a couple of years. The adult leaders have not attended adult leader training.

We have borrowed heavily on Baden-Powell’s playbook, because he found something intrinsically true to youth. They love to form gangs, or groups with a common affinity and interest. This team of teams, led by youth, is the “patrol method.”

What the Patrol Method is

The patrol method is working when the adult acts as a guide, mentor, and counsellor to the youth, helping them by word and example to lead one another, to influence one another, to encourage competition and excitement so that the boys grow as a group and as individuals.

In 1920, Baden-Powel consolidated notes he had assembled on the training of boys through Scouting and published them as Aids to Scoutmastership. He wrote,

Baden-Powell said: “When you want a thing done, ‘Don’t Do It Yourself’ is a good motto for Leaders.”

The Patrol System

The Patrol System is the one essential feature in which Scout training differs from that of all other organisations, and where the System is properly applied, it is absolutely bound to bring success. It cannot help itself!

The formation of the boys/girls into Patrols of from six to eight and training them as separate units each under its own responsible leader is the key to a good Troop.

The Patrol is the unit of Scouting always, whether for work or for play, for discipline or for duty.  An invaluable step in character training is to put responsibility on to the individual. This is immediately gained in appointing a Patrol Leader to responsible command of their Patrol. It is up to them to take hold of and to develop the qualities of each boy/girl in their Patrol. It sounds a big order, but in practice it works. Then, through emulation and competition between Patrols, you produce a Patrol spirit which is eminently satisfactory, since it raises the tone among the youth and develops a higher standard of efficiency all round. Each boy/girl in the Patrol realises that he/she is in himself/herself a responsible unit and that the honour of their group depends in some degree on their own ability in playing the game.

Enthusiasm is contageous

In patrols that are working, you see enthusiasm among the youth—and adults. If the youth are enthusiastic, they care which team they belong to. (Just try to switch them to another team!) They have yells, their meetings start on time, and everyone is excited about being there. Uniform, if part of the group, is consistent and neat. There is pride in belonging. Participation is consistent and high.

We foster patrol commitment by encouraging a high-spirited experience. We reward patrol for coming up with a patrol flag and yell, and many gatherings are preceding by a feverish competition where each time loudly proclaims what makes them unique.

When you come right down to it, patrol spirit and the small team method are joined at the hip. The patrol method does not work without the invigorating tonic of team spirit. As Baden-Powell pointed out, the way to create team spirit is through “emulation and competition.”

The adult leaders’ most important job is to create an environment that fosters youth’s natural desire to compete and in the process, better themselves.

“The Patrol System is not one method in which Scouting can be carried on. It is the only method”

Lord Baden-Powell, Founder of the Scout Movement


There are ideally three kinds of Patrols:
New Scout patrols, Regular patrols and Older members. Troops decide on their own strategy, and what works best for them.

1) New Scout patrols are for those who recently joined and live in a similar area.  This is generally used so as to help with patrol activities outside normal scouting.

2) Gender orientated all boys or girls patrol.

3) Scouts may be the same age.

“It is up to the Patrol Leader to take hold of and to develop the qualities of each Scout in his patrol. It sounds like a big order, but in practice it works.”

Lord Baden-Powell, Founder


A Patrol is a group of Scouts who belong to a Troop, may be similar in age, development and interests. The Patrol system allows Scouts to interact in a small group outside the larger Troop, working together as a team, and sharing the responsibility of making their Patrol a success. Patrol size depends on a Troop’s membership, the ideal being a maximum of eight Scouts.


Patrol spirit is the glue that holds the patrol together and keeps it going.  Building patrol spirit takes time, because it is shaped by the patrol’s experiences – good or bad. Often misadventures, like getting lost on a night hike, will contribute much in pulling a patrol together. The weekend it rained and flooded your camp is the one you will never forget. Some patrols build up traditions, and these help build each patrol member’s sense of belonging.


When you accept the position of a Patrol Leader, you agree to provide service and leadership to your patrol and the Troop. Take this responsibility seriously, but you will also find it fun and rewarding. As a Patrol Leader you are expected to do the following:

“In planning and carrying out the Scout programme by patrols, your Scouts get valuable practice in group discussions and group debates.”

First handbook for Patrol Leaders


Patrol meetings may be held at any time and place, but not too often. Many patrols set aside a portion of some evening meetings for its patrol to sit together and talk. Others encourage patrols to meet on a different evening, possibly at the home of a patrol member. Meetings should be well planned and businesslike.  Assistant patrol leaders bring the meeting to order and the PL reports on the issues discussed at the Court of Honour.

1.    Decisions reached at these meetings should be brought to the attention of the Troop Scouter, whose responsibility it is, together with Assistants and PLs to make up a suitable programme. Plan and lead some patrol meeting and activities.

2.    Keep your patrol members informed.

3.    Give each member some specific task whenever possible.

4.    Represent your patrol at Court of Honour, or District/Provincial Patrol Leaders’.

5.    Prepare the patrol to participate in all Troop activities.

6.    Work with other Leaders to make your troop run well.

7.    Know the abilities of each of your members.

8.    Set a good example.

9.    Wear the Scout Uniform correctly.

10.Be guided by the Scout Promise & Law.


“An invaluable step in character training is to put responsibility on the individual.”

Lord Baden-Powell, Founder


Tips for Being a Good Patrol Leader

1.    Keep your word.  Don’t make promises you cannot keep.

2.    Be Fair to All.  A good leader shows no favourites. Do not allow friendships to keep you from being fair to all members of your patrol. Find out who likes to do what, and assign duties to patrol members by what they like to do best.

3.    Be a Good Communicator.  You do not need a loud voice to be a good leader, but you must be willing to step out in front with an effective ‘Let’s go for it!’ A good leader knows how to get and give information so that everyone understands what is going on. No-one can read your mind.

4.    Be Flexible. Not everything goes as planned. Be prepared to shift to ‘Plan B’ when ‘Plan A’ doesn’t work.

5.    Be Organised.  The time you spend planning will be repaid many times over. Take notes; keep records.

6.    Delegate.  Some leaders assume that a job will not get done if they don’t do it themselves. Wrong! Most people like to be challenged with a new task. Get your patrol to try things they have never done before. Do not try to do everything yourself. Sharing jobs and fun is a much more rewarding way.

7.    Set an Example.  The most important thing you can do is ‘Lead by Example’. Whatever you do, your patrol members are likely to do the same. A cheerful attitude can keep everyone’s spirits up. “Laugh, and the world laughs with you….”

8.    Be Consistent.  Nothing is more confusing to a young Scout than a leader who stands on his/her feet one day, and on his/her head the next. If your patrol knows what to expect from you, they will be more likely to respond positively to your leadership.

9.    Give Praise.  The best way to get credit is to give it away.  Often a “Nice job” remark is all the praise necessary to make a Scout feel he/she is contribution to the efforts of the patrol.

10.Ask for Help. Never be embarrassed to ask for help. You have many resources at your disposal. When confronted with a situation you don’t know how to handle, ask someone with more experience for some advice and guidance.  They too will learn much from you.

Star Patrol Guidelines

1.     Patrol Jobs: – Jobs must be realistic, understood and functional and carried out during the year.

2.     Patrol Corners: – Where permanent dens or corners not possible, a portable display is satisfactory

3.     Attendance Register: – simple, up to date & on hand for both inspections.

4.     Attendance: – must be recorded in the patrol register

5.     Visual Progress Chart: – simple, up to date, on display

6.     Patrol Logbook: – simple up to date and containing at least items for sections 1 to 3, as well as sections 12 – 14.

7.     Patrol Leader: – must have passed the required badge by the end of September.

8.     Assistant Patrol leader: – must have passed the required badge by the end of September.

9.     Numbers 3 & 4: – must have passed the Pathfinder Badge by the end of September

10.   Number of scouts: 6 or over for the year (average may be used)

11.   Court Of Honour: – record of attendance to be kept in COH minute book.

12.   Patrol Activities: – must be recorded in logbook. PL was in charge. Defined as a gathering of a patrol to carry out an activity as a patrol. Does not include activities credited in sections 1 & 2.

13.   Patrol Hikes: – must be recorded in logbook. PL was in charge. Not necessary overnight but at least 4 hours on the actual hike.Be defined as a gathering of a patrol.

14.   Patrol Camps or overnight hikes: – must be recorded in logbook. PL was in sole charge. At least overnight. If patrol exceeds 2 overnight hikes then the extra ones may be credited to section 13. Be defined as a gathering of a patrol.

15.   Patrol Community Service: – must be recorded in logbook. At least 75% of the Patrol must have been involved in the project over the required period.  Although the period is defined by number of months, the service should be carried out at regular intervals and be meaningful to the community.  A Springbok service project can count as a Bronze level.


* Minimum patrol attendance at activities to qualify, must be either 4 scout out of a patrol of 6, 5 of 7 or 6 of 8

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