With another season of Webelos Crossover upon us, I’m again faced with the lingering question of what to do with them once they’re in the Troop. Ok, to be honest this year wasn’t very hard – but it did bring up the questions I have each and every year we bring new Scouts on board en mass: have them be their own patrol (the ‘new Scout’ patrol), or mix them among the other Scouts in the Troop.
I can see it both ways.
If you keep them together, there may be a better chance of them sticking around longer. Thus, you have retention and they will all get more out of the program that way. They are familiar with each other, so there’s a level of comfort as well. It also keeps the current patrols intact and hopefully allows them to be a better performing group by not introducing new members.
If you split them up, they have the advantage of having older Scouts in their patrol to mentor them from the beginning. Yes, there are Troop Guides for that, but our unit isn’t very big and we haven’t had any luck with Troop Guides up to this point. It also gives the older Scouts who need leadership the opportunity to actually exercise some of those skills within a patrol setting.
This year, I asked the incoming parents what they felt would be the best. They all agreed that for at least a while, having them start as a new Scout patrol was the best route. I’m OK with that.
I’m always interested in what others think about this one. I’ve heard good arguments for both. For our Troop this year we’re going with the New Scout patrol. Let me know how your unit does it, or how you feel it ought to go.