"It is the Patrol System that makes the Troop, and all Scouting for that matter, a real co-operative matter".
~ Lord Robert Baden Powell
What is the Team System or 'Patrol' System?
The use of small teams as a way to participate in collaborative learning, is done with the aim of developing effective teamwork, inter-personal skills, leadership, as well as building a sense of responsibility and belonging.
The team system (or “patrol” system as it is often called) is the basic organisational structure of the local unit, which is composed of small teams of young people supported by the adult.
Each small team, normally comprising 6 - 8 young people, operates as a team providing their own leadership. Within each team and in ways appropriate to their capacities, the young people organise their life as a group, share responsibilities, and decide upon, organise, carry out and evaluate their activities. A representational system ensures that the young people also participate in the decision-making processes of the unit in consultation and partnership with the adults.
The team system, based on young people’s natural tendencies to form small groups, channels the substantial influence that peers have on each other in a constructive direction. It enables young people to develop their personal and collective capacities through pooling and building on their individual skills, talents and experience and through the development of a mutually supportive team spirit where problems are solved collectively. It provides Scouts with opportunities for leadership and support and to learn about the uniqueness of each individual, thus helping them to appreciate diversity. It also enables them to develop constructive relationships with other young people and adults and to learn to live according to a democratic form of self-government.
Attributes of a Patrol System
- 6 to 8 Scouts per Team (patrol)
- Mix of different age groups within the Team (patrol). For example a patrol of 8 Scouts might consist of two 13 yr olds, two 14 yr olds, two 15 yr olds and two 16 year olds.
- Shared Responsibilities. Every member of the patrol, regardless of age and experience, will hold a patrol role that enables him/her to practice leadership opportunities whenever his/her area of duties is called upon.
Advantages of the Patrol System
- Based on young people’s natural tendencies to form small groups.
- Mixed age groups allows scouts to learn from seniors and reinforce their own learnings by teaching their juniors.
- Ample leadership opportunities across all patrol members.
- Builds patrol ownership and teaches scouts to be an active and contributing team member.