Pathfinders are the final section of our traditional scouting group, these are our Senior Section and is for young people aged between 11 and 18 years of age. The Pathfinder section is, however, split into Pathfinders and Senior Pathfinders, but opportunity is given for the older Pathfinders to assist the younger Pathfinders and for the Pathfinders to lead themselves.
The fundamental difference between Wolf Cubs and Pathfinders apart from the age and the change in uniform, is the way they are run. In that Pathfinders use the Patrol System where the members work in groups to plan, prepare and engage in activities specifically generated and arranged by themselves.
These groups of Pathfinders are called Patrols and can be made up of between 6 and 8 Pathfinders, each has a specific role and contributes to the planning and execution of any given activity.
For Example you may have the following Positions in a Patrol:-
- Patrol Leader, normally elected by his or her patrol and is responsible for making sure activities are properly planned and executed. They set the tone and lead the Patrol meetings and activities where required.
- Assistant Patrol Leader or Second. Again elected by the Patrol and assists the Patrol leader in all his or her roles and will generally stand in for the Patrol leader when they are unavailable.
- Navigator. Leads the planning of hikes and navigation on the day, however, all members of the Patrol should be able to navigate to a given level and contribute on the ground.
- Treasurer: Works out budgets for events and activities, costs etc, collects money from the Patrol and pays for any outgoings that the activity creates from the money which has been collected.
- Cook: Leads the cooking of meals, plans the menus taking into account dietary issues and nutritional requirements, but is not the cook on every day, one of his or her roles is to delegate the role through out the duration of a camp for example.
- First Aider: Responsible for maintaining a first aid kit for the Patrol, first aid log, treatment of minor ailments and should be aware of any medical conditions that members of their patrol have. Again this role is one shared and treatment should be started where appropriate and supported by the First Aider when required.
- Camp Planner; Plan the camps and activities in consultation with the whole patrol and under the guidance and support of the Patrol Leader and the APL.
Now the above list is not conclusive and roles and their names may vary, however, the principle remain the same, that the Patrol really does control and is hence responsible for their own activities.
Ok if the Patrols are doing this, what role does and Adult leader have, well that’s pretty simple, whilst Patrols may have amazing ideas, we as adult leaders have to make sure they are prepared skill wise, mentally and physically for what they have planned, so they decide what they would like to do and we help or facilitate them completing that objective in a safe and beneficial manner. We also push to ensure that all members of the patrol contribute to the patrol and that each has the opportunity to show what they are capable of.