Today I came across two semingly unrelated papers: the suggested program for the first semester for scouts ages 13-15 by the Swedish Scout Council (SSR) and Clay Shirky's A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy .
What almost scared me is that in the internet age - the prime time of social software empowering groups - the Swedish Scout Council accidently dropped the small group (patrol) as fundamental element of the scout method on one of the first pages of the semester program they give away for free. As an illustration on a later page indicates in the same program, that was just a typo (a scary one though).
Reading the program I'm still worried that the patrol nowdays is just a bunch of people at the same place.
Sometimes I think we in scouting have an illusion of some individuality of the youth today, and so the idéa that the small group (the patrol) is a core thing in scouting seems to be forgotten or replaced by other things.
I think that individuality is more about the freedom of expression and the freedom to choose the group to get involved in. The small group in which we develop as persons cannot have become oldfashioned in scouting or elsewhere because if groups were history, social software wouldn't work. But social software is never so BIG as today. Linked In, Tagged, MySpace, Facebook, Bilddagboken, Playahead, Kuro5hin, and all millions of forums etc.
That's way the patrol and the personal expression will be in focus in my scout group this autumn.