In the second edition of the Patrol League Gazette, we interviewed Lucas Kong, the 2021 Patrol Leader of Tiger. Tiger was recently crowned the Best Patrol of July. Lucas will be revealing his thoughts on his Patrol's journey thus far and his opinion on what makes up a good Patrol.
How did you lead your Patrol during online activities? Is there any difference compared to how you would lead them during offline activities?
"Due to the heightened covid-19 measures, my Patrol meetings and activities had to be carried out online. The Patrol used Discord to meet virtually.
As a Patrol Leader, I believe that success can only be achieved when everyone works together and put in their 100%. Hence, Patrol spirit was something I paid close attention to. Other than just focusing on skills training, I also put aside some time for the Patrol to bond together. I think their closer connection with one another was the main reason they were motivated to continue pushing themselves as they wanted the Patrol to achieve success and glory.
After many months of online training, I realised that other than the physical constraints, it was also much harder to maintain Patrol morale during online training compared to physical training.
During physical training, I was able to closely watch all of my Patrol members and point out their mistakes. When the Patrol was physically together they were more active and would more willingly interact with the Patrol. However, it was more difficult to get them to actively participate in online activities as they were not as enthusiastic. I believe the reason was that online activities were less hands-on than physical activities, therefore they felt less excited to participate.
To solve this issue, I incorporated more engaging activities during the online sessions such as fun games and quizzes. This helped them to be more engaged with the online training and gave them something to look forward to. Moreover, their enthusiasm would carry over to the more mundane but no less important skill training."
What do you think makes up a good Patrol?
"To me, a good Patrol is one where the Patrol members understand when it is appropriate to do certain things. This refers to knowing when to joke around and have fun, and when to take matters seriously. There is no issue with having fun, but when topics like safety or discipline are being brought up, they should be treated seriously.
I personally think that great skill sets are not the most important thing to possess in the beginning. Skill sets can be improved upon over time, but every Patrol member must have the right mindset and attitude to learn. Without having a good learning attitude, a person will never be able to improve.
Another quality of a good Patrol is being able to listen to one another. Every activity requires teamwork. Patrol members must be able to listen to the opinions of others, and not think that they are always the correct ones. If a Patrol member cannot do this, it could cause a rift to form in the Patrol. The Patrol would not be able to work together in unity due to underlying tensions. Furthermore, each member could cover the other's lacking knowledge. The ideas of each member could also be combined to come up with new and innovative ideas."
What do you think your Patrol needs to improve on to become your ideal Patrol?
"For my Patrol to become my ideal Patrol, I think that each Patrol member needs to find their own motivation. Throughout June and July, I was constantly pushing my Patrol and finding ways to encourage and motivate them. I had also set targets and goals for them to achieve.
At the end of the day, I can only do so much to motivate them. If all of them are able to find their own motivation, maybe wanting to win Best Patrol, or setting a goal for themselves, then they will be more committed to putting in the effort to succeed."
What are your short-term and long-term goals for your Patrol?
"My short-term goal for my Patrol is to win August Best Patrol. Although I do not know what challenges we will face in August, I want my Patrol to continue working hard and persevere. As long as they are determined to face whatever obstacles they encounter, I believe that they will be able to overcome any challenges. I hope that they will not get complacent just because we have won Best Patrol for a month. If we continue to work hard and learn new things, we will definitely be able to achieve this goal.
The long-term goal for my Patrol would be to strengthen our Patrol bond. Forging the bond between Patrol members takes time and effort. It takes time for Patrol members to get comfortable with one another. When I was a Secondary one Scout, it took me a few months before I was able to talk to my seniors without any fear or whatsoever. Some people are shyer and need more time, while others need less. When a Patrol is bonded, Patrol members are able to co-exist and work in unity, achieving better results as compared to doing things alone."
How do you plan to achieve your goals?
"I plan to achieve the short-term goal by helping my Patrol members find their own motivation. Although I think that there are other important things that my Patrol needs to focus on, such as their studies, I also want them to continue putting in the effort to stay at the top and maintain our position of Best Patrol. As long as they manage their time wisely, they should be able to do both. I think that motivation is key and without it, they might give up when the going gets too tough and put up a lacklustre performance.
I plan to achieve the long-term goal by leading my Patrol in a more relaxed and fun manner. This is so that they will be more comfortable and would not be afraid to ask any questions or voice out their opinions. I also plan to occasionally host online Patrol bonding sessions with them just before training begins. We would do things such as chatting about random topics like school or play some games. Not only does this foster Patrol bond, but we also get to know each other better through casual conversations. This then results in the Patrol members being more participative in training, leading to a stronger Patrol"