The patrol method gives Boy Scouts an experience in group living and participating citizenship. It places responsibility on young shoulders and teaches boys how to accept it. The patrol method allows Scouts to interact in small groups where they can easily relate to each other. These small groups determine troop activities through their elected representatives.
The Patrol is the basic unit of Scouting. It is a perfectly sized group of Scouts with a common purpose. When properly formed, the Patrol is more than a group; it's a team and each member has a job to do. In a Patrol, the Scout first begins learning about citizenship, making decisions, and doing things for himself. He counts on the other members of his Patrol to do their part, just as they count on him to do his.
Membership in a Patrol leads to opportunities for leadership, so this method is also important to other methods in this list. Everything in Scouting can and should be done using the Patrol method, and Patrols should be more than just a list of names. The group should be real, and it should have real things to do. Its leaders should be real leaders, with real authority.