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This is a representative form of government used by Girl Scouts. It consists of two parts – the patrol and the Court of Honor. The spirit, vitality and welfare of the troop is the main objective of the patrol system.


  • Patrols
  • The Patrol Leader
  • The Assistant Patrol Leader
  • Patrol Treasurer
  • Patrol Secretary
  • Transportation Manager
  • Commissary Manager
  • Equipment Manager
  • Health and Safety Manager
  • Court of Honor
  • Troop Secretary
  • Troop Treasurer
  • Installation of Patrol Leaders


    The troop is divided into small groups, usually consisting of six to eight girls. Each group is called a patrol. Patrols can have interesting names chosen by the girls. Some names are based on the girls’ interests, the part of the country where they live, etc. A patrol interested in nature lore might be called "Tree Tops". Patrols often invent an identifying emblem, which they use on a patrol flag and/or on their patrol equipment.

    The troop is richer because of the strength and ingenuity of its patrols, all working together on troop plans.


    Each patrol has a patrol leader, elected by the girls in her patrol, to serve for a time determined by the troop and the leaders. They vote for her, just as any responsible citizen votes for candidates for public office.

    Before voting, read over the duties of the patrol leader, then ask yourself, "Will she do a good job? Is she the kind of girl who is fair or will she be bossy? Will she speak for everyone in our patrol at the Court of Honor? Does she have ideas that are fun and exciting?

    These are important questions, for the patrol leader is in charge of seeing that things go well and smoothly. Here are some suggestions for the patrol leader’s duties.

    You may say to yourself, "What a lot for one girl to do!" Remember, though, that the patrol leader should have the cooperation of all the girls in her patrol. She can always call on the troop leader for advice, too, so she has help whenever she needs or wants it. Also, remember that a Cadette or Senior patrol leader may be ready to assume more responsibility than a patrol leader in a Junior troop.


    Another girl elected by the patrol members is the assistant patrol leader. She serves for the same time as the patrol leader and her job is to help the patrol leader in every way she can. The assistant patrol leader does these things and others that she may be asked to do:

    Every patrol needs a patrol leader and an assistant patrol leader, but a patrol that really gets things done sees that every member has a definite permanent job. This allows it to whirl into action, not confusion, to get the necessary things done quickly and save time for the real heart of a troop or patrol activity – to turn spur-of-the-moment ideas into fun-packed afternoons. Here is one plan for dividing the work of the patrol:

    PATROL TREASURER: The Patrol Treasurer or Finance Manager is in charge of patrol financial matters.

    PATROL SECRETARY: The Patrol Secretary or Recorder is in charge of patrol records.

    TRANSPORTATION MANAGER: The Transportation Manager is in charge of transportation for patrol events.

    COMMISSARY MANAGER: The Commissary Manager is in charge of patrol food.

    EQUIPMENT MANAGER: The Equipment Manager is in charge of patrol equipment.

    HEALTH AND SAFETY MANAGER: Make sure a first aid kit is available at all times.

    No matter which plan you use, yours, or the one suggested, make sure you can answer "Yes" to the following questions.

    1. Does each girl in the patrol have a specific job?
    2. Does she have a brief description of what she is to do?
    3. Will she really have an opportunity to do her hob because it is based on actual plans for the troop and the patrol?
    4. Are copies of each description with the name of the girl who has the hob kept in one place so everyone can see who is responsible for what/
    5. Is there a plan to evaluate the division after two or three months? Check to see if jobs need to be rearranged; if each girl has the job best suited to her talent; is it working for both the troop and patrol activities? Some troops elect new officers two or three times a year.


    Every patrol member has a voice in the COH through the patrol leader. The COY is the heart of the troop. The COH consists of all patrol leaders in the troop, the Troop Secretary, The Troop Treasurer, and the troop leader. Each patrol leader represents her patrol faithfully at the COH meetings. If she cannot be there, she makes sure her patrol is represented.

    These are some things the COH can do:

    The COH can meet before, after, or during any regular troop meeting. These short meetings, ten minutes to half an hour in length, are for quick reports of patrol reactions, reminders of responsibilities for next week, or adjustment of plans.

    At special meetings, usually every two or three months, the COH fills in the details of plans for the months ahead, and considers ideas and suggestions from patrols brought to the meetings by patrol leaders.

    The COH thinks over the various ideas. Are they good? Will they work? How can we make them work? This is the way ideas are turned into actions for the troop. Even the best ideas need planning and work to make them come true.

    The COH usually holds longer meetings at the beginning and end of the troop year. The first meeting is to get things started by deciding how many big events can be fitted into the year’s calendar. (The big events might include camping, trips, Court of Awards, council events, parties, service unit activities, community service projects, etc.) The last meeting is to evaluate how the troop has done.

    An open COH meeting may be held so that everyone will know how the system works. All troop members attend as "silent watchers."

    TROOP SECRETARY: She is the official correspondent and secretary of the entire troop. Here are some suggested duties for the Troop Secretary:

    TROOP TREASURER: The Troop Treasurer is also elected by the entire troop. She may have these duties:

    Lord Baden-Powell started the patrol system with the COH. Girl Scouts, Girl Guides, and Boy Scouts use it all over the world. A Girl Scout troop belongs to all its members. The troop decides what it will do, and every girl helps to carry out the troop’s decisions. Each girl must do her part to make the patrol system a success!


    Installation of Patrol Leaders

    Set Up:

    Horseshoe formation

    Leader announces purpose of ceremony


    "Please present all patrol leaders to be installed." (May be presented by former patrol leader.) (With patrol leader on her left, patrol member presents patrol leader, stepping back out of horseshoe, walks outside of horseshoe and stands at open end of horseshoe, introduces patrol leader and takes one step back.)

    When all are in place:


    "May I present       name       , the newly elected patrol leader of                            patrol." (steps back one step)


    "Are you ready to take the patrol leader's Oath?"

    Patrol Leaders:

    "We are."


    "Repeat after me: As a patrol leader I will try to lead the patrol to the best of my ability; to keep order in my group at all times; that in the Court of Honor, I will speak for my patrol and not just for myself; that I will do my best to live up to the trust of my patrol.


    "Members of patrols, repeat after me: As a member of Troop #     , I will do my best to be loyal and helpful to my patrol leader."

    As presenters pin on cords, leader says:

    "The cord of the patrol leader has two golden circles. The smaller circle represents the patrol you lead and serve. The larger circle in the cord is a symbol of the entire troop you serve in the Court of Honor."

    Leader gives Girl Scout Handshake to each patrol leader.

    Presenters and patrol leaders return to horseshoe - form a friendship circle and sing taps.