The patrol is the most basic organizational unit in Scouting and Paoli 1 is broken up into six patrols. A patrol leader leads each patrol and is aided by his assistant patrol leader and any other specialized roles within the patrol (such as a patrol Quartermaster, Scribe, or "Third Man"). Patrols range in size from six to twelve members with about eight being the ideal number. Many trips and camp-outs require the patrols to operate independent of each other. During other events, such as the Birthday and First Aid Meet, the patrols compete against each other. At other times, all patrols cooperate and work together as a troop.
Paoli 1 differs from the norm when it comes to patrols. The most glaring difference is that Paoli 1 has a Staff Patrol. Staff is comprised of former patrol leaders from the other patrols who 'graduate' into staff after their command tour. Staff does not compete but oversees and advises the other patrols. Scouts remain in the staff patrol until they become troop alumni or a part of the still involved Man Scouts.
The way the Staff Patrol operates brings the other difference to mind. Many troops organize their patrols in one of two ways. The first method involves patrols with boys of all the same sage. As a new group of scouts joins the troop they will be turned into a new patrol and will stay with each other throughout their scouting career. (For instance there will be one patrol made up of all eighth graders.) This creates a system where new patrols are large and the older patrols tend to be smaller due to boys losing interest in the program. It also makes it so the most senior patrol is incredibly more skilled and advanced than the youngest patrol. They can not compete together nor can the older scouts effectively integrate and teach the younger boys. The other method is the same in that all new scouts are lumped into one patrol that fast tracks them through the beginning ranks and skills and then after a year or so they are integrated into multi-age patrols.
In Paoli 1, the patrols (excluding staff) are all multi-age patrols and there is no training patrol. Recruits are immediately mixed with the rest of the boys to fully integrate, learn from the boys leading them (and provide a teaching experience for the older boys), and gain the full scouting experience at once. Patrols are evenly balanced by the Scoutmaster at the end of each year so they remain competitive and so all boys can have an equal opportunity to learn and to lead.
See also patrol order.