Group Dynamics

Every crew undergoes a transformation during their trek as they move through the four stages of group dynamics: forming, storming, norming, and performing. Some crews move through these stages quicker than others: just because a crew is at a certain stage does not mean the crew cannot revert back to a previous stage. The key to anything relating to group dynamics is communication. Doing thorns and roses every night before bed is a great way to hear everyone out and discover crew issues to address before they blow up out of control.

  • Forming – The first stage, recognizable by excitement yet hidden fears of crew members not knowing what comes next. Crew members will be getting to know one another and people will be hesitant to come out of their shell. The members within a crew should ask their colleagues basic “get to know you” questions in order to find similarities and common ground.
  • Storming – The second stage, usually when people begin to come out of their shell and do not sugar coat any communication as they did in the forming stage. Different personalities begin to clash and conflict usually arises. For some crews this stage takes about a half hour to get through, for others it can take days. The best way to learn from this stage and move on to the norming stage is through good and honest communication. The basic “get to know you” questions from the forming stage can be vital to the transformation in this storming stage because the crew can find similarities amongst themselves and can build off of that rather than be torn apart by their differences.
  • Norming – Once the crew gets all the kinks out of the system, they move on to the norming stage and begin to set the groundwork for the rest of the trek. Personal goals that may have been chosen earlier in the trek need to be revisited now that everyone has a clearer picture of what their trek is like. Once everyone’s personal goals are set, the crew needs to determine crew goals that meet the expectations of every crew member and how they will work towards them. It is best to come to a consensus when determining crew goals since people generally support ideas they helped create.
  • Performing – When all the crew members are comfortable around each other and know their specific role within the crew. Everyone knows the crew goals and how to achieve them. Trust is exhibited throughout the crew and efficiency is at its peak. Constant communication and a servant leadership demeanor are demonstrated by all members within the crew.


About Philmont Scout Ranch

Philmont Scout Ranch, the Boy Scouts of America's premier High Adventure™ base, challenges Scouts and Venturers with more than 214 square miles of rugged northern New Mexico wilderness. Backpacking treks, horseback cavalcades, and training and service programs offer young people many ways to experience this legendary country.