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  • Train Wreck!

    As an update to the visit by the Webelos II to our newly forming troop, it is appropriate to give everyone an update on how it went.

    I got there plenty early, my Scout was a bit late. No problem, I introduced myself as the Webs started showing up and we sat around an 8' table. Eventually everyone was there and we were ready to go. 9 Webs and six adults showed up.

    I stood and gave Cub sign's up and they quieted down. They got a brief comment from me that I don't use sign's up, but when anyone stands to address the group, it is the same as sign's up. They caught on quickly. Then I said we were a boy-led program and so I would be turning over the evening's activity to Mr. ______ our current lone scout. and sat down. The Scout stood up, introduced himself and said this evening they would be learning how to make rope. Immediately one of the Web "leaders" stood up, interrupted him and said there wasn't enough room at the table and had two other adults grab a table, make half the scouts move and put the table next to the other one and helped the boys get a seat at the table. The Scout continued by having everyone pair up and we got up (after sitting maybe 2 minutes) from the table and moved away to an open part of the room where he handed out sticks to the boys and began pulling twine from the roll showing the boys how to get ready. Any adult that came over to "help out" I cheerfully invited them back to their chairs. However, that didn't keep them from telling the boys what to do from afar. No soccer mom had anything on these guys!

    I assisted the Scout with helping everyone tie a double half-hitch on their stick and make a piece of rope and finally whipping the ends. By the time we were done, the scowls on the adult faces were obvious to all.

    When the boys once again gathered at the tables, I suggested to my Scout to take his guests to the back of the room for refreshments. He escorted them back, but before he could begin pouring drinks for the boys, 2 adults had hijacked the process even before the boys got to the back of the room.

    I would have loved to have had the time to address the adults, but I was too busy assisting my Scout with his activity.

    Take away? I would love to have the boys, but the adults wore out their welcome right from the beginning.

    For those who say changing from adult-led to boy-led is difficult, I can assure you, starting out boy-led with no previous troop traditions is still a difficult process.

    By the way, the boys were totally into boy-led. However, once they get back to the den meeting, I'm sure their choices of troops to consider will be one less than before.

    I do know that I got at least one boy from the pack. His dad is the UC for the pack and is 100% boy-led for his son. His comments afterwards put him to the top of my list for new ASM for the troop as well.

    Like I said, if it wasn't for the adults/parents, Boy Scouts would be a lot of fun, especially for the boys.

    Oh, by the way, the boys were explicitly told to say thank you to me for the activity, to which I countered that the thanks goes to their Instructor, Mr. __________ who planned out everything for the evening. Only one boy thanked him, they all dutifully thanked me instead.

    Stosh
    Last edited by jblake47; 11-12-2013, 09:45 AM.

  • #2

    Hmmm.. interesting.. Especially the thank-you business.. I know the youth in our pack are thrilled when an older youth is leading, and give their thanks (maybe not always the official manners way, more like the up front.. OH boy, your in charge? That's great" type of comments. Boys normally don't need to be told by the adults to be excited about boy led..

    Question.. You stated your Instructor was a lone scout. Was that just because he was the only one asked to be part of the evening activity, or are you currently a lone scout program hoping for some crossovers so you can become a troop again?.

    Comment


    • jblake47
      jblake47 commented
      Editing a comment
      I am resurrecting an old troop and had one boy from a pack last spring come on board. He has a buddy that will be joining him in the next few weeks who wanted to finish out his AOL before crossing into Boy Scouts.

      That makes 2 boys and I need 5. We're a work in progress.

      There are two other packs that may come to visit that are nearby.

      As far as the boys were concerned they were ecstatic when they heard boy-led, but I think it went over the adults' heads without any consideration. They are kinda set on taking their boys out of the area to an established troop. With that adult attitude, I don't think the boys are going to get a chance to decide on their own.

      I had a great time with the boys. One or two were a bit squirrely, but nothing out of the ordinary. About half of them would do really well in a boy-led program, the rest would take some time, but not a major obstacle by any stretch of the imagination. The one boy that will be coming into the troop is very mature for his age as is my lone scout. I'm going to have an excellent base from which to work once we get our 5 boys.

      Stosh

  • #3
    When I took my Webs to a Boy Scout event, I was immediately told by the SM that the parents were welcome to stay as long as they kept their hands in their pockets. We were clearly informed that it was a boy-led program, what exactly that meant, and what the pros and cons are, such as some things just take longer to do when it's boy-led, and there will be some chaos, but it's all for the common good. It was really hard for the other parents and me to do, but since the "hands in the pockets" requirement was clearly noted at the beginning of the meeting, we understood and were able to act, or rather not act, accordingly.

    In your case, however, what you told the visiting folks about the program being boy-led wasn't followed through with your own actions because you said "I would have loved to have had the time to address the adults, but I was too busy assisting my Scout with his activity." I would recommend that for your next Webs visit, you choose an activity that your scout can run completely by himself and take the parents outside to talk about what your troop has to offer. I've taken my boys to several troop meetings, and all the SM's love to brag about how their program is boy-led, but I observe exactly what happened at your meeting with the adult leaders stepping in when they really shouldn't be. You need to walk the walk and not just talk the talk in order to set the example for the parents. With just one, soon to be two, scouts in your troop, and both being very young, your expectations of boy-led may be a little premature. Since they don't have an older scout to teach them the ropes, they will depend on you for many things. Does that make the troop adult-led? Kind of. Can you still implement some boy-led philosophies into the program? Most definitely. Keep the boy-led thing as your goal, but be realistic and honest with your expectations at this phase of your program.

    Comment


    • jblake47
      jblake47 commented
      Editing a comment
      Of the six adults present were 2 parents. They weren't the problem. It was the den leadership that got in the way.

      The lone Scout has been in Boy Scouts for less than 6 months. As his #1 support person, I couldn't abandon him. My #1 priority is to support my boys and he needed help just with the fact that 9 boys showed up. I was really surprised by the almost bully tactic of the Web DL. He had no respect for the boy and basically walked all over is presentation with the table issue. The other leaders basically followed his lead, but not the parents, they were respectful and quiet. I had the Scouts parents there as they always are so I have two-deep, but I couldn't fathom the thought of having them escort the DL's out of the room and having to deal with that. That wasn't their job.

      In reality there is a lot of adult involvement on my part, but it is focused on protecting the boy on his first outing at teaching. Had 2 - 3 boys showed up, he would have fared better, but 9 was overwhelming, but he hung in there like a trooper and did a rather good job at it.

      Next Monday night will be time for an ARR on the evening and what is necessary in the event that another pack comes for a visit.

      Stosh

  • #4

    Somewhat agree dedkad.. I noted that too, but decided to zero in on the lone scout comment.. The tricky point here is the sound that this lone scout is also a fairly new Boy Scout himself, if his friend is a Web just about to cross over.. So if given 6 or more Webs, he just may not yet have the skills to keep all of them in line.. Don't know about leaving him alone with 6 or more scouts while all adults go outside, even with adults it's nice to have at least one other adult helping you to herd cats.. I don't know what to suggest though to bridge the gap of showing boy lead (all adults back off) yet protecting your very young scout from being eaten alive by piranhas. Which may not win the parents over if they observe the boy who is leading totally chewed to bits.

    Comment


    • #5
      I gathered from his post that Stosh was following the lead of the Boy Scout and therefore, the event was boy-led. His deference to the scout may not have been clear to the Webelos leaders, but it's possible that they would not have noticed anyway.

      Comment


      • qwazse
        qwazse commented
        Editing a comment
        Oh, on a really good day, my money's on the DL's not noticing!

        Ideally, Stosh would have an CC or ASM herd the parents away for about a 30 minute Q&A starting with "So, what have your boys liked about scouting so fay?", describing Stosh's credentials and his vision for scouting, and ending with "Well, I guess we'd better go make sure the boys haven't tied our SM to a tree!"

        But, that only postpones the inevitable discovery of which adults want "a hand on the tiller." Sometimes it's good to know who these folks are sooner rather than later. I.e., watching your slow-motion train wreck beats seeing it in real time!

        Finally, Stosh, I think you should help your scout send a follow-up note to the Den(s) thanking them for their visit and hoping that whatever troop they choose, their scouting experience will be awesome (although he knows it will be more awesome with troop ___)!

    • #6
      Stosh,

      1) Yes deprogramming Cub Scout leaders is extremely difficult. the qualities that make them good DLs make them lousy Boy Scout leaders. As Yoda would say, "You must unlearn what you have learned." In fact I think think I will start a 12 step deprogramming program in 31 days when oldest becomes a Boy Scout. ( No, I'm not counting down )

      2) Sure you don't want to move to NC, I know a bunch a scouts AND parents who are looking for a troop like you envision.

      Comment


      • perdidochas
        perdidochas commented
        Editing a comment
        1) It is hard to deprogram Cub Scout Leaders. My recommendation (as a former DL who became an ASM) is to have the former DL become Committee members with a specific focus--I was asked to be the Advancement Chair. That gave me enough to do without giving me license to interfere. I did that for three years, and am now an ASM. It was a good way to refocus my energy. The first year, I caught myself almost going into WDL mode when the NSP (my former Webelos) were making I think the menu for their first campout. It worked for me.

      • Eagle92
        Eagle92 commented
        Editing a comment
        Peri,

        One reason why I want a troop committee member position instead of ASM or SM (don't ask). I know I need some deprogramming, and I know better. Plus I don't have the time commitment since I am still involved in Cubs.

        But yes, committee positions with a specific focus are a good way of redirecting them. Also having experienced leaders mentoring them also helps.

        BUT, IMHO, having a CC and SM who will run interference for the scouts, and get the interfering adults out of the way is a VITAL (emphasis) key. I've see one unit fallign apart becasue the CC and SM are not keeping the parents and committee from interfering.

      • jblake47
        jblake47 commented
        Editing a comment
        "BUT, IMHO, having a CC and SM who will run interference for the scouts, and get the interfering adults out of the way is a VITAL (emphasis) key. I've see one unit fallign apart becasue the CC and SM are not keeping the parents and committee from interfering."

        That is EXACTLY what happened with my last troop. My CC moved on and the new CC threw me under the bus when confronted by a couple of the parents. Without the backing of the committee, the SM will eventually get hung out to dry. The SM needs 100% of his energy directed towards the boys. Without a wing-man (CC), the SM will eventually burn out trying to do double duty with both parents and boys.

        Stosh

    • #7
      Stosh,

      It's the culture clash of cubs and scouts. Just remember that, just like the boys, the adults need instruction too, moreso than the boys. Better plan would have been to have a scout table and across the room, the adult table with you there explaining the whole boy led thing. It sounds like you need to get more out in front of the adults. I'm sure the scout's parents would have been more than happy to help him with his rope making.

      Comment


      • jblake47
        jblake47 commented
        Editing a comment
        You are correct. Ideally that would have been the better option.

        I didn't think that 9 boys would show up, I was expecting about half that because the Pack wasn't really considering coming to the troop anyway.

        Once I realized the situation, it was either help my Scout or deal with the adults. My Scouts always come first!

        Not all is lost, however, there's a great teaching opportunity next week on how to recognize adult intrusions from well-meaning getting in the way on the one hand, to flat out sabotage on the other. Next week's leadership lesson is: "With all due respect, Mr. _____, that's my job, if I need help, will you be available later on?"

        The first lesson I teach my adults is not: "Don't do anything a boy can do." Instead I use: "Everything you do takes away an opportunity for a boy to develop leadership."

        Stosh

      • duckfoot
        duckfoot commented
        Editing a comment
        For sure...it's easy to Monday morning quarterback these things. We've all been there on both sides....good luck on capturing some of those webelos...

      • jblake47
        jblake47 commented
        Editing a comment
        I guess I don't quite agree with "Monday morning quarterbacking", in as much as I would going back over the game film and see where one can make improvements based on what happened.

        I tend to run a lot of AAR's for the boy leadership in that such shared review can offer up a whole lot of different view as to what could be done to make sure next time runs smoother.

        Stosh

    • #8
      edit wrong thread

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