Announcement

Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.

Coming to terms with my son's troop choice

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Coming to terms with my son's troop choice

    My son is bridging to Boy Scouts in February. We visited several troops and they are all good choices for different reasons, but I was really hoping my son would choose a different troop. Our pack recently lost our Charter organization, so one of the local troops lobbied to have their Charter organization pick us up. The Charter troop was looking for a feeder pack to help with membership. As Committee Chair and Webelos den leader, I started working hard to develop a relationship with this troop. My work wasn't really successful because the troop didn't reciprocate in terms of reaching out to the boys in my den and building relationships with them. I tried to get the troop to offer an outdoor activity for my Webelos to attend. No luck. I tried to get them to give us a den chief. No luck. I knew my Webelos were leaning toward the other troop, and I tried to warn the Charter troop that we needed to work on getting their boys to connect with my boys, but still no luck. I saw a huge need and envisioned this great opportunity for myself as a scouter to improve this relationship between the pack and Charter troop once my son bridged over. I had grand plans to encourage the troop to offer joint outdoor activities with the pack, provide den chiefs, and even stop by and visit at the pack meetings since the pack and troop meet on the same night at the same location. However, now that my son (and his entire den) have decided to join a different troop, I think my scouter career is over. The troop my son is joining is not very welcoming to women in leadership roles or on outings. I can't see how I can implement my grand ideas of developing a better relationship between the pack and Charter troop when I am dealing with competing troops. Although my son will be happy in his new troop, it is my own disappointment over a failed opportunity for myself and the Charter troop that I am trying to deal with.

  • #2
    Welcome to BSA politics. In spite of all the hassles that go on between adults, the final decision is made by the individual scout. If he's happy with his decision, then everything else is moot. If he's not, then the choices need to be again evaluated and another choice is allowed. This way, the boys stay satisfied and really that's all that counts. As a parent, maybe the only thing you can do to make a difference is to support your son get the most out of scouting. If one has to step back from any leadership roles, so be it. If that means digging in and working on a role, so be it. There are a lot of adults out there that have forgotten why the BSA program exists. It's for the boys, everything else is not relevant.

    Stosh

    Comment


    • #3
      Sucks for you, but it's all about the boys. You can still be involved in the Pack and work on the Pack/Troop integration. If they don't want you because your son is a "traitor," so be it. I know our district is trying to recruit Cub Scouters to fill the District Committee when their boys bridge to troops.

      If you like BSA involvement and your son's troop isn't welcoming, I know volunteer Scouters are always needed. Your son's Troop time is limited at 7 years, there is plenty of Scouter activities for you for the next 7 years. Perhaps you can find a Venturing Crew that wants an active Scouter to help the program.

      Comment


      • moosetracker
        moosetracker commented
        Editing a comment
        All great comments Pack18Alex, except for her being the Pack/Troop coordinator.. Unless the migration of this womens whole den to a different troop, wakes them up.. They did not welcome her when she tried to take on this role, even though she was forewarning them of what would happen if they did not act.

        But, yes besides district, there is staying with the Pack, or finding a local Venturing Crew.. If the Crew is Co-ed.. Then they NEED femaie advisors.. Either of these would be a position totally seprate from your sons scouting career, but they may be fun and rewarding for you personally.. And who knows, with Venturing you son may choose to join the Crew when he is of an age where he could.

        But, the district level will still give you a way to help your son enjoy his scouting career.. Just do not take the first thing the district throws your way.. They try to get people to take the ick jobs no one wants.. If you go, visit the district committee a few times without committing to anything.. Meet the people. If they are all sticks in the mud.. Then this may not be the place for you.. But, otherwise, see what position interests you, and who heads it, and if you like them and can work with them.. You might even like the positions I think are not interesting.. If you are an accountant you might like finances.. Since you wanted to organize your troop & pack, you might like membership..

    • #4
      If you don't want your Scouting career to end, it need not.. It depends on how good your District level volunteer group is.. Some people do not like the group, and they too can be a "Good ol' boy group" and unwelcoming.. But many, many are very welcoming and would love new blood.. You could work with District Training, and train Adult leaders for their positions (Including the Adult leaders in you sons new troop who feel you "unworthy" due to your sex.. Or work on the advancement committee and be part of approving the scouts to Eagle (including the scouts in your sons troop).. Or work on the activity committee which is camporees and hike-a-thons your sons troop will be attending.. There are others, but these ones dealing with program I personally find the most fun to work in, and you will feel you still are having some input into your sons scouting career as well as dozens of others... If you attend District meetings, you will also learn more then even those going to roundtable.. And may end up the "person in the know" at your sons troop..

      Staying on this forum, will also help you stay as more knowledgable.. There are many times I brought up BSA policy changes that not only the troop members did not know, but sometimes the DE did not know.. All due to staying connected to this forum.

      Comment


      • #5
        boys first. i let my son pick the troop that he wanted to go to. only two of his webelos den mates came to this troop. i volunteer for the ASM and been very happy with everything. doesn't your son's troop allow you to volunteer?

        Comment


        • dedkad
          dedkad commented
          Editing a comment
          I've spoken with my son's future Scoutmaster on many occasions, and he's made it clear that his philosophy is that it's time for the boys to break away from mom. That's fine as long as his feelings don't impact the ability of the troop to provide a good program for the boys. There appears to be plenty of male ASM's with this troop to help provide a fairly active outdoor program for the boys. The Charter troop is smaller and is a high-adventure troop, so they were in need of any and all adults willing to help, so they were less choosy and were willing to accommodate anyone who wanted to help. My son's future troop has women on their Committees and in positions like Treasurer, so there's probably something I could do if it sparks my interest, but paperwork does not currently spark my interest.

        • qwazse
          qwazse commented
          Editing a comment
          One one level, I agree. If your son has no behavioral disorders, a little distance from mom is a very good thing.
          On another, we encourage moms to come camping with us, and we coach them on how to "give him his space." The few of them who do join us find it enjoyable. Sounds like we're kind of in the position the troop you favor is in.
          But, there is nothing besides your own time stopping you from registering with another troop or venturing crew. Take the outdoor skills courses. Volunteer in a way that will make you a happy servant.

      • #6
        Bravo for letting your son choose.
        Sometimes silence is due to incompetence / overly busy / bit off more than they can chew adults - not necessarily hostility.
        Offer to volunteer at your son's Troop once you get a feel for it. Different Troops have different needs.

        Comment


        • #7
          dedkad - Yeah, if the scouts are told they have a choice, then you need to honor the choice.

          BUT BUT BUT ... You experienced the one reason that I so so detest the current BSA cross over concept and the troop shopping concept. There is no shopping to choose the Pack to join when transitioning from Tiger to Wolf. Heck, Tiger is sort of a pre-"Cub Scout" rank. Similar, there is no shopping when going from Bear to Webelos even though "Webelos" is more like Boy Scouts if done right. So why emphasize the cross over at Boy Scout years.

          Scouts can change units at any time. That's great if you are in a bad unit.

          The trouble is is the current troop shopping concept damages relationships and efforts such as you describe in your original article. Our troop had good relationship with two packs for years. We decided to help two difficult scouts. Now, those scouts caused bad experiences and long established relationships have changed. All because we decided to work with some scouts.

          Our experience now is that we need to not take that approach. Our troop has to "ALWAYS BE MARKETING" to compete with all the other troops in our area. So, to be honest, we've suggested a few potential scouts that look challenging check out those other troops. And, we will quickly cut ties with scouts with anti-social behavior. Because the currently designed program requires us to focus more on marketing our troop and avoid damaging our troops reputation by working with kids that really need scouts.

          I'm one of the few, but IMHO and in my experience, the troop shopping concept is bad. Period.
          Last edited by fred johnson; 01-06-2014, 05:17 PM.

          Comment


          • #8
            Dedkad,

            I can sympathize to a degree with you. My oldest decided to join another CO's troop. So oldest is meeting at one church, while middle son, and in 5 months 24 days youngest as well, meet at another. Going to get real interesting when we do Scouting for Food and Memorial Day Service Projects on the district level. But I let him choose, and he had a better fit with this troop than the CO's troop or the 3rd troop he visited.

            And I really sympathize with trying to get the troop to be involved with the pack to aid in moving the boys to that pack. I tried and tried and tried to get the troop to provide den chiefs, invite the scouts to their meetings, do a camp out, etc. Only got den chiefs when the CM announced that we would be getting them from another troop. Only when some committee members and troop parents started complaining about the other troop "poaching" their scouts did we get Den Chiefs. Only invited Webelos to a campout at the last minute when most folks had other plans or couldn't go to their camp out ( it was a family camp out at an amusement park $50/ person admission PLUS $10 or $15 / person to camp plus you own meals.), and only invited Webelos to attend the meeting about 4 weeks prior to Crossover in order "pressure" them into joining the troop ( I quote oneof my former Cubs."

            While Fred's idea is how it is suppose to be, but it must be a two way street. If a troop does not want to have a relationship, there are problems.

            Comment


            • #9
              My son picked his troop and it was different for the one associated with his Pack. That was tough for me because I was a den leader for 4 years and developed friendship with many of the Pack leaders/parents. At the end of the day I think he made the right choice for him.....I am proud of him. Best of luck to you and your son......and your Scouting career does not need to end now.

              Comment


              • #10
                Dedkad, maybe paperwork doesn't thrill you at the moment, but that might be what it takes to "pay your dues". I would take a committee position, and as a registered leader you can take YPT, MBC, and all the training you want including WB. Once trained, and as a registered leader, it opens the possibility of breaking some ice. As MBC, you will have an opportunity to work with the boys and if good reports filter back to the SM, there might be some "rethinking" of the current policy. You may even trailblaze an opportunity for other moms getting involved down the road.

                Stosh

                Comment


                • dedkad
                  dedkad commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I forgot about MBC! That is a good suggestion. I've been through the list, and there's probably a couple that I could teach if I brush up on my subjects.

              • #11
                I think that the current Pack/Troop model is fundamentally broken. The administrative separation causes a problem where the parents have to choose which one to support, and if they have two sons, it's always the troop since "he'll be in the troop soon."

                But, the Troops never feel the need to help the Pack, and all BSA recruiting is falling on the shoulders of Cub Parents, and that's pretty lame.

                GSUSA mostly does single-level troops, but you can do a multi-level troop, which lets you run from age 5-12 under one number. You can operate age based patrols under one banner, and mix the levels up as appropriate. Now, they have a "girls choose" model that is different than "girl led," the GSUSA adults are always completely in charge in a was BSA Troop adults are not.

                But administratively, you can break up your groups as makes sense for programming, while administering them together, providing multi-level leadership, etc.

                In years past, our Pack/Troop met same time, different places, and no cross-overs for a few years. The Webelos dropped out as they were outgrowing Cub Scouts. This year, same place, different times (with some overlap). I've "borrowed" a Boy Scout for 10-15 minutes to teach Fire Safety, etc., to the Cubs... when that happens, the boys are SO focused and intent.

                I'm hoping with the 2015 changes, we'll retire the dated Jungle Book Mythology, and focus Cub Scouts more on going back to being Junior Boy Scouts.

                If everyone at a CO was in a single Unit, you could float your Webelos Den as a better transitionary program. They should do Webelos "getting ready" activities in Den Meetings, participate in Boy Scout Outings with a Webelos Patrol (with Den Leaders actively involved), and Pack meetings as leadership. They need guidance.

                Comment


                • dedkad
                  dedkad commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Part of the problem is that the CO troop is a high adventure troop, so most of their outings involve lots of driving, hiking, and rugged conditions, which isn't always age/skill appropriate for Webelos. However, if they are serious about wanting to recruit into their troop from our pack, it seems to me that they should be making an effort to provide at least a few activities that the Webelos could attend to get them to know the troop. If it was encouraged at the troop level, they could easily lend us a Boy Scout now and then, which would be helpful to the pack but may only be marginal for troop recruiting unless the boy makes an effort to get to know the Cub Scouts instead of just being a talking head in a uniform. I saw so much room for improvement that would help both the troop and the pack, and was really gung-ho about trying to resolve that. That's why I was kind of bummed that my son wants to join a different troop.

                • moosetracker
                  moosetracker commented
                  Editing a comment
                  If they do climbing, maybe to an indoor climbing wall, the older boys can get in some skill training and the Webs could have fun with it.. Or just invite them to some troop meetings where they will go over some of their skill training that is easy enough to do some entry level training with.. Sort of a "We are getting ready for trip ABC" this is some of our training to prepare. So the Webs are too young to go on the trip, but you get their mouth watering thinking about doing it once they are in boys scouts.

              • #12
                Just so Cub leaders understand, "Den Chief" is not a SM assigned youth job, it is a youth position for a Boy Scout he needs to want to do, with SM support. It's considered a Position of Responsibility within the Troop, like Patrol Leader or Librarian. The Scout will get term credit for the job in the Troop. It may or may not get filled. Even if it's filled, the Boy Scout does not have to serve the entire Cub Calender year, "(it's encouraged if they want to earn the Den Chief Award)". The Troop does not just "make a Boy Scout" be the "Den Chief" for a Pack. If a CM/WDL/DL is lucky enough to get a Den chief, they need to understand how to work with the Scout to make his participation worth-wile. They are more than "just gofers". If you review the Den Chief Award sheet, you can see how if they knock those items out that can really enrich your den meetings and help him start on the path to becoming a leader. The CM/WDL/DL needs to come to the Troop meetings to recruit. http://www.boyscouttrail.com/content...ervice-645.asp

                Comment


                • dedkad
                  dedkad commented
                  Editing a comment
                  The SM may not assign a den chief, but his attitude toward the position can go a long way toward creating a culture in the troop where boys are wanting to be den chiefs.

              • #13
                DG,

                Agree that the Boy Scout needs to want to be a DC. DCs forced into the position, like 2 of the 3 DCs we got will not work out well.

                BUT, an SM needs to constantly remind the youth that the DC POR is available and is a great resource for the troop in getting new scouts.

                Comment


                • #14
                  On the flip side, a good DC is worth their weight in platinum, both for the troop and the pack.

                  Comment


                  • jblake47
                    jblake47 commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Any Webelos II DC that transitions with his boy into NSP PL is priceless!

                    Stosh

                • #15
                  Ya know these discussions bring up a key part that really frustrates me.

                  Stop asking what Troops can do for your pack. Boy Scouts do not exist to serve packs. Boy Scouts want to camp, hike, canoe, throw a football around and socialize with their friends. Asking them to go out of their way to help packs do things is very noble, but it's also fighting an upward battle.

                  Run some events for the packs? I run away from troops that do too many pack / troop events. Those troops usually have adults assigned to market the troops to the packs and have a heavy adult overhead on the scouts. IMHO, I do not think it is an indicator of a good troop at all. If anything, it concerns me about how much the adults are running things.

                  Den chiefs? Many scouts want to be den chiefs but it rarely works because of #1 scheduling conflicts (need to virtually double your scouting time because of separate meetings, separate place, separate days, etc) and #2 how to get there, coordinate and plan (non-leader parents don't want more driving / tracking especially for something that doesn't advance their son). In my experience, den chiefs only work when there is a yonger brother involved in the den ... AND the parent strongly encourages it.

                  If your cubs want to choose a good troop, stop looking asking what troops can do for your Webelos. Ask more about what have they done this last year and what are they doing the next year. Watch a troop meeting from the back of the room.

                  And ya know, if you are in a good pack with strong relationships with other adults that are in the associated troop, don't discount that. Your happiness with the adults leading the troop will greatly influence the success of your scout. IMHO and avoiding extremes, I think it is far more important than choosing the right troop.


                  Comment


                  • dedkad
                    dedkad commented
                    Editing a comment
                    BD, a Scout is helpful.

                  • Basementdweller
                    Basementdweller commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I am being kind

                    A scout is also loyal.....so exactly how is troop shopping loyal....

                    You are forgetting this is not your scout experience, but your sons.

                    So unless you see an imminent danger issue or something that makes your sixth sense go off you should not share your OPINIONS with your scout or the other parents.

                    Did it ever occur to you that the Troop leadership is giving you the year or so to cool your heals and get de programed from the cub program???????

                  • dedkad
                    dedkad commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I kept all of my opinions to myself, which is why I posted here so I could vent a little. I did not put any pressure on my son one way or the other. I didn't want him to doubt his choice and end up being not fully committed to the troop that he did end up choosing, whichever that would be.

                    As to your other comment about loyalty. When a troop does not provide a Webelos outdoor activity for your boys to earn their AOL, you have no choice but to reach out to a troop that does. You may call that troop shopping, but I call it doing what is best and necessary for the boys to finish and enjoy their Cub Scouting experience. If it had been my choice, I would have chosen the CO troop out of loyalty because the leaders did a good job of building a relationship with me. However, the CO troop leaders and their Scouts did not develop a relationship with my boys, so there was no loyalty there.
                Working...
                X