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Troop Training- ILST

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  • #16
    Qwazse and Eagledad, thank you for your long, well thought out replies. You are both correct, I don't really have specific measurable goals here. Till I can come up with that, I can't tailor the program to fit the needs of my troop, nor foster the beginnings of the patrol method.


    • #17
      Well can you come and run it at my troop ? "Captain Benjamin L. Willard: I don't see any method at all, sir."


      • #18
        What you're trying to do is the right thing. A lot of the training assumes you already have a boy led/patrol method troop. But it's a lot harder to transform a troop. A couple of years ago the light bulb went off with me and it's been a very slow trial and error approach for me. It would be really nice if national put together info on how to do this. Some lessons I've learned:

        Get the best scouts as patrol leaders. Too often it's, nah, I don't
        want to do it, it's your turn. We have a nomination process, like OA, to even be eligible to be PL. Also, one ASPL is more than enough. More than that is just dead weight.

        Mutual respect between adults and scouts is paramount. I fight for my PLs. Trust goes two ways and without it, nothing else will work. Respect their opinion and ask for it often.

        Make a very clear distinction between what the scouts are responsible for and what the adults are responsible for. The simpler that list the better. If there's confusion then the boys will always back off and give the adults the leadership. You set the boundaries. Within those boundaries, stay out. Do you really need to decide when the boys wake up? Or do you just need to let them know when flags is, and that they will be there?

        Older scouts need purpose. It's more than just having fun. Older boys that don't have something important to do, and not just made up responsibility, will fade away. At the same time, older scouts do need some time to hang with each other. It's like ice cream, too much is bad, too little is harsh, but there is a sweet spot.

        Spend time having fun with your scouts so when you have to tell them something they don't want to hear they'll still listen. If all you do is bring them bad news they will tune you out.

        There are different leadership styles and every boy is different. There are different ways to create enthusiasm and it's up to the boy leader to figure it out.

        Most boys know the right thing to do. Whether they do it is another thing. So your job is to get them to decide what it is they should do, and then hold them to it.

        Boys are incredible at forgetting anything. Text messages and email are lost in the ether. The message needs to be repeated constantly. A change of anything seems to take at least 6 months.

        Boys can also create fun out of most anything, so give them time for it to develop.

        As other's have mentioned, leadership is about teamwork and caring about the team. Caring about others is the central point of the scout oath. Repeat this before you ask them to solve a people problem. Teamwork is about giving everyone a job that's important. Yep, the main job for the new scout may be nothing more than carrying the patrol flag but if it makes him part of the team then it's good, and it's one less thing for the PL to do (except he will have to remind him for awhile).

        It's hard to lead a dysfunctional team. Give the leader scouts that will listen. Or at least make sure it's not that every kid in the patrol can't focus on even eating without wondering off in the weeds (been there).

        Come up with some way to measure, even if it's qualitatively, how well things are going. I came up with a leadership rubric just to explain what I was looking for and I graded the troop for all sorts of categories. It works very well to explain what boy led means.

        300' is a good idea, even if it's only 100.

        The program is important. I'm on a challenge kick. Skills that can be improved on, new ideas. Every campout shouldn't be seal training but there is a tendency to get into ruts. Most scouts don't understand the creative process so you might have to help them generate ideas they can pick from. Heck, the scouts are better than the adults in my troop when it comes to good ideas.

        Since you're not the SM, maybe you could volunteer to work with one patrol as a patrol mentor. I guess my point is that the training material you mention will not make a leader. Going out and leading will make a leader. Yes, there are some good tidbits in the training but that's all they are, tidbits. Another thing is that words don't soak in to boys. A classroom where you pontificate and play games that simulate real scenarios will not help a boy become a leader. You can't tell him to be enthusiastic. Show him. Give him a problem to solve. Show him the skills. Make him go do it. Ask him how it went. Repeat.

        Ask for help from someone you respect. Have fun. Expect things to go wrong. It's a slow process. Ignore those that complain and are unwilling to help. Find adults you can work with and share your ideas. This is hard doing it alone. Good luck. Let us know what works.


        • #19
          I now see the conflict of the top-down SPL approach and the bottom up PL approach. We now have a weak SPL but have been working hard on the PL training and on the whole they are fine in spite of the weak Troop organizing. A few patrols have actually done a few patrol activities (parties, get togethers) and it is amazing what happens. The younger guys think the older guys are so cool to hang with them for a couple hours, etc. I hope to see more of this as so many of our boys go to different schools and activities they may not know each other outside of scouts. One Patrol did an old school paper and dice Dungeons and Dragons session. Not everybody dug it but it was nice they were sharing interests.

          I agree let the Patrols physically separate and give them Patrol based challenges.

          It is interesting to see how differently the patrols operate and how each has an ongoing culture. Both of my sons are Patrol Leaders right now and so I get to see some inner workings, etc. Both very different but each kinda works.


          • #20
            The trick is the fine balance between boy-led and patrol-method. With a strong SM/SPL combo, the troop method may in fact function and function fairly well in a small troop as "boy-led", i.e. the boys doing what the adults tell them to do. However, "leadership" development is limited to the controlling management skills to the top people, i.e. SM and to a certain extent delegated tasks to the SPL. This will not work well with the patrol-method. In the patrol-method, there is less top-down control and it is passed off to the individual PL's to work with their patrols. No one is "in charge" of the whole shebang. The SM needs to delegate control, not just tasks to the PL's. At that point, if the SM "lets go" of the reins and turns to supporting the PL's, then the patrol-method has a chance.

            As an ASM, no matter how much I tried to implement the patrol-method even within the confines of one honor patrol, the SM would not relent and 2-3 years of effort were without results.

            My Silver Beaver, District Commissioner, ASM had her eyes opened last night at the scout meeting. Last week, I was working with the boys (all Webelos cross-overs) trying to set up some activities, organize advancement routine, etc. The ASM and another parent came over and sat in on the meeting with the boys. Trying to help, they offered up a lot of good suggestions. However, the boys shut down. I told the PL last night I was going to take the adults over to another table and he would have to run the show by himself.

            The adults were just to observe what they experienced the week before with what was happening last night.

            Well, the boys worked on knots, planned an outing, and finalized a couple of requirements.

            My adults are now firmly convinced that no adult need be at the patrol table unless invited. It does work, even with Webelos cross-over scouts. Adults do not need to control anything.



            • #21
              Our Scouts like JLT type courses because they are a little different than the normal monthly camp outs. We keep them fun and pass along only the information they need to improve their skills. That's why we went away from duplicating a normal type camp out atmosphere. We aren't trying to teach the scout skills or camping skills they should already know, we are showing different styles of leadership or program management skills that will make their efforts easier. So we make the courses fun and special. Even at the council level we called the course a conference and treated the scouts as professionals coming to a conference to learn new skills. The scouts were totally responsible for their life outside of the conference, and really that was where the real lessons were learned. LOL

              Our PLC does 30 minute PLC meeting before each troop meeting every week instead one long monthly meeting on a weekend. We usually bring pizza so they don't have to worry about dinner. But even on camp outs I brought treats like cokes and candy, nuts, for the PLC meetings. They work hard, so my way of showing them respect is treating them special. But they do work hard, so they earn it.

              I think it's important to get your first Troop JLT (ISLT) out of the way so you can learn what works and what doesn't to improve the next one. Work to hand over the total training to the older scouts. Guide the SPL and older scouts to evaluate where the youth leadership are lacking and build your course around improving those skills. After a while, the older scouts get pretty good at it and like it.

              But remember, even at the Council level, leadership development courses only polish rough edges, they don't change the direction of the program. You need adults to change for that to happen.



              • #22
                Originally posted by Eagledad View Post
                I have designed several of these courses including a boy run version of the JLTC course before NYLT was introduced. First of all I am excited you are attempting this because you are stepping out of the box to improve your program. That is what you have to do to improve a program.
                Care to share them?


                • #23
                  My out-going SPL attended the National Leadership Seminar and had to create three action items--similar to Wood Badge ticket items. Since he will be turning 18 soon, he wanted to make sure the troop had a new crop of trained leaders. So he asked if I had any suggestions. The ILST syllabus is pre-made and ready to be implemented. I was impressed with the way he just ran with it and presented the material.

                  However, there are a lot of leadership theory buzzwords and acronyms that we see in WB and NYLT. My Scouts who have been to NYLT, in fact, laugh about how they got lost in the alphabet soup. I think taking the 1929 Patrol Leader's Handbook and the 1940s edition of the Handbook for Scoutmasters--both written by Hillcourt--should serve as points of departure. That's the way I'd go if I were making my own course.

                  I do like reading the ideas presented in Working the Patrol Method, by Four Eagle Scouts. I like to quote the passage in that book where they stress the importance of telling "the Why". Leaders often are ignored if they just give orders; but those who explain why they need something done are more likely to be followed, especially if they pitch in and help.


                  • #24
                    Just an update. Trip was a success. Got great feedback from the Scouts. They liked the patrol camping (physical distance, planning their own activities.) it's a small sample size from the troop, but the success of the weekend will help convince the skeptical that the Patrol method will work in the Troop. My next step turns to educating other adult leaders about the method. The Scoutmaster seems receptive. Thanks for anybody that gave me advice on this subject.