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  • #16
    Stosh and Barry, I'm not sure I understand the differences between the two of you on this.

    Let's say a PL tells everyone at the PLC that he's going to take his patrol on a hike. But he gets lazy, blows it off, and at the last moment scraps the hike and plays video games instead. How would each of you handle this?

    If the PLC decides that the outdoors is just a bore and they'd rather take the troop to the mall to hang out and check out the girls, even though the 11 year olds aren't interested, how do you handle this?

    If a boy in a patrol is just not advancing, you talk to the PL, and he just doesn't care, what do you do?

    These are all examples of typical teenage stuff that just drives a lot of adults to step in and start ordering kids around. Is there a minimum standard to letting the boys decide? My view has always been there's a very clear, simple distinction between what the boys decide and what the adults decide. I'm not sure that's so easy to implement. I encourage my scouts to make changes, tell me what they'd like to change, or don't like, and they don't seem to want to change anything. So how do I know if they really like it the way it is or just don't think they can really make a change?

    Comment


    • #17
      Originally posted by MattR View Post
      Stosh and Barry, I'm not sure I understand the differences between the two of you on this.

      Let's say a PL tells everyone at the PLC that he's going to take his patrol on a hike. But he gets lazy, blows it off, and at the last moment scraps the hike and plays video games instead. How would each of you handle this?
      Now is the time for the SENIOR PL to step in and clarify to the lazy PL one's duty to their patrol members. If a PL is not taking care of his boys, then he needs to be replaced with someone who will. That's the basic assumption for true servant leadership. Here is a clear example of lost opportunity on the part of the PL to functionally lead his boys. If the PL is lazy and blows off an event, then the APL has an opportunity and obligation to step up to the plate and take a leadership role. If he does, one has a prime candidate for the lazy PL's replacement. If the APL is best bud's to the PL, then replace them both and get a boy in there that wants an opportunity to really lead. Opportunities for leadership appear all the time and what better recommendation for leadership consideration than the boy who has proven he can and will do what it takes to make it happen for this patrol? Don't even need a pre-vote speech for that one. Everyone knows and recognizes servant leadership and will naturally follow those who take care of them.

      Originally posted by MattR View Post
      If the PLC decides that the outdoors is just a bore and they'd rather take the troop to the mall to hang out and check out the girls, even though the 11 year olds aren't interested, how do you handle this?
      I don't, but my SPL's responsibility means he steps up and clarifies the purpose of scouting to the PLC. If the SPL needs some guidance on how that is to be addressed, a SMC can be held for this specific issue. Remember the PLC doesn't dictate to the PL's and so the 11 year-olds can do what they wish. If they want to camp and forego the mall, more power to them, they show more scout spirit than the older boys who are looking for an excuse to do something other than scouting. The older boys will need to reconsider their advancement on scout spirit if they basically don't have any.

      Originally posted by MattR View Post
      If a boy in a patrol is just not advancing, you talk to the PL, and he just doesn't care, what do you do?
      I wouldn't be talking to the PL in the first place, but my SPL would. If approached by my SPL on this issue, I would suggest he have a visit with the troop Instructor who can step in and assist any boy(s) who need advancement. The Instructor is there for just that purpose. That's why he wears the POR as Instructor. Again I would suggest to the SPL a visit with the PL on his attitude and scout spirit as he fails to take care of his boys.
      Originally posted by MattR View Post
      These are all examples of typical teenage stuff that just drives a lot of adults to step in and start ordering kids around. Is there a minimum standard to letting the boys decide? My view has always been there's a very clear, simple distinction between what the boys decide and what the adults decide. I'm not sure that's so easy to implement. I encourage my scouts to make changes, tell me what they'd like to change, or don't like, and they don't seem to want to change anything. So how do I know if they really like it the way it is or just don't think they can really make a change?
      None of these issues are new to me. I see them all the time especially with boys who HAVE to be in scouting because their parents push them. They can and do make changes.

      You hit the nail on the head with your last comment. "So how do you know if they really like it the way it is or just don't think they can really make a change?" Ask them! Most scouts want opportunities for growth and change. They are in the experimental stage of development and want to break out of the being a kid. Many of them don't think the adults will actually let them grow and develop, but if one makes it clear, this is the place to try and one has the authority to make it happen, great things can happen.

      I make it clear to all my new scouts that the day will come when they blurt out to someone in authority, "When are you going to start treating me like an adult?" The standard answer is, "When you start acting like one." BUT who teaches them how to act like one???? To me this is what scouting is all about. I teach them that the buddy system in Tenderfoot #9 has very little to do with hanging out in two's when one is in the woods and/or at the swimming hole. It's the dynamics of getting along with another person, i.e. marriage. I teach them that as time progresses and they become PL, it has very little to do with running the show, but has a lot to do with taking care of a small group of people and meeting their needs as they grow. This is what family is all about. The there's the troop as a whole and the lessons learned are not just for scouting, but show how they relate in their communities and on the job. I end the lesson by giving the example of: You're married and have a couple of kids. One day your little one comes to you and says, "Daddy, I want to go to Disney World." and the only thing you can say is: "Sorry, it's too expensive (A scout is thrifty), I don't know where Disney World is (map and compass), I don't know how to plan out meals along the way (T-FC), and I don't know where we would even stay if we went (camp if you have to, Disney World does have a campground!).

      Basically, the scouting program, at least to me, is giving these boys the opportunity to learn how to be adults rather than waiting until they are 18 and dumping them on society totally unprepared. I think Be Prepared is hidden somewhere in the Scouting program.

      I give my boys the opportunity to grow up, and by in large, they do to varying degrees. But remember, one has to let them grow up, too. That's why a lot of adults can't trust them to do on their own and have to be directed every step of the way. Sorry, I don't buy that and have seem some 13 and 14 year-olds with more maturity than some adults I have met.

      Stosh

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by jblake47 View Post
        Now is the time for the SENIOR PL to step in and clarify to the lazy PL one's duty to their patrol members. If a PL is not taking care of his boys, then he needs to be replaced with someone who will.
        Sounds good. So you're talking to the SPL and the SPL handles this as he sees fit. The assumption is that the SPL "gets it"

        Originally posted by jblake47 View Post
        I don't, but my SPL's responsibility means he steps up and clarifies the purpose of scouting to the PLC. If the SPL needs some guidance on how that is to be addressed, a SMC can be held for this specific issue.
        "If the SPL needs some guidance." What if he needs more than guidance? What if just flat out doesn't care? If he's the one that started the idea of going to the mall and is adamant about it. Maybe he just wants to push your buttons. Further, the rest of the troop goes along with it just to see what happens. Then will you replace the SPL? (and I assume this is after trying repeatedly to get him understand what's going on.) If you would, and the boy knows it, then in essence you could step in and tell him what to do.

        Originally posted by jblake47 View Post
        Remember the PLC doesn't dictate to the PL's and so the 11 year-olds can do what they wish. If they want to camp and forego the mall, more power to them, they show more scout spirit than the older boys who are looking for an excuse to do something other than scouting. The older boys will need to reconsider their advancement on scout spirit if they basically don't have any.
        ​If the 11 year olds can do what they wish then what happens when they don't want to wash dishes? There is a standard and it sounds like you would be the one enforcing it the next time they want something signed off. Doesn't this get back to my point that there are things the SM decides and things the scouts decide? The bigger issue seems to be clearly specifying the distinction and staying true to it.

        Originally posted by jblake47 View Post
        You hit the nail on the head with your last comment. "So how do you know if they really like it the way it is or just don't think they can really make a change?" Ask them! Most scouts want opportunities for growth and change.
        I ask them all the time. They rarely want to change anything. It's frustrating. The place I see the most confidence in taking ownership is with the troop guides. It's always been this way. Maybe it's obvious what the new scouts need.

        Originally posted by jblake47 View Post
        I make it clear to all my new scouts that the day will come when they blurt out to someone in authority, "When are you going to start treating me like an adult?" The standard answer is, "When you start acting like one." BUT who teaches them how to act like one???? To me this is what scouting is all about. I teach them that the buddy system in Tenderfoot #9 has very little to do with hanging out in two's when one is in the woods and/or at the swimming hole. It's the dynamics of getting along with another person, i.e. marriage. I teach them that as time progresses and they become PL, it has very little to do with running the show, but has a lot to do with taking care of a small group of people and meeting their needs as they grow. This is what family is all about. The there's the troop as a whole and the lessons learned are not just for scouting, but show how they relate in their communities and on the job.
        ​Good points.

        Comment


        • #19
          "​If the 11 year olds can do what they wish then what happens when they don't want to wash dishes?"

          In my Troop, we're more than happy to delay "fun" for the entire group or wait to leave Camp until this job is completed. It's not really optional.

          Comment


          • #20
            "If the SPL needs some guidance." What if he needs more than guidance? What if just flat out doesn't care? If he's the one that started the idea of going to the mall and is adamant about it. Maybe he just wants to push your buttons. Further, the rest of the troop goes along with it just to see what happens. Then will you replace the SPL? (and I assume this is after trying repeatedly to get him understand what's going on.) If you would, and the boy knows it, then in essence you could step in and tell him what to do.

            An SPL can be replaced as easily as a PL. If the SPL isn't taking care of the PL's then it's time to replace him. I don't think the tenure of the SPL is a troop concern, it's a PLC concern. If he's not doing his job, a new SPL is selected from the PLC or troop if the boy has experience to do so.

            As far as pushing buttons, this is always a fun game to play. I don't let on that my buttons are pushed. I react in ways that they do not expect. Once they realize that they aren't going to get the results they want, they'll stop. If the boys want to go to the mall, more power to them, have a fun outing, but it won't be a sanctioned BSA/Troop event. Be sure to have the boys let the parents know it's not a troop/patrol outing because you will be following up with them. Nothing in the boy-led, patrol-method approach that says the SM isn't to maintain communication with the parents. If the boys want to hang out together outside of Scouting, there is nothing one can do to stop it. 99% of the stuff they try harms them more than it harms me. Unless they break one of the three troop rules, no adult steps in. 1) Safety First, 2) Look and act like a scout, and 3) have fun.

            ​If the 11 year olds can do what they wish then what happens when they don't want to wash dishes?

            Then the SPL has a responsibility to discuss with the PL concerns regarding attracting animals in the area, and viruses and bacteria growth that will speed up the patrol member's digestive tracks to the point where they prefer staying in the KYBO all day.

            I ask them all the time. They rarely want to change anything. It's frustrating.

            Lead by example. If the boys don't want to go somewhere, as an adult, go anyway. Take lots of pictures and share around all the fun you had and how unfortunate it was that they couldn't go. I do it all the time. It goes a long way to promote new ideas as to places to go. If you get a few of the boys to go along even better.

            Then there's the menu issue. Every time the adults cook, make it a feast. Nothing but the best recipes and the more aromatic the better. The smell has to drift 300' to be effective. Always decline the invitations for a patrol meal because what the adults are eating is better. Make sure they know that. Otherwise, have a small portion to be polite and then excuse yourself to eat the better food with the adults. Make sure they know what's going on with that, too.

            At summer camp they have the big wall tents. Most boys don't know how to use them effectively. On hot days, roll open both doors and roll up the sides to expose the Taj Mahal you have created in your space. The cot, mosquito netting, camp chair, lashed table with table lamp, rug, everything laid out all neat as if it were to be #1 on the inspection list, etc.

            Same applies to the adult dining fly area. Spotless! Of course except for the SPL and invited guests, no one is allowed in that area to mess it up. Once each week, the SPL and PL's are invited over to the adult table for dinner so as to show how the other half lives. They sit at the table so as to watch their patrol in action. The food from the commissary is the same as what they boys have, but the care and diligence the adults put into it should show the difference.

            Change will come, maybe slowly, but it will come.

            Just remember, one cannot MAKE them to anything. Even their parents know that much. To try and force the issue is nothing more than an example of management tyranny. I find that punishment seldom works and often times fosters resentment down the road. Better to spend time finding the good things they do and giving recognition for that instead. It's a lot easier on everyone that way. For sure, every one of my PL's and troop leaders get a compliment each day. Sometimes that's hard to do, but worth the effort.

            Stosh

            Comment


            • #21


              "​If the 11 year olds can do what they wish then what happens when they don't want to wash dishes?"

              In my Troop, we're more than happy to delay "fun" for the entire group or wait to leave Camp until this job is completed. It's not really optional.
              Who are "they" and what is "the entire group"?
              Last edited by TAHAWK; 04-28-2014, 11:14 PM.

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by jblake47 View Post
                "If the SPL needs some guidance." What if he needs more than guidance? What if just flat out doesn't care? If he's the one that started the idea of going to the mall and is adamant about it. Maybe he just wants to push your buttons. Further, the rest of the troop goes along with it just to see what happens. Then will you replace the SPL? (and I assume this is after trying repeatedly to get him understand what's going on.) If you would, and the boy knows it, then in essence you could step in and tell him what to do.

                An SPL can be replaced as easily as a PL. If the SPL isn't taking care of the PL's then it's time to replace him. I don't think the tenure of the SPL is a troop concern, it's a PLC concern. If he's not doing his job, a new SPL is selected from the PLC or troop if the boy has experience to do so.

                As far as pushing buttons, this is always a fun game to play. I don't let on that my buttons are pushed. I react in ways that they do not expect. Once they realize that they aren't going to get the results they want, they'll stop. If the boys want to go to the mall, more power to them, have a fun outing, but it won't be a sanctioned BSA/Troop event. Be sure to have the boys let the parents know it's not a troop/patrol outing because you will be following up with them. Nothing in the boy-led, patrol-method approach that says the SM isn't to maintain communication with the parents. If the boys want to hang out together outside of Scouting, there is nothing one can do to stop it. 99% of the stuff they try harms them more than it harms me. Unless they break one of the three troop rules, no adult steps in. 1) Safety First, 2) Look and act like a scout, and 3) have fun.

                ​If the 11 year olds can do what they wish then what happens when they don't want to wash dishes?

                Then the SPL has a responsibility to discuss with the PL concerns regarding attracting animals in the area, and viruses and bacteria growth that will speed up the patrol member's digestive tracks to the point where they prefer staying in the KYBO all day.

                I ask them all the time. They rarely want to change anything. It's frustrating.

                Lead by example. If the boys don't want to go somewhere, as an adult, go anyway. Take lots of pictures and share around all the fun you had and how unfortunate it was that they couldn't go. I do it all the time. It goes a long way to promote new ideas as to places to go. If you get a few of the boys to go along even better.

                Then there's the menu issue. Every time the adults cook, make it a feast. Nothing but the best recipes and the more aromatic the better. The smell has to drift 300' to be effective. Always decline the invitations for a patrol meal because what the adults are eating is better. Make sure they know that. Otherwise, have a small portion to be polite and then excuse yourself to eat the better food with the adults. Make sure they know what's going on with that, too.

                At summer camp they have the big wall tents. Most boys don't know how to use them effectively. On hot days, roll open both doors and roll up the sides to expose the Taj Mahal you have created in your space. The cot, mosquito netting, camp chair, lashed table with table lamp, rug, everything laid out all neat as if it were to be #1 on the inspection list, etc.

                Same applies to the adult dining fly area. Spotless! Of course except for the SPL and invited guests, no one is allowed in that area to mess it up. Once each week, the SPL and PL's are invited over to the adult table for dinner so as to show how the other half lives. They sit at the table so as to watch their patrol in action. The food from the commissary is the same as what they boys have, but the care and diligence the adults put into it should show the difference.

                Change will come, maybe slowly, but it will come.

                Just remember, one cannot MAKE them to anything. Even their parents know that much. To try and force the issue is nothing more than an example of management tyranny. I find that punishment seldom works and often times fosters resentment down the road. Better to spend time finding the good things they do and giving recognition for that instead. It's a lot easier on everyone that way. For sure, every one of my PL's and troop leaders get a compliment each day. Sometimes that's hard to do, but worth the effort.

                Stosh
                +10

                Comment


                • #23
                  Stosh, it sounds like you'd do the same thing I would. My only point was that when push comes to shove, and a scout is not acting in a way you want, whether it be too lazy or un scout like or whatever, you will, as a last resort, remove the scout from his position of responsibility. If the PL is lazy then the SPL has to work with him, but if the SPL doesn't, then you'll work with the SPL, and if the SPL doesn't care then you'll remove the SPL. That means he has to do as you say and he does report to you.

                  Now, there's a big difference between removing a leader because he's lazy and removing him because he does not do exactly as you say on everything. There is a line in there somewhere and figuring out where it is and making sure everyone knows what it is is prudent. I'm not sure it's that easy to find that line because it is a judgment call. If they say they want to do Troop Method rather than Patrol Method, maybe that's an easy decision. It's a little harder if they say they will only cook prepackaged meals bought in the freezer section. That's certainly not what I'd call camping, but I don't want lists of approval signatures.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by MattR View Post
                    Stosh, it sounds like you'd do the same thing I would. My only point was that when push comes to shove, and a scout is not acting in a way you want, whether it be too lazy or un scout like or whatever, you will, as a last resort, remove the scout from his position of responsibility. If the PL is lazy then the SPL has to work with him, but if the SPL doesn't, then you'll work with the SPL, and if the SPL doesn't care then you'll remove the SPL. That means he has to do as you say and he does report to you.
                    Careful, there's a bit of twist to the answer you put forth. I would not remove any of the leaders for being lazy or making poor choices. Most of my boys don't act the way I want them to, but that's not the purpose of my position as SM. I just let the patrol members know that if their PL isn't serving them the way they need, they can put someone in there that will. Same for the PL's if the SPL is not doing what is necessary for them to do their jobs. I make opportunities for boys and assure them that I will support them with THEIR decisions as to how the troop and patrols are run and give them permission to make choices to correct problems they are facing. When I get a boy or two that is complaining about one of their leaders, I let them know it's okay to discuss it with the leader and the other boys and find a solution to THEIR problem. My last resort in any issue is offering suggestions on how they might handle it, but they have the final say-so in what happens. I as SM have never "removed" a boy selected leader, but the boys have changed their minds and put someone else in. I find that the better leaders seem to rise to the top if left alone.

                    Originally posted by MattR View Post
                    Now, there's a big difference between removing a leader because he's lazy and removing him because he does not do exactly as you say on everything. There is a line in there somewhere and figuring out where it is and making sure everyone knows what it is is prudent. I'm not sure it's that easy to find that line because it is a judgment call. If they say they want to do Troop Method rather than Patrol Method, maybe that's an easy decision. It's a little harder if they say they will only cook prepackaged meals bought in the freezer section. That's certainly not what I'd call camping, but I don't want lists of approval signatures.
                    Again, it's up to what the boys feel they need out of their leadership. Heck, if the boys are all lazy and have a lazy PL, then there's no real problem. They just miss out on a lot of fun stuff along the way. Once they realize this, they'll change their ways. Activity amongst youth ebbs and flows over time. Something might come there way that gets them all excited and they'll do whatever it takes to make it happen. A few days later, they are bored to tears and whining about nothing to do. Welcome to real life, boys! Plan another activity, any activity that sounds like fun, and start making choices, the solution to your problems is in your hands. How is it beneficial for me as SM to assign them a leader. It's not the SM's problem, it's the boys'. Let them figure it out, it's all part of learning leadership skills, solving problems, and making sound choices.

                    My new scouts just got done with their first outing, swimming at the local pool. They had a good time. No problem. Now they have organized a "water fight" at a local park. I have no idea what that is, but come Saturday, I'll find out. Would I rather have them go on an outing? Sure, but they aren't to that point quite yet and neither is the weather for a first outing overnight. But they are working on advancement and having a good time. I'm bored to tears, but things will improve.

                    Stosh

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by jblake47 View Post


                      My new scouts just got done with their first outing, swimming at the local pool. They had a good time. No problem. Now they have organized a "water fight" at a local park. I have no idea what that is, but come Saturday,
                      Stosh
                      Hope there are no squirt guns involved, else you'll have a G2SS problem on your hands.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by The Blancmange View Post

                        Hope there are no squirt guns involved, else you'll have a G2SS problem on your hands.
                        I had my boys in my previous troop down at the fire department where they did the REAL water fights. Dressed up in the gear, had the hoses and went after the barrel. I made sure the council was not notified, we didn't need a tour permit, we were only two blocks from the meeting room.

                        The funny thing was, the boys now asked to borrow my smart phone so they could see what the weather was going to be like on Saturday. I asked them if they were going to postpone the event if it rained. I didn't want them to get wet. They were not amused.

                        Stosh

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Tahawk: Although "they" was not my post, I believe it was referring to 11-year-old Boy Scouts.

                          "The entire group" in my post refers to the entire Patrol. In some instances, it bleeds over to the entire Troop. This can be very effective in bringing positive peer pressure to bear in achieving tasks.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by scoutergipper View Post
                            Tahawk: Although "they" was not my post, I believe it was referring to 11-year-old Boy Scouts.

                            "The entire group" in my post refers to the entire Patrol. In some instances, it bleeds over to the entire Troop. This can be very effective in bringing positive peer pressure to bear in achieving tasks.
                            Why should everyone suffer for the sins of a few? This sounds like a rule some adult would impose. If I as a scout had a beef with someone I could always get the adults to take it out on them by not doing my job. Sure, I'll get punished too, but for some it's worth it.

                            This process of punishing everyone does nothing more than allowing the offender to not take responsibility for their own actions and impose the punishment on everyone.

                            Let the chips fall where they may, the boys will figure out a solution in the long run.

                            I had an outing where the boys cleaning up after supper did not secure the chuck box of food and left it sitting out on the picnic table. An adult wanted to put it away, but I had them leave it, we had plenty of other food so the boys wouldn't starve. Went to bed and the next morning the boys were in a tussle about who left the food out. Racoons ate well and the boys foraged off of everyone else for breakfast. Fortunately it was Sunday morning so it wasn't a total loss and no one starved. Anyway, the point being, it never happened again as far as I know. Should everyone else be punished? Technically it should have included the adults who saw the problem and didn't enable the boys in their irresponsibility.

                            Lesson learned? Don't leave things lying around, Mom and Dad aren't here to pick up after you.

                            It also reminds me of the story where a family camping in bear country would leave their dirty dishes out on the table after every meal. They would go off and return, wash the dishes and then leave them again until the next meal and wash, eat and leave again.

                            They did this for a whole week and the bears were really happy about it all. Well the next week a young family came in and did things right. Now the bears didn't get a freebie meal. They tore the camp to shreads looking for food.

                            This is why punishing one group for someone else's stupidity isn't really a fair way of dealing with any problem.

                            Stosh

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              I agree with a lot of what Stosh and Eagledad have to say. The problem we all have is that schools do not teach or allow individuality. Scouts show up at meetings and expect to be spoon fed. They are also afraid to make a decision and would rather leave it up to others. Most PL's do their job well because they deal with the now. The SPL must plan and be ready to execute the next activity, and they struggle. That is where my troop and others that I have seen with have problems. The younger SPL's are either out to lunch or micro manage the PL's, but have problems looking forward to future troop activities. This could be a function of age and hormones. Most of use do not have older experienced scouts in the role of SPL.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by SM bob View Post
                                I agree with a lot of what Stosh and Eagledad have to say. The problem we all have is that schools do not teach or allow individuality. Scouts show up at meetings and expect to be spoon fed. They are also afraid to make a decision and would rather leave it up to others. Most PL's do their job well because they deal with the now. The SPL must plan and be ready to execute the next activity, and they struggle. That is where my troop and others that I have seen with have problems. The younger SPL's are either out to lunch or micro manage the PL's, but have problems looking forward to future troop activities. This could be a function of age and hormones. Most of use do not have older experienced scouts in the role of SPL.
                                BINGO! This is why we have BSA so that our young boys have an opportunity to not be spoon fed into the future. No one in our culture today allow/give permission to make autonomous decisions except for BSA and maybe 4-H.

                                "The SPL must plan and be ready to execute the next activity, and they struggle."

                                Why??? Shouldn't this be the responsibility of the PL's as they plan their patrol activities? For the most part I'm a firm believer that the SPL is as useful as a good Troop Librarian, but then the Librarian could actually accomplish something useful. If one has a useless SPL then YES, the troops will have problems. Drop the SPL and the problem goes away. Unless one has an experienced scout in the SPL position who's job it is to help the PL's, it's a wasted, problem fraught position that offers little or not real help to the troop.

                                More often than not, adult leaders seem to go out of their way to make problems for the boys instead of just leaving them alone to work it out themselves which I have found they generally do quite well at.

                                The adults should be there to help/support the boys, not make rules, lay out expectations and otherwise interfere with the work the boys are supposed to be doing on their own.

                                Stosh

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