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How to run a troop meeting need help from Experienced Boy-Led Troops

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  • #16

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    • #17
      As he's rebuilding, any suggestions on how to keep the younger boys who he's grooming (excited, energetic) from turing into the older boys (unethusiastic) when they get to 14 or 15?

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      • #18
        As a cub scout dad and scouter, I have a question. It's not exactly on track but I hope it relates well enough to add to the discussion..... I think it may help to look at the issue from a different angle.

        In a boy lead troop as I have see described, what the blazes to the adult leaders even do? As someone described above, the adults couldn't even unlock the doors or the trailer because that was the scout's job. So, what does a SM & ASM really even do?.... sit back and watch?..... answer questions if asked?.... take the boys to the hospital after an incident?....

        I'm hopeful this is helpful to the original poster.... instead of asking what do you need to do for the boys or whatever, or what do the boys need to do?.... the better question to ask may be "what should I as the adult leader NOT be doing?"

        My personal reason for asking is for a better understanding of my future in scouting..... and also, i believe that our pack may be a little too adult focused. I'm thinking a little bit more boy envolvement may be good at our stage of the game, too.

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        • Krampus
          Krampus commented
          Editing a comment
          Adult leaders do what parents do: We observe, we evaluate and we teach. You will hear the term "pearls of wisdom" used frequently or "controlled failure". We use something called the EDGE method when we teach the boys -- and when the boys teach each other. EDGE stands for educate/explan, demonstrate, guide and enable. After that we continue to observe and drop pearls of wisdom as we travel (i.e., Jonny, you can tell the pancakes are ready to turn over when the bubble form on the top...but that smoke might mean the gas is up too high).

          The "controlled failure" is when Scouters sit back and, after having taught the Scouts how to do something, let them learn through controlled failure. Now, this notion is not used in something dangerous like rifle, achery or climbing. But we don't step in and load the trailer for the Scouts just because it is taking too long. But there is s BIG difference between Cubs and Boy Scouts. With Cubs the goal is to help them learn which means more adult teaching. In Boy Scouts the boys get taught by other boys and occassionally by the adults.

          As Baden-Powell once said, "Never do for a boy what he can do for himself." I love that quote and use it to illustrate to overbearing parents that unless they are doing Jonny's Algebra homework too, they should not be keeping track of his First Class requirements for him either. ;-)

      • #19

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        • #20
          .>>So, what does a SM & ASM really even do? sit back and watch?..... answer questions if asked?.... take the boys to the hospital after an incident?....<<

          What would a new 21 year old unmarried Scoutmaster need from a 45 year old experienced Scoutmaster with three kids?

          Adults as well as experienced scouts are a resource of experience, wisdom and skills. Oh, and I guess drivers too. Of course adults in new young troops are a lot busier than the adults in mature older troops. But even adults need resources for growth.

          Barry

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          • #21

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            • #22
              Bear Claw, I absolutely agree with you that going from adult led to boy led requires a lot more than what the training offers. I'm also going through this. Here are my 2 cents.

              First of all, boys need to feel like they own it, that success or failure really depends on them. For older scouts this is just as important as having fun. If scouts is going to compete with all the other things it needs to be meaningful. They know a joke POR when they see it. Librarian where nobody needs a book? PL where the SPL and/or adults do everything? Find things that really need to be done. I started with PLs.

              Not only do the patrols have to run a few troop meetings but the PLs have to take care of their patrols. We set aside one meeting a month where patrols go do their own thing. The PL has to make it happen. We have a lot of competitions and I tell the PLs this is a test of their leadership more than a test of their patrol. Once we're comfortable with that I want the PLs to be responsible for getting scouts through lower ranks. They'll present them their certificate at the COH. I'm working for the day where a parent goes up to a PL and thanks him for helping their son earn a rank. Things will be easy after that.

              Any POR also needs very clear expectations. Some scouts will give you just a bit more than is expected to get by. Some scouts will give you just a bit less than what is expected to get by. Few scouts will be self motivated to do their best. So set clear, reasonable, expectations. There's nothing wrong with saying to a Life scout that he's expected to help run the troop.

              I'm finding that boys do not understand teamwork. They understand getting along with each other and playing fair (everything you learn in kindergarten) but they don't understand each scout having a job to do and depending on each other. My mantra now is everyone has a job to do. If the PL is doing his job perfectly he won't have anything to do.

              All of this said, scouts also need help learning how to do this. They need mentors. Boys can not remember anything. They can not see very far into the future. They need a mentor asking lots of questions. Not yes/no questions but what have you done? What are your concerns? It's the blind leading the blind because they're clueless. The mentor doesn't do the work, the mentor talks to the boy and the boy does the work. Getting good mentors is not trivial. Adults that would rather do it themselves make lousy mentors. It takes patience.

              I find the scout leadership training has little to do with leadership. It's too abstract. The boys are not mature enough to take a game about communication and relate it to getting a scout to help set up camp. Rather, I found an old style leadership training where the PLs form a patrol with the SPL and SM and they go camping. First time I did it I was the PL. Best training ever. Everyone had a job to do. I had fun. If I get the same SPL next time, he will be the PL and I will be the APL.

              Older scouts need high adventure trips. We also try to do a couple of high adventure weekends during the year as well. 9th and 10th graders might not be motivated to do serious backpacking until they see it done. 11th and 12th graders are more willing to try that. We also do less strenuous high adventure trips.

              Scouts don't know what they don't know so asking them what they would like to do is more complicated. It's easier to come in with several ideas and ask them what they think of them. Maybe that will get the discussion going.

              If a scout doesn't want to be in scouts, encourage him to leave. Sure, you have to talk to him a lot to figure this out but if you say this is what it means to be an Eagle scout in this troop and that boy doesn't want to do that, then don't let him stick around. It's amazing how one miserable scout can convince a bunch of other scouts to be miserable when they really want to do a good job. A lot of kids are afraid at this age of being who they want to be and they just go along with whatever. If things are going great the whatever can be very powerful, but if you're trying to turn an aircraft carrier, it's a challenge.

              Finally, it's a slow process. You're trying to create a new culture within the troop. Each step takes a couple of years of constant perseverance to make it take hold. You have to train the adults and get their buy-in as well as the scouts. You have to make adjustments along the way. Once the culture is in place it will be self sustaining.

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              • #23
                A lot of PLCs make the mistake of planning the meetings first and then the outing. Start with the outing. The meetings exist to support the outing.

                PLC Planning Process:

                1) Figure out what your outing will be. Choose something interesting and exciting.
                2) Make a detailed plan of your outing making sure there is stuff for all levels of Scouts to do. Make sure all time is accounted for, and it is FUN, new and exciting! A template is available for outings in the Scoutmaster Handbook
                3) Based upon the skills needed on the outing, plan your instruction sessions at your troop meetings, those are the most important (and at times most boring) parts of your meeting. Make sure there is something for each level of Scout to learn.
                4) Plan the rest of the meeting.
                5) Establish what your communication plan will be to make sure all patrols are engaged
                6) SPL should go over the above with the Scoutmaster prior to the PLC for any additional suggestions or comments

                Exciting and Fun takes planning!

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                • #24
                  Our Troop was founded about a year ago with the crossover of our Pack's Webelos who were not getting a very good background in Scouting from their DL. I say this because the DL didn't take any initiative, didn't enjoy camping and basically signed off on any requirements necessary for moving up . Essentially they were book Scouts. Fast forward to the new Troop. Those crossing over became our new Patrol. Six months later after attending summer camp, we had five more Scouts through recruitment. Our SPL rocks.....great patience, good with all the Scouts and a great dad who is an ASM.

                  But we have no true Senior Patrol for the junior patrols to learn from; no ceremonies in place, decorations for COH etc. Everything is having to be done from scratch........here is the problem. The SM keeps saying "it's a boy led program" and he shows that by not aiding, guiding or other wise helping to get the Troop moving. He shows up late for the meeting and say to the SPL, "you don't need to wait on me, get started". Am I missing something?

                  EDGE method would imply educating & demonstrating before the Scout was to go at it on his own. I know the SM is trained....as the CC I went to SM Training so I could have a better foundation of a Troop's environment. But it seems the SM is literally depending on everyone else to fill in (both in time & materials)

                  Would any of you recommend the Troop CC or ASM talking with the SM as to his plan of getting this troop moving? or at least better organized?

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                  • #25
                    Our Troop was founded about a year ago with the crossover of our Pack's Webelos who were not getting a very good background in Scouting from their DL. I say this because the DL didn't take any initiative, didn't enjoy camping and basically signed off on any requirements necessary for moving up . Essentially they were book Scouts. Fast forward to the new Troop. Those crossing over became our new Patrol. Six months later after attending summer camp, we had five more Scouts through recruitment. Our SPL rocks.....great patience, good with all the Scouts and a great dad who is an ASM.

                    But we have no true Senior Patrol for the junior patrols to learn from; no ceremonies in place, decorations for COH etc. Everything is having to be done from scratch........here is the problem. The SM keeps saying "it's a boy led program" and he shows that by not aiding, guiding or other wise helping to get the Troop moving. He shows up late for the meeting and say to the SPL, "you don't need to wait on me, get started". Am I missing something?

                    EDGE method would imply educating & demonstrating before the Scout was to go at it on his own. I know the SM is trained....as the CC I went to SM Training so I could have a better foundation of a Troop's environment. But it seems the SM is literally depending on everyone else to fill in (both in time & materials)

                    Would any of you recommend the Troop CC or ASM talking with the SM as to his plan of getting this troop moving? or at least better organized?

                    Comment

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