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  • How much?

    I didn't want to hijack another thread, so I'll start another one. This is a spin off of the HA activity planning thread.

    How much leading by the boys does it take to be a good boy-led program?

    There's always that thin red line between boy-led and adult-led. In the middle that can be a close call. But the case can be made that if the boys take leadership on 55% of the decisions is it really boy-led? I do know that the more the boys invest their time, talents and finances the more they gain from the experience. Yes the adults do coach and suggest options, but even then when one suggests solutions, they take away an opportunity to problem solve on the part of the boys. Once they learn that they can work through issues, there's a real breakthrough for the boys.

    As a SM, it is my job to work myself out of a job. Yes, there will always be times when they bump up against a wall and will need to be coached, but at that point are solutions offered or is it more, what do you think we should do? kinda coaching? Giving solutions is not the same as having the boys struggle with the problems. The newbie that's lining up summer camp comes and says, "We need a $50 deposit on the campsite." Okay, my response is, "Where's the money going to be coming from?" It is up to the boy to decide if it's the troop treasury or the boys themselves. It's too easy to bail out the boys and direct them to a conclusion.

    As SM every directive, every solution, every decision, every rule, takes away an opportunity for the boys to either lead or learn to lead.

    As with most troops, I as SM I often spent too much time keeping other adults from stepping in and "taking over". Every parent watching their child struggle has a strong tendency to do just exactly that. Boys will learn nothing if adults do all the thinking for them.

    On activities, my only job was keep asking how it was going, not do it for them. It is far more easy to just do it for them. I have been part of and witnessed as UC troops that bragged about being boy-led when it was very obvious they weren't.

    Just yesterday I had a Webelos II DL come to me and ask about a certain troop his boys were interested in and had just visited. He gave me all the pros and cons and asked me what I thought. My only question to him was, "How many of the boys did you talk to when you were there?" He said the boys were busy with doing activities with the Webelos scouts that they didn't have time to talk to anyone other than adults. I said he had totally wasted his time because he had not talked to even one boy. If one wants to know who runs the show, just ask the boys, they'll tell you. If the SPL or one of the older boys didn't have time to talk to the adults about recruiting the Webelos boys, then he was avoiding the tough part of the process.

    As UC I spent 90% of my time talking with the boys and 10% talking with adults. I always find it remarkable in the "boy-led" programs that I often hear, "We can't do that..." and the tag line was "...because ___________....". Fill in the blank with a name of one of the adults in the troop. The rest of the sentence is not important.

    If I were to guess a boy-led program, I would think that 90-95% of the directives for the troop coming from the boys would be a minimum start.

    What say ye?

    Stosh

  • #2
    Don't know what you mean by directives.

    The boys want to play laser-tag/paintball, I said I would love to - but BSA won't allow it. (I DID, however, point them towards Kudu's list of wide area games...)
    The boys want to go shooting, I remind them that we need a range master. We have one good range master in the troop, they need to call him and see when he is available.
    The boys say that they want to beach camp, the troop adults take care of the reservations for next year (nly a couple places you can beach camp where we are, and they fill fast).
    The boys voted on where to go for summer camp, the troop adults dealt with the reservations.
    The boys want to go backpacking, the troop adults deal with the wilderness permits.

    So the boys drive the activities, the adults facilitate them. I don't expect boys to do tour permits, medical forms, or any of the other administrivia required in our organization.

    Meetings are opened by the boys, with times at the beginning and end for adult announcements (usually around forms and payments). Meetings are run by the boys, with the SM walking around the different stations. That gives us a fair amount of chaos, I admit.

    Sometimes do we step in too much - yup. Usually when there is a breakdown in youth leadership for a variety of reasons, and I want to keep the boat from sinking / someone getting hurt /etc. I always question myself when stepping in, sometimes an adult is too fast, sometime we are too slow.

    Comment


    • jblake47
      jblake47 commented
      Editing a comment
      Where do they learn to be good boy-led Scoutmasters? It was always my thought that I was training up Eagle Scouts to one day become Scoutmasters!

      According to Kudu the patrol that can go out and have an activity without helicopter SM/ASM's are the goal of Scouting. As PL do I have the proper tour permits, camp permits, medical forms, financial concerns, and parental permission forms for all my boys?

      This leads to an interesting conundrum... If the boys have all their ducks in order INCLUDING permission from their parents to do so, can they go without adult leaders coming along to chaperone?

      Spin off a thread if you wish on that.

      Stosh

    • Horizon
      Horizon commented
      Editing a comment
      Maybe this does need its own thread. Do you have your Scribe run the rechartering? Does he get to review the medications every Scout and adult is taking? Why not just have the boys run the BORs then? Shucks, if 16 - they can take themselves to the campout, and carry their friends.

      Like I said - I want the boys to run the campout. That is where the leadership role is. Managing a spreadsheet and binder of medical forms - they can learn that later when they go to Woodbadge or some other BSA MBA program.

    • FrankScout
      FrankScout commented
      Editing a comment
      Reservations, Medical forms, Rechartering are all responsibilities of the Troop Committee. Boy leaders, specifically the Scribe and SPL should be invited to assist/observe/participate in the process. Most will find it "boring". Older scouts (16-17) should be encouraged to learn the "adult" stuff--some will jump at the chance! These may be your Troop's future adults! !

  • #3
    I don't know about percentages but I've recently realized that the things that prevent boys from making decisions are lack of maturity, lack of trust between scouts and adults, and fuzzy boundaries between the adult and scout responsibilities. Immature boys just don't make decisions and a lack of trust kills confidence. Fuzzy responsibilities encourages boys to defer to adults and for adults to step in. Making a short, clear list of responsibilities (as well as consequences for not meeting their responsibilities) makes it easier to pull back the adults and for the boys to know it's their problem. I've recently had a lot of luck with this idea. Everyone is happier. Well, the scouts and I are happier, some of the parents are not at all happy with the chaos or some of the ideas these guys come up with.

    And by short I mean short. I don't care what they eat as long as it has some protein and a fruit or vegetable. I don't care where they are until flags Saturday morning as long as they're quiet from 10pm to when everyone wakes and that they look out for each other's well being, I don't care when they wake up or if the eat breakfast.



    Comment


    • Horizon
      Horizon commented
      Editing a comment
      Had a great SPL at summer camp. Camp boss came by to talk to me about how our camp wasn't in perfect military order (my paraphrase). I told him to talk to my SPL.

      SPL looked him in the eye and said "We didn't come here to pretty up our campsite - my guys don't hang out at camp at all. As long as there isn't a safety problem, I am fine with not getting any awards."

      Camp Boss looked at me for support, received none.

    • jblake47
      jblake47 commented
      Editing a comment
      LOL, my boys tried that one. Didn't get much mileage once, however. For years they had camped in our local area and other than small rodents eating into packs, we didn't have much to consider in safety issues. If animals got into the food it had to be tossed, no questions asked. This worked really well until we spent one summer camp in Wyoming in grizzly country. I never thought those boys could keep a camp as clean as that. Fear from something other than camp staff and SM is a great motivator!

      Stosh

    • Horizon
      Horizon commented
      Editing a comment
      This was all about how a couple of dirty socks weren't put away properly, and we weren't building our daily allotment of useful camp gadgets.

  • #4
    Basement, us too at camp last year. We got up 45 minutes before flag, and missed it. Then the SPL did 60 and missed it. We had to go to 90 before we (barely) made it. And we were really close to the parade ground. Teens!

    Comment


    • jblake47
      jblake47 commented
      Editing a comment
      Maybe this is why they also suggest one "air" out their bedroll during the day! The bugle is VERY effective way of getting the boys up. That means the SPL only has to tell one boy what time it is, too. I also suspect that every bugler has a deep down mean streak that he is more than happy to exercise every morning at reveille.

      Stosh

    • Bando
      Bando commented
      Editing a comment
      LOL Stosh, indeed. That early morning mean streak was my trademark as troop bugler.

    • Oldscout448
      Oldscout448 commented
      Editing a comment
      The early morning mean streak was the second most important thing I needed as a bugler, the first being an ability to dodge heavy objects flying out of tents at "O dark hundred"

  • #5
    I don't want to hijack the thread, so I'm not expecting an answer. But when I hear someone giving hard numbers to define their boy run program, I always wonder what hard numbers they have for percentages and priorities of using the Eigth Methods (Ideals, Outdoors, Patros, Advancement, Adult Assisation, Personal Growth, Leadership, and Uniform) in their boy run program. Barry

    Comment


    • qwazse
      qwazse commented
      Editing a comment
      I suppose you could make benchmarks for all of those, let's see:

      - Ideals: % of boys who can say oath and law independently.
      - Outdoors: % of outdoor activities set by PLC. % implemented by boys.
      - Patrols: % of meetings where PL can report.attendance with none unaccounted for.
      - Advancement: % of youth signatures in books on requirements.
      - Adult association: % of boys who've contacted an adult about any given aspect of the program, or % of adults acting because a boy specifically requested them to do so.
      - Personal Growth: % of boys with an immediate answer to the question "So, what's the plan?"
      - Leadership: % of boys in PORs for whom you can name one specific accomplishment in the past couple of months. % of boys not in PORs whom you recall "stepping up."
      - Uniform: % of uniform inspection initiated by SPL/PL.

      For most of us who banter about "boy-led," we have a couple of methods up near 100%, most near %50, some at 0%. Obviously, what that means is that a person may say 100% boy-led, but may only be thinking about it in terms of the methods that they think should be 100% boy-led. Even within a category, I may have a blind spot simply because I'll take for granted that "nobody in their right mind would leave ___ up to the boys."

    • jblake47
      jblake47 commented
      Editing a comment
      I'll bite on that one. I too, don't think hard numbers or even percentages are the answer, but they give a ballpark estimate of kinda where we stand on any part of the program.

      Just take uniform because it has some objective measurements that are obvious. Are the boys all in full uniform according to the Inspection Sheet? Yes/No. Yes, means we have accomplished our goal, no means we have an opportunity to work on improvement. Who is going to take the lead on that? An adult or one of the boys? Who gets the opportunity for leadership?

      Outdoors - How many outdoor activities are happening? How many meetings/month, etc. Are 100% of the boys showing up for 100% of the activities? Yes/No. Yes, no problem, no, well there's a gap between what the troop is striving for and what is reality, and that gap is measurable. So, who's going to take the lead on the situation? Who is going to get the opportunity to work on it? Too often adults step in and start throwing out numbers like, the boys need to attend X% of the meetings and X% of the outings to advance. Now the adults are dictating their leadership over the boys.

      So as with any endeavor in the troop, who's taking the lead? Who's getting the opportunity to lead? Okay, you're the new PL, here's a list of all your responsibilities necessary to fulfill that job to get credit for POR. Okay, who made up the list? Adults? Boys? If they made up the list they would know what the job entails and because they make the rules, I have found they tend to adhere better to them.

      Maturity problems? How much experience does a boy have when he's given to opportunity to lead? Webelos II crossover, brand new in the troop. He has a requirement to do 1 hour's worth of service project. Does he wait until something comes along or is he given the opportunity to organize a service project for the troop? (We teach the boys to sit around and wait for someone else to lead!) Sure why not have him give it a try? So it goes south and crashes and burns. SMC time to sit down and work out what he's going to do the next time differently. By the time he gets a year or so under his belt he will have the basics ironed out. I find that with some adults the service project is #1 priority, but with boy-led maybe the #1 priority is teaching scouts how to set one up and organize it. So he's Grubmaster next, and he has to organize menus, gear and food. Then he moves on to PL and organizes patrol activites that require fees, gear, etc. He knows the Grubmaster responsibilities so he can have a patrol member take charge of that and assist him in doing it. If he has had QM responsibilities previously, he can help the QM too. If he does a few of these along the way each year, the Eagle Project will be a piece of cake.

      The method is the defining parameter in which we as adults coach opportunities for the boys. Anytime a SM asks the SPL how are we doing in the area of XXX? The SPL should have a ballpark % of we are 25%, 50% 75% or 100%. Depending on how the boy feels about answer that question will determine whether or not there is an opportunity to improve and who wants to take lead on that?

      Stosh

  • #6
    My bad Stosh, but I wasn't implying that the Eight Methods related to your 95% directive comment. I just wonder how any adult can come up with hard numbers for any aspect of the program when it comes to scout growth. Each scout has different experiences and different maturities which requires different approaches for developiing growth. I question hard numbers to describe a boy run program because hard numbers tend to limit program and discourage an independent program where scouts are free to choose. I'm sure we are coming from two opposite ends of how to work with youth even though we have the same goals. All adults who work with youth do it under their own set of principes. One principle for me is to challenge each scout where he is at in his maturity and experience. The value of that principle is that we never stop challenging a scout to grow. Sounds simple but I find most troops stop growth after a scout gets to first class. As a result, they get boree and generally look for something different after age 14. I personally think 14 is where the best growth starts. And since I believe all boys are different in maturity and experience, I have to challenge each scout differently. A scout who has good leadership skills but is weak in camping skills will get more guidence in the Camping Method than Leadership. I'm not concerned about about a balance of hard numbers, I rather look at it as applying the right tool at the right time. When I see 95% directives, my first thought is can an 11 year old SPL do the task of 17 year old SPL. Well the answer is obvious, of course he can't. What does he lack? Where does he accell? This is why I think a boy run program is much more challenging for adults than adult run programs. Adult run measures all scout equally against the same expectations. They are generally a well uniformed troop because they expectation is the same for all scouts, no matter what they would really choose if given the choice. I have never seen a perfectly dressed boy run troop because not all boys agree to choose correctly. Adutls in boy run program deal with each scout's individual choice of right and wrong. And generally, adults in the boy run troops rarely dictate the right answer, but instead guide the scout in a general direction for him to experience a decision. Not many adults understand that when a scout voluntarily chooses to make right choices, he will stick with them. So I struggle with hard numbers you see because that just isn't my style of working with scouts. I believe grwoth comes when a scout chooses to grow and he won't voluntarily make that choice without a real life experience and some footing of ethics. I beleive that a boy run program is the best way to get a boy to that place. But how and where the adult fits in that model is very subjective because success depends on the maturity of the adults. A Boy Run Troop of 12 year old scouts looks completely different from a boy run troop of boys of all ages. The best adults are generally students of success for growth and voluntarily changing their leadership style to encrease that growth. The harder question for me is how do adults measure growth with a boy run program compared to adult run. Barry

    Comment


    • jblake47
      jblake47 commented
      Editing a comment
      I really don't see us coming from two different approaches. My "hard number" issue is reflective in the method measurement described in my previous post. Sure, there will be a few (very few) things along the way that the adults may have to take the lead on, safety comes to mind right away. I have no problem with that.

      But of the rest of the "leadership responsibilities" have been taken over, retained by the adults and have left little or no youth leadership opportunities to grow in. Here's where the numbers game comes in. Do the boys "run the meetings" at the directive of the adults? Or do they do everything on their own with the adults on the sidelines watching the boys grow?

      If safety is stressed by the boys on everything the boys do in the troop, I'm thinking a troop could easily rank right up there in the 98-99% level of boy-led.

      What bugs me the most are the comments, "We have a boy-led program, and the adults only do this, that, and everything else." Or the comment, "We have a boy-led, but..." Why can't people simply say, "We have a boy-led program, and all of us adults just sit bag and brag about our boys, because when they look good, we look good!"

      As I also mentioned if a young boy is given the opportunity to line up a 1 hour service project, then maybe do his Grubmaster thingy for advancement, then do the patrol QM for a while and after figuring out how it goes in that patrol, he's a prime candidate for PL, top of the command chain as MattR points out. Why? Because he's popular? or because he is capable to teaching the boys in his patrol all those things he's learned along the way. Eventually he makes SPL, not because of popularity, but because he is well versed so as to coach the PL's in their duties.

      It's going to take a bit of adult coaching to get that whole process rolling and one might have to start at square one with his newest scouts. But eventually the adults can make the concerted effort to keep backing off and letting the boys take the lead, both in doing as well as teaching the next guy down the line. To me the the most important coaching position in the troop is the Troop Guide. Too often he is someone who works only with the NSP. Heck no! He helps the NSP get their feet on the ground, but with the SPL he helps the PL's and should be senior enough to even offer the important "second opinion" for the SPL as he coaches even him.

      Along with every POR should be the expectation that they train up the next guy otherwise they could get stuck in that POR forever! The troop QM should be training at least one person in every patrol what's going on with handling the gear requirements for that patrol for example. Eventually there should be 2-3 potential boys that have a pretty good idea of what a QM does and could take over so the Troop QM can move on to bigger and better things.

      Hard numbers? Sure. We are working on developing a culture of boy-led in our troop and we think we're about halfway there, or 3/4th the way there or we are so close we can taste it, 99%.

      As SM I have no expectations, no directives, no plans for success, all I have is the opportunity to create a learning environment where my boys have the opportunity to take on leadership at any and all occasions.

      Like I've said before, I was let go as SM because I expected too much leadership out of my boys. If one has to go, that's not a bad way to exit.

      Maybe a push the boy-led, patrol-method too much on the forum and maybe I pushed it too much in my troop, but if some is going to criticize or make fun of me, it might as well be for a good reason.

      Seriously, Barry, we really are on the same page.

      Stosh

  • #7
    When the scouts are responsible for their activities, the results will generally be less than ideal, but that is part of the learning process, and it is a success because they are learning and growing. Our role with the boys is to help and encourage and without being someone to whom they see as an evaluator. Two concepts I hold to as a scoutmaster are: 1) work with the SPL, PL and others in leadership meetings before the troop and patrol meetings are conducted. We meet and discuss techniques, ideas, and general thoughts so that they have some clarification before the meetings and activities actually occur. 2) We have developed a troop book with all the campsites, trails, and activities so that they have a good starting place of ideas when planning their campouts and activity days. Given the information, encouragement, and proper planning, the boy-led troop will be success even when part of that success is encumbered with some failure. Seeing the boys grow is a rewarding experience that is beyond compare. But when I recall some of the really bad meals we have had to eat, or campouts gone amok I laugh, and then it breaks my heart to recall so poorly attended activities that were planned well but not communicated well. Overall, it is worth it to see the boys mature to men. That is the reason I try to always help, encourage, and reserve judgment as we stumble through our Boy-Led-Troop.

    Comment


    • #8
      I hate when some boys screw up or are lazy and it impacts the whole Troop with a bad experience. On the other hand when the boys do it and things go smoothly it is easy to forget "hey they got it taken care of!".

      Comment


      • jblake47
        jblake47 commented
        Editing a comment
        Couch Potato Scouts will always throw a wrench into the smooth operations of a boy-led troop. They are there to take and never give. I show up, give me the program, the fun, the stuff in the brochure and don't expect me to lift a finger to help out, that's not why I'm in the program. Couple that with parents that support that and you have a recipe for disaster.

        The adventure is the means by which leadership character is built, but some aren't looking for that part. I'm here for the fun and washing dishes doesn't sound like fun. When the fun starts up again, call me, I'll be in my tent texting my friends, that's fun.

        Stosh

      • Tampa Turtle
        Tampa Turtle commented
        Editing a comment
        Stosh you NAILED it. Just came back from a campout with many key leadership POR's AWOL. Some of them rarely show up on campout and when you discuss how they may not get their needed POR some of their parents are pushy monsters. A few of them are old Eagle Dad's who push their sons to Eagle and have NEVER helped out as ASM, MBC, or CC. Our SM refused to sign off on scout spirit for one boy and the Dad threatened to go over his head to the Council exec to get it signed off like he did "at the other Troop".

    • #9
      Stosh and Barry, you're both making some great points. Being able to gauge, even if it's subjective, how boy-led a troop is is a great idea. Barry is right that it has to account for the age and maturity of the scouts. Everyone seems to think boy led is a binary value and everyone says yep, we're boy led. Rather, wouldn't it be great to have some categories and how to evaluate them? It would be a great tool for improving a troop, both scouts and adults.

      Rather than numbers why not just grades? A - we're out of a job, hooray! B - We're proud of our boys. C - Needs a lot of coaching. D - Deer in the headlights. F - Maybe it's time for a change.

      I don't know what good categories would be. Who knows, maybe the SM and PLC should include this in their planning campout. The scouts decide the responsibilities of the scouts and the adults. You know, that's just a simple, good idea. Start with Barry's discussion of ethics and then ask the incoming SPL what he wants to be responsible for, and implicitly what the adults won't do. For a new 12 yo SPL that discussion will look a lot different than for a 17 yo SPL. The older scout might even ask for more than the SM expects. The SM can write down all the things that are done by scouts and adults and the SPL chooses what he thinks he can handle and come up with a way to ensure he's doing a good job. Essentially, let the scouts define the expectations and consequences.

      A wise SM would give the boy not quite enough rope to hang himself. I think it would be great to have a discussion with the SPL along the lines of, if you say you're going to do this and you don't, there may be some scouts that quit the troop or at least vote you out, are you prepared for this? What's more boy-led and adaptable then asking the SPL what he will be responsible for, and then holding him, and the adults, to it?

      I really like this because it solves a big problem I have. I don't like being the bad guy/enforcer of standards but nobody else will do it. By giving the scout complete freedom in picking his responsibilities I'm no longer the bad guy. Granted, a few things are not on the table, like med forms and signing Eagle apps, but a lot of others could be. It might be tough figuring out what all the responsibilities are.

      Comment


      • Eagledad
        Eagledad commented
        Editing a comment
        Boy run is very dependent on the maturity growth of the adults. I have to say Matt you have done well there. Posters on this forum respond in two different ways, either from a postion of humilty, or a postion of pride. Yours is a position of humilty and it is very refreshing. I think you are seeing what I mean by guiding the scouts in a general direction instead of following a set course. While it is important for the adults to have a good grasp of the goals, how the scouts reach those goals isn't that important. That is hard for adults to grasp, but even harder to practice when they do grasp it. I really like your idea of the scouts creating their job responsibilties. But that isn't easy for them either. As you said before, there is the gray area of trust between the scouts and adults. So it really has to be a team effort. Here is how I did it, by the way a scouter on a forum gave me this suggestion. I teach all my new PLCs the Aims and methods of scouting. I explain that the 3 Aims are the adults responsibilities, and the 8 Methods are the scouts' responsibilities. The PLCs responsibilities also are to insure that Character, Fitness and Citizenship are practiced in all the campouts and major activities. That way the PLC understands that they basically have free rain over the program provided their program includes the 8 Methods and includes activities that practice the 3 Aims. See what I mean by a general direction without setting an exact course. Now, you can't do this all at once, scouts need to mature and build a trust in the adults. And the adults need to mature faster than the scouts so they don't get in the way. Boy run isn't easy, but it is rewarding. As it comes together, you will find yourself loving this scouting stuff. Barry

      • Sentinel947
        Sentinel947 commented
        Editing a comment
        Clarke Green over at Scoutmastercg.com posted this article which has an interesting metric of Youth led/ vs Adult led.

        http://www.scoutmastercg.com/ladder-...p-infographic/



        I'll write to him and see if he's got anything else over there.



        Also, Matt, thank you for driving conversations here in a positive manner.



        Yours in Scouting,

        Sentinel947

      • Eagledad
        Eagledad commented
        Editing a comment
        Another bit of humble advice Mat, a very respected SM in our district once told me he had a bad cop good cop relationship with the ASMs for the scouts. Since he had to enforce the rules, he was the bad cop. But the ASMs were good cops because they just did what the SM directed. I was not yet a SM and thought I would be different andI would be everyones favorite SM. But it doesn't work that way because I found that the SM is the gate keeper of the program. If not, chaos would follow because nobody else wants the huge resposibility. But I also learned that SMs aren't bad cops, they are just very respected and held up to a higher standard. Kind of like folks holding preachers up to a higher standard. We just treat them a little different. Boys need role models to guide them and they instinctively look at the dominating leader for that responsibilitiy. All I can say is don't waste it. Stand up for what you think is right, and if that turns out to be wronge, stand up even taller and admit it. Humilty is mans' most respected quality because so few people have the courage to express it. You will never lead your scouts astray if you can follow those basic principles. Barry

    • #10
      Sentinel - I LOVE that infographic! I plan on handing it out at the next PLC. Many thanks for the link.

      Comment


      • Sentinel947
        Sentinel947 commented
        Editing a comment
        I wrote to Mr. Green and his response can be found here.



        http://www.scoutmastercg.com/what-do-scouts-decide/.



        All credit for the Infographic goes to him.

        Yours in Scouting,

        Sentinel947

      • Eagledad
        Eagledad commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks Sentine1947, that is a good read. I expecially appreciate what he said about older scouts: "older scouts aren't as interested in doing new, different, big things as they are in the patrol system. They are endlessly inspired and energized when they have a real resonsibility with the accomplishment and freedom that comes from governing themselves." This is my observation as well and is completely opposite of what most scouters believe. As I said before, age 14 is where I think real growth starts because the scouts get to serve the other scouts and there is a genuine satisfaction that comes from making other peoples lives better. Adults should strive to build a program that gives the older scout that opportunity. A successful Troop program is the result of a successful older scout program. Thanks again Sentine. Barry

    • #11
      On that infographic....our unit floats between 1 and 4. right now most of our time is spent 2 and 3.....I would like to think mostly in 2 but that is the glass half full guy in me.

      Comment


      • #12
        I looked at the ladder thing and it brings up some questions. For the top level it says the adults won't step in unless it's a safety issue. When it comes to bad decisions that's fine as long the the result of the bad decision is timely. Forget food? Hunger. But what about decisions that aren't very timely. Let's say the scouts decide no new Webelos this year? Or maybe a decision just goes against the grain of scouting, such as not camping anymore, or not helping the younger scouts, or the flag ceremonies have become a joke. Or maybe just a PL being a butt. What's the feedback that addresses those issues? Some of those cases could be handled by scouts that think something is wrong. What's the mechanism to do that?. But there are also things that maybe only the SM sees. I agree with Barry that the SM is the keeper of the flame, so they ultimately do have say in decisions. So can any troop ever get to that top level? Or am I just reading this wrong?

        Comment


        • MattR
          MattR commented
          Editing a comment
          So I think what you're saying, or maybe what I want to hear, is that at the pinnacle of scout leadership, the SM is coaching and asking questions and only very rarely needs to make a decision. This seems very dependent on good scouts that want to do a good job.

          I talked to a few PLs last night and started asking them why we do things the way we do (why elections every 6 mo, why adults collecting permission slips, etc) and a lot of light bulbs turned on. I asked them could the scouts handle these things and how would they do it differently. That was a good discussion.

          I looked closer at the ladder graphic and it doesn't really help me. I like the idea of showing everyone where we are but this doesn't really help. I chucked it and started over. First of all, there are lots of parts to the program. New scouts, older scouts, campouts, high adventure, service projects, meetings, gear, patrol leadership, advancement, ... one ladder is not enough. Next, I like Stosh's idea of either you manage or you lead, but I broke each in 2. So four levels.

          Level 4) The scouts are merely participating or have no clue this is part of the troop. At most they get to decide from a small set of choices given them. Adults do most of it, or at least make all the decisions.

          Level 3) Scouts manage a task for an extended time frame. Decisions are constrained and adults have to approve. It's open loop so if things go wrong, an adult will step in or the problem will likely repeat the next time. Scouts need to participate.

          Level 2) Scouts lead a task for an extended time frame. They care about the result and the people involved. They recognize when they're in trouble and ask for help. Adults ask lots of questions and keep the scouts focused. Scouts need to care. Adults need to bite their tongues.

          Level 1) Scouts look at the big picture. They train others. They will identify problems and come up with solutions on their own. Adults rarely step in. Scouts need to be self motivated.

          So when I look at this for my troop, we're all between level 2 and 4. When it comes to picking patrol leaders and patrols and dealing with troublesome scouts, they're at 2. QM is between 3 and 4, depending on the adult working with them. The SPL is so close to level 1. The calendar and campouts are a 3, but recently a 2. Advancement is between 2 and 4, depending on what adults are around.

          Sorry about blathering on, but this helps me.

        • jblake47
          jblake47 commented
          Editing a comment
          Kinda scary to have the light bulbs turning on, especially after talking directly with the boys. One has to name the problem before they can solve it.

          I like your ladder a lot more.

          Well done.

          Stosh

        • Sentinel947
          Sentinel947 commented
          Editing a comment
          The infographic isn't perfect. I like the system you put together Matt. I posted the infographic from Scoutmastercg.com because it illustrates the point I wanted to make, that Boy Leadership isn't a on/off switch, and it's a progression that both the Scouts and the Adults have to make together.



          In your system the unit I serve is somewhere between step 3 and step 2.



          But I agree with the infographic that I posted in many regards, some troops really do operate where adults make the decisions and the Scouts are just along for the ride.



          Sentinel947

      • #13
        I think it is interesting in looking at the Ladder how our Patrols are different. They each have had consistent cultures that seem to 'stick' even with changes of membership over the years. People are funny that way.

        Comment


        • jblake47
          jblake47 commented
          Editing a comment
          Once you understand group dynamics and how it affects the individuals (mob mentality) you can see why there are differences in the patrols. If everyone in the patrol is gung-ho on scouting, pick any scout and toss him into the mix, he'll take on those characteristics. And if one has a slacker patrol, take your best scout toss him into the mix and he'll get tired of beating his head against the wall and become a slacker, too.

          One also has to be careful with definitions when it comes to this issue. A certain amount of fuzzy logic can be applied to give a false reading on what shade of gray we're dealing with. To assume that a troop is boy-led or adult-led is pretty black and white and for the most part all troops fall somewhere in the gray area in between, probably neither as the dynamics change. In some respect the troop may be boy-led and in other respects adult-led. The thread was designed to evaluate where in the gray area someone's troop may fall.

          Stosh
          Last edited by jblake47; 10-21-2013, 10:11 AM.

      • #14
        Back to the thread. I think we are a mix, Trying to move toward a boy led--sure not an even journey. We found the boys liked planning the program but not the work of running the program. So parts of it fall apart and other boys vote with their feet.

        Comment


        • #15
          The ladder idea is good in that it can help the troop see where it is and figure out how to move forward. Tampa makes a good point in that changing too much at once will cause so much failure that scouts will walk. And that's why adults jump in and rescue the scouts. "They aren't advancing, they don't have paper towels, I'll just fix the problem for them." Then we're back to square one. Maybe rather than fix the problem the adults should just note the problem and talk to the PLC.

          I'm going to take my set of ladders and give it to the SPL and ask him to define the responsibilities of the scouts and adults. I'll encourage him to bite off more responsibility for the scouts. I'll let him decide how much change he can handle at a time.

          Comment


          • jblake47
            jblake47 commented
            Editing a comment
            As I mentioned and as Barry referred to, it depends heavily on the maturity/beliefs of the adults. Are they willing to help the boys move from light grey to dark grey. I don't think it is a measurable status in any one troop, but a journey of which direction the troop is trying to head. With Barry's point, the real stickler may be the adults and not the boys and all the problems they have to face. It's one thing for them to take on more leadership and yet another to have the adults step back and let them. What is really sad is when the boy are struggling more with the adults than they are on developing a good program for themselves. I learned early on, that if given the opportunity, many youth will literally surprise you with what they are willing and wanting to do.

            Sounds like you are on the right path and best of luck with your efforts and be sure to congratulate the boys every positive step they make. Ignore most of the stumbles, they are expected and needed to grow. Don't tell them, but you can be a welcomed safety-net for them when they need it. But remember, when they end up in the net, they have to crawl back out and head up again on their own. The net only saves them, it doesn't correct the problem. That's up to them.

            Stosh
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