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  • Patrol Dads?

    I was told that son's old SM has appointed an adult (ASM I guess) to work with each patrol /patrol leader. I"m just sitting here mulling this over. This seems to me to be major revamping of a troop leadership chart. All of the PL are star or higher and about 14
    So if the dads are training the PLs what is the SPLs job? If the dads are running the Patrols what is the PLs job? If the dads/ASM calling the shots why would a scout go to his PL with a problem / question?
    Anyone see a positive side to this? I'm not coming up with anything.

  • #2
    It really depends on what "work with" means.

    Comment


    • #3
      A very bad idea, your troop will be adult-run in no time.

      Your SM misunderstands the methods of scouting.

      My $0.02

      Comment


      • #4
        I think he is applying the concept of the old "Assistant Scoutmaster Venture" of the 1990's and misapplying it to all of the patrols.

        Idea of 1 adult dedicating their time to working with the "venture crew" as it was known from 1989-1998 and now know as a "venture patrol" was that one adult could work with the older scouts and assist them in doing their own program. basically making sure th 'i's are dotted and the t's crossed" sort of thing before doing their own thing without the adults around. ( this was when Scouts could camp without adults as a patrol).

        Problem as noted by RS is that the venture patrol became adult run, and hence why they no longer have that position.


        Comment


        • #5
          I was asked to do this once. We were called patrol advisors. I simply told the PL "I'm here if you need me." From time to time I fielded questions about how to manage things. (E.g., how to look at advancement records of his patrol and determine the program he should promote to the boys. What to do when boys weren't working on advancement as planned. Etc ...) I would drop by their table near the end of breakout session and just say "Hi." Sometimes, I would boil down advice given on these forums for a youth audience!

          In general I kept my distance, encouraging the PL and SPL to work together.

          I suppose in this day and age, it would be nice to have one adult who could be counted on as an available "leader of record" for patrol overnights, etc ...

          Bottom Line: it's the details of the thing that matter. If the ASM is expected to take a huge role in every patrol meeting, it's a problem. If he is more of an observer/advisor it's not such a big deal.

          Comment


          • #6
            I like what qwazse wrote. My big fear is that it is hard enough to get one adult who get's what it means to be a good scoutmaster. Now, you've got to basically have a good SM plus multiple good ASMs.

            My fear is the adult who just can't follow directions or keep to the agreement of "I'm here if you have a question". I've run into way way too situations where there is an adult that for their own edification needs to inject themselves into everything.

            You might define the role as an at-a-distance-advisor-only-if-really-needed, but I'll bet 30% or more of the adults will have a hard time sitting still and keeping quiet.

            The other problem is getting consistent attendance for the patrol advisor. We tried the patrol advisor and our experience was the ASMs were not consistent in attendance to really be dependable to be around when needed. It's hard enough to get a SM who can always attend.

            Potentially a good idea and a good idea for new patrols that might need more guidance (?? troop guide ??).

            But for what it's worth, I'd kill the idea and just make sure the SM and ASMs are around and watching. They can always provide a friendly word if needed. But to formalize it scares me.

            Comment


            • qwazse
              qwazse commented
              Editing a comment
              Keep in mind I always operated from the position of *assist* the SM. And I had boundary issues (which ultimately led to my taking on crew advisor, but I digress). So, I never got bent outta shape if some other patrol's advisor wasn't around. I just assisted whoever, or reigned in any boy who was out of control. My PL just knew he could give me a call if I'm in a jam.

              Also, the tag-team works both ways. My venturers know that the SM is available as a consultant if they need him. The only down side of this is sometimes folks aren't sure if a given conversation is about the crew, the troop, or both.

          • #7
            Like I said it depends on the what is meant by "work with," which has not been spelled out by the OP. The scoutmaster is responsible for providing training to the patrol leaders, whether via troop leadership skills training or a matter of routine diligence. It could be simply that he is delegating some of that to ASMs he trusts for matters of schedule, etc. If he is asking adults to be de facto "Den Leaders" that is another matter.

            Comment


            • DuctTape
              DuctTape commented
              Editing a comment
              Agreed. All roles of adults within the BSA structure have the capacity to either help the boys grow, or be a hindrance via inappropriate implementation of the role. The OP asked about a benefit. One I can see is having a single adult attached to a patrol could help mitigate the intrusion of other adults. All of this is predicated on the Patrol dad understanding and implementing his role appropriately with full understanding of the associated risks. the same is true for all adult roles in the troop, the SM included. I understand the fear some have about this role leading to an adult led troop, that risk is inherent to all adult roles, not just patrol dads.

          • #8
            Originally posted by Brewmeister View Post
            It really depends on what "work with" means.
            Definitely, more below

            Originally posted by qwazse View Post
            I was asked to do this once. We were called patrol advisors. I simply told the PL "I'm here if you need me." From time to time I fielded questions about how to manage things. (E.g., how to look at advancement records of his patrol and determine the program he should promote to the boys. What to do when boys weren't working on advancement as planned. Etc ...) I would drop by their table near the end of breakout session and just say "Hi." Sometimes, I would boil down advice given on these forums for a youth audience!

            In general I kept my distance, encouraging the PL and SPL to work together.

            I suppose in this day and age, it would be nice to have one adult who could be counted on as an available "leader of record" for patrol overnights, etc ...

            Bottom Line: it's the details of the thing that matter. If the ASM is expected to take a huge role in every patrol meeting, it's a problem. If he is more of an observer/advisor it's not such a big deal.
            My troop did this when I was a youth, and I do it with one patrol from the troop (ASMs have been asked to do it with other patrols, but I'm the only one that has stuck to it). I keep my peace in general, but as someone who's been around for several decades there are times I chime in to keep their minds open to possibilities and remind them how much of their experience depends on simply deciding to do things, and what they can decide to do.

            It's a very fine line, I guess, is what it boils down to.

            Comment


            • #9
              Sounds like a boy-led babysitting service.

              1) The adult is not necessary
              2) It undermines the duties of the SPL/ASPL team
              3) If an issue arises that the SPL needs advice on, he can always consult with the SM and/or someone he/she recommends.

              PL's run the show for their patrols.
              SPL supports them.
              If SPL needs support he has his PLC and/or SM

              Otherwise the advice to all adults, MYOB unless asked.

              Stosh

              Comment


              • Eagledad
                Eagledad commented
                Editing a comment
                And when the PL ask his assistant for driving resources to a camp, he only has to, WAIT a MINUTE.

                I think one should expereince patrol advisers before making comments of them. We had patrol advisers when I was a youth scout and I only remember him being source to the PL, especially in areas of logistics. Our patrols usually do two patrol campouts a year and PLs lean on the Patrol Advisor in areas that require an adult. Of course like anything, tools can be used incorrectly, but they can certainly help a boy run patrol be even more independent. Barry

              • jblake47
                jblake47 commented
                Editing a comment
                When the PL's gather for their PLC they should know what activities there are planned for the month. The SM and ASM's can sit in and listen and when they hear the Bear patrol is planning on a day hike on Saturday, they simply take notes and provide the appropriate logistics support for the activity. The boys have made plans that all the patrols have decided on Camp Timbucktoo? The SM and ASM's will then listen carefully for the dates and begin proper logistics planning to make sure everyone gets there.

                I don't see there is any need for a separate person operating outside the SPL/PLC boy-communication process.

                All the advisers I have seen seem to be very reflective of helicopter type dynamics that interfere with the boy-led process.

                And as worse case scenario, the PL's can actually write down the information on a slip of paper that they give to the SPL after their report and the Scribe can collect these up and do a followup with the adults letting them know they will need X number of drivers on such and such a date.

                Seriously, a single adviser sitting in on a PL meeting won't have that information available anyway. Maybe there should be an adult adviser patrol committee to make sure there are enough adults for 2-deep to make sure they can answer immediately.

                Nope, just don't see any positive advantage to having den mothers/patrol dads hanging around after Webelos II.

                If the PL needs "outside" help, his first option is the SPL, not some adult. If the SPL needs help, there's the SM.

                Boy-led means the boys handle all situations on their own, once they get to the point where they can't, the first adult they go to is the SM. That's what he/she's there for.

                Stosh

              • Eagledad
                Eagledad commented
                Editing a comment
                >>Nope, just don't see any positive advantage to having den mothers/patrol dads hanging around after Webelos II.

            • #10
              I just don't see any benefit either. But I see a whole bunch of risks and problems. adults not staying at a distance. Reducing the independence of the scouts.

              Comment


              • qwazse
                qwazse commented
                Editing a comment
                That happens with or without these sorts of positions.
                I've only done this from the perspective of assisting the SM.


                I suppose if I were to request helper adults, I wouldn't call them patrol dads or advisors. I'd use the term consultants, and build a list for the boys similar to what I do with my venturers. They'd be available to the patrol for a particular program or activity. "Need kayaks? Talk to mr Stosh, here's his number." "Mrs X got trained and can chaperon if you give her advanced notice."

                That sort of thing.

                The main thing I tell adult leaders: Be available. Don't act until called upon. I'll have our coffee ready momentarily.

              • jblake47
                jblake47 commented
                Editing a comment
                I never have a problem with adults supporting the activity of the scouts. But the emphasis always remains on supporting, not doing. Every scouter needs to be first of all a teacher, helping the boys do for themselves, not doing it for them. A lot of parents have no idea what that means.

                This concept is the first thing I teach my boys and expect every adult to follow. "What can I do, if anything, to help?", but used only if the boys seem to be struggling with something. "No, I won't do that for you, but I have a couple of suggestions you might want to consider to get the job done...."

                In Boy Scouts when it comes to adults, they never have problems. They help the boys with their problems. Ownership always stays with the boys as does the solution. When a child is small, the parent solves the child's problems, they're hungry, you feed them, they're cold, you put on more clothes, etc. By the time they're 18, the parent should have taught them to do all these things for themselves and their future children. We have too many parents that don't do this and then can't figure out why they don't move out of their house.

                Qwazse, you have a good start, but I wouldn't offer as many "solutions". You need Kayaks? What do you think adults do when they need kayaks?" If you say, "Talk to Mr. Stosh.... " then you are solving their problem and not teaching them how to creatively figure it out on their own. The SPL should have a list of adults that can help and it's up to the PL's to start making phone calls if they need something. Maybe the phrase, "Mr. Stosh owns a kayak, maybe he could help. Mr. Stosh's phone number should be on the troop roster, if you need that." Every time an adult does something for the boys, they steal an opportunity to learn and lead.

                Stosh

            • #11
              The editor keeps kicking me out. Wish me luck on this fourth attempt. There are many leader styles that accomplish similar goals with the similar degrees of a boy run. Used correctly, patrol dads, or whatever you call them, give a PL more freedom and independence to lead the patrol. That for me means more growth and experience. Troop environments are great for allowing patrols to be creative and spontaneous, but the outside world is not so friendly to boys. An adult resource is one tool the PL can use to help with those kinds of challenges with activities independent of the troop. Some SMs like to hold closer control of the PLs than others and I'm sure that works. But that is just one of many successful leadership styles. Barry

              Comment


              • RememberSchiff
                RememberSchiff commented
                Editing a comment
                "The editor keeps kicking me out". This happens to me if I forget to check the Remember Me box [ ] when I log in.
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