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  • Unit Planning and Boy Lead - what does Boy Lead really mean?

    new post to avoid hijacking another thread....

    Originally posted by qwazse View Post
    (The first year, I had to shoo "helpful" adults away, saying they were consultants and were to do *nothing* unless explicitly asked to do so by a youth.) .
    This statement struck a chord with me, summing up very nicely what Boy Lead seems like it should be.

    .... but what does a person mean when you say the troop is "adult lead"....
    OR
    what does boy lead mean to most of you?

    Seems like all sorts of different stratus levels between the two extremes - adult lead to boy lead


    Our troop is transitioning form a tiny adult lead one to a growing boy lead troop, and I'm a new CC with very little troop level experience....
    I'm trying to gently remind our committee that much of what we're doing isn't really letting the boys "lead" fully, but then does it make sense really?

    According to the BSA guidelines, about the only thing schedule related the committee should be worrying with would be making sure that facilities are available.

    Our committee is setting the schedule for the next year.... such as which weekend every month is camping, which night is the PLC going to meet, when will we be holding COH, etc....
    It seems to me that the PLC should be choosing these things.....
    BUT
    the parents on the committee make a good point, and with the SM right out front..... "I'll be d*#m& if I'm going to let a boy set my schedule....... Their point is that the adult's schedules really drive these things more than the boys', so we should be setting the plan, and then let them pick things such as "where" to camp" and what to eat.....

    It seems to me that the PLC should be coming up with a schedule OR working with the SM on a schedule, and then it would be up to them to invite the SM and ASM's on the camp.... and then if no adult leaders are available they'd have to plan it out differently.
    or
    if the PLC requests a meeting room from the committee on the night when they choose to meet and none are available, or if they can't coordinate rides to that meeting, then they have to figure out a different plan.

    I am picturing the PLC sitting down and making a list.....
    We would like to:
    camp at X park in May for two nights
    Summer camp is already planned for June
    in July, it's hot, so let's plan an overnight trip to the indoor rock climbing gym, and let's do it on a Friday night instead of Saturday....
    August is the start of school, so let's take that month "off" and do "blah blah"
    In September it would be cool to do a trip to Camp so and so and hit the range.
    ....
    Then they'd have to arrange leaders, facilities, ask the committee for ....... etc.


    Do I have it all wrong from the norm for most of you?

  • #2
    We provide the PLC with last years schedule and a future master schedule blank with some stuff filled in--school testing dates, holidays, CO service dates, known major conflicts etc. Also a list of previously boy suggested outings that we never got around to (trips cancelled, etc). Boys then make a draft and work with the SM because it is not so easy. I have seen some SM "great ideas" dropped due to lack of interest. Oh course I have seen low attendance on trips the boys pushed hard on as well.

    I think once a working draft is made does an adult starting working on checking availability...

    Comment


    • #3
      I find things shift back and forth between where I'd want them to be and where they are ...

      With the crew, I'm pretty hard and fast. They propose a date and event, then see if a couple of adults are free. Or, they ask us when we can take off work then check their schedules. This makes it rough on committee who might rather schedule an event to their liking. More because they feel non-participant's guilt. I don't see it that way at all because if each of them can see their way free to an event that the others can't once a year ... that's four or five more possible events that would otherwise not be possible.

      With the troop: bigger numbers, more youth who can't drive, etc ... So coordinating with adults is more essential. More along the lines of what you suggest. Is the SPL in the room with the committee? We haven't been able to make that happen given youth schedules, but most chairs are available to talk with the SPL on meeting nights. Whatever you can do to make it feel like the boys are interacting with the committee rather than having dictates "handed down from on high", will help.

      Comment


      • #4
        This is a favorite discussion with many of us, so I'm sure it will be very active. I think you have a good idea of a boy run program. But there are no two boy run programs a like because growth and maturity of both the scouts and adults require constant changes or tuning. So don't get fixated on a single method, get fixated on the objective so that you can identify when you are on and off track. Its more important know where you are going then how to get there. Start thinking pictures that you can help identify your goal. For example one of the pictures I taught our leaders was that we were trying to put the adults out of business. Another way I explained it was we want the scouts so confident in their skills that if the adults didn't show up, the activities still ran as planned. I would even test that when opportunities allowed the adults hang back or not show up. Do you really need adults at a PLC meeting? But you get the point. Your training has to be good enough to teach confidence of doing the skills in normal activities, and the activities need to give the scouts the expertise of the skill. And when I say skills, I am also talking about value skills like the law and oath, or leadership, management, character and so on. To something, we have to practice that something. So introduce them to the skills and give the freedom to practice. Barry

        Comment


        • #5
          Okay, I'm way overboard with boy-led. The boys checked at home to see what week would be good for summer camp. Best they could come up with was X week of July. Okay. They then approached the SM (me) and said they had decided the best week of camp, do we have adults that can attend/drive, etc. Adults got together and said, yep it's a go for that week. Just a couple of tweak problems about ride/arrival for one family, but for the most part, it was green light. This information was relayed to the boys. End of discussion.

          "Our committee is setting the schedule for the next year.... such as which weekend every month is camping, which night is the PLC going to meet, when will we be holding COH, etc....
          It seems to me that the PLC should be choosing these things.....
          BUT
          the parents on the committee make a good point, and with the SM right out front..... "I'll be d*#m& if I'm going to let a boy set my schedule....... Their point is that the adult's schedules really drive these things more than the boys', so we should be setting the plan, and then let them pick things such as "where" to camp" and what to eat....."

          Okay, we have the non-negotiated extremes here.

          Adults say this is the weekend for camping. Boys all say we have other things to do that weekend. End of activity. Adults: "Gee it was a really great idea that the boys recommended, and yet no one showed up! Shows how unreliable the boys can be..." Of course, the adults never take into consideration they submarined the idea with their scheduling. Don't need the boys to plan anything if they are dead in the water before they start.

          And for all those out there that want to know what Servant Leadership is all about.... well this is what it isn't: "the parents on the committee make a good point, and with the SM right out front..... "I'll be d*#m& if I'm going to let a boy set my schedule....... "

          The adults are running the show, unsupportive of the boys and they've cut off any dialog before they even meet with the boys. This is adult-led, pure and simple. If I were a parent wanting boy-led, the first person to go after a comment like that would be the SM "right out front"....

          I for one see no valid reason why the committee is involved in scheduling of activities at all. The CO provides the meeting room and everything else is dependent on where the boys want to go. The boys decide they want to camp at X spot. SM/ASM's work out the travel/adult commitments and away they go. No adults to drive? Then the boys don't go. I'm thinking the parents, exclusive of the committee, would come up with some rides/supervision if the boys asked them.

          The committee dictates the boys go camping every month. Boys decide not to camp for August, getting ready for school, extra sports/band practices, etc. So they say no camping in August. CC and committee go ballistic. So the boys put together a menu, make arrangements, line up drivers, waste everyone's time because they aren't going anyway.

          If the program is not exclusively adult-led (which some very successful troops find it possible) or exclusively boy-led (which some very successful troops find it possible) there is always the middle ground where the understanding is accepted that a program can't be a servant of two masters. There has to be defined lines in the sand. I think BP said, his line was, "Don't do anything a scout can do".

          Definitions flutter around every Roundtable as the what Adult-led/Boy-led mean all the time.

          I have one troop that the SM brags about how he tells his boys what to do and they get out there and git 'er done! To him that's what boy-led means. They are masters of following the SM thinking they are running the show.

          Leadership? Just ask yourself who serves who? Does the Pope hold the stirrup for the King, or does the King hold the stirrup for the Pope?

          Stosh

          Comment


          • #6
            There is no controversy about the basics. While BSA has failed in recent decades to publish a clear, comprehensive statement, the words are still all there if you recognize them for what they are..

            "The boys themselves develop . . . program, then take responsibility for figuring out how they will achieve their goals.”

            "The formalized proposed annual troop program is presented to the Troop Committee by the Senior Patrol Leader, accompanied by the Scoutmaster, who asks them to support the program. The Committee considers that question in light of the policy of the Boy Scouts of America that the responsibility for planning program rests with the Scouts.”

            “The Scoutmaster and other adults with the Troop act as non-voting advisors and resources for the Scout leaders in their program planning.”

            “Except as to matters of safety, neither adults not Junior Assistant Scoutmasters directly supervise Scout work. Instead, they work THROUGH the leaders by teaching, advising, counseling, educating, and example.”

            So, in a Scout troop we know who plans the program and who leads the program. The question is, "Do you have a Scout troop or something else?"

            Comment


            • #7
              So I'm not all wet with my thinking then!

              I agree, I see no reason the committee is involved with scheduling. That's why I'm troubled enough to post about it
              We need to schedule our own meetings..... sure
              We might to get involved to steer them to when rooms are available at the church, but really not even then. The boys can look at the church calendar as can the SM. Otherwise, we can reserve the room for them when they "ask" for it, right?

              I was taken aback by the SM with all of this...... very surprised actually
              I get that he thinks "The Boys aren't there yet" in regard to the effort to transition to boy lead.....
              BUT
              This doesn't seem like it's helping to get them there either.....
              I can't really say where the boys "are" in terms of readiness, since I don't know them like the SM does. It's a young troop, so maybe we do need to continue being Cub Scout Leaders a little while longer.......

              So my conundrum - how to get the SM to realize how this could be torpedoing the BL program.

              Comment


              • #8

                "Do you have a Scout troop or something else" is a worthless mean sentence and just meant to shame others and cause division.


                "Boy Led" is a bad term. Not because it's wrong but because I see way too many leaders (as done above) use it to diss other troops. Too rarely does it communicate any meaningful purpose. AND, I see too many leaders take it to the extreme and end up drivings away with way too many bad experiences. AND too many leaders confuse "boy led" and "boy run".


                EagleDad hit it on the head. "Boy Led" is about knowing what we want to teach. Responsibility. Leadership. Independence. The implementation needs to vary widely with the maturity of the scouts (and also the adult leaders). IMHO, I want to keep the end vision of "boy led" in my head, but work it a few steps at a time. And as scouts and leaders change, those steps repeat and change all the time.


                Scouting is a game with a purpose. Game = fun. Purpose = the troop's meetings, events and activities are used as teaching experiences. Those experiences need to be adjusted for the maturity and capability of the scouts.


                IMHO ... we need to take the view that the youth leadership positions are for the scouts to experiment and learn. In another words, SPL is SPL to learn and grow. SPL is not SPL because he's a great leader and really good at running meetings.


                So you will NEVER have a troop that consistently runs smoothly as fully "boy led" program.


                ... Scoutmasters who say "The Boys aren't there yet" is a different issue. Sometimes if you have low expectations you get low results. Sometimes if you don't use every moment possible to teach you end up having scouts that don't know how to do things. Sometimes you just need to let the scouts try ... and then work with them so they succeed.
                Last edited by fred johnson; 05-09-2014, 03:38 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by blw2 View Post
                  So I'm not all wet with my thinking then!
                  I agree, I see no reason the committee is involved with scheduling. That's why I'm troubled enough to post about it
                  We need to schedule our own meetings..... sure
                  We might to get involved to steer them to when rooms are available at the church, but really not even then. The boys can look at the church calendar as can the SM. Otherwise, we can reserve the room for them when they "ask" for it, right?
                  I was taken aback by the SM with all of this...... very surprised actually
                  I get that he thinks "The Boys aren't there yet" in regard to the effort to transition to boy lead.....
                  BUTThis doesn't seem like it's helping to get them there either.....
                  I can't really say where the boys "are" in terms of readiness, since I don't know them like the SM does. It's a young troop, so maybe we do need to continue being Cub Scout Leaders a little while longer.......
                  So my conundrum - how to get the SM to realize how this could be torpedoing the BL program.
                  Our committe has nothing to do with the actual scheduling--however, they are told about what the boys decided. One key to boy led is ILST. Once they start to realize the theorietical power they have, they start to use it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by blw2 View Post
                    I was taken aback by the SM with all of this...... very surprised actually
                    I get that he thinks "The Boys aren't there yet" in regard to the effort to transition to boy lead.....
                    BUT
                    This doesn't seem like it's helping to get them there either.....
                    ...
                    So my conundrum - how to get the SM to realize how this could be torpedoing the BL program.
                    It is very very hard to put faith in your youth. It's sometimes hard to put faith in themselves. I had one VP-Program want to try a self-defense course, so I gave her the a number of a consultant who had worked with us before and told her to let him know when we were meeting. She was shocked when he showed up the following meeting night with some pads and mats ready to teach some basic escapes! She thought we would just be "planning" the course.

                    That said, there are numerous times when youth wont make those calls and will let you down. (Sometimes, the first call doesn't work, and they get discourage and quit.) Nobody wants to tell an otherwise decent kid that he/she let the unit down. So, we ask the committee for a few "fail-safes". Don't even realize we're doing it!

                    How to undo all of that? Well, you need to start asking the SM where your boys can get some "opportunities for failure." Maybe call them "high risk - high reward" policy changes.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by fred johnson View Post
                      "Do you have a Scout troop or something else" is a worthless mean sentence and just meant to shame others and cause division.
                      You are obviously distressed with the logical conclusion that comes from comparing what BSA has said for over 80 years to what adults often do. The logical conclusion from your words is that the words are meaningless and adults can do whatever they want with the boys and call it "Scouting."

                      I have more distressing words for you:

                      " “It has been said that 'the Patrol System is not one method in which Scouting for boys can be carried out, but it is the only method. . . . [T]he essential thing is that there should be small permanent groups, each under responsible control of a leading boy . . . .'”

                      What do you suppose the word "essential" means? What do you think the words "the only method" mean?

                      It only gets, from your point-of-view, worse:

                      "“While the Patrol Method is primarily about patrols, it is also about how those patrols, working through the Patrol Leaders’ Council, operate the troop created from those patrols – the ‘Youth-led Troop.’”

                      Empowering boys to be leaders is the core of Scouting. Scouts learn by doing, and what they do is lead their patrols and their troop.”

                      “The patrol leaders’ council is responsible for . . . conducting the troop’s activities. … They plan the program, conduct troop meetings, and provide leadership among their peers.”

                      “Our goal is not to get things done, but to create a safe and healthy environment with the training and resources that the Scouts need, and then let them do it.”

                      “We just have to remember that our business as adults is not the same as the business of the boys. It is up to them to get things done.

                      It is up to us to make sure they have what they need, but (within the bounds of health and safety) not what they do with it.”

                      “Your Scoutmaster and other adult leaders will help Scouts become good leaders, then will step back and allow the troop’s youth leaders to take charge of planning and carrying out activities.” Boy Scout Handbook, 12th ed. at p. 34 ("Your Troop") [emphasis added]


                      “It can be a very messy business, and painful to watch. Meetings where the boy leaders are in charge can be very chaotic. And it can be very tempting for adults to jump in and sort things out, because that is what adults do. But we have to remember that that is the process of Scouting. That is how they learn—even from disorganization and failure”



                      So you will NEVER have a troop that consistently runs smoothly as fully "boy led" program.
                      The objective is the journey, not the destination. You will never have a Boy Scout troop until you let the youth lead. Your job as an adult, is to teach them to lead, NOT to lead yourself.

                      Imagine this headline:

                      “Little League Coach pitches Parma Nationals to area championship.”

                      “I had to take over. None of the boys could find the plate.”







                      Last edited by TAHAWK; 05-09-2014, 04:39 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I believe in boy run - adult led program. The scouts decide the camping weekend, meeting activists, weekend day trips, merit badges to work on...etc. That is boy run. The adults make the decisions of the scouts happen. They provide guidance and leadership when needed. And lastly the adults work to ensure the activities are performs as safely as possible. The adults should not micro manage or be too involved with the scouts. They need to let the scouts succeed or fail on there own. I have seen older scout leaders that could plan and execute the entire program. My last two spl's were younger and needed a helping hand from time to time. As others have said, the program will fluctuate from time to time based on the abilities of the scouts and adult leaders.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Somebody could, and probably should, write a book on what boy led is and how to get there. Nobody will say their troop is adult led as a complement, so I guess boy led means whatever anybody wants.

                          Here's another definition. Boy led is really a crock. Yes, the adults set boundaries, and we just had a thread on this subject, but doesn't a good SM treat his SPL the way the SPL should treat the PLs, the way the PL should treat the scouts? Doesn't a good leader let those led call the shots in their domain? Let them suffer the consequences and enjoy the rewards? Doesn't the leader look out for his people? They also train when needed. They ask questions. They talk up success. So maybe it is SM led. But with a good attitude and a good heart, the SM is developing future SMs, the SPL is developing future SPLs, all the way down to a 13 year old developing a new First Class scout that can help his patrol. If the SPL is 17 and really gets it then the SM really doesn't have anything to do, but if the SPL is 12 then likely the SM has a lot of coaching to do. If the PLs are 15 and owns their patrols then maybe the SPL doesn't have much to do but if the PLs are 12 then likely the SPL has his hands full. Is there really a difference between the SM and the boys? Yes, there are safety issues, but for the usual leadership things maybe the difference is not nearly as profound as people make it.

                          ​Maybe the question should be is the troop developing leaders at all levels, or is there one leader and a bunch of managers, or one dictator and a bunch of peons?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Like BLW2, we have transitioned from a small (11) Troop to a larger (40) Troop. Four years ago, we had 8 boys 15 and older and three 11-year-olds. Now our oldest Scouts are 15, and are far from the best leaders in the Troop. The smaller Troop was boy-led all the time because 80 percent of the boys had been in Scouts for at least 4 years and "got it." None of the Adults felt the need to be constantly stepping in. That the Troop was boy-led was kind of invisible, in that no one had to go around pointing it out - it just happened.

                            As these older boys Eagled & aged out, we have used the opportunity to acquaint our newer Adults with the concept that Scouting is "boy led" and have had one hell of a time convincing these Adults to trust their own kids, whom they seem to want to sell short at every opportunity. "They're too young!" has been a frequently heard refrain. This is said with equal conviction about 11-year-olds and 14-year-olds.

                            It most certainly makes a difference if the SPL is 17 vs 13, but only part of that difference is age-related. Boys mature at different speeds. As the entire Troop matures, it is hoped that the boys will make better choices of who will be their leaders and that the natural leaders will want to step into those roles. Younger boys don't always understand the importance of electing good leaders as easily (or how to identify one), and are more likely to vote for a kid they like or end up with the one kid that says he'll take the job. Naturally, they are the ones who end up with a lesser experience because they made these choices. If they notice this and make better choices, that's progress in my mind.

                            I hope BLW2's SM will wake up. Scouts need to make decisions and live with the great things that will happen along with the consequences.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              If left to the boy's selection/election process and leave the adults out of the equation, one will find they do a rather nice job of leader selection. They often times do a lousy job of management selection however. A boy who does not know how to manage tasks very well can and often times is a good leader. They are the planners, the visionaries, the mother-hens, the one who feels the deepest about the boys having fun. He just can't figure out, or doesn't have the skills to make it happen. Thus through inspiration teamwork, he works with his buddies to make things happen.

                              Too many adults dump on such boys because they can't get the job done, at least not according the to the adult expectation levels. They do well working with boys, the the management tasks get secondary priority because in their minds, people are more important than tasks.

                              These people are not always the elected "leadership" of the troop, but they are the servant leadership glue that holds everything together. If adults stop and take a deep breath once in a while the would actually see this in action. Spend one or two meetings just watching the boys in action. Say nothing to no one, don't do anything except watch the boys. Take notes maybe, but keep watch for the duration of the meeting. See who's doing what, who's saying what, how the boys react to these things. And eventually it will become very plain, who's really leading and caring for the boys and who's trying to "run the show" and git 'er done because that's what they have been told leadership is, when it's not.

                              Stosh

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