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  • Laziness?

    In the tag line of EagleScout2010's post he commented about the leaders being lazy when they don't step up to the job. I also hear a ton of comments about the boys not doing their jobs and a ton of such comments about boys not caring once they get selected and then there's those that don't really fulfill their POR's.

    I got to thinking.... (dangerous on my part).... but is it laziness or ignorance? How much training is done on a specific POR or leadership skill with the boys individually. NYLT does well on management skills, but they tend to be woefully inadequate for real leadership.

    Does the QM need to know more than just what's in the equipment inventory?

    Does the Scribe actually take PLC minutes? Does he even know how?

    Does the SPL come with a meeting agenda written out or does he just wing it?

    Do we train or do we sit around and wait for them to figure it out as best they can on their own?

    I for one would never volunteer to do a job I knew nothing about. Why is it we expect our boys to?


  • #2
    I think it would be pretty hard for a boy who's been in a Troop for a couple of years to claim he "didn't know anything about" any of the POR's. At a minimum he's watched the Scouts who have held these positions, and what they've done (or not done).

    We were just talking the other night about how the schools around here don't even bother to teach kids how to take notes any more.

    The answer to the larger question is "all of the above." I've seen fully trained, 17-year-old Scouts who simply wouldn't do anything. I've seen gung-ho 12-year-olds who didn't know anything, but had the capacity to learn quickly both from mentors and on-the-fly.

    There's no such thing as a "failure" as long as you use reflection to learn from whatever mistakes are made.


    • #3
      If the BSA program touts leadership development wouldn't one think an ongoing emphasis on developing that would be more than standing around hoping that through osmosis, the boy picks it up along the way?

      I'm thinking that most boys that age aren't going to step up and do anything without knowing how to do it in the first place. Massive Failure in front of their friends is not on their to-do list for the day. Does that mean they are lazy or have we held them back from the promise we made to them when they joined?

      So what's a chaplain's aide supposed to do? lead grace? have camp devotions? promote religious awards? comfort the homesick at camp? And so where does he get training on any of this?

      So what's the Scribe supposed to do? Keep records, minutes? Maintain health records on the boys? Monitor advancement? And so where does he get training on any of this?

      So what's the librarian supposed to do? Keep track of all the obsolete MB pamphlets? ?? ?? Oh, yeah, that's about it, but ... where does he get training on any of this?


      Bugler's here... he just played some music who knows what we're supposed to do now? SM turns to the Bugler and says, call the Raven Patrol back to camp.... Huh?? where does he get training on any of this? (I can almost guarantee you that 99% of SM's out there have no idea what to do with a Bugler if they had one other than playing reveille and taps. Before radios, a bugler could move a regiment of 1,000 men around at the command of the colonel, and we use them ornamentation to a troop ceremony.

      I find that 90% of what my boys balk at have their basis in ignorance, not laziness, yet the threads seem to never think that is an option and that the boys are basically lazy.

      "You've been around long enough, you should have known what to do!" Well, Mr. SM, he doesn't because no one taught/told him. It's not his fault, it's the SM's! Maybe it's the SM's that are the lazy ones.



      • #4
        I agree with you !!!! More training, but thats only for leaders other than NYLT


        • #5
          Originally posted by JasonG172 View Post
          I agree with you !!!! More training, but thats only for leaders other than NYLT
          Nope, it's for all the boys, you never know what spark might excite one of the boys. And if they are trained they are more likely to step up and take lead in the patrol. Seriously, I've never volunteered to do a job so that I would learn how to do it. I kinda like it the other way around.



          • #6
            How about fear, ignorance, and a lack of confidence? That's for the scout. For the adult it's ignorance, lack of time, and lack of training material.

            ​I have no idea why there isn't much better training material available from BSA. The one size fits all method currently used reduces to the least common denominator. Let's face it, you can't fail SM specific training but a scout can not make it to Tenderfoot. So how good is the training? I'm not saying let's fail SMs, but let's help those that want to get beyond the very basics.

            My guess is this website has the same couple of dozen issues that come up over and over again. That's where the training could be improved.


            • #7
              After 30 years, I went back this summer and retook the IOLS training. My ASM was ASM when her son was in a troop and now her grandson is in my troop and she went with me on the training to refresh her skills too..

              It was basically the minimum of what is needed to get by. I was read to out of the handbook and demonstrated back what the instructor showed me. I wasn't too sure how much more the instructor knew than what was in the book.

              I felt like I just got a taste of a MB mill where if I didn't fall asleep I got it marked off.



              • #8
                Hard to argue against more training. But come on. We tried everything formal training to one on one handholding. I don't know if it's laziness per se, but certainly a lack of seriousness, pride in a job well done or responsibility. Take scribe. I'd be thrilled to have a scribe who will CONSISTENTLY take attendance. I can't conceive anyone making it through the second week of kindergarten without understanding the concept of taking attendance. PLC minutes is different. I doubt most adults know how to properly record the minutes of a meeting. But how about "take notes"? I've created forms for our scribes to simply fill out. I've sat with the scribe and taken the minutes together. I made a 3foot by 4-foot version of the troop meeting plan sheet out of whiteboard material so the entire PLC can help. Bottom line is as soon as I stop the "training"/handholding the note taking stops.


                • #9
                  I wonder what would happen if you asked the scouts to write down what they are supposed to do for their position? Hmmm, another idea for scout leadership training.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Twocubdad View Post
                    Hard to argue against more training. But come on. We tried everything formal training to one on one handholding. I don't know if it's laziness per se, but certainly a lack of seriousness, pride in a job well done or responsibility. Take scribe. I'd be thrilled to have a scribe who will CONSISTENTLY take attendance. I can't conceive anyone making it through the second week of kindergarten without understanding the concept of taking attendance. PLC minutes is different. I doubt most adults know how to properly record the minutes of a meeting. But how about "take notes"? I've created forms for our scribes to simply fill out. I've sat with the scribe and taken the minutes together. I made a 3foot by 4-foot version of the troop meeting plan sheet out of whiteboard material so the entire PLC can help. Bottom line is as soon as I stop the "training"/handholding the note taking stops.
                    The boy will continue the work if there is incentive to do so. There are no consequences for doing a poor job in a POR. You got the job, you got the patch, you finish the time, you get the credit. Nothing in that process says you have to DO anything! Is that because of laziness or because no one ever told them. Yes a certain amount of handholding is okay, but the boy needs to be relied on to do the job.

                    Scribe: - Attendance records for 6 months, minutes of the PLC meeting for 6 months, train the next scribe, etc. You show me documented proof you did the job, you get the credit. Pencil whipping advancement, MB's and POR's is just a simple solution to satisfying the helicopter parents of parlor eagle scouts.

                    The adults seem to be so geared up to support this whole self-esteem system our culture promotes that it will sell its soul to the Devil if it keeps the boys happy and the parents off the phone.

                    If the adults can't be trusted to provide a quality program for the boys, why would anyone expect the boys to be trusted to do a good job of actually earning their ranks as the program states. If the adults have the energy to yell at the boys for not doing their jobs, they should have enough energy to teach them what that involves.

                    Twocubdad: I would spend a bit of time handholding the first boy as scribe, then let him be. He knows what is expected. Once he comes up with 26 attendance reports and 6 PLC meeting notes and maybe 6 financial statements if the treasurer position is part of the Scribe's duties, and a record of any and all correspondence over the course of however long it takes to get those documents, and the new scribe coming in signs an affidavit stating he has been trained and fully understands what it's going to take to get POR credit as Scribe, then he gets his book validated.

                    If he only has 24 attendance records, his duties get extended an additional 2 weeks. If he only has 5 PLC meeting notes, his duties get extended an additional month, and if the new scribe doesn't sign off and accept responsibility, he has to go back and train someone who will.

                    Once the adults get serious about the process, so will the boys. Lead by example, if the adults are blowing this off, so will the boys.

                    "We have met the enemy and it is us!" - Pogo



                    • #11
                      I'll jump in here too. I agree with MattR's post above. There is just not enough training material available. For the boys, the responsibility lies with the older boys, but when starting a new troop with no experienced boys (or even just moving from adult to boy led, like I'm attempting), the expectations have to start from adults. Where can we find out how much or how long, or even what we are supposed to teach the boys to ensure their knowledge is sufficient before we "let go" and set them off "on their own" ??? In terms of POR, I've only ever seen one boy, QM, learn his job by himself. He is working on Eagle and has been QM for years since he is the only one who WANTS to do it, other than his little brother who plans to take over the "family position" lol... But seriously, this boy learned to do the job HIMSELF and the only thing he could do more of is finding out who had equipment such as tents when pieces break or rip. Dishonest scouts tend to think it is better to hide the damage... I would think the other boys would keep damage from happening by "harassing" anyone who stabs holes in tents for bugs to climb in....

                      The first thing I did last troop election was give each new boy leader a responsibilities sheet for his POR. Other than physically stepping in myself and showing them how to do it, I can't seem to figure out how to get the concept of taking notes, checking in and out MB books, taking pictures at camp, etc. through their heads. And especially the Historian, I fail to understand what training is required for a boy who owns a camera to bring it with him and take pictures.

                      I'm torn between the laziness/ignorant concept mostly because of seemingly simple tasks like that. If it truly is laziness, it is self-explanatory. Though if ignorance and lack of motivation is the case, my goal sounds like I need to have the troop irritate each other to death until they all do their simple tasks. It just seems like there's no way to have scouts "make" each other do things without there being some form of bullying involved. If they only plan to use positive reinforcement, then, well, they could be waiting a long time.

                      I hope I don't sound angry/upset, but it is very frustrating to have a goal that requires me to upset parents, scouts, and leaders before things start happening. The fun thing about ignorance, though, is that we all have it in some way or another...

                      *side note: Is there a "Quick Start Training: A Guide to Shutting Your Mouth as an Inactive Parent" because that (hopefully with a more PC title) would eliminate half of my worries on reaching a level where boys are motivated, productive, and most importantly, having fun. While this is mostly a joke, it really would be nice to have something that I could use to talk to these parents and reassure them that I "know" what I'm doing, and am here to help their sons learn and empower each other.


                      • #12
                        It was interesting at this year's summer camp. 4 Webelos crossovers, no older boys and first time at summer camp, wood stove and very little experience.

                        As a boy-led program, they were well prepped that if they ran into difficulty they could always ask for help and training.

                        Well Monday rolls around and lunch is supposed to be grilled cheese, the boys ate cheese sandwiches instead. So, was it an issue of laziness or an issue that none of the boys knew how to start the fire in the wood stove and make the grilled cheese?

                        So why should I worry? They were all fed and life goes on.

                        This example shows how one's perception could infer that these boys were being too lazy to cook their lunch, but I know for a fact that wasn't the case. They didn't know how to start a basic fire.

                        So with all the new SM/ASM's out there that may not have such scoutcraft skills, how are they to help the boys? Dad A, never been in the woods except in a 45' RV with all the amenities of hotel life. But he does have a lawn chair and does sit out in the afternoon in the screen house he sets up first thing on arrival. Dad B, big outdoorsman, hunts, fishes, camps in his pickup popup. Who's going to make it as SM of the troop?

                        Dad A, gets out the book, looks at all the illustrations, reads the directions, puts together a teepee fire lay and with 6-8 matches gets it going. He has coals for cooking in 30 minutes. Not really a glowing example of who I want teaching my kids. But Dad B get his fire going in a mere few seconds and has coals for cooking in half the time. Pile up a bunch of wood, douse it with a half gallon of gasoline, toss in a match and we'll have dinner in a matter of minutes. How can you tell the difference between Dad A and Dad B? Dad A has the eyebrows.

                        In IOLS training how many people actually are expected to start a fire? The training I had showed us the different fire lays, but no one ever expected us to go out and get wood and actually find out how easy/difficult the task really is.

                        How many SM/ASM's can set up a standard camp wall tent, by themselves? How about the dining fly, by themselves? How about knowing the knots to tie for such an effort?

                        Leave no trace emphasis made the Orienteering course really easy. We just followed the path and got out the compass only when there was a fork in the trail. Total waste of time.

                        When woods tools were taught, we were told to pretend there was a guard on the saw because he didn't have one. It didn't stop him from handling it anyway.

                        New SM/ASM's with this kind of learning and no personal experience in the outdoors except what they picked up at family camp in Cubbing, are going to have a difficult time teaching the boys sufficient skill to function in the woods.

                        I'm not looking for another book to read, I want experienced scouters showing me and forcing me to try out these skills so I have a fighting chance of teaching them to my boys correctly.



                        • #13
                          I think training is often part of it. Perhaps with some boys, laziness or a general lack of concern may be part of it as well. But on the other end of the scale, I see Scouts who have taken on so many different activities between Scouting, sports and after-school clubs, etc. that it is difficult for them to focus on any of them. Managing one's time, knowing when to say "no" to another job or activity, and maintaining focus on everything you've signed up for is not something that teenagers are born knowing. I know a lot of adults who have trouble with it, too.


                          • #14
                            Adding something that hasn't been raised yet: Who is doing the training and setting the expectations for a scout in a new POR? If it is the SM or an ASM, then the boy very well may view it as an unnecessary job only being done because the adult told him to do it. If it is a same age scout (i.e., the PL in a troop with age based patrols), then the scout's view may be that the PL doesn't know any more than he does, so why should he listen to him? Besides, they just want to goof around together.

                            However, if the person doing the training and setting the expectations is another scout that is older than him, the scout is more likely to follow through, because the older scout is likely looked up to and respected by the scout. He wants to be accepted by the older, "cool" kids in the troop. Consider moving to placing the responsibility of training and follow up to a JASM or other older scout. Moving to this type of structure may take several years for the troop to adopt, as the current older scouts have grown up in an environment where such jobs nover got done well, and therefore they have no view as to how things could or should be.


                            • #15
                              FYI ... I don't think it's lazyness or training. Some of that yes, but I see two other big factors. #1 Non-critical positions. #2 Structured to fail.


                              NON-CRITICAL #1 - Without most of the positions, the troop runs fine. The only absolutely critical position is the senior patrol leader who needs to get all the scouts marching in the same direction. Without a scout as SPL, almost nothing would happen in our troop. But historian? Quartermaster? Scribe? ASPL? Troops easily adjust to missing positions to the point almost no one notices the person is gone. Even when patrol leaders are gone, a scout usually steps forward to represent the patrol.

                              NON-CRITICAL #2 - The absolute non-critical position is the librarian. Is there really much to that job at all? How much more non-critical can we get? Heck, most scouts get their info online now from or elsewhere.

                              How can we expect scouts to take the positions seriously when the jobs themselves are pretty make work?

                              How can we keep their respect when we promote just how serious the job is when the jobs are often just don't matter, either because of the job or because some adult is doing the job anyway.


                              STRUCTURED TO FAIL - #1 Why is the scribe and historian expected to be in patrol lines? How does the scribe take attendance or updates notes if he's standing in a patrol line. How does historian document troop meetings if he's in-line too.

                              STRUCTURED TO FAIL - #2 How can the scribe take his job seriously when adult leaders send emails to parents describing everything that is going on? How can scouts take their job seriously when adult leaders take notes and share them at committee meetings? IMHO, if the troop is going to use email to communicate, let the scout at the troop meeting be on his laptop and sending the information out or updating the web site.

                              I've seen good and bad SPLs, but I've never seen an SPL who didn't expend significant energy doing his job and making sure things happened. I've also seen many librarians and even those that did their best barely did anything worthwhile.

                              IMHO, if we want the scout to perform the POR, the POR needs to be important and not done anyway by an adult.

                              The trouble is it's really hard to get adults to stop taking notes. Heck, I've seen troops that send adults around at summer camp to take attendance at merit badge sessions! IMHO, that's the ultimate statement of lack of trust and defeating the responsibility of scouts.


                              If you want to develop leadership, don't ignore the training, but focus more on doing things. Go on a canoe trip, a bike trip or .... By doing things, the scouts naturally have to get things done and have to work together. It also gives us opportunities to coach in situations that matter and not seem like we are just nagging them. AND thus scouts learn leadership. Have the scribe work with the SPL to create the duty roster and get it posted. Be on a canoe trip and have to divide the work to get things done.


                              Annedotal side comment ... In our troop, SPL is a year position starting in the fall. The idea is the SPL can gear up all year to run summer camp.

                              IMHO, I'd like to reverse that. I'd like SPL to take charge in April or May. IMHO, SPLs are much better SPLs after having run the troop summer camp. There is nothing better to teach an SPL his job than getting the troop moving at summer camp, attending camp leader meetings, using their patrol leaders and representing the troop and even simple things like making sure the final patrol lines are cleaning before we leave summer camp. Then for the rest of their year, they are comfortable taking charge, knowing their role ... AND ALSO ... the other scouts know to look to the SPL for leadership and coordination. I think it would make the rest of the year go better.