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Moving from Adult led to Scout led

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  • #31
    Reaseyann,

    Congrats for the successful PLC! I took over my troop as SM 18 months ago and I am going through the very same transition from "Webelos 3" to a boy-led Troop. Getting the adults to back off is just as difficult as convincing the scouts that they are empowered to make their own decisions. We have a code phrase in our troop... if an adult is noticed as "butting in" anyone can approach them and ask "Hey, do you need a cup of coffee? Let me show you where it is." :-)

    It's apparent that your patrols need to be reorganized. Build on the success with the PLC by planting the seed of info that they (the scouts) can make changes to the program and troop structure. Ask the PLC to come up with a plan, pending SM approval, to create workable patrols.

    If you can make the time, take the Wood Badge course. It will be a tremendous help to you in turning your troop around. BTW, those two wooden beads are my most prized Scouting award and worth every minute I put into earning them.

    EL

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    • #32
      Our Troop has been moving this way for several years, and I have only been with the Troop a year. The 2 problems we have now are 1 the parents who were here from the beginning where it was a few 11 year olds not realizing that they can step back now, and 2 the couple of adults who have an overwhelming need to make sure everything is run by the boys, but only so long as it is run to the standard of adults. I am taking over as SM probably later this fall. Here is what happened this week. (apologies to those of you who read the story on the introductions forum, but it seemed more relevant here and I am guessing quite a few of you don't read the introduction forum closely)

      During the meeting one of the ASM's stepped to the front of the room and barked at the boys (for a valid reason, but I don't care, it wasn't the proper way to handle the situation). We also have many adults making announcements that the boys could handle themselves. And we have adults standing in the wings when the boys are trying to conduct their meeting, making occasional comments (helpful usually, but again not the proper place). Later in the meeting last week when the boys were doing an activity I told the ASM's (and the SM, as I don't hold that role yet), that I was instituting a new rule. From now on, unless a boy is in imminent mortal peril, no one over 18 is to speak at the meeting without raising their hand and waiting to be recognized by the SPL. I am also putting a line behind the last row of boys that no adults are allowed in front of without first raising their hand and asking permission to enter. I have already lined up for the SM to cross the line to talk to the boys without permission, and for the SPL to put him in his place and make him go to the back of the room to ask permission before he crosses the line or addresses the group. I'm also going to make some announcements to the Troop during the meeting, and one of the boys has been planted to ask me why I am giving them the info directly instead of through the SPL. I plan on tying it all together in the SM minute, which will be aimed at the parents as much as the boys. We also have a problem of parents talking too loudly right behind the scouts. So I'm going to partition off a "no talking" zone for about 20 feet behind the last row of boys. Just as well deal with all of my boundary issues at once.

      Should be a fun meeting, I'm kind of excited.

      Comment


      • #33
        Our Troop has been moving this way for several years, and I have only been with the Troop a year. The 2 problems we have now are 1 the parents who were here from the beginning where it was a few 11 year olds not realizing that they can step back now, and 2 the couple of adults who have an overwhelming need to make sure everything is run by the boys, but only so long as it is run to the standard of adults. I am taking over as SM probably later this fall. Here is what happened this week. (apologies to those of you who read the story on the introductions forum, but it seemed more relevant here and I am guessing quite a few of you don't read the introduction forum closely)

        During the meeting one of the ASM's stepped to the front of the room and barked at the boys (for a valid reason, but I don't care, it wasn't the proper way to handle the situation). We also have many adults making announcements that the boys could handle themselves. And we have adults standing in the wings when the boys are trying to conduct their meeting, making occasional comments (helpful usually, but again not the proper place). Later in the meeting last week when the boys were doing an activity I told the ASM's (and the SM, as I don't hold that role yet), that I was instituting a new rule. From now on, unless a boy is in imminent mortal peril, no one over 18 is to speak at the meeting without raising their hand and waiting to be recognized by the SPL. I am also putting a line behind the last row of boys that no adults are allowed in front of without first raising their hand and asking permission to enter. I have already lined up for the SM to cross the line to talk to the boys without permission, and for the SPL to put him in his place and make him go to the back of the room to ask permission before he crosses the line or addresses the group. I'm also going to make some announcements to the Troop during the meeting, and one of the boys has been planted to ask me why I am giving them the info directly instead of through the SPL. I plan on tying it all together in the SM minute, which will be aimed at the parents as much as the boys. We also have a problem of parents talking too loudly right behind the scouts. So I'm going to partition off a "no talking" zone for about 20 feet behind the last row of boys. Just as well deal with all of my boundary issues at once.

        Should be a fun meeting, I'm kind of excited.

        Comment


        • #34
          Rules are nice, but are they adult rules or boy rules? Not, who's going to adhere to them, but who made them up. What say the boys about all these rules?

          When I ran a troop as SM there were only 3 rules 1) Safety first, 2) Look and act like a Scout, and 3) Have fun. I had very little problems throughout my tenure. Occasionally the SPL would do the sign's up routine, I never did. Everyone was addressed as Mr. _____.
          That peer respect between adults and youth prevailed throughout and there wasn't any rule necessary to reinforce it.

          A true leader does not need to tell people how to follow/behave, the people will follow his lead naturally. Prior to my arrival the boys called the SM by his first name, they did to me as well. I always referred to them as Mr. and their last name. Within a month I was no longer referred to by my first name by anyone. I never made a rule or even mentioned the "new policy". Scouts who have turned 18 and moved on to college/military, etc. still refer to me as Mr. _____ even though I have told them they no longer need to. I never use sign's up to bring a meeting to order. I just stand there and wait for them to settle down. The very first time I did this the SPL put sign's up and quieted them down. He said they were used to having the SM do that. I said. It's a matter of respect. I don't interrupt other people when they have something important they were doing. I'm not going to interrupt them with sign's up. It only took once or twice more and whenever I stood up in front to address the boys, it got quiet right away. Eventually this got translated to anyone standing up in front to address the boys. It was rather funny to hear the boys at the first COH hushing their parents so we could get started. Normally it's the other way around.

          Lead by example. Teaching the SPL and other officers to lead by making rules is not leadership at all.

          Moving from adult to scout led means that if rules need to be created and maintained, they should be coming from the youth.

          If a band of travelers encounter a fork in the road and the "leader" knows that one way is longer and safer and the other shorter and more dangerous. Regardless of which way he picks, the question always remains, will the others follow? That's a mark of a true leader. It isn't the situation, it isn't the choice, it's whether or not anyone will follow. If the youth "leaders" make up a bunch of rules and no one follows, it could be a problem for their "leadership" skills. Same for adults. If they make up a bunch of rules and then spend the next X number of months trying to get everyone to follow, it is a strong indicator of what kind of leader he/she might be. A true leader really doesn't need to make up a bunch of rules, people will follow his guidance without it having to be laid out in stone.

          Just my 2-cents worth.

          Stosh

          Comment


          • #35
            Troop and patrol meetings should not be spectator sports. Adults often unknowingly affect the boys just by being in the same room. With no specific job or role to fill, it is natural that they will start to have conversations among themselves, not realizing that their conversations contribute to noise leves in the room and are distracting.

            Suggestion: Have a discussion with the PLC about this. You should be able to ask questions that will help them realize that they could have better meetings without a lot of adult distractions going on in the room. Once they get to that realization, support the SPL in going to a troop committee meeting and requesting that all non-leader adults find a different room in which to meet while troop meetings are in progress.

            Comment


            • #36
              jblake,

              I get what you are saying. But I don't think right now the boys are empowered enough to stand up to the adults. I am trying to get them some breathing room. My hope would certainly be that in the future they will be able to handle this. I will point out to the SPL that the PLC can make other changes (or undo mine) if they don't think the meetings are going well.

              I do want to address a couple of your points. You asked "What say the boys about these rules?" When I approached the SPL with the proposed changes, his response was a big smile and to say thank you. He wants to run his meeting, but the adults aren't letting him. So I know that at least the SPL (and my 2 boys who are in the Troop) are wholeheartedly on pushing the adults out of their meeting. I know the boys didn't originate the rule. But they don't think they have the authority. That needs to change too. I will tell the SPL that he didn't need to wait for me to step in, he could have done it himself.

              Also, we are in serious violation of your rule "have fun". Before that meeting, my son didn't want to go, because he is sick of the adults treating them like little kids. When the ASM was barking at the boys, my son looked at me and mouthed "this is what I am talking about".

              The bottom line is that I have some adults who aren't letting the boys run their own meeting. And I don't think they are going to back off unless I tell them to. So that's what I am going to do. I get what you are saying, but I don't think we will get to the point that the boys can take control without this interim step. I may talk to the SPL about the chatter in the room, and let him come up with an appropriate way to deal with that, rather than me making a quiet zone behind the boys. That could include the idea of having the adults go elsewhere, although I think he will get a lot of pushback on that one, and probably the committee will not let him move the adults completely out of the room. Some of my opinionated committee members are the biggest offenders about talking during the meetings.

              Comment


              • #37
                >>But they don't think they have the authority. That needs to change too. I will tell the SPL that he didn't need to wait for me to step in, he could have done it himself.

                Comment


                • #38
                  So we had the Troop meeting last night. Overall, it went pretty well. I sent out emails to the parents Thursday, Monday, and Tuesday reminding them to pass along any announcements to the SPL so no adults talked during the meeting. Much to my surprise, all announcements were handled by the SPL. We also had all the adults behind the boys, rather than on the sides where it is easy for the ASM's to add, and easy for the SPL to call on the adults for help. The SM did walk up to the SPL and start giving him info, and eventually the SPL asked him to step back and ask for permission to enter the meeting. I also made a couple of announcements, and my plant asked me why I was giving the information rather than passing it through the SPL. We tried talking loudly enough in the back to have the SPL ask us to be quiet, and everyone except the SPL was staring at us. He just tried to ignore us and keep talking. Eventually we got it straightened out. I suggested to the SPL that he cordon off a quiet area, but I didn't force it and he didn't bite.

                  Good: The adults all stayed back, and stayed quiet during the meeting (except for a couple of planned interruptions)
                  Bad: A couple of announcements were botched, the SPL wasn't as prepared and confident as I would have liked to see (sounds like a normal Troop meeting, right)

                  At the SM minute, I asked who was told by an adult what to do today at school or home (all hands go up). Who wants to come here and have more adults telling you what to do? (all hands go down). I tried to really emphasize to the boys that this was their Troop, not the SM's, not mine, and not their parent's. If they want changes, they need to talk to the SPL and make it happen. They seemed excited, but like was said earlier, a little hesitant to believe that I really mean it. I am hoping if I can keep the adults off their backs for a few more weeks, it may start to sink in that this is their Troop. I don't remember where I saw it, maybe on this forum, maybe Wood Badge, maybe somewhere else, so I apologize for not attributing the quote (and not using it verbatim), but someone said something like "This is supposed to be a club run by the boys, not a club ran by the adults for the benefit of the boys". I am trying to get my boys (and adults) to see that.

                  I was thinking about having some physical object to indicate authority. Maybe a gavel, maybe something else. I'm thinking of my fraternity meeting days, but basically something to indicate that whoever holds the object holds the floor (95% of the time, the SPL). Make a production of giving it to the SPL, have him hand it to me during SM minute and then I give it back to him. Have him give it to his successor at the Court of Honor when a new SPL is sworn in. I'm kind of thinking out loud on this one. Anyone do this or have any thoughts?

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    >>I was thinking about having some physical object to indicate authority. Maybe a gavel, maybe something else.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Thought I would give an update.

                      Somewhat to my surprise, the changes appear to have stuck. And I haven't had to send any emails or address the issue at a Troop meeting. The adults are giving their announcements to the SPL before the meeting, and the adults are staying at the back of the room. I have probably been the worst offender, sometimes not giving the SPL enough information before the meeting so he has to ask me to make an announcement for something or other. I have also caught myself a couple of times stepping forward to help him out. Fortunately, I only get a couple of words out before I apologize and ask permission to address the Troop. Hopefully as I get a bit more experienced, I will do a better job preparing myself and the SPL so I am not feeling the need to address the Troop. We still have room to improve towards being boy led, but it really feels like we have taken some good steps that direction the last couple of months.

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                      • #41
                        As you are finding out, training adults in a boy-led program is more difficult than training the boys.

                        Stosh

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                        • #42
                          SM_Travis,

                          Sounds like everything is going in the right direction. Your steady efforts are paying off. But don't forget, sometimes the Scouts like to hear from the Scoutmaster.

                          sst3rd

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