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    • Five months ago my 11 year old son joined a very small Boy Scout Troop.  He was in Cub Scouts for 5 years and I have been very involved as a den leader and Pack Committee Chair.  I have no prior experience at the troop level.   The troop we joined had only one patrol with 6 boys.  My son and 5 of his Webelos friends joined together and formed a new patrol (doubling the size of the troop).  The troop has been in existence for 40+ years and has two ASM who have been around for a long time. The problem is that although they claim to be "boy led",  the boys have no idea how to run a meeting, plan an activity or actually lead anything.  They had an election, but the new PLs received no training and have not had any opportunity to act as  leaders.  There does not seem to be any system for training the boys to take on various jobs/positions. Everything is very disorganized.  Meetings are boring.  Older boys stand in front of the room and lecture the younger boys about various topics.  No one is using the EDGE method.  Boys are getting signed off on requirements without actually completing them.  (Instead of "demonstrating" various things, they just have the boys explain, regurgitating what is written in the handbook).  The ASMs quiz the boys at length on skills, asking them to describe or explain when the requirement clearly says "show" or "demonstrate". The SM recently stepped down for personal reasons and one of the new parents has taken on that role.  He's a great guy, but has no experience at the troop level (previously volunteered as a den leader). I'm willing to pitch in and volunteer to help make the troop better.  But I honestly get the feeling that they don't want to improve.  So I'm wondering if we should simply look for a better, more organized, well run troop.    My biggest concerns right now are the lack of training for the scouts, and the way they are addressing the requirements.  Is this typical for a Boy Scout Troop? Appreciate any advice.  Thanks!  
    • I've served in several councils over the years, and in more than a few of those, the WBers were collectively "as described" by the criticisms here in the forum.  Though I haven't taken WB, I know how to read a syllabus.  And heaven knows, I have been subjected to many a long-winded recitation of every facet of WB courses by graduates.  I can also assess performance. There is often quite a gap between what WB teaches and how many WBers perform their scouting duties.  Not to mention how they interact (or don't) with non-WBers.
    • Read again. I  quoted my father-in-law -- not granddad. Therefore it was referring to how I wound up with the best mother-in-law a guy could ask for. Although I'm sure Mrs. Q gets the "brought int this world" benefit! But Pack's misread shows that blaming the writer for folks who read facts not in evidence is a little silly. It's fine to have a little back and forth to hone in on what's being said, and if what I've said is patently unconscionable, I'm more than happy to change my approach to youth's issues. But, that means the cause had better be against the construct itself and not a straw-man. Proclaiming "it might sound like ... <insert PC concern here>" doesn't carry the weight that "this definitely implies ..." does. Just like the soon-to-be-father Eagle candidate. By most of our books, we could dock him for fornication. Some of us might also fault the abandonment of universal precautions. But, using that to speak to his entire character is setting up a another straw-man. And, how you weigh it against all the other scout's traits (including how he is going about responding to this situation) might very well depend on where you live. I will take this moment to point out; however, that the real answer probably involves "Time will tell." If the Eagle rank weren't merely a youth award, you could tell the scout, "We need a year to see if you will handle this situation responsibly and with true scout spirit." Being able to do that might help develop a desirable character.
    • I do not have any problem with the Wood Badge course,  or people taking Wood Badge.  Most my scouter friends took Wood Badge and it was just a training course to them and nothing more. I have a problem with over the top Wood Badge recruiting that spoils a scout activity. I have a problem with scout camp fires becoming surprise 45 minute long beading ceremonies. I have a big problem with the way Wood Badge people haze and insult one another,  it is very un-scout like.
      I have a problem with all the critter based sexual innuendo and inside jokes that sound like sexual innuendo that they use in front of the scouts.   At the last Camp-O-Ree camp fire I went to the Wood Badgers ( a group of around 15)  managed to completely mess things up. . . in a way that I have never seen done before (they upset a lot of boys and scouters).    The problem is some people treat Wood Badge as something more than a training course, when they really shouldn't.        
    • I agree completely. That is the situation I am in. When I taught SM specific and IOLs, I went after the best folks I could to help with the courses. I even had youth staff who i know had the KSAs to do the job to show what a Scout is capable of doing if you "Train 'em. Trust 'em. LET THEM LEAD!"  And I have folks I see today who are only paying lip service to the patrol method. One troop was nearly annihilated when one of them took over. he told me that "BSA needed to change with the times." Of the 3 NYLT grads he had when he took over as SM, 1 stayed registered to remain in the OA, but never did another thing again with the troop, and 2 transfered to a troop that is a PM troop.   Regarding Adults reminiscing about troops of their youth, as I see more and more troops, I realized how lucky I was to have Joe S. as my SM growing up. We were a Youth Led troop. We made mistakes. We had out problems. We were by no means perfect. But we were youth led. SM, and CC for that matter, not only advised and mentored us, but more importantly kept well meaning adults from interfering and ruining the program.  
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