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    • What you are facing is normal, this is what almost all new scout troops face.  The boys need to be trained, before they can lead. The scout master is the key person that needs to get the SPL trained and up to speed. There are some books that would really help your new scout master with some much needed insight, I suggest: The Scout Masters Handbook The Boy Scout Handbook So Far, So Good!  A New Scoutmaster's Story  by Clarke Green The Scouting Journey, by Clarke Green The Scoutmaster's Other Handbook, by Mark A. Ray  
    • Saying "Wood Badge is just another training course" is technically correct - but it misses some of the most important parts of the experience.  Let me see if I can explain. First - It's a shared experience.  A Wood Badge course is two very long three day weekends.  During that time, the participants spend a lot time getting to know each other.  The whole course is structured to encourage that - kinda like the patrol method can for Scouts.  Some of the participants clearly have a "when can I go home and mow my lawn" vibe.  But, many others embrace the experience.  I'll admit - I enjoyed the people I met and their passion, energy, and enthusiasm.  Call me crazy, but I enjoy Scouting and I enjoy getting to know people who enjoy Scouting.   It's very natural to make new friends on a course.  And yes, my two weekends turned into some friendships that I maintain today. Second - It's a personal accomplishment.  Much of the Wood Badge experience is the time spent working on your ticket.  Sure, some Scouters create simple tickets that are easy to finish.  But, many create tickets that challenge them quite a bit personally.  These are projects that you work on for the better part of 18 months. When I got home from my course, I had absolutely no idea how I'd get mine done.  I put in hundreds of hours working on it.  So yeah, when I got my beads, I felt a pretty significant sense of personal accomplishment.
    • 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.
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