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Eagledad last won the day on May 24

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  1. Our council once polled the SMs for the pros and cons of the NYLT cours. The number 1 con was they didn’t know how to support their scouts because they didn’t know what they were taught. Request the course directors to leave one minute at the end of each class for participats to write a note of what they can do for the troop with that lesson. Then instruct the SMs to sit with their scouts and create a plan from each note. Barry
  2. Not typically, but the situation is unusual. We had the scouts write ticket items (plan from skills learned during the course) and review them with their SM at the end of the course to develop a plan together. Barry
  3. As someone who was responsible for the Council Junior Leadership Development and NYLT (JLTC), the average 14 year old doesn’t have the maturity for the advanced course. Maybe the girls do, but not the boys. Ideally, adult troop leaders observing the course would bring back more value to their troop. Barry
  4. Eagledad

    Why no "trained" shoulder emblem for NAYLE ?

    Yes, we got rid of the course and changed to as minimal training as we could. We found that leadership development courses should only be used to give enough basic tools for surviving the first month in office, or to fix a specific problem. We went from doing annual troop training weekends to a one hour course after each SPL election. Ironically, when we were doing the the troop weekend training course, a couple of troops asked if they could send a few of their scouts. Even though stopped running the course because we determined it was way too much effort for knowledge gained, those other troops who participated in our course took the syllabus and started running their own course. For them, it was a fun weekend and gave their older scouts something to do. Barry
  5. Since I have little experience as an adult leader in a Crew, I take your word as gold. I find your post interesting because the crew members I found most bored were from General Interest crews. Based from my youth experience of Scuba Explorers, planning for scuba activities was relatively quick and easy. I agree that when open to do anything, a lot more time (and frustration) is spent deciding. Same goes with PLCs. Troops can sometimes get in a rut simply because repeating activities is easier than the pain of planning something new. Also, I may have said this somewhere else, but for the 20 or so years I was active, our district averaged loosing 3 out of 5 crews in their first five years. None of those crews were Specific Interest crews as far as I can remember. I think there are several reasons, but the main reason is the sponsors of specific interest crews are generally organizations or businesses specializing in that specific theme and don't loose interest. Sponsors of general interest crews are typically parents who move on when their kids move on. Barry
  6. I'm not quite sure what the article is saying beyond letting your kids do what they want to do. I don't know. In reference to our scouting program, I believe scouting is one of the few programs where a boy can live his dreams. The challenge for the adults is building a program without barriers to the dream. The greatest deterrent to a great scouting program is the adults' common idealist dream for each scout. I understood this realization more and more as I experience peeling away layer after layer of my pride to remove barriers from the program that got in the way of scouts. One time I was talking to a scout who was leaving troop meetings early for his job. I don't remember the conversation exactly, but I will never forget his one comment "Because of his job, my ASM dad shows up to every meeting 45 minutes late, and nobody says anything about it. I leave each meeting early for my job and everybody is upset. I like scouts, and I like my job. Why do I have to make a choice and the adults don't?" Wow! Another adult idealistic dream holding back another scout. Like ripping off a sticky bandaid, I painfully pulled off another layer of pride to remove the barrier to this scouts scouting experience. Changing the program to be more open to the scouts' personal lives wasn't near a challenging as explaining my reasoning to the other adults with idealistic dreams for the scouts. I can only handle so much humility at one time. Sometimes a SM has to pull out their SM Card to trial new ideas.😎 Barry
  7. Eagledad

    BSA patrol method is lost in the fog

    That my experience, it's not a theory for starting a discussion. Where did I say that? Often the older scouts encourage the younger scout to take on responsibility so the older scout has an opportunity to mentor. In fact, I often watch our SPL choose the ASPL and Troop Quarter Master for that very reason. Can a leader be anymore serving than that? Not in our council. Brown Sea (or whatever it was called) taught advanced leader skills beyond the handbooks in planning, meetings and working the group. District and councils teaching scout skills at advanced leadership courses makes no sense and are doing it wrong. There is not a power imbalance in a servant driven program. And successful programs are open for different ideas, dreams and ambitions. A program that forces scouts to different than who they want to be, it will find itself loosing scouts. This is the number one problem of programs that loose their scouts at age 14. But, ironically, you could observe several programs at once, you will find that the same age patrol type of troops struggle with keeping older scouts because the mature responsibility of role modeling and mentoring is encouraged. In general when scouts are brought up in a serving environment, older scouts will instinctively mentor. Again, that is my experience. This is where I saw a big problem with same age patrol. The scouts in same age patrol did not see a vision of mentoring younger scout growth. They saw a duty to do their stint, then move on. And that was it. As I said, that is why same age patrol troop struggle to get past age 14 in troops. Troops with mixed age patrol are far more likely to keep the older scouts because there is still challenges in the program for the maturing young adults. Call it what you want, it doesn't mater. What matters are role models are internal to the patrol to provide experienced knowledge and that doesn't exist in patrols where everyone has the same experience. OK, I'm not sure what you are picturing here, but I trust your are correct. We had another Scoutmaster not to long ago on this forum who liked to split hairs to be divisive. I don't see "teaching" and "doing" as two separate actions in the patrol. Like a neighborhood sandlot baseball team that practices the fun sport of baseball, a healthy patrol requires both. If there is a difference between you and I, it's where the definition of "good decisions" come from. Scouts have to be guided from a baseline of behavior to know the difference from good decisions and bad decisions. The SMs role is the gatekeeper of that behavior. In a program that uses role models to develop growth, the SM guides through the older scouts because, they are the role models to the younger scouts. The discipline of making good decisions has to start at the top and work its way down to be consistent through the whole program. You have seen me often say that the quality of a troop program is measured from the oldest scouts, not the youngest scouts. To me your struggle appears to be mixing older and younger scouts. You aren't alone. You might even be in the majority in this day and age. But, when adults start throwing out stuff like 16 year olds don't like to mentor 12 years olds and 12 year olds are intimidated by 16 years olds, I discard it along with older scouts need more adventure and only the popular scouts get elected. None of those fears work on me because I have the experience that debunks it. I have to stand up and bring balance to such ideas. You may not be a mixed age patrol kind of leader. It's just not in you to trust how the complexities of younger scouts learning and building confidence simply by watching older scouts. And even more perplexing may be the idea of serving others is one of the most important skills a scout can learn to be a great leader. Serving and role modeling go hand in hand. And, role modeling is instinctive behavior for post pubescent males. The biological phenomenon is a mystery to me, but I've seen the wonder so many times, I have have full faith in it. Personal leadership experience has very little growth value for boys 14 and younger. But get them to age 15 and Scouting is one of the best programs where adult scouts can actually express adult traits... if we let them. I'm not trying to convience you to change. I've been in enough of these discussions to know better. Your a fine leader and I have no doubt your scouts are getting a great experience. But I will be here to balance these discussions for sake of those who want to understand the whole picture. Those of us who present our opinions based from actual experiences are becoming fewer and fewer. I want to keep my experience alive for as long as I can. Barry
  8. Eagledad

    How to increase usage of Patrol Method

    Our troop slotted two months out of the year for patrol campouts. They were very popular for the scouts and adults who supported them. Fishing and hiking seemed to be the most popular theme. To further encourage patrol independence, they are asked to find their own rides for both scouts and gear for all camp outs. If they need additional space for gear, the PQM calls the TQM to reserve space in the trailer. If a patrol needs the troop trailer, they can request as well provided the driver and PQM have been trained and checked out by the TQM. I imagine insurance may have further requirements today. We also encourage patrols to travel independently from the troop (or troop trailer), but we found that some of the parks and camps don't like the groups checking in over several hours. Barry
  9. Eagledad

    BSA patrol method is lost in the fog

    Well, I'm with you, this isn't the subject thread to debate. All I'll say is my experience is the opposite of your bullet points. Sadly, your bullets suggest scouts don't mature past juvenile self-servingness. As for giving up on teaching, well I guess, but again you are defining the two different mentalities for mixed age and same age patrols. Mixed age relies on the role modeling to foster growth. Same age relies on outside instruction support for growth. Mixed age from its conception was intended for self-contained independent patrols. Same age patrols require an outside support structure. They are giving up on teaching because their experiment failed. Patrol method is designed for independent growth and teaching doesn't allow that kind of independence. The fears behind your bullets say you don't trust (or even believe) role modeling has power for developing character. I have worked and counseled many adult leaders with the same thoughts about role modeling. The same age patrol approach to youth development simply doesn't lend itself to the original design of Patrol Method, and your frustration is reflected in your original post asking "What is the guiding reason for having patrols?". Watching those adults, you either have to change your expectations of scout growth, or just take what you get and know it's the best you can do. Barry
  10. Eagledad

    BSA patrol method is lost in the fog

    I think you just pointed out the failure. Same age patrols are a contradiction of patrol method because continued scout growth requires outside intervention from an experienced resources. Not that mixed age is the only method, it’s just preferred for growth relying on the patrol members. Many SMs used a same age patrol style because it fit their leadership style and goals best. But the troop structure requires some considerations to have success with same age patrols. i think it’s easier for a same age SM to work within the older traditional SM handbook than a mixed age SM working with the same age program. I’m speaking from the experience of working both sides. Barry
  11. Eagledad

    Not Quite Prepared for Philmont

    14 year old is an awkward age. We took two crews one year, one was made of 14 year olds, the other was made of 15 to 18 year olds. The 18 years olds were new ASMs (and they had a blast). Anyway, the 14 year olds stuck to themselves. They didn't like wearing the uniform during travel (required), while the older scouts didn't think twice about it. They just never seemed comfortable. As I said, awkward. But they were fine on the trail. That is where they bonded. I will suggest that you go again with this group in a couple of years. Treks with 16 and 17 year olds is so much fun. They are more relaxed and just know how to have a good time. Barry
  12. Eagledad

    Adult led and youth led

    Looking back, I can't recall very many scouts reflecting the leadership of their parents. Visa versa, some of our scouts also weren't a reflection of their really good leader parents. But, in most cases, the sons were remarkable reflections of their parents' character. Without getting into natural leadership (a whole different breed of leader), leadership skills have to be acquired one way or another. But what exactly is leadership? We push servant leadership in the scouting program, but what is servant leadership? I look back at two groups of recognized leaders in our troop that we guided to be servant leaders. I learned of the first group by a young proud freshmen scout one night at a troop meeting. We have three large high schools that feed our troop. One of those schools hands ballets to all 2000 of the students and ask them to pick the top 8 leaders of the school. Seven of the chosen leaders were scouts in our troop. The eight was a girl. I'm she would have been in our troop today.😎 So, how do high schoolers define leaders. Well, each of these scouts were active campers and experts with outdoors skills. Each had a reputation of trust and kindness toward all the scouts. Each were fairly quiet scouts, but more in the of a calm confidence, they weren't shy. They weren't braggarts, I never heard a single one of them mention their honor. Only the proud freshmen alerted me. They weren't silly, but more steady in their character. In my youth, these guys were top candidates for OA Arrowmen. Servants. At the same time, neither were they our top leaders. They all were good trusted leaders while on the PLC, but they weren't making a career of taking Positions of responsibility. They were scouts for adventure and the camaraderie of the patrol. I was quite proud, but not surprised. They were solid scouts. I learned of our other group of leaders one night when the district OA representative came to visit. We chatted for a while, but eventually I asked why his visit. He confessed that he wanted to see the program of the districts best youth leaders. His words. He said that scouts from our troop were well trained in running a large program. They we confident and skilled at setting goals and developing agendas to meet those goals. Our scouts were so accomplished with these skills, the scouts from the other troops elected them because they were intimidated. And it wasn't the same scouts, different scouts were elected each of the previous three years. I was to busy for OA, and frankly it wasn't the program of my youth, so I wasn't involved at all. so, I had no idea our scouts were so respected. Three of the 7 scouts scouts elected as leaders by their high school were also arrowmen, but none of them were the scouts the district rep was talking about. The scouts that where being elected leaders OA were had a differnt style than the scouts elected by their school. These had also been SPLs, ASPLS and Troop Quartermasters of our troop. These three positions are in our troop are very challenging and usually only taken on by the scouts who want and enjoy Positions of Responsibility. These guys also typically had the highest grades in school. As I said, we push servant leadership. Are they typical of servant leadership? I could go on and on, and on and on, bragging about our youth leaders, but these are two groups of leaders recognized outside of our troop. We weren't doing the bragging. Complete strangers were going out of their way to call them "Leader". They were recognized for their qualities. And yet, they were two completely different types of qualities. Are these qualities leadership qualities? More important to me, are their qualities the qualities of servants? My definition of servant leader is simply putting everyone else first, before ourselves. You know, the Scout Oath. That is all that we asked of all our scouts, leader or not. A servant leaders is just a by-product of a servant lifestyle. Quite frankly, I believe being a good servant is harder for followers than leaders. Leaders have one task of taking the Patrol to their goals. Followers have to question and trust the leader the whole way. Much much harder. So I find myself in leadership discussions always spread around the subject because I have witness so many good leaders of different styles. And this isn't just my opinion, this is the opinion of strangers out in the community. Their leadership styles are as diverse as the stars. I was the council Youth Leadership director, the head guy for Junior Leadership Training for all the council. I was the expert. And yet, all I can say that the one commonality for developing good leaders is let them make decisions based from character actions of being a servant. Or, follow the scout law. Teach you scouts to serve, and no matter their skills, I learned that they will be respected as "Leaders". This really is an amazing program. I love this scouting stuff. Barry
  13. Eagledad

    Not Quite Prepared for Philmont

    I found that most boys aren't willing to do the kind of backpacking that will get them in shape. The altitude alone will slow them down no matter their shape. But, I've never had a scout dropout because he was out of shape. They can handle most trails. It's their feet that cause most of the physical problems on the trail. I recommend at least one, and two if you can, 5 mile hikes with full gear. That will give everyone enough miles to respect the weight of the pack and learn about foot (feet?) comfort. One of our younger scouts after one such hike decided the large jar of hair jell wasn't a good idea. And if the scouts are going to develop a blister, the 5 mile hike is the place to do it. If you can, find a long downhill slope. The downhill slope will determine if the boots fit properly because the feet will be force into the toe. A comfortable boot on flat ground can become too small on a downhill slope and stress and bruise the toes. Adults will find out quickly is their knees are healthy or require hiking poles. Also, the 5 mile hike is the better place to adjust the packs to each person. The weight needs to be carried on the hip belt with the shoulder straps slightly loose. But, often the vertical adjustments aren't set correctly after purchase (or the scout went through a growing spurt), so the straps need to be readjusted. For the vertical backpack setup, the shoulder strap attachment point should be about level with the top of the shoulder with all the weight sitting on the hip belt. As the scouts settle in and get used to their pack, they may need some readjustment, but it shouldn't be much. Good luck and have a great time. Barry
  14. Eagledad

    BSA patrol method is lost in the fog

    I agree. Actually I'm a little surprised National even mentioned Mixed age and Same age. There were no such definitions until they started their New Scout, Regular Scout and Venture Scout experiment. I believe they are reverting back because the new scout (same age patrol) experiment failed. And here we are asking what is the guiding reason for having patrols? Sadly, we appear to be starting over. Only it's worse, now the majority of adults having to lead troops of patrols don't even have a scouting experience to base the program goals for their scouts. Maybe it's time to start answering questions with the Kudu style of quoting from Badon Powell. Barry
  15. I added a little section to my SM Specific class back in 2000 called "Signing off Bungee Cord and Velcro skills". My point to the class was that while the 1st class skills seem less applicable today (even back in 2000), they are still valuable for developing the skills of setting goals and developing a plan to accomplish those skills to set new higher goals (rank). Honestly Matt, I'm a little surprised that National in the last 19 years hasn't taken some of your suggestions for first class skills. Barry