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Eagledad

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  1. Interesting. For some reason, young men of scouting age think tents are sound proof. Not a big deal in normal camping situations, but tents set up side by side on High Adventure Outings can put adults in difficult situations as Scouts in their innocence have discussions that would concern many mothers. A mother once told me any discussion her son had with other scouts that is sexual in nature was abuse by the other scouts and should be reported. My wife ran into something like this when two scouts in her GS troop were writing provocative stories at night during summer camp. She inquired the GSUSA equivalent of a SE if there was anything she should say to the parents. The SE insisted my wife call the police and send a report to National. My wife left the GS office and withdrew my daughter and herself from the GSUSA. The over-reaction by the adults scared her a lot more than the curious writtings of the two young girls. I can see how this can get out of control in a CYA culture. Barry
  2. I understand. In general, there isn't much a unit as a whole can do except to seek advice from council for help against adults welding their lawyer card every time they don't get their way. Or they can give into the parents threat. The real tragedy of this situation, and the one our unit experience, is that the child is being pushed aside by the parents, and he knows it. What is a young boy supposed to do when he realizes the hopelessness of his future? Where does the responsibility of the volunteers fit in this situation? Most adults are good, some aren't. Good volunteers see both, and it leaves scars. Barry
  3. Well, I have some experience in almost this exact situation, including the threat of litigation. Unless the pack has done some kind of harm, there is no litigation. Fred is correct that there are thousands of unit policies hanging out there that nobody knows about because of one-of-kind behavior problems. My best advice is deal with unusual cases individually. In this case, the problem is the parents wanting a dump off place for their son. There really is no easy answer, either babysit a scout that doesn't want to be there, or tell them no. I's a very sad situation that gets worse as the young man gets older. If the pack doesn't have the manpower to babysit the scout, then they have to draw a line. Based from our experience, I feel sorry for all involved. Barry
  4. I think Parkman nailed introduction of new ideas into the program in general. Seems like new Troop Treasures always had a new better faster way of acquiring the scouts dues and streamlining into the overall system. Yet, the new idea always seem to take the scout out of the process of money management. I was talking to my high school teacher son yesterday about the differences of education over the years. I was shocked to learn that students today can't type. He said when his students write a paper, they are most comfortable (and much faster) writing the paper on their phone with their thumbs and transferring it over to an editor for publishing. He said todays students find the comma stressful because it represents finality that they don't use in their socializing I can't even imagine it There is balance for introducing new ideas in an oil-time proven process while maintaining the growth intended by the original design . But, it seems the balance has to endure birthing pains. Barry
  5. We did the same thing on our several trips in Quetico. When we couldn't put the bag in the tree, the local outfitter taught us how to set up camp so that the tents were safe. There were other techniques as well I don't remember. The local's are glad to demonstrate before you leave. But, their first technique is hanging the bags. Canoe treks have the advantage of carrying bear boxes as part of the equipment list (which we never took). Backpacking is where good techniques are important. A good tree is usually a reliable source because there isn't typically limits like rivers or lakes in finding one. . Personally, I believe the best technique for repelling bears are scouts. They can't do anything quietly. They even believe tents are sound proof. Barry
  6. This is very interesting. I know that new scouts are always very excited when they crossover because they have been told over and over that they will do all this stuff without adults telling them when, where and how. But, troops are structured to start new scouts working on their First Class skills. I don't mean that in a negative way, the structure often is intended to prepare the scouts for camping. But, the program structure tends to hold the scouts back because the troop is doing their typical program. I think this is a case that is showing (reteaching) us how to use Patrol Method. Barry
  7. The programs original design didn't intend for scouts to be direct leaders until they had the maturity to learn from the experience, which is about 14 years old. Most leadership is learned by observing, not direct teaching, which is why Leadership Training is designed for older scouts. The natural instinct for prepubescent youth is to hang with the gang or herd so as not to stand out in danger. Rarely does a young scout learn anything from the experience. Once the fun of being the point man wears off, they start dreading the experience even to the point of not showing up. That is why I don't like giving new scouts the role of Patrol Leader their first year. It is taught in Webelos. Much of the Webelos program is basically light mimicking of the patrol and working on basic Scout Skills. But, the difference between an adult leading the group and a scout leading the group is huge. Youth have been trained to trust adults. New Scouts need time and experience to trust that a youth can also be a safe leader. Once they get that experience (about 6 months), they are ready to focus on the basic program. Agreed. Barry
  8. Patrol Method Commercial Break. Your scheduled program will return in the heat of a moment.
  9. This is basically how we ended up getting new scouts up to speed. We found that adding more than two new scouts to an existing patrol disrupted up patrol dynamics too much, so when we recruited more scouts than two per patrol, we created temporary NSPs. We found that one year to merge new scouts into existing patrols was way to long. They start getting board because the patrols don't have the experience to stay busy. Six months was the going average for scouts merging. And we didn't set dates, we told the New Scouts they could merge anytime, and the existing patrol could start recruiting anytime as well. We let them set the process. One of the main program activities that the NSP program basically killed was troops planned annual program. Before the NSP program, the annual troop agenda was different for every troop because they weren't held to one crop of new scouts that had to be trained and advance. Patrols were typically always doing some new scout training because they received one or two new scouts several times a year. Since troops were now receiving the vast majority of their new scouts at the same time, the unintended consequence was the NSP pushing the Patrols role of teaching new scouts to the troop annual program for training.Adults today think that training new scouts and getting all scouts up to first class is the highest priority for the program, but it didn't used to be that way. That attitude came with NSPs, and it was reinforced with the First Class in the First Year plan given by National. One reinforced the other. That limited the maturity of the culture and drove the older scouts out. I believe NSPs are necessary when existing patrols can't handle the attention new scout require without disrupting the patrol dynamics. But, even then adults must understand that growth and maturity in a NSP or same age patrols is slower than mixed age patrol. And, NSPs required more adult attention than mixed age patrols. It is a difficult balance. Barry
  10. Maybe, but what really worked for us was the support from the leaders. If the adults don't by-in to Patrol method, they won't let the scouts by-in. Let me say it better, the scouts will only by-in to whatever the adults give them. I'm not sure about the free range theory as far as youth today not working well with Patrol Method. I'm not sure youth back in the 60's would have accepted it better if their leaders then had the mentality of leaders today. If patrol method must change today, it's not because it needs to change for scouts, it's because it needs to change for the adults. Barry
  11. I think they are reflecting to a traditional Scout style, not the BSA style. Shouldn't we be flattered that the todays youth, who were given the responsibility to design the new uniform, came up with one that complements the BSA uniform. I know many of the adults here wanted to go to a neckerchief with a friendship knot, but the GS youth seem to want more identity as a scout than a neckerchief and tye-dye t-shirt. I hope the BSA complements the GS for their progressive design. Barry
  12. Yep, I believe this one addition to the program is the greatest killer of Patrol Method. NSP was the beginning of a National's push for age based patrols. Aged based patrol took out the older scout roll models and replaced them with adults and Troop Guides that taught the new scouts with school house style teaching instead of continued observation. NSPs also encouraged adults to push leadership responsibilities on the 10 and 11 year olds that were typically older scout roles. Most youth don't have the maturity for leadership until 14, so the adults were unknowingly dumbing down their program to something boring to scouts 14 and above.. A word of caution; after National change the membership policy in 1990 to allow women as troop leaders, they found the unintended consequence of inexperienced adults using WB as a template for their troop Patrol Method. WB at the time was advanced teaching course designed for experienced leaders. It used the Troop Patrol system more for the convenience of putting the adults in manageable groups. IT WAS NOT intended to teach Patrol Method. BUT, the inexperienced adults took the Patrol Method to heart and tried to duplicate it in their own troops. The problem was that the course had many applications that weren't typical to a troop program, like the staff eating their meals with the patrols. Scouts all of a sudden found themselves preparing and eating all their meals with adults. Certainly not what was intended for patrol method. But the real harm that was causing scouts to bail on the troop was the adults directing the patrols to follow the WB program exactly as they experienced it. Thus taking the decision making process away from the scouts. It was causing enough problems that National scraped the Leadership teaching WB course and replaced it in 2000 with a general Leadership Team Building course. Not the same thing at all. BUT, the point here is that inexperienced adults will likely not understand the objective of Patrol Method with only two weeks experience and instead force their experience on the scouts, which is missing the point of patrol method's intention. From my years of working with and training Scouters, I found the biggest hurdle for adults to get over with the Patrol Method is simply trusting that it works. The idea that scouts learning to make better decisions simply by making bad decisions is a lot for todays adults grasp. I was asked to observe a brand new troop of 40 scouts. The troop was led by 3 women brand new to the troop program. After six months, the women were still leading the troop Opening ceremony because they couldn't grasp that their 11 year old scouts could lead it by themselves. While that example is a little extreme, it gets to the heart of the problem with MOST troops, and that is they don't trust their scouts to make good decisions. And that is the point, scouts are supposed to be allowed to make bad decision in the patrol because that is safe place to learn from the decision. Adults just wont let it happen. I tried many activities and programs to change the mindset of new adults without a scouting experience and nothing really works better than them just observing Patrol Method in action. Once the see it, they start to get it, but that is not and instant way to change their perception. Basically what you want to do is get adults away from being a parent and instead be a mentor. A lot more difficult than it sounds. This is not a bad idea, but I think the intention is for the wrong reason. New Scouts struggle because they are taken out of their comfortable environment. My wife and I traveled Europe a few years ago and found myself really stressed before the troop just worrying about the language. We travel a lot, but the difference in cultures and language were a big concern for me. But as in all changes from our comfort levels like job changes, location changes, school changes, we have to adapt with experience. Our pack gradually adds responsibility to each age group to help them mature. I remember asking our new 2nd year Webelos to lead the Pack Flag ceremony. One scout was terified with the idea. After talking to him without change, we let him stand at the back of Den while they performed the ceremony. As the year went on, I watched him stand closer and closer to the present until at the end of the year before crossing over, he volunteered to led. I learned a lot from that experience. But, what really made an impression on me was meeting with my SPL after he had been running the troop for 2 Months. I asked him out for pizza so I could give him a pep talk on how to improve. When I asked him how he was doing as SPL, he spent the next 20 minute bragging about how much he had grown from the experience and all the dreams he was confident in trying. I was floored. I was the recipient of a pep talk on how to let a scout grow confidence by experience of little steps. History has proven that new scouts are going to have anxiety joining a new troop because that much of a cultural change is scary for most normal youth. The anxiety will always be there. But, what we can do is temper the anxiety by reinforcing that they are in a safe place. Youth leaders are actually confident in keeping them safe on campouts. Making wrong decisions about anything is OK because they will not only learn from the bad decision, their comrades in the patrol will help them through the uncomfortable experiences. Building a program that gives new scouts an experience that builds confidence in the troop isn't easy for troop leaders to learn, but it reflects in other parts of the program because Patrol method is really about building a scout confidence to take the next step into an area out of their comfort zone. It is a life skill that will benefit them the rest of their life. The method and techniques for building confidence are worthy discussions. But the methods and techniques should be about making building blocks to higher level experiences that challenge the scouts without discouraging the scout to consider quitting. It's a life skill we want to develop. Barry
  13. I don't thinks so, your theory isn't supported by studies and polls. But if you want to push that theory, than the solution is another year of Webelos. What age do you think it's OK to quit holding the scouts hands? If you want to change the Patrol Structure, you need a different argument. The stress of making personal decisions has little to do with the structure they make the decisions, it has to do with the new practice of dealing with the consequences of making decisions. It's a matter of developing the habit through practice in a safe place. Barry
  14. Is it possible? I have said many times over the years on this forum that adult run programs are usually advancement programs because they are so easy to follow. They don't require much personal guidance or coaching because the results of the scouts actions are obvious to everyone, especially the scout. The uniform is the same, most Eagle Mills are the best dressed programs because a uniform is basically a check list. Patrol method program are more ambiguous because counseling is deeper into how to make right decisions based on the Scout Law. Uniforming a patrol method troops is less tidy because the dictates making right decisions based on his growth and maturity. By the end of my Scoutmastering, I could identify a boys level of maturity or general attitude of life just by how he wore the uniform. Allowing a scouts to grow in the decision making process requires a lot of patience because that process takes years. And maybe that style of adult guidance isn't piratical in this culture. But I wonder what growth comes from following instructions to Eagle. The largest Troop in our district is a bragging 200 scouts strong program that promises Eagle by age 14 if they follow the Troop advancement map. The troop sets a goal of at least 80 new scouts a year, and usually reaches that goal. I used to wonder why the troop wasn't bigger. 80 new scouts a year is a lot. 80 new scouts a year every year and only 200 scouts total. I learned the troop also looses at least 80 scouts a year by age 14. Scouts aren't asked to leave at age 14, but the program is so structured to reach Eagle by age 14, that there is nothing much for those who stay. I can go on and on, but the troop is truly an adult run program. Walk in and follow an adult to the next stop on the map to Eagle. Finish that step and follow an adult to the next stop to Eagle. I once had an Eagle Scout from that troop lead our NYLT course. He was impressive and I asked him how he manage to stay in the program so long after age 14. He said, a few of us actually liked other parts of scouting. I realized he is one of those special rare scouts that is a natural leader and can't get enough of it. He loved our NYLT because it truely was the first time he was the leader of the program. No adult telling him what to do. I don't know what to say Matt. Our troop was half the size of that troop and had the 2nd most Eagles in the district. We were the opposite of an adult run troop. We were certainly not an advancement program. The difference between our programs was our average Eagle was almost 17 years old. Almost half of our scouts where 14 and older, and we had the largest group of older scouts in the council. That includes all the Venture Crews and whatever else. I believe there are two paths being discussed here: one is your suggestion of a planned out step by step program where the scouts check a box and move to the next step. Same as the Eagle Mill I described. The other is plan of personal development by putting a patrol in situations where they have to decide how to go forward. I agree the Eagle Mill is easier for the adults. The Patrol Method route develops more personal growth. I've seen it and understand the two paths. But, the future of scouting appears to require inexperienced adults who need a step by step plan to know when the scouts actions are successful, so they know when their own actions of managing the program are successful. I believe adults have a role, but their role in the traditional program was limited with the intention to guide young adults to grow in adult skills. That requires the adults to grow as much as the scouts to be successful, and maybe that is asking too much of adults anymore. As I've claimed before, the changes folks in this forum seem to want for scouting leads to a more after school type program where the adults know exactly where the scouts are in location and can measure where they are in the program at all times. Maybe that is all this culture will allow now. I'm settled with that, but it's not scouting for me. Barry
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