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Posts posted by Eagledad

  1. 1 hour ago, qwazse said:

    Not necessarily. It may not be an actionable offense. (Most bullying is not.) Since the scout has been given scant information, we don’t know which authorities have been informed. Although we’d expect them to interview the scout by now, sometimes they do not.

    Moreover, it may be a false report. In which case the accuser could be in very deep trouble were this taken to the authorities. Even if it is not taken to the authorities, this could be a very difficult time for the accuser if her claim cannot be verified.

    @scoutlaw74, if your scout is a victim of a false report, he may need counseling in a few months. Vindication is not always enough to overcome the trauma of false accusation.

    We live in strange times. Seems that false accusations is becoming a common method of acting out at other people. My high school teacher son says the schools deal with it almost daily. And while many of the accusations are are obviously untrue at the time they are reported, they have to be investigate to show no bias. Forum moderators even have to deal with some of this stuff. 


  2. 2 hours ago, Bouv said:

    Hi everyone,


    New to the forums, I'm an Eagle Scout and Den Leader for my oldest boys' Den (just moved into Webelos).  My middle is moving on to Tigers as well in the fall so I've been his adult partner for Lions and will be for Tigers.  And who knows, maybe my daughter will join when she gets old enough (she's jealous her brothers get to do stuff!). 

    Welcome, and have a great time. Take it easy though, cubs is 5 years long and tends to burn out even the best Eagles. I know of two active Eagle cub leaders that started with the vision of becoming a scoutmaster only to bow out from burnout at their sons crossover. Pace yourself because we need experienced adult leaders in the Troops.


  3. 10 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:


    As most of you know, I have been around a long time, and have served in a variety of volunteer and professional roles. As an OA chapter advisor, I have organized day and weekend trips. I have assisted in organizing and supervising my pack and troops in activities over the years. So this is not my first rodeo in Scouting.

    But since I took over as SM, almost every weekend trip, I have been anxious and nervous. Are my Scouts going to have fun? Are they ready for the weekend? Will they be any problems? Is this anxiety  normal for all new SMs?

    For example, back in January I was worried some of the Scouts would not have the proper cold weather and rain gear. Yep, some didn't and lucky for them I brought some extra stuff. When we were staffing an event, I was nervous about them running an event that they have run in the past and knew hand s down. For camporee,  I was worried that they were not prepared for all the events, and focused on the mantra "Train 'em. Trust 'em. LET THEM LEAD!" The did excellent. We went backpacking, and I was worried about their preparedness and if things happened. And while things did happen: storm, hail, lighting, horses in the camp, etc, they did everything like they were suppose to. 

    We got a whitewater trip this weekend. Class 2 and 3s. Company we hired alllows 8 year olds, and the section is advertised for beginners. We have been going over SSD and SA. We have gone over the basics of white water and will do more tonight. But I am anxious once again.

    Is this normal? I want my scouts to have great memories and fun, as well as being safe.

    It was normal for me. I typically didn't sleep for two nights before a campout and at least a week before summer camp or high adventure. While we share the program with the ASMs, JASMs, committee, and other resources, the SM is still responsible for results. Even though everything is in place the way it should be, the SM suffers in the hope that scouts come home better than they left. Not just in safety, but in growth. 

    However, on the other side, my wife will tell you there were many nights I didn't sleep because of something great that happened. I just couldn't help laying there with a big smile on my face. Whether it was a great meeting, campout or just a routine activity, there is immeasurable satisfaction (joy) from a great day of scouting.

    I have no advice other than keep doing what you are doing because the program only gets better.

    I love this scouting stuff.


    • Like 1
    • Upvote 3
  4. 2 hours ago, MattR said:

    Any of the methods, if done right, are fine. The problem is there are so many that everyone gets lost in the weeds and can't see the forest.

    I'd replace woodbadge with a 5 day class on creating fun games with a purpose. It's not even my idea. It's how Green Bar Bill did it. It's why I insisted on games at meetings and why our camporees were popular. Creating good games is not a difficult idea but it's hard to do and requires a lot of useful skills and imagination.

    Well said.

    I remember back when this forum was the go-to place to learn more games. The Patrol Method and Open Discussion areas usually had at least 3 subjects going on at the same time discussing such ideas. Ah....the good oh days when 800 scouters were logged in.


  5. 1 hour ago, Eagle1993 said:



    #1 Uniform - Honestly, I would be fine if we just went to a neckerchief.  Show up in what is appropriate.  A suit for a formal occasion.  Work shirt and jeans.  Etc.  Just have that neckerchief and lets go!

    I believe Uniform and disciplining bad behavior are the two most challenging parts of a scout run program for adults. Adults seem to have an unbalanced passion for these two cases and typically takeover the scouts responsibility to get what they want. I certainly don't agree that the uniform is a main reason a scout doesn't want to go to meetings in a healthy program. 

    The uniform is a great character builder because it clearly defines a scout's right or wrong choice. It also challenges them to define when the uniform should be worn appropriately.

    1 hour ago, Eagle1993 said:

    #2 Advancement - Eliminate all ranks except Eagle.  Less focus on Eagle as closing out a checklist of activities vs an indication of top scouts.  Let Scoutmasters decide who their Eagle scouts are based upon Scout's accomplishments over time.  Other ranks ... end.  You learn scouting skills, but no need to advertise a rank.  Scout leaders can assign tasks & roles based on your skill.  Merit badges are fine, but reduced focus. 

    Youth today live in a world of mediocrity and don't know how to find the best of themselves. I'm not a fan of how advancement has been used by adults to push their ideal program, but advancement is a method for a scout to learn about their capabilities, while not fearing the differences of others. Every rank should be worn with pride. And it challenges the group to respect each other fairly as the Oath and Law defines. 

    1 hour ago, Eagle1993 said:


    #3 Adult Association - I think we actually have too much adult association right now.  Yes, keep scoutmaster conferences and adults involved in the program.  However, if we make the mistake ... make it with less adult association as many kids today have too much (helicopter parents, etc.).

    I very much agree. This goes back to what I said about adults impressing their opinion on the scouts when they want it their way.  And, I found that a troop where the scouts deal directly with bad behavior has a lot less bad behavior. Many adults think bad behavior is only an adult responsibility, and don't realize they are leaving the scouts dealing it without tools to stop it. Dealing with bad behavior is a challenge for even the adults, so if the program gives everyone the responsibility to confront and deal with it, then the behavior is usually nipped in the bud.

    But, I admit giving scouts the freedom to learn from their mistakes takes practice, and the humility that adults may do it wrong more than the scouts.

    1 hour ago, Eagle1993 said:


    #4 Personal Growth - I think this will happen anyway.  

    Yes, the scouts will gain personal growth, but what does that mean. I once watched a troop scouts bully another troop during the camp volley ball terminate tournament. I watched the scoutmaster smile with his approval with every bad action. What kind of personal growth were those scouts getting.

    Adults don't have to be the wisdom of personal growth if they just teach the scouts to grade their decisions on the oath and law. Oh, we don't have to preach and preach oath and law, but it we start balancing the choices being made by the oath and law, the scouts will eventually get it. They don't talk about it, but they do learn to balance their decisions.


  6. 4 minutes ago, elitts said:

    One of the reasons why I keep reminding our scouts to end every meeting with 30-40 minutes of a game.

    I've even been tempted to build a snack into the troop budget for the end of meetings.  I know getting a treat of some kind does great things for making meetings better in the working world, no reason why it wouldn't work for kids.

    First year I was Cubmaster I asked a den of Webelos why they chose the troop they were just about to cross over to. They said That troop had the best game at the meeting. A treat would be even better.😀


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  7. 6 minutes ago, ramanous said:

    Boring meetings? Are these Scout led patrols? What Scouting things does the PLC plan for these meetings? If they aren't planning meetings, then that's the primary problem. If they are, then they need be "guided" towards fun activities with positive outcomes.

    This is always a chador all troops. How can adults push adventure without running over scout run? One method tried was given the SM an equal share of ideas. Our troop does an annual plan every 6 months after the SPL election. The PLC is basically reviewing the next 6 months and planning the 6 months after. The PLC asks for 3 ideas in 3 categories from each patrol and SM. The categories are monthly theme, camping location, and camping activities (usually coincides with monthly theme, but doesn’t have to). Each PL writes their patrols ideas on on a big sheet of paper on the wall and then they rank their 3 best choices. This is where the adults slide in suggestions of more adventure, or making a boring theme fun like first-aid. 

    20 minutes ago, ramanous said:

    Treat the meetings like short outings. Every outing needs some structure, preferably Scout led (meal times, activities, and that doesn't mean an outing can't have unstructured down-time.)

    Great idea. The problem with structure is that it gets stale, predictable and boring. Young adults hate boring. Move a meeting to a different location like a park for some orientating or fire building. Bring ingredients for smores. Bring backpacks and take a mile hike to review packing techniques and weight. Hotdogs? Just figure out ways to change it up. Teach the scouts how to be spontaneous by bringing a local fire truck to the meeting. A few minutes of fire safety?  I don’t know, make it fun. 



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  8. 1 hour ago, RememberSchiff said:

    IMHO, we are not in their league even though the BSA likely greatly outspends UK Scouting. Maybe Mr. Grylls and some of his ambassadors can recruit and train our new leaders for the reboot. There is even a precedent for this, recall the BSA started after a British scout guided a lost American through the fog!

    As a start, we could ask to edit his video which already includes some Americans.


    I love this idea. But, you can tell me, haven't you (me:cool:) imagined that somehow you (me) was selected as part of a boots-on-the-ground team ofscouters teaching a new class of National Leaders. I (we:D) would do a very good job. We scouts have great imaginations. 


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  9. 25 minutes ago, Cburkhardt said:

    Barry,  My thoughts start with my regretful view that the stand-alone program will not survive.   These are for the reasons already well-discussed above related to lack of demand, lack of focused volunteer resources to keep it going and a general failure to thrive for multiple factors.  I wish it were different.  Assuming that to be the case, my thoughts focus on repurposing the concept in a way to continue providing an older youth program that can function in a practical way.  Girls in our Troop stay because we offer a rigorous high-adventure program for them that is unavailable any where else in the District of Columbia.  We would simply brand that activity as Venturing and offer the girls the ability to do the advancement program.   The only things we would gain is use of the advancement program and and a rationale for older teen girls to join us (without having previously been active in the Troop).

    Makes sense. But, just be aware, a new title can create a new expectation. The older scout program success is directly relational on the success of the younger scout program. Not the other way around. Don't let the new addition change the younger scout program. I've seen it many times. All of a sudden the mindset of the younger scout program sees itself as just a stepping stone to the romantic older scout program. Don't let that mindset creep in to the unit culture. Keep the younger scout program as romantic as the older scout program and all will go well.


  10. 19 minutes ago, Cburkhardt said:

    My read of the postings and practical sense is that Venturing cannot survive as a stand-alone program and its potential future might be as a specialized and optional component of a Troop.  I wish it were different.

    My observation is the opposite of your read. The specialized older scout components of the troops are the programs in our district that have a life expectancy of 3 to 5 years. The stand-alone units that don't rely on troops for membership remain active for much longer periods of time. 

    Why do you feel your troop needs a separate older scout program? If your older scouts aren't leaving the program,  you must be doing something right.


    • Upvote 1
  11. 1 hour ago, MattR said:

    So, how to organize crews in troops or lodges doesn't sound as important to me as understanding what it takes to create and maintain friendships. Why a patrol or crew is struggling likely has more to do with the quality of friendships than leadership. OA chapter meetings in my district struggle to get anyone to show up ... lack of friends. Why else would a 17 year old kid put up with the citizenship and 12 week MBs if it weren't for their friends? I watch adults decide patrols for all sorts of reasons other than friendships and it doesn't work very well. That's why I let the scouts decide.

    I agree friendships definitely are the reason why scouts keep coming back.

    But, after  training adults for several years, I feel the struggle is getting the troop adults to trust that they don't have to follow the push for an advancement type of program that they keep getting told to produce. I don't hear it as much now so much, but "First Class in the First Year" FCFY was the montra adults were hearing over and over back in the 90's. I was called an extremist for pushing back. Troops were then told by council to look at Venturing to fix their older scout membership problems.

    I don't blame Council, they were only pushing what they were being trained to push by National. But, Troops are  pushed to turn into a First Class factory, and then suffering the consequences of a boring program that pushes both the adult leaders and older scouts to run from. Older scout programs require a passion to work and mentor with young adults, not just activities that entertain everyone for a weekend every couple of months. 

    I counseled several troop leaders on their older scout membership problems and while they agreed that their troop FCFY program was boring and needed to change, they needed a plan to follow to do that and there really isn't one. Oh sure, I helped them some, but the truth is that district units become the program that district training pushes. And unless District has the knowledge and courage to be different, district training  teaches units what council tells them to teach. So, being different is challenging in of itself. 

    I don't have a real good answer for how to fix the older scout program at a national level because National has never shown a willingness to be open to ideas of how to approach these kinds of  problem.  


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  12. 1 hour ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

    The post-MB signature process is important.  A unit leader should ask these questions:

    1.  How'd it go?  Did you enjoy this MB?  What did you like about it?  What did you dislike about it?  Then find out what the Scout wants to work on next.  I often used the post-MB session to help the Scout pick the next MB, and then start the next blue card right then and there.

    2.  Did you like working with this MB Counselor?  Did you review all the requirements with the MBC?  Did you complete all the requirements with the MBC?  (If the answer is "No", and it occasionally is, you work with the Scout to find a way to complete the badge.  This is one of the hardest things to do, and it is impossible to intercept them all.)  Did the MBC have you complete all the requirements as stated?  Did the MBC require you to complete anything extra that was not written in the requirements?

    3.  Would you work with this MBC again?  Do you recommend other Scouts in our Troop go to this MBC?

    4.  Did you thank the MBC?  When the Scout has done this, I also send a brief email or text to the MBC thanking them for their support.  No, it isn't required, but a Scout is Courteous, and when someone has given their time to help you, you darned well better thank them.  If I had to make a 13th Point of the Scout Law it would be A Scout is Grateful!

    Spend a bit more time with the Scout, and you've done a Scoutmaster Conference!  Sign two things off!

    We did fine without adding another administrative step in the scouts adventures.


  13. We've had many discussions around this subject and there are a lot of opinions to the Scoutmaster's role in the process. I personally believe that the SM should verify the MB Counselor and move on. It was a little easier for me because our council used white cards that only require one SM signature at the beginning of the scout's quest. The two signatures on the Blue Cards don't make sense to me, and set the SM's state of mind of being more involved. But, our district SM's had to be corrected in training that the signature is required at the beginning, not the end of the scout's required tasks.

    Personally I believe scouts learn more skills in the administrative requirements of the badge and contacting the councilor than any other part of the advancement program.


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  14. 22 hours ago, Calion said:

    I don’t necessarily disagree with any of that, but when a new Scout (particularly, in my experience, a girl) is put in charge of a patrol or troop, they often really have no idea what they’re doing, and, more importantly, lack confidence in their ability to do it, no matter how much talking beforehand you might do. Therefore, I simply don’t see a problem with significant hand-holding in the beginning, even, as I said, to the point of literally whispering what to say next in their ear, should that become necessary. And I don’t understand why you do.

    I personally believe that scouts under the age 14 should not be leaders of groups. Their pre pubescents maturity isn't developed enough to process the lessons from the mistakes. As you said, they loose confidence and start wanting to stay home.

    I do agree that a new troop with new scouts do require some hand holding. But, not much. My recommendation for new Scoutmasters of new troops with young scouts was do only 3 month leadership stents to prevent burnout. 

    The point the others are making here is don't loose the the foundation of developing growth through making mistakes in the program. Once a troops starts down the path, it's hard to change.


  15. 13 minutes ago, qwazse said:

    The reason why this disturbs is that it supposed that mass murder could be a rational conclusion based on the environment in which one is immersed.

    Having known a few young men (all from good parents) who committed suicide (not all with firearms), I often wonder if one or two of them were motivated by an urgent need to prevent themselves from doing anything worse. Obviously I’ll never know, but I certainly wish they had the courage to talk it out with one or more of the many people who they could trust,myself included.

    This is an interesting post. My high school teacher son was just telling me how many suicidal  students have approached him for help. He takes them immediately to see the councilor but sits with them while they wait. He is glad they trust him, but struggles with the number. Most of the students that approach him are in pain from loneliness. Covid certainly hasn't helped but he says that social media is crew. But, what really surprised me was how many of his students have gone to prison for murder. He said that in most cases, you would have never guessed they could do that. Which I guess is your point.


  16. 8 minutes ago, MattR said:

    The problem with the methods is that they don't include what youth are really looking for. All scouts want fun with friends and older scouts want a unique challenge (high adventure, working with younger scouts, service, it depends on the scout). To make scouting work they also need to learn how to create this on their own. That's not simple. It's more than organizing a campout every month.

    It includes understanding what motivates the scouts, and that's an age old problem. Most people fear the unknown yet every adventure includes the unknown. 

    I agree that developing creative habits is certainly part of the challenge. Creativity is a skill many youth don't practice before they join the troop and patrol method expects a lot from it.

    I also think the administrative tasks can overwhelm the adventure. I find that if the patrol meeting (patrol corners and PLC meeting) are more about planning and less about talking or learning a skill for the next adventure, they get tedious and boring. The challenge is finding the balance. And the scouts don't have to be moving to be interested. One meeting that my sons really liked was when we had a gun expert visit to talk about the parts of a gun and how to handle them safely. There was no activity for the scouts to hold the gun or discuss the safety. Just listening to the expert had their attention. I am sure they talked about that meeting a school the next day.

    Scouting is hard.



  17. 14 hours ago, Cburkhardt said:

    So what is your fix for Venturing?

    We start by asking why we want Venturing. Patrol Method scouting survives because the ultimate goal is to build mature person of character. Oh, there are several ways to say that, but the BSA Mission is building ethical and moral decisions makers. That is a foundation worth building. And, it's not just a noble goal, scouting has a tool for getting there called patrol method.

    The struggle with Venturing is that 90% of it's members are motivated by the romance of adventure. Which, is silly to me because our troop did most of the adventure that local Venturing Crews do around here. Adventure is just a type of temporary adrenalin high. What is left when the scouts come off the adrenalin high? What next?

    The thing that keeps older scouts in scouting is the community of where they can challenge to one self. Adventure is just the arena where the young adults go to find the challenge. The challenge is making one self better so as to feel good about being that person. The troop does that through the challenges of making decisions about other people in the patrols and troop. The community of the patrol and troop is constant that keeps scouts coming back for the challenge. I find that most Venturing Crews are less about challenging one self to make better decisions and more about the boring actions of planning the next adventure. There needs to be more about meeting to plan the next adventure.

    Several years back the DE approached me about starting a Venturing Crew in our troop because our one troop had more scouts 14 and older than any other unit (troop or crew) in the Council. Our council is almost half the state of Oklahoma. What he didn't understand was that the attraction to our troop as an older scout was that our culture treated them as adults. When you  think about where a 15 year old can go to be treated equally to a 30 or 40 year old, you start to understand the attraction. Our troop challenge each scout to grow into a more mature person through the actions and decisions of their responsibilities during the activities.  

    I once polled all our scouts 14 and older as to why they stayed in our troop. I got all sorts of answers, but less than 50% said it was for the adventure part of the program. And their attendance to higher level adventure treks supported that data. Many young adults want adventure, but most just want to be around other people who respect them to be  adults. Venturing is coming up short in scouting because it doesn't provide a community for scouts to be adults. It needs more than adventure. 

    I understand this perception because I was in a Scuba Diving Explorer Post for 3 years. I rarely dove much because most of their trips were more expensive than I could afford. But, there was an expectation of me by the group to act like and adult, and I thrived on that expectation. We had a lot of other activities besides Diving in other parts of the world to keep us busy. I was also the president of the Oklahoma State flying Club in college. I would guess that 50% of those members were not pilots. We were a busy club and many, if not most, of the activities didn't require all the members to be pilots. I can't say that the club had a noble goal of building character, But, it must have been a fun group to hang around.

    Our troop was successful with older scouts because it was a fun place to hang out. Venturing needs to be a place to hang out for the age group it wants to attract. Ironically, I don't think adventure is the hang out part of the program. 


    • Upvote 3
  18. 1 hour ago, Navybone said:

    I’ll start my response with this, neither political party has the spine or integrity to address this issue, this violence that is killing children.  

    If not enough that’s been done about mental health since Columbine, 23 years ago, and not enough since Sandy Hook, 10 years ago, what needs to still be done?  Just saying mental health is not an answer but an handwave to avoid talking about the issue.  It’s a cop-out .

    And I am no statistician, but to the facts of murders with guns stand up to scrutiny when competing in liberal state versus conservative?   

    Fianlly, do you really think that censorship is the answer, and it is ok so long as it protects the second amendment?  The constitution also used to support the practice of slavery, but the country was smart enough to figure out that that part of the constitution needed to be fixed.  



    I struggle with responses like this because they don't invite a discussion unless it is one sided. Kind of a type of censorship to me.

    If anyone thinks this is just a guns issue, then I believe they are coming from a political agenda perspective and don't really care about the children.

    Mental health should  certainly be part of the discussion because who would consider the state of mind of this killer to be normal. I once listened to a psychologist on NPR. He was hired by an east coast state after the Columbine school shooting to travel and organize community meetings with parents to discuss how family dynamics can effect the mental health of youth in school. The conclusion of experts and political elites at the time was that the shooters were loners and their parents were part of the problem because they never realized their sons planning the shooting. The psychologist said he was very concerned after leading these community discussions because the parents didn't seem to want to understand their roles in a healthy family dynamics. He said the parents were so fixated on their personal lives that they were instead trying to fit their kids in the parents busy lives instead of developing a life around the whole family. That was very frightening because that was a professional who was politically liberal speaking on a NPR.

    Let's have a real discussion.



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  19. It only works with adults who understand the big picture of how the different groups work together in the one program. Most (vast majority) of adults don’t have that big picture vision, which is why Venture Patrols and Troops Venturing Crews don’t have a good success rate. That The majority of new adult leaders don’t have a youth scouting experience adds to the challenge. I would question if the council professionals would have a working understanding of making this idea successful.


    • Upvote 3
  20. 6 minutes ago, Calion said:


    I'm glad you had such a great experience. But I said “can,” not “will necessarily. It all depends on the situation. Simply throwing young Scouts into the deep end will not always work well, in my experience.

    Yep, there is a fine line of setting scouts up to succeed and setting them up to fail. But, there is a difference in learning from failure or becoming disillusioned from failure. Scouts have to feel the adults are their best cheer leaders, especially when they make bad decisions.  

    I told the story about the SPL that was frustrated because he couldn't get the troop of about 30 scouts under control. He walked over to the SM watching from the other side of the room and asked what could he do. The SM asked what was the one thing in his hand that gets a scouts attention. The SPL put his sign up and the he had a new confidence in controlling the group. 

    But, the key isn't the SM giving him a little help. The key is the SPL reached a point where he needed to learn and took the intuitive to get it. 

    AS you said, new scouts need a lot more wisdom to start out than experienced scouts. And that will likely come from adults. But, the adults have to let the scouts push the line of annoyance (frustration) so that the scout is motivated to learn how to change the annoyance, without letting the scout go so annoyed that he just gives up. Where is that line? It changes constantly and the adults have to feel it out so that they can keep pushing the line out, but not too far out, as the scouts grows in knowledge and independence. That adults will fail as much as they succeed. But, if the scouts observe that the adults are trying to give them their independence so that the program is more fun and more rewarding, they won't mind the humble adult screw ups.

    Adults' have to learn and grow faster and more often than the scouts just to keep up with the scouts growth. If the adults quit pushing the line, the scouts will quit growing and the program will get boring. It's hard and frustrating, but when you watch the maturity of the troop jump forward, you will so excited that you won't sleep that night and you will be forced to sleep on the couch. The more that happens, the more you want and the more you push that line.

    The adults want to program where the scouts like to learn from the mistakes because they the growth makes them like themselves. That comes from them listening to their best teacher, which is their last mistake.  The adults have to insure the scouts that they are in a safe to make mistakes because that is what the program is all about. And that is very hard for new adult leaders who have spent their adult life teaching their kids not to make mistakes. I learned to caution new adult visitors to speak up in a PLC meeting because they just can't help themselves. Kind of funny to watch.

    Stating a new troop with new scouts is the most difficult time of the troop program. So, it is important to understand the goals of the program like Vision and Aims so that they learn how the Methods get them there. I wish training taught that better.


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  21. 11 hours ago, Calion said:

    Here’s my question: Is that really a problem? Acknowledging your other concerns and focusing on this one, what’s wrong with their first year in Scouting being an AOL 2, with the Patrol Advisor continually whispering in the PL’s ear, while the new Scouts get used to Scouting? That’s basically how new troops work in my experience; why not new patrols? Heck, even in established troops it can work that way if the older Scouts have gone inactive or aged out and younger Scouts are leading the troop. 

    Been there done that. In fact, we tried almost 10 different approaches to getting first year scouts up to speed, and comfortable enough to want to stay. The BSA looses more scouts in their first year of a troop than any other age in the BSA. Our Troop certainly saw that problem. The quick reason for the drop out rate is that sudden culture change from being hand held through life by adults to instant independence of relying on the boy leader not much older than the new scout and themselves for surviving in the woods. It's terrifying for many new scouts.

    Now, you would think that the new scout patrol would make that easier, but the problem with the new scout patrol is that hand holding is still there and the independence isn't reinforced enough for the scout to trust the culture of the troop. The new scout will learn to trust the TG, but not the other older scouts. And, the only independence the scouts learn is what the TG teaches them, which really isn't the confidence that comes from experience. 

    I do believe there is a way to mix Webelos with the troop program to get the scouts more up to speed, but not to the degree mentioned by Calion. I had great success with Webelos Dens doing their program with the troop, but independent of the troop program. The Webelos would stand in formation at opening and closing cermony. Sometimes the participated in games. We would sometimes ask the SPL to send us a scout to teach a few basic 1st class skills. But, we didn't treat the Webelos as Troop Scouts. We wanted them to look forward to change. We wanted the experience of having meetings at the same time with the troop to give them confidence of joining so that the sudden independence didn't overwhelm them. The Webelos got to learn the faces of scouts, and maybe even their names. The adults became familiar, and the scouts got somewhat close to the Scoutmaster who would visit the Webelos activities now and then. And it worked.

    But, Eagle94 is right. A big part of the problem is the adults who don't want to stop hand holding. They don't really see that is what they are doing, but they can't seem to let go of the idea that these young men are still children who need protection from the pain of growing up. Our troop ask all parents who think they want to take positioning the troop to go through about a year of training. In that training, the SM will personally guide them through the troop activities and explain why the adult aren't around. The SM will take them to a PLC meeting with a warning that they are only observers. Do not speak (because it happens). We explain they must attend at least 3 campouts as an observer to learn how scout run really works, and sometimes doesn't work. The trainees will earn their TotenChit, from a scout at the same time the new scouts earn theirs. 

    Getting the adults out-of-the-way is the key to getting the new scouts up to speed. We do have an ASM for new scouts, but that person is trained to work with the Patrol Leaders and Troop Guides. We use the ASM show both the parents of the new scouts and the new scouts how the youth leaders and adults work together as a team. The ASM will always be the support and resource for the scouts to show that the adults trust the scouts to lead. If the new scout and parents need to talk to the leaders for any concerns, they will always be direct to start with the PL or TG. The ASM is support is the scouts ask. The new scouts will likely not even see the ASM after their first three months as they learn to trust the youth leader. The ASM is that adult who hand holding fades away as the confidence of youth leaders builds. It's a process, but we went from 40 first year drops to 5%. 

    The thing about scouting is seeking ways to improve without giving up on the principles of the program. In this case, we wanted the scout to experience scout run patrol method, but we needed them to build confidence that they were safe without adults next to them. Or even 100 yards away. So, we tried different ideas until we found ones that worked. And we reaped the rewards of do that scouting stuff.


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  22. 55 minutes ago, Cburkhardt said:

    If you think parents of potential youth members are unlikely to serve or are otherwise inappropriate to be a Venturing crew Advisor or Committee member, then where are these people going to come from to reboot an entire program?  I might prefer others, but of the many units like this I formed over the years, there were always at least a few parents among the most effective Advisors.  That is my observation and experience, not necessarily my experience.

    Our Scuba post was manage by the scuba teacher and equipment store owner. The Police Post, was manage by volunteer police, and so on. We have a rappelling Venture crew around here that is led by the rappelling teachers at the Air Force Base. Find the adults who live and have passion for the skills that the scouts want for their adventure. Send them to training and have the DE visit them once in a while. I'm sure the effort is a lot more challenging, but it just one idea to bat around for ideas.


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  23. 41 minutes ago, Calion said:

    So what failed about it?

    My own experience is that scout growth is dramatically slower without older scouts modeling the skills the new scouts need to learn. Troop Guides are OK, but they have to teach most of the skills in more of a classroom setting, while new scouts in a mixed age patrol just have to watch the skills being used in normal activities. The scouts in new scouts patrols tend to get bored because they don't stay busy enough when the troop guide isn't around. There is no resource of experience other than the troop guide. Then usually means the adults have to fill in to make sure the new scouts have a continued program.  

    Another problem I observed is most troops put their less experienced younger scouts in the troop Guide position when the minimum age should be 15 or older. The worst Troops Guides I saw or worked with were 14 and younger. The best ones where 15 and older. In fact, our very best troop guides were past SPLs. They said that Troop Guide just seem like a natural progression for them.

    A totally scout run patrol is almost impossible with new scout patrols.


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