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Posts posted by FrugalProf

  1. Sorry, none of that makes it your business. It is your business to provide guidance, advice and resources when asked. If you want to be this involved in the troop's business, do it right and put in an application to be the new CC -- or SM for that matter. If accepted, THEN it's your business and responsibility. Currently it is neither. All this stuff you say is your duty are situations in which you have wrongly inserted yourself. If the troop committee members approached you with these concerns, you could have advised them on how to effect change through the troop committee. If changes in unit leadership were needed, they needed to put their big boy pants on and make it happen.


    Frankly,the TLT issue is only a symptom of the real problem, and a fairly minor symptom at that. The real issue is the lack of effective adult leadership. Where is the COR in all this? Mediating conflicts between the committee and SM, assuring the quality of the program and recruiting new leadership is the COR's responsibility. Who is going to be the new CC? What's the transition plan? Who is going to take over as the new SM when the old guy gets tired of the criticism and meddling? How many of the whiney parents are serving as ASMs? Why haven't they stepped up and helped the SM with training?


    The solutions to the troops problems must come from within, not from the commissioner corps. If not, it needs to fold and the Scouts transferred to a functioning unit.

    "The real issue is the lack of effective adult leadership. Where is the COR in all this? Mediating conflicts between the committee and SM, assuring the quality of the program and recruiting new leadership is the COR's responsibility."

    -- agreed. The committee has allowed the CC to carry too much and the SM has been unresponsive to expressed concerns, hence the statements that the parents want to bolt as soon as the current CC leaves. The COR is the CO head, literally the pastor of the church, and while supportive of the troop, rarely shows to events, committee meetings, or even Courts of Honor (ex., just missed an Eagle Court of Honor - not sure why, but imagine it was for a good reason). So, the COR is a position in name only on the troop roster.

    "Who is going to be the new CC? What's the transition plan?"

    -- The election for the new committee leadership was held last week, including a co-chairmanship, not ideal but better than no chairman. The new leaders will take over immediately while the old CC is still around, allowing the new leaders to call on him for advice moving forward over the next six weeks or so until his move.

    "Who is going to take over as the new SM when the old guy gets tired of the criticism and meddling?"

    -- there are some potential candidates but the parents do not want to push the SM out, at least not yet.

    "How many of the whiney parents are serving as ASMs?"

    -- one stepped up at this past election cycle

    Why haven't they stepped up and helped the SM with training?

    -- they have but SM won't let them help

  2. FrugalProf, have you tried volunteering to run it? Maybe the SM just doesn't have the time or isn't quite sure about part of it. If that isn't accepted and nobody likes the SM then maybe it's time for the CC to have a talk with him and see if he can let loose some of the reins.


    I wouldn't get too hung up on running ILST exactly as it's in the manual, especially if you have a young troop that has little experience with leading. For a 12 year old I wouldn't expect much more than to get the troop to line up and be quiet. That would be a good start.


    I used to do the standard ILST and it didn't seem to help the scouts at all. I tried some other things but that was only slightly better. For a year or two I just never did anything but after talking to the scouts I came up with a modification of the standard ILST. I added a lot of exercises to the ILST syllabus after asking the scouts what their biggest concerns were. We talked for half an hour and then spent the rest of the time doing exercises. So, less talking and more doing. The exercises were all of the form of a problem that had to be solved in five minutes. Scouts took turns being PL. Sometimes I coached the other scouts to do something that would cause another problem. The scouts had fun. They even wouldn't let me stop a few minutes early. This is the second time I've done this and both times were right around the time of the elections. I like the idea of a lock in. I'd really like to do it on a campout so I'd have more opportunity for more realistic exercises. That was the biggest complaint about the standard course, if one thing they need to do is make a duty roster, then have an exercise about making a duty roster - and throw in a kid that doesn't want to clean dishes ;)

    Thanks MattR,

    I like the shut in idea as well and I think the green bar campout will work if it gets tried. The new ILST has some of those problem solving tasks and suggests rotating them like you and twocubdad have. I think it is great that you and twocubdad have developed some of your own ideas...never hurts to tailor the delivery of the training to what the new of the troop are. Regarding the volunteering to conduct the training...I have and so have several of the committee members. The SM always says he will get to it. The problem is not so much that he doesn't follow a specific training, like TLT or ILST but that he doesn't train the boys in leadership, period. Even more challenging is the fact that he has declined offers to help from committee members and parents and even ASMs, some of whom have left the troop in frustration. At the last committee meeting, I urged the committee members to be direct with the SM and let him know they want their boys trained shortly after the elections so they can succeed in their positions. I also, once again, spoke to the SM and offered to help with training if he wants me to help.

    I'm going to check in with them in two weeks (they have Monday off for Memorial Day) and see if there has been any progress.

    Thanks for your suggestions.




    Are you the UC or the COR? Frankly, buster, I'd bounce your butt out of my campsite faster that you can say "silver epaulettes." It's not your dad-gummed job to dictate to a SM how he trains he youth leaders. Maybe he DOES need to work on camp cleaning with the troop. Maybe the SM has determined his youth leaders need more work on basic skills than discussing "communications theory". But it's none of your business. If you gave him a copy of the JLT syllabus, you've done your job. Now back off.


    Undermining the SM by ginning up a group of "concerned dads" is WAAAAY over the line. As a SM I'd be on the phone with the DC letting him know you are no longer welcome at our troop.


    There are many ways to teach leadership. Following the national TLT syllabus is just one. I'm not surprised troops don't use the syllabus. Until the latest one came out, the program was the pits -- a stack of business cards with job descriptions and 15 minute program for discussion the job description with the Scouts. Years ago, I wrote our own day-long syllabus for our troop to use. Actually, it is very similar to the new national syllabus. But we change it every year, in part to keep it fresh for the Scouts who have take it several times, but also to focus on program elements the leadership believes is important or perhaps the troop needs to brush up on. We've used the program to introduce the youth leaders to new methods and procedures. When we thought the troop was slipping in the quality of camp cooking, we use dinner at the end of TLT to challenge the boys to try new things. Guess what, one year we had a session on camp clean up when we changed the way we did thing.



    Thank you for your candor. I should add that members of the Troop Committee approached me about concerns over the troop, particularly that there have been no TLTs or even PLCs in the Troop for the three years this young Troop has been up and running. It is the classic case of an adult led troop - SM steps into room, boys are quiet and attentive. He steps out, and chaos ensues. Until very recently, the SPL (over multiple individuals and through several election cycles) was largely unable to gain control over the boys. Only with the election of a new SPL and some instruction from the Committee Chairman and the SPL's dad did the SPL gain the confidence and knowledge to lead the boys. However, the troop is still adult led, largely. Boys do not meet in PLC, they are not taken on green bar camping trips, there is no evidence of any formal training for the boy leaders and the parents are complaining about it. That makes it my business.


    I understand that it is the SM's right and privilege to teach leadership to the boys and I respect that. That is why I have waited for two years for it to happen and it hasn't. Now, as UC, I am faced with a severe threat to the survival of the Troop...with the imminent departure of the long term Troop Committee Chairman, MANY parents have openly stated they plan to leave at the end of the TCC's time in the troop (he and his family are moving). The primary complaint of the parents is lack of training for their boys in leadership but with the continued expectation that they lead, the parents are saying their sons are being set up to fail, not succeed. So, my duty to assist the Troop to be the best it can be and to survive year over year to rechartering is now in direct conflict with respecting the SM's right to teach the boys. As UC, I am supposed to help the Troop deliver Scouting as dictated by the District, Council, and National Offices. A fundamental responsibility of the SM is to teach the boys to lead, but this is not happening. I acknowledge that I am crossing the line by stepping in without the SM's explicit invitation. But I also attend meetings and other Troop events without an invitation as well. I am a friend of the Troop, not just the SM. I am stuck with the difficult task of resolving conflict that is brewing between the Committee and the SM. It is a lose-lose situation for me and the Troop unless I can convince the SM that ILST (or at least some form of leadership training) might be helpful to him and the troop in the long run.

  4. We actually try to do ILST after each election. We explain to the Scouts that leadership experiences change based upon the leadership team; different SPL, different goal, different dynamic, different expectations, etc.

    Typically, as the SM, I will bring together the PLC and staff and do an overnight lock-in with them. The "culminating" piece of the ILST is to walk them through (in detail) what a PLC planning meeting should be. I do like the old JLT much better than the new ILST (based upon the resources they provide), but have been using the ILST cirriculum for the last two years.

    We will be having leader training this weekend and I will be changing it a little bit. I was away following the last elections, and will not be the SM for the next elections, so I am opening this training to anyone who wants to run for SPL or PL (2nd Class or above and at least 1 year as a Boy Scout). This will introduce a lot more Scouts to the theories of Scout leadership and planning. Additionally, we will be using this event to make our Annual Plan and basic budget development.


    I also remind the Scouts, this is only the beginning of learning how to lead and encourage them to attend NYLT. However, we have not had anyone go to NYLT in at least the last four years (rather difficult as it is only offered during the last week prior to school, about 8hrs away). This is an issue we are trying to remedy.


    FP, If a Scoutmaster won't train the Scouts, refer him back to his position description and the Scoutmaster Handbook. I see this training as one of the most important of my responsibilities. Does your District provide ILST (I know ours does, but that is a second choice to Troop level training)?? It is important for the Scouts to understand how to lead, expectations of them, responsibilites for their positions, and other tools available to help them do their job. Is the SM against doing the training himself, or against any training provided to the Scouts?? Maybe a ASM or CM can help in this issue?? Just my $.02 ....

    Thanks for the input regarding SM not training boys. The exact cause of his reluctance is not clear. He acknowledges the need but then his description of training is not entirely consistent with ILST or even TLT and seems to be more along the line of camping skills. Specifically, he stated he needs to have a leader camping trip to teach the leaders how to properly wash the cookware. Since I was speaking to him in front of a committee member, I chose not to address it directly at that point, but I am fairly certain we are not on the same page since that response came from him immediately in the wake of showing him a copy of the old TLT manual. I am bewildered by the response since this SM is a veteran SM in our council with a son who achieved Eagle rank. The only choice I see is to ensure that I attend the leadership camping trip along with a couple of concerned Dads/committee members and work together with them to hold the ILST while including some cookware washing skills training as part of the demonstration of EDGE - that way, everyone wins!
  5. Any advice on what to do if SM won't train boy leaders in TLT? As UC, I have asked SM to do this for nearly two years. I even bought the TLT manual and SM won't touch it, literally! I can't get him to even sit down and look at it. I know it is supposed to be the SM doing the TLT with SPL first, then SPL assists in training others. But since SM won't look at the materials, I have asked Troop Committee to ask SM for TLT for boys. What to do?

  6. Hi all, I was recently appointed as the Scouting and Youth Services rep for region in Alpha Phi Omega. I am going to poll the chapter VPs of Service in my region to find out what they have been doing in service to youth, however, I wanted know what you all think is the biggest youth problem is that college students could help alleviate.

  7. I think it is admirable that you are remaining involved with your troop, even if it is only in a small way for now. Another contribution you could make would be to serve as a merit badge counselor for your troop, especially given the attention you are receiving from the boys. Keep up the good work!



  8. Hello all,


    I am a Unit Commissioner who rejoined Scouting last June (2011) after nearly a 20 year hiatus from Scouting. In my time away, I completed three higher ed degrees, become a tenured psychology professor, got married and have two wonderful boys (5 and 1 yo). Last year, after teaching a course on the psychology of happiness, I realized that an important part of my own life that was going unfulfilled was volunteerism - giving back to society. I had been reaquainted with Scouting in the "lost Eagles" campaign through which I joined the BSA alumni association as well. As a life member of NESA, I had never become involved in Scouting since I joined Alpha Phi Omega in college and fulfilled my desire for volunteerism through that outlet. In my first year as a UC, I worked closely with the Troop Committee chairman, and other adult leaders to guide the troop to the gold Journey to Excellence award and with the leaders of the pack I work with to assist them in reaching the silver level JTE.

    Most recently, I have begun to work with my university's student life office and the National office of Alpha Phi Omega to help recharter the inactive chapter on our campus. This effort is ongoing but is going well thus far. The small group of about 8 undergraduates have completed three service projects already since late June and is going to complete another in a few weeks with the local council as they volunteer to help with putting on the summerfest program here.


    Thanks for participating in this forum and for your service to Scouting! I'm looking forward to learning and sharing here!


    Vann Scott

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