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Everything posted by ParkMan

  1. If they have daughters they are already familiar with this idea. As I mentioned before, the GSUSA requires any parent that camps to register. The other difference there is that parents do not have to camp with younger scouts.
  2. I think this is one of the biggest benefits for a BOR. I see this as part of the adult association part of Scouting. Here you have a Scout learning to go to a serious meeting and discuss things on consequence with adults. That's a very good skill to build up. However, adults have to be careful not to abuse it. I don't mind some explanation and show in the meeting. We all have to go to adult meetings and be prepared to back up what we've done. Knowing a foundational element like the oath or law doesn't seem crazy. What we do is ask them go lead both at every BOR. At lower ranks, we'll help them along. By the time they hit Star, they ought to know it's coming and be prepared. If they didn't, we wouldn't fail them. But, we would talk about why they were not prepared to lead it.
  3. I'm not sure I'm following the chain of events with the boys here. Sounds like they came up with the idea for a club, decided to invite the kid to join as a goof, decided to have everyone rush the kid, and then one of the boys tackled him. Then it escalated to the world of adults. These kind of things are always tough for this forum. We can only go on what's written here. So, we really can only guess as to why the adults did what they did. As a parent here, I'd probably tell my son to accept the punishment, learn from the experience, and move on. Whether it was an appropriate punishment for what happened is kind of secondary. To me the key phrase is - if you play with fire, sometimes you get burned. My lessons from this would be: it is never good to start goofing or picking on another scout. If this kid was part of the group, this would never have happened. If they ignored him, this never would have happened adults take concerns about violence very seriously. Don't put them in the position to have to guess Is a suspension appropriate or normal? Sure - troops can do pretty much whatever they want to in this regard. Suspensions are perfectly legit when they see extreme behavior. There are certainly some things one could feed back to the troop - the preferential treatment of the scout and the grilling by the adults - perhaps even alone. I'd let it be and move on. Whether it was an extreme reaction or not is a judgement call. I'd focus on what your son can learn from the experience and move on.
  4. I'd point to @HelpfulTracks post on leading vs. commanding. I thought that was very well said and matches my thinking here too. I think this is a great example and it gets to a related concept. My belief is that generally, letting scouts learn from failure is the right approach. I also believe that in just about all situations adults simply taking over is the wrong answer. I'm glad you mentioned coaching though. It feels to me that in these discussions, the value of the adult as coach gets lost. Agreed. Failure is a useful tool in learning. We do need to be careful about letting failure become the norm, but as long as that's not the case, failure is fine. That's where the SM, CC, etc. can set the tone about the overall goal of why we're doing what we're doing.
  5. I went back this evening and checked my Scoutmaster Leaders Specific Training Syllabus. It's from 2010. Not sure if there is a newer one or not. In that material, the first third of the course is all about the role of the Scoutmaster. It's called "Getting Started: The Role of the Scoutmaster in a Boy-Led Troop." The session runs about 2 hours and is broken down into smaller pieces. In WB, there is still the model PLC meeting & I know there's a section on coaching and mentoring youth in there as well. But, what I remember was it was certainly less instructive on the topic of boy led. It feels like it was a pervasive theme in the course - it was referred to a lot. Though not necessarily something that was a focus session on. Thinking about it, I almost would describe it as if the course developers assumed everyone got boy led and they built materials on top of that. I'd be all for a session on the WB course that would focus just on this. It's such a simple concept that so many people get hung up on. I'd also be up for a course at other venues - University of Scouting, Roundtable, etc. To me, this is pretty fundamental to what we do.
  6. That's when the new G2SS rule that requires adults at all activities kick in.
  7. Empowering youth to lead was a common theme throughout our course - both when I was a participant and a staffer. This is just one of many times it's brought up.
  8. Someone one explained it to me that Scouting is different than many other places. In Scouting, our goal is not to get tasks done. In Scouting, our goal is to develop youth. As a result, the way we approach leadership is different here. The Scoutmaster wants the Scouts to take of as much responsibility for running the troop as possible. So, while the Scoutmaster is a leader to the boys, he practices that leadership through coaching and mentoring as much as possible. He recognizes that the Scouts learn the most by doing things for themselves, so he challenges to run the troop. But, he also recognizes that we all benefit from coaching and mentoring, so he walks a line and judiciously advises the Scouts in an effort to challenge them to push through their perceived boundaries. NOTE: Moderators - I think this whole aspect would be a great spinoff topic.
  9. It the intersection between the concept of "adult led, youth run" and "how do adults and youth of different generations work together". For example - often adults have the overall responsibility for something such as an event. The Scouts will be running the event and probably making the bulk of the decisions. Yet, there will most certainly be times when the adults responsible for the event need to figure out how to work with the youth running the event. It's an exploration of how to do that effectively.
  10. This was one of my favorite sessions from Wood Badge. The biggest thing I walked away from the session was understanding better that different generations communicate & see the world differently. Scouting is the unique mix of generations and I remember these lessons a lot. Very helpful. @gblotter I appreciate you sharing your father-in-law's insight here. I do understand well his motivation. I can't say that I'd have reached the same conclusion and remedy, but I can certainly see the problem that he at least feels this attempts to resolve.
  11. As a Scouting community, we really need to stop with the negative comments about moms. They seem like something out of the 1960's. In our troop, the moms are just as strong advocates for outdoor adventure as the dads. There's no arts and crafts in our troop. No offense, but reading these comments is like a wierd flashback to times past. But, even if they were true, girls in the BSA is a completely separate topic. The dad the brings his son to Scouts is just as likely to bring his daughter to Scouts. The mom that brings her son to Scouts is just as likely to bring her daughter to scouts. There is no real linkage here. The only link between the gender of the leaders and the gender of the participants is the nutty BSA rule about now having a female adult leader. But that's a topic for another thread. I've said this in countless threads over the years. The BSA's biggest problem is the poor job that we do in explaining our program. Whether it's moms, dads, or whatever - the single biggest thing the BSA gets wrong is in the poor training and development of leaders. Fix how we explain what we do, you'll start to fix some of these problems.
  12. I think @MattR is on to something. We're a pretty active troop. If you asked us, we'd say the same things quoted here - it's about the journey, advancement is a method - it's not a goal, etc. It you looked at us you think - "these guys are really focused on advancement." My sense is that advancement is obvious, it's easy to grasp. The other stuff is much harder to grasp. I also think it's much easier for a parent to understand and measure advancement. You can ask a teenager - did you have fun on the trip. Often I'm sure the response is "Sure'. It's tough to know what to make of that. Advancement - that's pretty easy for a parent to measure. Doesn't make it right at all - but it is easier.
  13. GSUSA requires all adults who camp to be registered too. I do see an inherent conflict in the fact that parents are required to camp at the Cub Scout level. But, at the Scouts BSA level, if it really is that anyone who camps for more than 72 hours all year has to register - that's really not so crazy. Beyond that though - it seems a little ridiculous that this forum needs to try to interpret the response from someone on the BSA helpdesk. As forums go, this is certainly the most active one I know of. There has to be someone that we can contact on behalf of the forum. I'm sure it's in the best interest of the BSA for this group to get it right. Anyone know who we should reach out to?
  14. I find that our district and council are indeed very different when it comes to planning. We're in a large, very professional council. Council dates are generally on the calendar at least a year out. Sure, things like trainings pop up with less notice - but major things like Council Camporees are known very well ahead of time. Our district tries to be that planned, but are not to that same level. Generally, district events are known about 6 months out. But again, some major things like District Pinewood Derby or District camporee are closer to 9 months out. I'll profess though that I've got very little sympathy for districts that don't plan at least a year out - preferrably 1.5 years out. There will always be things that pop up more quickly. But, there is absolutely no reason why a council or district cannot plan 18 months out. Just my .02
  15. Well, technically - they wrote the rule, they can interpret it to mean whatever they want. The GSUSA mandates that you be registered to go on any trips. Even at 72 hours, the BSA is much laxer.
  16. I've been a CC for about 5 years now. I've come to realize that the job description of the CC is rather simple. A CC's job is to assemble & lead a team of adult volunteers in delivery of the Scouting program to the youth of the troop. That means, as CC, you'll have to do a few basic things: Develop and communicate a long term vision for the troop such that it will successfully deliver a program that fulfills the goals of the Chartered Organization. Recruit a team of adults who can do the various jobs the troop needs done. Lead the team of adults who do these different jobs. The personality traits that make a CC successful are similar to what is needed in leading many volunteer organizations. Ability to develop a plan for the group, ability to build an organization, ability to communicate, ability to lead a team, ability to recruit adults, ability to develop volunteers, and good problem solving skills. I think others have done an outstanding job earlier in the topic capturing these. In a big troop, the CC will probably be more of an executive role - a volunteer who accomplishes things through other volunteers. In a smaller troop, the CC may need to do more him/herself. But, the goals are the same. One of the biggest areas of struggle I see for a CC is the relationship with the SM. I think the best SM/CC relationships are those where you've got a SM & CC with a shared vision for the troop. The CC leads the adults to implement that vision. The SM implements the vision through interactions with the Scouts.
  17. Thanks for all the replies. @MattR - I'll try to keep this to topic as much as I can. Also - I apologize in advance that this will be a bit long. Let me pull a few key responses to respond to: Yes - I fully acknowledge that there are jerks in any organization - Scouting included. I've been in senior leadership roles in Scouting units for the better part of 10 years. Cubmaster, Pack, Troop, & Crew Committee Chair. A few district leadership roles as well. Served on Wood Badge staff as well a couple of times. In that time, I've led countless Scouting teams. I worked with well over 200 volunteers. At least 100 of them have been women. Just like the men, those women come from a wide range of backgrounds and careers. I've had plenty of executives, lawyers, doctors, teachers, professors, police officers, and many other backgrounds. Many of these women are strong, highly competent people. Never once have I been concerned about being accused of sexism. But, along with that, I've never uttered the phrase "a female tyrant". Sure I've had jerks - but that's regardless of gender. Never in that time have I looked at the behavior of a female leader and thought "well, she can get away with that because she's a woman." I expect I get no comments about sexism because I treat all the adults equally. In my current role as Troop Committee Chair, I have a team of 35+ adult volunteers. About 50% just pop in to help with a special project from time to time. The other 50% have defined roles in the troop. We have an org. chart. We have senior volunteers and junior volunteers. When some new adult shows up full of energy, I listen to their interests. I watch them for a while. Eventually, it becomes apparent how they'd like to help. Then, I give them a great troop job with tons of responsibility. We do our best to be as boy led as possible. Our troop has about 100 scouts today. Having a boy led troop of 100 scouts provides lots of opportunities for adults to do stuff. There's a huge budget, with a constant stream of payments, there's lots of fundraising, there's lot of boards of review, that's STEM programs, merit badge counselors to recruit, equipment to buy, 2-3 camping trips a month to recruit adults and drivers for, high adventure trips, packs to interact with, family email lists to co-ordinate, websites to maintain. I could keep going. I need strong leaders in our program. I don't have time to micromanage our Webelos recruiting program. I need a strong leader who can make sure that gets done. As Committee Chair, I rarely interact with Scouts and program stuff. That's the Scoutmasters job. But, what I do try to do is make sure we've got a steady funnel of adults building experience. It's very rare for an adult to show up and immediately jump to significant ASM roles. Why? Because there are usually 4-5 other ASMs that are active that have been there 4+ years that serve that function. Newer adults - be they ASMs or Committee Members - take on small jobs while they learn about Scouting. I have a 2-3 year plan for the troop organizationally, so I am very aware of what skill sets we need. Every once in a while, I'll get an adult who gets a little carried away with them self. It usually just takes a conversation or two to get them back on the team. I do that by working with them to explain our vision for the troop - why we do things the way we do and where we are going with it. I then bend over backwards to find them a constructive role in the troop. But, if I have to, I've got no problem telling them that I need them to be a better team player. From time to time someone will get a bit heated - it usually just takes me pushing back publicly in the troop committee meeting a few times. They get the message. And yes, we have LOTS of adults with no camping experience. Camping experience is crucial for the ASM working with the new scouts. But, camping experience is not that important for our fundraising chair or membership chair. Our Scoutmaster has 30+ years of Scouting experience, but couldn't keep our website updated. It's putting folks in the right places to be successful. I share all of this because when I say strong leader this is what I mean. It has nothing to do with my cultural defensiveness or ignorance about Scouting. It's about working with people to build a team and organization. I know our troop represents a large troop experience. But, even with a small troop, you can do much the same things. As we embark on the path of adding girls and more adult leaders, my wish for packs and troops is that they take this opportunity to build their team. So, rather than coming up with reasons why we don't want moms with no camping experience around, find ways to get them plugged in. If the really want to work directly with the boys, help them to build the skills to do that. Sorry this is so long.
  18. She's taking over because your pack, troop, crew, and district have weak leaders who don't know how to lead a group of people. That she is a women is not the problem. I have lots of very strong female leaders in our pack, troop, and crew and it works perfectly fine.
  19. Yeah - time to outlaw nepotism within the key 3.
  20. We seem to have lots of these posts. Some parent showed up at a troop, didn't understand Scouting, took over, and ruined it all. Sometimes folks try to associate that with women - but not always. The common thread I see in these is a troop that can't seem to figure out how to rally around a defined program and channel adult energy accordingly. It has nothing to do with male vs. female. At the unit level, the failing is in understanding that organizing adult energy and having a defined culture is something you have to work at. At a national level, I'd argue that we've missed the boat on preparing adults to lead programs. We focus on so much on SM training around Scout skills that we've neglected those skills you need to deploy a program.
  21. That's what I see too. Whether it's the number of packs recruiting girls, the discussions in the troop committee, or discussions in the district committee, the outward indications are that most people in my area are in support of it.
  22. I'd just have her meet with the boys and call it a day. I would just make her a member of the boys den - no need for the technicality of being in her own den. Packs don't report den assignments to anyone. So putting her in her own den, but having her meet with the boys is a distinction without a difference. Going forward push for greater numbers in recruiting and work towards the goal of a separate girl and boy dens.
  23. It's just the BSA sending the message that they're serious about making this work. At the onset of the program, they're talking a lot about it, hyping it up, working to share the enthusiasm. They want to see this be successful. If they didn't do this, they wouldn't be doing their jobs. In a few months, the majority of the articles will be back to typical content.
  24. The answer is simple. Because Johnny asked them to. The message to the Scouts isn't about gender identity. The message is about supporting their friend and fellow Scout. Respectfully - I think many are overthinking this. This is simply a question about how do we as Scouters support youth who are going through their own struggles about who they are as young adults. For this young person it was gender identity, but it could just as easily have been a number of others things.
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