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Venividi last won the day on June 4 2013

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About Venividi

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  1. Divide and conquer. Look at your patrol structure. If there are a lot of young scouts in a single patrol, they feed off each other and the patrol leader has increased difficulty in keeping them focused. If you are able to keep the number of new scouts to 2 per patrol, they can stay more focused, and pay more attention to the older scouts in their patrol, which helps them from acting out.
  2. Age based patrols: Webelos cross over to Boy Scouts expecting fun and adventure. They look up to the older scouts and want to be like them. They select a PL from their midst, but they do not respect or follow him like they would an older scout. Reason: their PL likely has no more experience or knowledge than their own. (Adult equivalent would be if 8 random adults were placed together and told to elect one of their own to lead them in building a chemical plant in India.) Without at least some experience, the PL is thrust into a position that will result in frustration. PL role then either a) gets a bad reputation - you have to go to more boring meetings and no one listens to you, or b) becomes adult led to keep the patrol going. Then by the time scouts are 14 or 15, the patrol has a hard time finding anyone that wants the position.
  3. In the district that I used to be involved with, they did an excellent job of keeping MB counselor list up to date. Even with that, I did not receive calls from a scout except for a (rare) call to finish a partial from summer camp. Although the purpose of MB program as stated by BSA includes the benefit of calling an unknown adult, working with a caring adult with a knowledge of a subject area, etc., in reality, opportunities to get MB's at adult planned events (summer camp, MB weekends, in troop MB sessions, etc., there is little incentive for a scout to make a call to a MB counselor to arrange a meeting. The beginning of the end for me was when a highly respected scouter asked me to teach first Aid MB on a Saturday at district event. I agreed, because the person that he had previously lined up had fallen ill. I was shocked that the expectation was that the format was to show the scouts a skill, have them repeat it, then sign off on the related requirement. The long time, highly respected scouter that organized the event shrugged his shoulders and said that although he didnt agree with it, that was just the way it was now. I felt bad that I participated in a program that had little benefit to scouts. At the same event, another MB counselor who was leading another MB workshop, bragged about how he had all the pieces required for a project prepared in advance, leaving a small section of wood uncut for the scout to finish, thereby technically meeting a MB requirement to cut wood for the project with a saw. Some time later I had a committee chair call me to set up a First Aid MB class at their troop meetings. I turned her down. I believe that adults want to help there kids advance, and are doing so by taking away anything that might possibly be an obstacle to advancement.
  4. Thrifty, Young boys learn best by watching older boys. When adults do the planning, well, that is just something that they are used to - adults do such things, and they cannot envision themselves doing that. Young scouts typically look up to the older scouts. They want to be like them, have the experiences that they have had. When they see the older boys doing planning, AND the older boys helping them to plan, they can envision themselves doing that. Without a few older boys in the troop that have the understanding that they are role models, and that they have the responsibility and privilege of assisting and training the younger scouts, you have a challenging task. It will take time. As adult leaders, discuss what you would like the boys to be doing by themselves in 1, 3, and 5 years (i.e., the vision). You should also discuss with the older boys their ideas of what they think the troop should be like in the future. Then break each down into tasks, and introduce one or two at a time. Work through the SPL and other older scouts to train them in the skills, and give them the responsibility, expectation, and guidance to implement. from your example: A PL sent out an email asking for his patrol to meet up to go shopping for groceries prior to camping. It was 3:30 in the afternoon on a weekday. How are any of the others going to get to the store if their parents are at work? No arrangements such as sharing a ride were suggested. this could be something that people might agree would be important to improve over the next several months. This situation is very typical. What seems obvious to us is not to a scout, especially if he has not observed or assisted another SPL do this when he was a younger scout. i.e., if he had never seen an email, text message, or received a phone call from SPL or PL for every monthly campout, he would not know that such detail was expected. Also, boys typically look to put as little effort as possible into what they may view as a task that is , lets say, l"less than fun". In this case, one potential action would be for the SM to sit down with the SPL and ask guiding questions: How did that work out? Did the scouts do what you requested? Why do you think that was? Do you have any ideas for doing something different next time? What are they? How would you do them? How will you remember to do them next time? etc. You also need to look at what happened when the shopping didnt get done. Did adults step in and do it? (reinforces that there is no downside to the scouts if they do not complete needed chores). Or did scouts arrive at the meeting place ready to leave for the camp out , but without food, and the troop then have to make a stop for groceries, resulting in less time for fun on the campout? Does the SPL check with each patrol leader before departure to check that the patrol has the food, tents, and other camping gear that they need? If not, that is also fodder for a retrospective witht eh SPL. Good Luck - take joy in baby steps.
  5. 1) Patrols need to matter. Avoid combining patrols on camp outs. Combining patrols conveys the message that patrols don't matter. This month a scout is in the liger patrol (combination of lions and tigers because only a few from each patrol attended the campout); next month he is in the leagles (lions and eagles), following month, it is the leagears (combination of lions, eagles and bears). Loyalty (and the resulting spirit) doesnt build with a random, ever changing group. 2) Have meaningful competitions. Interpatrol activities at each meeting and camp out need to be patrol vs patrol. Patrols need to have bragging rights that they bested the other patrols. This implies that there should be more to competitions than simply dividing up into 2 groups for a large game of capture the flag; a 3 or 4 team (i.e., patrols) will work better at building patrol spirit. 3) Patrols camp at some distance from each other - this topic has been covered extensively in other threads. 4) Mixed age patrols. You want older boys to care about and nurture younger boys in their patrol. This creates a bonding that doesnt happen as easily when all of the boys are of near equal ability. It is also needed to have meaningful competitions (there is not much spirit building when a patrol consisting of 8th grade boys competes with a patrol of 6th graders).
  6. Stosh, To say that it is all due to how the program is run (as to whether FC and Eagle scouts are equivalent in character, citizenship, fitness), discounts the maturity that happens in anyone between 12 and 18. The program should help guide and encourage growth in those ; i.e., character, citizenship and fitness. If it does not, if a Star, Life, and Eagle scout have not developed further, then the program is deficient. I do agree with you that some scouts at FC exhibit more maturity than some Eagles. I love it when I meet scouts that draw their motivation to improve from within themselves rather than from external awards. They are great examples. I wish everyone was like that (youth and adult alike). Regards, Venividi
  7. Stosh, I admire your sentiment that a good first class scout is the same as a good Eagle scout (dynamics is the word that you used). However, I just cant imagine that even in your troop an Eagle scout wouldn't have a deeper understanding of the scout oath and law, this impacting beliefs and behavior. BSA stresses first class in 1 year. If a scout progresses no farther in his trail to Eagle than in the year (or so) to First Class, then what is the point of additional years of participation in scouting? We've already helped him as far along as he is able to go.
  8. Don't be patient. If no camping activities are planned in which all scouts can participate, those that cant will soon lose interest and drift away. Is it reasonable to assume that the few new kids are all in one patrol? They can have patrol meetings where they plan and set up patrol camp outs. If the PLC is planning troop level activities that leave out the younger scouts, and older scouts are shooting down all activity suggestions in which younger scouts could participate, they are not living to the scout law. It would be a good topic to raise at troop committee meeting on the direction of the troop.
  9. An Eagle Scout should exhibit the characteristics that make him someone that we would hold up to other scouts as an example. Living and demonstrating the scout oath and law is in my opinion the most important requirement for Eagle, yet many are inclined to ignore it because it is by nature subjective. Eagle is an award that to the public embodies the Scout oath and law. Picking out just the first 3: Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful Is a scout that has camped 20 nights in 3 or 4 years trustworthy, loyal or helpful to his patrol? In my opinion he is not, because he let his patrol mates down by skipping so many campouts. It is not demonstrating loyalty to his patrol; he was not there for them to be helpful; cannot be trusted to show up or participate. Is a scout that demonstrated a requirement once and then never did it again because it was signed off Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful? Again, in my opinion he is not, because how can he help other scouts learn a skill, be relied on in the wilderness, be prepared for an emergency, if he does not willingly practice skills nor teach them to others? A scout that has met the requirements no more no less does not fit the image that has been promoted to the public of what an Eagle scout is. Some years ago, someone posted a comment something like Mom: "Help! Help! My baby is choking!" Eagle Scout: Sorry lady, I took First Aid merit badge when I was 11 at Summer camp. I only did it once, so I don't remember what to do." Is a scout that has not attended a troop meeting for 2 years, and then shows up and expects time from leaders to help him complete rank requirements for Eagle an Eagle scout? How has he demonstrated trustworthy, loyal, helpful? He has left his troop and patrol mates to fend for themselves instead of being helpful or loyal to them. (In this, I also fault leaders because they continued to register an inactive scout in their troop, which is not trustworthy, loyal, or helpful to the troop). Is a scout that concentrates exclusively (or mainly) on requirements in pursuit of rank advancement being trustworthy, loyal, or helpful? It is a bit of an oxymoron that a scout that so focused on obtaining Eagle that he does not pay much attention to helping fellow scouts, or participating fully with his patrol is given the award and held up to other scouts as something special. When we as adult leaders have done that, we have taken eyes off the aims of scouting - character, citizenship, fitness.
  10. Adding something that hasn't been raised yet: Who is doing the training and setting the expectations for a scout in a new POR? If it is the SM or an ASM, then the boy very well may view it as an unnecessary job only being done because the adult told him to do it. If it is a same age scout (i.e., the PL in a troop with age based patrols), then the scout's view may be that the PL doesn't know any more than he does, so why should he listen to him? Besides, they just want to goof around together. However, if the person doing the training and setting the expectations is another scout that is older than him, the scout is more likely to follow through, because the older scout is likely looked up to and respected by the scout. He wants to be accepted by the older, "cool" kids in the troop. Consider moving to placing the responsibility of training and follow up to a JASM or other older scout. Moving to this type of structure may take several years for the troop to adopt, as the current older scouts have grown up in an environment where such jobs nover got done well, and therefore they have no view as to how things could or should be.
  11. I would not object to expulsion, but I don't see the CC going along with that. I don't see where CC should be overriding the SM on decision as to whether a scout with long term bad behavior should be able to continue to participate in scout meetings and activities. I think it would be interesting to listen in on that conversation: SM: CC, you are aware of all of the issues with scout X, from all of our previous discussions, correct? CC: Yes, why do you ask? SM: We have lost scouts and despite repeated conferences with him, he is still bullying younger scouts. I expect that it will not be long before we lose more scouts.I am going to meet with him and his parents and tell them that he will no longer be allowed to participate in the troops activities. I will give them contact info for other troops that they could approach to join. I am requesting your support. CC: Sorry, you dont have it. You cant give up on this boy. SM: The ASM's and I have done as much as we can. It is a problem that we do not have the ability to resolve. CC: You still have to keep the boy and try your best. SM: Aren't you concerned that the other boys in the troop? About having some quit, and about the negative experiences that they are having? CC: You dont know that any will quit, and it is a life experience in dealing with difficult people. You have to keep him. SM: I can see that I and my ASM's do not have your support, and are unable to deliver an effective program as a result of this boy. You have my resignation. I am going to tell the boys that there comes a time when everyone must stand up for what they believe in. That this is my time, I believe in them, but that the CC does not believe in what I am doing. So let me know who will be replacing me. I will be glad to work on a transition plan with them.
  12. jblake writes: We had a troop in our district that had a dozen or so really young scouts and just one older boy. Of course they made him the SPL. After a couple of camporees of watching the little guys follow him around as if they were all tied to him, he picked up the nickname "Mother Hen". That is what I like about mixed aged patrols. It puts scouts in a situation where leadership can happen naturally, because young scouts look up to an older, experienced PL. He already has had adventures that they want to have, has skills that they envy. The PL in turn gets a feeling of self worth because he is able to share his knowledge with those that do not yet have it. It is a structure that helps foster success for leadership development (older scout), and skills development (younger scouts).
  13. If it was me, I wouldn't reorganize patrols at the next patrol meeting, because the groundwork hasn't yet been laid. One possible way: Have meeting with SM, CC, AC, key ASM's to dicsuss what you are trying to do. Discuss their ideas and concerns so that all are on same page. Talk to SPL about observations that the troop really isnt using the patrol method, there are no inter-patrol competitions, etc. and that you would like to add this to the agenda at his next PLC meeting. At next PLC meeting, pose the problem to the boys. I would use the inter-patrol competition as the hook, because boys love games and love to compete. Point out that the BSA program includes interpatrol competitions. That the agenda planner that they use to plan meetings has a spot for inter-patrol competition, that the council's Jr Leader Training taught interpatrol competition, and that you want their ideas on how to implement it. Give some guidelines: patrols need to be structured so that teams (i.e. patrols) are fair. That each person should have one or two buddies in the patrol that he is in. Let the PLC sell it to the rest of the troop. boys work it out with the guidelines provided. If things look lopsided, ask if they really think it is fair. You may need to write off the high-school age folks. They may not be willing to change, though they may surprise you. I agree with qwazse's suggestion for informal recognitions; as an addition to rather than a substitute for a) bragging rights after winning that night's inter-patrol competition and b) keeping score between COH's and recognizing the patrol with something that the boys value. I think that competitions are one of the most effective, yet least used ways to engage the boys; for motivation to continue to practice skills that were signed off long ago, for working together as a team, etc.
  14. A thought to consider as you work through this with SM: One of the issues/inconsistencies that we recognized that we had as a troop was that awards/recognitions were typically individual based (rank advancement, merit badges), yet one of the aims of scouting is citizenship. In order to move towards the vision that the adults have for properly functioning patrols, patrol based behaviour needs to be rewarded. When all incentives are individual incentives, then patrol cohesiveness isn't fostered. (In my opinion, the advancement method doesn't do much to promote patrol cohesiveness). We needed to create reasons for them to pull together as patrols and not just as collections of individuals. Consider recognizing "best patrol" at courts of honor. You will need to determine what that is. Perhaps patrols earning points for any or all of the following: winning the inter-patrol competition at troop meetings; winning inter-patrol competitions on campouts; Clean and neat patrol campsite for the weekend; patrol organized and run service project; patrol participation in troop service project; First troop to be packed up, patrol campsite policed and cleaned, and all scouts properly dressed and ready to leave at the conclusion of a campsite; best patrol meal on campout as determined by the SPL (no ties), All patrol members properly uniformed at meeting/campout/activity; any patrol that have all members packed and in vehicle ready to leave for a campout by the designated leave time; patrol with x% members in attendance at meeting/activity; has patrol flag with them at meeting/event etc. - you can pick anything that is consistent with your vision of a properly functioning patrol. Pick a suitable reward. Traveling trophy; lunch provided by SM at next campout; popcorn for the winning patrol at the COH, winning patrol gets served refreshments first at COH, totem to add to patrol flag, etc. You can discuss this with PLC; then give guidance as the scouts organize into patrols. I would not be surprised for the scouts to self organize into roughly age-based patrols, as that is what is familiar to them. familiar is comforting; unfamiliar is scary. Whatever they come back with, ask Socratic type questions to help them move towards your vision: i.e. "Do you think that distribution will fair to all patrols at inter-patrol competitions?" would be a great question if they come back with age based patrols. Good luck; you are asking the right questions.
  15. "But we must work with the cards we're given." if you are not getting the results that you want, (or if you find that some method isn't implemented correctly), it is possible to re-deal the cards. I am a bit confused over the intent of your original post. In it you expressed that you felt things weren't quite right. Once several people validated that your feelings were correct and offered suggestions, it appears that instead you were looking for validation that what your troop is doing is the best that can be expected. If you have the program that you want and are happy with your results, that is fine. No one is insistent that you must do it differently; hopefully just explaining some alternatives for consideration.
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