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About Grubdad

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  1. Hope nobody minds, but I wanted to post a follow-up update to this thread I started last year. Summer Camp was the straw that broke the camel's back. Constant fighting, bickering, negativity, conflict with other troops, insubordination, etc, with no consequences. After returning home, the six of us dads whose boys had all crossed over to this troop together that year had a meeting to discuss it. This was in July. All except me decided to state our concerns to Troop leadership and committee, and then wait until the end of the year to see major changes. I decided to give them a month. At the end of that month, after seeing zilch from the Troop leadership and committee, my boy and I moved on to another Troop, one of a couple we had been visiting and researching. The change was and is dramatic. Like 180 degrees different. It was almost a foreign experience to see boys playing together without fighting, to see them work together without bickering. They are typical teenaged boys, with all the harmless mischief, "coolness", and zaniness that includes. They are far from perfect. But they have a positive attitude, are a true pleasure to be around, and I have spent a lot of time with them at campouts and activities. The Troop adult leaders allow ZERO crap from them, and a couple sometimes seem to ride them pretty hard, and sometimes the tone seems a bit negative, although the boys don't seem bothered by it. But I try to do the opposite, and be Mr. Positive Reinforcement. Another new dad is a really good guy, and feels the same way I do, and treats the boys in a positive way. So we are hoping to find that correct balance. We just returned from a four day campout, and it was a pleasure just to tag along with these Scouts on their various activities and watch them interact and have fun together. So sometimes the best thing to do is just to move on. It sure was for us. David
  2. Thanks for the reply, Eagle94-A1 My boy and I visited a campout with another Troop this last weekend to see them in action for a few hours. The difference I saw between the two troops is remarkable. With this new troop we're checking out, it seemed like everyone really got along well together. The adult leaders agreed that sure, they have their occasional squabbles in their troop, but these disputes were dealt with quickly, quietly, firmly and fairly. I know I just saw a small sample of their time together, but I think it was still informative. I compare it to that campout with our current troop I described at the beginning of the thread that was the big eye-opener for me, where 3 or 4 boys were constant troublemakers. It seemed there was a near-constant level of arguing, yelling, name-calling, foul language, and ignoring instructions from either Patrol Leaders or adults. Mix in a few shoving matches, and a general refrain of "I don't have to listen to you", and it got real dispiriting to the adults, and confusing and discouraging to the majority of the scouts who are really good kids. I agree with you that it can poison the culture of the whole troop. My boy doesn't really seem to care which troop he belongs to; he is happy doing anything active with any group of boys. He's pretty easy to please. But he seems to see the difference, and likes the more pleasant troops he has seen. I worry that he could become attracted to the rougher boys, because he always gravitates to wherever there is energy and action, even if it is negative or even dangerous. He's a bit immature in some ways still, and I think good peer role models are important for him. This is a lot of work! Between checking out other troops and doing stuff with our current one, we did four different scout activities just last week.
  3. Good suggestion, as always, Krampus. It seems obvious that we should be able to get a straight answer. I guess I have gotten so used to this troop, and our Cub pack before, sweeping these things under the rug, that I am assuming all troops might tend to talk a good game, but with no follow through. I was also a bit hesitant to discuss specific situations with other troops, because I didn't want to air the dirty laundry of the current one, or appear to bad-mouth them. But I think you are right. If I don't come right out and get straight to the point, I won't have done my research effectively. I just hope I can get honest answers. Any additional suggestions are welcome.
  4. OP here. I have been putting a lot of time and effort into trying to figure out this situation. To summarize, without getting into too many details and anecdotes: - At the Campout we attended, there were a few boys who blatantly and almost continuously acted in ways that were unacceptable, including disregard and backtalk to adult and scout leaders, regular foul language including the F-word and racial slurs, and almost constant yelling/arguing/taunting/shoving others. These are not kids with disabilities or special needs, which we also have a few of in the troop, and who do very well. - From my own previous observations, as well as discussions with some of the more reliable scouts, this behavior is fairly regular, and is often worse. - There were zero consequences for these behaviors other than a stern talking-to. At the following Troop meeting, a couple adult leaders had caught wind of what had happened and quizzed a few of us about our observations. This was then discussed at the committee meeting, which resulted in the Senior Patrol Leader, at last night's meeting, to remind the Scouts to try to work harder to follow the Scout Law. - It appears that the culture of the Troop is to be very lax, and to not deal with issues like this in a serious way. I believe that any Scout can screw up now and then, and that all boys are far from perfect. But when a boy is blatant and consistent with obnoxious behavior, and disregards any sort of reprimand, then the next step is for that Scout to experience a minor punishment, such as not being able to attend a future activity or event. This troop appears to not be willing to do that in any way. I think they talk tough at times, but that's about it. - We have started looking at other troops in our area. We attended a another troop's meeting Monday, and were impressed by the friendly way the boys interacted. But at our meeting with our current troop last night, a casual observer could have reached the same conclusion. So I think it will be very difficult to judge what another troop's culture is until we are deep into it. - A couple friends in the current troop are as concerned as I am, but feel "it's like this everywhere", and that I will find the exact same situations and attitudes in other troops. I am hoping they're wrong, but am afraid they might not be. So further suggestions would be useful to me. I'd like to decide sooner rather than later if we are going to switch troops. So any suggestions on how to find a troop that is closest to our attitudes and beliefs would also be appreciated. Thanks!
  5. None of the leaders witnessed this. We were attending as Cub visitors. I was at the back of the hiking group when this happened, and didn't see it clearly, but other Scouts and Cubs did. IIRC the offenders made some lame excuse like they couldn't hold it or something. So I probably was to blame for not dealing with it it more vigorously. I think I mentioned it to the ASM that evening, who kind of shrugged it off. If I reported every obnoxious thing this kid did I would be running to the SM every half hour. This is the son of our former Pack Scoutmaster, currently one of the Troop's ASMs.
  6. Thanks for your support, Krampus. This example I gave was from last fall, so it's too late to address it now. But it is something that should be filed away for reference.
  7. OP here. I really appreciate these thoughtful replies. You have given me a lot to think about. At the Troop meeting last night, one of the Assistant SMs, who I know well from our Cub pack, asked me about some of the issues from last weekend. Apparently he had heard that things had gotten a bit out of hand at the Camporee. We talked a bit about some of the chronic challenges a few of these boys had posed, and he is planning to get the parents involved, and give notice that their behavior won't be tolerated any more. He quizzed me about what happened on the trip, so I gave him some examples. I told him I didn't want to come off as the new guy who was telling him how to run his troop, but he encouraged me to share my observations because a fresh perspective was sometimes useful. So I gave him my thoughts, which were that it seems these boys have gotten reprimanded so many times, but with no consequences attached, that they have learned they can get away with just about anything and risk only a scolding. That if there were real consequences, like missing the next Troop activity, it might be a real wake-up call. He got a look on his face which seemed to say, "Wow, why didn't we think of that". He and a couple of the other leaders went and had a little pow-wow to discuss the situation, which, apparently, they had all been concerned about. The ASM who is my friend said he is going to talk to all the parents of the usual suspects about the situation, and before the next campout will present them with letters spelling out exactly what is expected, along with maps to the campout so the parent can come retrieve their son if there's a problem. We have a few special needs boys in our troop, and they do great. Everyone understands their challenges and works with them and any special behavior quirks. It is also tragic when kids come from abusive or neglectful homes, and act out or are socially confused because of it. These are harder to identify. Other kids may have mental or emotional problems. Again, these situations may be hard to identify. And some kids are just plain mean bullies. So it's not easy. For instance, one kid at the Camporee was this real nice, friendly kid, but he was a bit of a handful to manage. Often didn't follow instructions, and would wander around at times doing his own thing. It turns out he is autistic. It's the mean ones that worry me. Thanks, again, for the suggestions and ideas.
  8. Hey "Beavah". I'm getting a little exhausted by your mis-quoting me and making wildly incorrect assumptions. In your first post you said: "First, speak to the Scoutmaster as a friend and supportive individual. Have other parents do the same. Lots of times it helps to be confronted with the impact a poorly behaving boy is havin' on da other boys. The second suggestion is that yeh need a new Scoutmaster, eh?" I wasn't even considering your second suggestion because it certainly did not seem to be my place to advocate this, and I think the SM is a good guy and I'd like to help him. Later you paste my quote: "We decided it would be a good idea for the four former Cub dads who were on this campout to meet with the SM to talk about the experience, share what we observed, and see how we can improve." And you twist that around and accuse me of: "So a group of newbies is goin' to go to the fellow who has been runnin' things for years and demand changes after goin' on one trip, eh?" How do you reconcile this? My post agreed exactly with your first suggestion, but you later twist it around to accuse me of being "demanding". You then make the wild assumption: "Besides, you don't know these boys yet, eh? What experience yeh have with troublemaker #1 is from years ago. That's what's known as "prejudice", eh? Kids change with time, often lots." Wrong. Last fall our Cubs camped with this troop as visitors. Troublemaker #1 and his toadie went next door to a private campground in broad daylight and urinated in the middle of it to annoy the families there, which they did. He then lay down on the center line of the adjoining highway to show off. He mouthed back to several adults including myself, and terrorized many of the kids in our den and the rest of the troop. This was all in the course of about six hours. Then, a month ago he was at an activity with another troop and he and the same accomplice did something so egregious that our SM was contacted about it by their SM, resulting in a reprimand for those two and a lecture to the rest of the troop. I don't know the offense, but it was certainly unacceptable. So I have pretty current experience. And you accuse me of "prejudice"? Then you said: "Yah, yah, all those new crossovers are great kids, eh? They would never use bad language when you weren't around." Is this sarcasm useful in any way? Not to mention, again, assuming something I never said. You said:" Yeh need to sit back and stop rabble rousin'." Again, a total contradiction to your initial suggestion, where you suggesting the extreme action of replacing the SM, which I disregarded. And identifying bad behavior and looking for a way to improve it is "rabble rousing?" Your input has stopped being useful in any way.
  9. I posted my last reply before I read Stosh's excellent post. I am torn between the punishment vs. nurture choice. I agree that Scouting should be a positive and guiding influence for all boys, and especially for those that need that extra guidance and structure because of a deficit in their own lives. I was one of those boys. So I am not wanting to immediately kick anyone out, with the possible exception of the #1 troublemaker who has been a toxic element for seven years now, since I first encountered him in Cubs. I know at least three families in our Cub pack who quit Scouting because of this kid, and the lack of response to his behavior. These families never returned to Scouting, and you can bet don't have much good to say about Scouting to anyone.
  10. OP here. Thanks for the responses. I am getting some very useful input here. I had lunch yesterday with one of the dads from our previous Cub den who is a good friend. We decided it would be a good idea for the four former Cub dads who were on this campout to meet with the SM to talk about the experience, share what we observed, and see how we can improve. I was reminded by my friend about yet another incident last weekend where the #1 perp on this trip also made a particularly bad racial slur. This was not one of those little comments that could have been open to interpretation, but instead a sweeping condemnation of an entire racial group. This sort of thing, if I ran things, would have resulted in serious punishment. I don't think the SM was aware of it, though. If it were up to me, I would take the five bad apples and tell them they were on strict probation until further notice. This would mean that at the next event, the most minor infraction would result in them being separated from the troop and their parents being called to come pick them up. This may not reform all of them, but it would sure send a message to them and the rest of the troop. As it is now, all the other Scouts see is that these five have all the power: The power to disrupt. The power to get attention. The power to intimidate. The power to get away with it. I also really like the idea of the parents of the bad apples being required to attend the next event and micro-manage their boy. One problem is that the absolute worst one belongs to an ASM, who has always been incredibly hands-off regarding any sort of discipline. In Cubs he would often stand by passively while his boy was being obnoxious or mean. But I don't think he wields any political clout, and he's a pleasant enough guy, so I don't foresee any major resistance there. But I don't foresee any major improvement, either. I actually think most or all of these problem boys want to be there. I think to them it may be an opportunity to get away from adult supervision to violate boundaries and run wild. Keep the suggestions coming! Thanks!
  11. Thanks a lot for the great replies. Let me clarify a few things. I am just a dad who intends to participate in every activity and campout with my son, as I did in Cubs. I have no leadership position. I understand policies and procedures won't fix things. I am just trying to get a feel for what is considered unacceptable, and how it is typically dealt with. This has been a problem with these particular boys for years. Five years from our personal experiences with the #1 troublemaker I talked about first, who had also been in our Cub Pack. These are not isolated or occasional incidents. They seem almost constant. The Scoutmaster is well aware of these chronic issues. At this Camporee I was helping him prepare the adults' dinner and got to chatting with him a bit about it, mentioning one particular incident. He immediately rounded up the three boys involved, took each one aside one at a time, and apparently read them the riot act, from what I assumed because of all the tears. Since I and the other dads that came from our Cub Den are all brand new here, we're still learning the lay of the land, and haven't yet talked with him in depth about it. This Scoutmaster is a very good guy, but I get the feeling he might be a bit exhausted from doing this for some years. Maybe he doesn't have the stomach for meting out tough consequences? I am hoping if some of the other dads make it clear to him that we support him 100% he will be more empowered and consistent. I spent several hours driving to the Camporee with two scouts who have been in the troop for a couple years, and they had some very useful insights and observations. I learned a lot about the situation by chatting with them. I realize there is a balance between wishing for a perfect world, and letting chaos reign. Please keep any suggestions coming.
  12. My Cub just crossed over into a Boy Scout Troop along with 5 other of his den mates, most of whom have been together since they were Tigers. They are a great group of boys: well-behaved, active, polite, and fun (with the occasional boys-will-be-boys exception). They all love the Scouting experience, especially camping, and are thrilled to be actual Scouts now. This new Troop seems good in many ways, very active, with a good Scoutmaster and some great older boys. But there are a few boys who are ruining the experience for many of the other Scouts, and for the parents who attend campouts and events. One is chronically mean, an instigator, a liar, nasty, breaks rules constantly, and mouths off to adults. He really is a bit scary, and I have this fear he's going to hurt someone someday. While most of the boys avoid him, he and a couple followers tend to dominate any situation. Any campout he attends has a completely different and negative and stressful mood to it. We have known him since he was in our Cub pack, and I was really disappointed to learn he's in this Troop. There are two or three other boys who are almost as bad, and a couple more on the edge. In this bunch there is constant arguing, name-calling, bickering, physical confrontations, and foul language including various iterations of the F-word. This is combined with a near total lack of respect for others, including adults, including actively ignoring instructions or loudly mouthing back. We just got back from a great Camporee, but this stuff really dragged us down. And the worst kid wasn't even there! The adults who attended got really getting discouraged and upset with all this. We are constantly doing damage control as an almost full-time job. Most importantly, it really damages the experience for the good Scouts in the majority, and sets a horrible example. One thing that seems obvious is that there are no negative consequences for bad behavior except perhaps a stern talking-to by the Scoutmaster. This particular situation was also hampered by really inexperienced and ineffective patrol leaders, because most of the older boys didn't attend. My friends and I agree there needs to be a better system based on bad consequences for bad behavior. The excuses I hear, though, are that nobody wants to be the "heavy", or that "it's no better in any other Troop". Nobody wants to be the one to confront the parents of a Scout with unacceptable behavior. What policies and procedures are in use to address this sort of thing? Sorry for the long post, but I would really like to learn how this can be addressed. Even if I found a better troop, I would hate for my son to have to leave all his friends from the last five years of Scouting. Thanks for any help.
  13. Wow. Thanks for all the great responses! I think I am leaning toward stainless. As much as I like the idea of cast iron, I think stainless might be a little more foolproof, and a lot easier to care for in the long periods between campouts. Most of our meals have a grilled meat component that we do over charcoal or wood. Simple enough. Often we will have a big pot meal, like spaghetti. We definitely need a new giant pot or two for this. Another pot or two for heating sauce and meatballs. And then there is the fried stuff- pancakes, sausage, eggs, etc. This is the most challenging. We typically do this on a regular household range, which is what is installed in the camps that we go to, so we don't have a choice. We have been using these two battered teflon griddles that we put over the burners, and that is what I am trying to get away from. I'm leaning toward a couple big stainless saute pans. A big stainless griddle would be great, but they seem hard to find, except for the ones that go on an outdoor grill. Maybe one of those would work. I'll have to do more research. Keep the ideas coming! David
  14. Hi, everyone. I am interested in your opinions and suggestions on the best cookware for our Cub campouts. (These don't actually involve actual camping, but instead sleeping in a bunkhouse, and cooking on a normal kitchen stove or a charcoal grill or, rarely, an actual campfire. So weight isn't an issue) I am volunteering to help the pack select and buy new cookware, most importantly pots, pans, and maybe a griddle. Our current stuff is a mish-mash of battered non-stick stuff. We often need to cook for a big group- like 60 or more people. I am leaning away from non-stick, because I don't really care for it myself, and it seems very vulnerable to damage from misuse. If someone gets it too hot, or uses the wrong utensil, it's ruined. I'm not crazy about aluminum, but not for any good reason I can describe. Maybe because it always looks so battered and cruddy. I prefer stainless, but I am guessing a lot of people perceive it to be difficult to clean. Perhaps it is if it has something really incinerated on it, which is a possibility with our crew. To me it seems like if worse comes to worst, it can be scrubbed mercilessly. That brings us to plain cast iron, which I have very little experience with, but like the idea of. It just seems authentic and "outdoorsy". It also seems like it can take some abuse, isn't finicky about being spotlessly clean, and actually enjoys some "seasoning". But I worry about it getting kind of "funky" sitting for months between uses, or being difficult to get clean and sterile. So any suggestions or experiences are appreciated. Thanks! David
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