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Posts posted by Hedgehog

  1. Don't want to be a backseat driver, but I want to ask them how can we plan without having input from the PLC..... and how can the PLC do any planning without input from their scouts?



    If necessary, how about a polite, "I think the boys would have more enthusiasm about the program if they had a some input in planning it."  


    Or maybe the meeting is just the adults planning for adult things -- Mr. Hedgehog will be our new SM at the end of the year; Mrs. Rabbit will be stepping down as treasurer in September and we need a replacement; We would like to welcome Mr. Chipmonk and Mr.  as new ASMs and let them know when the council training will be.  Oh, we also need a new popcorn chair after Mr. Squirrell ate all of the carmel corn last year.  We can hope, right?


    Better yet, ask questions about what the adults can do for the Troop to become more boy-led or talk about setting up a leadership training program for the boys to help them to lead.

  2. So I do not believe the Catholic Church is one denomination of many, and I do not believe Catholicism is a subset. .

    That view is not very reverent or respectful to others religions and I'm pretty sure that type of comment is what Pope Francis was addressing when he said:


    “As bishop of Rome and pastor of the Catholic Church, I want to beg for mercy and forgiveness for un-Gospel-like behaviour on the part of Catholics against Christians of other churches,â€

    I faced the opposite type of ignorance when I went to college when some evangelical Christians asserted that Catholics werent Christians. If someone believes that Christ is the Son of God, they are a Christian.
  3. I suggest both requesting a BoR under disputed circumstances and having a conference with the SM of the new troop, just to get his opinion.

    The reason? Well, it sounds like Zuzyson would dispute the reasons why SM is refusing to sign off. He thinks he should make Eagle in his current troop, but he's being denied for reasons that he deems to be unfounded based on BSA's rank requirements.


    However, the boy clearly wants to be in an environment that will welcome him and involve him. So, rather than waiting around for some responsibility in the new troop, he should talk to the new SM about the mess that transpired this year.  The SM might include some other scouts, SPL or whomever. There may be some things that need to be done in the troop that would fit into his sports schedule.



    I think this is the way to go.  

  4. A scout can work on Merit Badges at anytime according to the guide to advancement:

  The Scout, the Blue Card, and the Unit Leader


    A few merit badges have certain restrictions, but otherwise any registered Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, or quali ed Venturer or Sea Scout may work on any of them at any time.


    However at a personal level I would argue that it is more important for the new Scout to focus on the initial ranks and acclimating to the overall scout experience first.


    The Guide to Advancement says that you are not permitted to add requirements to advancement:


    No council, committee, district, unit, or individual has the authority to add to, or subtract from, advancement requirements.


    and that it is the Scout's decision when to start a merit badge:


    It is then the Scout’s decision whether or not to proceed with the merit badge. 


    If the boy thinks that they are ready to pursue a merit badge, once they are registered as a Boy Scout, they should be permitted to work on it.

  5. Maybe some folks just cannot stand not being in control?




    Gunship is making suggestions to improve the meeting, 



    I think you answered your own question.  Good luck tonight.  You might need to bring donuts to go along with the coffee.

  6. Eight, give or take a couple, most of us have found really works well for patrols. If we can get that many boys hiking and camping together regularly, their scouting experience seems to blossom.


    So, this topic is simply to discuss why? Science, pseudoscience, silly jokes, all explanations welcome ...


    Because eight is the maximum number of names you can remember to figure out who is missing when you count seven boys as being present.


    Full disclosure, based on my own personal experience, I have problems with the Patrol Method.  I favor the Pareto Principle (that states that 20% of the people do 80% of the work).  All small groups do is get in the way of the one-or-two people actually doing something.



    That is the difference with servant leadership.  A servant leader's job is to encourage 100% of the people to do 150% of the work.  Suceeding as a team is more important than just suceeding.


    In many of those 20% situations, the remaining 80% of the people want to make a contribution but they either: 1) don't know how they can contribute (lack of the leader coordinating skills with tasks); 2) they tune out because of the leader just giving  orders ("you do what I say"); or 3) they are edged out because the 20% do everything based on wanting it "done right" leaving them nothing to do.  The first problem is a lack of leadership - a leader needs to know capabilities of his patrol.  The second problem is a failure due to using authoratarian leadership where the focus is on telling people what to do rather than working together to complete a task.  The third failure is what I call DIY leadership - which isn't leadership at all.  Servant leadership is more difficult than the other types of "leadership."  If you look at adult-led troops you see all three situations which essentially suck the initiative out of the scouts.

    • Upvote 1
  7. There is a lot to be said for encouraging them to think outside the box.  Even more to be said for reminding them there really isn't a box.


    Our incoming SPL and one of the ASPLs were over my house the other night because they had questions about the NYLT program my son attended in June because they were going in August.  After they were done talking to my son, I told them that they should use what they learn to transform the Troop and that if they had any ideas how to change things in the Troop that I would back them up.  


    We then talked about the leadership campout.  I mentioned an idea my son, one of his buddies and I came up with to watch Monte Python and the Holy Grail on the campout.  Their eyes lit up.  I told them that we could do other fun things on the campout including water baloon fights, rock climbing, etc. because I want it to be fun not just a bunch of lectures.  They started smiling.


    We talked about ideas for the first two campouts for the next year - the first being a canoing trip across a lake to camp on an island and the second being a beach campout.  Then the SPL asked, can we do that trip where we did the hike across the boulder fields and up the rock faces?  I turned to him and said "I'm not in charge, you guys are.  Whatever the PLC wants to do, I will work with you guys to make it happen."  I think they got it.  I think they understood that if they imagine it, the Troop can do it. 

  8. It is interesting.  Our Troop has electons on an annual basis.  I see some value in that because the boys grow over the course of the year.  However, I see the value of what Stosh is saying too.  Our Troop elects PLs on a Troop basis and then the SM assigns people to the patrols.  I suspect the results would be different if each patrol elected their own leaders.  I do see the prestige or resume factor in the Troop-wide elections.  I also see the popularity factor in those elections.  I can understand how the process would be substantially different if the patrols would make their own selections when they wanted to.


    My son has talked about the leadership for his in-the-process-of-forming venturing crew.  He said, we can all sit down and decide who does what.  After a while we can change positions so everyone gets a chance to lead and so everyone shares the workload.  This is coming from someone who understands that servant leadership isn't all ordering people to do things but working hard to support the people you lead.  A servant-leader doesnt seek the position for their own benefit, but so that they can help the organization advance.  If you think of it that way, who needs term limits?

  9. As with most organizational charts, the most functional groups invert them.


    As part of our leadership training this year, I was going to do something different when we go over the BSA organizational chart.  I was going to set it up as a human organization chart with the people filling in posiitons and having rope between who reported to whom.  I was then going to tell them that it was backwards and that they needed to turn around.  The SPL is responsible to support the PLs and the PLs are responsible to support their patrols.  When you turn around that way, you realize who is supposed to have your back.


    "In Charge" implies a management issue.  Leading a troop and leading people are two different animals that often get confused as the same thing when in fact they are not.


    I think your biases might be influencing your reading of that phrase.  If someone is in charge, that can be management or leadership.  I've been in charge of a lot of things in my life, some of them involved leadership and others did not.


    Is this Patrol Method or youth leadership?   Seems like trustin' boys to be capable and to run things through happy chaos is youth leadership.


    Patrol Method is about breakin' up bigger troops into smaller independent functional groups, eh?  That can increase opportunities for leadership and such, but it does lots of other things like leveraging identity and competitive spirit, increasin' opportunities for followership and smaller contributions to da group, allow for a degree of specialization, etc.



    I think the patrol method works because a smaller group is easier to lead. 


    Beav,  your observation has great value in an environment where some think elected youth leaders constitute the "method" and overlook "smaller independent functional groups."  We keep reading "troop," "troop," "troop."    


    I see this in my Troop.  The first part of our weekly meeting is run by the SPL and ASPL as a Troop, the second part of the meeting is patrol breakouts where the main thing they do is plan for their week of conducting the Troop activity, the third part of the meeting is one of the patrols running a Troop activity and the closing of the meeting is done as a Troop.  Our outdoor program is still planned as a Troop.  We have ad-hoc patrols on outings which typically have done little more than cooking together.  We're slowly moving toward stronger patrols at our meetings and the boys functioning more as patrols during outings.  Still have a long way to go.


    I'm thinking it might be more of a public relations image issue.  Here we have all these parents checking out the troop and it's chaotic and unorganized.  


    When parents visit, I tend to emphasize what I call the "beautiful chaos" that is boy-led.  I explain to the parents that it would be a lot more structured if the adults ran thing, but that the boys think it is more fun for them to run things and they learn a lot more.  I thinks that most parents like the idea of a program that encourages their son to become self-sufficient.  It is a PR issue and we have to treat it that way.


    I see the SPLs role as the coordinator in chief.  They exist because there are multiple patrols.  Some things are done at a Troop level and others at the patrol level.  The SPL is "in charge" of those things done at the Troop Level.  Our Troop does service projects at the Troop level.  Those are announced and coordinated by the SPL.  On a campout we've done orienteering by Patrols.  The SPL coordinates where and when the patrols start (sometimes they start in waves, sometimes they do a staggered start) and the PLs work with their patrols to teach the skills and to navigate the course.  As I"ve mentioned before, our Troop needs to start having more things done as patrols rather than the troop and that will affect the role of the SPL.

  10. "Train 'em. Trust 'em. LET THEM LEAD!"


    I had a nice chat with the 2 Scouts in charge of the meeting Monday. They had a good plan, they agreed with one suggest as it "makes sense," and then really liked a second suggestion, and took off with it. So far so good.



    Now you just have to come up with an urgent project that the adult-led faction needs to handle durng the meeting to keep them occupied - like getting all of the black off the Dutch Ovens.

    • Upvote 1
  11. @@Stosh - no offense taken.  As Gordon Sumner sings, "Poets, priests and politicians have words to thank for their positions."  As a lawyer, I freqently labor over the best way to express something.  


    Although my point was about how we (scouters) explain the program to others effects their perception of the program, your comments ("one's comments"?) are well taken.


    My writing tends to mirror the way I speak -- even more so on a forum where I view the written posts as a discussion.  


    As  result, using the word "you" reflects how I talk.  I tend to use the word "you" when empowering or encouraging someone ("you can do it)".  I tend to use a more removed pronoun such as "one" or "everyone" when I'm preaching or correcting ("everyone should have taken training).  And yes, I do sometimes use "you" to single someone out ("you need to stop that!").  


    As a lawyer, I've always been bothered by attorneys that refer to "my client" (e.g. "my client's position is that....") and tend to use pronouns such as "we" instead ("we have shown that the correct interpretation is...).  The use of the word "we" gives the impression that "we" are in this together.

  12. As for the PLC, unfortunately they do very little. In the past they met 2-3 times a year, yes you heard me a year. I've tried to get not only the SPL, but also the SM and lead ASM, but the Scouts do not seem interested, and the  the adults don't have the time for another meeting.


    Ours has a retreat at the beginning of the year for training and planning (this year we've up it to a weekend campout) and meets the first week of every month for 45 minutes prior to the Troop meeting.  It really isn't a hassle to arrive for a meeting a little early.  I think this is critical.  The PLC needs to plan the meetings, otherwise.... yep, you know where this is going... the adults will.

  13. In reading this topic, I can't help but think of how, as a lawyer, we prepare people to have their depositions taken.  A deposition is where the other side gets to ask questions and the witness has to answer those question.  Our preparation goes through what to expect (the introduction the other side uses, what we can object to, the fact that is is being recorded) and how to answer questions (Rule #1 - tell the truth).  We also walk them through a "mock" deposition which is designed to be more difficult than the actual deposition will be.


    At an Eagle SM conference, we explain to them that the EBOR is just like the BoRs they have done before except that our CO Rep and someone from District will be there.  We explain that the role the person from District takes varies from an observer who asks a couple of questions to someone who tries to run the EBOR.  We explain the order of things (parents, SM, scout) and explain that like the other BORs it isn't a test and it is highly unlikely they will have any problems because we believe they are truly an Eagle Scout.  We then ask a lot of questions as part of the Eagle SM conference -- far more questions than will be asked at the EBOR.  The questions are designed to have them reflect on what they have done to make it to Eagle, what they will do in the future as an Eagle and what it means to be an Eagle.  At the end, we tell them that the questions will be similar and that if they answer them they way they did in the Eagle SM conference they will be fine.

  14. One thing that I've found is that the language we use both reflects our perspective and informs our actions.  So some suggestions:



    That or put up a banner saying "Coffee, donuts,  and card games for leaders Adults in XYZ room"


    Seriously though


    That is the problem. We got leaders Adults acting like den leaders and not Boy Scout leaders.Assistant Scoutmasters



    And what the adults do not understand is that there interference is making matters worse.


    On a different note, SM put me in charge of asked me to coach the SPL for this meeting coming up. I've already talked to the SPL and one of the older Scouts to run it. and told them they are in charge.


    The subtle differences in language are part of the paradim shift.  A gentle correction to someone else's language (or even correcting your own in front of them) is a gentle reminder of the way the program works.  I know what you mean and how you are operating, but being aware of what we say helps keep other in line.  So when the SM says "you're in charge of the meeting and get the SPL on board" your response is "I will.  I'll talk to the SPL and tell him he is in charge and be there if he needs any assistance."  Rather than telling the SPL that "this is what we are going to do" ask the SPL "what do you think we should do?"  


    Also, can you start doing an ASM's minute at the end of every meeting?  That is a great way to talk to the adults in the guise of talking to the youth.  I'm sure the adults in the Troop would think it is a good idea (hey, an adult stepping up and teaching the kids).  You first one could be on failure with the theme being how we learn from failures but that the biggest failure is not trying.  The second one could be on learning by doing.  The thrid one being on leadership.  


    What is the role of the PLC in the troop?  When I joined our Troop, the Committee planned the outdoor program.  Ugh.  With the new SM's approval we started asking the PLC about their ideas.  Three years later, we are having one member of the PLC do the research and planning for each activity.  In other areas, having the PLC decide something pre-empted the adults from stepping in.  


    Also, it sometimes helps to have the boy-led faction adults take charge of activities (like you are at the next meeting) and then turn control over to the boys.  With our outdoor program, the adults used to announce the outings and collect the permission slips, etc.  When I took over the program, I had the SPL make the announcement.  After a while, the SPL collected the permission slips.  Because it was my "job" in the eyes of the adults, no other adult would step in to take authority away from the boys because that would be stepping on my toes.


    Along the same lines, having an agreed upon command communication structure in place helps.  I know, this sounds very adult led, but it actually acts as a defense against adult interference.  Communication issues go from scouts, to PLs to SPL to SM (or ASM in charge) OR from ASM to SM (or ASM in charge) to SPL to PL to scouts in patrols.  That is, the SM (or ASM in charge) is the only one who talks to a boy and that boy is the SPL.  This has help me maintain boy-led in the outdoors because it prevents the ASMs and other adults from interfering.


    I plan on being the SSD and SA guy. :)



    ????  Solid state drive?   Also, I can't include the top Google result when I type in "SA."  I need some help on the acronyms.

    • Upvote 2
  15. Thank all of your for your suggestions.  My comments in red below:


    I've hesitated to reply because I have biases born out by experience.  But, I'll offer the following thoughts:


    - Decide whether the crew will be an appropriate place for the boys who are dual registered to do boy scout advancement stuff.  I know they can, but be sure it's understood between crew/troop.


    Boy Scout advancement takes place in the Troop, Venturing advancement takes place in the crew.  The only crossover is activities that can count for both pursuant to GTA and the couting of nights camped, hiking or riding miles and convervation hours for National Outdoor Award (which requires it to be done under auspices of BSA).


    - Be frank with the troop leadership that some of the boys who join the crew will leave the troop.  It's ok but not all dual registered youth will have time or inclination for both.


    As the successor-in-waiting  to the current SM (takng over in a year), my requirement is that they continue to be active and in leadershp in the Troop.  I think the concern with the Troop will be more with my focus, but I'm sure I can do both.


    - Don't use troop outings or meetings as cover for a "quick" venturing officers meeting


    Not going to happen - too many young woman in the crew that would be excluded.


    - Don't go on a troop outing or meeting and say "if this were a crew event we could do X, Y or Z!"


    I work with the boys planning the outdoor program -- we do X, Y and Z in the Troop.  The challenge for the crew is to keep up with the Troop.


    - Don't recruit during troop events.


    I think the recruiting for boys will be by invitation.  My son and the other scouts (as well as I do) know who loves the adventure and who is just checking off requirements and merit badges.


    - If troop and crew are chartered to the same CO coordinate calendars, don't schedule events on top of each other; avoid joint events, save maybe service projects.


    Agreed.  I'll be involved in both calendars and this is similar to what we do with OA anyway.  Actually, for the crew, most of that will be pushed down to my son because he is part of the Troop PLC, the Troop OA Rep. and will be a crew officer.


    - Remember part of venturing's goals are to be an expert training and program resource for troops, build some good will.


    That fits with a lot of what my son has been doing (helping with backpacking seminars for Webelos and working with me on a Wilderness Survival MB lecture / campout).


    - Avoid the 4 and out clique.  Force your youth to recruit every year from the local high schools, etc.  Especially from kids not already in scouting.


    There are already some rising 8th graders as well as the rising 9th graders.  Talked to son about making the crew permanent like the pack and the Troop.  The issue will be recruiting young woman and ultimately a replacement for me as a leader (unless I become one of those guys who remains involved after my son ages out).


    Your crew will impact your troop.  I'm not saying it's good or bad, it's just reality.  Everybody needs to be prepared for that eventuality.  


    It will.  Hopefully my dual involvement will makeit for good.



    For this reason the two units should not be connected in anyway.  Both need to be independent of each other.  I ran a Crew for 12-13 years and never signed off on a Boy Scout advancement issue.  Every boy that came into the Crew was told if he wanted to get Eagle he will need to maintain dual membership with a troop and Eagle through them.  Did they follow that process?  All but one Boy Scout that joined our Crew Eagled.  He quit both Scouting and the Crew at the same time.


    Agreed.  Although some of the Venturers might serve as a color guard at my son's Eagle CoH.


    That was as close as we ever got to "mixing" the two units.  They NEVER had a joint activity.


    Again, agreed.  I don't see a need for this unless it is in the context of the Venturing Crew running a training or activty for the troop.




    Not a universal experience.

    None of the boys from our troop who joined a crew (mine or another one devoted to LARPing) left the troop.

    On the other hand, a minority of boys who were not in a crew stayed in our troop.


    We've discussed troop/crew operations before ... so I won't belabor the point.


    Bottom line: Keep the boys on task. Use troop meetings to discuss troop stuff. Crew meetings to discuss crew stuff. Once trained, the SPL and Crew President can get together and decide if an activity should be shared. Then one welcomes the other to a meeting to extend a formal invite.


    Avoid schedule overlap about as much as the troop tries to avoid conflicting O/A and district events.



  16. See responses in red.

    So, some advice from a guy who's seen some boom and bust cycles ...

    Meetings are tedious. Keep them to a minimum. They are basically to determine what your crew will be about. It sounds like you all are halfway there, so you won't have to go through all of those steps.




    Have training sessions. Involve baked goods ... preferably with chocolate ... or pizza.


    Just for me or do I let the youth have some too?  Actually, if they want some they can get their own. :D 


    BUT DON'T LIFT A FINGER FOR THESE YOUTH.  E.g., if one of them hasn't called about a campsite or guide/consultant by a reasonable time before the a desired weekend, the activity is in jeopardy of no-go and there should be no bailout. All you are there for is to sign where adult signatures are needed. To be honest there are some things in particular that interest me, so all they have to do is whisper some magic words (like "Dolly Sods") and I'm making sure that we have a plan suitable for the youth attending.


    I can do that.  I've made it clear to son that this is up to him and his friends to run.  


    IMHO, any paperwork that you have typically assigned to an adult troop committee (e.g., treasury reports, health information, tour plans, training) must be offloaded to the youth. You simply can't afford to have them ignorant of any accountability/safety issues that would be of concern to any adult committee. You and your crew committee are there to look over the youth's work, help them do a good job, provide a little continuity as youth come and go, and offer the occasional bright idea if one of your committee is into something cool.


    Understood.  I'm actually trying to push that down on the scouts in the Troop and have them do everything in connection with an adult.  The crew will operate the same way.  However, I'm not sure if they can file the Tour Plan, I thought you needed to be a registered adult to do that electronically.


    As far as the amount of time youth should dedicate to organizational stuff.

    • If you have a crew of six, then everyone's an officer, and thus the officers do all of the planning. Most days, they can show up at the departure site, and pretty much wing it. But that's not a recipe for growth.
    • If you have a crew of twelve then the folks who aren't officers are activity chairs (an officer can choose to chair an activity of interest to him/her). Officers coordinate activity chairs, who are basically youth who want the crew to do a particular activity.

    I suspect that will be the maxmum size of the crew (unless I'm really tapping an unmet need in the community).  My sense is that it functions like B-P's group of friends and everyone is involved.

    • If you have a crew of twenty-four then you are really leaning on the officers to identify the best activity chairs from among your most active participants. Your VP-finance (a.k.a. treasurer) is tracking thousands of $s. Your VP-communications (a.k.a. secretary) really has to know what was discussed at the last meeting. Your VP-program should have contacted every activity chair in the last month and know who needs help with what. Your President  or VP-administration should be working a substantial agenda. One of them should be attending district/council VOA.
    • With those numbers or greater, the officers may need training in parliamentary procedure so that during meetings everyone has a fair chance to put forward their ideas.

    So, be clear to your 14 year-olds, that meetings may be few or brief, but adults are not to mask venturers' lack of time put into the program by constantly bailing them out. Certain reductions in busy-work may create efficiency, but too much results in reduced accountability, which results in people not doing their jobs, which results in fewer activities.


    I think my reaction to the video and meetings was the inane detail required for the planning and then looking at some of the BSA forms.  I think the paperwork could be streamined.  On the flip side, I think that the research, preparation and planning is what is key for any scouting activity.


    At the end of the year, if the youth are bothered about unmet goals, they may decide they needed to meet more after all.


    The general sense is one meeting a month and one activity, service project or outing per month.  The meeting may be a couple of hours or whatever is necessary for them to do what they have to and have fun (and snacks if they want).

  17. Good luck.  While I haven't been involved in Venturing yet, I know some day I will be because my daughter wants to join very badly (she's only 8 right now).  An interesting book by a Scoutmaster who ran a co-ed program involving his Troop (and later a pre-venturing outdoor Exploring post) is Rocks in my Backpack.  It would seem that Scoutstuff has it on clearance now:  http://www.scoutstuff.org/rocks-in-my-backpack.html


    It really opened my eyes to what a co-ed Scouting program could be (plus it's a darn good read for anyone who loves Scouting).



    I've ordered the book (along with the Venturing Guides and some other stuff a ScoutStuff.  Thanks for the recommendation.

  18. And this is why BSA cannot sustain the program simply by sitting back on it's laurels thinking that some vestige of past glories is going to maintain itself in the world of today.  Churches, schools, community organizations are filled with 100+ years of these people with extensive outdoor skills that they no longer need BSA to make those activities available to their children.


    Who puts out the best literature on wild plants and animals?  It's not the BSA, it's the DNR.


    Who puts out the most variety when it comes to camping opportunities?  It's not the BSA, it's the National, State and County Parks.


    Need outdoor equipment?  is it going to be the Scout Shop or maybe someplace like REI, Gander Mountain, Cabelas, or even Walmart?  How many olive drab Levi cargo pants are being worn by "full uniform" Boy Scouts today?


    Beads and shiny objects aren't going to be purchasing Manhattan today. 


    BSA has an opportunity to redefine itself and it has chosen such things as Co-ed Exploring, Learning for Life and STEM. to shore up it's BSA program.  Expansion of Cub Scouts by two years to increase membership with little or no forethought other than numbers isn't going to be the long-term solution.

    Meant to give you a +1 but hit the wrong button. Serves me right for trying to use my phone.


    At some point trying to appeal to everyone causes loosing the ability to appeal to anyone. BSA should be focused on citizenship, educutation and leadership in the outdoors. One of my favorite questions I've heard asked at an Eagle BOR is what citizenship and camping, hiking and backpacking have in common.

    • Upvote 1
  19. Unit was not given marching orders, the adults were. Adults were suppose to have specific responsibilities, basically be "patrol counselors" for their assigned patrol which did not include their own son, except for the venture patrol ASM. However my responsibility is to work with the SPL and ASPL when the lead ASM cannot, and to back up the assigned patrol counselors if they are not in attendance, inlcuding my son's patrol, if needed.

    This is the problem. How does a patrol counselor differ from a patrol leader? It is an invitation to interfere. This is one of my pet issues with our Troop. The adults sitting in on the patrol meetings get too involved because they feel it is necessary to get the right result (I've been in that situation) not recognizing that as @@Stosh says the right result is the ones the boys come up with.


    Get a big banner for your next meeting that says "Never do Anything a Boy Can Do for Themselves - And That is Pretty Much Everything."

  20. Thanks for the tips. I explained what I think the difference between an advisor and a Scoutmaster is to my son last night. A Scoutmaster may initiate a discussion with a youth leader but an advisor waits for the youth to ask them.


    My son and I watched the Venturing Youth Orientation video. It was awful because it spent most of the time discussing paperwork and procedures. It seems some well meaning person at National developed 20 pages of forms to help a crew figure out its activities. The meetings as described sound absolutely tedious. It also seemed to have the officers doing the planning where it would seem that the whole crew should be involved. Son asked me, "do we have to do it that way?". My response was, "No. The crew decides what works for them." We won't be using that video for recruiting or training.


    At this point the crew is all 14 year olds. I tend to have a good relationship with the boys in the Troop - even staying up till 1:30 in the morning playing chess on the last night of camp. I've learned that relationship is based on respect going both ways. I've also seen how my relationship with the scouts changes as they get older. I suspect the relationships in Venturing is the same.


    Once things get started, I'll work with the committee on finding that female advisor who will do the serious backpacking treks. For now, I think my wife will be able to do the basic treks where we camp at established sites with latrines.


    I had already shown my son the ceremony and he had ideas of how to change it. He liked parts of it because it reminded him of OA. I suspect the crew will do more research and make their own ceremony.


    I like the idea of having them fill out their own applications. I'm also planning in having them make the presentation to the CO and fill out the paperwork for the charter.


    Next step is for my son and I to read the Advisor and Venturer guidebooks. I told my son that the goal is to figure out the possibilities of what they can do in Venturing. In the meantime, most of the future crew is going to see a play tonight that one of them is performing in. I think they have the Group Identity thing going already.

  21. Trust me, I've talked, tried to persuade, and even argued about this. I'd say there are 3 factions within the leaders: Boy-Led Faction (me and 2 others, although 1 Scout and his dad/leader may be looking for a new troop as they have missed the last month's worth of meetings), Adult-Led (Gunship from the other discussion and 2 others who are new to Boy Scouts and still in Cub Mode IMHO), and the "Compromise" Faction of the SM and an ASM who are trying to mediate the two groups.


    You will not suceed by merely coaching the boys because an interfering adult will always take charge over a well prepared boy. I think that it is time for the adults to sit down at a table and reach a common vision.  


    Start the discussion by asking if we want the troop to be boy-led.  Hopefully there is some agreement.  Then use this chart and ask where everyone thinks your troop is on the continuum:




    From what you said, probably between a 5 and a 6.  Recognize that everyone is trying to make the Troop succeed but acknowledge that everyone's efforts are counteracting everyone else's efforts.  Get a commitment to make the troop more boy-led.  Then ask what the adults can do to make the troop more boy-led.  


    The key here is, as your signature says, to train them, trust them and let them lead.  Work with Gunship to develop a leader training program for the boys.  I"m working on one currently and would be glad to share when it is done.  This puts Gunship in a beautiful dilema - if adults have to intervene then it is a result of his failure to train them.  It allows him to focus his energy on training and gives him a stake in having the boys suceed.  It also addresses what appears to be his concern that the boys won't do it right.  If the boys are trained and know what they are doing, there is no need for the adults to interfere.  The second step is to trust them.  This may need some work.  There is nothing wrong with the SPL and PLs sitting down well before a meeting and talking to the adults about their plans and the adults helping them fine tune the plans.  This gives the boys guidance and help in developing the planning skill and gives adults like Gunship a sense that the boys are prepared.  This process bulds up trust.  Finally, the group has to agree to tolerate a little chaos and some failures because order can only come out of chaos and learning often best comes from failures.  Also, that can be addressed in after action reviews.  


    My analogy is that you have a rookie football team.  The adults are the coaches on the sidelines.  The Quarterback (SPL) is allowed to work with the coach ahead of the game, talk to the coach during the game and review the films after the game.  However, the coach can't go in and play quarterback.  In the beginning, the coach will call the plays.  Then, as the team matures, the coach and the QB discuss what plays to call.  Eventually, the QB will call the plays.  


    Finally, have everyone make a commitment to work with the others to see where they can be more boy-led.  It really helps if all the adults keep the others honest.  Often adults in favor of boy-led feel they can make exceptions (I"m really pushing boy-led but in this instance I really had to say something because I really know what I'm doing).  A simple "maybe you could have asked the PL what his solution would be before suggesting yours" works.

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  22. If we were legally allowed to continue to refer to our unit as Boy Scouts, without a BSA charter, I would drop BSA in a heartbeat.



    What benefit do you get from refering to the unit as "Boy Scouts"?  What parts of the the BSA program do you find essential to your school's youth group?


    Wouldn't you have more freedom to craft a youth program without the guidelines and restrictions imposed by the BSA?  


    Our church youth group is not affiliated with the BSA and it very much thrives.  Why not just call your youth program the "[Name of School] Outdoor Adventure Program?"  

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  23. I've always figured it was a matter of time.  Last year, on the way back from our 50 miler my son and his best friend were texting two of their girl friends and talking about how the four of them should do a backpacking trek.  A couple of weeks ago, my son and one of the girls were over our house and she started talking about how Girl Scouts really lacked adventure.  I mentioned Venturing and her eyes lit up.  She mentioned a couple of other names, one of which is the daughter of another ASM in our Troop.  The next week, I mentioned Venturing at the end of an e-mail to that ASM.  His response was that his daughter would be very interested and that he also was interested in helping out.  Add two more friends of the girls, the daughter of our IH, my son's best friend and my son's buddy he did NYLT with and we have five girls and three boys that are interested.  It would be easy to add a couple of boys from the troop to and a couple more friends of friends to round out the crew.


    I told my son and his friends that if they want to do this, then they need to take the lead and make a presentation to the IH and COR to get approval (should be easy because CO already sponsors a Pack and a Troop).  We've got an Advisor (me) and three more adults (my wife, the ASM and his wife) interested in helping out.  I can easily recruit some other parents to be the CC and Committee Members.  Our only challenge is finding a female adult to do the high adventure -- my wife will camp and hike, but is hesitant to go anywhere there isn't at least a latrine. :D


    I've spent the last couple of week reading everything I could find on Venturing (Advisor Training Manual, Crew Leadership Training Manual, Award Requirements, etc.) and have ordered the Advisor Guide and Venturer Guide.  I even found a really cool joining ceremony on the BSA website.  


    Any advice to a soon to be Venturing Advisor (other than training myself to say "youth-led" rather than "boy-led")?

  24. Reserve "leader" for youth.  We should be "Scouters" or "adults."


    I actually told the Camp Program Director that I was getting confused when they kept using the word "Leaders" to refer to the adults.  The camp pretty much told the adults the same thing at the "Leader" meetings that they told the SPLs at the "SPL" meeting (actually, the SPLs seemed to get more specific information).

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