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The Latin Scot

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Posts posted by The Latin Scot

  1. 1 hour ago, mashmaster said:

    If you read your initial email you are  disapproving of him wearing the pin on his uniform.   You say it isn't your place but then you go on to say that he shouldn't especially as an ASM.  He should follow the uniform code to the letter...."simply being a well-uniformed leader will represent your daughter far better than any extra pins ever will"  That may not seem like a disapproval by you but it is.

    If wearing the pin has anyway of encouraging a scout to continue on then go for it.  We are here for the youth first.

    Putting words into somebody's mouth is rarely a good idea, and rest assured, I always read my own messages. I never once said "I disapprove." You might infer it, but you can't claim I said it, and just to reinforce my point - I express no disapproval of anybody's uniform, despite the fact that I do openly state my disagreement with the position of some regarding parent pins upon them. But they are two different things, and I'd appreciate if you wouldn't try to divine what I do or do not approve of when I am perfectly capable of doing so myself. I will define my own opinions - not you. Thank you.

    Official BSA policy states that parent pins are not for uniform wear. That isn't my disapproval. That's official regulation. How I opine on the matter is irrelevant. 

    Also, if we are truly here for the youth first, then why are we trying to bend to rules with our own uniforms - isn't that putting ourselves first? If you want to encourage a Scout to continue, don't do it by evading basic policy. That's not helping the youth at all. Surely we don't have to resort to extra bling on our shirts to encourage our youth; if so, we are in a desperate state indeed.

  2. 1 hour ago, mashmaster said:

    You clearly would not approve of my uniform that is adorned with knots.  

    This is simply not true, regardless of the fact that it may violate BSA policy. I would never be so callous as to voice 'disapproval' of somebody's uniform, however egregious its errors may or may not be. I don't know whence this suggestion comes. But this discussion is about the parent pins, not the knots; consequently, I think it's important to use better terms for this conversation.

    Approval has nothing to do with this. It's not my place to approve or disapprove of these things, nor anybody else's. Approval is not the point of this discussion. However, there are very clear, and I dare say very easy-to-follow policies outlined by the BSA in The Official Guide to Awards and Insignia regarding what is and is not appropriate for uniform wear according to national standards. Despite its title, it is more than merely a "guide" - it's a handbook of official policy. No, it's not "holy writ" (don't exaggerate now; nobody said that it was), but it's not mere suggestion either. It's the national standard. It outlines the specifics of what is permitted for uniform wear, and what is not. Follow it so that you can comply with our organization's expectations, and you'll be doing yourself a great favor. Ignore it, and, well, that's your choice - but you're setting an example to the youth you serve either way. My approval is irrelevant. Your example is everything.

    I know parents in particular get touchy when it comes to their parent pins, but really, it's such a small thing - are we really going to let a few pins keep us from truly embracing proper uniforming? My mother has a ribbon that looks like a long piece of chain mail garnered over the years from her three Eagle scout sons, but she isn't so attached to it that she ever feels the "need" to wear it, especially not with her uniform. She's learned to discern what really matters from what's just 'fluff.' She's been Scouting for over 30 years now, and she's discovered there are better ways to honor her kids than by skirting around the uniform policy just to show of her 'parental swag.' I'm grateful to her for her example in teaching us that she doesn't need to wear her pins to show us that she cares about Scouting - or about us. Parental pride is one thing, but parental example is infinitely more efficacious.

    Whether or not we may think or feel the pins look okay, the fact is they are very specifically stated as being for civilian use - not for uniform wear. That's the policy. It's so simple, I'm almost surprised there's discussion about it. Anybody can follow this rule. @rickmay, your profile image suggests that you are an army veteran. You then, of all people, should know and appreciate the importance of a uniform, and of wearing it properly. That applies to Scouting just as much as it does the armed forces, or to first responders. Our uniforms mean something. These small details reveal great things about our character.

  3. Actually, parent pins shouldn't be worn on the uniform, and there's really nothing to be gained by doing so. Let your child represent him- or herself in the youth uniform. You best represent the Scouts by being properly uniformed yourself, and part of that means remembering that parents' pins are meant for non-uniform wear. Nowadays, there are nice parent ribbons available at the Scout Store on the which you may place your pins, but again, those are not to wear on the uniform. In our troop, when we present our parent pins we remind them that while they are lovely reminders of their child's accomplishments, there is a proper time and place to wear them - as with all things. 

    As an Assistant Scoutmaster, you should be particularly conscious of the way you wear your uniform. You set the model for the rest of your troop, so be sure you read The Official Guide to Awards and Insignia carefully, and follow it to the letter. Believe me when I say that being perfectly uniformed will set you apart enough already, but beyond that, simply being a well-uniformed leader will represent your daughter far better than any extra pins ever will. :cool: 

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  4. @my_three_sons Might I ask what your position is? Are you by chance the Scoutmaster or an ASM? 

    The reason I ask is that I don't really know if it's the job of a Scout's leaders to test a Scout and "prove" whether or not he has completed the requirements for a badge after he comes to you with a signed card.

    Of course he's going to forget parts of what he did when you start asking a bunch of questions. Kids have a natural aversion to being tested. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I have spent an hour working with Scouts on a few simple activities, and then when I ask them "what did we JUST work on today?" I get stares and vapid, drooling faces without a clue in the world that they just spent an hour working hard and getting things done. It's in there, trust me, but at this age the adolescent mind takes a long time to incubate new information and experiences. 

    But more to the point, the boy came to you with a completed, signed card, and he (and his father, though he's actually pretty irrelevant to this situation) says he has completed it. It's not really fair to him for a leader to grill him on what he did after it's supposedly complete, except for extenuating circumstances. We are trying to teach these boys that their word of honor means something. Part of that means trusting them now and then so they have the opportunity to prove what that's worth.

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  5. 1 hour ago, RememberSchiff said:

    A historical note, the Uniform Method (circa mid 80's) did not exist when I was a scout and nationally ,there were a LOT more scouts yet fewer Eagles. The uniform remains not mandatory.  My point, the other Methods are more important in delivering the Scouting Program. Focus on those.

    My $0.02,

    I ... I just don't believe this. I feel, very strongly, that ALL the methods are equally important, and I can't accept the idea that somehow a leader has to sacrifice one to focus on the other. 

    1 hour ago, dkurtenbach said:

    I agree that the real issue is how adults approach Scouting, and I applaud leaders who believe in the power of the correct complete uniform and act on that in a moderate and positive way.  But there are eight methods in Scouts BSA that call for our attention, so I don't think you can judge a leader's dedication to Scouting from how he or she handles just one of the Methods.  I suspect that very few troops have the skills and resources to "utilize [each Method] to its fullest."  Additionally, the circumstances, needs, strengths, and weaknesses of each troop and each leader are different.  So leaders have to make choices about where they are going to put their time and resources and what Methods they just aren't going to emphasize.  How to decide? 

    I really don't think any leader's circumstances require them to walk into a room of Scouts and pick one method to teach at the cost of the others. The whole idea is that these concepts strengthen and support each other - if you find the methods are competing with each other, you're not using them correctly. 

    For example (to the point of this topic), our troop had an outdoor Court of Honor last night. At the end, the SPL held a surprise uniform inspection. Each patrol was in competition with the other patrols, and the leaders were their own collective unit as well (the boys love competing against the grown ups). First, the SPL gave a brief overview of the importance of the uniform. He talked about unity and having a place in our group, and asked everybody to look around at all their fellow Scouts, all dressed alike and all feeling like one unified team. Then he asked each patrol leader (and the Committee Chair for the adults) to review a group that wasn't his own, and the resulting scores were written on a large whiteboard he had brought with him. He then brought out a large platter of cookies and said the winner was ... everybody. 

    In effect, he told the audience that every Scout who works his hardest can still accomplish something, and that just by making the effort to be there, each boy deserved recognition. Everybody got a cookie. But, the extra effort of some boys deserved more. So every boy with a perfect score also received a cupcake. Then he pointed out that we work best when we work together, and the winning patrol ALSO received ice cream. So everybody won, but according to his efforts, there was the chance to get more out of it as well. 

    It was a mighty fine lesson, and I notice the following methods of Scouting were all part of it: Ideals, group activities, adult association, uniforms, teaching others, and leadership. That's 6 out of 8 in one activity! This SPL understands the goal - to make Scouting a constant stream of learning, with the ebb and flow of the eight methods forming the momentum which carries these Scouts on towards a healthy maturity. And if done right, more than a few adults might find themselves moving forward with the tide themselves!

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  6. Oh, on the contrary @Mrjeff, this is a mighty relevant topic, and clearly one that still needs to be addressed. Thank you for bringing it up. But I suggest that it's really not your place to request that people not attempt to teach, educate, and counsel others to do better. I know that I will continue to do so - I think it would be unkind and unfair for me NOT to try and help the Scouts and Scouters I love to try and do better. Isn't that why we're here? To try and improve ourselves and encourage the best in others?

    I think you've added a lot of important information for us to consider, and I hope you don't disappear entirely. I've found much to contemplate in your remarks.

  7. 2 hours ago, desertrat77 said:

    The BSA uniform is an overpriced, frumpy, dumpy looking thing, designed by a committee of hand-selected gold loopers.  Needlessly complicated styling.   Too many dangles, gimcracks, geegaws.

    I'm just going to note one thing here. Part of the reason the uniform so often looks poorly is that, frankly, most boys and men don't understand how to dress themselves to their actual size, and so they'll just throw on whatever kind of fits them. If we wouldn't always reach for the most relaxed-fit pants and shirts a size too large with collars all askew, we'd look far better. Most men think "I'm a size large so I'll just buy any shirt sized 'large' and there we go." And most tend to go a size too large at that. They don't even try it on! Heaven forbid we should actually wash and iron our uniforms now and then too. :eek:

    And just what are all these "dangles, gimcracks, (and) geegaws" you speak of? All of my patches are nicely sewn on, and with the exception of my OA pocket dangle, nothing is complicated or 'dangling,' and I can hike and work comfortably in it without any trouble. So many of the complaints we hear about the uniform can be mended simply by how we wear it! If your uniform looks 'frumpy,' then do something about it. Source a gently-used shirt online for a bargain price! Find a better fit! Get it tailored even! I've found that over the years, the uniform shirt has gone back and forth with sizing, some years running large, some years running small; different fabrics have different fits, and even these change every few years. Don't just accept the first item in your size and buy it - try things on! Experiment and find one that fits nicely. Sometimes you might find the large shirts made for youth fit smaller adults better, and vice versa. Work with your Scouts even to talk about how to tuck in shirts nicely, sew patches securely, and care for their clothing. These are basic life skills after all. But do something besides complain so that you can look your best, and your kids will notice and follow suit. Don't find fault in a garment simply because most people don't know how to make it look good.

    But this goes back to one of my points - the uniform can be a great tool in teaching these youth to care about how they present themselves, and thus how they see themselves. It can inspire feelings of self-worth and confidence, or it can be relegated to yet another arena of apathy and carelessness. Needless to say, the attitude a leader takes towards the methods of Scouting (like the uniform) will unfailingly be reflected in the attitude of his Scouts towards the program in general. The character seeds we now sow will yield fruit more plenteous than we may yet realize - be it good or ill. 

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  8. I don't have children at all, and I was a Den Leader for three years. I loved it, but then I love children in general and work with them professionally as a teacher and child development specialist. And honestly, I don't really perceive any difference between being a Cub leader without a cub and a Troop leader without a boy.

  9. @Mrjeff,

    I hope you don't feel that you are being personally attacked by this discussion; certainly that is not my intent and I apologize if you feel such. My confusion stems from the fact that you seem to opine that this is a binary, one-or-the other choice - that either you care about uniforms, or you care about people. In fact, you even state:

    1 hour ago, Mrjeff said:

    So, continue to focuse (sic) on the clothes and lesson teaching if you want to; but I will continue to focus on the youth and their desire to have good clean fun.

    But why do you imply that it must be one or the other? Do you truly think that we don't focus on the youth and having fun, and that we go to bed at night thinking about patches and pins? Heaven forbid; the very suggestion is silly. Rather, I believe in doing ALL of these things - and with a specific, meaningful goal: to help make these young people into better adults, better citizens, and better family members. I believe in making Scouting fun just as much as I do in getting these kids to look and feel their best, because these things help make them better people. But uniforms aren't the end goal. Fun is not the end goal. These are certainly tools that we use to engage young minds and hearts - but they aren't the end goal

    1 hour ago, Mrjeff said:

    Like I clearly stated, I have my own opinion and if its offensive or off-putting to you, I dont care. I made no assumptions about issues like character or values. I did say THAT IF YOU ARE THAT FOCUSED ON THE UNIFORM perhaps you should focus on the person and not his CLOTHES.

    You needn't worry about offense; I have learned not to be overly concerned with something a stranger on an internet forum posts about something I already understand, and I certainly wouldn't be so petty as to be offended by anything you say. Speak freely here! But do please note that here, you are suggesting that people who do focus on the uniform, somehow, DON'T focus on the person, and just because they pay attention to how they dress in the uniform. You even use large capital letters to make this point. Yet that's not quite reasonable, is it? Just because somebody really cares about the uniform, that does not make them any less interested in the person than you are. The emphasis on one is unrelated to the sentiments of the other. Yet in that same vein, the way a Scout (or leader) wears the uniform does tell us a bit about who he is, and what he believes, and what he thinks of himself. The clothes, in fact, help us focus on the person. That's why we do this.

    I would like to state, emphatically, that we are all on the same side. We all want to help these young people grow into responsible, mature adults, and we do it with all manner of methods - making the program fun is a huge part of it. So is the uniform. So are the outdoors, and the patrol method, and service. The whole POINT of these things is to focus on the person - just as you said. If we didn't care about each youth who walks into our meetings with all our hearts, we wouldn't care about any of these things. But we do, and so we do all we can to make sure every Scout has the best, richest experience possible. You say let's make it fun, and focus on the person. I agree 100%. But I also say let's do MORE. Let's get our uniforms right. Let's do the patrol method correctly. Let's do EVERYTHING we can, and let's do it RIGHT - BECAUSE THE SCOUTS DESERVE IT.

  10. 10 hours ago, DuctTape said:

    So thank you to TLS for his years of posting in defense of the uniform as a method. It was not that long ago when I finally saw the light. 

    I'm touched that you would ascribe to me such credit; sometimes I read over my posts and wonder if anybody will ever take the time to actually read them (they are long after all). To know that something I wrote might have made a difference to somebody is heartening. Thank you. 

    3 hours ago, ParkMan said:

    How a Scout (or Scouter) encourages others to uniform well is a mark of who they are as well.  You want to teach Scouts to encourage others - but not come off as a know it all.  Since, we adults set the tone, it's important for us to correct uniform mistakes with some dignity.

    I am so grateful to you for wording this so well. I try to model this principle when I train new Cub Scout den leaders at University of Scouting. One thing I do at the start of every session is hold a surprise uniform inspection for the new leaders. They always come up looking rather nervous, and often terribly embarrassed. But before I start I always smile and tell them in reassuring tones "remember - if I correct something on your uniform, it isn't wrong - it's just not right yet!" Remind them that you're there to help them get it right, not to put them down when something is off. Done with a smile and a cheerful attitude, it helps them realize that reviewing the uniform is not about condemning flaws or putting people down; rather, it's about getting ourselves to look our best so that the Scouts we lead can get the solid, model examples that they deserve. And without fail, they always end up grateful for the discussion about what the uniform does, why it matters, and how we can use it to mould better youth and encourage better behavior. We should be thrilled at any opportunity to improve ourselves and refine our program! If not, what in the world are we teaching these kids?

  11. If you're referring to circumcision, you're treading on three dangerous platforms of controversy - medical, political, and religious. Best that we keep our views on that particular issue to ourselves, otherwise we're just arousing controversy for controvery's sake - not very productive, nor wise, and not the topic of this discussion. So in the case of your example, correct: let's not raise an eyebrow to that topic and proceed with the conversation at hand.

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  12. I get the full range of variations on that question - I'm a single guy in my 30's who doesn't even have kids yet. So naturally I often get asked - "what are you doing here?" I generally bring up two points. First, I was asked to fill a need because I work with children professionally and my church leaders requested that I serve, and finding I enjoy the program, I have stuck with it. Secondly, I feel that everybody should play an active role in his or her community, and my service in Scouting is one way in which I can break away from the rather selfish lives most single millennials endure and instead play an active, meaningful role in my neighborhood and do something for the greater good. But it is a very delicate dance sometimes; I have to be triply vigilant over how I interact with the Scouts, and there are some boundaries I simply will not cross. For example, I don't feel comfortable working with the new influx of Scouts who are girls, and I defer to other leaders when they come to me for merit badges or what have you. It's not about sexism or favoritism - it's about my feeling safe, and making sure my position isn't jeopardized because I was careless in my interactions. 

    It's unfortunate when people make assumptions about your motives when you are trying to do good. I simply offer my simple reasons, and then do my job the best I can. I've found that invariably, those who are watching closely come to appreciate the work I do despite whatever prejudices they may have at the start.

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  13. On 8/27/2019 at 6:10 PM, Mrjeff said:

    This is awesome! I guess I'm one of the old farts now. Over the past 40+ years I've received 13 square knots, two Eagle Dad pins, and a partridge in a pear tree. Yes I wear all 13 knots because they outline my scouting adventure that I shared with two daughters and three sons. I proudly display that two of my sons are Eagle Scouts and I will be adding an Eagle Scout grandparent pin as soon as he completes his project.  I ain't gotten paid and I bought my own clothes and I really don't give one twitch about what somebody else thinks about how I decorate my clothes.  Very very very few wear a complete uniform with everything is perfectly placed.  Anyway, that's my view on things and if you agree that's fine and if you don't, you are the one stressing about it, not meeeeee!

    I find this attitude to be rather disappointing, and it's exactly the kind of nonchalant apathy that I hope I can encourage the Scouts under my care to overcome.

    When we look at the uniform as just clothing, with the idea that we can do whatever we want and guidelines be hanged, then we are breeding in our youth the idea that how we dress doesn't matter. This is patently false. How we dress and present ourselves, whether we like it or not, sends a message. It sends a message about who we are. It sends a message about what we believe, and what we do. It gives those with whom we interact as clue about how we will treat them, and how we wish to be treated. In some ways, while you can't judge a book by it's cover, you may certainly get a clue as to what the book is about.

    In that sense, the uniform is not merely clothing - it's a symbol. It represents the ideals of Scouting, our values and our principles. It reflects our commitment to the Oath and Law, and as it acquires the various emblems of rank or badges of recognition, it also sends a message about our skills or roles. Conversely, it can also reflect our motives and desires - especially for adults. The leader who wontanly smothers his uniform with every emblem he or she has ever earned with complete disregard for official regulations just to show off what they have earned sends a message of vanity and willfulness is just as unbecoming as the gaudy display of self-flattery they present on their over-decked shirts. And as always, they hope they can lessen the impact of their reckless example by making those who care about these things 'the bad guys.' The term 'uniform police' is only ever brought up by those who wish to defy the rules but make others feel bad about it. 

    The most unfortunate thing is that generally, those who parade themselves about as 'seasoned leaders,' those who flagrantly ignore standard protocols of uniform wear just so they can show off every last award they have ever earned, tend to be those who care the least about what we are trying to teach boys through the uniform method, which can be just as powerful as the patrol method or the outdoor method in teaching youth to be better, upright citizens and leaders. We teach them to stop and consider how they present themselves to the world. We teach them to think about how they dress, how they groom themselves, and what their role in society could be. We ask them to remember that paying attention to the little things such as buttons and patches will better prepare them for bigger things, like how they talk to others, and how they treat their families and friends. It's all connected, and how we, as leaders, present ourselves will surely find fruit in how these Scouts do so in the future - be it good or ill.

    To those who flaunt their disregard for this principle, I can only say that they have my pity, and I find such ostentatious displays of their awards self-serving and rather vain. 

    On 8/27/2019 at 6:10 PM, Mrjeff said:

    "Very very very few wear a complete uniform with everything is perfectly placed." (sic)

    And yet, these are the individuals I respect most of all. 

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  14. Well, like I said, I wouldn't dare opine as to what the best course of action should be. Address the matter with your local district and council leadership, and then be a good, vigilant parent and keep your eyes and ears open - but keep your heart open too. I have worked with many troubled families through government education programs (Head Start and others), and I am constantly surprised and often moved by the parents who slowly realize their past mistakes and slowly start to change their perspectives and their lives. It might not be immediate, and he might not seem to care about his actions now - he might even defend them. But for all the caution and boundaries you should of course implement to prevent him doing further harm, so too ought you ensure he at least has the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the community whose trust he has so soundly lost and begin to change if he so desires.

    My favorite line from my favorite play - "the quality of mercy is not strained." 

    Keep a close watch. Set firm boundaries. Make your feelings clear. Then offer a hand of welcome and see what happens.

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  15. Now now, let's not be melodramatic. The G2SS only refers to activities which are conducted under the auspices of the Boy Scouts of America. If you are in your own home, conducting the private affairs of your own life, then logically it doesn't apply. But, if you call it a Scout activity and those participating are there AS SCOUTS, not merely as private domestic guests, and if their parents know that they are sending their child to attend a Scout activity, then yes, absolutely, you need to follow the protocols as outlined in the guide. 

    It's common sense, really, and it would be silly to follow and then derail that train of thought by imagining that somehow you have to follow the G2SS even in the privacy of your own home simply because you have a son or a spouse who is a Scout. The guide is for official activities only; it's not the mandate of your personal affairs. 

    It's only when you are indeed at an actual Scout activity and trying to follow the guide that the pitiable lunacy of some of the regulations are made evident. :rolleyes:

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  16. Thank you @qwazse for you measured and compassionate response. I think it encompasses the very tone we need to adopt when dealing with those who have made mistakes and are trying to assimilate themselves into better society. True repentance merits true forgiveness, which is often the harder of the two leaps of faith. 

    1 hour ago, qwazse said:

    Put simply, the most vulnerable of our citizens -- our nation's children -- do better on any metric when raised by both biological parents committed to serving each other and only each other sexually and materially in the same home. Everything else is a compromise because the world is a hard place where adults think of themselves first and bringing up children second. Given that so many have compromised the ideal child-rearing, we scouters have had to put up with some really abysmal adults for parents. That said ... we all have also seen some of these same adults manage to redeem themselves in one way or another.

    This I especially appreciate. So many, so very many of my generation, wish to redefine the concept of parenting to make their own short-sighted or mediocre attempts appear sufficient, and so I have friends and loved ones raising children in broken homes that are now being redefined as 'alternative' or 'diverse' environments, and their children are paying the price. But what happens when somebody who was doing it wrong decides they want to do it right? How do we respond when somebody who has failed chooses to succeed? Do we destroy their options in the name of justice and impede their every attempt to do better and be better, or do we carefully open one door at a time and see how they manage?

    It's a hard question. In this particular case, I don't know the man, and couldn't possibly determine the best course of action. But who DOES know this man? Who can truly say whether he means to improve himself or not? You say he wasn't charged because of technicalities in the system. What were those technicalities? If he truly was guilty, why wasn't he charged in the face of the evidence that leads you to be so utterly sure it happened? You seem to have no doubt of his guilt, yet the courts chose not to convince him, and these are crimes not easily ignored, especially in today's judicial climate.

    There are so many questions here, you will want to make sure you can answer them all as you proceed to investigate this issue. 

  17. 5 minutes ago, Scouter4Family said:

    "The troop is 40 scouts strong now, to much for 1 person to handle.  If I see a struggle in one section of the troop, I will do what I can to assist, to make it better. A solid relationship and effective communication is something that I will remain hopeful for but at the end of the day it’s all about the scouts."

    Well, if the troop is being run properly, there shouldn't be just one person handling it. The Patrol Leader Council, under the leadership of the Senior Patrol Leader, should be running things, and they in turn are supported and assisted by the Scoutmaster and at least one but ideally two or three ASMs. It sounds to me like your Scouts still operate under the firm thumb of the adults involved, and have not been given any remotely like the autonomy with which Scouting is supposed to empower them. As is almost ALWAYS the case, the adults need to back off and let the boys run their own program.

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