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TMSM last won the day on December 14

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About TMSM

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  1. I was asked to teach a few classes again at our district trainging acadamy but this time the wanted me to add a class that was totally differen to anything they had in the past and would inspire more scouters to take the training. I decided that I would teach my usual Scout Led Troop and Hammocking classes but add a class that details our way of doing our annual planning. After teaching this class I was asked to spread the word on this as it may help other troops that in a camping rut. Some history: The first step was admitting that we camped at the same places, had low turn out and adults didmost of the planning. As a naive first month SM I assumed the scouts knew what they like to do outdoors and and what they wanted to do next year. I asked each scout, got lots of shoulder shrugs and from the older scouts I got "do the same thing as last year" although older scouts didnt camp last year. Solution: Find out what scouts do in our area. I spent about 60+ hours looking at every troop site calendar and photos jotting down every campsite or camping theme,also looked at OA and district lists. I compiled a list down to 50 or so ideas that the scouts could use for planning. I showed the scouts the list but was mostly ignored. It was then I decided to change how we did our planning. I agreed with the CC that we would do a 2 year trial to make camping more fun, get more scouts to attend and give more power to the scouts. FIrst change was to declare that each scout would present at least 1 idea to the troop during our planning campout. I would provide the list of 50 campout ideas that they could choose from but they would have to do work to make the idea into a presentation. Rules - Choose an idea from my list, choose an idea from my list and modify it, bring your own idea. All presentations must have the following: Where will the camp out be - What exact campground and site # if car camping What will we do there? What advancement opportunities are possible What will it cost for this campout? What month(s) of the year should we go? Why is this fun, why do this? The expectation is 2 or 3 slides 5 minutes. The first year we did this the older scouts hated it and fought the process - but the rest of the scouts came up with great ideas, many modifications of the ideas provided and during the presentations there was good discussion of what is fun and what is not between the scouts. We voted as a troop for each month - what outing would be best. The scouts that had their presentation/camping idea chosen won a prize and they would be used to create the agenda for that campout with the PLC when the time came. Sometimes 2 ideas were merged to make it even better Once they vote on a campout its easy for the adults to take what the scouts have already planned and reserve the campsite, cabin or whatever else needed. We usually have everything reserved by the end of the week and distribute the yearly plan to parents. Results: Scouts are happy that they get a say in what is possible, the discussions about what would be fun happen and are long and boisterous, scouts come to me all of the time with new ideas to add to the list. We went from 10% participation to 75% participation camping in the last 3 years. Adults do the back office stuff while scouts became much bigger stakeholders in what they do each month. I hope this helps someone. I know we all do this different and the BSA assumes this is done by the PLC but we needed to make the change to help us survive as a troop.
  2. TMSM

    Adult Recongnition

    It used to take months for my CC to sign off and 3-4 months to get the knot. Now I just fill out the form get the signatures, drive it to the scout shop to hand it in. When I get home I buy the knot from ebay and sew it on when it arrives 3 days later. In my opinion scouters should be awarded as soon as possible to show appreciation for the work they did. I would also like to see the knots awarded at the COH by the SPL to show aprreciation from the scouts and to let the parents know we are being trained and doing what the progam asks us to do + more.
  3. TMSM

    As we approach 1 Feb 19...

    I am also having issues with scouts not wanting to be in OA. Last year we voted 3 in and all backed out of the ordeal a week before due to something better. What is the upside to OA? How do I sell it? I am not sure its worth our time anymore. I bring my son to the OA meeting every month and I see only 3 out the 12 troops participating.
  4. TMSM

    Per WSJ -BSA may declare bankruptcy

    WIth all due respect I think it would be better if you 2 started another thread. Better yet PM each other, exchange phone numbers and have a personal chat, you'll find you have some things in common.
  5. Committees are supposed to support the wants and needs determined by the PLC. Did the PLC ask for the boat to be fixed? As SM I always approach the committee with the idea that it is the scouts money and the committee does not vote on anything. They come to consensus with the decision provided back to the scouts.
  6. There many ways to do this, I would suggest a landing page with the CO name /Scouts then in the menu have choices Troop 100 click here Troop 100G click here. These pages would have their own menu choices. Use google calendars for each troop and link both troops to a calendar that you display on the website. Mostly likely the girl troop wont have someone ready to be webmaster yet so the adults could support that part of the websits and if the boys do have a webmaster he can work on the boys part of the website (or visa versa). We use Scoutbook and use their calendar but we have a google calendar synched to the Scoutbook calendar so we can display on our website. If each troop has thier instance of Scoutbook you can easliy create a single google calendar to share directly and via website.
  7. We have a swear jar. Its a virtual one but we do use it to remind adults to watch their language. Ex: Joe says the f-bomb someone will pipe up and say $5 bucks to the sear jar and we move on.
  8. TMSM

    How to deal with a difficult leader?

    Sure it depends on the site size and available sites, we camp so the scouts can camp and do what scouts do. I expect adults in my troop to be flexible with tent size and be available to suppport what the scouts want to do. With only 3 scouts it sounds like a new troop trying to form so best to start off by creating a scout led troop. Good luck!
  9. TMSM

    How to deal with a difficult leader?

    I would set expectations for all adults at the next comittee meeting. Make sure everyone knows the plan and agrees on the way forward. Be transparentand share all plans the scouts have provided, work the plan. We had an issue with Scout parents demanding to go on campouts and demand they get to bring their 10 man tents. - They are not with our troop anymore
  10. TMSM

    Philmont Questions

  11. TMSM

    Philmont Questions

    12 = 10 days on trail
  12. Parents should always talk to the SM first not the SPL. Sure there are exceptions, but the SM may be working with the SPL on something specific (keeping camp clean) and may be waiting for a teaching moment. Adults should work through the SM on campouts and agree on what is the right questions to ask the SPL.
  13. No doubt I stand my ground but some people dont want to be sold to and some just cant help themselves, I have turned the troop around fromadult to boy led and sold this to 60 parents already so I think I have the sales pitch down too. We have come a long way with the program and tripled the size of the troop and increased camp out participation from 25 to 75%. I do think the CC needs to do a better job selling to the parents in an active way. We all came out of a situation with too much drama in the troop 4 years ago so I have no problem asking people to move on if they cant/won't understand the program and want to make everyones life more miserable. This of course is in a nice way, we have 4 other troops in town and based on the problem they have with our troop I convince them there is a better fit. I have few problems with webelos making the transition. Some have home sickness issues but they outgrow these during summer camp. We do have some that just don't want to be responsible for anything so they move on. Not sure how you fix that.
  14. Yes, it was amusing that both these women basically told me they new how boy scouts worked and that I was wrong. DE also liked the trip plan that I had the scouts do which clearly refuted some of her other staements about me not knowing where I was going. Duh of course I knew but I let the scout think they were lost so they could figure it out themselves. We did get grief from DE for not sharing phone #s with the ladies althought they didnt show up at the troop meeting before the campout so I didnt know this. Both had YPT and both were helicopters. We live in area where parents are really demanding of teachers and I get the same attitudes as if they are my boss and are paying me through taxes. I do this for free, I enjoy working with the scouts, the Committee is happy with me and my program but new parents are really making me want to quit. I have tried many times to go to a Webelos meeting and discuss with the parents the changes that are coming but no takers. We pull from 6 different packs so its not easy to get sme time. Does BSA have a video I can send new parents that shows what not to do, how to act when new to a troop etc?
  15. - Moved discussion to new thread As SM I feel for your SM. I am in a similiar situation. We have 2 meetings with parents the first is a gentle discussion regarding boy lead, "don't do what a scout can do", "let the scouts teach each other" etc. Then I send some emails with great stoies of how scouting works and why its important to be hands off. During the first camp out we get new parents that feel that they have to be there which according to BSA they can observe but we end up taking way too many cars and too many empty seats (like Cub Scouts). At the first dinner (adults are in a single patrol, we talk about not helping and letting them fail etc, also HIP (hands in pockets). Most get it but 1 or 2 do not. Then there are always the 1 or 2 that don't make it to parents meetings dont read mail or take home info. At summer camp the last 2 years I have had 10 - 12 adults argue that they need to be there (we have 35 scouts). I do my best to talk them out of it and but what can I do, We have a meeting before summer camp with the adults going where I spell out - We (SM and 2 ASMs) don't need help with the scouts, don't help them unless for safety reasons, I know you have skills but lets them teach, stay out of patrol ares, don't help the SPL with his leadership - I got this. As soon as I get far enough away, then come back I find adults teaching square knots, telling the SPL to clean up this or that, putting their sons in charge of this or that or teaching axe and saw skills. When I pull them away to discuss boy led troop they either get it or they blow up in my face and tell me thats not how it works. Either way its uncomfortable for me to have this conversation 10 more times. 2 months ago I allowed a mom and her mom to go on a bike campout. WIthin 15 minutes they had both tried to take over from the scouts. When we came in a situation where there was an element of danger I asked grand ma to do what I ask her and the scouts to do. She refused saying "youre not the boss of me" . The next morning the mom was rolling her sons pants legs up and I pulled her and her mom over to discuss a better option. - Why don't we discuss this as a safety thing with the SPL and let him have the Pls help. She immediately jump in my face and said thats not how Boy Scouts works! Grandma stepped up too yelling at me, I did my best to help them understand but they continued to try to interfere. Grandma sent a note to the council saying that I was not being safe and let the scouts lead not the parents etc,, made up a few things too.. Sorry for the long rant but what I decided to do is to have any adult that will be attending a campout sign a contract signaling that they know and understand my role as SM and they will respect the boundaries, Signed and initaled in several places. CC has not let me use these yet.