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mrkstvns posted a topic in Summer CampEvery year, parents of first year scouts ask, "What merit badges should my son sign up for at summer camp?" Every year, I hear different responses from the SM and from the different ASMs. Some of the responses make sense. Some don't. What I usually recommend is a 3-point approach: Swimming merit badge Pick fun, outdoor-oriented merit badges that aren't easy to do back home using local troop merit badge counselors or local merit badge workshops. Good choices include: - Archery - Canoeing (or another boating activity) - Rifle Shooting - Horsemanship - Wood Carving, Basketry, or Leatherwork (or another craft) Avoid classroom-oriented merit badges and most Eagle-required badges. (Only Swimming and First Aid are really good fits for first-year scouts, and we do First Aid as a troop in-house workshop.) I'd like to hear what kind of advice other scouters give to first-year scout parents. Thoughts?
Our PLC has been doing a huddle after every meeting. Works well for this SPL, who quickly goes over upcoming program and responsibilities and asks about problems. The troop guide came up a few from his new scout patrol. My general advice to guides is to focus on advancing the natural leaders in their groups and find something fun for the rest. He brought up what he thought were several barriers to that. One was a scout who said he's only there because his dad makes him. (This came as a surprise to me because he seemed like one of the more enthusiastic young men in the bunch.) I may or may not bring this up to the parent - whose older kids are growing up strong and good - to him and his wife's credit. But, if you heard this from your TG, how might you advise him and the SPL?
Readers looking for a heated discussion on patrol assignments might likely look under this forum, but actually there's one roiling away in Advancement (http://scouter.com/index.php/topic/28189-positions-of-responsibility/?p=437306 somewhere around post 50). The way I see it: this is community dependent. In some communities, the boys come "networked" with older and younger boys -- even as cross-overs. This was my case as I was tighter with the older boys in my neighborhood and church than with the boys in my den. So, dropping into a mixed-age patrol was like putting the bluegill back in the pond. A few years later, the first-years were a tight bunch so the SM asked me to be their PL. Not sure if he had discussed it with the PLC in advance, but I dove in, and it was fun! In other communities, the boys don't come with those connections. Scouting might be the main place for them to build them, and the den might be the tie that binds. I've seen that with several groups of cross-overs. A guided new scout patrol seems to do wonders in that context ... except for the boys who were never cubs or when the boys in the den are in factions. Then the SM and SPL may feel compelled to "pick teams" for the boys. Matching by grades may make sense, or maybe by neighborhood would work better? Or, maybe a couple of guys are just oil and water, and in some cases it takes a lot of mid-stream adjustments. Of course, maybe the SM naturally takes his cues from team sports and assigns patrols based on some perception of varsity vs. JV scouts. Absent any input from the PLC, I do think this is where we see the build-up of troop-method behavior.