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fleetfootedfox

Adults staying up nearly all night

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Some of the adults in our troop, including the SM, have a tendency to stay up very late. They will be around the campfire until 3am talking and laughing, sometimes rather loudly. I have complained more than once and they just laugh and make fun of me. Apparently, it's my problem, because I should just put in ear plugs. However, ear plugs are not comfortable and they work too well. I can't hear if a boy has a problem in the middle of the night, and in certain situations in can be dangerous not being able to hear what's going on around you.

 

They also let the boys stay up well after official lights out, and the SM doesn't mind if they talk in their tents all night long. He thinks staying up late is part of the fun, like at a sleep-over birthday party. However, the boys are expected to get up at 6am regardless, whereas if they were at a sleep over birthday party they could sleep late.

 

Also, about a year ago the SM got very angry at another group camping near us who got up early (about 5am) and started making noise, banging pots around, etc. I agreed that it was rude, but he went so far as to draft an official letter of complaint to the Council. So, I think he's being an incredible hypocrit. If somebody else is being woke up in the middle of the night it's their fault for not wearing ear plugs. If it's somebody else waking up him, then they need to be punished.

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Raise the issue over a friendly cup of coffee with your Committee Chair. This is best handled quietly and offline.

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Tell me that this fellow has all sorts of endearing qualities that make him a great SM, mentor, and role model to the young men in the troop, and that this is his one flaw that irks you.

 

Because if it is a symptom of an otherwise unpleasant, rude, inconsiderate jerk then a) nothing you do is likely to change the situation and b) I wonder why you'd want to be associated with this troop.

 

Assuming we're talking about the former situation then probably 3am is not a good time to address the matter. You most likely are not at your best and the SM is sitting there having a good time in front of his buddies, which sets up a pretty grouchy and confrontational dynamic. Another venue and another time when you're both fully awake and on even ground would probably garner better results. Maybe a conversation at a committee meeting about driving safety, or about boy behavioral issues caused by being over-tired, would work better (make sure to have the committee chair in your corner first if you choose this route).

 

Do any of the boys or other adults raise concerns about the noise? This might be especially hard on the younger guys who probably are not as used to staying up late as some older teens might be, and on the patrol leader(s) and SPL who have to deal with the over-tired boys the next day. Exhausted 11 year olds are a real joy. If it is a regular occurrence, I'd imagine that some of them would have said something by now, and you may have some backing there.

 

As for myself, I know that sometimes I am over-sensitive to noise. And I am very bad at tuning out annoying sounds. In fact, the more annoyed I get by noise, the louder and more obnoxious it seems to become (especially when I'm really concentrating or I'm over-tired). Knowing this about myself, I've found that a good pair of headphones and some music can really help. And perhaps it is the SM's job, not yours, to be awakened in the middle of the night by scouts who are having difficulties?

 

 

 

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Official lights out? Who's official?

 

When I was a SM, the adults liked staying up late, sitting around the campfire chewing the fat. We would get into discussion that lasted long into the morning. We did try to keep the volume down, though. And at summer camp, there were a lot of adults from other units that did the same thing. Oh yeah, we let the boys stay up in their tents as long as they didn't get out of hand!

 

Don't sweat the small stuff.

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I've had some really good conversations, including some bonding time, around the campfire late at night. If it's after lights out, we keep our voices down and try to be quiet and respect the quiet time.

 

Is the SM really that loud, or are your tents really that close to the fire? Properly spaced patrols probably shouldn't be able to hear much from the campfire bowl after turning in. Most all I hear is the rustling of the leaves.

 

Our scouts are pretty good about turning in if they are tired, otherwise we let them stay up and socialize, as long as they respect quiet time for those that want to sleep. Somehow they figure out how to make it work without adult interference.

 

 

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We do have a lights out dime setermined by the PLC on each campout. The PL makes sure his guys are secure in their tents and reports to the SPL. The SPL reports to the SM when the PL's turn in. Then the SPL turns in. Some of us adults stay up longer than others, but we are always quiet. Midnight is usually the latest any adult stays up. We always have our campouts planned by a boy who is mentored by an adult. There is always a planned program. Staying up half the night giggling in the tents does not lend itself well to mountain biking or a 5 mile hike the next day. Besides, we never have a fire on Friday night as we are busy setting up camp and would have to put it out almost as soon as we had time to actually fire it up. Please tell me they don't go to bed at 3:00 AM with the fire still burning? This is just the culture of our troop. We do get irritated at the inconsiderate actions of outher troops that are up and yelling at midnight, but usually camporee staff takes care of it.

 

My suggestions. Use ear plugs. If a boy has a problem in the middle of the night....you already have several adults still up, so why should you be sweating it? Find a troop more in line with your philosophy.

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Unless your group of leaders was like the group of German and Dutch scouts I encountered, very loud and rambunctios until 3 or 4AM, i'ld have to agree with EV, SR, and Eagle. Maybe the tents are too close. I also had some great mentoring/bonding with the other adults whenI was a new leader around the campfire after the scouts went to sleep.

 

BUT if they are loud and distrubing other units, then that is a problem. I have ot agree with John and Lisa, a freindly cup is in order.

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The CC needs to find more mature adults for the troop. Obviously if one is getting a poor night's sleep so are the boys. This is why I don't allow adult patrols, or any variances that may give any clue that the adults are there for no other reason that the boys. Adults that need to bond as buddies can do so as adults on a different outing, not when they are there responsible for the boys.

 

My adults all head for bed at lights out and get quiet to insure there are no problems with the boys heading to bed either.

 

Lead by example.

 

Stosh

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Stosh, I think this time you are missing the point, adults are just that adults and to give them a curfew is just way out of line. The boys need to have discipline instilled in them but for most adults it is just too late, lol. As was mentioned the boys are probably sleeping too close to the adults so spread them out. Fleet,what you need to be concerned with is does the troop have a good solid program that the boys enjoy, if so then don't get caught up with the small stuff.

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"Official lights out? Who's official?"

 

This past weekend was a district camporee with a schedule that stated lights out was 10:30pm. If other troops are staying up later, I don't have a problem, although midnight is past what I would consider an acceptable bending of the rule.

 

I've always been in agreement with a few adults staying up long enough to make sure the boys are bedded down and most of them asleep and have done that myself. I also would have no problem with them staying up all night if they could do it quietly. However, one guy in this group has kind of a bar room voice. Most of the time he is the only one I hear, but occasionally they will all break out in raucous laughter. As somebody else pointed out, once I get annoyed it probably all seems even louder to me whereas they think they are being quiet.

 

Lisabob has some good points. The SM does have some other issues. He has driven away several people from the troop, a couple of them intentionally. The guy with the bar room voice has other issues too. He loves to tell stories that are funny at the expense of other people, and he will embellish heavily and tell them over and over. I think this is because he has very low self-esteem, so he builds himself up by making fun of other people. It all sounds very childish, I know, which begs the question of why I put up with it.

 

However, as anybody who has contemplated changing troops knows, it is seldom that simple. Despite the SM's failings, he is a long-time friend. Mainly, though, my son has friends in the troop and doesn't want to move.

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;^)

 

I realize that adults will be adults and there's no way to re-train them, but I have requested my CC to provide me with adults that have taking care of the boys as their #1 responsibility. I have never gone on an outing with the boys without assuming that it's a working holiday for me. I visit with the adults prior to their involvement as to whether or not they adhere to this ideal. If they don't then I ask them not to participate in direct-boy contact positions.

 

That doesn't mean that I'm not up for a CC/Committee retreat where everyone can hang out WITHOUT the boys. I usually love these trips just as much as those with the boys. But there's a time and place for everything. I'm not a task-master, and I can cut-loose and have a great time along with the best of them, but when I'm responsible for boys, it's a whole new ballgame that I take seriously and expect those adults around me to do the same.

 

It's not that I enforce rules for adults, I just don't invite them back when problems arise. Those adults that want to work with the boys don't have any problem with this setup. I don't expect the boys to be mature, but I do expect it from the adults.

 

With this "expectation" spelled out up front, I have been able to gather around me excellent adult leadership and I couldn't be happier with the people I have.

 

Stosh

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OK so let me ask a couple of questions. Why are you attending the camp outs? Do you bring some particular skill to the group that nobody else has? Are you the only one with a trailer hitch to pull the troop trailer?

 

Understand I don't mean this in a negative way. Generally speaking, I'm grateful to the adults who give their time to go camping with my son's troop because they make it possible for him to have a good scouting experience.

 

But if it is really that aggravating for you (and I can see where it might be), would it be better for you to just abstain, at least when Mr. Bar Room is going? If you've already had repeat conversations with the SM (one-on-one and not at 3am when you're really annoyed and he's hanging out with Mr. B. R.) and nothing has improved, then either the SM does not particularly care about, or does not fully grasp, the consequences of his rude behavior. If you don't attend, maybe he'll start to figure it out. (or not, but either way at least you'll be able to get some sleep)

 

 

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I know adults are adults, but that doesn't mean group rules or expectations shouldn't apply to them just as much as the youth. I generally have no problem with those that want to stay up late if they are quiet and respectful of those of us that like to hit the sack early. If they are loud and I can't get to sleep at 11:00...well then for some reason I find it difficult to be quiet preparing my morning coffee at 6:00am. :)

 

My main concern would be for drivers though. A campout can be a tiring experience even without the all night primal bonding event. If I were a parent, I'd be concerned about my little Johnny getting into a vehicle with a driver who's had 2-3 hours sleep, after a day of hiking or other outdoor activity. Our council had a fatality involving a youth member of a Venture crew returning from Sea Base a couple of years ago when the driver fell asleep at the wheel.

 

SA

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Yah, fleetfootedfox, to my mind this is smaller than a molehill.

 

Different troops do have different cultures. It can make some sense for a PL to quiet his guys down if there's a 30 mile mountain bike ride da next day. Barrin' that, though, these lads are boy scouts. Determinin' when to go to bed is part of individual youth responsibility. If they go to bed late, they're tired the next day and they learn. If we're motherin' 'em with bedtimes then they'll never grow up. And a troop-wide bedtime or lights out? Pah. That's somethin' da PLs should be handlin' if anybody.

 

I can't say I'd ever have da gumption to assign a bedtime for adults. That seems just as discourteous. If a SM finds over time that certain adults get too crabby to work well with boys because they stay up late, he shouldn't invite 'em out, as Stosh suggests. Other than that, some folks are just late owls by nature. Me, I'm an early bird. Just da way of things.

 

I recommend the earplug solution if yeh insist on camping close. Da PL, not you, should be the one respondin' to any youth issues in the middle of the night. Andy any "danger" others are goin' to wake yeh for. You can get da small foam shooting sports jobbers cheap, and they're not uncomfortable. Know lots of scouters who use 'em without a problem, includin' this early bird!

 

Beavah

 

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