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Year Two - Summer camp convincing

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OK, last year I started a thread about convincing parents about summer camp. As it happened, we took 2 boys that year, and they had a blast. (See OA advice sought thread)


This year, the same two plus one young scout are going. The reason I think we have such a poor turnout? I believe it is the scoutmaster.


His attitude has strongly discouraged his sons from trying it - which has also, of course, discouraged all the younger scouts' parents from letting THEM try it. I mean, the LATRINES are FILTHY. He actually said that to the troop and parents the night I was trying to promote signing up for camp. Two parents decided then and there that their sons would not be going. Of course, while they are composting latrines and thus are hardly rose gardens, if they are filthy whose fault is that, when your troop is the only one at that site? The irony is that the troop did camp on the beach and is going to again - where there are very public port-a-potties (yech). The sea air doesn't trigger the asthma. ( I hate camping on the beach. But I'll go and keep my mouth shut about the grit. Actually, keeping my mouth shut will reduce the grit...now there's a benefit.... )


What's an ASM to do? I feel that we're failing to deliver the promise in this troop, and the only reason the boys are generally happy in it is that they don't know how good it COULD be. Any advice?




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I've read your OA post. One option to keep in mind is starting a new troop. Here's what you need:


1. A chartered partner. Contact your District Executive if you're interested. They can help you find one. This can be a church (my perference) or service club, or business, or one of a myriad of other options.


2. A chartered organization representative. This person will be the liason between the troop and the chartered partner. Should be a member of the charter partner, but not neccessarily. This position can also be doubled with a committee member or the committee chairman.


3. A Committee Chairman -- to oversee the troop committee and run the troop committee meetings.


4. 2 Committee members


5. One Scoutmaster.


You don't need ASM's, but it's nice to have.


6. 5 paid registered members. Actually, you can get by with 3 paid members and 2 transfers.


Those are the minimums to start a new troop and new traditions.


If you feel you can help fix the troop your son is in, then I suggest you wait for the people to kick the snot out of me and help to fix it. If you'd rather start from scratch, you now know what it takes at the minimum to start a new troop.


I hope that you'll exercise one of the two options I'm laying out -- change your current troop from within, or lead toward a fresh start -- rather than dropping out of Scouting. You haven't even hinted that dropping is your intent, and I applaud you for that, but that's what many in your position would do. Thank you for sticking with it.



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Since it is the job of the PLC to create the program for the troop, I think you need to start there. I read from your OA post that you don't have a PLC, but nothing says you son and the other scouts can't ask the Scoutmaster and SPL to start meetings. The Scoutmaster should be following the procedures of the BSA and allow the youth to create their own program with his guidance. If the PLC votes to go to Summer Camp and there is enough adults to make it happen, then the Scoutmaster doesn't need to go, just help set up a program for Summer Camp. If the PLC decides they want a OA Election, the the Scoutmaster should contact the proper youth from the Chapter and make it so. As long as there is at least one half the troop present at the meeting during the election and the eligible youth receive at least one half of the vote of the members present, then they are elected. They still have to go through their ordeal (they do not have to be called out) to be OA members. I would think talking to your Unit Commissioner should get you some assistance in making all this work.


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I replied to your OA thread, so now I know you're an ASM. Is the SM trained? I agree with all of the others. The SM is in charge of training the youth leaders in how to execute the Troop program. That certainly includes a regularly scheduled PLC meeting. Ideas are presented, discussed, and then voted on. Your Scouts don't know what they're missing. If the SM won't tell 'em, you have my permission (I'm a SM).



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Most of the guys with those symptoms are unwilling to change or go to training. If that wasn't true, they would have already been trained and/or changed with the times.


It's not my intent to appear pessimistic, but you may have just two practical choices: suck it up or start your own troop. I don't recommend sucking it up; the lads get this experience only once -- it shouldn't be substandard. Starting a new troop is a lot of work in the beginning, but in the long run, is probably far less stressful than trying to change an old leopard's spots.


I respectfully disagree with DSteele on one point though. The ASMs are not optional, in my opinion, especially with a startup. If you don't have any, you're doing everything. I'd be wearing an "I love me" jacket and eating with a spork without ASMs.


I'd also insist your DC detail a good Unit Commissioner to you.



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KS --


Feel free to respectfully disagree whenever you respecftully disagree.


I will point out that I was responding as a technician. My intent was to post the bare bones the BSA system will accept when the registrar enters a new troop and the first charter is issued.


I definately agree that I wouldn't want to run a troop without Assitant Scoutmasters and I meant no disrespect to Assistant Scoutmasters. I've been a Scoutmaster and, KoreaScouter, I think we'd be lucky to have even a spork to eat with without them.


I also agree with KoreaScouter that it's probably easier to start another troop than to reform the old one.


If you go the other way, the path of reform, Dancin' has excellent suggestions as well. I know him and he walks the walk and talks the talk.



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Well, I posted a reply under the other thread. My son likes the boys in this troop and they like him. I agree that it would be easier to start fresh but, well, my son likes the kids. So I'm in suck it up and try to fix it mode - which is why my husband and I took 2 boys to camp last year, why we're taking a big THREE this year, and why I keep trying to informally teach the other parents on the methods of scouting so they'd know them if they saw them. So far it isn't working well but they're not running me out of town on a rail either. I was kind of hoping in uncharitable moments that maybe the SM would be too busy once his boys aged out and then the CO would be looking for another SM - but, well, I'm sort of female and I'm not sure I'd be asked because of that, and the SM recently told me that he plans to serve the troop until the last current boy makes Eagle. (showing one problem right there....)


I think the idea of working with my son to plan some patrol activities is great, and we'll get back to you on it.

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Sounds like it's time to get the district camping committee involved to help push summer camp. I am a member of my district's camping committee & it's easy to overcome the "filthy latrine" excuse.


Ed Mori


Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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Your Council professionals will probably just love to have a talk with your SM....

In our council, D.E.'s are apprised of where units go to summer camp as well as the numbers of boys, percentage-wise. Why? Well they want us to use the council camps. Every year, either in person at RT or on the phone, units are called, in a friendly way, about attending camp.

I am pretty sure that there may be some one at your council who could call your SM.


Another suggestion is to get the boys to try out the camp as a troop on a weekend getaway. Call up the Camp or Service center to reserve a spot...


Or better yet have all the above coordinated to show the BOYS what the camp is about... and have a the CC, and other ASM's come along.


Don't discount the latrine thing...it is a big deal, even with adults. The "filthy" might be a cover for an aversion to old plumbing facilities.


(Scoutmaster Merit BAdge, requirement #3, b. scour camp on first day for flush toilets!)


This message was not edited, nor proofed. All typos where typed at time message was typed.

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Thanks for all y'alls help. It honestly had not occurred to me to try a weekender at the camp, that's a good idea. I'll run it by my son and see what he thinks. He likes the kids in this troop very well, but wishes they weren't quite such, ummm, homebodies.


Last year we went to an out-of-council camp because I was hoping the SM's sons would be able to go, and they have an easier time with the flora in that area. They cancelled at the last minute. This year I told the boys we could go whereever they chose, and one of the boys would have gone back to Karankawa in a heartbeat but my son wanted to go to the in-council camp, where the facilities are somewhat better. He cajoled the other over to his side. The possibility of having camperships available and maybe increasing the numbers that way helped tip the scales to staying in our own council - but no boys applied for them. Two were going to, but then their moms heard about the Filthy Latrines.


I've been there. They aren't filthy. They just aren't flush toilets. The showers are the nicest I've seen anywhere. The food was mediocre but we won't starve.


This is a home-schooled troop and I notice that PTC has a training program on scouting for the homeschooled in September- I'm thinking seriously about trying to get to it as I do find that working with the homeschooler population is somewhat different than working with public schoolers. Mostly, it's better, as the kids tend to be mature and respectful. But I'm wondering if the wizards at Philmont have any suggestions for encouraging the parents to le-e-e-e-e-t go.




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