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eagle90

New Parents/Leaders

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Our troop has a problem which I'm sure many troops would love to have. We just inducted ten new Webeloes last month. Many of the Webelos parents were the driving force in the Cub Pack since its inception. (The Pack is only 4 years old). Our troop is almost 50 years old and has 30 scouts now, and a Committee of 24 people, many of whom exceed 20 years in the program.

 

Some of these new parents have taken the Boy scout Training already. They are eager and anxious to get going. However, our positions and responsibilities for this year have pretty much been set, and I am starting to hear grumblings about them wanting to do something subtstantial, "not just sit around like a regular parent.". Remember, they have been in the troop less than a month. Some are also reported to be very Type "A"

Control type persons.

 

It has also been hard to show them the difference between Cubs and Scouts and the boy-led concept.

 

What can we do with these people? We don't want to lose them or their sons right away, but at the same time, we don't want to shove away our veterans who have been very dedicated to the Troop and basically enjoy what they are doing.

 

Thanks for any help!

 

 

 

 

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Well, you WILL lose them and their boys if you don't find a way to put them to work. If the parents feel unwelcome, the boys will be outa there soon. But with 10 new boys, surely you can find something for them to do? Especially after they all go through scoutmaster training? (very essential)

 

Do they bring some merit badge expertise to your troop that you didn't have before? Could you sign 'em up as merit badge counselors, and if they are a tight-knit group, perhaps they would like to work together on setting up some sort of a merit badge university event that would benefit the whole troop.

 

Or perhaps you could put them on as ASM's and use their enthusiasm to allow some additional patrol camping events that might not have fit into your schedule before.

 

ON the being Type A - no offense, but you sound like you're kind of worried about losing control yourself.... That said, a good set of troop bylaws requiring ASM's to be BSA trained and explicitly explaining your troop policies and operating procedures would probably help keep them under control.

 

 

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Like Sager said, use em or lose em!

 

Give them something small & easy to do. Explain that this years positions were set prior to them coming on board & these jobs are a good springboard to bigger and better things. Then watch them! Watch how they operate. This will give you a better idea how to allocate their talents (or lack of) in the future.

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

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My son just crossed over to Boy Scouts. I'm one of those parents that want "something to do". Lucky for me, the troop needs help. A question we asked the troop on our first visit was "what do you do with parents who want to be involved."

 

Are any of the current adults considering leaving soon? Can they train the new parents in what they do?

 

I like SagerScouts idea about Merit Badge counselors. Does any troop have too many of those around?

 

We had some parents who left the troop after the first week strictly because they didn't like HOW things were done. It is a tough adjustment. The more you can include the new parents, the more they will learn the differences between Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.

 

Are their district or council positions that could use these parents?

 

When you were the "new parent" in the troop, what made you feel welcome? How did you get to where you are?

 

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Congrats Eagle9 , What a great position to be in.

 

I am going to assume you created 2 New Scout Patrols. Do you have an Asst. Scoutmaster for each New Scout Patrol to see that have a program to reach First Class First year? (There's two jobs)

 

How about a Troop Trainer to get the othe rnew volunteers up to speed?

 

We just made a new asst. SM, who just finished being a Cubmaster, into a Webelos Resouce Person. Since he is familiar with the other Packs and Cub leaders, he is going to make sure the Webelos 2 know of our trrop, our activities, supervise the Den Chiefs and prep the Webelos Leaders to become troop leaders.

 

How about an Adult Quartermaster Corps to help the scout QM's with major equipment repair and purchases.

 

Take a couple of parents and put them in charge of ceremonies and props for Courts of Honor. They can find the scripts for the scouts to follow.

 

Just a few thoughts to get you started.

 

Bob

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One of the people I most respected was an old boss of mine. He always said the perfection of management was when the fire chief could come 10 minutes late to a fire and sit in a bus stop bench across the street and never say anything. He/she didnt have to, because everyone knew their job and did it without being told.

 

If you have parents looking for something to do, make them the official trip leader(s) for an upcomming event. That means put out the sign up sheets, arrange transporation and oversee the menu selection and oversee the food buying. Have them get the tour permit if needed and all the drivers information. They wil get a taste of real action and feel they are contributing while you have a load off your shoulders. The best manager is always training his/her replacement, that way when you are not there, you know it will be done the way you would have done it because thats the way they were trained.

 

Have them "scout" out new activities, have them help the PLC put together next years calender. Put in the givens, for us its fall camporee, klondike, spring camporee and the Courts of Honor. Tell them you want an overnight a month and see what they come up with. They get a feeling of a boy run troop working with the PLC and odds are the events will be fresh stuff that the kids will like and you will have an interesting program with minimal effort on your part and new adults who know your leadership core

 

Who was it that said "No Man is an Island" ?

The more the adults do the more fun they have and others will see how much fun it is and this will attract more active people and active scouts. We have 90 plus scouts in our troop with 41 registered adults all contibuting.(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)

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OGE,

I agree with some of the things you are saying, but...haven't you listed a number of things that the boys should be doing. Menu planning, food shopping, the annual calendar, sign-up sheets, selecting the outdoor activities, are all Patrol and PLC responsibilities aren't they. I'm all for adults sharing the work load, but only the things that scouts cannot do themselves.

 

Bob

 

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I have to be carfull how I say this because I have over 25 years in myself. The initial post said that the problem was that the "meaningful" positions were taken some by people with 20 years experience, leaving the new parents feeling left out. Who should get "first dibs" on committee positions those with boys in the troop or those with 20 years experience? It's the boys troop but I find that sometimes adults refer to it as their troop and get very territorial when anyone mentions change. Having an experienced troop commiittee is a blessing but new blood is essential. What happens when the veterans finnaly decide to take a rest? If no one has been "trained" to fill the opening things will start to unravel. Ask the vets if they would consider mentoring the new parents. They may get a feeling for what the new parents are feeling now. Outside looking in

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Bob, what are you, the representative of the Semantic Police for this forum?

 

Would it make you feel better if I reworded my posting to assure you that I am a member of a boy lead troop? That I get it?

 

I thought I was clear enough, would "adult trip leader" have been more to your liking?

 

I thought "oversee" the menu selection process and food buying meant the boys were the primary ones responsible for these duties. I guess that wasnt clear enough either

 

I did say let the new adults work with the PLC to develop the calender, not that the adults do the calender. Is there a problem with that?

 

Do you think you could read a posting and not immediateley assume that if it doesnt meet with your rhetorical criteria of how to correctly describe a "boy run troop" that the poster needs to be chided?

 

Give it a rest Bob, we are dedicated scouters doing our best to deliver the promise, I deeply regret not being able to explain my idea to your satisfaction

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What an enviable position to be in. My suggestion is to have a separate meeting with them and review the troop's plan for the coming year. Where there are gaps in adult support, have them fill in. Solicit their views as to how to strengthen and expand the program. Using them as direct advisors to patrols is an excellent idea.

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OGE,

 

The big problem with conversing over the internet is it's a very one dimensional communication. Without the benefit of facial expressions, body language and intonation the task of understanding what a total stranger is trying to say can be difficult.

 

I never questioned your dedication, I was just trying to understand your intent. It seems that the "oversee" might mean different things to different people. I am sure if we had the luxury of knowing every poster personally that such misunderstandings would be less likely.

 

I am not the semantic fanatic you make me out to be, just as I am sure you are not the kind of person that your last post reflects.

 

Bob

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Oh, and one more thing: You said that it has been difficult to get these parents onboard with the boy-led concept. I strongly believe in boy-led and became an ASM in order to promote that concept within my son's existing troop. The reason I decided I needed to do that is that I had already seen 2 other troops, and in each of them "boy-led" was not working for different reasons.

 

In the first, "boy-led" meant meetings were ALWAYS chaotic, disorganized, and seemed to have very little point or accomplishment. Planning, if any, was done by a couple of the experienced scouts, while the rest of the scouts swung from the chandeliers. The "fun" part of the meeting for most of the older boys seemed to be rassling, teasing, and harassing the littlest members to establish their superiority. I didn't see much in the way of real leadership as far as helping the younger kids with rank requirements or anything else. Just playtime with the teacher out of the room.... And that troop didn't need any new adults- they made it very clear that all the jobs were already assigned.

 

In the second troop, things were a little better because there was a scoutmaster that did believe in boy-led and he was really a great guy. However, that troop had a very serious deficiency in that the older boys (15 and 16) were real SNERTS - not the kind of 15 year-old I'm trying to raise. They were vulgar and foul-mouthed, enjoyed bashing any kid in scouts or at school that they perceived as "gay" (of course this was tolerated and even encouraged and participated in by one of the ASM's), and used name-calling and physical strength to control and intimidate the young scouts. Sorry, I don't feel that that is leadership! The SM knew of the problems and I believe was genuinely trying to work on them, but couldn't get it done fast enough to make my son want to go to troop meetings. My son has an anxiety disorder, so I realize he's a special case. But not very many kids would enjoy what these older boys were dishing out.

 

Of course, I sincerely hope your troop does not have these kinds of problems, but if it does, be aware that these kind of issues might easily cause a parent to think Boy-led? Shmoy-led! Someone needs to get these kids in line! and they'd be right. The difference between scouts and school is that in scouts it is their own job to do it, not the teacher's.

 

I guess I just have a different standard for how teens should treat each other and the adults around them than most of today's society. I like to see respect, not kow-towing, but courtesy and respect. So many adults want to "teach respect" by bullying kids ("Don't backtalk me, son, or I'll whup your wimpy little candy butt, I'm still your father (or mother) and I can still take you...."), and then they don't get it when the kids get to their teens and act like bullies. I treat my kids with respect and lo and behold, they give it back!

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How about help with the Troop finances? Or maybe Adult in Charge of the Quartermasters?

 

I would be a little careful signing them up as merit badge counselors until I see how they handle things. In some cases, and I'm not saying this is the case, parents "give" their son's merit badges whether they earned them or not.

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

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Thanks everyone for your help here. It is invaluable. Just a few comments:

 

Long Haul - You see the problem very clearly - trying to integrate the new parents wothout making the veterans feel they are being thrown out as over the hill. They are somewhat resistant to change, and that is why I want to embrace these new people.

 

Eisley - Bingo! I have a meeting set up with some of the new parents after our spring break to come to a meeting of the minds. I'll advise how that goes.

 

Sager - We do have a boy-run troop - WITHIN BOUNDARIES. Whatever they do must be approved by either myself as SM or the appropriate committee person involved. We do have to veto some ideas, but for the most part they are pretty good at knowing what will and will not fly. Fortunately we do not have the problem with hazing, or picking on the new kids. And NO! I am not worried about losing my own control. I relish the new prople and wouldn't mind a bit in giving up some of the responsibilities. I have had the SM job for a good number of years.

 

OGE - Thanks for some good meaningful suggestions

 

 

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SagerScout,

The problem I percive in both your examples is not with the boy-led concept as much as with the poorly trained syndrom. Leaders train scouts, scouts train scouts and down the line. If the initial training was in adequate the boys are not to blame. If the boys are disrespectful then they are not living up to their OATH. A scout is Courteous. If the boys are not living up to these ideals then the Adult Leadeship is to blame because they are not supervising properly. Boy- led and patrol run is the cornerstone of this organization. I know of no other organization where a youth can get the experience in team work, and leadership that's available to them in Scouting when it's delivered right. Boys are workers, developers, planners and the most dificult directors. Directors must bring someone elses vision into reality using still someone elses hands. We give them a safe place to learn, fail, and grow.

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