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koolaidman

What to do when boy leader is unprepared?

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Our troop is less than a year old. We've been meeting since September. The boys have been advancing slowly as they start to figure out the they are responsible for their advancement and not the adults. We are finally transitioning to boy led meetings. The first one we had scheduled was a two weeks ago. The SPL/PL was not prepared' date=' however our SM had to do a summer camp presentation so we did that instead. The SPL/PL was prepared for the last meeting we had, and things went pretty well. For our next meeting, I am 80% confident the boy who is supposed to do the activity/skills introduction will not be prepared. I don't want to "reward" a scout being unprepared for his meeting by having ad-hoc games or an engaging adult-led backup plan, however I don't really want the other scouts to have an unproductive meeting either. So my "plan B" is "uniform maintenance". If the boy leader is unprepared, then everyone will sit down and learn to sew on a patch and how to make a small sewing kit for camping. I think it kills two birds: 1. There should be no excuse for missing patches on uniforms. 2. It should be unpleasant enough for the boys to see that we won't have a fun program if they don't prepare. I'd like to hear what you guys think, as I feel a little guilty of violating the patrol method in even thinking of a plan B, but the boys are still new to taking on the responsibilities of boy-led. What do you think? [/quote']

 

You are in a tough place. I agree that the boys need to run the show and that they should not be bailed-out, but your tough place is that you have a small, new troop and you risk developing apathy early and that is no good either.

 

If you have not had a troop leader training session that might help. Use the "teach a man to fish" model:

 

- Show them the tools they have at their disposal like Troop Program Features (vols1-3) or Troop Program Resources

http://www.scouting.org/FILESTORE/pdf/33110_WEB.pdf, http://www.scouting.org/FILESTORE/pdf/33588.pdf

 

- Walk the SPL through how to run a PLC, how to organize an agenda, how to fill out a meeting planning sheet, etc.

 

- Advise them to have primary, seconday and tertiary plans in case something (or someone) falls through.

 

Not sure if you trained him up and gave him the tools to do his job, but if you have then the next step is a milestone check or perhaps a refresher. Same goes for the rest of the PLC. They need to take ownership but they need the skills to succeed first. Once this is established that SPL will set the tone for future leaders.‎

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Our troop is less than a year old. We've been meeting since September. The boys have been advancing slowly as they start to figure out the they are responsible for their advancement and not the adults. We are finally transitioning to boy led meetings. The first one we had scheduled was a two weeks ago. The SPL/PL was not prepared' date=' however our SM had to do a summer camp presentation so we did that instead. The SPL/PL was prepared for the last meeting we had, and things went pretty well. For our next meeting, I am 80% confident the boy who is supposed to do the activity/skills introduction will not be prepared. I don't want to "reward" a scout being unprepared for his meeting by having ad-hoc games or an engaging adult-led backup plan, however I don't really want the other scouts to have an unproductive meeting either. So my "plan B" is "uniform maintenance". If the boy leader is unprepared, then everyone will sit down and learn to sew on a patch and how to make a small sewing kit for camping. I think it kills two birds: 1. There should be no excuse for missing patches on uniforms. 2. It should be unpleasant enough for the boys to see that we won't have a fun program if they don't prepare. I'd like to hear what you guys think, as I feel a little guilty of violating the patrol method in even thinking of a plan B, but the boys are still new to taking on the responsibilities of boy-led. What do you think? [/quote']

 

You are in a tough place. I agree that the boys need to run the show and that they should not be bailed-out, but your tough place is that you have a small, new troop and you risk developing apathy early and that is no good either.

 

If you have not had a troop leader training session that might help. Use the "teach a man to fish" model:

 

- Show them the tools they have at their disposal like Troop Program Features (vols1-3) or Troop Program Resources

http://www.scouting.org/FILESTORE/pdf/33110_WEB.pdf, http://www.scouting.org/FILESTORE/pdf/33588.pdf

 

- Walk the SPL through how to run a PLC, how to organize an agenda, how to fill out a meeting planning sheet, etc.

 

- Advise them to have primary, seconday and tertiary plans in case something (or someone) falls through.

 

Not sure if you trained him up and gave him the tools to do his job, but if you have then the next step is a milestone check or perhaps a refresher. Same goes for the rest of the PLC. They need to take ownership but they need the skills to succeed first. Once this is established that SPL will set the tone for future leaders.‎

We are indeed guilty of not properly training up the boys. Basically that is the only reason I would even think of having a backup plan in place.

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Update for all concerned: PL blasted a text out to his patrol yesterday reminding those running the show that they need to be prepared. SM had an incidental meeting with the boy I'm concerned about yesterday and brought up tonight's meeting.

We'll see how it goes. Not certain if we'll come to a fork in the road tonight, but if we do, we'll take it :)

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Our troop is less than a year old. We've been meeting since September. The boys have been advancing slowly as they start to figure out the they are responsible for their advancement and not the adults. We are finally transitioning to boy led meetings. The first one we had scheduled was a two weeks ago. The SPL/PL was not prepared' date=' however our SM had to do a summer camp presentation so we did that instead. The SPL/PL was prepared for the last meeting we had, and things went pretty well. For our next meeting, I am 80% confident the boy who is supposed to do the activity/skills introduction will not be prepared. I don't want to "reward" a scout being unprepared for his meeting by having ad-hoc games or an engaging adult-led backup plan, however I don't really want the other scouts to have an unproductive meeting either. So my "plan B" is "uniform maintenance". If the boy leader is unprepared, then everyone will sit down and learn to sew on a patch and how to make a small sewing kit for camping. I think it kills two birds: 1. There should be no excuse for missing patches on uniforms. 2. It should be unpleasant enough for the boys to see that we won't have a fun program if they don't prepare. I'd like to hear what you guys think, as I feel a little guilty of violating the patrol method in even thinking of a plan B, but the boys are still new to taking on the responsibilities of boy-led. What do you think? [/quote']

 

You are in a tough place. I agree that the boys need to run the show and that they should not be bailed-out, but your tough place is that you have a small, new troop and you risk developing apathy early and that is no good either.

 

If you have not had a troop leader training session that might help. Use the "teach a man to fish" model:

 

- Show them the tools they have at their disposal like Troop Program Features (vols1-3) or Troop Program Resources

http://www.scouting.org/FILESTORE/pdf/33110_WEB.pdf, http://www.scouting.org/FILESTORE/pdf/33588.pdf

 

- Walk the SPL through how to run a PLC, how to organize an agenda, how to fill out a meeting planning sheet, etc.

 

- Advise them to have primary, seconday and tertiary plans in case something (or someone) falls through.

 

Not sure if you trained him up and gave him the tools to do his job, but if you have then the next step is a milestone check or perhaps a refresher. Same goes for the rest of the PLC. They need to take ownership but they need the skills to succeed first. Once this is established that SPL will set the tone for future leaders.‎

forgot to add:

We've showed them Troop Program Features. We have hard copies at our meeting site and told them where to get it online.

We've walked the SPL how to run a PLC, how to fill out a meeting plan, etc.

Have not advised them to have a secondary plan. We will advise the PL that he needs to advise his appointees/volunteers to have their own backup plans in case things go wrong (weather, materials etc), and will also advise PL to have his own plan in case others aren't able to come through.

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Update for all concerned: PL blasted a text out to his patrol yesterday reminding those running the show that they need to be prepared. SM had an incidental meeting with the boy I'm concerned about yesterday and brought up tonight's meeting.

We'll see how it goes. Not certain if we'll come to a fork in the road tonight, but if we do, we'll take it :)

Good luck. I'd love to get an update from you when you get done with the meeting.

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You do have a difficult challenge with a small troop of boys 13 and under. For perspective, consider how BSA has structured boy scouting for an age range of 10 to 17. Boys join at 10 or 11, wanting to have fun. They first learn to be led. Then they learn to be active participants, followed by taking on continued increasing responsibility for tasks within their patrol and troop. Then eventually, leading others. By the time they are ready to lead others, they have observed other boys leading, and have an idea what they need to do. In a new troop where all the scouts are young, some of them have to skip the steps of being led, of the gradual assumption of increasing responsibility, and are immediately in the position where they are given responsibility for which they are not yet ready. And without the benefit of observing an older boy leading.

 

Boys prior to puberty live in the moment. They typically dont associate their lack of preparation during the week with a failed meeting the next Monday night. By Tuesday they have forgotten what they need to do. A reminder call on Wednesday may result in sending out a mass text as you saw, but may not result in any of the boys spending more than a minute or two on any preparation. Next Monday is an eternity. You may need to have each of the SM/ASM meet one on one with the various position holders and give hands-on assistance for several months. For example, the SM spend an hour with the PL one night a week to put the meeting plan together, and sit with him while he calls whomever is on the program (example: calling someone on the city council to come to a future troop meeting to talk). An ASM or committee member meet with the scribe the night after the troop meeting to be there while he completes the meeting minutes and publishes them. Note that these are all things that can be accomplished with a conversation with an older scout, but requires much more one-on-one with a younger scout until he starts to achieve the initiative on his own.

 

Let me toss out another idea: forget about advancement for the next couple of years. Boys joined a troop at 10 or 11 for fun and excitement. In their imaginations, they want to be able to live in the woods by themselves (read the book "My Side of the Mountain"). A boy wants to find a buried treasure, live off the land, slay a dragon, be a hero. Help them Focus on outdoor skills,constantly reviewing and building on them incrementally through fun games, competitions, and outings. Don't make orienteering an activity to meet a requirement, make it a search for a long lost pirate's treasure. And the next month, a search for a crashed military plane with soldiers that need the aid of boy scouts that know first aid.

 

 

One additional comment - you asked for thoughts on a meeting plan where sewing was a backup plan, because it would be an unpleasant activity resulting from lack of planning. My thought is that sewing on a patch shouldn't be presented a punishment. I don't think it is even a good group activity. rather, I think it is an opportunity for one-on-one time with a scout during a weekend camp out. It's a kind of thing where you can say to a scout "I see you dont have your 2nd class patch on your shirt. How about if I help you?" Then go sit under an oak tree, show him how to get started, let him try, perhaps take turns for a while, and talk about whatever comes up. You would be amazed at what a boy will talk about while having an informal chat in a one-on-one situation while distracted by something else like sewing on a patch.

 

Good Luck; it will take a while, you will be frustrated for a while; keep in mind how you want things 3 or 4 years from now, because it will take that long.

 

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You do have a difficult challenge with a small troop of boys 13 and under. For perspective, consider how BSA has structured boy scouting for an age range of 10 to 17. Boys join at 10 or 11, wanting to have fun. They first learn to be led. Then they learn to be active participants, followed by taking on continued increasing responsibility for tasks within their patrol and troop. Then eventually, leading others. By the time they are ready to lead others, they have observed other boys leading, and have an idea what they need to do. In a new troop where all the scouts are young, some of them have to skip the steps of being led, of the gradual assumption of increasing responsibility, and are immediately in the position where they are given responsibility for which they are not yet ready. And without the benefit of observing an older boy leading.

 

Boys prior to puberty live in the moment. They typically dont associate their lack of preparation during the week with a failed meeting the next Monday night. By Tuesday they have forgotten what they need to do. A reminder call on Wednesday may result in sending out a mass text as you saw, but may not result in any of the boys spending more than a minute or two on any preparation. Next Monday is an eternity. You may need to have each of the SM/ASM meet one on one with the various position holders and give hands-on assistance for several months. For example, the SM spend an hour with the PL one night a week to put the meeting plan together, and sit with him while he calls whomever is on the program (example: calling someone on the city council to come to a future troop meeting to talk). An ASM or committee member meet with the scribe the night after the troop meeting to be there while he completes the meeting minutes and publishes them. Note that these are all things that can be accomplished with a conversation with an older scout, but requires much more one-on-one with a younger scout until he starts to achieve the initiative on his own.

 

Let me toss out another idea: forget about advancement for the next couple of years. Boys joined a troop at 10 or 11 for fun and excitement. In their imaginations, they want to be able to live in the woods by themselves (read the book "My Side of the Mountain"). A boy wants to find a buried treasure, live off the land, slay a dragon, be a hero. Help them Focus on outdoor skills,constantly reviewing and building on them incrementally through fun games, competitions, and outings. Don't make orienteering an activity to meet a requirement, make it a search for a long lost pirate's treasure. And the next month, a search for a crashed military plane with soldiers that need the aid of boy scouts that know first aid.

 

 

One additional comment - you asked for thoughts on a meeting plan where sewing was a backup plan, because it would be an unpleasant activity resulting from lack of planning. My thought is that sewing on a patch shouldn't be presented a punishment. I don't think it is even a good group activity. rather, I think it is an opportunity for one-on-one time with a scout during a weekend camp out. It's a kind of thing where you can say to a scout "I see you dont have your 2nd class patch on your shirt. How about if I help you?" Then go sit under an oak tree, show him how to get started, let him try, perhaps take turns for a while, and talk about whatever comes up. You would be amazed at what a boy will talk about while having an informal chat in a one-on-one situation while distracted by something else like sewing on a patch.

 

Good Luck; it will take a while, you will be frustrated for a while; keep in mind how you want things 3 or 4 years from now, because it will take that long.

Thanks for the advice Venividi. It is a pseudo punishment but wouldn't have been presented that way. It would have been a cheerful demonstration of sewing on a patch. If they happened to complain about what they were doing, they'd have been sent to the PL...

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Back from meeting. Much to the adults surprise, the boy comes in with printed notes and directions for the boys for his game. (Silver Dollar Hunt from Troop Program Resources). He has one compass and has to ask around for quarters. We let those with phones break them out for the game only so they could use the compass apps. He had his partner and a buddy set up the "silver dollars" (quarters) outside while he explained the game to the patrol. Only one quarter was lost. We (adults) let them play their game, then gave pointers on walking a straight line after taking a bearing then we (adults) explained estimating the height of a tree since we knew none had experience with that before. The boys were able to learn multiple lessons (adults too) and all had a good time. SM was to talk with the PL to let him know its always a good idea for him to have an Ace up his sleeve. We were able to walk away feeling pretty good about the mini chaos that was our second boy-led meeting. I know the chaos is more in our adults heads than anywhere else. It was a good meeting.

 

Thank you to everyone who chimed in. If anyone has additional comments they are still appreciated.

 

 

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Back from meeting. Much to the adults surprise, the boy comes in with printed notes and directions for the boys for his game. (Silver Dollar Hunt from Troop Program Resources). He has one compass and has to ask around for quarters. We let those with phones break them out for the game only so they could use the compass apps. He had his partner and a buddy set up the "silver dollars" (quarters) outside while he explained the game to the patrol. Only one quarter was lost. We (adults) let them play their game, then gave pointers on walking a straight line after taking a bearing then we (adults) explained estimating the height of a tree since we knew none had experience with that before. The boys were able to learn multiple lessons (adults too) and all had a good time. SM was to talk with the PL to let him know its always a good idea for him to have an Ace up his sleeve. We were able to walk away feeling pretty good about the mini chaos that was our second boy-led meeting. I know the chaos is more in our adults heads than anywhere else. It was a good meeting.

 

Thank you to everyone who chimed in. If anyone has additional comments they are still appreciated.

 

Glad to see everything went over well. I'd say you have a good grasp on what needs to happen. Hopefully next Monday evening you can bring back a report of another successful meeting.

 

Yours in Scouting,

Sentinel947

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KDD, I am in total agreement with you about the Horizon District Training, I took the Outdoor Leader course at Beaumont years ago when we lived in the area. The training was set up exactly as you described and was terrific.

My son took NYLT at S-F for the week after summer camp and describes it as the the best training he ever received in Scouting. He had just turned 13 at the time. He has since earned his eagle and has taken OLSI and Wood Badge. You are very fortunate to be in an area with so many Scouters committed to the program and willing to donate enormous hours to our youth.

 



 

 

 

 

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Boy Led Update: Last weeks meeting with another boy to take the lead in skills introduction (to prepare for orienteering course FC#2):

Boy must have heard that a couple of scouts were going to be pulled out to complete TF 10a/10b and single-handedly decided that the meeting was going to be all about fitness, despite what was agreed on by the PLC.

Inquiries as to how the idea got in his head were fruitless, so I proposed: You have an orienteering activity in one week that requires being able to use a map and compass, being able to walk off a required distance, estimating the height of something and estimating the distance across something.

I have not seen anyone practice estimating the distance across something, so tell me, do you think you should be working on a requirement that most of you have been signed off on, or do you think you should be preparing for your orienteering course?

Further went to use the white board to draw a picture of a possible scenario. One scout starts flipping through handbook. They agree that they don't know how to estimate distance. I tell them its all in the book.

 

They take turns reading aloud how to do it. I ask them which method they think would work best. One scout replies the compass method, another prefers the salute method. I invite them to go outside and try them both out.

I asked the boy in charge of the skills introduction to teach them how to do the compass method, (with my help when they didn't quite understand it). They all took turns and I could see that they were struggling, but I did my best not to interfere.

After all had taken turns with the compass method, I asked the other scout, what method was it that you preferred? He said he liked the salute method, and I said "Why don't you work with the other boys on that?" They all do.

 

After practicing both, I asked them which they thought may be the best one to go with for the orienteering course, and they all agreed the salute method was probably the best choice for the course.

 

I'm sure everyone here will be glad to hear that I returned my stash of thimbles to Wally World the next day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Boy Led Update: Last weeks meeting with another boy to take the lead in skills introduction (to prepare for orienteering course FC#2):

Boy must have heard that a couple of scouts were going to be pulled out to complete TF 10a/10b and single-handedly decided that the meeting was going to be all about fitness, despite what was agreed on by the PLC.

Inquiries as to how the idea got in his head were fruitless, so I proposed: You have an orienteering activity in one week that requires being able to use a map and compass, being able to walk off a required distance, estimating the height of something and estimating the distance across something.

I have not seen anyone practice estimating the distance across something, so tell me, do you think you should be working on a requirement that most of you have been signed off on, or do you think you should be preparing for your orienteering course?

Further went to use the white board to draw a picture of a possible scenario. One scout starts flipping through handbook. They agree that they don't know how to estimate distance. I tell them its all in the book.

 

They take turns reading aloud how to do it. I ask them which method they think would work best. One scout replies the compass method, another prefers the salute method. I invite them to go outside and try them both out.

I asked the boy in charge of the skills introduction to teach them how to do the compass method, (with my help when they didn't quite understand it). They all took turns and I could see that they were struggling, but I did my best not to interfere.

After all had taken turns with the compass method, I asked the other scout, what method was it that you preferred? He said he liked the salute method, and I said "Why don't you work with the other boys on that?" They all do.

 

After practicing both, I asked them which they thought may be the best one to go with for the orienteering course, and they all agreed the salute method was probably the best choice for the course.

 

I'm sure everyone here will be glad to hear that I returned my stash of thimbles to Wally World the next day.

 

 

 

 

 

I see you only returned the thimbles. Must mean you're gonna have them make compasses with the needles.

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Boy Led Update: Last weeks meeting with another boy to take the lead in skills introduction (to prepare for orienteering course FC#2):

Boy must have heard that a couple of scouts were going to be pulled out to complete TF 10a/10b and single-handedly decided that the meeting was going to be all about fitness, despite what was agreed on by the PLC.

Inquiries as to how the idea got in his head were fruitless, so I proposed: You have an orienteering activity in one week that requires being able to use a map and compass, being able to walk off a required distance, estimating the height of something and estimating the distance across something.

I have not seen anyone practice estimating the distance across something, so tell me, do you think you should be working on a requirement that most of you have been signed off on, or do you think you should be preparing for your orienteering course?

Further went to use the white board to draw a picture of a possible scenario. One scout starts flipping through handbook. They agree that they don't know how to estimate distance. I tell them its all in the book.

 

They take turns reading aloud how to do it. I ask them which method they think would work best. One scout replies the compass method, another prefers the salute method. I invite them to go outside and try them both out.

I asked the boy in charge of the skills introduction to teach them how to do the compass method, (with my help when they didn't quite understand it). They all took turns and I could see that they were struggling, but I did my best not to interfere.

After all had taken turns with the compass method, I asked the other scout, what method was it that you preferred? He said he liked the salute method, and I said "Why don't you work with the other boys on that?" They all do.

 

After practicing both, I asked them which they thought may be the best one to go with for the orienteering course, and they all agreed the salute method was probably the best choice for the course.

 

I'm sure everyone here will be glad to hear that I returned my stash of thimbles to Wally World the next day.

 

 

 

 

 

I need the needles so I can l can literally be a thorn in someone's side.

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