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christineka

Is this typical boy scouts?

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I went with my webelos to visit a boy scout troop. This is lds scouts, so it was only the 11 year old patrol. Our group is in a unique situation for lds webelos in that we actually can shop around troops a bit.

 

I've spent almost 2 years teaching my boys to behave, wear their uniforms, and bring their books to scouts. The behave part is big. Not one of the boy scouts had a boy scout shirt. The leader didn't have a uniform shirt and neither did his older boy scout helper. The boy scouts were ill-behaved and rude. My boys loved it. My boy with adhd and asperger's, shouted that he was going to love boy scouts with this group. Another boy got in the spirit and said so as well. It was chaos! Other than that, they all sat in chairs in a row for an hour, discussing swimming stuff. Is that normal for boy scouts? I thought they were a little more active. I was thinking I'd take my son to visit a few more troops within our stake boundaries to see if one of them was a bit more disciplined, but maybe this is the way 11 year old scouts really is. Please tell me what to expect of a regular, decent boy scout troop meeting!

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Yah, hmmm...

 

All troops are a bit different, eh? I'm in da northern midwest and I'm not that acquainted with the LDS Scouting/Young Men's program in the mountain states. There's a very different structure and dynamic when yeh put all da 11-year-olds together with no older boys and relatively new leaders, eh? So yeh have to be careful about whether you're askin' for normal within all of Scoutin', or normal within da structure of LDS Scoutin' in your area.

 

In terms of all of Scoutin', I'd say that most troops would have a bit more uniforming, and the presence of older lads either as patrol leaders or instructors/senior scouts helps to keep things a bit more organized and movin'. Still, there's quite a range. Puttin' just 11-year-olds together becomes a bit more of a baby-sitting exercise that requires some good adults.

 

I'd say in terms of activity, that's all over the place. The LDS program I believe limits the campin' opportunities for the 11-year-olds, so I think the trend toward less active/outdoors is real, but there's a wide variation within LDS units dependin' on the adult leaders. You'll also find a fair bit of indoor scoutin' of the sort yeh describe in non-LDS troops.

 

So I reckon I'd say two things:

 

1) Yep, absolutely, check out some other troops. Trust your instincts, especially with a lad with adhd/aspergers who might like da chaos, but who will probably do better in da long term if he's got a bit more structure, eh? I think there's a good chance you'll find somethin' a bit more to your likin'.

 

2) Boy Scouting moves kids toward being more self-directed and then youth led, and kids learnin' how to become self-directed or learning how to lead are naturally goin' to be more chaotic about it then if we did it all for 'em. They need room to be a bit goofy, to see disorder and experience that it doesn't work, and to build somethin' that matches their needs, not ours. So yeh have to be willin' to accept a fair bit more rambunctiousness and chaos than is normal for adults. It's not for us, it's for them. The best troops will have meetings that are that way, but are active and things are still gettin' done. Besides, if we're honest with ourselves, we'd recognize that not all adult meetings are all that well-run or organized either, eh? ;)

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What I witnessed was not boy-run, except for the opening. One boy picked which boy would say prayer, the oath, law, etc. (There was no flag, though. Is that normal? I thought saying the Pledge with a flag was normal.) The rest of it was leader-led. Now maybe prior to this meeting, the boys decided they wanted to complete the swimming merit badge? The older boy in the room sat with a few electronic devices and played on them for the entire meeting.

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I took my Webelos to visit two different troops in the past couple of months. The first troop was mostly on the young side, like 15 and under. I felt like I was at one of my Webelos meetings. Although they sat in their seats, the boys kept interrupting the speaker and joking around. That particular meeting wasn't really boy-led. There was a young man (several years out of Scouting) talking about the first aid merit badge. Then they went outside where a different man demonstrated his ham radio. The second troop we visited had a wider range of ages from 11 years old to almost 18. There was also a lot of joking going on during that meeting, along with some verbal confrontations between a difficult boy and the SPL. That meeting wasn't really boy-led either. The SM and the CC were showing the boys the equipment they have in their backpacks, in preparation for an upcoming backpacking trip the troop was doing. Although both meetings were a little dry, the boys all seemed to be enjoying themselves. When talking to the SM's to plan our visits, I found out they don't always do fun activities at every meeting. At least with these two troops, they might do a fun meeting maybe once a month, and an outdoor weekend adventure once a month. The rest of the meetings are planning meetings and merit badge meetings.

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Yeppp Sounds about right..Seems Boy Scouts is becoming less Structured and Less Uniformed..No one wants to run a Structured Program or offend and run off anyone..Last Troop I was in..Scouts wanting a BOR borrowed Shirts because they were not dressed..A Scout Uniform was not Required because it was "too hot". A Scout Shirt ain't that much Heavier than Troop T Shirt. Scouts regularly interrupted meeting..Cellphones on during meeting

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This is why visiting is so important. Troops have different personalities and priorities.

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I would say that those who were called to lead the 11 Year Old program have no idea of what to do and have no training either. This isn't a Troop. Keep looking.

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It has been said here a million times.....A current or previous Cub Scout leader cannot stand a Boy Scout meeting. A boy led troop can be chaotic, most cub leaders are much more comfortable with all the lads sitting quietly being lectured with an adult or late teen speaking. But that isn't what it is all about, right?

 

Scouting is a leadership experiment for the boys. I have seen a lad advance from meek to dictator to representative leader, and all over the spectrum.

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What I witnessed was not boy-run, except for the opening. One boy picked which boy would say prayer, the oath, law, etc. (There was no flag, though. Is that normal? I thought saying the Pledge with a flag was normal.) The rest of it was leader-led. Now maybe prior to this meeting, the boys decided they wanted to complete the swimming merit badge? The older boy in the room sat with a few electronic devices and played on them for the entire meeting.
Keep looking. There are troops where uniforms are expected. Flags are normal but not required for the pledge because every scout has one on their sleeve. Obviously not in this case. :(

 

Boy led is going to be difficult to find when the max age is 13. 14 and on to Varsity scouts, correct?

 

Some level of chaos is to be expected with boy led. Webelos was adult led so more orderly. :) A bunch of 11 year olds together seems more like Webelos 3 to me than Boy Scouts.

 

Hopefully you can find what you are looking for within LDS. Would you ever consider looking outside LDS ?

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It has been said here a million times.....A current or previous Cub Scout leader cannot stand a Boy Scout meeting. A boy led troop can be chaotic, most cub leaders are much more comfortable with all the lads sitting quietly being lectured with an adult or late teen speaking. But that isn't what it is all about, right?

 

Scouting is a leadership experiment for the boys. I have seen a lad advance from meek to dictator to representative leader, and all over the spectrum.

I thought the sitting in chairs for an hour in a small room to be rather boring, but maybe that's what's expected when you move up to boy scouts?

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These are just 11 year old boys. no 12 year olds or older- except the "helper". I understand that boys are unruly creatures, but my 10 year old webelos have finally learned to behave. So, once they move on to boy scouts, they can become wild and unruly again?

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It has been said here a million times.....A current or previous Cub Scout leader cannot stand a Boy Scout meeting. A boy led troop can be chaotic, most cub leaders are much more comfortable with all the lads sitting quietly being lectured with an adult or late teen speaking. But that isn't what it is all about, right?

 

Scouting is a leadership experiment for the boys. I have seen a lad advance from meek to dictator to representative leader, and all over the spectrum.

If you think sitting in chairs boring, you are absolutely correct.

 

I love the chaotic, experimental attitudes of a boy-led program. It's exciting, it's alive and for the boys, it's fun!

 

The only one at a Boy Scout meeting that should be sitting down are the adults. That way they don't have to stand and hold their coffee.

 

A chaotic Boy Scout meeting can be that way because the adults don't care, or because the boys do. Look closely, you can tell, but it'll take a second look beyond first impressions.

 

Stosh

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These are just 11 year old boys. no 12 year olds or older- except the "helper". I understand that boys are unruly creatures, but my 10 year old webelos have finally learned to behave. So, once they move on to boy scouts, they can become wild and unruly again?
Can a group of 11 year old boys have a leader ?

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These are just 11 year old boys. no 12 year olds or older- except the "helper". I understand that boys are unruly creatures, but my 10 year old webelos have finally learned to behave. So, once they move on to boy scouts, they can become wild and unruly again?
This group has three leaders on the roster. In Lds scouting 11 year olds are their own patrol and have their weekly meetings separate from the rest of the troop.

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These are just 11 year old boys. no 12 year olds or older- except the "helper". I understand that boys are unruly creatures, but my 10 year old webelos have finally learned to behave. So, once they move on to boy scouts, they can become wild and unruly again?
You've never been in a house with a Jr. high kid, have you? Brace yourself.

This is a fairly common dynamic when 11 y.o. boys are kept to themselves ... especially with male leaders. They do tend to "cut loose".

The question that you need to ask yourself: were they managed to the best of the leaders ability?

- Did the older boy introduce himself to you?

- Did it seem like the leaders truly loved the boys?

- Was the lecture time in a context? Were they going swimming/boating soon?

- Who picked that particular topic and that particular way of teaching it?

 

I am pretty serious about aquatics with our boys. Many of them become lifeguards. Lots of them plan canoe trips or sailing adventures. But, the latitude I give them starts with them getting the ground rules in their head, and that usually means one meeting where they sit around and read and talk about safe swim defense and safety afloat. That said, in a situation like this, I would be the one in the periphery making the "helper" (usually a troop guide or instructor -- both boy positions of responsibility) walk through the book with the boys. Then we would devote some time to practicing some aspect of the instruction (usually rescues) via land-based simulation. Ideally, I will have talked with the guide/instructor in advance and we would have arranged the props and activity.

 

But, that's me. And even with that plan, you could walk into my room of 11 y.o.'s and come out with nearly the same comment. I often wonder if I've made a dent in those scattered brains!

 

Visit more troops as often as you can. Talk to a couple older scouts about their experiences. Let boys and families learn the extent of their options. And, let us know what you think. I might start sharing some of these observations with my boys!

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