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dedkad

Coming to terms with my son's troop choice

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My son is bridging to Boy Scouts in February. We visited several troops and they are all good choices for different reasons, but I was really hoping my son would choose a different troop. Our pack recently lost our Charter organization, so one of the local troops lobbied to have their Charter organization pick us up. The Charter troop was looking for a feeder pack to help with membership. As Committee Chair and Webelos den leader, I started working hard to develop a relationship with this troop. My work wasn't really successful because the troop didn't reciprocate in terms of reaching out to the boys in my den and building relationships with them. I tried to get the troop to offer an outdoor activity for my Webelos to attend. No luck. I tried to get them to give us a den chief. No luck. I knew my Webelos were leaning toward the other troop, and I tried to warn the Charter troop that we needed to work on getting their boys to connect with my boys, but still no luck. I saw a huge need and envisioned this great opportunity for myself as a scouter to improve this relationship between the pack and Charter troop once my son bridged over. I had grand plans to encourage the troop to offer joint outdoor activities with the pack, provide den chiefs, and even stop by and visit at the pack meetings since the pack and troop meet on the same night at the same location. However, now that my son (and his entire den) have decided to join a different troop, I think my scouter career is over. The troop my son is joining is not very welcoming to women in leadership roles or on outings. I can't see how I can implement my grand ideas of developing a better relationship between the pack and Charter troop when I am dealing with competing troops. Although my son will be happy in his new troop, it is my own disappointment over a failed opportunity for myself and the Charter troop that I am trying to deal with.

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Welcome to BSA politics. In spite of all the hassles that go on between adults, the final decision is made by the individual scout. If he's happy with his decision, then everything else is moot. If he's not, then the choices need to be again evaluated and another choice is allowed. This way, the boys stay satisfied and really that's all that counts. As a parent, maybe the only thing you can do to make a difference is to support your son get the most out of scouting. If one has to step back from any leadership roles, so be it. If that means digging in and working on a role, so be it. There are a lot of adults out there that have forgotten why the BSA program exists. It's for the boys, everything else is not relevant.

 

Stosh

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Sucks for you, but it's all about the boys. You can still be involved in the Pack and work on the Pack/Troop integration. If they don't want you because your son is a "traitor," so be it. I know our district is trying to recruit Cub Scouters to fill the District Committee when their boys bridge to troops.

 

If you like BSA involvement and your son's troop isn't welcoming, I know volunteer Scouters are always needed. Your son's Troop time is limited at 7 years, there is plenty of Scouter activities for you for the next 7 years. Perhaps you can find a Venturing Crew that wants an active Scouter to help the program.

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If you don't want your Scouting career to end, it need not.. It depends on how good your District level volunteer group is.. Some people do not like the group, and they too can be a "Good ol' boy group" and unwelcoming.. But many, many are very welcoming and would love new blood.. You could work with District Training, and train Adult leaders for their positions (Including the Adult leaders in you sons new troop who feel you "unworthy" due to your sex.. Or work on the advancement committee and be part of approving the scouts to Eagle (including the scouts in your sons troop).. Or work on the activity committee which is camporees and hike-a-thons your sons troop will be attending.. There are others, but these ones dealing with program I personally find the most fun to work in, and you will feel you still are having some input into your sons scouting career as well as dozens of others... If you attend District meetings, you will also learn more then even those going to roundtable.. And may end up the "person in the know" at your sons troop..

 

Staying on this forum, will also help you stay as more knowledgable.. There are many times I brought up BSA policy changes that not only the troop members did not know, but sometimes the DE did not know.. All due to staying connected to this forum.

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Sucks for you, but it's all about the boys. You can still be involved in the Pack and work on the Pack/Troop integration. If they don't want you because your son is a "traitor," so be it. I know our district is trying to recruit Cub Scouters to fill the District Committee when their boys bridge to troops.

 

If you like BSA involvement and your son's troop isn't welcoming, I know volunteer Scouters are always needed. Your son's Troop time is limited at 7 years, there is plenty of Scouter activities for you for the next 7 years. Perhaps you can find a Venturing Crew that wants an active Scouter to help the program.

All great comments Pack18Alex, except for her being the Pack/Troop coordinator.. Unless the migration of this womens whole den to a different troop, wakes them up.. They did not welcome her when she tried to take on this role, even though she was forewarning them of what would happen if they did not act.

 

But, yes besides district, there is staying with the Pack, or finding a local Venturing Crew.. If the Crew is Co-ed.. Then they NEED femaie advisors.. Either of these would be a position totally seprate from your sons scouting career, but they may be fun and rewarding for you personally.. And who knows, with Venturing you son may choose to join the Crew when he is of an age where he could.

 

But, the district level will still give you a way to help your son enjoy his scouting career.. Just do not take the first thing the district throws your way.. They try to get people to take the ick jobs no one wants.. If you go, visit the district committee a few times without committing to anything.. Meet the people. If they are all sticks in the mud.. Then this may not be the place for you.. But, otherwise, see what position interests you, and who heads it, and if you like them and can work with them.. You might even like the positions I think are not interesting.. If you are an accountant you might like finances.. Since you wanted to organize your troop & pack, you might like membership..

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boys first. i let my son pick the troop that he wanted to go to. only two of his webelos den mates came to this troop. i volunteer for the ASM and been very happy with everything. doesn't your son's troop allow you to volunteer?

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Bravo for letting your son choose.

Sometimes silence is due to incompetence / overly busy / bit off more than they can chew adults - not necessarily hostility.

Offer to volunteer at your son's Troop once you get a feel for it. Different Troops have different needs.

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boys first. i let my son pick the troop that he wanted to go to. only two of his webelos den mates came to this troop. i volunteer for the ASM and been very happy with everything. doesn't your son's troop allow you to volunteer?
I've spoken with my son's future Scoutmaster on many occasions, and he's made it clear that his philosophy is that it's time for the boys to break away from mom. That's fine as long as his feelings don't impact the ability of the troop to provide a good program for the boys. There appears to be plenty of male ASM's with this troop to help provide a fairly active outdoor program for the boys. The Charter troop is smaller and is a high-adventure troop, so they were in need of any and all adults willing to help, so they were less choosy and were willing to accommodate anyone who wanted to help. My son's future troop has women on their Committees and in positions like Treasurer, so there's probably something I could do if it sparks my interest, but paperwork does not currently spark my interest.

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boys first. i let my son pick the troop that he wanted to go to. only two of his webelos den mates came to this troop. i volunteer for the ASM and been very happy with everything. doesn't your son's troop allow you to volunteer?
One one level, I agree. If your son has no behavioral disorders, a little distance from mom is a very good thing.

On another, we encourage moms to come camping with us, and we coach them on how to "give him his space." The few of them who do join us find it enjoyable. Sounds like we're kind of in the position the troop you favor is in.

But, there is nothing besides your own time stopping you from registering with another troop or venturing crew. Take the outdoor skills courses. Volunteer in a way that will make you a happy servant.

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dedkad - Yeah, if the scouts are told they have a choice, then you need to honor the choice.

 

BUT BUT BUT ... You experienced the one reason that I so so detest the current BSA cross over concept and the troop shopping concept. There is no shopping to choose the Pack to join when transitioning from Tiger to Wolf. Heck, Tiger is sort of a pre-"Cub Scout" rank. Similar, there is no shopping when going from Bear to Webelos even though "Webelos" is more like Boy Scouts if done right. So why emphasize the cross over at Boy Scout years.

 

Scouts can change units at any time. That's great if you are in a bad unit.

 

The trouble is is the current troop shopping concept damages relationships and efforts such as you describe in your original article. Our troop had good relationship with two packs for years. We decided to help two difficult scouts. Now, those scouts caused bad experiences and long established relationships have changed. All because we decided to work with some scouts.

 

Our experience now is that we need to not take that approach. Our troop has to "ALWAYS BE MARKETING" to compete with all the other troops in our area. So, to be honest, we've suggested a few potential scouts that look challenging check out those other troops. And, we will quickly cut ties with scouts with anti-social behavior. Because the currently designed program requires us to focus more on marketing our troop and avoid damaging our troops reputation by working with kids that really need scouts.

 

I'm one of the few, but IMHO and in my experience, the troop shopping concept is bad. Period.

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Dedkad,

 

I can sympathize to a degree with you. My oldest decided to join another CO's troop. So oldest is meeting at one church, while middle son, and in 5 months 24 days youngest as well, meet at another. Going to get real interesting when we do Scouting for Food and Memorial Day Service Projects on the district level. But I let him choose, and he had a better fit with this troop than the CO's troop or the 3rd troop he visited.

 

And I really sympathize with trying to get the troop to be involved with the pack to aid in moving the boys to that pack. I tried and tried and tried to get the troop to provide den chiefs, invite the scouts to their meetings, do a camp out, etc. Only got den chiefs when the CM announced that we would be getting them from another troop. Only when some committee members and troop parents started complaining about the other troop "poaching" their scouts did we get Den Chiefs. Only invited Webelos to a campout at the last minute when most folks had other plans or couldn't go to their camp out ( it was a family camp out at an amusement park $50/ person admission PLUS $10 or $15 / person to camp plus you own meals.), and only invited Webelos to attend the meeting about 4 weeks prior to Crossover in order "pressure" them into joining the troop ( I quote oneof my former Cubs."

 

While Fred's idea is how it is suppose to be, but it must be a two way street. If a troop does not want to have a relationship, there are problems.

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My son picked his troop and it was different for the one associated with his Pack. That was tough for me because I was a den leader for 4 years and developed friendship with many of the Pack leaders/parents. At the end of the day I think he made the right choice for him.....I am proud of him. Best of luck to you and your son......and your Scouting career does not need to end now.

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Dedkad, maybe paperwork doesn't thrill you at the moment, but that might be what it takes to "pay your dues". I would take a committee position, and as a registered leader you can take YPT, MBC, and all the training you want including WB. Once trained, and as a registered leader, it opens the possibility of breaking some ice. As MBC, you will have an opportunity to work with the boys and if good reports filter back to the SM, there might be some "rethinking" of the current policy. You may even trailblaze an opportunity for other moms getting involved down the road.

 

Stosh

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Dedkad, maybe paperwork doesn't thrill you at the moment, but that might be what it takes to "pay your dues". I would take a committee position, and as a registered leader you can take YPT, MBC, and all the training you want including WB. Once trained, and as a registered leader, it opens the possibility of breaking some ice. As MBC, you will have an opportunity to work with the boys and if good reports filter back to the SM, there might be some "rethinking" of the current policy. You may even trailblaze an opportunity for other moms getting involved down the road.

 

Stosh

I forgot about MBC! That is a good suggestion. I've been through the list, and there's probably a couple that I could teach if I brush up on my subjects.

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I think that the current Pack/Troop model is fundamentally broken. The administrative separation causes a problem where the parents have to choose which one to support, and if they have two sons, it's always the troop since "he'll be in the troop soon."

 

But, the Troops never feel the need to help the Pack, and all BSA recruiting is falling on the shoulders of Cub Parents, and that's pretty lame.

 

GSUSA mostly does single-level troops, but you can do a multi-level troop, which lets you run from age 5-12 under one number. You can operate age based patrols under one banner, and mix the levels up as appropriate. Now, they have a "girls choose" model that is different than "girl led," the GSUSA adults are always completely in charge in a was BSA Troop adults are not.

 

But administratively, you can break up your groups as makes sense for programming, while administering them together, providing multi-level leadership, etc.

 

In years past, our Pack/Troop met same time, different places, and no cross-overs for a few years. The Webelos dropped out as they were outgrowing Cub Scouts. This year, same place, different times (with some overlap). I've "borrowed" a Boy Scout for 10-15 minutes to teach Fire Safety, etc., to the Cubs... when that happens, the boys are SO focused and intent.

 

I'm hoping with the 2015 changes, we'll retire the dated Jungle Book Mythology, and focus Cub Scouts more on going back to being Junior Boy Scouts.

 

If everyone at a CO was in a single Unit, you could float your Webelos Den as a better transitionary program. They should do Webelos "getting ready" activities in Den Meetings, participate in Boy Scout Outings with a Webelos Patrol (with Den Leaders actively involved), and Pack meetings as leadership. They need guidance.

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