Jump to content

Would This be Considered Pushing or Encouraging?

Recommended Posts

Ok, you folks know I try not to push advancement. I don't want anyone to do anything they don't want to. You don't care about getting Eagle, but just want to have fun, that's fine with me. But I had an expereince this weekend that I haven't encountered since I was a youth, A Scout who doesn't even care about getting past Tenderfoot.


Now the Scout in my youth, he eventually got Tenderfoot, but was grabbed kicking and screaming to get it. The he became one of the biggest troublemakers. he eventually got his wish and quit.


Now this Scout I met this weekend, he just wants to have fun. Ok no problem, but when It came time to assign Scouts to teach the new guys first aid, he was a little peeved b/c he wasn't included. When he said Scout, I told him how do I know he knows the required skills? I then told him, if he knows them, when the instructor is working with one new scout, he works with another. And this he did for all the skills we went over this weekend, except the ones I was doing.


I ran into him at the meeting Monday. Asked him about why he didn't care about advancement, and he said, " I'm lazy, and just want to have some fun." When I told him Philmont requires a Scout to be First Class to go, that gave him pause to think.


So next chance I get, I was thinking about having a chat with him about all the fun stuff out there that requires First Class rank to do: Philmont, OA, NYLT, etc. But I don't want to push it on him.


I'm asking you guys because, A) you are easily available to discuss this with than the other leaders at the moment, and B) I am concerned about turning into the "CS Leader at a BS Meeting." An yes, it's already happened. The Scouts were going over their first aid skills, and somehow or another I got involved by saying "HELP! The bone is sticking out of my arm." and having them take care of me.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, you should push every youth (in or out of the BSA) to be a first class scout (the concept, not the patch).


Regarding the patch, a boy doesn't need a laundry list of things he can't do because of some regalia deficit. So, I wouldn't pursue your proposed conversation.


But since you are becoming a troop scouter (who cares what the patch on your sleeve is?) here's what you need to do ...


Find out what each youth's aspiration is, and say "to do this you will need ..." For some boys, it will be a rank advancement; for others, a commitment to the "hike a month club" or some such conditioning; yet others, a commitment to training or service; and others, a commitment to sock away (or start earning) $100 a month.


It sounds like for the scout in question that his aspiration would be Philmont. But, whatever it is, determine for sure that rank advancement is the only thing that stands in his way, and help him make a plan to lazily acquire the patch (or -- if that's not important for his "next big thing" -- the money/skills/strength) he needs.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok 92......I gotta ask why were you assigning scouts as instuctors? Shouldn't you have been mentoring the SPL to do it?



So a scout wants to just come and have fun........Isn't that the point?


Several months ago we had the First Class and Scoutmaster recommendation talk with the troop. I let them know that in no uncertain terms that I would not sign off if I had any doubt in their abilities.


Guessing here........The troop is very adult led? The boys have never eaten late or missed a meal on a campout because the cooks just wanted to have fun. My guys have never missed a meal, but at breakfast at nearly lunch time and missed the morning activity over it.



Sometimes you just need to step back and let a lad find his feet.


I have a few of them in my troop. They go to summer camp, swim, fish canoe, shoot and have a great time.no interest in advancing. For them scouting is a social club.....that is ok too.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, I'm sitting here kinda conflicted.


1) we put our kids through school so that when they graduate they have a basic understanding of knowledge so they can function properly in society. Well, that's the theory at least. Do we push or encourage them to get a HS diploma? Sure we push.


2) We put our kids through religious traiing so that when they reach adulthood, whatever that may be in their faith, so they can function properly in the religious sphere they have chosen. Do we push or encourage that? Sure we push.


Those are basic life developments young people all go through. But when it comes to extra curricular activities do we operate any differently? Soccer Dad's? Stage Mothers? etc. Okay, some go overboard, but those kids seem to do better than those that are just "encouraged".


So here's where the dilemma fits into my consternation. Is scouting a program for development processes so they can function properly in society or some sort of enjoyable extra curricular activity?


I understand those that view it as an extra curricular activity, but I tend to view it more as a character/leadership development program so I tend to push more than just encourage. I see the benefits of BSA as more than just a "fun" time.


From the original thread I would view this boy more as a user of the program rather than a participant. "Having fun" is one thing and "having fun" with his buddies is something altogether different. As an individual user, his focus is totally only on what is he getting out of the program and doesn't care a whole lot whether anyone else around him is, too.


I see this in a lot of today's youth. The isolation created by this thought process will cripple any team/group development the boy needs. His self-esteem may be intact, but eventually when he hasn't learned relationship development, his self-respect will take a major nose-dive down the road. I have seen such "fun" isolation go so far as such people becoming so good at it they cannot get away from their x-Box and have dropped completely out of the possibility of functioning in any societal setting.


I guess when all is said and done and I am called to lead by example, a little pushing (for their own good) isn't such a bad idea when it comes to getting the boy off his ego/individualism set point. Not many kids want to go to school, but they have to by law and some of that process does sink in along the way, but only because adults are pushing.


I think encouraging is excellent, I'm thinking pushing isn't a negative for me either. I don't see BSA as an extra curricular activity either. Out of school, religion, and Scouting, leadership/character development is best and routinely served in Scouting.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Qwazse explains it pretty well. Push adventure and everything else will follow to fit each scouts personality. It's important that we adults understand that being a good adult scout leader takes practice. I lean torward pushing hard enough to find the boundaries and then pulling back a little. But we need to recognize the boundaries of each scout. Push adventure, which is first class skills in this case and see how the advancement falls out. Let me add that I lost one of the best scouts I ever knew by pushing advancement instead of adventure. It's a fine line. Learn to recognize that line and both you and the scouts will have a lot more fun. Barry

Link to post
Share on other sites

Scouts should come and have fun, or they'll leave.


That said, there is a purpose to this program, and we should be asking ourselves, are we accomplishing the purpose.


Young kids LOVE television and video games, it's a quick and easy brain stimulation. The harder work, going out and helping others, is more work to get the same stimulation. We push the latter because it makes them better people.


Other ways to get hormone dumps and brain stimulation? Smoking, drinking, drugs... all will stimulate the brain as a quick and easy fix. Getting the same "high" from clean living is more work, the short cut is to use chemicals to stimulate.


Just showing up, lettering others doing the work, and having fun? It's the equivalent of playing video games or using drugs for the high, it's a quick fix, but ultimately less meaningful.


Our goal is to mold young men into men, men that will do the hard work necessary to accomplish something meaningful. There is nothing wrong with some purposeless fun, any more than there is anything wrong with enjoying a cold beer and watching a football game. But if your only enjoyment in life is beer and football, it's an empty life.


Our troop had to have adult leadership step in to push advancement. The boys seemed content to go to merit badge college and summer camp, collect merit badges, and just kind of hang out at meetings. You had boys 3-4 years into the program with a dozen merit badges and a tenderfoot patch. They collected PORs that didn't mean anything. They were having fun, but without the feeling of accomplishment, the troop was shrinking, not growing.


New Scoutmaster, new Adult led push for advancement, took away merit badge college since the boys weren't advancing... A few months later, some fresh first class Scouts, Scouts planning their path to Eagle. Scouts coming to the Pack when asked to teach the Cubs. Turning Scouting from a video game to a scouting program (with advancement as a core component) and the Troop is growing with new members, and the Cubs are excited to cross over as they move up.


Many here have far more experience in the nuts and bolts of HOW to do it, I have no advice on that. But if you encourage the boys to just "do what they want," that's no different from a parent of a young child sticking them in front of the TV with ice cream and mac & cheese, because that's what they want. I don't know how you do it, but you want to teach them to make good choices. Learning new skills and helping others is a good choice, being lazy, leaning on others, and doing whatever feels good is a bad choice. It's not as bad as waking up, smoking pot, working a menial job that pays enough to cover the rent and more pot, but it's NOT as good as being the leader that serves their family and their community.


We're a values organization that uses the outdoors as a classroom, NOT a camping club with uniforms.

Link to post
Share on other sites



We were trying to combine both T-1 FA skills and First Aid MB skills since I am a counselor and had access to some equipment. And one of the requirements for the MB is to teach skills to others first aid skills selected by the MBC. hence why I picked instructors.


BUT, you are right in that I need to explain not only to the SPL, but also to the other instructors how I selected them, why I let them choose what skills they would teach, etc. I got all those who I know have the skills, First Class or getting ready for their 2nd Class and First Class BORs, let them review what needed to be done, and asked them to pick the skills they wanted to do. Which is basically How my old troop did the process, except with the SPL running things. So mea culpa and I will be workign on this.


In regards to the troop being adult led, I'll talk baout that when I get the chance.




Link to post
Share on other sites

OK I'm back. In regards to the troop being adult led, to a degree it is. And it's not that the SM and ASM don't know what they are doing, I know both, know their history, and talked about where they want the troop to go. But I also know the set backs they have had: members moving, families going through divorce, and yes transfers to an established troop. It seems as if they finally get someone to do the SPL job completely on their own, and something happens.


But, the youth are stepping up to the plate. I told them that they can do anything they wanted to, within reason ( Hint: one scout wanted his dog for animal bites :) ). They were very creative and did a great job.


I've camped and did the overniter with them, and trust me the youth are on their own. They have burnt meals, been late leaving, the whole nine yards.




kid is 12 or 13, been in the troop a year, and still Scout.


more later

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok back again. Some things about the troop and situation I'm in.


1. Since I am still in a pack at a different CO, I can only meet with the troop when the pack is not meeting. I plan on going camping and summer camp with them.


2. I'm the new guy. Although I know alot about the troop, the SM etc, I am still learning the details and dynamics.


3. One thing different than my troop growing up is they don't do "stealth advancement," i.e. PL, SPL, etc will sign off after you they see do a requirement properly without you asking for the sign off. Examples include SPL signing off First Aid Skill Award requirements after seeing you do it for real, SM who is also an MBC signing off after teaching you the requirements, and letting seeing you do it (He told us 'My boat, my rules. You want to drive this is what you gotta do...." didn't realize it was the MB )


So only when the Scouts ask will they be tested and signed off.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I want to apologize if my previous posts have been incoherent. It's been a busy nite.


I use to think it took 3 years to get something up in running: one year to get it going, one year to learn from the previous year's mistakes and make new ones, one year to iron out the 2nd year's mistakes.Hence a troop should take 3 years to get really established and youth led.


But talking to some experienced leaders who have started and restarted troops, they say it usually takes 5-7 years. Part of that is because there is turnover in youth, for whatever reason.


The troop aint perfect, as if there is ever such a thing. And it is currently no where near how my old troop operated, which was an established troop with years of tenure. BUT they have very good leadership, both adult and youth. Both sets of leaders have a vision (yes, the adults have played a heavy part in that, but I think a lot of that is that the Scouts have been so coddled and protected by not only parents but society in general, that they do not understand their potential. Their eyes light up when they hear some of the things us old fogeys did), and that is a "Hiking and Camping troop," that will be going on HA trips every 4 years to give every Scout that joins a chance to really test their skills.


I didn't attend the PLC, but from what I was told, the Scouts picked out everything to do except First Aid. Adults said first aid is an important skill every one needs to learn and practice, especially since we do have one Scout with severe allergies . So they want at least one month every year dedicated to first aid. And I think it will be January since A) that is the month that the New Scouts start with the troop and B) PLC holds their planning conference that month and there is no time to really plan an outing. So they do a lock in instead.


I see so much potential with this group, I am happy oldest picked it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

What you have described is a reasonable amount of Adult Association. I think you're clearly on the encourage side of the line.


I'm betting the whole "just want to have fun" thing is a ruse -- a cover for a lack of confidence, a lack of understanding of the process or embarrassment and being behind his peers. Seems to me all you are doing is providing him some additional motivation to engage in an important part of the program -- skillful Scoutmastership!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...