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Hi everyone,


I have been here for some years but changed my user name to reflect a change in my life. My last UN reflected the pack and town I lived in. I was the CC of the pack for 12 years.


I am the dad of 3 boys, 17yo Eagle Scout, 15yo star scout, 9yo Webelo. I had to move almost 100 miles for a new job after being laid off for over a year.


Here is my new problem. The troop in town is VERY much adult lead. The boys have no say in the program, there are no patrols, no PLC there is an SPL but he doesn't have much authority. There are about 20 scouts in the troop. They only go camping during district camp outs and resident camp. The last meeting I attended the CC gave all the orders and instructions doing the job that the SPL is supposed to do. The SM was not there because he had to work and the ASM just stood there.


My oldest has said he is done even though he had planned to stay in scouting until he was 18 in November. I want to put my middle son in another troop but he wants to stay because his new friend is our neighbor and a scout in this troop. The pack on the other hand is fantastic and has a lot of activities for the boys to do and his den leader is great. My youngest is making friends but what scares me is this pack is the feeder pack to this troop.


I approached the CC of the troop to offer my help but found this to be a good ol boy attitude of leadership and am not interested in the new guy. What do you suggest I do to show these leaders that they are not giving their scouts the benefit of a proper scouting program, or should the new guy just not bother to go and just drop off my son?

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There's probably very little one can do as the new guy on the block. Either find another troop in the area or bite the bullet.


It's unfortunate that your oldest will not be involved but at 17 he has the option to drive to another troop that supports scouting as it was designed.


The middle boy might just want to tough it out, but will probably not be very happy in the long run. Leave the door open for other troops but it's his decision.


The youngest hasn't see what the real world of Scouting is supposed to be and may end up very happy with the way things are going, But again, leave the door open for other options down the road.


Now, for you. With 15 years of experience and a knowledge base you have about scouting the troop may wish to recruit you. However, a polite decline might be in order unless you're bald and then it doesn't make any difference. Also, there are other troops that you as an adult scouter might find more to your liking. You don't have to join a troop where your boys attend. That has its good and its bad points. Otherwise one might consider doing UC for the district. You obviously know a lot about how a Troop should be run, have tremendous knowledge as to Pack operations and would be a valuable asset at that level.


As one who struggled for 15 years in an adult-led program, you can be assured, nothing is going to change without some kind of heroic effort by the right people. You'll never even make a dent as an individual.



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What I did was start a Venturing crew and held the line about putting responsibility in the youths' hands. (The first year, I had to shoo "helpful" adults away, saying they were consultants and were to do *nothing* unless explicitly asked to do so by a youth.) This gave son #1 and his buddies an outlet while still contributing to the troop. My daughter was next in line and took advantage of unique opportunities not available in Girl Scouts. Meanwhile, the troop began putting more responsibility on the boys. (Caveat: leaders who did not like this style spun off their own troop.) Now Son #2 is crew president and SPL of a smaller troop of boys who honestly love each other and in whom I take a tremendous amount of pride. (Well ... there is that fire-bug thing, but I've said my peace and they are slowly coming around.)


So I would talk to your two older boys and ask them if they would like to start something that "fills in the gaps" in the troop schedule for them and their friends. Then give your DE a call to see if there is an organization out there thinking of chartering a crew. (You could also talk to your troops' CO, but that all depends on where the "good 'ol boy" vibe is coming from.) I highly recommend identifying a female adult who can help the group go co-ed, but that really depends on how "indoorsy" the girl scout programs are in your community.

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Time and pressure. One can be a positive influence for change without being destructive. Work within the current system and within your role to affect change.


With a nine year old, you have the potential of influencing this troop for 10 years. Do what you can. Be a MB counselor. Go on the campouts and hang out. Sooner or later they're going to need ASMs. Sooner or later they're going to need someone to spend a week at summer camp. Sooner or later the CC or SM is going to move on. Wait for an opportunity. That opportunity may be as simple as leading a Second Class hike with the boys or organizing meals for a campout. Within the your assigned tasks, you involve the Scouts as you feel appropriate.


DON'T, however, spend the next 10 years sawing on the SM's limb. If you aren't capable of being involved in the troop without undermining the current leadership, don't get involved at all.


Here's a great podcast on the topic: http://scoutmastercg.com/scoutmaster-podcast-217





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Has the Committee taken training? Newly trained Committee members sometimes notice the troop is not offering a Scouting program and pressure for change.


I assume the unit has no or useless Unit Commissioner. Try approaching the District Commissioner to see if he/she is supportive of Scouting.


Have any of the Scouts taken NYLT? "Mr. Scoutmaster, I have an idea about something I would like to try - taking more responsibility."


Still, it can be frustrating. I am going through it now with a new-to-me adult-run seldom camping club for boys. 0___0

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Hard one. I would have your sons look around.


I know when my son looked at the troop chartered by the pack's CO, the camp out was a Charlie Foxtrot, that I had to walk away from the campsite multiple times to control myself, and several parents had concerns after me talking to them about the differences between Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. you can probably find some of my posts on the unit and the frustration i've had with them, even to this day. Adult-led, don't camp, etc.


And I do mean to this day I am frustrated with the troop. They cancelled out 22 hours before council camporee's gates opened. Out of the 8 Cubs that went to themin December, 1 has quit already, 1 is borderline on quitting, 2 are considering transferring, and 3 I have not hears or seen. Only 1 I know is committed to the troop, and that's because older brother is in it and dad is a leader.


And trust me, you will be frustrated when you offer advice and help, and a re completely ignored. And I helped train the SM!


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  • 2 weeks later...

In my retirement I too volunteer in a one-Troop town!


The local unit was an adult-led Eagle factory, far worse than any descriptions in this thread or elsewhere.

No Scoutmaster in this Troop was ever even a Cub Scout as a boy, but every adult is an expert on Eagles.

I don't want to be a Scoutmaster again, so changing Troop culture these days is more difficult than in my past.


As I have detailed in other posts, my strategy was to establish a High Adventure program first. I used backpack trips to introduce the Scouts to a backwoods Scout-run Patrol Method under the Troop's two best Natural Leaders (300 foot Patrols, day journeys without helicopters, etc.).


High Adventure attracts outside volunteers. Then thousands of backpack, canoe, climbing, and SCUBA photos on Facebook, Google+, etc. brings parents and Scouts from Troops in nearby towns that do not camp.


I was lucky that one of the new moms on the Committee was a former Scoutmaster. She arrived just in time to help me transition into a PLC-run outdoor program.


Even so, after six (6) years it is still a constant battle to save the outdoor program against the nasty side of indoor Eagle nature. For instance, one of my secrets (to get 20-25 Scouts out to backpack, climb, or canoe) is to require they pay $10 four (4) weeks in advance (before the Scouts and their families make other plans). But next month's Committee meeting includes a motion by an agressive indoor mom to reduce that commitment down to four (4) days!


So, yes it is possible to change a Troop culture, even without being the Scoutmaster, but every Troop is different so you just can't tell in advance where the tipping point will be.


Yours at 300 feet,



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It's not about the shopping. (Although with my youth during soccer season, those four days can be pretty full.) It's about the boys knowing who might be "on the fence" about a particular activity and having time to prepare accordingly. Over time, boys come into the patrol meetings ready to either prepare themselves for the next event, our help their buddies prepare. Then they are going home and checking the family schedule and actually taking some responsibility to keep the calendar clear there as well.

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We charge $25 a month. That includes the camping fee (food is up to the patrol). We use the money to pay for our outdoor program. Parents now see it as a waste of their money if their scout is not participating. Plus SM conferences for advancements are only held at campouts. Otherwise it interrupts the meeting.

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