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imachristian13

Troop has strayed far from actual BSA protocols, recommendations on how to help them to move back toward the correct methods?

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Hi folks...

 

We have a BSA Troop with +/- 30 members, Scoutmaster, 8 ASMs, and a somewhat active Committee. For the most part, these are all good folks but they have developed their own version of what this should be.

 

Three quick examples:

 

1. At Boards of Review (non-Eagle), the candidate is hazed. The room is set as if it were an interrogation. He is challenged on nonsensical BSA rules (does he have the correct sock on the left or right foot). He is asked questions that do not pertain to his advancement, his views on the troop, or areas he might improve. Finally, a charade is put on where the Scout is asked to leave the room while the Board "discusses" his candidacy - we do no such thing. Then, he returns and is told that "if his book is signed, he has achieved the new rank - if not, he may request another Board in 2-3-4 weeks (whatever the leader makes up on the fly). [Nevermind that ASMs are always present]

 

I am all for having some fun (Left-Handed Smoke Shifters anyone?) but this is just not what we are supposed to be about.

 

2. Knowing full well that every Troop meeting can be set up in many fashions, ours has no structure and the entire 20 minutes of closing (where the Scoutmaster's "Minute" is supposed to be) is just insane.

 

3. Sometimes, no effort is made to communicate with the entire Troop (on Troopwide items of course). Last year, for example, the Troop was invited to assist with the local Flag Day ceremony. The SM and ASM only shared this with 3-4 Scouts who got to experience a nice event. The only way that the other 26 Scouts found out about it was when pictures showed up in the local paper. There's a clique-y attitude in the leadership. [For the record, I'm the type of person who would have been upset if we were invited and later found out that others weren't]

 

I understand that not everyone needs to do this stuff exactly the same way - and that some troops thrive on organization while others prefer some chaos. It just seems to me that we ought to be doing things a bit more like everyone else and a little less "like we've always done it".

 

In closing...what are your thoughts on the Troop's motto (they want to put this on their new Troop shirts now)? "If you're gonna be stupid...you'd better be tough!"

 

Thanks for listening - sorry for being a bit rantlike.

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It would seem that you're not tough enough. If it were me, I'd be looking for a new troop. To make any waves in a troop like this is totally pointless. Hopefully there is another troop nearby that actually does Scouting. This troop is nothing but an adult club that let's their pet scouts hang around.

 

Stosh

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1. There's no hazing allowed in Scouting. Period. Also, ASMs aren't supposed to sit on any board of review. We've discussed many times that the SM conference(s) should prepare the Scout for the board of review so that unpleasant surprises don't come to pass.

 

2. Not sure what to tell you here. The SPL at my meetings tends to close at around 5 minutes before the scheduled end of the meeting. Then, when all announcements are done he asks me if I'd like to give a SM minute. What exactly goes on during the 20 minutes of your meetings?

 

3. Cliques aren't appreciated in Scouting, though it happens more often that we'd like. If there is something to be announced, I let my SPL know so that he can announce it to the entire Troop. If something is last minute, though, I can see where some might not get the announcement in time...

 

As for the motto it's crude, in my opinion. Why not stick with B-P's motto: "Be Prepared"?

 

Maybe shop around for another unit?

 

LeCastor

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"He is asked questions that do not pertain to his advancement, his views on the troop, or areas he might improve."

 

Those sort of questions are valid questions for a BOR. Unless the members of the board are trying to get the Scout to say something bad. A BOR is not all about advancement, but based on your statement I quoted, I don't agree with your assessment that those topics are out of line. Certain questions may be, but not those topics.

 

Otherwise, yes, your troop is out of line. Bring up your issues to the Scoutmaster and CC and if that doesn't fix the problem, you can go to the Charter Organization Rep, or either put up with it or find a new Troop. I wish there was another way but there really isn't.

 

Best of luck to you and your Scout!

 

Sentinel947

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It would seem that you're not tough enough. If it were me, I'd be looking for a new troop. To make any waves in a troop like this is totally pointless. Hopefully there is another troop nearby that actually does Scouting. This troop is nothing but an adult club that let's their pet scouts hang around.

 

Stosh

 

 

I have been holding back on this because I am trying not to always be the one in front (I do a lot of volunteering and I'm always "that guy"). We have other troops to consider. Just making sure before we yank our son elsewhere.

 

Thank you!

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1. There's no hazing allowed in Scouting. Period. Also, ASMs aren't supposed to sit on any board of review. We've discussed many times that the SM conference(s) should prepare the Scout for the board of review so that unpleasant surprises don't come to pass.

 

2. Not sure what to tell you here. The SPL at my meetings tends to close at around 5 minutes before the scheduled end of the meeting. Then, when all announcements are done he asks me if I'd like to give a SM minute. What exactly goes on during the 20 minutes of your meetings?

 

3. Cliques aren't appreciated in Scouting, though it happens more often that we'd like. If there is something to be announced, I let my SPL know so that he can announce it to the entire Troop. If something is last minute, though, I can see where some might not get the announcement in time...

 

As for the motto it's crude, in my opinion. Why not stick with B-P's motto: "Be Prepared"?

 

Maybe shop around for another unit?

 

LeCastor

 

 

Thank you for your reply!

1. I agree in full.

2. SPL does nothing other than gather the boys for the closing - the adults take over at that point.

3. SPL is one of the folks that facilitates the clique concept (only texts his buddies on some things).

Motto - My thoughts as well. Funny for an "inside joke" but not to publicize.

 

Considering the shopping...thanks1

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What is your position within this Troop?

Funny you should ask.

I requested consideration as an ASM and/or Named Committee Member in November of last year. Since then, I have completed all of the ASM training except for the basic outdoor skills course (taking that in March). Troop leadership told me they were going to wait to process me until after re-chartering. I have asked multiple times for my status since that was completed, to no avail. ("We're working on it...we'll let you know".)

 

So...officially, I'm "just" a Dad on the Committee

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"He is asked questions that do not pertain to his advancement, his views on the troop, or areas he might improve."

 

Those sort of questions are valid questions for a BOR. Unless the members of the board are trying to get the Scout to say something bad. A BOR is not all about advancement, but based on your statement I quoted, I don't agree with your assessment that those topics are out of line. Certain questions may be, but not those topics.

 

Otherwise, yes, your troop is out of line. Bring up your issues to the Scoutmaster and CC and if that doesn't fix the problem, you can go to the Charter Organization Rep, or either put up with it or find a new Troop. I wish there was another way but there really isn't.

 

Best of luck to you and your Scout!

 

Sentinel947

 

 

I don't believe that the BOR members are trying to get the boys to say bad things. The questions are more off the wall than I am implying I guess but we are on the same general page.

 

Scoutmaster and I have met on several occasions with and without the CC. I'm clear that this is not really something that can be "changed" and that is why I came here for advice.

 

thank you so much!

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I think the OP is saying he is asked questions that do not pertain to his advancement, [THAT DO NOT PERTAIN TO] his views on the troop, [AND THAT DO NOT PERTAIN TO] areas he might improve." But maybe I'm the one misreading it.

 

BORs should be only what BORs should be. Read the GTA and if what you're doing is either more or less than that it's a disservice to the scout. This seems not only from these boards but from my own experience one of the weaker areas in the Advancement method of the program. I just looked at Scouting.org and cannot find any specific training for how to conduct them, but they are actually a great opportunity for the kind of e-training that can be done. Have a presenter explain exactly what their format and purpose should be. Explicitly say what they should not be. Have a mock demonstrations of what are good questions and what are bad questions, and then explain what should be done for the scout and for the troop, as a result of the information the committee gets as a result of a good BOR.

 

For the OP, my advice is read the Guide to Advancement (GTA), thoroughly, and then try to start a conversation in the troop and committee about how and why your BORs are conducted compared to the Guide. Don't start out telling people they're doing it wrong, start by asking "I read here that we should be doing this, but it looks like we're doing it this way instead, how come we do it differently?" It is a good bet that most of your committee members have never read the relevant parts of the GTA. It's possible that enough of them, if provided with the right information will be willing to make adjustment, if they can't ask yourself and your son if the troop is where you want to be given the way they operate. I am willing to try to bring change, but I am not going to spend years rolling a stone up hill. If change looks doable, great, if not there are probably people not too far away doing things better and you and your son can take advantage of the program that way.

 

 

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<"1. At Boards of Review (non-Eagle), the candidate is hazed. The room is set as if it were an interrogation. He is challenged on nonsensical BSA rules (does he have the correct sock on the left or right foot). He is asked questions that do not pertain to his advancement, his views on the troop, or areas he might improve. Finally, a charade is put on where the Scout is asked to leave the room while the Board "discusses" his candidacy - we do no such thing. Then, he returns and is told that "if his book is signed, he has achieved the new rank - if not, he may request another Board in 2-3-4 weeks (whatever the leader makes up on the fly). [Nevermind that ASMs are always present]"

 

I am all for having some fun (Left-Handed Smoke Shifters anyone?) but this is just not what we are supposed to be about.

 

If they are asking more than one nonsensical question I can see this as hazing but asking one of these question maybe someone's way of trying to "lighten things up" I am with Sentinel947 that asking a scouts views of the troop or areas he might improve are questions that should be asked of a Scout.

Any board I have sat on has asked the Scout to leave the room so we could discuss things

How often are they turning down rank advancement? In the almost 20 years I have been a leader (and 3 years as a District Commissioner) I have only heard of a Scout being turned down for advancement 2 or 3 times. If it happening on a regular basis there is an issue.

 

2. Knowing full well that every Troop meeting can be set up in many fashions, ours has no structure and the entire 20 minutes of closing (where the Scoutmaster's "Minute" is supposed to be) is just insane.

 

If a Troop meeting looks like what I like to call "organized chaos" it is most likely boy-lead. To most adults a troop meeting look like they don't have structure but Scouts are learning to do things.

I agree that a Scoutmaster minute is lasting 20 mins is insane. Has anyone discussed this with the SM? - talk with your Unit Commissioner

 

3. Sometimes, no effort is made to communicate with the entire Troop (on Troop wide items of course). Last year, for example, the Troop was invited to assist with the local Flag Day ceremony. The SM and ASM only shared this with 3-4 Scouts who got to experience a nice event. The only way that the other 26 Scouts found out about it was when pictures showed up in the local paper. There's a clique-y attitude in the leadership. [For the record, I'm the type of person who would have been upset if we were invited and later found out that others weren't]

 

I have been in Troops like this. I just quietly looked around and found another Troop as they are never going to change.

It took me over 10 years to finally find a Troop that uses the Patrol Method and is boy-lead.

 

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Unless you have more information than you're putting in your post, I wouldn't worry as much about #2 and #3. I can't say much about #2 without knowing what is actually going on in the meeting. Number 3 could have a lot of innocent explanations. I receive calls on a regular basis asking for scouts to help with a flag ceremony --- more than we can fulfill. Most of the time I'll send a note to the troop because it takes asking a lot of people to get the four or so scouts needed to fulfill the request. But if someone asks for help with a color guard and the first four scouts I happen to ask then that's where I stop, that's not a snub, that's me being as efficient as I can fulfilling the request I receive.

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Hi folks...

 

We have a BSA Troop with +/- 30 members, Scoutmaster, 8 ASMs, and a somewhat active Committee. For the most part, these are all good folks but they have developed their own version of what this should be.

 

Three quick examples:

 

1. At Boards of Review (non-Eagle), the candidate is hazed. The room is set as if it were an interrogation. He is challenged on nonsensical BSA rules (does he have the correct sock on the left or right foot). He is asked questions that do not pertain to his advancement, his views on the troop, or areas he might improve. Finally, a charade is put on where the Scout is asked to leave the room while the Board "discusses" his candidacy - we do no such thing. Then, he returns and is told that "if his book is signed, he has achieved the new rank - if not, he may request another Board in 2-3-4 weeks (whatever the leader makes up on the fly). [Nevermind that ASMs are always present]

 

I am all for having some fun (Left-Handed Smoke Shifters anyone?) but this is just not what we are supposed to be about.

 

2. Knowing full well that every Troop meeting can be set up in many fashions, ours has no structure and the entire 20 minutes of closing (where the Scoutmaster's "Minute" is supposed to be) is just insane.

 

3. Sometimes, no effort is made to communicate with the entire Troop (on Troopwide items of course). Last year, for example, the Troop was invited to assist with the local Flag Day ceremony. The SM and ASM only shared this with 3-4 Scouts who got to experience a nice event. The only way that the other 26 Scouts found out about it was when pictures showed up in the local paper. There's a clique-y attitude in the leadership. [For the record, I'm the type of person who would have been upset if we were invited and later found out that others weren't]

 

I understand that not everyone needs to do this stuff exactly the same way - and that some troops thrive on organization while others prefer some chaos. It just seems to me that we ought to be doing things a bit more like everyone else and a little less "like we've always done it".

 

In closing...what are your thoughts on the Troop's motto (they want to put this on their new Troop shirts now)? "If you're gonna be stupid...you'd better be tough!"

 

Thanks for listening - sorry for being a bit rantlike.

 

Run away if there is another Troop available..... Unless a new SM is in the wings, there is no hope for the above.

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