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LeCastor

How Do We Make Boy-Led Understood By Adults?

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NSP?  I'm guessing "New Scout Patrol".... is that right?

 

seems to me that part of the whole boy led and patrol concept is to have older and more experienced boys leading the younger and less experienced.  So you are putting all the new boys together on their own?

 

Is that why there's a need for SPL?  Otherwise I agree with Stosh.... SPL seems like an unnecessary position in the structure....

 

This whole tangent has be flashing back to my days in the troop as a boy.  One of the things that... well struck me as "weird" at the time was a casual friend of mine at school..... a boy my same age, who really had equal or maybe even less knowledge than me was put in charge of me for one thing or another....  It wasn't a problem of following so much, as I think a problem of ill prepared leadership.

I didn't understand it at the time, since I was getting into scouts at a bit of an older age after laying off from cub scouts...I didn't understand it at the time, but know that I'm studying boy led and patrols I'm realizing what it was all about.  At the time to me as a boy, it was a turn off.

 

I think the more logical scenario is the older and more experienced being in the leadership positions.

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In Boy Scouting, the key leader is the Patrol Leader given that a Scout is to primarily experience Scouting in the patrol context.  We used to teach that expressly in training youth leaders: "Ready for the Toughest Job in Scouting?"    

 

I truly believe that a new or reorganizing troop should have only patrol meetings and activities for the first couple of months.  When the patrols then come together, they strongly identity as Eagles, or Snakes, or Flaming Ice Cubes.  

 

Stosh it's not a choice between woods skills and ability to teach leadership.  Clearly the second is more important becasue all the skills in the world are useless to a leadership performance by a leader who lacks the ability to lead. However, neither is being accomplished.  Woods skills training for adults stops at 1st Class level.   Leadership training is crippled by the failure of BSA training syllabii to clearly and concisely explain Scouting's most important method or to state openly and unequivocally in training -- at at every opportunity -- that using that method is required.  Sure, the words are there somewhere if you work to find them but so is Scouting [magazine], the offical voice of BSA,  endorsing in January, 2015 the notion that youth leadership is optional and should be delayed until the boys can produce a well-oiled machine.  Shame!

 

Boy Scouting now!

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I had a month without an SPL as I had no choice, and I made huge progress with the PLs. I was surprised. I tried describing to the old SPL what his job is and he would understand but he'd just fall back on old habits. I was frustrated. The new SPL is picking this up because he's watching me. I figured out the SPL has to see it to learn it. For some reason the PLs are soaking things up easier. Lesson learned is grow it from the bottom up.

 

It's little details like this that are missing from the training.

 

The current training is based on the simplest training. You have someone that can only spend 6 hours learning about scouts and they won't do any more. So they get a very brief overview that will work if the troop is already in a good place but won't help anyone that wants to make a change. It is what it is.  But there's a whole range of other adults that can and would do more if they had the resources. What does the training look like that adapts to all these people? Something where you can keep coming back and slowly improve. Something that describes real situations and typical problems in some detail rather than vague situations.

 

Remember when Pack18Alex came here asking for help and there was this huge disconnect? That was the last we heard of him and it's a real shame. At the same time this has been the only useful resource I've used. We need more than just a forum.

 

I find that unless has a totally useless and incompetent SPL (a really good thing here!!!) they have a tendency to get in the way of the PL's trying to run their patrols.  Once one gets up to 3-4 patrols, I wouldn't even suggest an SPL.  Here's another hint that you may never consider.  Where does your SPL come from?  Well, the PL's are working hard at making their patrol members successful, who's taking care of the PL?  Remember you don't have an SPL?  SM?  Nope, the APL!  We have so many APL's sitting around doing nothing that National has deemed the position so useless it doesn't count as a POR.  Well, guess again.  The APL is the PL's right hand man.  That person not only fills in for the PL, he also does whatever it takes to make that PL look good and be successful.  That's his #1 job.  So if the APL's are doing their jobs correctly from what pool of scouts do you want to pull your SPL?  From the guys who have been doing SPL work for their PL and now deserve the chance to serve multiple PL's as SPL.  My SPL does not run the troop, he supports the individual PL's be successful as experienced backup to the APL who is in the learning stage.

 

Every scout needs to be taught leadership skills and every job needs to be functional.  When that all falls together you will realize the full potential of where boy-led, patrol-method can take you.  When does one start this process?  YESTERDAY!

 

NSP?  I'm guessing "New Scout Patrol".... is that right?

 

seems to me that part of the whole boy led and patrol concept is to have older and more experienced boys leading the younger and less experienced.  So you are putting all the new boys together on their own?

 

Is that why there's a need for SPL?  Otherwise I agree with Stosh.... SPL seems like an unnecessary position in the structure....

 

This whole tangent has be flashing back to my days in the troop as a boy.  One of the things that... well struck me as "weird" at the time was a casual friend of mine at school..... a boy my same age, who really had equal or maybe even less knowledge than me was put in charge of me for one thing or another....  It wasn't a problem of following so much, as I think a problem of ill prepared leadership.

I didn't understand it at the time, since I was getting into scouts at a bit of an older age after laying off from cub scouts...I didn't understand it at the time, but know that I'm studying boy led and patrols I'm realizing what it was all about.  At the time to me as a boy, it was a turn off.

 

I think the more logical scenario is the older and more experienced being in the leadership positions.

 

The New Scout Patrol (NSP, you were correct) can do just fine with the TG supporting the fledgling PL.  Otherwise, if the NSP wishes to elect another older boy from the troop, then the TG can assist in that process as well.

 

As far as leadership is concerned, all the boys must be willing to follow in order for it to be leadership.  If the PL is a screw-up and the boys don't want to follow, dump him immediately and get someone in there that they will follow.  It's not that hard.  If the ousted kid doesn't make POR requirement because of that, too bad.  This is not term elections, you don't perform, you're gone. 

 

In Boy Scouting, the key leader is the Patrol Leader given that a Scout is to primarily experience Scouting in the patrol context.  We used to teach that expressly in training youth leaders: "Ready for the Toughest Job in Scouting?"    

 

I truly believe that a new or reorganizing troop should have only patrol meetings and activities for the first couple of months.  When the patrols then come together, they strongly identity as Eagles, or Snakes, or Flaming Ice Cubes.  

 

Stosh it's not a choice between woods skills and ability to teach leadership.  Clearly the second is more important becasue all the skills in the world are useless to a leadership performance by a leader who lacks the ability to lead. However, neither is being accomplished.  Woods skills training for adults stops at 1st Class level.   Leadership training is crippled by the failure of BSA training syllabii to clearly and concisely explain Scouting's most important method or to state openly and unequivocally in training -- at at every opportunity -- that using that method is required.  Sure, the words are there somewhere if you work to find them but so is Scouting [magazine], the offical voice of BSA,  endorsing in January, 2015 the notion that youth leadership is optional and should be delayed until the boys can produce a well-oiled machine.  Shame!

 

Boy Scouting now!

 

I realize that the choice is not between woods skills and leadership training, my point being, why are they teaching us woods skills when they should be teaching us how to develop leadership within our boys.  The BSA training is sorely short-sighted to say the least.

 

Waiting to teach leadership is the most bogus argument in scouting today.  Tenderfoot Requirement #9 - The first lesson in leadership!  Servant Leadership 101 - The Buddy System - this is the basic training on how to take care of someone other than just your own sorry butt. So get off that butt and start helping other people at all times and that starts with your buddy.  Once you get good at that, then you can move up to eventually taking care of 6-7 others in your patrol as a PL.  Our magically appearing PL's are a result of neglected leadership development from Day 1.

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So lots of good discussion on what is and isn't boy led, and the lack of good BSA training on it.
 
So what are good resources on how to create boy led units? If I wanted to direct a new adult leader on how to learn more about this, where do I point him? The current Patrol Leader's Handbook? The Scoutmaster Handbook? If the current editions are no good, are older editions better? The book A Scout Leader's Guide to Youth Leadership: Working the Patrol Method has already been mentioned, are there any others that people can recommend?

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This is a good repository of stuff written 50-60+ years ago:

 

http://www.thedump.scoutscan.com/scouts.html

 

John Thurman's Patrol Leader's Handbook is in there.  I would recommend finding a copy of William Hillcourt's Handbook for Patrol Leaders (1929) , too.  

 

When I am called to participate in a Scoutmaster-specific training event I always bring copies of Hillcourt's stuff and read from it liberally.  People don't leave IOLS or SM-specific without knowing who Green Bar Bill is.  

Edited by LeCastor

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Boys aren't going to sit down and read books on how to do leadership.  I notice the PL's have a major difficulty just to get them to read the handbook pages on the T-FC requirements.

 

I just use the same comments over and over until the boys instill them into what they understand.

 

Basics 101

 

PL's - take care of your boys.

 

APL - make your PL look good, you're his right hand man.

 

Everyone in the patrol is a leader of some sort, find your niche.

 

The best leaders are the best followers.  

 

If you have nothing to do the only question you need ask is "What can I do to help?"

 

If you have a problem get help from your buddy.  If he can't help, then go to the PL.  If the PL can't answer your concern, he has the SPL to help him.  If the SPL can't find the answer, he will seek help from the SM.  If you go to the SM first, all he's going to do is ask you where your buddy is.  :)

 

You may think you're leading but if no one is following, you had better reconsider your options.

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My favorite resource for PL's to use is the first edition fieldbook (any of the printings). The sections are called Pow-wows and are basically activities for a patrol to do to grow as a patrol, for the PL do develop as a leader, the Patrol to go on increasingly more challenging adventures, etc...  while the handbook is for advancement, the fieldbook is for patrol adventures. IMO, it is often the most ignored resource when I think it should be one of the most used. Especially the older ones the way they are set up.

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I believe Stosh is available for a small rental fee.   :D Perhaps we could get him out on a speaking tour where all he says is just up above.  

 

Seriously, though, it's true.  If you instill in your PL these ideas he'll run with it and before you know it you'll be able to sit back in your camp chair and be the "lazy" Scoutmaster.  You know, the one who doesn't plan all the meals and trips.  

Edited by LeCastor

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So lots of good discussion on what is and isn't boy led, and the lack of good BSA training on it.

 

So what are good resources on how to create boy led units? If I wanted to direct a new adult leader on how to learn more about this, where do I point him? The current Patrol Leader's Handbook? The Scoutmaster Handbook? If the current editions are no good, are older editions better? The book A Scout Leader's Guide to Youth Leadership: Working the Patrol Method has already been mentioned, are there any others that people can recommend?

 

Scouters MUST read the PL Handbook and the Field Book if they are going to help their Scouts.

 

Our Instructors train all new PLs on troop operations, the PL Handbook and the core skills needed to operate on the majority of our camp outs. That's our TLT. We don't review org charts or other useless stuff. We focus on the PLs, troop ops and "how to's". Train the Instructors takes the Scouters out of the equation. They train the PLs and the PLs execute.

 

But the Scouters need to read the same stuff to advise the PLs should they come asking.

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My first SM's highest praise of a PL was, "He takes care of his kids."

 

Another "Smithism":  "Assistant PL needs to be a job, not a title."  He would regularly ask PLs "What are you having your assistant do?".

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@,  along with what I said above about leadership, there is also a lot of training to help boys get organized and that is the management part of the process.  Yes, the i's need to be dotted and the t's crossed, but that's management.  Each PL has 6-8 boys to assist with the management details.  QM for equipment, Scribe the paperwork, Grubmaster - menus and food, ActivityMaster who is always looking for new and exciting things to be doing, etc.  Now they have certain duties assigned to their expertise.  That doesn't make them a leader.  A leader GM knows the boys' diets, likes, dislikes, allergies,  Kosher? Vegeterian? etc.  This is how he takes care of his boys!  QM knows what equipment GM needs, what equipment needs to be taken on a specific type of trek, do we go with 2 burner Coleman's or the Peak backpack stoves?  This is how he takes care of his boys.  Scribe, Everyone's paid up on dues, but little Johnny is 2 months behind.  He knows that little Johnny's dad got laid off from work and with 3 brothers and sisters things are tough for him.  This is why he has brought it to the attention of the troop committee to make sure he gets to go along on the trip even when he's behind on his dues.  This is how he takes care of his boys.  TG is bunking in with the NSP when he notices one of the boys crying the first night out.  He gets the boy up, out to the campfire, stokes it to life and sits with the boy and regales him with what happened to him the first night he camped out with the troop.

 

You are beginning to understand what leadership is all about when you realize it's not just a job you do just so you get credit for advancement.

 

When one realizes they are no longer needed and are only along because National said 2-deep adult leadership is mandatory is the point where you have a boy-led, patrol-method troop.  It also means you have to make your own camp coffee.

 

If "take care of your boys" is the mantra for the boys, "Remember, you are working yourself out of a job," is the mantra for adults. 

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I believe Stosh is available for a small rental fee.   :D Perhaps we could get him out on a speaking tour where all he says is just up above.  

 

Seriously, though, it's true.  If you instill in your PL these ideas he'll run with it and before you know it you'll be able to sit back in your camp chair and be the "lazy" Scoutmaster.  You know, the one who doesn't plan all the meals and trips.  

 

One must also realize that when a boy "runs with it" it means he is going to do it the way and in the style he thinks works for him.  When it comes to leadership there is not just one way for everyone, just one way for each one.  My best TG was a quiet, sensitive young man that was excellent with the newbies.  They all thought he was great and wanted him to be their PL.  He smiled and turned them down but asked who would make the second best PL. and he would help him be a good PL.    By the way that scout held the rank of Eagle and was not a useless JASM, he was my TG  I believe he stayed in that position until he aged out.  That was the troop were I was asked to leave.  He did not go on in scouting after he aged out.  His adult application would have been rejected.

 

His best buddy was my other Eagle scout in that troop  he spent all his time training PL's and APL's in leadership before he aged out (He said his worst leadership training was NYLT, but liked what I taught instead.  Went on after aging out to a summer job as assistant director of high adventure in an out-of-council camp, got his SM training and WB, and is now in the US Air Force.  

 

Two totally opposite personalities yet two excellent leaders.

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@@Stosh, you'll love this. I was emailed by a parent asking me to step in to an issue. Their son wanted to cook on the next camp out, missed the meeting and someone else got assigned, wanted me to step in and "fix it". I replied, "Have your son call his PL and discuss it, let him know he wants to cook and resolve the issue." The parent's response was nothing short of incredulity.

 

Of course the outcome was predictable: The PL said, "Sure!", the patrol member is happy and the adult is now a convert to the boy-led and patrol method....and all I had to do was send one email to a parent. ;)

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@

 

The really neat thing about being boy-led, patrol-method is 1) it works and works great, 2) the confidence in leadership the boys get is fun to watch develop, and 3)  if something goes wrong, the adults have to blame the kids, not the adults in the group.  Unless, however, they complain that the boys are expected to do too much leadership.  With an untrained COR, untrained UC and newbie DE, that has been known to happen.  :)

 

Your next step in the process is teaching your parents to stay out of the boys' business.  If you can get your parents to "fix" the problem by having their son talk to their PL, you have reached Nirvana.   :)

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The really neat thing about being boy-led, patrol-method is 1) it works and works great, 2) the confidence in leadership the boys get is fun to watch develop, and 3)  if something goes wrong, the adults have to blame the kids, not the adults in the group.  Unless, however, they complain that the boys are expected to do too much leadership.  With an untrained COR, untrained UC and newbie DE, that has been known to happen.

@@Stosh, our COR supports us 100% and has for 30 years.

 

I have no idea what a UC or DE look like because they have never visited us and only send me email requests for information THEY need from me, so no worries there. ;)

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