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  1. 1. Who do you think should make rules on a troop such as when to go to bed, who will a scout be sleeping with, etc

    • The SPL
    • The Scoutmaster
    • The Scouts

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Welcome to the forum. Some thoughts.   You should have one Scoutmaster - the rest would be assistants - if you have multiple Scoutmasters, contradicting each other, you have much bigger problems tha

qwasze, the words I have added in red are what you meant, correct? Otherwise I'm not sure what that sentence means.  By the way, boyledscouting, welcome to the forums!

My mom agrees with me and encourages me to try to make a change if possible. She will also support me if I decide to change troops. There are many other troops in my area, so it looks like I will have

Welcome Boyled,  I am truly sorry about your current troop, I know you have a sense of loyalty after having been in it for years, but if you have talked and they are ignoring the advice to go to another troop is the best one offered..  Have any other scouts already moved? Are there boys in your school who are in the other troops? Those would be the people to talk to in order to get their opinion of their troop.. Also you could call the council office and talk to the District Executive.. Let him know what type of troop you are looking for, if half way decent, he should know the troops in the area and be able to suggest a good fit..


I am impressed by your confidence and drive to try to work out the issues in your troop rather then expect your parents to fix them.. If you want boy-led, then handling problems and issues on your own is the way you show adults that youth 'can' have the maturity to lead themselves when given the opportunity.. If they can not see it through your example, and do not understand the value of working to get other youth in the troop to be as independent and confident as you are, then there is no way they can make the change to improve the troop.

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2) I'm sorry you have a dysfunctional troop. :confused:


3) I'd follow the 10th Doctor's ( or is he the 11th now) advice and "RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!"


I've seen first hand a troop like yours. SPL, PLs, and other PORs assigned by the SM. SM makes all decisions. etc. Only difference is there is no conflicting orders from ASMs.


And I can tell you first hand the frustration you will encounter if you attempt to make suggestions for change and are ignored. The troop I know about was on the way to being the best in the district. SM was finally in the position to sit back and drink his coffee without having to leave his campsite, letting the youth he worked with run everything, when he needed to step down and a new SM volunteered. One youth at his Eagle SM conference point blank told the new SM how the changes he made was destroying the troop. He was ignored, and he stayed around long enough to have his ECOH, try to encourage change, and finally left in disgust.


Three Scouts when to NYLT, found out how things should be run, expereinced it for a week, and tried to  encouraged change. They were ignored. One Eagled and left. One Eagled, and is "active" in that he pays his registration fee in order to remain in the OA. He's a chapter officer, and is loving the OA. But with the troop, he doesn't attend meetings or the few camp outs they go on. Third Scout finally had enough and transferred to a Scout run troop. He Eagled, and is working on his Hornaday Award. He's still active with the troop. That's from discussions with the youth in question.


And adults get frustrated too. Former SM tried to help them out. Ignored. District training chair, who was once an ASM with the troop was ignored. Unit Commissioner, the experienced old fogey who is assigned by district to help out units, kept trying to get them back on track until he died. And I tried to help them, was told I don't know what I'm talking about, and finally quit trying to help them in frustration.


Now the troop is dying out. My oldest son's den was the last den they worked with, and only because I A) begged them to do something, ANYTHING, with the Webelos to get them interested in the troop and B) one of the committee member's sons was in the den. Out of that group, 2 joined a different troop, 2 eventually transferred to  the troop their buddies joined, and 2 quit.  Only the MC's son remains, and his oldest son is nearing Eagle. They are not doing anything with the Cub Scout pack, i.e. providing DCs, inviting them to a meeting and camp out for recruiting purposes/ AOL purposes, working with them on district level service projects, not working with them to coordinate Scout Sunday, etc. SO the last 2 batches of Cross Overs, the main group in December, and one in May, went to the different troop. They do not participate in any district or council activities, except for MB colleges and weekends. Currently they only sent 4 youth to summer camp this year.


Why am I frustrated with this troop?  I helped set up the troop. I helped train the original SM, worked with Scouts on MBs and the OA, camped with them etc. When it came time for oldest to be a Cub Scout, I went to their feeder pack first because I wanted him in that troop. But between that time, and the first and only camp out with them as a 4th grade  Webelos, the troop fell so far that even he commented that the troop isn't doing things right after 1 camp out. :eek:

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I would advise you to finish up the rank you are working on (unless you just started on one), before you change troops.

I would agree with that, again depending on how near or far the next rank is. If for example the Scout is at Star and has five months active and five months into a POR, all the MB's and other requirements for Life, it's probably worth sticking it out for another month, and getting the SMC and BOR done, just so it's "cleaner." You show up at the new troop a Life Scout, ready to meet all the remaining Eagle requirements in that troop. (Of course since you are 15, having to re-do a month or two of "active" or POR would not be the end of the world. I know a 17-year-old Star Scout right now who if he had to re-do a month or two, it would not be the end of the world either, but it would be the end of his making Eagle.)

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You may want to get 5 or 6 of your mates to go around visiting other troops with you.  Don't hide it from your current troop's adults that y'all are looking.  Share your impressions of other troops with all the scouts in your current troop.  If the situation still doesn't improve; then walk, knowing that you gave them every chance.

Edited by JoeBob
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Boyledscouting, I'd recommend looking for another troop.  


When I was your age, I was in a large troop with dynamics similar to your own.   I stayed, longer than I should have, out of loyalty, but I was miserable.   Thankfully our family moved and that ended that.


Your desire to help the troop is admirable.   But, as others have pointed out, you only have a few years left as a scout, and those years should be spent doing something more profitable that fighting the tide.   The SMs won't listen, and the council refuses to help.   A different troop will welcome you.   The difference will be night and day.


Best wishes and please let us know how things go.

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I haven't weighed in on this so I'll give my 2-cents worth on the subject.


First of all your poll does not include the choice I would have made.  The PL, who is supposed to be taking care of his boys, makes decisions in the best interest and welfare of his boys.


It is obvious you have an adult-led troop.  That will never really move off the bubble until someone rolls up their sleeves and makes the changes.  It takes a ton of effort to make a troop a boy-led unit, but only a few minutes to turn it back into an adult-led program.  It works kinda like trust, years to build, seconds to destroy.


So, where does one begin?  With your leadership.  If a boy is going to lead he had better get out front and do so.  Step up and organize the boys as prescribed by the BSA program.  Instruct the boys that sitting around doing nothing is not a really good idea.  Work together as a team of boys to take away the adult's ability to say no without looking foolish.   (Every time an adult says, "Because I say so." is really admitting the are clueless to their rationale.)


The other boys will only follow your lead if you do that which is necessary for their well-being.  For example, if YOU think the troop should be boy-led and no one else does, then the decision is easy, time to find a new troop.  But if the boys come together and want things to improve, then you have a chance to make a difference.  This isn't something you're going to be able to do on your own.  You'll need your buddies, maybe a sympathetic ASM or two, even the UC and DE might need to be pulled in down the road.  Learn the BSA program and start following it.  Insist on trained adults in the troop and make sure your boys are trained in leadership as well. 


It's not the easier of the two choices, but it may be the most rewarding.

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I agree with everything people have said here - what a mess, good for you for wanting to improve things, good for your mom for backing you up, but you're up against a real problem and reason and listening to scouts doesn't look like it's in the cards. JoeBob makes a very good point. Maybe nobody will listen to one scout leaving on his own, but if a group all show the adults their transfer apps at the same time it might have a bigger impact and maybe some adults that should say something will start stepping up. I'd add one thing to what JoeBob says. Rather than 5 or 6 friends, how about asking your patrol to visit the other troops with you? Or, at least pick a group that you'd like to be in a patrol with. If a troop will take you as a patrol then you know for a fact that they respect the boys. You'll have instant friends in a new troop and that would help a lot. Anyway, this would be a good example of servant leadership.


A minor point about sending email to the Council. Email is often ignored, it's better to call and talk to someone.

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 It takes a ton of effort to make a troop a boy-led unit, but only a few minutes to turn it back into an adult-led program.  It works kinda like trust, years to build, seconds to destroy.



THAT is the understatement of the year!

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1.  I agree with the others that you should finish whatever rank you're working on and look at other troops for a transfer.  I always advocate Scouts look at multiple units before locking in to join one because every troop has its own personality.


2.  While you're considering other troops, you might want to reflect on whether you're missing anything that makes your troop seem like it's so adult-led.  Is the SPL competent and leading like he should?  When are the ASMs telling the boys to tuck their shirts in and pull their hands out of their pockets?  Is it during a ceremony when they're supposed to be respectful like flags at camp?  Is the SPL around when they're doing that?  I usually work through the SPL when I can and try to get the Scouts used to levels of leadership but realize they are still learning how to lead and in many cases, they are still learning to observe what they should even after a year of leadership.  Very very few people are born with an instinct toward leadership, most have to be molded.


3.  If these ASMs are so bad, why aren't other boys leaving the troop?  What makes you think other ASMs are afraid of being kicked out?  In every troop I've been in, the SM and ASMs talk to each other -- a LOT.  We talk about what's going on, what we've seen, who needs more development, etc.  I've never worried about being kicked out of the troop -- the SM couldn't do that on his own even if he wanted to (and if we weren't friends anyway).  As you look at other troops, you might want to ask the other boys in the troop why they stick around.

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When it's an adult behavior or training or habit issue, it needs to be dealt with by an adult.  Period.  


I have a lot of respect for a young man would would stand up and point out what is wrong and try to get it to change.  A lot of respect.  It's the type of youth we want to become an Eagle scout.  Period.


But if the issue is the adults are doing things wrong and won't let the scouts be and are barking orders, those adults won't listen to scouts.  They will say you are complaining. 


Find another troop.  Then get as many of your buddies to join it.  Unfortunately, I suspect some of the adult problems are parents of some of your buddies.  That will be sad.  ... BUT ... you need to preserve as much of YOUR scouting experience as possible.  the youth scouting years are short and go quick.  Switch now so you can enjoy as much as you can.  Hopefully, many of your buddies will join you.  


Just don't stick around an environment you will complain about.  Scouting years are short.  


Good luck !!!


FINISHING RANK ... Visit troops.  See if they will work with you to finish rank.  If they won't, perhaps you should keep looking.  IMHO, switch and switch now. 

Edited by fred johnson
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Welcome to life.  The simple fact is, 1 out of 15 of you is mature enough to be in a boy-led troop.  Doesn't get any better in the adult workplace. 


Maybe there is this super-troop out there where everyone pulls their weight and the boys can lead, but it's probably a smaller troop. 


I just got back from camp with 25 of my boys. 


The SPL checked out, and didn't do much of anything all week (except for text his parents on the phone he snuck along).  And no, I didn't take it away, but did ask him if his integrity was worth the ability to text.


The ASPL tried to pick up the slack, but most boys wouldn't listen to him.


The duty roster was ignored by the vast majority of the scouts.


The most mature boys, other than the ASPL Star scout were all 2nd class and below.  The bulk were my new scouts.


I'd swear many of these boys are so lazy they have someone to come in and wipe for them in the mornings. 


Now you might take your 4 or 5 friends who are mature enough for a boy-led troop, along with a couple of ASMs who would find that refreshing, and find or found one of these super-troops where every scout takes care of business.  I'd like to know how you will handle the scout who will do nothing, or the scout who is a babysitting problem.  And how about those "syndrome" scouts?  Are you versed enough to handle them?  Will your new super-troop shun "problem children".


I'd suggest that these super-troops are full of scouts who want to be there, rather than scouts whose parents pushed them into it.  Eagle looks good on those college applications, don't you know.


Now, if you and your buddies can show the ASMs and SM you can handle the troop, then by all means try it.  Demand your PLs have duty rosters, sleeping assignments, etc. in writing before your next camp out.  Have equipment checks and uniform inspections.  Practice leave no trace. 


But most importantly, before you accuse the adults, look at the boys.  I do believe I've had to light fires for most all my life scouts.  Are you a troop which can be boy led?


Now for all you keyboard commandoes who will chide me for being such a cynical ASM...  PM me and I'll invite you along to summer camp next year.

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 No chiding from me either. The second year that I was SM I had a few boys and their parents that thought they would test me and see just how far I could be pushed.  My problem was with cell phones and game boys at the time. oh and don't forget that lazy "take care of me" attitude that some of the boys had. Sorry but I don't believe that technology needs to be at the boys access 24/7. Before camp I told the boys NO game boys and all cell phones will be handed to me and if you needed to use it come to me and you will use them right there in front of me. Just like the pay phone rules that many camps have.Saw a few boys playing with game boys in their tents and caught a couple more talking on phones behind their tents.. Plus the entire site was a mess, things just laying all over the place, don't even get me started with how messy the inside of the tents were.Got up early Tuesday morning and packed all my gear and had it sitting outside my tent. One of the scouts walked by and asked why my stuff was packed, told him that we would be heading home after breakfast. Once what I said to him sunk in he ran down to the rest of the scouts and told them what I had just said.


  In just a few minutes I had 32 boys all gathered around the leaders site. The SPL wanted to know if what he had heard was true. I told him if he meant about going home I said yes. Looked at my watch and told them it was time to head to breakfast. All you could hear walking to the mess hall was their feet shuffling through the gravel and dirt, quitest area in the mess hall too. When we finally got back to the site had a couple of the boys say that it wasn't fair that everybody had to go home, they followed the rules and shouldn't be punished for what the others had done. Told we were there as a troop arrived as a troop and would return as a troop. Then I told them if you couldn't follow simple instructions what is going to happen when I give you instructions for other things that could involve safety or even their lives? In 10 minutes I had 6 game boys and 8 more cell phones sitting on the table.


 Long story short, we remained the rest of the week and had a great time. When we got back home 3 parents took their boys out of the troop. Two returned 3 months later. No loss.

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