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Some days it's like shooting fish in a barrel ...



Why isn't the Senior Patrol out looking for hot 12th grade girls?  Sounds like unfocused Senior Patrol leadership to me...

:cool: Because he knows how to start fires on his own? :laugh:

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I have been ASM in an adult led troop that mandated who is in what patrol according to what they think is the best combination.  It didn't really matter, the function as a troop method unit and the pa

Some days it's like shooting fish in a barrel ... Because he knows how to start fires on his own?

Based on my experience, I'd say eight months.   My son crossed over at the end of March two years ago.  I was the Cubmaster for the Pack.  First Troop meeting I attended, I was asked to be an ASM an

Boy led is ded or dead as it were.


Hedge,  lots of me and I's in your posts.   who plans the trips, buys the gear.



So why are you doing the teaching about backpacking and gear?   Why isn't your SPL or more importantly your youth QM doing it?    




My posts in this thread have been about getting adults involved.  The presentation is to Webelos and their parents (who likely will be paying for the gear and accompanying their sons when the go shopping - especially since we are talking 5th graders) and new scouts.  My point is that it gets them interested and excited - you would be surprised how many parents end up getting the gear to come backpacking with the Troop.  It also gives the parents a sense that the adults know what we are doing and a sense of trust that they aren't sending their son into the wilderness with a bumbling idiot.  Some troops go to an REI or EMS to have an expert discuss gear -- it just happens that I'm an expert.  I see no problem with bringing in a guest speaker even to a patrol or troop meeting (the best is when the boys brought in a yoga instructor for their fitness theme).


And, for the record, I have several of the scouts do the presentation with me -- it is like a big show and tell.  When I do a Backpacking merit badge class, the boys are the ones that take the lead in discussing and teaching.  Our boys also do themes on winter camping, survival, etc. as part of our regular program.  


As for how boy-led our Troop is: the boys decide on the activities, the boys decide where we go, the adults make the reservations,  the adults prepare permission slips and collect payment, the adults make sure we have enough drivers.  Each patrol packs their patrol and personal gear (adult patrol packs their own).  When we arrive, the boys take the lead.  The adults camp away from the boys.  Each morning on an outing there is a quick meeting of the boy leaders and the adults where the plan for the day is discussed and any decisions are make by the boys.  The boys then implement their plan.  


When we do backcountry trips, the boys come up with the plan of where we start, how far we go, where we camp, etc.  When we are on the trip, they are the ones with the map and in the lead...  I bring up the rear.


As for the backpacking tents, the boys have been complaining about the Troop tents for years due to the weight of the tents and the fact that they leak.  Replacing them with new lightweight tents was the boy's idea.  Any other toop gear purchases are based on the quartermaster's recommendation.


Be careful not to make the logical fallacy of a hasty generalization.  Just because i do a gear presentation (which other troops have had me do as they prepare for Philimont) for Webelos and new Scouts, doesn't mean that our troop is adult led.

Edited by Hedgehog
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Thx bro


Under his skin I got.



Funny stuff hog boy..



I think your very confused as to what scouting is and why we are here.


Hint it isn't about that expensive pile of gear you are selling to cub scout parents.


I'm not confused.  A scout (and leader) is trustworthy.  That means you can be trusted not to make quick decisions based on incomplete information and to treat people in accordance with the scout law.  A scout (and leader) is helpful.  That means you build people up rather than tear them down.  A scout (and leader) is friendly, that means you assume someone is your friend and working toward the same goals unless you have clear proof otherwise.  A scout (and leader) is kind.  That means we don't insult people or bait them.


The problem with scouting and with many on this forum is that they think their way is the only way.  Anyone who has studied leadership knows that the best leadership is tailored to the situation on the ground.  I tend to follow Richard Covey's advice in 7 Habits of Effective People -- seek first to understand then to be understood.  You are neither seeking to understand how our unit operates nor seeking to be understood with what I can only assume is your enlightened approach to scouting.  I suspect our goals are the same and we are using the same methods (boy-led, adult interaction, active outdoor program) but you are trying to make an argument on perceived differences.  So let me explain our approach and you call tell me where it can be improved.  Now that I have explained what our troop does in my prior post, I'd also be glad to hear any suggestions of what our troop can do to be more boy-led and what your troop does to be more boy-led.  I'm here to learn different approaches and to apply them to make our program better.


As for gear, I don't subscribe to the "naked and alone" theory of backpacking.  Having the proper gear directly inpacts the safety, health and comfort of scouts.  You can't go backpaking with a duffle bag (or as I saw once a suitcase).  You need a sleeping bag and a sleeping pad and some sort of shelter.  Knowing what food to pack also helps as you need to eat when backpacking and need to eat the right stuff (proper amount of calories, balance of carbs and proteins).  If you attended my presentation you would also understand about the clothing you need and don't need -- no cotton shirts, socks, underwear, jeans or anything.  Ever have a scout wear cotton underwear on a backpacking trip and get diaper rash?  To the chagrin of all the moms, I tell the scouts they need two pairs of underwear for a three day trip -- the ones they are wearing and one extra.  The right hiking boots / shoes and socks prevents blisters - it isn't about the brand or type but more the fit.  The right supplies in a first aid kit are essential.  The boys need to know the 10 essentials for a hike.  The boys also need to know how to pack lightweight -- their enjoyment of the trek is inversely proportional to the weight of their pack.


Having the right gear means a scout is comfortable in the outdoors and more willing to engage in outdoor activities and be more independent when engaging in those activiteis.  I subscribe to the theory that scouting is a game which teaches independence, leadership and character played in the outdoors and run by boys under the supervision of adults.  Simply put, the right gear means the boys have fun when they go on outings which means they go on more outings and play more in the outdoors.  There is some motto like that... be prepared.


Additionally, you are again assuming the "expensive" part.  The first section of my lecture is about being thrifty.  The most expensive gear is the gear you don't use or have to replace because it wasn't a good purchase in the beginning.  Our troop has backpacks and tents the boys can use.  They just need to purchase a sleeping bag and sleeping pad.  Before each lecture, I search a variety of websites to see what is the least expensive lightweight bag available and price out the Thermarest Z fold or roll up sleeping pads (the least expensive and one of the lightest).  If the boys want (and the parents can afford) to get a pack, I give them several recommendations of packs that will grow with the boys.  The same for tents - sometimes a cheap tent won't work.  I keep up on new and old gear and prices and can recommend tents in a variety of price ranges and weights (Kelty Salida is the best balance of price and weight).  I explain about REI's return policy and their garage sales, I explain about the 20% off coupons you can get at REI, Campmor and Backcountry Edge, I explain about the end of season sales in December and January where you get steep discounts on last years models.  I tell the scouts how to use the bottom of a plastic take-out container for a plate and to use plastic utensils.  I explain how to eat "real food" on backpacking trips if you want to avoid the more expensive freeze dried foods.  I explain how to use Ziplock bags and garbage bags instead of expensive "dry bags" for clothes and food and for pack covers.  I explain the characteristics of a good knife (don't need a multi-tool on the trail) and one of those characteristics is that it doesn't have to be expensive.  I'm working with our scouts to have them donate gear they have outgrown to the troop so younger scouts don't have to shell out as much money.

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Welcome back!





One of the groups I'm in on Facebook has a topic about Webelos and the new program. As on this site, the conversation has morphed a bit, and something I said over there I think can be used in this situation;


Start talking up the differences between Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts NO LATER THAN ( emphasis) 4th grade Webelos. I actually started the process in Tigers, and I used my 2 den chiefs to the fullest to show the Cubs, and more importantly the parents, the differences between Scouts and how you can "Train'em. Trust'em. LET THEM LEAD!"


IMHO, the biggest issue with new Boy Scouts leaders, especially former Cub Scout leaders, is that they need to "unlearn what they havelearned" by stepping back and letting the boys figure it out.

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There are parents and there are parents.

We, who ever we might be? Never know who is going to step up to the plate.

The  really nice Selection Stuff that the BSA is good and given half a chance does work.

However, here where I live the main criteria for a new leader is that he or she has a warm body.

This begs the question: Are we asking the wrong people to do a job that they really aren't suited for?


Put that aside.


I'm guessing, I don't know!

That should my son ever have a son, there is a good chance that this little fellow will join Boy Scouts and my son will tag along.

OJ, my son is now 27. By the time his kid is old enough to be a Boy Scout, if all goes well?? He will be in his late thirties or early forties.

Sadly he gave up a job he loved as a Para-medic because of the low pay and lack of any real benefits.

He has a good job working for the local cable company. Which seems like a really good caring company.

He has just built a house on four acres that I gave him.

He has a fairly big mortgage  which in ten years or so isn't going to seem as burdensome as it seems today.

He has a nice car, even if it is an American car.

I think he is not on any charter at the moment.


He is getting married in June.

His wife to be comes from a family with no boys.

She has let it be known that she would prefer not to have any boys!

Of course she is wrong!!

I really don't see her ever being active in outdoor type Scouting activities but she might join a committee or that sort of thing.


Should we be fortunate enough to be blessed with a Grandson!

More then lightly I would get involved with his Scouting career.

I'm nearly sixty now.

I plan to split my time between living here and living in Ireland.

So I would only be good as some type of an instructor.

I'm thinking at seventy my hiking and cold camping days will all be a fond memory.


OJ, is very involved in our local Volunteer Fire Service.

He is an active fireman and maybe more active in the club.

He organizes gun bashes, dances and that sort of thing.

A big attraction is that there is a great group of guys that get along well as a group and the drinks are cheap.

He really is a very likeable chap, people take to him and he has a way of seeing tasks through and getting the job done.

Maybe not as I'd do them, but done never the less.

This takes up a lot of time.

How much time is spent doing stuff and how much time is spent in the bar? I don't know.

I've only been in the club twice.


So, should he ever get involved?

What would we be getting?

A 40 year old parent.

Who should be financially secure (More so if I'm gone to the pearly gates!)

An Eagle Scout.

Someone with outstanding First Aid skills.

Someone who has fairly good leadership skills.

Someone who I think wants to "Pay back" Mainly pay back to the OA which played a far bigger part in his Scouting career then any Troop ever did.

Most of his camping was car camping.

A Troop with a big trailer carrying everything including the kitchen sink.

I don't think his mapping and compass skills are that great.

His rope work is fair at best.

But he has a way of getting things done.


I really think that come what may he is ever going to want to go on long hikes or take on unfamiliar country or take young Scouts that far from home.

In my book he would make a fair ASM or maybe a great Committee Chair.


He very nearly didn't become an Eagle Scout saying that because everyone was getting it, that it had lost its worth.


Making the time?

Will depend on what other things are going on.

Lord forbid that he have a couple daughters! Or he takes on more responsibility in the fire department?

He doesn't suffer fools and an idiot SE or DE might very well turn him off and he'd walk away.


Chances are that should he return that he'd know as much as most of the other people around.


I don't think we should be trying to "Speed up"

We do need to try and get people in the right job.

Train them for that position and make sure we are handling them correctly.


I have never liked the idea of baby sitting a herd of parents.

I much prefer a small Leadership Team of five or six active adults who are willing to devote the time and have the skills.

If there are more adults who are willing to help.

Find real jobs for them that they would be good at.














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Eamon said " I am thinking at 70 my hiking and cold camping days will be a fond memory."


You can still do it.  I am 70 and still do the backpacking and camping.  I do go to Florida for the winter, and I work mostly with the 1st yr. scouts, and I do take a sleeping pill when I am on the ground!  You just got to be fussy with what trips you decided to go on.  I am hoping to die on the trail, sometime in the distance future!

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Now I remember why I stopped coming here.




Hedge a scout is honest and feedback is a gift.


Let's just say your vision of scouting and mine are significantly different as is our socioeconomic situation.


The backpacking equipment you view as cheap cost more than many of my scouts family monthly food budget.

Edited by Basementdweller
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I just listened to a podcast yesterday, that kinda sorta indirectly relates to this thread....



The question was about what is the ASM's job, really?

In his reply, he suggests that a good number of Assistant SM's is two.  

The 1st ASM is in line to takeover, and the 2nd is next in line

Anyone else that wants to help the troop joins the committee.


I think this premise makes sense..... greatly reduces the excessive parent involvement

But I also imagine that a lot of good "geiser-talent" goes to waste....


an example.... the troop my son will likely go to I think has 4 assistant SM's and a lot of committee members.

My son wants me to stay involved.  I would like very much to stay involved too.... at least at some level....

I bring some outdoors skill to the party, along with much excitement for the game of scouting....but if there isn't a place for me???


I would very much like to help out on many of the camping and other outdoor adventures, but the last thing I want to do is my part in making the adult:scout ratio 1:1 or more!

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Now I remember why I stopped coming here.




Hedge a scout is honest and feedback is a gift.


Let's just say your vision of scouting and mine are significantly different as is our socioeconomic situation.


The backpacking equipment you view as cheap cost more than many of my scouts family monthly food budget.

Better. That's the very valuable perspective you bring to the table BD. 


Both of you have hit the nail on the head. You're from different perspectives, different situations that require different approaches. 


For BD's troop, a philmont trek is out of the question. They have to get more creative for High Adventure. There is nothing wrong with that, in fact, I'd argue it meets the spirit of High Adventure more than the BSA bases do.. 


However, Hedge's Troop is probably (Correct me if I'm wrong) suburban, middle class or upper class Troop. I'm not talking the 1% upper class, but middle-upper class. These Scouts have access to more opportunities than their working class, rural or urban peers. The issues behind that disparity will not be solved on this forum. 


Hedgehog should be free to share his perspective and what works for him and his unit, so those in a similar situation can learn from it. 


Basementdweller's situation teaches us how to do more with less. Less money, less volunteer help.


Feedback is a gift, it truly is, but a Scout is also courteous and kind. Making the worse assumptions about another member here is neither. 


Take that for what it is. If I have put words in anybody's mouth, I apologize. 


Welcome back Basementdweller. I look forward to hearing what you and your unit has been up to the last couple of months. 



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I admit I tend to focus attitudes and how new leaders interact with their youth. I've had both good and bad expereinces in that department.


I admit I tend to neglect group gear on the Boy Scout level, because i have been extremely fortunate to have been in troops that have been around for a while and have enough group gear. My son's troop was is a ressurected troop, so we have gear from the troop's glory days still in use.  Old, but usable.


In the past, I've done an "Intro to camping" class for Tigers and Wolves in preparation our council's fall family camp out. While I do bring my "toys" to show off (I am a kid at heart ;)  ), I focus more on the DIY gear that you can get from items around the hours ( blanket sleeping bags, tin can stoves, cooking gear from home) or very cheaply from a store ( plastic ground sheets and tarps for shelters).  I stress not making major purchases until they KNOW they enjoy camping.


Then I talk about my "toys." I talk about what to look for in gear. I talk about how if you take care of the gear, it will last a long time. Like the used backpack I got 25+ years ago that oldest is borrowing, the 15 year old tent someone was throwing away because it had a small rip and couldn't sew to fix it. I talk about Government Surplus, and garage sales (now oldest can talk about how he found a fully stocked chuck box with an estimated $100-$200 worth of BACKPACKING cooking gear at a garage sale for $40 for his patrol! ).


What i don't mention to the Cubs, but sometimes to the dads on the side, is what an old SPL of mine told me way back in the day, " Treat your gear like you would treat your girlfriend; take care of it and you will have a long healthy relationship." ;)

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