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SnarlyYow

Scoutmaster/Crew Advisor Selection

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My wife saw this thread and told me flat out that if the boys go off for the weekend and end up missing meals or getting lousy food or maybe going the whole weekend without food at all, that come Sunday noon when they come home, the'll appreciate mom's cooking that much more.

 

She raised four kids and once she sent them off for the weekend for some activity she figured the adults would keep them safe and she'd see them on Sunday. You're trusting the program and the adults supervising their safety so it doesn't matter what time they eat. If one is worried about what time they eat, keep them home and feed them at the time most appropriate for them

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Unless you leave your at 2pm or 3pm Friday, there is no reason boys should be making a Friday dinner.  You only have three or four hours before bed time Friday.  Between setting up, plan changes, getting organized, there is just too little time for a major Friday night cooking, eating and cleaning.  Where is the fun time of just sitting by the camp fire and enjoying each other's company.  

 

Agreed though.  Don't nit-pick the scoutmaster.  People will have opinions and change can happen.  But, there is a way to do it.

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Hmmmm, I kinda thought that out of the SM and adult leaders; the parents; and the boys, that the boys were supposed to be the ones in control of the program.  I must of missed the memo where the adults were to fight over who runs things.

 

If I can be so bold, one thing that parents worry about is the lack of organization from the SM end. The question becomes: "Are the boys choosing to eat late and choosing to make dinner on Friday nights, or have the boys not been led to see the possibilities of doing things another way?" The other issue is how long it takes to leave, nothing is ever laid out or sorted in a such a way to load our gear in a timely fashion. Leaving frequently takes 2 hours which pushes dinner back even later. I'm trying to handle that issue and have appointed an adult Quartermaster to help the youth Quartermaster learn how to stage for campouts.

 

Last weekend the Scouts had bacon and only bacon for breakfast on Sunday morning. Now, when they went shopping the question should have arisen: "Do you boys feel this is an acceptable breakfast? Are there other things you might want?"

 

The troop can make their own decisions but the adult leaders need to, well, lead.

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Unless the troop has Muslims boys and religious sensitives are a concern, This is not about three square meals in a timely fashion.

 

This is about after action review with the boys. Did the SM have it? What did they think? What do they want to improve upon? How can you all help them?

 

The QM coach is a good idea if the boys are concerneD about getting organized and said they want a little help. If it's motivated by something else, it really won't help the boys grow all that much.

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As long as one quotes me, I'll take the time to respond

 

If I can be so bold (not a problem that's what the forum is for), one thing that parents worry about is the lack of organization from the SM end.

 

If the parents can't trust the SM, they need to pull their boys from the troop and find a troop with a SM they can trust.  As long as the parents worry about the SM's lack of organization they will never recognize and celebrate any development of organization or leadership  from their sons.  I guess I'm the kind of  parent that worried more about the organizational and leadership development of my son regardless of the SM's organizational skills as long as those adult skills didn't hinder my boy by taking away his opportunity to lead. 

 

The question becomes: "Are the boys choosing to eat late and choosing to make dinner on Friday nights, or have the boys not been led to see the possibilities of doing things another way?" The other issue is how long it takes to leave, nothing is ever laid out or sorted in a such a way to load our gear in a timely fashion. Leaving frequently takes 2 hours which pushes dinner back even later.

 

I'm sure that after "not being adult led to see the possibilities of doing things" the way the adults want to seem them go.... a couple of times the boys notice this as well.  If they make the decision to have everyone eat before they leave, and or bring a sack lunch instead of  eating on-site Friday night, what difference does it make to the boys?  Long-distance meddling parents can yell at their son for being a dolt, but they have no right to harangue the other boys.  If they are truly concerned about the health and safety and nourishment requirements of their son, then Mommy can prepare a PBJ sandwich, put it in a brown paper bag and pin a note on Little Johnny's uniform letting him know the correct time to eat it. But they have no right to dictate it to any of the other boys in the program.

 

 I'm trying to handle that issue and have appointed an adult Quartermaster to help the youth Quartermaster learn how to stage for campouts.

 

And that is EXACTLY HOW THE ADULTS TAKE OVER THE TROOP!  It is assumed that the youth QM is not qualified to do it so the better qualified adults have to step in and on the boy's leadership opportunities.  Over the past 35 years NONE of my boys have been so stupid so as to not be able to figure these things out for themselves without any adult interference and meddling.  The only thing the boys learn with this process is that if the adults step in to show us how stupid us boys really are, YOU can do it from now on and we'll just watch.  How do I know this?  Because that's exactly what I would do if someone else stepped in and took away my job.  If someone else thinks they can do it better, knock yourself out!

Last weekend the Scouts had bacon and only bacon for breakfast on Sunday morning.

 

So what!  My boys have done this more than once and on occasion supplemented it with Pop Tarts.  To date they all survived without major medical issues and/or extensive psychotherapy.  It does make interesting conversations at the AAR and SMC's.  

 

Now, when they went shopping the question should have arisen: "Do you boys feel this is an acceptable breakfast? Or maybe the adults should have kept quiet or they would have found out that they might answered, with a YES.  Are there other things you might want?" And they might answer with a NO.  Those are perfectly good answers to the questions.  They may not be the answers you were looking for, but they are answers that are an option available to them.  I would suggest the adults quit interfering by asking stupid questions that might harbor answers they don't like.

The troop can make their own decisions but the adult leaders need to, well, lead.

 

And sadly that is a prime example of how to develop and run an adult-led program.  The adults, well, lead and the boys, well, they just follow along.  I say that premise as the basis for a leadership development program for young boys will not produce one genuine leader in the group and instead will take away any and all natural leadership motivation if there was any to begin with.

 

After 13 years as ASM this is the attitude that made it VERY easy to walk away and get involved in a program that actually taught youth leadership skills to the boys

 

Sorry, If I were ASM in a troop run like this, it would very easy to just walk away.  How do I know?  Because I have done it before.  I will not be part of any process that steals opportunities away from the boys developing solid leadership skills by doing it for them and telling them they have to follow your lead and directives instead.  That's not what BSA is all about in any literature I have come across.

Edited by Stosh

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The difference between "boy run" and "boy run in the ground" are the methods adults use to help scouts move to the next stage of maturity. Experienced adults have grown over the years to develop techniques for giving scouts just enough confidence to move forward. I like to say give the scout a flashlight for venturing into the dark of their fear or ignorance. Most of the time the scouts program gets stagnant because the scouts just don't know how to move forward or they are afraid, which is the case for many of the youth leaders. The scouts don't need lectures or full instructions, they just need that little inspiring word or the one missing fact to get them moving again. We also have coaches as goto resources for the scouts. But the coaches are guided not to help the scouts without first being asked by the scout, and to try only ask the scout short questions to help him think himself forward. It's an art that takes practice. The objective is for the scout to create his solution and to learn from that decision. That is actually a difficult task for parents and as I said requires practice to master.

 

As the scouts get older and mature, they naturally take over the coaching roles. The adults eventually get very few questions.

 

Interestingly as our scouts have gotten use to adults only asking questions to help a scout create a solution, the older scouts use the same style for younger scouts. I often wonder how that will affect their parenting.

 

Barry

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And sadly that is a prime example of how to develop and run an adult-led program.  The adults, well, lead and the boys, well, they just follow along.  I say that premise as the basis for a leadership development program for young boys will not produce one genuine leader in the group and instead will take away any and all natural leadership motivation if there was any to begin with.

 

....

 

I appreciate all your words of caution. I certainly don't want the troop to be taken over by adults, I want the boys to do things themselves, be their own leaders. BUt, as EagleDad pointed out, there's got to be a balancing act. After two years of taking 2 hours or more to leave for campouts it's obvious that the boys haven't developed the leadership necessary to get this thing done in a timely manner. Which begs the question: "How do we move them forward without doing it ourselves?"

 

That's why I appointed an adult quartermaster to work with the youth quartermaster to see that we can accomplish this task. While the notion of boy-led is super nice, when it doesn't come to fruition what do you do?

 

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That's why I appointed an adult quartermaster to work with the youth quartermaster to see that we can accomplish this task. While the notion of boy-led is super nice, when it doesn't come to fruition what do you do?

 

Do the scouts know what is expected of them? Are they trained for their responsibilities?  Do they use their resources like the Scout handbook, PL Handbook, SPL Handbook and even Merit Badge manuals? All these things gives them some confidence to move forward without the adults.

 

Barry

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Do the scouts know what is expected of them? Are they trained for their responsibilities?  Do they use their resources like the Scout handbook, PL Handbook, SPL Handbook and even Merit Badge manuals? All these things gives them some confidence to move forward without the adults.

 

Barry

 

Honestly, I don't know. I know they bring their Scout handbooks every week. I have not been heavily involved. I've gone on a a few outings and such but really left the running of the troop to the SM and ASM until about two months ago. So I'm wondering if the Scouts discuss this stuff.

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I appreciate all your words of caution. I certainly don't want the troop to be taken over by adults, I want the boys to do things themselves, be their own leaders. BUt, as EagleDad pointed out, there's got to be a balancing act. After two years of taking 2 hours or more to leave for campouts it's obvious that the boys haven't developed the leadership necessary to get this thing done in a timely manner. Which begs the question: "How do we move them forward without doing it ourselves?"

 

That's why I appointed an adult quartermaster to work with the youth quartermaster to see that we can accomplish this task. While the notion of boy-led is super nice, when it doesn't come to fruition what do you do?

 

 

Here's the $1,000,000 question!  What if the boys won't lead.  Let it be known that after 45+ years of working with youth, their patience level far exceeds that of most adults.  They will take it to the limit and it will need to be quite painful to them before the buckle under and do it themselves.  They have been taught that if they wait, whimper, cry and even throw a tantrum, some adult will magically appear to bail them out.  Not many parents will allow their kids to pass out in the grocery store because they couldn't get the candy bar they wanted.  Well.  I'm one of them that will not.   :)  As an EMT I was trained to know that once the child turns blue and passes out, they will resume normal breathing.  Both the Ex and I were EMT trained and my son did a lot of passing out in various public places.

 

Well once they get to scouting age, they are a bit more sophisticated than a toddler.  They are extremely patient and have all the time in the world to screw around, adults don't.  So who's going to give in first?  It's the old "Who's Gonna Blink First" game.  Assume as an adult you are not going to outlast a kid unless you make a concerted effort to do so.

 

Let's look at it this way.  What is going to motivate the boys to get their act together and pack up camp?  After making sure the boys are all trained and capable of packing up and getting on the road, an outing is designated as the "Who's gonna win" Weekend.  All the adults get up quickly, break camp and then set up around the campfire.  I usually have a book or magazine to read.  The boys are all allowed to dawdle.  So on the way home, there's the restroom stop at a sporting goods store.  They go in and out in 5 minutes.  It is definitely not long enough to do any fun shopping.  The adults make sure they watch the time closely.    When the boys ask why they can't have more time shopping, the answer is..... (wait for it)..... "Because you wasted your shopping time back at camp."  That weekend in and of itself should be good for 2-3 years of lets get up and get going so we have time to stop on the way home.  

 

One could also use other forms of "rewards" for the boys.  My boys always like to go back to a section of river rapids and run them a second time....if there was time.  I had situations were a patrol got up, got their breakfast in, packed and was back on the water running the rapids, wile the other boys were back in camp dawdling and goofing around.  No one asked why the other boys got to have fun the rest didn't.  They are capable of figuring things like that out.

 

Of course breakfast burritos for the first patrol packed, cooked by the adults, can sell well, too. 

 

Seriously these boys really aren't all that sophisticated to figure this out right away.  I once used the first patrol done with packing up earned the right to stay up an extra hour around the campfire on the next outing and I popped them popcorn.  EVERY boy in that patrol reminded me of that on the next outing.  It's surprising how well they can remember things that are important to them.  :)

 

Okay, how much of that process is coaching?  None.  Mentoring?  None.  Guiding?  None.  Directing?  None.  The boys know what needs to be done, they just need some positive motivation, even if it's just bragging rights and a few brownie point perks down the road.  Empowering and motivating the boys does far more to develop leadership than directing and guiding and whatever else adults might do to "control" (and adult lead) the situation.    

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Stosh,

 

While I really like the system, I'm not sure I would agree that the mentoring/coaching/guiding level was none.  As adults, you identified a task that you wanted the scouts to complete, and you provided specific motivation to see that that was accomplished.

 

Now, if the PLC has asked if the adults would provide that as a reward to the first patrol .. that would be too awesome to contemplate.

Edited by gumbymaster

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Stosh,

 

While I really like the system, I'm not sure I would agree that the mentoring/coaching/guiding level was none.  As adults, you identified a task that you wanted the scouts to complete, and you provided specific motivation to see that that was accomplished.

 

Now, if the PLC has asked if the adults would provide that as a reward to the first patrol .. that would be too awesome to contemplate.

 

Or..... :)

 

The youth leadership could identify the tasks hat need to be done and motivate their buddies to get it done.  The first part of leadership training is to teach the boys to identify tasks so that they will do it instead of the adults.  THEN the second part of the leadership training is to teach the boys to motivate the other boys into effective teamwork.

 

Train and trust..... the responsibility of the effective SM.  :)

 

I would not try and motivate the boys into getting the camp packed up quickly if they hadn't been trained in doing so.  But once they are trained, then the motivation part can start.  BUT remember one is teaching the boys to motivate others so that the adults will get out of the way ASAP and let the boys lead and motivate without the interference of the adults.  Once one gets to that point, then one will really understand what awesome is all about.

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