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Eagle94-A1

Changing a Troop's Culture, Balancing Boy-led versus Adult-led

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Hey, in a way I see no problem with the jar of PB

simple, cheap, and you can do a lot with it....

 

My brother in law tells stories about his father taking him and his brother out for a weekend in the mountains with nothing more than maybe a jar of PB and a few crackers, something like that..... or maybe just a loaf of bread.... or 1 can of beans.... something like that

 

His father grew up in Holland during WW2, and had experienced getting by with far less than that....

 

I kinda think it was an interesting lesson of getting by, but also in appreciation for better things.

 

So, if you let the boys plan PB sandwiches all weekend, they might get creative and think of new ways of using it.... or they might tire of it and plan better next time.... especially when they smell my steak or burger or whatever form 300 Ft away.... or not.  

Regardless, They'll remember it, they'll appreciate the freedom, & they'll learn one or more things along the way.... one thing is for sure, one or two days of it won't hurt them!

What's wrong with that?  am I missing something?

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Was it John Muir who said something to the effect of,I just hop the fence with a loaf a bread and a bag of tea and go off on adventure.

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I just have every one of my scouts bring in their favorite meal recipe from home.  We then rework it to fit into camping doable.  That way every scout gets their favorite meal every now and then.

 

In my former troop the Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake was quite a challenge, but once they got it down, they haven't lost a Dutch oven dessert competition since.  :)

 

For some of the recipes they have gone full circle and what was a favorite of one scout from home, was taken back home by another scout for his mother to make at his house. 

 

Handing out menus by a SM is doing a major disservice to the scouts.

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Along these lines, my troop had their first PLC of the year (after the Annual Planning Campout) last night.  Only one of the boys came prepared with writing utensils and notepads and no one had the information that I had sent out ahead of time on the theme for the month that they picked.  (I know @@Stosh, they should be getting this stuff, but small steps first  :p ).  This point is that they really weren't prepared to be the leaders even though I had been telling them what was expected of them.  They still were used to adults leading the meeting.  So, I helped facilitate this meeting first by asking how the previous couple of meetings went.  I had thought they went pretty well, but surprisingly the SPL and rest of the group were pretty hard on themselves identifying what they could do better.  Once that was done, I walked them through the fact that we had to come up with meeting plans for the next four meetings and then the campout.  I asked what they wanted to do and they came up with some ideas on their own.  You could tell that they were waiting for an adult to say no, but I let them go on and waited for them to ask questions of me.

 

Our theme this month is Geocaching/Orienteering and I asked the boys if any of them knew how to work GPS receivers because I wanted them to teach their fellow scouts in patrols.  A couple raised their hands and we had volunteers.  Slowly but surely we made it through the four meetings filling them with ideas that they had. Then it was time for the campout planning and one of the boys said that each patrol should set up a geocache and then find the other patrol's geocache.  I know it doesn't sound like much, but they had ideas and they didn't sit their like bumps on a log.

 

They also talked about cooking as a troop for this campout, but I asked if they thought cooking by patrol might be better and they were shocked that we would do that.

 

I had the troop really doing well for boy led when I was SM before, but after I left it was just easier for the new SM and a couple of boys to go about doing the planning.  The boys seem to be responding well to being boy led again.  BTW, the SM that I replaced hasn't been to a meeting in a few weeks even though he said that he would remain involved.  Not sure if what I am doing is shaking things up too much or what.

 

I am just happy that the boys are starting to see the light again.

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Like Barry says, you need to take baby steps, but it won't be long and they will be running and you'll need to figure out how to catch up.  Seriously, I'm not kidding.  If you have 3 patrols and they all want to do something different for summer camp next summer, you'll be scrambling if you're going to make good on the promise of Scouting.

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  If you have 3 patrols and they all want to do something different for summer camp next summer, you'll be scrambling if you're going to make good on the promise of Scouting.

 

Thankfully summer camp is taken care of. Older Scouts are going to Philmont, the rest of the Scouts are going to a summer camp they never have been to before: our council's camp.

 

On a positive note, SPL is starting to take charge. Slowly but surely.

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Thankfully summer camp is taken care of. Older Scouts are going to Philmont, the rest of the Scouts are going to a summer camp they never have been to before: our council's camp.

 

On a positive note, SPL is starting to take charge. Slowly but surely.

Congrats!  Sounds like the older scouts are engaged and the younger ones excited.  SPL taking charge?  Shouldn't that be the PL's?  :)  That bugger of a Patrol-Method is next on your priorities, right?  :)

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Thing is if a troop is truly "Scout lead" you as an adult need to be willing to sit back and allow for some mistakes, some goofing off, and a little less quiet formality.

 

 

I learned this because we recently moved from one troop that was heavily adult led to one that was way more scout led and we had our first Court of Honor last weekend. Boy what a difference.

 

In the adult one it was all very solemn, quiet, formal. Adult leaders handed out every badge and ran the ceremony. Everything was neat and trim and by the numbers. Exactly what you'd expect from a troop lead by adults age 50 plus.

 

The boy led... well... the boys well they actually did fairly well. The scouts were the emcees and announced all the badges and such and the scouts came up and received them but after awhile things kind of started to break down. The boys got acting silly and goofy and at the end they had to make the boys clean up the area where they were sitting.

 

But, that is the nature of boys. You cannot expect perfect discipline. In the end all of the awards were given to whom deserved them which is what the event was all about. But things were not exactly "formal".

 

Odd thing is the other troop always claimed to be scout lead and some things were but you could easily tell it was adults who really ran things. For example the SPL was basically his Dad's little parrot and his Dad was always like "ok Brandon - tell them this..." and Brandon never made a decision without first asking his Dad's approval.

 

So lesson learned. To be truly "boy lead" expect some chaos.

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If adults can see that it is adult led, the boys have figured it out a looong time ago and will adjust accordingly.  If the adults want to run this show, we'll let them, but when they complain about us not doing anything, we will tacitly make it known that it's not our problem, we're not running the show and there's nothing we can do to fix it, we don't have the authority.

 

95% of the discipline problems of the standard adult-led troop are adult self inflicted.

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I told him the story that one of you posted, i forget who....

 

about when you go on a backpacking trip or a hike..... the boys have the map and compass and you are only bringing up the rear.... He made some comment like, oh boy, you hope they don't go the wrong direction.... I said so what if they do?  teaching moment....  More or less said that you hope through pre-planning and pre-coaching that they will have a good plan and follow it but you're not letting them march off a cliff, and so you set up camp in the new place called "lost", regroup, learn, and have adventure...

 

I think that was my story. :D  As Stosh says, train them then trust them.  I've trained the older boys on map and compass skills.  They understand what Baden Powell said about the best way to never get lost is to always know where you are.  By instinct, they now check the map at every landmark -- lake, hill, cross trail, dirt road, river crossing, swamp, etc. -- and figure out where they are on the map and what the next landmark will be.  They are now training the younger boys.

 

Needless to say, the boys haven't forgiven me for the time I let them walk a mile downhill past the trailhead without telling them.  But then again, they realized that they can't depend on me to navigate for them.  It gave me great joy when they would tell the younger scouts, "Don't trust Mr. Hedgehog -- he won't tell you if you are going the wrong way."  One time, we did take a wrong turn -- even I though we were going the right way.  When it became apparent when the trail abruptly ended, we turned around and went back to the junction.

 

Reading this thread, there are a lot of opportunities for the scouts to lead --- planning, meetings, outings, navigating, courts of honor, etc.  We just need to look at things every once in a while and make sure we are giving them as many opportunities as possible.

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So lesson learned. To be truly "boy lead" expect some chaos.

Not always. We had a family with a son in two different troops. Mom was very active on the committees of both troops, so she was always comparing. Once she told me that is was amazing to watch how our PLC started the meetings on time every time with zero adult help. In fact, the SPL sometimes complains that we adults are always late. She said the meetings in her other son's troop (largest troop in the district) always starts 20 to 30 minutes late because it takes that long for adults to get the scouts herded together and settled down. 

 

Really as boy run troops mature, they become less chaotic because the youth leaders have learned how to work as a team and become pretty efficient. You hear less yelling than in adult run troops because they help each other instead of letting one scout deal with situations. But it takes a few years to grow to that place.

 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad

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If adults can see that it is adult led, the boys have figured it out a looong time ago and will adjust accordingly.  If the adults want to run this show, we'll let them, but when they complain about us not doing anything, we will tacitly make it known that it's not our problem, we're not running the show and there's nothing we can do to fix it, we don't have the authority.

 

95% of the discipline problems of the standard adult-led troop are adult self inflicted.

Agreed 100%

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Please keep posting comments and ideas please.  More tools in my arsenal, the better job I can do.

 

Stosh mentions PLs and giving them responsibility. One responsibility I want to give them is the ability to sign off T-2-1 Requirements up to their own rank. Challenge at the moment is that all of the PLs are Scout. The troop has been more focused on the "Outing" and less so on advancement. We have guys in the troop 2, 3 years, and are still Scout, even after going to summer camp and being active. Troop has gotten into "advancement mode" due to Philmont. Funny thing is with the exception of the 30 days of exercises and showing improvement, Most of the stuff up to First Class has been done for some of these folks. One PL is going for Second Class and First Class BOR next week. Another is going for Tenderfoot and Second Class. So I see this happening finally.

 

But I admit I have mixed emotions on this. Long story short, instead of preparing for camporee, we are focusing on T-2-1 requirements this month. SPL had Scouts buddy up and working on advancement. One of the PLs was having challenges.  Part of me wonders will he be able to do the job? Part of me wonders is it because the SPL sprung it on him at the last minute?

 

On a positive note, this is one of the Scouts who, when asked if he thought he met the mile long compass course requirement a few months back, said no he and the others needed more practice. You don't know how proud I was of the group when they said that.

 

In regards to youth led troop being more organized, I was fortunate to be in an established youth-led troop. By established I mean we had been around for 20+ years, and had an older scout patrol, called the Leadership Corps at the time,and they ran things. Mostly 14 - 17 year olds who had "been there, done that, got the patch," and had the ability to control teh behavior of everyone with 6 words, " You're wasting your game time, gentlemen."

 

I think one reason why we were able to keep our guys active until 18, and even beyond as ASMs, was becasue the adults gave us ownership of the troop.

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