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"Train 'em. Trust 'em. LET THEM LEAD!"

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"Train 'em. Trust 'em. LET THEM LEAD!" William "Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt

 

Last night's meeting was a very good one. OK, the meeting was more patrol oriented than formal skills instruction then patrol meetings, but considering some of the challenges the troop has faced, I'm very happy.

 

As most  of you know, the troop was restarted and has had little adult mentoring of the youth.  Long story short, only 1 consistant leader in poor health until a few months ago. Since switching to an ASM role in June, I've been trying to work with the SPL and PLC and get them more involved in planning, operations, etc. Frustrating and challenging with previous SPL. BUT some of the youth noticed what was trying to be done and are taking heart.

 

We had our annual planning conference last week. I know, usually it's done in Aug/Sept, but this troop does it based on the charter year. SPL took the bull by the horns and ran it. Yes we has some adults interfere, and I was one of them, but for the most part,  our intereference was " you do realize that you have 2 campouts 2 weeks apart" and ideas on where to camp since we do not have a Where to Go Camping book.  Overall we got ourselves a good year ahead. May not be camping 12 months, we got the traditional lock in for next month, and we may have another next November aboard a ship. But we are doing something every month.

 

BUT what has made me happy was the meeting last night.  I've been working with the SPL to give him ideas on what to do and how things should be done. I gave him a sample meeting plan  to follow, and he came up with on on his own HOWEVER, found out at the last minute the meeting plan was not feasible du to an adult not being able to get the equipment tothe meeting. SO the SPL adapted and overcame. As mentioned above, the troop meeting turned into a more patrol oriented one rather than a skills one.  And it turned out to be a good thing as the patrols worked on some much needed items. 

 

Next two meeting are pretty much set in stone and require little planning. We have a Crossover to attend next week, and Christmas party the follwoing week. BUT HE HAS ALREADY STARTED WORKING ON THE JANUARY 4TH MEETING.  May not seem like a big deal to some, but for this troop it's a first. He's also gotten buy in from the older Scouts to do skills instruction. In fact, once they finished everything they needed to do, they were practicing their pioneering skills so they can teach the rest of the troop in January.

 

I am hoping this continues with the Scouts.

 

Next step is to get the adults out of the way. Yes we had two adults get a little to involved in the new scout patrol. Ok 3 adults, as I stepped in twice to remind them they need to listen to their troop guide, and a second time to tell them they need to focus on s specific item. But the other two adults, both former Cub Scout leaders, got a little too involved into their meeting.  I'm thinking the Troop Guide's idea of kicking out all the adults except one is a good one. Problem is, he doesn't know which adult to keep since we are all troublemakers to a degree. 

 

 

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"Train 'em. Trust 'em. LET THEM LEAD!" William "Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt

 

Last night's meeting was a very good one. OK, the meeting was more patrol oriented than formal skills instruction then patrol meetings, but considering some of the challenges the troop has faced, I'm very happy.

 

As most  of you know, the troop was restarted and has had little adult mentoring of the youth.  Long story short, only 1 consistant leader in poor health until a few months ago. Since switching to an ASM role in June, I've been trying to work with the SPL and PLC and get them more involved in planning, operations, etc. Frustrating and challenging with previous SPL. BUT some of the youth noticed what was trying to be done and are taking heart.

 

We had our annual planning conference last week. I know, usually it's done in Aug/Sept, but this troop does it based on the charter year. SPL took the bull by the horns and ran it. Yes we has some adults interfere, and I was one of them, but for the most part,  our intereference was " you do realize that you have 2 campouts 2 weeks apart" and ideas on where to camp since we do not have a Where to Go Camping book.  Overall we got ourselves a good year ahead. May not be camping 12 months, we got the traditional lock in for next month, and we may have another next November aboard a ship. But we are doing something every month.

 

BUT what has made me happy was the meeting last night.  I've been working with the SPL to give him ideas on what to do and how things should be done. I gave him a sample meeting plan  to follow, and he came up with on on his own HOWEVER, found out at the last minute the meeting plan was not feasible du to an adult not being able to get the equipment tothe meeting. SO the SPL adapted and overcame. As mentioned above, the troop meeting turned into a more patrol oriented one rather than a skills one.  And it turned out to be a good thing as the patrols worked on some much needed items. 

 

Next two meeting are pretty much set in stone and require little planning. We have a Crossover to attend next week, and Christmas party the follwoing week. BUT HE HAS ALREADY STARTED WORKING ON THE JANUARY 4TH MEETING.  May not seem like a big deal to some, but for this troop it's a first. He's also gotten buy in from the older Scouts to do skills instruction. In fact, once they finished everything they needed to do, they were practicing their pioneering skills so they can teach the rest of the troop in January.

 

I am hoping this continues with the Scouts.

 

Next step is to get the adults out of the way. Yes we had two adults get a little to involved in the new scout patrol. Ok 3 adults, as I stepped in twice to remind them they need to listen to their troop guide, and a second time to tell them they need to focus on s specific item. But the other two adults, both former Cub Scout leaders, got a little too involved into their meeting.  I'm thinking the Troop Guide's idea of kicking out all the adults except one is a good one. Problem is, he doesn't know which adult to keep since we are all troublemakers to a degree. 

 

 

The SM needs to find something for the meddling adults to do that doesn't directly involve the patrols.  I was almost that meddling Cub leader almost 6 years ago when my oldest first crossed over to Boy Scouts.  Thankfully, the SM at the time found me a job to do--Advancement chair.  I can remember about a month in, hearing the New Scout Patrol (my former Webelos Den for the most part) fumbling about with menu planning.  Thankfully I was seated at the computer entering in data, so it slowed me down enough to realize that I need to stay away from them. 

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Kick them all out!  If the boys are leading what purpose do the adults have in the meeting?

 

I find that 95% of my job as SM is keeping adults out of the boys' hair. 

 

"The boys can't do it without adult help, mentoring, directing and guiding!" .....   "How would you know?  You've never given them the chance to try."

 

"The boys were struggling with the problem, so I offered up some help."    .....  "And you thus took away their opportunity to work it out on their own, by emphasizing they weren't good enough to do it on their own."

 

"If left alone the boys will never be comfortable asking for help."  ....  "Then that's a problem they're going to need to work out on their own."

 

Occasionally the boys come up with a solution to their problems that I think is a really good idea.  Most of the time they don't and they struggle until they get something that will get them through the situation.  I really don't think they are capable of coming up with brilliant ideas the first time around, but I'm not going to have my adults running around making sure they don't fail. 

 

My lesson for leadership for my boys is: "Take care of your boys."  My lesson for adult leadership is: "Make opportunities for the boys, don't take them away."

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The SM needs to find something for the meddling adults to do that doesn't directly involve the patrols.  I was almost that meddling Cub leader almost 6 years ago when my oldest first crossed over to Boy Scouts.  Thankfully, the SM at the time found me a job to do--Advancement chair.  I can remember about a month in, hearing the New Scout Patrol (my former Webelos Den for the most part) fumbling about with menu planning.  Thankfully I was seated at the computer entering in data, so it slowed me down enough to realize that I need to stay away from them

 

I'm actually working on that.  Any ideas to keep the adults away will help! I'm actually thinking snacks in another room for the adults to socialize. IF we can find another room.

 

 

Kick them all out!  If the boys are leading what purpose do the adults have in the meeting?

 

I find that 95% of my job as SM is keeping adults out of the boys' hair. 

 

"The boys can't do it without adult help, mentoring, directing and guiding!" .....   "How would you know?  You've never given them the chance to try."

 

"The boys were struggling with the problem, so I offered up some help."    .....  "And you thus took away their opportunity to work it out on their own, by emphasizing they weren't good enough to do it on their own."

 

"If left alone the boys will never be comfortable asking for help."  ....  "Then that's a problem they're going to need to work out on their own."

 

Occasionally the boys come up with a solution to their problems that I think is a really good idea.  Most of the time they don't and they struggle until they get something that will get them through the situation.  I really don't think they are capable of coming up with brilliant ideas the first time around, but I'm not going to have my adults running around making sure they don't fail. 

 

My lesson for leadership for my boys is: "Take care of your boys."  My lesson for adult leadership is: "Make opportunities for the boys, don't take them away."

 

TG suggested one adult so that if the SPL has a question, he won't have to track someone down in another room. And he doesn't want the SM because he gets involved too easily. It's trying to figure out which adult since ALL of us, myself included, have butted in on occasion.

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The structure I use for the NSP is the PL's right-hand man is is APL.  He's the one there that supports the PL work WITHIN the patrol.

 

The SPL is the PL's left-hand man.  He's the one there that supports the PL work OUTSIDE the patrol.

 

If the SPL has a question, he needs to come to the PL.  The TG is the #1 guide/mentor for the PL to help him understand how to work with these two support systems.  If the PL needs the SPL who's off with other duties, he's the go-to guy to find him.  Yes, there's a lot of work involved with the NSP that is more than any of the other patrols, but as far as I can see, there is no role for an adult in any of it.

 

It sounds as if your TG isn't ready for doing his job with the new patrol and is seeking support from an adult.  I would suggest if this is happening on a regular basis, more forethought needs to be put into the process.  One scout, Den Chief for the 2nd Year Webelos boys (12 month commitment with National Award as the goal).  When they cross over into Boy Scouts, he merely continues on (without the "DL" adult) and becomes the new TG. 

 

:)  If you are using the BSA recommendations of SM management delegating to SPL who is management delegating to PL's who are management delegating to their members, you're on your own.  I haven't found that process to be a very efficient way to run the troop using the patrol method keeping it boy led.

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:)  If you are using the BSA recommendations of SM management delegating to SPL who is management delegating to PL's who are management delegating to their members, you're on your own.  I haven't found that process to be a very efficient way to run the troop using the patrol method keeping it boy led.

You did it wrong, the BSA doesn't recommend using that method. 

 

Barry

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You just have to keep reminding the adults until it sticks. Most eventually get it. This isn't a fact that you can tell them once and they get it. It's an idea with lots of ramifications. Once they start understanding how all these ramifications fit together then they're quite helpful. It took a couple of years since I was starting from scratch but now I have adults that get it. If you can find them a job to do that's great but this is really all about training the adults.

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It sounds as if your TG isn't ready for doing his job with the new patrol and is seeking support from an adult.  I would suggest if this is happening on a regular basis, more forethought needs to be put into the process.  One scout, Den Chief for the 2nd Year Webelos boys (12 month commitment with National Award as the goal).  When they cross over into Boy Scouts, he merely continues on (without the "DL" adult) and becomes the new TG. 

 

TG is brand new to the position, so he is getting a feel for it. Plus we never really had a functioning TG before IMHO, so he has no role model to follow.  My son's TG didn't do a thing, and the previous TG ended up getting elected PL of the NSP. And that was a "challenge." Considering it was his first night really working with them, my observations are he's OK. Needs some time, and adults out of his hair.

 

You just have to keep reminding the adults until it sticks. Most eventually get it. This isn't a fact that you can tell them once and they get it. It's an idea with lots of ramifications. Once they start understanding how all these ramifications fit together then they're quite helpful. It took a couple of years since I was starting from scratch but now I have adults that get it. If you can find them a job to do that's great but this is really all about training the adults.

 

This is going to be the challenge, especially since I honestly think one of the CS leaders is reliving his Scout Days with the troop. One of the two adults who interfered  I can talk to and get to see the light. The other reminds me of when I was a brand new ASM, and couldn't get out of "Boy Scout" mode

and into "Scouter mode."

 

As the song goes, 'It's gonna take time....patience and time to do it right."

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TG is brand new to the position, so he is getting a feel for it. Plus we never really had a functioning TG before IMHO, so he has no role model to follow.  My son's TG didn't do a thing, and the previous TG ended up getting elected PL of the NSP. And that was a "challenge." Considering it was his first night really working with them, my observations are he's OK. Needs some time, and adults out of his hair.

 

 

I don't know the experiences or ages of your scouts, so take this in stride, but we never had a good TG that was younger than 14, and most of our 15 and older TGs were better than great. Puberty changes a person's perspective of life. 

 

Barry

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You did it wrong, the BSA doesn't recommend using that method. 

 

Barry

 

I know what they recommend, but I also know what they will allow outside their recommendations and are two different animals.  Touting Boy Led, Patrol Method and then focusing in on membership drives and FOS and letting the units do whatever it is they do, is not the solution to the problem.

 

When the District Commissioner comes and asks why my troop seems to be doing well with the patrol method and other units aren't, then it isn't my problem to fix.  I don't need fixing and BSA doesn't seem to be really interested in promoting what they are expecting when it comes to their recommendations on programming.  Until they get beyond the curious stage, I don't see much effective promotion of BSA patrol method going to be happening any time soon.

 

Last time I saw the BSA literature it still shows the standard org chart with the SM at the top.  That's the standard business management org chart.  Until the local businesses adopt the patrol method of operation for their strategy, I'm thinking they will do well with the management structure.  However, the patrol method does not adapt itself well to the top-down management model.  Those that do accept that model tend to be adult led and patrol method in name only.

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I know what they recommend, 

Obviously not because the rest of your post isn't BSA recommendations either. I know of a lot of Boy Run programs that work very well within the system. But, I also know a lot of scouters with chips on their shoulder and use blaming the BSA to prop themselves up to look taller in the room. The way your run your troop of five scouts is even an example of working within the BSA system. You can blame your parents, your ASMs and Unit commissioners. Even can even blame your district volunteers and council leadership, but that still doesn't mean the BSA policies and guidelines are the real source of your angst. 

 

Barry

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That may be part of the problem. When my son joined the troop, they doubled, creating a true NSP for the first time. First TG was 14. So age maybe a factor. But another factor may be the SM. SM is old school, and was talked into doing NSP by the ASM who was suppose to take over. SM is used to mixed aged patrols.

 

And to be honest, I'm not too thrilled with NSPs to date. But I also realize that we haven't had an effective TG to do the job properly. SO this is a learning expereince for all.

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And to be honest, I'm not too thrilled with NSPs to date. But I also realize that we haven't had an effective TG to do the job properly. SO this is a learning expereince for all.

Very much so. We tried several different styles of bringing new scouts into the troop before we had enough experience to understand what works and why. You have heard me say several times before that the adults have to learn twice as much twice as fast to build a good boy run program that doesn't get in the boys way. Once you (the adults) understand that learning is part of the experience and that it is OK to change, it's starts to become more fun and less frustrating. I see your future and are going to enjoy your scouting experiences. You will love this scouting stuff.

 

Barry

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 You have heard me say several times before that the adults have to learn twice as much twice as fast to build a good boy run program that doesn't get in the boys way. Once you (the adults) understand that learning is part of the experience and that it is OK to change, it's starts to become more fun and less frustrating.

 

 

 

Definitely true. I've need to relearn some things about younger Scouts. I've spent too much time on the district level working with the OA or adults and on the Cub level, that I need to relearn working with new Boy Scouts.  sat down and realized it's been essentially 11 years sicne I worked with a troop as an ASM.

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Definitely true. I've need to relearn some things about younger Scouts. I've spent too much time on the district level working with the OA or adults and on the Cub level, that I need to relearn working with new Boy Scouts.  sat down and realized it's been essentially 11 years sicne I worked with a troop as an ASM.

These are a few of my basics guidelines I learned over the years for younger boys (13 and younger) that I kept in mind while I was SM.

 

*Instinctively (until puberty) young scouts want adventure, not responsibility. Give them "BIG" doses of adventure, small doses of responsibility.

*Young scouts learn 90% of their actions by observing actions of those around them.

*Everything a young scout observes in the troop before puberty will be how he acts and behaves after puberty. 

*The quality of a troop is best measured from the actions of the older scouts.

 

What I’m trying to say is focus on the quality of the older scouts to get the best quality younger scouts. Most troops seem to do the reverse and the result is boring programs focused around 1st Class scouts skills and scouts leaving the troop after puberty.

 

That being said, the BSA looses more scouts in their first six months of joining a troop than any other age. Jumping from following adult instructions all their life to a program expecting them to make independent decisions is very scary for 10 year olds. So, new scouts do require some special attention for the first few months to develop trust in the older scouts and adults. As I said, it took us several years to “kind of†get a grasp of working new scouts. But we found that if you can keep your new scouts six months, you will likely have them for several years.

 

Barry

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