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Eagle94-A1

Change in The Troop, It's Coming

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So we had a meeting of SM and several ASMs last night. One of the topics of discussion was changing the patrols. Thankfully nothing will be done until it's time for unit elections, which will be May. Lots of discussion on this.

 

One idea was doing away with the older scout patrol, assigning them to the the other patrols and making it so that they would get elected PLs, but then when camporees came about, they reform for competition. Thankfully that was dismissed. My comments was that it was to adult oriented, bet their would not be any buy in, we are essentially appointing leaders, and we would be forming "Ringer" patrols for competition. SM agreed with that. One of the leaders tried to point out that an older Scout patrol is a ringer patrol, but had to tel;l him the difference is that the OSP is always together, whereas a ringer patrol only gets together for competition in  order to win.

 

My idea of keeping the older scout patrol and integrating the two other patrols into two mixed aged patrols so that they would have a mix of Scouts, was discussed. Challenge was that some of the younger scouts won't listen to the middle aged ones. Adults had some concerns and we went to option 3.

 

All three patrols will be disbanded. Everyone mixed up and arranged so that we are true mixed aged patrols. Anyone can run for PL, so the older Scouts are taking their chances.

 

While the adults are leaning towards that one, it was brought up that the older Scouts need to have some input and some ownership on this change. Plus they may come up with ideas we did not think about. The older Scouts know that things need to change. They even commented on that this weekend at the lock in. Game plan is to let things as they are until April, then have a meeting with them. discuss this with them, and get their thoughts, concerns, and ideas on the matter.

 

Especially since we are estimating anywhere from 14 to 29 new scouts crossing over in December 2016. We need to get a handle on this growth, and handle it NOW!.

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What is the goal of reorganizing the patrols?  It is to make the adults happy?   If the adults think something needs to change, then I recommend offering the topic to the troop.  Make it a project where the existing patrols meet, discuss and come back with their own ideas 2 weeks later.  Then the boys will have buy in with the final decision. 

 

If the adults are going to pick and decide without boys input, then just do it now. 

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Agree with your motives; mixed age patrols enable young ones to learn from experienced scouts.

 

But older scout patrols do a better job of keeping the older scouts involved.

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What is the goal of reorganizing the patrols?  It is to make the adults happy?   If the adults think something needs to change, then I recommend offering the topic to the troop.  Make it a project where the existing patrols meet, discuss and come back with their own ideas 2 weeks later.  Then the boys will have buy in with the final decision. 

 

If the adults are going to pick and decide without boys input, then just do it now. 

 

Goal is to make the entire troop work a little better so that no patrol is waiting for the others to finish doing something. It's to get to get the younger Scouts to listen, learn, and have the older scouts do more. Me personally I see it as a way to get the older Scouts involved and the adults out of the picture.

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Agree with your motives; mixed age patrols enable young ones to learn from experienced scouts.

 

But older scout patrols do a better job of keeping the older scouts involved.

 

One of the things discussed was doing the basics, i.e. cooking, cleaning, etc as patrols, but activities would be broken out, i.e. All the older Scouts woudl do XYZ Trail or ABC activities at a camp out, while the others would do 123 or 098 stuff.

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Goal is to make the entire troop work a little better so that no patrol is waiting for the others to finish doing something. It's to get to get the younger Scouts to listen, learn, and have the older scouts do more. Me personally I see it as a way to get the older Scouts involved and the adults out of the picture.

Is your problem that one or two of the patrols are a little slow, or one of the "fast" patrols isn't challenged enough?

 

For example, in our backpacking excursions, we may assign the older scout patrol a 14 miler and the younger scout patrols 5 milers. Since each patrol is doing all if its day's activity independently, there's no reason to do any cooking together as a troop.

 

Regardless, I don't understand why you all are afraid of putting the boys in a room and tasking them with figuring out the roster of three patrols by the time you all come back from grabbing a coffee.

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Good questions.   Slow would be an understatement.  Dysfunctional would be a better term.  4 hours to cook and clean?

 

As for why the adults are "afraid," I honestly do not know.

 

I do know that one patrol has been having problems getting basic menus and duty roosters done, and that is with a TG trying to help. Same patrol wanted to change their name, and 1.5 months later still have not come up with a new name. That play's a little bit for me.

 

But the biggest thing is that the troop hasn't tried mixed aged patrols since they were restarted, and have not been really boy led, not used the patrol method as I know, experience,  and taught. Although I have been with them for 2 years now, it's only been since summer that I have been to every meeting I 've been able to witness how things have been done. I've mentioned the elections process in another thread. Plus the Scouts know the situation is not good, but don't want to offer solutions.

 

As to why the troop  is in the situation of trying to sort out which patrol style old school or new school, I think it has to do with leaders.

 

Current SM is old school, but has been trying to find a replacement for some time acceptable to all parties involved: youth and CO. So when the troop got into the situation that it doubled in size with the introduction of new scouts, the "heir apparant" who joined Scouting  after NSPs came out in 1989, used that model to set up the troop.SM deferred to him because, the plan was the SM to step down, and he wanted the troop to be run how the replaces (my buddy the heir apparent)

 

 

I've mentioned the issues with the heir apparant, i.e. CM and work, who hasn't been able to help them as needed. And the two troop guides, I don't really think comprehended what they were suppose to do, nor were able to get the mentoring needed from an ASM. For an active troop, i.e. camping 11 times a year with a lock in the 12th month, we have Scouts because of the NSP. We have Scouts trying to work with the NSP as TG who either do not get it, or are overwhelmed. Plus add into that the adult interference factor.

 

We now have myself and another ASM who old school, having joined scouting prior to NSPs. We either have negative experiences with NSPs ( me) or no experience with NSPs ( the other ASM who is an alum of the troop and has 2 sons in the troop now.)

 

How is it affecting the current patrol situation affecting the Scouts? And this is the important part for me. We have lost  a new scouts because of the lack of organization for the NSP. The NSP has NO experience in scouting, and  are constantly asking the adults what to do. As I mentioned, the TG, who is my son, as well as the OSP have commented to me and other adults that the NSP is a problem, but the Scouts do not offer solutions. My son is worried that any solution he offers will make it worse, and he doesn't want that to happen.

 

One thing I forgot to mention, the idea of disbanding all three patrols and having the scouts reform them, limiting the number of older Scouts in each patrol and missing up the two regular patrols is hoped to be temporary, and get the Scouts to see how things can be done so that we can reestablish the OSP as a "venture patrol," for lack of a better term, with the troop level position holders, and the second year scouts learnign and gaining insight from the OSP members so that when the troop get the anticipated 2-4 patrols worth of new Scouts in December, they can step up to the plate.

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What's the motivation for this whole process?

 

Make adult control of the situation easier?

Cover up the use of troop method by creating patrols to improve the troop image?

NSP too much work for the adults?

Busy body work for busy body adults?

 

Put the boys in a room tell them they can have 6-8 boys to a patrol and when everybody is happy with the new patrols they can come out of the room and let the adults know what they decided.  That's always worked for me.  Boys never complain because they decided, not the adults.

 

I have 2 active scouts presently one Scout, one Tenderfoot.  We are a new troop,  The boys have a potential of 34 new Webelos coming on board in the next 4 months.  Oh to have the problem of sitting around all day long trying to decide on what boy belongs in what patrol and who gets to wear what patches.  Must be nice to have that much free time as an adult leader.  Maybe the Committee should be the ones voting on this......

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I'm wondering if you're solving the wrong problems.

 

The best way to get the scouts to buy in to any change of patrols is for them to decide. If their decisions are based on greed then there will be problems. If the scouts are truly looking out for everyone in the troop then they will come up with something better than you. I would trust them, with some reasonable discussions. You need to set boundaries and then let them go.

 

You also mention getting older scouts to step up and help out. Again, this gets back to scouts looking out for everyone in the troop. That might be the underlying problem. If adults are even close to "assigning them to the other patrols and making it so that they would get elected PLs" then there's no trust either way between adults and the older scouts. I find that a big part of getting the older scouts to step up. Twice you mention that the scouts don't want to offer any solutions. My guess is this is because they don't think the adults trust them. It takes a lot to coax ideas out of scouts. 

 

You mention 4 hours to cook, eat and clean. If the oldest scout in this patrol is 12, that's a bit long but not too much of a surprise. If there are scouts 14 and older, then this isn't an issue that adding older scouts will fix. This is just a complete lack of teamwork and/or skill.

 

I always have at least two troop guides for each new scout patrol, and the ones that do well are at least 16.

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First, let's contemplate that word "temporary." Let's put the average Boy Scout tenure at 5 years (a few age out, a few drop out). If this temporary change is for a year, that will consume 20% of his scouting career ... That boils down to 20% fewer leadership opportunities.

 

NSPs stink. I believe it. But usually they stink because they aren't challenged to cook a complex meal. (Someone talks them out of it for the sake of efficiency.) Yours did, and learned that their lack of teamwork costs time. They stink because they are saddled with a name that someone else gave them or they chose when they really didn't know what they were doing. Yours are taking up the challenge of renaming themselves.

 

Have the SPL ask the boys in can't-get-their-name-right patrol if they want to stick together. If yes, the troop will try to support them with better coaching. (Pull the TG. Give the PL and APL a couple of training evenings and weekends courtesy of the oldest scouts. Invite them on a special activity that the Veteran patrol is doing. Etc ...) If no, then the troop's other patrols will decide who wants to be traded for some younger scouts in hopes of gaining more mentoring opportunities.

 

None of this is the SM/ASM's problem to solve.

December is forever away in a boy's mind. By then NSP may be a bunch of cracker jacks.

Edited by qwazse

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What's the motivation for this whole process?

 

Make adult control of the situation easier?

Cover up the use of troop method by creating patrols to improve the troop image?

NSP too much work for the adults?

Busy body work for busy body adults?

 

Put the boys in a room tell them they can have 6-8 boys to a patrol and when everybody is happy with the new patrols they can come out of the room and let the adults know what they decided.  That's always worked for me.  Boys never complain because they decided, not the adults.

 

I have 2 active scouts presently one Scout, one Tenderfoot.  We are a new troop,  The boys have a potential of 34 new Webelos coming on board in the next 4 months.  Oh to have the problem of sitting around all day long trying to decide on what boy belongs in what patrol and who gets to wear what patches.  Must be nice to have that much free time as an adult leader.  Maybe the Committee should be the ones voting on this......

 

Motivation for this is the NSP format is not working. With the exception of the recent Crossover and a transfer, everyone in the NSP have been in a minimum of 6 months, with most 10 months are more.  The youth should be able to handle things by now without coming to the adults for every little thing.

I'll give you an example, an argument broke out over how to do KP and the importance of doing it correctly. TG got involved, attempted to deal with it, and eventually an adult had to butt in. One of the Scouts started yelling and crying because he didn't get the poptarts (please don't go there) he wanted. Yep adults got involved briefly because he was cutting up like there was an accident. Luckily the three adults basically said get over it, with one saying be thankful you are allowed poptarts, that would never be allowed in the troop when he was a Scout.

 

It's gotten so bad, that I've been assigned as the "NSP ASM," which is all honesty I don't think should even exist. In the troops I've been in, except for one, the older Scouts were able to do the mentoring and counseling. Adults didn't have to get involved in the patrols' business.

 

All of the leaders want the boys to take more control and ownership. The Scouts should be able to handle the basics, and it is not happening. 

 

And in all honesty our NSPs are essentially adult created.  All new Scouts are automatically put into them. Once they get First Class, they move up.

 

Our game plan is to talk to the older scouts first. We want to talk to them to get ideas that we may not have thought about, and talk about the ideas we have and come up with a solution agreeable to them. The other two patrols we are not worried about because they will follow their lead. Already saw that with the annual planning conference. 

 

 

I'm wondering if you're solving the wrong problems.

 

The best way to get the scouts to buy in to any change of patrols is for them to decide. If their decisions are based on greed then there will be problems. If the scouts are truly looking out for everyone in the troop then they will come up with something better than you. I would trust them, with some reasonable discussions. You need to set boundaries and then let them go.

 

You also mention getting older scouts to step up and help out. Again, this gets back to scouts looking out for everyone in the troop. That might be the underlying problem. If adults are even close to "assigning them to the other patrols and making it so that they would get elected PLs" then there's no trust either way between adults and the older scouts. I find that a big part of getting the older scouts to step up. Twice you mention that the scouts don't want to offer any solutions. My guess is this is because they don't think the adults trust them. It takes a lot to coax ideas out of scouts. 

 

You mention 4 hours to cook, eat and clean. If the oldest scout in this patrol is 12, that's a bit long but not too much of a surprise. If there are scouts 14 and older, then this isn't an issue that adding older scouts will fix. This is just a complete lack of teamwork and/or skill.

 

I always have at least two troop guides for each new scout patrol, and the ones that do well are at least 16.

 

That's why we want their input, and some of us were against setting qualifications on who can PL. I know I have one idea on how things can work based upon my experience, but as is constantly mentioned, all scouting is local. Plus as repeated mentioned , the Scouts need to be the decision makers.

 

I also want the PLs to pick their own APL, instead of "nominations for APL" and the SM selecting them (that was in my unit elections thread, but I am going to bring that up later, say at the March-April meeting with the older scouts). I want the youth to make the decisions.

 

And one of the issues is that the SM, because he has not had support to get the troop up and running, did do more than he should of to get the troop up and running. I'm thinking he realizes that mistake, and is trying to come up with ideas to resolve it, hence the leaders meeting. In fact, this has been the first one I know of in the 2 years!  But again, up until recently, he was the only adult to show up at every meeting and camp out.  The rest of us have been involved in Cub Scouts.

 

We've tried different things to develop teamwork to include initiative games. It's been interesting to put it mildly. For whatever reason they are not melding. I think part of that is that the entire patrol is not camping at the same time, it's always  3/4 of the patrol, and usually it's different ones.

 

As for the ideas of trust, that may be part of it. It's only been in the past year that the Scouts really and truly started organizing and running the instruction. I admit, I've been one of those pushing for that and helping the Scouts to do the job. And I also admit I'm part of the problem at times. There was a spell where both the SPL and ASPL were MIA.  I took the liberty of organizing the Scouts and one or two leaders, who I knew had the knowledge, skills, and abilities to teach the instruction for the month they were MIA. What's interesting is that the Scouts, while skeptical that the other Scouts could actually do the job, LOVED IT. They have slowly taken on the job. Have they made mistakes, yep. Are the older Scouts learning from them. Yep. The older Scouts are SLOWLY coming around.

 

As for TGs I know that is a problem. Until when my son joined, the troop was a one patrol troop. SM has 0 experience with TGs, and the ASM who brought it up and implemented has not been around to help. Plus they were in the 13 year old range as we were such a new and young troop. Oldest member just turned 15.

 

 

First, let's contemplate that word "temporary." Let's put the average Boy Scout tenure at 5 years (a few age out, a few drop out). If this temporary change is for a year, that will consume 20% of his scouting career ... That boils down to 20% fewer leadership opportunities.

 

NSPs stink. I believe it. But usually they stink because they aren't challenged to cook a complex meal. (Someone talks them out of it for the sake of efficiency.) Yours did, and learned that their lack of teamwork costs time. They stink because they are saddled with a name that someone else gave them or they chose when they really didn't know what they were doing. Yours are taking up the challenge of renaming themselves.

 

Have the SPL ask the boys in can't-get-their-name-right patrol if they want to stick together. If yes, the troop will try to support them with better coaching. (Pull the TG. Give the PL and APL a couple of training evenings and weekends courtesy of the oldest scouts. Invite them on a special activity that the Veteran patrol is doing. Etc ...) If no, then the troop's other patrols will decide who wants to be traded for some younger scouts in hopes of gaining more mentoring opportunities.

 

None of this is the SM/ASM's problem to solve.

December is forever away in a boy's mind. By then NSP may be a bunch of cracker jacks.

 

By temporary, I mean we hope that the older Scouts can be such good examples, the rest of the troop will take off, especially when we get the mass induction in December. We really want the older Scouts to take on troop level PORs and be a "Leadership Corps" for lack of a better term, and let the 12-14 years olds get their hands on some experience working with new guys in their patrols. But the comment was made that the decision to do away with NSPs should be reevaluated six months after it is implemented.

 

I agree they didn't know what they were doing when they picked their patrol name. It took them almost a month to pick it, and it was selected because when they did a vote on names it had the most votes (2).

 

As for training, believe it or not,  2/3s of the patrol did ILST because we did it as a troop activity. That was a requirement in place for PL: was having done  the ILST training, or go through it within a month of election.  I admit I had a part to play in that in that I wanted ILST done for leaders in the troop. However my son said everyone should probably take it, and planned it as such when he was SPL. Ok enough of being a proud papa.

 

As for trading scouts, that's the idea at the next unit elections. I don't they will be cracker jacks  by May, but I could be wrong.

 

On a different note, I've been assigned to be the NSP's ASM. Reason being that other than the SM and "heir apparent,"  I'm the only other leader who does not have a son in the NSP since "the TG doesn't count as a member."  I've already started talking about my new role with my son the TG. He's ok with me helping to teach skills, more hands to help teach the easier it is. But he wants me to butt out when problems arise until he asks for help.  I'm good with that, but it's the recently crossed over  CS leaders that I'm worried about. ;)

 

Please keep the questions and advice coming. I've been fortunate to be in established troops in the past, save one which I wasn't around long for. I admit I feel like I'm on a highwire doing a balancing act. I want the youth to take over, make the plans, etc. But I think the youth are afraid to try new things, fear the adults are going to overrule them or something similar. 

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my first thought was 

why are you even having that discussion?

Goal is to make the entire troop work a little better so that no patrol is waiting for the others to finish doing something. It's to get to get the younger Scouts to listen, learn, and have the older scouts do more. Me personally I see it as a way to get the older Scouts involved and the adults out of the picture.

 

So I would then ask why don't you (the SM) just put the question out to the SPL or PLC?

not the patrol restructure question... but the root of it.... mentioning that it seems the patrols aren't working well (or whatever the motivation was that prompted this discussion in the first place)

Put the problem to them

then if they get stuck, or ask for suggestions, the SM could brainstorm these ideas with the SPL who would brainstorm it with the PLC....

 

who knows, maybe they don't really have a problem with the way it is.

or maybe they do and just didn't notice it

or just didn't know what to do about it

and if there really is a problem, they might come up with an entirely different solution to try.

 

and if ultimately they come up with the same idea that the adults did, to restructure the patrols....

Stosh's suggestion of giving them some basic guidelines regarding patrol size and then stepping back seems to be spot on in keeping with letting the boys lead

 

What's the motivation for this whole process?

 

Make adult control of the situation easier?

Cover up the use of troop method by creating patrols to improve the troop image?

NSP too much work for the adults?

Busy body work for busy body adults?

 

Put the boys in a room tell them they can have 6-8 boys to a patrol and when everybody is happy with the new patrols they can come out of the room and let the adults know what they decided.  That's always worked for me.  Boys never complain because they decided, not the adults.

 

I have 2 active scouts presently one Scout, one Tenderfoot.  We are a new troop,  The boys have a potential of 34 new Webelos coming on board in the next 4 months.  Oh to have the problem of sitting around all day long trying to decide on what boy belongs in what patrol and who gets to wear what patches.  Must be nice to have that much free time as an adult leader.  Maybe the Committee should be the ones voting on this......

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I'm going to be different again in that I think this is a problem for the whole troop, not just the Scouts. While I agree that scouts are going to have to be given room and trust to make some very difficult choices here, the adults are going to have to be part of the solution. For some reason this forum demonizes adults to the point that any new scouter taking the advice from here has no where to go except to be dysfunctional. Adult Association IS one of the Eight Methods. It needs to be practiced to learn and grow from the experience. And for newer members here, don't assume I am an adult run promoter. I was called the boy run guru in our Council and was part of very successful boy run units. But there is a place for the adults in successful boy run programs and I know Eagle94 had that experience in his own youth scout troop.

 

So, lets move on. Maybe because I've been there and suffered greatly from the experiences, but the expected number of new scouts next years is not trivial. I have said before that when a troop doubles in numbers overnight, THE PROGRAM IS STARTING OVER. There is no way the scouts can manage the program that doubles in size overnight running business as usual. If the troop (adults and scouts) don't have a plan for the growth, the troop WILL LOOSE at least 50 percent of the new scouts within 6 months. So I think you are right Eagle94 to be concerned about it. 

 

So lets not look at this as the scouts will figure it out when the new scouts arrive. Even when my Troop was at its best with mature well experienced 17 year old seniour scouts, the PLC still hated the first four weeks of getting new scouts because of their chaotic mischievous behavior. Remember, up until a boy joins a troop, he has been guided, trained, taught, coached and disciplined by adults all his life. Not other boys near their age, but adults. Ten year old boys by their nature give adults respect simply because their stature gives them the authority to discipline their behavior. But they don't have that experience with other boys. They in their nature will ignore the instructions of boys if they choose because they don't respect their ability to hold them accountable. So it takes some time for new scouts to develop that respect. In the meantime watching the older scouts work with large numbers of new scouts is best described as herding cats. And trust me, the scouts don't like it. Folks think that scouts are comfortable with chaos and misbehavior. They hate it. 

 

To get to where your troop can be somewhat ready for this invasion, the patrols have to develop enough habits and traditions that when the big change comes, they will keep on functioning by simply doing what they have been doing. First off, as I said, the troop is starting over. The patrols likely won't look anything 18 months from now to what you will have at this years summer camp. But, if the patrols have a routine of getting up, cooking, eating, assembling for the day, program, lunch, program, free time, cooking, eating, assembling, campfire, crackerbarrel and lights out. They have a place to start. I think it is very important that your patrols have this routine by summer camp because that is where the patrol method will be branded into scouts. What they have after summer camp is likely the best you will get between now and next December. So you have a lot of work to do.

 

Next, there is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY you can have a functional troop in one year that is ready for the invasion if the scouts and adults don't work together. That in noway suggest a compromise to the boy run principles of the troop. What it means is everybody needs to be on the same page of where the troop is now, and where it wants to go. The scouts need to take the lead, but that only means the adults need to give the scouts authority of making the choices for moving forward. Let me give you and idea of what I mean. While I was SM, I never allowed the any adult to put the Scout Sign up first for any reason. If the adult had the floor but couldn't talk because the room was too loud, the adult walked over to the scout with the authority and asked him for help. The Scout initiated the action for change. In that way, the adults give the scouts respect for scouts directing the program.

 

I agree with the idea of asking scouts for ideas to the problem. Several approaches this and one way would be to have a youth leaders and adults meet together to discuss the concern. Only one adult talks while the others sit in respect to the authority of the scouts. I would have the concerns on paper so that everyone is reading off the same page. Maybe the groups could breakup then with a plan to get together that day, next week or whatever to listen to the scouts ideas. That should lead to other discussions, but AS A TEAM, the group needs to focus ideals for specific goals. Then work as a team for the next year to be ready.

 

Other suggestions are have the ideas the scouts are going to use in writing so that both the scouts and the adults understand what is going on. That way when obstacles pop up, both groups understand the problem and possible approaches to solutions. I encourage troops to purchase the SPL and PL Handbooks and issue them to the PLC and Adults. They are easy to understand and keep both groups working in the same direction. When a question pops up, the adult and scout sit down and pull our their handbook to see if there is direction there. This is how the troop develops the scouts trust for the adults that someone mentioned. 

 

This is a difficult balance for a troop with such a challenge, but so long as the there is an understanding of patrol method and the objective of using the method, everyone should be able to move forward. 

 

Now I've left out a lot for how to develop the adult scout relationship as it pertains to patrol method, boy run, independent decision making and so on. We can discuss that too, but my main point with this post is to get your scouts working the method now to develop some habits and traditions that will carry them through the big change. 

 

It's going to be fun.

 

Barry

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I've been through this whole thing and the discussion way too many times.  If it were up to me, adults don't choose the patrols ever. SPL and PLC doesn't choose the patrols ... ever.  It's up to the scouts to choose who they want to spend time with.  And that's the key.  Patrols are groups that will do things together.  Forcing a social mix doesn't work.  IMHO, it's even best when the 17 year old scouts that are down to two or three in their patrol are left to be.  Let them have their patrol.  Let them love their patrol name that they have had since they were 11 years old.  IMHO, it's the only way.  Scouts have to have ownership of their patrols.  Mixing them up or assigning them just causes problems.  

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Motivation for this is the NSP format is not working. With the exception of the recent Crossover and a transfer, everyone in the NSP have been in a minimum of 6 months, with most 10 months are more.  The youth should be able to handle things by now without coming to the adults for every little thing.

 

And if the adults react appropriately in a trustful manner as was mentioned, the NSP will work.  I have for the past 3 years been working with Webelos cross over boys and have basically been a NSP for that length of time.  Now after 3 years, we have one 13 year old to run the troop/patrol.  No TG's, no SPL, just a Tenderfoot PL looking at taking on the potential of 34 Webelos cross over boys currently in the packs closest to us.  Bring it on! 

 

I'll give you an example, an argument broke out over how to do KP and the importance of doing it correctly. TG got involved, attempted to deal with it, and eventually an adult had to butt in.  Impatience of adults is the #1 killer of boy led.  One of the Scouts started yelling and crying because he didn't get the poptarts (please don't go there) LOL he wanted. Yep adults got involved briefly because he was cutting up like there was an accident. No blood, no foul, just walk away.  Luckily the three adults basically said get over it, with one saying be thankful you are allowed poptarts, that would never be allowed in the troop when he was a Scout.  If I had a dollar for every tantrum I have had to watch I'd be a wealthy man.  Just try and remember that tantrums are not limited to toddlers, they can go on for many years if not dealt with correctly by parents.

 

It's gotten so bad, that I've been assigned as the "NSP ASM," which is all honesty I don't think should even exist. In the troops I've been in, except for one, the older Scouts were able to do the mentoring and counseling. Adults didn't have to get involved in the patrols' business.  Totally agree.... as it should be.

 

All of the leaders want the boys to take more control and ownership. The Scouts should be able to handle the basics, and it is not happening. So what's keeping them from it other than adults haranguing them about it?

 

And in all honesty our NSPs are essentially adult created.  All new Scouts are automatically put into them. Once they get First Class, they move up.  They are not adult created, they are situationally created.  A lot of times they are made up of a Webelos den of boys that come in from the same pack, sometimes they are a conglomerate of multiple dens from multiple packs.  If they were adult created, things would be a ton better, but instead one has to work with the hand they were dealt.  Even though I allow NSP's is because they are the least disruptive to the existing patrol structure.  New boys often go into existing patrols for two major reasons.  They either have a friend or relative in the older patrol or the older boy has less than 6 members and needs to get back to full strength.  When this happens the older boy patrol sometimes get the new boys they want, but if the new boy wants to stick with his buddy, I have seen the older patrol taking 2-3 boys who want to hang together into their patrol  New boys get a say so in whether they want an older patrol.  I have had the occasion where a younger brother was asked by the patrol his older brother was in and he said no, then was asked by another patrol and said no again.  He really wanted to stay with his buddies in the NSP patrol that was being introduced into the troop.

 

Our game plan is to talk to the older scouts first. We want to talk to them to get ideas that we may not have thought about, and talk about the ideas we have and come up with a solution agreeable to them. The other two patrols we are not worried about because they will follow their lead. Already saw that with the annual planning conference. 

 

Put them all into the same room (level playing field) and let them work it out.  Adults don't need "input" they need the boys to resolve THEIR problem of patrol structure.  Adults can, if they trust the boys, do that while drinking coffee in the next room.  If the adults don't trust the boys, then get in there and mess with things and have coffee afterwards.

 

That's why we want their input, and some of us were against setting qualifications on who can PL. Unless the adults are selecting a boy PL for the "adult patrol", it's none of their business how the boys select their PL's for their patrols.  Time for coffee people!.  I know I have one idea on how things can work based upon my experience, but as is constantly mentioned, all scouting is local. Plus as repeated mentioned , the Scouts need to be the decision makers.  Sounds like too many adults making too many rules for a "boy-led" program.

 

I also want the PLs to pick their own APL, instead of "nominations for APL" and the SM selecting them (that was in my unit elections thread, but I am going to bring that up later, say at the March-April meeting with the older scouts). I want the youth to make the decisions.  Again, adults messing with the process!  PL's pick their right hand man (APL), not the patrol.

 

And one of the issues is that the SM, because he has not had support to get the troop up and running, did do more than he should of to get the troop up and running. I'm thinking he realizes that mistake, and is trying to come up with ideas to resolve it, hence the leaders meeting. In fact, this has been the first one I know of in the 2 years!  But again, up until recently, he was the only adult to show up at every meeting and camp out.  The rest of us have been involved in Cub Scouts.  Now that the troop has older boys, it's time to start running it like a Boy Scout troop rather than a Cub Scout pack.  Turn everything over to the boys and give them the phone number of the SM and when the dust settles and the troop is organized, give a call, we'll come and help out where they want us to help.

 

We've tried different things to develop teamwork to include initiative games. It's been interesting to put it mildly. For whatever reason they are not melding. I think part of that is that the entire patrol is not camping at the same time, it's always  3/4 of the patrol, and usually it's different ones.  I'm thinking this is because the leadership is still with the adults, rather than with their buddies.  They would be more inclined to meld and bond if the leadership was within their ownership and not outside the patrol with the adults.  Once that happens, one no longer needs gimmick games to try and create a false sense of belonging among the boys.  If they have ownership, they'll make it work, if not let the adults figure it out and we'll show up when we want to.

 

As for the ideas of trust, that may be part of it. (No, it's ALL OF IT!)  It's only been in the past year that the Scouts really and truly started organizing and running the instruction. I admit, I've been one of those pushing for that and helping the Scouts to do the job. And I also admit I'm part of the problem at times. There was a spell where both the SPL and ASPL were MIA.  I took the liberty of organizing the Scouts and stole a golden opportunity for the boys to learn a valuable lesson, and one or two leaders, who I knew and the boys knew as well had the knowledge, skills, and abilities to teach the instruction for the month they were MIA. What's interesting is that the Scouts, while skeptical that the other Scouts could actually do the job, LOVED IT. and if expected to resolve their problem on their own would have probably done the same thing and then  They have quickly slowly taken on the job. and other jobs knowing the adults expect them to handle things from now on. Have they made mistakes, yep. That's all a natural part of growing up and taking on responsibility AND LEADERSHIP.  Are the older Scouts learning from them. Yep. The older Scouts are SLOWLY coming around.  They may speed up that process if they were to trust the adults not to pull the rug out from under them at any moment.  It take a bit of time to build trust but only seconds to destroy it.  Trust your boys and they will trust you.

 

As for TGs I know that is a problem. Until when my son joined, the troop was a one patrol troop. SM has 0 experience with TGs, and the ASM who brought it up and implemented has not been around to help. Plus they were in the 13 year old range as we were such a new and young troop. Oldest member just turned 15.

The PL of a one patrol troop is also the TG and the SPL  Don't try and implement something that isn't necessary and only confuses the situation.  8 boys, one PL, one QM, one Scribe, one Chaplain Aide, one Librarian, one Historian, one Instructor and a APL.... Which if one wanted to in theory, designate the PL as SPL and the APL as ASPL, so then everyone in the patrol has a POR.  :)  Who says the single patrol troop can't have the patrol be the Leadership Corps patrol?  :)

 

 

By temporary, I mean we hope that the older Scouts can be such good examples, the rest of the troop will take off, especially when we get the mass induction in December. We really want the older Scouts to take on troop level PORs and be a "Leadership Corps" for lack of a better term, and let the 12-14 years olds get their hands on some experience working with new guys in their patrols. But the comment was made that the decision to do away with NSPs should be reevaluated six months after it is implemented.  Adult decisions again and with the time limit imposed, one can postpone the trust building in the mean time.

 

I agree they didn't know what they were doing when they picked their patrol name. It took them almost a month to pick it, and it was selected because when they did a vote on names it had the most votes (2).  For record purposes, they can be Patrol 1, Patrol 2, Patrol 3, etc. The boys will tire of that and come up with a name eventually.

 

As for training, believe it or not,  2/3s of the patrol did ILST because we did it as a troop activity. That was a requirement in place for PL: was having done  the ILST training, or go through it within a month of election.  More adult rules  ILST doesn't really teach leadership in as much as simple organization skills. Show me a patrol with a disorganized PL and I'll show you a patrol that has the potential of reaching good teamwork faster than a patrol with a great organizing PL.   I admit I had a part to play in that in that I wanted ILST done for leaders in the troop. However my son said everyone should probably take it, and planned it as such when he was SPL. Ok enough of being a proud papa.  WHAT?!  a good idea coming from a scout???? The end of the world must be near!  Train 'em, Trust 'em, Let them lead!

 

As for trading scouts, that's the idea at the next unit elections. I don't they will be cracker jacks  by May, but I could be wrong.  If you trust the boys to be making decisions for themselves, YOU CAN NEVER BE WRONG!  :)

 

On a different note, I've been assigned to be the NSP's ASM. Reason being that other than the SM and "heir apparent,"  I'm the only other leader who does not have a son in the NSP since "the TG doesn't count as a member."  I've already started talking about my new role with my son the TG. He's ok with me helping to teach skills, more hands to help teach the easier it is. But he wants me to butt out when problems arise until he asks for help.  I'm good with that, but it's the recently crossed over  CS leaders that I'm worried about. ;)

 

You have been handed a fantastic opportunity to make a great change in your troop!  You are situated in a position to make the change the easiest.  You have the ear of the TG of the NSP.  That can be the team that shows what this whole boy-led, patrol-method thing is all about!. 

 

The first thing you do is make a pact with your son, and you will teach him the only leadership lesson he will never need in life.  "TAKE CARE OF YOUR BOYS!"  That's it.  The first lesson the TG teaches the PL is that as well and the first lesson the PL teaches his APL as well.  It's the job of the TG to take care of his boys and make each and everyone of them successful in what they are doing.  You are NOT there to teach skills, but suggest to the TG that the NSP PL get older boy Instructor who knows his stuff to take a night off from their patrol and come teach a particular skill to the new boys.  Your son is correct, you need to stay away until asked to help, and by help itt is to only help, not correct the problem, that's the boy's job.  At best you are to offer suggestions when asked and offer opportunities they might be missing when not asked.  Your job is to keep your hands in your pockets unless holding a coffee cup.  :)

 

As far as as the CS leader cross-overs causing problems for the NSP, that's YOUR JOB to keep them at bay.  Your boy is trusting you to cover his back, don't let him down.

 

Remember, your contact with the NSP is the TG and PL only.  You can be friendly and social with all the boys, but all leadership, decisions, etc. are with the TG and PL.

 

Please keep the questions and advice coming. I've been fortunate to be in established troops in the past, save one which I wasn't around long for. I admit I feel like I'm on a highwire doing a balancing act. I want the youth to take over, make the plans, etc. But I think the youth are afraid to try new things, fear the adults are going to overrule them or something similar.   And that's the crux of the problem of trust right there!!!!  They have been taught over and over again until they are conditioned NOT TO TRUST ADULTS.  It's time they have a champion in their corner that lets them work on becoming adults themselves.  You have the potential to prove to these boys that you are the first real adult they can ever trust.  Don't let them down.

Edited by Stosh

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