Jump to content
Eagle94-A1

Change in The Troop, It's Coming

Recommended Posts

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. .....

I'm going to agree with you on one point, sure it might be something the adults need to be involved with

but it's who and how

I'll admit maybe I was a bit off base when i suggested taht maybe there is no problem because the boys don't think there is.... i wasn't considering the actual numbers involved.  You're maybe right in a way that the whole troop is kind of starting over.... but except for that I'm not thinking that i was so far off base....

 

An adult needs to be involved, sure.  The SM should be involved as a coach and mentor.

Of course it wouldn't be a great idea to just let the boys not do anything only to react after the fact..... so the SM should probably be talking to his SPL as a side, away from other meetings, in more of a discussion format asking questions and so on, helping him to see a potential issue coming at them, and helping him to think of some options.  The trick as I'm seeing it is in the helping and guiding, without directing and telling.

 

The adult meeting as described, I would argue, shouldn't really be formally happening unless the SPL had asked the SM for help and teh SM asked the committee to brainstorm.  

Sure, only natural for the adults to see the train coming and to even discuss options.... but that discussion shouldn't in my opinion be considered from the angle of a decision or coming up with a direction that will be directed to the scouts.

 

Instead, maybe it's the committee seeing the problem and discussing, then saying to SM,

"hey, have the guys thought of what's going to happen when the troop doubles in size next month?  Here are some things the committee noticed that seem to be not going well with the patrols now, and some ideas and options we thought of...."  then the SM might relay the concerns and general thoughts to the SPL/PLC... but the ideas, thoughts, and options might come out as hints or suggestions in brainstorming if asked, as the scouts try to come up with stuff on their own.... not as a list of demands or choices coming down from upon high...

 

The best professors I had in college were the ones that answered questions with a question... not the ones that answered the questions before they were asked..... and not the ones taht answered the questions with the answer.

This is something I'm personally not skilled at, but I'm working on it.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Note to self, ask ages and numbers before getting into all of this.

 

It sounds like you have a young troop.

 

Regarding NSP: "Once they get First Class, they move up."  Ouch, may I suggest that's wrong. A scout could be in the NSP for years, unless every meeting is advancement. Scouting is not about advancement, blah blah blah. We keep new scouts together for about four months. The goal is to get them ready to be in a patrol. They learn to listen to older scouts and learn to help on campouts. No more whiny I have to go to dad, or mom to solve my problem. The NSP is the transition from cub scouts to boy scouts.

 

Regarding SPL and ASPL MIA: I agree with Stosh that you missed an opportunity. Apparently the SPL and ASPL don't believe they're responsible for the troop. Since you have such a young troop I'd let the chaos go for about 10 minutes of the meeting and see how it goes. If someone starts leading that's great, but I doubt that will happen. If it just looks like a playground then sit everyone down and do a quick review. Ask the scouts what they want out of scouts and how the meeting is helping with that. If you can get a meaningful discussion then the next question is what do you want to do about it and how can I help.

 

Regarding trust: It goes two ways. If the scouts know you trust them they'll step it up. They'll also be more willing to try something new. Part of backing them up is taking their ideas and talking them through the details. That's one skill scouts need to learn. Ask lots of questions. That helps them be prepared, which leads to success, which creates trust, confidence, experience, their taking on more, you further out of the picture ... the promised land of scouting.

 

Regarding adults and the coming horde of new scouts, I agree with Eagledad that this is a huge issue. The current set of adults better develop a game plan they all agree on that will foster a boy led troop. How are problems going to be solved? For each POR, what happens if they don't show? How will the scouts decide the calendar and patrols? How are you going to train leadership?

 

Regarding ILST and leadership training. ILST alone is worthless. Leadership training is ongoing. Every problem the scouts run up against that they should be able to solve is an opportunity for them to learn leadership. That's where the adults come in. Whatever level they're at will define how you interact with them. If they've solved a similar problem before you step back and watch. Failure is fine as long as there's a way for them to make it better next time. If they're clearly in over their heads then you can ask questions. The scout oath and law has to be central to those questions. You never want to tell them what to do unless they've crossed well defined boundaries, and that should be very rare.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This issue has been considered before.  The answer has usually been that a patrol is a small group of friends.  That answer is not inconsistent with are group crossing over from Webelos.  

 

B.S.A.:

 

“Scouting offers what boys want: outdoor adventures, being with their friends….â€

 

 â€œthey self-select and they are friends….â€

 

“Scouts should be encouraged to invite their friends to join the troop and become a member of their patrol.â€

 

AND:

 

“ ‘You set up a structure—six to eight Scouts—and let them figure it out,’ he says. ‘Boys are going to want to stick together if you can use their friendships to put together a team.’ .â€

  

                         B.S.A., Scouting (May-June 2012)

 

“In a Troop in which the boys are shuffled together at frequent intervals and dealt out into new Patrols according to the whim of the Scoutmaster, there obviously can be little opportunity for the development of Patrol morale and Patrol traditions.â€

 

                        “Green Bar Bill†Hillcourt.

 

“Again, although the Scoutmaster may often advise with the Patrol leader and his Patrol

concerning new recruits, the admission of anew boy to the Patrol should be with the

approval of the Patrol members.â€

 

                       â€œGreen Bar Bill†Hillcourt.

 

“Patrol spirit is the glue that holds the patrol together and keeps it going. Building patrol spirit takes time, because it is shaped by a patrol's experiences—good and bad.â€

 

 

                         BSA 2015

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sorry if I confused anyone about special training for the yet-to-figure-its-name patrol's PL and ASPL. I didn't have "ILST booster" or "NYLT prep" in mind. I was thinking instruction would take the form of unique skills like "one-match fires" or "five favorite pancake recipies" or "carbon-proofing pots". Or the SPL inviting, "Hey the QM and I are inspecting and patching tents/pots/gear, then grabbing Pizza afterword. SM's treat. Wanna join us?" The goal: getting the PL to count on a couple of older scouts to be instructors.

 

Note: I am not using that stinky three-letter abbreviation for the yet-to-figure-its-name patrol -- precisely for the reason @@MattR has described. This patrol no longer has new scouts. @@Eagle94-A1, your son is one smart cookie. Follow his advice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

 

We used older Scout patrols for over a decade. We never saw this (rise in keeping older scouts engaged). We experienced elitism, lower attendance and basically segregation.

 

Mixed patrols have solved this. Mixed patrols have solved this. Others may have had better luck than we did.

Edited by Krampus

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Trying to respond in a quick break.

 

1) I admit ILST was my idea. SM had done no training before, and I talked to my son when he was elected if he thought training might help with him and the PLC. He said it would, and he would do training with everyone, not just the PLC. At the annual planning conference, I "encouraged" the adults to let the youth switch from the traditional First Aid training they did. SM was happy to do it, one ASM wanted First Aid done at a later date because "it's important."  First aid came later becasue the Scouts knew it's important, especially with one of the Scouts and his health issues.

 

2) Young troop.  Older Scouts are 13 - 15 years in age. mostly 13-14.  One patrol has mostly 12 years olds who are Scout still working on Tenderfoot, with a 13 year old First Class Scout. Beleive it or not the 13 year old FC is not PL because of a family situation that allows him to come every other week. other patrol is 11 year olds with 1 or two 12 year olds.

 

3)  I've been trained using GBB's  syllabus for Brownsea 22, and the troop I grew up in was a youth run troop. Only time I really interacted  with the adults was when I royally screwed up one time as a PL, then as ASPL acting as SPL. The Scouts did it all. Current BSA literature doesn't emphasize youth lead enough IMHO.

 

4) Last night was unorganized chaos, more on that in another thread. But I had the chance to talk to one of the older scouts about the NSP. His comments were that they ned to leanr to work together, get things done even if they do not like them, in order to do the fun stuff.  When asked how to get them to work a little better he said "separate them."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We used older Scout patrols for over a decade. We never saw this (rise in keeping older scouts engaged). We experienced elitism, lower attendance and basically segregation.

 

Mixed patrols have solved this. Mixed patrols have solved this. Others may have had better luck than we did.

My "older scout" patrol was basically my Leadership Corps.  They tended to be a bit more flexible with their schedules because of sports and other activities, but they tended to watch out for one another.  If the QM missed a month or two because of some school activity, the others made sure his work was covered.  We did the patrol separation thing at campouts and I noticed on multiple occasions when a PL came over to the Leadership Corps area looking for the SPL or ASPL for some help and they weren't around, one of the others in that group would make sure the PL got his help.  Yeah, it wasn't his "job" but he did take seriously the leadership training of "Take care of your boys." It was kinda nice, because EVERYONE in that Leadership Corps had to not be in their site before a PL came to the SM for help.  That did happen, but very, very rarely.  It was as if the boys knew that if they needed help the LC was the first place to go first.

 

So what's the role of the SM?  How do I know how this works?  Well, as SM I floated around the various campfires of the patrols and if something wasn't right, they would try and work things out.  But even with me sitting there at the fire, if there was a gear problem, obviously the QM knew more about it than the SM.  :)  GrubMaster doesn't have a skillet?  Well, does the QM  have one or the SM?  They figured it out very quickly.

 

I have found over the years that if one were to teach leadership skills well enough to begin with instead of focusing on management skills, they get better results in the long run.  Once a boy figures out how to take care of his boys and then works on his problem-solving skills, he can take on management tasks with little or no training. 

 

Yes, this process can be a problem for the NSP, but if left alone even they can figure it out.  Usually within a month, two at the most, the NSP has figured out that many of the "better" scouts got picked up by the older patrols, or at least got an opportunity to.  That left them to rely on their own merits.  They did have their TG to rely on, but as part of taking care of his boys, the TG did suggest opportunities for the newbies.  Don't have a good candidate for PL?  What makes you think the pool to pick from is just your patrol.  If the older boys can invite away NSP members, the NSP boys can invite away a boy needing POR to be their PL as well. Some TG's function temporarily as PL until the boys figure out a solution to their problem.  Other TG's do some behind the scene recruiting looking for candidates to suggest, and some TG's work with the boys to get one of them up and running as PL.  I have seen all these scenarios work, some better than others but they all work.

 

With the Take care of your boys, leadership style of the troop.  I did see the Leadership Corps take a particular interest in the NSP for the first couple of months with the QM getting them up to speed on gear and equipment, Scribe on advancement issues, etc.  On the first camporee after crossover, the LC did camp close to the NSP because they knew there would be a fair share of interaction between the two and the older boys were too lazy to pick a spot that would be too far away.  :)

 

Yes, there was a fair amount of mixed patrol dynamics, but the integrity of the LC and the NSP were maintained separately with no impact on the other patrols other than what those patrols wanted to have as far as new members of their choice.

 

I did notice that the older boys tended to NOT want new boys and preferred to merge older boy patrols when their numbers needed bolstering.  The merged patrol flag was usually offered to the NSP or it was retired.

 

I saw a bit if hierarchy pecking order going on in the troop, but it was least prevalent between the LC and NSP because of having to work together in the beginning.  The LC scouts were the first to really get to know the NSP scouts.  When the LC scouts returned to their patrols, they often mitigated those patrol members with the new boys in the troop.  I never really saw a whole lot more than standard group dynamics for the most part otherwise.

 

Over time the NSP just slipped into the troop's routine and the LC went back to business as usual until the next crop of newbies showed up.  A good TG worked himself out of a job as soon as he could.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK switching gears a bit. I mentioned how the meeting last night was unorganized chaos. SPL was sick this weekend and didn't do any prior prep. No communicating with others as well for help until he was at the meeting, and it was adults he asked. i admit i helped pull his butt out of the fire when he asked, but I also had a little chat with him. I asked him a few questions, he gave me honest answers. Considering he's a 13 year old first time SPL, it was a good learning experience. I hope he taks the chat to heart, and follows through with what he told me he needs to work on.

 

Back on topic.

 

In my troop growing up, the Leadership Corps didn't promote elitism. Yes we had problems with attendance (perfume and car fumes mostly, but also sports since we me ton Fridays). But we retained older Scouts. While we worked with the younger scouts to a degree, it was when we were assigned instruction to them or running the games and competitions. One thing that helped was that when opportunties presented themselves, the LC did things away from the rest of the troop.

 

The only "perk" or "benefit" of being in the LC was that we were able to sit around the campfire and talk after the rest of the troop went to bed. And a lot of times were close behind on going to bed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What happened in Eagle94-A1's troop is indicative of what happened in my previous troop as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My LC growing up worked similarly.

 

Nowadays, our venturing crew fills that role.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good to see you back, Tahawk.   That is the Troop of my youth.  That is the big successful Troops that sponsor the Camporees in our area.

 

You do not create Patrol Spirit by regrouping the Patrols every six months. 

The older boys in my Troop were the PLs, the APLs, the SPLs, the QMs, the Instructors and the OA folks.   The younger boys aspired to be an Older Scout, I see that now, as I sure did.  It took awhile for me to realize, for instance, that I had become my father, when I grew up and moved away and married.  Same with the Troop. 

If the Adults don't allow (allow!!) te Scouts to "grow up" in the Troop, they will move out sooner rather than later.

 

If the goal of the Troop is to "make first class in one year", then perhaps a NSP is the way to go.  If the goal of the Troop is to "Be A Scout", then  that must presuppose the program (activities, planned by the boys, encouraged by the SMs) allows the boy to EARN his ranks as he will, as he wants to.  NOT as somebody else requires.    

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First Class First Year, what's that?

 

Seriously there are only 2 reasons why the troop has gotton focused on advancement of late. 1) Philmont 2) Changes in rank requirements.

 

 Our best Scout in my opinion is only Tenderfoot, and the got that about 2 months ago. He's been in the troop for 3 years now, and only got interested due to Philmont. He knows that if he doesn't get First Class, he cannot go.

 

The rank changes are affecting all but 1 of our Scouts. While we are encouraging those First Class or above to get it done before next year, there is a push to get everyone else to First Class by the end of the year. At that point most will be in the troop 18 to 24 months.

 

Our goal is to let these guys earn their ranks. And they will listen better to the older scouts than us old fogeys. 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First Class, First Year is the Eagle Mill motto.

 

Like Eagle94-A1, my boys move at their own pace.

 

2 generations before me went to school from grades 1-8

1 generation before me went to school from grades 1-12

My generation was 1-12+

My kids K-12+

Now it's pre-preschool-MBA

 

I never had any preschool or kindergarten and yet I have had more education than my children.

 

Getting an education is up to the individual.  If the boys want Philmont get FC.  If they want their Eagle no problem.  If they just want to have fun in scouting and don't want to go to Philmont, it really doesn't make any difference what rank they are.

 

Remember, there are more PFC's in the army than generals and patrol officers than chiefs in the police department.  I have a ton of respect for them all regardless of rank.  Applies to scouting too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...