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Eagle94-A1

Change in The Troop, It's Coming

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You can be in an Eagle mill and not be part of that process. Make sure your Scout really learns (and retains) his core skill knowledge during the trail to FC. After that, avoid the MB colleges, really earn your MBs, let him do things at his pace and be prepared for the fact he may stall in advancement. It's all okay. Be prepared that he may be 17 and two requirements away from that last MB to make Eagle and NOT MAKE EAGLE!!!!

 

If YOU can handle all that, then your son will learn life lessons that will stay with him forever!!!

 

Often it's the parents that cannot butt out. The kids have no problems. ;)

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 the SM is a good guy and I think they are legitimately trying to do the patrol method, but i keep seeing things that make me doubt the sincerity.  i guess we'll find out in the next few weeks for sure!

Part of the problem of talking about our programs in these post is that we leave out the failures that lead us to change toward a much improved program later. In other words, our text is more idealistic than the reality. It is important to understand that adults have to grow from the experiences more and faster than the scouts to keep up and stay out of the way. It is even more important to know where you are trying to go so you can recognize when you're doing it wrong and need to change. I am not bashful in saying that we did it wrong more often than we did it right. That is why I can give opinions with such authority and confidience. But we did learn from our mistakes and make changes.

 

You take from that what you can, but adults should always be dicussing the performance of their program to see if they are going the right direction. Do your adults have some kind of plan, goals, or vision to measure the program? They may be growing a lot, you just haven't been there to see it.

 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad

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@@qwazse, thanks for that. But the overall point was that the changes to the advancement were done as a retention measure, no? The increase in Eagles was a result (intended or unintended) of these changes, right?

 

@@Eagledad, we assign a coordinator to help the Life Scouts. However, that person mostly advises them on how to dot their "i"s on the (adult driven) overly complicated paperwork.

The way it was explained to me was the advancement changes had mainly to do with streamlining. The FCFY strategy (which really didn't depend on what the FC reqs were) had mainly to do with retention. I'm sure in the minds of some those were inclusive goals.

 

Note that your "coordinator" is an outflow of that streamlining process. No such animal in my youth. (Of course the paperwork was less as well.)

...

Don't know when First Year Camper programs started, but when I went to summer camp in 1986 for the first time, they had one. Crusty old retired master gunnery sergeant, ran the program, and if he said you earned it, you really EARNED it. he didn't tolerate slackers.

 They had skill award instruction when I went to camp in the 70s. I concluded that my SPL could better teach me how to cook!

 

... I'm still not so sure about the one he chose... from what i can tell it's perhaps a hybrid.  It seems like the boys run the meetings, and tehy have a strong effort into running PLC meetings, but then it seems so adult driven other times. It just came off a growth spurt coming back from near death just a few years ago.   the SM is a good guy and I think they are legitimately trying to do the patrol method, but i keep seeing things that make me doubt the sincerity.  i guess we'll find out in the next few weeks for sure!

 

We all have rough edges. The question boils down to are the adults willing to grow and learn?

If there was a growth spurt, there probably was an influx of young dads (maybe one or two moms) who signed on as leaders. So, picking and choosing the best trainers as time goes forward will improve that.

 

Have fun. And eventually, on a campout, ask the adults how much burnt grilled cheese they've eaten with a smile (and maybe some hot sauce ;) ).

 

Edited by qwazse

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all this eagle mill talk has me concerned again about my son's options moving forward.... i think sometimes taht there really isn't a good choice... all are eagle mills.

We have 3 troops to choose from, really two based on geography.  the 3rd we could make happen for him but it's less than ideal....

so one troop is for sure an eagle mill... not the troop he chose.

I'm still not so sure about the one he chose... from what i can tell it's perhaps a hybrid.  It seems like the boys run the meetings, and tehy have a strong effort into running PLC meetings, but then it seems so adult driven other times. It just came off a growth spurt coming back from near death just a few years ago.   the SM is a good guy and I think they are legitimately trying to do the patrol method, but i keep seeing things that make me doubt the sincerity.  i guess we'll find out in the next few weeks for sure!

I'm with the others on this.  We are talking about YOUR SON's scouting career, not the plan laid out for him by anyone else. including parents.  I wouldn't want you to turn into a helicopter parent.  :)  Find out what he wants (listen) and then support him in HIS goals (encourage) and you have the vested interest in him already covered.  Remember the end result of this whole process is maturity into and preparation to be an adult.  You need to start today, you only have 7 years to pull it off and that will go fast.

 

I wouldn't worry too much about the Eagle Mill part of any troop there's a varying degree of it in any troop.  Every leader would like to see all their boys get eagle.  They just go about it differently.  As long as your son is safe, looks and acts like a scout and has fun, he will do just fine.  The other stuff you are concerned about can be covered in your father/son campouts and hikes you will be taking on scout free weekends.  :)

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I wouldn't worry too much about the Eagle mills. 1) Your son does not have to compete with the others. 2) You son will probably get bored real fast and want to switch.

 

One troop  locally I'd call an Eagle mill, to the point that they are only focusing on merit badges. Meetings are MB classes, and the only camp outs they appear to go to are MB weekends. Funny thing is this, they are so focused on MBs, they haven't done the basics: T-2-1. None of the Scouts who joined after the advancement oriented SM took over are above Second Class, if that. All the ones advancing are the ones who were there with the old SM. Funny thing is, the old SM wasn't advancement oriented,But they were active enough to get T-2-1 requirements met if they camped. Yep you have Tenderfoots with 10-20 MBs, but haven't cooked enough meal to meet  Second Class requirements. Now the troop rarely camps.

Edited by Eagle94-A1

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I wonder how the Patrol Method can lose its luster as a result of its being actually understood and then strongly encouraged ?

 

The Patrol Method was once the core of the Scouting "product."  Even West abandoned his fear of the boy leader with his separate, small group by 1930 when Bill's  The Patrol Method was published. Twenty-four years later, when I joined, it was the undisputed "way things are done."  We pitied the boys in the two, notorious adult-run, troop method units in our council.  They were both fed by giant Cub packs but steadily leaked members to Boy Scouts troops.

 

Given that Scoutmaster Specific Training has failed to systematically explain the Patrol Method for fifteen years, with only a slight improvement in September, 2014 , we have a generation of adult leaders who have not been trained in Scouting's Most Important Method.  If only B.S.A. could grasp that the quality of its "product" is directly related to numbers of youth registered and, hence, money

 

Indeed, and worse, the January, 2014, article in Scouting on the Patrol Method expressly excused adult leadership when driven by the stated need for the well-oiled operation. ("not ready yet.")   Much less, did the article mention any other aspect of the method, such as boys primarily experiencing Scouting in the patrol context, not the troop context.

 

As for the sacred 300 feet; that's a detail.  BP actually used different distances in different statements.   Baden-Poweill, Scouting for Boys, "Campfire Yarn 9 - Camping"  ("fifty or a hundred yards apart or more")

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Part of the challenge is that our society treats 26 year olds as children still. When I have the parents of college students contacting me for something their adult son or daughter needs to do for school, that's a problem. When mommy calls to get information so that her adult, college graduate son can do to get extra points for med school admissions, that's a problem.

 

It seems as if we do not give children responsibility and consequences for their actions. Heck I admit, I was just as guilty with my kid. I freaked out when I was told he was elected SPL at 11. Did  decent job all things considered.

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Part of the challenge is that our society treats 26 year olds as children still. When I have the parents of college students contacting me for something their adult son or daughter needs to do for school, that's a problem. When mommy calls to get information so that her adult, college graduate son can do to get extra points for med school admissions, that's a problem.

 

It seems as if we do not give children responsibility and consequences for their actions. Heck I admit, I was just as guilty with my kid. I freaked out when I was told he was elected SPL at 11. Did  decent job all things considered.

There's nothing good about pushing childhood into the 30's and 40's.  One of the things I do is fight that battle for a ton of young people today.  It's not just scouts, everywhere we see this.  It's a rather interesting phenomena.  Adolescence is rather unique to America and what used to be a developmental stage has become a lifestyle for many.  It wasn't that long ago that religious and cultural coming of age rituals used to draw a demarcation line that let everyone know that this person is now an adult.  We have an arbitrary age of 18 set for legal purposes, but that is pretty much a joke.  There are so many exceptions to that rule it means pretty much nothing not even in the legal setting because minors are tried as adults all the time and one can't drink alcohol until 21 and there are some requirements that a person has to be 24-25 to do things.  Is it any wonder our young adults have trouble defining themselves?

 

@@Eagle94-A1 you have identified the problem precisely.  Your son gets elected SPL at age 11 and it surprises you he did a decent job?  I have known for years now that there are a ton of kids out there that if given the chance will do even more than a decent job if given the opportunity!  As SM it's my job to give them that opportunity!  This is their time to try new things, to experiment with life, to put the final touches on what's going to shape their lives in the future.  Every time I step in and interfere in that process as an adult, I steal that opportunity from them.  I'm no longer surprised by what "kids" can do. It's not that I'm better than anyone else, it's just that I have been around longer than a lot and have allowed young people the freedom to try.  I have seen some pretty amazing things.  Only in America do adults get treated like children.  In Scouting we have an opportunity to change that.

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I think the number of Eagle mills is vastly overestimated. I never start with that assumption. Moreso, I assume the Troop struggles with the concepts of youth leadership and the proper role of adults in that structure. 

Observe the a meeting or two. Does the Troop conduct MB's during the meeting? What do the adults do during the meeting? Where are the older Scouts? 

I don't think the BSA's issues are as much about crazy helicopter parents (although I definitely know a few) but rather, most adults volunteers don't know much about how to play the game of Scouting. Unless a troop has a strong boy led culture where the scoutmaster offers his advice from the sidelines and pushes decision making authority to the scouts it's easy for Troops to latch on to advancement because it's familiar like cub scouts and very safe. 

 

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I think the number of Eagle mills is vastly overestimated. I never start with that assumption. Moreso, I assume the Troop struggles with the concepts of youth leadership and the proper role of adults in that structure. 

 

Observe the a meeting or two. Does the Troop conduct MB's during the meeting? What do the adults do during the meeting? Where are the older Scouts? 

 

I don't think the BSA's issues are as much about crazy helicopter parents (although I definitely know a few) but rather, most adults volunteers don't know much about how to play the game of Scouting. Unless a troop has a strong boy led culture where the scoutmaster offers his advice from the sidelines and pushes decision making authority to the scouts it's easy for Troops to latch on to advancement because it's familiar like cub scouts and very safe. 

 

 

Well said Sentinel. This is exactly what I mean when I say "adults have to learn more faster than the scouts to keep up and stay out of the scouts' way". Your words are more elegant and clearer.

 

I don't know of a single great scout leader that started out great. They become great because they were humble enough to learn from the experience. 

 

Barry

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I don't know of a single great scout leader that started out great. They become great because they were humble enough to learn from the experience. 

 

Barry

Rehashing for some folks. 

 

I became an ASM after 7 years in my Troop as a Scout. I had 3 Scoutmasters. One was a great Scoutmaster who'd been at it for almost a decade. He knew Scouting, and our troop was a pretty good troop where the Scouts were responsible to lead, and the scoutmaster encouraged that type of environment. He stepped down a year or two after I joined. CC came on to be SM. New guy didn't know what he was doing, and wasn't properly prepared for the role. Without the patient guidance of the old SM, the Scouts leadership of the troop became sketchy. In a panic, the new SM took on a much more aggressive leadership posture, taking away a lot of the patrol method elements with it. It was about this time that I became SPL. I was a control freak at 16 years old, and we butted heads a lot. Shortly before I turned 18, the current scoutmaster took over. He was also not ready, but this time, I was ready to help him. Though the BSA training, and the mentorship of people like Eagledad, Stosh, Beavah, OGE, and plenty of others here, my Troop has taken some large steps towards becoming a better experience for the Scouts involved in the Troop. 

 

In short, I believe most SM's and parents would run a troop the right way (buzzword alert) with the patrol method, youth leadership and youth decision making central to their programs. However, they don't know what they don't know. The challenge for experienced Scouters( Do I count in that category yet?) is to pass on what they/we have learned to others. 

 

Sentinel947

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You can be in an Eagle mill and not be part of that process. Make sure your Scout really learns (and retains) his core skill knowledge during the trail to FC. After that, avoid the MB colleges, really earn your MBs, let him do things at his pace and be prepared for the fact he may stall in advancement. It's all okay. Be prepared that he may be 17 and two requirements away from that last MB to make Eagle and NOT MAKE EAGLE!!!!

 

If YOU can handle all that, then your son will learn life lessons that will stay with him forever!!!

 

Often it's the parents that cannot butt out. The kids have no problems. ;)

 

yeah, at this point I honestly don't care about the rank for him, except for the lessons of goal setting, hard work, stick-to-itness, etc...  I figure if he gets 1st class I'm happy, but even that I really don't care that much.  It's more about his improving in most of the points in the scout law (which he does need to improve).  I'd be proud of his eagle, but that for sure isn't my wish for him.

.....

 

You take from that what you can, but adults should always be dicussing the performance of their program to see if they are going the right direction. Do your adults have some kind of plan, goals, or vision to measure the program? They may be growing a lot, you just haven't been there to see it.

 

Barry

so very true.  I get that & I'm trying to give the benefit of the doubt everytime I see something that makes me wonder.

 

I'm with the others on this.  We are talking about YOUR SON's scouting career, not the plan laid out for him by anyone else. including parents.  I wouldn't want you to turn into a helicopter parent.  :)  Find out what he wants (listen) and then support him in HIS goals (encourage) and you have the vested interest in him already covered.  Remember the end result of this whole process is maturity into and preparation to be an adult.  You need to start today, you only have 7 years to pull it off and that will go fast.

 

I wouldn't worry too much about the Eagle Mill part of any troop there's a varying degree of it in any troop.  Every leader would like to see all their boys get eagle.  They just go about it differently.  As long as your son is safe, looks and acts like a scout and has fun, he will do just fine.  The other stuff you are concerned about can be covered in your father/son campouts and hikes you will be taking on scout free weekends.  :)

 

one of my concerns is that with an active scouting program, he won't really want to camp or hike with old dad since he'll have his fill of monthly camping.... but that's my problem, not his :)

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yeah, at this point I honestly don't care about the rank for him, except for the lessons of goal setting, hard work, stick-to-itness, etc...  I figure if he gets 1st class I'm happy, but even that I really don't care that much.  It's more about his improving in most of the points in the scout law (which he does need to improve).  I'd be proud of his eagle, but that for sure isn't my wish for him.

so very true.  I get that & I'm trying to give the benefit of the doubt everytime I see something that makes me wonder.

 

 

one of my concerns is that with an active scouting program, he won't really want to camp or hike with old dad since he'll have his fill of monthly camping.... but that's my problem, not his :)

Not very likely.  I wouldn't worry about that too much.  Camping with scouts is different than camping with dad.

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In short, I believe most SM's and parents would run a troop the right way (buzzword alert) with the patrol method, youth leadership and youth decision making central to their programs. However, they don't know what they don't know. The challenge for experienced Scouters( Do I count in that category yet?) is to pass on what they/we have learned to others. 

 

Sentinel947

Again, well said. As I've said before, I think the biggest problem the BSA is dealing with today is that the vast majority of new scout leaders and parents didn't have an experience as a youth. You and Eagle94 are an example of the value of the youth experience giving the troop a head start in a productive direction. I have spent thousands of hours in trying to teach and guide inexperienced adults on the subject of patrol method and boy run. I have experimented with dozens approaches to helping adults see the light and I have concluded the best way for them to get it is to see it in action.

 

We are in a difficult place to where the best way for adults to learn patrol method is witnessing it in action, and the best way to witness patrol method is to be in a Troop that uses it. But because fewer volunteers with a youth experience of patrol method are joining the program, I can't see a growing trend of patrol method happening. I'm not trying to negative, rather just pragmatic.  

 

It haunts me to realize that unless the BSA makes a dramatic shift in their expectation of the troop program, Sentinel, Eagle94 and my sons may be the last generation of patrol method leaders in scouting history.

 

Barry

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Rehashing for some folks. 

 

I became an ASM after 7 years in my Troop as a Scout. I had 3 Scoutmasters. One was a great Scoutmaster who'd been at it for almost a decade. He knew Scouting, and our troop was a pretty good troop where the Scouts were responsible to lead, and the scoutmaster encouraged that type of environment. He stepped down a year or two after I joined. CC came on to be SM. New guy didn't know what he was doing, and wasn't properly prepared for the role. Without the patient guidance of the old SM, the Scouts leadership of the troop became sketchy. In a panic, the new SM took on a much more aggressive leadership posture, taking away a lot of the patrol method elements with it. It was about this time that I became SPL. I was a control freak at 16 years old, and we butted heads a lot. Shortly before I turned 18, the current scoutmaster took over. He was also not ready, but this time, I was ready to help him. Though the BSA training, and the mentorship of people like Eagledad, Stosh, Beavah, OGE, and plenty of others here, my Troop has taken some large steps towards becoming a better experience for the Scouts involved in the Troop. 

 

In short, I believe most SM's and parents would run a troop the right way (buzzword alert) with the patrol method, youth leadership and youth decision making central to their programs. However, they don't know what they don't know. The challenge for experienced Scouters( Do I count in that category yet?) is to pass on what they/we have learned to others. 

 

Sentinel947

@@Sentinel947 I love the story!  It proves to me one very important aspect of Adult Association.... SM #1 takes care of his boys he shares who he is and listens, encourages and takes an interest.  SM #2 has problems just keeping his head above water.  SPL struggles as well, conflict on who's really leading the unit.  SM #3 is in over his head but he has a scout that has learned how to listen, encourage and takes an interest in the new guy.  No top dog, no guides, no coaches, just two guys working things through as partners in leadership.

 

Never, never, never underestimate the power the simple act of servant leadership can d to a young boy during his developmental years. 

 

Experienced scouter?  Sounds like you were there before you signed the adult registration form.  Well done.  You have a whole lifetime to help young boys experience what you have to offer.

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