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Eagle94-A1

Two Steps Forward, Two Steps Back.

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Yah, hmmm...

 

The way to do this sort of thing well is for da ASM to mention the problem offhandedly to da SPL, eh?  Let the SPL then work with da PLC to make any changes.   Same with you and the council calendar changes or November schedule or whatnot.   "Hey, heads up SPL, did you see this?"   If it's minor, the SPL may just handle it himself, eh?  Or he may call a PLC meetin'.  Or he may just text all da PLC and figure it out. :cool:

 

All your adults seem to be frettin' a bit too much about this sort of small stuff, eh?   Seems like if yeh can't trust the lads yet yeh should set up some training and chances for 'em to learn so that y'all feel better about gettin' out of the way.

 

I assume there's a lad who is leadin' the backpackin' planning.   I'd just feed that boy a comment about how bookbag backpacks will mean all your little guys will be really uncomfortable.   And a link to somewhere that rents small packs or an email for a troop that has some!  Either way, they might also help with other backpack friendly gear, eh?

 

Beavah

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The canoeing problem reared it's head at the meeting. It caused me to ask the SPL if he got the SPL binder with the monthly themes, calendar, etc. He didn't. He also asked me to help him out, which I'm goingto try and do. I mentioned the situation in a message to the ASM and SM last nite. Reason being, I wanted to send him a copy of the Troop Program Features for him to review, and give him ideas to plan his meetings.

 

Regarding the SPL. First time SPL, has little to no confidence in his abilties. BUT HE IS FREAKING AWESOME! (emphasis, ok a little shouting 'cause he's that good.) He was the "caboose" on the backpackign trip Scout wise making sure me and 2 other adults were OK. He was the one helping folks across stream crossings and carrying gear across to help those who wanted to use "stepping stones." A little nudging at times was needed to get him to take charge. But taking care of his people, he's got.  I've also put some bugs in his ears about November and changes in camporee.

 

At the moment, there is no scout leading the backpack planning. Major trip is ASM Frustrated, BUT I bet I can talk him into letting the Scouts do the work. More than likely it will be the 12 year old taking charge since A) he did 40 or the proposed 50 miles already and B) He was the hike leader this past weekend.  

 

As for the rest of the troop and their backpacking trip, no one has been appointed. I'll put a bug in the SPL's ear abotu that though ASAP.

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And if the boys aren't quite ready, they'll struggle a bit, maybe not enjoy it quite as much, but they will learn a lot more than if the adults do it all for them.  Then they will learn nothing.  And if the boys aren't ready?  In the description above, it's the adult's fault.  In my case, it'll be the boys fault.  I can live with that.  :)  They either win or they learn.

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Agree, but I do want them prepared for backpacking before they go. I don't want them showing up with little to no instruction.I want the first time to be fun so as not to discourage them. But I also want them to learn. The backpacking group above, as well as several ASMs want the troop to do more backpacking and "primitive" camping instead of the car camping we have been doing. But two of the Scouts have already commented how they don't want to do backpacking; they want to keep doing "easy camp outs."

 

As for canoe camping, I do not know what happened last year as I was not on the trip. From the stories I heard, some of the Scouts could not steer their canoes, and it took twice as long to do the trip. Again, it was decreed that only 1/2 the troop will be able to go, those who can demonstrate proper canoeing skills.

 

My son could care less about canoeing, so I'm thinking about putting a bug in his and SPL's ear about a non-canoeing trip for those who can't go.

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As for canoe camping, I do not know what happened last year as I was not on the trip. From the stories I heard, some of the Scouts could not steer their canoes, and it took twice as long to do the trip. Again, it was decreed that only 1/2 the troop will be able to go, those who can demonstrate proper canoeing skills.

 

 

 

Yah, hmmm.....

 

Who is doin' the "decreeing", I wonder?  That strikes me as an odd thing to decree.  Seems like da decree should be "we're goin' to get everybody up to snuff to go canoeing!" and then do that.

 

Bein' a furry water critter, canoein' is a fun thing, eh?  Young lads learn fast, and on most water it's pretty easy to pair up novice paddlers with more experienced lads.  It really shouldn't take yeh too many times out for the boys to get pretty decent.  

 

Now if yeh have a few lads who aren't swimmers and are also sorta afraid of the water, then it might be best to leave 'em off the roster for the trip, dependin' on where you're goin'.   Otherwise, yeh don't start with a notion that half the troop can't come, yeh start with a notion that half the troop's not quite ready so we're goin' to work hard to get 'em ready!

 

Beavah

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I don't know who first said it as I was not at the leader's meeting when it was discussed, but first person I heard that from was Gunship.

 

Being an aquarat who has done 3 fifty milers afloat, I agree, canoeing is FUN. And yes, pairings is important. Know that first hand when my inexpereinced partner froze.

 

more later

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Having done 50-milers afloat many times, I can assure everyone that pinballing down the river is a great incentive to learn to do it right.  Toss in a few rocks to hang up on with a heavy canoe load and the boys will figure it out on their own.  I have gone to the "rescue" of many canoeists out there and they might ask for a bump or pull here or there, but if someone has to get out and haul a canoe off a log, they will all agree that if they got themselves into the mess they'll get themselves out.

 

I used to get out and steer traffic through some of the rougher rapids, but now the older boys do it.  They didn't get any lessons on it, but if I had to shove their canoe off a rock or two, they knew what to do the next year and eventually I worked myself out of a job.

 

Same for backpacking..... "Where's your mess kit Mr. Stosh?"  "I don't carry one."  I have a cup and a spoon for the occasional "meal" otherwise I carry trail mix and jerky.  How many calories in a cup of trail mix?  Now you know how much to take along.  

 

So we leave the inexperienced ones at home.  That means they will still be inexperienced next year, too.  Now there's a great long-term plan.

 

How many people haven't had a bit of pain breaking in new hiking boots?  So why is it any different with breaking in new scouts?

Edited by Stosh

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Back.

 

I know that. You know that. But for whatever reason some of the other leaders don't know that. That's why I don't like making an announcement that only 1/2 the troop will be able to go. High adventure is one thing, but a monthly camp out needs to be able to include everyone. And if  the section of river is too challenging for the bulk of the troop, you get teh PLC to select another section, or even river.

 

Yep, You mix and match your strongest and weakest paddlers so that you get a nice mix, and if anything does  happen, the skill level is equitable in all the canoes, so you don

t have to worry. When we were doing canoe training for the  Canada trip, my partner was a friend from my troop. We paddled a lot together, so we aced every scenario and race they gave us to the point of handicapping us.  But when it came time for assignments on the trek, we were split up and assigned to work with  less experienced Scouts. That way we could work with them and help them better themselves.

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Maybe the inexperienced boys should be in a patrol of their own, take the Canoeing MB and develop their skills as a group rather than dumbing down the rest of the patrols.  Oh?  Someone has mixed the boys all up?  Well in that case dumbing down is the only option.  Older boys tired of same old same old gentle float down the river for the 4th time this season?  Is it any wonder to see attendance falling off well before the summer's over, but hey, the new boys will be experienced so they can take over next year's new boys and repeat the pattern yet another year.

 

So was it the adult's decision that a monthly campout should include the whole troop.  If so why?  Why can't the monthly outings be reflective of the patrol method?  Or is the patrol method like the good china?  It gets dragged out only on special occasions?

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  Or is the patrol method like the good china?  It gets dragged out only on special occasions?

Flags. So often the only time you see the patrol method is when they are lined up for flags. Check that box off. Looks good for the parents when they drop off and pick up.

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Funny you should point that out @@King Ding Dong the only time my boys do things as a total group IS THE FLAGS, otherwise they are off doing their own patrol thingy.

 

The irony of my situation is that with a new troop just starting out and the small numbers of boys, I miss the variety of different patrols all doing different things.  I could always count on the older boys doing some challenging outings that I got to go on and the younger boys struggling to get themselves established as a patrol and seeing the excitement when it all starts to click.  This kaleidoscope of activity was always fun to watch.  As the numbers grow, we'll get there again.

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Maybe the inexperienced boys should be in a patrol of their own, take the Canoeing MB and develop their skills as a group rather than dumbing down the rest of the patrols.  Oh?  Someone has mixed the boys all up?  Well in that case dumbing down is the only option.  Older boys tired of same old same old gentle float down the river for the 4th time this season?  Is it any wonder to see attendance falling off well before the summer's over, but hey, the new boys will be experienced so they can take over next year's new boys and repeat the pattern yet another year.

 

So was it the adult's decision that a monthly campout should include the whole troop.  If so why?  Why can't the monthly outings be reflective of the patrol method?  Or is the patrol method like the good china?  It gets dragged out only on special occasions?

 

 

Yes, but the problem with having all the inexperienced boys in one patrol is that there are no experienced scouts to teach the skills because they are all shooting the rapids.  So you have the adults stepping up and teaching the skills to the den... I mean patrol.  Also, how is the older scouts deciding to segregate the inexperienced scouts to float in the kiddie pool taking care of your boys?  About 10 years ago the boys in our troop made the decision to have mixed age patrols because the boy leaders felt that when they were younger scouts they were ignored and looked down upon by the older scout patrol.  That dynamic of inclusion and friendship has become part of our troop's culture.

 

As for the "same old float", shouldn't it be up to the boys to find a solution to the problem?  Rather than making an adult decision to have same age (i.e. putting the inexperienced folks together) patrols, should the boys figure it out?  Ask a simple question of "how can we do this so you guys get a greater challenge but the younger scouts don't feel left out?"  Our guys are used to answering that question. We have backpacking treks where the older guys start a day earlier and do 10 more miles before they meet up with the younger guys. We have done low COPE together as a troop and then split up with the older boys doing high COPE and the younger boys doing a rock climbing wall.  The boys are doing a boating campout where you can pick a canoe, row boat, kayak or sail boat depending on your ability.  

 

Also, there is nothing wrong with having an outdoor program organized by the PLC at the Troop level.  With four patrols in our troop, that would require at least 8 adults camping out each month if each patrol did a different activity.  That just isn't feasible.  Just because the outdoor program is organized as a Troop, doesn't mean the boys don't function as patrols on outings.

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About 10 years ago the boys in our troop made the decision to have mixed age patrols because the boy leaders felt that when they were younger scouts they were ignored and looked down upon by the older scout patrol.  That dynamic of inclusion and friendship has become part of our troop's culture.

 

[snip]

 

Also, there is nothing wrong with having an outdoor program organized by the PLC at the Troop level.  With four patrols in our troop, that would require at least 8 adults camping out each month if each patrol did a different activity.  That just isn't feasible.  Just because the outdoor program is organized as a Troop, doesn't mean the boys don't function as patrols on outings.

 

Exactly!!!

 

You can have the Patrol Method alive and well in a large troop, it just takes on an additional dynamic.

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I wish my patrols had flags. Out of the three old patrols, only the NSP had a flag, and that was because one of the Scouts took it upon himself to make it. I have no idea what happened to the older Scout patrol's flag, if they ever had one.  My son's patrol had a pillowcase with their emblem drawn on it as a flag. But it was hastily a produced one and it was not taken care of. It got wet, put up wet, and mildewed. A PL was suppose to make a new one, but quit before he ever did.

 

Yes, I admit I am for mixed aged patrols. BUT that is so the older Scouts can train and work with the younger ones so they are ready for the same adventures.

 

I'm also for forming a venture patrol, Leadership Corps, whatever you want to call it of the older Scouts that can do their own thing occasionally.   And essentially that is what we have: an older Scout patrol, and 2 mixed aged patrols, although some of the Scouts in those patrols are still acting like new Scouts.

 

My issue with the decree about the canoe  is that the younger Scouts wanted this trip, and wanted it in July while the older Scouts were at Philmont. SPL and older Scout PL said no because the older scouts wanted to be able to do the trip as well. So compromise was made. Now the adults are "altering the deal. Pray [the adults] don't alter it any further."

 

And that is the problem too much adult involvement.

 

An aside. While I go to my Oldest to get ideas, he sees the problem and wants it fixed, I didn't realize that Middle Son is observing and listening to our conversations, and is putting two and two together. Oldest did a survey, but forgot to include himself, and is doing a form. Middle son sees the survey and comments, "Don't let my friends see you rank the troop as a 3 (out of 10). I want them to join the troop with me." I then had a conversation with him, and he point blank told me who the problem was. I asked why, and he said that on the second camp out with the troop, Gunship told the NSP they were building the fire wrong, took over, but then could not get it to light. Yet the NSP had a fire started.

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Yes, but the problem with having all the inexperienced boys in one patrol is that there are no experienced scouts to teach the skills because they are all shooting the rapids.  

 

And this is why we have 18+ year old MB counselors teaching the MB on Canoeing!  And if that isn't enough, that's why we have FUNCTIONAL Instructors doing POR work.  It's totally bogus to dump all the instructional work on the "Older Boys" all the time.  They earned the right to use what they have been taught.  Teaching boys to canoe and then have fun is the goal.  It is not so that they can teach others.  There's no value in teaching someone to canoe unless they can use it.  Simply teaching canoeing so that they can teach canoeing is really pointless in my book.  Your mileage may vary.

 

So you have the adults stepping up and teaching the skills to the den... I mean patrol.  

 

Exactly, that's the whole point of the MB program in BSA!  On some of the other less detailed learning opportunities, the Instructors working on POR will do the teaching!  Of course that means they actually have to teach something to earn the POR and not just wear the patch.

 

Also, how is the older scouts deciding to segregate the inexperienced scouts to float in the kiddie pool taking care of your boys?  

 

I guess that's one of the pitfalls of the mixed patrols.  ALL the boys have to be in the kiddie pool because the inexperienced boys aren't safe in the deep end of the big pool then.  So much for Scouting adventures and challenges. 

 

About 10 years ago the boys in our troop made the decision to have mixed age patrols because the boy leaders felt that when they were younger scouts they were ignored and looked down upon by the older scout patrol.  That dynamic of inclusion and friendship has become part of our troop's culture.

 

That is an issue of refocusing the attitudes of the boys, and has nothing to do with the patrol method.  How can the younger boys feel ignored if they have a functional SPL, a functional TG, functional Instructors all working with the boys to get them UP TO THE LEVEL OF THE EXPERIENCED BOYS AND ON EQUAL FOOTING WITH THEM?????  Why is it always necessary to drag the experienced boys down to the inexperienced levels.  Why not step up the game and raise the experience level of the younger boys?  Never could figure that out.

 

As for the "same old float", shouldn't it be up to the boys to find a solution to the problem?  

 

They do!  The older patrols would do experienced floats and the inexperienced patrols would do a gentler section of the river.

 

Rather than making an adult decision to have same age (i.e. putting the inexperienced folks together) patrols, should the boys figure it out?

 

One assumes that it is the adults making the same age patrols?  Sorry, I totally stay out of the patrol membership issue and they naturally want to be with their buddies and boys of the same age and experiences.  I would have to make an adult pronouncement/requirement in order to accomplish a mixed patrol situation.  I have no problem with the BSA recommended tier levels of NSP, Regular and Venture patrol set up because that's what naturally occurs with my boys anyway.

 

 Ask a simple question of "how can we do this so you guys get a greater challenge but the younger scouts don't feel left out?"  

 

That's a question I have never asked because no one in the troop has ever worried about it. 

 

Our guys are used to answering that question. We have backpacking treks where the older guys start a day earlier and do 10 more miles before they meet up with the younger guys.

 

So the groups are separated out right from the start?

 

We have done low COPE together as a troop and then split up with the older boys doing high COPE and the younger boys doing a rock climbing wall.

 

Again, the patrols are being segregated out and not operating as a patrol. 

 

 The boys are doing a boating campout where you can pick a canoe, row boat, kayak or sail boat depending on your ability.  

 

And my boys would agree as a patrol and go have fun together.

 

Also, there is nothing wrong with having an outdoor program organized by the PLC at the Troop level.

 

There is if one is not all that interested in the patrol method and have turned the unit into a boy-led, troop-method program.  It does wonders to destroy patrol continuity and esprit-de-corps.   And in the long run it's really difficult to run a troop program when the patrols are all 300' apart.

 

 With four patrols in our troop, that would require at least 8 adults camping out each month if each patrol did a different activity.  

 

If that's what it takes to support a patrol-method program, then the answer is YES!

 

That just isn't feasible.  

 

That's just an excuse to maintain an adult controlled program.  I hear it all the time, "gotta have an ASM advisor for every patrol".  Okay that's the SM and 3 ASM's for a 4 patrol troop.  Two-deep with a parent chaperone and all 4 patrols can easily be covered.  Taking care of your boys applies to the adults as well.  They need to step up their game and make sure the adventure happens for the boys.  If something isn't feasible, then there's something seriously wrong with how that troop is structured.  And seriously how many 4 patrol troops out there can't come up with a SM and 3 ASM's.  Most adult run troops have twice that many adults hanging around.  And how often do the 4 patrols want to go in four different directions on the same weekend?  DO WHAT IT TAKES TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR BOYS.  My job as SM is to support the boys in their decisions, I make it happen per their request.  If this month the boys want to go in 4 different directions, I do what it takes to make it happen.

 

Just because the outdoor program is organized as a Troop, doesn't mean the boys don't function as patrols on outings.

 

And that's been addressed too.  A token gesture here and there on a troop run program doesn't make it a patrol-method troop. 

 

Seriously, Hedge, I see your point of view and as a UC, see it in many troops working quite well, but I also see a lot of boys dumping scouts after a couple of years because they never really get a chance to break out and do some really neat things unless they break up their patrols and ad hoc into high adventure contingents or going the Venturing route.  They have to abandon their patrol method to do either of these things. 

 

Many years ago I was at a scout summer camp in a location far from my ingrown area of the world.  There was a group of boys in the next site over that didn't do any MB's didn't do any activities, just sat around, went up to the mess hall, came back, sat around the fire, went for a meal, came back hung out.... etc.  You get the picture.  I got curious and went over and visited with them.  It would seem that they were all Eagle Scouts, they had been buddies since Cub Scouts and this was their last hurrah summer camp before breaking up and going their individual ways in the world.

 

It was that afternoon sitting with those Eagles that proved to me it is feasible, it is possible, it is the right thing to do and so I quit as ASM of an adult-dominated, troop-method program, found a struggling troop of 5 boys and went to work learning all I could on patrol method, servant leadership and functional adventures for the boys!  

 

As a boy I had a bad experience in scouting.  I told myself I would never do to a boy what had been done to me.  I didn't realize it, but that was exactly what I was doing.  Not any more.  My boys deserve the opportunity to have the adventure that BSA promises through the boy led, patrol method program.  And that's what my boys get, the opportunity to be the best they can and want to be and that's how I see my job as SM. 

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