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What challenged you as a new scout leader?

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I didn't want to high jack the "Twenty Skills That Are Dying" so I'm starting this one.

 

Chadamus and I started getting into the challenges of new scout leaders and it got me thinking about my challenges as the new troop leader of a new troop. The two other adults and I had a pretty good troop experiences as a youth, so we pretty much had and idea the direction we wanted to go with the new troop. But our first big challenge was the NSP and troop guides. Between the three of us new leaders, we had around 17 years experience as a youth. But the NSP was so new, it changed how to implement the Patrol Method of our youth. We gave it a good try because we assumed it was the new and improved patrol method. But because of our youth experiences and expectations, we couldn't make it work. We gave up after three years. 

 

So what were your challenges as a new scout leader?

 

Barry

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Scouters not understanding what a patrol or the patrol method is  ;)

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actually this topic comes with good timing.  I'm finding myself at one of those low points, very disillusioned with scouting at the moment

Just yesterday evening, after picking up my son from PLC it hit me.... If you can't beat them, go camping.  I should just start focusing on taking my son and daughters camping more and not stressing about the troop so much and fixing what seems like can't be fixed from my position.... I think I'll work on getting my own backpacking equipment collection built up and start working up to doing some fun outings.

 

I have found that the training is so very lacking that it is absolutely no wonder that even highly trained wood beaded Eagle Scout scouters don't get it.

and you can't rely on those with experience as scouts either..... since the human condition is to do thing the way you know based on what you have seen.

 

So I pick up son at PLC last night, and there they are as usual, with several adults gathered tightly around the table, and not just ASM's... an MC or two as well. With an Adult sitting at the front leading the show.  We have patrols but about the only thing they do as patrols is KP.  Even that is usually some mix of a hybrid adhoc patrol.  Patrols don't meet together.  They don't set up their tents in patrol areas together at camp, they don't have patrol yells, or in any outward way really show pride in being a member.

 

I suspect your new scout patrols don't work because they are too forced.  Probably micromanaged a bit and they don't get the chance to figure things out for themselves that well....and perhaps the older guys aren't fostered to really be helpful to them.

Patrols are supposed to be groups of friends that want to hang out together...... and no 16 or 17 year old wants to be best buds with an 11 year old.... or visa versa.... no way around that!

 

What is the biggest challenge?

in my estimation, it's either

   the lack of good training

   lack of clear and simple definition of what the program should be... the aim and method.

   or scouters that think they know but don't have time or interest enough to continue looking for answers and thinking things through

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Having to relearn things as a Scoutmaster.  Even though before I was an extremely active Troop parent, I honestly had not concept of boy scouts purpose.  When I stepped in to help in another Troop that needed a SM ASAP, I had to really spend loads of time relearning things.  Now that I look back I see that my son's troop was never boy-led, yet I was trying to follow my new learning to make the troop I was SM boy-led while the parents hadn't a clue.  It isn't just SM and ASM that need training but parents so all are on the same page or it is a fighting battle.

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What is the biggest challenge?

 


n my estimation, it's either the lack of good training[.]  lack of clear and simple definition of what the program should be... the aim and method[,] or scouters that think they know but don't have time or interest enough to continue looking for answers and thinking things through.{/quote]  


 


And it's only getting slowly better on the training front.


 


 



What is the biggest challenge?


in my estimation, it's either


   the lack of good training


   lack of clear and simple definition of what the program should be... the aim and method.


   or scouters that think they know but don't have time or interest enough to continue looking for answers and thinking things through


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Hmmm, all I knew was our patrols were week. I had no idea how to change that or what it might look like. The adults were happy doing a lot for the boys so it didn't help. The SM handbook was a complete bust. My commissioner was of no help either. Not that he was bad, just that he didn't know. Interestingly enough, there were two adults that also wanted to make the patrols stronger, but they didn't know how to say that. Simply put, we were all clueless.

 

@@blw2, I might have been in the same place as you. My patrols would cook on their own, but that was it. I think the biggest challenge is convincing the scouts they can do more on their own. Giving them fewer choices seems to help. Multiple choice is much easier than free form. Another challenge that seems to be getting harder is separating the boys that want a challenge from the naysayers. One scout can easily convince 5 sitting on the fence that the challenge is too hard. That's my frustration now.

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I think:

 

SPL (after getting PLC backing):

 

"On the next campout, patrols are totally responsible for their menus, cooking, and KP.  Adults will not assist.  If you want to eat, you better get busy.

 

As KP is a matter of health and safety, an adult will inspect after you are done with KP.  You WILL satisfy that adult before being allowed to do anything else."

 

Every patrol has a Grub Master and a Patrol Chef.

 

If not done recently, have each patrol run teaching sessions on menu, cooking, and KP.

 

Adults eat separately.

 

I predict that no one will die of starvation.  Burned food does not kill.  Hunger is a great incentive.  

 

The way to get more impressive menus is the example of better meals - preferably in a patrol but in the adult mess group if needed ("That smells good!") and cooking contests.  

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My biggest challenge as a new adult way back when was transitioning from a Scout to a Scouter. Boy Scouts trains ya to DO and then when you hit 18, WHAM! You got to sit back. I still have trouble sitting back. I see a lot of Cub Scout leaders having the problem too. Heck the next crop of new Scouts we get in March will have many parents in that situation.

 

Regarding NSPs, well you probably read my opinion of them. We are a mixed aged patrol troop. 

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My whole troop is a NSP and I'm having a blast!!!  We might take on some new Webelos in the next few months, should be interesting.

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Biggest challenges?

 

Short and simply: Not knowing where to look for the answers, and much later realizing I didn't even know all the questions I should be asking.

 

When my son crossed over, the idea that he could join any Troop was foreign to me. His Cub Scout Pack was a feeder for his current Troop. Same CO. As a youth I was in the same position, so I thought his progression was proper simply because it mirrored mine. So, right from the start, I lacked knowledge. I've since tried to sponge as much information as I can. This forum has been a huge part of that absorption. Other Scouters, books, magazines, websites, etc have helped me immensely.

As I've learned, I've changed my approach. Once example:

At the end of a Troop campout, the SPL lines the boys up, spreads them out, and tells them where they're to look for trash. After 10 yards I tell three shoulder-to-shoulder boys to "spread-out so your search is more effective." At the time I thought I was doing the right thing. These days I've learned to sit back keep my mouth shut and let the SPL handle the situation.

 

Again, lack of knowledge had been my biggest challenge.

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No reason not to "have a word" with the SPL that helps him learn his job better.  The thing to avoid, as you know, is openly taking over his job by directing him.  He, in turn, should guide the respective PL(s) with a quiet word.  (Psst.  Joe.  [hand gestures])

 

As for your first observation, knowing what the issue is (the "question") is often tougher than finding answers.  It was Scouters AFTER SM Basic Training repeatedly asking me for a list of the elements of the Patrol Method that led me to discover, wonder of wonders, that the last official coherent list or description was decades old.   Because I had experienced the Patrol Method in the "Golden Age," I never dreamed that it had been misplaced.   And I am assured that "misplaced" is the word by someone is the very best of all positions to know -- a gent who has been working away to correct the deficiency.  So the question I was missing was "What happened to the BSA materials on the Patrol Method?"  The answer is that the piece-parts are still there, scattered about, awaiting reassembly by someone with national clout.  Meanwhile, "Brighten the corner where you are."

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As a new Scout leader at 18 my biggest challenge was unlearned what I had learned about Scouting and the patrol method as a youth. Besides what I'd learned at NYLT for a week, everything else I knew about the Patrol Method was wrong. 

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Where do I even begin ...

 

As a new Cub Scout leader a little over a year ago, I received no materials, no information on where the boys stood in their advancement, received no training, no direction, the boys had no uniforms, the parents were as lost as I was, and there was no organization in the pack leadership.

 

But all of that is fixed now!   :)

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