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Contact Etiquette for Leaders

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At a recent troop meeting, the SM announced that scouts are expected to call him (not email or text). If he does not answer, he is not expected to return their call -- they are expected to keep calling until he answers.

 

At the same meeting, our advancement chair asked that scouts call her home phone (not cell) and leave a voicemail including a phone number.

 

How do the leaders in your troop balance the needs of the scouts with their own preferences for contact? On top of that, the no one-on-one contact rule includes electronic communication. On top of that, we are in an age where communication etiquette is fluid at best. 

 

How do leaders get their contact information out to the boys while maintaining some privacy?

 

Any suggestions? Is there some BSA guildeline somewhere?

 

Thanks!

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I deal with venturers.

I prefer E-mail or home/cell phone. If they haven't copied their folks on the E-mail, I'll CC them on the reply.

I encourage them to use the group mailing list.

They've wanted me to get on another media (in-stir-gram or snapper-chat?), I declined. If they put out a friend request on FB, I'll accept it. But, I don't communicate crew business using it. Profusion has its limits.

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At a recent troop meeting, the SM announced that scouts are expected to call him (not email or text). If he does not answer, he is not expected to return their call -- they are expected to keep calling until he answers.

 

At the same meeting, our advancement chair asked that scouts call her home phone (not cell) and leave a voicemail including a phone number.

 

How do the leaders in your troop balance the needs of the scouts with their own preferences for contact? On top of that, the no one-on-one contact rule includes electronic communication. On top of that, we are in an age where communication etiquette is fluid at best. 

 

How do leaders get their contact information out to the boys while maintaining some privacy?

 

Any suggestions? Is there some BSA guildeline somewhere?

 

Thanks!

We do most by email.  

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It's a way of teaching communication through speaking. I'm not sure of the concern, it's also how the scouts contact MB Counselors,  and adult assistants like camping assistant, advancement, BOR leaders and speakers. Our troop has done this 30 something years. 

 

Barry

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Wow. Speechless at some Leaders' behavior. I've got 75 Scouts:

 

- Call: Leave a detailed message with call back. I'll call, email or text you back within 48 hours.

 

- Text: Same as above but I copy mom or dad on my reply.

 

- Email: Same as above.

 

I don't do Snapchat. I don't consider Twitter, Instagram or Facebook ways of contacting me for troop or crew business.

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I tell scouts to CC their parents in all their email communication with anyone in scouting.  If no response, then a follow-up phone call (few scouts will do this).

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At a recent troop meeting, the SM announced that scouts are expected to call him (not email or text). If he does not answer, he is not expected to return their call -- they are expected to keep calling until he answers.

 

At the same meeting, our advancement chair asked that scouts call her home phone (not cell) and leave a voicemail including a phone number.

 

Everything we do teaches our scouts lessons.  But, is it a good lesson ??

 

Our troop has no set rules.  If you publish your phone number on the troop site, expect that it might be used.  Same with email.  If you don't want it used, don't list it. 

 

Now if someone calls you and leaves a message, I'd expect it's only polite to return their call or get rid of your answering machine.  Anything else is at best high maintenance.  At worst, it's a really bad lesson to teach our scouts on how to treat others.  Yes, we do need to teach our scouts how to continue to pursue things.  But we don't do it by showing our own bad behavior.

Edited by fred johnson
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I am appalled at your SM's policy on return calls. That is really setting a bad example for your scouts. In the professional world, if somebody calls you and leave a message, you call them back. You won't stay employed long if you don't. It would be one thing if he asked the scouts to contact him in way other than his phone, but once he asks them to use the phone, regular phone etiquette should apply. That does not include ignoring the original caller who leaves a message.

 

In answer to your question, the leaders in our troop each have their own policy. I tell the scouts that if a leader asks you to communicate with them in a certain way, then use that way. Our CC prefers the phone. (He will call back, however, when he receives a message.)

 

Personally, we try to use the landline at the house for communicating with the school. I try to keep scout communications on my mobile phone limited to other leaders. I like for the scouts to contact me by email.

 

I agree with Fred...if you publish your contact information to the scouts like that you need to expect them to use it. So don't pass it around if you don't want to be contacted.

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Is the SM military by chance?  This sounds vaguely like military etiquette.  You never call a superior and leave a message for them to call back.  It's up to you to make contact, not to put the monkey on their back.  I was a civilian in a military organization and a young enlisted person [taught me this.

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That seems like a recipe for communication breaking down. Any rule laid down should have as it goal communicating being successful not placing barriers to it.

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We use Trooptrack so it is often via email or text. Emails from youth to adults require a cc: to parents. For Merit Badges and the like I give out my email and all my phone numbers (cell, home, work) and in 6 years never had a boy abuse it. I do ask that if they need a prolonged face to face at a meeting that they give me a heads up before hand so I can figure out where to spend the time. I have also met for face to faces at a public library, fast food place, or (a troop tradition) pulling out some chairs on the front lawn during day light hours. I want a parent in line of sight at least if the kid is pretty young. I often grab another ASM or parent to sit in if need be. I do not want difficulty in contact being a barrier.

 

I say this even after a difficulty with a PYT in college when I was a professor who kept showing me nude photos of her; utter transparency with my boss, students, and colleagues was a CYA that saved my reputation. (At that point I had to decide if I was to avoid office hours for female students which hardly seemed fair)

 

I do think SM's need some sort of filter or barrier from parent bagging though.

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Pretty similar this side of the pond. Most scouts like to email. When I reply I CC parents. Quite rare for them to phone!

 

In terms of the system in the OP surely this is counter productive? I'll admit it, sometimes I ignore the phone. (and occasionally specific people!) When I do I would rather they left a voicemail rather than kept calling me. If I didn't pick up first time it's for a reason. ie I don't want or can't talk to them right now!

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Given YPT, I prefer emails, copied to a third party, preferably a parent or (other) troop Scouter.

 

As for my "privacy," I get 8-10 scam telephone calls a week, so that horse is out the barn door.  

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no set rules as far as I know....email is encouraged

although based on my experience and observations scouts just wait for a meeting generally.

 

I can guess the reason for such a "rule" is because of the old fogey opinion that kids don't know how to talk on the phone anymore.  It's correct I think....but then I'm an old fogey....

IMHO though I think it's a mistake to make hoops for the scouts to jump through

Some of our scouters have set other hoops, such as a demand that the committee be emailed for a requested BOR 1 week minimum prior.  Just a silly needless hoop in my opinion.

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