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I give up!

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a bit of a rant I suppose....

 

I have tired of dreaming for a program as it "could be"

and seeing so many ways that the scouters squash what I would consider an ideal.

 

My son has tired of scouts.  He does not want to go to the meetings...says he doesn't want to go just to talk about what they are going to do.

The meetings are boring...and I don't blame him a bit.  I don't want to go either...and I have really stayed out of them all along anyway.

 

I think he has given up too.... well honestly he never really felt empowered to try really do in the first place....even though i have encouraged him over and over again to speak up and make a change.

 

He told me the other day that he liked cub scouts better.  I was shocked.  He said it's because they actually did stuff in the meetings.  there was always an activity to do, something fun.  In scouts, they plan for the next trip, talk about the next trip, or listen to someone talk about something they don't care about.  

 

I think I understand why I was so shocked, is probably because I remember in a way that he does not.  He has lost site of all the talking and school work type stuff they did in cubs.  he's now looking at it through rose-colored glasses.  I could be wrong, but I also am pretty sure I see some things about troop life that he doesn't see.  You see, even when it's scout led, it's still so very strongly adult influenced.  You have scouts setting rules and parroting things because they think that is what is expected.... well in many cases it is what is expected by the folks in the back of the room.  He can't really understand how it might be if those folks in the back of the room would leave.

 

There has never really been anything I could do in my position to do anything about that...and honestly I no longer have much energy to care.  That's why I "give up".  I'd rather just go for a hike on my own.

 

and another thing....

The whole thing of coed used to be something I wanted to see....but now that it's finally on the horizon I'm not so sure.  I don't see such a problem with girls in scouts for the most part....well depends on how implemented...but I'm doubtful it can be done well.  More than that though, where I see the potential problem is with the moms.  We have some mom scouters and MC's that bring a wonderful energy and willingness to "do"....and we have some dad scouters that struggle with jumping in too much now and then...but more an more I'm coming around to that old "sexist" idea that boys need a place to be boys...and they need male role models in a setting that is not girlied-up

 

My wife for years now has basically built a wall about scouts.  She has never really wanted to hear me talk about scouts, shuts down whenever I'm trying to vent or brainstorm with her.  recently I asked her if she had talked with any of son's friends mom about how well they are liking scouts.  Well later, DW showed me the texting conversation, and it is very clear she has not "heard" anything i've said over the last few years.  She still goes back to what she observed in cubs, where us dad scouters were not good disciplinarians.  They think that maybe they need to get more involved now because of that.  She also think that I would be happy if my son would eagle....when all I've ever said is that I'd really like to see him make 1st class.... well of course eagle would be great but that's not my dream....  Anyway, I don't know.... I guess this thing cemented for me that many moms will never get it.  They really don't even care to try.

 

Anyway, I pretty much started this last year, but I'm more or less done trying to really push son to the meetings.  I think he's about ready to quit.  We skipped last night's meeting.  As treasurer, I'll really need to go next week and I've told him that I'd really like him to come with me then.....but in my mind I figure he's paid up through to January recharter.  If he doesn't want to go to any meetings or outings till then...ok by me.  When that point nears I'll probably pay his dues so he can go as an inactive member for a year, and at the same time resign as treasurer but stay on as an inactive MC...I figure that way at least he'll see that he has the option to just take a break and go back later if he wants.

 

frustrating for me....but it IS HIS journey, not mine

 

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I've fought this battle to the point of exhaustion with my Scouts. They tell us the meetings are boring. Well, lets make them less boring...Nope. I try to help the older scouts brainstorm. Nothing. I toss out suggestions, nothing. I've given them Troop program guides for inspiration. Nothing.

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My scout and our family have felt similar towards the meetings for a while now.  He's been doing this for a few years.  We're involved parents, we like to know how the meetings went and it gives us something to talk about together.  Most of the time he'd say everyone just socialized and didn't even usually talk about scout stuff.  Sure, there are some meetings when campout planning is done but poor planning is sometimes another problem.  Things aren't as well defined and smooth as I think some other posters in this forum have with their troops.  He's in a leadership position now and I always try to encourage him to do above and beyond what someone else may have done as leader if he wants.  He doesn't have to be stuck in an endless cycle of repetition but he's already defeated and says why should he bother when no one else will follow through.  He's not far from Eagle and he's got several years until 18 but the whole family is wondering why he should go to a weekly meeting that accomplishes nothing and he's not learning or growing from it (with some exceptions).  I feel that there are a lot of lost opportunities and the boys are missing out on some things by just going through the motions.  Maybe a different troop would be better but my son's friends are still in this one. 

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Yeah, I can't argue.  Meetings can be boring.  Perhaps, troops don't need "weekly" meetings.  Perhaps, only sign your scout up for interesting activities.  Don't require him to attend all the meetings.  Just enough to participate in the fun things.  

 

I myself expect my sons to attend.  But I'd be glad with scouts who attend as they can.

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Adding to RememberSchiff's idea, how about doing something scoutlike, and fun, with just your son, during the troop meetings, for the next month? Next week my troop is riding to DQ. That's a slam dunk. After that, how about a geocache? Then give him 3 ideas to choose from. Challenge him to build a fire that he can start with a single match and then not touch. See how long it takes to bring one cup of water to a boil. Then help him come up with 3 ideas of his own. During all this ask him if he'd like to invite some of his friends from scouts. Or maybe do it on another nite other than the troop meeting so you're not poaching. No matter what make sure it's fun. Teach him how to organize fun, scout activities. Make a cardboard canoe. Practice signaling with flags (an old first class requirement) and then see how far away from each other you can send messages.

 

Either you fix things or you don't but at least you'll have fun with your son. Trust us old farts, that's what counts.

 

As for meetings where it's all talk and no doing, that is the kiss of death. While I was SM that was my number one priority for meetings. They had to have minimal talking. If someone finds an expert in some cool field and can bring in lots of neat stuff then that's different, but nobody wants to listen to an older scout or adult blather on. Unfortunately, blathering on is easy to plan.

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Make the most of these years with your son as they will never come again.  It does not have to be Scouting.

exactly what I was thinking.....

 

I've fought this battle to the point of exhaustion with my Scouts. They tell us the meetings are boring. Well, lets make them less boring...Nope. I try to help the older scouts brainstorm. Nothing. I toss out suggestions, nothing. I've given them Troop program guides for inspiration. Nothing.

yeah, It's a tough road..... near impossible for a single person to turn the big ship alone... so the "give up" attitude....

 

Maybe there is another troop nearby with better meetings?

problems there... right or wrong he's soured on scouting...also he would barely look at other troops before because they were unfamiliar, no friends, etc.... surely wouldn't happen now.  There are a couple of troop sorta near, one is a definite no, the other is a complete unknown, doesn't know anybody, etc....  Seems to me that advice would only work for a scout that is otherwise gung ho for scouting

 

Adding to RememberSchiff's idea, how about doing something scoutlike, and fun, with just your son, during the troop meetings, for the next month? Next week my troop is riding to DQ. That's a slam dunk. After that, how about a geocache? Then give him 3 ideas to choose from. Challenge him to build a fire that he can start with a single match and then not touch. See how long it takes to bring one cup of water to a boil. Then help him come up with 3 ideas of his own. During all this ask him if he'd like to invite some of his friends from scouts. Or maybe do it on another nite other than the troop meeting so you're not poaching. No matter what make sure it's fun. Teach him how to organize fun, scout activities. Make a cardboard canoe. Practice signaling with flags (an old first class requirement) and then see how far away from each other you can send messages.

 

Either you fix things or you don't but at least you'll have fun with your son. Trust us old farts, that's what counts.

 

As for meetings where it's all talk and no doing, that is the kiss of death. While I was SM that was my number one priority for meetings. They had to have minimal talking. If someone finds an expert in some cool field and can bring in lots of neat stuff then that's different, but nobody wants to listen to an older scout or adult blather on. Unfortunately, blathering on is easy to plan.

I have been dreaming as a personal goal now for a while to get back into backpacking.  I've been slowly gearing up and occasionally dropping hints to him and his sister about maybe joining me.  I think I've even posted here before about a loose plan I have to hike an AT section, or some other trail in the mountains for a week or so next summer...and I've been off an on about suggesting that he invite friends along &/or try to make it a scouting or patrol thing...

 

I'm also thinking about introducing him to mountain bike trail riding

and he's done some kayak paddling before, but maybe we could do more of that.

maybe invite some of his friends and do an overnight paddle trip someplace...

 

But your idea of doing something INSTEAD of a meeting..... interesting thought......

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Yeah, I can't argue.  Meetings can be boring.  Perhaps, troops don't need "weekly" meetings.  Perhaps, only sign your scout up for interesting activities.  Don't require him to attend all the meetings.  Just enough to participate in the fun things.  

 

I myself expect my sons to attend.  But I'd be glad with scouts who attend as they can.

I've gotta say I would tend to agree with that idea of ditching weekly meetings at the moment.

 

I know there's a trade off though....idle hands and all of that.

 

Actually I'd say that is a small part of son's current attitude.  He started feeling this way in the spring, missed a few meetings.  Then didn't go to summer camp in June , then our troop take off the month of July (that's one of those adult steered scout choice things I think.... yeah sure, the scouts decided... but that's another story)

Anyway, my point is he's had a long break.... and now talk of going back to meetings is just that much more painful.

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reading Stosh's post about "it has been decided"

and thinking about the thing I mentioned in my first post here about my wife's conversation with the other moms

and how as many times as I've tried to brainstorm with her....

and also discuss how this could be good for our son....

and how the whole patrol method boy led thing works, giving them freedom to learn, fail, grow, and lead

and how after all the hundreds of times I've made that point in many different ways....

but she never heard it.

 

yep, I'm officially singing a different tune now.....family scouting is going to be just what these guys need.....not so much....

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The issue of boring meetings is near and dear to my heart. Primarily because I hate boring meetings too. I find that the older scouts like speakers because they don't have to put any work into it. However, we (the adults) have started requiring that they have at least 3 or 4 meetings where they practice scout skills in some way. We also have a couple of open houses for Webelos every year, and the scouts get to get outside and move around for that. We also occasionally do some strictly fun things like a pumpkin carving contest by patrol for Halloween, and a duct tape challenge where they make costumes out of duct tape. That kind of thing. 

 

Perhaps you can make some suggestions and get th troop away from the jaw jaw all the time that is boring him so much. Because if he is bored, lots of other scouts are bored too.  I perceive this as a major problem in the scouting program today anyway.

 

But I feel you. My son, too, is tired of going to meetings and is starting to skip them. But he is almost 18 and almost Eagle. It's not a whole lot of fun going to the meetings without him. One of the things i have started doing is letting him take scouts on his own terms. He goes on the occasional campout, the particularly fun ones. But at least when he goes he has fun.

 

Perhaps cut a deal with him. One meeting a month, he gets to pick. And also every other campout or something, or the ones he enjoys. And let him take a vacation from advancement if he wants.

 

I wish you the best of luck.

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My wife for years now has basically built a wall about scouts.  She has never really wanted to hear me talk about scouts, shuts down whenever I'm trying to vent or brainstorm with her. 

 

I especially understand this point. My wife has never been supportive of our participation in boy scouts. She thinks it's a detriment to the boys' schooling, takes too much time, and does nothing for their character development. She does not value the personal growth it brings, either. It's very hard to keep things on an even keel that way when she is basically pressuring him to do other things besides scouting all the time. I don't have any words of wisdom for you here, but I thought I would just let you know you are not the only one with an unsupportive spouse.

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Some of this is:

video games being more interesting than everyday life,

COs who don't give permanent space (a room) for each patrol,

adults who don't believe in physical distance,

patrols that don't compete,

boys who don't sing anymore because their devices sound better.

 

As much as we loved scouting and venturing, we also loved family weekends in the woods. (Well, Mrs. Q hated the tents, or maybe she was jealous of my rain cloud fan base. :cool: ) Whatever the kids learned in scouting, they could apply at a state parks or doing chores at their grandparents.

 

Your family is your first patrol. If they don't reap the benefits of your scouting, you will soon loose track of why you're whiling the time away in even the best troop.

 

But even then, the instant gratification culture invades.  My family is gearing up for an extended fall weekend around a wedding in WV and a spring break trip sailing. Sunday dinner conversations just got a little boring. Everyone's looking up the best deals for whatever. There's just a different feel compared to when you'd grab a dozen brochures from the travel agent and the tour books from AAA and spread them out between the dessert being served.

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Tuesday is Date Day with the Mrs.  NOTHING is planned except what we want to do.  Used to be just Tuesdays.  This week Date Day started on Monday at noon.  Hit two huge botanical gardens and an evening in a beautiful state park.  Had a nice dinner at an old fashioned "supper club". 

 

How much planning was involved?...none.  How much hassle with schedules?....none.  Spent today cleaning up the camper so it'll be ready next Monday at noon.  :) 

 

So, do I continue to fight the good fight with the BSA or just find a different trail out there?  There'll be others out there that can pick up the slack.  After 45+ years, I've paid my dues.  My son quit scouting back in  the mid 90's  So the only thing holding me in the program was the program.  The game changes, the rules change, but one doesn't need to play the game.

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I understand the frustration. One thing I have noticed is that we (all?) have troop meetings, but how many have patrols which meet weekly? Few, I would guess. Probably close to zero if the Patrol meetings are not part of the troop meeting. I have been trying (unsuccessfully) to encourage Patrol meetings IN PLACE OF (capsfor emphasis) troop meetings at least 1x/month. One problem is most of us use churches, schools, firehalls, etc as meeting places and the patrols dont really have a place of their own. The "patrol corners" is an attempt at providing the infrastructure resource, but IMO fails miserably in most applications. How cool would it be if a Patrol had a fort/treehouse/etc which they could hang out and do scouting stuff. Perhaps invite a scouter over every once in a while. Yeah, I am dreaming...

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