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blw2

I give up!

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Many (not all) of today's kids have things done TO them and FOR them.   Cub Scouts?  Well, we expect that.  AKELA (is that term obsolete?) plans and provides.  But today's society provides almost everything. 

Even school is planned to a fair thee well for the middle schoolers.  Danger lurks around every corner, so everything must be planned and permitted for the kid.  

The parents help with this, because it is easier for SOMEONE ELSE to take care of, educate, provide leadership for , their kids.  Values?  Responsibilities?   Boy Scout leaders encourage the Scout to take responsibility for their own expeditions, but what can they plan?   Without experience to draw on , they wait for the Scout Leader to provide "THE PLAN".

 

I once provided the PLC of my home troop with a package of maps, booklets, agendas, campsites for a series of hikes and campouts on the C&O Canal.  They looked at this package as if it was an invitation to go to Mars on roller skates.    These 13 and 14 year olds could not get around the idea of planning such an exercise , not even with adult help.  It seems they all depended on their parents to keep track of their "calendars" .     I am still waiting for any sign of excitement.  It takes ONE Scout, hopefully the SPL, to pick up the reins and say "Let's do this".   

 

Some years ago, Wife and I were very proud of our 12 year old son when he came to us and announced that he had "done his laundry " himself.   I smiled at my wife and asked Scoutson, "how much soap did you use?"   Scoutson said, "soap?"     He is now a strapping young man of 23 and doing quite well for himself.  Example, instruction, intervention, oversight, ideals,   all the Scouter can provide.   Whip and chair optional..... 

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For years now, the Mrs. and I take a day each week to road trip.  Nothing planned, nothing schedule, nothing put down on paper.  The only question in the morning is which way.  The Mrs. says "South".  We head south.  We look for things to do along the way and stop and check them out.  We've found many a jewel among county parks, we stay in them and State parks along the way. If it looks interesting and it's open, we stop. 

 

I liken this process to something many scouts haven't figured out as of yet.  Just go!  Go camping, anywhere!  Bring along your fishing gear, whatever seems interesting.  This planning down to the nth degree is good to begin with, but do your boys have a "Go bag?"  I have one because of the nature of my other volunteering.  When I say yes, I have 24 hours to be on a plane heading anywhere in the US for 2 weeks.  I can do this because I have learned how to do it having spent many "trips" just going and doing whatever it takes to have fun.

 

I can be ready in 5 minutes for a kayak trip anywhere within 60 miles of here.

 

I can be ready in 10 minutes to head out camping.

 

The car is already loaded to go fishing at the drop of a hat.

 

If we want to go kiking, we can go in about 2 minutes.

 

I have a Go Bag for every possible adventure there might be out there.  It's called "Be Prepared."

 

It is to this goal I work with my boys.  By the time they are 16, they should have a fairly good idea what it takes to have a Go Bag ready for a day trip and an over-nighter.  It's called having an adventure, and it's really a lot of fun.

 

Alas, today's youth can't pull even the simplest of outings together without some sort of multiple day's planning, if not weeks at a scout table putting something together. 

 

It's unfortunate because if Dad wants to take his Mrs. and the kids on a picnic in the park, it's an all-day ordeal rather than an adventure.

 

I learned this technique from my father.  Sure, he had a small house trailer, but it only took a few minutes to hook it up and we were on the road to "someplace". 

 

If this is not the ultimate goal of Scouting, then please let me know what is.  Independence, preparedness, spontaneity, adventure, companionship, leadership, all rolled up into one.  

 

Because of this I use my S->FC skills every week.  They come in handy and can cover a multitude of sins along the way.

 

My kids were bough up in this type of environment and are ready for anything that comes their way.   

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Lordy, it's not just my son's troop?

 

The reason everyone remembers cubs as being fun is that we ended every meeting with a game.

 

Boy led does not mean without mentoring or a vision of what the scouting program is supposed to deliver.

 

For years I have tried different efforts to get scouting games or the program guide in the planning.  Wanted one night a month for patrol meetings so we could get something done, but we were shot down.  

 

When we have one night of games everyone loves them....  then it is back to the same boring planning for the next event (or not).  Dodge ball.

 

Yikes, My scout is done with the meetings unless there is something he needs.  (And he needs a bit due to the lack of programming....)

 

This attitude doesn't fit our family values (or scouting values) but after years of the troop meetings wasting his and our time we are allowing it.  He can spend scout nights on those last few merit badges.

 

I'm probably going back to cubs when he eagles out.

 

 

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Oh and this troop doesn't trust their oldest scouts to hike alone together.  No wonder the 17 year old Philmont, Chilkoot hiker scout thinks scouts is boring.  The adults make it so.

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I left scouting after 4 years of adult planned outings and boring meetings.  My buddies and I didn't stop camping, we just stopped camping with the scouts.

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yeah, much of the things mentions don't happen

patrols having a place

patrols not meeting

patrols not competing

 

And when teh patrols do meet....it's to plan menu for campout, or to give the concept lip service....

 

........ However, we (the adults) have started requiring that they have at least 3 or 4 meetings where they practice scout skills in some way. ......

This is a great example of something that does get done...but at a level that I would call lip service at best....

I have observed a few times when the SPL will call out "tonight, we will work on xyx"

it's usually something like...help the new scouts with knots

or, practice 1st aid skills....

Then it becomes a re-hash of things they have heard a thousand times.  I remember watching a 1st aid one once when my son was still barely out of WEBELOS.... he had already sat through the same lecture and the same minimal hands on exercises probably 20 times before already....through multiple cub meetings, at webelos camps, 1st aid merit badge at summer camp... etc....  

Result:  IMMEDIATE glossy eyes.

 

problems include

"adults requiring it" and their hearts aren't into it

no inspiration

they really don't know what to do to step it to the next level, so they just do what they've seen before....

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yeah, much of the things mentions don't happen

patrols having a place

patrols not meeting

patrols not competing

 

And when teh patrols do meet....it's to plan menu for campout, or to give the concept lip service....

 

This is a great example of something that does get done...but at a level that I would call lip service at best....

I have observed a few times when the SPL will call out "tonight, we will work on xyx"

it's usually something like...help the new scouts with knots

or, practice 1st aid skills....

Then it becomes a re-hash of things they have heard a thousand times.  I remember watching a 1st aid one once when my son was still barely out of WEBELOS.... he had already sat through the same lecture and the same minimal hands on exercises probably 20 times before already....through multiple cub meetings, at webelos camps, 1st aid merit badge at summer camp... etc....  

Result:  IMMEDIATE glossy eyes.

 

problems include

"adults requiring it" and their hearts aren't into it

no inspiration

they really don't know what to do to step it to the next level, so they just do what they've seen before....

 

I don't contest anything you say here. But, we do implement it a little different than you envision.  For example, we don't just "tie knots". For example, we once had a SAR specialist from the Coast Guard come out and teach SAR to th boys. He had a prepared survival at sea scenario in which the scout role played. Or, for rope work, we might have a knot relay where each scout ties a different knot in succession and we see which team finishes first. 

 

And even if the older scouts are less than inspired, I find that anything where they get up and do stuff is better received than another speaker.

 

With rare exception. One of the best received speakers we have had in recent years was a retired welder. He didn't weld trailer frames or anything. More like warships and bridges. And he told the boys about the discrimination he had faced from the union and from employers because he was black. He explained how his ticket was his excellence in his craft. He also talked about his impoverished childhood in the rural South and his journey out of it. Really a fascinating speaker. We couldn't get the scouts to quit asking questions. 

 

From a welder. The astronaut didn't get half as much response. You never know.

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blw2 - may I make a suggestion? That is if you still want to give scouting a try.

 

Based what you have said, you son has friends in the troop, possibly his patrol.

 

Have a patrol day outing, away from the troop. Let the boys decide what it will be, a backyard cookout, bike riding, swimming, whatever......if they plan it, or make it up as they go, they will likely have fun, and if you son is having fun, I bet you will too. Maybe mix in a few scouts from another patrol, particularly if you son's friends are in those patrols.

 

Are you are a registered scouter, or are friends with one in the troop? If so, after a few good day outings, get the boys to plan an overnight. Again, whatever they want (as long as it is within BSA policy).  The boys will start to figure out that they can make the troop just as much fun and start stepping up to do that. Just be ready to have their back if they get adult push back. A simple "let the boys have a shot at things there way" will probably work. Odds are your son is not alone in the way he feels about the troop. So if a enough of them start to figure out how things should work, then they will start to make changes.

 

For my son it was OA that opened his eyes. He was having fun with the troop, and we (adult leaders) were trying to move the troop toward boy led. But they were just not catching on (likely our fault, not theirs). But OA showed him what boy led really meant. He took that lesson back to his troop and it spread like wildfire. It really just takes one or two scouts to start moving things in the right direction, others will follow if they see they are having fun. If you have some stubborn adult leaders, you may need to step up and help them make their case, but boy led is the BSA way, so there really isn't an argument against it.

 

That said, scouting just not what some boys want, and that is okay too. If scouting isn't for him, help him explore other options.

 

Hopefully Helpful Tracks

Edited by HelpfulTracks

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yes ankylus, i have seen some of those things such as knot relay.  In my thinking some of those types of things could really spice things up.

I've even tried to put a bug in son's ear a few times to take it back to the scouts.  He was even PL for a time, in the "NSP"...but he was young and not assertive in the PLC.  In fact the way he tells it they blew him off about a thing or two, so he didn't bother with any more suggesting....

 

And I have suggested patrol outings and activities man times too helpfultracks.... again, he was never very assertive.  Honestly, I don't think he ever really bought into the idea.

 

 

blw2 - may I make a suggestion? That is if you still want to give scouting a try.

 

 

I'm not quitting exactly....not yet anyway.  I guess when i made this post originally, i meant that more in the context that I give up caring so passionately  anymore.  I'm very interested in scouting, doing scouting stuff, and I continue to be very interested in what scouting "could be" for my son.

 

Yes, I'm registered as a scouter.  I have bled scouting for something like 6-1/2 years now....  I wore just about all the hats at the pack level at one time or another, and with the troop now, I'm treasurer.... not because that's what i wanted to do, it what the CC needed.  I'm fully trained as a SM (according to the BSA's requirements anyway)

 

I've even suggested a few times to my son that he might consider trying to pull together a patrol campout or outing...and maybe I would be happy to help do a backpacking trip or other thing if they wanted to work that through the troop and the SM.

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Blew off the NSP?  That's a great idea for the new boys orienting them to the "smokey backroom" of how things work in the troop.  In my troop the PL's are in charge and when we had a PLC, no one blew off anyone.  It was a time to let the other PL's know what's going on in each patrol and if there's any concerns they are passed to the SPL to take care of.  Otherwise the patrols ran their own show.  No PLC ever dared "dictate" anything to a PL or patrol.  4 Patrols all want to go to a different summer camp?  Not a problem, the SPL either makes it work or the PL's get another SPL.  Not a problem.  A non-functional SPL would get rotated out in a heartbeat if he ever "blew off" a PL, especially the NSP PL.

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I'm late in commenting but please take your son to visit other troops. My family recently moved forcing us to find a new troop. Oldest son is a die hard scout, youngest I really feared he would want to quit. Our old troop was okay but didn't really work the program the way it was designed. Older scouts not very welcoming or interested in teaching younger scouts. No patrol activity outside of the weekly patrol meetings. We visited several troops in our new community. Went back for a second visit with our top pick and my youngest yells across the room during their patrol time, " When are we joining this troop? This is where I want to be." I literally drug him to meetings last year. This year he is dressed in uniform and ready to go 30 minutes before we need to leave to get to a meeting every single week. Oldest son feels respected and valued even though most of his patrol members are at least a couple years older than him.

 

fwiw, the cooking, family life and pet care merit badge all lessened my workload as the mom in our house.

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Agree with your son that troop meetings are a lot more boring than pack meetings. I was a cub den leader and we always had advancement activities planned, games, songs, crafts, etc. Now the boys just talk about the next campout. My son can't wait to quit. It's torture taking him to meetings because he fights me. I have other parents telling me to try a different troop but I can't see how it would be different.

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well, I haven't been visiting here as much as I used to.....

I had been hoping that my son would go to a meeting or two this fall to give it another try...maybe a campout....

so far, crickets...... he does not want to go.  Early on after the troop "started back up" after the summer camp break, I'd remind him every week "troop meeting tonight, want to go?"

also had a few chats with him about it

really trying to encourage him to finish 1st class, but without being too pushy about it....

he has no interest.

 

My other hope was that his friends in the troop, some of which he sees almost every day, would invite him along...."Hey, why don't you come to the meeting tonight?"....maybe they have but as far as I know they have not.  Honestly talking to some of those parents most of those scouts are lukewarm about it too....

 

So anyway, a few weeks back I let the CC know that I think the troop would be better served in finding a treasurer that would be actually coming to the meetings. I have no real interest in going if son isn't coming along.... She said they'd find a replacement.... (yipee!)  No more discussions with me about it....Last month's meeting had a conflict and was canceled but next Committee mtg coming up, it'll be interesting to see if there has been any progress.

 

I had been intending on paying dues for my son and I, just to keep us alive on paper.... but now I think that'll just be a waste so I think come recharter time, I'm out....after 7 years as a gung-ho scouter.... ADL, ACM, CM, CC of the troop for a short while, basically acting CC of the pack while I was CM, back to ADL, and finally Troop Treasurer....

 

Very sad, but relieved at the same time..... even though I'm still working the job with the current fund raiser going

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well, I haven't been visiting here as much as I used to.....

I had been hoping that my son would go to a meeting or two this fall to give it another try...maybe a campout....

so far, crickets...... he does not want to go.  Early on after the troop "started back up" after the summer camp break, I'd remind him every week "troop meeting tonight, want to go?"

also had a few chats with him about it

really trying to encourage him to finish 1st class, but without being too pushy about it....

he has no interest.

 

My other hope was that his friends in the troop, some of which he sees almost every day, would invite him along...."Hey, why don't you come to the meeting tonight?"....maybe they have but as far as I know they have not.  Honestly talking to some of those parents most of those scouts are lukewarm about it too....

 

So anyway, a few weeks back I let the CC know that I think the troop would be better served in finding a treasurer that would be actually coming to the meetings. I have no real interest in going if son isn't coming along.... She said they'd find a replacement.... (yipee!)  No more discussions with me about it....Last month's meeting had a conflict and was canceled but next Committee mtg coming up, it'll be interesting to see if there has been any progress.

 

I had been intending on paying dues for my son and I, just to keep us alive on paper.... but now I think that'll just be a waste so I think come recharter time, I'm out....after 7 years as a gung-ho scouter.... ADL, ACM, CM, CC of the troop for a short while, basically acting CC of the pack while I was CM, back to ADL, and finally Troop Treasurer....

 

Very sad, but relieved at the same time..... even though I'm still working the job with the current fund raiser going

I feel your pain, I feel like it is a losing battle with my son many times.  He complains and complains says he has a miserable time.  Then I have photo evidence of him smiling ear to ear on campouts when he doesn't realize they are taking pictures.....  And for instance packing last night for the troop campout where he is grumbling, says to me "next summer I get to get an adult size backpack since it will be 12 months before Philmont"......  Gotta love 13....

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