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ItsBrian

When To Not Be Calm?

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This is a story about what happened this past weekend, and I would like your impressions and opinions.

 

This weekend as the SPL, was the only senior scout with 8 younger scouts at our district camporee.

 

We were building a catapult for the competition. During the time there was scouts fooling around in the open field we were in when they were asked to do lashings, watch, or learn more.

 

I simply went over and said “You’re representing the troop, please come back over.†I didn’t say it in a snobby or sarcastic way, just a simple way.

 

Meanwhile, this weeks meeting, I was told I need to “Be calm, and relax. As long as they are not injuring themselves they are fine.â€

 

Aren’t they representing the troop during competitions/events?

 

Let me know!

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ItsBrian,

 

Assuming these were your scouts, yes they should have been with you and the other scouts working on the catapult. Yes, they represent your/their troop.

 

Sounds like you said what needed to be said. Your "simple" way was received by these wayward scouts as threatening, and they obviously told their parents who went and told the troop adult leaders, who evidently were the folks that told you to "be calm, and relax." Yeah right, when was the last time they were SPL and leading. They should be supporting you. Where was the PL?

 

So, my many years as a SM tell me you did it right. Continue to be confident in your leadership, and don't second guess yourself.

 

sst3rd

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Agree with @@sst3rd, sounds like you aren't doing anything wrong.  My take--you said it's a bunch of younger scouts...how young?  Are they used to being led by someone other than an adult?

 

From what I've observed over the past few years in our troop, that can often be one of the biggest challenges for the SPL and PL's...getting the newest scouts to recognize other scouts as the leaders rather than an adult.  They mostly don't get that anywhere else, so that transition can take a while.  (sometimes, the parents have trouble with the transition too).

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isn't that your job as the SPL? I don't think you did anything wrong at all based on what you have stated. Stick to your position, leadership is not a popularity contest, but doing/saying the right things when needed in this case. Also, I don't know why not everyone from the troop attendees is helping. isn't scout helpful? maybe obedient also in this case?.

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During a really tough production period on the shop floor Son #1 got his crew to exceed targets and maintain a flawless safety rating. And wrap each day ahead of schedule so the opposite shift could pick up where he left off. The opposite shift did not reciprocate.

When he tried to point out that there was no reason they should be leaving a mess of unfinished product for his guys to roll out, he was told by the guy who worked opposite him, "You really stress out too much."

 

It took a while, but the VPs eventually sorted out who was a drag on the company. (Hint, it wasn't Son #1.)

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Thanks all,

 

These “new scouts†are freshman in high school, 8th graders, and 7th graders.

 

Nobody told their parents (that I know of atleast) - because I was talked to that night.

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ItsBrian,

 

Assuming these were your scouts, yes they should have been with you and the other scouts working on the catapult. Yes, they represent your/their troop.

 

Sounds like you said what needed to be said. Your "simple" way was received by these wayward scouts as threatening, and they obviously told their parents who went and told the troop adult leaders, who evidently were the folks that told you to "be calm, and relax." Yeah right, when was the last time they were SPL and leading. They should be supporting you. Where was the PL?

 

So, my many years as a SM tell me you did it right. Continue to be confident in your leadership, and don't second guess yourself.

 

sst3rd

PL is immature, doesn’t care, and more. This is the problem with my troop, if/when 2 other Scouts and I get Eagle, my troop will go downhill fast due to lack of leadership. We can’t guide them into leading if they want no part in it. I have been SPL twice now, since nobody else will step up.

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PL is immature, doesn’t care, and more. This is the problem with my troop, if/when 2 other Scouts and I get Eagle, my troop will go downhill fast due to lack of leadership. We can’t guide them into leading if they want no part in it. I have been SPL twice now, since nobody else will step up.

sometimes you get a class that's just a little rough. No scouter knows the right balance of firm and friendly to ask from the SPL in such cases.

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Meanwhile, this weeks meeting, I was told I need to “Be calm, and relax. As long as they are not injuring themselves they are fine.â€

 

I just want to focus on the second sentence of what you were told. I assume you were told this by an adult leader.  Assuming that is the case, I think the adult leader was confusing his role as an adult leader with your role as a youth leader.  (And I am leaving aside the issue of whether you were actually playing the role of an SPL or  a PL; the fact is that you were the youth leader in charge of those Scouts at that time.)  Adult leaders are supposed to take a mostly hands-off approach when Scouts are engaged in an activity, as long as they are engaging in that activity in a safe manner.  It is not the role of the adult leader to make sure each individual Scout is doing their "job" in the activity or is exactly where they are supposed to be.  That is the job of the youth leader, which was you, and that is what you were doing.

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Brian, you have complained about the younger scouts in a few threads now. One thing you must realize is that there is a HUGE maturity difference between you being 16 years old and the rest of the scouts being 11-14 years old. I work in a high school environment most of the time. This year's crop of freshman (and I've talked to colleagues across the country) is particularly immature compared to previous years. It may not be that your scouts don't care about representing your troop in a good fashion, they may just not have the skills to attend to a task for more than a very short time. One friend of mine said she can't get through a 30 minute freshman science lecture without having to redirect the class. This is a first for her in 30 years of teaching.

 

In my troop we had several scouts that didn't want any part of scouting, let alone camping. They were there and kept there by parents that wanted fast-track Eagle scouts. The parents were the helicopter crossed with lawnmower type parents. We had a hostile split in the early summer and all the uninterested scouts went to the newly formed troop. We were left with only 6 boys, but they were the ones that want to be scouts. 3 of them are younger scouts that used to be pulled into mischief by the uninterested group. Since the split we have had nothing but good productive meetings and outings.  

 

IF your scouts are there because THEY WANT to be there you can and will get through to them with time. IF they want no part of scouting but are being forced there for whatever reason they will most likely never come around. Understanding why your scouts are there is a key to handling them. Some boys will never behave no matter what you try.

 

Have you tried giving the inattentive ones a specific job to do as part of a project? Giving them ownership of a small part may make them step up as you wish. You stated they they were supposed to watching and learning to tie the lashings. Were they getting a chance to do it, think EDGE method, or just watching? If they were actually doing then maybe they weren't being instructed well or shown what shoddy workmanship could cause. IF they were just watching then boredom probably set in, it only takes about 5-15 minutes for that to happen.

 

Keep up your good work. You are in a tough spot. In the future, I'd probably layout a detailed plan of attack for a project like a catapult build. I'd make sure everyone involved understands the expectations of the project well before the event. I've been in scouting of all sorts for many years, frequently SPLs will tell the troop that they will build an 'x' at a camporee for points. But they don't tell the scouts what's involved in that build. Sometimes it's because they themselves don't know, or they assume (you know what they say about assuming) the troop knows what's involved. most times what is involved isn't what the scouts think it will be, they usually vastly under estimate the project. Listing full expectations before the event will make sure everyone know what will go on and they can make an educated decision about attending the event. 

 

Just a few thoughts. Good Luck.

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Brian, you have complained about the younger scouts in a few threads now. One thing you must realize is that there is a HUGE maturity difference between you being 16 years old and the rest of the scouts being 11-14 years old. I work in a high school environment most of the time. This year's crop of freshman (and I've talked to colleagues across the country) is particularly immature compared to previous years. It may not be that your scouts don't care about representing your troop in a good fashion, they may just not have the skills to attend to a task for more than a very short time. One friend of mine said she can't get through a 30 minute freshman science lecture without having to redirect the class. This is a first for her in 30 years of teaching.

 

In my troop we had several scouts that didn't want any part of scouting, let alone camping. They were there and kept there by parents that wanted fast-track Eagle scouts. The parents were the helicopter crossed with lawnmower type parents. We had a hostile split in the early summer and all the uninterested scouts went to the newly formed troop. We were left with only 6 boys, but they were the ones that want to be scouts. 3 of them are younger scouts that used to be pulled into mischief by the uninterested group. Since the split we have had nothing but good productive meetings and outings.

 

IF your scouts are there because THEY WANT to be there you can and will get through to them with time. IF they want no part of scouting but are being forced there for whatever reason they will most likely never come around. Understanding why your scouts are there is a key to handling them. Some boys will never behave no matter what you try.

 

Have you tried giving the inattentive ones a specific job to do as part of a project? Giving them ownership of a small part may make them step up as you wish. You stated they they were supposed to watching and learning to tie the lashings. Were they getting a chance to do it, think EDGE method, or just watching? If they were actually doing then maybe they weren't being instructed well or shown what shoddy workmanship could cause. IF they were just watching then boredom probably set in, it only takes about 5-15 minutes for that to happen.

 

Keep up your good work. You are in a tough spot. In the future, I'd probably layout a detailed plan of attack for a project like a catapult build. I'd make sure everyone involved understands the expectations of the project well before the event. I've been in scouting of all sorts for many years, frequently SPLs will tell the troop that they will build an 'x' at a camporee for points. But they don't tell the scouts what's involved in that build. Sometimes it's because they themselves don't know, or they assume (you know what they say about assuming) the troop knows what's involved. most times what is involved isn't what the scouts think it will be, they usually vastly under estimate the project. Listing full expectations before the event will make sure everyone know what will go on and they can make an educated decision about attending the event.

 

Just a few thoughts. Good Luck.

I posted this thread more as in how it was handled, I’ve already explained how they acted.

 

I only have turned 15 this year, haha.

 

If there was something to be done they were doing it, if not they were to watch incase they had forgotten or needed help. They are mostly freshmen and I’m only a sophomore (but we attend different schools).

Edited by ItsBrian

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This is a story about what happened this past weekend, and I would like your impressions and opinions.

 

This weekend as the SPL, was the only senior scout with 8 younger scouts at our district camporee.

 

We were building a catapult for the competition. During the time there was scouts fooling around in the open field we were in when they were asked to do lashings, watch, or learn more.

 

I simply went over and said “You’re representing the troop, please come back over.†I didn’t say it in a snobby or sarcastic way, just a simple way.

 

Meanwhile, this weeks meeting, I was told I need to “Be calm, and relax. As long as they are not injuring themselves they are fine.â€

 

Aren’t they representing the troop during competitions/events?

 

Let me know!

If you're a scout, you were perfectly in line, and in fact, if I were your ASM, I'd praise you for helping your SPL out. 

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If you're a scout, you were perfectly in line, and in fact, if I were your ASM, I'd praise you for helping your SPL out.

 

SPL.

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