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Eagle94-A1

Dealing with Helicopter Parents

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One would assume that every adult that volunteers for the BSA get the appropriate training for the job they will be doing. If one has by-laws, that should be #1.  After that Rule #2 should be Stay in your own lane and quit worrying about what everyone else is doing, they are trained to do it and have responsibility to do it.  I don't know what rule #3 would be. 

 

May I quote the late William "Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt, the man who saved the BSA in 1979 for rule #3. Regarding Scouts, adults should "Train 'em. Trust 'em. LET THEM LEAD!"

 

The successful troops I've been in all these years have followed that mantra. I'm use to sitting in my chair drinking coffee. Only the current troop I am with and one other had these type of adult issues.

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It is surprising how many of these dramas that troops face are adult-created.  Sure sometimes the boys need to be reined in when they wander outside the BSA policies, get involved in risky activities, need some Law and Oath directives, and the boys aren't gaining anything out of the program.  But if all Hell breaks loose because the boy's screwed up, it's fixable and okay, this is why the boys are in the program in the first place.  However, if all Hell breaks loose because the adult's screwed up, then there's no one to blame but the adults, who generally won't follow the Oath and Law and fess up to it.  Those problems generally can't be fixed as easily.

 

The goal of the game for the adults is: NEVER, EVER get caught holding the bag.  It is surprising how the level of drama drops to almost zero when this rule is followed.

 

Just go back and look at all the "concerns" mentioned on this forum and do an in depth look as to the root of the problem.  How much of it is adult and how much is it the boys.  I rest my case.

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Right, would it be fair to say that a BSA Troop operates per BSA policies?  Is there a piece of literature that would be referred to?

 

I am not sure if I should attempt a bylaws repeal with the parent committee, or a "repeal and replace" with something extremely simplified. 

 

Or, just go as is, assuming no one reads or really follows the bylaws anyway?

By-laws are generally a reaction for dealing with difficult situations because the adults lacked experience and maturity to handle them more rationally on individual bases. Kind of like a Zero tolerance rule in school. Sometimes by-laws help a struggling program move forward until it gets under its own feet. Scouts in boy run programs also create by-laws for the same reason. They just don’t call the by-laws. But usually by-laws fade away as the program matures with experience.

 

What to do with by-laws depends on if the adults feel ready to move on. Hard in this instance to say because dictating how the new Scouts will use the patrol method is unusual. The SM Handbook, PL Handbook and SPL Handbook already provide guidelines for new Scouts. And SMs usually dictate the policy after enough experience. Why the need for a by-law? Maybe the troop is using the by-laws as more of a new parents guide. Maybe you should approach the change in that manner.

 

Barry

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The problem with by-laws is they subvert the mission of BSA.

 

"The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law."

 

By-laws subvert the mission because instead of utilizing the methods of BSA to accomplish the mission, the by-laws become the "authority to be followed without question". With these rules, it disallows anyone from making an ethical choice, instead they are complying with authority. As Stosh stated earlier, they should be making the right choice all of the time by using the oath and law as a guide. That is the goal. Rules to be followed take away choice.

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Right, would it be fair to say that a BSA Troop operates per BSA policies?  

 

That's half right. A good scout unit operates per BSA policies, but under Chartered Organization ownership, oversight, and supervision.

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That, too, is only half right.  As a franchisee of the BSA program, the CO has a responsibility to insure the BSA program is followed.  Otherwise, they should be sponsoring their own program or a different program.  If not it is a guarantee that the product delivered to the customer will not be consistent throughout the organization, a problem we are experiencing right now.

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The problem with by-laws is they subvert the mission of BSA.

"The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law."

By-laws subvert the mission because instead of utilizing the methods of BSA to accomplish the mission, the by-laws become the "authority to be followed without question". With these rules, it disallows anyone from making an ethical choice, instead they are complying with authority. As Stosh stated earlier, they should be making the right choice all of the time by using the oath and law as a guide. That is the goal. Rules to be followed take away choice.

Idealism is the North Star that keeps us going in the right direction. But character is learned from the struggles of just trying to keep from going in the opposite direction. I’m tired of folks assuming adults inherently know how to be good leaders. Adults have to learn twice as much twice as fast just to keep up. The challenge isn’t running the program without little cheats to go forward, the challenge is learning how to do it better than the cheats.

 

Eagle94 mentioned in another post that patrol method needs about three years to get rolling under its own momentum. That is true only if the adults continue to learn, grow, and change. Experience is the hardest teacher, it gives the test first, then the lesson.

 

Barry

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Barry,

 

I do not disagree. However often the little cheats end up becoming the gospel to be followed instead of allowing for the struggle to be experienced and learning to take place. Many of the "rules" are reactions to an inconvenience or the struggle we use as a learning opportunity. These reactionary rules are what subvert the mission.

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What part of the Scout Law and Scout Promise does the "cuss jar"  requirement support or replace?   Is such a by-law really necessary then?  

 

Discipline is often only seen as "punishment" for the transgression of a law.   It is often forgotten that Discipline implies more importantly the personal requirement to do "right".  There , see, the Scout Promise is the Discipline of the Scout.  This is why the Scout Law has no "DO NOTs", but only "I WILLs".  There is the difference . Most Adult Led Troops forget this. They become concerned overly with prevention, rather than creation.   No "Boy " can possibly know what to do when. We must REQUIRE them to do what we adults think needs to be done when.  The adults also forget the boys (soon to be girls too) have been watching and modeling their behavior after that of their parents and Scouters.   Guess what?   The Scouts will do what they see being done.  What was that country-western song again?  

 

Bylaws assume that folks will not know HOW to do what is right.  Hence, the Discipline must be enforced from without, rather than encouraged to be obtained from within. 

 

Of course, it has been observed that if all people are moral, then there is no need for laws and the requisite rewards and punishments.

 

""“The true test of a man's character is what he does when no one is watching.â€""  = John Wooden =

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If not it is a guarantee that the product delivered to the customer will not be consistent throughout the organization, a problem we are experiencing right now.

 

The scouting program, as delivered to the scouts, has never been consistent throughout the organization. There is actually quite a large difference in the "product" from unit to unit. Always has been.

 

Some units are wealthy. Some are poor.

 

Some units are expensive. Some are free.

 

Some units are uniformed. Some are not uniformed.

 

Some units are religious. Some are secular.

 

The list of differences goes on and on. BSA does not promise boys a consistent scouting experience. Not every boy gets to go to Philmont. BSA doesn't promise that they will.

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The McDonald's on the north side of town doesn't look anything like the south side McDonald's.  The one in the town nearby is different too. 

 

But, if it's a meal of fries, Coke and a burger, I can go to any of them and get the same meal.

 

If National were all that concerned about it's "program" then they had better do something about providing a consistent option.  Sure there are these big scary rules and regulations coming down from National that everyone basically ignores and so so to the point that one can go to one scout unit and get one program and go to another and get something completely different.

 

To-date, I have never heard anyone say to me, "You need to be eating at the north side McDonald's because they have better food than the south side one."

 

BSA will never be able to maintain consistency like that, promote it to communities and satisfy everyone.  Ya can't please everyone all the time.....

 

Scouting today is whatever anyone wants.

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Scouting today is whatever anyone wants.

 

It always was, to some extent.

 

I guess I am a little more aware of it than some folks because I was a Lone Scout. I didn't grow up with the same scouting experience as those who were part of a troop. Yet, Lone Scouting has existed since the very early days of scouting. It is not some new experimental program.

 

I sometimes roll my eyes when members of this forum go on and on about leadership. Leadership is not a big component of Lone Scouting, so that was not an emphasis in my childhood scouting experience.

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Scouting today is whatever anyone wants.

And what does stosh want? The BSA SCouting community struggles enough with general consensus of the BSA program without experienced scouters yelling a the top of their lungs that troops following BSA guidelines like the Mission, Vision, Aims and Methods are adult run programs.

 

The program is in a tough place, National appears more focused on numbers than Ideals, training passes out highlights but misses important details, and experienced scouters preach go-it-your-own. There doesn't appear to be much humility in that mix.

 

But imagine a small group of scouters, like those on a forum, would step back and open the minds to learning and considering different ideas, maybe they could use those ideas in their programs to learn more and grow more. Then they take those experiences and lessons learned to influence those who aren’t growing because they are stuck in the mud or just complacent.

 

There are many reasons why units fall short with their program. But what options do they have if we tell them they are doing it wrong and then walk away. They need sensible easy down to earth person to person neighborly advice from an experienced friend to help them see a new possibility. Imagine a movement like that changing the BSA back to the organization that compliments its noble reputation one scouter at a time.

 

I really believe that as a result of the new membership changes, the BSA needs the experienced scouters more than ever.

 

Barry

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My responses in red

 

 

The program is in a tough place, National appears more focused on numbers than Ideals, training passes out highlights but misses important details, and experienced scouters preach go-it-your-own. There doesn't appear to be much humility in that mix.

 

Understatement. Pros focus on the 3  M's: Money, Membership, Manpower. Even pro's with Scouting experience as a youth, and know the importance of program, need to focus on the 3 M's because if they want to keep their job, they must conform. IMHO, those pros who value program tend to stay about 2 years, then quit due to frustration.

 

As for training, IMHO it is a joke, especially the online stuff. While the online training is convenient (heck I can due something else while listing to it online), Scouters miss out on a lot when they do not have quality instructors. And as mentioned extremely important details, like The Patrol Method are completely missing in basic training, and other things not only emphasized to the Nth degree, but also modeled very simply and not as it is suppose to be, i.e. Advancement. I have not seen the latest IOLS syllabus, but the last course I taught, they wanted you to pass out "advancement" for the participants doing something 1 time. I can't even find the phrase "master the skills" anymore in the handbooks.

 

As for experienced Scouters with the 'Go It Alone attitude, can you really blame them? Think about it, national has taken survey after survey on stuff and then are ignored. Best example was survey on  "Instapalms" where 94% of those surveyed either opposed (15%), or strongly opposed (79%) the removal of 3 months tenure. .Another example was the June 2015 - December 2016 Cub Scout program. Several years went into those changes. Also a  lot of really outstanding volunteers spent a lot of time and treasure on creating an exciting, updated program for Cubs. Folks who went to the Roundtables and got the training on the new program realized that it was going to take more planning for it to work. But national changed the program on a whim, 18 months after implementation, without informing any of the volunteers that spent 5-6 years on the project.

 

Yes, I can understand the attitude.

But imagine a small group of scouters, like those on a forum, would step back and open the minds to learning and considering different ideas, maybe they could use those ideas in their programs to learn more and grow more. Then they take those experiences and lessons learned to influence those who aren’t growing because they are stuck in the mud or just complacent.

 

Agree, we gotta try new things and diffferent ideas in order to grow. But some things, like The Patrol Method and The Outdoors ( "OUTING is three-fourths of ScOUTING," and even National screwed up that quote in one recent edition of the BSHB.) we can never change or we risk the fiasco of the Improved Scouting Program of 1972-79. While I am extremely thankful for growing up when Green Bar Bill's last handbook was in use, I heard the stories of the ISP fiasco from my brothers, who got bored and quit, and my Eagle Scout cousin. He stayed long enough to make my uncle happy, then promptly quit. They were in new troops with inexperienced Scouters using the little -to no-camping  program of the ISP.

 

And people want to improve in order to help them. One reason why I let my son look at other troops outside of his pack's CO was because the leadership wanted an adult-led, high speed, low drag advancement program.  Trying to talk to the SM was like talking to a brick wall, and I trained him in IOLS! An aside, this is what my sons' troop is beginning to look like.

 

There are many reasons why units fall short with their program. But what options do they have if we tell them they are doing it wrong and then walk away. They need sensible easy down to earth person to person neighborly advice from an experienced friend to help them see a new possibility. Imagine a movement like that changing the BSA back to the organization that compliments its noble reputation one scouter at a time.

 

Again the unit's Scouters will need to WANT the help. Unit above had multiple folks trying to help and were ignored. 

I really believe that as a result of the new membership changes, the BSA needs the experienced scouters more than ever.  AGREE 110%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Barry

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I was just reading our Troop's bylaws and a new scout patrol is written into our Troop's bylaws!   I could use some help coming up with a way to try work with our parent committee to get this particular detail changed.  

 

 

Here is the language from our Troop bylaws.  Any suggestions on how to re-write? How are patrols typically formed -- by the Scoutmaster? 

 

ETA: I could just propose that the Troop eliminate all the bylaws and just operate under BSA policy!  People would likely freak, but it might be interesting!  

 

My thoughts are simple. Why are adults deciding (not to mention writing rules) on how the troop should operate it's program?

 

First, the Scoutmaster, not the Committee, is responsible for the program. Second, the Scoutmaster should not be deciding either. His job is to guide the troop, through the SPL and PLC. The PLC should be coming up with whatever additional rules they feel are needed on how the troop functions. If they think they need NSP's then they can decide to have them. Same for mixed age, permanent, same age, temporary patrols etc.

 

I respect where you are trying to go with the troop, but it is still adults making the decisions. Decisions that should be in the hands of the Scouts. Adults should be watching and advising to make sure the Scouts stay within BSA/CO policies, but everything else should be left to the Scouts.

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