Jump to content
Eagle94-A1

Dealing with Helicopter Parents

Recommended Posts

The helicopters are complaining because it is taking advancement opportunity away from their Scouts and 'Punishing Scouts is violating BSA policy and that taking their tents away is way overboard."

 

As a jasm I had to address this issue for a few parents. With the help of my Scoutmaster I referred them to the bsa website and asked them to find the bsa policy being violated. I next sent them Requirement 9a of the Camping mb which states, “Camp a total of at least 20 nights at designated Scouting activities or events.* One long-term camping experience of up to six consecutive nights may be applied toward this requirement. Sleep each night under the sky or in a tent you have pitched. If the camp provides a tent that has already been pitched, you need not pitch your own tent.â€

 

I don’t see an opportunity being robbed here. I see one being created.

 

We had a scout one time that always slept under the stars. He viewed being forced to camp in a tent as punishment.

Edited by Back Pack

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My son was on staff at council summer camp, they designated levels for leaders (yes Helicopter leaders) and parents in the camp

 

- Simple over involved oversight: Helicopter

- More involved, checking on scout, asking questions on their behalf: Blackhawk

- Even more involved, direct involvement during classes, scout is two steps behind: Chinook

- Highest level, it's all about their scout, involves Camp Director in any perceived slight: Sea Stallion

 

You could almost hear their eyes roll when one of these leaders/parents would take up residence in a program area

 One tier higher, Apache Attack Helo: They're reliving their childhood through their Scout/Athlete/Child, directing what THEY (not the youth) will be involved in and haranguing the leadership (youth and adult) to make sure they get what THEY want because THEY didn't get to do/accomplish it a as a youth. Their mantra "I just want what is best for Johnny" - ignoring what Johnny wants or what is really in his best interest.

 

All of the above is in good fun, but setting boundaries for adults is as important, if not more, than it is for the youth.

We don't allow Moms & Dads on outings. If a parent comes on an outing they are there as an adult leader and need to attend to the troops needs, not their own child's needs. The first couple of times it takes some nudging or holding them back. After that, they generally lose interest in coming or get on board with being a member of the unit.

Same for when I coached football. No parents allowed on the field, once Johnny stepped on the field they listened to coaches only. After practice I would listen to the parents complaints/suggestions/critiques, nodding politely and saying thank you for you input. I didn't attempt to explain why Johnny was a tackle and not the QB. On occasion I would respond to the complaint that I was not listening with the response that listening is not the same as capitulating

Edited by HelpfulTracks
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well it just got escalated.

 

Long story short, an online discussion noted how one of the new scouters is now bringing his wife and Tiger to the camporee this weekend. I made comments about how this is a Boy Scout event, and Cubs are not suppose to be there. Major  pushback about how the troop had allowed 10-15 years ago siblings to camp with them, and other major pushback. Noted all the factors involved in why Cubs do not need to be there. More push back. Then 2 other private discussions on push back. One ASM of the troop is one of those pushing back. Apparently his troop growing up allowed siblings and did a lot of family camping. So he sees nothing wrong and thinks I am overreacting. He also stated " you are fighting a battle you will lose."

 

The troop is no longer fun anymore.

 

One good friend has backed off because of the new parents. Officially a second has backed off a lot due to other obligations. But I think he is disgusted with things and doesn't want to deal with the drama.  And a 3rd experienced Scouter has expressed a desire to transfer to another troop. I'll be active a little longer, long enough for a leaders' meeting the current SM wants because of all the crap going on. I know he is tired of all the garbage going on, and hopefully he will get things straight.

 

But it is definitely no longer fun. I already told my oldest I am backing away as It is stressing me out.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love my parents but the last thing I want is my parents or siblings on an outing with my troop. My dad was an ASM and a Scoutmaster but he stayed out of my hair. I saw him less than I saw the other adults and I appreciated that. It’s not wonder Scouting isn’t fun anymore and boys are dropping out. Who wants to spend a weekend with their family when they’re supposed to be spending it with their friends? I get enough of family events at my church. Scouting should be about guys hanging out and having fun. Glad I eagled out if this is what it is becoming. I pity the guys who have to deal with Troops like this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's the irony. We have one troop that had helicopters take over. As their son's Eagled, they lessened their involvement to the point they scramble to get a 2nd adult at times to camp. They didn't recruit for several years, and were dying. Another friend of mine joined them, and is very slowly getting them on track. They got a btach of Webelos who had 2 good WDLs who really transitioned them well. The four that joined us are doing very well and no issues. So I was talking to the wife about Post #29. She made the comment that if the current troop wants to become Webelos 3s, I should go to the other troop once the SM steps down (probably between May and August 2018) and work for my friend as an ASM since he knows how things are supposed to be, and more importantly the new batch of parents know how things are suppose to be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Told a mom Monday night that it's not her job to track her son's advancement. That's on him. She was so relieved.

In our school district, kids are sent home with so many requests for parent signatures, sometimes acknowledging every class assignment, they like having one thing that's not their responsibility.

 

Oh no, don't give National any ideas!

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know a Scoutmaster who will fill in the parents name on a blue card when the parent asks for one for their Scout.  It usually results in a sheepish Scout bringing it back to the next meeting and asking the Scoutmaster for a new one.

Sounds like a good idea.  I was thinking at first that it was wasteful, but it would only take once per parent (I would hope) to get the point across.  The only problem is if the boy has the same name as the father.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

New one today.

 

So the SPL and SM both mentioned after 1 incident that if the Scouts do not take care of their tents, which were donated to the troop, they could stay under the stars or sleep under tarps so that they could learn why they need to take care of the tents.  They didn't take care of the tents. SPL announced that they troop will be under tarps this weekend.

 

The helicopters are complaining because it is taking advancement opportunity away from their Scouts and 'Punishing Scouts is  violating BSA policy and that taking their tents away is way overboard."

 

Funny thing is I always thought Scouting was a place for Scouts to screw up, live with their consequences, and learn from their mistakes.

 

So glad the Charter Organization did not take me up on the offer to take over as SM. Heck even SWMBO commented on that, and stated she knows a troop that will be losing their SM soon, and the guy to take over will need help.

Our older boys often sleep under the stars just for giggles (on clear nights).  My oldest experimented with a tarp one weekend.  It was  a really windy night on a beach pseudo-backpacking trip.  Once he figured out the best way to set it up, he had less troubles than the boys in tents.  That said, he was either a Life or Eagle at the time.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well it just got escalated.

 

Long story short, an online discussion noted how one of the new scouters is now bringing his wife and Tiger to the camporee this weekend. I made comments about how this is a Boy Scout event, and Cubs are not suppose to be there. Major  pushback about how the troop had allowed 10-15 years ago siblings to camp with them, and other major pushback. Noted all the factors involved in why Cubs do not need to be there. More push back. Then 2 other private discussions on push back. One ASM of the troop is one of those pushing back. Apparently his troop growing up allowed siblings and did a lot of family camping. So he sees nothing wrong and thinks I am overreacting. He also stated " you are fighting a battle you will lose."

 

The troop is no longer fun anymore.

 

One good friend has backed off because of the new parents. Officially a second has backed off a lot due to other obligations. But I think he is disgusted with things and doesn't want to deal with the drama.  And a 3rd experienced Scouter has expressed a desire to transfer to another troop. I'll be active a little longer, long enough for a leaders' meeting the current SM wants because of all the crap going on. I know he is tired of all the garbage going on, and hopefully he will get things straight.

 

But it is definitely no longer fun. I already told my oldest I am backing away as It is stressing me out.

I would personally say that a Camporee is probably the best situation to bring along a Tiger, as long as there is a parent not the leader to watch him.  As long as there's a 300' separation between Scouts and Leaders, what does it matter.  I know in my boys' troop, the Scouts couldn't come to the leader's campsite without permission.  There was an unmarked line, about 20 feet from our kitchen that the boys had to ask permission to cross.  

Edited by perdidochas

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well it just got escalated.

 

...

 

The troop is no longer fun anymore.

 

We had a parent bring a younger sibling once. Although we talked ahead of time and he promised he'd keep his son away it didn't quite work out that way. The younger son kept showing up. The dad just happened to cook plenty of extra hot dogs and had a patrol come over.

 

The good news was a few months later some of the older scouts were talking, one of which is gay, the younger scout heard that he was gay, told his parents, everything exploded, and the family left. Either way, I can imagine that just a few siblings could easily become a huge distraction.

 

I never really had problems with parents becoming a distraction and I suspect that's because for a good 8 months a year it gets below freezing on our campouts and those that don't get it don't like camping.

 

I was, however, frustrated with parents that wanted to jump in and solve problems for the scouts at meetings. The idea that every problem could be a learning experience for the boys just doesn't seem to be soaking in.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was, however, frustrated with parents that wanted to jump in and solve problems for the scouts at meetings. The idea that every problem could be a learning experience for the boys just doesn't seem to be soaking in.

Precisely why we do not allow “moms and dads†on outings or in meetings. The youth lead and run things, if an adult is needed it is a registered Scouter that steps in. If mom or dad wants to register as a leader, great! But that means they have an obligation to the youth of the Unit not just their child. When they have the uniform on they are adult leaders, not Mom and dad.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Precisely why we do not allow “moms and dads†on outings or in meetings. The youth lead and run things, if an adult is needed it is a registered Scouter that steps in. If mom or dad wants to register as a leader, great! But that means they have an obligation to the youth of the Unit not just their child. When they have the uniform on they are adult leaders, not Mom and dad.

 

You will eventually get called on that. As YP states "All aspects of the Scouting program are open to observation by parents..."

 

http://www.scouting.org/youthprotection.aspx

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Regarding camporee, due to size restrictions, 3 troops will be in the same campsite. Patrols will be lucky if they are 10' apart. And unfortunately I cannot convince the other adults to let their kids go 300' even before this last batch came in.

 

Regarding Youth Protection,  not only will you get called out, yuo will be reminded of "Family Camping," "Scouting is for the whole family," and  the other family catchphrases used by national to promote going coed. Yes, that happened today.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My unit allows parents to observe but they do it on their own. Meaning they secure their own camp site, food, entrance fees, etc. They can observe but they can’t address the Scouts or otherwise interfere. Their sons would be embarrassed anyway if any of their non leader parents came. I agree that parents have no place in scouting unless they’re a leader.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You will eventually get called on that. As YP states "All aspects of the Scouting program are open to observation by parents..."

 

http://www.scouting.org/youthprotection.aspx

My bad, that was misleading. Let me clear it up. We do not prevent parents from attending meetings or outings. They can come, in fact we often need transportation. By not allowing moms and dads I mean they are not there in that capacity. ( I made reference to this in an earlier post in this thread) They are more than welcome to observe from a distance with the rest of the adults and adult leaders.

 

The youth lead, adults only step-in when asked by youth leaders or when it become an issue of safety or policy. The only adults that are allowed to step-in are registered leaders, unless a registered leader ask the parents for assistance or it is an emergency.

 

We don’t allow mom and dad to “do things†for their youth or “visit†their camp sites, without good reason. (They stay in the adults campsite). In fact we don’t want them correcting or disciplining them either. If some type of corrective action is required we follow the boy led philosophy and move to registered leaders if needed. They youth are leading when it is Scouting time and we do not want that to be interfered with. We have had a couple of bumps, but after a talk with the parents they get it. They may need a few extra pills on their shirt sleeve before they remember it, but eventually they figure it out.

 

We are most certainly YP compliant in our actions.

Edited by HelpfulTracks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×