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WisconsinMomma

What is quality control in Scouting

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OK, I need to clarify because Tampa Turtle mentioned quality control in regards to an upcoming AT hike and how to (discern? manage? control? decide?)  who should go on an advanced hiking trip, and whether any parents or younger scouts should be allowed to join.

 

I also made note of the phrase, "the best scouts" as in, the best scouts might be leaving (paraphrasing there). I don't know if that kind of thinking works IRL or not, but it sounds like the more skilled and older scouts are more... needed in the troop?

 

Anyway, that's the context, TT, please chime in to clarify if needed, thanks!

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What, like we all agree?  

 

My view of proper Boy Scouting would be that the PLC plans, the leaders lead, and the adults are resources, safety officers, and coaches - period.

 

Under that view, the desire of some adults for an easier activity is something for the leaders (which excludes adults for planning purposes) to consider and decide, recalling that the program is for the Scouts, not the adults.

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1 hour ago, RememberSchiff said:

Glad no one has mentioned JTE yet.

 

29 minutes ago, TAHAWK said:

What, like we all agree?  

 

My view of proper Boy Scouting would be that the PLC plans, the leaders lead, and the adults are resources, safety officers, and coaches - period.

 

Under that view, the desire of some adults for an easier activity is something for the leaders (which excludes adults for planning purposes) to consider and decide, recalling that the program is for the Scouts, not the adults.

 

I'm actually rather fond of the JTE as a balanced scorecard.  At a high level it emphasizes a sustainable, fiscally responsible organization with a program providing overnight camping and service projects.  All good metrics at the organizational level.  But an organizational scorecard provides only one view.  Nearly all of the concerns expressed in this thread are with operations (Scout-lead vs. Adult-lead) ... for which the JTE can't measure, nor was it designed to measure.

 

I strongly agree the BSA should take longer strides at QA of the operational component, along the lines of "the view of the scout".  As a strawman, I propose the following:  a) Infuse NYLT with a stronger dose of the Patrol Method.  Run scenarios with scouts & staff role-playing the right-way vs. wrong-way to run Patrol meetings, Troop meetings, PLC's, Campouts, Day-outings, Service Projects, and Annual Planning.  Emphasize that Scout-lead is the only way to run these activities and "a troop is posing if it's not being run accordingly".  Next b) measure Districts by percentage of 1st Class scouts who attend the bolstered NYLT.  Really push attendance.  After all, Sec. Robert Gates claims NYLT (or JLT, whatever back in the day) was "the only formal management training [he] ever had."  Finally c) subsequently eMail each attendee an online survey against which he compares the operations of his troop with what he'd learned in NYLT.  The questionnaire should measure all of the scout-lead suggestions provided by TAHAWK and others herein on this thread - grade the actions of Scoutmasters, PLC's, ASM's, meetings, outings; etc..  Provide Districts with feedback on each of their Troops.  If anonymity is compromised because enough of a Troop's scouts didn't attend NYLT, return some kind of "no grade" until they do.  Publicize/Promote those troops with high grades and I'll bet not only will the strong survive and flourish, the weak organizations will either improve or perish.

 

Perhaps provide such a questionnaire to ASM's for a 360 view of each Troop.  As Scouts & Scouters are expected to be Trustworthy, etc., I'd expect legitimate responses - else some kind of link allowing whistle-blowing of any manipulation etc.

 

Expensive? Probably.  Worthwhile? Absolutely.  My $.02

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2 minutes ago, Tampa Turtle said:

One year in our Troop we sent some senior leadership boys to NYLT and they came back all fired up and into the patrol method and youth led. It was all fine and dandy until the boys started planning things some adults didn't like (a movie/nacho night and a gaming night lock-in overnighter) because "It did not seem to fulfill a purpose" and the next year there was no more money to underwrite NYLT. 

 

I had a similar experience.  One year our Troop sent a critical mass of scouts to NYLT who came back all fired-up, etc.  That was the last time our troop sent any scouts to NYLT until I took over as Scoutmaster four years later.  Thus the need to promote attendance and in include that as part of the "grade".

 

Potential "gaming"?  No doubt.  I expect that happens across all organizations and industries.  But it shouldn't stop us from trying.

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Great discussion. My immediate addition is to clarify the usage of the term "quality control". It seems many are using as a descriptor of a method to maximize the quality of the program. While I agree with that goal, the term "quality control" is not appropriate.  Quality control is defined as maintaining standards by testing samples to ensure outputs are within operating parameters. Excellent quality control is not equivalent to high quality. An example of a business which has excellent quality control is McDonalds. The output of their food and service is designed and maintained to fit within specific parameters. One can expect almost the exact food and experience every time, that is High quality control. However one would not mistake McDonalds food to be of high quality.

 

Now back to the real discussion on how to improve quality.

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"Quality Control"? Of what? @fred johnson hit the nail on the head.

 

Quality of the troop = Scoutmaster + COR

Quality of troop operations = Committee Chair + COR

Quality relating to ANYTHING else = The PLC and the youth leaders

 

Adults intervention -- and all the horse hockey that comes with it (e.g., JTE, Covey, TQM/CQI, CMM, etc.) -- belongs in the adult business world and no where near Scouting. All these adult-led, wood badge-esque principles and other stuff belong in the rubbish bin.

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3 hours ago, fred johnson said:

Quality control ?  BSA quality control is to let scouts and families vote with their feet.  Units die if they go astray and it drives parents away.  If units go astray and scouts and their parents stay and the unit successfully recruits enough to keep alive, then it's a good quality unit.  

 

Yes ... Scout at the board of review ... The scout is supposed to give feed back to the adults at his rank BORs on how the program is working.  Is it meeting his needs?  Is it fun?  Is he learning?  What can / should change?  What are the problems ?  IMHO, the BOR is often poorly used as a feedback quality control loop.  BUT, that's one of the main purposes of the BOR. 

 

This is good but BOR's don't happen often enough. I did something similar with entire patrols, just as the manuals mention. Thorns and roses. We got some very good responses from them. It did take an adult to facilitate because the scouts would naturally just grunt and move on. Rocking the boat is very hard for a teenager.

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2 hours ago, AltadenaCraig said:

 

 

I'm actually rather fond of the JTE as a balanced scorecard.  At a high level it emphasizes a sustainable, fiscally responsible organization with a program providing overnight camping and service projects.  All good metrics at the organizational level.  But an organizational scorecard provides only one view.  Nearly all of the concerns expressed in this thread are with operations (Scout-lead vs. Adult-lead) ... for which the JTE can't measure, nor was it designed to measure.

 

I strongly agree the BSA should take longer strides at QA of the operational component, along the lines of "the view of the scout".  As a strawman, I propose the following:  a) Infuse NYLT with a stronger dose of the Patrol Method.  Run scenarios with scouts & staff role-playing the right-way vs. wrong-way to run Patrol meetings, Troop meetings, PLC's, Campouts, Day-outings, Service Projects, and Annual Planning.  Emphasize that Scout-lead is the only way to run these activities and "a troop is posing if it's not being run accordingly".  Next b) measure Districts by percentage of 1st Class scouts who attend the bolstered NYLT.  Really push attendance.  After all, Sec. Robert Gates claims NYLT (or JLT, whatever back in the day) was "the only formal management training [he] ever had."  Finally c) subsequently eMail each attendee an online survey against which he compares the operations of his troop with what he'd learned in NYLT.  The questionnaire should measure all of the scout-lead suggestions provided by TAHAWK and others herein on this thread - grade the actions of Scoutmasters, PLC's, ASM's, meetings, outings; etc..  Provide Districts with feedback on each of their Troops.  If anonymity is compromised because enough of a Troop's scouts didn't attend NYLT, return some kind of "no grade" until they do.  Publicize/Promote those troops with high grades and I'll bet not only will the strong survive and flourish, the weak organizations will either improve or perish.

 

Perhaps provide such a questionnaire to ASM's for a 360 view of each Troop.  As Scouts & Scouters are expected to be Trustworthy, etc., I'd expect legitimate responses - else some kind of link allowing whistle-blowing of any manipulation etc.

 

Expensive? Probably.  Worthwhile? Absolutely.  My $.02

I think JTM is deplorable.

 

I provides no - zero - points for actually using the Patrol Method - which BSA says is the most important Scouting method.  More importantly,  Bill Hillcourt said it was the most important method.

 

I counts a "lock-in" watching videos or playing electronic games as a "weekend campout" according to the official Q&A and an email I have from National.

 

And there is no practice or procedure to confirm compliance with the rules or consistent scoring of behavior.  

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2 hours ago, Tampa Turtle said:

I like the idea of publishing the grades though I think some new kind of gaming will be invented. 

 

One year in our Troop we sent some senior leadership boys to NYLT and they came back all fired up and into the patrol method and youth led. It was all fine and dandy until the boys started planning things some adults didn't like (a movie/nacho night and a gaming night lock-in overnighter) because "It did not seem to fulfill a purpose" and the next year there was no more money to underwrite NYLT. 

Better not let the Scouts read the Handbook.  It's starting to have some Boy Scout (i.e., Patrol Method) basics in it.  

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16 hours ago, Tampa Turtle said:

I like the idea of publishing the grades though I think some new kind of gaming will be invented. 

 

One year in our Troop we sent some senior leadership boys to NYLT and they came back all fired up and into the patrol method and youth led. It was all fine and dandy until the boys started planning things some adults didn't like (a movie/nacho night and a gaming night lock-in overnighter) because "It did not seem to fulfill a purpose" and the next year there was no more money to underwrite NYLT. 

Yep, as a JLT and NYLT (actually JLTC) course designer and Council JLT chairman, I can say without reservation that youth leadership training doesn’t do a lot of good if the adults don’t know how use the skills and information the scouts take from the courses. In my ideal world, adults are sent to NYLT, not the scouts.  

 

Because scout growth is directly dependent on the actions of role models, scouts don’t really require any formalized training if the adults are doing their part correctly. I used constant acts of skills being applied improperly (or not at all) as a Red Flag that the troop program was doing something wrong and needed a change. 

 

As for QC, I taught in my adult leadership courses to use Aims and Methods for program guidance and QC. Adults are responsible for Aims, scouts are responsible for applying Methods.

 

But, QC is a learned action. Quality has to start somewhere. For scouts to do QC, they have to learn QC and it’s value.

 

Barry

 

 

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10 minutes ago, Tampa Turtle said:

 

'Thorns and Roses' is always a good campout wrap up--you can get some pretty good raw feedback. Our PLC is always right after the monthly campout and the boy leadership can give their views as well. I really liked someone on here who used "Thorns, Roses, and Buds" -- the Bud representing encouraging signs or opportunities. 

 

We used stop, start, continue which we were taught in nylt. Same concept. 

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1 hour ago, Tampa Turtle said:

 

I liked one our Old School Scoutmaster who knew the handbook in and out would seem to answer almost any question "Its in the Handbook!" and often could cite the page number. Eventually the smarter lads caught on.

That’s how I worked. Yes, they eventually caught on.

 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad
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1 hour ago, Tampa Turtle said:

'Thorns and Roses' is always a good campout wrap up--you can get some pretty good raw feedback. Our PLC is always right after the monthly campout and the boy leadership can give their views as well. I really liked someone on here who used "Thorns, Roses, and Buds" -- the Bud representing encouraging signs or opportunities. 

We're a "Thorns & Roses (& Buds)" Troop as well.  Yep, a great way to clear the air around the final-night campfire; each scout gets to contribute and be heard.

At the following troop meeting we pull from another old-school (JLT ?) tradition: the "Par-18" evaluation.  After the opening ceremony, the SPL calls for a voice-vote on each of the previous weekend's activities, requiring consensus on each question (from one to three ... you know it was really awful if they yell "zero!"):

  • Was the job completed?
  • Was it completed On Time?
  • Was it completed correctly?
  • Did everyone in the group participate?
  • Was everyone in the group pleased with the effort?
  • Is everyone in the group eager for the next job?

Activities receiving "all 3's" results in 18 (thus the name).  The last question usually results in some scouts shouting "what IS the next job?!"" at which point the Scribe points to the calendar.

Edited by AltadenaCraig

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16 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

That’s how I worked. Yes, the eventually caught on.

 

Barry

Yes, that's my experience too. Answer enough questions with "What does your BS Handbook say?" or "What does your PL (SPL or whatever) Handbook say?" and they generally catch on.

 

Our troop had used Thorns and Roses. At Philmont we learned Thorns, Roses and Buds, and brought it home. After that, its what the troop used.

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One thing about thorns, roses and buds, is scouts will often just bring up thorns they have no control over. They'd bring up the fact that the weather was bad but not that one of the scouts would not help out. It's the things they have control over that bring up the best feedback and yet the hardest issues to raise. When I see the struggle with this I also tell them it is indeed hard to do but they'll really need that skill in the future. Once they know that courteous confrontation is hard to do for everyone they're more willing to try. This is why I said in an earlier post that a facilitator can help a lot.

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