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Tampa Turtle

TampaTurtle: Unneeded parents on hikes

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It's always been an issue with new parents that are looking out for their sons and don't see the whole troop. Quality control might not be the right term. It's an attitude. It's about the scouts figuring this out on their own and adults encouraging them to push themselves. I honestly don't know if this is a guy thing or not but I suspect this is what underlies this whole reason we're at some huge number of posts about moms and girls in scouting. My son, who is now 26, had an idea this summer. He rode his bike 50 miles, starting at 10pm and climbed nearly a mile in elevation, met me at a trail head at 3am where we then hiked 7 miles and climbed another mile to reach a peak over 14,000'. Then we did the reverse. All the moms thought he was crazy. All the dads were slapping him on the back. That tells me something. The dads are much more likely to be the ones that encourage this. It wasn't dangerous. It was a challenge. Hiking or canoeing for a week is a challenge. It's memories and proving to yourself that you can do it. This does more for a kid then anything else I've seen. It doesn't matter what the challenge is. It just has to be a real challenge. And when mom is asking for something easier that's proof to every kid that it's a perfect challenge. If you want to prove you're ready to be an adult then do something they can't.

 

I'm fine with girls in scouts. I can even see girl patrols and boy patrols IF the patrol method is working well. Arguing about whether or not girls should be here is moot, they're coming. But the issue that always has been and still is is whether the adults understand what this is about. The adults that understand can easily deal with the parents that want an easier AT hike.

 

Turtle, while I was SM I had to defend the scouts a lot. A group of scouts that wanted to do something challenging always got my backing. It was the greatest way to develop trust between myself and the scouts. The result was I'd let them do things and they'd respect my view. That's a good memory. The bad memory was that it got harder as there were fewer parents willing to back me up. I just saw my scouts lose their vote on high adventure trips, and summer camp. Nearly all the meetings since I stepped down have been advancement. It's hard to watch. Three weeks of cyber chip? Shoot me.

 

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I agree that the problem(s) seem both logistical and cultural.

 

I concur that this fat little Turtle should not go on some hikes with fast mover teenagers; in fact I may be a liability no matter what my desire may be. So I often hike with the Newbies...I can still beat an 11 year old LOL. Eagle 94-A1 we have done similar things as well, sometimes we had two crews, a senior and junior, moving in opposite directions and crossing near the mid-point.

 

Anyway...

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The Col. is right, 11 & 12 year old boys are ready for independent challenges parents aren’t ready to consider, which is why staying home is a good idea until they are acclimated to the troop program and their sons real abilities.

 

I see it every year at summer camp. Once the troop arrives to camp, the scouts are purposely left to their own. All the adults are asked to let the scouts (and sons) be on their own and to stand back and just watch. We even put the adults in a different campsite.

 

This forces (and allows) each scout to figure out their classes, route to classes and acceptable behavior for their activities. Adults don’t lead or follow them to classes, it’s up to the scouts to find them.  Or not, which does sometimes happen. Once in a while a parent  gets upset and think the end of the world occurred because their son got behind in “advancement”. But, their sons usually have great stories and learned something valuable (character) from the adventure. 

 

Camps can be large and scary, so scouts are required to follow the buddy system and seek help from their patrol leader. Summer camps are the safest place I know of for letting boys spend a week without adult guidance. And without realizing it, they mature a lot. Parents have told me many times their son that came home was not the one who left. And that is a very good thing. That’s what I mean by “trust me and watch.”

 

barry

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1 hour ago, Col. Flagg said:

 

Here's the thing: It's called BOY Scouts...at least for now. Not Parent Scouts or Family Scouts or Adult Scouts. The whole program is designed for a whole bunch of boys to be monitored and counseled by trained adults...and even then not a whole ton of adults. There is ZERO need for mom (or dad) to be around to help their little yum yum. Their Patrol Leader and patrol mates will help them if there's a problem. The TRAINED adults leaders -- who should know how the program works, as well as the policies and procedures -- will be around to help if there's the need. Other than that, Boy Scouts don't need mom, dad or sister around at all.

 

Digressing from this program is what many here are worried about. Moms don't need to be along for the hike on the AT just because Johnny is 12. If they are TRAINED ASMs, fine! Otherwise, stay at home and pick him up at the church when he's done. Anything else is helicopter parenting.

 

The very presence of adults tends to interfere with youth leadership.   Their presence should be minimized to the number required for safety and even then they should be physically located as far away as that safety function allows.  Boy Scouting is a "small" team of boys functioning as independently as practicable.

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43 minutes ago, MattR said:

 Hiking or canoeing for a week is a challenge. It's memories and proving to yourself that you can do it. This does more for a kid then anything else I've seen. It doesn't matter what the challenge is. It just has to be a real challenge. And when mom is asking for something easier that's proof to every kid that it's a perfect challenge. If you want to prove you're ready to be an adult then do something they can't.

 

I think this perfectly encapsulates some aspects of the women/girls in scouting issue of the original unsplit  parent post. I strongly agree with everything you are saying about challenge, but the yardstick should be much more internal than external. Setting it up as a matter of whether you are better than women or younger scouts or some "other" misses the whole point. It is rather am I better/strong/more competent than my younger self. No need to denigrate others. There are always higher peaks to climb.

 

The whole better than a girl thing doesn't work if mom is waiting for the kids to be older so she can add the training time to go from 50mile trail races to 100s. My 11yos ~70yo grandmother is talking about through-hiking the Long Trail with him in a year or 2. In our extended family, it is less about I'm stronger than Mom and more about now I can also do all the epic stuff.

 

I think  that is the whole point of your post and TampaTurtles post. The kids don't want to be better than others, they just want to do objectively challenging stuff. That's why they asked a dad to lead a "real" trip outside of scouts. 

 

Now it is an open question what the best way to do the  objectively challenging stuff(high adventure) is. You can use the prevailing BSA model that it is a reward for 14yos who have stuck with the program as a gateway/capstone experience -or- You can add in high adventure elements earlier with more supports. Regardless, you need to have a progression of more challenging activities for older scouts.

 

For instance, our troop is doing an independent Boundary  Waters trip this Summer. The PLC initiated the idea since a number of kids have family experience and want to do it as a troop. They decided it should be open to everyone but the older kids want to push themselves.So... we're taking three crews(max BWCA crew size 9).

 

Crew 1 is the new scouts. This group will need the most help. They have to show First Class skills and do the troop portage races before the event. This group will have a couple parents and one experienced scouter. The parents will need folks with WFA, Safety Afloat, Safe Swim, Defense, Weather, etc... Overall this group probably has the most growth opportunities for kids and adults, despite shorter routes and portages. Even at 3:5-or-6 adult to scout ratio this should be a real crash course in backcountry adventure.

 

Crew 2 will be middle scouts who will have 7 scouts to 2 scouters and have an experience typical of the Northern Tier program.

 

Crew 3 will be older scouts. They are going to plan their entire trip and help prepare the younger kids. This group won't have any "adults". None of the normal SM/ASMs are going with them. We run our own summer camp, so we have an active alumni group.The adult supervision on this trip will all be under 25. That said they will be the most trained. They'll have more WFA/WFR, camp directors, waterfront directors, lifeguards, etc etc than the other crews.

 

Having an excess of parents with the younger kids won't interfere with the older kids adventure. Would it be better to have older kids providing more support for the younger crew... probably. Do we have to do that this time... no. Is it better to allow the younger kids to go with more parent support (they're still doing the portages on their own ;) )if needed vs waiting a few years... that is a philosophical issue for your troop.

 

I think the key thing is if you want to push younger kids into high adventure you *must*  provide higher levels of challenge for the older kids.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Tampa Turtle said:

Snips...

 

At that point there was a leap that Mom's could now be more welcome at the campouts as visitors. Three of them said that they wanted to go on the annual AT hike with their 11 to 13 year old sons and lobbied the Committee Chair that since the boys were young and the moms were fairly new hikers could they plan an easier trip for next summer. They were very excited. (I though "uh-oh")

 

When the news of this quietly spread later in the evening five of six of the most senior boys (most have 300 miles of backpacking) pulled their names from the sign up list. I overheard one saying "the adults are watering things down and making it too easy". ...

 

Wait, is this boy-lead or not? Why are those older boys letting some new moms run their program? The only "watering down" that is happening is the boys quitting in the face what appears to be some mild opposition and lack of education on the part of those new Boy Scout moms.

 

If this is a boy-lead organization, then the boys plan the hike and if there is a planned limit on the number of adults attending as well as an understanding as to how fast of a pace will be set, then so be it.

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11 minutes ago, Hawkwin said:

 

Wait, is this boy-lead or not? Why are those older boys letting some new moms run their program? The only "watering down" that is happening is the boys quitting in the face what appears to be some mild opposition and lack of education on the part of those new Boy Scout moms.

 

If this is a boy-lead organization, then the boys plan the hike and if there is a planned limit on the number of adults attending as well as an understanding as to how fast of a pace will be set, then so be it.

 

Or the Scouts are so fed up with adults taking over and overruling what they want that they say "WHATEVER."  Man this is starting to sound like some of the stuff going on in my troop in the Helicopter parent thread.

 

 

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1 minute ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

 

Or the Scouts are so fed up with adults taking over and overruling what they want that they say "WHATEVER."  Man this is starting to sound like some of the stuff going on in my troop in the Helicopter parent thread.

 

 

 

Perhaps, but I don't get that sense from the OP. This might be a great learning opportunity for those scouts that are dropping out of the hike - an opportunity for them to show perseverance in the face of, what appears to be, parents that have simply not been well educated on how Boy Scouts is different than Cub Scouts.

 

A great opportunity for those scouts to perhaps learn how to politely and respectfully inform those parents as to how this particular hike functions best for the Troop. I am a parent of a 1st year scout so I can completely relate. It is a common occurrence for me to have to "cut the strings" for my Tenderfoot while at the same time, remind him to do things I wish he would already do on his own - both in and out of scouts.

 

If I didn't hike with him all the time already, I could see how I might feel the same way those moms do.

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8 minutes ago, Hawkwin said:

This might be a great learning opportunity for those scouts that are dropping out of the hike - an opportunity for them to show perseverance in the face of, what appears to be, parents that have simply not been well educated on how Boy Scouts is different than Cub Scouts.

 

Nope. Managing meddling non-Scouter adults is NOT the boys' problem. That's what the SM and TC are for, to keep the meddler at bay and to allow the boys to do their thing. In fact, I would argue it is not an SM job either, but rather the TC Chairman's job to keep parents at bay. As SM I ran cover for the boys to make sure meddling, helicopter parents were parked on the runway far away from the boys.

 

Yes, each troops should have that "Come to Jesus" meeting with the parents where they cut the umbilical cords and tell mom and dad what their role as parent is. Then they have the same discussion with the Scouters. Anyone running afoul of the party line is invited to stay home and work on their honey-do list.

 

 

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13 minutes ago, Hawkwin said:

 

Perhaps, but I don't get that sense from the OP. This might be a great learning opportunity for those scouts that are dropping out of the hike - an opportunity for them to show perseverance in the face of, what appears to be, parents that have simply not been well educated on how Boy Scouts is different than Cub Scouts.

 

A great opportunity for those scouts to perhaps learn how to politely and respectfully inform those parents as to how this particular hike functions best for the Troop. I am a parent of a 1st year scout so I can completely relate. It is a common occurrence for me to have to "cut the strings" for my Tenderfoot while at the same time, remind him to do things I wish he would already do on his own - both in and out of scouts.

 

If I didn't hike with him all the time already, I could see how I might feel the same way those moms do.

 

It could also be that they see something they look forward to being so watered down that they do not see the purpose.  When the Scouts are polite and tell the new parents that they got it, and the parents ignore them, so the older Scouts just walk away and let the parents do their work.

1 minute ago, Col. Flagg said:

 

Nope. Managing meddling non-Scouter adults is NOT the boys' problem. That's what the SM and TC are for, to keep the meddler at bay and to allow the boys to do their thing. In fact, I would argue it is not an SM job either, but rather the TC Chairman's job to keep parents at bay. As SM I ran cover for the boys to make sure meddling, helicopter parents were parked on the runway far away from the boys.

 

Yes, each troops should have that "Come to Jesus" meeting with the parents where they cut the umbilical cords and tell mom and dad what their role as parent is. Then they have the same discussion with the Scouters. Anyone running afoul of the party line is invited to stay home and work on their honey-do list.

 

 

 

Sadly in my instance the "Come to Jesus" meetings, yes plural" have had no effect and the new parents are doing what they want. Heck now the parents have some financial influence they "gave" the troop $3000 from a joint pack/troop fundraiser. Troop only sold $600 worth of tickets, while the pack, which has done it for 3 or 4 years now, sold over $6000 worth. But the troop cancelled their planed camping trip to work the fundraiser, and provided 95+% of the manpower to do the fundraiser.  SO the helicopters, who ran the event, are giving us 1/2 of the money, as long as we buy equipment. From the sounds of it, it is equipment THEY want to buy. Waiting for a Scouters' meeting to find out what is going on.

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When my son was SPL he said his biggest frustration was the behind the back lobbying by parents right to him; he got emails, texts, and calls constantly despite the SM and some us ASM's running cover for him as much as possible. He would remind them that the Troop was boy led and refer them to the SM. Often after the SM backed him up they would still try manipulating things. His plate was pretty full between High School and the Troop at the time was 60 Boys and 5-6 Patrols. I think he learned a lot that year not all of it good. 

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I gotta give the PLC when my son was SPL a lot of credit. They really tried to grab control and when confronted with adults who vetoed things on the basis of cost they politely asked for information on trip costing for the last few years and what the fund raising funds were used for. Not demanding, just asking. Uncooperative adults really frustrated their planning; they couldn't find out why some 'cheap' trips cost so much and why they couldn't plan a fund raiser for an ambitious goal. I thought it would have been a useful exercise regardless of the result. I don't think it was any skulduggery on the adults part; just a combination of disorganization, apathy, and a desire for control. I recall on the third monthly PLC where this remained an issue a young 11 year old Patrol Leader sighing and saying "Those who control the purse strings control the future". 

 

As for the hike most of the hiker scouts are in one patrol so they might just make an exclusive patrol activity and invite a few other guys on the down low.

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14 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

SO the helicopters, who ran the event, are giving us 1/2 of the money, as long as we buy equipment. From the sounds of it, it is equipment THEY want to buy. Waiting for a Scouters' meeting to find out what is going on.

 

Wow...I feel for you. Nothing like putting your heart and soul in to something, only to have a group of folks come in and needlessly ruin what was built.

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