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TampaTurtle: Unneeded parents on hikes

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Okay, we have added siblings, added parents, added... added.... added and finally a ton of added rules to handle all the added "stuff".

 

The patrols of buddies are out the window  FOREVER.  This is not Boy Scouts, this is "something else" (name it what one wishes.)

 

Well, 50 years ago, when we faced a similar, but not any really big issue, we simply left the program.  It's not what we signed on for.  We couldn't camp without adult supervision.  No problem, dump the uniform and go anyway.   

 

Well, it wasn't a real leap of faith to see where the program was going and yes, even without a crystal ball, we could tell scouting was not what it was, nor was there any efforts made to try and keep it that way.

 

It's a brave new world out there, untried, unexplored, a real adventure in survival.  Good luck with that.

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Well, given the new type of parents Boy Scouts is attracting they should be able to save a TON of money by simply changing the "B" in BSA to a "D" and going with their new logo.

 

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1 hour ago, oldbuzzard said:

 

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.

 

....

 

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)

....
 

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.

 

I didn't intend to pick on the moms. I can see how doing something just to make a point to someone else is not a good thing. At the same time, external motivation can be a good thing. Two scouts are best friends. One wants to do something and the other is on the fence. The first says hey, come on, we're doing this. That's external. I've done that to others and others have done it to me.

 

My key point was that, given that there are scouts that want to push themselves, the adults should not be holding them back. There are few that will push themselves so that's a huge resource for the SM to take advantage of.

 

Our troop did a split group last summer backpacking. It worked really well. One great thing about it is we met up at the end and the younger scouts could hear about the trip the older scouts went on. That's a bit of magic.

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11 minutes ago, MattR said:

 

I didn't intend to pick on the moms. I can see how doing something just to make a point to someone else is not a good thing. At the same time, external motivation can be a good thing. Two scouts are best friends. One wants to do something and the other is on the fence. The first says hey, come on, we're doing this. That's external. I've done that to others and others have done it to me.

 

My key point was that, given that there are scouts that want to push themselves, the adults should not be holding them back. There are few that will push themselves so that's a huge resource for the SM to take advantage of.

 

Our troop did a split group last summer backpacking. It worked really well. One great thing about it is we met up at the end and the younger scouts could hear about the trip the older scouts went on. That's a bit of magic.

 

Another dent in the mixed age patrols.  Some of the patrol goes, others get left behind.  Looks like Web III creep to me.

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Interesting. My 15 year old SPL son prefers to, and has on several occasions, handle these type issues himself. In fact he sees it as his obligation.

 

On multiple occasions he has respectfully addressed adult interference in the Troop. He is pretty good at redirecting rather than just saying no to them. Usually he can come up with a solution on his own, but will sometimes seek advice.

 

I can see him embracing the parents desire to go hiking by recommending they take their younger Scouts on several patrol hikes so that they will be prepared for the more challenging AT hike that WILL take place as planned.

 

teach them and turn them loose and they will do a pretty darn good job.

 

I would respectfully submit that if older Scouts are wiling to throw in the towel so fast, and drop out of the hike, it is because they are used to being adult led already.

Edited by HelpfulTracks
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14 hours ago, Stosh said:

Okay, we have added siblings, added parents, added... added.... added and finally a ton of added rules to handle all the added "stuff".

Is it possible to involve parents and families on an occasional basis?  I don't get the impression that parents and siblings want to do every activity and trip, but maybe show up once in a while.  At Troop meetings, we have a group of moms and younger siblings who hang out down the hall while the boys meet in the gym.  That's not interfering.   My husband is an ASM and goes to summer camp and says with the same breath that he does nothing and that what he does is important.   This year I almost went to camp to do nothing too but the schedule did not work out.  I don't see the big problem if I go to a thing once in a while.  In fact, I am thinking of going to and sitting in on a PLC meeting, just to be a fly on the wall.  I am curious how much the Troop adults participate vs the boys and I'd like to see it in action.

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Ah, get a large group of adults doing "nothing" and they want to do something. ..and then they "think" this something must involve their scouts. A previous unit became an Adult Outing Club in this manner. They decided the outing program and not PLC. Had over 20 ASM's!

 

My advice to SPL is make sure you keep your adults busy and out of the way.  :)

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If my troop had parents and siblings dropping in I would stop going to stuff. I’m in scouts for many things but mostly to get away from family and be on my own. I see my family all the time. Scouts was the one place I didn’t see them. And my dad was scoutmaster. I hardly saw him at all. I never knew how hard he tried to give me space until reading this thread. Thanks dad!

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37 minutes ago, WisconsinMomma said:

Is it possible to involve parents and families on an occasional basis?  I don't get the impression that parents and siblings want to do every activity and trip, but maybe show up once in a while.  At Troop meetings, we have a group of moms and younger siblings who hang out down the hall while the boys meet in the gym.  That's not interfering.   My husband is an ASM and goes to summer camp and says with the same breath that he does nothing and that what he does is important.   This year I almost went to camp to do nothing too but the schedule did not work out.  I don't see the big problem if I go to a thing once in a while.  In fact, I am thinking of going to and sitting in on a PLC meeting, just to be a fly on the wall.  I am curious how much the Troop adults participate vs the boys and I'd like to see it in action.

 

Have you asked your sons what they want you to do? When moms show up, the dynamics do change, whether consciously or unconsciously. When the 1989 decision to allow female ASMs and SM came, we did get one long time female MC switch over to ASM. She knew the deal: adults do not interfere unless safety is concerned, and acted accordingly. But her two sons DID act differently on the trips she attended. Somehow it got back to her that her sons didn't really want her around all the time because they felt she was hovering over them. She backed off and only did 3 camp outs after that in the 5 years she remained in the troop. two involved her hobby, cycling, and one was due to not having enough adults able to go, a 10 day trip to summer camp.

 

That was the unconscious. My conscious one is a trip that we planned for almost a year that turned into a family camp out. Long story short, the mom's complained about the weather, and would not let the siblings do some of the activities. When the siblings started whining about the Scouts doing stuff and they couldn't, the mom's called off the activity. They were suppose to be support, and when they cancelled, it ruined the entire trip. And not only did we plan it for almost a year, it took us 7 hours one way to get there. Additionally one of the siblings caused $1500 to $2000 worth of damage ( this was almost 30 years ago, you can adjust for inflation) which caused us to be banned from the place we were staying at. Troop never did another family camp until every single Scout on that trip either left or aged out.

 

11 hours ago, HelpfulTracks said:

teach them and turn them loose and they will do a pretty darn good job.

 

I would respectfully submit that if older Scouts are wiling to throw in the towel so fast, and drop out of the hike, it is because they are used to being adult led already.

 

Sadly my troop IS adult led. That is something I have been working on for several years.  This time last year, we had major problems. They finally got worked out, and while not 100% Scout led, the batch of adults for adult led started seeing the light. Strides were made, and the troop was a heck of a lot better than just 6 months before. The first batch of new Scouts  and parents we got in January were not a problem. Their WDLs trained them well and they integrated smoothly. This second batch however, has been extremely rough. The adults do not want to let go control and let their kids grow up. They want to control every aspect of their sons' Scouting. OK we got one Scout with a medical condition requiring dad to stay with him at night. Soif dad cannot go he cannot either. That's valid. But we got moms who will not let the sons camp without her or dad. We got a dad who lets his son sneak into the tent with him. 

 

 

So yes, the troop is adult led. A lot of factors were involved in it too. 

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2 hours ago, WisconsinMomma said:

Is it possible to involve parents and families on an occasional basis?  I don't get the impression that parents and siblings want to do every activity and trip, but maybe show up once in a while.  At Troop meetings, we have a group of moms and younger siblings who hang out down the hall while the boys meet in the gym.  That's not interfering.   My husband is an ASM and goes to summer camp and says with the same breath that he does nothing and that what he does is important.   This year I almost went to camp to do nothing too but the schedule did not work out.  I don't see the big problem if I go to a thing once in a while.  In fact, I am thinking of going to and sitting in on a PLC meeting, just to be a fly on the wall.  I am curious how much the Troop adults participate vs the boys and I'd like to see it in action.

 

The family thing is a new thing in our Troop and I do not think we have handled it so well. We really should have promoted our easy and nearby yearly camp-out better and raised the bar of adult participation on the others to retain the patrol method and boy independence. A neighboring Troop seems to handle this better.

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13 hours ago, HelpfulTracks said:

 

I would respectfully submit that if older Scouts are wiling to throw in the towel so fast, and drop out of the hike, it is because they are used to being adult led already.

 

I think they 'got it' already. And I do not think they "threw in the towel"; they proposed an alternate activity for themselves (a gang of buddies going off on an adventure--what a concept!) outside of the Troop if need be. On the one hand a bad precedent and on the other I admire their initiative. Most of them come from the Patrol with the most cohesion BTW.

 

I would like to reiterate that the Troop HAS had a process of older boys training younger boys on progressively harder hikes. Our Troop has a coveted backpacking award that has been awarded a 1/5th of the time as the Eagle rank. It is not unusual for a boy in our Troop to have 300-350 miles backpacking when they leave (and we have to travel for most of our good trips).  We push hiking and backpacking--we got a whole system. BUT it is the latest crop of parents (and not just Mom's) who have short circuited the process by pushing themselves (and their boys) in. I guess they kinda slipped in and we screwed up by not pushing back. Like I said I, as a Brownshirt ASM I still had to do the same training as the boys to earn my way on a crew and I got some grudging faint praise respect in my time.*

 

So some clear guidelines need to be drawn for adults and adhered to. We used to do that for our 'adult' patrol** patch: Do the whole "Scoutmaster Training" suite, go on a minimum of 5 campouts in a year, go to Summer Camp once, demonstrate your skills, etc, do the Hiking MB requiresments, etc. It took a  while and you were proud when you got that scrap of cloth. It also made you a more competent ASM. HOWEVER I have observed that with each passing year and just not in scouts that more and more adults view rules as suggestions and guidelines to be ignored when it conflicts with what they want. I think generational and cultural forces are at work here.

 

* A boy once said "At least Mr Turtle shows up. He may not be great but he is OK. He's slow but he finishes-you know if you need him you can find him at the back of the line. At least he tries"

 

** Our adult patrol is not 'Man Scouts' but we try to model good patrol behavior (perhaps a bit too formal in our salutations) for the boys especially with sharing cooking duties and menus.

 

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2 hours ago, Back Pack said:

If my troop had parents and siblings dropping in I would stop going to stuff. I’m in scouts for many things but mostly to get away from family and be on my own. I see my family all the time. Scouts was the one place I didn’t see them. And my dad was scoutmaster. I hardly saw him at all. I never knew how hard he tried to give me space until reading this thread. Thanks dad!

 

You're welcome. Now stop trolling and use that college tuition money wisely. You should be in class according to the last tuition bill I received. 

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3 hours ago, WisconsinMomma said:

Is it possible to involve parents and families on an occasional basis?  I don't get the impression that parents and siblings want to do every activity and trip, but maybe show up once in a while.  At Troop meetings, we have a group of moms and younger siblings who hang out down the hall while the boys meet in the gym.  That's not interfering.   My husband is an ASM and goes to summer camp and says with the same breath that he does nothing and that what he does is important.   This year I almost went to camp to do nothing too but the schedule did not work out.  I don't see the big problem if I go to a thing once in a while.  In fact, I am thinking of going to and sitting in on a PLC meeting, just to be a fly on the wall.  I am curious how much the Troop adults participate vs the boys and I'd like to see it in action.

 

I would respectfully say no.  The BSA is for participants in patrols doing the program.  It is (currently) many many things.  A social family organization it is not nor was it ever intended to be.  

 

Remember, Scouting is program that using the patrol method and boys leading is designed and hoped to have failure as part of the outcome.  If they burn a meal, forget some equipment, sleep cold, get wet, etc etc; that will reinforce that their decisions, or lack of decisions have consequences.  Yes we as leaders provide a basic safety net.  Before cold weather camping you may make sure essential equipment is on-hand.  Go to summer camp and forget something, hopefully you will adapt and overcome.  Meet with a MB counselor at a meeting but do not have paperwork or partial from camp, see you later.  Come to a BOR and do not have everything completed or maybe completed but not signed off, you will need to reschedule.

 

Our troop is 100+ scouts, we do 13 outdoor events each year, 2 weeklong summer camps, and high adventure for older scouts each year.  The Greenbar (we are old school) plans the outings and calendar each year.  NEVER have they even mentioned a family campout.  They plan the meetings at the greenbar, the adults confirm they are aware of the dates for the meetings, there is preliminary conversation about outing (or outings) coming up and what skills may be relevant, then adults go to another room and scouts plan.  They used to come get us when they were done, now they text.

 

Families are important, but not to the program and siblings and parents on outings and at meetings are not helpful.  Parents are welcome at meetings to observe and maybe talk with the active leaders.  We have had some do skills presentations in the past.  We welcome all leaders on the outings, but once you come you are a leader and not a parent.  

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4 hours ago, WisconsinMomma said:

 In fact, I am thinking of going to and sitting in on a PLC meeting, just to be a fly on the wall.  I am curious how much the Troop adults participate vs the boys and I'd like to see it in action.

 

You should expect to be stopped in the hallway by the SM, who says something like "The 'P' in PLC does not stand for 'parent.' They are doing a fine job without parents or even ASMs sitting in the meeting to judge or monitor them."

Regarding summer camp, parents in camp with "nothing" to do get bored. Then they eventually wander over to see what their son's patrol is doing. Then they begin to offer suggestions and generally butt in to patrol business. 

There is no need for parents at summer camp. The SM and a couple of fully trained ASMs are all that's needed.

That's my experience, anyway.

 

 

 

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