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Eagle94-A1

Messed Up Patrol Method

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I would bet that if one were to redact all the references to adults there wouldn't be much left of this thread.  So, I pose the question: what do adults have to do with the boy's selection of their officers if the unit is patrol method, boy led? 

All the comments thus far have been complaints about adults and their dictatorial rules and regulations that interfere with the unit the boys want.

If some boy doesn't want to be PL, why in the world is he running?  Oh, yeah, his dad is pressuring him.

When are the adults going to learn not to be doing stupid things that shoot themselves in the foot?

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1 hour ago, Back Pack said:

If any CO micromanaged a unit like that they’d have no guys in the troop. If my unit elected someone and the church said sorry you’d see guys leave the troop for another one next day. That’s just stupid if they do that. 

It is not nice to say stupid. I don't think my Church is stupid.

It is not micromanagement for the CO to have the final approval or disapproval of decisions. My Church has always done it that way for all of its programs, not just the scout unit. 

Most of our boys join our unit expressly because it is a church-based unit with an active Chartered Organization. 

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5 minutes ago, David CO said:

It is not nice to say stupid. I don't think my Church is stupid.

It is not micromanagement for the CO to have the final approval or disapproval of decisions. My Church has always done it that way for all of its programs, not just the scout unit. 

Most of our boys join our unit expressly because it is a church-based unit with an active Chartered Organization. 

Why have a youth program if you’re going to second guess what the kids want? I wouldn’t be a member and I’m pretty sure none of my friends would either. We’re in scouts to run things like the books say. I wouldn’t want to be in an adult controlled troop. That’s not Boy Scouts. My church is active in our unit but they don’t control us like that. It’s very faith based too. You can have both without controlling the boys like that. I think the very definition of micromanagement is to control things you don’t trust others to run despite them having the power to do so. 

Edited by Back Pack

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6 minutes ago, David CO said:

It is not nice to say stupid. I don't think my Church is stupid.

It is not micromanagement for the CO to have the final approval or disapproval of decisions. My Church has always done it that way for all of its programs, not just the scout unit. 

Most of our boys join our unit expressly because it is a church-based unit with an active Chartered Organization. 

I agree with Back Pack, stupid or not... thats not scouts. 

Restrict membership by gender, religion, whatever on the front end and then let the kids be...

Chartering school says leaders must have at least 3.5 GPA... not cool.

Church says leaders must have gone through confirmation... not cool.

Church says only boys can be leaders in coed troop... not cool.

The CO can direct the program but not change it. If they don't like the leaders they can of course expel them(for valid religious/other reasons) but I don't think that gives them carte blanche to meddle in the internal affairs of the  troop otherwise. Any eligible scout should  be able to be a leader without CO meddling.

 

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11 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

So to prepare for this discussion, I want your thoughts, times you've been in this situation, and how you countered the arguments for adult interference. I am one of those who cannot think fast on my feet, but rather need to think ahead and come up with points deliberatively. So your help is welcomed. Thanks in advance. 

Getting back to the OP's Q, which was how to talk about it with the existing adults.

Here's my boiled down view of the Aims of scouting: teach scouts how to make good decisions. The only way I can see that scouts can do this is to make decisions and live with the good and the bad. You can't talk about how to ride a bike, you have to ride the bike. The same goes for all the people issues that are involved in a patrol. Picking leaders, deciding what to eat, developing skills, washing dishes when it's cold, .... So, the real question is why do the adults want to put in these restrictions that limit the scout's opportunities to make decisions? I can think of two. First is that all the scouts should have an opportunity. Next, it becomes a popularity contest and the quiet scouts that might do a good job get pushed out. Both could be reasonable answers, assuming that there's no respect for the PL. If the PL is a figure head that doesn't really do anything then a round robin method works great. If the PL has an important job that is not trivial then it's a different story. If the PL has to lead his team and generate consensus and all those other things, and the scouts know who they want, and they know who they don't want, then they should decide.

The next issue that will likely be brought up: Sure, but if we let them make all the decisions then they'll just fail, everyone will be miserable, and they'll all quit. This is true. However, there are things the adults can do to help the scouts be successful. Just like riding a bike, let's make sure the bike fits before sending a kid out on a bike for the first time. let's give the scouts the tools they need.

My pet issue right now is teamwork. Without it a new PL is going to have a hell of a hard time being successful. So what can the adults to help develop teamwork within the patrol?

Anyway, decisions that the scouts can make should be made by the scouts. Our job is to prepare them to make those decisions.

 

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14 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

So to prepare for this discussion, I want your thoughts, times you've been in this situation, and how you countered the arguments for adult interference. I am one of those who cannot think fast on my feet, but rather need to think ahead and come up with points deliberatively. So your help is welcomed. Thanks in advance. 

I have been in this situation, but I didn't always counter the arguments. I sometimes supported them.

If you really want my thoughts on your upcoming discussion, I would start by suggesting that you not characterize their positions with inflammatory rhetoric (like "adult interference"). This will only cause them to entrench.

Try to focus as much as you can on specific issues. You may find that some of those who disagree with you on the broader issues may find common ground with you on the specifics. If you agree on something, there is no need to remind them that you disagree on other things.

This is just a skirmish. Don't try to fight the whole war in one discussion.

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10 hours ago, David CO said:

It is not nice to say stupid. I don't think my Church is stupid.

It is not micromanagement for the CO to have the final approval or disapproval of decisions. My Church has always done it that way for all of its programs, not just the scout unit. 

Most of our boys join our unit expressly because it is a church-based unit with an active Chartered Organization. 

As one who dislikes being misquoted and having "words put in your mouth", it would be courteous not to do it to others.

I never said anyone or any organization was stupid.  I did say what they were doing was stupid.  Very smart people have been known to do stupid things on occasion.

With that being said, I have worked with both faith-based youth programs and BSA and I do NOT run them the same way.  It's apples and oranges.  I have been quite successful in doing both these programs for almost 50 years now.

Micromanagement of any youth program is one of the indicators of leadership development.  The more the adults lead, the less the youth do and vice versa.  One can't have both, it's either one or the other.

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I am tempted to respond, but I suspect that this is the point where a certain moderator would step in and tell us to stop arguing about who said what and get back to discussing the issues. 

Edited by David CO
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I see Eagle94's situation as the result of a SM who doesn't understand patrol method and/or doesn't know how to teach patrol method to the adults.

The SM of our troop requires all new parents to spend one to three meetings with the SM who shows them how the troop program works, and the adult roles in the program. They will get to observe a PLC meeting (the only time adults are allowed), patrol meetings, a SM Conference (with scout's permission), a BOR (with Scouts permission), and a tour of the troop storage by the GM. 

Also, any adults who plans to camp with the troop are REQUIRED to spend a campout with the SM to again observe the scouts program and how the adults' roles in that program (the SM does a lot of sitting around the campfire talking about his favorite subject, patrol method. A lot). I'm one of the few adults on this forum who doesn't assign busy work to parents just to keep them out of the way. I teach them the value of staying out of the scouts way and then let them make choices. They usually get it on the first campout.

Barry

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25 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

I see Eagle94's situation as the result of a SM who doesn't understand patrol method and/or doesn't know how to teach patrol method to the adults.

Really? I took it a completely different way.

I thought we were talking about an upcoming discussion that would be at the policy making level, with the unit committee and perhaps the CO involved. Maybe I misunderstood.

If this is to be a discussion between the scoutmaster and his ASM's and parent volunteers, that would be an entirely different matter. Yes, the SM is in charge of training and directing his volunteers.

I just looked back at the original post, and it doesn't actually say at what level the discussion will take place. I may have jumped to a wrong conclusion.

Edited by David CO

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39 minutes ago, David CO said:

Really? I took it a completely different way.

I thought we were talking about an upcoming discussion that would be at the policy making level, with the unit committee and perhaps the CO involved. Maybe I misunderstood.

If this is to be a discussion between the scoutmaster and his ASM's and parent volunteers, that would be an entirely different matter. Yes, the SM is in charge of training and directing his volunteers.

I just looked back at the original post, and it doesn't actually say at what level the discussion will take place. I may have jumped to a wrong conclusion.

Eagle94 has been dealing with this problem, one way or another, for a couple years. My response is more in the light of the history of the his situation, not just this one situation. Your are correct that I should have responded more pointedly to this thread.

Barry

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Sad thing about Eagledad's comment about adults not understanding patrol method  is he is right, despite the fact that the former SM is a WB trained Scouter, the current SM is an Eagle, and the potential new SM is an Eagle. You would think that folks with experience would know better. I do know that regarding Scouts signing off on advancement,  the potential new SM Eagle had a bad experience and he is totally against it as a result. Apparently his older Scouts kept having him come back and demonstrate the skills before signing off. And that is one of the stated reasons why Scouts do not sign off on advancement with this troop. And as I mentioned in Helicopters thread, it appears that all S-T-2-1 skills instruction and camping will be done by/with adults.

I also think part of the problem is everyone, adults and Scouts, are so use to the way things have been done, i.e. 2 PLCs a year, adults teaching, etc. I know I tried to get my SPL son to hold regular PLCs, but when he announced one and it kept getting pushed back by the SM or one ASM, he gave up trying. I know several older Scouts are basically marking time until they can earn eagle and get out. They are no longer having fun.

Anyway, what are your arguments for patrol method? How would you go about convincing adults to let Scouts sign off on advancement? How would you go about convincing adults le tthe Scouts make their own decisions, and suffer the consequences? How do you convinvce adults that the Scouts really know who the best leaders are? How would you convince adults that having families camp with the troop is a bad idea? Anything else i'm missing.

My objective for the meeting is to focus on patrol method and getting the adults out of the Scouts' hair. But I want to be prepared for anything else that may come up.

Regarding the meeting, sadly the CC is only interested in BORs, and nothing else. Everything is on the SM and ASMs. As for the CO, new IH, new approach to Scouts. Old IH was heavily involved, especially since son was in the troop. New IH not only is not interesting in Scouting, he has turned down several requests by the pack and troop, but also does not view Scouting as an outreach ministry like the old IH. New IH has taken down information from the church's board about Scouts, and the monthly newsletter does not contain anything about Scouts anymore.

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18 hours ago, David CO said:

Not entirely. All members of a unit, youth and adult, serve at the pleasure of the Chartered Organization. The CO has the final word.

Yes, the CO owns the unit. Yes, the CO approves the unit bylaws, operating procedures and other non-BSA processes and procedures.

HOWEVER, the CO is NOT at liberty to call an audible on stuff that's part of the BSA program that they don't like. Being CO does NOT give the CO the right to change HOW the BSA program is implemented IF it changes the foundation of the program. Involving themselves in who gets elected and how that election is run is one of those foundational components. 

@Back Pack is right, if my CO did that we'd go from 75 Scouts to 0 in about two days.

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1 hour ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Anyway, what are your arguments for patrol method? How would you go about convincing adults to let Scouts sign off on advancement? How would you go about convincing adults le tthe Scouts make their own decisions, and suffer the consequences? How do you convinvce adults that the Scouts really know who the best leaders are? How would you convince adults that having families camp with the troop is a bad idea? Anything else i'm missing.

My objective for the meeting is to focus on patrol method and getting the adults out of the Scouts' hair. But I want to be prepared for

This is a tough question because, as I know you know, learning patrol method takes time and practice. A SM has leverage because, well the SM is the boss. But anyone else has an uphill grind to not only sell it as "one" possible way of developing character, but also be able to show proof from results. And, as you also know, growth takes time and is generally subtle.

First off, use simple words and stick to them like "patrol method" or "boy run". Personally I like boy run because Patrol Method is one of Eight Methods of scouting. You and I know the difference by how we use the term in a sentence. But it can be confusing to newer leaders. Boy Run is used by the BSA as scout independence, so it makes sense. Also, instead of talking about growth, Aims, goals or something else, use "character". Character is the term most people reference as growth in scouting. So, it require less explanation. "Boy Run" (independence) is the best way of developing "character" (turning boys into men) for this age of boys.

Then be specific and simple with the words to define how boy run works toward develop character. Boys of this age learn more by thinking through a difficult decision than by following habits or adult directions. The best way to encourage boys this age to "actively think" through a struggle is to give responsibilities where they have to make decisions. Even small decisions like, "should I tuck in my shirt" is an active decision making process of right or wrong. The more we get the boys to make decisions, they more they have to balance and measure right and wrong. That is how character is developed. Each decision the adult makes for the scout deprives him of the practice for character growth.

You can make you own examples that apply to your situations. But I found I needed to practice these explanations in my mind to shorten them so   I did't loose my audience.

What you are doing is begging for their trust to let you give scouts permission to screw up. BUT what parents struggle with is that making mistakes is a good thing in the troop. To most parents, wrong decisions implies bad boys. We see it on this forum everyday. Posters asking for advice to deal with scouts bad decisions. They don't see bad decisions as opportunites of character growth, they see it as boys behaving badly. You have to sell them that wrong decisions don't mean bad decisions or that boys are bad. Wrong decisions just show the scout where he needs to learn the skills to make right decisions. The more wrong decisions they make now, the more skills they learn for making right choices as an adult. 

And don't ask for everything all at once. Pick a few examples where the adults are too close to the scouts and ask them to give the boys room. And allow time for them to learn from what ever choices they make.

That's at the top of my head anyway. It took me years to do what you are asking for one meeting.

Barry

 

Edited by Eagledad
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34 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Sad thing about Eagledad's comment about adults not understanding patrol method  is he is right, despite the fact that the former SM is a WB trained Scouter, the current SM is an Eagle, and the potential new SM is an Eagle. You would think that folks with experience would know better. I do know that regarding Scouts signing off on advancement,  the potential new SM Eagle had a bad experience and he is totally against it as a result.

[SNIP]

Anyway, what are your arguments for patrol method? How would you go about convincing adults to let Scouts sign off on advancement? How would you go about convincing adults le tthe Scouts make their own decisions, and suffer the consequences? How do you convinvce adults that the Scouts really know who the best leaders are? How would you convince adults that having families camp with the troop is a bad idea? Anything else i'm missing.

 

WB-trained Eagles or regular Eagles do not mean anything. I think we have all seen folks who are WB-trained, have fifty knots on their chest but are world-class micro managing, adult-led, bulldozer parents. I made the mistake long ago about equating years of service, level of service, position, training or "He's an Eagle" as persuading that person had more idea of what Scouting meant, or how to implement it, than I did. How wrong I was.

Arguments for the Patrol Method: 

  1. It is the only way to do Scouting. Anything else is NOT Scouting.
  2. Scouts sign off on advancement AFTER there is a program put in place to train them on how to teach core skills, ensure that sign off happens after EDGE is demonstrated and mastered, there is a method to check consistency either at the youth or adult level, and adults understand their role in the process.
  3. Scouting is NOT about who are the best leaders. It is about learning and growing. You WILL have bad leaders. The SM's job is to put in place a training program that lessens how bad "bad leaders" are. This includes recognizing Scouts' strengths and weaknesses, helping them address these AND having those supporting the leader help him to be successful and not just walk away.
  4. Family camping (currently) has no place in Boy Scouts. It erodes the patrol method, encourages helicopter parenting, robs the boys of leadership opportunities and growth. If you must have a family camp pick on camp out a year and invite family members. Otherwise if adults want to attend camp outs give them an application, make them take a role as an ASM and give them a concrete duty to perform that takes them out of the boys' hair.

I really don't envy you this task. It sounds like the parents in your unit are overly involved. Ours does not sound like it was as bad, but it did take us a while to cut the collective umbilical cords.

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