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qwazse

Told to Troop Guide: Dad makes me come here.

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Our PLC has been doing a huddle after every meeting. Works well for this SPL, who quickly goes over upcoming program and responsibilities and asks about problems.

The troop guide came up a few from his new scout patrol. My general advice to guides is to focus on advancing the natural leaders in their groups and find something fun for the rest. He brought up what he thought were several barriers to that. One was a scout who said he's only there because his dad makes him. (This came as a surprise to me because he seemed like one of the more enthusiastic young men in the bunch.)

I may or may not bring this up to the parent - whose older kids are growing up strong and good - to him and his wife's credit.

But, if you heard this from your TG, how might you advise him and the SPL?

 

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I'm not quite sure what you are asking for, but maybe this scout just had a bad day.

I found that scouts who were only in the troop because their parents pushed them there tended to not have the enthusiasm you say this scout has. I'm sure your experience is the same. Based on your post, I would suggest the TG and SPL give this scout some room to work and see if they can find what does interest him.

Every boy likes something. I had one very nerdy scout who was the son of an Air Force general and Eagle Scout. There was no way he wasn't going to have a boy scout experience. But, after his son ran away from camp one night, I sat with the General and asked him to let us work this out so that we don't have to handcuff him to his tent each night. Turns out his son is a computer genius. This was during a time when Troop Web sites were just starting to become a popular. So we asked him to develop our Web site. It turned him around. I don't know why, but that one notoriety changed him enough to where he could bare camping and all the baggage that comes with camping outdoors. I handed him his Eagle 3 years later. I ran into him three years later while he was working at an Ace Hardware store and I couldn't get him to shut up about scouting. Shesh!.

So, one thing your scouts could do is find that one thing that makes the boy like himself when he is wearing his boy scout uniform.

Barry

Edited by Eagledad

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When I was SPL I had just taken over from a poor leader. Troop meetings were boring and we literally did nothing. My goal was to never have a meeting inside or to sit around doing nothing. We did orienteering in the park for hidden pizzas. We did a zombie night hike in a local park with ASMs as zombies. We did zip lining, eprep classes, ranger training, archery competitions and a whole bunch of other things. I basically planned about 20 meetings one Saturday and brought them to my PLC. That covered most of my term. My point is that if the guys plan good meetings no one should have to be dragged to a meeting. 

Edited by Back Pack
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Backpack

what you describe (The scouts themselves taking ownership and saying what they want to do I mean....) is what I'd guess is missing in a large majority of troops.  I know it is at least in our case...and a big reason my son has dropped.

Instead, what I have seen is more of a cub scouts on steroids approach

Meetings are boring

They don't really want to come....

 

and I'd venture a guess that a high number of our scouts, if pressed, would likely give a similar answer about being "made to come".  Some are just better about making the most of it than others are....

It's pretty clear many aren't all that jazzed about it, so I'd GUESS that many, if not made to go, are encouraged to with things like

you can't drive until you make eagle

or, if you don't do scouting then you have to do sports

or, something else like that.... a choice that they don't want to make.

 

 

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1 hour ago, qwazse said:

One was a scout who said he's only there because his dad makes him. (This came as a surprise to me because he seemed like one of the more enthusiastic young men in the bunch.)

But, if you heard this from your TG, how might you advise him and the SPL?

For my money the SPL and the PLC, along with the SM, are responsible for making the meetings interesting. One thing BSA does well is the availability of the Troop Program Resources and Troop Program Features. They have been available in PDF for as long as I can remember, and now they are available online.

A good troop should include how to use these tools as part of their TLT; making sure PLs and SPL/ASPLs can leverage these guides easily and properly. Once that's done, planning good meetings should not be a chore. It will never be 100%, but it will be a whole lot better than it was.

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2 hours ago, qwazse said:

Our PLC has been doing a huddle after every meeting. Works well for this SPL, who quickly goes over upcoming program and responsibilities and asks about problems.

The troop guide came up a few from his new scout patrol. My general advice to guides is to focus on advancing the natural leaders in their groups and find something fun for the rest. He brought up what he thought were several barriers to that. One was a scout who said he's only there because his dad makes him. (This came as a surprise to me because he seemed like one of the more enthusiastic young men in the bunch.)

I may or may not bring this up to the parent - whose older kids are growing up strong and good - to him and his wife's credit.

But, if you heard this from your TG, how might you advise him and the SPL?

 

It happens.  Best bet is to just keep on doing his best.   If the boy is enthusiastic, at least he's making the best of the situation. Ideally, we want motivated kids who want to be there, but sometimes we get kids who don't want to be there.  

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2 hours ago, qwazse said:

... a scout who said he's only there because his dad makes him. ...

Often, scouts say "my dad made me" when they are bored or stressed.  Kids don't know always how to express themselves and often don't communicate the real issues. 

Parents often tell their kids they have to do something.  Sitting at home online playing games is easy and automatic.  But it's also not acceptable to many parents.  Sometimes that comes out as "My dad made me".  

I know one scout who is emotionally and socially stunted.  He's getting better, but he'll always be a bit off.  When stressed, he'll say his dad makes him be there.  But we can also clearly see the benefit and growth he's experiencing.  We can also see that many parts of the program he enjoys.  So, I take that comment in the context of his growth and the fun he does have.   

 

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Or...

Maybe the scout doesn’t actually want to be there? Not everyone is into scouting.

There’s someone in my troop, he is life almost Eagle, he has 0 intention of being at any meeting. His mother forces him, his mother is doing all the paperwork & did requirments, and chose a project that has no impact on anyone (painted a basement, painted floor is already chipping.) Comes late to every meeting, even though he lives across the street. His mother & him argue with me for no reason often as well.

Some people just don’t want anything to do with scouting, but is forced by parents.

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23 minutes ago, ItsBrian said:

His mother forces him, his mother is doing all the paperwork & did requirements, and chose a project that has no impact on anyone (painted a basement, painted floor is already chipping.) Comes late to every meeting, even though he lives across the street. His mother & him argue with me for no reason often as well.

In the end, @ItsBrian, the joke will be on that kid. His mom won't stop her meddling behavior. She will be second guessing him on who he dates, how he raises his kids, how he decorates his house and on and on it goes.

So while you will grow up a healthy male who has learned a great deal because your parent's didn't micro manage you (though I suspect they prodded you along the way, as most teens need at some point), this guy will end up with his mother breathing down his neck for the next 40 years. ;)

Time to thank your parents for doing what they've done. I know you will. And kudos to you for knowing what you want and going after it at such a young age.

Edited by Col. Flagg
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As mentioned in many of my posts, I'm not a big fan of how SPL's operate in the troops.  If there is one patrol, the SPL is constantly interfering in the operation of the patrol.  If there's two, he becomes twice the problem.  When my troop got to 4 patrols THEY decided on having an SPL and they defined the role, not at a superior to them, but as one who supports the patrol's decision.  Up to this point the SPL didn't run the troop and if the troop got bigger, he still didn't run the troop.

Like school, it is far easier to control large groups with a single superior, but the patrol method demands a divide and conquer approach.  In all my years of being a SM, I have never suggested to the boys that they function as a troop, but as a consortium of patrols.  The new boys focus on advancement and the older boys on high adventure.  There are two entirely different interests operating within the "troop" but the interest and attention is focused for each of the groups/patrols.  People in a large group find it easy to become "invisible" when the group gets large enough.  This opens the Pandora box for all kinds of shenanigans brought on by boredom.  In the smaller patrol groupings,  it is almost impossible to become invisible. 

If the "troop" is planning to go to Philmont this year, the NSP becomes "invisible" because they aren't going to be going anyway.  If it's a mixed patrol setup, then each of the patrols face this problem because the younger boys are not going.  How then is the PL supposed to maintain the group's focus?  I dunno, so I don't structure my troop to have to face this concern.  The Venture Patrols focus on getting to Philmont with all the details and training required and the NSP keeps on with it's focus on advancement and learning.  Sure the TG might take a hiatus and go with the Venture patrol to Philmont, but it won't affect the NSP except for the week he is gone.  Maybe a scout from one of the Regular patrols could step in for that week.

When one focuses on Troop concerns, it detracts from the patrol method.  How do we keep both 6th graders and seniors in high school all on the same page for an hour each week?  The answer to that question in my book is: Don't try to do it.  Instead allow the opportunity for the boys to decide for themselves what they want to do to focus their attention on scouting.  Advancement?  Sure, NSP. High Adventure?  Sure, Venture Patrol, and the Regular patrols can do whatever they want, maybe a mixture of some advancement, some MB work, some more challenging activities like backpacking for a weekend instead of all week at Philmont.

One of the best excuses to-date in support of the patrol method is that it requires a lot more attention to the task at hand than when they are dumped into a larger group where boredom reigns.  Ever watch businesses, schools, churches and large organizations when something needs to get done?  What do they do?  They break into smaller groupings and focus the members on smaller more pertinent issues that the group is interested in.  Isn't that the patrol method in scouting?

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18 minutes ago, Stosh said:

If the "troop" is planning to go to Philmont this year, the NSP becomes "invisible" because they aren't going to be going anyway.  If it's a mixed patrol setup, then each of the patrols face this problem because the younger boys are not going.  How then is the PL supposed to maintain the group's focus?  I dunno, so I don't structure my troop to have to face this concern.  The Venture Patrols focus on getting to Philmont with all the details and training required and the NSP keeps on with it's focus on advancement and learning.  Sure the TG might take a hiatus and go with the Venture patrol to Philmont, but it won't affect the NSP except for the week he is gone.  Maybe a scout from one of the Regular patrols could step in for that week.

 

As I have asked many times, if mixed age patrols don't work, how did traditional scouting (Bill Hillcourt) survive successfully for so many years? Since you never answer, I assume the answer is you just don't know how to do it. That is OK stosh, you are successful in your own style. So, instead of these ,us vs. them, posts, just give examples of how your work with your scouts without demonizing units who are different from yours. Or, you could ask for advice from those here who have successful experiences with mixed age patrols. Our troop is a backpacking troop, I've not heard a complaint from either the younger scouts or older scouts.

Barry

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I'm not demonizing anyone's program out there no matter how many times I get accused of it.  I worked many years as an ASM in an adult led, no patrol structure except on paper, troop.  It was touted in the council as one of the best run troops.     When asked by another troop to take over as SM, I did so, but I warned them I was not going to run the program like the troop I was leaving.  Instead I was going to teach GBB training and do the patrol method and defend the boy's running the show.  We went from 5 boys to almost 30 in less than 4 years.  Eventually I was asked to leave because I expected too much leadership out of the boys, but my ASM summed it up as I was spending too much time keeping the adults out of the boys' hair and not letting them control and run the troop from the sidelines.  He took over when I left but he didn't last very long either.  This all came about with a change in the CC who had the ear of the parents.  It wasn't but a few months afterwards that the Council approached me to start a new troop using my skills as SM.  The District UC signed on as my ASM because she wanted to know what I was doing that was different.  I'm still the SM and she's still my ASM.  I took on another ASM who I am grooming/mentoring to take over when I have had enough of the shenanigans of National's new policies.

No my approach is not contradictory of anything BSA is promoting.  It works and I have no where near the number of problems mentioned on the forum.  Why?  because if something goes awry, I'm not holding the bag.   Complaints about the patrol structure?  Not my problem, the boys decide how to organize their patrols.  They just happen to be layered by age because that's the way they want it.  PL's aren't elected, but they have PLs.  Okay with me.  It was their decision to have an SPL, not mine.  The selection of summer camp is up to them.  Same for the Calendar.  Fundraising is a cooperation between boys and their parents, they are the ones paying for the outings.  How many of these things discussed on this forum are a result of adults doing something and the boys just following along and not happy about it?  I just spend my time avoiding those hassles.  It works for me and thus I put it out there on the forum as just another alternative way of doing things. 

If anyone thinks that this approach of mine is derogatory to their program, then it's their problem.... Not mine.  That's how I roll.

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23 minutes ago, Stosh said:

 

If anyone thinks that this approach of mine is derogatory to their program, then it's their problem.... Not mine.  That's how I roll.

Your whole post is derogatory toward any style different from yours. But, as you say, that is how you roll.

Barry

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Unfortunately I don't think differing points of view from mine as derogatory, just different.  But I guess I just roll that way too.

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2 hours ago, Stosh said:

When one focuses on Troop concerns, it detracts from the patrol method.  How do we keep both 6th graders and seniors in high school all on the same page for an hour each week?  The answer to that question in my book is: Don't try to do it.  Instead allow the opportunity for the boys to decide for themselves what they want to do to focus their attention on scouting.  Advancement?  Sure, NSP. High Adventure?  Sure, Venture Patrol, and the Regular patrols can do whatever they want, maybe a mixture of some advancement, some MB work, some more challenging activities like backpacking for a weekend instead of all week at Philmont.

This describes our program perfectly. 

 

2 hours ago, Stosh said:

When one focuses on Troop concerns, it detracts from the patrol method.  How do we keep both 6th graders and seniors in high school all on the same page for an hour each week?  The answer to that question in my book is: Don't try to do it.  Instead allow the opportunity for the boys to decide for themselves what they want to do to focus their attention on scouting.  Advancement?  Sure, NSP. High Adventure?  Sure, Venture Patrol, and the Regular patrols can do whatever they want, maybe a mixture of some advancement, some MB work, some more challenging activities like backpacking for a weekend instead of all week at Philmont.

Which makes this comment perplexing.

Aren't you even curious how scouts in a troop of mixed age patrols accomplish this, and more? 

Barry

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