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WisconsinMomma

New Volunteers vs the Old Guard

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To be clear: "new" and "helicopter" don't go hand-in-hand.

The first one is easily fixed. Show them the lanes, maybe partner them with someone who's don it before, let them run in those lanes!

The second one is not so easy. Someone has to stand in their way and firmly nudge them back in the lane (i.e., out of the boys lanes). If they are successful, that person will wind up looking back and laughing at himself/herself.  If not, no matter how well the boys do, there will be criticism for every little thing that goes wrong.

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I know, but the boys like their Troop and have made some friends there.  So the adult stuff is just a sideshow.  I will try to focus my efforts and relationships with the parents of the current scouts who will be around for a a while.  I believe that our current CC and SM are coming out of an adult led culture but there is room to nudge things more boy led.   Additionally I am not sure that either of the other two local troops are any  more boy-focused than this one. 

Edited by WisconsinMomma
typo

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3 hours ago, WisconsinMomma said:

We have several other old parents but most of them are low key, one more that's sticking around seems to think that it's still their business to do a lot of talking about how the Troop should be run.  Like, why?  Why is this your business if your kid is long gone and you are not volunteering in any way?   Now this outspoken person is connected in the community and I know that has value, there is value to old Scouters experience, but it's not their place to direct the Scoutmaster or try to control policies and funding, etc.

Why is it their business?  Why is it their place? Well, that would all depend on their registered positions, wouldn't it? 

My simple answer is that the Chartered Organization gets to choose the unit leadership. Whether they be young or old, experienced or inexperienced,  energetic or laid-back, parent or non-parent, male or female, the CO gets to choose. The authority to make decisions for the unit is based on a scouter's registered position, not on any of these other personal traits.

Edited by David CO

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The CO is nearly completely uninvolved.  It would be nice if they were more involved.  I don't even know who our COR is.  I asked once and the answer was nebulous. 

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4 minutes ago, WisconsinMomma said:

The CO is nearly completely uninvolved.  It would be nice if they were more involved.  I don't even know who our COR is.  I asked once and the answer was nebulous. 

That's the problem. When a CO is uninvolved, it creates a power vacuum, and people start politicking and jockeying for position. That's not good.

 

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Isn't it great that CO's run their units by proxy?  Is it any wonder who's running things.  After all, it usually isn't the boys.

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Old Guard.... oh that brings back memories.  I used the same term.  We had an old guard cadre in the pack that was coming through the pack with younger sons after having "done it all" with the older sons.  They were burned out and didn't want to do it anymore.....but somehow they could not let it go.

Even later when they did let go and I agreed to help, they still didn't really let it go... and continued to not really help that much....and in my view their toxicity even hindered finding my replacement as CM when I was finally done.... some people wanted no part of it.....smart folks, those....

About getting volunteers.... 

I agree that the announcement in the front of the room doesn't work well, nor does the mass email or newsletter announcements..... but in my experience the targeted face to face asks don't necessarily go much better.  I got many "H.. no's".... "I'm too busy".... etc...

The way I figure it..... you either have a group that want to step up, or you don't.  At the pack level, you either have a group of families that like to do scouting things together, or you don't....

It's likely cyclic too.  You'll have a group that has enough to really pull together and do a lot, then the next group won't and the unit wilts and almost dies.... then another group comes in and steps up.  I actually think it's a necessary cycle, like fires in the forest.  And similar to the time when the underbrush and duff builds in the forest and chokes things off, the "old guard" phenomenon actually helps to kill the unit back a bit so that the next group can see something that needs to be done.

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This problem persists all over.  I don't care if it's a scout group, a church group, a civic group, whatever, these political control conflicts are just a part of the process.  Unless one either fully understands the dynamics of running with the big dogs or they take a back seat and keep quiet.  There are other options in that group, but they will drive a person nuts in the process.

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On 12/13/2017 at 1:09 PM, Tampa Turtle said:

It took me awhile to break in; it took much longer for my wife. Sometimes it is just simple turf issues that I have seen again and again at lots of organizations (school, PTA, Church). Another is that it takes a long time to develop a good Troop culture and it can easily be undermined by a well meaning new parent; I was that parent! Luckily I was shunted off for some other work for a while. But there is a "tyranny of those who show up and do the work"; the ones who show up day in and day out eventually grow their influence.

But yeah we once had a guy who loved cook for masses of people and he would roll out a huge mobile kitchen for events; but he wanted to do it all himself. We ate pretty well for a while (though violating the Patrol method on them cooking for themselves) and as I was a new guy I went along after a few comments. A fellow new dad also liked to cook and offered to help (you know chop up, clean up, basic prep or any scutt work). The old timer threw a fit--it was all him or nothing. One campout he could not make it due to another commitment and the new dad made breakfast on a campout (it was pretty good too). Someone teased the old timer about the new guys cooking being almost as good and the old timer NEVER cooked another campout and event again. (I have also found that the biggest territorial battles are over the Kitchen followed closely by the Money and then Advancement.)

I think new parents need to be guided to useful things that don't interfere with running the Troop for at least 6 months after their son joins the Troop, ESPECIALLY the former Den Leaders. I was the Webelos Den leader for the tenure of my oldest son in Webelos, then I was the Webelos Den leader for the last year of my youngest son in Webelos (they are one year apart in school and Scouts).  Our SM at the time knew to keep me diverted away from the Scouts in terms of meetings.  He had me as Advancement chair, and it was a good way to observe the Troop, and still help out.  There were a few times that first few months that it was a good think I had a job to do, otherwise I would have tried to Webelos III the NSP (aka my former Webelos Den).  

 

Cooking can be a major problem between adult volunteers.  I enjoy camp cooking, but I also enjoy eating other people's camp cooking, so I don't have much ego involved in camp cooking.  We did have a couple of ASMs who would make the adult food their job, and they would pull out all the stops. (downside to that was that they made an awful lot of pots and pans dirty in the process).  

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I do not consider myself "old guard" since I have sons in the troop. Now I do consider myself "Old School" since I believe BP was the greatest SM ever, and Green Bar Bill the greatest SPL, but that  is a different story. :)

 

All joking aside, I know it is hard to give up control of something you that you still have skin in the game. Especially when you invested so much blood, sweat, tears, and treasure on. When my middle son became a Tiger, and I had to be his partner at day camp, I gave up being the day camp program director. Which as some of you long timers know, I was doign that job AND the CD's job at the time. Handing over reigns to day camp was hard. I spent two years as PD, and more than doubled the attendance over that time. People were having a great time. I wanted that to continue.

But the new PD had his own ideas. Despite my warnings about the CD, he ignored them, and there were challenges. Instead of listening to how and why I got things done, he did his own thing. That was hard, especially since some of the things I had experienced and knew would not work. Thankfully I got into a new hobby, and got out of his hair. But camp suffered that year. It was very hard dealing with that, especially since two of my sons were affected. I was asked to come back, and I did for one year. We fixed a lot of the issues, but we took a hit that year in attendance. Youngest became a Tiger and I had to step down again. The following year was the worse year ever at camp. We were so short staffed, that I spent more time running ranges than I did with my Tiger. The new CD and my replacement PD did not work well together, and camp suffered greatly. The following year there was no day camp in my district.

 

So I can see why some are afraid to let go. Just like the youth, adults need to " Train 'em. Trust 'em. LET THEM LEAD!" the new folks. BUT I recommend the new folks listen to the old guard sinc ethey have "been there, done that."

 

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34 minutes ago, Tampa Turtle said:

Anything you say, Gramps. ;)

Considering some of my Scouts have kids who are Scouts themselves, I feel that remark. :) One of my Eagles had his son's troop within 20 miles of my troop on the AT. They started a few days before my troop started, but part of their trek was our trek.

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IMO, at our local council summer camp, the tables flip. The young staff and New Volunteers rule and the Old Guard's sphere of influence is limited to his troop's campsite.

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On 12/13/2017 at 1:26 PM, WisconsinMomma said:

So, I have some frustrations with old Scouters who complain about new parents. 

So, I have some frustrations with old Scouters who complain about new parents. 

So, I have some frustrations with new parents who complain about old Scouters. 

Mostly, I have a lot of frustration with adults arguing over which of the adults is going to run (ruin) the program. The entire premise of the thread is based on what the adults are doing.

Bottom line......be youth-led, adults are there to support, guide mentor the youth, not lead, run, manage the troop. Secondly, if everyone follows the Oath and Law in everything they do, then most problems will take care of themselves. If you have adults that cannot or will not follow the Oath and Law, help them to change by leading, if you cannot lead them to change then find a new unit for your youth that values the Oath and Law.

As long as adults are focused on what some other adult is doing wrong, then they are not focused on the youth, and most like;y the youth will be focused somewhere other than Scouting.

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10 minutes ago, HelpfulTracks said:

So, I have some frustrations with old Scouters who complain about new parents. 

So, I have some frustrations with new parents who complain about old Scouters. 

Mostly, I have a lot of frustration with adults arguing over which of the adults is going to run (ruin) the program. The entire premise of the thread is based on what the adults are doing.

Bottom line......be youth-led, adults are there to support, guide mentor the youth, not lead, run, manage the troop. Secondly, if everyone follows the Oath and Law in everything they do, then most problems will take care of themselves. If you have adults that cannot or will not follow the Oath and Law, help them to change by leading, if you cannot lead them to change then find a new unit for your youth that values the Oath and Law.

As long as adults are focused on what some other adult is doing wrong, then they are not focused on the youth, and most like;y the youth will be focused somewhere other than Scouting.

This is the conundrum I have always had with this forum.  All the adults, whether they are young or old are all fighting and bickering about who's calling the shots.  Well guess what, it's supposed to be the boys.  The more I get into the hands of the boys, the less I have difficulties.  I don't make it my problems and I don't ever get caught holding the bag.  If the parents get involved and try to make it their problem, they quickly learn that's not a good spot to be in because I always side, right or wrong, with the boys and their decisions.  It's always two against one against the adults.  If the boys make a bad decision and the parents are upset, I always remind them this is the place to learn, fail and grow.  After a while the parents do run out of steam and life goes back to having fun.

Stop and think about all the forum threads dedicated to bickering among the adults.  Every one of those "concerns" revolves around adult led troops.  And from where I stand, whatever decisions the boys make, it can't ever be worse than the behind the scenes bickering going on with the adults.

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