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WisconsinMomma

New Volunteers vs the Old Guard

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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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26 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

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. :) 

Anything you say, Gramps. ;)

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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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1 minute ago, Stosh said:

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.

Amen, brother.

I have said it here before as well as in the non-virtual world.

Scouting would be so much better if we could get the adults out of it.

I say that with a bit of tongue-in-cheek because adults are needed (adult association, safety, ensure BSA policy and standards etc.), but the vast majority of the adult participation I see regularly has nothing to do with why adults need to be in the program to begin with. Mostly, I see adults doing things counter to being youth-led and counter to the Oath and Law to one degree or another.

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To true. 90% of the problems we have in my troop are adult related. Good news is that my sons don't see the problems and want to stay. But they know I got the Scouts interest.

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Amen Stosh!

of course I have never been blessed to see a really well "scout lead, adults out of it"  sort of troop...... so the conundrum I've always had is how to keep the scouts on track WITHIN the game of scouting.

I was talking the other day with the 1st year parent/scouter/former den leader that was going to be my replacement treasurer.  That scouter really seems to have a strong desire of wanting to keep the scouts in line and such, teach them "the way", make them tow the line, yes sir, and all of that......  I was trying to make the point that I feel that the scouts and troop would be better served by less adult imposition on the scouts.... letting them decide what they want to do, let them have more ownership..... let them find and enjoy a sense of discovery

I mean really, based on my years of studying on the subject, thinking different scenarios through, and so on....

I firmly believe that the scouts would have more fun (AND get more growth/character/leadership development on the side without directly knowing it) if the adults would leave the room.

The SM should coach the PL or SPL before and after the PLC, and be there to support them during the patrol and troop meetings and outings.... but only support when asked or when serous danger/injury is immanent...

but

at the same time when i boil it down to say "that the scouts should decide what they want to do...."

I remember that many of these scouts would really just prefer to do something that really isn't within the game or realm of "scouting".  They are perhaps more likely to choose something easy, such as hang out and play video games together. 

That is where the true art of scoutmastership really lies I think.

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13 minutes ago, blw2 said:

at the same time when i boil it down to say "that the scouts should decide what they want to do...."

Says who!

I was watching the discussion with Wisconsinmomma and Eagle94 and concluded that scouting is quickly changing from a "Game with a Purpose" to a "After School" outdoor experience program. I respect Wisconsinmomma for her intentions of expanding her son's youth experiences, she is no different than most of us. Just like most new leaders, the instinctive nurturing nature limits the "Game" part of the program. And it's OK because without the experience of the "Game", she doesn't know what she doesn't know. But in the past, it was the experienced guys with a youth experienced that basically kept the program somewhat on track of the "Game" and the "Purpose".

So, why have I lost hope?

I have said many time on this forum that units with adults who have a youth experience are at least three years ahead of all the other units. When the BSA brought female leaders into the troop program, that increased the pool of unexperienced adults around 70% through the next 10 years. It's been increasing even more since. Now it seems the adults with experience appear to be getting shouted down. Having a youth experience is becoming irrelevant because the "purpose" is what is really changing.

And now the BSA is bringing girls into the mix for a family camping program, or something or other. I don't know what to say.

I find it interesting that in 10 or 15 years in the future a troop program like ours 10 years ago will be seen as extreme. I'm shaking my head as I type. Those Adult leaders won't be able to imagine that that our scouts were allowed to camp without adults.

And, after recent events, I have a lot of confidence that National will reinforce the will of the new generation of leaders making it even harder on those who want to follow the more traditional program.

Barry

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Purely based on my unscientific survey:

Don't blame it on the female leaders, the decline is largely societal.

Of the 13 Adult MALE leaders I have worked with in the Troop over the last few years (the active heavy lifters) adding in myself in only 4 (or 30%) have that Scouting youth experience-one tenderfoot, three  Eagles.

Some of the best leaders actually stopped at Webelos but are older so their point of reference seems to be the 'old school scouting' they missed. The best is the Tenderfoot, followed by two of the Eagles. One of the worst is a 1980's Eagle who made it at 14 back in the day and wants to turn the place into an Eagle mill. He (and his wife) win a lot of hearts and minds because they are very financially generous and pull a lot of strings for special events. Of course their sons HATE scouting.

Sometimes the Scout-wanna be parents can be the most hard ass and dictatorial about the 'Micky Mouse' part of Scouting. 

A notable issue is the younger parents in the 30's to early 40's who seem all over the map on what they want out of scouts: from making men out of there boys, to a fun camping experience, to ticket punch for the Eagle. The one thing that they seem to have in common is a willingness to disregard advancement rules and requirements they do not agree with. (this seems true for this group from liberal to conservative--and we have both.)

The only thing that has kept things on an even keel is the flow of military families who seem to expect rules to be enforced even if they disagree.

AND to be fair with each passing year the percentage of BOYS who want the easy-peaesy Helipcopter Parent Merit Badge rapid advancement fest seems to grow. The pressure to work on those accomplishments for the future College Application starts really early from these boys.

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BTW after watching some 8 or 10 adults (Scouters, old hangers on, and Committe members) cycle through Wood Badge I have not seen any real improvements brought back to the Troop. They all seem to have throughly enjoyed it, made great contacts, and are much more active at the Council and District events but has had it made them better scout leaders...not really. It has kept them away from some needed campouts and they do throw around a few terms like 'Storming and Norming'. 

In comparison I have seen active adult membership in our OA Lodge to bring back a higher tolerance for boy led and some fun activity ideas. Not a whole lot, but some.

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