Jump to content
WisconsinMomma

If you were a committee member,

Recommended Posts

How long have you been with the troop? How active are you with the troop? How long have you had to observe what the troop is doing? How much experience do you have with the Patrol Method? And i do not mean what little is taught in today's training, including WB. Are you willing to set the example  for the other adults and back off from pushing the Scouts and let them fail in order to learn?

More importantly, how hard and how long are you willing to fight for your Scouts? 

I ask the questions not to put you on the spot, but so that you can reflect and get the needed answers to prepare you for a fight that is ahead. And don't be surprised if you encounter resistance  like I have.  Also don't be surprised it it takes YEARS .  I've been working with my sons' troop for 4 years now, and it is still adult led. Slowly getting better, but no where near the troop I grew up in, nor some of the troops I worked with over the years. But it is better than some out there.

One of the challenges you will face trying to move from adult led to Scout led is that you are a committee member. You are very limited as to what you can do in your support role. One of the reasons I switched to ASM. But even then you are limited. Even ASMS are limited, as evidenced by my my many posts on the topic of Adult led. You need to get the support of the SM, and if you have an active committee, the CC. The SM is suppose to be in charge, settle  disagreements among the ASMs, and chart the course the troop will take. ASMs serve at the will of the SM and CO.

And it is hard establishing the Patrol Method because it is "organized chaos." Adults, even those who should know better, don't like the time consumption it takes for the Scouts to do things. Getting started takes 3 to 4 times as long, maybe longer, for the Scouts to decide. And then there is the learning curve. SCOUTS WILL FAIL AT THINGS AND THAT IS OK!  Some folks hate seeing their kids fail. What they don't realize is that " The best teacher, Failure is."

 

Some threads to help prepare you for the fight ahead. Hope they help.

The Helicopter Parent thread is this year's major challenge. Messed Up Patrol Method thread is another. 

Adults At It Again,  and  Two Steps Forward, two Steps Back both discuss some set backs.

  

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, Eagle94, I could not have posted a better response. Very well done.

I've posted this story before; we had a mother dragged into our troop by her son who would not join any other troop. She had him visit our troop 5 times hoping that he would see that the well uniformed Eagle Mill down the street was a much better fit than our ragtag disorganized patrol method program. Our families are friends (and still so today 20 years later), so I felt for her struggle and left her alone during her visits. 

Her son joined and she reluctantly followed, but she kept her distance from the adults as she attended all the activities.  Mom is a type A personality doer and she wasn't going to let go now. She even set up her tent by herself away from the adult camp site, I think it was her way of saying "I am not part of "them".

But something happened at summer camp during a quiet morning while she was reading in her tent. There were only two of scouts in camp because the rest were out doing scouting stuff. One scout sitting at a picnic table near the moms tent was a new scout reading his up on skills in his handbook. A 14 year old scout from a different patrol on the opposite side of the camp site walked over and asked the new scout what he was studying. He really didn't even give the new scout time to answer before he grab the book and started teaching the new scout the skills. 

This mother was floored, as she put it when she was telling me the story that led to her conversion. An older scout, a stranger to the new scout, just walked up and offered to help. It was a simple jester to most of us scouters, but the unsolicited unselfish action some how put everything about the troop program in context. She told me, "I pushed my son into scouts to get him an Eagle, but I now realize that scouting isn't about the Eagle". 

She still didn't understand how patrol method worked, but she and I spent a lot of time at campfires the next couple of years talking about. She became obsessed with "patrol method" and took it on herself to visit Webelos leaders to sell them on our program.  She wrote a detailed Troop Parents Guide that explained the hows and whys our troop functioned. It took her months and she had me review it dozens of times to make sure it was exactly what new parents needed to understand our troop. Yep, she referred her sons embarrassing ragtag disorganize program as "our" troop. She eventually became our CC because she wanted to guard the program from helicopter parents. Only we didn't call them helicopter parents back them.

All three of her son Eagled in our troop. Of course she will tell you it wasn't about the Eagle. But, she is still a Type A mother who wasn't going to let such an honor slip away from her sons. Nobody is perfect. 

Eagle94, in his great wisdom,  asked the right questions. What is patrol method? Why is it so important? 

Barry

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, my oldest son has been in the troop 1.75 years,  so I've been around that long but really interested for about the last year.  My husband is an ASM.  I know I'm limited as a committee member, so I'm curious about what you would recommend for committee members to bring up at meetings that can support boy lead programming.  I can also make suggestions to my ASM husband to be involved.  We will be in the Troop a long time.  I want to think about what moves are the smart moves to suggest, what will get buy in easily, what will move the needle, etc...  Thanks for any suggestions! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Eagledad said:

She wrote a detailed Troop Parents Guide that explained the hows and whys our troop functioned. It took her months and she had me review it dozens of times to make sure it was exactly what new parents needed to understand our troop.

I don't suppose you have drafts available that you would be able to share on this thread?  Would make a wonderful Christmas present to us!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, AltadenaCraig said:

I don't suppose you have drafts available that you would be able to share on this thread?  Would make a wonderful Christmas present to us!

My youngest son is 31. Probably not. However, I will look for it on a floppy somewhere in the closet. Hope I can find a computer with a floppy drive.:huh:

Barry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Because you have been a Boy Scouter for so little time, 'Be Prepared" to meet resistance and being told you are wanting to do it wrong. I know one of our Scouters grew up in an age based patrol troop. He kept telling me that mixed aged patrols are wrong and NSPs are the only way to do things. I had to remind him that for the first 79 years of BSA's existence,  mixed aged patrols were the norm. Only time you found NSPs  prior to 1989 was with LDS units, and those units asked to experiment with them.

One thing that helped us was giving the AT treks. While only for First Class or higher Scouts who did the prep trip, or the first AT trek, it gave the Scouts confidence in their abilities to take charge. It also showed one PM doubter, the one who told me he wished the Scouts would fail at camporee so they they know the need to listen to adults, what scouts are truly capable of when you "Train 'em. Trust 'em. LET THEM LEAD!"

Another thing that will help is having a SM and CC who are 100% behind the PM, and will run interference with Helicopters. saw that work with the troop growing up. Sadly my current troop has had adult issues since oldest joined. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

agreed....a committee member is not in any position of power to really make the change....

about all that can be done is suggest and hint every now and then when appropriate.  Look for opportunities to encourage...

I think the best thing a person in that position can do is to dig deep for the patients as previously pointed out.  It can be very easy to get fruistrated

also very easy to tick off the other adults (specifically the SM and the CC) when you step on their toes suggesting things that are opposed to what they are doing.

 

A few years back, i asked a very similar question of Clarke Green over at scoutmastercg.com  My question prompted a blog post and podcast mention about "cooperative volunteering".

Basically his point was that as a committee member, especially a new person to the troop....about all you can do is work on building trust

I don't know if it was here or elsewhere, but I liked an analogy he used

You coming in saying that the troop needs to do X...... is kinda like you showing up at your Scout Master or your Committee Chairman's front door with a gallon of paint (you pick the color) and your telling him that what he needs to do is paint his living room this color.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it's right to take a non-confrontational, non-intimidating, one small suggestion at a time approach.  It will take a lot of patience.

While on the one hand,  my family is newer (1.5 yeas) to Boy Scouting -- my kids are growing up right now and a year is a long time for them!  So I am very impatient in that sense.   That said, I can focus on our family and our family life moreso than Troop life.

Our Scoutmaster, who I think is doing a nice job overall, is leaving for a new job in another state, so the baton will be passed to a new Scoutmaster almost immediately.  I will try to mention getting trained for the position, without sounding nagging about it.  The new SM will really need training, no experience as an ASM,  but is a parent to one of the older boys in the Troop.   He will be helped by our new CC who was a good Scoutmaster, maybe a little hands on and schedule focused but still a good person and someone who embodies the Scout Law.  Things could be worse. 

I need to think of how I can be helpful, and that's mostly staying out of their way, but I am considering making a few comments at the next meeting about a) establishing some Patrol funds, so the patrols can have stuff to make their own flags for Klondike, and so the patrols can have some funds for their patrol activities.  I want to bring up the concept of patrol activities as a possibility for the Troop to consider.  That's actually a pretty big thing right there.   I will also bring up training for the new SM, and I will also inquire about Annual Planning, which has been adult programmed, and I brought up the topic of having scouts have involvement about 3 months ago -- didn't go over well with some folks but others were listening and, I think, curious.   They said that their adult led annual planning meeting took 5 hours -- Good Heavens!!!   ROTFL.  No meeting should take 5 hours, but I have to be careful not to rock ze boat too much.   

The other ideas I was going to promote was that the boys in the patrols should have a voice in picking up boys from the NSP when they shift, and to start using the Outdoor Ethics Guide position and consider a JASM.  That's way too much stuff, or is it?? 

What would be the best, nicest, least-intimidating thing to start with?  

Does that sound like too big of an agenda?  I could try to break it down and go slower. 

Edited by WisconsinMomma

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing that I did this month, was offer the SPL a guessing game. I put a junk part from an appliance in a box, and the boys had twenty yes/no questions they could ask to guess what was in the box. Once they guessed what appliance the part belonged to, they could open the box and continue guessing what the part actually did. (Fifteen minutes of STEM, check.)

The game wasn't the point. The point is, the scouts were to ask questions by patrol. I only let a scout ask a question if he would give his patrol name and the patrol would respond with a yell - which confirmed the patrol had agreed on a question to ask. Don't respond fast enough, the box got passed to the next patrol. That's probably my only patrol method moment for the month. The rest of my time is spent touching base with adults for various paperwork needs or to explain (re-explain) the program to new parents.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, WisconsinMomma said:

I think it's right to take a non-confrontational, non-intimidating, one small suggestion at a time approach.  It will take a lot of patience.

"Patience, a Jedi must have patience." Very true. Again must think long term and for the entire troop. and not just your sons.

 

Quote

While on the one hand,  my family is newer (1.5 yeas) to Boy Scouting -- my kids are growing up right now and a year is a long time for them!  So I am very impatient in that sense.   That said, I can focus on our family and our family life moreso than Troop life.

 

All of us wants what is best for OUR kids. But as a Scouter, you must think long term. I know my oldest son has not had the same experience as I had in Scouting. In a lot of aspects, I had it better in that I was in a Scout run troop. I was not dealing with adults interfering, nor having to worry about Scouts not meeting expectations and doing what they were suppose to do. We had our challenges, but they were able to be overcome since it was mostly Scout based, and very rarely adult based.

In other aspects his experience is better than mine. He has learned to deal with difficult situations, especially dealing with 'superiors." I have talked to him over the years about the challenges in the troop. He does not like them, and he wants to work to change the troop. We've talked about transferring and starting a new troop. He wants to fix the one he is in. The last 6 months as SPL has exhausted him, because he has dealt with all the problems I've mentioned.

 

Quote

Our Scoutmaster, who I think is doing a nice job overall, is leaving for a new job in another state, so the baton will be passed to a new Scoutmaster almost immediately.  I will try to mention getting trained for the position, without sounding nagging about it.  The new SM will really need training, no experience as an ASM,  but is a parent to one of the older boys in the Troop.   He will be helped by our new CC who was a good Scoutmaster, maybe a little hands on and schedule focused but still a good person and someone who embodies the Scout Law.  Things could be worse. 

Sadly, BSA's current training is worse than a blister on a Scout's foot IMHO. SM Specific is online, how can you get the Patrol experience by yourself on a computer? You can't! Can you ask questions and get advice via an online training module? No! As for ITOLS, you cannot get the Patrol experience in just a weekend. Yes you can mimic it, but you cannot get the experience. Heck even in the old course I took way back when, you could not get a true patrol experience. But at least it was better. You were a patrol for an entire month instead of just a weekend.

The key is MENTORING! The new SM will need a lot of it, especially with no experience.

 

Quote

I need to think of how I can be helpful, and that's mostly staying out of their way,

"Good, good."'

but I am considering making a few comments at the next meeting about a) establishing some Patrol funds, so the patrols can have stuff to make their own flags for Klondike, and so the patrols can have some funds for their patrol activities.  I want to bring up the concept of patrol activities as a possibility for the Troop to consider.  That's actually a pretty big thing right there.   I will also bring up training for the new SM, and I will also inquire about Annual Planning, which has been adult programmed, and I brought up the topic of having scouts have involvement about 3 months ago -- didn't go over well with some folks but others were listening and, I think, curious.   They said that their adult led annual planning meeting took 5 hours -- Good Heavens!!!   ROTFL.  No meeting should take 5 hours, but I have to be careful not to rock ze boat too much.   

 

"Everything you just said in that...is wrong." :) Seriously you are now going beyond what a MC does.

 

Regarding Patrol funds, best thing to do is talk to your sons about it. Get them to buy into it, and get them to work it through their patrols.

The annual plan should have been made back in August or September, unless the troop is like mine and does it on a calendar year, not program, aka school year. If the plan is made, YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE INVOLVED IN CHANGING IT!

As for the APC, yes the Scouts should be running it and planning it. As for time, I've been involved in some that has taken that long! part of that was working through 15+ different school calendars. Part of it was a cookout was involved. That and swimming were the incentives to get the plan over and done with in one session instead of multiple like it took one year.

 

Quote

The other ideas I was going to promote was that the boys in the patrols should have a voice in picking up boys from the NSP when they shift, and to start using the Outdoor Ethics Guide position and consider a JASM.  That's way too much stuff, or is it?? 

What would be the best, nicest, least-intimidating thing to start with?  

Does that sound like too big of an agenda?  I could try to break it down and go slower. 

Very much so, a big chunk. And again as a committee member, you do not have the duty to go after these changes. That is for the SM to do. MCs job is support the troop, not run it. Thatis the Scouts' jobs.

 

On another note, one thing you can do is talk about how Scouting is suppose to be done with your sons and their friends. When I talked to Scouts, it gives them hope and they have pushed for some of the improvements.  Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One simple question can spark the conversation....."Why aren't the boys boy lead" then sit back and listen.  If its not boy lead its NOT Boy Scouts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@WisconsinMomma, the fact that nobody can answer your question satisfactorily - where you can say "aha! That'll work!" - and are just giving you little things to bite off some edges, is likely proof that this whole concept of boy led is going to die. I mean, if nobody can come up with a simple explanation of why boy led should be supported then it just doesn't exist.  Wouldn't it be nice to just say "here, read this book" and it would be a compelling description. It could be a story or an explanation or whatever might connect. But such a book doesn't exist. Nor does some training material nor a blurb someplace on the BSA's website.

I'm not trying to be cynical. I'm just pointing out the reality of the problem. We go on and on and on about girls but girls aren't the issue. And it's not moms either. It's that nobody has a simple, easy to understand description of why we're doing what we do. A sports coach has it easy compared to us. People watch sports. They understand competition, teamwork, practice, sportsmanship and pushing yourself. It doesn't take much to convince a parent that sport is good for a kid. There's a much bigger leap between the Oath and Eagle. Honestly, how many adults get the connection between learning how to start a fire and the scout oath? There must be a connection because we say there is but the parents don't actually know what it is. All they know is get the kid to eagle and voila, he will be courteous and kind and brave and all those things we talk about.

In defense of the BSA, they've bitten off a big problem. Where else in society do adults, and not kids, learn to do courteous and kind? No, not laws. There are no laws that say we should be courteous or kind.  And don't say we should learn it young, from our parents. That's just a chicken and egg issue. And you can't just say it comes from common sense. The Declaration of Independence says all men are created equal, i.e., that all men have value. That idea is right out of Genesis. Before that all men didn't have value. Only those in power had value. So courteous and kind are not inherently obvious in our gene pool. 3500 years ago it was said that all men have value and yet a few months ago there were people marching for a whiter America because, well, that just makes me ill thinking about it. That's not to say those that talked about human value some 100 generations ago were wrong, only that it's a struggle to internalize courteous and kind. It's not enough to just say be courteous and kind. One has to live it. Words don't work here. Courteous and kind are ideas that sit in another part of the brain.This is about being true, and not just truth. Facts can be understood via discussion.  Being true can only be understood by living with the Oath and Law. Facts can be easily assimilated. Being true takes time and struggle to assimilate.

So what does this have to do with the price of fish in China? Well, scouts is about the Oath and Law and these are not just facts, they are about being true. The only way to learn this truth is to struggle with it. Hence, a boy led program. Scouts in a patrol struggle with the Oath and Law. Learning to start a fire is about struggle. The new scout wants to learn it and the old scout needs to understand that and make it happen. The adults don't need to teach the young scout how to start a fire, they need to do something much more difficult. They need to see the benefit of scouts struggling and then make that happen.

Which brings us back to the original question. Unfortunately I have no answer for you.

Edited by MattR
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, MattR said:

.... People watch sports. They understand competition, teamwork, practice, sportsmanship and pushing yourself. It doesn't take much to convince a parent that sport is good for a kid. There's a much bigger leap between the Oath and Eagle. ...

Don't underestimate how much coaches need to train parents in youth sports. I've compared notes with coaches, and they have to deal with their fair share of helicoptering. However, most school leagues have specific sportsmanship training for parents.

The thought that parents would need either sportsmanship training or patrol method training  that addressed their behavior was unheard of in my day.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×