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Cambridgeskip

Scout led - to trust or to over ride?

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7 hours ago, Cambridgeskip said:

I guess this is the broader question.

If we put aside the specific situation, at what point should an adult intervene and say this really isn't a good idea? I'm sure you'd agree on a point of safety where the decision was going to get someone hurt or worse. But are there other times?

 

I have only three rules where adults can jump in and interfere.

 

1) Safety first  (you covered that one)

2) Look and act like a Scout (breaching the Scout Oath and Law)

3) Have fun (deals with homesickness, bullying, boring program, etc.) 

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Cambridgeskip said:

I've never been completely convinced by that, at least not in a scouting context.

What is true is that girls become more articulate than boys at an earlier age which can give the impression of maturing more quickly. I think it a mistake though to necessarily see that as a sign of excessive wisdom. Boys and girls tend to bring different things to the troop/patrol. 

With 45+ years of working with co-ed groups (in the US, anyway) it doesn't take a clinical psychologist to notice that the gals dominate not only in the maturity issues, but also pick up quicker leadership and have no problem with asserting themselves at the expense of others.  The guys tend to simply let them do their thing and basically ignore them for the most part.  Thus co-ed groups are far less competitive than are all male or all female groups at that age.

One of the first things everyone is going to notice his that the gals will attain eagle quicker and far more often in that this maturity and focus is a lot more intense and because of this imbalance the boys will stand down.  

I was unable to go to summer camp last summer and one of my ASM's stepped in to cover for me.  She had to bring her granddaughter whom she was babysitting.  The camp approved it with the stipulation she not participate.  Well, after 5 minutes that stipulation went out the window and the only complaint was "she took over everything".  When I asked what they did about it they simply said they let her and then ignored her whenever possible.  In spite of the fact I have broached the subject in passing comments, the boys show no interest in going to summer camp this year. 

Church youth groups take on a better blend of co-ed than will the BS4G groups.  There is no reason to be competitive in other co-ed groups, but attaining the goals of scouting will lure the more driven females.  Those who aren't driven will be satisfied with other non-scouting, non-competitive groups.

Edited by Stosh

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8 hours ago, Cambridgeskip said:

I guess this is the broader question.

If we put aside the specific situation, at what point should an adult intervene and say this really isn't a good idea? I'm sure you'd agree on a point of safety where the decision was going to get someone hurt or worse. But are there other times?

 

Certainly safety is the big issue.

Another closely related situation is when scouts don't follow the scout law. Stosh mentioned this.

As DavidCO mentions, there are scouts with very different personalities that most scouts don't have experience working with. A patrol gets frustrated with a scout that's ADD and doesn't want to help wash dishes. They might need some help navigating that.

The other issue for me has always been lack of motivation. If a patrol wants to do something, anything, that's within the confines of scout appropriate, I'd have a hard time stepping in (outside of safety). What I see as a problem is when the entire patrol is just failing. Nobody is having fun. There's no teamwork. There's constant bickering. Scouts don't show up. Then it's time to step in.

Adult intervention starts with talking to them so they recognize the problem. Qwazse mentions review. See if that's enough for them to find a solution. If that doesn't work after enough time then it involves giving them options to solve it. Finally, if they just aren't getting anywhere, then it can be time to step in and solve it. To be honest, I've very rarely done that. Maybe 3 times in 12 years. It's almost always enough to just give them some options they can choose from. What I have noticed is that once you get back to basics, talk about the scout law and everyone's on the same page with that they will take the high road and figure out their problems.

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Back when BSA did Boy Scouting, your Position Card as SM said your first job was "training junior leaders to run their troop."  If so, the first and best measure of your performance is how well they perform as leaders.

Perhaps they need other trainers?  Visit  patrols/troops that are doing well?

Questions (addressed to the leaders) can be useful.  "Joey, how did X work out?  Have you considered .....?"


"How well the ceremony went is not important.  What is important is that the Scouts planned and led the ceremony.  We are  building team players and leaders, not ceremony experts." 

 

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'Skip, can you clarify one thing? How much of these concerns are your own?

Have your co-leaders or parents raised issues?

The age of a youth leader doesn't come up much in our troop. But when SPLs from the rougher part of town get elected, we hear about it at committee meetings. None of those conversations compelled us to replace a leader, but it did make the SM feel unfairly like he was under a microscope.

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7 hours ago, qwazse said:

'Skip, can you clarify one thing? How much of these concerns are your own?

Have your co-leaders or parents raised issues?

The age of a youth leader doesn't come up much in our troop. But when SPLs from the rougher part of town get elected, we hear about it at committee meetings. None of those conversations compelled us to replace a leader, but it did make the SM feel unfairly like he was under a microscope.

The whole adult team raised an eyebrow! Everyone agreed that she's a pretty sound kid. I think what concerns everyone is thinking of that moment where she's got a 13 year old 18 inches taller than her that she needs to tell "pack it in, you're meant to be collecting fire wood." Fact is that there are older scouts than her in the troop that the PLC have over looked for being a PL, and they've been overlooked for a reason. 

No comments from parents as we haven't said anything to them.

Having slept on it I am increasingly of the opinion to go with the PLC decision but make sure she gets that bit of extra support as finds her feet. Assuming she wants the gig of course! Another option is we're expecting to lose 5 more to explorers in June so APL until then.

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2 hours ago, Cambridgeskip said:

The whole adult team raised an eyebrow! Everyone agreed that she's a pretty sound kid. I think what concerns everyone is thinking of that moment where she's got a 13 year old 18 inches taller than her that she needs to tell "pack it in, you're meant to be collecting fire wood." Fact is that there are older scouts than her in the troop that the PLC have over looked for being a PL, and they've been overlooked for a reason. ....

 

 

So, your real problem is that you have ammassed a number of youth who haven't fully adopted a scout spirit. The more you describe the situation, the more familiar it sounds. This sort of thing can happen with any age/sex configuration.

I'd expect this year to be a rough ride regardless of this scout serving as PL or APL. So, let your first offer be the PLC's -- with enthusiasm while admitting the job will come with challenges. If she accepts, bully for her.

Your real work will involve those problem scouts who haven't been as friendly, helpful, or courteous as your PLC would have liked.

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I lean toward letting her do it. I get that youth-led is not a suicide pact BUT over-riding the PLC will be an enormous withdrawal in trust for you in not walking the talk. If she starts to falter it should be up to the PLC to provide proper supports. If she is not grossly unqualified than the only issue is safety and their must be some back up system to alleviate your worry.

I wonder if the scouts know how much we can agonize over these things!

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Everyone's leaning the same way. Finally, we agree! Let's celebrate!

Besides, what's the worst that can happen (to the young PL scenario, not us celebrating)? Nobody will get hurt. Some scouts might get upset. That's a useful problem that can help them all learn. Don't take that opportunity away from them. It just means the adults should pay attention. What's the best that can happen? Stupid question, I know.

I think the real question is what do the adults need to do to make her successful?

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Posted (edited)

My concern with PLs younger than 13 is the maturity to learn and grow from the experience. The norm is scouts of this age are doing it for other reasons than learning or growing. As a result, they have had enough after two months and have to be dragged to the finish one way or the other. If the adults don't understand this, than can make the scout sour to leadership for the rest of their scouting experience. In this case, the scout appears enthusiastic, so I', would likely encourage her to be a PL and watch from the shadows. 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad

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An update on this.... Last night at scouts I asked my 11 year old if she would like to be a PL, explaining that the PLC had selected her but I wanted to speak to her personally about it.

She was a bit shocked and flattered. Clearly a bit daunted about taking it on but said she'd chew it over and let me know.

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14 minutes ago, Cambridgeskip said:

 

She was a bit shocked and flattered. Clearly a bit daunted about taking it on but said she'd chew it over and let me know.

Isn’t every new PL like that? Not my many 11 year olds wants responsibilities. 

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