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Interesting discussion last night

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@gblotter

I have been the rodeo more than once. I am a big big proponent of boy led. But this leadership, heavily influenced by their parents, has abandoned almost all the traditional program and turned over almost every meeting to adults talking and scouts sitting. The boys in charge really just want to fast track advancement. But camping, not so much. I really think it was a coup orchestrated by the parents.

Since this changed 1/2 the boys stopped showing up, the oldest left, and merit badge completion has slowed. I do not see any positive results. I do support them at the meetings, offer my opinion if asked, and the Scoutmaster and I have talked about it.

If speaking on a Scouter forum in support of the traditional program of camping, patrol work, and actually learning scout skills by doing is denigration by all means tie me to the stake and light the fire. 

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4 minutes ago, Tampa Turtle said:

If speaking on a Scouter forum in support of the traditional program of camping, patrol work, and actually learning scout skills by doing is denigration by all means tie me to the stake and light the fire.

Perhaps where we disagree is that I believe working on advancement and merit badges (in addition to camping, patrols, and skills) is also a valid part of a traditional Scouting program ... especially if the boys are voting for that.

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37 minutes ago, Tampa Turtle said:

The boys in charge really just want to fast track advancement. But camping, not so much. I really think it was a coup orchestrated by the parents.

@Tampa Turtle Just curious ... why do you think that only parents care about advancement? In my troop, many of our boys are very focused on advancement, and I see nothing wrong in that. The march toward Eagle Scout is an important motivation that keeps them engaged in Scouting (in addition to the camping and adventures and skills). On campouts and other Scouting activities, they are proactive in seeking opportunities to satisfy various requirements. Frankly, I find their initiative admirable. Yes - they have the support of their parents, but I assure you these boys don't look at advancement begrudgingly.

Edited by gblotter
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11 minutes ago, gblotter said:

Perhaps where we disagree is that I believe working on advancement and merit badges (in addition to camping, patrols, and skills) is also a valid part of a traditional Scouting program ... especially if the boys are voting for that.

Not 'also' but 'instead'. Only one actual camping trip this year...typically we would be on #5, no patrol meeting time or activities, minimal skills. I guess your position is if the boys voted to turn themselves into an Eagle Mill you would be OK with that. And did you note that I mentioned attendance has dropped in half?

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4 minutes ago, gblotter said:

Perhaps where we disagree is that I believe working on advancement and merit badges (in addition to camping, patrols, and skills) is also a valid part of a traditional Scouting program ... especially if the boys are voting for that.

IMO, working on merit badges is not a part of a traditional troop meeting.

Scouts do not teach merit badges as they do other advancement. A merit badge class is not scout-run.

In a typical month, we spend two troop meetings where patrols are getting ready ( they are not efficient but they are doing the work) for an upcoming outing, another meeting checking equipment, another on the month theme...add in Philmont/summer camp presentations, fundraiser this and that, community service planning for month, Eagle project help sign-up, ... Where would they find the time in a 90min meeting for a merit badge class?

I would not say our scouts are advancement driven at least not after a day at school. They are more get-away-from-homework-Mom-Dad-and-be-with-friends. For them, games trump advancement and to no surprise games are the last 20-30 minutes of our troop meeting. Save the best for last.

Anyway that's us and what works for us.

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1 minute ago, Tampa Turtle said:

Only one actual camping trip this year...typically we would be on #5

Well that is definitely a regrettable sign of dysfunction. I am happy to report that our troop goes camping monthly (except for November and December because of the holidays).

 

2 minutes ago, Tampa Turtle said:

And did you note that I mentioned attendance has dropped in half?

I would guess that the lack of an outdoor program is at fault for the drop in attendance more than a focus on advancement. I can only speak for our troop, but there definitely should be room for both.

 

4 minutes ago, Tampa Turtle said:

I guess your position is if the boys voted to turn themselves into an Eagle Mill you would be OK with that.

It is hard for me to envision an Eagle mill that goes camping only once a year because so many requirements are focused on outdoor experiences. Something doesn't add up here.

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@gblotter Of course, I do not look at advancement begrudgingly...but it is the natural byproduct of having fun in the scout program...it is not the object of it. That point has been discussed, ad nauseum, on this forum for years. I have nothing wrong with having adventures and helping the boys organize themselves to get credit for what they do. And I have seen PLC's come and PLC's go, and good SPL's and not so good ones. But the first time I have ever seen this many months of sitting around (actually canceling outdoor activities to sit around). In working with youth led I certainly am willing to be proved wrong but with so many scouts moving down the road to another troop it is killing me. (but maybe I should just move down the road with them...that Troop actually is doing a traditional program.)

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1 minute ago, RememberSchiff said:

In a typical month, we spend two troop meetings where patrols are getting ready ( they are not efficient but they are doing the work) for an upcoming outing, another meeting checking equipment, another on the month theme...add in Philmont/summer camp presentations, fundraiser this and that, community service planning for month, Eagle project help sign-up, ... Where would they find the time in a 90min meeting for a merit badge class?

We do all those things in our weekly meetings. Sometimes campout preparations, sometimes advancement, sometimes a fundraiser, sometimes helping with an Eagle project, sometimes games. There is a huge amount of variety, and the schedule is always different based on need. Given how our troop operates, I don't see this as an either/or situation.

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3 minutes ago, Tampa Turtle said:

But the first time I have ever seen this many months of sitting around (actually canceling outdoor activities to sit around). In working with youth led I certainly am willing to be proved wrong but with so many scouts moving down the road to another troop it is killing me.

From your description, the problem seems to be the lack of a robust outdoor program - not the focus on advancement. In our troop, we seem to find room for a balanced mix of both.

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23 minutes ago, RememberSchiff said:

For them, games trump advancement and to no surprise games are the last 20-30 minutes of our troop meeting. Save the best for last.

Last year our troop went through a wave where they wanted to play lots of games. They voted for it so that is what we did. Interesting though, after several weeks the votes started to shift away from games because they accurately noticed that other important areas were being ignored. Now they self-regulate to have games only once a month or so. I was rather proud of them in how they arrived at this balance.

Edited by gblotter

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3 minutes ago, gblotter said:

From your description, the problem seems to be the lack of a robust outdoor program - not the focus on advancement. In our troop, we seem to find room for a balanced mix of both.

*sigh* We HAD a robust outdoor program but the youth (influenced by their parents) CHOSE to abandon it. We used to find room for both but after the wheels fall off this year will have to start rebuilding again (...and this was suppose to be a rebuilding year.) Anyway next topic.

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I don't know why so many Boy Scout leaders keep insisting that boys just want to have "fun."

There are scouts who actually do want to work towards advancement and no, that doesn't always meant that their mom or dad are ardently pushing them from behind the scenes.

Edited by SSF
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22 hours ago, LeCastor said:

 

As an aside, I also suggested that the Troop meetings take place outside during summer months (it's cold the rest of the time here :p) and they Troop Committee thought I was nuts.  "Why should we sit out here when there are tables and chairs inside?"  Oh brother...

I'm reminded of a troop meeting we held out back..... we had an area in the woods behind the church where they would sometimes camp or occasionally work on skills.... this wasn't a camping night, just a troop meeting.... maybe building fires or teaching "new scouts" to set up tents or something....

Anyway, we on the committee had a need to do a few BOR's

It was about as near as perfect as I could imagine it done.... in the woods under some grand old oaks, away from earshot from the troop but close enough to see.... a few logs to sit on if one felt like it....until just before the BOR someone pulls a table a chairs out of the troop trailer.  You see, the CC and key MC's had a routine of sitting behind a table like a judge in a courtroom while the scout stands at attention out front.  I felt like an idiot sitting there....and in a nice way let it be known

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12 minutes ago, Tampa Turtle said:

We HAD a robust outdoor program but the youth (influenced by their parents) CHOSE to abandon it.

Our boys would never willingly abandon our camping program (no matter the parent pressure). Heck - we have dads routinely asking to come along.

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According to that Troop Meeting Plan worksheet that we have access to in many BSA publications, there is a time set aside for "Skills Instruction" which could arguably be considered "Advancement".  I don't think anyone is really saying "Advancement" doesn't belong in a Troop meeting.  However, what might hurt many Troops is when the "Skills Instruction" portion of the Troop Meeting lasts 89 minutes with the remaining portion reserved for a flag ceremony and Scoutmaster's Minute.  Sometimes Scouts DO want to have time set aside to work on a Merit Badge and that's fine if they want to do that.  I think it's wise, though, for a Scoutmaster to coach to SPL to consider keeping a balance of advancement with all the other elements of a Troop meeting, as outlined in the Troop Meeting Plan.  

There should be time for Patrols to meet and conduct "business" as they see fit.  That could also be a time when a Patrol works on a MB together for 15-20 minutes over the course of a month.  

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