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Questions about "Boy Led" Troop

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8 hours ago, gblotter said:

Many of us are very experienced and we can all learn from each other - I'm fine with that. However, I do tire of the attitude that true Scouting is only experienced by the few who have that secret decoder ring to unlock Bill Hillcourt's secrets of boy leadership. We all stand on the shoulders of giants, but Scouting is not that hard. We sometimes make it harder than it needs to be by endlessly reminding others that in spite of best efforts - nope, you're still not doing it right. Dare I say there is some virtue signaling in all this?

So so true.  This is the same for why I cringe with certain phrases such as boy led.  It's almost always not constructive and used more as a knock against others.  IMHO, we should all stop saying who's boy led and who's not boy led.  Be specific and identify behaviors and habits that help.  Identify good practices.  

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1 hour ago, ParkMan said:

The problem isn't that Scouting is hard.  The problem is that we all seem to have different definitions of what it is.

Forget what we think. Scouting is having a hard time defining itself right now. The movement is adrift.

 

1 hour ago, ParkMan said:

Benevolent drill seargant Boy Scouts is different from "long leashing" Boy Scouts.  They are both ways to run a youth program - sure would be nice though if our troop leaders were a bit more consistent.

True - leaders and leadership styles will certainly vary, but so what? Does that really matter? It happens everywhere in life. Do we try to force every Scout to be the same? Should we try to force every Scouter to be the same? The Scouting movement is composed of unique individuals who are different by definition. If we are wise, we use those differences to our advantage. Some Scouters are incredible archers, riflemen, naturalists, or climbers. I know some troops that specialize in backpacking, while others are into fishing, and another builds their own canoes. If homemade canoes are not your thing, it is easy to find another troop with a different focus. Vive le difference! Scouting is not McDonalds.

 

1 hour ago, ParkMan said:

There it really saddens me because new parents have no idea how little boy led there usually is in your typical troop.

And if that is a problem, find a different troop that better suits your needs and meets your expectations. The best troops will always thrive, and that's a good thing.

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Hard to understand parents who shop around for the best school, teachers, doctors, tutors, coaches ...would think Boy Scouts is the same everywhere.  But when I ask, they remind me we are a national organization , wear the same uniform,  same handbooks, same Oath and Law,... Well yes, but all scouting is local, too late.

My $0.02

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1 hour ago, RememberSchiff said:

Hard to understand parents who shop around for the best school, teachers, doctors, tutors, coaches ...would think Boy Scouts is the same everywhere.  But when I ask, they remind me we are a national organization , wear the same uniform,  same handbooks, same Oath and Law,... Well yes, but all scouting is local, too late.

My $0.02

 

This is a totally different discussion that can go on a long long time.  ... I think people should be able to choose, but I don't think parents and scouts know what to look for when shopping.  From what I've seen there is a dynamic between what is a good troop and what looks good.  Also, there is an issue of cities with many troops and a few grow to be mega troops and the others starve and look like pale images.  It's unhealthy for a troop to be really large and to be starving for members.  IMHO, the current troop shopping model does NOT work.  ... but a different thread. 

 

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What I looked for in a troop for my boys weren't in the BSHB's job descriptions:

  • The SPL greeted me personally. Not just at one meeting, but every meeting and every camp out.
    • I didn't need to be introduced to our SM, he was raising three boys as friendly and courteous as the SPL, and his three daughters were my kids' ages. We crossed paths at father-daughter dances, etc ...
    • I knew most of the other dads from sports/music/school. There was only one public elementary school in the district. Son #1 was an extrovert, which meant lots of sleepovers. I didn't need a "how we do things" lecture from any of them.
    • So, the only thing that needed to be confirmed at a scout meeting/activity was if these boys were any good. And for me that meant would these boys talk to me like older scouts talked to my Mom and Dad, and like I talked to new parents when I was SPL/JASM.
  • Older scouts talked to my sons.
    • Not just at the meeting. They looked Son #1 and his buddies in school and said hi.
    • When he was starting middle school, they were there for him.
    • If there was a bowling night (not a troop activity), they invited him.
  • There was a vision of hiking and camping independently with your mates.
    • Adults/Parents had one side of a field; boys, the other. The SPL would shuttle messages back and forth.
    • On a hike the SPL held the map. Period. If he was confused, he came back to discuss with an SM/ASM.
    • The troop had expanded rapidly, and they never fully got the concept of patrols. But they made up for it with enthusiasm for any and every idea for a camp out.
    • Some scouts were conditioning for Philmont, so they might get dropped off on a harder trail to the campsite. They arrived at camp with smiles on their faces.

Now, maybe as a former scout, I wasn't expecting much more. The newsletter from the scribe was a nice touch, but I was happy enough with a couple weeks advance notice for most things. Friendly and Cheerful made up for a multitude of faults. So if some one groused about "not really boy-led", I'd remember those guys' smiles (even when they melted a hole in the dutch oven -- ruining half the cobbler), and chalk up their criticism as armchair quarterbacking.

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Posted (edited)

 

1 hour ago, fred johnson said:

 

This is a totally different discussion that can go on a long long time.  ... I think people should be able to choose, but I don't think parents and scouts know what to look for when shopping.  From what I've seen there is a dynamic between what is a good troop and what looks good.  Also, there is an issue of cities with many troops and a few grow to be mega troops and the others starve and look like pale images.  It's unhealthy for a troop to be really large and to be starving for members.  IMHO, the current troop shopping model does NOT work.  ... but a different thread. 

 

Yes - an interesting topic, which I’m sure has been covered in other threads.

Our troop selection is predetermined by LDS affiliation (although we could certainly jump ship if desired). My focus has then been to help make my existing troop the best possible. I strive for inclusion, active camping program, good parent engagement, and positive attitude.

I’ll admit a preference for smaller troops (30-ish is ideal). Mega troops are not my thing. Struggling troops without critical mass are depressing. I’ve had a variety of experiences, and I’d much rather go camping with 10 boys than 40 boys.

I’m glad there’s enough variety in troops to satisfy different preferences.

Edited by gblotter

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18 hours ago, gblotter said:

......... I have a real-life experience to teach that lesson even more effectively. All of our Scouts know the lost backpacker story - it is legend in our troop. When I tell that story around a campfire, they listen with rapt attention.

The discovery happened shortly after. 

Caves.JPG

gasp.... I'm pretty sure that's more than 4ft up & those scouts don't have safety belts and proper belay equipment ;)

Seriously though, that picture reminds me of some of the great stories in a book I read called "Rocks in My Backpack".  Love to see that!

your "real life" example...was real life, and I'm sure it makes for a gripping and memorable tale when expertly told the way you do....but in the end circling back to the point I've been beating to death about discovery....it's still just a tale to those boys.  It's somebody telling that boy yet again something else.  Sure they remember it, sure it makes the point.... but think about your own experiences throughout life....you had to find your own way and figure things out for yourself....almost anything told to you isn't nearly as valuable/memorable/educational as something experienced real life.

17 hours ago, gblotter said:

I suppose his nugget from that 28 minutes is that Scouting should be a discovery that the boys make on their own, avoiding the interference of adults as much as possible. Got it.

 

It has been a very long time since I listened to that particular podcast, but I'm pretty sure there was a point or two in there you might have missed.  Your photo of the cave discovery....well that is a different kind of discovery than what I'm getting at....& i think different than what Clarke was getting at too.... I'm talking more about that life lesson they can get with regards to leadership and responsibility when, for example, they realize that they screwed up, someone could have gotten hurt, or whatever....not when they are told they screwed up, but that they figure it out for themselves.  THAT is when we all make the decision to do better next time.  And the thing about scouting the patrol method is, that it gives these boys a chance in a relatively safe way to do just that kind of discovery....

Regardless, yes about Clarke.  I used to listen to his podcasts on the way home from work.  I didn't agree with 100% of Clarke's suggestions, but I found him to be very thoughtful and more often than not really made a lot of sense.  I've got to admit that almost every one of the few occasions where I didn't agree, with further reflection and consideration I came around to see wisdom there.  He's got a lot of experience to draw on.... and I believe it to be at least summing it up good experience (I'm not one to think for a minute that just because someone was a scout (insert POR here) that they were good at it.)

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, blw2 said:

I didn't agree with 100% of Clarke's suggestions, but I found him to be very thoughtful and more often than not really made a lot of sense.

I try to always stay open to the wisdom of others whenever/wherever it surfaces. I listened to one of Clarke's other podcasts. He does a fair amount of virtue signaling about his viewpoints - I found that annoying at times. Likely my problem, not his.

Edited by gblotter

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2 minutes ago, Tampa Turtle said:

'virtue signaling' I have never heard that term?

From Wikipedia: Virtue signalling is the conspicuous expression of moral values done primarily with the intent of enhancing standing within a social group.

Virtue signalling a popular term in politics these days. Basically, it is making yourself look superior to others by spouting off about how your opinion is the only moral way to think about an issue. The intent is to create an atmosphere where anyone who disagrees with you must necessarily be immoral.

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18 minutes ago, gblotter said:

From Wikipedia: Virtue signalling is the conspicuous expression of moral values done primarily with the intent of enhancing standing within a social group.

Virtue signalling a popular term in politics these days. Basically, it is making yourself look superior to others by spouting off about how your opinion is the only moral way to think about an issue. The intent is to create an atmosphere where anyone who disagrees with you must necessarily be immoral.

Of DANG! I have been guilty of that, Mea Culpa. I guess I do that with my standard pre-ample when I write my congressman, "I am a Boy Scout Leader....". 

On the other hand Signalling has its virtues.

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56 minutes ago, gblotter said:

From Wikipedia: Virtue signalling is the conspicuous expression of moral values done primarily with the intent of enhancing standing within a social group.

Virtue signalling a popular term in politics these days. Basically, it is making yourself look superior to others by spouting off about how your opinion is the only moral way to think about an issue. The intent is to create an atmosphere where anyone who disagrees with you must necessarily be immoral.

That term is new to me too. I would recommend those who attempt to virtue signal, first take the high ground like back in the day.  :)

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If I'm understanding the concept correctly We all do it I suppose...signaling.  Not so unlike throwing up the hand, or saying things like "agree to disagree".  It's a "I'm smart, I'm experienced, I have value"..... that is taken by others as you are dumb, you haven't thought this through as much as I have, etc...

yeah, you know in all the time I read and listened to his work, I remember hearing that sort of thing a few times... but I can't think of one of those times when he was really wrong.  maybe off in a nuance, but not really overall concept.....

I can only remember one point of his to which I disagreed, and still do....but I still do only in part.  That was a point he made about ...well really it was a couple points... something about that no adult/scouter should be so much as even talking to a scout unless that adult was acting under specific direction and guidance from the scoutmaster.  The context was regarding mixed messages, confusing the SM's vision & direction for the program, etc... and I think also about the trend of having too many adults involved.  There was a kinda sorta related but separate thing about  keeping parents out and off the "playing field".

Anyway, putting myself in his troop mentally, it really rubbed me wrong...as a parent "aint no two bit SM gonna tell me I can't be involved with what my kid is doing"...and as a trained, well reasoned and well intentioned scouter, I'm just as qualified as that SM to help/coach/guide/steer the scouts.  It rubbed me wrong probably not so unlike the way that your order to that scout rubbed him wrong on that hike when he mouthed-off to you about telling him to regroup with the stragglers.  Kind boiled up a ticked-off anger inside me....

But the thing is, in both cases it rubbed me wrong, but he's right.  When I step back, and remember that this is all about the scout i realize both of those ideas pointed directly to problems or potential problems that degrade the scouting experience for the boys.  His points were good I think....the key I think is in the approach of delivering the idea in the real world.  It's a valid point, but could be handled very positively or very negatively.

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