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bearess

Would you say anything

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My son, 10, is a fairly new Boy Scout.  He is a patrol leader of a group of new Scouts.  Their Troop is transitioning to being more Boy-led— I know it’s important to the SM and ASM, and they are working hard on it.  He just went on his first camping trip with Scouts, and he worked hard to make it a success— and I think it was!

The issue is his old Cubmaster, who has a son in his patrol. CM and his son are very close, almost enmeshed.  CM grinds my son’s gears for various reasons, some of which are legit, some of which aren’t.  So, on the trip, the boys tented together—except for CM and his son, who tented together.  My son also made a “chore list” for his patrol, which had CM’s son and another boy doing dishes.   My son’s chore (cooking)  was done, and he was playing catch with another boy while dishes were being done.  Apparently CM came over to him and said “Mr. Patrol Leader, you can’t play till all the chores are done.  You need to go help with dishes.”  My son felt annoyed, felt that CM wouldn’t have said anything if it hadn’t been his son doing dishes.  CM does not currently have a role in the Troop, but I believe he will soon transition to ASM.

So... would you say anything to the SM or ASM?  Was CM out of line?  I wasn’t there, so I’m getting one biased perspective!  My son feels frustrated, like CM’s son always gets special treatment— which maybe he does, but that’s life!  OTOH, it seems absurd for a ten year old to eat/sleep with his dad, rather than his patrol.

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"It depends"....   Everyone on the Patrol needs to help.  Chores, duties get assigned and rotated so no one gets "picked on" . I might review the duty roster with PLSon, and note any problems.  Weekend campout?  Three meals? Four?   Are any of them simpler, easier cleanup than the others?  Did the Cooks "clean up as they cook" (as I learned to do when I worked as a sous chef thru college).?  Nothing worse than a cook that PURPOSELY leaves stuff dirty....  Been known to happen.

Did the duty roster reflect a balance?  Clean dinner (hard? but important) then water duty (easy, but also important), etc.  No one does dishes thru the whole campout, right?  And the Patrol cook gear has to go home clean, yes?  EveryScout in the Patrol understands that , yes?   In the successful Patrols/Troops of my acquaintance, the gear closet, or Troop Trailer or (your garage?)  never smells like month old bacon fat, true?   Clean cook and eating gear means healthy Scouts !   We always thought the Sunday breakfast cleanup was the most important thereby.

Speak to the CM?  Maybe not.   Scoutson needs to be able to explain and "Courteously"  defend the duty roster assignments, if necessary, in another's presence (Two Deep?)  . If CMScoutson is not used to "work",  he will come to realize his place in the Patrol "pecking order"  will depend on his ability to "do my duty" , willingly, with the knowledge that EVERYBODY ELSE in the Patrol is doing the same, when it comes their turn.   Maybe the SM should talk to the CMparent, take him aside and put him in the know of how a Scout Patrol works...   And too, it is important that the PL show his leadership by being "Helpful" and "Friendly" by making sure he has his turn a "duty", yes?

I tell Scouts that there are THREE SKILLS they should learn, with which they can always put a roof over their head and food on their table:  The first is COOKING, even if you are only in a "burger joint", someone will always be wiling to pay you to cook. Put me thru college (among other things).  The second is CLEANING.  If you can sweep, wash, clean there will always be someone who will pay you to clean their rooms, kitchen, pet, car,  truck, dishes.  The third is DRIVING. with a valid, clean license, there is always a car, taxi, bus, truck out there (self drivers not withstanding) waiting for your pilotage.   WHICH ONES DO  SCOUTING TEACH ?  Which ones can you gain practice in while having fun on the Appalachian Trail? 

Bearess, let your  Scoutson find his own level, but be there for him...   Remember, our children will be the ones who pick out our Assisted Living Facility...  

See you on the trail.

 

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Sometimes adults don't realize they are a source of friction. If the CM is a friend, you may be able to point that out. But, for your son ...

In general, just like captains in sports or band and their need to get feedback from the coach/director, the PL relationship with the SM/ASM is paramount. We spend a lot of time coaching boys in relationships with adults (parents, MB counselors, Rangers, etc ...). So when things aren't right, we need to know. Your son needs to review this with the SM and ASM. They are the ones trying to set a new tone, it's on them to guide both him and the CM in this new culture.

Should the PL be playing catch while other guys are doing the chores he assigns? It depends on the skill of the boys doing the chores. If they need guidance, he may want to be there on top of it. If they seem like they have it under control, he may want to give them their space. Only he, the SPL/ASPL, and the SMs have a good sense of this.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, bearess said:

So... would you say anything to the SM or ASM?  Was CM out of line? 

Your son is the patrol leader. He should talk to the SPL. The SPL should talk to the SM.

Was the CM out of line? Good question. If the two units are unrelated, then the CM is just a parent of a scout in the troop. He would have no authority to give orders to any boy scouts other than his son. But if the CM and SM share the same Chartered Organization, they might recognize the CM as having some authority in both units. 

You should find out where things stand before you speak up. 

 

Edited by David CO

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1 hour ago, bearess said:

My son feels frustrated, like CM’s son always gets special treatment— which maybe he does, but that’s life!  OTOH, it seems absurd for a ten year old to eat/sleep with his dad, rather than his patrol.

This is none of your business. Stay out of it. There might be a good reason.

 

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Thanks for the feedback.  It’s a small Troop—just two patrols, so no SPL.  I’ll encourage my son to speak to the SM or ASM.

 

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15 minutes ago, David CO said:

This is none of your business. Stay out of it. There might be a good reason.

 

There’s no reason.  We did four years of Cub Scouts with him, he was my sons den leader as well Cubmaster— hes just a helicopter Dad. ;)

 

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First of all, if the Cubmaster is not registered as a leader with the troop, he is not a leader in the troop.  It doesn't matter whether his pack shares a CO with the troop.  If he is going to have any "authority" in the troop (and let's leave aside exactly what that means), he is an ASM.  Otherwise he is an unregistered parent in the troop.  If the CM had a problem with something he saw (other than a safety issue), he should tell the SM and let the SM deal with it.

Which brings me to this: 

Leaving the CM issue aside, if I were the SM (or the SPL) and I saw a PL (particularly the brand-new PL of the New Scout Patrol) playing catch while other members of his patrol were still washing dishes, I think I would quietly take the PL aside and, in a friendly and helpful manner, suggest something along these lines:  Sometimes how things "look" becomes as important as how things really are (in the political world this is now called "optics"), and that even though he has completed his share of the "chore list" (which where I come from is called the "duty roster"), the Scouts in the patrol - as well as people outside the patrol - might misunderstand what they are seeing.  That does not mean the PL needs to wash dishes when he has already cooked.  He could help dry the already washed dishes; or he could help put away the dry dishes; or he could be checking out the patrol box and making sure it is in ship-shape for the next day; or he could be sitting somewhere with paper and pen and making out the duty roster for the next day; or maybe talking with the SPL about the program for the next day; or SOMETHING that is either helpful or patrol-leaderish or both.  I am not suggesting he should merely look busy, I am suggesting he BE busy - and in accomplishing something, he will also portray a leader-like image that will serve as an example to his Scouts and others.  I suppose that is a lot to heap on the shoulders of a 10-year-old on his first Boy Scout camping trip, but I think it's good advice.

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7 minutes ago, NJCubScouter said:

If he is going to have any "authority" in the troop, he is an ASM.  

Not true.

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We have a very similar problem. CM is out of line. He is NOT registered with the troop, and has no authority over the Scouts. If there is no SPL, then the PL needs to got to the SM and discuss the matter with him. SM and CC need to have a discussion with the CM and nip the problems, i.e. CM's son camping with him, jumping on the PL's case when the son is not doing his fair share of the work, etc NOW or they will get worse.

 

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4 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

He is NOT registered with the troop, and has no authority over the Scouts.

Maybe. Maybe not.

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2 hours ago, bearess said:

My son, 10, is a fairly new Boy Scout.  He is a patrol leader of a group of new Scouts.  Their Troop is transitioning to being more Boy-led— I know it’s important to the SM and ASM, and they are working hard on it.  He just went on his first camping trip with Scouts, and he worked hard to make it a success— and I think it was!

The issue is his old Cubmaster, who has a son in his patrol. CM and his son are very close, almost enmeshed.  CM grinds my son’s gears for various reasons, some of which are legit, some of which aren’t.  So, on the trip, the boys tented together—except for CM and his son, who tented together.  My son also made a “chore list” for his patrol, which had CM’s son and another boy doing dishes.   My son’s chore (cooking)  was done, and he was playing catch with another boy while dishes were being done.  Apparently CM came over to him and said “Mr. Patrol Leader, you can’t play till all the chores are done.  You need to go help with dishes.”  My son felt annoyed, felt that CM wouldn’t have said anything if it hadn’t been his son doing dishes.  CM does not currently have a role in the Troop, but I believe he will soon transition to ASM.

So... would you say anything to the SM or ASM?  Was CM out of line?  I wasn’t there, so I’m getting one biased perspective!  My son feels frustrated, like CM’s son always gets special treatment— which maybe he does, but that’s life!  OTOH, it seems absurd for a ten year old to eat/sleep with his dad, rather than his patrol.

Welcome to Boy Scouts! I am a youth myself and 15. I have the same exact situation as your son and I've been dealing with it for the past 4 years about. Others on the forum know my situation and I have ranted many times. 

I take it as that the CM is jealous that your son is more successful in Scouting as of right now, and I only know a few patrol leaders that actually do what they are suppose to. I commend your son for making the duty roster for the weekend and not the SPL. Anyway, I would just let it flow. To this day, I still do everything wrong according to that one parent (a committee member). Matter in fact, something happened last weekend. 

Also, I do agree that the dad/son should be sleeping separate, it builds social skills by sharing a tent with someone around his age. 

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27 minutes ago, David CO said:

Not true.

Well, let's go back to your original theory:

1 hour ago, David CO said:

Was the CM out of line? Good question. If the two units are unrelated, then the CM is just a parent of a scout in the troop. He would have no authority to give orders to any boy scouts other than his son. But if the CM and SM share the same Chartered Organization, they might recognize the CM as having some authority in both units. 

I assume the word "they" refers to the CO.  And well they might.  But if they do, the BSA provides a method for the CO to express that "authority" and bring it to the attention of other leaders and Scouts.  That method is to appoint the person to a position in the other unit - in this case, to appoint the CM to be an ASM as well, and have the person be registered in both positions.  It's the only method for doing so that I am aware of.  If you are aware of another method, please state the BSA publication and page number on which it appears.  (I try not to make that request very often because it strikes me as being at least mildly obnoxious when other people do it, but I do not know how else to respond to "Not true.")

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In this instance, the Pack and Troop do not share a chartering organization or Committee.  There is some overlap between the two in terms of committee members/leadership— for example, the Troop COR is also a Den Leader.

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Posted (edited)

This is a difficult question. Was the CM out of line? Yes, in general the adult by stander  is not the judge of right or wrong in a patrol method program. On the other hand, did the Patrol leader need some guidance? 

We talk about learning from decisions and adults giving the scouts space to learn, but there is so much grey area that it’s hard to know where the adults role is defined. Learning from our mistakes takes practice. Knowing how to turn experiences into positive growth takes time and patience.

this troop sounds young and inexperienced. The adults need as much time and practice to learn as the scouts. Quazse and NJ are both good reading. Your son’s troop is somewhere in between. 

So let’s look in the big picture. My advice is ask the son if the CM was right? If he says maybe, then ask the son why he is angry. If  the son feels what the CM said was wrong, then the son has challenges at several levels. I would ask him to take some time to reflect, then talk to the SM. Then I would give my own opinion after they talked. There is something for all of us to learn from the sons experience.

In our lives, we will always have CMs telling us what is right and wrong. The challenge is how a scout (and mature adult) should handle the situation when the CMs are right, and when they are wrong. And trust me, it’s just as challenging for a scout master to find the right words as it is the parent. The SM has has the added burden of adult pride to counter with. We CMs stand pretty tall and don’t like to fall.

I hope the son sorts this out and has a life learning experience. I hope the SM has great wisdom for the scout. I hope the CM has to work weekends and misses the next few camp outs.

Barry

 

Edited by Eagledad

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Sigh.  Talking more to my son, it seems the issue is he felt CM picked on him all weekend.  Apparently he kept calling him “Mr. Patrol Leader”, which really bothered him.  For example, son forgot to pack a flashlight— which he should have remembered!  So he was asking another boy if he could borrow a flashlight, CM overheard and said “Oh, Mr. Patrol Leader forgot a flashlight.  Well, you won’t borrow mine.”  Now, I’m not defending him forgetting the flashlight— live and learn.  But I can see how, after a weekend of that, you would be frustrated.

What’s challenging here is sorting out what is good advice/helpful from CM vs son’s frustration at feeling picked on/mocked.

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