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DugNevius

watchout, we are here

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>>and your (Eagledad's) backhand slap at our (my?)'great' programs of older boys is unappreciated and unkind and I will not dignify with further comment.

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Dug,

 

Your comment about the inch and the mile appears to mean that I do not trust Scouts. If by not trusting Scouts, you mean that I work with adults as well as Scouts, then your point might have some validity. The program is set up to bring Scouts and adults together by association. That means that the adults are role models that younger guys can look up to and copy. The BOR is one place where that happens and it is very effective.

 

Let's take it from the other direction. Do adults belong in this program at all? Historically, this program was based on that very idea that they should belong. Three leaders from different parts of the world and different parts of the country found that young men needed guidance. They each established programs where boys could learn how to effectively grow into young men. When they brought their programs under the umbrella of the Boy Scouts, it was a point that they all agreed on.

 

Let's take it back to the present date. Are adults still important in helping boys learn the skills to grow into young men? Since I work daily with young people and see hundreds throughout the year, my answer is that it is more important today than ever. There are too many other programs that compete for young people's time that are contrary to Scouting principles and that are easy to consume without any guidance at all. Having good role models is very helpful and necessary to make a difference.

 

Now, should the program be boy led? Sure

Should the committee/Adults have input on those plans to be able to support that program? Sure

Do we want boys to learn leadership? Sure, from the start. They do not always make good choices but then that is part of learning leadership.

I trust Scouts and let them make many decisions even when I know better.

Do I let them make decisions that will get them hurt? Heck no.

 

As a SM, it was my job to teach leadership skills and I did new Scout/parent orientation. Our Scouts ran the program while I was doing my job. ASM's had their support jobs but the program and leadership was for the Scouts. The adults were in the background giving any support needed.

 

I wish I could bring some of the young men before you right now and let them testify of the trust shown in them. Some of the stories are pretty funny. Many of the young men have since gone on to take over the Unit, excel in school, excel in work, and have families of their own. I am proud to have assisted them on part of their journey.

 

I was also a SM during the time we had BOR's from TFT through 1st Class with Scouts in charge. I felt that they did an adequate job and I did not interfere. There was an occasional problem but we generally worked it out. When the duties changed, we changed. Was it difficult to change, yes but we accepted it. How did we come to accept the change? In a large unit, there are plenty of duties to go around. Everyone is working hard to do their job. We evaluated every event and job. If there was something that needed changing, it was pointed out and generally most listened to those recommendations and many even echoed them. Change was a part of what we did and we built on it.

 

I grew immeasurably from knowing those young men.

 

FB

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Anarchist- I dont think Eagledads post was that insulting or meant to be, but it had a point about your worst case senarios. We cant go through life expecting the worst. Do we not let our daughter's date because they may get pregnant? Do we not allow our boys to play football because their teammates may give them a wedgie? Do we not park our car on the street because it may get stolen? Guarding to protectivly retracts from too much. You cant limit responsablities of scouts because they may abuse them.

 

 

FB- excellent response.

 

Our troops are not that vastly different, our goals are the same. You said: "I was also a SM during the time we had BOR's from TFT through 1st Class with Scouts in charge. I felt that they did an adequate job and I did not interfere. There was an occasional problem but we generally worked it out. When the duties changed, we changed. Was it difficult to change, yes but we accepted it. How did we come to accept the change? In a large unit, there are plenty of duties to go around. Everyone is working hard to do their job."

 

Therefore this leads me to belive that the core issue at hand is not that the scouts are deprived but just that the scoutmaster for our troop back in the 60s or 70's (was the same guy from 1961 to 1989) did not go along with the change. As i have explained the scouts get just as much mentoring and chance to express concerns as any other troop, the adults have as much chance to teach and observe and help as any other troop. So, the difference, when it gets down to it is we didnt change along with the book. The rules arent broken, they are bent. The scouts going through it have the same experiences, plus they experience sitting on the other side of the table.

 

"I wish I could bring some of the young men before you right now and let them testify of the trust shown in them. Some of the stories are pretty funny. Many of the young men have since gone on to take over the Unit, excel in school, excel in work, and have families of their own. I am proud to have assisted them on part of their journey."

 

Thats great to hear! That means the program is working. We too have the same experience. I myself have gone through this troop to get eagle and become an ASM, as have two other current ASM eagles. My friend in school and scouting and another Eagle Scout was for a time before he had a baby an ASM. The SM himself was in our troop. ("Life" for life) My scoutmaster as a scout and two of his assistants were also Eagle Scouts in the troop. The scoutmaster before him was an alumni.

 

This explains two things. One, why the program has not changed since the 60's, and two, that the program of having boys sit on BOR was not the destructive mistake some fear.

 

Do adults belong in this program at all?

 

Of course they do. It would be impossible for it not to, but as guides not much more. We adults in our troop handle the paperwork, the fundraising, the legistics, are the safety net and counsel. The rest lies in the hands of the scouts. They decide what to do at the meetings. They pick out where they want to go camping and when. They decide who gets the leadership positions through democracy. The carry out the plans they made, advance the scouts up to first class. Demos are very very rarely taught by an adult. Many times the older scouts may actually teach merit badges to the troop and all the counselor does is watch and sign the cards. Scouts even purchase equipment needed for meetings and trips.

 

On the average camping trip that is not backpacking, all the adults do is sit by the fire, read a book, take a nap and play games. Meals are 95% of the time planned, purchased, cooked and cleaned up by only scouts. campsites are set up and broken down and cleaned by the scouts. Discipline is 90% of the time handled by the scouts. We observe and comment and guide.

 

Boy run, adult observed.

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>Many times the older scouts may actually teach merit badges to the troop and all the counselor does is watch and sign the cards.>

 

Hmmm, I've just been reading this thread with no intention of participating since I've gathered women don't have any kind of leadership role in your troop. But this caught my eye and compelled a response. Do you invite counselors in for this "observation"? Or do you have a counselor for every merit badge in your troop? Do you teach merit badges during troop meetings as a regular thing or do you set up a MB "university" at times during the year? As a MB counselor for three very different MBs (Personal Mgmt, Journalism and Cooking - OK, my life path has been kinda different:

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those meritbadges are done on occasion, such as personal fitness, first aid and backpacking as one month blocks for the meeting programs. The scouts leading it will meet with the conselor and make a plan of the meetings demos whichthey will carry out in 3-4 weeks, through either large group instruction or smaller groups rotating. The merit badge counselor will observe the scouts leading it, throw in a point here or there and ensure that its being taught properly. If there are things to be handed in "like paperwork" the scouts leading the meritbadge will grade them first and then hand them over to the counselor to be checked a second time. When the counselor is satisfied with the work done he signs off themerit badge.

 

I dont think anyone is missing the chance to form relationships with the leaders. In fact, i have learned that if instead of going to the boys, they come to you. Ive never felt the lack of any bonds, and, because im only 26, the kids come to me even more then they would other adults, wanting advice, wanting to show me things they are interested in, to get me to play games. Ive had a few invite me to NHL games which i most gladly went along. In fact, some scouts that are now grown up i consider good friends and myself am very close friends with my scoutmaster. Along with this they are much more accustomed to having things done by older boys, and the older boys are allowed more space to lead.

 

 

>>"Watchout, we are here" - I remember being intentionally confrontational. It was a lot of fun, got me some really cool reactions, but didn't really get me anywhere:

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Dug's original post >Hello to all. My name is Dug and I am an Eagle scout and assistant scoutmaster of my troop in NJ. My troop is vastly different then most i have encountered, and from the responses ive recieved on other scouting message boards, very controversal and even threatening, but i see this as a chance to discuss, debate and learn. >

 

But what I find most interesting is that every time someone asks a question, your reply clarifies the point and I haven't heard anything truly controversial or frightening yet. Nor are you "vastly" different from everyone else. Still within the broad norms of the BSA.

 

Now the troop in another thread that defecates and urinates all over the woods (see "no women allowed, is this normal?") - THAT troop is vastly different...

 

No biggie, just an observation. Welcome to normal, Dug.

 

Vicki

 

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It seems that your Troop is missing an opportunity to ensure a quality program in order to provide older boys with a power-trip.

 

The point of the BOR is for the adults who are ultimately responsible to get a feel for whether the Troop is delivering on the promise. Waiting until Star is a bit too late. Rather like inspecting a new house after the exterior is completed instead of at each stage from foundation to completion.

 

If you want to give the boys the experience, why not simply have a 'practice' BOR wherein the older boys sit on the PBOR and then give the younger boy a feel for what it is like? This would solve all of the problems at once, plus it helps the younger boys by giving them another chance to put their experience into words.

 

If you really believe that your group is so open that no boy feels threatened or picked on, you are putting your collective heads in the sand to avoid seeing the flaws in your system.

 

You can have it both ways. Do you have the courage to change?

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