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11 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

Jameson, I always enjoy and look forward to reading your posts about your troop because it is a well oil machine. But, the adults handing over all those bullet points to the scouts (including your last sentence) is the next step toward stepping up to a new plateau of scout growth and program maturity. I have the t-shirt. ...

I found this level of independence to go up and down with each class of scouts. It is a function of being able to retain scouts as JASMs (or, TG and Instructors) and being willing to use them as mentors to SPL/PL's so they stay on task as a PLC.

It's also a function of seasoned adult leadership who encourage some behaviors, and not others, on the part of adults.

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11 minutes ago, qwazse said:

I found this level of independence to go up and down with each class of scouts. It is a function of being able to retain scouts as JASMs (or, TG and Instructors) and being willing to use them as mentors to SPL/PL's so they stay on task as a PLC.

It's also a function of seasoned adult leadership who encourage some behaviors, and not others, on the part of adults.

Good point and I agree. This level of independence certainly pushes for above average maturity for both the adults and scouts, but is more fragile to both adult and scout leadership changes. Still, it's fun and rewarding to watch.

Barry

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I've found some very good comments here.  My sadness is the ideal is hard to achieve and hard to maintain.   Leaders change.  Life happens.  Adults don't always agree.  More importantly, I truly believe the scouting program that I want my son to be part of rarely looks like the ideal troop.  

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17 minutes ago, fred8033 said:

I've found some very good comments here.  My sadness is the ideal is hard to achieve and hard to maintain.   Leaders change.  Life happens.  Adults don't always agree.  More importantly, I truly believe the scouting program that I want my son to be part of rarely looks like the ideal troop.  

Quite right.

Like many things in life, the knowledge and abilities to be an effective scouter are gleaned over time. Unfortunately, many troops find that they have a treadmill of leaders with newcomers coming in, being gung ho for a year or two, and then rotating away as their son gets a little older and more attracted to sports, high school activities, or other diversions. The adult scouters disappear (or become less involved) just as their wisdom and insight to the scouting program are getting to a level where they could really embrace the scouting program.

Some troops are lucky to have really mature adult leadership who have been involved with the program for decades. Most troops have less experience, making training all the more important ---- so encourage new parents to the troop to jump in with both feet and do as much training as they can (not just the bare minimums needed to be considered "trained" for a position). 

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, fred8033 said:

I've found some very good comments here.  My sadness is the ideal is hard to achieve and hard to maintain.   Leaders change.  Life happens.  Adults don't always agree.  More importantly, I truly believe the scouting program that I want my son to be part of rarely looks like the ideal troop.  

Yes, fact of the matter is that we are just humans. I came to this humility when I started volunteering at the district and council levels and realized most adult leaders are just doing they best they can.

Many of us here preach idealism so that readers can see the vision or goal as a compass to work toward. In truth, our troops don't look near as idealistic as our preachings. I certainly don't mind (I in fact rather enjoy) telling stories of our not-so-perfect program as we trudge toward the idealistic goal. But then I would be typing for hours. So idealism is easier and faster to make the point.

Barry

 

Edited by Eagledad

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I honestly believe there is no such thing as an ideal troop, not even Bill Hilcourt's. For us mere Scouters,  it's because we are human and are dealing with others. Bill's excuse was he was trying new things and working them out before he wrote about them. Let's face it, when trying something new, mistakes will be made and learned from.

That being said, all of us should be striving to that ideal troop. and when you get there, let's face it, when the new SPL starts, you may be regressing a bit as Scouting is a continual process. My troop growing up was not perfect, but we were Scoutled and made continual improvements. Current troop has issues, but we as a troop are working on it.

One of the biggest problems is when adults "know better," and don't make the effort to even try for the ideal. I was in a troop where the SM knew better and would not even try to work it out. He didn't have the patience to let the Scouts sort things out on their own. Scouts lost interest, got bored, quit, or zoned out. I had to get out of that troop.

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25 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

I honestly believe there is no such thing as an ideal troop, not even Bill Hilcourt's. For us mere Scouters,  it's because we are human and are dealing with others. Bill's excuse was he was trying new things and working them out before he wrote about them. Let's face it, when trying something new, mistakes will be made and learned from.

That being said, all of us should be striving to that ideal troop. and when you get there, let's face it, when the new SPL starts, you may be regressing a bit as Scouting is a continual process. My troop growing up was not perfect, but we were Scoutled and made continual improvements. Current troop has issues, but we as a troop are working on it.

One of the biggest problems is when adults "know better," and don't make the effort to even try for the ideal. I was in a troop where the SM knew better and would not even try to work it out. He didn't have the patience to let the Scouts sort things out on their own. Scouts lost interest, got bored, quit, or zoned out. I had to get out of that troop.

Before National turned Eagle into more of an association goal, around 3 percent of scouts earned the award. That is very close to the same statistic of companies that reach the Fortune 500 status as well as the natural leaders and visionaries in the population. I would expect that the ratio is about the same for above average BSA units. I'm not sure how an above average unit would be measured, but I expect growth or consistent high output performance as a function of program would be on the list. 

Our program motto was "Put the adults out of business", so we had to constantly change parts of our program to move toward that goal of maturity. I would expect that average performing troops don't have high performance goals that require constant evaluation, so they don't require much program change. 

High performance is subject to leadership, more to the point, usually one dominant leader. So, there is no surprise that those units loose some of there performance with leadership (Vision) changes. I can't recall a single high performing unit that didn't suffer from a leadership change except for troops sponsored on military bases. I imagine that the discipline of leadership and subordinates of the military carries over into the units, making the program during leadership changes more consistent.

Barry

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3 hours ago, Eagledad said:

Jameson, I always enjoy and look forward to reading your posts about your troop because it is a well oil machine. But, the adults handing over all those bullet points to the scouts (including your last sentence) is the next step toward stepping up to a new plateau of scout growth and program maturity. I have the t-shirt.

Barry

It is a an ongoing process.  The training is ongoing for Scouts and leaders.  Some can handle the processes better, some need less guidance, some need more.  We try to keep it from drifting too far into "Lord of Flies" territory.

One conversation we had a few months ago with our SPL was, having a class session (for example) on hammocking tips is a great idea, but what are the instructors going to cover?  That needs to be part of the meeting plan.  We touched on that he should not be looking for an in-depth lesson plan, they have about 10 minutes or so (they rotate) so what 3 things should the instructor cover.  That should be part of his plan.

Also to advise an ASM that just giving feedback that during BOR's we hear classes are not good is pretty thin.  Work with the SPL to give feedback on what is not going well.  Too many phones out, instructor not prepared, subject has been covered multiples times, etc etc.  Also these are the SCOUTS meetings, let them decide what to work on and cover.  We can suggest, but end of the day, they have to own it.

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Posted (edited)

A unit I was once involved with had two different types of PLC's; meeting PLC and Monthly PLC. 

Regardless of type, the PLC was run by SPL (or ASPL in his absence)

The pre-meeting PLC was 15 minutes before each meeting and post-meeting for 5-10 minutes after. The pre-meeting PLC was to review the agenda, what was going on and when, that materials needed were on hand and to make last minute changes based on need. The post-meeting PLC was q quick recap (Roses/buds/thorns) and reminders for next meeting. There was much discussion between the Scouts as well as Scouters about the need for these PLC's and they were eventually dropped. A few weeks later the PLC voted to bring them back because they made the meetings run smoother and more productive and fun. 

ASM's were part of these meetings because they were being asked to instruct or assist in instruction, bring materials, act as referees (or judges, or sometimes inanimate objects) for games and activities. ASM's spoke as they were called on by SPL. 

The unit had a montly PLC where they worked out details of upcoming meetings and outings. Few, if any, ASM's came to monthly PLC. ASM's came if requested by the SPL to report/speak on specific subject matters. The SPL called on them when their input was needed. 

Personally, I think it is good training for the ASM's to join the PLC. In that unit each ASM acted as an adviser for a single Patrol Leader. The SM was the SPL adviser. Having the ASM's at the PLC let both the ASM and PL's see how a meeting is youth led. They could see how Adviser/Scout interactions should be handled. It prepped the ASM's on how things should run when/if they were ever SM. And it let the PL's know how things would run of they became SPL.

We tend to talk about the SM's job only in terms of training youth. But the fact is, he is training the adult leaders as well. You cannot do that in a vacuum. 

Edited by HelpfulTracks
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Other than YP, which could be satisfied by having two adults in the same building as the meeting but doing something else, what is the goal of having an ASM at the meeting?

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17 minutes ago, HelpfulTracks said:

A unit I was once involved with had two different types of PLC's; meeting PLC and Monthly PLC. .....................................

ASM's were part of these meetings because they were being asked to instruct or assist in instruction, bring materials, act as referees (or judges, or sometimes inanimate objects) for games and activities. ASM's spoke as they were called on by SPL. 

The unit had a montly PLC where they worked out details of upcoming meetings and outings. Few, if any, ASM's came to monthly PLC. ASM's came if requested by the SPL to report/speak on specific subject matters. The SPL called on them when their input was needed. 

Personally, I think it is good training for the ASM's to join the PLC. In that unit each ASM acted as an adviser for a single Patrol Leader. The SM was the SPL adviser. Having the ASM's at the PLC let both the ASM and PL's see how a meeting is youth led. They could see how Adviser/Scout interactions should be handled. It prepped the ASM's on how things should run when/if they were ever SM. And it let the PL's know how things would run of they became SPL.

We tend to talk about the SM's job only in terms of training youth. But the fact is, he is training the adult leaders as well. You cannot do that in a vacuum. 

I think you are right. Including the ASMs in the PLC meeting could work in a mature program where the adults and scouts understand their place. Adults have some good ideas based from experience, and sometimes getting the information first hand would remove a level of communication bureaucracy. But, the meetings would require a mature SPL confident enough to not be intimidated by the adults' respected stature. That maturity doesn't require the SPL to be confident in running a meeting, but confident enough to engage with the adult in a mature friendly manner. That level of confidence requires some development of the program.

The "No ASMs" allowed meetings are generally a reaction to bad experiences, it certainly was with ours. But, as the program matures, the expectation of the SPLs will mature enough to control the meetings. Maturity means the scouts and adults respecting each other as equal partners in the program. Something that just can't be said, but practiced until attitudes and habits of respect are developed in both groups. In reality, very few parents can just switch off their parent roles the day they become a troop leader. Same goes with new scouts, adults hold a level of respect that is hard to get past without some practice. Both need time to mold into a trust relationship. 

I also agree that a large portion (at least 50/50) of the SM's responsibilities are to train and guide the adults for their side of the program. 

One other thing, I realize that our program was 100 scouts strong when I left as SM, a troop of 20 scouts could be a different discussion. 

Barry

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8 minutes ago, mds3d said:

Other than YP, which could be satisfied by having two adults in the same building as the meeting but doing something else, what is the goal of having an ASM at the meeting?

The goal is to work himself out of a job!

My particular goal has been to increase the confidence of younger scouts from the troop who we merged with. I hate to say it, but after the merger, my older scouts weren't the best SPL/ASPL The scouts before them (who, pre-merger, comprised a much smaller and more tight-knit group) made it look easy. Not as much needed to be communicated, so the next-in-line didn't see role models of good communicators. Meanwhile, the new CC (bless his heart) was super-organized and didn't have a great vision of how to let scouts take up the tasks that he was so good at doing. Add to that a lot of changing of SM's back-and-forth, and it was really hard for SPL/ASPL's to find their place.

I then started feeding the boys leaders' handbooks and becoming their cheerleader ... not so much to them, but to the committee. To do this successfully, I needed to have an ear on the PLC so I could tell the adults how much I've been hearing good thing from this batch of leaders. We now have a cadre of boys who are now pretty forthright with the outgoing and incoming SMs about what they'd like (and not like) to accomplish. It  seems to me that the new SM is capable of having good working relationships with the current SPL and any of the boys likely to be elected as SPL.

I am very hesitant to have other ASM's sit on PLC's for training purposes. There's a fine line between cheering for scouts and speaking for scouts. I cross it regularly enough that I don't want add other adults to the mix. On the other hand, if the ASM is very likely to be the next SM, maybe a well-oiled PLC would like him/her to see the ropes before the SM relinquishes his position.

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1 hour ago, mds3d said:

Other than YP, which could be satisfied by having two adults in the same building as the meeting but doing something else, what is the goal of having an ASM at the meeting?

To make sure they know what is going on, and to help guide the patrol leaders for whom the ASMs are the patrol advisers.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Eagledad said:

I think you are right. Including the ASMs in the PLC meeting could work in a mature program where the adults and scouts understand their place. Adults have some good ideas based from experience, and sometimes getting the information first hand would remove a level of communication bureaucracy. But, the meetings would require a mature SPL confident enough to not be intimidated by the adults' respected stature. That maturity doesn't require the SPL to be confident in running a meeting, but confident enough to engage with the adult in a mature friendly manner. That level of confidence requires some development of the program.

The "No ASMs" allowed meetings are generally a reaction to bad experiences, it certainly was with ours. But, as the program matures, the expectation of the SPLs will mature enough to control the meetings. Maturity means the scouts and adults respecting each other as equal partners in the program. Something that just can't be said, but practiced until attitudes and habits of respect are developed in both groups. In reality, very few parents can just switch off their parent roles the day they become a troop leader. Same goes with new scouts, adults hold a level of respect that is hard to get past without some practice. Both need time to mold into a trust relationship. 

I also agree that a large portion (at least 50/50) of the SM's responsibilities are to train and guide the adults for their side of the program. 

One other thing, I realize that our program was 100 scouts strong when I left as SM, a troop of 20 scouts could be a different discussion. 

Barry

Totally agree. Which is why the SM needs to be strong in youth led, so he is able to step in and guide the adults and SPL. He needs to be able to gently push back on the ASM and nudge forward the SPL until both parties understand the dynamic. 

It is an awesome thing when it works like it should. I had 2 SM's from other troops come to me at an event and suggest we do something together. I told them it sounded good, but that was the SPLs call. The SM's went to SPL, who said it sounded good and he would be glad to talk to their SPL's to see if they could work something out, but he did not commit. The SM's came back to me and told me the SPL would not work with them. I asked what he said, and because it was both appropriately worded and youth led, I told them I backed him 100% and they should probably have their SPLs talk to mine. A while latter the SPLs from those troops came to see me, I pointed them to my SPL. The poor SPLs looked bewildered. The three SPLs decided it was not really what they wanted to do as a group. But they did agree to do some other things. 

A while latter the 2 SM's and 2 SPL came back. The older of the two SM's told me that what they decided was not what they wanted to do. I asked all the SPL's what they had decided, which was NOT what the SM's wanted. I asked the SPL if what they decided was what they wanted to do. It was.  I told the SM's we would do what the SPL's decided, not what the SM's decided. 

The older SM called me lazy, pointing out that I had not moved from my chair during this whole process, while he had be going back and forth trying to make plans. He then stormed off with the younger SM in tow. My SPL asked if he had done something wrong. I had a long talk with him explaining that he ad done everything the way it should have been done, but some people don't see it that way. He commented "I guess they just don't get it."

 

Edited by HelpfulTracks
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