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DoxManDude

As an adult, what about my ideas?

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I'm new to Scouting but I'm reading the literature and reading forums such as this one. Sounds best to let the boys run the program, okay. But I'm also a believer in active participation. I make observations and I have ideas. So should I sit by the door and keep my mouth shut?

Numerous examples... The meetings are full and chaotic and then a game starts. Signing off on requirements gets sidelined. Advancement is sluggish, but not because the guys aren't ready. We could create some space for signing off requirements. Should I keep my mouth shut?

We live in an area with an abundance of natural beauty. The native plants are awesome and I know all about them and I love them. But the Scout leaders don't know that a day hike to go observe native plants is an option. So I piped up and suggested it, got five guys, we went out and did it. Plus I told them they could now teach it to their fellow Scouts so I've seeded them as teachers. We had a great day out, they loved it and learned it and got a requirement signed off. Should I have kept my mouth shut?

I could go on. We have no unit t-shirt. We could have a unit t-shirt. Other units have t-shirts. Let's have a unit t-shirt. Do I keep my mouth shut? National Trails Day is coming up, we could go help build a trail, would be great service hours, fun, hard labor in the outdoors. Do I keep my mouth shut? They keep playing the same game over and over. Its bound to get stale and there are lots of other games. Mouth shut?

Please advise.

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By all means make the suggestions to the boys.   Preferably through the chain of command (SPL).  If they want to go along with your ideas fine.  If you want to suggest ways they could implement the ideas, fine also.   You don't want to do all the work for them.  How much work the boys will be able to do on their own varies from SPL to SPL.

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First question I have, are you a leader of the troop? whats your position.  Depending on what role you play will determine how your interact.

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Committee, Advancement Chair. I did complete my Scoutmaster training and I would like to be ASM and the troop needs a deeper bench but they need me on Committee too. Troop is not huge, 15 guys on a good night.

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Posted (edited)
42 minutes ago, DoxManDude said:

I'm new to Scouting but I'm reading the literature and reading forums such as this one. Sounds best to let the boys run the program, okay. But I'm also a believer in active participation. I make observations and I have ideas. So should I sit by the door and keep my mouth shut?

Please advise.

Well, this sounds like, hey the scouts need to run the program, but I want to have fun too.

I'm short for time, but I think you are missing one very import part of the program; everything is about scout growth. The adults fit in where the program produces negative growth, otherwise the program is likely ok. Now that doesn't mean adults can't have fun or ideas, but the adults have to consider getting those ideas into the scouts program without becoming intrusive to scout growth. 

I'm not saying you can't, I'm just saying the picture is more complicated than you're describing. 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad

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43 minutes ago, DoxManDude said:

I'm new to Scouting but I'm reading the literature and reading forums such as this one. Sounds best to let the boys run the program, okay. But I'm also a believer in active participation. I make observations and I have ideas. So should I sit by the door and keep my mouth shut?

I often share my ideas with my son.  If he's gung-ho about something, he'll tell his friends and they'll back him up when he brings it to the PLC or to the next troop planning meeting. I'll then be happy to "volunteer" to be part of the 2-deep leadership to make the activity happen.

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19 minutes ago, DoxManDude said:

Committee, Advancement Chair. I did complete my Scoutmaster training and I would like to be ASM and the troop needs a deeper bench but they need me on Committee too. Troop is not huge, 15 guys on a good night.

Interesting.  In our troop, the SM and ASMs are not "on" the committee. We'll sometimes attend the meetings, but we don't vote on things or participate in boards of review, like committee members do.

I can certainly understand why a small troop (or one without good parent involvement) might need to do things differently.  I wonder what's "normal"...

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7 minutes ago, mrkstvns said:

In our troop, the SM and ASMs are not "on" the committee.

Nor in our Troop. The SM and ASMs are not on committee. Scoutmaster corps and committee are separate. So, Ive done the SM training but Im not an ASM. Im on committee.

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10 minutes ago, mrkstvns said:

Interesting.  In our troop, the SM and ASMs are not "on" the committee. We'll sometimes attend the meetings, but we don't vote on things or participate in boards of review, like committee members do.

I can certainly understand why a small troop (or one without good parent involvement) might need to do things differently.  I wonder what's "normal"...

From the Guide to Advancement:

8.0.0.3 Composition of the Board of Review

A board of review must consist of no fewer than three members and no more than six, all of whom must be at least 21 years of age. For further specifications, see “Particulars for Tenderfoot Through Life Ranks,” 8.0.2.0, and “Particulars for the Eagle Scout Rank,” 8.0.3.0. Unit leaders and assistants shall not serve on a board of review for a Scout in their own unit. Parents, guardians, or relatives shall not serve on a board for their child. The candidate or the candidate’s parent(s) or guardian(s), or relative(s) shall have no part in selecting any board of review members.

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Random comments

  • Fresh energy and new ideas can re-invigorate a program.  They should always be welcome.
  • Bull in a china shop.  You run the risk of alienating other adults.   Watch your relationships with the other adults and other scouts.  Sometimes you need to build your investment in the troop before others are open to your ideas.  I'm not saying that's your situation.  I'm just saying many a parent has been ostracized for not getting building solid relationships with other adult leaders.  
  • Scouting is a subtle program.  You might want to observe to see if there is method in the madness.  Often it's not about the number of MBs that a scout earns.  It's about the growth of the scout.  
  • There are other ways to promote your ideas.  Example is my last son took many years to get even tenderfoot.  His personality and how the troop leaders worked did not lend itself to him advancing or even accomplishing anything at all.  So, we found MB fairs and district activities and other.  He would participate and be on his own.  I just looked for other opportunities to keep him involved.  
  • Maybe have your son offer to his PL leader / PL that you could coordinate a flower learning hike.  Or a MB.  Or ....  Just be careful to not step on the program other adults are running.  

Have fun.  Scouting is a great program.  My personal view is worry less about the perfect program or the perfect troop and focus more on getting the scouts out doing things.  

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@DoxManDude, welcome to the forums.

No matter our position, the trick is to get it to be the youth's idea and go from there.

You need to focus on priorities. Based on your description, here's where I'd rank things high vs. low:

High

  • You know native plants? Become a counselor for wilderness survival, plant science, environmental science, or nature. Think of "packages" of activities you can offer the boys, and give them your list on paper -- a copy for each patrol. Make it real formal and start with "Dear Patrol Leaders, I can offer you the following ... " When camping/hiking with the boys, pick some edibles for your meal or a snack.
  • Asking your PLs, "What's the plan?" Is fair game. If the answer is nothing particular, informing them that, In the process of "you doing you", you are going to do X at time Y ... that's fair game, too.
  • As an MC you sit on boards of reviews. Be asking scouts (especially PL's) what they'd like to do next. Ask PL's how their scouts are doing, and what was the last requirement that they taught and helped them sign off. Ask if there's a particular requirement that all of the boys need.
  • Teaching scouts to teach. Ask the SM's if they have set aside time for teaching ILST trianing. Ask an older scout to lead each chapter. Provide Lunch.
  • Get your committee in shape so they can pay for PL's to go to NYLT training.

Low

  • t-Shirts. Don't need them. You have field uniforms. Do you have a patch collection? Empty it by giving the scouts who show up in uniform to outdoor activities a patch from your collection. Reserve your best patches for the sharpest dressed scouts; and your very best for scouts with permanent stains in their uni or patches that look like they sewed them on themselves.
  • National Trails Day. See above about giving them a list. But, respect if they've planned a different activity on that day.
  • The same game. Some scouts pride them selves on perfecting one particular game. The important thing is: does it look like certain scouts are being left out? Do those scouts need a different game? Can you and another leader start one and play it with them until the boys start a round on their own?

Bottom line: Actions speak louder than words, so speak loudly with your mouth shut.

  • Upvote 2

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1 hour ago, qwazse said:

Bottom line: Actions speak louder than words, so speak loudly with your mouth shut.

I've never heard that quote before, but I like it. A lot.

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1 hour ago, DoxManDude said:

We could create some space for signing off requirements. Should I keep my mouth shut?

Well, you can ask the scouts on this one. But games are fun and that's important. This is a volunteer organization for adults and scouts. This means everyone has to be getting something out of it that they want. For scouts, that means a certain amount of fun. For adults, sometimes it means wanting to make things more efficient. Scouts get enough of that at school.

1 hour ago, DoxManDude said:

We had a great day out, they loved it and learned it and got a requirement signed off. Should I have kept my mouth shut?

Nope, that idea is great. This is a case of you having a lot of expertise at something you enjoy doing. "They loved it" it is good. Now, it might have been better to get the PLC's buy in before setting this up.

3 hours ago, DoxManDude said:

Let's have a unit t-shirt. Do I keep my mouth shut?

Our troop tends to do this by the committee. But maybe getting some scouts to take this on might be a good way to give them something they own. Maybe not ordering shirts but coming up with a design. My troop has had some great shirts that the scouts have designed.

3 hours ago, DoxManDude said:

National Trails Day is coming up, we could go help build a trail, would be great service hours, fun, hard labor in the outdoors. Do I keep my mouth shut?

Again, you can give the scouts the idea, but I'd leave it to them. Offer to help organize it but it should be their call on program. If the scouts do no service then that's a different story.

3 hours ago, DoxManDude said:

They keep playing the same game over and over. Its bound to get stale and there are lots of other games. Mouth shut?

Yep. You can ask them if they're bored with the game. But when they say no, let them be. It will eventually happen, don't worry.

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"Let's have a unit t-shirt. Do I keep my mouth shut?"

Compare:

 

"Let's have a unit t-shirt."

"Have you [PLC] ever considered selecting a troop T-shirt?  It's up to you."

 

 

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