Jump to content
Cambridgeskip

A tale of two scouts

Recommended Posts

So last weekend I was on camp with my merry band of men and women and by the end of it two particular scouts had caught my attention, both for very different reasons. Both present things that need a little attention, and I have my ideas about what to do with both of them, but I thought I would see what the collective wisdom of this esteemed forum would through up. In both cases I was already aware of the issues but a weekend on camp really shone a light on them.

Just as a reminder our scout section in the UK runs 10-14 year olds so the troop is generally younger, worth remembering for dealing with things!


Scout number 1. 13 year old, female patrol leader. Quietly spoken. Genuinely nice kid. Been all the way through from a 6 year old beaver. Got made a PL at Easter on the recommendation of the PLs council. She's very competent, can look after herself, knows what she and everyone else needs to be doing. Has an absolute heart of gold. Trouble is that she find telling other people what to do very difficult. She's not making the classic new PL mistake of thinking that she needs to do it all herself, she knows she shouldn't be, it's just that she has told me she finds it awkward telling other people what they should be doing.

I have some ideas about how to help her do that (bearing in mind she's a 13 year old and not a cadet at Sandhurst!) but thought I'd forage elsewhere.

Scout number 2. Also 13 years old, but there the similarity ends. He's the total polar opposite of scout 1. Came into scouts aged 12, quite a gob on him. His problem is he's very much "me, me, me." He wants to do everything, but doesn't want to put the work in. On camp it was him doing the moaning when they were walking up from the station to the campsite, him that kept dodging his chores, him that had to be told multiple times by his PL and by me to do anything. Basically zero work ethic, zero team ethic. And the problem is we're now in a viscious circle, because he's annoyed the other kids and he's starting to get pushed out the gang. I tried having a word in his shell, explaining that he was winding up the other kids, but it didn't seem to sink in. When he did (briefly) pull his weight, he looked at me for approval, not the rest of the troop. He kind of missed the point.

Again, I have some ideas on how to tackle this but thought I'd see what you chaps think as well.

Actually one similarity between them, scout 1's dad is group treasurer, scout 2's mum is a troop assistant (essentially a regular parent helper).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Scout 1). How about starting with a duty roster? Everyone needs a job so she has to decide. She should also not give herself a job unless she's short scouts. It seems to me that scouts have a lot of trouble delegating because they don't want to rock the boat. We're all friends and nobody tells anyone what to do so I can't mess that up because then I won't have friends. Talk to her about servant leadership. It's not the evil boss. There's a time to play and a time to get work done. One of her jobs is to help her patrol get the work done faster so they can play more. She's not telling others what to do so much as helping them get back to having fun.

Scout 2). He did briefly pull his weight, so take that as a win even if he's looking to you for approval. Do that a couple of times and then work with his PL to take over your job. It sounds like just maybe this scout knows he's not making friends but doesn't understand how this works. As ridiculous as that sounds think of it from his view. He may never have pulled his weight before. He may only have people tell him how much he's screwed up. Some kids just don't know.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, MattR said:

Scout 1). How about starting with a duty roster?

I agree.   It's not nearly so hard for her to say "Have you checked the duty roster?" as it is for her to say "Please do X".     If the other scouts are good-natured about helping when needed, but simply not paying attention to when they need to do something, the PL making and posting a duty roster that fairly distributes the jobs might help.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Scout #1. Tell her to not think of it as "telling" so much as asking firmly. In fact here's an approach that I found worked for some scouts:

  • For scout stuff, get into the habit of addressing each member of your patrol formally, with titles. E.g. Mister/Miss Surname.
  • Each "command" begins with "Please" and ends with "Thank You". E.g., "Please get the fire started while Miss is getting our supplies. Thank you."
  • In other words, she needs a culturally appropriate language that frees her from worrying about things like pushing her friends around.
  • Make clear that you expect to see her demonstrate progress immediately, and emphasis your confidence that he can succeed if he tries.

Scout #2. You must arrange a brief conference with him.

  • Tell him that you observed particularly unhealthy behavior.
  • A scout is helpful. Ask him if he wants to be a scout?
  • Ask if he treats his parents this way. (I bet on some levels, he does.)
  • Chances are he'll
  • Tell him that if he wants to continue to be a scout, he'll to be helpful to his patrol ... both the one assigned by the troop, and the one assigned by the Almighty (i.e., his family).
  • Make clear that you expect to see him demonstrate progress immediately, and emphasis your confidence that he can succeed if he tries.

We'll worry about what happens to those scouts if they don't improve in short order.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/20/2019 at 3:04 AM, MattR said:

Scout 1). How about starting with a duty roster? Everyone needs a job so she has to decide. She should also not give herself a job unless she's short scouts. It seems to me that scouts have a lot of trouble delegating because they don't want to rock the boat. We're all friends and nobody tells anyone what to do so I can't mess that up because then I won't have friends. Talk to her about servant leadership. It's not the evil boss. There's a time to play and a time to get work done. One of her jobs is to help her patrol get the work done faster so they can play more. She's not telling others what to do so much as helping them get back to having fun.

Scout 2). He did briefly pull his weight, so take that as a win even if he's looking to you for approval. Do that a couple of times and then work with his PL to take over your job. It sounds like just maybe this scout knows he's not making friends but doesn't understand how this works. As ridiculous as that sounds think of it from his view. He may never have pulled his weight before. He may only have people tell him how much he's screwed up. Some kids just don't know.

A quick swing by to this thread, work has been a bit manic so I haven't been popping up much!

The chores rota I particularly like. It marries up with one of the other ideas I've given her which is to use props of some sort to draw attention away from her if she's finding it awkward. Small things like when water needs fetching pointing at the water butt. Similarly speaking to each member of the patrol individually rather than collectively, all about being effective without having to be the centre of attention, which I think is the root of the problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Cambridgeskip said:

the water butt

This has to be a British phrase. Is the water butt the one responsible for getting the water? My scouts will likely have a lot of fun with that one.

Anyway, a leader that rarely has to talk to everyone at once is probably the best kind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, MattR said:

This has to be a British phrase. Is the water butt the one responsible for getting the water? My scouts will likely have a lot of fun with that one.

A water butt is a large barrel that usually collects and stores rainwater. We have one attached to our rainwater down-pipe to harvest rainwater to put on the garden.

You know our section for 6-7 year olds is called Beavers right? We don't have any fun with that. Just an irrelevant aside. Ignore me. Ignore me especially when I tell you locally we used to have a mascot costume for that section. It's name was Big Beaver. I had to ask for volunteers to wear the costume once. I can't remember how I phrased the opportunity, but I'm sure no one laughed at all, no no. It did turn out I was also the right size for the costume, so had to spend a sweaty half hour inside Big Beaver. True story.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, ianwilkins said:

A water butt is a large barrel that usually collects and stores rainwater. We have one attached to our rainwater down-pipe to harvest rainwater to put on the garden.

We call those rain barrels. Anyway, I like my definition of water butt better. Of course, that's probably how we've butchered all sorts of your customs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
46 minutes ago, MattR said:

We call those rain barrels. ...

However, if once full, they are mounted to the stern of a tall ship and a scuttle is cut atop one so that a dipper can be used for dispensing, we still may still call it a scuttlebutt. Or at least that's what we call the gossip that starts when everyone gathers for their water ration!

Edited by qwazse

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, qwazse said:

However, if once full, they are mounted to the stern of a tall ship and a scuttle is cut atop one so that a dipper can be used for dispensing, we still may still call it a scuttlebutt. Or at least that's what we call the gossip that starts when everyone gathers for their water ration!

I learn some of the most fascinating trivia around here. My guess is scuttlebutt is a British phrase. So, now I know.

I was thinking it was originally the water mule, which changed to water ass, which was not scout like and changed to water butt.

But I still would rather see PL, APL, QM, Grub Master, Waterbutt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, MattR said:

I learn some of the most fascinating trivia around here. My guess is scuttlebutt is a British phrase. So, now I know.

By and large the British Navy I should think. The English language is chock-a-block with words and phrases that have gone into general use that started in the British Navy.

https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/nautical-phrases.html

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quick update on this one re scout 1.

 

We had a skills tournament tonight. Patrols rotated round various bases where they were given various tasks to carry out based on typical scout skills. Pitch a tent in under 10 minutes. Light a fire to burn through some string. That kind of thing.

The twist I tried was that the PLs had to be completely hands off. Couldn’t do anything. Only instruct.

She made a really good job of it. She tended to speak to the scouts individually and not try to address them altogether. It was interesting to see how she’s developed her own style of being quietly methodical compared to another PL who got the job at the same time as her and is a natural front man, never happier than when revelling in attention!

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×