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Scouter4Family

SM dividing the troop in need of opinion

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Our SM’s last son in scouts is now HS age and I think the SM is on his way out after his son eagles, I do not know his plan because he will not communicate plans with anyone. My issue is that the SM has been organizing Merit badges classes for only his son and friends which is 5-6 scouts out of 40 in the troop. He is making high adventure plans with only that same group of scouts, then tells the rest of the troop they can go to the same base but choose a different adventure (1 week vs 2 week trek) on a separate itinerary.  I feel like since the SM is on his way out (unconfirmed) he doesn’t care as much about the rest of troop. There has been a huge division in the troop the last year from all of this among other things.  I guess I am looking for some opinions on the situation because I don’t want to overreact. Should I just sit back and let it all continue and not raise tensions more or should I take some things into my own hands and help the younger scouts pursue merit badges and rank via other routes?  Should we “tag along” on these high adventure camps or should I get a vote from the rest of the eligible scouts in the troop on where they would like to go and help them get there?  I wish I could offer more input on SM plans but he is very bad about not responding to texts and emails, if you engage in person he will dance around the question and then eventually just walk away. 

 

Thanks in advance for input. 

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As an interest point, what (if any other than an interested parent) is your role with the troop?

Though it does not always tend to work this way, The Scoutmaster is selected and recruited by the troop committee and approved by the chartered organization representative.  If there is an issue (perceived or real) that is the place to begin.  Challenge is many times the committee and COR are not directly involved in the troop operations.  But that is a place to start with your concerns.

I would not recommend the talking to other parents, generating some groundswell of support for your positions, sort of going the back door route.  If you have concerns, speak with the committee and be open about them.

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That's a shame. Well, the part about the SM breaking away slowly. What you're doing is good and asking questions is a good way to start.
No, I don't think you should sit back and let it happen. I also don't think you should jump in and solve the problem right now.

Let's take a brief survey of what the troop is doing right. How many campouts and service projects do you have a year? What's the participation level? Does the SPL really run the meetings or does he just do as some adult says? Do patrol leaders lead their patrols or do they just handle communication and paperwork?

You've mentioned two problems, high adventure trips and merit badge classes. Anything else? How does the SM interact with younger scouts? Is the program set up for all of the scouts?

Are there any parents not a part of the group of 5-6 that are active ASM's? If no, that's a bigger problem then what you have here. If so, how many? What do those parents of younger scouts feel about this? To @Jameson76's point that you shouldn't make waves for now, right now I'd suggest listening more than talking. Learn as much as you can before making any decisions.

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20 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

As an interest point, what (if any other than an interested parent) is your role with the troop?

ASM

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31 minutes ago, Scouter4Family said:

Our SM’s last son in scouts is now HS age and I think the SM is on his way out after his son eagles, I do not know his plan because he will not communicate plans with anyone. My issue is that the SM has been organizing Merit badges classes for only his son and friends which is 5-6 scouts out of 40 in the troop. He is making high adventure plans with only that same group of scouts, then tells the rest of the troop they can go to the same base but choose a different adventure (1 week vs 2 week trek) on a separate itinerary.  I feel like since the SM is on his way out (unconfirmed) he doesn’t care as much about the rest of troop. There has been a huge division in the troop the last year from all of this among other things.  I guess I am looking for some opinions on the situation because I don’t want to overreact. Should I just sit back and let it all continue and not raise tensions more or should I take some things into my own hands and help the younger scouts pursue merit badges and rank via other routes?  Should we “tag along” on these high adventure camps or should I get a vote from the rest of the eligible scouts in the troop on where they would like to go and help them get there?  I wish I could offer more input on SM plans but he is very bad about not responding to texts and emails, if you engage in person he will dance around the question and then eventually just walk away. 

 

Thanks in advance for input. 

That SM needs to start a Venturing Crew.

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36 minutes ago, Scouter4Family said:

Should we “tag along” on these high adventure camps or should I get a vote from the rest of the eligible scouts in the troop on where they would like to go and help them get there?  

Let each patrol get together and decide for themselves.  They don't need either you or the scoutmaster to do this.  Once they decide, suggest that they take their plans to the committee.

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41 minutes ago, MattR said:

Let's take a brief survey of what the troop is doing right. How many campouts and service projects do you have a year? What's the participation level? Does the SPL really run the meetings or does he just do as some adult says? Do patrol leaders lead their patrols or do they just handle communication and paperwork?

Yes sir, there is a lot of good things happening here. Everything you mentioned here has been good for us. The only bad thing I am seeing is this; The separation in the troop is new and since it’s been happening the older scouts have been getting accustomed to being separate and in turn their leadership towards the younger scouts has been lacking. 

 

46 minutes ago, MattR said:

How does the SM interact with younger scouts? Is the program set up for all of the scouts?

SM is good with younger scouts. Program is set up for all scouts but it is leading to be more set up for older scouts unless I stand up for the needs of the younger scouts in the capacity of not letting 6 scouts decide everything for the group of 40, which could potentially cause some drama. 

 

54 minutes ago, MattR said:

Are there any parents not a part of the group of 5-6 that are active ASM's? If no, that's a bigger problem then what you have here. If so, how many?

No, I am the only parent not part of the 5-6 that is a ASM. There is 2 other ASM parents in the group. 

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44 minutes ago, perdidochas said:

That SM needs to start a Venturing Crew

You are probably right!  However, part of me hopes it doesn’t happen because I am hoping to do that when both of my kids are old enough and I don’t think there is room for 2 crews in my town. Lol. But that would be a good thing for that group of older scouts. 

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This "seperation" seems to be a common occurance for our troop. As the SM gets closer to  the end he tries to make sure the scouts he has worked with for many years get the Eagle MBs needed and that the older scouts get a break from the young ones.

This is where the "mid" scouts need to decide what HA they want to do and how they want the troop to be run. The 12-14 year olds should forget about what the older scouts are doing and build their own adventure. The SM and ASM should be fully supportive and help the mid scouts start taking ownership of the troop.

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40 minutes ago, David CO said:

Let each patrol get together and decide for themselves.  They don't need either you or the scoutmaster to do this.  Once they decide, suggest that they take their plans to the committee.

Yes,  correct.   Currently they are being told where we are going because the 5-6 scouts decided a destination....so in order for them to think they have a choice, an adult leader would need to step in and give them that choice I think.  unfortunately, this could cause some tension.  Or I could just sit back and let it happen.  I was thinking of making packets for each high adventure camp (including current plan) and let them decide/vote/work it out and then come to us.  If all high adventure crews will be on separate itineraries Then I personally don’t see an issue with offering a different camp all together. I was just wanting opinions before I decided to open up that can of worms. 

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47 minutes ago, TMSM said:

This "seperation" seems to be a common occurance for our troop. As the SM gets closer to  the end he tries to make sure the scouts he has worked with for many years get the Eagle MBs needed and that the older scouts get a break from the young ones.

This is where the "mid" scouts need to decide what HA they want to do and how they want the troop to be run. The 12-14 year olds should forget about what the older scouts are doing and build their own adventure. The SM and ASM should be fully supportive and help the mid scouts start taking ownership of the troop.

I like this POV. Thanks!  Just letting it happen and rolling with the punches as you have done and let the groups that got separated “create their own adventure” is an excellent way to look at it. We would just need a few more ASM and a little more communication I think.

Edited by Scouter4Family

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3 hours ago, Scouter4Family said:

Currently they are being told where we are going because the 5-6 scouts decided a destination....so in order for them to think they have a choice, an adult leader would need to step in and give them that choice I think. 

or...they could elect 5 or 6 youth leaders who will listen to them.  They do have unit elections, don't they?

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@David CO true statement.  Yes, we do unit elections. The problem is that this group of 5-6 scouts returned from a high adventure camp along with ASM and SM and while they were on the trip they decided where we were going next, and an email was sent out to all the parents from SM stating where we were going next, in this case new leadership wouldn’t help.SM overstepped the “youth led” boundary. 

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This isn't a parent problem. The scouts on the "outside" need to speak up for whatever adventure they want to do. If they aren't listened to, they may call for elections. Then they can see what it's like to pick an adventure that only a half dozen of them will commit to.

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You should discuss this directly and privately with the SM and the CC.  As an ASM, you should be in tight coordination / discussion with the SM.  It sounds like you are not.  Perhaps he has a vision or plans that are not well coordinated between himself (SM) and the other ASMs.  

From what I read, a lot could be interpreted as a good program depending on other items.  Personally, I would expect ...

  • Older scouts need a more challenging program.  Higher adventures.  This often needs to be done separate from programs good for the 10-14 year old scouts.
  • PLC and SM has a responsibility to plan a robust program for everyone.  This may mean older scouts doing one thing and younger scouts doing others.  It could even mean PLC asking each patrol to plan their own adventures ... it really depends.  Personally, I've mainly seen older patrols add to enrich their experience, but leave the younger stranded without a rich program.  
  • CC and committee have responsibility to make sure PLC and SM are doing their jobs for the whole troop.  And they approve the calendar.  Not plan, but approve.  
  • Younger scouts do NOT necessarily need older scouts to "lead" them during camp outs, etc.  Often the younger scouts grow the most by trying to lead without the older scouts around.  Don't equate age with good leadership.  

IMHO, it sounds like you may just need to coordinate perception with the scoutmaster.  He might also be looking to step down and the next SM to show commitment.  Personally, this a good opportunity ... if coordinated well with SM and PLC etc ... to affect the calendar to put good ideas on for the whole troop (i.e. the younger scouts).  ... It sounds like the SM essentially make the request ... I'd take him up on it. 

 

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