Jump to content
TimB

Motivating a Crew in pandemic

Recommended Posts

Motivating boys for a normal HA trek has its own challenges. I wonder if anyone is also dealing with new challenges in these uncertain times.

1. I am an adult leader going with my son. We are the only ones from our Troop, joining another Troop that has 5 boys and 1 leader. I never met these other 5 boys before a few months ago. 

2. Other boys are not attending group workout hikes, not scheduling 7 hours of conservation time for 50 miler, not creating duty roster, etc. Other leader tells me the other boys "just want to go camping at Philmont." That other leader is fully into it, worked hard to lose weight and prepare. The boys selected the shortest possible trek, with ATV involvement. Only 51 miles total over 12 days. My boy is trying to figure out how to break away and still climb Baldy. Ha. He saw the map and realized that's not a day hike from a southern trek. 

3. The other leader and his son will already be out in NM when we arrive, so I am traveling with the other 4 boys and my son to get there. 

4. I am getting anxious in that I want to see that the boys are all physically prepared for this ("My boy does Cross Country, this should be easy," is not the answer I accept, but I'm the odd adult who is not in the main Troop.). I want to see that they packed properly and have necessary skills (for our shakedown hike, the other 5 forgot lighters, didn't bring enough water, had light packs, nobody shared tents, had to be taught the taut line hitch, and one brought a hammock). I've bought the Southern Philmont maps for all, but the other boys don't want to see it. 

5. The Crew Leader, Chaplains Aid, Leave No Trace boys are all part of that other 5. 

6. I suspect that the boys don't want to go - as opposed to want to not go. They aren't in my Troop and I don't know the families. But my gut is many are hoping it gets cancelled and are passively avoiding any real prep. 

So, do I back off and let them learn from any mistakes? DO I hold off until June 1 when a "go decision" becomes more of a reality? Is the 12-1 ATV trek so easy that any 6 healthy 16 and 17 year olds can do it, so pushing them won't matter? Do I push them with the understanding that I hold no past or future leadership in their Troop? If I push them and Philmont gets cancelled, do I feed into a mindset that adults are just stupid and the boys banking on a cancellation were right all along?

Yes, I'm looking for a little group therapy here. The other adult going is terrific and will be ready, but how can we best make sure the boys are ready? Tell me to back off or provide advice to help all of our crew have a great trek. 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Crew members that have different expectations because they come from different troops is exactly the reason we said no to 2 scouts wanting to join our trek. We are still locked down so no chance we can workout together but maybe your region is different. 

We have been doing gear/pack checks via Zoom and hoping that everyone is working hard at being ready so its great you can at least meet in person. Have you worked on bear bag hanging? Philmont cooking method? 

56 miles over 12 days is 5 on average so you should not have too many issues.

 

 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

My therapy advice to you would be relax, you're worried and thinking and planning a lot for it, they're not, and they're probably right.  You have the age and experience to understand how many things could go wrong, how hard it could be for you personally, and how challenging it could be for everyone; they have the invincibility of youth, and believe, again probably correctly, that they'll be fine and everything will go right.  

"My son does cross country this should be easy" is an objectively accurate statement.  Any reasonably fit teenager with good boots will be able to handle the trek you're describing.

Now here's the really hard thing you should prepare yourself for --- you're not in charge, this isn't your adventure, and how you and the other adult think it should be conducted once you're there is irrelevant.  This is the scouts' trek.  How they want to do it is what counts.  Your son is a part of that decision making, but you are not.  Some of the most challenged and disputatious crews I've seen are those with an adult or adults who have an idea of the right way to do things that is different than the scouts'.  You may think the right way to do it is to be up before dawn, on the trail early, and pushing hard as you go through the day.  But it's not up to you, and if your scouts want to sleep a little later, be the last crew out of each station, and take their time goofing and laughing rather than pushing to that day's destination than THAT'S WHAT THEY SHOULD DO.  The mental challenge for you is to plan now for relaxing yourself through that possibility so that you're not miserable the whole time because you think they're doing it wrong.

I don't know, and you don't know, and truth be told they don't know, how they're going to decide to conduct their trek.  The best mental preparation you can do, for yourself and them, is to Be Prepared to have as your top priority and your goal just enjoying the time you spend with them as they decide how to do things.  There is no right way or wrong way as long as it's their way, and remember you're just along for the ride (or walk as the case may be).

As for prepping in the face of the very real possibility that the trek might be cancelled, that's challenging even for adults, for teenagers doubly so.  The harder you train for something the deeper will be the disappointment when you can't do it.  Backing off on the training is part of a natural protective mechanism to ameliorate the pain of that disappointment.

Edited by T2Eagle
  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks. That does help. And frankly it is not even boys from my own Troop. I should back off and just make sure I'm ready and that I'm here to answer any questions from my own son. I do wish that another adult was going with me as we fly 5 of the boys out to Philmont. Or that someone would help them make sure they have everything in their pack. While my son wants the 50 miler award, we can't get that if the crew won't do the 7 service hours ahead of time. 

Thinking ahead, if a boy has to drop out while on the trek, does an adult need to go with him? Or can we leave him with the Staff and continue on with the other boys?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I understand your frustration, but you really don’t have much influence over Scouts that are not a part of your Troop. Preparing yourself and your son are really all you can do, and hope that the other scouts show up in reasonable shape and spirits. Most scouts should not have a significant problem with the physical effort at Philmont - it’s usually the adults that are the problem and it sounds like you and the other adult are doing all you can.

You are correct in that your trek is the “shortest” that Philmont offers in terms of mileage, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the easiest. You guys are climbing up and over Mt Phillips with full packs into a dry camp. That alone will take some planning on the part of the scouts to have the necessary water carrying capacity. You might touch base with your other adult and see if they have planned for that issue.

About your question concerning a scout coming off the trail - a lot would depend on why the scout is being evacuated of course. A scout with a twisted ankle might be fine at base camp without an adult, but a more serious injury would definitely pull one of the adults off the trail. If that were to happen, your crew would probably get folded in with your sister crew so that the 2-deep leadership could be maintained until the second adult returns. 

CB 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@TimB as others said, you have little control in an HA aside from making yourself fit for anything that will come your way. And, given the behavior of this crew as a whole, you might be dealing with scouts who haven't even maintained their boots ... let alone their bodies.

Ideally, right now, your scout (I'm not using "son," because at this point you need to detach yourself from your knowledge of his aspirations, emotions, etc ...) needs to be touching base with the other scouts every week or so. He needs to be the cheerleader, promoter, joke-teller ... whatever suits his personality. Selfies with his gear are in order. A socially distanced hike or service project is in order. (Online shakedown!) Anything that could be for the good of the group ... challenge him to think of it and put himself out there.

I cobbled together a Seabase Bahamas crew from three different regions. There was a lot about that that was not perfect. But, there were things that went very very well. Building of a scouting fellowship among venturers was one of them. My WSJ troop was actually a lot harder to prepare because we had scouts from a dozen troops with different cultures. Worse, in their own troop they were pegged in one role, but in our troop that was irrelevant. Fortunately, most of the challenges happened via one or two scouts a day, so as leaders we could work through them. I talked to the advisor from the one crew in our region, and he said it was even tougher because his Sea Scouts and Venturers had few days of storming.

I've debriefed enough Philmont crews to know that they face the same problems. The fittest, most well equipped boys will have a less than perfect time if they haven't learned to love one another. That scout spirit has to be the first thing in the backpack!

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


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

@TimB as others said, you have little control in an HA aside from making yourself fit for anything that will come your way. And, given the behavior of this crew as a whole, you might be dealing with scouts who haven't even maintained their boots ... let alone their bodies.

Ideally, right now, your scout (I'm not using "son," because at this point you need to detach yourself from your knowledge of his aspirations, emotions, etc ...) needs to be touching base with the other scouts every week or so. He needs to be the cheerleader, promoter, joke-teller ... whatever suits his personality. Selfies with his gear are in order. A socially distanced hike or service project is in order. (Online shakedown!) Anything that could be for the good of the group ... challenge him to think of it and put himself out there.

I cobbled together a Seabase Bahamas crew from three different regions. There was a lot about that that was not perfect. But, there were things that went very very well. Building of a scouting fellowship among venturers was one of them. My WSJ troop was actually a lot harder to prepare because we had scouts from a dozen troops with different cultures. Worse, in their own troop they were pegged in one role, but in our troop that was irrelevant. Fortunately, most of the challenges happened via one or two scouts a day, so as leaders we could work through them. I talked to the advisor from the one crew in our region, and he said it was even tougher because his Sea Scouts and Venturers had few days of storming.

I've debriefed enough Philmont crews to know that they face the same problems. The fittest, most well equipped boys will have a less than perfect time if they haven't learned to love one another. That scout spirit has to be the first thing in the backpack!

Thanks for your comments. Good ones. Helping me to back off and get on with focusing on what I need to do for me. What happens for them is a result as to what they do for themselves. Like I would have never selected an external pack for my scout, but that's what he bought used from an army surplus store. He's thrilled with it. It's their stories to tell and I'm just there to make sure they don't get into danger. They all have the printed guides and same resources we have. I'll get to the airport July 6 and see who makes it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

@TimB, I'm completely tracking with your concerns.  In 2018, I worked non-stop to put a crew together for Philmont.  Sparing all of the details, we had 3 different crew number changes over time (long story), I went from associate advisor, to advisor, back to associate.  We had the minimum crew permitted of adults and scouts from two different councils, three units.  All manner of heroic planning and such...then we know how it ended.  Season burned out two days from getting on the road.

A few thoughts:

- I'm familiar with the itinerary y'all selected.  As others have mentioned, it's a good one, and not that strenuous.  The key thing Philmont emphasizes:  the youth may struggle at first if they didn't train, but if they stick with it, they'll adjust quickly.  However, adults that arrive in poor shape will usually not be so fortunate.  Everything works against them.

- If a scout or an adult leaves the trail, there are two scenarios:

  -- Injury or illness that can be treated in a couple days:  Philmont ensures the individual receives medical treatment and is returned to the crew. 

  -- Can't (medical) or won't (motivation) rejoin their crew:  Philmont policy is for the individual to leave Philmont property as soon as possible--usually in the next 24 -48 hours.  There are no provisions for allowing the individual to remain in base camp until the crew returns (no volunteer program, etc.).  Adults departing early are advised by the logistics staff re shuttle, flight selection, etc.   If a minor is departing early, parents are contacted by Philmont logistics staff.  The parent must then buy a plane ticket, send the staffer the flight information, sign and return permission forms, pay for a shuttle, etc.   Youth returning home will be under the supervision of Philmont staff, following YPT, from the time they leave the trail till they board the aircraft.

  If this seems like a giant hassle--logistically, financially, emotionally--it is.  Especially if the individual simply decides to quit on the trail.  It's important that parents and youth understand the consequences of quitting (no refund, no Arrowhead patch).  Medical removal from the trail is another matter.  Yes, unfortunately they have to go home too, but if they completed their Philmont conservation project before the injury, they can at least still receive the Arrowhead patch.

  -- NOTE:  if a youth leaves the trail, an adult from the crew does not have to accompany the youth.  All youth, whether returning to the trail or awaiting travel to go home, live in infirmary tent center under the strict supervision of the medical staff.  And by strict, I mean strict.  Their activities will be monitored every minute.  Up at 5 AM to scrub the showers and toilets, mass movement to meals, no lying around the tents, etc.  No ambling around base camp.  Adults going home or under treatment stay in the infirmary tent city as well (separate tent area from youth).  Though they have more freedom of movement, they still have to sign in/out, do work details, go to bed at curfew etc.  On the day of departure, youth are supervised by two logistics staffers from infirmary tent center to the airport.  Staff will coordinate airline check in, security, and stay at the boarding gate until the airline confirms the aircraft has taken off and is officially enroute. 

- A fellow swim team parent passed this gem to me several years ago:  "We can't pour our motivation into our kids' brains and hearts--they have to generate their own."  I think this is true for Philmont as well.  We provide the training, encouragement, and the best personal example possible.  Then it's up to them.  It's great that the vast majority will figure it out and complete the trek.

Please keep us posted--I wish you all the very best!

 

Edited by desertrat77
  • 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

×
×
  • Create New...