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16 hours ago, ParkMan said:

Are you saying that because adults are discussing the policy implications of Scouting programming that those same people don't want Scouting to be fun for youth?

Discussing policy implications? Sometimes it seems a bit more intense than that.

Either way, it seems that just about every thread on this forum that goes on for more than a few pages follows a similar pattern. Start with a random topic. Talk about that for a page or two. Move off onto iterating between what was done wrong years ago and what should be done in the future until there are just a few people left and hope the thread dies before it gets personal. As long as people try and stay away from it getting personal it's fine with me but it just makes me wonder.

My son had a soccer coach that coached a U18 women's team that went to national level competitions and did well. I'd never have known it if he hadn't told me. he just wanted the 8 year olds he was coaching to have fun and improve, to find a life long joy in a simple but really challenging game. What he wanted for the kids was very simple and everyone could get behind it. He never worried about the last game played or any past the next one. Good clergy are the same. To them it's all about the joy of life.

I just talked to a scout for 2 hours about his experience as a scout so I could talk about it at his ECOH. At the end of the 2 hours I asked him what he got out of scouting. He said scouting reminded him of a quote which he kind of muddled through. I went and looked it up:

Quote

Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.    -Aristotle

He said scouting built his character because it was always there. If you had a problem to solve the oath and law were right there and you had to consider them. As a young scout he would ask himself what was the right thing for a scout to do, and then he'd try to do that. Years later he didn't need to ask himself anymore, he just knew. Then he asked me what I thought scouts was about and I told him he pretty much nailed it. That's the joy of scouting - watching a kid grow up. This scout also mentioned that there were a group of scouts that had a big impact on him, each in their own way. From my perspective, all of those scouts started off as really difficult. But they all grew up, just in time to influence this one scout to be a better person. My troop is by no means perfect. It has plenty of issues but for this scout and several others it worked well.

Do any of the policy implications we argue about have anything important to do with what scouting is at it's core? Is the arguing about the trees pulling us away from the joy of the forest? People have different experiences and different opinions on what works. I understand that and it's great to hear from everyone. But maybe we go too far when we assume someone else should do things the way we do. Maybe we should just leave it at different people have different experiences based on trying different things, and just encourage everyone to have fun and find a life long joy in a simple but challenging game.

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5 hours ago, yknot said:

Ugh. None that doesn't involve adult intervention, which is why I asked about guard rails when trying to be youth led. To some degree I think the traditional scout leadership system rewards the more articulate, self motivated, Type A scouts. The standard answer you will often get is more adult training in the patrol method is needed in order to properly train SPLs and Troop Guides, but in my neck of the woods there are so many disconnects in that process that the scouts are simply gone. If you are seeing it I do think it's worth a discussion with your SM to try and get him to have a discussion with the SPL and follow that whole chain of command back down. Another option is to have a side bar discussion with some of the Type B scouts about how they can try to be more assertive. Maybe others here have better advice. I did recommend a book here in another thread that really opened my eyes to the problems these more reserved scouts face and about how their leadership value is often completely overlooked, particularly in scouting: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain. 

You have hinted at the main role of the SM/ASM as the solution. SM conferences. For most, these are something done at the end of a rank. They are much more important. SMs should be conferencing with the scouts continuosly. This should almost always be in the form of questioning (Socratic Method) to help the scouts learn and grow. Using your example of type A scouts... The  situation should not go on until the Bs leave. Nor should the SM fix it, or attempt to intervene with a large group "talk". The SM needs to conference with the scouts individually (within YPT) to help the scouts learn and grow. The conferences will be different for each kid. Each should conclude with some action step the scout will attempt. Follow-up conferences in this type of situation is necessary to happen sooner than later.

With your food spoilage scenario, the SM should conference with the PL before the campout (best is soon after menu is planned) to go over logistics. Again using questioning. "Jimmy, I see you are planning on having bbq chicken. Sounds delish? Does your cook for that meal have much experience cooking chicken?" This begins a dialogue. There should also be a follow up conference before the campout to alleviate any concerns of the SM. And another after the campout to go over the trip as a whole. 

If that sounds like a ton of conferences, it is. That is why BP suggested small troops to accomplish them all. 

SM conferences are the bread&butter of the ongoing training via adult association with the scouts. As was mentioned earlier, it is an art. Training of ASMs happens via sitting in (listening/observing only) on the SM have these conferences and then dialogue between SM and ASM to discuss it. Also ASMs gain experience by conducting conferences (with SM listening/observing only), again with follow up dialogue.

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15 hours ago, Sentinel947 said:

BSA Scoutmaster training and Wood Badge is supposed to teach this balance, but it fails to.

Having gone through both recently, this is an absolutely true statement.  There was some discussion of the need to stand back and the need to let scouts fail/failure as a teacher, but that was a small part among a large swath of other material.  One person in my WB class mentioned that they’d taken back the lesson and in the weeks between weekend 1 and 2 gone from being a mostly adult led troop to a youth led one, because the amount of information provided, so that is evidence of “success” for extreme cases.  But I really think @ynot hits the crux of it:

8 hours ago, yknot said:

  I myself struggle with what the guard rails are. What is an acceptable mistake? If you don't store or cook your meat properly and make everyone sick, that is certainly a lesson learned but then that camp out has not been fun. A patrol where the Type A personalities constantly over  shout the Type B personalities until the Type B's eventually leave is maybe a lesson learned for the Type A's -- be overbearing enough and you'll eventually get your way -- but then we've lost some more reserved scouts who might have actually been the more scout like scouts and better leaders. In my reality, I don't see adults dealing well with this. They either overcompensate and take it all over or they are gleefully and completely hands off.

Failure of the scouts to successfully build a fire on a beautiful summer evening for the campfire is different from failure to build that exact same fire, on that exact same day on a polar bear campout.  Failure of a scout to bring enough clothes on a early spring outing is different than that same scout not doing so on a winter campout — which coupled with failure to build that same fire becomes an even bigger issue.  The food issues are another — the scout who forgot to bring the cookies that his/her patrol requested in menu planning is one thing but failure to do things in a food safe way, or forgetting the food allergies of the quiet scout (who maybe mentioned it once and thought they had been heard) is different.   There is also a line somewhere between Type A scouts being Type A scouts and Type B scouts being Type B where “overbearing” starts to look indistinguishable from bullying, and the consequences for a patrol or even troop could get much more serious... and so there is a responsibility to act there too, though no clarity where the line should be between “”let the kids continue to argue about the rules of kickball, perhaps with a reminder that A Scout is Friendly” and intervention.

The last line above hit home for me “They either overcompensate and take it all over or they are gleefully and completely hands off.”  In some cases the same thing is a safety issue where adult leaders should take over which in others they should let the scouts get wet and cold and miserable and come home from that campout talking about how much wet and cold and miserable taught them.  But it is easy to default to one end of the spectrum: “everything is a safety issue, so we must intervene” or “We are Scout led, and so one of the scouts should really think to call 911 at this point, since we have three with First Aid MB and two working on E. Prep right now.”  

The experienced folks will say “it depends.”  That “your experience will tell you how to thread the needle.”  Which is fundamentally the correct answer and also completely unhelpful to new leaders.  And telling them that they would do a better job if they were experienced Scouters with a capital S instead of newly entered leaders doesn’t help either.  So the real challenge is how to “teach” that — or at least give them some tangible examples to model like @ParkMan cited above — but I expect that would be difficult since it would require a BSA risk person and legal counsel to approve a training where the syllabus lays out “how cold is too cold for a scout to get” before an adult makes a fire for safety rather than letting them continue building a log cabin fire entirely out of all the matchsticks they’ve used in their attempt to get their own started.

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Regarding safety: there’s a whole lot boys can do on their own that won’t burn down the forest. Then, there’s the time when you have to empty your entire canteen because you come upon them lighting a little fire in the middle of a hike in a field of tall dry grass.

Regarding personalities. I started in the troop as pretty much type B. But soon learned that nobody else is up to start a fire at 5 am on a cold morning, and your patrol will like waking up to a warm fire, and might even start your breakfast for you when they see it. Well, getting a fire started on some cold wet mornings requires teamwork, so you learn right quick to tell your mates (sometimes the night before, sometimes while they’re standing there watching you sit on the cold ground working the tinder) to build a stash of kindling that you can use.

Personality types lose relevance over time when you’re one of 8 scouts situated 100 yards away from any other group.

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7 hours ago, yknot said:

Ugh. None that doesn't involve adult intervention, which is why I asked about guard rails when trying to be youth led. To some degree I think the traditional scout leadership system rewards the more articulate, self motivated, Type A scouts. The standard answer you will often get is more adult training in the patrol method is needed in order to properly train SPLs and Troop Guides, but in my neck of the woods there are so many disconnects in that process that the scouts are simply gone. If you are seeing it I do think it's worth a discussion with your SM to try and get him to have a discussion with the SPL and follow that whole chain of command back down. Another option is to have a side bar discussion with some of the Type B scouts about how they can try to be more assertive. Maybe others here have better advice. I did recommend a book here in another thread that really opened my eyes to the problems these more reserved scouts face and about how their leadership value is often completely overlooked, particularly in scouting: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain. 

There is one part in the discussion that is being missed, it's the culture that should guide everyone in the troop, not the adults. The Mission is to build moral and ethical decision makers using the Scout Law to guide them. Type A Scouts aren't rewarded more because the actions of their personality require less encouragement, introverts are rewarded equally because they are shaped by the culture of expectations for everyone's actions in the troop. If the expectations are to be servant to everyone (Scout Law), then the expectations for everyone are equal. I saw this over and over, when the need arises, the introvert steps up because that is expected of them in that moment. Introverts are always impressive because they appear to step out beyond their personality. But in reality, they are just doing what they've been watching what all the scouts are doing in the culture everyday.

Where training fails the adults is convincing them that what scouts SEE is what they learn. They don't have to be THE leader to turn learn the habits of leadership. If the Scouts see leadership over and over, that is how they will lead (give or take) when their moment arrives. Scouts don't need leadership training to lead because they will act as they have seen others actions. A mature troop requires little leadership development. Of course some scouts are just better leaders because they change their style by the reactions of their decisions. But, that is a personality behavior.

 I use leadership actions as an example, but the same idea works through all the culture. The scouts learn expectations of the culture (good decisions). If the adults encourage a  culture of expectations and accountability, the culture will teach and encourage the scouts to make better decisions. The culture is the "guards rails" not the adults. And it works very well when the adults encourage it.

Where the adults come back into the picture is when something unexpected challenges the expectations of the culture, then the mentor steps in and ask questions to push for a the brain to create a solution based on the scout law. Usually discipline for really bad decisions is what pops up. Bob threatened to Steve with his walking stick. How should we handle that. And, usually that happens with the SPL approaching the SM. "We had and incident that I need some help figuring out how to deal with it". My experience is that the program will eventually mature to a place that whatever the SPL brings will be a challenge to the adults. 

Scouting is called a safe place. Most adults take that as meaning that scouts are safe from predictors. But actually it means that scouts are safe to make bad decisions and learn from them. That means that adults have the attitude that bad decisions turn into good habits. Of course some bad decisions like intentionally trying to hurt another person has to be dealt with more appropriately, but I found that adults acting disappointed instead of acting angry is the best action in an environment where making bad choice is acceptable. My son once told me that the scouts would much rather I yelled than to act disappointed. I don't know why, but silence has a lot more power to correct.

My point of this post is to start thinking of how adults should encourage a culture of expectations with consequences that are based from intent of decisions. Honestly, the Scout Law is outstanding for doing that because each point is selfless action for bettering the other person. The Scout Law encourages a servant culture. A self serving decision becomes quite obvious in a servant culture.

Barry

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8 hours ago, MattR said:

Discussing policy implications? Sometimes it seems a bit more intense than that.

Either way, it seems that just about every thread on this forum that goes on for more than a few pages follows a similar pattern. Start with a random topic. Talk about that for a page or two. Move off onto iterating between what was done wrong years ago and what should be done in the future until there are just a few people left and hope the thread dies before it gets personal. As long as people try and stay away from it getting personal it's fine with me but it just makes me wonder.

OK - wasn't sure what you meant.  Yes, these threads do often get to be more than discussing policy implications.  For certain.

For what it's worth, I think you've skipped a stop between: "Start with a random topic. Talk about that for a page or two." and "Move off onto iterating between what was done wrong years ago and what should be done in the future".  That step is start complaining about various groups and Scouting as a whole today.  If I look at this thread, we started with a pretty normal set of questions about Wood Badge.  Then, after the course it turned into complaints about the course.  Then about why Wood Badge isn't a good course.  The about how Scouting messed up when they created the most recent course.  Then why did Scouting mess up the course.  As they say, the rest is history...  

I like your positive vision for the future.

I do wonder if some of this is just natural team dynamics.  As I read your comment, I couldn't help but think of the stages of team development from Wood Badge - forming, storming, norming, performing.  I wonder how much of this is the Scouter community working through something that.  We discuss a topic and after the pleasantries, people's real opinions start to come out.  The thread can then spiral for a few days while people battle a bit.  After a bit people either get frustrated and walk away or they realize that those they are battling with are not so awful.  Then some more deep down discussions happen.  I'm probably overthinking that one.  

For what it's worth - I enjoy topics here that get me thinking.  I'm really OK with the debates.  To me, impact is that a topic that might have 5 posts now has 100.  I can skip them if I really don't want to participate so I really don't have an issue with them.  In fact, I've appreciated lately that no-one is shutting these down.  I'll admit that I get disappointed when people start to debate and then a moderator locks the thread.

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On 10/22/2020 at 10:48 AM, ParkMan said:

I do wonder if some of this is just natural team dynamics.  As I read your comment, I couldn't help but think of the stages of team development from Wood Badge - forming, storming, norming, performing.  I wonder how much of this is the Scouter community working through something that.  We discuss a topic and after the pleasantries, people's real opinions start to come out.  The thread can then spiral for a few days while people battle a bit.  After a bit people either get frustrated and walk away or they realize that those they are battling with are not so awful.  Then some more deep down discussions happen.  I'm probably overthinking that one.  

You aren't overthinking it, brother ;) ...that is the purpose of open, non-attribution discussion.  Discussion gives us the chance to work out our own thinking, articulate our ideas, get input from others, and modify the framework of our thinking to strengthen it, or get rid of it for new thinking. Enjoy!

 

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I see two sides approaching many of these topics that deal with the structure of the program. One side see's all the social issues being the cause of the membership loss trends. The other side see how past program issues cause the membership loss trends. Sometimes the two sides don't want to consider the other causes. So, each side spends more time reinforcing their opinions.

Woodbadge was a leadership course that was completely changed for the new generation of leaders. However, it is marketed with the expectation of the old syllabus with a modern approach. Participants have the expectation of learning the skills of the old course and are disappointed when they feel it lacking. I personally think it is a good course, but is marketed wrong. 

Barry

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55 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

Woodbadge was a leadership course that was completely changed for the new generation of leaders. However, it is marketed with the expectation of the old syllabus with a modern approach. Participants have the expectation of learning the skills of the old course and are disappointed when they feel it lacking. I personally think it is a good course, but is marketed wrong.

Except that change was, for many, two iterations and 20 years of Woodbadge ago. In my district, all the WB people were 2010 (maybe 2007) and forward. Only 1 person was I think pre-2000.

When people around here talk about "old" Woodbadge, they mean prior to the 2019/2020 re-write. Not what happened in 2000.

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21 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

Except that change was, for many, two iterations and 20 years of Woodbadge ago. In my district, all the WB people were 2010 (maybe 2007) and forward. Only 1 person was I think pre-2000.

When people around here talk about "old" Woodbadge, they mean prior to the 2019/2020 re-write. Not what happened in 2000.

Yes, however the discussions today generally lead to a desire of a syllabus more like the old WB.. But there was a reason why it changed, thus repeating history. We don't want to do that.

Barry

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 Which "old" WB course, Eagledad?  There have been four different courses.  Really five, if one takes into account the BSA rewrite of the fourth course syllabus (originally by Blanchard and Associates).

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, TAHAWK said:

 Which "old" WB course, Eagledad?  There have been four different courses.  Really five, if one takes into account the BSA rewrite of the fourth course syllabus (originally by Blanchard and Associates).

 

 

 

Pre 2000. Doesn’t matter which one for this discussion.

Barryl

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As some probably know, big difference between first course ( - 1971) and second course 1972-2000)

First course was knowing and teaching Scout skills through First Class.  Week-long only.    Learners tented in patrol sites.  All meals cooked as patrols.

Second course was built around eleven "leadership skills," sandwiched between sessions on scout Skills.  Weekend courses introduced.   Learners tented in patrol sites.  All meals cooked as patrols.  Some announced that the change was "the end of Scouting." 

A district-level one day course (J.L.O.W.) was an introduction for leaders (boys) to the eleven leadership skills in the context of the Patrol Method.

 

The  second, 1972 course postdated Tuckman's 1965 essay on team forming, which had morphed into the  Five  Stages of Team Development before the, old, 1965 version was adopted by as the basis of the original, Blanchard, version of the third course. 3a

That course was greatly changed when BSA employee rewrote the syllabus to avoid having to pay royalties to Blanchard and Associates.  3b  Tuckman was not even listed as a resource in the BSA  rewrite of the syllabus.

Now we have the fourth course, of which i know little, beyond rumors.  It is definitely reduced in length by one day, consistent with the BSA deemphasis on training.  It was to roll out in 2020.

Edited by TAHAWK
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I have decided when my son finishes AOL, I will not be crossing over with him in a Troop leadership position.  I have zero interest in continuing in any leadership role.

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