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Parental Involvement in Troops


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Once a parent has been through training (not just ypt), what is a reasonable way to involve these parents in the troop?

The reason I ask is that the current "senior" Scouters in the troop seem hostile towards having parents involved in the troop regardless of their experience or training. At the same time, I hear complaints about adults not wanting to step up as volunteers (which isn't true.) Most of us have scouting experience and/or training so we are aware of scouting methods and the concept of being youth-lead.

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The best way to get involved is to talk to the Committee Chair and ask what areas the troop may need assistance from wrt a Scouter.  If the response is "we're covered", well that could be a possible red flag.   If the response is "we need help in the xyz area", determine if that is something you want to get involved in.  

What you don't want to do is go in being demonstrative about a bunch of changes needed (even if they are) right from the get go.   

IMHO, as a Scouter, do you want to work with the Committee behind the scenes or do you want to work with the youth in concert with the Scoutmaster?   That is the first decision a prospective Scouter should ask themselves.

Edited by acco40
fix typo
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22 minutes ago, ramanous said:

Once a parent has been through training (not just ypt), what is a reasonable way to involve these parents in the troop?

The reason I ask is that the current "senior" Scouters in the troop seem hostile towards having parents involved in the troop regardless of their experience or training. At the same time, I hear complaints about adults not wanting to step up as volunteers (which isn't true.) Most of us have scouting experience and/or training so we are aware of scouting methods and the concept of being youth-lead.

Go camping with the troop --- a lot.  Everything that's really important happens at campouts, not at meetings, not advancement, campouts!  If you're on the campouts, and I mean several in a row, you have both good knowledge about how the troop runs and whether it can run better, and you have built credibility both by having that knowledge and by being able to tie your ideas to your experiences. 

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2 hours ago, ramanous said:

Scouters in the troop seem hostile towards having parents involved in the troop regardless of their experience or training.

All scouters or just a few? That and "hostile" could be a big red flag or it could be really poor communication.

2 hours ago, ramanous said:

At the same time, I hear complaints about adults not wanting to step up as volunteers (which isn't true.)

Complaints in the same troop? Or just in general? If it's from the same people that sound hostile then  my suggestion is find the right people to talk to. There's a big communication problem.

If it's in general and this someone in this troop said they don't want your help then I agree with the suggestion of talking to the committee chair or SM.

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A lot of leaders don't realize how often they have to repeat, "We need you here. You're welcome. Get trained come camping with us. Sit and fish. The coffee will be strong and hot. Yes, we let scouts do their thing. No we don't want parents to badger kids about advancement. Yes we need you to encourage your scout. We also need you to enjoy watching him/her grow strong and good."

If we don't do that enough, we will seem hostile.

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5 hours ago, ramanous said:

Once a parent has been through training (not just ypt), what is a reasonable way to involve these parents in the troop?

The reason I ask is that the current "senior" Scouters in the troop seem hostile towards having parents involved in the troop regardless of their experience or training. At the same time, I hear complaints about adults not wanting to step up as volunteers (which isn't true.) Most of us have scouting experience and/or training so we are aware of scouting methods and the concept of being youth-lead.

1.  WELCOME TO DA FORUMS!

2. Regarding training, what Scouts BSA program training courses did you take?

3. What experience with the Scouts BSA, formerly Boy Scout, Program do you have? Please do not include time as a Cub Scout Leader as they are two different programs, with major differences.

4. Follow T2Eagle's advice. I will give you a story about why it's important in a minute.

5 hours ago, T2Eagle said:

Go camping with the troop --- a lot.  Everything that's really important happens at campouts, not at meetings, not advancement, campouts!  If you're on the campouts, and I mean several in a row, you have both good knowledge about how the troop runs and whether it can run better, and you have built credibility both by having that knowledge and by being able to tie your ideas to your experiences. 

5. The reason why some "Senior Scouters" may seem hostile to new folks is that it takes years to build a program, but only a few months to destroy it. New folks, especially recently crossed over ex Cub Scout Leaders, do not truly grasp Youth led, and cause major problems. Part of it is they all this training and experience as Cub Scout Leader where they are in charge, and then they cross over and need to "unlearn what you have learned" as Master Yoda would say.  The other part is that it is natural for parents to want to help their Scouts, but they need to learn to "let go." It can be extremely difficult for adults to make that transition. They can interfere so much that folks want to quit.

6. I spent 5 years with one troop, helping to build it up, to the point where the adults could sit back and supervise with out intervening. We almost got there. The last 17 months were hell because some well meaning new cross over parents and Cub Scout Leaders did not get it and wanted a continuation of Cub Scouts. Multiple meetings, peer to peer mentoring, or training did not worked. The folks thought they knew better, ignored everyone, and ignored training. It gradually got worse. Scouts starting complaining about them at BORs that they were not part of. PLs began walking away from their patrols when they interfered. For my boys and I, the quitting point was when the new folks caused so much chaos and anarchy on one camp out. They first screwed up before the camp out by going to the camp a day early and setting up in the wrong area. On the day of the camp out, they refused to move to the correct location. This caused the accompanying Webelos to also camp in the wrong location instead of the troop ( and that Den did not Cross Over to the troop as a result). This caused major problems with the "Senior Scouters" to the point that several were willing to step down that night, because they refused to listen. Next the new folks kept overruling the directions the SPL and PLC were giving to their troop. Imagine the chaos caused by having 2 different and opposite sets of directions being given, then add rain into the equation. The SPL was so ticked off he walked away in disgust and considered quitting. Then the new adults  had the nerve to  complain about the confusion they were sowing and how the SPL and PLs were not doing their jobs.

Eventually the COR had to intervene because of the constant ignoring of  the SM and ASM corps and complaints from the Scouts. When my boys and I left, and I almost took 1/2 the troop with me. And that is when he stepped in. 

There is 17 months of posts  here if you want the full details. :)

7. I cannot reiterate enough  T2Eagle's suggestion. IT WORKS!!!!!!!!!!! One troop I was in had a policy of having folks serve on the committee at least a  year before becoming an ASM, so that they can learn the troop's culture, get trained, and see youth led in action.

8. Good luck. 

 

Edited by Eagle94-A1
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Posted (edited)

Thank you. Like most things involving people, I think its complicated situation so its hard to put your finger on one thing. To be clear, I don't think there's anything nefarious going on.

I was not in cubs as a youth or adult, nor was my kid, though other frustrated parents were. I once thought that was maybe were some of the issue was, to be honest (I didn't "do my time" in the den).

I've been involved with the troop near three years, fully trained, present at the troop events. I'm aware of how a troop is supposed to be organized and run, including systems like JTE. I was also a scout, in a well-run, boy led troop. Eagle, served various leadership positions as a youth including the equivalent of NYLT. Was a MB counselor for several years after I aged out. But I wasn't involved with scouting for a couple decades, until my boy was old enough to join. I get youth led, and happily sit in the back of the room / camp site letting the scouts be scouts while sipping hot coffee.

I thought it was just me, but a few weeks ago one of the newer (but partially trained) parents "dropped a hint" to me about "things that needed to be addressed", as if he thought I had some inside influence; I'm in the dark as much as he is. (The training maybe highlighting some issues we need to deal with.) Come to find-out, a number of the parents are feeling frustrated. We want to help, but keep getting shut down or redirected (go do this other thing, that we'll ignore.) The only thing I could advise was to come to the TLC meetings.

I think #5 & #6 hits the mark though, but we're on the other side of the coin (or at least I am.)  I get exactly what you're saying. Our troop is rebuilding, post covid. Our troop is young and needs some guidance. "Lord of the Flies" is not my idea of scouting.

Quote

I spent 5 years with one troop, helping to build it up, to the point where the adults could sit back and supervise with out intervening....When my boys and I left, and I almost took 1/2 the troop with me. 

You clearly state you helped build the troop as a parent. That tells me we're not being unreasonable in expecting to be involved. That's mainly what I wanted to know before we press the issue with the TLC.

Edited by ramanous
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19 minutes ago, ramanous said:

You clearly state you helped build the troop as a parent. That tells me we're not being unreasonable in expecting to be involved. That's mainly what I wanted to know before we press the issue with the TLC.

I did have an advantage over the new folks.  I served 22 years in various Boy Scout/Scouts BSA and district/council levels before joining the troop. Even then, the first year I was an committee member so I could A. Deprogram myself from 5 years of Cub Scouts :)- , and B. to get use to the troop's culture. Camp Outs help, summer camp was even better.

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