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So my son had crossed over back in February into a troop and is currently working on his Scout rank. However, at every meeting for the past month, all the troop does is play some type of sports games such as football, baseball, etc. and they'll do some time of physical conditioning for a short time. And that's it. That's the entire meeting. Is this typical? I've been trying to learn the MB process on my own,  but it seems that the meetings itself aren't really scout-related or MB-based. The physical fitness portion I get because there's a MB for that, but where's the counselor? It seems that there isn't much work towards progress and it's a waste of time. Am I overthinking/reacting and this is the standard of a troop meeting or should I be expecting something else?

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Mainly because it is the troop we feed into, but there is only one other Troop in our county that survived the pandemic. Only other option is to go outside our county or even district. Slim pickings nowadays. 

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Maybe...there is a physical fitness requirement for Tenderfoot (T), Second Class (2C), and First Class (1C), which requires, among other things:

(T) An initial fitness assessment, (T) a plan to improve, tracking activity for 30 days, (T) a final assessment to measure improvement, (2C) 4 weeks of tracking 30 mins per day for 5 days per week (2C) fitness discussion and continuation plan, (1C) another 4 weeks of tracking 30 mins per day for 5 days per week (1C) fitness discussion and continuation plan

So, all the fitness stuff takes a minimum of three months.

I find that this is the biggest hold up for Scouts advancing to First Class.

It seems the unit may be spoon feeding this program in order to have Scouts advance quickly.

I personally disagree with the approach, but each Troop gets to set their own program.

Our PLC has not chosen to undertake this model.

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Posted (edited)

It sounds like I need to find out if they are recording these activities or just doing it for fun. Does that mean he is allowed to work on the TF requirements before getting his Scout rank? I know MB's work that way, but I wasn't sure all the other things. Is it typical for the whole troop to do this or is this supposed to be done by patrol? 

*Answered my own question about being able to work on it. I understand that it can be worked on simultaneously. 

Edited by OaklandAndy
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That isn't the most common format for a meeting, but I suspect what you were expecting is also not what a common format for a meeting should be.

ScoutsBSA is very different from Cubs when it comes to what the focus and purpose of meetings are.  The meetings are not and should not be focused on rank advancement.  The idea you have that there should be "work towards progress"  is just not the focus.  At this age advancement is individual not group oriented.  A group of scouts can decide they want to work together or at the same time on a particular advancement skill, but the Cub way of everyone in the den working on the same thing at the same time is not the way now.

What most troop meetings should be about is what this month's campout is going to be: planning for meals and duties, checking equipment, and if any particular skill is needed for the main activity learning, working on, or refreshing that skill.

The most important thing about a meeting is whether the scouts are having fun.  If your son enjoyed being there than the meetings were good ones.  I'll give you the advice I give every freshly crossed over parent: relax, take a deep breath, watch your son grow.  If you're concerned about him advancing, and more importantly IF HE is interested in becoming an Eagle scout, he has seven years to do so.

 

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Posted (edited)

That's a good way of putting it. I did ask him last night how he thought the meetings were going and he says he has fun. I guess I expected more "scouting", but it is a completely different ball game between cub scouts and ScoutsBSA. It does sound like I need to sit back and let him do his own thing. We've only been doing this since the end of February and the way you explained how the overall objective(s) of these meetings were never told to us by the troop. We kind of just showed up and had to figure it out. It makes more sense now though so thank you. 

Edited by OaklandAndy
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Posted (edited)

Love your last post.  

  • Your scout having fun is probably the most important.  At this point, be concerned mostly with is your son making friends and being involved.  If so, that's a win.  
  • Not everything has to be advancement oriented.  That's fine.  My foremost thought is ... 40 years from now ... will your scout look back fondly and remember the fun and activities?  
  • The learning we really want ... character ... skills ... being outside / moving ... will naturally come by being active and working with other youth.
  • The checkbox advancement learning will happen.  No need to force it immediately.  

If you stay at the meetings, start friendly conversation with parents that have been there several years.  Get to know them.  See what they say about the program.  

  • Enjoy this first year as your scout starts.  Relax.  Watch.  
  • Over the coming years, see if there is anywhere you can step up and help the troop
  • Avoid injecting yourself too much.  It's his journey.  It's his experience.  ...

Friendly warning ...  Parents injecting themselves too much tends to damage the experience.  If you see something wrong, speak up.  If you have a good idea, find a way to suggest it.  Make friends with the leaders.  When you are ready, become a unit leader ... It's just that a repeated pattern in scouting is that youth experiences can easily get damaged if the adults and parents inject themselves too much. ... it's a fine line.  a dance between a gentle nudge and a damaging choice.  

Edited by fred8033
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Another possibility is that your troop has a whole new leadership team that is still trying to figure out how to actually plan meetings.  A 60-90 minute long game for 2+ months is a bit excessive, but we've seen multiple weeks in a row in our troop where the PLC kind of falls flat on getting an actual meeting planned so the SPL will pinch hit with a long game.  It's part of the Scouting program of being "youth-led" to allow the troop leaders to fumble their way to success with these sorts of things while the SM throws out occasional suggestions as opposed to taking over the programming him/herself.

It's definitely worth asking the Scoutmaster what's going on some time after a meeting, but I wouldn't be too worried about it, particularly if there are monthly camp-outs happening.

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From what I know, the last event they did as a Troop was last October with mountain biking. I do understand that it's youth-led, I just didn't know at what point it goes from a scout meeting to just showing up with no plan in place and "winging it". They do have a new Scoutmaster and the old Scoutmaster is now the assistant after passing the reins after 20+ years, but still shows up every week. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, OaklandAndy said:

I understand that it can be worked on simultaneously. 

Yes, all at once, unless specifically required to be sequential, like the fitness stuff.

So, you can help your Scout by

1) asking him if he would like to earn ranks (try not to impose your own sense of performance, accomplishment, and achievement); if he wants to earn, then he has to learn.  That is absolutely the best when self-motivated, not imposed by others (you, Troop leadership, etc.)

2) if #1 is a "yes", then just review the Scout requirements with him, and let him pick one that he wants to do and learn first.  Show him that the page numbers for those things are listed and that he can find lots of info in the book.   After a brief review of the requirement, DO!!!!  (according to the book)  If you don't understand something, come here and ask 😛  [Wanna be an awesome Scouter Dad?  Get your own copy of the Scout Handbook and read/go through the requirements yourself!!!  Learn what they must learn!!!]

2A) Once he learns and does a skill, review it with him, then challenge him to find someone at the Troop to whom he can show what he knows and get the requirement approved in his Scout Handbook (signed off)

2B) Once he gets one signed off, wash, rinse, repeat.  The skills and knowledge become more difficult to master as you go along.

3) if #1 is a "not yet", then relax and enjoy all the other bits of Scouting. 

Don't worry...if they are playing games, they are still learning.  Remember, "The Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton."

Edited by InquisitiveScouter
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You talk about the weekly troop meetings, but what about the campouts/weekend events? If he's having fun, and the troop campouts are somewhat scoutish then I wouldn't worry too much initially.

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They talked about doing a campout yesterday, but there wasn't much interest from the troop. Before that, I'm not sure when the last time they went camping is and don't want to speculate and make it seem like they are inactive out of ignorance. 

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Just now, OaklandAndy said:

They talked about doing a campout yesterday, but there wasn't much interest from the troop. Before that, I'm not sure when the last time they went camping is and don't want to speculate and make it seem like they are inactive out of ignorance. 

Most covid restrictions have ended, and spring is a good campout period. Its certainly a question to ask of the SM to see if this is atypical.

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7 minutes ago, OaklandAndy said:

They talked about doing a campout yesterday, but there wasn't much interest from the troop. Before that, I'm not sure when the last time they went camping is and don't want to speculate and make it seem like they are inactive out of ignorance. 

Are you willing to be an adult leader to take them camping?

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