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Why were Venture patrols done away with?


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16 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

I know in the early to late 1980s, 1982 - 1989 to be exact,  Webelos were coming over as full dens. I do not know when the NSP was officially piloted, but in 1986, my troop was asked to pilot it. IT WAS A COMPLETE FAILURE and we went back to Traditional Patrols a year later. Imagine everyone's surprise when NSPs became a recommended model in August 1989

So what failed about it?

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My own experience is that scout growth is dramatically slower without older scouts modeling the skills the new scouts need to learn. Troop Guides are OK, but they have to teach most of the skills in m

Great question!  In reality, they weren't.  That is, you can organize your Troop any way you wish, and if you want to have an older group called the Venture Patrol, then go for it. Here's a websi

A few reasons for Venture crew/patrols demise. 1. Not really popular outside of LDS units, and then it was those units that did not focus on sports. When the old  Leadership Corps was turned into

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41 minutes ago, Calion said:

So what failed about it?

My own experience is that scout growth is dramatically slower without older scouts modeling the skills the new scouts need to learn. Troop Guides are OK, but they have to teach most of the skills in more of a classroom setting, while new scouts in a mixed age patrol just have to watch the skills being used in normal activities. The scouts in new scouts patrols tend to get bored because they don't stay busy enough when the troop guide isn't around. There is no resource of experience other than the troop guide. Then usually means the adults have to fill in to make sure the new scouts have a continued program.  

Another problem I observed is most troops put their less experienced younger scouts in the troop Guide position when the minimum age should be 15 or older. The worst Troops Guides I saw or worked with were 14 and younger. The best ones where 15 and older. In fact, our very best troop guides were past SPLs. They said that Troop Guide just seem like a natural progression for them.

A totally scout run patrol is almost impossible with new scout patrols.

Barry

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11 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

My own experience is that scout growth is dramatically slower without older scouts modeling the skills the new scouts need to learn. Troop Guides are OK, but they have to teach most of the skills in more of a classroom setting, while new scouts in a mixed age patrol just have to watch the skills being used in normal activities. The scouts in new scouts patrols tend to get bored because they don't stay busy enough when the troop guide isn't around. There is no resource of experience other than the troop guide. Then usually means the adults have to fill in to make sure the new scouts have a continued program.  

Another problem I observed is most troops put their less experienced younger scouts in the troop Guide position when the minimum age should be 15 or older. The worst Troops Guides I saw or worked with were 14 and younger. The best ones where 15 and older. In fact, our very best troop guides were past SPLs. They said that Troop Guide just seem like a natural progression for them.

A totally scout run patrol is almost impossible with new scout patrols.

Barry

+1

I believe the "regimental system" would be ideal.  That is, a patrol exists in perpetuity.  A Scout grows up in one patrol, and is always a member of that patrol.  As new Scouts join the Troop, they are assigned to patrols as manning needs, based on those who have left or "graduated"

It would be awesome if you had a "Sorting Hat" https://harrypotter.fandom.com/wiki/Sorting_Hat  to determine which patrol a Scout should go into.  Alas, we mere mortals must do what we can.  I think random selection is probably best.

The ideal patrol is 5 to 8 Scouts.  Above six, and they naturally break into two sub-units anyway.  Extensive research on optimal group size for task effectiveness has shown the number to be around 5 or 6 (but it does depend on the task.)  Eight allows sufficient team members present when the inevitable absences occur for camping trips and events. 

Here are a few short reads...

https://www.totalteambuilding.com.au/ideal-team-size/

https://conversational-leadership.net/optimal-group-size/#:~:text=Far too often in small,is the optimal group size.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jaimepotter/2020/04/27/the-ideal-team-size-at-work-may-be-smaller-than-you-think/?sh=704263b7630a

https://www.thebalancecareers.com/u-s-army-military-organization-from-squad-to-corps-4053660

https://hbr.org/2015/08/what-companies-can-learn-from-military-teams

https://tcscouts.org/UoS/000-NationalTrainingCourses/BSBLT/BP quotes.pdf

BP opined the best Troop size was 16 Scouts (that is, two patrols), but, allowing that others might be twice the man he was, he said it could go to 32.  But that was based on personally knowing and developing each Scout.

"The number in a Troop should preferably not exceed thirty-two.  I suggest this number because in training boys myself I have found that sixteen was about as many as I could deal with-in getting at and bringing out the individual character in each. I allow for other people being twice as capable as myself and hence the total of thirty-two." BP

"Men talk of having fine Troops of 60 or even 100-and their leaders tell me that their boys are equally well trained as in smaller Troops. I express admiration, and I don't believe them." BP

We have 54 Scouts currently... when I go down the roster and count the Scouts who I know, and who do a good job in the woods, or what I would deem "well-trained"... 29 (but that does not include some of the new crossovers who I have not observed yet)

If they were all dedicated, I think 32 is a great number... Four patrols of eight.  

Edited by InquisitiveScouter
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56 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

My own experience is that scout growth is dramatically slower without older scouts modeling the skills the new scouts need to learn. 

Most definitely. I would add that the TG gets overwhelmed working with all of the new Scouts simultaneously. In a Traditional Patrol, older Scouts buddy up with the younger ones and work with them.

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Troop Guides are OK, but they have to teach most of the skills in more of a classroom setting, while new scouts in a mixed age patrol just have to watch the skills being used in normal activities. The scouts in new scouts patrols tend to get bored because they don't stay busy enough when the troop guide isn't around. There is no resource of experience other than the troop guide. Then usually means the adults have to fill in to make sure the new scouts have a continued program.  

Again concur. When I was a TG, if I was not actively working with someone, they were clueless as to what to do, even if I gave them specific instructions. And I was overwhelmed.

In my case, adults did not get involved because we were an old fashioned Scout-led troop, unless it was disciplinary. After a year of trying, and also losing some scouts, we went back to Traditional Patrols. HOWEVER, Every time I have seen NSPs since I was a TG,  including my own troop when we tried it again in 1990 when a new troop merged with us, Adults jump in and take over. And it turns into Webelos 3, or AOL 2  I guess since the 2015 CS changes ;) .

 

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Another problem I observed is most troops put their less experienced younger scouts in the troop Guide position when the minimum age should be 15 or older. The worst Troops Guides I saw or worked with were 14 and younger. The best ones where 15 and older. In fact, our very best troop guides were past SPLs. They said that Troop Guide just seem like a natural progression for them.

Again SPOT ON! One of the problems is that TG is an appointed position. Because of that usually the Scouts who have lost elections, but need a POR to advance get appointed TG. Hence they may not be the best choice for the POR.  In only 1 case did I see someone actively pursue TG, and this was after he served a term as SPL. And he was overwhelmed. That is when that troop went back to Traditional Patrols.

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A totally scout run patrol is almost impossible with new scout patrols.

Barry

Absolutely correct. I have never in 36 years seen a true Scout-run NSP. And that includes the one I was in. Instead of being called a troop guide, I was appointed Patrol Leader. And let's face it, the new Scouts may elect one of their own as patrol leader, but the Troop Guide is the one running the patrol if you attempt to have it Scout run. Otherwise the den leader  NSP ASM is running things. And neither an appointed TG or adult is true Patrol Method.

Edited by Eagle94-A1
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8 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Absolutely correct. I have never in 36 years seen a true Scout-run NSP.

Here’s my question: Is that really a problem? Acknowledging your other concerns and focusing on this one, what’s wrong with their first year in Scouting being an AOL 2, with the Patrol Advisor continually whispering in the PL’s ear, while the new Scouts get used to Scouting? That’s basically how new troops work in my experience; why not new patrols? Heck, even in established troops it can work that way if the older Scouts have gone inactive or aged out and younger Scouts are leading the troop. 

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14 minutes ago, Calion said:

Here’s my question: Is that really a problem? Acknowledging your other concerns and focusing on this one, what’s wrong with their first year in Scouting being an AOL 2, with the Patrol Advisor continually whispering in the PL’s ear, while the new Scouts get used to Scouting? That’s basically how new troops work in my experience; why not new patrols? Heck, even in established troops it can work that way if the older Scouts have gone inactive or aged out and younger Scouts are leading the troop. 

I think the biggest problem is that is creates a paradigm which then must be dismantled. I disagree that it allows them to "get used to scouting" because that paradigm is fundamentally NOT scouting; what they are getting used to is adults being the leader. The idea of an adult continually whispering in their ear of a scout who is not prepared to be the leader denies the scouts the opportunity to experience scouting via an older Patrol leader. This experience will have positives and negatives which will help shape the younger scouts understanding. It will also affect how they ultimately lead when they are more prepared to do so. 

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2 hours ago, Calion said:

Here’s my question: Is that really a problem? Acknowledging your other concerns and focusing on this one, what’s wrong with their first year in Scouting being an AOL 2, with the Patrol Advisor continually whispering in the PL’s ear, while the new Scouts get used to Scouting? That’s basically how new troops work in my experience; why not new patrols? Heck, even in established troops it can work that way if the older Scouts have gone inactive or aged out and younger Scouts are leading the troop. 

Great question. Quick and easy answer is :

IT. IS. NOT. SCOUTING! (bold and cap for major emphasis and not shouting)

Detailed Answer.

I do not know when exactly the shift occurred, But when I took Cub Scout Basic Leader Training way back in the day, and when I taught Webelos Den Leader Specific Training, there was an emphasis on transitioning from Cub Scouts to then Boy Scouts. The syllabi discussed how you needed to give them more and more responsibility, start letting them do things for themselves, and getting away from parents signing off on advancement. That is when the "whispering in the ear" is supposed to occur so they can get used to Scouting, not as Scouts BSA troop members.

Scouts BSA is when they are suppose to come up with their own plans, create their own program, and do what they want with adult supervision and guidance. They do the planning, teaching, organizing, etc because it allows them to grow, make mistakes and learn from the,m and gain experience. Adults doing stuff for Scouts really hurts the Scouts in the long term.

Sadly your experience regarding new troops is all to common nowadays because it is what is coming out of National.  The problem is adults either tend to keep power,  or the Scouts rely too much on the adults and never grow up.. Also another problem is we have more and more Scouters with 0 experience as a Youth, and all their scouting experience is as Cub Scout leaders.  Several units I have been in over the years had a 1 to 2 year "deprogramming" policy that  basically said you had to serve on the unit committee and learn how Scouts operates and you understand the differences between Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA. To many times I have had to deal with interfering adults. And in one instance, I had enough of my sons complaining about the interference and we switched troops.

Best material for starting new troops is anything written by William "Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt, especially his 3rd edition SM handbook, volumes one and two. If I recall correctly, he had a 6 week plan to start a new troop, or reinvigorating an existing troop, that moved from adult led to youth led.  Sadly i lent my copy of the book to a SCOUTREACH SM who started 4 troops using Hillcourt's methodology. Despite a lot of disadvantages, they were outstanding troops. And when he moved I never got it back.

As for the comment "Heck, even in established troops it can work that way if the older Scouts have gone inactive or aged out and younger Scouts are leading the troop," I quote Col. Sherman T. Potter, "HORSEHOCKEY!" One of the best SPLs I had the pleasure to work with was an 11 year old Second Class Scout who was in the troop 1 year, and had served 6 months as PL. He beat out 2 older, and former SPLs.  He took his training to heart, and ran the troop like he was suppose to. One fo the guys he beat even commented at the next election that the 11 Year old did a great job and set the bar high for his successor. Bill Hillcourt had a saying about Scouts: "Train 'em.  Trust 'em. LET THEM LEAD!" (sic). If you have high expectations, and give them responsibility, even the younger Scouts can do a great job.

Now is the situation difficult? Yes. Is it chaotic at times? Yes. Will Scouts screw up and not do what they are suppose to do? Yes. Will you feel like pulling out your hair, or being stressed out, or being depressed about the situation? ABSOLUTELY! When my sons and I transferred, we transferred into a troop that was in that exact situation. We are going on 4 years, but the troop is getting better all the time. I have had to deal with Scouts not wanting to do their jobs, or not preparing properly to teach, or not following directions causing unneeded repetition at meetings. But it is improving.

So yes, it is a major problem because adult interference holds back the Scouts from growing.

 

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11 hours ago, Calion said:

Here’s my question: Is that really a problem? Acknowledging your other concerns and focusing on this one, what’s wrong with their first year in Scouting being an AOL 2, with the Patrol Advisor continually whispering in the PL’s ear, while the new Scouts get used to Scouting? That’s basically how new troops work in my experience; why not new patrols? Heck, even in established troops it can work that way if the older Scouts have gone inactive or aged out and younger Scouts are leading the troop. 

Been there done that. In fact, we tried almost 10 different approaches to getting first year scouts up to speed, and comfortable enough to want to stay. The BSA looses more scouts in their first year of a troop than any other age in the BSA. Our Troop certainly saw that problem. The quick reason for the drop out rate is that sudden culture change from being hand held through life by adults to instant independence of relying on the boy leader not much older than the new scout and themselves for surviving in the woods. It's terrifying for many new scouts.

Now, you would think that the new scout patrol would make that easier, but the problem with the new scout patrol is that hand holding is still there and the independence isn't reinforced enough for the scout to trust the culture of the troop. The new scout will learn to trust the TG, but not the other older scouts. And, the only independence the scouts learn is what the TG teaches them, which really isn't the confidence that comes from experience. 

I do believe there is a way to mix Webelos with the troop program to get the scouts more up to speed, but not to the degree mentioned by Calion. I had great success with Webelos Dens doing their program with the troop, but independent of the troop program. The Webelos would stand in formation at opening and closing cermony. Sometimes the participated in games. We would sometimes ask the SPL to send us a scout to teach a few basic 1st class skills. But, we didn't treat the Webelos as Troop Scouts. We wanted them to look forward to change. We wanted the experience of having meetings at the same time with the troop to give them confidence of joining so that the sudden independence didn't overwhelm them. The Webelos got to learn the faces of scouts, and maybe even their names. The adults became familiar, and the scouts got somewhat close to the Scoutmaster who would visit the Webelos activities now and then. And it worked.

But, Eagle94 is right. A big part of the problem is the adults who don't want to stop hand holding. They don't really see that is what they are doing, but they can't seem to let go of the idea that these young men are still children who need protection from the pain of growing up. Our troop ask all parents who think they want to take positioning the troop to go through about a year of training. In that training, the SM will personally guide them through the troop activities and explain why the adult aren't around. The SM will take them to a PLC meeting with a warning that they are only observers. Do not speak (because it happens). We explain they must attend at least 3 campouts as an observer to learn how scout run really works, and sometimes doesn't work. The trainees will earn their TotenChit, from a scout at the same time the new scouts earn theirs. 

Getting the adults out-of-the-way is the key to getting the new scouts up to speed. We do have an ASM for new scouts, but that person is trained to work with the Patrol Leaders and Troop Guides. We use the ASM show both the parents of the new scouts and the new scouts how the youth leaders and adults work together as a team. The ASM will always be the support and resource for the scouts to show that the adults trust the scouts to lead. If the new scout and parents need to talk to the leaders for any concerns, they will always be direct to start with the PL or TG. The ASM is support is the scouts ask. The new scouts will likely not even see the ASM after their first three months as they learn to trust the youth leader. The ASM is that adult who hand holding fades away as the confidence of youth leaders builds. It's a process, but we went from 40 first year drops to 5%. 

The thing about scouting is seeking ways to improve without giving up on the principles of the program. In this case, we wanted the scout to experience scout run patrol method, but we needed them to build confidence that they were safe without adults next to them. Or even 100 yards away. So, we tried different ideas until we found ones that worked. And we reaped the rewards of do that scouting stuff.

Barry

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6 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

But, Eagle94 is right. A big part of the problem is the adults who don't want to stop hand holding. They don't really see that is what they are doing, but they can't seem to let go of the idea that these young men are still children who need protection from the pain of growing up.

 

7 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

Getting the adults out-of-the-way is the key to getting the new scouts up to speed.

 

7 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

The thing about scouting is seeking ways to improve without giving up on the principles of the program.

Loved these best parts of your post!!!

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1 hour ago, Eagledad said:

A big part of the problem is the adults who don't want to stop hand holding. They don't really see that is what they are doing, but they can't seem to let go of the idea that these young men are still children who need protection from the pain of growing up....

Getting the adults out-of-the-way is the key to getting the new scouts up to speed.

For reasons beyond my control, I have an ASM who is a helicopter grandparent. Good news is that at meetings I have a CC who will ride herd on them when I supervise the Scouts. And they are limiting the number of camp outs they go on since the adults sleep in tents, or hammocks, just like the youth, and he likes his comforts. But at home it is a different situation.  The Scout may be packing his own gear, but grandparent is telling him what to bring and not bring. It is obvious extremely obvious when the Scout was doing a shakedown and kept asking the grandparent what a piece of gear is that he packed.  The Scout has been in a year and a half now, and almost 13, but is essentially still a Webelos because of the handholding.  Compare this almost 13 year  old Scout who has had his hands held to the 11 year old SPL I mentioned above who did not have his hands held, and you see how  detrimental to development it is.

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On 5/18/2022 at 10:51 PM, Eagle94-A1 said:

Sadly your experience regarding new troops is all to common nowadays because it is what is coming out of National. 

There seems to be some confusion here. How else in the world could a new troop get up and running? Just throw the Scouts in, leave them alone, and let them figure it out with no guidance, assistance or experience?

On 5/18/2022 at 10:51 PM, Eagle94-A1 said:

The syllabi discussed how you needed to give them more and more responsibility, start letting them do things for themselves, and getting away from parents signing off on advancement. That is when the "whispering in the ear" is supposed to occur so they can get used to Scouting, not as Scouts BSA troop members.

That doesn’t sound like “whispering in the ear.” It sounds like still adult-led, with more youth autonomy than previously. I’m talking about the SPL/PL still being in charge, still running the show, but with a lot of handholding, even perhaps to the point of the adult literally whispering what to say next into the youth’s ear. That’s still Scout-led! It’s just a lot closer supervision than is the case in more experienced troops.

On 5/18/2022 at 10:51 PM, Eagle94-A1 said:

Scouts BSA is when they are suppose to come up with their own plans, create their own program, and do what they want with adult supervision and guidance.

Yes—adult supervision and guidance. How much is needed depends on the experience and confidence level of the youth leadership. 

On 5/18/2022 at 10:51 PM, Eagle94-A1 said:

Adults doing stuff for Scouts really hurts the Scouts in the long term.

I agree. Which is why I didn’t suggest that.

On 5/18/2022 at 10:51 PM, Eagle94-A1 said:

As for the comment "Heck, even in established troops it can work that way if the older Scouts have gone inactive or aged out and younger Scouts are leading the troop," I quote Col. Sherman T. Potter, "HORSEHOCKEY!" One of the best SPLs I had the pleasure to work with was an 11 year old Second Class Scout who was in the troop 1 year, and had served 6 months as PL. He beat out 2 older, and former SPLs.  He took his training to heart, and ran the troop like he was suppose to. One fo the guys he beat even commented at the next election that the 11 Year old did a great job and set the bar high for his successor. Bill Hillcourt had a saying about Scouts: "Train 'em.  Trust 'em. LET THEM LEAD!" (sic). If you have high expectations, and give them responsibility, even the younger Scouts can do a great job.

 

I'm glad you had such a great experience. But I said “can,” not “will necessarily. It all depends on the situation. Simply throwing young Scouts into the deep end will not always work well, in my experience.

Edited by Calion
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6 minutes ago, Calion said:

 

I'm glad you had such a great experience. But I said “can,” not “will necessarily. It all depends on the situation. Simply throwing young Scouts into the deep end will not always work well, in my experience.

Yep, there is a fine line of setting scouts up to succeed and setting them up to fail. But, there is a difference in learning from failure or becoming disillusioned from failure. Scouts have to feel the adults are their best cheer leaders, especially when they make bad decisions.  

I told the story about the SPL that was frustrated because he couldn't get the troop of about 30 scouts under control. He walked over to the SM watching from the other side of the room and asked what could he do. The SM asked what was the one thing in his hand that gets a scouts attention. The SPL put his sign up and the he had a new confidence in controlling the group. 

But, the key isn't the SM giving him a little help. The key is the SPL reached a point where he needed to learn and took the intuitive to get it. 

AS you said, new scouts need a lot more wisdom to start out than experienced scouts. And that will likely come from adults. But, the adults have to let the scouts push the line of annoyance (frustration) so that the scout is motivated to learn how to change the annoyance, without letting the scout go so annoyed that he just gives up. Where is that line? It changes constantly and the adults have to feel it out so that they can keep pushing the line out, but not too far out, as the scouts grows in knowledge and independence. That adults will fail as much as they succeed. But, if the scouts observe that the adults are trying to give them their independence so that the program is more fun and more rewarding, they won't mind the humble adult screw ups.

Adults' have to learn and grow faster and more often than the scouts just to keep up with the scouts growth. If the adults quit pushing the line, the scouts will quit growing and the program will get boring. It's hard and frustrating, but when you watch the maturity of the troop jump forward, you will so excited that you won't sleep that night and you will be forced to sleep on the couch. The more that happens, the more you want and the more you push that line.

The adults want to program where the scouts like to learn from the mistakes because they the growth makes them like themselves. That comes from them listening to their best teacher, which is their last mistake.  The adults have to insure the scouts that they are in a safe to make mistakes because that is what the program is all about. And that is very hard for new adult leaders who have spent their adult life teaching their kids not to make mistakes. I learned to caution new adult visitors to speak up in a PLC meeting because they just can't help themselves. Kind of funny to watch.

Stating a new troop with new scouts is the most difficult time of the troop program. So, it is important to understand the goals of the program like Vision and Aims so that they learn how the Methods get them there. I wish training taught that better.

Barry

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19 hours ago, Calion said:

There seems to be some confusion here. How else in the world could a new troop get up and running? Just throw the Scouts in, leave them alone, and let them figure it out with no guidance, assistance or experience?

That doesn’t sound like “whispering in the ear.” It sounds like still adult-led, with more youth autonomy than previously. I’m talking about the SPL/PL still being in charge, still running the show, but with a lot of handholding, even perhaps to the point of the adult literally whispering what to say next into the youth’s ear. That’s still Scout-led!

No, that's not scout led, that's "scout figure-head puppet"  and I promise the scouts can see the difference.  Even in a brand new troop, the counseling and advice should be coming from adults either before or after the meeting or activity in the form of a "what worked, what didn't" style conversation, unless something is going seriously off the rails of course.

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23 hours ago, elitts said:

No, that's not scout led, that's "scout figure-head puppet"  and I promise the scouts can see the difference.  Even in a brand new troop, the counseling and advice should be coming from adults either before or after the meeting or activity in the form of a "what worked, what didn't" style conversation, unless something is going seriously off the rails of course.

Seriously off the rails like the Scout sitting there like a deer in the headlights, having absolutely no idea what to say or do?

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1 hour ago, Calion said:

Seriously off the rails like the Scout sitting there like a deer in the headlights, having absolutely no idea what to say or do?

Possibly. Might I suggest that if this occurs it might be a result of not having the conversations with the scout ahead of time. Has he scout been explicitly told he may (and should) seek guidance when needed? Did the scouter go over the plans with the scout leader ahead of time? Not to approve or fix them, just to ensure the scout had a plan. The scouter should ask leading questions to help the growing scout leader determine what should be considered. Afterwards, a sit down to discuss what worked, didn't etc... But not "whispering in their ear" during the activity.

In general, "off the rails" is when a significant safety issue is about to occur.

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