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campcrafter

Son's less enthusiastic

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I'll offer a comment on OA, since that is one reason a lot of older Scouts end up in Sea Scouts and other Venture programs. Their real interest is in maintaining the OA connection. I agree with all of Campcrafter's points and would add one more.

 

One of the things I discovered when I started working with Sea Scouts was the love that they have of regattas and other inter-unit stuff that they can do. I think there is a great interest among kids this age in meeting kids their own age from other units and other communities, even other states. I think the OA meets the same needs for teens.

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Campcrafter,

 

I'll try to make a long story short. Our Webelos all crossed over to a troop we had "checked out". The SM was in Iraq and a friend from another Pack who's son had also crossed over stepped up to be acting SM in his absence. No one else in the troop was willing. They were without a CC, so his wife stepped up since no one else would. There was this influx of new boys and 5 Wood Badge trained leaders. WE didn't come in throwing our weight around or trying to change the world. We just wanted a place to serve. This troop had not done much recruiting in previous years and the older boys were looking forward to high adventure and didn't want to be saddled with a bunch of little kids. Many of their parents felt the same way. I had one adult suggest that we just sit back for the first year and get the hang of how things are done. We were vocal (but non-confrontational) in committee meetings because we saw things that were being done wrong. The straw that finally broke the camel's back was when the treasurer (overseas SM's wife) got mad at the CC (acting SM's wife) during a committee meeting and screamed at her and threw a stack of three ring binders at her. The worst part was that the boys were just on the other side of a partition wall. The UC happened to be attending the meeting. A special meeting was called to clear the air and the UC and COR were in attendance. All of the "old time" adults gave the treasurer a vote of confidence. We saw the hand writing on the wall and knew we were not welcome. Besides, we didn't want our boys in that environment. This all happened in a February thru June time frame.

 

We decided to start our own troop. It was a great experiment and maybe some better scouters could have pulled it off. Our biggest problem was trying to have a "normal" boy led troop with no older scouts to lead by example. All of our scouts were 11 years old and most not even tenderfoot yet. We only had enough for 1 patrol and my son was elected PL which effectively became SPL. Six months later we crossed over a new group of Webelos and had enough for 2 patrols. This time my son was elected SPL. He got a lot of support from us adults, but it is a big responsibility to put the running of a troop on an 11/12 year old, first year, 1st Class Scout. He was nearing burn out. Many of our boys were immature and unwilling to step up. Step up not just to leadership, but simply to put much effort into cooking or setting up camp. Without older boys, they wanted to revert back to Webelos. As much as we hated to, we decided to visit other troops, transfer the boys and shut down our troop after about 14 months of operation.

 

My son and I went to Jamboree last year and the gentleman who was our SM had an outstanding home troop. He had 13 boys from his troop in our Jambo troop. My son and I had gotten to know them well and decided to give them a try when we shut down our old troop. It is a 25 mile one way trip to this troop. It is worth the time, effort and money to get there. I'm the ASM for new scouts, my son is now a Star and APL and is going to Northern Tier this summer. The troop regularly had 35 to 40 boys at each weeks meeting. The troop has such a great reputation that we have crossed 20 Webelos over since February. I can't imagine being anywhere else. The troop has many dedicated parents and leaders and is a true boy led troop. My son loves it there and that is all that matters to me. The cherry on top is that I love it too.

 

I say all of that to say this. If your son isn't happy where you are, find somewhere where he will be happy. If you want to start a troop with young boys, understand that it is HARD work and has it's rewards and pitfalls. Good luck!

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540

 

Thanks for taking the time to write and share your experience.

 

Last week I was thinking of maybe starting another troop. I understand it is hardwork. Then I thought better of it and decided my marriage is more important! :)

I also was wanting a break from being "in charge" i.e. "the administrator" after 5 years doing it for the pack.

 

I will go to the "leader's meeting" next week to see what transpires.

If it does not look like we will be able to make positive change in this troop I will suggest to my son we "take the summer off" to look for a new troop and start fresh in the fall. He won't even turn 11 til next month so we really won't be losing time by waiting.

 

YIS,

Campcrafter

 

 

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CC,

 

What does your boy like to do? Is he into computers, get him started on the Computer MB. Model rocket or trains, Space Exploration or Railroading MB. Cars - Auto Mechanics MB. Animals - Reptile Study, Bird Study, Dog Care or Pets MB. The list goes on and on. Just because he is working on Tenderfoot doesn't mean he can't work on a Merit Badge as well.

 

Boys go through phases with Scouts from interested to wanting to do nothing. I did, and my boy at home does to. Just recently he was in a down phase, just wanting to play video games and nothing else. He took a backpack trip to the Grand Canyon for a week and came home fired up. Summer camp can have the same effect. Maybe rethink taking the summer off, but instead go with him to summer camp.

 

Another thought I just had was my boy also went through a time when he didn't want me to "always be the leader" so I stepped back for awhile and let him have his time.

 

Last thing, if the Troop is not active find another one!

 

Good Luck,

 

Herms

 

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Campcrafter,

I was in a similar situation with my oldest son's first troop. I stayed quiet and observed for the first few months. After studying the handbooks (SM, SPL, PL), I was certain we were missing major components of the BSA program and started working to help others understand so we could change. My efforts were fruitless and the SM made it clear my assistance was not desired, so I backed off. My son's entire Webelos den had joined same troop and they seemed to be doing OK. After a year, my son announced he was done. I convinced him to go check out some other troops, we found a better fit, he transferred and stayed with it. Son was active all the way to HS graduation, earned Eagle, and even volunteered to help with troop JLT during recent spring break.

 

Unfortunately, none of his Webelos buddies stayed with scouting after their second year, but we couldn't convince any of them to give his new troop a try.

 

As Avid has already pointed out, it's easiest to just move, but I'm glad you're going to make a run at helping his troop get on track.

 

Good luck and let us know how it goes!

 

-mike

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CC: What does your son think needs to be done to improve this troop?

Like Anne mentioned - are there other issues to be addressed? Bullies, put downs, roughness, etc. Depending on the type and number of problems switching troops may be the best option. How does he feel about this?

Even though my experience as a youth was fairly close to what you described in this troop I can't recall ever wanting to drop out. The troop wasn't boy run, it wasn't adult run - it simply wasn't run at all. Half the time I remember playing football or frisbee all meeting long. I had a lot of learning and growing to do went I took over as Scoutmaster at the age of 22. I didn't have the experience of seeing other troops in action - we were always the outcasts that never took part in anything. I guess our saving grace was that we did go camping a lot. Never very far out and mostly at the old Scout hut we built. Still almost all of us stuck with it.

Today I know what Scouting is really all about, and what if done properly and given a chance what it can do for people. Go to the meeting and tell them about the patrol method, tell them about boy-led, tell them about the aims and methods, tell them about all of us that are right there beside you.

I wish you luck and will hope for the best. God Bless.

 

BTW Anne - I've been told that I look good in a skirt too... JUST KIDDING

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My son went through something like this and I've seen it in several others as well. He had a great time at first and then around First Class he started to lose interest (peer pressure at school I think).

I made him a deal. If he would achieve Star I'd leave the decision to him whether to stay or not.

He made it to Star with a couple of buddies but they wanted to charge on to Life. So he followed with them. By the time he made Life, he changed his mind and wanted to go as far as he could. Sometimes there's just a ridge that the boy has to climb over to see the goal more clearly.

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I don't know all the details. But let me relate what happened with one of my boys in Cubs.

Dad was an Eagle Scout. Son like Cubs but by Webs was wanting to quit. Dad was always there always pushing, always talking about all the stuff he had done when he was a Scout. When I talked to the boy about his wanting to quit I ask him why.

His comment was "I can't compete with all the stuff my dad did and I don't want to dissapoint him."

So make sure that your enthusiasm for having been a Scout isn't making your son feel like he has to compete with the kind of Scout your were.

By the way. Dad backed off a lot with all the stories about what he did as a Scout, stopped pushing alot and the boy is still in Scouting. Working on Star(This message has been edited by Lynda J)

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