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How are the leaders in your troop?

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In all honesty, it seems that our troop cares more about being serious than anything else. What do I mean by this? Our leaders get after our guys all the time, sure, not all the leaders, but most of them. If we have something wrong with our uniforms, we usually meet after and get lectured for it, and no, I'm not joking. I understand that our leaders are "overachievers" and always want to look the best, but at what point should you just ease up and let the scouts have fun. It doesn't help that our head scoutmaster was a marine either.



Now, I have had the blessing to be able to participate in the 2005 Jamboree. It was there that I experienced what leaders should be like. They were laid back, but the leadership and credentials were there. They joked around, had fun, and not once did they ever have to lecture anyone, and we had some trouble makers in our troop.


I know this is going to sound like a rant, but I just needed to get it off my chest. I am an Eagle Scout of 1 month, and I have experienced alot, I just don't want scouts in our already dying troop to become discouraged.

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In my youth, I joined a troop that my neighbor was the SM. Really great guy. American Indian heritage and artist. Very spiritual. Scouting was special. At the end of my first year in scouting, he died of a heart attack. Another adult took the SM spot. Active military guy. Even my dad, a Korean War vet, thought he was too strict. I dropped out within 3 months of him taking over. I returned to scouting 20 years later as my son crossed over, still with the bad taste in my mouth from that SM. Luckily, we found a troop that was fun and adults were laid back. If not, I'm sure my son would have followed his dad's instincts.

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Yah, what's that? A Scouter goin' out of his way to lecture people about guidelines and rules? Nah, never happen ;).


I'm glad you got an opportunity to meet some leaders of the right sort at Jambo. I hope you remember their example as you work with younger scouts. It's a challenge to strike that balance between respect and friendship, push and pull.


At the same time, be kind to your adult leaders. Novices and others with less experience often rely on rules and formulas, or on what they already know (like the Marines), in order to get by. Not all adults have the same level of skill or experience, but hopefully they keep learning and growing.


Yah, and we mustn't forget that a Kind man shouldn't pick on people for their weaknesses ;).


Sometimes, I find that when things are gettin' absurdly "serious", laughter is the best medicine. Perhaps at the next uniform inspection, you all should be armed with Silly String? :)


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Man, shooting silly string, that would be awesome.


I guess you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Funny thing is, as I've been reading posts on here lately, I've come to realize that maybe returning someday as an adult leader would be a good idea. Throughout my whole scouting career, I never thought I'd be saying this, and my parents even gave me "come back set things right then" speech. I don't know, it's still a long way off, but for now, the only scouting thing I'm going to be doing is preparing my speech for my ECOH.

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  • 1 month later...




I understand what you mean. I am a CM and I am very fortunate when it comes to leadership. All of the leaders in our pack are very passionate about there position.


We all know that you cannot go to hard on the boys, as they are only 1st 5th graders. But we do set a standard that we all expect to follow. But do not go around and lecturing.


Life at your age should have a certain amount of disciple in it. But to the extent of the SM and ASM bringing the DRILL SERGEANT routine in I dont think that it would work. (They should learn to pick thier battles wisely)


As you said the unit is on the downslide is it because of the regimented routine that is being dished out. I think that the silly string would work great and at the same time get the message across to listen up.


If it is that serious has it been brought to the attention of the CH and the Committee? Are they on the same boat as the SM & ASM? If so, if you are that serious about saving the unit is council aware of the situation and do all the parents know about the disharmony in the unit?




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C-BOLT - questions for you. Let's assume you are a Webelos II looking for a Troop to join. You go to a Troop meeting and half the boys are wearing blue jeans with their uniform shirts, and some of the adults are as well.

You go on a campout with this Troop, and the Scouts are using bad language. Their camp site is trashed - it looks like an airliner crashed and spread debris every where. The Scouts are having fun, though. They seem to be really enjoying the program.

Would you want to join this troop? What would you think about Scouting in this troop?

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There can be too strict and there can also be too laid back, maybe lazy is a better word.


In our troop, boys seem to get away with called adults by their first name. That's right, the SM is Bill and the boys call him Bill, ASM is Phil and that's what they call him. I refer to other adults as Mr. Jones or Mr. Smith.


In my youth, I would never have called my SM just Russell.

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A troop that follows rules, guidelines, has strictly enforced uniform inspections (in accordance with the uniform regulations)? Shame! C-Bolt, this is the troop for me! I always did, and still do, take Scouting very serious. And it is fun. Wasn't Baden-Powell preparing boys to become men? Life's not all fun and games. You are constantly learning, working, and having fun. I always respected the men who gave of their time freely. If you don't respect my time, then you are wasting it.

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Wow, I hear the title Marine being bandied about like it's an STD or something.


As a former member of the Union Street Marble Club I don't bark orders like a cable reality show tyrant.


I have a couple of pet peeves:


I don't like when someone is speaking and two Scouts in the crowd are talking. Especially when the speaker is an SPL trying to do his job.


I don't like when the boys punch each other. Especially when one is smaller.


I don't like that the ASPL wears brightly colored basketball shorts in February(at 8 degrees) with his uniform shirt(Troop wears uniforms first Troop meeting of the month and then Troop T-shirts second meeting.) nearly all the boys proudly wear their FULL uniform the first meeting.


I don't like it that the parents don't RSVP whilst I'm busting my tail planning a trip to Washington DC.


I do like:

Mature Scouts that mentor younger new Scouts. Checking on them, teaching them, reminding them of tips they gave. Mature Scouts that help new Scouts with requirements.


Seeing boys advance and truly have mastered the skils they need.


Seeing boys do safe and adventurous things that they would not be able to do with their family.


Seeing an overweight Scout hang tough on a 6 mile mountain hike having never backpacked before.


Seeing the boy leaders schedule a bowling party, negotiate the price and have the Troop attend a great time.


Our committee is a varied lot.

Some just do popcorn supervision, some just facilitate Christmas tree sale, some parents never go on trips because their son's are older (but their wise counsel is always good). One or two have no idea what the patrol method is but they own a van and trip other peoples sons to Gettysburg and Hershey Park. One is so patient his methods will be part of the Troop for a long time. One is an uncle to one of the Scouts who goes on every outing and purchased a pick up truck just to haul gear. He photographs every outing. Runs BOR.

I wish I had more patience but I planned the Gettysburg/Hershey Trip, the backpacking trip, a freeze out. I attend Summer Camp all week long. I attended Wood Badge and all the other training to be a SM or ASM but I like being a comm member. I spent some money becoming an NRA rifle instructor so I can run a shooting event in a safe manner. I will do the same for shotgun and muzzleloader.


I have repeatedly let the older boys know that "the inmates run the assylum" and "you plan it we'll do it"


So my question to you lad is what kind of Adult leadership do you want?


If one of the older boys came to me and said, "Mr.Gyrene we want to have a troop silly string shoot".


As long as the G2SS does not prohibit it and everybody gets a can what the heck do I care if you want to do that. Tell the SPL and make it happen


I'd rather mentor the shooters, boys rappeling, canoeing and backpacking.


I'll leave you with a little story.

There are "carny" type games all over Hershey Park(what a trashy shame). My son wanted to play this one game. I showed him how it was darned near impossible to win. He decide to save his money.

Next a younger boy in the Troop rushed up and slammed his money down. My son tried for several minutes to explain to the younger boys that it was a raw deal. The younger Scout didn't listen and was soon parted with his money.

Dejected, my son came back to me and said, "He just wouldn't listen Dad.I knew he would lose his money but he just wouldn't listen."

I told him, "Now you see how tough it is to be a Dad sometimes".


The leaders are trying to help you. They aren't perfect and neither are you. God isn't finished with any of us yet. Please understand their faults and strengths as they try to deal with yours.


I know some adults are impossible, as some boys are. If you really can't stand it the BSA allows you to vote with your feet. Grab your buddies and go to another Troop. the Adults will get the message.


This is a boy led activity, lead it.


Be prepared for a post on this website from another boy in this Troop saying, "We do silly string in our Troop and I think it's a waste of time and money, how do I find a good Troop?"


What activities have you planned? Want to change the Troop? Start with the young man in the mirror. You're an Eagle. You and your senior Life peers should be shaping the culture of that unit. Just as Marine NCO's are the backbone of the 'Corps.


Do the inmates run your assylum? Is their a leadership vacuum that the adults have had to fill?


Think about it.


I didn't raise my "voice" one time here.



Let us know.






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Good post Uz.


I had a few Scoutmasters all with varying toughness and varying success. My first SM was my friends father who would scream bloody murder at the slightest offense but it became comedic to us and it soon lost effect. (He has now come back to our troop as an assistant but once again the scouts joke about him and call him Marlboro man and Mr Dutch Oven)


My second scoutmaster never yelled at all. He was a big kid and a goof and was never hard on us, never disciplined us. The troop actually faltered, shunk and the program became weak.


My third and final scoutmaster took over at 23. He was an Eagle scout from our own troop.n He was the perfect combonation. He was young enough through his 8 years as SM that we never looked at him as an old fart or a dad and old enough that we respected him as being an adult. He would play sports with us, taught us all to love Ultimate Frisbee and we adopted it as our troop sport, played capture the flag, kicked all our butts in Risk and joked around about movies and TV shows and Music.


But he was also tough. He held us accountable and expected us to be men. We were never to be late, we were always to be early. We were always to be prepared we never forgot. We never complained, we would only correct. No one spoke when someone else was speaking to the group. We never waited we took inititive. When we DIDNT or werent, he let us know.


That balance helped rebuild the troop and molded 12 eagles and 3 high adventure trips in 8 years where the two SMs before had produced 1 eagle and no HA trips in 4. The troop tripled in size and the boys that came out of it, even if they didnt get eagle, came out with life long love and respect for the troop.


Tough, fair and fun. Hold them to be men and scouts will impress the SM, as long as the SM can also be a kid sometimes.

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Look I know that you think I'm coming off as a complainer, but our troop is too strict. And its not just me, I go to summer camp every year and see other troops having fun, I talk to scouts of those troops and compare leaders, and we always have the strictest ones. Is it nice being a "disciplined" troop, sure, but at some point you just have to let your scouts have fun.


I get yelled at enough at football and basketball practices, I don't need it at Boy Scouts.

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