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For Any Frustrated Parent of a Frustrating Troop

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I just want to give some encouragement to those parents where their son is in a frustrating troop situation. Just a quick background. My son was barely 13 when he joined his troop. Never had experience in scouting before but was very enthusiastic. He wasn't an angel thats for sure but he is a total outdoor nut and was excited to be able to do all the great activities he had been told about. Reality sets in - A very clickish troop with what I found to be very unscoutlike older boys. He was treated as a new 10 or 11 year old crossover by the boys who were only a few months older than him because he was new to scouts. Now when your a teenager you do not like to be constantly lumped in doing things with 11 year olds...its very demoralizing. The majority of boys in the troop's idea of camping is to drive somewhere, set up a campfire and poke sticks at the fire until told to go to bed. Most of the adults do not acknowledge anything my son accomplishes probably because he got off to a rocky start with many of them. He had some authority issues (hey i said he wasnt an angel). I am sure many parents have been in this situation. We continue to talk of what his goals are. They are to get his Eagle Rank, and have as much fun as possible. So here is the encouraging part- Don't let them be discouraged. Work with them. Since my son always wanted to actually do things on campouts I became his patrols only Patrol advisor (trust me I knew nothing about camping, or scouting) I went on every campout. When the troop did their usual bit of not having anything planned. I'd find out what my son's patrol wanted to do like a short hike or build something and I'd grab another equally clueless mom and off we would go. They had a great time even if it didnt always work out as planned.. Every Meritbadge college, or camporee that our troop as usual didn't attend I would take him and we would hook up with another troop. He joined a venture crew so he could get the adventure he craved while still sticking it out with the troop. He has been in for a little over 2 1/2 years is a life scout; has over 20 merit badges; has been to Philmont, is a camp counselor at summer camp, all while being active in school and sports, Is making a ton of friends from other troops because we hook up alot with other troops that actually do things. Now, our troop is finally beginning to turn around, the older boys that were trouble makers have all quit; Some of the boys that like to do things are now in leadership positions and the troop is finally looking like a troop. Meantime my son has learned to work through tough times and its ok to march to your own drummer but still be a part of the group. In fact boys are starting to listen to all the fun he has and his stories of what other troops do and are beginning to finally consider the fact they might have just as much fun if they start showing some enthusiasm again. Parents don't give up just get creative with your solutions. Sometimes no matter how much you participate or get trained the roadblock is still there so learn to go over it, around it, or under it just don't let it stop you...or your son.

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