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I read through this thread with interest to say the least. My son has had nearly the opposite experience in scouts as your son. I was his Webelos Den Leader and we visited two troops and camped with one of them. His best friend was in one of the troops, so that was the troop my son decided to join. I volunteered to be an Assistant Scoutmaster (ASM) and got the Scoutmaster Training (thinking that at least one leader will be trained!). The Scoutmaster was planning a major camping trip, to Philmont Scout Ranch, in New Mexico. Philmont requires boys to be 14 before they can go to, so my son and 2 other Scouts were not eligible. Since Philemont planning took nearly every Troop Meeting, my son and the other 2 were completely left out. I got permission from the Scoutmaster to train the younger scouts. I said "So they will be a like a new scout patrol?" I get a blank stare from the SM. Then he says, "We don't want the boys to be in 'cliques' so we don't separate the the troop into patrols". I move on and the 3 Scouts form a patrol anyway, the Wandering Wolverine Patrol, they invite a friend and the patrol grows. I try to get patrol badges, SM says, we don't do that. I buy the badges myself. I suggest that the new scout patrol goes camping once a month, so they can advance to First Class, and because camping is what Boy Scouts do. Another Blank Stare from the SM. This is unheard of. Tim being weird again. We camp anyway, I roped in another parent in so that we have 2 leaders with the 4 Wolverines. I plan summer camp. 4 Scouts go, the Wolverines, with me and the roped parent. No one else, not even the SM. We continue to camp and invite the whole troop, no takers. They don't like camping. Troop is off for the summer. Except for the Wolverines. First Troop meeting of the Fall is finally scheduled, except now they have a conflict. Troop meets on Monday and Monday Night Football is on. Troop Meeting is canceled. My son and 2 other Wolverines transfer to a troop that likes camping and I'm now helping a Scoutmaster that I can see eye to eye with. The Scouts who were ready to quit are now active and happy.


It's a big mistake to try to say that Boy Scouts should not camp.

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daddy 0

I hope scouting or not works out well for both you and your son, in whatever direction you go.

with the class pariah boys change a lot and I can't count the times I have seen kids who can't stand each other become best friends. when scouting works it seems to me that at least respect if not out friendship is the result


whatever your decision

tony in the northeast


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My kid at 10 was not the same kid is now at 18. But he sounded pretty similar to yours. We thought he was a hot shot at soccer. Was on one of those, what did you call it, "highly selective", travel teams. Burned out. He joined scouts a couple of months shy of his 14th birthday and took off. Went to Jambo, All 3 HA bases and earned Eagle. His outside interests turned out to be swimming and cross country, both of which he earned Varsity letters and won enough medals to fill out a tin-cup generals uniform. Also participated in the schools Key Club, government, and was in the Honors program. I think it was said else where in the thread....keep you kid out of your helicopter. Let him find his own way.


But offer him opportunity.

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Daddy-o, some thoughts that came as I read thru this tome...


Harry Truman was once asked what a parent should do to help their children succeed. He replied, as I recall, that one should find out what the child likes to do and if it is not physically harmful, encourage them to do it.


Personal story: When I was 6,7, years old, I suffered from allergies, my folks got me tested, and discovered that I was allergic, to one degree or another, to ANYTHING that had hair, feathers or pollen. I had reaction to my own dandruff. I rode in the cab of the truck on the hay ride. I remember taking a series of desensitizing shots for THREE YEARS. Finally, I could pet a cat or dog without flinching. Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts were what I wanted to do. Neither my dad or my mom had any Scout experience, (tho my dad had worked as a timber cruiser). My mom told me once when I asked, that I had come home from school saing that I wanted to be a Cub Scout with my friend. So what I wanted to do, they helped me do.


My Scout Troop was an active one, and the advancement came automatically as we hiked and camped. Back then, Merit badges took an effort, as the Counselors might not be in the same Town, much less the same Troop, so the older boys took their time with the higher ranks. Weren't any Eagles, yet (Troop was only, it turns out, about 5 years old when I joined).

Then, a boy joined whose dad was a Naval officer. The boy announced (!) to us that he would be Eagle by the time he was 13 and a half. Had it all worked out. Back then, you could not advance in rank except by a time limit in the preceeding rank. WELL, us older boys got together,(really!) and decided we couldn't let this upstart become the Troops first Eagle Scout! So we planned our own Merit Badge classes, called around to find the counselors, and me and two of my friends became our Troops first Eagle scouts. New kid was number six, as it turns out, and about 15.


Now , Daddy-o, as to being over active. I was an honor roll student, played and marched in the band, played in a softball league, acted in plays, and did Key Club (jr. Kiwanis) and worked part time both in my dad's business and summers for other businesses. Some things were delayed for others, but it was all fun and I early on realized that some things were more important than others. Ya gotta pick and choose, after all. And my folks encouraged me in what I wanted to do.


What does Daddy-o son want to do? REALLY want to do?


As to mold allergies, yep, there is mold in them thar hills and woods, but I might suggest old mildewy tents and a possible sensitivity to the chemicals used in the synthetic materials in the gear and tents we now use. And explore with your health advisors the possibility of Daddy-o son outgrowing the allergies, or being desensitized to much of the allergen culprits. I still react to proximal cats and I know when goldenrod is near, but I ran track and cross country in school, too.


And still it boils down to (heard this before?) what does son want to do?







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After all is said and done, the Scouting program offers your son an opportunity to:


1. Learn about Democracy and citizenship from the inside by being a member of a patrol (city) and a Troop (state) and Council (Country) and meet the candidates and vote for who he determines is the best candidate.


2. Put your son in an uncomfortable enviornment and have his slightly older peers teach him not only how to cope with the new environment but master it and gain confidence in his own coping skills and abilities. And many of these are Life Skills to follow him as long as he lives.


3. Have his slightly older peers set examples of meeting responsibilities, planning and running meetings, setting goals, financial planning and meeting those responsibilities, paying your own way, planning and executing projects, taking care of the younger boys, taking care of owned and borrowed equipment, doing the right thing.


4. Have his slightly older peers teach him leadership, skill by skill, and then give him the opportunity to try out these new skills in many different roles.


5. Participate in a program that offers no conflict with his family form of worship, yet help him understand those teachings on his own personal level.


There are many more opportunities i could list, but, at this moment, consider that all the US Military Academies have a high regard for those who have undergone these experiences and training to attain the Eagle Scout rank. They evan ask if you are an Eagle Scout and those who are get another nomination for it.


Boys who have been through the "Eagle Mills" without the benefit of the EXPERIENCES always fail miserably.


We are talking about character building and learning Leadership to go with it. We are talking about 10 years of living and learning these things to prepare your son for manhood.


Daddy-O, I think the question here is not does your son want this. The question is, "Are you willing to help him get there?"




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Mister T., thanks for sharing. It seems like no matter how messed up a troop is there are always others out there that are worse. Of course, a troop with out patrols is arguably not a boy scout troop at all.


You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. Sometimes when I try to do things the way the training recommends other supposedly trained leaders seem to have no clue what I am up to. The boy-led idea is a particularly hard sell. For some reason, the Scoutmaster training does not seem to adequately convey its importance.


I think part of the problem is that the training videos depict the perfect troop and the perfect kids and the perfect Scoutmaster, but when you get to the q&a part of the training all the leaders start asking about the problems they have. That's what they are there for, but the trainers often don't have answers for them.


In the software development world, we call this the "happy path". People write software without giving much thought to what could potentially break. They write requirements and do testing as if we live in a perfect world. Then when murphy's law kicks in, they are shocked.


That is the way the training is setup. They teach you the right way to do things if you happen to be in the ideal circumstances, but they don't teach you how to deal with all the problems that are guaranteed to come up in real life.


They don't teach how to deal with adults or boys who are hard to get along with. They don't teach you what to do if your troop is all younger boys or if your SM doesn't see a need for patrols or doesn't believe in having a boy-led troop. They don't teach you what to do when two of your den leaders have an affair or when the Cubmaster skips town with the popcorn money.


Wood Badge may touch on how to deal with conflict, but most people don't go to Wood Badge.


In addition to the training issue, there is an accountability issue. The Scoutmaster in Mister T's troop was able to do whatever he wanted and completely ignore the way troops have been run since B-P on. How was he able to do that without somebody at the district level noticing? Was he operating this way with their blessing? Is there something the UC or DC could do about it? I am betting they would never dream of interfering, but this sounds like an example where the higher ups should be getting involved.

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I think the thread has been hijacked, but Daddy-o should know this.


When visiting a troop, it only takes two minutes to tell if you are in a good or bad troop and three more minutes to make sure your observations are correct. Then, if you are a Commissioner, it takes lots of time to determine the causes. If a boy is in charge, activities are going on and adults are just observing or counseling, its a good troop; its boy run.


Boy Scout troops never have problems between Scouts, troops break-up because adults cannot get along.


If the troop is more than two years old and only has twelve boys, there is an adult leader problem. Either the Scoutmaster has no help and the odds are, he runs off the help while begging for help.


The Committe often gets off course by thinking they run the troop and they vote on whether the Scouts get to do what they have have spent months planning. This only serves to teach the boys there is no reason to plan anything.


It often boils down to the un-trained leaders against the trained leaders. The un-trained leaders are absolutely convinced they know how a troop should run and the trained leaders, who follow the BSA Program, are doing it all wrong. The are all united in telling the trained leaders how wrong they are. The funny part about this is when the trained leaders give up and leave to start a new troop (or vice versa), the formerly united un-trained leaders then fight amongst themselves because there is no "Accoding To Us" Program book to share and by which to run the troop. So that falls apart or it becomes the 12 boy troop.


Boys only learn all that BSA has to offer when a troop runs by the book.


In my eighteen years as a Scoutmaster (among a total of 50 some), we only had one recruiting event (Troop Open House) when the troop was one year old and we had started with 15 new Scouts and they wanted to grow. All the other years, neighboring Webelos dens visited or went camping with us and joined because they were welcomed and mentored. Or, just because our Scouts always told stories at school about how much fun they have in Scouting, their friends wanted to join in the fun and they did. We always have 75-85 boys with most of them active, a fully trained committee w/ 12-20 Wood Badge trained leaders and its run by the Scouts. We camp at least monthly, and merit badges were only taught at troop meetings as a program feature if it was part of the program, ie: Rock Climbing because at the end of the month the boys had an Overnight Lock-In planned at an indoor climbing facility.


It has now been 8 years since I was the Scoutmaster and the troop still runs essentially the same way, presumably because the BSA way is more important than my way.



Old Thunder Fox




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