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What do the boys do in your troop?

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In da parent thread a young JASM asks for help tryin' to get the adults in his troop to back off and let the boys do things on their own.


One of da things that always comes up when you're workin' with troops is the worry that "boys aren't capable" of doing this, that, or the other thing.


So it seems to me we should have a thread we can point folks to that describes in detail what boys really are capable of doin' on their own and without help. Somethin' that might be used to inspire, or embarrass, other adults into movin' to a more boy run program.


For all of you out there who have truly youth run units, or who have tried it and been surprised to see it work, or who have overcome your fears... share your tales. Tell us true stories of what da youth in your troop have done on their own without adult support or help. Tell us also what things da youth do routinely, that no adult would ever even consider doing (cooking, perhaps?)


Let's show da fearful and reluctant what's truly possible, eh?



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Fantastic idea, Beavah!


Here's a list from the troop I was in (and since I'm a College Scouter, there can't be any "that was then, this was now" ;) ):


-The OA Troop Rep was responsible for contacting the chapter for an election team and for determining who was eligible (the adults DID give him a nights camping print-out, though).

-There is only one adult at the annual Troop Planning Meeting: the Scoutmaster. Otherwise, it's only youth leaders, led by the SPL.

-The Scouts handle their SPL and PL elections themselves.

-They have an annual patrol cooking competition (judged by adults but menus are up to the Scouts).

-The PLC sets duty rosters at summer camps

-Patrols rotate responsibilities for the Courts of Honor and troop meetings

-The SPL works with the SM to run Troop Leadership Training

-Scouts ran the (occasional) uniform inspections and rewarded the best uniformed patrol

-Once Scouts reach First Class, they are permitted to sign off on any rank below theirs (Eagles did A LOT of signing).

-Patrols did their own menus and cooking when they went camping.

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Troops ebb and flow as far as youth leadership is concerned, as the Scouts get trained, find their footing, and organize then eventually leave for others to do the same.


I normally expect them once in the troop a couple of years to be able to organize their campouts, figure out where they are going, who is driving (and get the commitments from the drivers) figure out who is in who's car, when they leave, when they get back, communicate all that to everyone, etc. As well as the standard figuring out who sleeps in whose tent, who is grubmaster, what they will eat, etc.


I have seen Scouts organize entire Scout o Rama booths, set them up, drive their own stuff to the SoR, etc. The adults were basically there for the ride. Wasn't the prettiest booth there, but it was beautiful to me ;-)



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Ok you asked for it ;) From the late 80s to late 90s while I was a youth and ASM.


1)SPL plans, conducts, and organizes the PLC, usually on a quarterly basis, but as needed.


2)SPL and the PLC plan the yearly calendar. May not seem like a challenge, but working with an average of 14, yep 14, different public and private school calendars, it was a challenge


3) SPL runs the meeting


A)Program patrol has the opening.

B)SPL and/or Leadership Corps conducts the uniform inspection.

C) LC members teach various skills to the patrols.

D) SPL ran game time. Game time could vary depending upon how well the skills training went, behaviour, etc.

E) PLs ran their patrol corners meeting.

F) Program patrol closed the meeting.

G) Service patrol cleaned up.


In all honesty we didn't use the term Service and Program Patrols. We used Ceremony and Clean up, but you get the idea. Also the only time the SM stepped in was A) Scout Investiture and B)Recognizing Advancment, and C)SM Minute.


4) PLs ran their patrol meetings and activities.

A) Wasn't held during the troop meeting originally, but eventually merged when we extended the troop meeting and patrol corners

B) PLs organized duty roosters, menus, shopping details, etc.


5) Campouts

A) planned and organized by the PLC.

B) Unless in situations where we couldn't help it, usually camporees and some state parks, patrol camped a good distance away from each other. Can't promise you it was 300 feet, but far enough away to be on our own, but close enough to get togther for interpatrol activities and emergencies.

C) older scouts worked with the younger scouts.

D) Leadership Corps organized camp game, usually CIVIL WAR (yep the troop was divided into Yankees, Confederates, and Nazis (don't ask how that last group came about ;)) and campfires.

E) Any emergencies that happened, Scouts dealt with it until adults came. Even then Scouts would normally have things under control ( hence why I no longer have an autographed Green Bar Bill troop necker :( ).

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The boys are entirely responsible for opening meetings, announcements, and closing meetings. Adults must request permission from SPL to give an announcement.


Scouts name their own patrols, come up with their own yell, make their own flag. Sit as patrols. PL's and First Class Plus sign off on T2FC reqs.


Outside of summer camp. We have a hard time getting our boys to "work" as patrols. They like doing the "ad hoc" thing. They like camping and cooking as a troop. Regardless, they do all of the shopping, cooking, and clean-up. (Actually our SM has a bit of a servant heart, so he'll pitch in with cleaning a pan or two.)


We are trying to get SPL to complete the tour plans before handing them off for signature. That's always iffy. We encourage the SPL to invite crew or pack to activities, entirely at his and the PLC's discretion. If he doesn't contact the crew president, then we treat it as an activity for just the boys.


(In a sense this means our crew takes 2nd fiddle to the troop, because my officers tend not to plan events when I'm not available. But, I feel the venturers have more responsibility for recruiting the qualified adults they need. And, the more they learn to organize events in my absence, the more likely I will have found my replacement!)


In general, we set a vision for the boys which, by the way, still includes patrols planning independent overnights. We try to stay out of the way, mainly by maintaining an "old farts patrol".

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basically the boys do everything but fill out and file tour permit, the also don't make the reservations when needed.


the patrols figure out who is cook and assistant, make their duty roster, plan their meals, the cook does the shopping, cook their own meals, clean their own dishes, etc... we have some very good cooks in the troop too!


adults have our own patrol - the only time a boy gets to eat anything from our food is when they come over for a taste or we have left overs.


with awards and c/h the SPL has the SM and advancement cordinator come up - AC hands awards to SM, SM announces, SPL hands awards/cards.


when a scout is wanting to work on an advancement they usually approach an adult, adult appoints a boy that is great with that skill to teach, when scout has it down they return to the adult to show off and get signed off.

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I think it's easier to post what our adults do.


On routine campouts, the adults camp and eat separately from the Scout patrols. On campouts where logistics limit facilities or gear, the adults split up and eat as guests of the patrols (the patrols do everything, the adults just show up in their patrol sites in time to eat.) The patrols are on their own otherwise.


Adults will handle things like reservations for outings to commercial facilities or parks. The Scouts handle reservations at council-owned camps or places we go frequently. (The results of that are a bit fiffy, which is why adults handle reservations at places not accustomed to dealing with Scouts. I occassionally have the Camp Ranger call me asking for clarification.)


Adults handle all finances, except for paying for patrol food on campouts. The patrol grub master is responsible for buying the food, figuring the per person cost and collecting the money. We have a big troop. The total troop fee for summer camp is over $11,000. The expenses for our Philmont crew (which flew out yesterday moring,) is almost $20,000. With numbers like that, we need someone who knows what they're doing keeping the books -- and it for dang sure ain't me.


Adults do most all sign=offs and process all advancement. But we're nibbling away at that. There are a few Scouts who are authorized to do sign-offs, but it's an individual decision, no a blanket "everyone can sign=off on lower ranks" sort of thing. Only adults enter advancement data into TroopMaster or process adv. reports or the like. The troop scribe has access to TM for the purpose of entering attendance. That's been VERY weak and until someone steps up, I don't see adding to that responsibility changing.


The youth Quartermaster is responsible for all troop gear, along with the patrol quartermasters. We also have an ASM-Quartermaster who pushes that along. Like Scribe, we have good QMs and weaker QMs. The ASM tries to work through the Scouts, but he has a breaking point and when the storeroom gets to the point he can't get in the door, he'll lower the boom and have all the youth QMs show up for a work day.


One development which I'm really excited over is that out two most recent SPLs, (outgoing and immmediately past) are going to be our first functioning JASMs. They are going to take on responsibilities as mentors for the Scribe and QM -- sort of buffers between the youth and adults in those positions. These two guys both served in these positions respectively and both did a bang-up job. I'm looking forward to how that is going to work out.


Other than that, the program side of things is basically youth run. The PLC decides on monthly program themes and puts the programs together. We do encourage them to involve adults with a particular expertise in the instruction part of the program, depending on subject. We recently had a month on fire safety and one of the ASPLs arranged with the local FD to do teach the program.


The new scout program is run by an ASPL and the troop guides. I sit in on planning sessions where we decide what topics to cover, but then it's up to the ASPL and TGs to execute. We're trying something new and basing the instruction around upcoming activities not advancement. For example, last month we went backpacking, so all the instruction for the new scouts was built around packing and hiking stuff. In years past we just started with the first Tenderfoot requirements and worked through. Consequently, I'm a little more involved in the planning.


The PLC decides where we go camping and what the major activities will be. Occasionally, if we have some special trip, the adults will get involved in the planning (usually over my objections, but you know how that goes.)


Some things are on auto-pilot and don't require adult or youth decision making. We always go to week two of summer camp and so far always go in council. We try to keep monthly campouts on the first full weekend of each month, just to make planning easy. November is always the campout with the Webelos, Troop JLT is always the weekend before school starts, stuff like that.


There's a balance between Scout led and Scout led off into a ditch. A Scout trying to teach fire safety would likely been boring. What expertise does and 15-year-old bring to the table? Having the local fire department involved meant we got to blow stuff up and everyone took turns at the business end of a 2-inch fire hose. If the occassional over-the-top, big-deal trip comes at the cost of having over-involved adults, that's a reasonable price to pay if it keeps the Scouts excited, interested and involved.


I think we've found a good balance for our troop.

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From my personal experience, given the support and help of adults that Scouting presumes, Scouts can do most anything required to plan and lead a troop program. As has been said here many times in different words by different posters, the problem comes when the adults don't let go.


What do the boys do? The troop I work with now just had a Court of Honor. The event was planned and led by the Scout leaders. The Scoutmaster was the only Scouter who spoke, and he contributed a Scoutmaster's Minute when called upon by the SPL. Somewhere in the background at some point, I know the Scoutmaster supported and helped the Scout leaders because that is the Scoutmaster's job. He trained them to do what they did or trained their predecessors from whom they learned. The critical thing is, this Scoutmaster knows when to step back and let the leaders lead.


The Scouts in this troop similarly plan and lead the rest of the troop program. You can close your eyes and hear it.




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For those of you whose older scouts (esp. PL's and Troop Guides) do not sign off on trail to first class, I'd like to know why?


Honestly, I've had more problems training adults on this than boys. (Adults invariably fall for the "I did this at camp last summer when I earned __ MB" line, where boys will ask "Can you show me that skill now?" as we trained them to do.)


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Things we're doing right:


-Patrol leaders plan and execute Troop meeting programing. Over the past year they have gotten quite good at preparing and executing relevant meeting topics.


-Patrols hold regular offsite and not on Troop meeting night Patrol meetings. Attendance isn't always great but the boys are slowly getting better at these.


-Patrols set up their own patrol fly and prepare and clean up all meals. Adults do not cook separately but are invited guests at the patrol site.


-The PLC decides where we will camp at a yearly planning meeting before the committee meets and sets the calendar. They also decide on the yearly HA trip. That may be why the troop has no HA trip planned this year as the PLC could not make a decision.


Year by year our troop TLT program takes firmer and firmer root. As the scouts experience a more patrol/boy run program the more they , knowingly or unknowingly, demand it.


IMHO we still have a ways to go but we are headed in the right direction.


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What the boys in a troop do depends a lot on the culture of that troop. I've seen some troops that in the name of boy led, take a totally hands off approach which often leads to chaos. One troop I was associated with had boys that were lazy and didn't want to cook, so they bought pop tarts and raman noodles. The laziness got so bad that they wouldn't even boil the water for the raman, they'd just knaw on the dry brick of noodles and chug water. Program on a campout consisted of standing around the fire all day and poking sticks in it. one kid had a habit of unzipping his tent door and peeing inside the vestibule so he didn't have to put on his shoes and walk at least to the tree line. These are the troops where the kids might wear a uniform shirt with their basketball shorts and flip flops.


Then you have other troops where the adults realize that boys don't automatically know how to run a troop. They keep a watchful eye on leadership and mentor where needed. These are the troops where there was a good deal of adult mentoring to get the ball rolling and then it takes on a life of it's own with teaching and training being passed down from boy to boy. This is the kind of troop I'm associated with now.


What do our boys do? They get together once a year to plan their calendar. They start out by doing two things. They decide program they want to do and places they want to go. Then they match program to place and pck the best month to do it. Some adults attend, but they observe and only give input if asked. Once the calendar is set, boys volunteer for which event they want to be the planner for. These are usually older boys who have already had experience with planning. A younger boy volunteers to be his assistant planner to learn the ropes. An adult mentor volunteers to assist the boy planners should their help be needed. This planning consists of a schedule for the weekend, program planning, campfire program and Scout's own service. The PLC meets weekly before the troop meeting to fine tune that night's meeting and conduct any other business needed. They meet once a month to plan out the next month's troop meetings and make assignments for training sessions and game time. Patrol leaders are responsible for making sure the patrol plans a menu, duty roster, collecting grub money and seeing that someone serves as grubmaster before a campout. Troop meetings are run by the scouts based o ntheir pre-planning and the most as adult does is possibly make an announcement. All gear is checked in and out by the boy QM's and the trailer loaded by them. It is their responsibility to tag items in need of repair and bring it to the attnetion of the adult QM. Our new Scout program is run under the leadership of usually 3 TG's under the supervision of a couple of ASM's. In fact, the last several TLT's have been totally youth run by some of our Scout's who have served on the NYLT staff.


Of course, a lot of that is easier to do with 60 scouts from 11 to 18 instead of 6 scouts who are 11 to 13 years old.(This message has been edited by sr540beaver)(This message has been edited by sr540beaver)

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Qwazse -- to my knowledge, our Scouts have never done advancement sign-offs since before I was SM. At one time Troop Instructors may have done some sign offs. However, when I took over, the position of Instructor was greatly abused. Half the guys in the troop were "Instructors" yet none of them ever taught anything it was just a freebie position of responsibility. After trying a number of times but failing to get our instructors to actually instruct something, I basically eliminated the position.


Over the last few years, I have asked a couple leaders to re-establish the instructor corps, set up some training sessions and plans to get this up and running, but they have not followed through.


Honestly, for me as SM I've had bigger fish to fry.

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Yah, interestin'. A lot of folks are about where I'd expect.


In da most youth-run unit I work with, the boys:


* Plan either a six-month or annual calendar, including budget and fundraisers.

* One or two PLC members plan each outing (and meetings that prepare for the outin'), including making reservations and instructing the treasurer or an adult to make payments. That includes high adventure trips, summer camp, etc.

* Patrol Leaders and the PLC members planning an outing manage all safety plans/preparation/instruction/discipline/decision making on most outings (exceptions for outfitter-supported trips).

* Patrols routinely select their own routes or make their own plans within a particular outing, and camp/hike/etc. without adults. In other words the SPL doesn't set times for most things (wake up, etc.), each PL does.

* Older boys do signoffs for T21.

* Experienced youth handle most ordinary first aid response.

* Set their own rules/expectations for each other, and sometimes for adults.

* Decide on troop gear purchases.

* Serve on BORs, run Courts of Honor.

* Determine patrol membership & structure.

* Contribute to decisions on SM and ASM appointments.

* Decide on appropriate uniforming.


Of course, then get can find troops that don't let boys do any of that :(, or any combination in between.


Da thing is, the units that are more youth-run are also the units that have (as one poster put it) more of a skills emphasis, eh? In other words, they tend not to do First Class in a Year, and they focus heavily on skills proficiency in the program and as part of TLT. As SR540 put it, the boys (and adults) make sure the boys really develop the skills to succeed at these tasks.





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Our troop really stresses the importance of a Boy Run troop. They are really responsible for everything except money management; even then, they are instructed to find out who paid to alert the treasurer so they know who owes for trips.


Otherwise, the SPL and Green Bar plan all of the meetings. The SPL even organizes special guests such as local fire departments or EMS squads willing to do demos. Trip itineraries are always planned by the Green Bar as well.


In my experience, especially when I was in their position a few years back, the more responsibility a scout is given, the more he will do. The boys are more capable than many think and with added responsibility, they will rise to the occasion.

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"The laziness got so bad that they wouldn't even boil the water for the raman, they'd just knaw on the dry brick of noodles and chug water."


Well, I sort of like the taste of dry ramen noodles. They aren't too starchy like macaroni/spaghetti noodles, they sort of have a (very) mild somewhat sweet taste. I don't eat them and chug water, I just eat them plain. That being said, I would never consider this a meal, it's just a snack. Those boys sound like they need some help learning how to cook simple meals that taste incredible. One thing that I've found really helps as far as motivating people to cook is to stop by some discount store and buy a few teflon-coated pots/pans to simplify meal cleanup. If the pot cleans up easily then suddenly the focus is on the food instead of on the cleanup. After you've had to take steel wool to a few pots, you start seriously looking for ways to get a meal without having to clean the pot (which is also a useful skill, like double-boiling inside ziploc freezer baggies that're in a pot or something). Try this 3-pot & frying pan set for $20 from Walmart: http://www.walmart.com/ip/Classics-7-Piece-Nonstick-Cookware-Set/5723665


What is this Green Bar? I've heard of Green Bar Bill, but not a patrol having someone who is a Green Bar.


Anyway, in my opinion, people who say that boys "aren't capable" of leading a troop have boys who have no experience leading -- of course they aren't as capable leaders as the adults. Instead of surprising the boys one night with, "Ok, plan out the next three months right now on the spur of the moment," give them the three Troop Program Features books and tell them to choose one of the month-long programs and work off that. Give them a sheet to fill out, times for each segment of each meeting, etc. After they do that a couple or a few times, then they'll really know how a program is "supposed" to work and they'll be more ready to actually start planning things out themselves. Don't just throw them in from the deep end, ease them into it.(This message has been edited by BartHumphries)

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