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How do you get through to parents?

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How do you get parents to understand?


A few examples:


1) As we gathered right before leaving for summer camp, our AC again stressed that it was a "Soda free" event. He mentioned ( again) how scouts should have already been drinking plenty of water BEFORE the day of departure.


At this point, a mom says to her son( with a sly smile): " So how is your ( wink , wink ) tea?" Son replies : "My ( wink, wink )tea is good!"


Problem was his tea was very obviously fizzy and carbonated. Coke, Pepsi, Dr Peper or some other dark carbonated cola.


2) We tell scouts to be sure to put on sunscreen before venturing out for the day at summer camp - especially if they are going to waterfront( shirtless) .


One or two scouts tell us: "I don't know if I have sun block!"


So I ask: "What do you mean you don't know ? Didn't you pack it with you? We gave you a list of stuff to bring> We did a shakedown the night before leaving."


" But my mom packed my stuff, I didn't pack anything!"


3) Dad/ mom says these are the MB's I need to do first, so I'm not working on Geocaching( during geocaching camporee) requirements.


4) Mom sys I can wear flip flops to camp if I want to!


5) Scout shows up to load his gear on scout trailer before departure and has three big clear plastic totes. One has sleeping bag, blanket and clothes, next one has battery operated fans, electric fan ( must have a 67 mile extention cord?) and video game. Third tote is full of sodas, boxES of candy,4 or 5 packs of cookies, twinkies, pop tarts, etc.....


His 3 totes would have taken up as much space as the next 8 scouts backpacks. I say would have as we put a stop to it. Problem is - we have said time and time again about no electronics, video games, ton of junk food.

And no, we don't mind scouts bringing some snacks, but this kid could have opened his own mimi-mart at a 2 night camp!


So, obviously, these parents are fighting us behind the scenes. I don't think they are purposly being malicious or intentionally trying to cause ill will or problems. It's just that they "know their own son better" and they don't think what we say applies to their angel.


So no doubt, I am gonna have to have a sit down with mom and/or dad, it's just that I realize there may be a more tactful way of talking to them than what I am plnning on saying.


Nah, I do not plan to bite their heads off, just going to tell them there is a reason for everything we say wether they realize it or not....and it applies to junior too.


So, I know some of you rode this horse before.


Any advice?


And just for the fun of it, what issues did you have?

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The problem is universal.


Like the kid that shows up with a 64 oz soda to play a 2 1/2 baseball game in 100+ heat. Can't pump the water in fast enough by the 3rd inning.


Some parents don't get it. Kids definitely don't get it....don't care what you tell them.


In the Scout case, you may have some blackmail going on....parents want Johnny to get Eagle. Johnny's could care less, but has learned that he can get away with stuff...just to make the hassle easier to swallow.

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Solution: Do pre-trip shakedowns. Make expectations and rules crystal clear. Let everyone know that junk food, sodas and electronics are not permitted. Then give the PLs authority to enforce. Simple.


(And not to distract, but this is one of my pet peeves ... the advancement chair should have nothing to do with camping rules ... the PLs should be giving those reminders, if needed.)

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The AC didn't make the rules, he just happened to be the one to vocalize them as yet another pre trip reminder.


I remind the guys as does the SM all the time.


But in our paticular case, the AC is stepping up to take over as SM come August.


Thing is, he is one of those who will let boys make mistakes and learn from them ( not dangerous or fatl, mind you) , but will still tell mom and dads that they too, can help the boys by not going out and buying a bunch of garbage food.


You know how it is...tell the boys the same thing over and over - and as soon as mom or dad says something is okay, the scout will forget any rules and go with the answer he likes.

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Consistency, a willingness to enforce the rules, and peer enforcement will get results every time. If a boy's patrolmates shake their heads at the Scout who wants to bring along a bunch of soda and candy bars, he'll stop the next time. If the


Parent education is another component, to be sure, and it sounds like your parents haven't been educated about how Scouting works. It's difficult with first-year Scouts, especially those who've come up from Webelos recently. The transition is a challenge. But the parents need to know the expectations of the patrols. Perhaps invite them to a meeting on troop programs and procedures run by the PLC, so they both get the message and see that the boys are in charge.


Thanks for the clarification on the AC's future role.


But if you did a shakedown before leaving, why did the boys not know if they had sunblock?(This message has been edited by shortridge)

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My son's troop does shakedowns and they also confiscate contraband if they find it at camp. I knew an old scout master that had the NO electronics rule even back in the 80s. Back then, there were not as many hand held devices as they are now, but you still had walkmans, and some others. His thing? If he found it on you or in your stuff, he would confiscate it...for A YEAR. And he did it too.


But I think I understand that you are trying to address a larger issue here. I am going through growing pains myself with my 1st year scout. For me, it is a very very very fine balance between knowing he has to learn some things for himself and do his own scout journey, and also knowing the he is still only 12 years old.


And I am OK(ish) if he sunburns because he forgot to pack his sunscreen for instance. But I am not really OK with him getting food poisoning because he didn't cook his food properly and none of the "boys" guides was around to supervise at the campout (this has happened TWICE in my son's troop, though not to my son personally)


It is hard to entrust your son to the care of an adult you barely know and much harder to entrust him to the care of a teenager you know not at all. And that 1st year, that's what it is. I personally think that scout leaders (in general) could do a better job at reassuring parents that while this is a boy led troop, they will NOT let him get seriously hurt. I don't feel that reassurance right now in my son's troop.(This message has been edited by momof2cubs)

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SPL and Pl's conduct shakedowns.


Depending on where we are going and what we are doing and at what time of year, boys will pack gear in trailer the night before departure, but will keep daypack with them.


If we are going to hike in or be at camp later in the day, boys usually keep bug spray and sunblock in day pack to put on before we get to the hot sunny bug infested campsites.




It's not just 1st year or NSP's. It also some 2nd and 3rd year scouts.


Some 1st year scouts did well in their second year of Webelos and haven't had an issue.


The parents are the way they are regardles of how long or newly joined the scouts are in the troop.

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Some one needs the stones to put their foot down.


Summer camp we shook the troops gear down, starting with mine and the SM....No one was excluded.


Dumped my gear on the tarp and had the spl go thru it.


We had a few snacks, no cell phones or video games, three digital cameras......



So your summer camp has AC power at the campsites to run fans and video games????????



Suggestions......I bet the Troop has a history of Junk food and video games on campouts..... You can break the cycle......but ya need to say no. The PLC and Adult leader needs to put up a unified front.......


The SM and I had talked about him and I being busted with lots of junk food going to summer camp and it being given back to our wives before we left......We didn't do it.


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Personally, I never made those rules as Scoutmaster for five years.


I am not aware that Scouts brought the whole candy store or soda fountain with them. If they did, I didn't see it. Generally I think pretty much any amount of junk food was gone after a couple of days in camp.


If a Scout showed up with loads of gear we didn't have room for, I suppose he would have had to sort it out then and there. Never had that problem circa 1982-87 though.


Flip flops might have been deemed a safety hazard and boots required unless you were sitting around camp or on your way to the shower.


Sun burn isn't usually that much of a hazard around Western Washington. I can't recall anyone being badly sunburned at camp, ever. It could certainly be a serious issue in many parts of the country.


Even were that the case, I'm not sure I'd make a rule about it. I might well have a reminder session about the hazards of sunburn and ask Scouts to explain the methods they would use to protect themselves from that hazard. That might be sun block, suitable clothing like a hat, or making a point of staying out of the sun during the middle of the day. Scouts would choose the methods they wanted to use, and might arrange to borrow sun block if they had neglected to bring it.


If someone got burned after that, I might have them explain to other Scouts why it happened and what they would do in the future to protect themselves better.





Ummm. If you sign up for a geocaching camporee, we would be doing geocaching. That would be the program.


By and large my aim would be to make the Scout responsible, not the parent.


Scouts might suffer sometimes from poor decision making. They might be aided by getting a garbage bag to wear if they brought no rain gear, or plastic bags to put over their feet if they made a poor choice of shoes. But absent an actual safety hazard (as opposed to discomfort) Scouts were largely responsible for themselves. Patrol Leaders might take additional steps.


New Scouts might get an equipment inspection the meeting before a trip. That was to educate them on what to bring and why and give them a chance to improve on what they were planning to bring.


(This message has been edited by seattlepioneer)

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Nah, no outlets at all. At least not at our campsite. Our bathouse and our shelter do have 3 lights each, but no plugs anywhere.


The scout would have to walk to the dining hall, admin building or Med center.


Thing is, instead of just telling mom that the games and electric fan were useless, both scout and mom went into mother in charge of all mode.


"Some one needs the stones to put their foot down."


Yeah, that's what the AC ( going to be SM next month) and myself( ASM) are planning on doing.


Thing is, I just want to make sure I do it in a tactfull enough way to not cause a parent to freak out and want to remove their son from the troop because the think prison wardens took over.

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I hope that the Scoutleaders in question understand the possible family dynamics at work.

*It is possible that the mom/dad is bribing the boy for his love/affirmation. Unfortunate, but it happens.

* It is not only the spoiled rotten kid syndrome, it is the "I don't dare refuse him" syndrome. Pity the poor parent who is afraid of saying no to his/her child. At age twelve, it is almost too late.

* And, If the parent has lower expectations of their boy, who is he to rise above them? YOU set YOUR expectations and watch the boy meet them at camp. Here's where the SM Minute can be used to good effect.

* True story at CSDC: Dad comes up to Asst. CD and asks if they know anyone he could PAY to take his place as a DWalker. Pay the DWalker, pay the boy to be a Scout. There are such people out there.

* And here is where the ScoutLeader must make the Real World come into contact with the Fantasy World of the "I can do anything I want" mentality. Med forms, candy stocks, cell phone/text tablets, sugary soda, if they have them, it's because you made the rules and did not mak'em stick.

WHen I was my daughter's soccer team coach, I made my team drink a cup of water BEFORE they went on the field, made a big difference in their performance first half. I also asked them which of them had suger pops for breakfast, which had other breakfasts, and we compared notes as to who had the stamina and who didn't. One parent brought mini sodas for the half time snack, and I had to say no, and asked them to go get something else. Fruit, Capri Sun, not soda. I asked the team to make their own conclusions about what gave them stamina/energy and what didn't. Seemed to work, we had two winning seasons after one losing one.

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I had an adult (drinking soda, overweight, on antibiotics, working in the hot sun) go into heat stroke - vomiting, disoriented, etc. We had him in a cold shower but to no avail - nothing that an hour on IVs and air conditioning couldn't "cure."


I will gently remind the boys but guess what, getting bitten by mosquitoes is a great reminder to bring bug spray, getting a painful sunburn is great learning tool in assisting one to remember to bring sun screen, etc.


At a beach outing my I suggested to my son he reapply sunscreen - naw Dad, I don't need it. Well, I caught hell from his mother for not making him put it on as he got burned but you know what, it hasn't happened again in six years and counting.


There comes a time where we need to cut the apron strings and as they say, what doesn't kill them will make them stronger.

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You just aren't going to reach some parents. You might, possibly, reach their kids. That is actually pretty fun to watch, when it happens.


The kid whose parent packs for them will eventually be embarrassed by that and tell mom or dad to let him handle it for himself.


The kid who has a huge tote of electronic gear should be "allowed" to carry his tote of gear, himself, all the way to the camp site. Then let him discover that there isn't an outlet for miles. (If there is an outlet, think about making your campsites less convenient in the future!) If space in the trailer is truly an issue, let the boy figure out how to repack his three totes into one, before you leave the parking lot. His PL may wish to assist him. Have somebody distract mom or dad while he repacks on his own (surely, there's a form you need the parent to step ---over here--- to re-sign.) Then the boy delivers the extra stuff to mom or dad to take back home.


The kid who has the candy store? Well there, I might draw the line because I don't really want to invite the Raccoon Family Robinson into camp, not to mention other critters. But I know that the boys tend to enforce this pretty well, especially after an annoying experience or two. One summer my son's tent mate at camp had a bunch of junk food and by the end of the week their tent got overrun with ants. After that, my son became much pickier about who he would share a tent with, and what behaviors he'd put up with.


One mom in my son's troop has, in past, sent a case of pop to her boy mid-week as a care package. The leaders lugged that thing all the way back to the campsite for mail call, and weren't completely thrilled when they learned what was in the box. Next year, they laughingly announced **TO THE BOYS** at the pre-camp meeting that anybody who received very heavy care packages would be in charge of lugging them back to the campsite, themselves. Guess what, the boy in question asked his mom not to send pop this year. (I hear she did, but only one can instead of a case, and more as a joke!)


Now some kids aren't going to learn, either. Son was just telling me that one of the guys in his Venturing Crew took his new android on the Crew's week-long backpacking trek in the middle of nowhere (no service, no electricity, battery died on day 2) to use as a "flashlight." And of course he lost the darn thing! From what I hear, the rest of the group was not very sympathetic.




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YOU aren't going to fix this. The Scouts will.


After lying awake for two miserable nights in the heat and humidity with a bad sunburn, the Scout will remember his sunscreen.


After arriving at camp and learning his two extra tubs of junk were left at home because there wasn't room in the trailer AND that for safe-keeping Mr. Smith took his video games home with him and, oh-by-the-way, Mr. Smith is in Texas for three weeks and won't be able to return the video game until sometime in August, he will leave it home next time.


After the Scout gets busted for wearing flip-flops and has to wear the same pair of hot hiking boots all week, he'll bring a second pair of appropriate shoes next time.


After spending two on his bunk holding a flashlight in his teeth writing Citizenship MB essays and letters while his mates are at the shotgun range, free swim or munching popsicles at the trading post, he'll make up his own mind about his schedule next year. (And if it's a problem, why isn't the SM helping the Scout make better selections?)


And not to cause a hijack, but what's the problem with soft drinks? Our camp sells them at the trading post. I suppose the main reason our guys don't take them to camp is the lack of refrigeration. I'm surprised my older guys haven't figured out they sell ice at the trading post. You may want to consider one reason you have so many folks ignoring your rules is that the troop seems to have a lot or rules and/or expectations. Not every hill is worth dying for.

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While I haven't had the pleasure of taking boys on campouts without the families yet (next summer will come soon enough), I can say that I have had parents on the family campouts try some doozies. We have non-smoking, non-drinking family camps, and we've had to discuss both situations with adults at camp. They can smoke, by the dumpsters (where no scouts tred) and out of scout sight, and no drinking at all.



I'm on my 2nd week of running dens at summer daycamps right now, and I have my rules. This week I have Webelos. The boys can grumble, but I am set and they will follow the rules or they can go home. We drink a minimum of 1/2 cup water at the end of the current activity and another minimum 1/2 cup when we get to the next activity. There is no discussion. They can drink or sit out the activity. And IF it's a "non-fun" activity that they are having to sit out (like weather), they also owe me time at a "fun" activity, like swimming or BB. Drinking fluids is NOT an option with me.


This week alone, I have stopped 2 parents who have dropped off scouts with sodas in hand--handed the soda back to the parent and told them NO SODA ALLOWED IN MY DEN. One boy brought a soda in his lunch, and I confiscated that--gave him a capri sun (I always have extra snacks and drinks, for these reasons).


One boy had his DS in hand as he got out of the truck--that went right back to mom and dad, with an admonation from me NO ELECTRONICS. Mom said "but he'll be bored and you won't want to deal with him." My response: He'll be bored and he will have to deal with me. Monday, he did get bored, at weather, just like the other boys--and he dealt with it. I had zero problems with him.


I have one boy whose mom is working with another den. He left his lunch and pack with her for two days. I told him that if he didn't have it with him tomorrow, he was not going to be going swimming or doing bb/archery--it's not his mom's job to have his pack and lunch. Nor is it mine to make sure he has his stuff--I don't check on my son's stuff (Bear)--he packs his own lunch and gets his gear together before he goes to bed, and it's his job to grab it as we go out the door.



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