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Quixote

This is what i'm facing starting to use the patrol method

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Going to an event the other day and ran into a boy that was in the pack with my son - my son was amazed that the other boy had a patrol leader emblem on his shirt and he's not even 1st class!!! So, i asked my son's PL to explain to my son how someone gets to be a PL and his response was "well, the SM ok's it" (the PL just made Star this summer). I then said, "no, tell him the real way" which evoked the answer "the SM appoints you i guess".

 

I then asked him when the last time he VOTED on a position in the troop and his response was never - he's a Star scout, been in the troop for 2-3 years and has NEVER voted on anything! GRRRRRRRrrrrrrrr

 

Yes, i pointed out that the position is elected and advised him to read chapter 2 in the scout handbook and to commit it to memory, cause that's how things are done in scouts - i've since had the same conversation with the SPL.

 

Please say LOTS of prayers.....

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Look at the bright side, if things have gone that far astray, anything you do will be an improvement, right? No need to growl at the failings of your predecessors, you will fix things one at a time and the boys will benefit.

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Our troop has just started having patrol and troop elections, after many years of SM appointed leaders. Some of the older scouts comment that they liked it better the old way, but recognize that elections are the correct scouting method. It's was a little tough going at first but we've learned from a few small mistakes. We decided to stagger PL and SPL elections so we don't have a completely new leadership each election. Our first SPL election will be in January, so I'm using this time to makesure the next generation of jr. leaders are prepared to take over from the current SPL.

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OK here is my dilemma - we joined a different troop last May. My son is 12 and has only been a Boy Scout for a year, and wanted to go in this troop because he had friends there (the prior troop did not work out). So I honored that decision knowing full well that the troop was not boy led. I was told by the DE that the SM was almost ready to retire (he has been a SM for over 40 years) and that we should gradually implement 'new' (or as far as I am concerned, the BSA way) methods and turn the troop around. Easier said than done...the SM does not even believe in the patrol method, does not have a PLC, plans all activities for the troop, refuses to use 'blue cards', and several other things which fly in the face of all I have learned. The CC has been with the SM for many years and they are both stuck in their ways; the COR is an unknown entity in the troop; the CC gets downright hostile if either of us 2 new committee members suggests any changes AND I recently found out that the Unit Commissioner (who I asked to attend a committee meeting so he could help us start a troop JLT program) views us newcomers as troublemakers!! If it were my decision, I would hit the road today and find a boy led troop for my son and offer my help as a committee member, but my son is adamant that he wants to stay with his buddies. (we live in a rural area and there are not a whole lot of troops nearby anyway). The DE has kind of distanced himself, and if we talk to him we are accused of 'going over the committee'. It is pretty ugly! I am trying to adhere to a high standard and not play political games. This is stressful to say the least.

 

I know this topic is the patrol method...I guess my question is how to even get that started if there is all this resistance?

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Mom, I feel your pain! I cringed as I read your post! But let's get away from the adult problems back to your son...

 

Ask "are the boys having fun?"

 

Our Troop goes by the book - as we interpret it - but sometimes we have to interpret it based on what adults are there and getting the program to the boys.

 

I just left a Troop that was destroyed by adult "rule book vigilantes" who were over-educated and happy to criticize, but wouldn't attend a campout.

 

I understand your frustration - I would be, too. Try "counting the blessings" - do these rag-tag leaders love the boys and help them? Do they set a good personal example?

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Hi Momscouter who wrote:

 

"OK here is my dilemma - we joined a different troop last May. My son is 12 and has only been a Boy Scout for a year, and wanted to go in this troop because he had friends there .... the SM was almost ready to retire (he has been a SM for over 40 years) ...the SM does not even believe in the patrol method, does not have a PLC, plans all activities for the troop, refuses to use 'blue cards', ... the CC gets downright hostile if either of us 2 new committee members suggests any changes AND I recently found out that the Unit Commissioner ... views us newcomers as troublemakers!! The DE has kind of distanced himself, and if we talk to him we are accused of 'going over the committee'."

 

 

Well, sometimes you just have to let the old guys die out first. That sounds flippant, but it may be the case.

 

I suggest, however, that you avoid the political fight, you're going to lose. How do I know, because I've "been there, done that."

 

After all, you are "troublemakers". You are "2 new committee members" telling the SM, the DE, the COR, the Commissioner that the SM is wrong and should do it differently! From their viewpoint, how could you be viewed as anything but troublemakers? ! :) But all is not lost.

 

A SM is often the "symbol" of the Troop, unfortunately, more so in Troops where they are SM run. The parents see a good troop, lots of activity, and happy boys. The DE sees "troublemakers" because for years he has received his registrations, dues, numbers to count for his job from a stable troop that requires very little help or work from him. He's not going to "uphold principle" while that threatens the continued success of his numbers game.

 

The Chartered Organization sees a great old guy, been there forever, an institution that turns out scouts, makes people happy, etc. They see you, once again as rocking a great boat and threatening to capsize it.

 

Why should these folks trust you, "the new guy?" (or gal!)

 

So, what to do? Well, there are some things you can do. First, be active and work on your own longevity. AND GET YOUR TRAINING. That's where you prove your committement, your knowledge, make contacts and EARN the respect to help make changes later.

 

Second, offer to lead various trips, or outings. You can head up a Sea Base CRew, or a Philmont trek, or take a patrol on a patrol activity. During those events you have a chance to work with the boys, have them elect their leaders and chose their activities, make their own decisions and plans.

 

In time, two things happen. 1) You stop threatening the SM and the insitutions, by becoming an asset to the troop and helper for the SM; and 2) the boys learn to like being in charge -- and that's were the change will come from.

 

AND ALWAYS REMEMBER the SM has his history, knowledge, skills and expertise too. I'm a SM, and I just get a real thrill when a new parent joins my Troop, goes on the first campout, and then tells me, usually in a loud voice in front of the boys, all the ways I'm "not doing it right". Yep, thrills me, to the point of homocide!!!! :) But, I love the parent who comes in, asks me WHY I do it that way, and offers to do "whatever you need" done. That parent can often convince me to try something new, even if I tried it before and it didn't work that time.

 

Remember, its about the boys, not the politics.

 

good luck, yis

(This message has been edited by denver4und@aol.com)

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