Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
OneHour

Dealing with New Scouts

Recommended Posts

I have mixed emotions on the one buddy plan. It all depends on how it is handled though. Let me explain why I have mixed emotions. Our Webelos 1 den has 13 or 14 boys. Nine of our boys went a few weeks ago with a Boy Scout troop to a Camporee. The troop is small and only has two patrols. We actually outnmbered the scouts on the campout. The PL's divided our boys up to integrate them into their patrols for the competitions. Now, none of the scouts knew any of our boys and they simply divided them from a list. When they started calling of who went with which patrol, our boys started hollaring about wanting to be with so and so in the other patrol. Long story short, all of the planning by the PL's went out the window and the boys were regrouped according to who was buddies with who. Since I was one of the parents that got to make up the two adults per patrol to go with the boys, I saw trouble immediately. We have some pretty immature and rowdy boys and the patrol I got to go with was made up of almost every rowdy boy in the den. They were all buddies of someone in the group and they wanted to be together. On one hand, being with your buddy enhances the experience and makes it fun and memorable. On the other hand, it was one of the most miserable days I've spent in the outdoors. The boys were so bad it was embarrassing and I had to literally threaten to take them back to camp a number of times. I have to give the PL credit, I could tell he was very frustrated, but he kept his cool. I told him personally what a great job he did and told his SM and the Advancement Chair as well.

 

In our case, I wouldn't have had a problem with each boy selecting a buddy to be with. Where the problem came in was which sets of buddies were allowed to be teamed up with other sets of buddies. I'm only an active Dad at this point and not a registered and trained leader. I didn't want to overstep my boundries and insult other parents by saying certain sets of kids shouldn't be teamed with others. Next time, I won't be so timid.

 

The buddy system will keep the boys happy, but make sure you don't get too many of the rowdier buddy teams together in one patrol.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The patrol method is designed to make use of the natural needs and characteristics of boys.

 

It is natural for a boy to have 4 to 5 good friends, hence the size of a patrol. It is natural for boys to want to associate with others of their own age and interests, that's where the patrol make up comes from.

 

Those 18 new scouts should be 3 Patrols each with an elected patrol leader that rotates monthly and an older Troop Guide. At least one Assistant Scoutmaster needs to oversee the New Scout patrol program, preferably with one ASM for each patrol.

 

Scouts need to choose their own patrols and patrol leaders. Who chose your friends when you were their age? Who decided who the dominant person in the group would be?

 

The patrol method works best when adults do the least. Let the boys choose the group, the group identity, the group leader, the group interests.

The role of the adult is to train the elected leader in two things; 1. how to get the job done and 2. how to keep the group together.

 

Be careful not to confuse boy lead, with scout mastering. When an adult masters the methods of scouting by subtly training and developing boys to exercise leadership skills the boys will be able to look back at your leadership and say "I did myself".

 

Let the boys choose. Use the methods of scouting found in the Scout Handbook, Scoutmasters Handbook and at leadership training. You can't go wrong folowing the program.

 

Bob White

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bob,

I agree with letting the boys choose their patrols but in this case I think it would be better if the ASM's who have been dealing with these 18 new Scouts divide them up. If you let the Scouts do it, the problem might not go away.

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ed, you are right, if the scouts do it themselves, the problem might not go away. So the scouts would learn sometimes what you do doesnt work.

 

If the problem doesnt go away the scouts will have to try another solution. Eventually they will work it out and be wiser for the experience.

 

Living with the consequences of your actions, I think that would fall under Charactor in the three aims of Scouting

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought about it and was going to let the boys decide; however, after witnessing the interactions between them, I'm not so sure what method would be good, except for a listing of whom they don't like to be with! Because there were a little scuffle and pebble throwing and ... . One parent has already requested that I separate two boys (since they don't really like each other). Well actually, I might not get a saying in this. The SM (authoritarian) and the SPL wanted to div up the boys. I'm not sure how they plan to do it since neither of them knows any of the boys. Of the 18 boys, I know 12 of them for over 4 years. I know their temperament. I know their habbits. I don't think that even my opinion is wanted. Anyway, I'll try with the suggestions above. Thanks all.

 

1Hour

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Heres the deal, Boy run and the three aims only works when scouts are mature enough to learn from their experience, good or bad. I liken this situation to putting a 12 year old in charge of a mature boy run troop 80 scouts. Nothing good would come out of that because the 12 year old doesn't have the maturity or experience to learn from his performance.

 

Most folks who know me call me a boy run activist, so it's not that I am against boy run and letting the methods work. Truth is the methods work best when there are role models to demonstrate the program. We learn 80 to 90 percent of our behaviors and habits by what we see, not what we hear. The scouting program was design with that in mind. New scouts have not had the time to learn from role models to even understand boy run.

 

For scouting to work best, a boy needs to be challenge to the point that struggles so can think to learn from his actions. He is forced to think. But if the challenge is so great that he is frustrated or scared and no longer having fun and dreads going to Scouts, then the challenge is too great for his maturity.

 

I don't have the numbers in front of me, but scouting looses more scouts in the first year of a Troop program than at any other age. A friend of mine did a study and he found that a boy run troop is overwhelming to boys who are only used to adult instruction. They have to learn boy run slowly so the scouts are not overwhelmed. Its a lot of work.

 

I don't think Bob was wrong in saying let the methods work. But methods are different for each boy and they need to applied differently for their situation and maturity. The idea of scouts listing one friend came from an ASPL in charge of moving 25 scouts into patrols. Is that boy run? I was sure a proud SM. New scouts are hard. I will say if you have them after six months, then odds are you will have them for several years. The adult and Troop Guide must work together getting the new boys comfortable with the program. The must have fun so they keep coming long enough to get over their fears and apprehensions. They can still make decisions that effect them, but they shouldnt be so responsible that if things dont work out right, like a patrol of boys not getting along, that they feel frustrated and quit coming. You wont solve all problems, but its OK to head some them off until the boy gets comfortable. After that, you in pretty good shape. Try and learn from every situation so that you do a better job next time.

 

Sorry this is long.

 

Barry

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is the latest from our troop. There were about 23 boys instead of 18. The SM divided 'em up in three patrols, still to large from my vantage point. I was tasked to help with one of the new patrol. The troop guide does seem to know how to control the boys. A simple task of choosing a patrol name became a battle. I assisted the troop guide, but did not interfere. The troop guide need JLT. Now, should I involve some of the parents as "crowd control" until the troop guide and the newly elected PL have earned the other boys respect? What would y'all do if you were in my shoes? How can I help the troop guide and PL to get this new scout patrol get going?

Thanks in advance again.

 

1Hour

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi 1hour

 

In general adults should only aid a any scout's performance in anything he does when his maturity and experience isn't enough to attempt the task. You said the Troop Guide does seem to have control, so it sounds like he is OK.

 

Where you and other adults may be needed is in helping the TG learn and develop his job. One idea would be to meet a half hour before of after the meetings to ask the TGs how they are doing. Let them talk and express themselves. Then help them think of ideas to improve. Let's say all three TGs are having trouble controlling the scouts. Give them two different ideas to try. No more than two because that is too much to remember. I find most scouts only focus on one. But now you are teaching different skills and giving tools to solve problems. Sometimes the ideas won't work, so help him come up with more ideas. Your goal is to teach the scout how to control the group, teach skills and develop leadership respect without him loosing control or yelling.

 

An example of one idea would be is have the TG to explain the important of the scout sign. To help them learn it's importance, he will put up his sign as a game through the evening and watch to see who puts up their sign the fastest. At the end of the meeting he will praise the scout, some scouts in our troop even give a prize. Another idea would be to ask another one or two older scouts help him. When he puts up his sign, the older scout put theirs up and guide the new scouts to follow. There shouldn't be any yelling or abuse of holding the sign for a time so long that it becomes more of a punishment. Make sure the TGs teach that it's meant to get attention and to respect the speaker. I'm sure several here have other ideas. Then stand back and observe to see how the new ideas work. At the next meeting ask the TGs how they did. This gets them thinking on their feet.

 

I said earlier to keep them busy. Our TGs have enough on their agenda that he has to keep moving. Sometimes it's hard to know what they should be doing. But look at the TG as a trainer. So train the new scouts how to complete the "Scout" advancement badge. Our guys have to request a SM Conference and a BOR. SO our TG teaches how to do this and helps each new scout their first time. He teaches how to use the Scout Handbook. Out Troop Guides teach how to set up the tent, and troop gear. Usually their first campout is at night and we teach them the basics of setting up camp so they can do it in the dark with some confidence.

 

This is all done in the first six weeks and it is a very busy six weeks. By the time, the guys are starting to settle down, in most cases.

 

This is also very good practice for you in boy run. Observe without interfering, ask the scout questions that help him think new ideas to work his problems and set goals, support him to raise his confidence. I promise, you will learn as much as he does and it will feel good when you go home that night saying you love this scouting stuff.

 

Is this too much to fast?

 

Barry

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Too late Barry, I already love this scouting stuffs since 27 years ago! Great advices. Also I found out tonight that I am coaching the new patrol with all of my boys from the Pack. This is great ... these boys know my expectation and so it will be easy to coach them. Thanks again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dan - you said

 

"The ASM for NSP which are mostly 2nd year leaders do not believe in the NSP program."

 

it's really tough to sell something you can't believe in yourself. is there any possibility that YOU could take a NSP yourself and SHOW them?

 

change is tough for everyone - especially the adults!

 

We also re-structured our troop in the last year, and have our first NSP of 8 - it's all new to us, too - but because we have a dedicated core of three - our SM and two ASM's who BELIEVE in doing things the "scout way" it is working WONDERFULLY! all 8 new boys, & 2 older boys who transferred in (they transfered in at scout rank, even though they are 13 and 14) are advancing steadily and really excited about the program. Our NSP has been together for about 6 weeks and 1 campout and most will be finishing their tenderfoot this weekend in a NSP campout. Many have a significant amount of 2nd & 1st class work done, too, and we have discovered that most have a skill or knowledge that they can teach their patrol mates! the excitement and sense of accomplishment of this group of boys is palpable - it is truly rewarding!

 

We have some ASM's and committee people who aren't sold on NSP - so we simply put them somewhere else - where their attitude can't dampen the boys enthusiasm. They are advisors to the reg & venture patrols where their skills can be very useful to the older boys who are more self-reliant. they are terrific scouters - they just don't have the patience to deal with mostly 10 & 11 yr old 5th graders who still need many reminders.

 

With this start - if we can get them thru summer camp, I'd lay odds on ALL of them sticking with the troop!

 

As for one-hour's original question - divide and conquer is the idea!

 

i like the idea of listing ONE or two friends and telling the boys that they WILL be placed with at least ONE of their choices. if they only pick ONE - chance are you'll get 10 wanting to be with Dave - 'cause he's the "popular" kid - and then where will you be?

 

NSP is the answer, there, too. Get 'em started out right and by this time next year - you'll be sitting in a lawn chair watching them run the show!

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×