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Ryon_Nayr@email.com

How to deal with scouts

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i am spl of my troop. all the members of my troop (except me and one other inactive scout) are 6th graders. They can not stay focused, 4 out of nine of them have A.D.D. or A.D.H.D. and i feel like I am trying to run a daycare center of 2nd graders rather that a scout troop. I have gone to classes at the concil and learned techniquies to deal with add and adhd but they dont work. the patrol leaders and my ASPL are both just as bad as the rest of them. when i am trying to deal with one situation another always arises. What should i do?

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Let's put the Patrol Method to work for you.

 

First, let's reduce your work load. You do not have to worry about leading all the scouts in the troop. Your job is to lead the Patrol Leaders. They have the responsibility of leading the scouts in their respective patrols.

 

Next, Why did you select an assistant who you don't get along with? Perhaps you didn't select him? If he was chosen for you the chooser is out of line. selecting your assistant(s) is your job. If he was elected, you didn't follow the program. Only the SPL and Patrol Leaders are Elected. All other offices are selected by either the PL or SPL. So you need to get everyone (adult leaders included) to read their appropriate handbooks the Boy Scout handbook, the PL Handbook, and the SPL Handbook.

 

Next you need to adopt a more positive and respectful attitude of those you hope to lead if you really expect them to follow. Deal with each individually. It sounds as if you see them as a group all sharing the same characteristics and the fact is people are not like that. Work with each Patrol Leader as an individual with individual strengths and weaknesses.

 

Don't tell people what to do. Talk with them. Ask them what they should do next, then support them when they give the right answer and coach them when they don't know what to do.

 

As you learn to use these skills you can teach them to your patrol leaders.

 

Leadership is often a tough job, be patient with yourself as well as with others. Continue to read your Scout Handbook and the SPL Handbook and practice one skill at a time.

 

Good Luck

 

Bob White

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Hi Ryan

 

Good Stuff Bob. Also, what is your program? Sixth graders require a busy FUN program, not long lecturing ones. Are you setting any kind of goals for the group? For example, what would you like to improve in your Patrols and patrol leaders? Setting up camp, breaking camp? Teach them how and then have games to see who does it the best and the fastest. Can they do this on their own or do they require a little pushing or pulling. What about meals, or knots or lashings. Pick a subject, I was just reading about orientation and five-mile hike. That can even be a meeting. So, sit down with the PLC and SM and set a goal of teaching learning something like orientation. Your program is teaching the skill for about 15 minutes and then doing a game to practice that skill. Our Troop likes to go to a local park where we set up a course. Others do neighborhoods and so on. Get away from your normal meeting place and go to the park, lake or even the field behind the church.

 

I get my scouts in the habit of asking, "Was that FUN?", "IF not, WHY?". "HOW do we CHANGE it?". It might not be that they are hyper sixth graders so much, it could be a bit of boredom. So have some fun and build a FUN program. Ask them how to make your five-minute Opening fun, your program theme fun and the games. Use your handbooks, and take each step in SMALL fun bite size chunks. Make the Flag ceremony something new and fun. Closing the same. Make sure you have a SM minute, it might be boring for you, but as a SM, I love them. OK, just for fun, tell you SM he has ONE minute and time him.

 

Once you get to that point, you will find your scouts looking forward to scouts and wanting more.

 

OK, what questions do you have from these few post?

 

Barry

 

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Ryon,

 

A lot of what Bob is talking about can be found in the Troop Junior Leader Training Program. This is something that I feel very strongly in as a source of teaching new boy leaders how to effectively run their program.

 

It also helps to teach even the boys that are not leaders how to follow. For boys that are constantly interrupting the training, I usually mention to the boys (that's right the boys) that are running the program to include some of the more unruly scouts as presenters of the program, to give them a feel for what you are going through when they don't pay attention.

 

I also agree with Barry, that with boys this young in the troop, excitement and non stop activity are ESSENTIAL. When planning your meeting, don't allow any down time, and always have more prepared than can be accomplished. This will leave them yearning for more next week, and no time to cause chaos.

 

And, as a side note... not all boys that lack attention skills are actually ADD or ADHD. Unfortunately this is something that our society now collectively lumps highly active kids into. They simply may just need the extra activity to focus on, and are acting out only when bored.(This message has been edited by silver-shark)

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Our troop does a JLTC training campout every sprin. My ASPL was selected by me and he is the best one out of all of them. I have a game before mettings and and the end every night. The two patrol leaders cant stay focused either and i feel like I shouldnt have to constantly remind them what they should be doing

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What you are refering to in your troop Ryan is not the same thing we are refering to.

 

Your SM does Troop Junior Leader Training Conference. We are talking about the Council's week-long Junior Leader Training. They are completely different in content.

 

Check with your SM you may still have time to register for this summer. My Son is attending ours this week.

 

Bob White

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Ryon -

congratulations for your election to SPL and let me tell you, I'm impressed that you are working at this so hard and trying to get this situation figured out.

 

Sounds like you're on the right track with the games ideas,and silvershark and Eagledad are both giving you good tips. But if I have to guess I'd guess you're having trouble getting your patrols to do some real basic stuff- like plan meals for campouts and junk like that. If that's right, let me suggest that you put your main chore-type items in writing and hand them to the PL's. In our small troop,same size as yours, we don't plan different meals by patrol but the whole troop eats the same stuff. So one patrol plans half the meals for a campout and the other plans the other half. When we tried to do it in a big group like "OK, every one, what do y'all want to eat" it was chaos -lots of talking, no decisions. When the SPL wised up and told the Cobra PL to come back with a grocery list for his menu plans, and the Rattlesnakes to come back with their lists - in writing, with quanitities, and with a time limit - it waas still chaos but at a much lower level and we did in fact end up with menus and grocery lists. And the PL's got a much better feel for what you are going through!

 

You need to get your PL's working for you, and the way to do that is to use them to communicate with their boys. So, if a kid's out of line you ask his patrol leader to handle it. Don't yell, don't fuss, this isn't the Army - but pretty soon when the patrol leaders recognise that you are holding them responsible for their patrols they will start acting responsible.

 

And as others have already said - keep it moving, fast, and keep it interesting so no one wants to miss anythihng.

 

 

 

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Bob

 

I was actually talking about the Troop JLT in my post, but also agree that Council JLT (We call ours White Stag) is essential.

 

The points I'm referring to in the troop version are:

 

1. Big Boss style of leadership versus Shared Leadership. Is the PLC planning the meetings or just the SPL? Also, what would happen if you let a different patrol pick out a game from the Troop Program Resources for each meeting and ran it themselves at the appropriate time? It's not your responsibility to run every part of a meeting, merely to make sure that someone IS. In other words, DELEGATE some things to others. It'll help keep them occupied.

 

2. As Bob mentioned, knowing how to best utilize all of the PLs as they are all unique. Sort of like the Potato Game, or the one we used this last time (Can't remember the name) where you have some people that can see only, some people that can hear only, and some people that can touch only, all trying to find as many things in a room to list as possible for the team.

 

3. Do the PLs know the itinerary of the meeting prior to it starting. How did you feel in the Magazine or Chinese Numbers games when you didn't know what was going on.

 

4. Conflict resolution. The most inportant part in my mind being empathy, or putting yourself in the other person's shoes.

 

5. How about the last game, the one of trusting those around you. Make your expectations clear to your PLs prior to the meeting, and hold them to it. No excuses.

 

Most importantly, and as Bob mentioned, you are in charge of the PLs and they are in charge of their patrols. When they lose control, and sometimes they will, do what Green Bar Bill suggests in his essay Trusting Boy Leaders, "Help them occasionally with constructive criticism. But do your coaching on the sidelines always, never in front of the Patrols. And then, when the Patrol Leader succeeds in his job, praise him for it. Commendation which is justified and not overdone is an absolute necessity. Such statements of approval should be made occasionally before the interested group. They like it, and so does the leader, as long as it is short, free from "soft soap," and genuine."

 

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A suggestion (from our former JASM, now 18 and an ASM until he goes to college in the fall): give folks specific tasks, including teaching others. The biggest cut-ups in our Troop suddenly fall in line when they're responsible for something.

 

It might take a while for you to see this result: it'll depend, in part, on the age of the Scouts, and it sounds like some of your biggest challenges are still young. But, hang in there.

 

Perhaps you (with your Scoutmaster's active understanding and support) might lead a brainstorming session with your patrol leaders. As Bob White, Eagledad, silver-shark, and SagerScout all mentioned: get the other Scouts involved actively. Get them helping to lead. It won't remove the burden of leadership, but it'll share it around, at least temporarily.

 

The best leaders multiply their efforts through others.

 

- Alan

 

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As the parent of an ADHD son - I can tell you that ALOT of the things people teach about dealing with ADHD Don't work. Why? because every ADHD child is different, and even with NON- ADD kids - they ALL have a slightly different approach to learning styles. Plus working with ADD kids take a LOT of consistancy and persistance. it isn't a 'trick' you can do tonite and have it work NOW to mnake a kid settle down and behave - once you find something that reaches a particular kid; you have to do it consistantly night after night and MOST of the time it might work - it's just as likely he'll figure out what going on and change to a different behavior that needs yet a different approach.

 

It's not something i would expecct ANY SPL to handle on his own! especially in those kind of numbers! 1 - 4 or 1 to 9? 1 or 2 ADDers can set off the whole group, and you have 4? my sympathies are with you.

 

Making an ADHD kid part of the program REALLY helps. Making them feel important helps them focus. Make one of the worst offenders your 'victim' in a first aid demo. find a skill or knowledge that he excells at and have him teach it to this peers (one on one). pair him with a more serious partner and have them research and teach something to the group. Give him a simple responsibility (one that can hold HIS interest) and hold him accountable for it. Don't yell at him if he "forgets" or harp on it. simply ask (privately) for a clear plan what he is going to do so he doesn't 'forget' again - and let his peers take care of the guilt trip (but don't allow abuse) when he succeeds, give him another, larger responsibility.

 

Some things we have learned in changing over this year to a boy lead troop, and having our first new Scout patrol in years - of 8- 5th graders:

 

Keep it simple: you may have to tone down the program (add time, teach basics, be less complicated) to meet the skill levels of the 5th-6th grades. We have found that Webelos does NOT do a good job of preparing the boys for Scouting - especially camping & planning skills. as you are finding, the maturity level is severely lacking. so give them a grace period to learn - plan patrol outings geared JUST for them.

 

There is always 6 months to a year of adjustment to thinking for themselves. and they are constantly asking me "MrsT - when? where? how? what?" and i constantly tell them - 'I dunno - ask Will (SPL) ask Kevin (PL) Ask Joe (Quartermaster)"

 

your job as SPL is kind of like our job as leaders. It's really tough to "let go' of control, live with mistakes, and resist the urge to supervise everything personally. BUT YOU MUST DO SO. lay out the plan, learn to delegate jobs to the appropriate people and if they fail - let them & try again - don't take over and don't get mad. otherwise you'll burn yourself out, get frustrated and no one will have fun.

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Also, Many of the adults that assist with our troop JLTC also are involved with leading the Council one. I only tell them suggestions after things "fail". I ask them things like " ok, so what do we need to do" and things like that, to get them thinking and explain to them why this is important after asking them why they think it is. Although i dont neccessarily interupt activities to do these things.

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I recently visited a Troop like yours. Quite a few of the kids were off the walls the entire time, and at this particular troop, the adults made no motion to discipline anyone. In my troop (Im also an SPL) if my ASPL is acting up, the adults help take care of it...kind of conference-style. This can be pretty sobering, as it's often done after troop committee meetings, with the SM and several ASMs and me. The younger boys may need a more "fun" program, or, maybe a little discipline. If you absolutely can't control most of the Scouts, its time to get an adult (your SM) involved. If he or she can't get a handle on the boys, perhaps talk to parents or have them sitin on a meeting or something? I've never tried that but it might work. Good Luck, and good to see you're working hard to resolve this.

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