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Getting scouts to be quiet at night

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Boy led means boy lead, it cant mean boy lead until the adults have had enough and step in.

 

I was acting scoutmaster on a cabin campout last winter. The cabin was split in two rooms, adults on one side, scouts the other. Friday night lights out was 11:30. At 12:30 the scouts hadnt settled down, I opened the door to the youth side and called for the SPL and the PLs. When they came to the adult side, I asked them what they were going to do to get the other side quiet. They said they would handle it. They went back and did. Still not sure what they said, the only direction I gave them was it had to follow the scout oath and law (couldnt duct tape their mouths shut, etc)

and whatever they did had adult backing. No adult ever addressed the scouts that night to be quiet, the youth leadership did it.(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)

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That's fine when it works...and usually it does. I certainly don't want to be constantly telling the Scouts to be quiet, do their work, etc. BUT...ultimately, if necessary, the adults must act as the disciplinarians. That isn't a failure of the boy-led system. It is an inherent part of the system. Scouts make mistakes in leadership; it's part of the learning process. Haven't you ever been learning how to do something, made some mistakes, and gotten to the point where your instructor had to step in and help out?

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"BUT...ultimately, if necessary, the adults must act as the disciplinarians." Why?

 

Unless it is a serious health and safety issue, back-off. If the boys won't get quiet, guess what, they (and others) may lose some sleep, be irritable the next day, have others respond to their actions negatively, ... These are all real world consequences to their actions! Why not let them experience these consequences in a safe controlled environment like Scouting? They will learn so much more if you that way than having adults step in and have the adults act as disciplinarians.

 

Now, if our SPL came to me for advice on how to quiet the boys, I would gladly offer him suggestions and/or help him discover ways to obtain his goals. But if not asked, I would but out.

(This message has been edited by acco40)

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Fine, if they aren't disturbing the adults. However, giving them a set time for taps and then letting them get away with violating it challenges the authority of the leadership of the troop.

 

If the boys can't get them quiet, I see no reason *I* should have to be up all night because of it. Also, not getting enough sleep CAN be a safety issue, especially in high adventure. When my life depends on a Scout being alert, yeah, I'll make sure they're quiet, with or without the SPL.

 

Another example: In a troop meeting, let's say the Scout sign isn't working to keep them quiet when the SM is addressing the troop. The SPL fails to keep them quiet, and the SM is constantly interrupted. You'd probably say just to stand there and take it. I say do something like send the offending kids out in the hall...whether the SPL or SM does it.

 

A grown man is generally going to carry more weight with a boy than another boy. Sometimes a boy needs that extra authority to get through to him. On a canoe trip in the wilderness, for example, threatening to deposit the problem child in your canoe on the nearest shore can be very effective...especially if they think you're just crazy enough to do it. I don't personally appreciate a boy in my canoe refusing to paddle. The other person in the canoe isn't his personal propulsion service. Either he does his part or he is out. You can also threaten to send them home if they are misbehaving during a car ride, stop at a gas station, call their parents and tell them to come pick them up. Usually when the boy's parents get on the phone and have a little chat with their boy about what things will be like if they have to drive all the way wherever they are to get him, everyone settles down. A little of that goes a long way. Having strong adults like that establishes an environment of discipline in which the BOYS can lead, as they are backed up by adults the troop knows will take care of things if needed.

 

I have addressed troop meetings in my district capacity before, and I can't say that I wait around very long for the SPL to keep the Scouts under control. If he can, fine. Otherwise I deal with it myself. They don't call us Adult LEADERS for nothing. Otherwise we're just chaperones...and not very good ones. Anarchy results. Eventually the boys will realize that they can challenge the boy leadership with impunity, as they know the adults will do nothing.

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What are you telling the boys if you are rushing in to take control. You are telling the SPL you are not a strong enough leader to do it, and you are also telling the scouts not to listen to the boy leaders. Because nothing will happen until the adults get involved.

Lets say you worked for me?!?! and everytime a certain job was to be performed, I would do it and not allow you to do it, because you did not do it well one or two, three, four times, what am I telling you?

What kind of leader am I? Not a very good one because I have not trained you how to do your job.

Our jobs as adult leaders is to train the scout to be leaders as long as we countuine to jump in and do the job, we are only training in poor manangment.

Now to the fact that you did not get a good nights sleep, I would suggest a few hours less sleep for a night will not hurt you or move your tent farther away from the patrols, as it should be in patrol camping.

 

For your point about the scouts not be quiet during the SM minute, you where talking about the minute where you not, I would stand there for as long as it takes, be it 1 minute to a hour. Of course this is going to make the meeting run longer than scheduled, and the parents would have to wait for there sons. Now if your troop is like my sons troop you will have scouts leaving early, because the meeting was suppose to be over at 8:30 and not 9:00, I would be having a SM conference with these scouts at the next meeting!

As you see as a Adult leader I would get involved but only at the correct time.

Your point about A grown man is generally going to carry more weight with a boy than another boy. This is only true if we let it be true.

If someone from the district came to a troop meetings and started to yell at the scouts to be quiet. You can be sure you would never speak at the troop meeting ever again, as long as I was there!

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Did I say anything about anyone from District YELLING at the Scouts? I simply said that I do not simply stand there and take disrespect (which includes Scouts talking while I'm talking) just because the SPL can't or won't do anything about it. Usually this entails putting up the Scout sign. This should be the same for anyone, whether they are from District, National, or another troop.

 

And you can be sure that if I was chastised for refusing to take lip off of Scouts while giving a talk, I would not be involved with that troop again. A troop that permits Scouts to be disrespectful towards adults, particularly guests, and does not permit that adult to respond accordingly is failing to teach the children the order of the world. They are not yet full members of society at that age.

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Next you'll be telling me that the Council President, despite having been invited to speak about the Council activities at a troop meeting, cannot actually speak without the permission of the SPL. Or...should said Council President speak, and the Scouts act up with no response from the adults or boy leadership, the President should just stand there however long it takes for the Scouts to quiet down. All well and good for a brief period, but expecting a guest to stand there for a half hour while the Scouts settle down is patently ridiculous. The adult leaders generally have responsibilities outside Scouting and have only so much time and patience to devote to the program. Requiring them to waste such time punishes them, people who donate their time and resources for the benefit of the boy, for the actions of those same boys, and more so than it punishes the Scouts. If they are required to be outside to meet their parents at a given time and are not because they had to stand around wasting a half hour, it also punishes the parents. (If a parent wants to get his kid at the appointed end of the meeting, fine by me.)

 

There comes a point in all such scenarios when enough is enough, it's time to stop wasting time, and something must be done by someone. (Perhaps this discussion is an example of a half hour of wasted time?)

 

As for adults carrying more weight than youth...it's the order of nature. Age and experience beat youth and enthusiasm every time.

 

Lastly, when I was a boy the District folks sure didn't take anything off of us boys (at things like Camporees, for example). It was the same with the National and Regional folks at Jamboree. Are you honestly telling me that you stand around and take disrespect off of children, even to the point of standing around for a half-hour just to avoid taking command of the situation that the SPL has failed to control (if it takes 30 minutes, he has failed)? I have trouble believing that.

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I guess I made a bad assumption, when you said you where not going to stand there and take it what did you mean? If not yelling?

 

Lets not get into the Council President. Lets try and stay with the secnario we where talking about, as long as you keep bringing up other scenarios, we will not be able to get all of our points across.

 

If they are required to be outside to meet their parents at a given time and are not because they had to stand around wasting a half hour, it also punishes the parents. (If a parent wants to get his kid at the appointed end of the meeting, fine by me.)

Okay by me to, but the SM conference would address this, and I would also be talking to the parent. Why are you worry about wasting the scouts time, they are doing that, and the parents need to know this also.

Are you honestly telling me that you stand around and take disrespect off of children, even to the point of standing around for a half-hour just to avoid taking command of the situation that the SPL has failed to control (if it takes 30 minutes, he has failed)? I have trouble believing that.

No, but I am trying! And scouts will be boys.

But I still maintain we need to train the SPL to be able to do this! You seem to be avoiding this one point, why? WE train the SPL so next time he can take control! We do not take control so the SPL will be able to do it the next time or the next time. As long as we step in we become enablers, and we are the problem.

Can you not see how this works? You competely ignored this in you last 2 posts.

But it sounds like you think this discussion is a waste of your time??!! Why

 

 

 

 

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Perhaps my very narrow statements are causing confusion.

 

>>> I guess I made a bad assumption, when you said you where not going to stand there and take it what did you mean? If not yelling?

 

Scout sign, for one thing. One can also ask the SPL if this is how his Scouts behave (subtle hint to get them to be quiet). Or, one can speak directly to the boys effectively without yelling.

 

>>> Okay by me to, but the SM conference would address this, and I would also be talking to the parent. Why are you worry about wasting the scouts time, they are doing that, and the parents need to know this also.

 

Right. Parental involvement like this is good, especially with the problem kids. Sometimes there is a significant problem behind the behavior, like a divorce.

 

>>> No, but I am trying! And scouts will be boys.

But I still maintain we need to train the SPL to be able to do this! You seem to be avoiding this one point, why? WE train the SPL so next time he can take control! We do not take control so the SPL will be able to do it the next time or the next time. As long as we step in we become enablers, and we are the problem.

Can you not see how this works? You competely ignored this in you last 2 posts

 

Not entirely correct. Sure, we train the SPL to do as you say. This is the point of JLT, TLT, and the whole Scouting program. YES, I entirely agree that the SPL should be the one to get the boys to settle down. But, to use our current example, if the SPL takes 30 minutes to get the boys to be quiet so the SM can talk, he isn't doing his job. Maybe we and the system have failed to teach him properly. Either way, an adult sometimes has to step in. This IS NOT a failure of the boy led system. If an SPL has trouble getting the boys to settle down and an adult steps in, the SPL can learn from it. The SM and he can talk privately about how best for the SPL to handle the situation in the future. Usually this only has to be done a few times. The boys are still learning, and learning simply by doing is about like going to college and not having any lectures from the professor. If they are just going to figure it out ENTIRELY on their own, what's the point of having adults around?

 

Also, in such a situation the SM can give a talk to the rest of the troop regarding respect for the SPL. This is one good way for the SM to use the fact that he is an adult to create a situation conducive for the SPL to do his job.

 

Again, my statements here refer to very narrow situations that crop up in almost every troop. The boys have specific jobs to do in running the troop, and I personally don't want to do those jobs for them. They learn nothing that way (one of your points). An occasional assistance (even the SM whispering in the SPL's ear what he might consider doing) helps the boys do their job without completely doing it for them.

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>>A grown man is generally going to carry more weight with a boy than another boy. >But, to use our current example, if the SPL takes 30 minutes to get the boys to be quiet so the SM can talk, he isn't doing his job. >Also, in such a situation the SM can give a talk to the rest of the troop regarding respect for the SPL.

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Golly Gosh Dang it Eagledad, thats just what I was gonna say, well not maybe just like that, but very close to what I wanted to express although I would have been much more obscure and obtuse.

 

 

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"Fine, if they aren't disturbing the adults. However, giving them a set time for taps and then letting them get away with violating it challenges the authority of the leadership of the troop."

 

Just who do you think the "leadership" is? I'll give you a hint, they are under the age of 21.

 

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And if the SPL sets a tme for taps & then lets it slide, what does that say about him as a leader?

 

Ed

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A couple of points:

 

1) I have started to view myself and the other adults in the Troop as "volunteers" instead of "leaders". I have done this in order to try to reinforce my position that ours is a responsiblity of service, not "leadership", at least not the way Rudd seems to be defining it.

 

2) It is certainly easier, and less time consuming, to usurp the SPL's responsiblity and create order from chaos. But in what way does that support any of the AIMS, or use any of the METHODS, of Scouting? In most of your examples (take the Council President as one), the lesson the boys can and should learn about boy leadership, acting maturely, and respect is more important the the talk the President intended to give. All of these points can be made if the SPL is asked to do his job, even if he does it poorly. Only one or two points are made if we take over for him, and even the little a Scout would learn (his place in society is how I think Rudd phrased it), he's likely to pay little attention to it, because that's the way parents, teachers, coaches, etc. already treat him. However, if we utilize the Methods we are asked to use, and coach the SPL how to take care of the situation, the likelihood that the lesson will stick with ALL increases.

 

3) In the case of the Council President, I would hope he understands the Aims and Methods of Scouting, and would allow them to be put to use. If I were the President, I might decide my time was more valuable than to stand and wait till the SPL got things under control. But I would ask to reschedule, not step into the SPL's shoes. And if the President didn't understand the Aims and Methods, I'd have a tough time figuring out what he might have to say that had value to a group of Scouts.

 

4)I had an experience last night at PLc that has convinced me that supporting the SPL is a far greater method than inserting myself in his job. It's a long story, and you all know how I abhor long stories (lol!). But I am more convinced than ever that these guys can handle their job if we get out of the way.

 

5) Have no fear, Rudd. there is a place for the style you describe. In matters of safety, I'm all for adults stepping in, as it is too possible that a boy may not respond instictively enough, quickly enough, to protect the safety of themself or others. I still contend that the better way to handle even this is to train people before they encounter a dangerous situation (see my post in another thread). But unless safety is at stake, more can be gained by a failure done using the proper Methods than a sucess that the adults directed.

 

Mark

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I dare say B-P carried a lot more weight than any of his SPL's, even if he let the SPL's lead.

 

No organization will ever be fully run by those under 18 (Scouting is under 18...I'm not talking about Venturing here). It's a simple legal matter.

 

Are you honestly saying that the Council President should, if he can't talk because the troop is being loud, reschedule his talk and waste further time by leaving and having to come back another time?

 

Intimidation? Hardly. We must come from different worlds. I don't hardly hold with this apparent modernistic liberal trend of allowing children to be in complete control of everything they do. That was certainly not the way society operated in 1910. Contrary to apparent popular belief, adults are in charge of the world. It's not a matter of an ego trip, intimidation, etc. We set expectations for the troop boy leadership, and we guide them and help them accomplish those goals and learn how to accomplish them on their own later as adults. If they already knew how to do them on their own without any advising, what on earth is the point of the program?

 

Maybe I'm not making myself clear here. I'm not suggesting we do the boys' jobs or even constantly tell them how to do things.

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