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RAFontenot2

Tent Assignment Problems

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I'm the ASM for a patrol with 5 Scouts who have to share 2 tents on campouts. Each campout, we have problems with tent assignments because no one wants to be in the same tent with "Bobby". It like choosing sides for a game and then finding that your left with someone who no one wants on their team.

 

Bobby has ADHD and doesn't do his share without constant monitoring. He's also somewhat loud and obnoxious, and the patience of the other Scouts is wearing thin. I'm afraid that I might lose a couple over this.

 

I've considered rotating the 5 boys through the 2 tents assignments, duty-roster-style (so 60% of the time Bobby is in your tent), or alternating Bobby between tent 1 and tent 2 (so there a 50-50 chance that Bobby is in your tent).

 

Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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Simply tell the boys, two tents, five boys, no boy sleeps alone, figure it out. If the decision comes from you, you are bound to lose.

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Acco makes a good suggestion. It is an issue the boys can resolve among themselves, and so they should. And in all likelihood they will end up taking turns as you would have them do. You might even tell the patrol leader that one way would be to take turns. What you want to avoid is you deciding or even suggesting who gets the first turn.

 

On another level, my guess is that this is not the only "issue" that you have in dealing with this Scout. Have you asked your SM or if he/she cannot help, your DE for resources for dealing Scouts with ADHD? I know that resources do exist for this and similar conditions. This is a very prevalent issue in Scouting today. There were several boys with this or similar conditions in the pack my son was in, and at times they could be very disruptive. One boy in particular would just ask inappropriate questions (not like "that" but every other kind of inappropriate) of guests visiting den or pack meetings, or when the Webelos dens were out visiting the first aid squad or wherever, and sometimes start wandering around where someone was supposed to be giving a demonstration. Sometimes we leaders would take turns being on "Jimmy watch" (I changed the name) to sit behind him and just sort of whisper things in his ear, and given the positive, individualized attention, he behaved to a degree. In the spring he probably will be joining my troop, which should be interesting, at which time I will remember the advice I am giving you.

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RAFontenot2,

1st of all, welcome to the campfire! Pull up a log & grab a cup of joe. I made it myself.

 

2nd of all, ditto to acco40.

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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Welcome Aboard.

 

Sounds like to me that patrols need to be combined to get more than 5 people in it. Maybe let them chose a buddy to be in a patrol together??

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Welcome aboard.

 

Ditto to acco!

 

Hi hops,

 

You run into a couple of problems when you do as you suggested.

 

First off, I don't think we have ever had an entire patrol attend the same campout in our troop, So if you combine a person into this patrol, you still will probably end up with an odd number down the road.

 

Second, it is awfully hard to get Patrol Identity or Patrol Spirit when patrols are rearranged regularly fro any reason.

 

Have a great night,

 

Kris

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I think that, of course, having the boys make that decision is the best choice. However, I think it needs to be preceeded by the oppurtunity to teach all of the guys in the Patrol a life lesson.

 

My dad had a cliche' for everything, and the one that fits here is "It takes all kinds to make a world". Somewhere along the path to manhood, these guys are going to have to learn that finding a way to getting along with everyone is an important life skill. It would be beautiful if they could learn to like this guy, and I'll bet eventually they will. But it isn't vital. They just have to be shown that in most any situation, they will be required to deal with people they don't particularly like. "Freindly" isn't a part of the Scout Law, but Courteous and Kind are, as well as Cheerful.

 

If you can impart that leasson on these guys, then you have done your Good Turn for the day, and supported one of the Aims of Scouting.

 

Good luck. I know it isn't easy. Every Troop has a guy or two like you describe, whether he has been diagnosed with ADHD or not. But the percentage of Scouts that are like this is not much different than the percentage of people these boys will meet in every day life. Learning to deal with them appropriately now will go a long way in their futures.

 

Mark

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Mark, I agree with what you say, but just want to add something. This is an important lesson to teach the other boys, but as you say, it isn't easy. I think it needs to be taught in a way that does not make the other boys "feel bad" about their reaction to a disruptive patrol-mate. I think that having a disruptive patrol-mate is a more difficult situation for an 11 or 12 year old boy than that boy will encounter in dealing with ADHD or similar persons in other contexts. Having one or two such children in your class at school is not quite like having one in your patrol, where everybody is supposed to be working together as a team, in "close quarters" both literally and figuratively. It tough when one member of the team is off on his own agenda that includes interfering with what the team is trying to accomplish. Do not misunderstand what I am saying. Scouting is for the disruptive boy along with everybody else, but there is some limit to what can be expected from the "other boys" in dealing with him. I don't know exactly where that limit is and it does not sound like it has been reached in this case. It sounds like this is a situation capable of being worked out.

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One more thing -- and if I am coming off as the Grinch who stole Christmas here, that is not my intent. But I can't help thinking how far we have come in dealing with issues like this in the last 20 or 30 years. When I was a boy, nobody would have felt a need a need to make accommodations for the ADHD-or-similarly-afflicted boy, because nobody had ever heard of those conditions. A disruptive boy was considered a "bad kid" and was usually removed in some way. In the Scouting context, I am sure that in "my day," many such boys were invited to leave and did so, whereas today the same boy would be diagnosed with a condition and their parents would insist on their rights. Back then the parents did not make much of a fuss because THEY didn't know that the boy had a medical condition. To them, and everybody else, the boy was just "acting up" or "going through a phase" and if the behavior was not self-corrected or "corrected within the home" (often by means that are frowned on today), he was a "bad kid."

 

I guess my point is that we adults now understand things a lot better than our parents did, but an 11- or 12-year-old boy cannot really be expected to have that understanding. You can tell the boys about the medical conditions of others, but to some degree they are still going to see things from their own, understandably somewhat selfish perspective.

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This is one of those situations that, if you haven't been in it yet, you will be, so pay attention (no pun intended).

 

RAF, I think you have a situation that needs to be addressed and not just left to the boys in his patol to deal with, as this is about more than just who has to tent with this boy. I am a parent of an ADHD son, a special ed teacher AND a past/present leader of many boys with this disorder. I had a "Bobby" in my first Webelos den. After a week of residential summer camp I had one scout left... "Bobby." The rest, including my son, quit and absolutely refused to be part of it anymore. "Bobby" was physically and verbally explosive as well as hyperactive. I went to the CC and CM and told them I would not sacrifice scouting for 5 boys for the sake of one. I insisted that "Bobby" be moved to another den or offered the Lone Scout program in order to save my den. Heck, there wasn't going to BE a den for "Bobby" if they didn't do something. No other leader would take him unless a parent agreed to attend meetings/outings with him. They wouldn't. He dropped out of scouting (AND public school). I felt bad, but not THAT bad. This is an extreme case. But I tell about it because you might be headed in that direction. This boy's behavior HAS to be addressed or you risk losing other boys and your program will suffer. One possible solution would be to insist a parent come on campouts and tent with "Bobby" if he can't tent responsibly with other boys. Our Troop has done this with several Scouts. Eventually, the boys get older and most of them end up being able to tent with other scouts. Scouting/camping is a privaledge, not a right, we tell the boys. If you can't behave responsibly on a campout (keep your hands to yourself, contribute and participate) then you can't go.

 

I suggest you have a SM conference and/or BOR with this Scout and clearly define your Troop's behavioral expectations. Be blunt so there's no gray area or misunderstandings. Tell him he is on notice and may attend the next campout. IF he does not behave according to the Troop's "rules" he will not be able to attend subsequent campouts without a parent (and must tent with that parent) until he demonstrates he can follow the rules. Put this all in writing and discuss it with the boy's parents. These boys need lots of structure and clear expectations. The other boys in the Troop need to know that every boy is held to same behavioral rules, regardless of "diagnosis."

 

This advice is all reactive due to the circumstances. In order to be proactive, our Troop has developed what we call a "Code of Conduct Contract." Each Fall, at registration, every Scout and his parent/guardian must read and sign a conduct contract. Our expectations are clear. The last line reads: "I understand that if I fail to uphold this contract, consequences will result and I could be asked to leave Troop #__." Then the Scout signs. For the parents it says, "My son and I have read this contract and understand what is expected of him as a Scout in Troop #__." After which, the parent/guardian signs. I'd be happy to share it with anyone interested.

 

MaineScouter

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As the father of a ADHD son who also has mild autisum, I find some of the comments offensive. My son enjoys most of scouting but the part he really hates is the part were he is singled out as undesireable to be with,ie. who's turn is it to share a tent with him. As I'm sure you know boy at that age can be both mean and thougtless. Even if they don't intend to hurt others feeling they often do. On the other hand maybe the kid just needs more attention than what he gets at home. Can't someone have try to befriend the "wild" child? My suggestion would be to find another scout willing to step up, follow the Twelve points of the Scout law and buddy up and share a third tent with the "problem" scout.

 

(By the way friendly IS the fouth point of the scout law)(This message has been edited by andrewcanoe)

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andrewcanoe,

No one is trying to be offensive. We are just stating experiences we have all had. It's not the Scout's fault. But sometimes the other Scouts don't realize that. That's the hard part for a parent to deal with. I have two deaf kids(my son is an Eagle) and know what it is like to be the parent of a kids with a disability.

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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Andrew,

 

Boy, am I embarassed! As many times as I have repeated and reflected on the Scout Law, for me to miss that was silly. Thank you for pointing it out.

 

NJ,

 

I wholehaertedly agree. Assuming we are close in age, back when we were kids, a boy like this would have either been removed, or "the boys would have taken care of the problem themselves", meaning the kid would have been ridculed or worse into either leaving or conforming. I think we all would agree that that isn't the best way to handle it, although even I sometimes wish...

 

I certainly did not mean to suggest that the boy whose behavior is unacceptable should be permitted to continue being antisocial. And believe me, I'm not a big one for "Let's all sing KumByAh and hope everything will be all right. However, I think it is important to utilize the oppurtunities we get to teach life leassons to these guys. And this IS an important one for all.

 

Friendly - I think I will make a big effort to work on the fourth point of the Scout Law tomorrow.

 

Mark

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