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Eagledad

Adult Patrol Coaches

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>>That's why I cringe when troops have an adult assigned to help "coach" each patrol. I have never seen this work. The adult inevitably ends up running the program whether they intend to or not.

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What sort of age distribution do you have in your patrols? All young boys or do you have a mix of 11 through 14 year olds?

 

My son's patrol is all 12 year olds and if left on their own, they'd do nothing but bicker and squabble. They spent 20 minutes arguing about lunch on a campout because one Scout didn't want grilled cheese sandwhiches like the rest did. No one saw the obvious solution of just a cheese sandwhich for the one fellow. It's not just his patrol, the other 12 year old patrols are the same way.

 

My son's patrol had two older Scouts but one became SPL and the other bailed because he didn't want to be stuck with a bunch of "little kids."

 

 

 

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Hi FOG

Are you saying your patrol has to have an adult or else chaos would rule?

 

Boy, most here know my position with aged based patrols and whether or not that is what you guys intended, that is what you have.

 

There are a lot things that we can toss around to help you, but I'm not sure that is what your asking. But, what I teach to adult leaders around here is get in the habit of teaching yourself out of business. In other words, what are the reasons why you feel the adult must be there, then train the scouts so you know longer have that fear or concern. In your case, I think JLT would be a good start. And teach the PL how to leader patrol corners and the other scouts how to listen and followship.

 

You have a challenge. Your guys really should have older scouts showing them the ropes. This is one of those situations where the adults may learn more about scouting than the scouts.

 

Barry

 

 

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Alas yes, chaos.

 

The PL and APL have been through JLT but that I don't think that helps with 11 and 12 year olds.

 

Here's a classic: on a campout last spring, the PL had set up a duty roster. Well, the other guys didn't like being told that they had to do stuff and yelled at him, "You're not in charge!" That led to a sitting time with an old guy in khaki explaining how they elected him to make decisions and assign jobs.(This message has been edited by Fat Old Guy)

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We've used this type of idea for many years, quite successfully I might add. The trick in making it work is very much what Eagledad alluded to...adult leader training and constantly reminding ourselves what our place is...and isn't in the troop. We don't call them patrol coaches. In fact, they don't have a specific name at all...other than ASM, which is what they all are. What we do, through the PLC, is to make patrol leaders aware of one ASM to whom they each can go if the chain of command, as it is is Scouting, is not functioning or available at a givne moment when assistance is necessary. On the flip side, each ASM involved is encouraged to learn all he/she can about the members of the patrol they may receive calls for assistance from, so they can best judge how to assist when and if the call comes. Mostly we depend on the normal chain of command up to the SPL, and SM if necessary, but with a large troop, there often comes a time when the lines of communication are too busy to attend to all the incoming calls, and the overflow can be handled by the participating ASM's. It works for us, and the kids still run things knowing that adult assistance is not far away, at all levels.(This message has been edited by saltheart)

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Get the slings and arrows ready cause some of you are not gonna like this.

 

I don't understand the reason for needing Patrol Dads, Coaches, whatever you want to call them. The job of training patrol leaders belongs to the Scoutmaster. The job of evaluating the leadership abilities of the leadership and helping them to develop is...the Scoutmasters. Another person who is there to help leaders succeed is the Senior Patrol Leader. Im sorry but if you have Patrol Dads (or moms) and everything is running smoothly then you are not letting boys lead. Scouting doesnt run smoothly. I is not meant to run smoothly. It is a training ground for boys and they need to make their own errors so that they can say That didnt work so well. How could that have been done better?

 

"Here's a classic: on a campout last spring, the PL had set up a duty roster. Well, the other guys didn't like being told that they had to do stuff and yelled at him, "You're not in charge!" That led to a sitting time with an old guy in khaki explaining how they elected him to make decisions and assign jobs."

 

This is a classic but it is not an example of boys being unable to lead. This is an example of adults unable to train and develop leadership skills in boys. It was the Scoutmaster who failed here, not the boys. It is the scoutmasters responsibility to teach them the skills of leadership.

 

The old guy in khaki (explaining how the patrol elected him to make decisions and assign jobs) doesn't know how to lead and he doesnt understand the role of a patrol leader. Dont tell me how much training he has had or how long he has done this, that just makes it all the sadder.

 

The patrol leader is elected to represent the needs of his patrol to the Patrol Leaders Council, and to represent the needs of the troop back to the patrol. He is selected by the patrol to help them coordinate and cooperate as a team, not to hand out assignments like the dictatorial leader whose example he is mimicking.

 

Even outside of scouting, a small group of boys will naturally select a leader from amongst themselves and they will cooperate to organize a task. Think of when you and your friends organized a game of sandlot baseball. There were no adults there. You picked teams, set bases and foul lines, determined positions, all as a cooperative team.

 

All it takes is an adult to screw things up. One adult tells one boy that now youre in charge you have to tell the other guys what to do. Who wants to be treated that way by a peer, let alone by anyone?

 

The more adults involved in patrol operations the worse they operate. If adults want to run patrols they should start a different organization and go play. If leaders think that leading is telling people what to do they should consider attending leadership training and pay closer attention or buy a dog and command it around to their hearts delight.

 

If you were standing in front of me I would ask you questions that would allow you to discover this on your own but a bulletin board does not lend itself to that kind of conversation.

 

Bob White

 

 

 

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" He is selected by the patrol to help them coordinate and cooperate as a team, not to hand out assignments like the dictatorial leader whose example he is mimicking."

 

Sorry but "The Patrol Leader's Handbook" disagrees with you on this one. Page 64 says "One of your early tasks will bt to assign members to various position of responsibility . . . ." It goes on to say, "Drawing up a duty roster . . . By writing down who will take care of each task, you can make sure that every patrol member has a chance to share in the effort."

 

There's no need for coaching or support when it comes to the duty roster.

 

Something that you are ignoring is the fact that for a leader to suceed, the leadees need to be willing to be led. Delegation only works if the delagees are willing to take on a task because they know it needs to be don, even if it isn't their first choice. Every Scout knows that someone needs to do the dishes and that someone needs check the fire buckets.

 

Your analogy to pick-up games is good but not quite on the money. In a sandlot game, two captains are picked, usually by acclamation. The word of those captains then becomes law. When teams are being chosen, there's no discussion or debate. If Bobby uses his turn to pick Jimmy but Jimmy would rather play for Fred, too bad. Jimmy has two choices, go home or play for Bobby. Sometimes, pre-draft conditions get set (You get Danny but you also have to have two little kids)

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To say you are selective is an understatement. First, on page 8 of the patrol Leaders Handbook it says under the heading What is expected of me "Solicit ideas and concerns from patrol members so they have input to the planning and operations of the patrol."

 

To say that a Duty roster is needed does not imply that it is done without the input of the patrol.

 

Page 64 does say that "Drawing up a duty roster is a good way to figure out what needs to be done." (see how the meaning changes when you post the entire sentence?) The manual is simply giving the PL a tip on how to get organized for a campout. In the following line it says, "By writing down who will take care of each task you can make sure that every patrol member has a chance to share in the effort." This is telling the PL the advantages of a written plan.

 

If you were to read page the preceding page, it says "You, the Patrol Leader, are in charge,but a patrol meeting should never be a one man show. every member of the patrol needs to be involved in some way."

 

Making assignments and organizing is not mutually exclusive to getting patrol member input.

 

So no, the Patrol Leader Handbook does not disagree with me, I agree with it.

 

"Something that you are ignoring is the fact that for a leader to succeed, the leadees need to be willing to be led." What a huge dodging of responsibility that is. The goal of leadership is to gain the cooperation of others to complete a task. To say "they won't follow" is the same as "I cannot lead". And who is responsible for teaching the skills of leadership to the boys. THE SCOUTMASTER. the inability of boys to learn leadership skills is the failure of the SM to teach them, not a failure of boys who respond negatively to ineffective leadership styles and skills.

 

The old guy in kahiki doesn't know how to lead, and gave poor instructions to the patrol.

 

"Every Scout knows that someone needs to do the dishes and that someone needs check the fire buckets." Most probaly do. So a good leader will say to them "Everybody knows that someone needs to do the dishes and that someone needs check the fire buckets, who would like to do that for Staurday's breakfast. We will all take turns." Then the PL or the patrol scribe writes down on the Duty roster who has agreed to do what, and when.

 

Good leadership is planning ahead and respecting the team memebrs and their abilities. Not playing "king of the hill".

 

In the sandlot example when the two team captains get together that is a PLC. If when you were little you chose a captain who bossed everyone around then you should have picked a different captain.

 

Bob White

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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"Something that you are ignoring is the fact that for a leader to succeed, the leadees need to be willing to be led." What a huge dodging of responsibility that is. The goal of leadership is to gain the cooperation of others to complete a task. To say "they won't follow" is the same as "I cannot lead"."

 

This isn't a dodge of any responsibility. In some instances, it is a fact. If those being led don't want to be lead they won't be led! And saying won't follow & can't follow are not the same. On might be able to follow but can't for other reasons & visa versa. Not everything is black & white!

 

Ed Mori

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IF the scoutmaster allowed the scouts to choose their own patrols as the program methods direct, and IF the scoutmaster allowed the patrol to elect their own leadership as the program methods direct, and IF the scoutmaster followed the program in orienting the scouts to their new position as the program directs, IF the scoutmaster teaches the Patrol leaders the scouting leadership techniques, then patrol members will respond positively.

 

The key to patrol performance is having a scoutmaster that follows the program methods of scouting. To blame kids for not reponding to poor leadership skills is a cop out, and an abdication of responsibility by the scoutmaster.

 

Bob White(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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If there was no response to any type of leadership I would begin CPR.

 

Face it Ed, there is no such thing as good leadership that doesn't get a response. After all that is how you know it's good, isn't it?

 

Bob White

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Bob, I agree with you to the best of my ability to do so ;)

How do we motivate adults to sit on their hands, so to speak? The temptation is SO GREAT to want to hurry the process and make the troop "look right", to make the patrols efficiently operating units, to generate some demonstrable achievements - badges - names on the Eagle plaque...

and I still struggle with this myself - the tension is between how much to let the kids struggle with the problems, or whether to get something up and running that at least shows them what is possible.

I came across a website where the Roundtable Commish had asked a SM what it is their troop does to win the awards every year at the Klondike. The SM wrote out their very detailed troop operations that basically through out every aspect of the patrol method as we know it. New scouts were not allowed to attend troop meetings until they'd been through a 3 month training program held separately from troop meetings. Patrol leaders were required to be a certain age and rank (like, 16 and Life) and new boys were assigned to a patrol once they completed the "training". Patrols then spent the year drilling every potential skill area that could come up at Klondike (and, yup, every patrol had a JASM or ASM assigned). In the weeks prior to the event, patrols would drill 2 or 3 times a week...I'm thinking, where is the scouting? What are they learning from this? And *why* would the Roundtable be promoting this as an exemplary troop?

Peace out,

Anne in Mpls

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"Face it Ed, there is no such thing as good leadership that doesn't get a response. After all that is how you know it's good, isn't it?"

 

Bad leadership doesn't get a response?

 

Leadership gets a response whether it is good, bad or just so-so. And bad leadership can yield positive results just as good leadership can yield negative results.

 

Ed

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Hi Anne,And what if they don't respond to any type of leadership goof or bad? You raise some good points and I think the resonse may surprise you. BUT FIRST let's give Ed something to think about.

 

Ed wrote "And what if they don't respond to any type of leadership good or bad?

 

Then Ed wrote "Leadership gets a response whether it is good, bad or just so-so.

 

Ed, argue this out with yourself and when you decide which statement you actually support get back to me.

 

 

OK Anne lets get scouting. "How do we motivate adults to sit on their hands, so to speak?". We don't, thats not what a good leader does. Good leadership s not about not getting involved. it is about know when to and when not to and how depply you get involved. Good ledership requires among other things understanding the group, knowing the goals of the task, evaluation skills, and respecting the abilities of those you lead. How do we do it? Through support and understanding of the resources and methods of the scouting program. Having leaders who are selected carefully by the CO is the first step. COs need to be diligent about their responsibility to see that the adult leaders follow the program. any adult that doesn't want to lead a scout unit according to the scout methods should be replaced.

 

NEVER judge the quality of a scouting program by the number of contests won, merit badges earned or Eagle awards present. Those are contests of adult egos not displays of good scouting.

 

Good scouting and bad scouting can happen at any level. It all depends on the quality of the leadership skills. That is why training and returning to training is so important. We are not an outdoor adventure club. Scouting is a method of education. Adventure is a tool not a purpose.

 

A good scout unit is one where the activities get the boys to attend, so that subtle personal growth can be affected. In a good scouting (one where the scouting program is used) certain traits will be present. Scouts and adults show respect for each other, parents and leaders have fun together, regular service projects are performed in the community. All scouts achieve First Class Rank. A mojority of kids stay in the program until they age out regardles of rank.

The scouts and scouters exhibit positive hararacter traits. Boys go to other youth leaders for answers first. Youth leaders ask adults "How could I have helped this go better?"

 

How can this be accomplished? Read and practice the information in the Scout and Scoutmaster Handooks. Lead more by asking questions than by giving commands. When a scout asks how to do something try answers like "what ways have you considered" or "let's look at our options and you pick one" or "lets look in the handbook together and see what it says".

 

Why would roundtable promote this? Remember that we have over a million volunteers that come from differnt backgrounds, education, work experiences. for some the leadership styles of the BSA are new. Some will embrace them and some won't, be wary of those who won't. Anyone can learn the skills of being a good scoutmaster, all it takes is to make the choice to want to be a scout leader and not just boss people around in a scout uniform. Training and practicing the methods is the answer.

 

Bob White

 

 

 

 

 

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