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Fat Old Guy

11 year olds leading 11 year olds, what's your experience?

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i guess encourage would be a better word than prompt, at 11 a kid is going to need help, they cant really bike across the city with several hundred dollars in checks to pay, but if the scout is the one doing the work, the planning, and taking responsability for his actions then he is the leader, if a leader or older scout check their work and help them come to a better solution if need be then that isnt leading that is teaching

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We were at Summer Camp with a load of new 11 year olds several years ago. I don't remember the patrol configurations or if we were ever very successful with anything when confronted with such a problem. I am sure that none of us confessed knowing the right way to put these new Scouts to the business of Scouting but we did our best.

 

One evening, I came into camp and found a young man keeping one or our Scout leaders busy. The Scout was sick or throwing a fit but it appeared to me as a bad case of home sickness. I stepped in and tried my hand for a while with the cure and was successful only because he got sleepy and wound up going to bed.

 

Somewhere in the evening another young Scout, Scott as I recall, asked if I would take him and a buddy fishing early the next morning like his Dad used to do. I told him I didn't know much about fishing, so he promptly got me a pole and had me ready to go in no time. I set my pole next to my tent and got to bed pretty late. Sure enough, Scott came to the tent early the next morning before first light for our expedition. So, I jumped up, put on my boots and grabbed my jacket and borrowed fishing pole. I went to the prearranged place and there was Scott and about ten other young Scouts all ready to go fishing. We wondered down to the lake and found a place among several large rocks to cast our lines. We had quite a conversation while some of the Scouts were giving me directions and most of our lines were being tangled with the rocks and with each other. Flashlights and tangled fishing line and not a bite for over an hour or two with some pretty funny stories, including the one we were in. We didn't catch any fish but nobody ever admitted to being unsuccessful. Actually, I now think that what we did was what Scott knew as "fishing". I got to know the new guys better and they taught me a new skill, one that I still think about years afterwards. Those same guys came to a Troop banquet after growing into older Scouts and I got to tell the story about our "fishing" trip.

 

As I reflect on those times, I know they taught me allot and for that I am grateful. I am thankful for the Scouting program that brought us together. It was such a brief but important period of time for all of us but especially me. FB

 

 

 

 

 

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>>As I reflect on those times, I know they taught me allot and for that I am grateful. I am thankful for the Scouting program that brought us together.

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My troop uses this system for new scout patrols: A patrol crosses over from cubs (must be at least 6, otherwise they are integrated into other patrols), they are assigned a Troop Guide, if possible, the den chief they had, after 6 months, they have a regular election, but their old tg keeps a close eye on their patrol meetings and such, and helps out a little if necesary. Within 2 months of crossing over, we try to get them to do a patrol activity (usually a campout) to build comaradarie (misspelled that). This works fairly well for us.

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11 year olds can not lead anyone because if the lead other 11 year olds they think they do not have to listen to him since they are the same age and he can not lead older kids because they will not listen sicne he is younger so it is best to hold off in allowing them to try to lead

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Eaglescout03,

 

I am sorry for you if that is what scouting has taught you of leadership. By that logic, 12-year olds cannot lead 12-year olds, 13 year olds can't lead 13-year olds, and so on and on. Experienced scout leaders will tell you that leadership is possible in varying degrees in scouts of all age is they are taught and given opportunity to practice.

 

I hope that as an Eagle Scout you learned that you had the ability to reach goals, work and lead with people of several ages not just those whose younger age gave you the power to "tell" them what to do.

 

(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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(with typos corrected)

 

Eaglescout03,

 

I am sorry for you if that is what scouting has taught you of leadership. By that logic, 12-year olds cannot lead 12-year olds, 13-year olds can't lead 13-year olds, and so on and on. Experienced scout leaders will tell you that leadership is possible in varying degrees in scouts of all ages, if they are taught and given opportunity to practice.

 

I hope that as an Eagle Scout you learned that you had the ability to reach goals, work and lead with people of several ages, not just those whose younger age gave you the power to "tell" them what to do.

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Great point, Bob.

 

I'm not addressing the pros and cons of the NSP. I don't have enough experience to give a valid opinion. Our troop is just over 1 year old, so last year all of the boys were a "NSP". We just didn't call it that. This year, without enough mature, senior boys to serve as a Troop Guide, we decided to operate in a somewhat "blended" program. Some activities are oriented around them being "new scouts" and others they are integrated with their patrols. Their PLs are - in effect - serving as their troop guide.

 

But, to the point that eaglescout03 made, I concur with Bob's thoughts. By now, you should know that leadership takes many forms. Some is given by title, but other forms of leadership are granted by respect, knowledge, charisma, size and, yes - age. One of the toughest jobs in life - whether you are an athelete, a plumber or a businessman - is to lead those that you don't have direct control over. We often have leadership opportunities that don't follow the normal chain of command. In fact, sometimes we have to lead those who should be our leaders. The patrol method in Boy Scouts is one of the best places for a young man to learn and practice these skills.

 

Back to our troop - our first set of PLs were elected based on size and "most vocal". Both PLs were relative failures. But were they..? While their leadership experiences were not positive, and they made many, many mistakes. The boys learned that they needed to elect someone who could lead them, not the person who was the biggest, baddest or loudest. Hence, in their second election, they elected the most mature boys, the ones that, IMHO, set the best example of living by the Scout Oath and Law. These PLs are doing a great job, and the patrol members are doing a much better job of following.

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I agree with eaglescout03. 11 year olds just can't lead other 11 year olds. They lack the leadership skills and experience that are neccessary to lead other scouts.

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A few questions and an observation for our last poster.

 

Do you really feel that is an appropriate name for this type of forum?

 

What exactly is your scouting experience that would lead you to such an interesting conclusion?

 

Isn't it the responsibility of scouting to give the scouts the training and experience they need to be able to learn to lead as they participate?

 

Living near St. Louis myself, I was surprised to see the spelling that you chose in your profile. I don't know of anyone or anything in St. Louis that spells out Saint the way you did. Not even the Greater St. Louis Area Council of the BSA.(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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11 year olds leading 11 year olds can be tricky. Still pretty young. But the 12 year old leading 12 year olds etc. doesn't follow. If it did, a 45 year old wouldn't be able to lead another 45 year old and we all know that isn't true. A good leader was a good follower first.

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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Ah, Bob White, doing the classic oversimplification bit again. 11 year olds are completely different animals than 15 year olds, that's why 15 year old can effectively lead other 15 year olds.

 

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Yes, 11 yr. olds can lead 11 yr. olds. But the point about them being a different animal is valid. They will require more guidance and follow up than more experienced Scouts. Maturity can also be an issue. But then I've seen 16 year old that weren't very mature either.

 

To those that have had bad experiences with 11 yr. old leaders:

Were they trained or just thrown into the job?

Were they elected by their peers so that they had some "validation"?

Were they given extra guidance?

 

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Were they trained or just thrown into the job?

Probably just thrown into the job. Remember, we are talking about 11 year olds who probably only have at most 1 year in the Troop

 

Were they elected by their peers so that they had some "validation"?

Probably. They won the popularity contest.

 

Were they given extra guidance?

One would hope. But extra guidance doesn't guarantee success.

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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