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Nothing Going On At Meetings

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I was SPL for 2 years but I am no longer. It seems to me that lately at all the meeting absolutely nothing happens. The monthy themes ( including Merit badges, etc,) are being totally ignored. Everyone just sits, goofs off and talks all meeting. This begins at around 7 ( meeting are supposed to start then) then our SM tells the new SPL to start the meeting at around 7:15 and then it starts, but it goes back to goofing off and talking until game time comes around. None of the games are scout skill related. My main goals when I became SPL were to advance scouts and to have patrols.Neither of these things have continued These meeting seem like a waste of time to me. The only time stuff gets done is if adults remind them. Patrols are never used anymore. Is is very disapioting to me to see this happening. I am wondering how to go about bringing these issues up with out offending people especially since I am no longer in the PLC. This is really upsetting me. alot of new scouts are not staying on our troop and have dropped scouts, and it seems some of my biggest accomplishments as SPL have been un-done. Any ideas on how I may go about changing this situation?

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Consider the position of Junior Assistant Scoutmaster. Ask to be in charge of programs. Then you can be an advisor to the SPL and assist him in developing a better program. If you meet immediately after the troop meeting to have a reflection of what went right and what went wrong, you can help the SPL develop a better meeting. It really only takes a few minutes of planning to make things better.

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Do not believe your good work is undone. People have memories and most of the time they are not short lived. When a program begins to smell bad, most everyone knows it not just you. As you pointed out, some Scouts have left more than likely because they saw the difference between a good program and a poor program.


Boys are people and the "law of laziness" is a leading principle that most of us follow religiously. The truth is that Scouts want someone to lead them. Scouts love to be challenged. Scouts want to do things that coincide with their interests and abilities. The thing that most do not know is that is all inherent in the Boy Scout program but it takes getting up to do it.


How do you engage it? I recommend several things. The first one is with words. Carefully chosen words should be directed at the heart of the beast. I don't mean that you want to kill the beast but wound it, make it mad, get it up off its' rump and into the fray. Words are strong medicine when used well.


The next is thing is to lead by example. What do you want done? Then, You Do It and you keep doing it. Do you want Scouts to be properly uniformed? You be properly uniformed first and stay on that target no matter what. Actions are also strong medicine. Do you want Scouts to achieve, progress, and strive? Then you be the first and show them how. If one person asks you how you did it, then you take that one person and carefully direct that person in the right direction and make sure he accomplishes his goal. Remember, you are just showing him how not directing his total life.


What is your current job? Do your job and make it lean in the direction of a good outdoor program. Boys generally love the out of doors. Help them in some way to plan towards going outside where there is action, adventure, and fun.


Do your job to help others to plan to be prepared for those adventures. They must practice some of those skills before they get there and the place to practice is at those meetings.


How do you get the Scouts to return to Patrols? Well, the basis of being part of a patrol is competition and the resulting pride of having engaged in it. The Scouts cannot properly engage in those outdoor adventures without being part of a team, a unit, a group that is preparing themselves for fun.


If a Troop that has no patrols and goes to a Camporee, a competition, an event, there can be few games. It just doesn't work. You would only have individuals. They could stay at home and Nintendo for that experience. There has to be a group and they have to practice the skills first against the other units to gain speed and/or accuracy.


What if the adults want to sit around and they continue to throw water on your good efforts? Scouting is a journey. It is not always pleasant or productive. It has many things that you personally can enjoy without the Troop. You can go to High Adventure Bases, you can work in the Order of the Arrow, and if you are an Eagle, you can assist in NESA functions. The Order of the Arrow functions can be a full time job. When I was a Scout, I wanted to learn to Indian Dance. I attended an OA meeting and stood up and said that I wanted to learn to Indian Dance and that if anybody wanted to be a part of that experience to let me know.


Several had the same ambition. I learned to dance. I built several costumes. There is a whole story here but I think you have the picture.


You have served your time as SPL. Your unit may or may not survive. It is not your responsibility alone for its' continuance. You sound like a good Scout, please continue...





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Hi Ryon.


Now that you have had an opportunity to learn and practice leadership let's look at this from a different point of view.


You have identified the syptoms. What do you think the problem is?


What do you think a good solution would be.


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

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My Troop has a policy that you cannot become Junior assistant Scoutmaster until you earn your eagle. There are only about 8 scouts that actively attend which is why it isnt total chaos without using patrols. I would just like to see\ be involved in things actually happening in meetings. That is what drives me crazy.

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I'm not sure becoming a JASM will solve the problem Ryon. AS a JASM you have no more direct responsibility to the troop meeting program then you have now. What did you learn in leadership that could get the troop meeting program back on track?

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Got another idea for you...

What patrol are you in? Get your patrol to challenge another patrol (the other patrol?) to a particular event...write it down, tie it up, etc. messenger it over to someone in the other patrol.

Maybe make a day-long hike or cookout. Or make it a really brief competition scheduled 5 minutes before the regular meeting.

Don't worry that you're no longer the one up front - use your current position to its furthest possibilities :)

I think we sometimes forget that this scouting stuff is supposed to be fun. If there's a problem, there's a fun solution to be found.

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