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JLTC, SPL & dealing with older scouts

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I have a couple of old threads from the Internet newsgroup that can be found on Google Groups -

Here is one from the spring -


Our SPL and 2 ASPL's went to JLTC this summer -

They enjoyed it - but I'm not sure they really got anything useful out

of it -

Most of the activities were with their peers, and mostly everyone

wanted to succeed, work together, and learn.


Our biggest "real world" problem is with the 14yr old and above Scouts.

I've posted various msgs about this over the years,

but the other night at a Troop meeting - it became clear -


We were trying to get the 1st years passed on certain elements

prior to going to summer camp.

A couple of the "cool guys" decided to drop in -

A - Life scout with pending Eagle project

B - Life scout brother (HS baseball player)

C - Life scout with pending Eagle project (HS waterpolo player)


The SPL's agenda was to help the younger scouts with what they needed.

He asked the older scouts to pair up with a younger scout for a little


The cool guys said...nay..they were going outside to play football,

and anyone that wasn't working on ranks should go with them -

A few of the older Scouts went with -


The SPL was left speechless -


He basically said that football was inappropriate for this meeting -

and one of the 3 - probably the waterpolo dude -

said he should stop whinning and get some balls -


He mentioned this to the CC and the CC went out to talk to the "group".

The older Scouts came back in, but the cool 3 chose to go home -


They will be back - after not seeing them for months -

for their future Eagle BOR -


nice huh -


> > They will be back - after not seeing them for months -

> > for their future Eagle BOR -


> Something tells me with that attitude, they're in for a pretty nasty

> shock if they expect to get Eagle...


not at all - just another rubber stamp advancement.

I tried to enforce the Scout Spirit idea - and being recently "active",

but was browbeat & banished from attending BOR


These scouts have been asked to leave meetings, the PLC meeting,

and other events.... no change - they made Star & Life -

The 2 brothers - their mom is the Adv chair

the other - mom is the main fundraiser -

then there is another Scout - he is a soccer player & dad is ASM.

and 1 or 2 others - and that's some of the older crew...

And just for those reading here,

our own Scout is also on Swim team, Soccer team, & Track team

but he doesn't have the cool complex - he just wins :)

The others come to the meetings act really cool,

team shirts & sunglasses up in their hair -

but they can't light a fire, cook a meal, lash a tripod, tie a knot,

etc -

and they are Star, Life, etc -


yup - So how does a SPL go to JLTC

and then come back to deal with this real world -





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Looking at your plethora of posts, this older scout crap has really stuck in your craw....


First, unless the troop committee, and SM/ASM corp are going to back you...you are not going to change the older boys 'marking time' until they 'talk' themselves into Eagles...As OGE (a senior poster) says all the time... if they do the 'requirements' (and someone has to check them off) they get the rank...tough life ...deal with it...many of us have to...and have.


Depending on how long you and your son are going to be with the troop you have two choices...continue butting your head against the wall or build the program for the future. I been part of a change...it took a good four years (heck nine years later we are still fighting the good fight). Are you up to it?


Knowing, that you will pick the second choice but not knowing your position in the troop, my advise is locate a corp of parents of younger scouts who feel that something is missing from the scouting experience...then change it. These parents have to become committee members and ASM's (if not CC and SM)or this will not work.



If necessary, you 'write off' the older scouts...let the existing old guard' leaders know that you are going to raise the quality of the troop and if they want to keep advancing the dead wood they can 'have at it'...just don't get in your way...within the new 'corp' of interested parents you start, patrol by patrol, working on skills and attitude. New scout patrols and the parent who come with them are indoctrinated with the "new program" protocols (though 70% pariticaption is asking for older scouts to drop scouting like a hot potato...suggest you look at that)...


You help the younger patrols plan patrol events (additional camps, trips and work projects out side of the troop calendar) You do not depend on the older scouts...you can envite them along to enjoy the ride..and you might even turn one or two around (we did), but don't count on it. Your parents and the few older scouts mentor and teach until you grow some good scouts. Plan, teach, repeat...over and over...It won't be long before the younger scouts know way more than the older scouts and start feeling like older scouts (and then acting like older scouts should.


Remember however, sitting around at every campout tying knots is a program killer...true scout-craft is not necessary every minute of an activity, go fishing, canoeing, hiking, hike hunting- (small groups (no guns) try to find 'game' birds and beasts and keep score), play capture the flag, climb trees and rocks (remember LNT), cooking classes where mom and dad are guests, first aid class practiced on local EMT's (good guys). And testing...make every oportunity a teaching-testing one...pull out a small cord and challenge boys to tie knots. On campouts pick different boys to build fires, even if a fire is not needed (where permitted), Fall down and 'require' the scouts to get you back to camp...they love that one...(watch your head)!

Let the newer, younger, more interested scouts and their parents know that a new day is slowly dawning, Most will be glad, and many helpful...but it is work and you (with many others)better be willing to step up to the plate...


And you will have to be realistic...many boys will not stay with the program after 14/15...it just doesn't fill the needs they have...you will not change that...ever. The 'fumes"...Perfume and gasoline fumes just get too important in many boys lives...all you can do is make the best program you can and encourage them to try it on for size...only 2%(?) make Eagle...most drop out. Our job is not to make it tougher to be a scout only better to be one...


One further point...when I started my 'quest', my first Boy Scout was outspokenly disappointed that there were no older scouts on campouts...('cept SPL)... now I have to remind him, frequently, of his past gripes, because suddenly he 'has a life other than scouting'...even though he is only a 'project' away from eagle...and with my second son, nearly life,...scouting is okay but it not what rings his bell...so don't be surprised if your own son(s) discovers other adventures...its not the end of the world...


But nine year later, the dead wood including leaders is gone. New families, more scouts and with a better outdoor program we have a strong troop with almost a built in 'quality unit attitude'. We have problems and we work constantly to keep it going in the right direction (whatever that is)...

good scouting!


oh yes, not to pick... but as far as teaching at troop meetings... I hope your SPL has lessons worked out at (and through) the PLC. That way he knows, as do his instructors,(well in advance)who is teaching and what is the approved the lesson plan...Then he has no 'older' scouts 'bailing' on him to play football or whatever. It should be part of the troop policy and practice that instructors are not shanghaied at the meetings and told or asked to teach unprepared.

my two cents


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A Boy Scout Troop is a collection of patrols. The patrol, not the troop, is the basic unit of Scouting. A patrol should be a collection of peers, friends, buddies, etc.


One of the reasons that I am a true believer of NSPs, regular, and "experienced" or venture patrols is because it helps to avoid the type of incident shown in the previous posts.


What did the PLC decide to do for the troop meeting? Not the SPLs agenda, but the PLCs agenda. Was it to play football or learn and teach advancement? The boys need to have buy in on what they want to do at the meetings. If the PLC decides that during patrol corners, one patrol plays football and one learns lashings - no problem.


Now, I have a few boys on our troop who are just about to make Life. Their goals is to earn Eagle. They see earning Eagle as a goal in and of itself. Not helping others, teaching younger Scouts, providing service, etc. It is my job as SM to try and teach them the concepts of servant leadership. It is a tough row to hoe.

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Happy Scouting All


First I have to say anarchist wrote a great post. I agree with all of it except for the fumes part. Just like a great program that attracts scout 10 to 14 years old, your program can be fun and attractive for the older scouts as well. We just have to be very open minded and think way out of the box.


I very much agree with letting the older scouts complete their own program while starting a new program with the younger scouts. My observations are the same as anarchist, the older scouts (15 and older) just dont want change, especially when some of the adults still support their program. And maybe we shouldnt expect them to just completely change their habits and expectations that have been given to them for the last three or four years.


>>One of the reasons that I am a true believer of NSPs, regular, and "experienced" or venture patrols is because it helps to avoid the type of incident shown in the previous posts.>If the PLC decides that during patrol corners, one patrol plays football and one learns lashings - no problem.

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I can't help thinking that we the adults are at fault. While setting the example is never ever a bad thing, we need to remember that we are here to serve the Scouts. Scouts of all ages. They are not here to serve the troop. Well they are, but part of them becoming leaders is them working this out!!

Our program is dependent on us listening to the kids and providing them the tools and resources to do the activities that they want to do.

While there are some older Scouts who like working with the younger Scouts and passing on the knowledge that they have, many Scouts just don't like this stuff. In fact when I talk to older Scouts they say this a lot. This can hurt us adults, we don't want to hear this, we would really like these older Lads to spent time explaining that the little rabbit comes up through the hole..... However most of the older Lads would sooner go to the Dentist!!

We know that this program is supposed to provide Adventure and fun. We need to remember what is fun and adventure will change as our Lad's get older. We teach the skills that we teach so that they can be used. I see no reason for us to waste our time teaching mapping and compass if these skills are never put to some real use. The real use is finding challenging adventures where these skills are used.

So who teaches the younger Scouts?

All the basic skills are covered on the road to First Class Scout. The NSP or Patrols are under the watchful eye of ASM's, they offer all the Scouts the opportunity to lead the Patrol. Very often these NSP's are under the watchful eye of last years Webelos Scout Den Leader. At times this willing soul doesn't have the skills or the knowledge needed to do this job correctly. Very often this person doesn't understand that this is the Boy Scout program.

If we really take a long hard look at the Scouts in the troop and look at what they are doing, we will see the need to stop looking at the troop and start looking at the Patrol.

Our little Lads who cross over from the pack are in a lot of cases still in Elementary School, the demands on their time are not that great. They can attend everything that is offered. As they move through to the High School there are more and more demands on their time, depending on the boy he has to make a lot of choices. Some will put Scouting above everything else, while others may put other activities before Scouting. They still enjoy Scouts and Scouting or maybe parts of Scouts and Scouting. It can be hard for us adults who think of Scouting as being the "Cats Whiskers " To come to grips with the idea that anyone would be so foolish as to not put Scouting above everything else!! We can of course chose to do nothing for these Lads and complain that they are not living up to our expectations. Or we can do what we can to work with these Lad's.

Some troops can manage this with no problem. Others have seen that a Venture Crew is the answer Many chose to do nothing.

The Scoutmaster and his adult Leadership team may have the time and the capabilities of offering a program that has different activities going on for different age groups. Many troops offer a "One Size fits all" Program. I have to admit that I'm surprised at how well this works in some troops.

Still I know that the program that the troop that OJ is in is not holding his attention. It isn't offering him the adventure or the challenges that he needs. While he still attends the meetings and attends the camp outs there is no adventure. He enjoys the getting away from the house and spending time with the other older Lads and they do have fun, still the adventure just isn't there. He wants the adventure and seeks the challenge, but the troop just doesn't see it.

He has held POR's and not been the Patch wearer or title holder, he kept his end of what was expected from him. Sad to say the expectations weren't that high. He is lucky that his Dad knows that there are opportunities outside of the troop that will fill his need for adventure and will allow him to put his skills to work. Sad to say not all Scouts have a parent who is "In the know." At 16 going on 17 I can't help thinking that he has had a good run.

The troop he belongs too has lots of ASM'S.Most are fairly new, they have crossed over with their sons within the past 2 or 3 years. Sad to say these guys don't know very much.Most have attended the training courses, but they have never been given real jobs or real responsibilities, they just tag along. There are a couple of outstanding leaders that know that some things need to change, but know as long as the SM is there nothing will ever change. They live in hope that one day the SM will step down. OJ, will remain on the troop charter, he will fit Scouting in some where between the School play, Soccer, track, his need for money, his awareness of girls, school work. I think if it wasn't for the OA he would more than lightly be gone.

Attending a meeting where the expectation is that he will explain the joys of some skill that is rarely used to some little Lad who knows that the only need to learn this in order to get it signed off is not a priority for him.Attending a meeting where the goal would be to get ready for the next adventure might be more attractive.

The SM is supposed to be training the Patrol Leaders. The Patrol Leaders are the guys who decided what the program will be, they plan the meetings. The SM is there to to help and support them. If the troop or the patrol is doing something that requires a skill as part of that months theme he should be the one that teaches the Patrol Leaders or goes over the skill so that they can go back and pass it on to their Patrol. Of course if we have several patrols following the same theme but at different levels, the basic skill might still be the same or in some cases might be a little more advanced he might want an ASM to work with the older guys.

Some troops have gone with Patrols with mixed age groups, where the older Scout is the Patrol Leader?? (I don't know how this works if the older Scouts are always the PL's?) and I can see that the older Scout will teach the younger Scout. But if our expectation of our older Scouts is just teaching younger Scouts, I think it is never going to work.



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>>Some troops have gone with Patrols with mixed age groups, where the older Scout is the Patrol Leader?? (I don't know how this works if the older Scouts are always the PL's?) and I can see that the older Scout will teach the younger Scout. But if our expectation of our older Scouts is just teaching younger Scouts, I think it is never going to work.

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I do see where I lost you Barry, in fact now when I read it I lose myself.

What I think I was trying to say.

If you have a patrol made up with Scouts of different ages, then the older Scouts in the patrol might taken teaching the younger Scouts.

I then thought "Hey Eamonn how does this work? How do they elect a Patrol Leader, if the Patrol is mixed do we have a 12 year old leading the 17 year old?" I don't know how that works.

You and I are in agreement about if the only thing we offer our older Scouts is working with the younger Scouts, it is boring for the older Scouts.

As for for the young Lad watching and copying the older Lad, I do think that everyone regardless of age should be setting a good example. I don't have a problem holding back activities until the younger Scout has the skills needed to do whatever the activity is and using this as the carrot.

As to:

One other part of your post that grabbed me is the first year in the NSP. I think this is part of the problem. At what point does the scout take responsibility for his part in the program. When does he say I want to be here at this time.


This can be a tough call. If we agree that older Scouts should not be the guys who are responsible for teaching the little guys, we need to have a knowledgeable adult help them out. I hope we are OK with this so far? (He or she might have an older Scout who wants to take on the job of helping these little fellows, but this needs to be his choice - I added that because I know a few Scouts who really enjoy working with the little guys.)

The NSP does not need or want a "Mother Hen" this leader needs to over time keep stepping away and allow the Patrol to find it's own way or find its own feet. Sure at the start he or she will be there, but by the end of a given time these guys will know enough to be on their own. I would think that when the next batch of Webelos Scouts cross over the NSP will no longer be the NSP. While I think that the goal of First Class with in a set time is a good one, I do agree that different Scouts should, ought and will advance when they (The individual) are ready. In fact herding a Patrol through any advancement would be wrong.

Lads who join the troop from the pack at 101/2 or 11 have in most cases a lot of time for Scouting.If the troop doesn't get in the way by offering Merit Badge classes and other foolishness, the little guy will have attended most of the troop meetings, ten or more outdoor activities?? Summer camp. Depending on the size of the Patrol,all the Guys will have had the opportunity to have served as Patrol Leader, some will have served twice. (If they serve for a month and the troop has a year round program) These little Lads are not so little any more. Some troops say that the NSP, moves on to become the First Class Patrol, I think that this might lead to rushing Scouts who are not ready or don't really have the skills to being made First Class. Isn't this the cause of a lot of our problems??

Back home when the NSP stopped being the NSP, they then had the right to camp as a Patrol and go Patrol Camping, sadly I don't see very much of that over here. Once they stop being the NSP, they will participate in the elections and elect their first "Real" Patrol Leader. The Patrol leader will then with the help and support of the SM and the PLC, be the person that makes sure his Patrol is ready for the patrol to participate in the program.

I know that in my heart of hearts I am what might be call a traditionalist, I like the old Scout type activities: Pioneering, Camping, Hiking, and that good stuff. I see Scouts hang back at Camporees because they never were taught this good stuff. While we have all met the Lad that can after twenty very frustrating minutes learn to tie a Square knot , only to completely forget it next by the next meeting. But in most cases the Scouts that hang back were pushed through and then never given opportunities to use the skills. I agree that we need to cater to the needs of each Lad and that just like the adults each and every Lad brings something to the table, his skills and his personality are what makes what we do worth while, getting to know and understand him is a privilege. Seeing him and five or six of his friends work as a team and get the job done without too much or even at times no adult interference is a reward. Seeing them have fun as they do it, is what keeps us old people coming back.

The program comes from them, if we let it. Sure we guide them and at times this guidance can if we are not careful become more like steering. Each Scout needs to know that his idea that he presented to his Patrol and his Patrol Leader presented to the PLC, where maybe it got altered a bit is the program that his troop is following.

I can't help feeling that once our Scouts know that they have ownership of what they will be doing, they will want to do it.


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You cant know how much I enjoy reading your post. I think your last post was Random thoughts by Eamonn, which I really enjoy because there is a friendly warmth in your words.


I know that you are an admirer of the NSP and the First Class program. I am not. But Im beginning to see that are differences are only perspectives of our experiences. I have experience in the NSP, aged based patrols and the mixed age patrols. I feel you started with one approach and stayed with it because of its success. That being said, I think my approach to scouting has always been to use the best approach to reach the goal. In other words, I wanted a Boy Run program that naturally matured with the least intervention from the adults. I used the NSP when it was best for that goal and I used aged based patrols when they served best.


So, lets look at your writing from a different angle. Instead of looking at NSP, aged based, mixed age and so on, lets look at it from what we are trying to achieve. In this case, I see the discussion of older scouts feeling fulfillment from the program, and the younger scouts learning skills.


I gather from you that older scouts are pulled between the boredom of teaching and the fun of adventure.


>>If we agree that older Scouts should not be the guys who are responsible for teaching the little guys, we need to have a knowledgeable adult help them out.

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I do of course respect you and your opinion. Thank you for not getting upset or turning this into one of those threads where " keeping score is important." Could it be that we have been there, done that and all that happy stuff.

I have worked with mixed age patrols. Back in the UK all Patrols are made up with Patrols of mixed ages. There are reasons for this, one being that Cub Scouts cross over when they reach an age not as a den but normally a couple at a time. In my day (I don't know what happens since they changed things a couple of years back) the Scout program age group was 11 till 16. At 16 we moved them on to the Venture Unit. The UK program does not have Patrol elections, and in most cases the PL is the oldest Lad in the Patrol, the APL is slightly younger and is waiting in the wings to take his place.

It seems to me that there is far less after school activities for English kids and they do have more time for Scouts and Scouting. In fact our troop held 3 meetings a week and some Lads were at camp every weekend from Easter through October.

Also as you couldn't be a Queens Scout as a Scout (Boy Scout) and had to wait until you were a Venture Scout, I don't think we as adults in the troop put as much into advancement as American Scouts seem to. A Lad in the Troop would earn the Chief Scouts Award which was the highest award in the troop and it would be presented at a normal troop meeting, his parents and maybe some one from the District would be invited but a lot less hoopla then an Eagle Scout COH. (I'm not saying one program is or was better -Just how it was!!)

What we had over there then seems in many ways what you have? (Other than the elections and Webelos Scout Den Cross Over)

We keep talking about older Scouts. I suppose we should identify what age an older Scout is? I really hope that we are not talking about 14 year olds!!

I as everyone knows am no longer involved with a troop on a daily basis, other than the fact that I'm a parent. Looking at OJ, who I think of as a typical Scout, even though I know that there really is no such animal. He couldn't wait to join the troop and his first two years were very busy, he never ever missed a meeting or a camp out, advancement along with merit badges came steaming in.He wasn't really that involved in after school stuff. He was in junior high and there really wasn't much to be involved in. By the end of two years he started getting involved with soccer and track, then came the chorus and the conflicts started. About this time the merit badge production slowed down. Still he was very active and didn't miss very much Scouting.He found that he really enjoyed the OA. Summer camp when he was 15 was no real adventure, he went and was one of the "Older Scouts" Sad to say our Council camp really doesn't do much for the 15 + age group. He somehow someway got involved in JLTC as a staff member. This gave him an insight of how things could be, and started him questioning why things weren't that way in his home troop. He became SPL and did try to make changes. Summer camp when he was 16 was more about him being the SPL, then about the program the camp offered. In fact talking with his SM,he informed me that he had been about the best SPL the troop had had in a very long time. His term of office ended not long ago. Over the summer Soccer took over, the team did well making it to the play offs and Scouting took second place. In fact the troop may have even gone down to third place, with the OA becoming more important. (He wants to be National Chief!!) At dinner the other night he informed me that he doesn't know when he will make the next troop meeting. The School Play has started and that will keep him away, then track will kick in. Then he is off to Philmont on the OA Trail Crew then he is off to be a junior staff member at the Jamboree and his mother is applying pressure for him to get his Eagle Leadership project underway!! The other week the troop had a Campout, the one where they invite the Webelos Scouts to come and get the requirements they need for the AOL done. He had a party to attend on Friday night, so he went early on Saturday done what he had to do with the little guys and came home!!Him wanting to leave a Campout early!! Is unheard of. The troop in its infinite wisdom has made him a Junior Assistant Scoutmaster. Yuck!! To me I see this is a cop out. It is like admitting that they don't know what to do with him and will not provide a program for him and the other Lads of his age group.

Trying to plan a program where the expectation is that he will be there to work with the younger Lads can't work as no one knows when he will or will not be there.

A unhappy ASM did start a Venture Crew, it fell apart, mainly because the ASM is a twit and the the Lads were still in the troop and didn't know where their true loyalty laid. I like the idea that these older Lads could be in the crew get good at something and then go back and share this knowledge with a pack or a troop. This JASM,is a joke, he will go back to the odd troop meeting, they wouldn't know what to do with him, so he will stand on the sidelines and with nothing to do, will maybe find something which will not be what the troop is doing. The troop with a flock of ASPL's is doing the same thing.

How much better it would be if these older Scouts were in a Patrol, still had representation at the PLC and activities were planned that would fit their needs and their schedules. I don't have a problem if the Troop is doing something and as part of this activity the troop (PLC) asks the older Scouts to present the skills needed for this activity to the other troop members.

I am still thinking about the idea of an adult being involved as being a red flag. I look back to Wood Badge and the Guide who is there and fades away. I don't have a problem with Scouts teaching adults the skills that they don't have. I'm a little unsure how some adults will take to the idea. Again looking at Wood Badge and the youth involvement, it can and does work.

Sometime back in these forums a forum member was accused of being a "Book Thumper", I kinda think that I might be one. While as I say I respect you and what you are doing and I feel sure, in fact I know that the program you guys are offering is way, way better than the program that most troops in the District that I'm in.

Being as we are all human and will try and make things work the way that we feel works for us or for the group that we are involved with, along with the fact that we are volunteers, I suppose that tweaking is always going to go on. I like the idea that I have the "Book" to fall back on. I get a little upset when I see the program abused. I'm thinking about troops that don't use the methods of Scouting. The Merit Badge classes that take over each and every meeting. Troops that don't have any idea about the Patrol Method and where the goal has nothing to do with developing young people to make ethical decisions and in fact are teaching Lads how to cheat and get around things in order to wear the Eagle Patch.

Scouting to me is very much about relationships, I enjoy working with all the people involved in this organization. I firmly believe that a value based program can do a lot of good. We however need to remember that this is supposed to be fun. We are here to work for and with the kids who choose to join, they might need the odd reminder about how to act, but they don't ever need to be put down. If our program is for Lads till they are 18, it is wrong that we give up on them when they are 15 or 16. That must mean that something isn't working as it should.We surely need to look at what we are doing and what they are doing and find something that works.



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Wow, every time I start to think we are different, you show me how we are very much the same. Your words about scouting in UK brought a smile because you just described my scouting experience as a youth. Those were wonderful days and that is what we tried to duplicate when we started our troop in 1993.


But we learned quickly that the scouting program of the seventies couldnt work in the nineties. Not completely anyway. Interestingly, it was basically from one minor change of bringing the Webelos over as a group instead of them joining individually when they reach the right age like you described. I believe that one little change started the boulder rolling from the program I experienced as a youth to the program in the books today.


One other thing you mention that was so much like my experience as a youth is the emphasis on the Eagle. Back then the Eagle was for those scouts who focused on merit badges. We didnt look at leadership as a requirement for rank, but more as a recognition of respect by your piers who voted you into the position. While Eagle was pretty cool, we commended those scouts more because they endured the time it took to earn that many merit badges. For us the highest honor came to those who were voted into OA. Back then each troop was only allowed to send two scouts a year into OA. So it was usually the two very best scouts who made OA. Those guys were hard workers, great leaders, very active and had to be at least 14. Its hard to describe how I feel about the Order of the Arrow today.


Older scouts are a tough discussion. But you really described it well. When I was a youth, every one of my Patrol Leaders drove cars. That gives you an idea of older scouts in my troop. But today a 16-year-old PL is unheard of. And that is too bad. I learned so much from those guys because at 16, you are more a man than a boy. Looking back on those guys, I cant remember a selfish one among them. They were very much like older brothers who knew everything. And I have to say, that was the kind of troop we tried to develop today. One reason I dont like Venture Patrols is because they killed the 16-year-old Patrol leader. Venture Patrols took away that older brother from those young scouts who need guys like that as heroes. What worse it I think the Venture Patrol replaced those guys with adults. And as you know, if an adult is doing what a scout could be doing, then there is something wrong.


I imagine that looking back to your program in the UK, there were very few organized classes to teach the scouts skills because the mixed patrols did that for you.


I feel I have a bad name on this list because what I write is presented as a wrong form of scouting. But I dont tell what I think people should do, I usually try to explain how one method will perform differently over the other. As I said, I did what it took to reach the Three Aims. While the new program seems clear now, back in 1993 it was still pretty much the program of the 70s. We also implemented what was in the new program, but only as a way to improve performance. If the new ideas didnt work, we dropped them. I worked with several units in this way. So that is why I can explain the whys to the hows. I guess what I want to bring across is what our goals our. Most new adult leaders dont see the big picture because they are so focused on each micro part of the program. If I can help one SM say, Oh, I see what youre trying to say, then it really doesnt matter to me how he does the program because he understand the goal and how to get there.


I still get to work with a few units now and then when they ask for ideas. Its a lot of fun to meet folks we talk with on these forums in person. Ive met SR540Beaver (Beav) several times and I think you will here his name a lot one day. You know that small ball of fire you feel when everything in scouting clicking. Well that is what I see in Beavs eyes every time we talk. Beav is another Eamonn and Mark.


You say you are a by the book person because in a worst-case scenario, the book will usually come through for a good program. I agree and that is how I teach as well. But I enjoy polling folks for different things. One thing I poll the adults I teach and work with is how much they use the books. Here is some numbers that I think are realistic. I would say at best, only about one in 25 trained Scoutmasters have read more than a third of the SM Handbook. I would say it is more like 1 in 200 for ASMs. And I find it funny that we give so much respect to SMs who take Wood Badge because the ratio of the ones who have read the SM handbook doesnt change. So we need to understand what by the book means in the BSA because we adults are only using them as a sleeping pill. Is by the book getting to hard?


That is why I think the new SPL Handbook and the PL Handbook is one the Nationals best publications. Just about everything I want a SM to get out of the SM Handbook is in those two books. And they can read both of them with in an hour. And the Scouts learn what the SM is supposed to already know.


But you also mentioned adults need to learn how to use the methods. I believe that is the problem the BSA has right now. If we could teach adults how to use the Eight Methods, then I think the rest of the program would fall into place. I guess that is how my rose colored glasses work anyway. I am a Methods person.


Well, Ive run long once again, but its fun.


I love this Scouting Stuff.




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Wrong as I know it is, I do whole heartedly believe that Barry and the troop that he serves are very much in touch with the methods of Scouting.

I enjoy his postings tremendously, while we may not see eye to eye on the delivery of the program, I think that we are both heading in the same direction. I really admire the fact that his postings are always in good humor and have nothing to do with ego.

This entire Scout "Thing" Is a game and is supposed to be fun. Yes fun with a purpose. But if we forget the fun part all the scouts will go some place where they will find fun. Some time back I ran into a leader who informed me that Scouting was changing for the worse, because it was too much fun. I thought at first he was joking!! He wasn't. He went on for a bit and I found myself trying to get away from him as quickly as possible. We have a great opportunity to help the young people we serve be maybe a little better adults because they have been in this Organization and maybe because they respect us. Some of them will grow up and look back as I do on the guys who were my leaders some of these guys earned my respect for doing something special with or for me, some I just respect because they gave up their night in front of the telly to spend it with me and my mates. Sure I learned a lot of Scouting type skills, sad to say many of which I have never put to much use outside of Scouting, at least that's what I used to think. While I don't have much use in my day to day life for a Filipino lashing, I did learn a lot about myself and a lot about leadership building pioneering projects, I also had a lot of fun.

Keeping things in perspective is very important. But this game isn't rocket science. Our Scouts know the people that care, they can sense it. You might be able to fool them for a little while but they will see through a phony. The back bone of what we are about can be found in the ideals of Scouting. I think that young people are willing to share their youth with us older guys is a wonderful privilege and I'm deeply honored that they do.


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Thanks Eamonn


But we must keep saying it.


Fun with a purpose! Fun with a purpose! Fun with a purpose!


If it's not fun, they won't come. And if they don't come it doesn't matter what you are teaching.


It has to be fun.


If you are trying to fiqure out how to compete with sports.

Or why the older boys aren't coming.

Or why attendance is down.


Remember if yours is NOT the best show in town, they won't come. They will go to where they can have fun.



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