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Scout looking towards a boy-led program

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Currenly i am a freshman in high school, have earned life,and am very active in our troop.


My troop has traditionally had a 'boy-led' program with adult approval. The adult 'approoval' mentioned above was a little more than that. The boys would plan a general plan for campouts and events, but had no say in the meetings. Every meeting our former spl would start with the opening ceremony before asking our former SM what we were doing that day. After that, everything was 'boy-led' but that is not enough. This SM was replaced by our troop's new SM two years ago because the former SM's son was getting older and he wanted to leave time to acclimate the new SM with the troop.


The new SM was similar to the old one but allowed more input from us scouts. He still sometimes changes the plan of a meeting to meet the needs of an upcoming campout or event but it is much better. He uses a lot of techniques to run things behind the scenes(ie. telling stories about somewhere fun, hinting at an acitvity but letting us think we had thought of it). Although this happened the way it should, with no adult interuption, it was still not perfect


Once a meeting or event started that the PLC had planned, the power left the SPL and went to the ASMs. The SM did not necessarily approve of this but never stepped in to ask his ASMs to back off. The SPL would barely have the power to suggest playing a game of manhunt before the adults stepped in telling us yes or no with no SPL input. It was starting to become that the SPL was just the ASM's puppet. The SPL would start something then an ASM would step in and tell us what to do. It would be fine if the same messages were given by the SPL, that small of a change can still make the biggest difference.


At summer camp last year we decided on implementing a new troop official policy of being more boy-led. One night the Commitee chair came for a visit and a bunch of the older boys went into their lean-to with him and the troop's SM. After talking about the limited(no) input given about the troop during summer camp, a decision was reached to make the troop completely boy run. THat night the SM and ASM's sat at their picnic table while we had an SPL led meeting at the other end of the campsite. The decision reached earlier was told to everyone and we all agreed that this was what must happen. For the rest of the week, everything happened like that, SPL led.


This happened for 1 reason. The acting SM that had run the troop's summer camp probram for the past 5+ years was a firm beleiver in this. After summer camp ended much has returned to its earlier norm. I have finally begun to realize, a year later, now that i am beginning to take a more active leadership role in the troop that we have already forgotten this decision. It is necessary for us to revert to the way the troop ran at summer camp. ONLY the SPL should run a meeting. The SM and ASMs should be present and possibly listening with no interruption. When something goes wrong they should tell the SPL to fix it and not do it themselves. I am very intereseted in fixing this problem. I really need help in finding a kind way to tell the adults(starting with current SM) that our decision at summercamp was forgotten and that we need to encourage youth leadership. Does anyone know a kind/courteous way to bring this issue up...it has everyones support but just needs to be brought up and put into effect.

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I do realize that my troop does have a lot, but with some of the adult leaders we have now, it can become better. The adults want us to become more boy-led but dont realize that while they are helping, they are actually keeping us back. I think ill bring it up with our troops SPL to add this to the agenda for the next PLC. Maybe with some of the right people attending i can remingd them of what we had decided at summercamp and how we need to take even more responsibility than we already have.


I have one other question...How much responsibility should we take. Currently we decide on a place or activity idea then the adults take everything from there, then we may get some feedback of where and what will happen there. Then that is about it. They tell us what will happen, but should it be us scouts making all those decisions. I understand when it is our summer trip to boston and they want to make that organized perfectly in a city, but should we be the ones planning all other trips. Would it make sense if we did all the planning for ordinary troop campouts and events and then had one adult confirm/pay for the reservation?


I know this is a big jump, if that is how much responsibility we take on, how gradually should this effectively happen?

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  • 1 month later...

Badgeface, I am in a similar dillema as you are. This year I was elected SPL by my troop. I had a long list of ideas and things we wanted to do that the other boys and myself had agreed on during summer camp. The year is almost over and we have accomplished very few things off our list. The reason is that although the Adult leaders claim our troop is 'boy run', it is anything but. I am basically a puppet for the SM. I have virtually no input in anything we do. If I say I want to do 'something' at the meeting and the SM doesn't agree I am told that we are not doing it. Then when the SM does what he wants to do and it fails, I get blamed for what went wrong. I recently asked for advice from the troop committee chairman he gave me a lot of suggestions which have helped a lot. Although now I am starting to have more control of the troop I still find unless the SM is willing to give the boys more "freedom" then your progress will be somewhat restricted.

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I'm saddened to read these Scouts' postings about not have the opportunity to lead their troops. That's not the way the program is supposed to work. Regrettably, I'm not sure what they can do about it, other than to keep at the adults that stand in their way, well-meaning or not, and also to seek assistance from the district and council levels. These adults need to be reminded what their roles are.


There's a very good reason why I don't interfere with my PLC's meeting plans. I don't know them. I spoke recently at a local Rotary Club about our Troop. I told them that we had a meeting that night and that I knew that it was at 7 p.m. and I knew where it was, but I proudly told them that I didn't know what we were going to do at the meeting. I ended with the question, "Do you know of any other organization that allows at 14 year-old to plan and run its meetings?"


- Oren


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