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ScoutMomAng

Crossed over to scouts & Parents concerned about Patrols

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I'm the den leader of 7 Webelos II boys and one Webelos I boy. The 7 Webelos II will be crossing over in a few days. All the boys will be going to the same troop and the Scoutmaster has made mention that these boys will become a new Scout Patrol within his the troop. The other parents are concerned that these boys will be in the Patrol together without an older boy to guide them along the way. The general consensus is that it will be like the blind leading the blind. How do I get the parents to "let go" and let the boys learn from their mistakes?

 

I have already told the Scoutmaster of the parents feelings but he still prefers to set it up this way. I've gave him as much information as I can about the boys, some are shy and quiet and very easy going. Hard for them to make decisions. I've told him about the boy that is as smart as they come (truthfully), however he is egotistical about his knowledge and the other boys truely don't like him but make the best of it. How some boys think everything is fun and games. I've explained each boy to the Scoutmaster yet he still insists on doing this. I personally don't mind because my son will figure it out, whether it be the hard way or not. I've tried to reassure the parents that I think it will be okay because my husband is joining the Scout Master as his ASM and I think it has worked somewhat but they are still uneasy. How do I make them feel more comfortable so they don't pull their boys out of this troop before it even gets started with our boys in there? Or maybe it's not my place to worry???

 

Ang

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ScoutMomAng;

 

It would appear that your SM is doing exactly what he was trained to do; he's keeping just-graduated WEBELOS Scouts together, with their friends, in a New Scout Patrol (NSP). It's been found that doing so helps with the transition, and with retention. The Scouts in the NSP will rotate the Patrol Leader & Assistant Patrol Leader duties, normally on a monthly basis, so that they'll all get a taste of what it's like to be a PL. What he should have told you, and maybe he did, is that he's going to assign a Troop Guide to the NSP. The Troop Guide is an older, more experienced Scout, who will play a very direct role in their training and advancement, and assist the "PL/APL of the month" with their leadership duties. If your SM has the available Assistant Scoutmasters, he will likely also assign one to work directly and primarily with the NSP. How long Scouts stay in a NSP is a little open-ended; it depends on how the Scouts are developing and when the SM/Guide/NSP ASM think they're ready and able to stand on their own in an experienced patrol

 

If your Scouts' families have their handbooks already, have them read page 18 -- it describes the NSP in similar detail, and should assure them that your SM is doing what he's supposed to be doing.

 

Good luck with the transition!

 

KS

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As a Scoutmaster myself, I agree with your troop's Scoutmaster about the composition of the new Scout patrol. Patrols composed of mixed ages/ranks do not allow the new Scouts to display leadership and make their own decisions. Yes, a Troop Guide (older, experienced Scout) should be helping the new Scout patrol get on its feet, along with the Assistant Scoutmasters.

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Hey Guys!

 

Thanks for the information...After reading your posts, I vaguely remember him saying something about an older boy being their guide, but he told me this during the Webelos visit to the Troop. All the other parents were there, however, when the parents get together they tend to chat amongst themselves. My den made several visits to several troops in the area and interviewed each Scout Master, but didn't seem to "interrogate" this Scout Master with as much zest as the others. Maybe because my husband is moving on with the boys? Maybe because we are all military and feel more comfortable with another military leader? Maybe because they got tired of asking questions? (We visited 4 troops total). I don't know really but that was the case.

 

If the information is in the Scout Handbook, then I will have the parents read that information when the boys get their books at the Crossover ceremony.

 

Thanks for the information. I do appreciate it.

 

Ang

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First, these guyst won't be without experience leadership. They will have the troop's adult leaders, and many youth leaders in the troop, to help them along. The older Scouts may not be a part of their patrol, but they should be helping to teach the new Scouts and serve as a good example to them.

 

Second, the new Scout patrol is a short lived group of inexperienced leaders. It gives the young Scouts a chance to make mistakes without any major consequences. It gives them a chance to become leaders with some experience, so that in a year they will be able to be part of a regular patrol.

 

Third, it lets them stay together with their friends. If you dropped them into different patrols they would be alone in a group of strangers. This would probably work out OK, but if these guys have been together through Cubs I bet they would rather stay together.

 

Fourth, insist on the Scoutmaster assigning an Assistant Scoutmaster to work with new Scouts. This should be someone with experience in the Boy Scout program, who has most or all of the essential Boy Scout training, and who has the skills to teach new Scouts when needed, and also knows when to step back and let the boys figure it out on their own.

 

Fifth, there needs to be a Troop Guide assigned to this patrol. This should be an older, experienced, and respected Scout who will work with the patrol for their first year. He will serve as a mentor to each Scout as they take their turn trying the Patrol Leader's job. He must work closely with the Assistant SM that is assigned to new Scouts. Again, he must know how to lead and teach, but also know when to let the new boys give something a try on their own.

 

Sixth, encourage the parents to keep an eye on their Scout but to not interfere directly unless needed. Let them know they can get involved with the unit, possibly through the committee. They should express concerns to the SM and committee and should never interfere in the patrol (except in emergencies, then they must do what is needed).

 

Seventh, explain in no uncertain terms that Boy Scouts is not Cub Scouts. Explain that Cub Scouts was a younger kids version of Boy Scouts, but with a vastly different program and goals. Now their sons will be getting to experience the real McCoy so to speak. It won't be watered own. It won't be kid stuff. It will be the fun, adventure, and promise of Scouting in its full glory. Sure it can be messy at times, but there is much to be learned from cleaning up a mess.

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Regarding what Proud Eagle said.... DITTO. Great post (I'm proud of you too).

 

But seriously, he summed it all up very well.

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It never ceases to amaze me that the parents of Cub Scouts, who have absolutely zero experience in the Boy Scout program, seem to always question the "wisdom" of experienced Scoutmasters. Yes, I know that sounds arrogant but ...

 

Why don't parents simply ask why the Scoutmaster, or more correctly, the BSA program, is structured in that manner.

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Many remember scouts from their youth, and expect it to be the same way. I know that was my own situation. The troop that I thought most exemplified the scout program when I was a Cub Scout leader, is IMHO, the least scout-like today (adult-ran, MB Mill). Also, when a parent sees an adult-ran troop, all is organized and perfect (much like a well-run pack meeting, only quieter). They'll tend to question the boy-run program due to a certain amount of chaos they will see.

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"It never ceases to amaze me that the parents of Cub Scouts, who have absolutely zero experience in the Boy Scout program, seem to always question the "wisdom" of experienced Scoutmasters. Yes, I know that sounds arrogant but ... Why don't parents simply ask why the Scoutmaster, or more correctly, the BSA program, is structured in that manner. "

 

Ummmm...most of these parents were Boy Scouts at one time or another and remember how it was done when they were in.

Second of all, when you first tell a group of parents that now that these boys are fresh out of Cub Scouts and into Boy Scouts they will be their own patrol, with no idea of how a real patrol is supposed to run, in a "Boy run program" for them to make their own mistakes, it is a little scary.  No matter how much your boy wants to be grown up or how excited you might be that he went over to Boy Scouts and will have more adventures, it is hard to imagine that, the boys that like to laugh and joke at everything, the boy that knows it all and is arrogant about it and nobody can stand, the boys that are quiet and wouldn't stand up for themselves for much of anything, the boy that doesn't like to camp because he doesn't like bugs, the boy that constantly "What if...." everything or the boys that think everything should revolve around a game controller, are now going to be making their own decisions and going out to rough it with little or no experience in leadership.

I do like, however, that Proud Eagle spelled it all out.  If he were the one to be the new Webelos troop guide I would feel very comfortable knowing my boy was going to be part of his own patrol.  I'm sure there are boys in the troop they are going to that will be like Proud Eagle and will help them out, but I know this is a pretty young troop for the most part and I know some of the boys............ 'nuff said on that.

 Some of the parents are still leary, but I have talked with them and have assured them that they will be okay and that the patrol is not a permanent patrol.  Out of 7 boys parents I still have one that is leary about the whole idea but that has been the guy that has always been the tough nut to crack.  One of three things will happen with that.  Either he will figure it out and be okay with it, he'll be there to guide his son's way the whole time, or he'll pull him out into another troop which will probably have the boy quitting scouts.  I'm hoping the first choice is his but I can only do so much.  They are now Boy Scouts.  I'm just the WeBeLoS leader.

Thanks again for all the input and the help.  I purchased all 7 boys their books today to present to them at their crossover ceremony so I will make sure that each parent reads the page that talks about the New Scout Patrol.

Ang

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When my 6 Webs moved up into the troop just over a year ago they were formed into a New Scout Patrol.

I was the ASM over the new patrol. When we do our elections we always ask if any boy wants to change patrols. Seldom do they. Your boys will ease into the routine of patrols. They will learn and before you know one of them will be patrol leader. From there it is all up and fun.

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The Cub Scout to Boy Scout transition can be tough on micromanaging parents. When my son was a Cub, the Cubmaster (and father of a boy in my son's den) was an utter control freak. His meetings started at 6:30 p.m. on the dot, and ended at 8 p.m. on the dot. He brooked no nonsense from the boys, and everything in the pack ran like a well-oiled machine.

 

At crossover, 8 of the 9 boys in my son's den crossed over to the same troop. The troop practices boy-led programming and the patrol method (not always very well, but as everyone has pointed out, young lads are a work in progress). The dad/cubmaster just couldn't handle the chaos, and he voiced his disappointment to some of the other parents, and of course, his boy picked up on his disappointment.

 

Within three months, all but two boys from that Webelos 2 den had quit the troop. That was four years ago. The two who stayed? They are now the SPL and ASPL (my son) of the troop, and loving every minute of their Scouting experience.

 

Elizabeth

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Ang,

It sounds as though your SM has the program down to a science. They will be taught scout skills and then they will learn to put them to use. They will succeed and fail, sometimes at the very same time. A forgotten poncho teaches them to be prepared, while extra trash bags teach them to improvise when faced with a problem. As these boys progress through scouting their parents will see a self confident young man emerge from their son, and who knows, maybe the Know-it-all will learn something too.

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You have really opened my eyes to the Webelos Den to Boy Scout Patrol transition process. Thanks so very much.

 

I'm currently the Den Leader for 6 great boys who will be Webelos 2 next school year. I feel part of my job is to expose the boys/parents to as many troops in the area as possible and to leave the troop selection decision up to the boy/parents. Even so, there is already a strong den pressure to keep the boys together as they move on to a troop.

 

Any advice or words of wisdom?? Both from a parental and a Den Leader perspective.

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I would strongly encourage you to try and stick together. My local evidence strongly indicates that boys who cross over together are far more likely to stick with it longer. I did some detailed analysis a few years ago when I was CM. I found that somewhere upwards of 75% (maybe as high as 90%) of boys from our pack were dropping out in the first year. I believe it was because our guys were crossing over to 4 or 5 different troops. On average, no more than 2 boys from a graduating group of Web IIs were crossing over to the same troop. They would go in as virtual strangers. As soon as one got discouraged, he would drop out, leaving the other one alone. He would usually drop out soon after.

 

Since starting a troop and strongly encouraging crossing over to it, we've had a total of 26 crossovers (17 through last year, 9 last month). Of those 17, 16 are still in scouts, and, although 3 have moved to other troops, I consider that overwhelming evidence that dens who stay together are more likely to stick with it.

 

Also, I don't think the problem with dropping out was program related. The troops in the area have strong programs, although they vary in how they apply the methods. The three that have transferred moved to programs that better fit their interest/personality.

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It sounds like this Scoutmaster knows how to handle 7 new boys joining at the same time. We assign one of our Instructors to guide new Scouts. If we have 5 or more join at one time we use a New Scout Patrol.If there are less than 5 we place them in a regular Patrol with the Instructor to guide them separately. I am the ASM assigned to the new scout Instructor. Over the past 10 years I have watched my sons and 5 other boys join me as Eagle Scouts using this system.It works for us.

 

As many of the replys have already stated Cub Scouts are "parent" led and Boy Scouts is "boy led". It does take some time for Cub Scout parents to understand the difference.

 

 

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