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Nudging my Troop in the "Right" Direction

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Kudu offers sound advice.


Get the scouts out on the trail and away from the cars. They enjoy it and learn a good bit about probelem solving, leadership, citizenship and camping during the adventure.


It is a joy to see a scout who once upon a time would tried to navigate with a map only teach a new guy "always use a map *and* a compass. They work best together. Don't use a map in isolation!"


Start small and build. You can improvise a small backpaking trip until you can find the gear (Craigslist!) to tackle a 30 miler over a three day weekend or longer even. Get on the trail!


Great to stand back and watch a Philmont veteran eagle scout bring in his gear and begin the process of teaching new webelo crossovers how to backpack then leading them on a backpacking trip 3 miles in and out. Five years back he was the webelo who hung on very word the eagle scout said. Now he is the eagle who all the webelos are listening to.


EDIT: Did not mean to spin off a new thread. If I did please fix. Sorry! Thanks!(This message has been edited by knot head)

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Hi Eagle


Wow! You have been hammered with ideas, theories and wisdom, but I'm not sure you got your answers. Part of your problem is defining boy run. Write down in one short sentence what you want boy run to be. Does your SM agree with your boy run definition?


Write down in one short sentence what you want the troop to look like when it has reached your boy run goal. Show it to your SM, does he agree?


Now, there are a lot of suggestions here, some practical, some not. I think you have been overwhelmed and while some of the suggestion sound good, they can't all work together. So, Pick two simple ideas that can be applied at your next meeting, then watch and learn. just two, start simple.


Boy run is hard. It's a lot harder to do than adult run. Boy run is a slow process, so you have to know if it is working, or not. Measure you progress by your vision (one short sentence above) and see if your are getting there.


One thing I agree with is the scouts need goals. Goals inspire us to move forward. I told my PLC that goals have to be fun. If something isn't fun, change it. Scouts will work for fun goals, so if the meetings or camp outs aren't fun, well you know the rest.


My I suggest just one book right now, the SPL Handbook. It is an easy simple guide of how the scouts should run the troop. It is a fast read and explains how to run meetings and plan camp outs. It can be your troops guide until you get your feet under you. this is the book I suggested that new SMs should use instead of the SM Handbook because I knew they would read it.


I'm excited to watch your post and see how your troop grows. Building a true program is the hardest thing I've ever been involved in, and by far one of the most rewarding. You are making a difference and that changes your life forever. You are certainly something special.


I love this scouting stuff.




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Again, thanks to all of you for your advice. I have taken all of these comments into thought (from other forum topics too) and am slowly building a plan. For my troop's next meeting, I would like to talk to my SM and SPL about two main points: sitting the patrols down to elect a PL and to create a yell, name,...etc. The second point needs to be the creation of a PLC. We have not had one since I have been in this troop and I would like to have one organized quickly.


That spurs another question that is bothering me: Would it be a good idea for me to suggest that I lead the first PLC to show my SPL what needs to be done or would it be better for me to show him the information and hope he knows what to do with it? I do not feel that he is ready at this moment (maybe in a few weeks once things are hopefully running smoothly) to lead this troop, but I don't want to step in and take over; I want this to be his position, not mine.


Anyway, that is my short-term goal....sadly, it might take a month before any of it gets done. My "long"-term goal is coming up in early May. My troop is going camping by itself and I would like to organize a program to build patrol teamwork and teach skills to the boys as well is attempt our first campout that we could try the 300 feet camping. The trip is with our Webelos II Den and that makes it even better timing since it will be their first glimpse of how our troop works. I currently have access to the Scoutmaster's Junior Leaders Training Kit and also the Troop Program Activities Volumes 1-3 via my father who was a scout himself, and also a SM. He also has the SM Handbook (not sure if anything in that is useful to me though.) Most of the information in those books is very helpful and I am going to suggest things directly out of them.


My longer-term goal is for my SM to hold a TLT over a weekend this summer. I am just going to offer the idea to him and hope it goes well.


Being a pessimist (my way of being prepared for the worst possible outcome) I am imagining my next meeting to be as chaotic as the last one, but being slightly hopeful, I am imagining the troop in a few years with these boys leading it perfectly.


The week-days are busy for me and I may not have much time to explore or to create other options. I will be reading any future posts, and I will try to inform you of the results of my next meeting by the end of the week. Thank you for the comments and thank you in advance for the extra advice that I know will come later.

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My opinion differs from E92's.


Be very careful of offering to do anything "just this once". You'll waste no more time if your SPL's first PLC is a little rocky and you coach him afterword (or, give the SPL the first 15 minutes of the meeting and ask him to hand it over to you for the last 5).


Think of it this way: your SPL has 12 months (maybe 6 if you have your way with biannual elections) let's assume that that means 50 meetings (including crackerbarrels at camp) and maybe 25 PLC's. (Those are large numbers, but I'm rounding.) Consider every one of those where he's not front-and-center as a squandered leadership opportunity. One PLC where you are in charge is 4% of the PLC's that you miss out on listening and guiding your boy. (That percentage is the minimum. It'll be larger if numbers of meetings are fewer.)


I may catch flack for telling a youth to skip the "Demonstrate" in EDGE, but keep in mind that your SPL has seen meetings before, he just needs to find the style that will work with his PL's. And, as you may know from my other posts, I believe a book in the hand can be very enabling.


Enjoy the JASM gig. I'm sure you'll do a fine job.

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