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jamist649

Uhh, what now?

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I know every Troop operates differently, but I was hoping to get an inkling of what to expect...for my son and myself.

 

I was never a Scout, for whatever reason it was never presented to me. Not sure why, but anyway. My son joined as a Tiger and is now getting ready to start his 2nd year as a Webelos. He, and the other 4 in his Den, are HIGH achievers. The parents are SUPER involved and the DL is superb..it's a DREAM den. BTW, I am the CM...just gonna throw that out there, it doesn't really relate to my question.

 

As I was never a Scout (My son loves it)I'm not sure what happens after crossover. Our Webelos have NOT had the opportunity to camp with the Troop as of yet (we're planning on it, just haven't had a chance yet) so my experience with the Troop has been limited. I've attended a couple of thier meetings just to try to get acclimated but still I can't quite get a handle on what to expect for him AND myself.

 

What is the parental "role" on the Boy Scout side? I ask for good reason. My son loves Scouting...it's the ONLY youth program he's involved in, but he is also very, very timid. He told me that he can't imagine going camping without me and asked me if I could be his SM too. I told him that the Troop had a longstanding SM and besides...I was ready for a bit of a break. What role to the Dads play in the Troop if they are not leaders? Are we expected to seperate ourselves in favor of letting the Patrols run themselves? What can I expect and what can I tell HIM to expect?

 

Sorry for the wide-open, general questions but I genuinely DO NOT know. I plan on presenting these questions to the Troop also as soon as we choose one, but I just wanted a little bit of background before I start talking.

 

Thanks!

 

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In general:

 

What role to the Dads play in the Troop if they are not leaders?

 

They may go on campouts, become merit badge counselors, join the committee, be a help. Just going to the meetings can make a big difference for a scout. There will always be those "I don't want to go, I just want to hang out at home" nights. Most of the time if you say, "I'm going anyway" it will help him get over whatever it is that is causing the lake of motivation.

 

Are we expected to seperate ourselves in favor of letting the Patrols run themselves?

Yes, at least in many troops but to varying extent.

 

What can I expect and what can I tell HIM to expect?

You can expect him to become less and less reliant on you and more interested in doing things on his own and with is patrol. Tell him that he will have fun, have adventure and make great friends.

 

In another year you will likely find your scout is not as timid. In all likelihood your campout with your scout and a troop will have you very involved with his camping. You might still be sharing a tent, although they generally want to be in a tent with friends at that point. You will likely still go on his first campout (March) as a Boy Scout. Despite the troop leaders encouraging you to stay back and let him learn from the other scouts, you will likely still be very much involved and I'll bet you will end up helping with his tent, sleeping bag and maybe meals. Each campout you will find that he wants your help less. Generally by the second (April) or third campout (May), and certainly by summer camp, you will both feel comfortable with him camping without your tagging along. You still can, but you will not be needed.

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Thanks, Jet, for your reply.

 

You've really cleared alot up...and made me kind of sad at the same time :0( . LOL

 

He's my only son and as we begin our year of "lasts" (i.e. last Pack campout, last PWD, last etc.) I find myself wishing for the days of the excited little tiger cub.

 

Thanks again.

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A few things.

 

1) Visit as many troops as possible, and go on several trips if need be. Trust me my first troop didn't fit me, and I went a 2nd one that fit like a glove.

 

2) A troop meeting is "organized chaos," and in my experience it has been a rude awakening to parents, especially those who have been CS leaders and are use to taking charge. Parents can have a hard time sitting back and letting the PLs and SPL handle things. ESPECIALLY FORMER CS LEADERS! (Caps for emphasis, not shouting or showing any bias as I currently a CS leader) After serving in a CSleader role for a year, IO'm glad I was able to get away 2 times now with Scouts and just remember how it will be in a few years, when I can do my " Al Bundy" impersonation on camping trips :)

 

3)The ideal part to play if you decide to be a leader is what I call the "Al Bundy" approach to being a leader: sitting in you camp chair, drinking coffee, and when asked by a scout a question answering "have you asked your PL?"

 

3b) The ideal part to play if you decide to remain just a parentIs similar to the "Al Bundy" approach to being a leader: sitting in you camp chair, drinking coffee, and when asked by your son a question answering "have you asked your PL?"

 

4) Your son can expect some great fun ahead. He will be camping more, hopefully at least once per month, perfecting skills, and gaining independence and confidence. It will be interesting at first since he will need to make the transition form adults being in charge to youth being in charge, but Scouts handle that better than the parents IMHO.

 

Good luck.

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It is an odd thing, but although my husband & I moved away physically from holding my sons hand at the troop level, I think the troop was something that helped bring our whole family together into scouting, and closer as a family.. The troop is just something my husband could get more into then what was done at a cub scout level..

 

At the troop meeting it is true that they will not want you hovering (or a good troop, should not want you hovering)..

 

But that doesn't mean your sharing time is over.. You can work with him at home on alot of stuff, like learning the axe, or some of the first aid. Or working with him as he prepares a demonstration for teaching other scouts.. (Just make sure it is his idea, and you are just a companion, or a guide, or an extra set of hands) Things he learn will not become easily flushed out of his mind as the meeting is over, and driving to & from scouts, he may talk about things, what was good, what was bad.. How to work with some scout in his group who is difficult to handle..

 

There is something about watching him grow and mature and take charge that is a great thing for parent to see and be apart of.. Even if you are observing from the parimeter of the group..

 

This will be a common interest, and something to have conversations about that is a "safe" subject during those teen years when they just stop being so open with you..

 

You may get to go on the outings, but don't be surprised if the troop asks you to hang back for a while in order for your son to get use to the troop, and for you to move out of Cub scout mode, which has the instinct to jump in and straighten out what looks disorganized, when the disorganization is the way these kids will learn, slowly how to get more organized.(This message has been edited by moosetracker)

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You will have great times with your son. Yes, it can be bitter-sweet watching him grow. There are times I miss that little Wolf. But as I look at the young man he has become (he turns 18 in June) I just marvel at him. Enjoy your time. Go to what you can and enjoy the ride.

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You've gotten a lot of great advice so far. I'll try and add my $.02 worth. Take about 6 mos off to deprogram from Cub Scout mode. That doesn't mean you disconnect, just that you sit back and absorb what is going on around you in the troop. Watch how the Senior Patrol leader interacts with his PL's. Watch how the PL's work with their patrols. Let the boys learn from their mistakes (and they will make mistakes).

 

What can you do to help, lots of things....Merit Badge counselor, Committee Member,(Hey, all the boys in the troop will need Boards of Review at some point. This is really helpful to find out what the boy has enjoyed in Scouts so far. It's a perspective you don't see unless your the Scoutmaster) Even helping drive boys to campouts or other events helps out tremendously!

 

When my son crossed over a year and a half ago, I wanted to go on every campout, every activity, to be with him. Now, not so much, not because I don't want to spend time with him. I want him to grow and learn on his own and enjoy scouting on his own. It's the BOY Scouts of America, not the ADULT Scouts of America. This is his program, not mine. Will I still go on some trips, absolutely. I have a lot of good friends who are also ASM's in the troop, and I do like to spend time with them around the campfire. but I also enjoy working with our Instructors and Troop Guides on our First Year program. It's now about all the boys in the troop, not just my son.

 

This is an excerpt from our troop website about what adults do in the troop.

 

Boy Scout camping activities center on the patrol, where boys learn teamwork, leadership, and most camping skills. It is important that adults not be in the middle of patrol activities such as site selection, tent pitching, meal preparation, and anything else where boys get to practice decision-making and develop skills.

 

A key difference between Boy Scouting and Cub Scouting/Webelos is leadership. Look for the word leader in a job title, and you will begin to appreciate the difference. The responsible person for a Cub/Webelos den is the Den Leaderan adult. The responsible person for a Boy Scout patrol is the Patrol Leadera boy.

 

This isn't token leadership (like a denner). A Patrol Leader has real authority and genuine responsibilities. Much of the success and happiness of four to ten other boys depend directly on him.

 

Boy Scouting teaches leadership. And boys learn leadership by practicing it, not by watching adults lead. The Boy Scouts believe that learning leadership is like learning to tie a knot: No matter how many times it's explained or demonstrated, a boy will never learn it until he tries it himself.

 

So what do we adults do, now that we've surrendered so much direct authority to boys? Here are our troop's guidelines on the indirect, advisory role you now enjoy (no kidding, you should enjoy watching your son take progressively more mature and significant responsibilities as he zooms toward adulthood).

 

The underlying principle is: never do anything for a boy that he can do himself. We allow boys to grow by practicing leadership and by learning from their mistakes. And while Scout skills are an important part of the program, what ultimately matters is that our Scouts become adultsthat is, what matters is not whether they can use a map & compass, etc., but whether they can offer leadership to others in tough situations; and can live by a code that centers on honest and ethical behavior.

 

Boys need to learn to make decisions without adult intervention (except when it's a matter of immediate safety). Boys are in a patrol so they can learn leadership and teamwork without adult interference. You'll be surprised with how independently they can take care of themselves, when given the room to do so.

 

If a boy approaches and wants help or advice about pitching his tent, cooking a meal, making his bed, getting his coat or with something else on the campout, direct him to his patrol leader, the senior patrol leader, troop guide, or another older Scout. If you intervene and help, no matter how well intentioned you are being, you are actually taking away an older Scout's opportunity to hone their teaching and leadership skills.

 

More importantly, when you take the leadership of a group of boys in an activity you are taking away a leadership opportunity from an older Scout.

 

Being an adult advisor is a difficult role, especially when we are advising kids (even worse, our own sons). Twice each year, the Boy Scouts of America offers special training on how to do this, which we expect our uniformed adults to take. And any adult is welcome, and encouraged, to take the training.

 

If a parent goes on a campout, you are an automatic member of our Geezers (adult) patrol (so dubbed by Patrick S.). This patrol has several purposes: good food and camaraderie (of course), but more important is providing an example the boy patrols can follow without our telling them what to do (we teach by example). Since a patrol should camp as a group, we expect the Geezers to do so also; that way, adults don't tent in or right next to a boy patrol where your mere presence could disrupt the learning process.

 

One logistical note: The Troop provides tents for the boys, but each man attending a campout should bring his own tent. Adults don't need to worry about bringing food or drinksan adult leader will bring food and drink for the entire Geezer patrol; we loosely rotate that on a volunteering basis.

 

Quite simply, our troop policy requires adults to cook, eat, and tent separately from the Scouts (even dads & sons). We are safely nearby, but not smothering close. Sure, go ahead and visit the patrol sites (not just your son's), talk to your son (and the other Scouts), ask what's going on or how things are going. But give the guys room to grow while you enjoy the view. Please don't hover over the boys, especially while they are cooking, cleaning, making, breaking camp or building a fire. Avoid the temptation to direct them and avoid the temptation to give advice. Don't jump in just to prevent a mistake from happening (unless it's serious). We all learn best from our mistakes. And let the patrol leaders lead.Your job is tough, challenging, and ultimately rewarding, because your son will be a man the day after tomorrow.

 

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I too was never a Scout, so I know some your concerns.

 

I also emphasize the importance of visiting multiple troops.

 

Of the five that my wife and Scout visited, four were somewhere between "The iPod Appreciation Society" with everyone at the meeting with iPod's attached and grey hooded sweatshirts on...to an extended CS Den with no Scout present over the age of 14. The remaining troop was the one they chose.

 

No decision on which troop to select should be considered complete without talking to the SM and ASM's one-on-one. This will give you the most complete information on how the troop operates both inside and outside.

 

Watch the Troop meeting carefully...organized chaos is a good term for it...and usually the standard...in some troops it is less organized and more chaotic...personally, I can't tolerate them...

 

Since you have indicated that your son is "timid", be on the lookout for aggressive behavior, possibly hard to identify in meetings, but be observant. Bullies are generally not expelled from the troop.

 

Good luck.

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I think the latest results from the Census was that children live an ave of 22 years with their parents, as your scout moves into the boy scout program, you are beginning to mark down to under 50% the amount of time you will have your son. Why take a break?

 

You dont have to be a scoutmaster, assistant scoutmaster may be the break you are looking for, not in charge but not absent either. Its hard for us to tell you how Boy Scouts is run when every Troop has its own personality. In some troops perhaps a timid boy would not do well, in another he could flourish. Visit troops, ask people, you are a cubmaster, ask recent crossover families about the experiences their sons have had. Its not the end, its a contimuation of the journey

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As a Scoutmaster, I am always happy when a parent of a new Scout steps forward and offers to help out with the Troop. Some decide to get trained and become an Assistant Scoutmaster or join the Committee.

 

However several are not able to make that commitment, but can help out in other ways, such as driving Scouts to the weekend camping spot on Friday night and then coming back on Sunday morning to drive them back. We have a dad that does repair and maintenance on our Troop tents. A mom keeps track of our previously worn uniforms and helps new parents get their son in a uniform. Another parent takes the lead on food at Courts of Honor.

 

There are likely plenty of Troop jobs and tasks that can really help out and make the Troop run more smoothly. As others have said, talk to the SM and see how you can fit in best.

 

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Another thing to think about is if you don't have a district beauracracy that you wish to flee from (some people have horror stories, of good 'ol boy clubs..) You can get your feet wet there.. Just be sure to go in with a straight head of how much time you want to utilize, and maybe what you like, because depending on the shape of your district, they may be running smoothly and you just take on a little, or they could be desparate, and pull you in like quicksand..

 

Some Easy get your feet wet, is to offer to lend a hand with Cub Scout specifics & Baloo Training. Later, as you learn about the troop you can add to your Training skills, those may be a few weekends out of your time (plus learning the syllabus for the training).

 

Sometimes hard to get in, but sometimes not.. The Eagle Board.. If you are on the Eagle Board, your own troop will come to you for help soon enough, as you can help become a guide for a boy working on their Eagle project.. That is usually one night a month.. But some people here say their Council does not have a board, but a single person.. If so, that may not be an option.

 

Maybe a Unit commissioner position for one or two units in the area.

 

Make sure not to agree to a Chair of any type, or heading up a committee of some sort. That is more then you want to take on at this time. At least wait until you know the ropes to know what you are saying yes to.. You want to be helper bee for someone elses committee..

 

If you have a good district group, you will have information to pass to the troop they normally would not have a source for.. I forget what my son call my husband, but it is something like he is the "wise old man" or "Unit Guru"..

 

My son says it is funny to watch because normally no one makes a move without checking with him, from SM to CC, to COR to all the parents..Does not mean they always listen to him, but they will check in with him as he has the knowledge from on high.. My husband doesn't even see it.

 

Of course this works to the opposite effect if people in your district have a low opinion of the district and those who volunteer at that level.. Being CM you might already have some insight into public opinion.

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I think the best answer to your quandary is committee member. That allows you to see the inner workings of the troop, and help it along, without the temptation of turning it into Webelos III for your son. I was a Den Leader for both my sons (at different times in their Scout career) and was the WDL for their second year for both. I am also Advancement Chair for the troop they joined. I like being a Committee member rather than a "leader." I get to help behind the scenes, but don't have the responsibility of being there all the time. Camping as an adult with Boy Scouts is a great experience, and much more fun than Cub family camping. First, don't have to do most of the work. You have to help the other adults as a semi-patrol, but that's much easier than being responsible for a family at camp. Very relaxing sort of camping, in my book.

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Just remember, and remind the other parents in the den, that this is NOT "Webelos 3."

 

Boys at this age are ready to learn how to do things for themselves and take great pride in it. And if they do it poorly the first time around and need to try again, they learn more from failing than they do if their parents step in to prevent failure from ever happening.

 

There is nothing wrong with you going on many of the camping trips and all with your son, but the adults should be separate and remotely supervising. The adults should not be doing for the scouts unless there really is a big problem.

 

So ask the SM what role he or she has for you to be involved with the troop, but take a step back from the CS role you have now. Let your son know that you will be around and be there to support him, but that he is now a boy scout and capable of so much more than the little guy who started in Tigers. Your confidence in him will boost his confidence in himself more than anything else can.

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jam,

 

My oldest son was camping with his buddies after his wolf year at cub camp. So the transition wasn't too hard. His friend's dad and I just pitch are tent a little futher away from the boys. This actually made it easier for us to get to meet the older boys, some of whom would be his mentors in other school activities.

 

My second son crossed over and I was already ASM. There was one cold evening when I was 300' away, and in the wee hours he was standing outside my tent complaining about not being able to sleep. I let him come in and hunker down. Three years later, he's an independent boy scout and venturer just like his brother was.

 

My point is: same troop, same rules, different kids. You adjust. If you like camping, keep going out with the troop. If you like fundraising, pushing paperwork, or organizing adults ... please, we need you! Those of us how like to be in the woods all the time are terrible at that stuff!

 

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