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EagleScouter2010

Help with Boy-Led

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Hi everyone,

 

I was looking around this forum to find some helpful stuff relevant to my situation and I came up with minimal that really dealt with this. If I missed a forum, please attach a link or tell me where I can find it. thanks.

 

Anyway, I'm a 17 year-old Junior Assistant Scout Master and Eagle in my troop and have been here for almost 2 years. I've been looking around a lot at what some of you online have to say about your troops and I am very embarrassed at how mine is being run (by the adults). I would like to know how to get more people involved in planning and leading because there is a big potential for the younger boys (all but 4 boys including me) who are 14 or younger. They are mostly all eager to learn and some of them have a very good drive to get their Eagle ranks some day. I would love to see that but I want them to have the most experience that they can before they are ready for that step.

 

My troop is currently fully run by the adults with very little exception. I will be very busy myself with planning trips and meetings because this troop has never gone backpacking....so sad. I am going to be taking my backpacking and hiking merit badges and I thought that I could get them involved as well since I have to plan and take part in many events for the badges. My point being that I want the other boys to start planning stuff and let the adults enjoy their chairs. To the best of my knowledge, none of the events have been planned by the boys in 5-10 years. But my real question is sort of a long and drawn out statement.

 

The adults in my troop actually enjoy running everything and stepping in 24/7. They enjoy to do everything that the boys should be doing but not so much the adult part. I don't know if they would be able to watch a boy learn through failure which seems to be a very popular teaching method (which I am 100% in favor of). I have not directly confronted the adults and asked them to step back for multiple reasons. The main one is that they enjoy it too much and I don't know if they would understand that I was trying to help. But I walked in while some adults where talking and heard the words "we" and "plan" so many times between them that I wanted to vomit.

 

Well...here's a better example, I'll explain how my last camping trip went... We spent a weekend at a local campground while our cub pack stayed in a lodge a few campsites away. We were the only troop/pack there that weekend.

 

Friday:

We arrived in segments on Friday night at the campground and unloaded the gear as more people arrived. The two boys who arrived before me suggested setting our campsite in the field...only problem is that it was at the bottom of a hill the night after it rained. Plus...no campfire ring and we weren't planning on cutting into the nice field for one weekend. As we finished unpacking two of the scouts started making dinner....with the help of my father... Since the adults eat with us, they don't want to have to eat the horrendous mess that we would obviously make since we are all so incompetent and have never been given the chance to learn. Oh, and the best part is that we followed kudu's advice almost exactly. We were camped about 300 feet away from the leaders...except we were missing both zeroes and it was more like 3 feet....it's like being babysat.

 

Saturday:

On Saturday morning, I awoke to a fire that I didn't even know we were planning to have. I had understood that we would only need one for the dinners on Friday and lunch Saturday...but no...the adults needed to build a fire for us. Breakfast was a repeat of dinner except a lot worse. My father cooked the eggs and bread while the two boys on kitchen duty stared at a pot of steaming sausage for a half hour. After eating, the troop (except me and two adults) left for a small service project. I stayed behind to work on the only planned activity that we would have all weekend. It was a compass course that ended up taking an hour for the boys to complete when they were finished....it took me about two hours to plan it, walk the distance multiple times and retest it to make sure it was accurate... I did not know that the boys had that little knowledge of a compass. throughout the evening, the boys went over to have a fun game of kickball...against the cub scouts and cub leaders. Later, we held a cub scout cross over for 5 boys into our troop. That went off fine and we went back to camp. I was impressed because two boys actually asked if they could sleep with our troop because they didn't want to be with all of the "annoying younger kids." Saturday's dinner almost gave me a heart attack... the boy who had been assigned beforehand to do cook was not there so another boy who rarely does anything volunteered by himself. He is only 12-13 and did most of the work...aside from what my father did. Still proud of the scout for stepping up though.

 

Sunday:

Well...Sunday breakfast was pot luck so I didn't think there would be a problem cooking...my father still reheated the food though...not a boy. I will say that I am guilty of not volunteering to take his place at all of these instances, but I think the parents would be much happier to know that little Jimmy and Johnny did not burn themselves because they were being watched by an adult who did not let them help. And to make matters so much better, the adults got the fire wood, split it, and made all of the fires. The boys did keep them burning though...

 

I felt like I was in cub scouts again because I had forgotten how much the adults stepped in. The only thing that the new cross-overs said that was impressive was their later bedtime... Not sure if that means they were unimpressed or that they just didn't say anything.

 

My main point again is that none of the boys have planned things and the adults don't know that they can. I don't know how much I can do myself without having other people know what is happening. I need general advice and maybe even some situations that worked for the rest of you to deal with this problem. It was nice when I was 12 and had no idea that boys actually ran other troops, but now it is becoming a nuisance. I am almost embarrassed to tell people that I am a Boy Scout or even that I am an Eagle Scout because I am ashamed at how little I have actually been given the opportunity to do. I thought that the adult's job was to encourage the boys to do things, not to do it for them when the boys show lack of enthusiasm. This is just a very sore topic for me because of how poorly things operate here.

 

I'm practically begging for help here. I have no idea at all how to do this by myself, and to top it all off, the SM is new and the committee holds monthly meetings to talk about the weather (from what I have been told). Please leave me any information that is relevant. Thank you so much

 

EagleScouter2010

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Give me the new SM's name and address so I can give him the best gift a SM could ever get, A copy of your post. Let him read it! Do it now before he is set in his ways so much that he can't let go.

 

Also assure him that if he lets go it will only get better for the boys and for himself. He will have more fun that he ever imagined he could if he lets the boys lead.

 

If he is doing the SPL/PL job he is not doing his own job of training the leaders.

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Your first line says you're 17. You signed off as EagleScouter2010.

You're not a Scouter yet, although you seem to have some idea of how you should behave when you become one. For now, you're a Scout looking for a youth leader. Look in the mirror. Then get busy. Lead this troop. Don't just sit around and expect someone else to do it. Lead by example, which in this case means lead.

BDPT00

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Start with your father. Talk to him and explain what you want and why. Get him on your side. Get him to stop cooking for you.

 

Next, you start getting scouts on board and let you father do most of the work with the adults. Both of you work on the SM.

 

The next campout let the adults know that the scouts will be cooking for themselves and will not be eating with the adults. Let them know that you will also be camping away from them. They are likely not ready for 300 ft. But get as far away as you can. 100 ft is fine, and 50 ft is better than 3 ft.

 

You don't mention how big the troop is or how many patrols. Based on what you said I'm guessing 15-20 all in one patrol. If this is the case figure out a way to make patrols. Pick teams, draw straws, buddy up then buddy up again. It doesn't matter, just get into groups of 6-8.

 

For the campout, use your handbooks. Use them for everything. How to pick a campsite, how to set it up, how to cook. Use the recipes that are in it and do what they say. Take a hike, ask the adults to stay behind. Let them know where you are going, how you are getting there and when you will be back.

 

Finally, unless there is life or limb at risk, do not allow the adults to help. Sell the scouts and the adults that this is your chance to show that you can do it and stick to it. If dinner is ruined, work it out. If the scouts can't roll their sleeping bags or stow their tents have them work on it until they get it. Once one scout works it out have him help a scout that hasn't. When Billy gets sick and pucks in the tent work together and clean it up. Be a team and look out for each other.

 

Yes, the adults enjoy helping. No, they likely don't enjoy watching their boys struggle and fail. But they will enjoy the victory even more when at the end of the campout you managed without them.

 

Have fun and good fortune.

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Thanks for volunteering. The fact that you're an accomplished scout and still sticking around your senior year speaks loads.

 

If you wanted to be sarcastic, you could suggest the dads apply to be Girl Scout Leaders. I recommend that you not be sarcastic.

 

Ask for a scoutmaster conference. Explain your vision for the upcoming year. Explain why it's important for the boys to "skill-up" to the point that some serious backpacking gets done.

 

Some things to suggest ...

An "old farts" patrol.

A patrol cook-off. Dad's vs. the boys.

Pan polishing contests.

Site inspections.

Song/skit competition.

 

You explain that the fastest way boys will learn to emulate will be if they see adults operating independently from them.

 

Be patient. It took you a while to Eagle, it'll probably take these dads a while to come around. Remember positive reinforcement. Let them know they're doing a good every time you see them take a step back.

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Yah, EagleScouter2010, welcome! What you describe I see a lot of, eh? The adults who take kids camping by and large like camping, eh? They enjoy it, they want to do it, they want to show perfect their own skills. They're like big kids, eh? ;)

 

It's a very different thing to think about teachin' rather than leadin'. If yeh don't have some fellow among the adults who is really into helpin' kids learn more than they're into camping, it can be hard to get adults to see things. It's a bit like da coach who was a great soccer player and still wants to play, and spends his time hollerin' from the sidelines.

 

Yeh have to try to gently get the adults to see that as scouters, they succeed ot when they're good campers, but only when the scouts are good campers on their own. Yeh might even try the coaching metaphor with 'em. You need to play the game and they can't be on the field.

 

One way to do that is to try to get 'em to buy into the common arrangement that the adults camp together on their own, in the "adult patrol". If any adult visits a youth patrol campsite, he has to ask for permission to enter and is expected to act as a good guest. Same for the boys entering the adult site. That, by itself, will do a lot to get 'em thinking differently.

 

Biggest thing here is don't fight your adults, help 'em grow. They're good guys and gals to be takin' yeh out, eh? They just haven't grown into being good mentors and scout leaders yet. So your job is to encourage 'em in a friendly way. Here are some things to try:

 

1) challenge them to a contest. Scouts vs. Adults camping/cooking whatever. The contest will get yeh to separate them off, which is the key. The scouts will lose. That's OK. Then ask 'em to teach you instead of doing it for you. Then challenge 'em again.

 

2) tell your dad you'd like to go with him and visit another troop. Call up your council office and ask the District Executive if he knows a troop that's really youth-run, and then call up that troop and ask if yeh can come as a guest. It really helps if your dad can see, smell, touch, taste what's possible in a boy led troop, and talk to other adults (adults don't always listen to kids that well, eh? ;) ). Do that a bunch.

 

3) tell your SM that you and another up and coming leader want to do NYLT training (council-level training for youth leaders), and you really need him to do WoodBadge training at the same time as a commitment to each other. Those two trainings run in parallel, eh? NYLT helps youth leaders run a troop, WB helps adults manage a youth-run troop. Plus you'll get ideas from fellow youth leaders and your SM will get ideas from fellow SMs.

 

4) keep it fun and friendly as yeh teach your adults. Use lots of thought-provoking statements rather than arguing. "Camping is like riding a bike. You can't do it for me, and I need to fall down a few times.". "Camping is a lot safer than driving. Eventually you have to give us the keys and get out of the car."

 

Be patient, be of good humor, and keep nudgin' em to learn to be good scouters, not just good campers.

 

Beavah

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A lot of good advice. Read Beavah's post carefully he has a lot in it. Best part is be patient, the adults need time to ease into a Scout run troop and you don't want to turn them off.

 

Some ideas:

 

1) Talk with your Scoutmaster and broach the subject of Scout run and Patrol Method. A 17 yo JASM sitting down calmly with him and discussing it will do more than 1,000 hours of us lecturing him.

 

2) Have him invest some time looking into what NYLT teaches about how a troop runs. He should be able to talk with someone at District about it. Ask him to send some Scouts to it.

 

3) If he hasn't already, he may want to go to SM Training (called SM Specific.) If he hasn't and you are 17, you could probaly both go together. I know I would let you into my class in preparation for when you are 18 and an ASM.

 

4) Get other adults on your side if you can't get the SM on your side (but try him first).

 

5) Lots of resources available

Have him read Chapters 3 & 4 of the SM Handbook

Have him read the SPL Handbook, and the PL Handbook, or better yet you both read them together for "ideas to help the troop"

 

On the net you can point him to

An old but pretty good video:

 

I put up a number of resources here:

http://www.bsatroop14.com/patrolmethod

 

6) Remember: it will take time

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EagleScouter2010 writes:

 

My troop is currently fully run by the adults with very little exception. I will be very busy myself with planning trips and meetings because this troop has never gone backpacking....so sad. I am going to be taking my backpacking and hiking merit badges and I thought that I could get them involved as well since I have to plan and take part in many events for the badges.

 

Yeah, I think backpacking is your hook.

 

If you have even one adult leader who is an outdoorsman, plus a couple of Scouts who are excited about putting packs on their backs and setting out to explore the backwoods, you can even within your own Troop begin to build a future nucleus of what Green Bar Bill called "Real" Patrol Leaders.

 

Despite all the advice you are getting about training being the answer, most "Scoutmaster Specific," "Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills," Wood Badge, and NYLT courses are built on "First Year Program" outdoor skills. The idea is that the "purpose" of Scouting is "Ethical Choices," or "The Three Aims," or "Leadership and Character," not what Baden-Powell or Green Bar Bill called "Real" Scouting.

 

So if you want to get your Scouts out on the trail, you need to find adults who learned backwoods skills outside of BSA training.

 

You may find out that you have outdoor dads (or moms) who never participate in your regular babysitting campouts, but who would be excited about actual backwoods adventure. If not, your Backpacking Merit Badge Counselor might know someone who would be willing to join you for your two-deep leadership (and guidance).

 

One word of caution: Backpacking Merit Badge is a good excuse to experience "Real" Scouting, but the requirements are all about distance. If your long-term aim is to someday move your entire Troop (or -- more realistically -- just the mature Patrols) to the "Real" Patrol Method, be sure to offer once-a-year backpacking trips that cover only four (4) miles over the entire weekend so as to meet the Camping Merit Badge backpacking requirement.

 

In fact I would start with only 1/2 mile to get the kinks out.

 

Here are a couple of my experiments along that line:

 

http://www.scouter.com/forums/viewThread.asp?threadID=284757&p=3

 

http://www.scouter.com/forums/viewThread.asp?threadID=313956

 

And (for new readers) my suggestions in one of your own previous threads:

 

http://www.scouter.com/forums/viewThread.asp?threadID=308428&p=1

 

How big is your Troop? Adult-run Troops are often large because parents know their indoor sons can add Eagle Scout to their resumes with only a Webelos III mastery of outdoor skills.

 

As SeattlePioneer points out in one the above threads, the advantage of large Eagle Mills is that if you offer real adventure to boys stuck there, you can build a good-sized crew of Scouts who will jump at the chance to get away from the indoor adults (once you get peer-pressure on your side).

 

Remember also that Baden-Powell's program was all about backwoods adventure. He always offered the alternative of canoe trips for those who seek adventure but don't care for backpacking. You will find additional adults in that direction too.

 

Yours at 300 feet,

 

Kudu

http://kudu.net

 

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Canoe trips are easy excuses for adults to take control.

 

Backpaking is an easy in for the high school guys to get away from adult run. But as Kudu points out you have to shorten it for the younger ones. Once a year is too infrequent though to instill a concept of boy run.

 

I agree SM Specific won't infuse the patrol method, but it does have a good introduction to a guided instead of adult led troop method. Which may be where you guys are at.

 

The other courses he mentioned other than NYLT don't address boy led or patrol method at all really. (sorry Woodbadgers)

 

I think he is also correct that boy led is a lot harder in a large troop.(This message has been edited by bnelon44)

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Despite all the advice you are getting about training being the answer, most "Scoutmaster Specific," "Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills," Wood Badge, and NYLT courses are built on "First Year Program" outdoor skills. The idea is that the "purpose" of Scouting is "Ethical Choices," or "The Three Aims," or "Leadership and Character," not what Baden-Powell or Green Bar Bill called "Real" Scouting.

 

Not disagreeing with you Kudu, but would some of these training courses at least be a step in the right direction? Because it sounds like the troop isn't even at the "First Year Program" level. The conventional wisdom seems to be that developing a youth-led troop out of an adult-led troop is quite the lengthy process (in reality - yes, I know that if people would just do what GBB and BP suggest, the problem would be solved overnight. But reality, unfortunately, isn't so simple). Wouldn't at least getting to the BSA's minimum recommendations be a good initial goal, and then if the troop wants to diverge from the BSA's formal methods and move to more "traditional" methods, they'll at least have a bit of a foundation to get there?

 

And there's nothing wrong with including Ethical Choices, Aim, Leadership and Character in Scouting - but I think these theme should supplement a strong outdoors program, not replace a strong outdoors program...

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KC9DDI writes:

 

yes, I know that if people would just do what GBB and BP suggest, the problem would be solved overnight. But reality, unfortunately, isn't so simple).

 

Well, yeah it is that simple.

 

The question is what can a 17yo Scout do to get "boy-leaders" to experience the "Patrol Method."

 

My answer (in the links above) is simply separate the indoor boys and men from the outdoor Scouts, and get those outdoor Scouts out on the trail.

 

The backwoods is the "Real" Patrol Method, according to "what GBB and BP suggest."

 

The idea that he will transform indoor boys and adult helicopters by applying "leadership" theory to the TROOP SPL and the TROOP PLC is by definition the Troop Method.

 

The BSA celebrated our centennial year by making the "Real" Patrol Method against the Guide to Safe Scouting. But even with "two-deep leadership," the kind of adults that are willing to put packs on their backs are the kind that will eventually move in the direction EagleScouter2010 is leading, if only at first with ad hoc Patrols in the backwoods.

 

As soon as he gets those outdoor Scouts out on the trail (if only a half-mile from the Troop trailer and the Webelos III adults), the natural leaders among them will understand "Patrols" right away without any "leadership" theory.

 

Scouting is a game. It just "clicks."

 

And yeah, he can literally accomplish that much "overnight."

 

Well OK, maybe 36 hours :)

 

Yours at 300 feet,

 

Kudu

http://kudu.net

 

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My pleasant surprise with troop backpacking experiences is that the younger scouts were good for the extra miles (up to 6 or 8) if the terrain is not particularly severe.

 

So a hiking aree with loops that allow you to fit in more distance might be a good start.

 

Your MBC will probably have some good suggestions for where you live.

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Eagle 2010

 

While you received some good advice here I think the troop problem is much deeper, the kind I have not seen for years. To me it sounds like your adult leaders are trying to live or recreate their own scouting experiences of their youth. This is a problem with some troops I dealt with as a DE and a SM, namely scout leaders suffering from the Peter Pan Syndrome, not wanting to grow up and wanting everything done their way only.

 

So IMO as a JASM approach the adult leadership and skillfully find out if they are truly open to have the boy leaders take more control of the program, and have a program designed ready to show them. If they are truly open to the idea get your PLC ready to take more control of creating and developing the troop program. If the adults are really closeminded to boy leadership, IMO, it is time to find a new troop. Just remember take it one step at a time and stay positive. Good Luck!

 

As far as these PPS scouters are concerned you usually find them on WB staff multiple times, and district and council training committees, SM's for over 20 years in the same troop, etc. The ones who really have it bad can be seen very clearly if you ever visit the National Office from the CSE and on down the chain of command.

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I agree with BadenP, sounds like the adults are trying to relive their PL and SPL days. This always results in a fun program for the adults, and a very boring or/and annoying program for the scouts.

 

As a JASM, you can hang in there and influence where you can. Lots of good guidance shared above. But don't hit your head against the wall--there may come a point when it just isn't worth the heartache, and that's the time to find another troop.

 

This is also a valuable lesson for that day when you become an ASM or SM. We always benefit from good and bad examples in life. Best wishes on the scouting trail!

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The other posters are correct! You have the power to help effect change in your current troop: you are still a youth leader. Also, as JASM, you are in a position to mentor your SPL. I'd suggest that you, the SPL, and the Scoutmaster talk about the changes you want to see in the troop.

 

If the SM wavers, or is afraid of the committee, mention that, as a JASM, your job is to mentor the youth leaders and help them deliver "Scouting" and not "Dad and Lad." You're old enough that you have the luxury to take these stands. Don't worry about currying favor or needing an ASM job to say active past 18 (College Scouter Reserve can cover you). Your willingness to take ownership of the program should sway people who truly want to be Scouters (and not just relive their glory days).

 

After the three of you have talked, schedule a meeting with your Chartered Organization Representative. Show him/her your Scout handbook and say that this is how you want to run the program. Ask for his/her support for the program and then meet with the Troop Committee and announce these changes. If any of them openly obstruct your efforts, the COR can invite them to leave your troop. Really. The COR has hire/fire power over the adult leaders of the unit.

 

I doubt you're in for a bloody struggle but getting people to change can be difficult, especially when a troop has "always done it that way." Think of it as your legacy: you're making sure that these young men will have a great Scouting experience.(This message has been edited by Eagle707)

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