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MomScouter

Boy who wants to quit

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I don't know you, your dad, or your troop, and I have no idea what part of the story, if any, you may be leaving out, so I'm not really in a position to advise you on how to handle your problem specifically. However, as a Scoutmaster and a father of a Scout in the troop, and someone who's coached youth sports in the past too, I think I can talk to the situation in general terms.

 

Others have said on this thread that your dad may be re-living his childhood through you. Whether that's true in your case or not, it's a very common thing, and not unhealthy as long as we don't get carried away. Please remember, parents are carrying the scar tissue of experience and in some cases missed/lost/squandered opportunities -- they (perhaps your dad, too) only want you to avoid mistakes they made in their youth...and we all made them!

 

All parents compel their children to do things, eat things, wear clothes, kiss Grandma, go to church, and so on, even if some or all of those things are "undesirable" at the time. Unless a parent crosses that line that calls for intervention by the authorities (and I assume your dad hasn't crossed that line), your dad's pressure on you might be chalked up to nothing more than a parenting technique and concern for your future. Those techniques and concerns can manifest themselves in many ways and in many different activities -- consider yourself lucky he's not a fan of the ballet!

 

All kidding aside, I quit Scouts well before earning Eagle rank, and well before my 18th birthday. When I consider what I missed out on, in terms of the experiences, the adventures, the friends, the leadership, the personal growth, by leaving Scouting as early as I did, I feel a deep sense of regret...it may be what your dad feels, and he may want to make sure you don't feel the same thing when you get older. When Scouts turn 18 and can no longer be Scouts, some remain with the movement as adult volunteers, some walk away and put it behind them, and some come back after they have children of their own. At that time, that will certainly be your choice.

 

How many Scouts are active in your troop? If there's at least one other, why does he stay in Scouting? Why do the others stay? What do they like about it? There's something that keeps them coming back. Again, I don't know you, but have you considered that you may be seeing your troop through an overly negative lens? Can you name five, three, or even one thing that you like about your Scouting experiences, to go along with what you don't like? If so, you're not too different from most Scouts -- they like eating, but not washing dishes; the game, but not the cleanup; swimming, but not the shower; observing nature, but not writing the report.

 

You say your friends left the troop? Last time I checked, nobody's limited to a certain number of friends. We're at an overseas military base, and half our Scouts move away every summer. What do the rest of them do? Welcome the Scouts who transferred in, and make new friends. That may sound easy to say and difficult to do, but give it a try -- countless thousands of Scouts are doing that right now all over the world, including my critters right here.

 

I hope you and your dad can meet each other somewhere close to halfway. I can't remember who said it, but someone famous once said: "When I was a teenager, my father was one of the stupidest people I knew. But, I was amazed that the older I got, the smarter he got." Food for thought; hang in there and good luck to you!

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Dear ScouterKid,

You're right. You didn't get much help from this group in how to deal with your father, but you did get some. The "write him a letter" idea is a good one, it allows you to spend the time to write rational and cogent arguments about why you should be able to leave scouting (it's not fun anymore).

 

The other advice you've received is also valid: change the situation by making it fun again by having a change in program or by getting your friends back in. But the way you describe your program, it is unlikely you could recruit anyone. The scoutmaster you described is "out-of-bounds", because it is the PLC who determines what the activities will be, not a scoutmaster/dictator.

 

One other way out of this situation: satisfy your Dad and become an Eagle Scout. That sounds like it is unlikely, because you're not getting an opportunity to do the things it takes to advance: plan and lead your own activities. Maybe if you explain that to your Dad, he'll back off, or support you in getting the scoutmaster to mend his ways.

 

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ScouterKid, you posted that summer camp was boring because it's the same place and stuff every year. Check out http://scoutcamp.org/database/index.html and you'll find that there are HUNDREDS of other camps available to your troop. Many of them also offer provisional camping sessions, where you can go without your troop. If you went to the Camp Decorah near Lacrosse, WI, you're not too far from Camp Long Lake (NW of Milwaukee - website http://www.pacbsa.org/cll.htm) that has a provisional camper week coming up August 4-10.

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Greetings all -

 

I have two sons both 11 who advanced through Cub Scouts and achieved the AOL - they have been in Boy Scouts about 6 months ow - one absolutly loves Scouts while the other is ready to quit.

 

He did not initially want to join - having had enough of Cub Scouts - but I convinced him that the Boy Scout experience was competely different so he agreed to give it a shot - up until now he has been seemingly enjoying the experience, though he has never been very enthused with camping...

 

In keeping with my "once you start, you finish" rule, we both also agreed that if he did not find it to his liking once he made it through summer camp, we would revisit the issue (I never said he could quit).

 

As you can probably guess, he evidently did NOT have the best time at summer camp - according to the Scout Master, he was fine during the days - helpful and participating (though he did not do anything MB related) but at night he would totally break down and virtually demand that he be allowed to go home. I pretty sure it was not a homesickness issue, but rather a comfort issue (he likes his creature comforts - clean sheets & bathrooms).

 

While it is true that I would like for him to continue in scouts and achieve the benfits that have been mentioned in this thread, I do not want to insist that he stay in if he clearly does not like it. To be specific, he clearly does not like the camping aspect - which ties into virtually everything the troop does.

 

I don't think that I should demand that he stay it scouts, so reluctantly, my wife and I have decided to allow him to discontinue his scouting experience - we have decided on the following course of action:

 

1. I plan on having a meeting with our scoutmaster to explain what is going on.

2. Our son will have to personally meet with the scoutmaster and "resign" - explaining his position to the SM.

3. My hope is that when son #1 start going on more campouts and doing other stuff, leaving son #2 out of the loop, then son #2 may want to come back into the fold.

 

Is this the right thing to do? I feel that if I insist that he give it more time, he will start to resent scouts and buck every trend within -

 

Just venting and looking for similar stories an other options/paths that I could take...

 

Thanks

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sehicks -

 

Is there any chance that your two same-age sons need to be in different troops? The lack of age difference (twins? or just lucky?) makes me wonder if this is his way of saying I am ME and NOT my BROTHER. Our SM has twin sons, as different in temperament as they are identical in appearance, and my observation is that they find it difficult to be "competing" in the same arena.

 

Also, if there's any hope at all for the camping thing you might try investing in more comfortable sleeping equipment (Sam's has nice auto-inflating mats and if you're in a hot climate a lightweight fleece sleeping bag is a quantum leap in comfort).

 

If there's no chance that a change of venue or increased comfort would help, I think you should allow your reluctant scout to quit. However, I also think you should try hard to make it easy for him to change his mind later, when he does see his brother having a bunch of fun.

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I have 2 sons involved in scouting and it seems that at somepoint during the year they both seem to want to quit. My response always has been you can quit after this year, but you must finish what you started . Amazingly come June they don't want the year to end and are so looking forward to the following year they can't wait for summer to be over.

 

It's amazing what making them stick to it can accomplish.

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I do think that it is a shame that anyone wants to leave this great organization.

Still even though I have a problem with it, I can see that it happens. In some cases and in some units it happens a lot.

But the problem is how does a young person get some one to listen and heed what is being said?

I do think the letter idea was a good one.

How do any of us get what we want?

First we have to know what we want.

This might mean spending some time thinking about it.

At times all of us feel that we are in over our head and want to just "Chuck it all". But after spending some time pondering it over, many of us have second thoughts.

The next step would be "What am I willing to do, to get what I want.

Ok so you quit Scouts. Are you willing to take up something else? Will you spend more time doing school work?

Will you volunteer to do something else?

Is there another way?

Would Dad be ok with you just being a crew member, would you be happy with this?

Once you have all your stuff worked out, and you are really sure that you want what you think you wanted!!!

You have to present your issue to your Dad.

You do have to pick your time.

My son has a couple of seaky ways. For small things he waits until we are in the car, and then hits me with it. This works as there is no one else around and he has me all to himself.

For the "Big Things" He lets both his Mother and I know that he wants to talk to us. Kind of like making an appiontment. We then meet after dinner and he lays out what he wants. We all try to keep a cool head. Most of all him - Getting upset or mad and storming off will not get the message across.

At times he thinks that we have been unfair or unjust. We of course don't feel that way. But if he can prove his point, most of the time we will see that we were wrong.

I don't know if any of this will help.

I do feel bad that you are not happy with Scouts and Scouting. You might do well to re-read the wise words of the other posters.

You might want to take a long hard look at the Scout Law and Oath - I know when I want to tell everyone where to go and what to do, I take a hard look at this promise that I made and remake all the time, and the answer is hidden in there, if I look for it.

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Lets go back to the original poster - a boy who is ASPL of a dictator troop, the troop activities have become 'boring' and unoriginal, yet he does not want to be the catalyst to change, he just wants to quit.

 

In many ways, I can empathise with this - being that my son and I have been part of turning around such a troop and are STILL working at it. If it can be draining and discouraging for an enthusiastic adult, WITH HELP - how can any of you really expect a discouraged boy to tackle it alone? (I mean - obviously, if the SM won't listen and the other boys, committee and parents are OK with the troop - he's gonna have a very tough job ahead.)

 

there is no 'magic word' that is going to make your folks see it your way. Reading between the lines - I would guess that you all have become entrenched in the argument - you can't give your parents reasons good enough to let you quit, and they can't convince you to stay - because THEY don't know what the program should be, either. They should stir themselves to help you make it better. (sorry - but this IS partly parents fault - they should be RIGHT IN THERE making the troop better - if they are going to insist their son stay in)

 

it's always been my theory that unless you ACT FOR CHANGE, you have no right to complain. (well, at least - not continually whine about stuff)

 

that being said - it's also been my experience that boys tend to exaggerate. We have an SPL who loves scouting, very dedicated - and yet - he can be very negative - LOOKING for reasons new things & ideas won't work before giving them a chance, and not even attempting to make the best of things when things go wrong. he doesn't like change - and when things go wrong - he prefers to suck lemons and dwell on it, rather than make lemonaide and move on. It always amazes me how locked-in to one direction the young can be sometimes!

 

That being said - I would suggest, as someone mentioned that you have a talk with your Dad, or write him a letter. I prefer discussion, but if you talk - I would make an outline of your points for your dad. Make a deal with him -

*Your troop sucks. It's no fun. You are not happy. Be specific about what you don't like. Be specific if there is anything you DO like.

 

*these are your options - live with it, fix it, move, quit.

 

*perhaps he could meet you partway? make a deal with him - the deal is open to review at a future specific time - say 6 months - and if change has not occurred, you get to quit or decide to stay. (you MUST give it a true effort - not lip service only)You'll give it another chance (under a time limit)if:

-he'll become active and help change your troop

-He'll get active and let you move to another troop

-he'll let you back off some events and meetings so you can do other ( worthwhile and specific) activities?

-He'll let you back off, if you get involved in something else worthwhile, (church? 4H, kiwanis? piano lessons? ;-)) but you remain an official member of the troop until the new activity takes successfull hold.

-ideas of your own or combinations of the above

 

Most parents want their boys in because of the values and skills scouts teach - of course, in your opinion, the troop isn't doing that, anyway. If your folk's simply want an Eagle for you - tell them that only YOU can earn it, and you aren't interested. if they persist in pressuring you, you will never BE interested. yet if they let you try it your way - you MIGHT very well decide at a later time that it is worthwhile for you and go back to it. alot of boys take 'breaks'.

 

*be specific about what you want to do with your time if you are NOT in scouting. Wanting to quit because it's 'boring' and you'd rather hang at the mall or play gameboy is not an admirable goal.

 

My son loved scouts. But at age 11, when he started 6th grade and joined a troop - EVERYTHING was hard. Our dog died, grandpa died, he is ADD & school was awful - the teachers were unbelievably hard on him - I fought the school tooth and nail all year. His stepmom and his Dad were abusive and pushy, he had to go with them twice a week and he was miserable; Scouts was just more WORK. he had every night except thursday booked, and he hated it. he wanted to quit. As we got to know the troop, I began to realize that they were not 'delivering the promise' and I got involved. He still wanted to quit. so I offered him a deal. I would not push for badges, advancements, leadership or anything - as long as he stayed in and went on half of the trips and to summercamp. He didn't have to go to any meetings - unless they were planning for a trip he was going to attend. He didn't have to even do badges at camp, but I knew he loved camping and nature - he could just hang out. If in a year, he STILL wanted to quit - he had to pick something else to do ( music lessons, karate, SOMETHING - he's not athletic) but he would be allowed to quit. I was honest, though, and told him that i would probably stay in - I've always loved scouting.

 

he was not involved in other things, really, no sports or other activities and I would not let him just sit home and play computer, playstation and gameboy.

 

A year 'off' of just campouts and no 'work', the school under control, Dad backed off, we adopted another dog, he made friends in the troop, and he regained his enthusiasm. he's 13 and if he had a POR he would be getting his Star now - but he's not that interested in leadership for now - he's got time. He has worked on 7 badges this summer at camp and at home - on his own. HIS CHOICE.

 

there are still some things he chooses NOT to do - fine. he doesn't like caving or long bike trips - we skip those. He likes camping, fishing and canoeing, science and nature, so we DO those. Meetings get boring - he votes with his feet - and goes home. it works for us. maybe it will work for you and your Dad.

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