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Our Really Bad Situation

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First, a troop profile:


10 boys from a small town 30 minutes from anywhere.


SPL- 13 yrs old and Homeschooled with dad who tries to camp when he can and finally got a job that unfortunatly will keep him from attending meetings and campouts. Has 4 other younger siblings and only have one vehicle due to recent auto accident. Good dedicated kid.


ASPL- 12 year old with completely uninvolved parents. Bit of a smart mouth and annoys most all the other boys. Likes Scouting.


PL- 13 year old (my son) used to really care, but has lost most of his drive due to other boys not caring about the program. I am active leader (committee acting like an ASM). Father travels and is uninvolved.


PL- 12 year old son of Committee Chairman (trained) and stepson of SM (trained). Has older brother who causes a lot of problems. Fairly bad attitude. Tell him not to do something, says O.K. Then does it again 10 min. later.


Scout 14 y.o. single parent family. Tough life. Uninvolved Mom. See's scouts as a way to get more out life. Holds grudges forever.


Scout 13 y.o. son of CC and stepson of SM. Real bad attitude toward authority adult and boy. Does not want leadership. Will get a car when he gets eagle. Doesn't like to wear uniform.


Scout 13 y.o Mom always busy. Dad works in another part of the state and only comes home 1 or 2 times a month. Bad attitude. Can't keep his mouth shut. Best friend of Scout above. Doesn't like to camp or wear the uniform.


Scout 11 years old brother of scout above. Likes attention. Likes camping. Best fried of first PL. Doesn't like the uniform but will conform to go camping and have fun.


Scout 12 year old home schooled. Dad goes camping and attends most meetings. Mom attends some meetings. Dad will probably be the Webelos leader for the pack. Good Guy, does not want more leadership resposibities. Does not like to discipline.


Scout 14. Hispanic. Good Kid. Parents don't speak English and put everything above scouting


Recently CC son and brother and best friend and his brother have been harrassing my son at school because I have been coming down on them at meetings for not being prepared, asking repetitive stupid questions and popping off with negitive comments about everything. Generally disrupting every meeting.


CC comes to every meeting, camps, handles district and council paperwork. Gets on to her boys some, but wants someone else to correct them at the meetings. SM does not attend meetings anymore due to disrespect of the boys and has health problems that will keep him from participating in anything for a while.


I (trained)am at every meeting and PLC, handle JLT, program planning oversight, and advancement. There is no respect for boy leaders and little for the adults. My son does not want to return to former troop in neighboring city. If the biggest troublemakers are removed from the troop, there goes what little leadership we have with no prospects from the pack for a couple of years. I am also a den leader.


I am at a loss as what to to. The troop has only been active for 1 and half years. The District is very good at handing out little platitudes like "More Training", "Get more Parents involved", and "You need to recruit". All things which are very hard to do in an all sports oriented town and not a lot of scouting history.


I do not know how to turn this mess around. The meetings are marginal to bad, we do try to camp every month with us trying to get the boys to do as much of the planning as possible. They have to be told every month though what they need to do and when to do it. No enthusiam is left in this bunch it seems.


Any ideas? Is this salvagable? Being in a small town and we all know everyone and everyone knows everyone else's business.



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The boys will only enjoy what they see as "their program" which means incorporating "their ideas". This is tough, especially with the bad attitudes you have running around. But I would get them to sit down, follow a formal planning process, and come up with a plan of things that they want to do.


Now, you may have issues with them coming up with good ideas, especially w/their attitude problem. So, you may need to do some pre-work with some of the scouts that have a better attitude to get them prepared to drive the process. If it looks like you are driving it, it will not work.

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Have to admit to not reading all the bios of all the kids.

As a Troop you need to get all of your adult ducks in a row. While District people are lovable folk, they can't and hopefully won't sort this mess out for you.

First you need a Scoutmaster. One who is going to lead the troop. He/she does this by working with the Patrol Leaders. As it seems the troop is very young, the Scoutmaster will need to be very supportive and train and retrain and maybe train the Patrol Leaders and the SPL time and time again.

I think all the adults in the troop need to stop focusing on each Scout and where he is schooled and who his friends are and put all their energy into the program.

The program works. It just needs to be delivered. Scouts want to have fun and adventure. When they see that this is available to them and that they are the instruments that make this happen, they will change things around.

Without wishing to come off as sounding rude. You might want to take a long hard look at what you are doing. From your posting it seems that you are all over the place. What would happen if you just focused on one job and gave it all of your attention and effort?


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We are having a calendar planning meeting this weekend. It starts tonight with a sleep in at the church with movies, snacks and games and Sat. morning we will plan the next year activities followed by a dip in the pool. They have always had the biggest say in campouts themes and locations. They have the opportunity to go sailing at a local lake in 3 weeks if they can get the menus and such completed in time. Bottom line is, they get to choose what they do, but most don't want to put in the time to plan it. They are told that it is their troop and it is not the adults job to do all of the planning for them and they just show up and have fun.



All of the boys have something to offer the troop, and we try to put these to use at campouts and meetings. Unfortunatly, they do not respect each others strong points. A big part of this probably their age and maturity.


I know I am overinvolved and am trying to find ways to get the few parents we have involved. They keep telling me no and it gets very frustrating.


Would love to have a new SM. I think more male leadership would be a boon but short of advertising in the local monthly paper, I don't see a lot of options within the troop. The Chartering Organization is not interested in being more involved. I have been told that everyone is too busy to help with the troop.





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The one thing I noticed is those boys with broken families seem to be the biggest problems???? Wonder, hmmm, probably a topic for a different thread.


Who plans the calendar? Does the Troop have regular PLC's? Are the Scouts learning and advancing? Was the SPL elected or appointed? Are there plans to replace the SM?


Lots of unanswered questions.


Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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It is better to focus on the positive future then the negative past.


The first thing that will need to happen is that a core group of adults will need to be able to see the positive characteristics of the se scouts over the negative or no one will volunteer their time other than for their own son.


You are looking for to solve a problem that even you can only see the dark side of. You would starve as a salesperson if you could not see the features and benefits of your product clearer than you can see the flaws.


If you have any hopes of getting others involved you will need to change your vision of who these boys are.


We know what you don't like. If you cannot be a specific with positive points about each Scout as you were with the negatives then you will not be the one able to generate the needed change. Tell us what is good about each one and what you want to see as the solution. Then we might be able to help guide you there.



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Boys plan the calendar. We have regular PLC's led by the SPL. Opportunities for advancement are presented and try to include in meetings and campouts. Biggest problem with advancement is getting them to bring their book and get it signed off. I have concerns about some of the scouts having the scout spirit signed off when they don't show it at the meetings. We have elections every 4 months because 6 months was too long. They seem to lose interest and get burned out after about 4 months. I think a real committee would be helpful, since we all have combination responsibilities it makes it hard for anyone to be impartial in decisions involving leadership and boy behavior.


Most of the boy problems I think are behavioral due to poor home lives. I really think a degree in child psychology could be helpful to deal with the special needs of some of the boys in the troop. Unfortunatly, nothing in any of the BSA training I have had has given much help in how to deal with kids from alcoholic familes, broken families, and other family issues. One parent has had to deal with her son hitting her and having suicidal thoughts. The reputation some of these kids have in town is keeping some people from considering us as a troop for their kids. How do you get past that? New blood is exactly what we need.


Bob, I am not ignoring you, you have a valid point. I have known most of these kids through cub scouts and seen them shine at many things. It is very sad to watch some them stumble around so much and lose sight of their goals in the pursuit to be "cool". Why is having a big attitude so important to so many teenagers?

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Let me see if I'm following:


SM doesn't come to meeting.

You are obviously burned out and frustrated.

Most parents are uninvolved.

The one dad who sounds interested is already a WDL and doesn't want a larger role in the troop.

The CO isn't interested solving leadership problems.

You only get platitudes from the district.

And most significantly, fewer that half the boys sound as if they really want to be in Scouts.


So what's the point? Try to find a functioning troop for the boys who really want to be in Scouts and put this one out of it's misery.


I'm serious! If everyone is this miserable, go do something else. Play soccer. Learn to paint. If no one is interested in Scouting why go through the motions?

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I think what you are asking them to do is not be teenagers, sriddle. What you are seeing is a natural part of their evolution from dependent child to independent adult. The Scouting program is designed to channel those characteristics. But first you have to accept them and understand that it is part of the growth stage that you went through as well, it's just that each generation chooses a diffent way to show it. Your attitude toward them is your biggest hurdle.(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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The choice is of course yours. You obviously want to help these boys or you would not have stuck it out this long. I think you did the right hing to ask for help. Just understand whether at this troop or another, you will have to develop your own scouting skills before you can hope to develop the scouts.



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Sorry this is so long, but...


When my son bridged to Boy Scouts, I became an Assistant Scoutmaster to a very well organized but quiet SM who was there for only 6 months. 3 months later, at summer camp, the 15 year old son of the Committee Chairman threw a butane lighter into a campfire on the 2nd night to enjoy the explosion. Unknown to me he had been disciplined by the Troop Committee for the very same thing the year before. Unable to control my anger about this dangerous act, I took over the emergency meeting of the entire Troop and made all of the 14 Scouts raise their right hand and repeat the Scout Oath and Law. The SM was present but made no attempt to intervene in my disciplinary session. I asked if anyone did not believe in what they were saying and if they did not, the could go home right then. 2 or 3 of the boys were hoodlums in Scout uniforms but they all agreed to behave and the rest of the week went fairly well. 2 years later, these troublemakers were all gone.


I had been a Cubmaster before joining this Troop. It took me 2 years and a new SM before I realized I was not a CM anymore. The new SM had a way with the kids. The hoodlums were gone and we were left with normal teenagers. The SM was a teacher and could sit down with these kids and help them with their misbehavior. I could not. When I realized that I could not let go and let these guys act "normally", I discovered that I could not continue as an ASM. With me, this would never be a boy led Troop. I would step in when not necessary. I would want to teach them the "right" way to do everything when they needed to learn from their mistakes. I expected them to follow the Oath and Law to the letter. I expected them to be responsible for their actions even for fairly minor and picky things.


I became a Committee Member and was very happy with my new role in the Troop. I did not have to sit through the chaos of a Troop meeting (which I could not stand). I no longer went to the PLC and give advice and pointers (not asked for or needed by SM or boys). I could help with the running of the adult leadership of the Troop and make things happen. I was the adult advisor for the Naval Academy trip 3 years in a row and assisted with many other activities including writing a new Troop Guidebook. I grew up a lot.


The start of this thread reminds me of me when I first became involved in a disorganized and troubled Scout Troop. I did not understand normal teenage boy behavior or how to deal with it. Many of the posts to this thread will get you on the right track, but they are difficult things for some of us to do. There may be other roles in Scouting for you if, like me, you have trouble with the "normal" behavior of teenage boys.(This message has been edited by boleta)

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