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"Goofball"

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I get depressed reading about delinquent Scouts, so here's a slightly different topic. How do you deal with a scout who's a "goofball?" This boy is basically well-meaning, with nice parents. He's not bad, and is not exactly poorly behaved. But you have to watch him constantly. If you hear a splash, that's him falling out of the canoe. If someone gets conked on the head with a paddle, you know who's probably holding it. If a tent collapses... If the pancake batter spills out all over the ground... If a pair of hiking boots don't fit...you get the picture.

It's exasperating to the other boys (not to mention the adults), and you have safety concerns, especially about high adventure activities. What if this kid wants to go to Philmont?

Does anybody have thoughts on (1) how to help a boy like this grow and (2) how to help the other boys deal with him?

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I'll bet we have all had kids like this in our Troops. What do we do with them? How about giving them something to be responsible for. They could be responsible for all the tent pegs for their patrol or something similar. That way, they might focus more & get past this stage.

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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Hey, that kid is in MY troop, too :)

 

I can't say I've had tons of success with my approach, and I'm still fine-tuning it, but here's what I'm trying to do. In the particular case of the Scout I'm working with, I came to the conclusion that many of his "excursions" came about because he didn't have enought structure, or responsibility, basically, something to keep him busy. So, under the guidance of one of my ASMs, I assigned the Scout to be one of our quartermasters (we have 2, not because we're very large, because we're not, but more to make sure we have a QM on every outing). I'm thinking that by making him responsible for our gear, and for making sure everything is where it's supposed to be, it'll straighten out his thinking a little bit. Being a QM, it's not enough to know "we've got pots"; you've got to know where they are and how many you're going to need. By having to deal with that level of detail, I'm hoping that it'll get him to thinking about his own p-gear (like remembering his rain gear), respecting the troop gear (tent poles are not Ninja fighting sticks), etc. We just starting doing this earlier in the spring, so it's too early to see if it's going to help him or not. So, that, and the usual correcting of errant behavior, and just as important, positive reinforcement when he does something positive. We'll have to see how it goes. As far as his relation with the other boys, the QM is kind of in the middle of a lot of things when we go on outings. If he's mentored well, the Scouts SHOULD come to see him as their "go to" guy when they need something, but a lot of that depends on the personalities involved, etc.

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He'll either grow out of it...or he will remain a GB all of his life. Either way, the entertainment factor that GBs provide is enough for us not to try and change them :) You are living a fantasy if you think you are going to change his natural tendency to be 'goofy'. Let him be himself and grow into the person he is meant to be, goofy or not. Why must a boy conform to something you want him to be? Granted, legitimate safety concerns need to be addressed, but ill-fitting boots and canoe tips are just a part of scouting.

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I will always have a soft spot in my heart for 'GoofBalls'. When I was a Scout, my best friend was this kind of kid. On one campout, he got up in the middle of the night to visit the latrine and got lost. He woke up the entire camp with his plaintive wails for our Scoutmaster, "Mr. Hilton! Mr. Hilton!". We ribbed him about it for years. He's now an award winning screenwriter in Hollywood.

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Hunt,

You could be describing a co-worker of mine, and he's 58 years old! Personalities may change over time, but not because of anything you will do. Find the good in the lad and capitalize on that.

 

 

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We have a boy in our troop like this. I honestly think he a very high functioning autistic. He has no social skills. None of the other boys want to tent with him. He also falls, wanders off from camp and gets lost. Last campout he was the patrol cook. He fixed his french toast and walked away and ate. The other boys were so mad. They refuse to put him on the duty roster again for cook and the sad thing is that his mother doesn't see any of it. He is smart but can't do half of what the other kids do. One of the other boys is autistic and is in treatment and on medication. He manages very well. As long as he takes his meds. Of the meds it is like looking at two peas in a pod.

This year he was eligable to do high adventure but since they were going to be living on ponton boats we were all scared about the safety. He in a 3 years scout and still hasn't completed Tenderfoot (and it isn't because we haven't tried) and the policy in out troop is that to do high adventure you have to be 1st Class or above.

This year at school one of the teacher ask her if they had ever had him tested. She blew a gasket.

Is taking him our of our school district and putting him in another. Said the teachers are all against him. It is sad.

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In our troop we have a young fellow with Aspergers Syndrome. He's not a 'goofball' by any stretch, but he is still very different from the other fellows. His sense of humor and humor timing are different for example and he has some odd mannerisms. He is probably the most intelligent youngster in the troop but he has some difficulty with social behaviors.

 

When he joined at 10, his father and I talked at length about his social skills and the possible problems in relating to other guys, especially in camping situations. Today, four years later, this guy is a Life Scout and an ASPL and is one of the most respected Scouts in our troop. I hope the Scouting evvironment has provided him with a safe place to be himself in the company of other guys his own age. He's still a bit odd, but he has ironically helped the OTHER guys become more mature in their interactions with other people.

 

Our troop is far the richer for having him as a member. Like another poster said recently, "diversity is a fine thing".

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Our Pack of 10 has 2 boys with Aspergers Syndrome. One is being held back in Tigers (parents choice, he was held back in school), the other is just starting his second year in Webelos. As CM, my experiences with both boys have been similar to Trevorums. I have found them to be less the goofballs of the group than my own Scout. Mine is the Scout who will fall out of the canoe, trip over his own laces or get conked on the head. He has had "spatial" issues since K and is finally getting the hang of how to manage his body in space and in relation to other things (and people) around him. As he matures, it continues to improve. Hopefully as he matures there will be less goofball moments, but right now they are the things that makes Nephew the fun and entertaining kid he is.

 

Of course, try being 11 years old and carrying around feet that have grown 4 sizes in 12 months. He's in a Mens size 11 shoe right now, so his body is outsizing his coordination. He has grown at least 4 inches since his November birthday and is now officially as tall as I am (okay, so that's easy to do when you only have to hit 5'4"), so I try to remember he won't always be this uncoordinated.

 

Michelle - CM P102 Orland, ME

(and loving Aunt/Caregiver to a goofball)

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I always equate the GOOFBALL with Gomer Pyle, USMC.

- can't keep track of gear

- never PREPARED for his next breath let alone anything else

-couldn't lead a starving dog to meat packing plant

- we are lucky he wipes himself

Good natured lad with best efforts he will never be a General and will drive his supervisor to have a GRABBER about the age of 55 from stress.

 

Autism seems a different discussion. Sometimes parents don't help with matters by not finding help. We should be leading the political fight to help these boys. One mother whose son has autism(most probably caused by heavy metal metabolic problems) told me that 1 in 166 boys in America has some level of Autism. That is a lot of boys. If it was AIDS it would be in the Media morning noon and night. Same if it was breast cancer.

 

Why here in America? Mercury preservatives in innoculation????

We couldn't kiss a fish that had as much mercury as our kids were given in some vaccines. As the leading boys organization why aren't we asking more questions about this? Some of these kids will never leave home. Some of these kids are amazingly intelligent at certain things, sometimes music. "Rainman" was an entertaining movie about a sad subject---it did not do justice to those with problems.

Rainman did not have autism but the movie still did not do justice to those folks.

 

Emotional problems can be masked by intelligence.

I personally had two Scouts that had some undiagnosed problems with violent tendencies. What do we do when they are 6' 4" and can't control themselves?

 

On the Kuwait\Saudi border my Lt. went out at night to relieve himself in the sand. He walked 37 steps from his hole and took a half an hour to find his way back. The next morning we retraced his footprints in the sand. He was a superb Marine Officer.

Another not so great Corporal did the same thing and became so lost he just laid down and went to sleep and spent a shivering night in the desert less than 80 yards from his hole. His buddies thought there was a dead body beyond the perimeter.

I personally walked on top of a shelter half set flush with the sand---the occupants were not happy!!!!

Man it was dark 80 miles from nowhere with zero moon illumination!

 

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