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ADD and POR (long)

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My son is in 8th grade, and has been at first class rank for almost a year - and now it looks like he'll be there for another 6 months, because he can't get elected to a POR. He's had all the requirements for Star done for ages - and just that one requirement of a 4 month POR is holding him up.


Last election, he tried for PL - and lost, because of the 5 in his patrol, his 2 friends were not there - so the vote went 1 - 2 - and Jon became APL. the other boy was a good PL - so Jon didn't have much to do. I suggested being an instructor and he talked to the SM about it - but whenever an opportunity came up for him to DO something with the NSP - they never used him - they would use one of the boys from the venture patrol. I tried not to interfere too much - For one thing, I wanted him to pursue a leadership role himself. But the SPL, PLC and adults can't seem to see beyond his ADD surface behavior, and he got tired of asking and being ignored.


Jon is ADD and gifted. He gets bored easily and is very 'antsy', often humming or whistling when he is bored. (which happens often at meetings) Of course, he often does not react right away or appear to be paying attention - But he loves scouting and the outdoors - and when needed, he shows that he really DOES have all his scouting skills down cold; he inobtrusively helps everyone around him. Jon is kind of clown-ish - esp at meetings where the endless chatter bores him. the boys in his age group used to tease him - it took awhile for them to realise that he DOES, sometimes, know what he's doing - but most of them have passed him up in rank - and are in the Venture patrol - because they had leadership positions.


With his ADD, he is mostly 'organizationally challenged' - so having him take on a made up job 'organizing something' for his POR is not going to work, unless we can find something that really piques his interest. He really DOES want to be PL - because he ideas and wants to DO things - not just sit around - but he just can't consistantly maintain the kind of behavior in meetings that makes anyone take him seriously. having him as a den chief might be MORE work for a Den leader than help- he just CAN'T sit still - so I don't think that would work, either.


but just because he can't be still, does NOT mean that he isn't capable. He's very smart, and good with his hands. he can build or fix all kinds of things. This is a boy who at 9 figured out how to re-build the cable lift system in our camper, and this summer, he pulled up the old bathroom floor and laid new ceramic tile for me and installed a new toilet.


this time around, The troop held elections for SPL one night, and then waited a week & announced who was in what new patrols and had elections for the patrols the same night.


Our SM and committee decided to split the NSP because of the hazing incident this summer - and put 4 of them in my son's patrol and 3 in the other - so all 3 patrols now have 7 boys - 2 reg patrols and a 'venture' patrol of star and above.


though we all learned something from the hazing incident - i still don't think the youngest ones (who started it) really 'get' it. they are the most clickish, rowdiest group of boys i have known and splitting them up didn't make a difference.



At patrol Elections - Jon was up for PL and 4 boys were running. they decided to have a vote to narrow the field - highest two would run. the vote was Jon 3, Carl 2, X & Y each got one (their own votes)Carl is a tenderfoot, joined the troop last April. Carl is a fun kid - with irrisistable dimples - he is liked by everyone, (including me!)always smiling and happy. he is more popular than his older brother, who is in the troop and in Jon's class (2 yrs older). The brother jon's age is a nice kid and well liked - just shy. Carl just has ALOT of charisma.


So then it was between Carl and Jon - so they gave 'speeches' about why they wanted to be PL - Carl had actually walked in late - and said for his speech 'I dunno - just because!"


Jon's speech was a little longer - but he did say he wanted to do some patrol outings and not have to wait for whole troop outings. He wanted to do more campouts like the winter survival campout and lashing projects. he also said he wanted to build a better patrol box. he had actually thought about it before the meeting.


We have tried - but no amount of discussion gets through to the boys that they need to chose baised on ability and not popularity. Despite Carl's obvious lack of ability - the 3 other 6th graders voted for their buddy, and Jon was out. He is SO dissapointed, and as his buddies are passing him up and he was really prepared and the best qualified to be PL - he is getting frustrated with scouting. it didn't help any that two of his buddies were moved up to the venture patrol, without him, either.


The other positions in the troop are being assigned by the SM - there is a chance that he will be assigned as Librarian or something - but I really feel for him. I understand WHY he is being passed over - but am leary of interfeering too much. I also realize that he has TRIED to control the behavior that annoys people - and that he CANNOT control it consistantantly - like someone with a tic- it's not really bad - but he can be annoying. Evenings are tough for him - his meds have worn off, and the meetings ARE very disorganized and lots of endless talk. Social skills are always a problem for kids with ADD. and additional meds keep him from sleeping at night - so that's not an option.


I hate to see him get passed up over and over - and our troop has never made use of the SM option to 'create' a POR. I hesitate to ask for an exception for Jon - it might make him stand out even more. and i doubt he would be able to do a good job in a 'made up' position anyway.


i don't know what to do, and i don't know what to tell him to help him keep trying.



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I don't think you are looking for an exception to be made. I think you are looking for the SM to understand the needs and characteristics of a scout and to use the resources and elements of the program to help him grow. Isn't that what a good scoutmaster does?


I your son ask The SM for a project he could lead to filfill his final requirement or allow him to have a board of review so that he can expalin to the committee why he is not advancing.



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If your ADD son is anything like my ADHD son (yes, I realize they are not ALL the same, LOL) he might benefit from a position like Troop Guide. My Jon loves to help other people learn. His teachers have used that as a tool in the classroom since first grade. He generally gets bored easily (sound familiar?) but if he is oaired up with someone who needs a little help, he is able to focus on helping them out. He also has a very different way of looking at things, so sometimes, if kids aren't "getting" what the teacher is saying, Jon puts his interpretation on it and it clicks for some people. Are any of the younger Scouts in the Troop having some difficulties? Or perhaps Jon can work with them on practicing Scout Skills - can't ever know too many knots! Have your son talk to his Scoutmaster. If the SM is worth anything, I'm sure he and Jon will come up with something that will work and keep his interest.


Let us know how he makes out.

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Patrol leader in not the only position available for advancement. He could serve as scribe, librarian, historian, instructor, quartermaster, among other positions. Boys are appointed to these positions by the senior patrol leader. Boys should not be assigned by the Scoutmaster. Not to step on toes, I think it would be proper for your son to approach the SPL about his interest in a position, and for you to ask the Scoutmaster to "clarify" what you read in the Scoutmaster handbook.

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As you said, your son, Jon has ADD. This causes him to become unorganized. If this is the case Patrol Leader might not be the position for him.


He might, in fact, do better in one of the positions that is appointed by the Senior Patrol Leader. He might find that he enjoys it and really has the skills needed to perform one of those positions.


However, a Tenderfoot scout, that, by the sounds of it has only been in the troop for a few months, should not be a Patrol Leader either. If he has been there only a few months it isn't possible for him to have learned the skills needed to become a good Patrol Leader. He should have waited until the next election, when the skills could have sunk in, and ran. Then, again, you don't learn something unless you teach it or do it. So this might be something for him to try also.


To clear things up with the Scoutmaster Handbook the Senior Patrol Leader appoints scouts to those positions WITH a Scoumaster's advice. Could it be possible that the Scoutmaster is meeting with the Senior Patrol Leader and/or the Asst. Senior Patrol Leader? If so, do you believe that the Scoutmaster will have the Senior Patrol Leader consider Jon's need for a troop position?

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If a scout has a handicap, some modifications of the program can be made to accomodate him while keeping the spirit of the requirements. If he can't get a leadership position in his troop because he is socially behind the other boys, maybe he could become a regular assistant in a cub troop. The younger boys might really worship a bigger boy with lots of energy, and being the focus of their attention could help him stay focused.

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yes - the meeting Sat WAS with the SM advising the SPL and ASPL on the choices for troop positions.


Scoutmom - my son is named Jon, also! and we tried for a 'troop guide' position - as he naturally helps the younger ones both in and out of scouting - with his social skills, he relates better with those younger than he is. But though the SM approved his BEING a troop guide - the troop leadership ( boys) never acknowledged it by having him DO anything with the younger boys. In fact, unknown to us - someone organized a NSP weekend to work on advancements before summer camp - which would have been a great thing to include Jon on - but they never told him about it or invited him to come.


he did help many of the younger boys at summer camp this summer with advancements and badgework - we were severly understaffed, I was Acting SM and no one noticed his mentorship in the midst of all our other problems at camp.


One thing i HAVE to point out - we had a REALLY tough week at camp this summer. not enough leaders, too many 5th graders - a lousy weather/camp situation that wrecked morale. From all the other boys, it was "have you seen my shirt/hat/ book/ raincoat? do you have a pen/ paper/ book i can 'borrow'? I forgot mine. i lost my badge card again, can I have another? When is my class? my towel is wet - i left it on the line - do you have ne i can use?" I felt like the little old lady in the shoe..... with 21 children


my Jon's Scout Spirit REALLY shone through it all. made me see how much his scouting experience is shaping him and how much he has internalized of the program and attitude. I was SO PROUD of him! his stuff was always together, he ALWAYS had his fanny pack with paper, pens, badge cards and raincoat with him - completed all his commiments for badge classes, hopper duty and patrol duty on his own. his tent was neat, he kept all his stuff dry, & he did not loose ONE THING all week at camp! And every time i looked around, he was quietly helping some kid fix his bike, showing someone how to find badge books and materials, teaching a knot, fixing a tent, picking up the site - without ONE REMINDER! I don't know where he pulled all that from - except that we are very close, and he knew i was having a hard time keeping the whole troop together and that was his way of helping me. Plus he has been raised with good camping habits & scouting values since the age of 3, it's gotta sink in eventually. Believe me, I NOTICED, and i made sure to quietly acknowledge and reward his personal responsibility and his help with the troop. he was AWESOME. Unfortunatly, the only other leader was too occupied with other things to notice, and I guess the older boys were, too. As the leader, I didn't think pointing Jon's favorable attitude would be taken well, in contrast to THEIR poor attitudes & behavior were at camp. So I kept it between me and Jon.


But I can brag freely to YOU! LOL! Any parent of an ADDer will know what a huge accomplishment a whole week of that behavior was for Jon. Sure - summer camp is Jon's best element anyway - but I'm so proud of him I could BUST!




As for the POR - appointments were posted on the troop website today - so I know ( but Jon doesn't) that he has been appointed 'Troop Historian'


in our troop - that position means nothing - it's never been defined. but I think Jon can make it his own - we have discussed it briefly in light of two things: First Jon and I both like photography, so we take many photos of the troop in action - which I've posted on the web site, but never got around to putting in an album. Second, Jon's Grandma is into scrapbooking - and Jon has been helping her make an album of our trip south this last spring. He really likes all her 'tools' and is very creative. We've talked about him making a scrapbook for the troop - which he could do as part of his 'Historian' position.


if he can turn this into something, I think it will help convince the boys in the troop that he IS capable of more.


however, we would be open to other suggestions as responsibilities of the job - as no one in our troop ever had a clue as to what to do.

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Well since he likes the outdoors and is a "hans on" type of kid i think he would like quartermaster. I will say this eventually he'll be a PL. We've had kids with AAD and at first you know they didn't get it because of reasons but then the others saw what and how he did and of course he was elected for a PL.

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Congratulations to Jon on his appointment! He has an opportunity to create something very cool for his troop from scratch - sounds like he's the right person to do this from what you've described of the initiative he's shown at summer camp :)


I wanted to comment a lil bit on the side issues you brought up regarding the difficulties at camp and how to acknowledge the good things you see the boys doing.


As the Scoutmaster (acting or otherwise) sometimes your most important job is too mentor the other adults! An important skill for the adults to learn is how to observe - BP called this boyology. So not only do you need to practice your own skills of observing, but you also need to bring this observation to the attention of the other adult leaders.


At some point during the activity I'll sidle up to one of the adults (whoever I think might be most approachable at the time - I'm also looking for those teachable moments!) and say, "Take a look over there - did you hear Johnny tell Kevin he did a cool job on his woodcarving?" or have them quietly watch with me as two who were at each others' throats at breakfast are working cooperatively together. It's a way of helping to draw the adult's attention to the positives that are happening around them - we're soooo focused on the problems - absolutely convinced that we're there to keep all hell from breaking loose that we forget to look for the good. Also, while you're engaged in this way side by side talking with another adult, the lil ones are less likely to come up to you with all the questions and pleas for assistance that they can really take care of themselves or have a junior leader help them with. (Sometimes it might take a brief redirection from you to the boy leader or a "wait a moment please, we're busy with something else")

Basically, in order to model this for the adult, you need to take the observations you may be habitually doing all the time and make it obvious to those around you. And if you are known to be in the habit of talking up the good things the boys are doing to the other adults, they won't mind if sometimes here and there you happen to mention your own kid ;) (Mention their kid too!)

Whether or not to have other boys overhear these conversations, it really depends on the boy's personality and needs. The kid who's got it all together might in general find it a bit of an interference, but if that same kid had a rotten morning where nothing worked right, sometimes a compliment overheard can be just the thing. Occasionally you'll come across a kid who if they ever hear a compliment they just might react with a display of their absolute worst - thankfully these really troubled kids are rare - instead you might prompt them to make their own assessment of their work or progress without adding your own interpretation to it. Ok, I really got sidetracked here! Anyway, hope some of it's helpful in some way!

Peace out,


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