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Adults At It Again


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#1 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 26 July 2016 - 07:17 PM

Ok I admit I do too much for the troop. I've explained, demonstrated, and have tied to guide the SPL into planning and running the meetings. He only ranfor SPl because he felt obligated to as he was nominated. He really doesn't want the job, and it shows.

 

Since he was out of town this week on the AT, I asked him prior to leaving what he wanted done for the meeting. He said stick with the plan:canoeing. So I asked one of the older Scouts not going to come up with a plan.  I even told the SM that this week's meeting was all arranged.

 

I had to miss because of some medical tests yesterday. So today whenI asked the Scout how it went yesterday, I was told the SM did a great job teaching, but he didn't do any. The I get a message on Facebook that the leaders discussed meeting earlier next week at a different location to put into place what was taught by the SM.

 

I'm am so frustrated right now.


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#2 Stosh

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Posted 26 July 2016 - 08:15 PM

While the cats away the rats shall play.

 

Like I tell my boys, if they leave the door open, an adult will walk in and take over.

 

As a side note.  If any boy is reluctant to take a POR, he should be honest enough to decline the opportunity and let someone who does want the job the chance to try out his leadership.  In my troop when it become obvious a boy doesn't want to do the job, he can and usually is replaced on the spot.  We don't have term limits.  A NSP PL can serve in that position until he ages out if that's what he and his boys in the patrol want.


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#3 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 27 July 2016 - 05:29 AM

Apparently so. Sad thing is that my tests were pretty much worthless IMHO as I not only got very little sleep, the primary event that caused me to get the test done didn't occur during the test. It occured last nite once again. So I missed a meeting for nothing.  :mad:

 

I think having an adult replace the unwilling SPL would do more damage than help in the current situation the troop is in. I think it would destroy what little Scout spirit they have. The Scouts are willing to do whatever the SPL asks of them. Maybe I'm as interfereing as the the other adults trying to get him and the others more involved. Maybe not. But I don't like the situtation I'm in as i think I'm walking a fine line.

 

When elections occurred the adults made some interesting rules.One of them was that the ASPL had to be elected from the younger Scouts. Person who was elected had never held any POR before, and now is suddenly ASPL. Lots of on the job training that should have occurred in earlier roles is now being done IMHO. And that is when he is at meetings. Because of the family situation, he's not at meetings or camp outs all the time.


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#4 Stosh

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Posted 27 July 2016 - 08:11 AM

Apparently so. Sad thing is that my tests were pretty much worthless IMHO as I not only got very little sleep, the primary event that caused me to get the test done didn't occur during the test. It occured last nite once again. So I missed a meeting for nothing.  :mad:

 

I think having an adult replace the unwilling SPL would do more damage than help in the current situation the troop is in.

 

Nope, no adult, an immediate election, i.e. vote of confidence in the SPL.  I don't do troop elections.  My SPL was always selected by the PL's as to who will support them and they determine how long that SPL stays in that position.   Having the troop elect Mr. Popularity instead of a servant leadership PL creates more hassle than if the PL's just pick their own.  It was surprising that my PL's picked one of their APL's to be SPL.  This APL was doing a fantastic job supporting the PL, the other PL's figured he'd be a good choice to support them too.  :)

 

I think it would destroy what little Scout spirit they have. The Scouts are willing to do whatever the SPL asks of them.

 

Maybe they should be listening to their PL's instead.  SPL should be supporting the PL's not dictating to the troop.  Yes, the SPL "runs the troop" by making sure all the PL's are successful in their patrol method operations.

 

Maybe I'm as interfereing as the the other adults trying to get him and the others more involved. Maybe not. But I don't like the situtation I'm in as i think I'm walking a fine line.

 

Ever consider telling the other adults about boy led, patrol method policies of the BSA? 

 

When elections occurred the adults made some interesting rules.

 

And this is why the unit's boy led operation is not boy led, it's adult messed with at the minimum.

 

One of them was that the ASPL had to be elected from the younger Scouts. Person who was elected had never held any POR before, and now is suddenly ASPL. Lots of on the job training that should have occurred in earlier roles is now being done IMHO. And that is when he is at meetings. Because of the family situation, he's not at meetings or camp outs all the time.

 

The problem is not your boys, the problem is your adults making up stupid rules and messing with boy led, patrol method scouting.

 

Next time the adults get to chit chatting about interfering in the operation of the unit, one might want to consider dropping a few hint-bombs, like "Gee, that didn't work out that well when it came to SPL.  Maybe we ought to just let the PL's figure it out on their own and if they ask questions we can deal with it at that point.  That way when things get sticky like they are now, it's not our fault, but the boys'."

 

NEVER GET CAUGHT HOLDING THE BAG!!

 

Oh, by the way the young ASPL, was never elected to be SPL.  Stepping up is not what the boys voted on.  They voted him to be the ASPL, they need to re-vote for an SPL.  Or in your case, dump the stupid adult rules and let the boys pick who they want to do those jobs and let the chips fall where they may.  It can't be any worse than what one has now!


Edited by Stosh, 27 July 2016 - 08:14 AM.

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#5 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 27 July 2016 - 09:11 AM

'Nope, no adult, an immediate election, i.e. vote of confidence in the SPL.  I don't do troop elections.  My SPL was always selected by the PL's as to who will support them and they determine how long that SPL stays in that position.   Having the troop elect Mr. Popularity instead of a servant leadership PL creates more hassle than if the PL's just pick their own.  It was surprising that my PL's picked one of their APL's to be SPL.  This APL was doing a fantastic job supporting the PL, the other PL's figured he'd be a good choice to support them too.  :)"

 

That's just it, he's "popular" because he is a servant leader. When things go wrong on camp outs, when the old NSP and TG had challenges, when things need to get done, he's your man. Great Scout, knows his stuff, but doesn't want to get involved with planning and organizing weekly meetings. I do not know why that is, but I do have a suspicion. I have asked him, and he's said "I'm lazy." He may say it, but his actions when needed prove otherwise.

 

Maybe they should be listening to their PL's instead.  SPL should be supporting the PL's not dictating to the troop.  Yes, the SPL "runs the troop" by making sure all the PL's are successful in their patrol method operations.

 

Agree, but the PLs are taking their lead from him. Plus at the moment, there is ZERO (emphasis) patrol spirit. The PLs are just following long.

 

Ever consider telling the other adults about boy led, patrol method policies of the BSA? 

And this is why the unit's boy led operation is not boy led, it's adult messed with at the minimum.

 

Trust me, I've talked, tried to persuade, and even argued about this. I'd say there are 3 factions within the leaders: Boy-Led Faction (me and 2 others, although 1 Scout and his dad/leader may be looking for a new troop as they have missed the last month's worth of meetings), Adult-Led (Gunship from the other discussion and 2 others who are new to Boy Scouts and still in Cub Mode IMHO), and the "Compromise" Faction of the SM and an ASM who are trying to mediate the two groups.

 

The problem is not your boys, the problem is your adults making up stupid rules and messing with boy led, patrol method scouting.

 

UNDERSTATEMENT IF I EVER HEARD ONE! (emphasis, ok maybe a little shouting in frustration with you ;)  )

 

Regarding rules, I admit I like the rules in place in my troop as I think they made sense. Anyone could be a PL, regardless of rank, experience, age etc. However SPL and ASPL did have some requirements: 1) First Class or higher rank and 2) Had to have been a PL.  First Class or higher made sense because they had the basics mastered so they could help out as needed. Having been a PL also made sense because how can you be expected to help a PL if you haven't had experience as a PL? And the ASPL had to have the same requirements as SPL because if the SPL stepped down, or didn't perform his duties, ASPL was automatically took over as SPL. I don't know who came up with them, the Scouts or SM, but we kept them as they made sense to us. 


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#6 qwazse

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Posted 27 July 2016 - 09:22 AM

@Eagle94-A1 You need to accept the fact that the adults don't share your vision ... and the fact that there is no branding authority that will enforce the patrol method on any body of adult leaders.

Politely point out to them in some after-action review when they squandered the boys' leadership opportunities. Let them know that you're there for them in spite of their cutting corners with the program.

When you see boys pulling off the littlest thing, be prepared with high praise ... fire-works even (depending on local ordinances).

 

We know you're gonna have lots of "two steps back." I am certainly having them in this merged troop. That's your baseline. Let us know when someone warms up to your way of doing things.
 

Good luck with the tests.


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#7 fred johnson

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Posted 27 July 2016 - 09:43 AM

@Eagle94-A1 ... Why are you coaching the SPL or assigning tasks to the SPL ?  That's the SM's job.  If the adults don't share the same vision, then more damage is done by having someone other than the SM guide and coach the SPL.  Maybe that's your role in your troop and everyone understands it.  But it seems confusing to me as that's explicitly the SM's job.  

 

FYI ... ASM job is not to provide additional, above and beyond, guidance to the scouts.  ASM job is to support the SM.  If your actions are not directed by or consistent with the SM, then don't do it. 

 

I've seen troops where the adults are not on the same page and multiple adults are trying to work their vision into the program by coaching the scouts themselves.  IMHO, it's better for those adults to sit on their hands or find a picnic table to play cribbage.  


Edited by fred johnson, 27 July 2016 - 09:46 AM.

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#8 Hedgehog

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Posted 27 July 2016 - 09:47 AM

Trust me, I've talked, tried to persuade, and even argued about this. I'd say there are 3 factions within the leaders: Boy-Led Faction (me and 2 others, although 1 Scout and his dad/leader may be looking for a new troop as they have missed the last month's worth of meetings), Adult-Led (Gunship from the other discussion and 2 others who are new to Boy Scouts and still in Cub Mode IMHO), and the "Compromise" Faction of the SM and an ASM who are trying to mediate the two groups.

 

You will not suceed by merely coaching the boys because an interfering adult will always take charge over a well prepared boy. I think that it is time for the adults to sit down at a table and reach a common vision.  

 

Start the discussion by asking if we want the troop to be boy-led.  Hopefully there is some agreement.  Then use this chart and ask where everyone thinks your troop is on the continuum:

 

http://scoutmastercg...ip-infographic/

 

From what you said, probably between a 5 and a 6.  Recognize that everyone is trying to make the Troop succeed but acknowledge that everyone's efforts are counteracting everyone else's efforts.  Get a commitment to make the troop more boy-led.  Then ask what the adults can do to make the troop more boy-led.  

 

The key here is, as your signature says, to train them, trust them and let them lead.  Work with Gunship to develop a leader training program for the boys.  I"m working on one currently and would be glad to share when it is done.  This puts Gunship in a beautiful dilema - if adults have to intervene then it is a result of his failure to train them.  It allows him to focus his energy on training and gives him a stake in having the boys suceed.  It also addresses what appears to be his concern that the boys won't do it right.  If the boys are trained and know what they are doing, there is no need for the adults to interfere.  The second step is to trust them.  This may need some work.  There is nothing wrong with the SPL and PLs sitting down well before a meeting and talking to the adults about their plans and the adults helping them fine tune the plans.  This gives the boys guidance and help in developing the planning skill and gives adults like Gunship a sense that the boys are prepared.  This process bulds up trust.  Finally, the group has to agree to tolerate a little chaos and some failures because order can only come out of chaos and learning often best comes from failures.  Also, that can be addressed in after action reviews.  

 

My analogy is that you have a rookie football team.  The adults are the coaches on the sidelines.  The Quarterback (SPL) is allowed to work with the coach ahead of the game, talk to the coach during the game and review the films after the game.  However, the coach can't go in and play quarterback.  In the beginning, the coach will call the plays.  Then, as the team matures, the coach and the QB discuss what plays to call.  Eventually, the QB will call the plays.  

 

Finally, have everyone make a commitment to work with the others to see where they can be more boy-led.  It really helps if all the adults keep the others honest.  Often adults in favor of boy-led feel they can make exceptions (I"m really pushing boy-led but in this instance I really had to say something because I really know what I'm doing).  A simple "maybe you could have asked the PL what his solution would be before suggesting yours" works.


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#9 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 27 July 2016 - 10:56 AM

@fred johnson

 

Part of the challenge is that the SM is not doing what he is suppose to do. Not trying to blame him, but his age and physical condition are factors involved. Hopefully he will be retiring soon as he has left a gap so to speak.  The "Heir Apparent" has challenges too, mostly job related, and I've been asked to help the SPLs out. So I have been directed to help out.

 

The challenge is there IS (emphasis) not only a lack of unified vision, but also when the SM does give all of us ASMs our marching orders (happened twice to date) the very next meeting or two everything changes not only without any input from the Scouts, but also from the adults as a whole. Best example was when the PLC came up with a  plan to deal with the NSP problem, and the SM gave us our marching orders based upon that PLC. Two weeks later, everything changes, new marching orders come about, and their was no input from the Scouts, or all of the leaders as a whole. It was an instance where a leaders' meeting was called at the last minute when none of the Boy-Led faction above were able to attend. That change really ticked off the majority of the Scouts in the troop. Funny thing is, since that meeting, NONE (emphasis) of the marching orders were really followed through except the older Scouts going on the AT.

 

@Hedgehog,

 

I'd say 6.5 to 7. We are that bad IMHO. Challenge is that the Scout have been trained, and some have had teaching opportunities that did very well in. The Scout who was suppose to run and teach this week helped me teach First Aid 2 years ago. The Adult-led faction above  want to put adult expectations in order to teach and lead, yet the only way for the Scouts to get the experience is to let them do it, fail if need be, and learn from it. Adult led wants to treat everyone like new Scouts until they prove they have the skills, and then they might teach them. Giant catch that is going to destroy the troop.

 

I'm going to do my best to keep from getting frustrated. While I care about all of the Scouts in the troop, #1 priority is my son. We've talked,  and he wants to give it to the end of the year in order to if things improve. We'll see.


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#10 fred johnson

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Posted 27 July 2016 - 12:26 PM

@Eagle94-A1 ... You're description says your view is the ASMs and troop is setup to fail.  

 

IMHO, I'd recommend de-scoping expectations and look for smaller successes.  Perhaps, the success was getting the scouts out on the AT, hiking and stretching the limits and capabilities.  As things improve, you can introduce the next thing.  

 

IMHO, knowing the end vision is great.  Knowing how it's to work is great.  ... but when it comes to reality ... troops need to continually re-adjust to the mix of scouts and adults ... and continually look for the next way to improve.   Don't sweat the troop is not perfect.  Just always look for what can we do better.  And, have fun.  


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#11 Stosh

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Posted 27 July 2016 - 12:59 PM

Lot of good insights given on this issue.  Just a couple more from my POV.

 

The SPL does not need to be a prior PL himself.  In my troop the PL is the highest ranking officer.  Patrol method is systematically followed.  PLC is non-existant (we are too small for a PLC/SPL setup).

 

But there was a time when my former troop increased to 5 patrols and an SPL/PLC became somewhat of a necessity.  None of the PL's wanted to give up their top spots in the patrol method setup so they tried to figure out who's the best candidate.  To the chagrin of one of the PL's his APL was selected.  The boy was top notch in making his PL look good and worked with him to make sure things in the patrol went smoothly.  He had never served at a PL, he was only 2nd class, but he really knew his stuff about helping the PL be successful.  According to about 95% of the adult rules imposed on the SPL position this kid was no where near in the running.  The PL's picked him anyway and he turned out to be really qualified (servant leader) SPL.  He didn't lead the PLC, he refereed the other PL's and worked hard at working with the SM to make sure the patrols got what they wanted/needed for their members.

 

I personally would never have chosen him for the first SPL the troop had had in the past 5 years, but as it turned out I'm glad I wasn't making the decision. 

 

So, did he come prepared to run any meeting each week?  No, that's the PL's job.  What did he do 90% of the time?  Listened to what the PL's needed and then would work with the adults to make it happen.  He championed the PL's to get to do the things they wanted to so.  The other 5% of the time he called the opening and closing flag ceremonies, Emcee'd the COH's and signed off advancement for the PL's.  Was he busy?  Not really.  He wasn't wasting his time with a bunch of paperwork, meeting agendas, and a whole lot of other useless busy work. 


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#12 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 28 July 2016 - 06:52 AM

IMHO, knowing the end vision is great.  Knowing how it's to work is great.  ... but when it comes to reality ... troops need to continually re-adjust to the mix of scouts and adults ... and continually look for the next way to improve.   Don't sweat the troop is not perfect.  Just always look for what can we do better.  And, have fun.  

 

That is what is getting not only me, but also the older Scouts frustrated: we are not improving, but regressing. And as a result, with the exception of one or two activities, the Scouts are not having fun. And I fear we are going to lose them.


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#13 fred johnson

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Posted 28 July 2016 - 08:20 AM

That is what is getting not only me, but also the older Scouts frustrated: we are not improving, but regressing. And as a result, with the exception of one or two activities, the Scouts are not having fun. And I fear we are going to lose them.

 

Sounds less of an issue of how to train scouts and more of worn-out leaders that need to move on and let the next generation run it.


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#14 David CO

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Posted 28 July 2016 - 09:34 AM

Do I understand you correctly? The unit was given their "marching orders" and they failed to comply?

Did you comply? Did your son comply?

Edited by David CO, 28 July 2016 - 09:37 AM.

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#15 TAHAWK

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Posted 28 July 2016 - 11:28 AM

"What is important for us [as adults in Scouting]  is:

 

      NOT the food on the campout, but that the boys cooked it.

 

NOT a sharp-looking flag ceremony, but that the boys put it together and led it.

 

      NOT that Johnny learns first aid, but that Billy teaches him.

 

NOT that we cover everything on the meeting agenda, but that the Senior Patrol Leader is in charge.

 

That is how they learn—even from disorganization and failure.

 

     The role of the adults is not the destination, but  the journey. 

 

     That is, our responsibility as adults is to promote the 'process' of Scouting.

 

     Adults understand that their role is to create a safe place where boys can learn and grow and   

     explore and play and take on responsibilities—and fail, and get up and try again.

 

     If you were involved with Cub Scouting, this is a very different role that can take some time getting   

     used to."


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#16 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 28 July 2016 - 12:46 PM

Do I understand you correctly? The unit was given their "marching orders" and they failed to comply?

Did you comply? Did your son comply?

 

Unit was not given marching orders, the adults were. Adults were suppose to have specific responsibilities, basically be "patrol counselors" for their assigned patrol which did not include their own son, except for the venture patrol ASM. However my responsibility is to work with the SPL and ASPL when the lead ASM cannot, and to back up the assigned patrol counselors if they are not in attendance, inlcuding my son's patrol, if needed.. The challenge is that there have been NO (emphasis) opportunities for the patrols to work together as a patrol, with the exception of the venture patrol we have. Only reason they are "clicking" is that they are actually doing stuff as a patrol, although not the entire patrol. A few of their members are having some real issues with the troop, as well as family.

 

By failing to comply, because activities have been a hodgepodge, leaders are working with whomever shows up as there hasn't been any camp outs utilizing the patrol method. So instead of leaders working with everyone, including their own sons, and that has caused some issues in the past.

 

As for me, yes I'm complying, but it is frustrating to see when others are not. As for son, he's one of the junior leaders in the troop, so he is one of the troop officers under the SPL.

 

 

     If you were involved with Cub Scouting, this is a very different role that can take some time getting   

     used to."

 

That's the problem, the folks in the adult led faction, even if they should know better, have only been out of Cub Scouts 18 months tops and are in Cub mode. Issues with our NSP have not helped matters.


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#17 Hedgehog

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Posted 29 July 2016 - 03:05 PM

Unit was not given marching orders, the adults were. Adults were suppose to have specific responsibilities, basically be "patrol counselors" for their assigned patrol which did not include their own son, except for the venture patrol ASM. However my responsibility is to work with the SPL and ASPL when the lead ASM cannot, and to back up the assigned patrol counselors if they are not in attendance, inlcuding my son's patrol, if needed.


This is the problem. How does a patrol counselor differ from a patrol leader? It is an invitation to interfere. This is one of my pet issues with our Troop. The adults sitting in on the patrol meetings get too involved because they feel it is necessary to get the right result (I've been in that situation) not recognizing that as @Stosh says the right result is the ones the boys come up with.

Get a big banner for your next meeting that says "Never do Anything a Boy Can Do for Themselves - And That is Pretty Much Everything."
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#18 Stosh

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Posted 29 July 2016 - 03:09 PM

This is why I always say my PL's are the highest ranking officers in the troop.  From the SPL on down to the SM and ASM's, they are there to support when asked.  Otherwise, when things go amok, the adult will always get blamed first and no adult wants to be in that position.  This is a program of success/fail on the part of the boys, not the adults. 

 

Coffee time.


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#19 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 29 July 2016 - 08:42 PM

Get a big banner for your next meeting that says "Never do Anything a Boy Can Do for Themselves - And That is Pretty Much Everything."

 

That or put up a banner saying "Coffee, donuts,  and card games for leaders in XYZ room"

 

Seriously though

This is the problem. How does a patrol counselor differ from a patrol leader? It is an invitation to interfere. This is one of my pet issues with our Troop. The adults sitting in on the patrol meetings get too involved because they feel it is necessary to get the right result (I've been in that situation) not recognizing that as @Stosh says the right result is the ones the boys come up with.

 

That is the problem. We got leaders acting like den leaders and not Boy Scout leaders.

 

 

Otherwise, when things go amok, the adult will always get blamed first and no adult wants to be in that position.  This is a program of success/fail on the part of the boys, not the adults. 

 

And what the adults do not understand is that there interference is making matters worse.

 

On a different note, SM put me in charge of this meeting coming up. I've already talked to the SPL and one of the older Scouts to run it. I plan on being the SSD and SA guy. :)


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#20 Hedgehog

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Posted 30 July 2016 - 05:26 AM

One thing that I've found is that the language we use both reflects our perspective and informs our actions.  So some suggestions:

 

 

That or put up a banner saying "Coffee, donuts,  and card games for leaders Adults in XYZ room"

 

Seriously though

 

That is the problem. We got leaders Adults acting like den leaders and not Boy Scout leaders.Assistant Scoutmasters

 

 

And what the adults do not understand is that there interference is making matters worse.

 

On a different note, SM put me in charge of asked me to coach the SPL for this meeting coming up. I've already talked to the SPL and one of the older Scouts to run it. and told them they are in charge.

 

The subtle differences in language are part of the paradim shift.  A gentle correction to someone else's language (or even correcting your own in front of them) is a gentle reminder of the way the program works.  I know what you mean and how you are operating, but being aware of what we say helps keep other in line.  So when the SM says "you're in charge of the meeting and get the SPL on board" your response is "I will.  I'll talk to the SPL and tell him he is in charge and be there if he needs any assistance."  Rather than telling the SPL that "this is what we are going to do" ask the SPL "what do you think we should do?"  

 

Also, can you start doing an ASM's minute at the end of every meeting?  That is a great way to talk to the adults in the guise of talking to the youth.  I'm sure the adults in the Troop would think it is a good idea (hey, an adult stepping up and teaching the kids).  You first one could be on failure with the theme being how we learn from failures but that the biggest failure is not trying.  The second one could be on learning by doing.  The thrid one being on leadership.  

 

What is the role of the PLC in the troop?  When I joined our Troop, the Committee planned the outdoor program.  Ugh.  With the new SM's approval we started asking the PLC about their ideas.  Three years later, we are having one member of the PLC do the research and planning for each activity.  In other areas, having the PLC decide something pre-empted the adults from stepping in.  

 

Also, it sometimes helps to have the boy-led faction adults take charge of activities (like you are at the next meeting) and then turn control over to the boys.  With our outdoor program, the adults used to announce the outings and collect the permission slips, etc.  When I took over the program, I had the SPL make the announcement.  After a while, the SPL collected the permission slips.  Because it was my "job" in the eyes of the adults, no other adult would step in to take authority away from the boys because that would be stepping on my toes.

 

Along the same lines, having an agreed upon command communication structure in place helps.  I know, this sounds very adult led, but it actually acts as a defense against adult interference.  Communication issues go from scouts, to PLs to SPL to SM (or ASM in charge) OR from ASM to SM (or ASM in charge) to SPL to PL to scouts in patrols.  That is, the SM (or ASM in charge) is the only one who talks to a boy and that boy is the SPL.  This has help me maintain boy-led in the outdoors because it prevents the ASMs and other adults from interfering.

 

I plan on being the SSD and SA guy. :)

 

 

????  Solid state drive?   Also, I can't include the top Google result when I type in "SA."  I need some help on the acronyms.


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