Jump to content



Photo
- - - - -

Struggling to stay in Scouts


  • Please log in to reply
72 replies to this topic

#41 Stosh

Stosh

    BSA Heretic

  • Members
  • 12207 posts

Posted 11 September 2016 - 03:48 PM

They have mixed age patrols, but he does have one friend from his cub den in his patrol. They haven't been specifically excluded per se, but I think most of the trips and activities have been skewed towards the older boys.

 

The transition is tough enough without having  to do the "sink or swim" method of learning.


  • 0

Stosh

 

There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#42 SSScout

SSScout

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 4012 posts

Posted 17 September 2016 - 02:57 PM

One big point is being missed in all the previous.  

Boys join Scouts on reputation.  

What are Scouts known for?  What does the boy expect?  And what is delivered?

If the Troop culture is "get up and get going", older Scouts doing their thing,  high adventure stuff, don't let these "kiddies" hold us back,  yeah, the younger Scouts are going to be disappointed and drop out.  They have, indeed , been left behind, sold a bill of goods, not had the reputation fulfilled.

 

If the Troop culture is one of " here, let me show you how to do", "here, share my adventure,  I understand you might not be able to hike 10  miles in one shot, I will wait for you.", " Scouting is worth while, let me help you up this rock".  then, that young Scout will have the inclination to stick around.  

 

Go back to the previous post that mentioned the Scout Leader acting as the "older brother" to the younger Scout.  Repeat that .

If the culture is one of "Keep up or Drop out", yeah, some will stick it, but not those that need to stay .

 

How to convince the Adult Leaders (could we invent a better term for the Boy Scout Troop Adult? Maybe Advocate? I dunknow...) to counsel their Scouts to BE that BIG BROTHER to the younger Scouts.... 

Attached File  IMG_28071.JPG   148.44KB   0 downloads


Edited by SSScout, 17 September 2016 - 03:07 PM.

  • 1

#43 TAHAWK

TAHAWK

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 2863 posts

Posted 17 September 2016 - 05:07 PM

If a boy has a friend in a troop, he likely joins to have fun with his friend, no?


  • 1

#44 Hedgehog

Hedgehog

    Erinaceomorpha Erinaceidae Member

  • Members
  • 684 posts

Posted 18 September 2016 - 06:17 AM

Jumping back in to answer a few questions. My son was 10 and 7 months when he crossed, they did Webelos and Arrow of Light in one year, so technically he was eligible. Also, there are no hard age restrictions for the events, but many of the physical activities (similar to those described by Hedgehog) are out of his capability or interest. If it wasn't for his friend in the patrol, I'd consider quitting and trying again when he's 13 or so.

 

To those of you out there with agressive, physical, athletic boys, it's not the same for the less mature, quiet, non-athletic boys. I'm sure some may be tempted to chalk this up to parenting but that's just not the case. I've put him in sports since he was 3 and the other kids just run circles around him. He technically doesn't have a disability, but he's been in physical therapy in school to help build his muscle tone. I don't see him doing a 50-mile anything for a couple years at least. We loved Cub Scouts, like I said before, but the transition has been sudden and hard, and it's just not working right now. And yeah, I'd really like to see a separate transition program for kids between Cubs and Scouts, or at least for the BSA to stop the early crossovers.
 

 

 

My son was the same age - August Birthday, 5th Grade and March crossover.  I wouldn't have put him down then as the atheletic type.  He did summer camp and struggled through the 5 mile hike.  That summer we did some hiking and kayaking while on vacation in Maine.  The one trail was a 1,000 foot assent over less than a mile, including rock scrambles.  Going up was hard, going back down was worse.  We did a 7 mile (each way) backpacking trek with his best friend.  He was on the verge of tears several time on the way in.  I told him that Scouts couldn't be more difficult than what we did that summer.  I was wrong - at least for one 6 mile hike across boulder fields, up steep mountains, across ridges where you had to scramble from boulder to boulder and up rock walls that you had to climb carefully.  I could see the exhaustion, the fear and the challenge taking its toll.  I was there with him (and the other guys in from his den).  When he finished the hike and reached the top, I was able to see the sense of accomplishment and to hear it in his three words, "I did it."  Fast forward three years, at 14 he is the most accomplished hiker, camper, backpacker, etc. in the troop.  He had to push his limits to realize what he can accomplish.

 

Would the transition have been easier if his Webelos 2 experience included more hiking and camping -- yes.  However, I think the solution is that the boys and the adults in the Troop need to design the program to accomodate the new guys.  Last year, our first three outings after the guys crossed over were an orienteering camp out (with an afternoon hike or mountain bike ride), a horseback riding campout (with a 1 hour guided trail ride followed by a hike)) and a day trip boating on a lake.  We had our new guys join us on those activities.  We do short hikes on every campout ad sometimes just hike on weekends.  Even our backpacking trips usually have a second option to join the group on Saturday and do a shorter hike.  

 

It is about Troop culture.

 

At summer camp, I got reports from the PLs about who was homesick or having problems.  I asked them if I needed to do anything and their answer was, "no, I think they were OK after I talked to them and helped them...."  @Stosh 's rule #1 - Take Care of Your Boys

 

So on a hike at the end of the last school year, one of the new guys was lagging behind.  My son and I noticed at the same time.  He turned to me and said, "I got this, Dad."  Three minutes later, the new guy is holding my son's hiking staff, talking to my son and unknowingly picking up his pace to catch up to the group.  A servant leader's job is to make sure the group succeeds, every member of the group.


Edited by Hedgehog, 18 September 2016 - 06:20 AM.

  • 0

#45 Phrogger

Phrogger

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • 27 posts

Posted 21 September 2016 - 05:50 AM

My son was the same age - August Birthday, 5th Grade and March crossover.

Technically mine crossed in 4th grade, May. This year he is a full Boy Scout in 5th grade. I'm encouraged by your son's success story. But did he like Scouts? Did he ask to quit? That's my scenario right now. I'm trying to gauge how hard to push. Scouting just doesn't seem fun for him anymore. I understand the value of the program. But if the boy isn't having fun, where is the motivation to stay?


  • 0

#46 qwazse

qwazse

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 6613 posts

Posted 21 September 2016 - 08:22 AM

Technically mine crossed in 4th grade, May. This year he is a full Boy Scout in 5th grade....

I'm not sure why everyone is still missing this, but the boy was simply too young to enjoy most of this troop's activities.

He was at least a year younger than every boy mentioned in every anecdote about young scouts adapting to the troop.

Every scout who I've met who crossed over this young eventually took a substantial break from the program. So, @Phrogger is making that break early gently rather than later roughly. Sounds as good an idea as any.

 

Also (and this is not faulting his folks, they didn't know better), he was being pushed at home to do advancement. In our troop we ASM's don't start nudging kids to move up the next rank until after they come back from summer camp. IMHO, no parent should ever push any scout (boy or girl) to advance at all. Make sure the scout has the gear he/she needs? Yes. Try an activity that he/she has learned? Yes. Help them fund-raise? Sure. Teach them to sew on their own patches? Definitely. Keep them organized and help them fill out their own med form? Good idea. Let the SM know if there's a problem? Yep. Pressure/nag/or sometimes even politely ask about advancement? Not a parent's job description.

 

Now, once their 17 and Life and say they could use a little nudge, things change a little. But that's because by then a boy should have learned that parents are his partners, not his boss.


  • 0

#47 Hedgehog

Hedgehog

    Erinaceomorpha Erinaceidae Member

  • Members
  • 684 posts

Posted 21 September 2016 - 04:28 PM

Technically mine crossed in 4th grade, May. This year he is a full Boy Scout in 5th grade. I'm encouraged by your son's success story. But did he like Scouts? Did he ask to quit? That's my scenario right now. I'm trying to gauge how hard to push. Scouting just doesn't seem fun for him anymore. I understand the value of the program. But if the boy isn't having fun, where is the motivation to stay?

 

 

Grade level does matter.  I can see a huge difference between even 10th and 11th graders.

 

My son did like scouts, because it was a chance to hang out with his buddies.  Six guys from his Cub Scout Den crossed over with him.  His best friend was there with him and that made a huge difference (they are still best friends, still go on the same campouts and both were founders of our Venturing Crew).  

 

Ask your son what he likes about scouting and what he doesn't like.  My impression was that he felt excluded from the Troop because of the outings.  If that is the case, talk to the Scoutmaster and offer to help plan outings that the whole Troop can enjoy.  I find that Troops need a variety of Assistant Scoutmasters, including one who worries about the transition for the new scouts.  Many Troops are so focused on the older scouts, they forget the younger ones.

 

There was a moment of change in our troop around 10 years ago.  The older scouts remembered what it was like to be the new scout, to be ordered around, to be sent to camp in the other side of the campsite away from the older boys  The boys decided to change the culture and have mixed-age patrols where the older guys looked out for and mentored the younger guys.  The troop has tripled in size since then.  If you son does stick with it, maybe one day he will be the one to change the troop.

 

Good luck.


  • 0

#48 minn

minn

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • 3 posts

Posted 21 September 2016 - 06:52 PM

If a boy has a friend in a troop, he likely joins to have fun with his friend, no?

 

 

Alternatively, in some cases, boys may choose a troop to leave some of the personalities of their old den behind.  I definitely see both possibilities.


  • 0

#49 TAHAWK

TAHAWK

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 2863 posts

Posted 21 September 2016 - 06:55 PM

One can seek new or additional friends?


  • 0

#50 Phrogger

Phrogger

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • 27 posts

Posted 11 May 2017 - 03:20 PM

Here we are a few months later. Recap: my son crossed over a year early and this is his 5th grade year. Although he's been in scouts since Wolf he's struggled to adjust to the changes from Cubs to Scouts.  He isn't very athletic and has trouble doing many of the outdoor activities that the troop does. I've not made him do any of the overnight camping since he doesn't want to do it, and I'm afraid of turning him off of scouts permanently. In addition, he has no idea how to set up a tent or what gear to pack or how to do any of the camping basics and I don't know who is supposed to be in charge of teaching that. He says the older kids don't treat him well, and although he socializes with a few of the kids he doesn't really like them. Recently at a Camporee he complained that none of the kids were showing him how to do things, and additionally they ran out of food and he only got one taco for dinner. He fights him every time I tell him to get ready for a meeting. I'm becoming tired of just making him go through the motions. Here's my next dilemma: I've already paid the $300 for summer camp (we had to put the deposit down months ago). Should I bite the bullet and let him quit now, or send him to camp and "hope" he has a good experience? Should I try a different troop where he doesn't know anybody? I just don't see this lasting unless he finds appeal in at least one activity, or makes some friends somehow.


  • 0

#51 qwazse

qwazse

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 6613 posts

Posted 11 May 2017 - 03:56 PM

Thanks for the update. Even if it's a little rough.

 

If he doesn't have any friends among this year's cross-overs, I would suggest a new troop. Maybe one who goes to the same camp, but later in the summer. But it sounds like your boy may have a bad case of wherever-you-go-there-you-are. So there's no guarantee you'll recoup that $300. Just make sure he pays you back if he bails. ;)

 

You might need to work with him father-son style to enjoy the camping stuff. Ask him, "Do you really want to learn to pitch the troop tents? Ask the QM if you can check one out, and you and I will learn together this weekend."

 

Likewise with the food thing. "Would you like to be better prepared the next time you get a smaller plate? What dried snacks would you like to pack as a 'plan b'? Maybe we could try some different kinds of noodles or jerky together."

 

"Which scout do you like the most (hate the least)? Maybe we can invite him to come fishing/to a movie with us."

 

And down the list of 1st class skills you go. Teach him how to crack open that handbook, do what it says, and see how it works out.

 

This may sound like breaking the patrol method. But right now, his real patrol is his family. Give him some practice leading there and see where you wind up.


  • 0

#52 TAHAWK

TAHAWK

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 2863 posts

Posted 11 May 2017 - 03:59 PM

It is harder than is has to be if Scouting methods are not being used.

 

The mixed-age patrol only works when the Patrol Leader has been trained properly that his job is to be sure all the members are having fun in the troop and in the patrol's separate activities.  As noted, "Servant Leadership" is a way to label the Patrol Leader looking out for the needs of of his patrol members first.  When I was a Scout, it was "Take care of your patrol."

 

Now if this troop used age-based patrols, there would be a patrol of Scouts whose Patrol Leader would represent the youngins' at the PLC when program is being planned for the troop and, more importantly, would lead them in planning their own patrol activities that suit their interests, like a hike in the woods.  In a mixed-age patrol, the Patrol Leader has the more complex job of insuring that everyone's needs are being considered where age spread creates more diverse interests and abilities.  But even in an age-based patrol, interests vary.

 

Phrogger, you haven't mentioned any separate patrol activities, yet the Scouts are supposed to spend most of their time functioning as a patrol.

 

"[Patrols are] small groups of Scouts who camp together, cook together, play together, and learn together."  "[The patrol members] interact in a small group outside the larger troop context, working together as a team and sharing the responsibility of making their patrol a success."

 

"Scouting happens in the context of a patrol."

 

"[The patrol is] the place where boys learn skills together [and] take on leadership responsibilities...."

 

"Patrols will sometimes join with other patrols to learn skills and complete advancement requirements."

 

And every single patrol member is supposed to be assigned a job that best suits his abilities and interests.  That's part of the Patrol Leader's responsibility So it's a team - everyone playing a "position."  He could perhaps be the geocaching coach for the patrol if he is really into that.  Or the Game Leader who researches new games that interest the patrol members - more challenging with a mixed-age patrol but not by any means impossible.

 

Who is responsible for training the Patrol Leaders?  Primarily that's the Scoutmaster's job, and it is his most important job after insuring that Scouting is a safe place.

 

Phrogger
  • 0

#53 Col. Flagg

Col. Flagg

    Robert E. Lee - Patriot

  • Members
  • 1348 posts

Posted 11 May 2017 - 04:44 PM

Should I try a different troop where he doesn't know anybody? I just don't see this lasting unless he finds appeal in at least one activity, or makes some friends somehow.

 

Kids stay in Scout because they have fun and are with friends. If you are noting doing either, it makes it very tough. If the troop is not training him as a first year Scout, then that's no good either. 

 

Does he have any friends in other troops?


  • 2

#54 Stosh

Stosh

    BSA Heretic

  • Members
  • 12207 posts

Posted 11 May 2017 - 04:49 PM

Phrogger

 

Although I get hassled on the forum for my stance on this, what you are describing with the mixed patrols is exactly why I don't like that process.  If a big activity is planned the new guys get left out instead of planning their own activities.  All the left over new guys sit around waiting for the big boys to go have fun.  Well, why are the new guys sitting around doing nothing when they can form their own patrol and go off and do their own thing at a level they are capable of?

 

Why don't troops do this?  I think it's because it is far more difficult to control by the adults.  For heaven's sake, one can't keep control of things if all the patrols are going in a hundred different directions all at once because that's what they decide to do???

 

Patrol activity?  New guys want to go for a hike, the middle aged group wants to go biking and the older boys want to backpack.  They all plan the same weekend!  SM goes with a parent to backpacking trek.  An ASM with another parent goes biking, and a second ASM with a parent goes on a hike.  3 registered adults.  Seriously, we aren't talking hurding cats here, there are 6-8 boys and if two adults and a PL can't handle that, there's something seriously wrong with the troop.

 

As TAHAWK has stated, if there's a mixed patrol and the PL can't handle the diversity of interest so that everyone is taken care of, then change the format so that he can.  The SPL needs to be taking care of his PL, too.

 

It sounds as if this is not a troop that is as boy-led as they would think it is.

 

The nice thing about this whole mess is that with the early cross-over (which I am totally against in the first place) your son hasn't lost time to enjoy scouts.  Go shopping, take your son, and if he wants to invite his buddies, that's fine too.  He may not be the only one feeling this way.  I find boys discuss these things among themselves all the time.  I would be surprised if this conversation you are having with your son hasn't been hashed about with his friends first.

 

So, your son and five of his buddies show up at a new troop and "negotiate".  We will join if you provide a skilled PL and TG to get us going with a new patrol of just us boys.  Whadda ya think?  A good boy-led troop would jump at this in a heartbeat.  It shows your son is taking the initiative and is taking care of his boys.  Step #1 in solid leadership.  That might be a discussion he needs from you.  Just sayin'.


Edited by Stosh, 11 May 2017 - 04:56 PM.

  • 2

Stosh

 

There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#55 Phrogger

Phrogger

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • 27 posts

Posted 11 May 2017 - 05:28 PM

Stosh and Tahawk, you make good points about mixed-age patrols. At first I thought that would be a good thing but now I feel less so. Here's the other thing about mixed-age patrols I don't like. Older boys talk about things that younger kids shouldn't hear. My son says one boy in his patrol swears a lot for example and his dad is an ASM. But I digress- that's one for the patrol discussion.

 

This Troop operates as one big group. The patrols meet once a month but that usually involves eating at Wendy's for half an hour before the Troop meeting. One boy was supposed to be leading but I saw no real "meeting" of any kind. (Last time there wasn't enough room at the big table for my son so he sat by himself. I sat across the room and watched this.) In the time he's been in the Troop (since May 2016), they have had only one patrol activity, a trip to a trampoline park, and he was out of town for a family event and could not attend. Most of the time at the Troop meetings he finds the other kids his age and only separates into the patrols for the beginning and ending ceremony. Since I have no idea how the troop is supposed to function, I didn't think anything of it. But the way you describe the patrol method they are doing something wrong.

 

I have considered joining the Troop Committee but I'm not sure it would help. (Work has made it difficult for me this year but my schedule is going to lighten up soon). Maybe it's time for a new troop.


Edited by Phrogger, 11 May 2017 - 05:38 PM.

  • 0

#56 Stosh

Stosh

    BSA Heretic

  • Members
  • 12207 posts

Posted 11 May 2017 - 05:46 PM

Stosh and Tahawk, you make good points about mixed-age patrols. At first I thought that would be a good thing but now I feel less so. Here's the other thing about mixed-age patrols I don't like. Older boys talk about things that younger kids shouldn't hear. My son says one boy in his patrol swears a lot for example and his dad is an ASM. But I digress- that's one for the patrol discussion.

 

This Troop operates as one big group. The patrols meet once a month but that usually involves eating at Wendy's for half an hour before the Troop meeting. One boy was supposed to be leading but I saw no real "meeting" of any kind. (Last time there wasn't enough room at the big table for my son so he sat by himself. I sat across the room and watched this.) In the time he's been in the Troop (since May 2016), they have had only one patrol activity, a trip to a trampoline park, and he was out of town for a family event and could not attend. Most of the time at the Troop meetings he finds the other kids his age and only separates into the patrols for the beginning and ending ceremony. Since I have no idea how the troop is supposed to function, I didn't think anything of it. But the way you describe the patrol method they are doing something wrong.

 

I have considered joining the Troop Committee but I'm not sure it would help. (Work has made it difficult for me this year but my schedule is going to lighten up soon). Maybe it's time for a new troop.

 

Phrogger

 

You've been snookered.  This is not a Boy Scout Troop, they are not using the Patrol Method other than in name only.  Joining the committee will only agitate you and will do nothing for the son.  Start shopping.  What you described is exactly why I as ASM with no son in the troop any longer moved on to another troop.  After 13 years of banging my head against the wall,  I had had enough.

 

I would drive 40 miles round trip to be part of a different troop and it was well worth the extra gas.


  • 1

Stosh

 

There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#57 Back Pack

Back Pack

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 543 posts

Posted 11 May 2017 - 07:39 PM

Of course, if the boys were doing what they're supposed to do, like in my mixed age patrol troop, the new kids would be welcomed and learning. Don't throw out the model just because some people don't know how to implement it.
  • 0

#58 TAHAWK

TAHAWK

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 2863 posts

Posted 11 May 2017 - 09:08 PM

My old troop consistently (25 years) welcomed the new kids.  The leadership bought into the notion that they were the future of the troop and needed to be encouraged and nurtured.  The older Scouts taught the younger and it was thee troop culture - what was done habitually.  Exceptions were noted by all the leadership and the adults and were addressed.  Much harder to get that going if the culture is as described in the OP.


  • 0

#59 perdidochas

perdidochas

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 2189 posts

Posted 12 May 2017 - 10:07 AM

Here we are a few months later. Recap: my son crossed over a year early and this is his 5th grade year. Although he's been in scouts since Wolf he's struggled to adjust to the changes from Cubs to Scouts.  He isn't very athletic and has trouble doing many of the outdoor activities that the troop does. I've not made him do any of the overnight camping since he doesn't want to do it, and I'm afraid of turning him off of scouts permanently. In addition, he has no idea how to set up a tent or what gear to pack or how to do any of the camping basics and I don't know who is supposed to be in charge of teaching that. He says the older kids don't treat him well, and although he socializes with a few of the kids he doesn't really like them. Recently at a Camporee he complained that none of the kids were showing him how to do things, and additionally they ran out of food and he only got one taco for dinner. He fights him every time I tell him to get ready for a meeting. I'm becoming tired of just making him go through the motions. Here's my next dilemma: I've already paid the $300 for summer camp (we had to put the deposit down months ago). Should I bite the bullet and let him quit now, or send him to camp and "hope" he has a good experience? Should I try a different troop where he doesn't know anybody? I just don't see this lasting unless he finds appeal in at least one activity, or makes some friends somehow.

This isn't a good troop, if what you are saying is accurate (and not just the warped perception that 11 year old boys sometimes have).  If he really doesn't like the other boys, find a different troop. The older boys should be teaching him how to set up a tent, and what he needs to bring on a campout. Go ahead and send him to camp.  Most of that time is spent not in his troop.  Try a different Troop after summer camp. Visit a few, and watch how the older boys and younger boys interact. If the older boys aren't helping/guiding/teaching the younger boys out, look at a different troop.  


  • 2

#60 Stosh

Stosh

    BSA Heretic

  • Members
  • 12207 posts

Posted 12 May 2017 - 11:47 AM

Dedicated, trained, and functional TG, Instructor, PL, are all POR's that are necessary for implementing a successful NSP.  Mixed aged patrols are hit or miss unless there is someone dedicated to TG, Instructors and experienced/dedicated PL's.  The NSP doesn't need these resources WITHIN the patrol to be successful,  An assigned TG will give his full attention to the NSP because he is NOT part of another patrol.  The Instructors can be an older patrol member, but focuses his instruction temporarily on each activity for the new guys.  A very experienced PL in the NSP will make a world of difference if he is focused on them rather than filling a hole waiting for the older patrols to invite him someplace else for an activity. 

 

The #1 reason NSP's are not functional and successful is because it takes older boys, focused and functionally serving their POR to make it happen.

 

It can work, but most units rely on mixed patrols and somehow over the course of time, the new guys somehow through osmosis pick up what's necessary to be successful or drop out waiting for some future opportunity.  At that age, day after tomorrow is far off in the future.  They are boys that are focused on scouting NOW.  Be Prepared to address it timely.


  • 0

Stosh

 

There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


IPB Skin By Virteq