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Struggling to stay in Scouts


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#61 Phrogger

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 02:23 PM

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).

I wish it was just his perception. I've watched this dysfunction myself. As of now I'm taking the advice and sending him to camp, then shopping for troops afterwards. Can't hurt to look. If we aren't doing better after joining a new troop I'll consider letting him quit. Thanks everyone.


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#62 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 06:16 PM

This is not a troop. Shop around. Even if you have to drive. While my mom didn't have to drive 40 miles RT, she did have a drive to take me to Scouts. Thankfully there was a K Mart down the street, and she'd go shopping after dropping me off.  One of our ASMs drives 60 miles RT so his son can be with my troop. That doesn include another 10-20 miles for him to get home.


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#63 Phrogger

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 07:51 PM

Any tips on how to spot a good one? I don't feel like you get to know much by just attending one meeting. Word of mouth obviously, but I only know one family in another troop.


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#64 Stosh

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 08:00 PM

If one is threatening to pack it in for scouting, check with your DE.  He/She will know the better units and then talk with the parents of the boys to see if they are happy with how things are run.

 

When I started looking for a new troop, I just went in a concentric circle getting larger and larger until I found a troop that worked.  It was only my 2nd troop to check out.  If one is having a difficult time in a unit, there's probably a lot of troops out there that are "better" than what one has. It may not be perfect, but if you're going for perfect. I can't help.  I haven't found the perfect unit yet.


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#65 Phrogger

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 08:11 PM

Sorry- DE is a term I don't know? Not looking for perfect. But it's better to try than to quit. Also, I have spoken to the Scoutmaster about it and we are going to try and see if we can't try something else first- like changing patrols. I'll give it to the end of summer.


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#66 qwazse

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 09:25 PM

DE = District Executive. He should be able to put you in touch with other scoutmasters.

 

It's good that your SM is willing to try a change. Hope it works.


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#67 TAHAWK

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 09:35 PM

District Executive.  Average tenure, less than a year.  Knows mostly about: $$ raised for council; advancement; paperwork done on time.

 

Stand outside the meeting.  Listen.  Your should, the vast majority of the time, hear Scouts, not adults.

 

Ask to meet the "leaders" of the troop.  If you are introduced only to adults, they don't have a clue.  They should, as a rock-bottom minimum, ask if you want to meet the Scouts who are leaders.

 

Find out at the prospective troop if the patrols regularly meet apart from the troop.

Find out at the prospective troop if the patrols have their own activities besides meetings - campouts, hikes, service projects.

Find out if the troop camps out (tents) at least six weekends a year plus Summer Camp.

Find out who plans the annual program.  It is supposed to be the Scout Patrol Leaders and Senior Patrol Leader, as a committee.


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#68 Stosh

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 08:23 AM

The DE, if they are any good, will have a cursory idea of what's happening in the various troops.  If that person is a newbie, then I would suggest going to Round Table and visiting with the other SM's in the district.  For sure, they know what's going on with the different troops.

 

One must keep it in mind that families have agendas that are important to their scout.  Sometimes these agendas don't match with the closest troop.  It's bound to happen.  But two things can change.  The agenda of the family, or the agenda of the troop.  It sounds like the SM of the current troop is flexible about his/her agenda and is willing to work with the family.  With a bit of flexibility from the families, things can often work out the best.  When both sides are working together it will go well for everyone.  It's nice to know there are SM's out there that have the welfare of the boys as a primary focus for the troop's agenda.  Sometimes I wonder if that is always the case. 

 

Remember: the grass on the other side of the fence may be greener, but it still needs to be mowed.


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Stosh

 

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


#69 Col. Flagg

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 09:18 AM

DE = District Executive. He should be able to put you in touch with other scoutmasters.

 

It's good that your SM is willing to try a change. Hope it works.

 

I get confuse a lot, but isn't the role of Unit Commissioner to help the unit across a myriad of issues? The DE is just the admin person you'd go to in an effort expedite process, etc. No?


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#70 qwazse

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 10:32 AM

I get confuse a lot, but isn't the role of Unit Commissioner to help the unit across a myriad of issues? The DE is just the admin person you'd go to in an effort expedite process, etc. No?

It's a big country, and I bet these relationships vary.

For @Phrogger, a UC might help identify an issue within the unit that, if addressed, could make the scout feel more welcome in his troop.

The UC may serve one or two other units, but I'm not entirely sure that helps the boy. Those units may be a bad fit as well.

The DE should have a comprehensive list of the units. So, that's where you'd get the numbers of SMs to call.

A seasoned DC (district commissioner, not den chief :rolleyes: ) probably would know everyone in every unit.

But, not every district has a seasoned commish.

 

The problem with all of these positions is that they are far removed from the scout. (Well at least in large districts. Where I grew up, on the other hand, I was friends with the DE's kids.)  And, often the parent has specific questions, while these folks can at best give general answers.


Edited by qwazse, 17 May 2017 - 10:32 AM.

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#71 Stosh

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 10:39 AM

Col. Flagg

 

In our district we have a very limited number of UC's and they spend most of their time fighting unit fires.  There's not much out there for individual scouts to receive any outside support from the "higher-ups".


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Stosh

 

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


#72 Col. Flagg

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 10:57 AM

It's a big country, and I bet these relationships vary.

For @Phrogger, a UC might help identify an issue within the unit that, if addressed, could make the scout feel more welcome in his troop.

The UC may serve one or two other units, but I'm not entirely sure that helps the boy. Those units may be a bad fit as well.

The DE should have a comprehensive list of the units. So, that's where you'd get the numbers of SMs to call.

A seasoned DC (district commissioner, not den chief :rolleyes: ) probably would know everyone in every unit.

But, not every district has a seasoned commish.

 

The problem with all of these positions is that they are far removed from the scout. (Well at least in large districts. Where I grew up, on the other hand, I was friends with the DE's kids.)  And, often the parent has specific questions, while these folks can at best give general answers.

 

I hear ya. I just couldn't even fathom our DE doing anything beyond filling out JTE sheets. Even our UCs are a bit useless. I just thought others might have a different experience. Frankly, it would be unit to unit relationships that would help in our area the most. District is a self-perpetuating circle of paperwork and back-slapping.

 

Col. Flagg

 

In our district we have a very limited number of UC's and they spend most of their time fighting unit fires.  There's not much out there for individual scouts to receive any outside support from the "higher-ups".

 

We have a list of UCs but I have never seen any in action. I was hoping other areas might be better organized.


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#73 NJCubScouter

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 11:14 AM

A good first step might be to go to beascout.org which will at least indicate what other troops are available in the same area. Of course that will not tell Phrogger anything about the quality of the units, but at least it will indicate what the options are.  Then, my suggestion would be that rather than trying to figure out whether the DE, UC or someone else is the best person to call, I would simply call the council office and tell the person who answers the phone what you are looking for, and perhaps he/she will direct you to the right person.  This will not necessarily work, but I think it is probably the easiest option for a parent who is fairly new to Scouting.

 

Just as an aside, it seems that every time a question comes up in this forum as to who in a district to ask for advice, there is an debate about whether it should be the DE, UC or someone else.  Putting myself in the shoes of someone who doesn't know the "structure" above the troop level, and is just learning from us what the acronyms even stand for, I suspect that the discussion only creates more confusion.


Edited by NJCubScouter, 17 May 2017 - 11:18 AM.

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