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Convincing a Unit?


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#1 richie0829

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 09:52 PM

So I am new to this forum but I have a big question. For the last 2 years my troop committee has chosen to go to a summer camp only 30 minutes away from our town. However, all of the scouts want to go to a camp that's a little farther away. Our SPL is siding with the committee claiming that since they're paying for the gas, they get to decide where we go camping. I'm curious on what everyone's opinion is on this subject. Also, how can we convince our committee (which has been very stubborn on the subject) to at least entertain the idea of attending another camp? Below I have a list of the arguments on each side to try and give you an unbiased, better understanding of our situation.

 

Scouts (For other camp):

- our current camp has very little merit badges

- (our current camp) The staff is very unprofessional (swears and profanity everywhere)

- (current camp) It's an out of council camp (we never see the staff or other campers again)

- most of the older scouts said they would go provo for the other camp if we didn't switch

 

Committee (against other camp)

- the other camp is farther away

- you have to take back country roads to get there

- most of the adults aren't willing to stay the full week (either they come during the day and sleep at home, or they stay for 2-3 days)

 

Again, opinions are welcome and advice is encouraged.


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#2 Sentinel947

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 10:11 PM

We do this for the boys. How much further away is the other camp?

Frankly the idea of a committee vetoing a trip idea from the boys that is not excessively far or excessively expensive is a red flag to me. My troop sometimes drives three hours one way for a weekend trip.

Your mileage may vary.

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#3 MattR

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 11:48 PM

The parents seem to have 2 excuses. One is they're too old to do sleep overs and therefore have to drive home every night and that extra hour on either end of the day is really going to impede their ability to spend some time with their sons. The other is that those that will stay a few days ... really have no excuse. It'll cost them an extra $5 in gas or something. Split the added cost over the scouts in the car and it's between $1 and $2 extra per scout.

 

I'm trying to figure out how to say this courteously but I'm having troubles. Tell the adults to just suck it up and stay for a few days. If they do they just might have some fun. Waking up before the scouts and enjoying the cool morning and sun coming up. Going to bed after everyone else, enjoying the sounds and the stars. If they can just get over being a little dirty they will experience something wonderful and new. Oh, and they'll get to spend some more time with their sons. And they won't be stressed out about traffic. I mean really.

 

Okay, enough of the sarcasm. You do have a challenge in that you need to politely convince these adults that they are really missing out. What they call hardship I call a new adventure. Our closest camp is an hour away on small country roads. The furthest we've gone is 4 hours. Next year we're going five or six, just to try out a really cool place. Adventure is fun. Road trips are fun.

 

I can't even imagine this scenario so is the real issue just a power struggle? That's not good.

 

Good luck.


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#4 qwazse

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Posted 11 February 2017 - 12:04 AM

Welcome to the forums @richie0829!

 

Well, the cussing staff would settle it for me. But some folks value things like tradition and convenience.

 

This is between the SPL and SM; however, there's nothing to keeping a patrol of boys and couple of adults from attending the other camp.

 

Frankly, the fewer adults, the better.


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#5 David CO

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Posted 11 February 2017 - 12:55 AM

I think there is only one way for a group of boys to have any chance of convincing the committee.  They must first convince a few of their dads to get registered, to get trained, and to go on the trip with them.

 

Convincing the dads is the hard part.  After that, convincing the committee is a breeze.


Edited by David CO, 11 February 2017 - 01:13 AM.

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#6 Back Pack

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Posted 11 February 2017 - 07:01 AM

It's called Boy Scouts for a reason. The troop committee missed the memo. They're wrong.
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#7 Chisos

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Posted 11 February 2017 - 07:27 AM

Agree with the others that the committee really doesn't seem to get it...their job is to support the boys, not plan the program for them.  Unless it's a heath/safety issue, or something really impossible/impractical, the the TC should not be "vetoing" a summer camp choice, or any other "where do we go camping" choice.


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#8 qwazse

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Posted 11 February 2017 - 07:31 AM

It's called Boy Scouts for a reason. The troop committee missed the memo. They're wrong.

But, is the SPL wrong? How? By being cost conscious? What seems like a couple of extra bucks for some can break the bank of others. Save $ on summer camp = one more weekend camping or working on an MB to offset what the cheap cussing camp doesn't offer.

Pro tip: When told "all of the boys" want X, a good working assumption is that your son and his closest friends want it, the rest are probably ambivalent. To the boys, "Tough. Next time elect an SPL who will respectfully dig his heels in and represent you to the committee."

Edited by qwazse, 11 February 2017 - 07:33 AM.

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#9 Stosh

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Posted 11 February 2017 - 08:20 AM

Welcome to the forum @richie0829

 

First of all there is no such thing as the Scouts "convincing" the adults of anything in a adult run troop.  This troop is not functioning as a BSA troop.  There must be a poor SM who allows this discourse between committee and the troop.

 

The boys have a couple of choices.

 

1) Go provisional to any camp in the US or Canada you wish to go to. 

 

2) Get a few buddies together and go provisional in any camp in the US or Canada you wish to go to.

 

3) Everyone comes down with "khaki-flu" and go camping where you want for a week with your buddies without the uniforms (and adults).  One doesn't need merit badges, just fun, take fishing poles.

 

4) Leverage your position, insist on all adults getting trained in the BSA patrol method where the boys are trained in leadership or find another troop that is. Then as a whole, follow through.

 

It is quite obvious from the comments and the digging in of heels, that if the boys think they are paying for a BSA program of leadership and character development, one can be assured that what they are getting doesn't come from BSA.

 

In my troop, the boys have always been expected to select the summer camp, weekend camp, activity of their choice.  The only time I as SM put my foot down and say no is when the activity is prohibited by BSA (paint-ball, for example), there are safety issues involved (Acapulco cliff diving, for example) or is not a scout activity (LAN parties, political parties, and frat-like parties, for example)

 

So, here's the deal.  The boys can continue like they are and slowly everyone will quit once they have had enough of these adult shenanigans or the boys can step up to the plate, start learning about the BSA program of boy led, patrol method operations and then politely, calmly, and with all "due respect", announce that the troop will from this point on be run according to BSA standards.

 

If one is posting this thread in the first place, it sounds as if one is old enough to start learning and leading the troop.

 

No summer camp this year - send all the eligible boys to NYLT training instead.  Send all the non-eligible boys to the current camp just to buy enough time for the 13+ year old scouts to get properly trained in proper troop operations and next fall, start running your troop with well-trained and real Scout leadership.  It's time for the boys to step up to the plate.  Seriously?  If one reads the BSA literature, the boys really don't need the adults at all, they are just their to babysit their cups of coffee and jaw-jack around their own campfire 300' away.  Make it work!


Edited by Stosh, 11 February 2017 - 08:21 AM.

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#10 Oldscout448

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Posted 11 February 2017 - 09:05 AM

I guess if I were a scout in that troop I would get together with by buddies and offer to pay the difference in gas money.   The scouters are to provide the troop leadership ( that's the PLC !)  any number of possible camps.  Also data on the staff, program,food,$ etc.  Then the PLC makes the call.

 

One of the main reasons that older scouts drop out in my neck of the woods is sheer boredom.  Same campout sites, same summer camp. same activities.  Couple that with not being able to lead the younger scouts because the adults are calling all the shots, and they just start to drift off into whatever will let them be the young men they are turning into.

 

This brings back a flood of memories.  When I was a 17.5  year old SPL my new SM, breaking with troop tradition, didn't consult with the PLC, he just announced that the troop was going to camp XXX.    We had quite a talk but he wasn't budging.  Looking back I was a bit of a young know it all which probably didn't help.   

 

In the end I refused to go. I went provo to Philmont instead with a crew I had never met before. 

 

Philmont truly lived up to everything I had heard it was, but I did miss out on camping with my old friends one last time.

 

Oldscout


Edited by Oldscout448, 11 February 2017 - 09:11 AM.

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#11 resqman

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Posted 11 February 2017 - 03:11 PM

Why is the committee paying for the gas?  The cost of summer camp is the camp fee plus the cost of travel.   Adding $5 per scout should provide plenty of money for gas.  

 

Three adults is all that should be needed for a week at summer camp.  If adults can only stay 2-3 days, rotate out various adults so week is covered.  If adults are too whiny to spend the night, then they are the real problem.  Fire the adults.  

 

As already mentioned, the boys can just pay and go to any camp they choose,  Get a few parents to drive, drop off and pick up an end of week.  Most camps run a provisional troop which is really just a "pick up" game of scouts.  

 

Our troop rotates through 4-5 different summer camps.  Far one is about 5 hours drive.  Council camp is about 1.5 hrs.   Others are in the 3 hr zone. Troop regularly drives 3 hours for weekend camp outs.   Scouts would revolt if troop committee said anything less than 30 minutes away is too far.  

 

Troop sends a crew to one of the four national bases Philmont, Seabase, Northern Tier or Betchel each year in addition to the "normal" summer camp.  That means at least 2 adults are gone for 10 days to national base plus 3-5 adults to summer camp.  Troop size of about 50 scouts with 35 on average camp out. 


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#12 David CO

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Posted 11 February 2017 - 07:31 PM

You can't force adult volunteers to give more of their time than they're willing to give.  

 

Every unit has limitations.  Even boy-led units have limitations.  If the availability of adult volunteers is this unit's limitation (and the boys are unhappy about it), then the boys need to get up off their backsides and recruit some more volunteers.  I would suggest that they start with their dads. 


Edited by David CO, 11 February 2017 - 07:49 PM.

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#13 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 11 February 2017 - 08:11 PM

A few thoughts.

 

1) Scouts come up with where they want to go, ADULTS SUPPORT THEM (emphasis)

 

2) If the camp costs more, then the adults need to help the Scouts find ways to get the money.

 

3) Rotate adults while at camp.

 

 

My troop decided to go to a different camp this year. With 2 boys going, it costing the family $650. Several families are in a bad fix, and we are coming up with fundraisers to help cut costs. With the exception of some new parents who are a little skeptical of letting their kids go tocamp for a week by themselves and are planning to go with their Scouts (don't ask; we told them fine, but you will be taking training and will be leaving your sons alone) We have 1 experienced leader their to keep the adults from hovering, and several other experienced leaders will be rotating in and out of camp.


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#14 HelpfulTracks

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Posted 11 February 2017 - 08:46 PM

So I am new to this forum but I have a big question. For the last 2 years my troop committee has chosen to go to a summer camp.....


I didn't need to read past that sentence to understand the problem.

The troop committee should not be choosing anything.

Boy Scouts is boy-led, if your troop is functioning as it should.

The committee should really only be recommending changes to the program the Scouts develop if the program
a) violates BSA policy
b) does not follow Guide to Safe Scouting parameters
c) is not feasible
d) the charter organization has specific reasons not to allow some part of the program because it violates their core tenets

But it doesn't even sound like the Scouts are planning their own program based on your post.
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#15 HelpfulTracks

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Posted 11 February 2017 - 09:01 PM

You can't force adult volunteers to give more of their time than they're willing to give.  
 
Every unit has limitations.  Even boy-led units have limitations.  If the availability of adult volunteers is this unit's limitation (and the boys are unhappy about it), then the boys need to get up off their backsides and recruit some more volunteers.  I would suggest that they start with their dads.


Recruiting volunteers IS the committees job, not the Scouts.
Planning the program IS the Scouts job, not the committees.

I agree that there are limitations that may prevent Scouts from realizing their plan, but the committee should be making every effort to help the Scouts make their plan a reality. If limitations prevent that, the committee should recommend solutions, but not dictating the program features.

If you said the Scouts should get off their backsides and earn the money to go where they want, I would agree, a Scout is Thrifty.

But if a Unit is not running properly and the adults are unable/unwilling to make the changes to run the troop correctly the perhaps it is time to speak with the Unit Commissioner or District Executive and have them explain troop operations to the committee.
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#16 Back Pack

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Posted 11 February 2017 - 09:43 PM

But, is the SPL wrong? How? By being cost conscious? What seems like a couple of extra bucks for some can break the bank of others. Save $ on summer camp = one more weekend camping or working on an MB to offset what the cheap cussing camp doesn't offer.
Pro tip: When told "all of the boys" want X, a good working assumption is that your son and his closest friends want it, the rest are probably ambivalent. To the boys, "Tough. Next time elect an SPL who will respectfully dig his heels in and represent you to the committee."


Boys do planning, not adults.

Camp too far, have a fund raiser to pay for gas.

Adults leaving camp and not sleeping there, are the covering two deep and the proper ratio?

Adults too lazy to give up a week? Go as a contingent with another troop.

There's all sorts of options here which does lead to Adult Scouts of America ruining what should be a boy led program.
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#17 Back Pack

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Posted 11 February 2017 - 09:45 PM

If you said the Scouts should get off their backsides and earn the money to go where they want, I would agree, a Scout is Thrifty.
But if a Unit is not running properly and the adults are unable/unwilling to make the changes to run the troop correctly the perhaps it is time to speak with the Unit Commissioner or District Executive and have them explain troop operations to the committee.


Try to find other troops willing to let your boys tag along. This may solve the problem. We always allow other Scouts to join us.
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#18 frankpalazzi

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 11:12 PM

You can rotate adults in and out all week long. You only need two: One 21+ (registered) and an 18+.  Have the 18+ fill out an adult application and keep it "on file" for the week.   See who's available what days/nights and develop a schedule.  We've done it for years.

 

Sounds like an "adult-run" troop to me too.  Does the committee dictate all of the activities?


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#19 Back Pack

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Posted 14 February 2017 - 06:21 AM

You can rotate adults in and out all week long. You only need two: One 21+ (registered) and an 18+.  Have the 18+ fill out an adult application and keep it "on file" for the week.   See who's available what days/nights and develop a schedule.  We've done it for years.


Well that's not entirely true.

- You must have a minimum of one "trained" adult SM at all times. So that means an ASM that has IOLS and Leader-specific training. In some councils and camps they also need other training.
- According to your tour plan you need one person on site at all times with first aid training, weather hazards, and cpr/aed.
- You have to keep a 1:10 adult to Scout ratio. I've seen camp require 1:8 or less.
- All adults must have valid YPT. Some councils require face-to-face YPT. Some camps require a minimum of four adults.

As long as you have these points covered with folks rotating in, you're valid as far as BSA is concerned. If not, well, let's hope nothing goes wrong. I've seen adults and troops kicked out for not having these things.
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#20 SSScout

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Posted 14 February 2017 - 10:18 AM

If the adult/parent views camp escort duty as a "chore", yeah, you will have a hard time filling those roles.

 

**Discuss with the parent/adult how it can be a mini vacation, away from home. It is not a rough and rugged camp out, not "Philmont", not this time.   The adult can offer help in any event, as they see themselves able, but it can be a sit and watch, or walk thru the woods, or sit and fish type of thing. 

** Offer them a letter from the Troop or camp or council (work this out with your DE and SE) addressed to the fellow's boss/company,  testifying to the adult's worthiness in helping to grow "good, responsible citizens" thru the Scout program, and thanking the boss/company for allowing their employee time off in this important endeavor.  They will get back a better trained, rested and enthusiastic employee, etc.  And MEAN it when the letter is written.  Examples of this are all over the web, especially from Greater Pittsburgh Council.  Looks good in the employee record folder.  Makes the boss feel good.   Oh, make it a PAPER letter, not just email. I always saw the signing of several hundred of such letters as a worthy responsibility of a Camp Director or Scout Executive.

 ??  Bonding with son?  Maybe, but not so much bonding as the  growth of respect, one to the other.  Setting an example for the Scout?   Sharing of skills and stories?  You are not camping with your boy so much as beside him.   

 

Pity the poor parent who does not regret the time they could not (would not? )  spend with their child. 


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