Running the Troop

Administering the troop, solving problems, building on success, and using key program elements like the Patrol Method.

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Re: Running the Troop

Postby White Bear » Sat Oct 27, 2012 10:52 pm

Step one. Deep inhale. Hold for 10 seconds. Exhale.....

Step two. Are the BOYS having fun. Learning at that age is accidental. Ask anyone. My parents learned more when I was away at camp or college than when I was home.

If Scouting isn't fun for the kids, then it isn't fun for anyone.

Step three. You list yourself as a Merit Badge counselor. If you want to do more, fill out an Adult Leader. Put your money where your mouth is. I hate to be blunt but no one likes an Armchair Quarterback. Either step up and offer solutions or step aside and let the boys learn from their experiences.

There are plenty of opportunities within Scouting to volunteer, it IS only an hour a week.
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Re: Running the Troop

Postby kc9901mom » Mon Oct 29, 2012 10:29 am

Thank you all for posting (and I am genuinely a sincere person so I really am thankful for those of you who post). I am so glad that I joined this forum. Now, to respond to some of the comments about "micro-managing".

1. I know that these are pre-teen and teenage age boys here so I don't expect perfection of them. I know that they are going to make mistakes (we all do).

2. "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink". The troop can have rules and guidelines but that doesn't mean that they will use them 100% of the time. This is why there is a SM and ASMs.

3. Every troop is different and what works for one troop may not work for another troop.

4. Just because a troop has been doing something one way for years and years doesn't mean that it can't change and try something new.

My kids enjoy the scouting program for the most part. Lately, they are complaining about having to endure troop meetings. I have told my kids and I tell my kids every Monday that I cannot change anything and that they need to tell their PL, ASPL, SPL, and SM their complaints. Now, I ask them if they have talked to their PLC and/or SM about the meetings and if they say no then I tell them that I do not want to hear their complaints. I also tell them that I will listen to all of their complaints after they have spoken with their PLC and/or SM. I have also coached them to provide "constructive criticism". For example, I told them that it is inappropriate to say "These meetings suck and they are boring". I encourage my children to find a way to express how they feel without being so blunt and to offer a solution. I told them they could say something like "Lately, the meetings are not fun. Do you think that we could try performing a skit for the skills?"
Last edited by kc9901mom on Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Running the Troop

Postby kc9901mom » Mon Oct 29, 2012 12:32 pm

For clarification:I do not have issues with having one camp menu for the scouts who are camping regardless of how many scouts are going (or say they are going). If the troop wants one scout to buy all the food for the scouts who are camping then the funds need to be collected up front before the campout.

I have issues with adults having double standards and who are unwilling to give reasonable answers or solve issues when it is his/her place to do so. I'm sure that there are Scouters here who have either had these issues or had to deal with such issues. I am already on the "quarantine" list.

The "double standards" are that some adult leaders have brought up issues with me interfering in "boy business" but they interfere in "boy business" or allow other parents/Adult Volunteers to interfere in "boy business" that should not be interfering. I'm not saying that I purposely interfered with the thought in my mind "well, they do it so can I" because that is not the situation. I hate to admit that I am a little thankful for this adult leader bringing up some of my actions although I don't agree with the method of delivery or with her perspective of my character or that I should be banned.

At the meetings (to include Committee meetings) - I do not say anything unless I am asked. I am friendly to all the parents even the ones who have me on the "quarantine" list. I don't care that I'm on the "quarantine" list or if I make friends with the other adults.
Last edited by kc9901mom on Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Running the Troop

Postby ronin718 » Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:52 pm

kc9901mom wrote:I need help with what to do when you don't agree with decisions that the SPL has made and the SM supports the SPL's decision even though it is a bad decision?

If the decision that is made does not threaten health or welfare of any individual, then you stand aside, bite your tongue, and let things play out. This is how they will learn and grow. When on an outing, stay with the other adults as the activity progresses, comment to the adults about any problems you see in action, and let another adult step forward and interfere. This is the advise I have received from my wife when I vent about the stupidities I see coming down the road because of the "plan" the boys have put together.

As for issues that are contrary to BSA policies (GtSS, GtA, etc.), raise them to the appropriate folks. If they continue as you progress to the top rung in the troop organization, then take it to your District leadership. If you continue to see inaction, then your options are Council or do as you've done with your sons, ensuring they do what's right. Yes, this will continue to be frustrating, but at a certain point the only thing getting busted up as you tilt at windmills is you.
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Re: Running the Troop

Postby JH-SM-T03 » Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:31 pm

kc9901 mom

in one of your posts you comment about merit badges being awarded that the boys did not complete correctly at summer camp. Did a summer camp MBC sign off on the badge? DId anyone go to the camp director during summer camp about this? If not, its a done deal.

If they did the unit CAN NOT hold off presenting to the youth. The error is on the part of the MBC not the youth. If you what to fight this issue you will loose every time. District, Council and National will not rule in your favor. Scouting will not hold any youth accountable for advancement errors that result from actions beyond the youths control, period. There have been extensive discussions on other forums about this issue, all with the same result.

I, as I am sure any leader who has taken scout to a BSA summer camp have seen the merit badge mill in action and we all know that they bend the rules. That does not mean that we like it but after making an issue about it and seeing the handwriting on the wall, we all give up. If you want to have your scout finish what you believe was not completed you can surely do that with your on son but neither you or the troop can force that on the scout.
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Re: Running the Troop

Postby kc9901mom » Mon Oct 29, 2012 10:09 pm

JH-SM-

I understand what you are saying and the Advancement issues I have left alone. I am a merit badge counselor and one thing that I know very well is the #33088 (I think that's the right #-BSA's Guide to Advancement).

There are some things that I can't be a doormat for and if the person in charge doesn't want to make the right choice then I have no choice but to resolve the matter on my own and deal with the consequences whatever they might be.
Last edited by kc9901mom on Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Running the Troop

Postby kwildman » Tue Oct 30, 2012 9:07 am

KC - I'm sorry as I hate being negative - but when I read your posts I am almost sympathetic and then there are the one or two sentences that make it seem like you enjoy stirring the pot. Having an "ace up your sleeve" and a snappy answer are really not productive to the larger problems and wont make your involvement in this unit any easier. Do you know that the other kids that got awarded badges at summer camp did not complete the requirements? It does not appear that you are in a position to know the entire story.

What does it mean that your son's troop project is almost over and now you can sit in the car? Is your son not able to complete the project without your oversight? Does the unit tell you to sit in the car? If you feel uncomfortable at meetings then maybe it is because you are stirring the pot or pulling aces out of your sleeve too often. Being a scoutmaster is not an easy job. One does not simply step back and say okay youth take over and lead. In addition to looking out for ALL the boys in the troop they have to deal with the parents that are only looking out for their kid. Part of building leadership is getting the boys to step up and fend for themselves.

In wood badge, we learn that "Feedback is a gift". However, it should also be noted, that depending on the manner that a gift is given - will determine how well it is received. You cant expect to walk on the field and start making changes and telling people how they should play their positions and expect to be treated as part of the team. Again, I recommend that you stay involved, get fully trained, but also step back and let your son go.

I pray that you work all these issues out.
No one can pass through life, any more than he can pass through a bit of country, without leaving tracks behind, and those tracks may often be helpful to those coming after him in finding their way. - Lord Baden-Powell
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Re: Running the Troop

Postby Mrw » Tue Oct 30, 2012 1:15 pm

Boys, even SPLs, sometimes make poor decisions. If the consequences are not life threatening, we often need to let them go with their decision and see how it plays out. They learn far more from failing than if everything in their life is perfect every time.

Thomas Edison was once asked if he ever felt like giving up as time after time his light bulf prototyes failed to light or stay lit. His response was something to the tune of, "I never failed, I just found 2000 ways that did not work." In other words, he learned a little more about what would work from each thing that did not, and so he could keep moving forward until he fully solved the problem.

Unless your son is on his own specified timeline for earning First Class in a year, do not push it. many of ours take closer to two years to really get there. And they seem to learn it better than some of those that rush through. Life is a journey. Enjoy it! And do not forget to stop and look at the scenery along the way.
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Re: Running the Troop

Postby kc9901mom » Tue Oct 30, 2012 2:50 pm

First, I can only state what I know to be true for me or my children. Second, I have completed training (such as This Is Scouting) even though I am not required to do so. Third, I never said that being a SM (or ASM or Committee Chair) wasn't hard.
As previously stated, I am not looking to take over anybody's volunteer position nor am I trying to tell anyone how to do their volunteer job. A few of the parents also see some of these things that I am ranting about here in this forum. One parent was all involved in a previous troop until they had to relocate. She is not involved in this troop because some adult volunteers made her feel not welcome after a few visits. Her oldest son has been in this troop for a while and he did not know that there was a troop library.

My oldest son is perfectly capable of speaking by himself about the troop project. He has requested that I be present in the room with him (for moral support). Also, I am the Hornaday Adviser for the troop project and would be able to answer questions or provide assistance should I be asked to do so by the troop or my son (because he is the "project manager"). The reasons for sitting in the parking lot in my car are so that I can plot my revenge and rule the scouting world (<<using best Plankton voice from Spongebob Squarepants; yes I am joking :lol: <<. Seriously, sitting in my car is so that I do not have to endure the 1 hour of insanity that goes on; and to remove myself as a target.

I am in a difficult and delicate situation. I don't think it is right to ask any family to front (up to) $180 for food for their son's troop weekend camping trip. I don't think it is right to keep an active boy from advancing because of money. The decision would have affected my family's financial welfare. My youngest son has recently set the goal of becoming an Eagle Scout by the time he is 13. He is 11.5 now.

I think that an adult leader (SM or ASM) should be within "ear shot" of the scouts when they are planning the camping trips so that he or she can step-in and say "whoa, guys, it is ok if you want to plan one camp menu but you should have "x" number of grubmasters buying food. Carry on." Obviously, this didn't happen and I was forced with a decision that I had to make because no one who had authority was willing to step-up and make the decision that would have benefitted more than one scout.

I am not the type of person to sit back and complain or rant but isn't willing to make changes or help solve problems in ways that would or could bring out the full potential of the troop. The problem is that no one in a position of authority wants to change anything.

This troop isn't all "bad". It could be better especially when it comes to skills. Some of the scouts think it could be better also and they are in a position to bring about change. The people who have issues with me are not going to like this and I can honestly say that I had nothing to do with it because I didn't.
Last edited by kc9901mom on Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Running the Troop

Postby FrankJ » Tue Oct 30, 2012 3:49 pm

I can see the issues of fronting a large sum on money for food on a troop outing. But what is your vision for another way to do this? Have a troop credit card? Have the treasurer give you a blank check? Take the entire troop to the store so you can divide up the cost there? Have everybody bring a some food? There are issues with all of these methods. If finance is an issue, maybe talk to nicely to the treasurer & arrange for a rapid reimbursement. (Just don't hold the receipt for 2 months & expect them to drop everything & cut you a check :) )

Show me the "by-laws" (or rules or guidelines). Oh, wait, that's right there are none.

At least in my crew, those kind of comments starts "Is this really the right place for you conversation" :)
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I never teach my pupils. I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.--Albert Einstein
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Re: Running the Troop

Postby kc9901mom » Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:28 pm

My solution was to divide the quantities of the food. 18 scouts camping/3 grubmasters = 6 scouts. 3 scouts each buy food for 6 scouts with a budget of up to $60. I ended up paying for food for 9 scouts and another parent paid for food for 9 scouts. I really don't have an issue with allowing my children to buy food for 18, 20, or 30 scouts as long as the money is collected up-front by my children.

I knew my son needed these requirements and I knew that he was going to be grubmaster. I wasn't expecting to buy food for 18 scouts. I had budgeted no more than $100.

Sometimes, circumstances beyond anyone's control happen. Adult leaders should have stepped-in and provided examples of why they should not have 1 grubmaster for 18 scouts. Really, this is the issue here - none of the ASMs are willing to consistently step-up and provide feed-back or guidance. By consistently, I mean the same ASMs. Just because an adult leader provides feed back and guidance doesn't necessarily mean the SPL/PLC will heed the advice.
Even though I am a volunteer, I have "ethics" and would not discuss such issues as "by-laws" and rules where children could hear such conversation.
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Re: Running the Troop

Postby Quailman » Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:41 pm

I think one grubmaster providing food for 18 scouts is too much. They should be cooking in patrols, with each planning its own menu and the grubmaste buying for 4 to 8 scouts. If all are cooking together, then split up the shopping. Food for 18 people is a lot to transport. The milk and eggs alone would fill a cooler. Not everyone owns an SUV to transport scout(s), gear and food for 18 to the departure point. And you'd have to buy it on the way to the departure point, because if you bought it the evening before there's no way to get all that in your fridge (sure, not everything needs to go in, but enough does).

I know there are different ways to handle the financing, but in my troop the grubmaster collects $10 from each scout at the meeting before the campout. In another troop I've been associated with, the treasurer/campout registrar would cut a check to each grubmaster for $10 times the number of scouts who had already paid for the campout.
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Re: Running the Troop

Postby Spagirl78 » Tue Oct 30, 2012 9:34 pm

:?:
Last edited by Spagirl78 on Wed Oct 31, 2012 9:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Running the Troop

Postby kwildman » Wed Oct 31, 2012 9:13 am

USDA - :lol: :lol: I got so tired of paying for fresh fruit and begging kids to eat an apple or orange that I will not allow them to put them on the menu any more. I have found that they will devour a #10 can of fruit cocktail. :D
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Re: Running the Troop

Postby kc9901mom » Thu Nov 01, 2012 6:57 pm

:lol: :lol: Of course, the boys (and girls -if there are Venturers camping :D ) will devour a #10 can of fruit cocktail - it has sugar in it.

For the fruit - they could put 100% fruit juice on the menu instead of apples, and oranges.

Anyway - because I have been posting about the issues in here - I have been "dismissed" from the Troop. I got my "walking papers" today. Oh well, it is their loss not mine!
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Re: Running the Troop

Postby kc9901mom » Tue Nov 06, 2012 8:22 pm

We are all unique individuals each with different personalities. Some of us here are just parents of scouts and some of us have stepped up and volunteered to be Crew Leaders, Scoutmasters, Advancement Chairs, Fundraising Chairs, Committee Chairs, Merit Badge Counselors, etc. I have found this forum very useful since stepping up and volunteering to be a merit badge counselor. Although, some of my experiences with adult leaders in two troops in one year have been negative, a lot of the posts in this forum have lifted me up and encouraged me to keep on. Some of you have given advice and opinions that were hard to read but did help me for the better. I have recently realized that some of my postings if not read entirely could be hurtful to teen-agers who peruse this forum (especially those that hold leadership positions in my children's troop). I am sincerely sorry if any of my posts have been hurtful even if taken out of context. I believe that I have put forth a good faith effort to resolve these matters by editing my posts and removing troop leadership titles as I felt necessary. I do take responsibility for my actions. As a parent, I tell my own children that part of growing up is learning to deal with criticism and the injustices of the world. Life ain't fair, never has been, and never will be. Everybody is/was/has been a failure at one thing or another or at one time or another and they have critics. People can handle their failures in two ways - they can handle them negatively or they can handle them positively. It is very easy to dwell on one's mistakes or failures. Mistakes are opportunities for learning. I contribute in this forum for some reasons: so that others (adults and youth) can learn from my mistakes and the mistakes of my children's troop leadership and also to get advice from more experienced Scouters. If you are a youth member in a leadership position of your troop, consider this, in school, do you get 100% on every single assignment and every single test to include written assignments in all subjects? There are very few youth who do but the majority of you have made errors. So, how do you react when your teacher takes off points from assignments and exams? Do you go to the Principal of your school and complain so that your teacher is no longer your teacher?

It is true that my children have been complaining about going to the troop meetings, week after week, because "the meetings are not fun" (my children's words not mine). If you have issues with this - talk to my children about the issue. I have done my part as a parent and explained that the entire troop meeting is not going to be fun because basic information has to be conveyed such as troop events and that as adults we have to endure "boring" activities at times. I also coached my kids on how to provide constructive criticism and also to offer a solution. In this forum, I posted a statement that my children should not make with troop leader position specifics. I am truly, truly sorry if this statement was taken as a personal criticism. I never meant for it to be a personal criticism and it was not a personal criticism. Please take the time to re-read that particular post. I know that this big long posting does not change what happened. I am not a mean person and I am not rude or insensitive to children of any age. I try to use the golden rule with everyone no matter the means of contact (in person, on the phone, on the internet/email as appropriate using Social Media on various web sites and in accordance with BSA Guidelines to Using Social Media when it is necessary to contact youth, and in writing). I am sorry that I have not posted an apology sooner and there are reasons for that. Mainly, I wanted to think about what to say and how to say it.
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