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Boy Scout Troop Moms Question

Posted by on Jul. 29, 2007 at 8:34 PM
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I have been struggling with a problem. Troops are to be run by the boys. I think that there should be a happy medium, especially in troops that have all small/young boys. BUT, our scoutmaster can't find the medium. She still wants to totally baby them even more than cub scouts should be. I guess because she has known these boys since like Tiger age ( minus my son & a couple others ). But it is really starting to upset me. My son was nominated by the boys to be Senior Patrol Leader, really he should have been anyway because he is the only one that had a year of scouts plus down & is many ranks above them ( he is 12 & a star scout who will be life scout in December at 12 ). He tries to help them, loves to help them get rank, work on things, plan camping events, etc. He has done it with a great scoutmaster as Patrol Leader & has learned alot. But he isn't allowed to be a "Senior Patrol Leader". It is like a joke title because she doesn't like titles & doesn't see it as a real "job" in the troop. To her, it will pass on to someone else, etc. No biggie. When he tries or is given instructions by my husband or my self to pass down, the boys say he is bossy. And she just aww, sorry guys. Not, well that is his job, and he didn't do it nasty right? I have voiced nicely many times my concerns & so did hubby & she keeps saying it will come, it will come. But this is just not a healthy troop in my eyes. The boys aren't picking what Merit Badges they want to work on, she is just doing them. Resident Camp was a disaster & I was the one there all week. AHAAH. This is Boy Scouts, Not Cub Scouts. They are to be working towards Eagle & Being men, and I don't feel this is going to help them at all.

Anyway, I guess I want to see if anyone else has ran into this, has any ideas, etc.

I started working nights recently so I will be missing every meeting now. Hubby will be there minimal every other, but, hopefully every. I never was only focused on my son but I am getting to being to that point. He has a time frame & a plan he will have LIfe Scout in December. He has everything except waiting for the time frame of 6 months as Star scout making him wait until December & then he has a plan for Eagle. So, I mean, after this year, we won't be really involved, but it is getting thru this years. Thanks for any input.
by on Jul. 29, 2007 at 8:34 PM
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by on Jul. 29, 2007 at 11:15 PM
This is beyond my area of expertise, Michelle, but there are other women in the group who are or have been scoutmasters so I hope one of them can come up with some suggestions for you.   I'm anxious to hear how other troops address this problem, too.   We haven't had a problem with the boys planning the troop activities, etc., but do have a problem with the younger ones following the directions of the senior patrol leader.  
by Member on Jul. 30, 2007 at 6:47 AM
Chris thanks.

I think alot of the problem with the listening to the senior patrol leader is that as parents, we tell our kid that no one should "boss them around" most of their life. So when it comes time, the kids feel that a SPL is bossy & so do half the parents until they see it/understand it.

Alot of Cub Scout Packs don't use a Den Chief, ( or den chief really doesn't act like one or is used as theya re to be )and the Webelo I & II leaders don't address that issue because they don't realize until it is too late.
My son had a great Den Chief, but he had one as a Tiger Scout because the way it worked, den chief couldn't really help anyone else. He learned early that another kid can help him with rank & is told by the leaders to get the boys ready for a game or run a game, get them lined up or lead the pledge, etc. So he learned early that another child, in a position, can "tell you what to do" within reason. Without that chance to learn that, kids don't get it & automatically assume someone is being bossy & they hate it. He then also had one as a Webelo I ( well and II, he didn't do two years of Webelos. He had all his pins & would have been bored, Since he was the "legal" age, he moved up to boy scouts )And that helped him too because again, he knew that this boy not all that much older than him, can be in charge, run games, line them up, lead them.

I think it is a great thing to have a peer in charge mainly because in the real world, your boss could be your age or even younger at some point. And people need to learn to deal with the fact that someone your age or younger could be in charge of you. I think that is one reason scouts does this.

I really fear our troop will never be what it should. I don't agree with babying these boys this much. She has 5 kids, One Girl Scout & she is very involved, 2 boy scouts ( as of this year ) and 2 Cub Scouts. She is very involved in scouts but it seems as if she can't 'get" what Boy Scouts is. It is a huge change if your Webelos II leader hasn't worked alot with the boy scouts, had the younger boys at boy scout functions, has the scoutmaster help, etc. And that is what happened because our area didn't have a troop. You had to go to another township or the city, so she was the Webelo II leader, no boy scout troop to do functions with or sit on meetings with. And she started the troop but isn't learning or running it with the "rules" of boy scouts. Just like we keep saying that the boys do not have to stay the same rank in the same patrol, it is how they earn it, but that doesn't seem to work for her. She will bend over backwards to help get someone their rank  & they haven't asked or did the work. It isn't right.

How are they going to make Eagle?!
by Member on Jul. 31, 2007 at 11:46 AM
I hope I didn't scare people off, LOL. I am just worried about our troop. It is just formed & they are young boys. I do get that, but I just don't think it is going to help them at all. I also feel badly that our son get the "bossy" title for doing what he is told, which is less than what our old troop SPL would do. I guess I should just focus on Jonathan & not worry about everyone else, but I have never been that type of leader/scouter.

Any suggestions or ideas would be great.
by on Jul. 31, 2007 at 4:19 PM
Michelle, I think maybe you and the other parents who have a problem with the scoutmaster should talk to the troop committee.   If you don't want to go to a committee meeting and discuss it, maybe you could just talk to the committee chair.    I had asked a couple of the women in the group who have more experience with this type of thing to respond and so I imagine they will soon.  

I asked my hubby what would happen here in our troop if this was going on and he said everyone would talk to the committee.
by on Jul. 31, 2007 at 5:15 PM
I don't know if can help you much as our Boy Scout troop is slowly going extinct. There is two Boy scout troops in are area and there was a big drama between the 2 right before we bridge. In the troop we are in now the older boys don't want to do anything with the younger boys. So before popcorn sales start we will be switching troops to see if it is any better. It is sad to see a troop disappear over parent disagreements when it is suppose to be for the boys.

Always do right this will satisfy some and astonish the rest.
    ~~~Samantha~~~ Blinkie Maker

                                  Blinkie Maker

by on Jul. 31, 2007 at 7:58 PM
We have a very small troop here in Morrisonville, too..   only about 5 or 6 kids who participate in everything.   Fortunately, they all work together pretty well.   The one family we had problems with consisted of a father who was in scouting until age 18 and never got beyond his first class rank (!), so he pushed his boys to both become eagles at the earliest age possible.   They were miserable and hated scouts but they did both become eagle scouts and then dropped out immediately.   That seems to be the type of problems we have with parents interfering with the boys running the troop.    I wish we could all come up with some type of solution to this problem as there are so many boys who would benefit from being in scouts and staying in it if things were done like they should be - and it would be a pleasant experience for them.   They're not going to learn any leadership skills if the parents keep interfering!     Chris
by Member on Aug. 1, 2007 at 5:53 AM
Thanks for the advice.

Downfall of that, I am the Committee Chair! For months I have asked for Committee Meetings to start & nope. I have asked several times for her to hand over the things to the treasurer, since we finally had one, and she keeps saying she will & hasn't ( she is very absentminded. I guess 5 kids in 3 sports & 3 activities does that to you )Committee hasn't really ever formed. This troop really just started in November, so hasn't even been running a year yet. Never experienced that before, so maybe that is alot of the problem. But, It is just getting frustrating.

Chris, you are so right. They would benefit so much more if Parents wouldn't interfere like that.

I was half tempted to move Jonathan to a new troop, problem with that is, the scoutmaster is really nice. He is really almost "done" in that sense and these kids are kids he will have to go to school with. The other troop is the "enemy" because these townships fight all the time. So if he switched, he would be an outsider when he would finally go to that school district ( nice now because he goes to a private school ). Our troop, though new, did have 14 boys. But I know 2 from the older patrol are gone. Well at least one for sure & the other didn't come to anything or get his rank or anything. At least one of the younger troop quit before the year was up but mom had already paid for Resident camp so she sent him. He left on day two & never came back. And there is talk of 2-3 more leaving.

For them, scouts was go, have a craft or a game, maybe a couple minutes out of the book & a snack. That was their meetings. Now, they are at Boy Scouts & want to mess around the whole time, etc. They just don't get it, and can't help make it more fun because she has total control & doesn't think they should get any insight or it is just easier for her to do it this way. ( She thinks ). It is just hard on my son, having been in a troop that worked not up to "standard" but much more the right way, then to come here where Patrol Leaders & SPL don't really mean anything, don't do anything, aren't ask to, etc.

I really don't know what the answer is, but thanks so much ladies for giving some advice :)
by New Member on Aug. 4, 2007 at 1:52 PM
I will try to help out here.

First, I see that the Scoutmaster as former Webelos leader never transitioned herself.  Has she attended any trainings?  Check with your District leadership on dates.  It is very important that your SM learns the Boy Scout method.  The Council also offers Woodbadge.  An excellent training for all registered adults. 
And second, I completely understand your position.  I was both SM and CC for our troop.  You are absolutely correct in your thinking about how the troop should be the boys.  But the inexperienced ones need the help of the adults to learn the necessities to run a troop. 

A new Scout rarely knows what to do.  There is a boy leadership training called Troop Junior Leader Training.  At the end of the training, the boys learn what their new position responsibilities are.    Oh, the training usually takes place as soon as possible after troop elections.  The SM has to allow the boys to make their own decisions at the Patrol Leaders councils...whether good or bad.  We as adults are there to support the boys and to ensure their safety. , and that their plans follow Boy Scout guidelines.

For immediate help, your district should have assigned an Unit Commissioner to your Troop.  Talk to this person.  You may also have to talk to your sponsor.  Sometimes they are very knowledgable in Scout issues.   You all should decide how to approach your Scoutmaster.  Who, by the way, is chosen by the sponsor and the Committee Chair with a sign off from the Unit Commissioner.   It won't be easy to change the attitude of your Scoutmaster, but together, you can make suggestions.  If training has not yet been attended, suggest that all registered adults attend together.   The Outdoor leadership training puts participants in a Patrol which gives the adults the same perspective on Troop functions that the boys themselves have.  This will help strengthen your entire troop...adults and youth. 

Now, I must comment about the signing off of rank and merit badge requirements.  It is very important that the youth actually do exactly what the requirement calls for, nothing more, nothing less.    Please make sure, that Merit Badges and rank requirements are completed.  You as committee chair sign off on the advancements and have a say as to whether or not a scout is ready.  If your Troop is not sure about how to regulate this...ask the Unit Commissioner and District Trainer to provide your troop adults with advancement training.  Scouts should not be allowed to advance, if they did not complete any of the tasks necessary for rank advancement.  It will only end up cheapening the meaning of the Eagle Rank in the end.

Please let me your Troop fairs. 

Good luck!

by Member on Aug. 5, 2007 at 2:18 PM
Thanks so much for the info. I think alot of the problem is our area. I met our Unit Commisioner, and he said he would come out, but in 6 months, not once. He has no knowledge or caring of what is going on in our troop. I know the Council Exec well, and I think my next call will be to him. Our sponsor, has NO clue about scouts at all. He is a preacher & wonderful guy, but for sure is lost in general let alone in scouts. And though our area they sign the charter, as long as things are going good, they do, they aren't really involved in the troop functions.

She has gone to the scoutmaster training, that I am sure of. And yes, she didn't transition well.

She is a wonderful person, as people go. She, though is so busy, I can't imagine. I am busy, but this is to the extreme. She just seems to "easy" "Nice" to the boys. She gives in or just does everything for them because it is easier. I did make sure the boys do, do what they are to before I sign off. Usually goes over everything with them to make sure myself. I also helped run the board of reviews except my sons of course. But we are going to push the have "strangers" do the BOR next coming year.

I guess too, I am getting tired of being the "bad" guy because I am pushing the boys to do what they need to. Then I feel bad if I don't. I think I am going to try to talk to her again about it, and hopefully, she can understand the boys need to do this. We have an AWESOME camporee coming. It is going to be 2 councils & like 5-6 districts. Cubs are even going to be included. This is the greatest Idea, and it is jam packed with fun. We are part of the planning for the orienteering course, we are geocachers. Hopefully some of the scouters I know can help me in this area too. And going to camporees where SPL's have to go meetings to tell the boys, etc. I hope that it will show how it really is to be. And have a talk with her again, and hope it sticks, LOL.
by on Aug. 7, 2007 at 7:18 PM
Since your unit commissioner doesn't seem willing to help now, give your District Exec a call.  My husband is a scout professional, area field director now.  When he was a Senior DE, he had some problems with some of the same situations that you are experiencing.  He/she should be able to help you out.  Best of luck with it, but don't give up.
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