Re: Junior Girl Scouts
Sleezer, Jim (JHS8@OSUVM1.BITNET)
Wed, 7 Oct 1992 08:55:07 CST
Jeannie Dixon says:
>I hope somebody has some really good ideas for me! I have a new Junior
>troop of 20 4th grade girls. All but 2 of the girls have been in Scouts
>for at least 1 year. We've had 2 meetings, and I'm completely fed up with
>the behavior of several of the girls.
>At the end of this week's meeting, I discovered that one of my new girl
>scouts was practically in tears. Turns out when she went to sit at one of
>the tables to work on the puzzle we were doing for opening activity, the
>girls there told her to go to another table! (wish I'd known about this
>when it happened!!). The girls (2-3 of them) are rude, ill-mannered,
>disrespectful, and generally disruptive. I explained our "rules of
>conduct" at the first meeting. This week I sat the girls down and told
>them (the entire troop) that I was not going to spend the meeting asking
>them to get quiet, pay attention, be respectful, etc. They are old enough
>to know how to behave. Most girls understood this, and cooperated. But
>not those 2! By our closing ceremony (outside under the school pavilion,
>with parents gathering), I had one of the girls sitting down and not
>participating because she had been so rude!
>I am ready to send a letter home to each parent next week. The contents
>will be the GS Promise and GS Law. I will ask them to review these with
>their daughter, and to sign (both of them) that they understand and will
>abide by them. I will also explain that there have been some disruptive
>behaviors which I will not tolerate. (by the way, the 2 mothers who are
>assist. leaders were there, and very helpful, but they're new and were not
>real sure of how they could best help; they support me in trying to keep
>Any ideas? Thanks! (sorry for being a bit long-winded on this one!)
Jeannie, this kind of thing has been an issue in almost every youth group with
which I have worked. It always seems that someone (or a few) don't get the
message. It must be dealt with; otherwise, the well behaved scouts will get
fed up and leave.
Two things have worked well for me in the past. The first is to keep the
trouble makers so busy that they don't have time to make trouble. That takes
a lot of time and effort for a while, but in the end usually worked out to be
best. It means that some leader has to always have an eye out for potential
trouble and immediately come up with something to do before it becomes a
problem. Trouble makers usually were seeking attention and once they got
their fill, things went better. The biggest problem is having an "extra"
leader to monitor the trouble. You can't quit working with the others.
The second thing again involves an extra leader, but perhaps one with fewer
group skills. In our Webelos den (a much too large group of 22 with three
major trouble makers), the leaders tried to ignore the problem. That didn't
work so another parent and I took turns with 'time outs'. We sat in the
hallway outside the gym where the boys met. Scouts were advised that
offenders would be removed from the meeting. The major trouble maker
started pushing and shoving and name calling. We stepped in and removed
him from the room. He sat in the hall for about 10 minutes, no lecture or
comments were made. After 10 minutes he was told that he could rejoin the
group if his behavior could be appropriate. On the way back in, he tripped
another boy. Back to the hall he went--he was surprised by the swiftness of
our action. After another 10 minutes he returned to the fun, no problems.
This was repeated with all three boys (and occasionally a few others) for
about eight weeks. It finally sank in. However, my sons always reported that
things were better when I or the other parent were known to be present.
Shock treatment worked well on another occasion. The group (as a whole) was
extremely rowdy and did not respond to the leader. After several minutes of
chaos, and pleading from the leader, I stepped in. In my most booming voice
I said "Sit down." There was instant silence and everyone, including two
adults on the side lines, dropped to the floor. I gave my 30-second lecture
on "A Scout is Courteous" and advised the scouts that I expected them to
respect the cub sign and give their attention to the leader--"Now, snap to it
and get on with the closing." It worked wonders for a few weeks (parents
waiting in the hallway cheered *quietly*). Several new adults were recruited
Contacting parents of trouble makers seldom produced results (there were a few
successes over 30 years). In fact, I saw the parents as a major source of
their child's problems. I always let parents know, as a group, that we were
trying to solve the problem and would like their assistance. Only rarely did
I report a 'time out' to the parent.
I used the 'time out' with sports too. I adopted the 'two-minute penalty'
hockey. At a practice, I (as coach) blew my whistle, stopped play and sent
the offender to the penalty box. Another coach continued the practice while
I made sure that the offender knew what the penalty was for. After two minutes
he/she was invited to return to the game. I disliked the public nature of
this reprimand, but it was extremely effective. I was head coach in hockey
so had more control of the situation, but used similar techniques in soccer
(two minutes on the bench with no ball) and baseball (sit on the bench, no
ball, instead of your next turn in the rotation).
Hope this helps some and wasn't too long winded.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City