Re: turning it over to the boys
Settummanque, the blackeagle (waltoml@WKUVX1.WKU.EDU)
Sun, 25 Sep 1994 18:37:48 CST
"Russell L. Ray" <rray@POCI.AMIS.COM> writes:
>I feel that it was the right thing to do. I'm not sure about the method.
>So, I was wondering what others opinions are. Does anyone else have another
>method to accomplish the same thing? Suggestions on how to keep it in the
You have a good start, Ray. These are things that I've done to keep
it that way:
* insist that the Senior Patrol Leader is the person "in charge".
Every time I get a comment from a parent or someone outside of
Scouting talking about my Troop, I turn it around and say "it's NOT MY
Troop...it's Vale's Troop". When they ask "Who's Vale?", I simply
explain that he's the Senior Patrol Leader and he's in charge.
When agencies call me up asking for Scouts to help with a project, I
give them Vale's number and explain to them that "He's the one that
you need to talk with and convince...I just open and lock the doors
* it's not enough to SAY that, you have to consciously ENFORCE that
policy in ALL areas (except safety and now youth protection). When a
Scout comes up to you and ask you to "sign here" or to get permission
to do something from a operational end, simply respond, "I don't know
if I should answer this. Have you asked your Patrol Leader? Have
you asked the Senior Patrol Leader? Only sign those things that you
have to as Scoutmaster. Even then, make an additional line and have
your Senior Patrol Leader to sign it too. This reinforces the idea
that he's responsible for the Troop's program.
* have regular Patrol Leaders' Council meetings as part of the
Troop's calendar. Have them to plan where they hold them, too. I
didn't follow this, but I've had a fellow Scoutmaster give me this
advise in view of today's youth protection policies: Don't get so
wrapped up with holding a meeting at your home or at the Scout hut.
Have it wherever the members feel more conforable. This could be at
a resturant, or at a church or school, or wherever everyone can get
together and talk. If you insist on having it at your home, you could
be in some trouble YPP-wise as well as not having everyone there
because *some kids* just don't feel conforable about being at some
adults' (even if the adult is the Scoutmaster!) home. (I had my
meetings at my home before the current YPP policies, and David was
right; at the most, I'd always have one or two PLC members that
wouldn't come to my home but called the SPL later on to find out what
happened...I never could get why they wouldn't come over out from
them, but it makes sense now...perhaps they didn't want to change
diapers or interrupt "family time" at my home).
* serve as a ADVISOR. After all, that's the true purpose of the
Scoutmaster. You are the trainer, the coach, the advisor to the
Troop and in particular, the Troop's senior leadership. If they see
you trying to "grab power back", they will quickly "take their hands
off of the leadership reins" and give them back to you and your
assistants....and they WON'T try to serve as "leaders" again! (I call
this the "indian giver" Scoutmaster).
* LET THEM FAIL. Don't be so concerned about those picture-perfect
meetings that you see in those videotapes and read about in
_Scouting_. Remember that *each and every Troop is unique* and while
there's a strand of uniformity in the Scouting ideals that runs
through each and every one, it is this uniqueness which makes a GOOD
program or a POOR program. So, let them fall flat on their faces.
Don't try to "rescue them" too much...if they see that their success
or failure depends on THEIR preparation and THEIR execution, then they
will try to be ready and will try to do a better job the NEXT time
around. As Advisor, you need to be there when they ask "what did we
do wrong?" and "what can we do to be better at this?", but DON'T plan
their program. Don't even say "I'll do the first one, and you can do
the next ones after that..."....you need to have THEM to plan ALL of
the programs, so that they can realize the differences between things
that "clicked" for them and things that "flopped".
* Support them. Give constant encouragement to your youth leaders
and support their efforts to "try their wings". At the same time, be
aware of issues of safety and youth protection (bullying, for
instance). To bring those issues home, you might want to pair up with
another Troop for a joint meeting some time and let them see how
another Troop handles some of those "problem areas" in leading young
boys. Conduct the Troop Operations Workshop with them to give them a
idea as to what is expected of them as Troop or Patrol leaders. Give
them the tools in which to do their jobs and have the adults ready to
support them as they do their jobs.
* Get yourself one of those small digital timers, a large coffee/teapot,
a large mug, and a nice set of chairs and place them in a room away from
the main meeting room. Set the timer for twenty-four minutes (two
times 12) after the opening ceremony. (this time will change each week
as it will take them time to get ready each week...don't set it at a
certain time each week...and don't let the Scouts know you have the
timer.) Only go out to the meeting hall when the timer goes off,
when a visitor comes to your meeting, or in case of a "real conflict".
Stay long enought for you to get a feel that everything's okay.
All of the other time, you need to find that room and stay there.
Go there and talk with your Assistants. Drink plenty of coffee
or tea or hot chocolate. Talk about family and friends with the other
Scouters. When the issue of "I wonder how they're doing in there"
comes up, merely explain to those there that you've placed confidence
in the youth of your Troop and if something serious happens, someone
will be around to tell you about it. Fight off the urge to go out
everytime someone makes something falls and you hear a "crash". Most
of the times, its NOT because something valuable has broken...its
because the Scouts are trying to see what will cause you to come out
and "take control" from your youth leaders. You need to also let the
Senior Patrol Leader and his assistant know that "Unless you guys are
burning down the meeting place, you don't need my permission to carry
out the program. If you want me there, you need to tell me. If you
want me to do the program, let me know in advance like you would
anyone else." When they ask "what are you doing in there?", tell them
the truth: "I'm doing what Scoutmasters are supposed to do: sit,
observe from a distance, making sure that you guys don't burn down the
building or kill each other, and drink (insert favorite non-alcoholic
It WON'T be easy. Believe me. But it will force your Scouts to
respect the new authority you've placed in your youth leaders and it
will allow you to do some things that you've seen other Scoutmasters
do (like more indepth Scoutmaster conferences or skill teachings)
because you are no longer "the man in charge".
You will also see your Troop increase in membership because you are
living what the Scouting ideals say should be going on...a lot of
action, led by youth, and not perfect. That's what kids love...they
get perfection from school, church and their parents. They WANT TO BE
CHALLENGED...give them that chance to do so.
Now that you've decided to do things "the Scouting way", don't waffle
and go back to "running it your way". Let it happen...let it succeed
or fail on THEIR efforts. Train them and coach them and advise them
and set the positive example in your dress and your conduct. But
DON'T LEAD them...that's the job of the youth THEY'VE elected to
Let us all know how it's working....
Settummanque!@HEY Dr. Steve!! Another convert to BP's Patrol Method!!!
Settummanque, the blackeagle... (MAJ) Mike L. Walton (
co-Owner, Blackeagle Services ___)_
(h) 502-782-7992 (f) 502-781-7279 (w) 502-782-7467 |-=-|]
5350 Louisville Road, #52 Bowling Green, KY 42101-7211 -=====-
Internet: WALTOML@WKUVX1.WKU.EDU/America OnLine: KYBLKEAGLE@AOL.COM
Blackeagle Services is NOT affiliated with & does not speak for Western
Kentucky University but is the home to Leaders Online! Ask us about it!
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City