Re: new scouts patrol
Marc W. Solomon (m_solomon@ALLI.COM)
Tue, 11 Jun 1996 17:29:31 -0500
At 02:31 PM 6/11/96 PDT, Sandy Whiteside wrote:
>months. Last night they held elections. Here is where the problem comes in.
>After four years of these scouts having a leader present at all times, now
>they are totally on their own. I fully understand that this is a learning
>experience for them (I've seen them attempt to cook at campouts and do stay
>out of their way). However, I am wondering if it wouldn't be appropriate to
>have a leader observe the new patrols for awhile. (There are plenty of
There should be a leader (ASM for New Scouts AND/OR Troop Guide) available
to them for these types of situations, but for the most part BSA feels that
having an adult leader present will prevent the Scouts from taking control
of their own patrol.
>During the elections, one of the boys who did not have
>any votes started bad mouthing my son who had half the votes. My son is very
>timid and was badly hurt by this "friend". The scouts changed their votes and
>my son left the meeting. I did explain to him that he should have stayed and
>told his friend that those comments hurt, were not true, and it was not good
>scout behavior. He was too upset and humiliated to do this. I explained that
>the other boys should actually been more impressed with his ability to handle
>the situation rather than be laughed at as a crybaby - he lost points with the
>boys by leaving. (BTW, although I'm his mother, I personally don't think he
>was ready for Patrol Leader but, of course, didn't tell him that.)
Given your son's reaction, you are probably correct about your son's ability
to be a patrol leader. I doubt having a leader present, though, would have
prevented the situation or changed his reaction.
>Nobody told them they had to go the Awards person after they
>finished their scout rank if they ever wanted the award. They assumed since
>the Scoutmaster signed off, it was a done deal..... until after four weeks and
>they still had not been recognized.
!!!!!!!!!!!I am getting on my soapbox now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You have just hit on two of the many reasons that I dislike the New Scout
program. Prior to the New Scout program, new Scouts were put into existing
patrols. It was the responsibility of the Patrol Leader (who was
experienced) to train the new Scouts and see that they are accepted by the
patrol and the troop. It taught the older Scouts to teach and to lead, two
qualities I see less of in Scouting today. It also showed the younger
Scouts that they could teach and that they could lead. In front of them was
a Scout who was just like them once and is now doing those things.
So much of what I consider Scouting has been lost by the new Scout program.
I was taught how to be a Scout by the older Scouts and in turn taught
younger Scouts the same. There was a feeling of continuity and tradition
being passed on. This led to loyalty to patrol and troop, another quality
that seems lacking today (especially on the patrol level).
I was told that the New Scout program was designed to help the new Scouts
progress to first class quickly and prevent the new Scouts from being
ostrasized by the older Scouts. Unfortunately, it seems to me, that it is
having the exact opposite effect. The new Scouts are being ridiculed due to
their displayed ignorance in camping and Scouting knowledge and segregated
from the very resources that would best overcome this lack of knowledge. I
have also seen many new Scouts hurt (emotionally, not physically) from their
attempts at self leadership. While some 10 1/2 - 11 year olds are capable
of taking a leadership role, many are not ready for it and are not being
given the appropriate support from the adult leadership of the troop. These
adults have been trained to let the Scouts fend for themselves, which, for
the experienced Scout, is usually the best, but, for the younger Scouts,
they need some guidance in the area of leadership.
!!!!!!!!!!!!OK, I'm getting off my soapbox now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
> The troop is great overall, but I'm just wondering if the new scouts should
>have at least 3-6 months of observation with just a little input from leaders?
> I don't have a problem with letting them flounder and make mistakes and eat
>terrible looking pancakes after they have somewhat of a clue.!
In most Troops, the Troop Guide does stay with the New Scout patrol for the
whole year, not just three months. Between the Troop Guide and the ASM for
New Scouts, many of the problems with the New Scout program can be reduced.
I would talk to your sons SM or ASM for New Scouts about the problems your
son is having and see if they can be worked out. Better yet, have your son
Marc Solomon Unit Commissioner
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