Do you ever ask your Scouts, specifically the PLC how’s it going? Do you ever get out of where the Troop meets and call a get together?
Well, our Scoutmaster did that this past week. It is Springbreak here in Portland, Oregon and a lot of the families are not here.
Instead of a Troop meeting that was supposed to happen, the Scoutmaster sent a note out to the PLC asking if they have time to meet. Not everyone could show up, but a few did and it was a great time.
I got to tag along because I am switching over from a Committee Member to a Ast Scoutmaster. The Charter Org Rep also showed up. He had paid for all the cookies, chips, soda and a few sandwiches during our meeting at the local Subway. We had planned on meeting at Starbucks, but they were closing. Be Prepared!
This meeting was great since both the Scoutmaster and myself had listened to Clark Greene’s Scoutmastercg’s Podcast on Socratic Scouting. Both of us listen and read Clarke’s blog and podcast. If you are not, you should.
With this in mind, the Scoutmaster started in by asking a lot of open-ended questions much like he does in PLCs. Except these were a tad more pointed. The answers were great. The Scouts, who were the SPL and PL and Instructor shared their ideas and very frank comments. They like the uniform. We are a full uniform Troop with a yellow fuzzy necker and a Troop hat. It helps one Scout keep things in order at home since he has to take care of it.
We also talked about stepping up to be a leader and what leadership really is. Just because someone is not in an official position, that person can help in many ways. Being respectful to the PL, pitching in as needed and just being a friend to a new/younger Scout. This led to advancement and how to help the newly crossed over Webelos II. Stepping up and helping those new Scouts meet the Scout Rank and progress to Tenderfoot can be accomplished by the Instructor. But he will need help. In which the Instructor asked if the APLs could help him and he would manage them. GOOD. That gives the APLs leadership and goals and the Instructor leadership as well.
The Instructor, who is First Class did not know what he could sign off on requirements. After it was explained that he could, a light went on for him. He had recently ran for the PL position and did not get it. He is rather new to the Troop due to a transfer. Now, he will be able to meet and be the coolest guy to the guys at the lower ranks.
It should be noted that the Troop is over half younger guys than older guys. Our SPL is 16, the ASPL is 13 and the rest of the PLC are about 14-15. There are a lot of 10.5-11-13 year old Scouts. This is due to a lot of recruiting by our Scoutmaster and Webelos Campouts over the past three years.
Outside of what we thought we would hear, is that the Scouts want to find more Patrol Outings to do. Not just Camping, but having a night to themselves to go hangout on Troop nights. Elliot’s PL wants to get to know the guys more than he does. He also wants to finish up on the Fishing Merit Badge they started last Summer. The Scoutmaster told them, DO IT.
I also brought along the new Troop Planning Guide. Of which, those present liked what they saw. They will be working to include it in upcoming programing and outings.
That night in Subway, we listened to the Scouts. We responded to their questions and helped guide their discovery. We helped them understand that they can ask and do anything they want. The Adults are only here in general to drive them places and make sure Safety is observed. The Scoutmaster explained that the leadership learned here is up to them and that if they fail, no one is going to blame them. Scouting is a safe place to try new things and learn from mistakes. You cannot do that in life.
As I came home, I realized that the SPL, PL and Instructor had a new understanding and felt empowered to make changes.