Defining a New Meaning for a Boy Led Troop

By Cindy  

Hello.   I realized that I neglected to properly prepare you as the webleos parents for troop 498's interpretation of "boy led"...

I realize after seeing 3 years of boy scout involvement with my older son Randy that there are many different interpretations of "boy-led" and many different personalities of the different troops.   So, this is something you should keep in mind when you 'shop ' for a boy scout troop.  

I definitely did not prepare you troop for 498.  This is a troop who is on one side of  the  'boy led" interpretation.   Randy picked this troop from 3-4 that he visited .  For him, the fact that the meetings were led by boys with little visible lecturing by the scoutmasters...convinced him this was the troop for him.   He was tired of cub scouts and elementary school and ready to "grow up"... :-)    So, when he saw the meeting being led by a senior patrol leader and events being organized by boys... he jumped in....

I would say this was one of the better decisions he has made in his life...for his personality, this was great...  It has inspired him to do things that he would never think of doing if he only saw the adult way of doing it.   But by seeing boys just a few years older than him, doing things that seemed so adult-like....he feels it's within his reach...   and he tries and learns....


From a parent and adult perspective, one has to grow accustomed to this type of  troop's personality...  Every back packing trip has a new scout trying to earn "navigation skills" for his tenderfoot rank.   The older boys, sit back and allow him to try...they let him flounder and flub up and miles later, learn to recover with their help and continue on...   Every camping trip has a new "cook", every year there are new patrol leaders that have never led before, every court of honor is run by a new MC.   Every position is being held by someone who doesn't really know what he' doing but is giving it a shot anyway....   and they fumble and stumble and learn to laugh at themselves and each other... and together they grow.

As an adult, it can be sometimes painful to watch and almost always frustrating...since nothing goes smoothly!   nothing!   But after being in the troop for 3 years, I've seen Randy's confidence grow with his skills.  I've seen his humility mature with his growing abilities.  And i've seen sympathy and helpfulness (and yes,) leadership grow side by side within him.     And now, as I sit on the board of review of the troop and listen to the high school aged scouts explain what they are doing to get themselves to eagle scout rank, I have to smile at the confidence and knowledge and planning ability that grew along with the inches they gained since they entered the troop in 5th or 6th grade.  I also see, that although they are a FAR way from being young men , that they have in their experience the knowledge that failing at first is no reason to be discouraged, that in fact it is a natural  part of learning and growing.  They all know that they can get to the next goal, because they've done it. 

So, I apologize because I failed to warn you, that the meetings rarely start on time, the scouts are rarely fully prepared and are usually doing their best to improvise through the activity that they had planned, calling upon each other to collaborate on how they are actually going to proceed without full requisites in place!  

I hope this explains why I comfortably stood at the meeting while the scouts scrounged around for firewood that someone forgot to tell someone else to bring...  and why I patiently waited for enough to come together so they could show our webelos how to build a structure that would turn into a fire and to finally to see how cool it is to stand or sit around and just watch the flames....

If you have any questions or want to discuss boy scouts, please don't hesitate to email or call me.   There are many other ways to go about teaching and learning.    And this is actually you and your webelo's mission...to find the troop that will help grow the particular boy that is yours and what environment will be welcoming for him to grow and learn.    

On Feb 5, the council is holding a "boy scout troop fair" where the different troops will come together at a given location and webelos are invited to walk around and see what the different troops are about.     I'll send a reminder as it gets closer, but when you "shop" think about what would be best for your boys' personality...   boy scouts can be a great place for boys to gain skill s that they cannot get at school or any other place, so i encourage you to attend, and encourage your scout to continue along to the next part of scouting...when the real fun begins (as Randy says)

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