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A few concerns regarding local troop

  • #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 139 ✭✭ anamcarame


    Hi,
    I have a few concerns regarding out local cub scouts. WEll actually I think they are sea cubs but never do activities on the sea! Strange considering that our town is located around a harbour.
    initially when my children joined myself and my husband became leaders as it was the only way to get them into the cubs due to a lack of leaders. About 4 other parent leaders joined at the time for a group of 28 cubs. My OH left after about 3 months as we were turning up every week and did not know from week to week what hte activities were. Sometimes we just watched as we were not asked to help. The leader had been a lone leader for some time so I think delegation was new to her. After about 5-6 months I also decided to leave as at this stage I had not recieved the training I thought we were going to get and I got fed up turning up every week wiht all the other leaders and not knowing what we were doing. Sometimes we got tasked with activities that should have been prepared in advance. For example science experiements. A little humiliating when you are showing an experiment to kids without having done it before so tbh, the outcome/result was not explained very well. I put this all down to bad management adn as I was busy with other local organisations I found my interest had deminished.

    My children have not had the experience I wish for them either. They are shouted at quiet a lot ( all of the cuds not just them) and get given out to by the leader. She can be a little gruff. I do know she is under a lot of pressure as there are a lot of kids together making a lot of noise. Up until now I have told themn to behave and do as they are told that she is in charge and must be obeyed. However, last night the group were to repeatily to 'shut up'. Am I correct in having an issue with this? I am not sure about the course of action to take as I do not want to make things worse for my kids. This leader is not very open to questioning and as I have mention a few minor things to her before I find she ignores me and my children now.

    Are the children not supposed to be learning leadership skills themselves and breaking up inot smaller groups with child leaders (sixers)? In general what is the ethos of the cubs? What are they suppose to be learning and how are they supposed to be treated. I have possibly got them involved in an organisation I thought was something else. Any advice would be great.

    I would like to add that this leader is very committed and has been for years, and I would not knock that, but is it enough?


Comments



  • In my experience most troops are run in that kind of way




  • So is it acceptable for a leader to be shouting shut up at the kids or is it just happening and not being regulated?




  • It does sound to me like the leader in question is taking on a lot for one person.

    28 cubs and only one main leader taking charge sounds like quite a handful, I wouldn't be surprised if she seemed a little stressed at times.

    I'd say your best course of action would be to continue to help out as you are, and don't be afraid to contribute some ideas to the main leader. You should suggest maybe meeting before the meeting some week to help plan some activities with her. That way she'll get to know you and it will help share some of the responsibility between you. Get the other parents that were interested to do the same.

    As for the lack of training you've received, this should be addressed as soon as possible! Parents should not be regularly attending meetings without basic leadership training and a Garda background check. Get talking to the Cub leader or even the Group Leader pronto to get this sorted.

    You say that the leader in question has been involved and committed for years, that is a credit to her, but times change and often a leader can find themselves in a position where they have more on their plate outside of Scouts than before, giving them less time to prepare for meetings and activities. It's good to help address this and share the load before it becomes too much for her and the whole idea of being a leader loses its magic.

    Scout Leaders don't get paid remember, we do it because we enjoy it, and no one wants to lose that.




  • anamcarame wrote: »
    So is it acceptable for a leader to be shouting shut up at the kids or is it just happening and not being regulated?

    yes. what exactly is the big deal about telling them to shut up?

    we do it all the time.

    +1 to everything that Ron said




  • yes. what exactly is the big deal about telling them to shut up?

    we do it all the time.

    +1 to everything that Ron said

    Sorry but I see that as complete verbal abuse. You would not or should not put up with your employer or a friend spesking to you like that, would you??

    I know I would be most offended. It is not acceptable. The scout leader is supposed to be setting an example and by shoutting out of control to shut up a children is not leading by example.

    I am so dissappointed in Scouting Ireland if this is the standard of leadership.


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  • Firstly I've been a leader for 18 years, of which 12 of those have been at management level (Group and County), in addition to running at least one programme section in that time as well.

    Currently the average length of time an adult remains a leader is 18 months... which in reality is actually much shorter as there would be a large number of leaders whom would be involved as leaders for 10, 20, 30 years or even longer.

    It can be understandable that some leaders are reluctant to hand over the responsibility, if there is a high turn over of adults within the Section, as the responsibility ends up falling back on the same leader each time, when everyone else leaves. Of course sometimes the reason adults leaves is that they don't get any responsibility.I tis about getting the balance right.

    anamcarame, you say you only joined to get your kids involved, (as do many others) would you stay/have stayed with the cub section, when your kids had moved on?

    There isn't a Sea Scout Programme for Cub Scouts as such. However with the new programme this should change as there a elements which are suitable for cub packs of what would traditionally be sea scouts. Sea scout activities require highly skilled suitability qualified leaders, due to the risks involved.

    Regards training, the person responsible for looking after that in a Group is generally the Group Leader or sometimes the Group Trainer and not the Leader in charge of a section, as their responsibility is to run the section. Training is important, for all leaders.

    While its not ideal that a leader has to shout at a cub pack, in many instances it is the reality particularly in larger cub packs;
    • Firstly it can be hard to be heard over 28 enthusiastic kids.
    • There is mostly properly one or two kids whom are disruptive and others whom, can be lead on further adding to the problem
    • Some kids have medical problems, which leaders are not made aware of which can cause them to be disruptive.... not all parents disclose information on consent forms
    • Leaders get frustrated if they have to continuously correct cubs which disturb activities within a cub pack
    • Believe it or not there are parents out there whom see scouting as a cheap baby sitting service and sent their kids so they can get a break from them themselves
    • Generally speaking leaders have the best interests of kids at heart and at the end of the day we give of our time voluntary.




  • Archtech, thank you fro you reply.

    The high turn over of adults involved in the troop seems to be as you said not getting any responsibility passed on to them.

    We did become leader as it was the only way to get the boys inot the troop so in no way was it ever viewed as a babysitting service for us as we were there each week. Actually it is not a very cheap babysitting service so I do not really think many parents would use it in this manner.

    I am very aware of the time and committment involved in volunteering for such an organisation as I have been involved in numerous clubs in my locality over the last few years. (all of which I recieved certified training for).Most of which were for children older than my own so my involvement has never been about my own children before. When I joined the troop I was actually taking a break from all community work but sure you know what is like.....so easy to get involved again and I can never say no when help in needed.

    The reason for not attending as a leader was simply down ot bad management. No rotas, no planned activities in advance etc.

    My boys love going but all the kids do have an issue with the main leader. It can take the fun element out of it and I have discovered that it has not instilled any respect for her.

    For the moment I am happy to keep them in the troop as they do come out with smiles on their faces but I am disappointed in the manner which they are spoken to and also the lack of reslect she seems to have for the children.
    Regarding children with medical issues or special needs. I do not know about parents not disclosing information. Why is strange as it is the welfare of their children at the end of the day, but I do believe that inorder to be a leader involving children with "behaviour issues", the leader should be equiped to deal wiht them. Screaming at a group to shut up etc is not the answer and if anything it has highlighted her inability to control certain situation which children are very quick to catch on to. She is letting herself down.
    I will add that I do know how trying children can be as I have vast experience of working wiht children on a professional level.

    Sorry if I have rambles or this is disjointed but I am rushing here. lol! thanks again for your reply.




  • anamcarame

    I have been a leader in Scouting for over 20 years now and find that leaders behaviour, as you have described, to be unacceptable. I am currently a Group Leader, Venture Leaders and I am involved at County and Provincial level also.

    Yes sometimes 28 cubs running around shouting their heads off is noisy and sometimes leaders have to shout to be heard. I run a system that if I need quiet I hold up the scout sign as high as I can and all leaders who see it do the same. The children know they have to be quiet and in a few seconds there is quiet. Leaders who shout a lot IMO are usually ignored. I am sure others use similar or other tricks to get quiet but shouting should be a last resort.

    Scouting is a child centric organisation and the Scout Method states that children should be tough skills and have experiences in small groups using the learning-by-doing style. If the leader in charge is not aware of this then maybe they should redo their training. I will not knock anyone for trying their best and putting in years of dedicated service but if the children are suffering and new leader are leaving as quick as they join then maybe it is time for her to step aside.

    I believe that Section Leaders should change every three or four years to let everyone have the experience and to let them bring their own unique perspective to the job. I am only too willing to let new leaders have a go to see what they can teach me. It also gives all leaders a chance to recharge their batteries.

    As for training as stated in another post it is ultimately the Group Leader/Trainers job to ensure all leaders have the opportunity to access training, however the section leader has a responsibility also to inform new leaders of what is expected of them and to ask Group Council to run a Welcome to Scouting. Also mention in another post was the need to complete the adult registration forms and Garda vetting, as 1 Jan 2010 nobody can have access to children until the Gard Vetting is complete either supervised or not.

    I believe that the leaders’ behaviour is unacceptable, as you have described it. I know there are two sides to every story and I have not heard the other side.

    My advice – your first recourse is to the Group Leader and the Group Council to have the issues addressed. S/He should be able to talk to the leader and get them to give new leaders a bit of space and involve them in planning the section programme. If there is no Group structure in place you should contact the County Commissioner and explain the case, they will be able to help. If there is no County structure in place, or you do not know who the County Commission is, every Province has paid staff members that can be contacted in Provincial Office. They are the Provincial Support Officer and Group Support Officer. Click here to see the list of Provinces http://www.scouts.ie/provinces. Each provincial page also lists the Groups by County and gives the County Commissioner.

    Sorry for being a bit long winded but I hope this helps. If you have any other questions for me you can PM me and I will gladly answer them.




  • It's indeed sad to hear that a leader is behaving like this. I like Shoie find this totally unacceptable.

    Cookie Monster, there should be no need to raise your voice at a cub/scout meeting - simply raising the scout sign should have the desired effect. My general rule when I run a scout meeting is that I should not need to talk over a scout if I'm running parade. If a person is constantly raising their voices and using bad language when speaking to someone it will become the norm and the scouts will associate it with that person - shouting is a good tool when emphasising something (so is lowering your voice to above a whisper).

    Research has been done to show that the louder an adult shouts to get quiet from a group of children the longer they take to get quiet and the shorter the time they actually stay quiet. In fact, in formal education, some primary school teachers have introduced a method similar to holding up the scout sign to get quiet. From what I've heard, a lot of primary school teachers have a system whereby when they hold the duster up in the air the class become silent.

    I think your first point of call should be to the Group Leader and discuss your concerns with them.




  • anamcarame wrote: »
    You would not or should not put up with your employer or a friend speaking to you like that, would you??

    I don't run around my office shouting my head off either. and why would it bother me if a friend told me to shut up, unless it was aggressively of course
    anamcarame wrote: »
    I know I would be most offended. It is not acceptable. The scout leader is supposed to be setting an example and by shoutting out of control to shut up a children is not leading by example.

    You can do it in a reasonable manner and you can do it in an abusive manor, like a lot of things. Shouting aggressively at someone is obviously a no no. A general "hey guys, come on, shut up" every now and then is the only way to get their attention quickly and easily at times.
    anamcarame wrote: »
    I am so dissappointed in Scouting Ireland if this is the standard of leadership.

    Like everywhere the standards vary wildly. What is acceptable in one group may not be elsewhere or the meaning may be conveyed differently and so on. All I know our leadership is obviously very good as we are the largest and most active group in the region and have to constantly turn new people away as its just too packed.


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  • I have to agree with Cookie - we have 28 cubs in a small location and 4 leaders!! I do not like using the words shut up but only do in extreme cases, but I would raise my voice, its the only way I can be heard if the kids are playing a game or are just starting the meeting - its never abusive - its just raising my voice so I can be heard when all the kids are talking!!!

    I am Section Leader (for 2 years) for Cubs and there have been times (twice in 5 years) when I have had alot on, little support from parents and have gotten snappy with the kids but I always apologise and explain why I snapped. Continuous shouting / shut up in an aggressive way it not nice - I wouldnt like my lecturers to say it - actually I have a lecturer who says shut up and I don't like it - hence why I really don't like using it!!!

    OP on scouts not being a cheap babysitting service - yes it is!!! I charge €10 per hour when I babysit and I mind 2 / 3 kids at a time and then watch TV or study when the kids are in bed!!! Cubs is so much more (I never sit down on camp or at meetings) and if you only buy a jumper and necker its cheap as!!!!

    I am not a parent, but I often feel some parents just drop the kids off and don't care what goes on, I am glad you are concerned but please talk to your leader!!! I recently had a cub leave due to me asking him repeatedly to behave and be quiet (never raise my voice to an individual cub) but I was not told directly and I didn't like this at all, in my defence the child was acting up all the time and very very very disruptive and causing other to be disruptive but the mother thought he was an angel.

    There are two sides to every story but repeated shut up is not nice!!!




  • Pembily wrote: »
    OP on scouts not being a cheap babysitting service - yes it is!!! I charge €10 per hour when I babysit and I mind 2 / 3 kids at a time and then watch TV or study when the kids are in bed!!! Cubs is so much more (I never sit down on camp or at meetings) and if you only buy a jumper and necker its cheap as!!!!

    +1

    We calculated the "real" cost of a weekend would be if we charged babysitting / creche rates once, well over €300 it came to per child. :eek::eek::eek:

    Scouts is an extrordinarily cheap (good value may be a better term :)) way of having huge amounts of fun and learning a great deal for all involved, leaders, kids and the parents who hold an interest.




  • +1

    We calculated the "real" cost of a weekend would be if we charged babysitting / creche rates once, well over €300 it came to per child. :eek::eek::eek:

    Scouts is an extrordinarily cheap (good value may be a better term :)) way of having huge amounts of fun and learning a great deal for all involved, leaders, kids and the parents who hold an interest.

    Thanks!

    Oh and forgot to say I always tell cubs only to buy what they need, and I say it to the parents too - I check all the cheapest places to buy plain navy pants, I arrange discounts with any shops for outdoor gear that I can and I keep an eye on Lidl and Aldi for their camping stuff...




  • Former beaver, cub and scout here. now in ventures and i love it.
    On my way up through the system i've encountered every type of leader and the majority i've gotten to know well and keep as dear friends. I think hte job they do is huge and they don't realise what a huge part they play in helping children grow up and how they see the big world out there, and i can see myself in years to come taking up a position as a leader. I can absolutly see the side a mother would take in the "shut-up" scenario, and i cannot ever myself or others recall being nastily toldto shut up or ever been verbally abused. what i have witnesses and experienced is when leaders get stressed and start to lose their cool! god-knows it happens to me when i lend a hand on beaver-days in our local forest-park! i know too that a little shout here and there does help to put smacht on younger kids, heck, my first leader was an ex-army guy who had us marchingup the mainstreet on wednesday evenings! i think that all cases are different and the mother must decide if she wants her kids there or not. What i will say is that poor-preparation can be the down-fall of a troop, from my experiences preperation needs to involve and accomodate scouts, leaders and parents or else that troop is going nowhere!

    dont take my views too seriously, they're only opinions, and i think the insight of a scout might help here

    dont make this in anyway a leader vs. parents issue, i've seen them before ( your kids might notice these things too...more than you think) every single person appreciates what leaders do the "babysitting" refernece above does not even start to sum up what leaders contribute. it would be worth triple-pay, the things leaders put up with. parents are leaders most of the time, leaders are parents, dont get caught up in it. people have different ways of going about things. the best way to sort it out is to put it on the open with that person




  • i'm in the same venture troop as danoboy254.
    scouts in our town has been a huge success and there are rarely any problems with it. it is hugely popular and there is a huge waiting list every year.
    however, many people have noticed that some children on waiting lists are favoured above others, simply because of their status in the town, i.e if they are well known or not.
    it seems that if you have some sort of a connection with the leaders, your child gets into the troop unfairly, above everyone else. i know people from the outskirts of the town, whose children have been on waiting lists since they were born, and yet, they are still on waiting lists.
    then there are others, who have "connections". their children may only be on waiting lists for a few months, and they get in no problem.
    i think that these waiting lists should be monitored by headquarters, so that everyone is being treated fairly. that is what scouts is supposed to teach, equality.


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