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  1. #1
    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    What to do...

    I have a dliemma.

    I have built up a nice little Navigator Group, I think that we are at least on a level with other providers, and we are getting kids coming in aged 10 and 11 who are new to the game - which is great.

    We recently opened a Junior section and it was going quite well, until about three weeks ago when a gang of five or six local lads turned up, banging on the windows and kicking the doors and hanging around the entrance (to a public building). We have lost two kids already, and I have had messages from the parents of another four of the Juniors and one of the Navigators suggesting that if the problem continues they will have to withdraw their children. Moreover, these lads are picking on our new members at school ( the long term members don't really worry, they just stay out of their way.

    Now, reluctantly, having spoken to them, to the point where I had to walk away bebfore I lamped one of the little sods. I have now made two ASB complaints, and have discovered that two other Groups using the hall also have problems, and two further groups changed venue as a result of these kids' behaviour.

    So, I could try and engage these kids, who, after all, are just doing what BP saw lads doing in 1906/7. However, it would take an inordinate amount of time and my existing members and leaders want to have nothing to do with them. And to be honest, at my age I really am past the point of the social concience saying that I have to deal with these yobs and treat them as human beings. I feel a little guilty at excluding them. They have asked when we are next doing Firestaff training... So we will have to relocate for that next firestaff session to avoid a clash with these yobs.

    Now, I invoke the experience of Tony Ransley here, or Perhaps John Russell. If these are the sort of lads that we SHOULD be drawing in and catering for and helping avoid the abyss. How can we do that without impairing the wellbeing of the kids who want to be with us. Kids who are never in a million years likely to cause any anti social behaviour issues?

    I should add that the local authority run youth club has seen its numbers drop from 70 to 12 due to behavioural issues... If the professionals will not deal with these kids, how, or why should we?

    Would four weeks of NCS sort them out?
    Ewan Scott

    It seems that there are a lot of Nawyecka Comanch around....





    Nawyecka Comanch'": "Means roundabout--man says he's going one way, means to go t'other" Ethan Edwards - The Searchers



    www.upperdearnevalleynavigators.org.uk

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    This is a tough one.

    We've had similar problems with damage to the hall - we had to board our windows up because they kept getting smashed, we've also had leader's vehicles damaged... This was all a while ago, currently things are quiet (and we have new windows...)

    What we did was; we started 'engaging' with the young folk doing it, not in a positive come-down-and-join way, we just started giving them a firm hello or 'alright?' in the street. We also started to speak to their parents - not about what they were doing, just general social niceties - usually in front of the young people involved. They saw us do that and over time, it stopped them from targeting the hall and Scouts etc.

    It was all asymmetric, we didn't call the police. The most direct thing we did was speak to parents of one (who damaged my car). There was no danger of them joining up (many were ex-scouts anyway). The thing we noticed was, it only seemed to happen in winter, it never happened during the lighter nights - it seemed to be very boredom-related. But like you say, you shouldn't have to deal with it, you're not responsible for every kid. Plus, these were middle class children who were mostly all mouth and no trousers, when it came down to it, seeing them in the street and showing that we (the leaders) weren't intimidated (and could be a bit scary) made them think twice.

    Either that or they got bored messing with us and moved on...

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    Assistant Beaver Leader Keith's Avatar
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    They are showing an interest in your group, they are hanging around causing ASB because they have nothing else to do.

    Invite them in, show them what Navigators is really all about - they may well end up joining, and more than likely you'll see positive behaviour.
    Keith "Hawkeye"
    Assistant Beaver Scout Leader (Woodbadge)
    Ex Colony Assistant & DofE Helper
    1st Ingleby Barwick (St Francis) Scout Group

    Ex DofE Helper (Beavers), 1st Egglescliffe (St John's) Scout Group



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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith View Post
    They are showing an interest in your group, they are hanging around causing ASB because they have nothing else to do.

    Invite them in, show them what Navigators is really all about - they may well end up joining, and more than likely you'll see positive behaviour.
    Keith, you missed the bit where I said that the kids we already have would quit if we brought them in. This is the dilemma.

    I actually really do do this for the kids we have... to betray them by inviting the lads who intimidate them and bully them at school would be a disaster. Every time we do a survey asking why they come - one of the main responses is that we offer them a place of safety...
    Ewan Scott

    It seems that there are a lot of Nawyecka Comanch around....





    Nawyecka Comanch'": "Means roundabout--man says he's going one way, means to go t'other" Ethan Edwards - The Searchers



    www.upperdearnevalleynavigators.org.uk

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    Assistant Beaver Leader Keith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    Keith, you missed the bit where I said that the kids we already have would quit if we brought them in. This is the dilemma.

    I actually really do do this for the kids we have... to betray them by inviting the lads who intimidate them and bully them at school would be a disaster. Every time we do a survey asking why they come - one of the main responses is that we offer them a place of safety...
    Then these kids need to give these lads a chance, and I dare say that the relationships between them will change. They're being bullied and intimidated at school because they go to Navigators - it's either through peer pressure and looking cool in front of their mates or they simply don't understand what Navigators is all about. They've already showed an interest in one of your activities and they are clearly bored (which is why they hang around causing ASB). If they are given a chance, by everyone concerned, rather than being excluded and complained about I believe that this can be turned around and be positive for everyone.

    It looks like if the status quo continues, or you invite them in, you've got Navigators saying they are going to leave.

    How I see it, is that if you invite them in, with everyone being positive and welcoming towards them. Treat them exactly as you would any other new starters and leave any issues and negativity behind you. Start with a clean slate and an open mind.

    I think they'll surprise you all, in a good way - in the end you'll look back and be glad you invited them in. Those that are being bullied and intimidated will hopefully see it stop too, and have a totally different relationship with each other. It might not happen the first week and some of the lads might not give it a good go, but atleast you will be able to say that you tried.
    Keith "Hawkeye"
    Assistant Beaver Scout Leader (Woodbadge)
    Ex Colony Assistant & DofE Helper
    1st Ingleby Barwick (St Francis) Scout Group

    Ex DofE Helper (Beavers), 1st Egglescliffe (St John's) Scout Group



    http://www.inglebybarwickscouts.org.uk

    WE NEED MORE ADULT VOLUNTEERS!
    Volunteer at 1st Ingleby Barwick Scout Group
    Assistant Section Leaders, Sectional Assistants, etc.


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    Senior Member Epona's Avatar
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    Had this problem about a decade ago. We reported incidents to the local Police station but little response. The following weeks persuaded all the parents (and the parents of adjacent sports club also harrassed) to report every incident to the station too. Police response was highly visible and sustained for months. Problem didn't recur.

    It's a numbers game on the crime profile -- you have to make your problem statistically significant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith View Post
    They are showing an interest in your group, they are hanging around causing ASB because they have nothing else to do.

    Invite them in, show them what Navigators is really all about - they may well end up joining, and more than likely you'll see positive behaviour.
    In having seen ASB in two of our groups you're in cloud cuckoo land if you think that will work, in the very unlikely event that they'd come in, engage, and show any intrerest they'd probably drive out the current incumbents and quite probably wouldn't stay long killing the group. One group dealt with the issue by involving the police, several visits plus some dummy CCTV solved the problem. I think the other simply involved more parents who were happy to sit outside chatting over a beer for the duration of the meeting and seemed to put off the worst.

    In both cases the problems went away in time. In the first group I think there were two bouts of problems over a period of perhaps 6 years, but it in both cases it only lasted a few months.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith View Post
    Then these kids need to give these lads a chance, and I dare say that the relationships between them will change. They're being bullied and intimidated at school because they go to Navigators - it's either through peer pressure and looking cool in front of their mates or they simply don't understand what Navigators is all about. They've already showed an interest in one of your activities and they are clearly bored (which is why they hang around causing ASB). If they are given a chance, by everyone concerned, rather than being excluded and complained about I believe that this can be turned around and be positive for everyone.

    It looks like if the status quo continues, or you invite them in, you've got Navigators saying they are going to leave.

    How I see it, is that if you invite them in, with everyone being positive and welcoming towards them. Treat them exactly as you would any other new starters and leave any issues and negativity behind you. Start with a clean slate and an open mind.

    I think they'll surprise you all, in a good way - in the end you'll look back and be glad you invited them in. Those that are being bullied and intimidated will hopefully see it stop too, and have a totally different relationship with each other. It might not happen the first week and some of the lads might not give it a good go, but atleast you will be able to say that you tried.
    We tried this and it doesn't work. Its the worst of both worlds, you alienate your current members who leave and the young folk you're trying to help disappear - or worst still - stay.

    The touchy feely method might sound good, but sometimes you have to be tough. Funnily enough, I was just talking to a fellow leader about this, we have a kid with a 'complex' background. I hear myself making excuses for his behaviour because of it, but my colleague was telling me some of the other Scouts were speaking about this kid - he bullies them at school and he's pretty horrible to them at Scouts too. Its not just one or two and its not just banter either, its sustained bullying. We always stop it at Scouts, but that's only if we see it. It occurs to me, that we make all sorts of excuses for kids like this, its easier and feels right, but after a while, you just have to put your foot down. The one thing people don't seem to want to do these days is challenge the bad behaviour head on. There is a place for it of course, but it seems like Ewan's situation has gone beyond that.

    One of the reasons this happens in the first place is a lack of boundaries, it turns into a self fulfilling prophecy.

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    This is a tough one.

    We've had similar problems with damage to the hall - we had to board our windows up because they kept getting smashed, we've also had leader's vehicles damaged... This was all a while ago, currently things are quiet (and we have new windows...)

    What we did was; we started 'engaging' with the young folk doing it, not in a positive come-down-and-join way, we just started giving them a firm hello or 'alright?' in the street. We also started to speak to their parents - not about what they were doing, just general social niceties - usually in front of the young people involved. They saw us do that and over time, it stopped them from targeting the hall and Scouts etc.

    It was all asymmetric, we didn't call the police. The most direct thing we did was speak to parents of one (who damaged my car). There was no danger of them joining up (many were ex-scouts anyway). The thing we noticed was, it only seemed to happen in winter, it never happened during the lighter nights - it seemed to be very boredom-related. But like you say, you shouldn't have to deal with it, you're not responsible for every kid. Plus, these were middle class children who were mostly all mouth and no trousers, when it came down to it, seeing them in the street and showing that we (the leaders) weren't intimidated (and could be a bit scary) made them think twice.

    Either that or they got bored messing with us and moved on...
    Oh don't think that we have not tried engaging them. They don't give a toss. They have no respect at all. They have also been harassing two women's groups - I'm guessing that they don't want to join the women's groups. And Brownies relocated - they didn't want to join Brownies.

    I no longer live in the village that we meet in and I am not familiar with their parents, but those who do know their parents won't speak to them because they fear a violent response.
    Ewan Scott

    It seems that there are a lot of Nawyecka Comanch around....





    Nawyecka Comanch'": "Means roundabout--man says he's going one way, means to go t'other" Ethan Edwards - The Searchers



    www.upperdearnevalleynavigators.org.uk

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    I like the theory that Keith espouses, But I'd be on my own.

    I'd lose the kids that I have known for 10-12 years or more. I'd also lose my Leaders. Some of whom I have known for over 20 years and who have come with me to Navigators because they prefer the laid back approach we have now, where we treat everyone as friends, and largely that is reciprocated/
    Ewan Scott

    It seems that there are a lot of Nawyecka Comanch around....





    Nawyecka Comanch'": "Means roundabout--man says he's going one way, means to go t'other" Ethan Edwards - The Searchers



    www.upperdearnevalleynavigators.org.uk

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    I remember a local shop having problems with kids hanging around. They started playing classical music outside the shop. The kids went elsewhere rather than have to listen to the music.

    I have no idea whether it worked long term - but it is was a nice "passive" response.

    Good lighting and persuading some parents to hang around outside during the meetings might also help.

    R.

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    It would be nice to think that this gang of lads could be welcomed in and could then become members etc.

    My experience of lads hanging around Scout huts etc. causing trouble is that they are not interested in being members they just want to hang around and cause trouble. I might have become old and cynical but that has been my experience over quite a long period.

    My most amusing experience of this came when a few lads put a firework through a window. I think they thought it was Brownies that night. It wasn't and they found themselves being chased through the streets by a group of rather large Venture Scouts.

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    AESL & AGSL shiftypete's Avatar
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    I remember one incident about 5 years ago now where we had two or three lads probably around 13 years old walk in off the street asking if they could join in. Now they evidently had come in for a laugh to to make fun of some of the Scouts they knew from School. However what they had not banked on was Explorers meeting on the same night as Scouts and being calmly invited to join in with our joint first game which might just have suddenly turned into a game of bulldog with the larger Explorers targeting them at every opportunity (and our 6ft 4" SL at the time ready to step in at the sign of any real trouble)

    They slunk off after about 30 mins wen they got bored having realised they would get no rise out of us and were in fact rather physically, mentally and numerically outmatched.

    We don't have any outside space for people to hang around in so anyone wanting to cause trouble would have to hang around on the street outside which is a residential street with terraced housing opposite our meeting place so they would not be able to get up to much without being spotted.

    Peter Andrews AESL of Headingley Pirates ESU, Assistant Group Scout Leader & Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
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    Please note all views expressed are my own and not those of any organisation I'm associated with

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    Senior Member Rikki01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    This is a tough one.

    We've had similar problems with damage to the hall - we had to board our windows up because they kept getting smashed, we've also had leader's vehicles damaged... This was all a while ago, currently things are quiet (and we have new windows...)

    What we did was; we started 'engaging' with the young folk doing it, not in a positive come-down-and-join way, we just started giving them a firm hello or 'alright?' in the street. We also started to speak to their parents - not about what they were doing, just general social niceties - usually in front of the young people involved. They saw us do that and over time, it stopped them from targeting the hall and Scouts etc.

    It was all asymmetric, we didn't call the police. The most direct thing we did was speak to parents of one (who damaged my car). There was no danger of them joining up (many were ex-scouts anyway). The thing we noticed was, it only seemed to happen in winter, it never happened during the lighter nights - it seemed to be very boredom-related. But like you say, you shouldn't have to deal with it, you're not responsible for every kid. Plus, these were middle class children who were mostly all mouth and no trousers, when it came down to it, seeing them in the street and showing that we (the leaders) weren't intimidated (and could be a bit scary) made them think twice.

    Either that or they got bored messing with us and moved on...
    What a wonderful piece of advice and really very interesting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    Oh don't think that we have not tried engaging them. They don't give a toss. They have no respect at all. They have also been harassing two women's groups - I'm guessing that they don't want to join the women's groups. And Brownies relocated - they didn't want to join Brownies.

    I no longer live in the village that we meet in and I am not familiar with their parents, but those who do know their parents won't speak to them because they fear a violent response.
    In which case, I can't see what else you can do except involve the police.

    Maybe as already suggested, teaming up with the other groups who're having bother with them...

    Some people are just horrible... That includes young folk. Its even more annoying that they're doing just for the fun of it. Its incredibly frustrating.

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