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Thread: That one child - part 2

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    That one child - part 2

    Time for a rant. So the day job in scouting is more management and therefore I help for one evening a week (yes really just 2 hours a week) at a troop in the adjacent district as an ASL.

    We have that one Scout. For the past 6 months he's lost interest. Never takes part in any activities with the sole exception of paint balling. Not interested in award work, games, distracts others, and (worse) will "attract" his friends who might be interested in doing an activity to muck around or hang out round the back of the store. The whole troop is barred from bringing mobile phones, but he brings his every week and contacts friends and shows YouTube videos, again distracting the others. He's miserable and sulky, and thank goodness last night was his last at Scouts. Giving him, or taking away from him, responsibility made no difference, he was a rotten PL and a suggestion that he become a YL met with disgust.

    So? Why does the SL put up with this and allow him to bring his phone etc? You can probably guess by now, he's the SL's son, worse he was accepted by the "objective" county selection process to attend the WSJ in 2019 and must have a role in the movement.

    Lessons for me - (1) those leaders who are harsher on their own children than the rest of the troop deserve more respect. (2) As usual the WSJ selection process is suspect at best - there are at least 3 better candidates in the troop who didn't have the option because the parents were concerned on the commitment.

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    Having your own kid in the section is tough. I had both of mine through my Cub pack and thankfully they've moved on. In general I'd like to think I was at least fair if not tougher on them, but with a certain allowance for the fact that they automatically had it worse than any other kid in that they had to be there before the start and during clearing up because they arrived and went home with me. I suspect they probably did get away with the odd thing that I chose not to start a row over, knowing I was going home with them!

    The reason I'm still running Cubs and they are in Scouts is that I refused to move up with them - its one thing having your Dad around at age 10, but I felt they needed someone else as leader and mentor at an older age. So the quid pro quo is that I run Cubs which has the SL's son in it, and he runs Scouts with my two horrors in!

    (As an aside due to a family emergency last week that occurred on the day of our last Cub meeting of the term, I ended up taking them both with me as although they are now Scout age, I didn't want them sitting at home alone potentially stewing on the news that their "favourite" grandparent was seriously ill. It was actually great fun having them as additional helpers - the older one is a month off being old enough to be a YL, the younger one only left Cubs a year ago, but it was great to have them back in a situation where I could treat them differently to the other kids and it not be an issue - plus it gave the Cubs some nice big targets in our indoor snowball fight!)
    Does anyone know what's going on?

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    Just read this news story which seems relevent: 'Self-promoters' cheat the system at work https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-46608818
    Last edited by Kev; 19-12-2018 at 10:13 AM.

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    Ouch.

    Can't really say anything to this, you're sort of held to ransom because if you say anything, then you may end up having to leave all the other decent kids behind.

    I was going to say, a good dose of honesty with the SL would be useful, but it's never that straightforward...

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    Ouch.

    Can't really say anything to this, you're sort of held to ransom because if you say anything, then you may end up having to leave all the other decent kids behind.

    I was going to say, a good dose of honesty with the SL would be useful, but it's never that straightforward...
    Well I've had the discussion at the start of this term, which resulted in the creation of a senior patrol with his son in it, which often resulted in 3 of them mucking around and the 4th who wanted to get on with stuff getting fed up. Since half term I've just sighed and put up with it I utterly refuse to attempt to discipline his son when he's clearly a special case, I'm not doing more than 2 hours a week in that troop (plus a bit of prep), so I can't afford to do more and the hope that he'd go when he hit 14 was always there. TBH, it really is a hobby for me (being ASL I mean), so if it carried on next term I'd probably have walked out to go and help somewhere more deserving. As it is I'm looking forward to a much more productive spring term !

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    Quote Originally Posted by mang21 View Post
    Having your own kid in the section is tough.
    Tough on whom

    My kids were the reason that we got involved. They had to deal with higher expectations. And to be fair they did so without complaint (much).

    Not saying they were perfect, far from it.

    It is not impossible for Leaders to have their own children in their section, but if they are ONLY their for their kids, and they show favouritism, then they are perhaps not quite the right fit - although, I accept that having a parent as a leader for the duration of a child's membership of a section is better than not having any Leaders at all.
    Ewan Scott

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    Quote Originally Posted by RisingStar View Post
    He's miserable and sulky, and thank goodness last night was his last at Scouts. Giving him, or taking away from him, responsibility made no difference, he was a rotten PL and a suggestion that he become a YL met with disgust.
    Definitely beyond time to move up to Explorers. And if he doesn't want to do that, bye bye.

    Quote Originally Posted by RisingStar View Post
    So? Why does the SL put up with this and allow him to bring his phone etc? You can probably guess by now, he's the SL's son, worse he was accepted by the "objective" county selection process to attend the WSJ in 2019 and must have a role in the movement.
    So Explorers next? The main question in my mind is does he still play Kevin the teenager when he's with the Unit? If so he needs to step away from the commitment of WSJ and let someone who wants to go take his place. That's the right thing to do. There will be reserves, or there should be reserves (we got told to have one, we actually picked a couple, maybe even 3, in order of preference), and it's not that unusual an occurrence.

    Let's not start the WSJ selection debate again. It's not objective, it's subjective, and it's not fair, and it never will be. That's what I told the candidates at the start of our selection weekend, it took everyone aback a bit, but I stand by it . I'm guessing he managed to play the the right role for the weekend (or he's only "Kevin" round his dad).

    Quote Originally Posted by RisingStar View Post
    Lessons for me - (1) those leaders who are harsher on their own children than the rest of the troop deserve more respect. (2) As usual the WSJ selection process is suspect at best - there are at least 3 better candidates in the troop who didn't have the option because the parents were concerned on the commitment.
    1) Yeah, it's okay being the SLs son, but it's not ideal. A difficult balancing act. I've just about forgiven my dad for putting Smiffy and his pals in my last summer camp patrol. That was a long week! I suppose it balanced out with my first summer camp where I picked my mates in the patrol and the PL just had to put up with us!

    2) Hardly the SL or their sons fault that the other parents wouldn't let hats be thrown in the ring. And they're right to be concerned. Mine have done probably 6 weekends away with their unit this year, plus fundraising efforts.
    and also (2) maybe they could consider, if it's not too late, EuroJam 2020. Our county unit looks like being something like £950 and £1150 + prep weekends and some kit. Might not have the status of WSJ, but should be an experience. And 1/3 of the cost!
    Last edited by ianw; 19-12-2018 at 11:37 AM. Reason: added EuroJam stuff
    Ian Wilkins
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    Jambowlree - Worldwide Scout Ten Pin Bowling Competition
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    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    Definitely beyond time to move up to Explorers. And if he doesn't want to do that, bye bye.

    So Explorers next? The main question in my mind is does he still play Kevin the teenager when he's with the Unit? If so he needs to step away from the commitment of WSJ and let someone who wants to go take his place. That's the right thing to do. There will be reserves, or there should be reserves (we got told to have one, we actually picked a couple, maybe even 3, in order of preference), and it's not that unusual an occurrence.

    Let's not start the WSJ selection debate again. It's not objective, it's subjective, and it's not fair, and it never will be. That's what I told the candidates at the start of our selection weekend, it took everyone aback a bit, but I stand by it . I'm guessing he managed to play the the right role for the weekend (or he's only "Kevin" round his dad).
    He's been to a couple of explorer meetings, one was great and the other "gay", I have no idea how he behaves there but he is desperate to go to WSJ and I think will turn up occasionally at least.

    As you say he probably behaved fine at the selection weekend. The issue I have is that based on his behaviour he is not in any way fit to represent his troop, village or county at the event though I'm sure he'll love it, I'm equally sure (based on past experience) that we'll never see him again after.

    Revisit selection? My objection is that districts and groups are almost expected to assist and contribute to sending people who they have not been even asked to provide a reference (at least in our county), and don't necessarily believe are good candidates (see above !). My last district had a big income from its camp site and fully funded it's candidates who were selected by groups and the district which at least was financially independent from parents income.
    Last edited by RisingStar; 19-12-2018 at 12:20 PM.

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    Senior Member Shaun's Avatar
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    I was a bit more bullish, when the Cub Leaders son came up to Scouts, I moved quite quickly to demonstrate he had no special privileges that heíd enjoyed as a cub.
    Iím not convinced that his Dad was happy, that his son suddenly had to work for his badges and didnít get to play around all the time, but I hope mum was pleased he finally learnt to wash up!


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    Quote Originally Posted by RisingStar View Post
    Revisit selection? My objection is that districts and groups are almost expected to assist and contribute to sending people who they have not been even asked to provide a reference (at least in our county), and don't necessarily believe are good candidates.
    The last County International that I put forward candidates for, I had a fair idea who should get going and who should not. We had no input into the selection though. Of the six that I put forward, five were capable and would have contributed positively. The sixth was a non-runner in my mind.

    Of the six that I put forward three are still with me, a fourth turns up when he is at home. The fifth vanished. However, they selected the sixth candidate - the non-runner.

    I was astonished and called the chair of the selection panel and asked why they had chosen him - because I wanted to know so that I could explain to the others when they asked. The response was that he was the one most likely to benefit. There was no consideration given to his mental state, his attitude or indeed his physical ability. We never saw the kid again.

    To be fair, I suspect that these selection processes are fraught with problems for the assessors. There will be kids whose parents will struggle to meet the financial demands but who will go without to give their kid a chance, and there will be those who will just write a cheque without blinking. There will be kids who will benefit, and kids who will not ( how would they know) , and there will be kids who will put back into scouting and those who won't (agao, how do they know). There will also be kids who want to go for all the wrong reasons.
    Ewan Scott

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    To be fair, I suspect that these selection processes are fraught with problems for the assessors.
    I will tell you, so you don't have to suspect. They are really really difficult. Stressful. Sometimes a little heartbreaking. I mean, the weekend itself is fine, great even, as you don't really have any of the usual difficulties around surly non-participation and lippy Smiffy, or if you do, that just makes your job a little easier. It's the discussion at the end where you pick who gets to go...that's just horrible. Well, the last one wasn't too bad, but if you get two strong willed adults with different opinions...
    Ian Wilkins
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    .....

    To be fair, I suspect that these selection processes are fraught with problems for the assessors. There will be kids whose parents will struggle to meet the financial demands but who will go without to give their kid a chance, and there will be those who will just write a cheque without blinking. There will be kids who will benefit, and kids who will not ( how would they know) , and there will be kids who will put back into scouting and those who won't (agao, how do they know). There will also be kids who want to go for all the wrong reasons.
    I'd be a deal more sympathetic if, as for previous jamborees, there was the opportunity to take a confidential reference from section and district. At least that gave the opportunity to recommend quiet but deserving cases - on every jamboree selection I've seen you could draw the line of selected and unsuccessful candidates, and the latter were almost universally less extrovert than those above it. Our worst example was in Sweden where not only was the Scout never seen again, not even by the group who funded nearly 70% of it, but was last seen being carted off by the police for burglary. Not the fault of selection but one of many examples where they seem to have got it wrong....

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    Many counties seem to have complicated processes for selecting the 'best' young people to attend a World Scout Jamboree. Should it be the 'super Scout'? Should it be the person who has put the most effort in to their Scouting? Should it be the person that scored highly at an event that involved pitching an Icelandic tent, but was from the only group that used that sort of tent? Should it be the person who has the potential to gain the most from the event?

    Personally, I believe that there should be a simple criteria to be considered (i.e. a commitment to Scouting, a commitment to fundraising, a financial commitment from parents etc). Then, simply draw the names at random. This will give a far more interesting bunch of young people than would be selected using a complicated criteria.

    Oh, and as the number of places available is considerably less than the number of people that would like to attend, there is no reason for our limited contingent spaces to be taken up by people who have chosen not to join TSA.


    Paul

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulArthurs View Post

    Personally, I believe that there should be a simple criteria to be considered (i.e. a commitment to Scouting, a commitment to fundraising, a financial commitment from parents etc).


    I have found that when we include the commitment to fundraising, we get low support as parents simply open their chequebooks. Or set up standing orders.
    Ewan Scott

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    We tend not to involve ourselves in jamborees with criteria for attendance. The last big one we sent kids to was Chile (don't recall the year...) We sent one swotty scout and one non-swotty scout. (Sure that's not the right way to put it, but that's what happened.) They could both afford it, and I have no idea what went on at district level. I know neither hung on afterwards. The swotty scout enjoyed it, the non-swotty scout enjoyed it less. But both said it was generally, a good experience - whether because they felt they had to, is not known.

    It seems to me, with these big world jamborees, the reasons for going don't really have anything to do with the camp itself or with any intended after-effects. What I think I mean is, it doesn't matter what kind of Scout you send, it'll have little to do with if they enjoy it, or if they stay on afterwards. There are so many other factors at play through out the process.

    I can say, I'm not keen on a leaders promoting their own kid over others. That just isn't fair.

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