A reader recently wrote to me with this question:
Looking for a little advice. My daughter recently joined a newly formed Venture Crew. The adults involved are very enthusiastic, which is great, but they tend to talk over the kids and take over the meetings. Some of the adults are keeping the kids form running the meetings successfully. My daughter doesn’t want to be rude, but she doesn’t feel that the adults are allowing them to make progress without being involved in every step of the process and she doesn’t know how to approach them.
These adults have been involved in Scouting for 30+ years and are a very important resource. No one wants to lessen the importance of their contributions… but the kids don’t want to listen to 30 minutes of reminiscing .
Any words of wisdom?
I agree that this is a difficult situation. These Scouters probably mean well, but in the long run their over involvement in the meetings won’t benefit the Crew.
I don’t know what your meeting space looks like, but it is possible to divide it up into two different sections – one for adults and one for the teens? Some Scouters just like to get together for fellowship at meetings, so if you provide them with a separate area to do that, maybe they’ll let the Venturers carry on their business on their own.
The youth might also need to take a more direct approach. The officers could band together and be honest with the adults. “We have noticed a problem in the Crew. We would like the youth to run the meetings so we can develop our leadership skills. Would all of the adults mind sitting on the other side of the room so we can try to handle this ourselves? You can see what we are doing from over there. After the meeting, we’ll get together with you for five or ten minutes to review how it went and to see if you have any advice for next time.”
Crews tend to be more free form than other BSA units. They might want to consider holding some of their meetings elsewhere, like at the local burger joint. If it is a small Crew, the youth can all have their own table and the adults can sit nearby. They can even choose a table which only has room for the youth. This alternate format in a public location might discourage adults from hanging out with them all the time.
Does anyone else out there have some advice or solutions to offer to this reader and her daughter? Add your ideas to the comments below.