Adult Speaking

Problem – Scouters Too Involved in Meetings

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.

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2 Responses to Problem – Scouters Too Involved in Meetings

  1. Scoutmaster Troop #329 February 15, 2012 at 7:18 AM #

    I’ve been a scouter for over 20 yrs and I have seen Scouters that have taken required training from the BSA and especially the Adult wood badge Course come back so excited to share the things they have learned with their troop without remembering its a boy led organization that they have to relieve themselves from all that experience they have been trained in.The training I remember several yrs ago I felt like the courses turned me into a Boy Scout for a weekend. Sure some leadership skills were covered but more emphasis was put on the way and what the Scout goes through. In my opinion all this training should be focused on the adult and how they suppose to act and not skills and experiences the Scouts go through.Or stress over and over how a Scouter suppose to act in a meeting. I know all Scouters just want they’re Troop to be a success and to benefit our Scouts and sure each troop is different in they’re own way but maybe that would stop some of the Adults trying to take over the meetings and not letting the scouts run the meetings themselves.

  2. BJacques February 16, 2012 at 8:07 AM #

    We dealt with the same issue in our Crew recently. We ended up having the Crew meet at one end of the room while the adults talked at the other end of the room. I kept our enthusiastic Scouters busy with questions about their experiences and learned a lot in the process. Then the Crew asked questions at the end of the meeting and the Scouters were happy to answer them.

    When dealing with this, my primary concern was to make sure the Scouters were being treated with respect and the Crew did a great job of that. I was very proud of them because I knew they were getting frustrated with the “good old days” stories. It would have been easy to roll their eyes and sigh sarcastically, but they didn’t. I think it also reassured the Scouters to know how much the Crew was able to accomplish without adult guidance.

    I’d be curious to know how other Crews got things started and how much input they had from adults. Our Crew has been meeting since November and they’re still really figuring out how to run meetings and follow through on plans. But that’s an important part of the leadership process, right?

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