An interesting observation of our Scouts these days, first let me say that they are all great kids, but they have a tendency to stray. Now I can’t recall exactly how I acted as a 13-14 year old, but I know for a fact that it was probably not like these guys today.
You see, our guys do what the ASMs and I call “Poodling”. It is hard to describe, it is a random unfocused, babbling followed usually by some sort of dance or incoherent wandering. At times it is funny to observe, but for the most part it annoys even the most patient adult.
“Poodling” was taken to another level this year as some of the Scouts got older. Yes another level. The older Scouts dropped the random dance/wander from the action, now they do what we refer to as “Verbal Poodling”. Completely random nonsense that they seem to understand. They can do this for hours on end, with no purpose or result. At first I thought, my goodness, we have an entire Troop with ADHD. But then I observed it in other Troops as well. And a visit to a local Cub Scout Pack taught me that “Poodling” starts at a young age, and in a few weeks 8 more “Poodlers” will be introduced to our Troops ranks.
While “Poodling” is harmless and funny at times, it is something that must be kept in check. A simple 15 minute Patrol meeting can last an hour due to “Poodling”. A sharp look out for “Poodling” activity is now a part of the Scoutmasters job description. Be ever vigilant in quailing the “Verbal Poodle” or you will loose track of an event or meeting.
“Poodling” may be harmless, but it can be destructive at times. I suppose that it does not fall into any categories on the don’t list in the guide to safe Scouting, but it can drive an ASM up the wall.
Be on the look out for “Poodling” activity in your unit. I am sure it is there, it may come with a different name, but its “Poodling” just the same.