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When Scouters are too serious

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  • When Scouters are too serious

    I like Scouting as much as the next guy, but I see some people treat this like a second job. One guy had an entire table full of Boy Scout paperwork. Maps, rule books, awards applications, and a buncha other crap. I would have thought he was studying for a test! Sometimes, I just notice people being waaaay too passionate. I understand that enthusiasm shouldn't be discouraged, but sometimes, it comes off as scary because of how much they invest. Anyway, when do you consider someone being a bit too... intense in Scouting?

  • #2
    Having the knowledge to actually run and then using this knowledge on the pack, troop, council etc level IS pretty much a full time job. Knowing how to navigate the sea of boy scout paperwork and who needs to be contacted for any particular thing is something that will take thousands of hours and likely several years at least. That scouter with a table full of paperwork yes can be viewed as somewhat of an extremist by those who haven't gotten truly involved yet but that paperwork mountain and experience is incredibly helpful in a successful program and navigating the red tape.

    That serious scouter likely would have at least some experience at least reading all the scouting handbooks, field books and other guides available. would be able to offer suggestions of all the awards at the different program levels and have the knowledge to plan a much wider breadth of activities and locations that could be advised upon by council.

    Look upon those who have clearly dedicated their life to scouting as at least passionate in a cause they believe in. There will always be those who dedicate a shockingly large amount of time to scouting. I can think of 2 who spend well over 40hrs week and probably 10 or so positions/roles each but its these types I admire. The bsa program really does lend itself to be something you can continue getting more and more involved in to where you just cant help going to one more training, university of scouting or a pilgrimage to philmont for something there. As long as these scouters don't cross the line to pro they likely will turn out ok.


    • #3
      From my experience,
      - "Scouting is my family." No your family is your family, spend more time with them. Not even the CM/SM needs to be or should be at every meeting and activity.
      - Focuses mostly on goals of just one or two methods, usually Advancement or Uniform methods. Sometimes it is the "big trek", all adult planned with the intensity of the Apollo program.
      - Has little understanding of scouting or confidence in his/her "scout skills" so sticks with what he/she knows. Out comes the MBA-speak (suddenly we are called "stakeholders" and not scouters), Powerpoint, and management theory. "I run a boy-run program". (Yes I've heard that more than once). Heavy into the paperwork and forms. Yes crap.
      - Banana republic generals

      Generally good people who are in "serious" need of a reality check ("seriously chill" sounds contradictory ). Oh scouts too can be also be too serious.

      My $0.02,(This message has been edited by RememberSchiff)


      • #4
        I have seen these fellows, forsaking family for scouting, I have seen a number end up divorced. Seen one fellow in tears during a roses and thorn session about missing an event for his daughter.

        Lucky for me this was early in my scouting career and gave me a moment of pause.


        • #5
          Basement, good point.

          I feel bad for those "scouting orphans." It's a tough thing to deal with as a child, realizing that mom/dad would rather spend their evenings and weekends with kids other than their own offspring.

          For what? To earn another knot? Or bead? To wear the uniform? To hang around other scouters and talk about scouting?

          The most important role a scouter has is "parent." Yeah, a campout might be cancelled if you personally can't make it. But your daughter's soccer championship is far more important in the big scheme of things. If the other parents won't pick up the slack and help, well, so be it. Our first loyalty as parents is to our own kids.

          Humor: don't see much in the BSA today. Lots of earnest but humorless folks about. Much of it self induced.

          RememberSchiff hit the nail on the head! Banana republic generals, LOL, true! Many of the meetings I attend are so darn uptight.

          The answer? I dunno. Relax a bit. Have some time during meetings just for socializing and not talking about business. I recall a DE, many years ago, saying at RT "If a scouter isn't having fun, it's because he's not drinking enough whiskey." He meant it entirely in jest, no mistaking the tone and delivery. I knew the DE personally, a man of integrity and professional thru and thru. I laughed aloud.

          But I was the only one. Everyone else sat there expressionless, like mummies. The DE shrugged andd pressed on.

          (This message has been edited by desertrat77)


          • #6
            Yah, chaoman45, I had a friend who once computed out da amount of time, energy, and job classifications and such it took to run an ordinary scout troop. He was a business consultant who liked that stuff. I think it came out to be da equivalent of running a $300K a year business.

            Some of da more active troops around would probably chalk up lots higher numbers.

            I don't have any problem with folks who are dedicated. Scoutin' would not exist but for its "full time" leaders. Every strong unit has at least one, often more than one. Plus a whole bunch of part-timers.

            But yah, there is a point where a fun volunteer effort turns into a too-serious job. Yeh do see that in Scoutin'. Happens a lot with folks whose work life doesn't give full scope to their talents, so Scoutin' becomes da place they seek fulfillment. It becomes da same thing as da workaholic. There have been any number of times over da years I've had to pull scouters aside and tell 'em it was time to take a break and go attend to other things, like marriage. Also a couple times where I recognized it was time for me to take a break.



            • #7
              I wonder if it wasn't scouting would it be some other activity. We all have to balance life. Sometimes I'm good at it, sometimes not.


              • #8
                You have to break it down ...

                For example, I'm a map guy. Given the time, I will get multiple copies of a location (paper and electronic). Study the route, study the terrain, check insertion/extraction points, look up hikers' reports, call the ranger station about a particular plan, nag buddies, find a couple of youth to train in planning at that intensity, laminate the best mapset, mark it up. It's what I do. With or without boys in tow, I'd probably be doing that. (In fact my not-so-secret Santa just handed my the latest PA Trail guide as I type this.) I'll then bore my family by sitting at the table with that best map and mark-up and narrating what worked or didn't work on the last hike.

                The other paperwork, well that makes me surly and ill-tempered. I don't want to talk about it because it gives me a bad attitude towards everyone who get's in the way of me getting it done. I'm no fun to be around when I'm doing it.

                A scouter who needs to "pull back from the edge" is someone who is not actively delegating the parts of the job he hates to someone who might actually enjoy doing them or will at least do them better and/or faster.

                I'm a proud man and maybe don't cry for help as often or as loudly as I should. Fortunately, the Mrs. is a good coach for me in that area.


                • #9
                  While the program is simply a major element in my own life, it still has to take a back seat to personal issues at times. As a senior scouter with no skin in the game other than my own interests, I have more time. But, I try to make my scouts' families understand that the troop is not the first priority; simply let me know if there are other responsibilities and so on so we can plan appropriately. Basically, it is family, school, possibly church, then scouting; and sometimes seasonal sports before the unit. I expect a scout to keep average or better grades, especially if going for the higher ranks, where it is one of my determinants regarding progress up. Also expect them to be active, cooperative members of their own families. Totally understand parents with other children being less invested, specially if the others are not in scouting.

                  Always is a balance line for everything in our lives. That line is easier prior to, or after family and work priorities. But, we all also know a few senior scouters for whom the program is their family now. Have seen more than one elderly scouter for whom the program and fellowship has been his or her savior. I have nothing but respect for them. But I also know, when they had family around, it took precedence.

                  Merry Christmas; or happy seasonal wishes as you prefer.


                  • #10
                    "I wonder if it wasn't scouting would it be some other activity"

                    You think Scouting is bad, I wonder if any of you belong to a volunteer fire department. I've seen people ruin there marriages by hanging out at the station more than at home. As far as the time goes, try keeping up with the continuing ed required to keep a paramedic license.

                    So yea, it's not just scouts.


                    • #11
                      "I wonder if it wasn't scouting would it be some other activity"

                      Might just be something to that. Fraternal organizations are on the decline. Maybe years ago there was an Antlered Ruminant lodge the guy could join for friendship and comraderie. I suspect there were some Moose Lodge Orphans back then too. And stopping off at the neighborhood bar for a drink a la Cheers! is sort of frowned upon for the family man these days.

                      It's always a balance. I think we should do like Beavah and remind each other when it seems like we're out of balance.


                      • #12
                        One of the reasons I became a Scoutmaster was that it "forced" me to spend time with my two boys. Yeah, that is kind of sad but sometimes, I fall in the trap of putting too much emphasis on my "paying" career.


                        • #13
                          JMHawkins, if or when you tell me how to keep my life in balance, be prepared for a sharly worded. although scoutlike, rebuke


                          • #14
                            Yes, I suppose some scouters are "possessed" by the movement. These might be the scouters that start a unit, that see a unit thought the years of 5-8 boys in a unit, that may inspire others to put a shoulder to the wheel.

                            I have a scouter aquantance that wears a patch well, walks the hall with a cell phone and looks for any reason to cancel an event. Would you rather have him?


                            • #15
                              We all have to set our own priorities, if you're married your wife will help you with that