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No Win Situation: Loyalty to the Scouts or the CO's troop

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  • No Win Situation: Loyalty to the Scouts or the CO's troop

    Well, I feel like I'm in a no win situation. As most of you know, my old den moved up to Boy Scouts, and my son and his buddy went to a different CO's troop. Two of those new Scouts have brothers who are in my Wolf Den with my middle son, so I have some contact still. Last week we had the pack's PWD, and one of the Boy Scouts attended. I asked him how things were going, and he appeared to be getting discouraged with the troop already. I asked mom about it, and she was definitely not a happy camper. The troop had cancelled last month's camp out last minute because the SM got sick, they have cancelled meetings due to weather without telling everyone it was cancelled, and no one knows what is going on. They haven't even started on summer camp planning, and they want to go to a popular out of council camp!

    This weekend while doing Scouting for Food, a the other mother who's older son was in my den and has a younger one with me too, asked me why I chose the troop my son joined. I told him, he wasn't too impressed with the CO's troop when we went camping, he had friends in the other troop, and he liked the fact that they go camping every month, with the goal of doing a HA activity every 4 years, so he may miss the one they are trying to do in 2 years, he'll be able to go after that as a youth. She was also telling me about the same problems that the scout and mom had when I was at the PWD.

    I have tried my best to stay neutral towards the troop. Heck I have tried to train all their leaders ( only 1 showed up because "it was too cold to camp"), counsel and advise them im my role as their acting UC ( original one died, and i am it until a replacement can be found), I have recruited new scouts for them ( had some reservations doing so, and turned out to be correct as the kids left after a few months and now won't give Scouts a 2nd chance), and even stayed overnight with them on a camp out to insure 2 deep leadership when everyone left except the SM, his son, and one scout whose mom went out of town and couldn't be reached when they tried to call her.

    But I'm here for the boys I want them to have the same opportunities that I did.I want them to enjoy scouting, but seeing and hearing all the problems, I am seriously in a no win situation. I do not want the CO's troop to fold as I know how hard it is to restart a troop, but I do not want to lose those scouts.

  • #2
    I feel your pain lately. Frankly, you've done your best, the troop is slovenly and doesn't want to do better. Don't waste any more boys on that troop, send them to one that is worth their time and your effort. If the troop doesn't like it, give them a list of their issues and they'll either fix it or not. Packs do not belong to a troop, and cubs should go to the best troop. Their problems aren't your problem.

    Originally posted by Eagle92 View Post
    until a replacement can be found)
    Oh boy, they saw a sucker


    • #3
      E92, you are thinking like a DE.
      STOP IT!!!!
      You can be more direct than you are being as UC. Take a moment with the troop's key three and say, "Most years, I dole out advice from the cheap seats, but this year I'm gonna offer you all an evaluation from a parent's and kid's perspective. This is a rare year when I'm able to do that since I'm close to so many of the cross-overs. You can take it or leave it, but here it is ..."

      Tell them what you know. Tell them you think that they should dig deep and make some changes, but if they don't you'll support them as best you can. If they think there's to many conflicts with you promoting your son's troop, they can ask for a new commish"

      Would it be nice if the boys in your community were served by every troop in the neighborhood having a strong program? Yes! But if there is one troop coming on strong while another folds, is it a crisis? Not really.


      • #4
        You are not a neutral Party when it comes to this unit. Your opinion is biased. Scoutmasters get sick and in a thin program outings get canceled. A Shame some of the ASM's or parents couldn't step up and give the SM a weekend off.

        You should NOT be their unit commisioner or involved with them in any manner. You are super biased against them and are too deeply involved in the CO, Troop and Packs politics.

        You need to back way up. This is not your scouting journey.....yours was over when you turned 18. This is your son.

        Have you ever wondered how your shenanigans are impacting his scouting adventure????
        I will go further and suggest you disinvolve yourself with your sons troop. Your a roundtable commisioner, I suggest you concentrate on that and let your son have some fun and HIS ADVENTURE>


        • #5
          You are not here for the boys.

          Currently you are stroking your own Ego as Self proclaimed super scout......

          Didn't you post last week that you took the role of SPL from the lad an assigned jobs to the PL's at a training session????? That was way out of line.

          So I will state you are involved for you and no one else.

          Not meant to be mean but a wake up call to look in the mirror and ask yourself if you have lost your way


          • #6
            It's okay to step back or step out. Why not spend more time with your family and son, doesn't have to be scouting related either. This time and opportunity will not come again.


            • #7
              Just be honest


              • #8
                Surely you aren't the only one in the district who understands the troops problems. I was the first person responsible for failing units when I was the District Membership Chair. I would pull in the Key 3 as well as any trusted experienced leaders and discuss a plan for the troop. The plan may ask the UC to help, but coming up with the plan was by no means a UC responsibility. This should not be on your shoulders alone. This is a district problem, not a UC problem. UC is only a communication connection between district and unit. Barry


                • #9
                  Yeah, you being the UC is a terrible idea. As UC, you need to punt this mess to the ADC or DC today.

                  But given your involvement (entanglements?) with the CO, I like qwase's advice with one tweak: first ask if they want your advice. A smart SM knows new parents and Scouts are going to be much more comfortable talking with their old den leader until they have a chance to build a relationship with the SM and the other leaders of the new troop. You could approach the SM (and I would include the CC) by saying as the DL for these boys you still get a lot of feedback from them and their parents which you think they should hear. IF THEY WANT, you are willing to sit down with them. Then, as Austinole says, just be honest.

                  Otherwise, if you just show up and dump a lot of negatives on them, you'll be the bad guy dissing their program. There is still a good chance that will happen any way, but you should do what you can to improve the odds.


                  • #10
                    Eagle92 is in a no win situation. He's right. As a leader from the pack, he is a representative of the CO and has responsibility to represent them well. He also has responsibility to support their efforts.

                    But he's also a parent and as such can put his kid into any unit he wants. I'd assert he can't promote another CO's unit as he's already registered and promised to support his CO. But, that's me. COs support the units. So, unit leaders should support the CO. Anything less is two faced.

                    The problem is Eagle92 can't as Scouter99 (not picking on you) "send them" anywhere. There is no such authority. Den leaders can push a troop and most parents just don't know any different. So it works somewhat and sometimes.

                    It breaks though when you have situations like Eagle92 where the pack now has fed two troops and has ties to each. But BSA promotes troop shopping and it results in the breaking up of dens and friendships through having each scout "choose" his troop. Of course, scouts can change at any time. But this whole troop shopping concepts does more damage than good. Anyway, I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again in another post.

                    BSA has a broken model with troop shopping. I hope they fix it soon.
                    Last edited by fred johnson; 02-03-2014, 01:30 PM.


                    • perdidochas
                      perdidochas commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I disagree. I think most cub scouts are just going to the Pack sponsored by their church or school or the nearest available. The problem is when the Troop they are supposed to feed is inadequate. Why encourage new boys to join dysfunctional troops?

                      My boys did join the Troop that meets at the CO, just like the Pack. I'm happy with them. If I weren't, we would have looked for another troop. We did contemplate it after troubles with another family in the Troop. Thankfully, the situation calmed down, and now (a year and a half later), the other family changed troops. They needed less boy led, than our troop. They've joined a mega troop across town.

                      That said, despite troop shopping, my bet is that way over half of crossovers go to the Troop associated with their Pack.

                  • #11
                    I understand your concern because I am having the same issue with our CO troop. You want the CO troop to succeed, but unless they want to change their ways and are willing to listen to constructive input, then it is not going to happen. Our CO SM has not contacted me to ask why none of my Webelos are joining his troop. I don't think he wants to hear the truth. While we were visiting their troop, they told me that if a boy doesn't want to join their troop, then it's a problem with the boy, not with the troop. That could be the case if that happened sporadically, but when you continue to have decreasing membership, you need to look inward as to the cause of the problem. It is tough being in this situation you are in because you feel stuck in the middle between the CO troop and pack. I kind of agree with some of the others that you need to separate yourself from this situation out of fairness to the troop. Even if you aren't actively promoting the other troop, it is hard to stay neutral if everyone knows your son has joined a different troop and they come to you for honest reasons why. Let these boys visit the troops and make their own decisions, just like your son did. Sadly, some of them may make the wrong decision, but that is their decision to make, and it is their problem to deal with. You can't save the world and you can't save every boy from making a wrong decision. Focus on what you do have control over, your Wolf den, and make the best of that.


                    • #12

                      1) THANK YOU for all the comments, ideas, everything as it does help tremendously. Also thank you for letting me vent on this topic.

                      2) I know I am too close to this topic to see clearly. Believe ti or not, I know I am a bad choice for the UC position, told the DC my concerns and said I would do it until they found another. They did find someone in August, a former committee member from the troop who left town for about 2 years to take care of her dying mom. I don't know what happened, but I was asked in Dec to help them out with the charter, a UC duty.

                      More later.


                      • fred johnson
                        fred johnson commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Eagle92 ... you are exactly right. A UC takes a very special combination of tact, courtesy and charisma. You hit it on the head. I just don't think there are enough extra scouters with those skills to go around. And if they do exist, they are grabbed to staff council, district or unit positions. I would greatly appreciate a grandfatherly figure offering sage advice. I just don't think scouting can staff such ranks given the level of needs everywhere else.

                        The UC model needs major fixes. If for no other reason, I've been involved in five units over 14 years now. (two packs, three troops, some as parent, some as leader). No unit I've been in has ever been visited by a unit commissioner. Heck, we don't even know who was assigned to us. It's a broken model that everyone knows is broken except those district commissioners trying to recruit unit commissioners.

                        I should mention ... I also want the UC program redesigned because most of the people I've learned are unit commissioners I'd want no where near my packs or troop.

                      • Pack18Alex
                        Pack18Alex commented
                        Editing a comment
                        We had a great Unit Commissioner. Motivated parents to get more involved, came to our summer committee meetings, came to Pack Meetings, spoke for a few minutes. All in all, a great a positive contributor.

                        I was told we were EXTREMELY lucky.

                        Unique circumstance, as the only Jewish Pack/Troop in our District, a senior Jewish Scouter was thrilled to serve as a resource to us.

                      • Pack18Alex
                        Pack18Alex commented
                        Editing a comment
                        We had a great Unit Commissioner. Motivated parents to get more involved, came to our summer committee meetings, came to Pack Meetings, spoke for a few minutes. All in all, a great a positive contributor.

                        I was told we were EXTREMELY lucky.

                        Unique circumstance, as the only Jewish Troop, a senior Jewish Scouter was thrilled to serve as a resource to us.

                    • #13
                      back for a few minutes.

                      2) continued. Don't know what happened to their UC that took over in Aug/September.

                      3) DE and district commish know of the problems. Unfortunately we have a new commish, and new chair, who don't know what has been going on.

                      4) COR and CC are MIA. Had a very long talk with the SM when I stayed overnight with the troop. Everything I mentioned was responded with excuses, how Scouting needs to change with the times, or how the district needs to change how things are done, specifically having trainers from other districts come in and provide training (instead of the leaders driving to where the trainging is being offered.

                      5) For the last camp out they actually had a new ASM and one parent going along. Both had BALOO ( I know not the same as IOLS) both have extensive camping expereince as Scouts way back when ( ironically both were in the troop my son joined and had the current SM as either ASM or SM in their youth) so I would have no problems with them camping on their own. Problem is SM has this notion that IOLS is required for camping, which it is currently not by this council. ( different note: I personally would use the new ASM for IOLS staff due to his extensive camping experience, as well as his EMT and pioneering background.

                      More later


                      • #14
                        I had forgotten your earlier posts where you wrote of the campout experience and the conversation you had with the SM. I think you've fulfilled your obligations to the CO troop, dude. If they ask for your input, offer it. Otherwise, stay out of it.

                        Oh, and attach your UC resignation latter to their recharter packet.


                        • #15
                          Again THANK YOU. Some follow up.

                          1) I told the first mom that A) give the troop some time, especially since the new ASM who was our CM will hopefully turn some things around and B) if the new Scout continues to be discouraged and frustrated, there are other troops out there. I mentioned the troop that moved to their church, and all, emphasizing ALL, the other troops in the district.

                          2) Not only request that some else take over as UC, even if it's in an activing capacity, but drop them like a hot potato. A lot of people's patience ran out with the troop, not only those scouts who left but also a bunch of other leaders who have tried to help. I need to quit wasting my time.

                          3) I will not actively promote my son's troop, but when asked why he went where he did, tell them.

                          4) If folks tell me they are looking for another troop, continue to tell them about all of the troops in the district.

                          5) If I am doing Round Ups, and Boy Scout age youth show up, I will actively promote my son's troop, and not the troubled troop. Already lost 2 boys to Scouting doing that, don't want to lose anymore.

                          6) deal with the troop only when I must.


                          • fred johnson
                            fred johnson commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Wish you the best ... I've been in your situation and I know many many others currently in it. Your stuck because you are a registered leader for that CO, but you can't "fully" support the CO. You are grateful to the CO, but you have to passively subvert their efforts by being the contact point for other units. In fact, when I read your notes which are honest and well written, I cringe. I cringe because I see walls blocking communication being put up and I see hard feelings that will inevitably develop. It happens all the time in scouting.

                            The fault is not on you or the troop or your CO. I fully put it on BSA. We don't see this issue when scouts progress between Tiger, Wolf, Bear or the start of Webelos. We don't see it between any of the boy scout ranks. Yet we do see scouts transfer now and then between units if there is an issue. We see it because of the horribly designed Webelos transition.