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Scoutmaster + alcohol at camp

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  • #16
    Well I can tell you that how a council will handle it depends on the SE. Camp I went to as a youth had an aquatics director caught drinking and was immediately dismissed. Don't know if membership was revoked though. I worked at that camp several years later, and walked into a staff cabin that had a 6 or 7 foot high pyramid of beer cans. The staff kept their jobs.

    If what happened to me is any indicator on how you will be treated after doing something, I can tell you that if you report the situation, you WILL be the bad guy. You WILL be ostracized. And people WILL blame you for what happened. It got so bad, that I actually commuted back and forth from camp every day after I reported the incident. Heck my boss, a national employee, was even ticked off at me and causing me problems.

    But i would do it again in a heartbeat. Staff need to be available at any moment in case things hit the fan. I've had too many 1AM wake up calls dealing with lost campers.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by fred johnson View Post

      Hmmmm.... Sad to hear. I've was hoping it was better handled than that. I know councils often push units to solve their own problems. I was thinking this was more though as it's a significant Guide to Safe Scouting violation.

      In any event, the scoutmaster needs to move on from his role as scoutmaster.

      They won't ignore you, they will give guidance if asked. But they won't aggressively come to your door and start an investigation. They tend to stand in the corner as much as they can until the issue requires a council level action, which is rare believe or not.

      If you could stand in the shoes of a DE for one day and listen to their many phone calls, you would start to understand why they take the passive approach. 9 times out of 10 the units fix the problem. Council sees so many of what looks like a mountain to a parent, but are just a mole hill once the emotions are balanced with reason. So they wait it out. Of course if it is a true situation of abuse where scouts are in real danger or laws have been broken, council will react responsibly.

      The best advice for all units is nip your problems in the bud. Don't let known issues escalate into dangerous situations, which is what most folks are saying here. But most adults don't like drama, they especially don't like confrontation and they don't want to be a bad guy, so they wait it out for someone else to act. And they wait, and they wait until something goes too far. That is generally how most of these things go.

      I am sure this SM showed signs of his problems long before it got to this stage, but nobody stepped up. And while I say bad guy, they aren't really the bad guy, most folks are waiting for someone to step up. But, we all perceive that it would be the bad guy. In reality they are relieved that somebody did what they wanted to do.

      This situation is more of a problem because the SM's wife is the CC. By rule, the CC doesn't have anymore repsonsibility in this situation than an ASM. But because the CC is responsible for soundness of the troop structure, they are generally relied on to an active role in fixing the problem. But now it is best that she not be an active part of meetings on this particular situation. She should be told there is a meeting, and will be briefed by the COR or Council representative depending on the results.

      One last thing, it is my observation that women handle the responsibility of acting prudently better than men. The best committee chairman in our units have always been women. they have no fear of getting in the face of an adult who getting out of line. I have watched SM after SM paint themselves into a corner by passively giving adults AND scouts second and third chances, then the CC or COR, or council is left to save the day when angry parents are threatening litigation.

      Barry
      Last edited by Eagledad; 07-31-2014, 09:13 AM.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Eagledad View Post
        ... They won't ignore you, they will give guidance if asked. But they won't aggressively come to your door and start an investigation. ...
        That's what I meant by "asking tough questions". Direct intervention is usually left up to the units.
        Originally posted by Eagledad View Post
        ... But most adults don't like drama, they especially don't like confrontation ...
        True, and sweeping things under the rug does just that. Drama-creators begin to leverage a bizarre sense of power by threatening to take an issue to HQ if this or that is not done to their liking.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by qwazse View Post
          That's what I meant by "asking tough questions". Direct intervention is usually left up to the units.

          True, and sweeping things under the rug does just that. Drama-creators begin to leverage a bizarre sense of power by threatening to take an issue to HQ if this or that is not done to their liking.
          Not so bizarre, in this day and age of everyone looking out for themselves and getting what they want, it's a normal action to take.

          Stosh

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Smitti View Post
            The adult leaders and parents present at camp were at the Cmte meeting to share what happened (all but one who had a work conflict). Cmte members were told SM has personal & work issues, stress with being SM, etc. SM has asked for leave of absence, and based on what was related to Cmte members about what happened, we agreed it would be best thing, with ASM taking over for a few months and then another review.

            ...<snip>...

            I later find out from leader who was present at camp but not at meeting that alcohol was involved. Apparently SM took alcohol to camp in a metal water container and had been drinking most of the day. He was drunk when he had the meltdown in front of the kids.
            Before you go and start making demands, you need to get your facts straight. So the one leader says that the SM was drunk, but the others didn't mention it. Maybe they didn't because it isn't true or it's exaggerated? You are at a disadvantage because you were not at the camp, and those that were feel the situation is being handled appropriately (except the one that couldn't be bothered to show up at the meeting).

            It appears to me that you are making a lot of assumptions. Make sure you check those out before you do anything. If you bring up the charge "the SM is an alcoholic!" and he isn't, then you are the one that should be bounced from the unit. I think you should leave "Mr. Couldn't be Bothered" to lead that charge since he was at the camp - of course if he doesn't, maybe there is a reason?

            Hearsay sucks. It can drag you into the depths and drown you if you let it.

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            • #21
              The problem with this situation is that 1) the sm has stepped down, 2) the CC is his wife, 3) the COR is the pastor of the church and was at camp, 4) you were not witness to the event, 5) you have no authority in the troop. The situation has resolved itself. The sm had a bad day and he stepped down. I would let the issue rest. Stirring everyone up including district will not make your troop run any better. Support the new SM. Offer to be a driver for campouts. Make the new new SM shine and be helpful whenever he needs assistance. Make friends with the COR. The old SM will be less likely to come back. After a few months the CC might step down, since her husband is out of the troop. If that happens offer to be the new CC. Play the long game and the troop will be better off.

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              • #22
                I have a personal friend that was a SM and had a hidden drinking problem. He finally hit rock bottom, took a couple of months off and is back to being a great leader. I wouldn't jump to forcing someone out because of the drinking problem. Each situation is different. Clearly the SM needs to at a minimum step away and deal with his issues. He can't drink at scouting activities and if he can't fix that he can't be in scouts but maybe he needs your support to have a goal to focus on.

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