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Posts posted by dutch

  1. My son is getting ready to go on a weekend outing this coming weekend with his troop. He will be the cook for the weekend meals. In this particular troop the menu is planned at the Monday meeting. On Thursday night the Scoutmaster comes to the home of the boy that has the cooking duties and takes him grocery shopping for the food and to get everything organized for the outing.


    The real problem is that he does this as a 1 on 1 basis. Just the scotmaster and the boy. When asked about this the scoutmaster replies that scouting policy says that 2 adults must be present but "he has never paid any attention to this policy since he has been involved in scouting". The troop committe chair is always stressing safe scouting policy but seems to ignore this situation when it happens.


    I feel that when an adult becomes a leader in scouting that they agree tho follow scout policies. Is it not true that the 2 adult policy is one of the most important ones in souting.


    As far as taking this to the troop committe, district exec or council exec would be a waste of time from what I have seen. The scoutmaster in question has been in scouting for around 18 to 20 years in this council. He has held various council level positions and is highly regarded by the status quo in the council. He also is very prominent in the business community and has helped troops raise thousands of dollars thru certain functions.


    I have been around this person on some outings and functions and feel that his character is "probably ok". But I feel that the issue goes beyond that. If eveyones character was ok scouting would not need the safe scouting guidelines and we would be a better organization. My son really likes the troop and has gained many friends in his time there.


    Would like to hear from the "wise and experienced" users of this forum. I think the issue is to important to ignore but how should it be handled without it getting out of hand.




  2. This is my first post to any of the topic boards in the forum. I have been reading the message boards for several months and realize that there are lots of "wise and knowledgeable" scouters here. I hope the wisdom of this forum can help my son and I make the right decision in our scouting future. The following is quite long but hope you can tolerate my venting of dissapointment and frustration.


    My son is a 12 year old that started scouting around 6 months ago. The troop he joined was the same troop that the last 3 groups of Webelos from his school had joined. We seemed to think that knowing quite a few boys in the troop might make a more comfortable situation.


    Both my wife and I were quite active in Cub Scouts and wanted to continue on in Boy Scouts. I asked the Scoutmaster before our son joined if the troop had opportunities for more active adults and was assured that the troop could always use the help. We were given adult registration forms and told to fill them out and bring them to the next meeting. I was told by the Scoutmaster to register as an Assistant Scoutmaster but realize that I would not serve in that position or have any duties. That was not a problem to me as I realize that the "new guys' have to put their time in.


    This troop also has an adult serving as a merit badge coordinator that asked both my wife an I if we would be counselors for the troop. Wanting to help as much as possible we said yes. I have several serious hobbies and have worked in several fields of employment and figured I could benefit the boys in some ways. My wife is a very busy physician and has limited free time but wanted to help when possible. We told the coordinator to tell the boys we would make ourselves available to them for badge work as often as possible. After saying that we were told that in this troop the counselors were expected to come to the boys. Leadership had decided that all troop meetings would be merit badge classes. The troop would teach 4 to 5 merit badges is sessions lasting 5 weeks. There would be four sessions per year and and 4 or 5 Courts of Honor at troop meetings. The troop had become a "Scout School".


    My son likes scouting very much and is interested in earning lots of merit badges. Both he and I feel that merit badges should be earned outside the troop. In the 6 months he has been in scouting he has earned 7 merit badges of which 4 are the required ones. 6 of the 7 have been earned through our councils Adopt- A- Merit Badge Program and through merit badge work shops. A couple of months ago another area troop sponsered a merit badge work shop. I brought this up at a troop meeting and out of about 30 active scouts only 2 besides my son were interested in going. The other 2 boys were from my sons Webelos class. This workshop turned out to have over 300 boys in it. My son has had a lot of fun interacting with boys from other troops and adults from business people in the area that have set up the merit badge classes.


    A few days ago I found out that a major University in the area was have a merit badge program with around 30 badges available. I heard this through the "grapevine" as it was never made available to any of the boys in my sons troop.


    At one troop meeting I was reached 25 to 30 type written pages of lists of scouts and merit badges that had been started but never completed. I was told that there would be a couple of make up sessions and I should get with these boys and get them signed off for completion of these merit badges. After looking at the list I saw that most of the badges were in areas that I had no skills in and some being started as long as 3 years ago. I advised the coordinator that I did not feel comfortable signing off in areas I did not feel qualified in. At that point I was told that the troops Rank Advancement Chairman would not have a problem with me doing it. I refused to do it and did not make them very happy by doing so.


    As far as the boys learning any scout skills in this troop is wishfull thinking. Most campouts are setting up camp and taking a hike. Several boys have gotten their cooking requirements signed off by bringing a box of instant oatmeal and heating some water and calling it cooking a meal. At a recent fall camporee several boys were signed up to cook for meals. Their parents showed up and did the cooking and clean up for them and they were signed off as completing that Tenderfoot requirement.


    All campouts, high adventures and other troop outings are decided by 2 or 3 of the adults that have been there for sometime. The boys are told where they are going and when they are going. The troop has patrols and a PLC but when they meet everthing has already been planned for them.


    My son was ready to do his Scout badge requirements from the first day he joined the troop. At every troop meeting he would ask the Scoutmaster if he could do the requirements and get his Scout badge. It took 3 months for the troop to find time for him and 2 other boys to do that requirement.


    He started working on his Tenderfoot requirements a few months ago. He did a few on a couple of campouts and a few more on some day activites that myself and a couple of other adults did with some of the boys. At the last Court Of Honor (2 Weeks ago) he went expecting his Scout Badge and 5 merit badges that he had turned the paper work in for. Before the Court Of Honor he made the comment that he would try to have his Tenderfoot requirements done before the next one. He said that he still need a couple of requirements and a Scoutmaster conference and Board of Review.


    During the Court of Honor he was called up for his Scout badge and then much to his surprise he was awarded his Tenderfoot badge along with 2 other boys in his patrol. All 3 of them had the same requirements left to complete. When it came to merit badges he only got 2 of the 5 he had turned paper work in for. Some of the paperwork had been turned in 2 months earlier.As you can see organization is not a strong point of this troop. I asked one of the other boys if he did a Scoutmaster conference and a Board of Review and he said he was told not to worry abut that untill he got to the upper ranks like Star, Life and Eagle.


    As for the merit badges I contacted the Scoutmaster and Advancement Chairman. The Scoutmaster said he remenbered my son turning in the paperwork but he had misplaced it. The Advancement Chairman said paper work wasn't important and she would take care of it. We can always go back to the merit badge councilors and get new paperwork so that doesn't concern me very much.


    The real problem I am having here is what to do about the Tenderfoot badge. My son fully realizes that he did not really earn it and so do I. We have already decided that we will be looking for a new troop to join. I would like to hear would any of you would do in this case. Before leaving should he return it and start over in a different troop on earning the Tenderfoot rank?


    Before you say it we now know that we should have looked at this troop closer before joining. We do know a lot of parents that have boys in this troop. We talked to several of them before and after joining. Most seemed very happy with it. Now we realize that they also want the easy way out for their sons and as parents want to do as little as possible.


    Around 35 years ago I was in scouting for a period of time. I grew up in a very rural area and the troop could never find dedicated leaders to keep it going. I always wanted to be involved in Scouting if I had a son that had any interest. My son is very dedicated to it at this point and says he wants to remain active for as long as possible. I want to avoid the "merit badge factory and Eagle factory" attitude that most troops are taking. It seems that the real meaning of scouting has been lost or at least in the troop we are involved with. I know that there has to be someplace out there that still believes in it. JUST HAVE TO FIND IT!


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