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About firecrafter

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  1. firecrafter

    Parent Trouble

    For those that missed it, there is an update above. A few other interesting facts... Someone asked about the troop this family came from. We called everyone, from District Ex. to Scoutmasters, in their community/district, and although they were very forthcoming, no one has ever heard of these people. Mom is a mystery too. As far as this man being allowed on outings. He has never been on an outing except to arrive early Sun. morning to pick his own son up. We only allow registered scouters on outings. You must understand that these things happened over a series of months. So at first, although we thought Dad was a bit different, there was no case for alarm until recently. Dad's demeanor is generaly very gruff-which we had come to accept as "just how he is"...until the outbursts started. Things had gotten progressively worse over the past 2 months. The boy seems happy, healthy, clean, and seems comfortable & outspoken with Dad. He has special health needs which Dad is very careful about, and always has the equipment he needs for camping. As I mentioned above, the matter has been resolved. Everyone from the district to the CMs agreed that asking them to leave was for the best. We have mailed records, awards and a complete refund of dues to the boy. I applaud our CC & SM for moving quickly to ensure safety and peace of mind for our troop, and intend to make this known at the upcoming committee meeting. Thanks again! -firecrafter-
  2. firecrafter

    Parent Trouble

    Just wanted to thank everyone again for your thoughts on this and give an update. CC made the call to Dad to let him know he was no longer welcome at meetings. Next morning Dad shows up in the office of our charter's IH, VERY loud and unpleasant. So much so that security was alerted to trouble in the building. The IH stood up to Dad in a tough but diplomatic way. Dad left angry and unsatisfied. Needless to say IH was in total agreement with us, especially after his encounter with Dad. Dad then went to council, which is his right, with no success. The Scout Executive (a woman, which did not set well with Dad, LOL) backed us 100%. We decided to alert the local police to be available at our next few meetings. No problems thus far. We did have a few other incidents involving Dad & son come to light since all this started. Another Dad came to the committee with complaints about this fellow. We are just relieved he is gone peacefully. Thanks again for your thoughts. -firecrafter-
  3. firecrafter

    Parent Trouble

    "One question I have not seen here. If this man is so unstable, and verbally abuses (and terrifies) adults and scouts alke, what about his own son? Has anyone seen any signs of abuse in his son? Has anyone looked? You should consider checking out BSA's online YP training to see what your state's requirements are." First of all...IF? This has every adult leader in our troop rattled! No one questions that the man is unstable. And maybe that's not how you meant it, I know it's sometimes hard to tell meaning online. I know you aren't seeing things first hand, so it's difficult to understand just how intimidating this man is. But I assure you this is not something to be taken lightly. All of our leaders are YPT trained and would of course report any sign of abuse! There are several teachers among us, a couple of youth workers. They are mandated by law to report anything that looks like abuse. This father seems only to abuse those outside his own circle, though I admit I have often wondered to myself what happened to the boy's mother. What Dad does at home I cannot say, and although he speaks harshly with his son there do not appear to be signs of abuse. They seem to be close, the boy actually seems to kind of give Dad the run around. The boy seems healthy, happy. He has regular medical check ups according to his troop health records (I know because I keep those records). Overall he seems to be pretty average for a kid his age. It's an odd situation to be sure, and Dad is certainly no "Danny Tanner". So what do we report? We think he's unstable? That would hardly make him angry, huh? Fact is, we have a District Executive with a son in our troop, so he is aware. He also serves on our committee and it was he who led the shout of "hear-say" when the boys reported this man. His own son was a witness too! How messed up is that?! I have little faith in our district folks. They will tell us we must do everything to keep this boy in scouting-as is their job I suppose. But on a practical level what does that look like? The boy in question has NO ONE but his father, according to his records. We don't know where Mom is. The Father states that he is a single Dad. He gives a neighbor's phone number for emergencies. One problem with his son, even an imagined one, and we have a volatile and irrational man to deal with. District folks will tell us to keep him in scouting, but won't be there when things get ugly or dangerous. Phone calls have been coming in from parents saying this man has to go, or they will not be returning to our scout meetings. So we should lose those boys? Bottom line is...IH and COR do not want this family involved in the troop any longer. They are ready to approach local law enforcement, not hold meetings or talk about alternatives. The CC is making the call to Dad tomorrow. The scout's records and a full refund of dues, as well as any awards he has not yet received will be mailed to him. I'm sure the Charter will follow up with a letter to both Dad & the council. Thanks everyone, -firecrafter-
  4. firecrafter

    Parent Trouble

    First thank you all for your replies. I appreciate each response very much. The appropriate conversations have taken place with this man about his past actions. He does not see things as a "normal" person sees them. Both the CC and SM have given explanations about how, and why, we do things the way we do. He becomes angry, argues, and is unreasonable. I don't know how to put it except, he comes at each situation with some very odd notions. Case in point: A scout was giving a skills instruction on winter camping last week. During his talk about the importance of headgear, he mentioned the need for a substantial hat. He said "you need a hat that comes down over your ears, you wouldn't want to wear a yamaka perched up top for keeping warm". The father called leaders over to report this racial slur. THEN insisted that the SM needed to line the scouts up and read them the riot act about each boy's personal offenses, "to build character". He said this was done in his son's old troop, apparently he thought it a great idea. It might interest you to know, I'm half Jewish and wasn't offended in the least by the scout's comment. I will be suprised if he does not "report" this to council. Dad also thinks our charter should provide a storage closet for the troop. This was brought up with the charter several times in the past and they tell us do not have an extra closet. This Father gets angry, freaks out and rails against the charter. CMs calmly explain how fortunate we are to enjoy so many benefits and have such a great relationship with our charter. He argues and rants insisting the CC make the request again. Same man, goes to council and "reports" our troop for not handling our finances properly. We have a very reliable long term treasurer, access to troop bank statements at every committee meeting, two signatures on every check...not to mention a hefty balance and all new equipment in our troop trailer. We keep great records and there has never been a question of any mishandling of funds. We have ONE fundraiser a year which is so much fun for everyone, it almost isn't work. We don't even REQUIRE participation. He or his son, of course, never participate. Now, that stuff is just me venting... I am very seriously concerned that this is the sort of fellow who shows up at a meeting with a gun. I don't want my boys there. I don't want the other boys there. I don't want to be there when he goes off. This man has verbally abused at least 4 adults in the last 3 months. No one should be asked to put up with that. Try getting ASMs to take this boy camping after Dad has screamed at their wives. Try telling them not to worry about what might come up in the future if they cross him in their dealings with his son. Sounds great to say you let the boy stay. What happens when Dad preceives there is some kind of a problem with his boy? And that's not borrowing trouble. He has a new complaint EVERY week. I sincerely hope it won't be an issue. If Dad is asked to leave, I'm nearly certain he won't let the boy stay. I am not willing to sacrifice troop safety to keep ONE kid in scouts. As far as the incident with his contact with the scout..the YPT issue WAS raised. I'm the one who raised it during committee meeting. I also stood up for the scouts who brought it to out attention. All are great boys, proven to be reliable, looking out for their fellow scout-a young inexperienced boy. (It might interest you to know the father's beef with this scout was that he did not make sure his son's patrol got enough sleep on a campout, as was "his responsibility".) See? Unreasonable. The boys were concerned that this angry man confronted a skinny 60 pound boy and scared the tar out of him. Committee members believed the scouts, but thought maybe this father didn't understand how to handle things and needed it to be explained to him, AGAIN. Their decision was a blanket statement to all parents about protocal. Not everyone was happy with that, myself included. I felt the incident needed to be brought to his personal attention as NO ONE else treats our scouts this way. Sorry gents, but no one messes with kids on my watch. Mine or the others. We have a very mild mannered SM. He is fair and doesn't take garbage, but also is not one to shout and scream at the boys (or anyone). I've seen plenty of those guys and would not have my sons in a troop where that happens. I spoke with SM and CH today. They are on this and will handle it by the days end. They are prepared to do as Aquila calva recommended and tell Dad he cannot return, EVER. The CO backs them. They are good men who are mainly concerned with the safety of our scouts and adult leaders. They also do not want to burden the charter with some unseemly incident. Personally, I hope they will ask a police officer to stand by this week at our meeting. As for the woman. She will not come back unless he is gone. SM and CC are backing her. They say it's him or them. So, say a prayer that all are safe and well. Thanks again. -firecrafter-
  5. firecrafter

    Parent Trouble

    I'm here again to "ask the experts". I feel good about the level of experience and common sense I always find here, and am looking for some objective opinions. I will try to lay out as many details as I can. At weekly meetings, we have a room where parents sit if they'd like to talk, so as not to disturb the scouts. At a recent meeting, one father came in to ask the Advancement Chair questions reguarding his son's advancement. The Advancement Chair answered, and another leader (a woman) offered additional information, as she was sitting right there. This was just casual chatter, nothing official. By all accounts the woman was very friendly and not at all out of line. This father immediately became very angry telling her to "shut up" and "keep her nose out of what was not her business". Witnesses were amazed at her composure and her response, "I'm sorry you took it that way, I was just trying to be helpful". The father raged on, going from 0 to 10 within seconds, yelling and finger pointing at the woman until she was literally shaking. Then he got up and left. The men in the room sat slack jawed. I was not in the room but several very reliable men were present and all told the same story. The CC spoke with each individually. I saw the woman afterwards and she was indeed shaking. The woman has had no previous disagreements with this father. One man who was present remarked "That guy is nuts". He apologized to the woman for not sticking up for her-but he said he was so stunned, that he just froze. In the past, this Father has also been very critical of our troop secretary, demanding that she give him an account of troop funds for the previous year. He has complained about, and to, our advancement chair and SM, for not being at every weekly meeting (These men are both very reliable and always make other arrangements when they cannot be there). Recently, this same father was also accused of taking a new scout aside and scolding him for doing a poor job as patrol leader. Three scouts, the Guide, SPL, and ASPL were all within ear shot of the incident and reported it to the SM. The troop committee considered this accusation "hear-say". To me this was the most serious incident of all because it involved a scout. This man is a single dad. I'm sure things are difficult for him. He is very quiet and only speaks to scouters when he has questions. He is not a registered leader and does not understand the BSA program. He is very difficult to communicate with. He is uninvolved and does not participate, except to sit in the back of the room each week. He and his son attend only the first hour of our meeting each week so they miss announcements, etc. "Lack of information" has been one of his constant complaints too. He seems very angry in general, and in his dealings with his son. The son transferred from another troop, in another district, so no one knows this father from our community. We can only go by what he has shared with us and what we have seen. The father told us his son was "kicked out" of his last troop for "making racial slurs", which Dad says never happened. Dad also offered that he himself had been in prison for breaking another man's arm during an altercation. So you getting the idea? This guy seems like an odd fella. He seems to have a very short fuse. He makes some very uncomfortable and downright scares other folks. Personally, when he is around he makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck. His actions have been brought up several times in committee meetings since his son joined our troop last spring. The woman he verbally attacked says she will not come back as long as he is there. She was/is obviously afraid of him. This woman has been a vital and active scouter for about ten years. Is this enough to ask our charter to remove this man and his son (for how can you have the son without dealing with dad?) from the troop? Adult leaders seem to be feeling that this man could snap and they are not willing to take that chance. I think he will be very angry if told he cannot come back. I seriously fear some kind of outburst or retaliation from him. I am even wondering if we need to alert our local police to cruise the area during meetings over the next few weeks. We have at least one committee member who is of the mindset that you NEVER ask a scout to leave your troop for any reason. I have no doubt that the charter will want this man to go when they are made aware of the situation. The woman was so scared that she will go to the CR herself if need be. Is everyone overreacting? You can see by the late hour that this weighs heavily on my mind. Opinions please? Thank you all in advance. -firecrafter-
  6. firecrafter

    Troop Finances/Accountability

    Thanks to everyone for your wisdom in this matter. I have already showed your responses to the SM, & he is in agreement about getting the IH in on this right away. Your thoughts are much appreciated, thanks again! firecrafter
  7. Hello to all! I haven't been here in a while,computer problems. I'd like to hear your thoughts on a situation in our troop. We have a Troop Committee of about a dozen people, including the treasurer. The treasurer is someone we all know well and has a good reputation. This person has served as treasurer for the past two years with no complaints. They keep track of deposits, expenditures, and some petty cash, giving a report at monthly committee meetings. That report goes into the official minutes. We have always required two signatures on all checks, and have three members allowed to sign checks, myself being one of those. All purchases over $50 are cleared through the committee. So, you see, a pretty basic, user friendly system. Recently the father of one of our scouts began showing up at committee meetings. He is very outspoken and critical of many areas. He has begun to question our budget and spending practices during committee meetings, even going so far as to privately ask the treasurer for an itemized list of all expenses & income for the past year (the treasurer honored his request). We have explained things to him as best we can but he seems to be a poor communicator/listener. So...a District Commissioner (also a CM) has brought it to our attention that "someone" has turned in a complaint to the district, concerning our handling of finances. We have not been officially contacted, and may not be. I am confident, having seen the books, that we have nothing to hide. Bank statements are filed & retained, reports are made. As I stated we have used the KISS (keep-it-simple-stupid) method of bookkeeping. We have a healthy budget and bank account. My question is this...how do we satisfy this man's questions, and others who may ask? How do other troops publish their budget/spending? Annually, yearly? Is it enough to announce that the "books" are open at any committee meeting to all interested parties? Also, do we approach our COR/IH to let them know there has been a question and possibly go over the books? We have a very friendly relationship with our charter. I am not against sharing information, but do not want to put more work on our treasurer if possible. How far should a committee go to satisfy this kind of request? I feel like we have a good system and a polite explanation of it's workings would satisfy most reasonable folks. Thoughts? Thanks in advance. firecrafter
  8. firecrafter

    Undeserved Life

    John-in-KC I assure you, all this and much more, where this "scouter" is concerned is true. The ASM in question was removed from his position by the IH of our charter. He remains in scouting, determined to push or drag his pain-in-the-rear son, to eagle. Out troop has been without a UC for quite a while, so no help there. The DC is part of our troop, so is aware. He is full of bluster but does not follow through. DC is also a firm believer in NEVER expelling a scouter from a troop. Most of the problems with this ASM were swept under the rug by troop CM, even though the SM asked many times for support. I am amazed at their willingness to accept substandard behavior rather than openly addressing issues. I realize some issues are uncomfortable for some, but ignoring them obviously solves nothing. We have paid the price for that. We are in the process of replacing our CC, the past CC is currently training him. I anticipate a housecleaning with our new charter year. I agreed to serve as CC if no one stepped up, and frankly, am relieved the other gentleman said "yes". I think he will be tough but fair. He works well with the SM and is a great choice for our unit. I intend to give him my full support. This last, the purchasing of awards, was very recent and was only reported to the CC last week. Only two people are listed on our Council account (we checked again, and made the scout shop aware). Neither of these men had authorization to make purchases. The shop staff apparently sold things to them without the proper authority/paperwork. Troubling, yes. Thankfully the cost was minimal, but "a scout is trustworthy" comes to mind. I was assured that a long talk between CC/SM and AC is in the works. I believe the AC will resign rather than submit. That's OK too. I, and others, have been troubled by those who have allowed these folks to bully and push, to the detriment of the scouts. The troubles have been long and drawn out. With the appointment of a strong new CC, and some time, I am pretty confident most of this is behind us. We have a good solid troop. Mostly just a few who do not share the same vision. It's hard, but not impossible. I have recommended in the past that the CC & SM report this scouter to the DE. I believe they have not done so because they are weary of dealing with the situation(s). I am sure they are just happy to be done with it. I do agree that this is a person who BSA does not need. I will share your thoughts with the leadership, and again encourage them to act. Thanks for your thoughts on this. firecrafter
  9. firecrafter

    Undeserved Life

    Our troop had a similar situation not too long ago. It involved a renagade ASM who was signing his name in the SM's stead, even after he had been asked several times not to do so. In our troop all SM conferences are done by the SM, except in the case of his own son. The scout in question knew his SM probably would not sign off the scout spirit requirement, as his behavior had been an issue. So scout goes instead to Renagade ASM (who is also the father of his best friend). Advancement Chair is the brother of renagade ASM. Together, they put this scout through a SM conference and BOR, before the SM even knew what hit him. This all took place during non meeting times without the SM present. My feeling was it was sneaky and disrespectful on the part of the ASM, AC and the scout and perhaps should not have been honored. Problem was, SM had already been accused of "picking on" this scout because he refused to make him Troop Guide. So after the fact, the SM looks petty if he refuses to honor the advancement. Not to mention the AC had already sent the records to district and announced his advancement at a meeting. This was, in my opinion, truly a case of "bypassing the SM". CM knew the scout's behavior was questionable, but with the AC's blessing didn't question the ASM signature or the BOR. This ASM did similar things all the time, bypassing rules and people, while the TRAINED committee looked on. His excuse was always the same "I didn't know"-while he is the MOST HIGHLY TRAINED scout leader I know! The list of training he has is amazing. Thankfully, this ASM is no longer with the troop. But he never seems to really go away. We just found out that Mr. Renagade ASM has been charging awards to our troop's account, for his son (no longer with our troop), at the local scout shop, with his brother's (our AC's) knowledge. AS Rosanna Rosanna Danna used to say "It's always something." firecrafter
  10. firecrafter

    Lack of Commitment

    We recruit. We train, and we still have commitment issues. Our troop has ONE adult leader that can be counted on. We had two, but the continual whining of parents finally drove the other one away. He rarely attends anymore. The other adult leaders will help ocassionaly, but are in general not reliable. They "forget" when they have a job to do, or just don't show up. No phone call either. Their sons seem to "forget" too. Go figure. I think we do a decent job of communicating. We do a monthly newsletter, a phone tree, emailing, and have a troop website. I gave out a newsletter last meeting AND the information was posted on the troop website-yet I had many phone calls asking if there was a meeting this week. Now the parents would like me to MAIL copies of the newsletter out to those who missed the meeting. So I would be keeping track of parental attendance too. We have a light meeting schedule in the summer. We have had numerous parents angry that they went to our meeting place on nights there was no meeting. Wouldn't a simple phone call by the scout to his patrol leader solve that? When I suggested this at a recent CM I nearly got my head bit off! Heaven forbid the scout or even his parent would take some responsibility for getting the information! The feeling was that it was the leader's responsibility to make sure everyone was informed. When my oldest was in scouting, if he had a question he called his patrol leader. There were no newsletters or troop schedules handed out. If you wanted to be "in the loop" you attended the meeting, maybe even took a few notes! If you didn't get your paperwork turned in, you stayed home-period. Only happened ONCE to my son. And I never had to remind him of outings-he reminded me! We have tried all sorts of things to get paperwork and fees turned in on time. We tried telling boys "sorry, you missed the deadline/didn't have the correct fees-you can't go this time". Parents threw an absolute fit, and so the rule is no longer observed. It was deemed "unfair" (how I hate that word!). I agree that there are situations with things like single parents where you can't expect the same level of commitment. We tried making adjustments for these families and heard cries of "unfair" or "favoritism" and "If you do it for one, you have to do it for everyone". How ridiculous is that? The boys from single parent homes don't exactly have a "fair" situation to begin with. Exercising a bit of common sense would be refreshing. This was from the same group who insisted that the troop could not go backpacking, unless a way was found to accommodate a mentally handicapped scout. Forget that his single Mom was happy to have him not attending, AND that those complaining weren't going on the trip! But I digress! I wish I knew the answer. We make rules that no one observes. Even when we are firm, there is a "whatever" attitude. I do paperwork for the troop, so I see this firsthand. Parents turn things in when they feel like it. I am constantly turning in tour permits a day or two before a trip. I make extra trips to get signatures and drive 40 minutes to turn in paperwork at council! I reminded and begged parents for the paperwork they needed for summer camp the last two years we attended. How many reminders should people get? I'm firm with them, but there is a prevailing attitude in this group of parents that turning anyone away should never be done. Of course we want to give every boy the opportunity to participate to the fullest, but some parents think the adult leaders should put up with just about anything. I think if a few trips were cancelled or a few scouts turned away they would perhaps see the light. Just MHO. I am hoping that when a strong CC takes over at recharter things will change a bit. The SM is great, but he is one person. I am weary of holding everyone's hand (as far as paperwork goes) and so will resign at the end of my term. I will serve as a CM but no longer do the troop's paperwork. They have worn me out. The solution to this problem is for each person to shoulder some of the load, rather than burn out the few. I understand things are this way in many organizations-been there done that. If anyone has suggestions or ideas on how to better make this happen I'd love to hear them. Sorry this sounds so negative but it is where we seem to be at this time. Thanks. firecrafter
  11. firecrafter

    Can a scout get service hours working a fundraiser

    Lets hope the SM has better judgement than allowing service hours for a clean bedroom. The concern was originally brought up by a parent. I don't understand why they are concerned. If SM is doing his job, no problem. I must admit the concerned parent is sometimes, in my experience, just another name for pain in the rear. Sorry, but that has been my experience. Our SM does allow service hours for some troop fundraising to be counted. We do not have individual scout accounts, so all funds go to the troop program. We find that not every boy or his family helps with unit fundraising. The boys that do, are recognized for their service to the troop. I might add that we do many other service projects throughout the year, so opportunity for service hours is not lacking. Our SM encourages scouts to serve at least three different groups in the community, to count towards advancement. This way they experience different types of service to different organizations. This always looks good at BOR time too. We used to have a SM who would not count anything a scout did on a regular basis towards advancement. So teaching Sunday School, serving as alter boy, etc. were out. The hours could be added to the scouts record, but not counted toward advancement. It made things complicated sometimes, but it was her rule. The scouts understood and followed it. We have a large fundraiser every year. About half of our families participate. I'd say 3/4 of the scouts attend-about 1/2 make themselves useful. Showing up does not equal service hours in our troop. The SM is there all day encouraging the boys. He sees who is working and who is sitting. He is the best judge of who gets service hours. I'm not gonna second guess him. Having the service hours needed for advancement has never been a problem in our troop. firecrafter
  12. firecrafter

    Funding High Adventure Trip

    As usual GREAT ideas & information! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts everyone! firecrafter
  13. firecrafter

    Can a scout get service hours working a fundraiser

    IMHO the key phrase here is "approved by his Scoutmaster"...this is something the SM decides with the scout. I know I'm a broken record on this, but the SM runs the program. Seems like something that he & the CC might discuss and reach an agreement on together. Present it to parents, Advancement Chair & CMs and you will get as many oppinions. Bottom line...does the unit trust the SMs judgement or not? firecrafter
  14. firecrafter

    Funding High Adventure Trip

    One of our ASM's proposed a high adventure trip for next year. He estimated the cost at $2000 per person (excluding travel expences). We would travel about 22-24 hours to arrive at our destination. Most of our families cannot afford this kind of a trip. It was brought up that the troop would need to do funraising to pay for scouts to go. Is this viable in a troop of 25 scouts-I'd estimate 15 regularly attend most events? Does the entire troop do the fundraising or only the scouts going on this particular trip? Has anyone else found creative ways to pay for a trip of this kind? Ideas please? Thanks! firecrafter
  15. firecrafter

    Required Minimum Popcorn Sales?

    I think minimums are a bad idea. My boys have sold very little popcorn over the years (mostly because we live in a rural area), they do however generate (& tote) MOST of the donations for our troop's major fundraiser, a garage sale. You will always have various levels of participation from each family & scout. Some parents camp frequently, some help with paperwork, some serve in committee positions, some provide troop transportation. Some sit on the side lines & gladly let others do the all the work. I know it's frustrating when the few do the most...but where does this end? I have tried to help my sons understand that things are & will always be "unfair" or unbalanced in this regard, pretty much anywhere they go. I want them to learn that sometimes you do more than is required, more than your share. You just buck up & pick up the slack. Perhaps you might reward the boys who DO sell with a percentage in a personal account-to be used for scouting purposes only. Our old troop did this and it was pretty sucessful. The boys earned money for gear & towards summer camp. If they quit scouting, the money was forfeited to the troop's account. However, this isn't really "fair" either as some scouts have parents who take orders at work and sell 1000's of dollars in popcorn. We have one scout who sells over $3000 that way. I know there were a few boys who were resentful of the few who took home big prizes & were invited to pizza parties, while they were awarded a cheap pocketknife or flashlight. That's hard to take when you know you busted your butt selling, and the other guy handed his form to Dad to take to work. Fair? Certainly not from a boy's perspective. So... depends on how fair & square you want to try to make things. I say good luck with that. In our experience it's just not possible. I think you are opening Pandora's box and will make wayyyyy more trouble for yourselves than just letting slackers be... well slackers. firecrafter