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Newb

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  1. Newb

    So what do you think of this????

    This is what I think of it: "All classes are held in the Daycare Center unless specified." Yep. That about sums it up. Right from the program. So far, as a pretty new SM, this is maybe my biggest problem. The level of commercialism and bureaucracy that prevents the program from really doing what it is supposed to do, or maybe what I wrongly suppose it should do. I have a small troop, many from economically disadvantaged backgrounds and buying merit badges or buying the scouting experience isn't on the agenda. Nor is raking in thousands of dollars with fundraising (without turning it into something other than scouting. I can see the value of "Entrepreneurs of America" absolutely, but that isn't what these kids signed up for. The alternative of course is having mom and dad buy the program for the kids, but what do they learn? I try to keep it boy run, they earn all the money for the things the troop needs and make the plans. Of course, with people charging fees for merit badges, it makes that a bit tricky. Especially when they want "minimum" amounts or "minimum numbers" at times. Would I spend my free time training kids life skills and dare not to ask for compensation? Uh, yeah - that's what I signed up to do. Should we treat the Merit Badge app liek a vendor's license? I sure as heck don't think so. Shouldn't we hammer home the "NO FREE LUNCH" dogma? I thought that's what EARNING the badge did? Or are people just rubber stamping the cards? I guess that's not enough, we have to tell them to go out, sell popcorn, take our cut, and then expect them to put forth some more effort to get the badge. Sure, that will create a bunch of great little workers - or jaded, greedy shills; take your pick. Here's an idea - why don't we decide to INVEST TIME in our youth and not expect to get paid for it? Maybe this country wouldn't be going down the tubes on a wave of red and blue horse manure. Maybe we'd have some kids who wanted to give back to the community and not expect to get their cut - like their merit badge teachers do.
  2. Newb

    Journey to Excellence??????? Why bother

    I'm with the poster that was amazed at the reasonably priced day camps! $80 a boy? Ours is also around $200. We have committed our troop to providing scouting to several boys that are under economic hardship. Several times these families have approached me and handed me a worn $5 bill or few ones because they know how important this is to their son and I know they are stretching things to provide even that much. $200, heck $80 isn't going to happen. Right now we are trying to fund raise enough for the whole troop to attend camp. The boys are working hard but I'm not optimistic that we'll get thre. That said, I'm not sweating the JTE. Maybe its a bad attitude, but I could really care less how we do on that as long as I have brought scouting to every boy that wants it.
  3. Newb

    What is hazing?

    I actually had this happen to me at my IOLS training! I was carrying a small flashlight clipped to my belt. The clip slipped and without knowing it, the flashlight fell off my belt (I was hauling a cooler at the time so I was a bit distracted). I noticed it was missing and went looking for it. Unable to find it outside after re-tracng steps, I went to the SM to ask if anyone had found it. Well, sure enough, one of the other trainess walking behind me had picked it up and turned it in to the SM running the training. So the SM kept it and told me he'd get it back to me later. I'm pretty laid back so I agreed wondering what sort of lesson this would illustrate. During the meeting he brought it to everyone's attention and asked me to sing for it. I'm really not a "singing" guy. My mind was a bit blank and I really had no clue what song to come up with (I'm also new to scouting so wasn't aware of the "tradition"). At any rate, one of my patrol members saved me by getting me started on a song. Embarassing? Yeah. Hazing? Naw, I don't think so. However, it just seemed a bit childish as opposed to "did anyone drop this flashlight?". We're talking about COURTESY right? I don't think I'm going to make that part of my troop but I think it is a stretch to call it hazing.
  4. Questions : "Tell me. Why did YOU want to resurrect a new troop??" For the boys really. So yeah, I need to recall the previous mantra quoted earlier! They are a great group and have really bonded well. That simple really. I took them to a very well run troop for their AoL requirement and they were very excited about what they saw. When they crossed the bridge over to me (representing the Scout Troop) they immediately started talking about joining the other Troop we visited. I suggested they take a vote but reminded them they could still have their own troop here if they wanted. It was their first action as scouts after they crossed the bridge with their parents on the far side. They elected to stay with this troop, so I'm trying to get that sorted out for them. I'd love to look to the old pack for fresh faces and ideas, but its sort of dissolving as soon as the core group we cobbled together last year is moving on to the Troop. We (my wife and I) weren't involved in the business side of things when we were with the Pack. All the action and everyone (including the SM) seemed to just be following us around. You guys are all correct: I really need to find more parents who are leaders who just happen to have kids that want to do scouting... "Do you know the Venturing crew advisor or president (youth leader)?" No - anyway its another long story and potential "bridge burning" debacle. The SM knows him, was presumably unable to contact him, and said he thought the guy was trying to avoid him. Next thing I know, I hear the SM has the Field Director and/or DE involved and the SM was talking about legal action and such, all before I think he really spoke to the guy. I've never met the guy, but he isn't a ghost - he works at a school, in town, I know exactly where to find him 9 months out of the year. Again, I should have just done it myself or followed the "work around the SM" advice. Scoutnut: "Meanwhile - if a boy asks YOU about HIS duty assignment - Your job is to simply tell him to go ask his Senior Patrol Leader" Precisely - which I can't find most of the time cause if SM doesn't show, SPL doesn't show (he's not even the one that plays football). I'd re-direct to ASPL but we haven't gotten that far yet. 1 Patrol is all we have numbers for at the moment. I also don't disagree with the -idea- of an assigned older SPL to start things off. Problem is while this SPL is two years older, he really hasn't been in boy scouting for the past 2 years. He's been following our Webelos Den around as the Den Chief. I've got other boys that have approached me asking to be SPL who would probably do a better job (no, not my son BTW.) I'm just redirecting them to the SM at the moment. We'll see how this next meeting goes, and than I might be looking at a sit down talk with the SM, again. Packsaddle: Did you take my strawberries? Yeah, I need to watch that again, been a while! Again, sorry for all the venting guys. I'm just extremely frustrated at the moment. And I want to be clear I'm not just out to get our SM - I know it probably sounds like that's my sole agenda, it's just the vast majority of my frustrating issues surround him. So far the support, criticism and everything else has been helpful. Thanks!
  5. "Second, a question: How have the boys in the troop responded to the SM? Nothing you've said so far indicates he's a dangerous SM, just a disorganized one who has some deficiencies. In light of that, I'd suggest patience." Right - patience is our track right now; thus why I'm here venting I guess. We're doing our best to support and let him go with it, but the first two official meetings have led to some issues already. Reassuring the parents is getting old even this early, but I'm willing to stick it out for a bit longer. He has interacted with the boys - he was our Bear Den Leader in the past and he did have some good moments with the boys. When he left for most of the Summer (Football training camp) and all Fall (Football season) and beginning of this year (again, Select Football) several kids did frequently ask where he was and if he and his sons were coming back. So they were concerned and had a connection to him. I think it was a mostly positive experience when he was there. At our first official Boy Scout service project though, he had very little interaction with the kids and about half way through, I got frustrated and sort of just took over and made up some activities to keep them motivated. So I'm a bit neutral on this question right now. "Especially given how thin the leadership ranks are in the troop, you should give the guy a chance and do everything you can to check your own preconceptions about how he will be at the door." Yes - I'm trying to do that and I apologize for coming here to just vent. Like I mentioned, its a long history and tough to check the preconceptions at this point. Fresh leadership is probably the best idea now - we're all invested 2-3 years into this group, so a new troop is probably a better idea. "Frankly, it sounds like he doesn't have a whole lot of support from the other parents, since nobody is registerd as an ASM yet." I think this guy has burned that bridge and I don't see any of them stepping up. Right now, all the parents who want to be active have volunteered in committee positions, we're golden there. But none have interest in ASM. I sort of know why and I can't really blame them. "You're critical of him having conflicts with football season, but honestly, it's unfair to expect him to sacrifice his family events for you guys when none of you have stepped up to provide him an understudy." Well, that's not necessarily true. I told him explicitly that I would never issue an ultimatum to choose football or scouts. We have boys in soccer, baseball, and one kid in both and they manage to make meetings on a regular basis. But to disappear from the group for months and not so much as tell a soul what you're doing, if you will be at meetings, etc is a bit much IMO. He was stil the Bear Den Leader at the time as well so we had a two boys (younger siblings of the crew) that bought the uniforms but never went through the program. If you love football, have two kids in it year round and will never have a free weekend...I don't know maybe a leadership positon in scouting is a bad idea? I mean, that's my opinion anyway. "Here's one other thing to keep in mind. Your description about the Webelos den raises red flags. The parents of the boys (you and your wife included) should not try to make the troop into a Webelos III den. Your sons are older, they need a Boy Scout Troop, not an overaged Cub Scout Pack." Absolutely - Ive taken the training, taken SM specifics and understand the troop is not a Webelos Den (though I am in no way an expert). They need to take ownership, they need to plan for their activities, it's their Den. As of now, the SM plans don't fit that, but I'm willing to see it out for a bit. It may all play out differently. On the other hand, the boys who are already asking me when they will get their duty assignments, or asking if they can be SPL, might decide scouting isn't for them if these things don't happen soon. For me I guess the warning flags are going the other way. "One other thing, and please don't take this personally, I'd advise against setting it up with you as SM and your wife as CC." I do not take that personally and feel it is great advice actually. I'd LOVE to avoid that and hope it doesn't come to that. Honestly, we'd probably elect to move to a new troop if that was our only option.
  6. On the thought experiment - I probably tend to overthink things (very likely what gives my own version of "dithering" in this mix). So I've been down this train of thought and back a few times. For it to work we need him to probably apologize to the parents (which he did), say he's going to dedicate himself to the job (which he did) and then have him deliver (which started off bad so far). I don't at all mind keeping paperwork, finances and everything away from the SM. The way I understand it, the SM needs to just delegate the majority of that to the Committee anyway. The CC d reminding the SM about business policy, what paperwork needs to be filled out and all that stuff is also standard fare if I understand the roles correctly. The SM should focus on the boys, right? The committe on business? However, I don't think the committee needs to carry out the day to day duties of a SM (nor do I have time to do both jobs). I also don't think getting a bunch of ASMs (we're still pretty small right now, so one would be sufficient at the moment) to do all the work -around- him is the answer. It could work but to me it's just ignoring the real issue. It's also hard for me to focus on business when many parents are approaching me and telling me they don't think the SM is a good role model for their child. Here's my other problem with the scenario - I could have volunteered to be the ASM but I'm selfish. I'm not any better than this guy and I'm not trying to say I am. I just spent several years at a job where I worked for an incompetent manager and basically did their job for them. I know this guy had nothing to do with that, I know relating the two may be irrational. However, I left that job, started my own business and I swore I'd never put myself in that position again. If someone says they are going to do something, I expect them to do it and not really just wink and nod and expect me to do it for them. So yeah, that's entirely my fault, my baggage, and I'll own it. We all have our hang ups and quirks, I completely get that. My hang-up though is diametrically opposed to his hang up If this guy sticks around the best solution might actually be for me to step out of the Troop and have someone more charitable come forward and take up the CC role. Most importantly, we'll need a capable parent to step up and be "A"SM. Right now, the parents are upset enough I don't have any takers. So ASMs that might work well with him are in short supply ATM. I might be able to find one outside the troop though (I'm sort of working that angle as well at the moment - like I said I tend to overthink and possibly overplan. A decisive action at the start would have possibly prevented all this).
  7. I would agree that I am guilty of "dithering" as well, heh. I just don't want the drama in what I consider my spare time and I have been taking the easy road on some of this. Of course, we're relatively new to the program and we are trying to soak up a lot of information at the same time as all this is unfolding. So we're a step behind (like in not understanding the recharter process until after the fact) but we're getting there. I did sign up for SM courses prior to all the drama. I didn't cancel them when I took on the CC role. I just need to complete the IOLS at the end of this month to be "trained". I know our SM is also trained. Hes basically a professional Boy Scout - works at the scout shop, going to Philmont this summer with family, "knows" all the rules and regs, talks about his IOLS class and I've met people that went to it with him. Now, he talks about how he "rebuilt the scout troop". I dunno, the training is just not translating into practice I guess? Or maybe as mentioned, we just don't see eye to eye. "If the man is an unapologetic, not there when you need him, lets chaos reign rather than deal with it, finds another to blame for the problems rather than accept responsibilty himself kind of guy..." So you've met? Not entirely unapologetic because the two times I have confronted him (once at a meeting with myself and my wife, the next in a phone call after parents nearly revolted) he did ultimately apologize and promise to turn things around; it's the only reason we're still talking about this. I'll do what we told the parents - work with him until the end of the month and see what happens. By then I'll be trained and pretty much all options will be open. In the meantime, I'm setting up that overdue meeting with the COR/IH (Yeah, same person) and probably still keeping an eye open for some competition for the SM position - whether with this Troop or a troop we start on our own! There are also dozens of other troops in the area, so finding another is a non-issue if it comes to that. Thanks all.
  8. To answer some questions - He processed the paperwork for the charter. This was without first organizing a committee and other parents to get involved. Frankly, he has trouble delegating and passing on information so it never really got rolling. He focused mostly on rechartering the Pack but not asking people to assist in rechartering the Troop. Anyway, my wife and I took over organizing the Troop Committee after this. It wasn't until then that we all understood what was necessary and how to proceed. So that's how our charter sort of oddly preceeded the actual formation of a Troop Comittee. As far as other candidates for SM. When we first discussed reorganizing the church's troop the parents asked me to be SM. The now SM just responded "if that's what you guys want". In response, he then later said he just wanted to oversee Training for the committee. Then, two months later we have a charter submitted and he says he is the SM - patch and all already on his shirt. I'm not a spiteful guy, I'm pretty laid back and I'm not in this to give myself some sort of title. In fact, I'd lov eit if a competent SM came in and really showed the boys what they need. I just want my kid to have fun and learn to be a leader because there aren't enough leaders out there in the world today. Anyway, I found it really more humorous than anything. We (my wife and I) at first were going to humor him and let him live out his dream or whatever. Despite his flaws, he is very well versed in scouting info and is a good resource. However, we completely misjudged the reaction of pretty much every single parent - I mean every parent. That vast knowledge of scouting doesn't necessarily qualify him to be a leader, the parents have picked up on that and are being very critical, but not entirely without cause. I do have other candidates in mind but we're a small group and I don't have a huge pool to pull from. Most of the parents want to be involved but aren't willing or able to make the committment to be SM. The parents may go back to their initial request and want me to be included on that list, in which case I'll need another CC - most likely my wife will step in there. While the SM gladly tells everyone how he "restarted the Troop" it is in fact my wife that handed him a turn key opportunity for the troop through her dedication to the Webelos Den. Otherwise, there is a youth pastor at the church who has approached us and wants to help; there is also another church member that wants to volunteer. I don't know yet if SM is what they had in mind but I plan to ask. Sitting down with the CO and the SM is a good idea. As I learn more about the CC and scouting in general, I'm finding out how crucial that relationship is. When I have spoken to the CO rep in the past, he almost seems like the Scout program is more of a nusiance than anything. I'm thinking it is because of past bad experiences, so I need to find out his true stance on the program. We may leave, I hate to do it, but Oak Tree's comment is correct - we don't specifically "need" this CO. I agree I need to be on the same wavelength as the SM and Ive tried to support him in front of the parents, but I feel like I can only do that for so long. Thanks for the great advice so far!
  9. First off - Hello All! I'm new to this forum and hope to visit regularly. I'm relatively new to scouting and many times when I've been searching around the internet for answers, this forum pops up and always seems to have some good, thoughtful answers. I'm the Committee Chair for a newly re-established scout troop. We have a "political" issue I'd like some feedback on (not sure if this is the right topic - apologies ot the moderator if this is in the wrong place.) I haven't sought much local feedback on the issue because our problem deals with an individual that is involved in local scouting, works at one of the scout stores, and has several local contacts. So it makes it awkward to get an unbiased opinion. We just re-started the Troop after a long period of inactivity (the SM will tell you HE did this by the way). My wife and I ran the Webelos through to their Arrow of Light and now intend to be involved with the Troop which was on the verge of collapsing until we showed up (i.e. it had -zero- boys and the equipment seems to have been taken by a Venturing crew). The current Scoutmaster sort of "self appointed" himself to that position (after a meeting where all parents present who are now committee members volunteered me for the job, soemthing I was flattered by but its not my overriding concern here who is the SM). Frankly, while he is knowledgable about scouting and works at the scout shop, his leadership, organizational and time mangament skills need alot of work. Even before the first meeting this individual as the Cubmaster had built up a reputation for being unreliable in front of all the parents. By the bridging ceremony which had been on our calendar for 3 months, the parents wanted to axe him as SM. He first tried to reschedule at the last minute around his son's football schedule, and he then skipped it all together - despite having told us that he was letting his wife take his son to games when he needed to be at scouting events. We (my wife and I) have already sat down and talked to him. I also called and talked to him after the Bridging ceremony to let him know the parent's were concerned. The response was to show up without directions to our service project (a project which he setup) and then passive-aggressively complain to me about the parents and the tasks we were asked to do at the project (again, which he set up). He keeps asking for ASM volunteers to see to the "younger boys" (we only have 8 boys at the moment - they are all the same age except -one- of his sons who is 2 years older. This son, by his plan, will be made the Senior Patrol Leader for the first 6 months.) NO ONE is eager to step into that role (I elected to be Committee Chair after he "informed us" he was the Scoutmaster. We're a small group and I dont want to do his job for him but I am sort of the unofficial ASM because I will be present at all events and I am arranging to take the SM specifics and such) The CO Rep is the pastor for the church the SM goes to and I have little contact with him. I know I need to change that but I am not sure that I can get any ground there. Anyway, we worked hard to get this group of boys (however small) through the Webelos program and want to see them continue in scouting. I'd rather not lose the whole group over this. I also dont have time to train a SM how to lead people and manage his time. I prefer to have one that can hit the ground running. It hasn't been long, only two meetings, so we are still trying to give him a chance but he did alot to damage his rep as the Cubmaster (basically went AWOL for football season and most of the preceding summer) so the parents are on edge. If things don't improve dramatically soon, I'm going to start losing parents / boys / and the troop altogether. We've just ask them to support the SM, have tried to do this ourselves and said we would revisit their concerns next month if things don't improve. The SM has esentially said if he can't be the SM, he will take his boys to another Troop (which, might have been a threat but frankly, I don't need the drama). So - what can I do here? I'm thinkign of asking the SM to step down if he can't get his stuff together but how is that accomplished? Our CO Rep isn't that invovled and only really knows the SM. When I have spoken to the CO (about other matters) he seems a bit hurried and not at all interested in getting involved with Scouting. I haven't seen much information on replacing a SM in the training and official docs I've read. Any thoughts would be appreciated. I know there are always two sides to a story and I've tried not to be too hard on this guy but my patience is wearing very thin.
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