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About smaster101

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    Rhode Island
  1. I had a tough week at camp with one 13 yr old scout. He refused to work on any badges, whether alone or in groups and always found an excuse for why he couldn't get to a MB class or hook up with the other kids. Plus he refused to shower and change his clothes during the week. More critical, he started stockpiling knives from the camp store, and a few boys told me he was waiving them around and threatened to stab them during the night. After this happened I called his dad, who came and picked him up. The dad told me the boy had been diagnosed with ODD - Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and they were trying to get him some treatment over the summer. He said he'd been having problems in school as well and was repeating the 7th grade. We've all had boys that were hard to handle, but has anyone ever had a boy with this particular behavior problem? How did you handle him? I felt bad that the boy had to leave camp, but feel that it was the right thing to do to protect the other scouts.
  2. We usually have a good turnout of dads on our campouts but our troop has never had a "family" campout, i.e. moms and younger siblings included. I know this has been a sore spot with some moms, so I suggested to our troop committee that we hold a family day hike. They not only liked the idea, but it quickly turned into suggestions for a weekend family campout. Problem is when I told our PLC, my SPL and ASPL's hit the roof. "We don't want mom's along on our camping trips" was the general consensus. So I realize that I should have run the idea by the PLC first, but also, should the troop follow the wishes of the scouts or of the parents committee in this case?
  3. I'm an outside sales manager for a manufacturing company that makes components for the wire and cable industry. I live in New Endland but my territory is the southern US - Texas to Georgia and Mexico. We have our troop meetings on Monday nights, then I will typically head out Tuesday morning for the remainder of the week.
  4. I have a 15 year old scout in my troop that is very much an outcast from the rest of the boys. He comes on most troop outings and summer camp, but he tends to be a loaner and rarely participates in what the other scouts are doing. Most of the merit badges he starts go unfinished. Hes sloppy and unkempt, which probably just means he has very low self-esteem. Last year he was appointed to the position of troop librarian, but didnt do anything, so the next SPL assigned the job to someone else. Hes still First Class because he demonstrates no leadership ability. Hell do things one on one with other scouts, like swimming, if hes asked, but otherwise he just hangs around by himself. The guys tend to make fun of him sometimes, but do try to include him in group activities. I had a scoutmaster conference with him last week and learned that he volunteered last summer at a library 3 days a week reading to younger kids. I told him this was great and asked if he liked teaching. He said no, he hated it and only did it because his mother made him volunteer because he was spending all his time in the house. I asked him what his interestes were and he said he didn't have any. His mother took me aside at camp and said that shes very worried about him. The outcast pattern is present in his personal life as well as in scouts. She said he has never had any friends and whenever hes asked someone to his house they find excuses not to come. He was on the freshman football team last year but didnt make any friends through that either. She said she had to force him to come to summer camp this year. She described him as very shy and afraid of rejection. Im not a social worker, so the best I could do was agree that he does show signs of depression and she should be worried. I feel that as his scout leader for 5 years I should do something more for him, but Im not sure what. I think he needs some professional counseling, but Im not sure his parents are ready to take that step. I've seen scouting help so many other kids, but it's not working for this guy. Id like to hear from others that have dealt with kids like this, especially if you have some constructive ideas on how a SM can help him out.
  5. Were back from summer camp, and this year I had a handful of scouts that could not pass either the 2nd Class or First Class swim requirement. These guys are not really afraid of the water, its more of a swimming ability thing. A couple of them have serious asthma that prevents them from completing the required distance. One has very severe ADHD and I think it prevents him from learning something he really doesnt want to do. All the boys went to swim classes during the week, and I felt that they did make an effort to pass, but just couldnt for various reasons. Anyway, I explained to their parents why they didnt advance and the scouting philosophy that swimming ability is an important life skill that everyone should learn. Several parents expressed concern that their sons medical problems would prevent them from ever advancing, and I see their point. The Scout Oath says to do your best, then we penalize them when they try but cant measure up to the standard. On the other hand, I had a couple of boys this year that went to the camp swim classes and did make it. It wouldnt be fair to them to just make the requirement easier for some scouts. Another problem is that logistically we may not have another opportunity to test the scouts until camp next year. Ive read the alternate rank requirements, and it seems like its a major process to get a requirement altered for a medical or mental problem. Does anyone have any experience with this, either from dealing with this situation itself or with dealing with alternate requirements?
  6. Oops, Sorry everyone. I just read OGE's post regarding laser tag and got the message loud and clear about paint ball. I should have checked the guide to safe scouting first anyway. Regardless, I know some troops are doing it anyway, so let's hope no one gets injured.
  7. Our scouts have told me they want to go paint balling as a troop activity. Ive heard of several other troops in our area doing this, but I thought paint ball was not allowed under BSA guidelines. Anyone know the official policy on this?
  8. Ok, so you have a scout that was a great SPL or Troop Guide, but then when he becomes a JASM he no longer feels like he has an active role in running the troop. I've seen this many times over the years, especially when the new SPL is doing a good job. The JL Handbook doesn't offer much guidance about this position. Last night one of my JASM's who had been a very good TG ask me if he could run for SPL next election for this reason (I said I felt yes but that we'd run it by the PLC). Can anyone that has had troops with very successful JASM positions please provide some info on how you keep them feeling part of active troop leadership? What else fo you do with your senior jr leaders after their tenure is up?
  9. Thanks to everyone, especially Bob White, for yout insight. Anyone against some positive reinforcement to motivate the guys? During a recent camout I had to leave at night for a family event, but came back the next morning around the time everyone should have been packing up. The SPL was having a hard time getting everyone moving. I had brought several dozen doughnuts back with me and of course the guys all wanted one. I told them they were for after everyone was packed. A couple of kids tried the "well, I'm packed" line, but this didn't fly. So after all the gear was packed and the site was in order everone got one. Sounds simple, but I think it got everone focused on getting the whole job done as a team.
  10. Any suggestions for how to get scouts to properly take care of troop and patrol equipment? Lost tent pieces, broken propane stoves, missing stove parts, etc. after every trip are getting me very frustrated. Our QM doesn't seem to care or be effective, even though I've continously told him what his responsibility is. Many scouts don't even take care of their personal equipment like mess kits and clothing. Are they so used to mom picking up after them at home? I see this as an opportunity for our scouts to learn responsibility for their own stuff as well as proper care of troop equipment, but I can't seem to get the point across. How have some of you other leaders delt with this effectively?
  11. About 10 years ago when I was an ASM, our troop was holding a campout that I could not attend. Parents were supposed to pick up their sons at the campground, and all came except for the mom of one TF scout. Finally, after waiting about 40 min the SM told the boy to put his gear in his car and he'd give him a ride home. When the boy did, a note fell out of his bag. The note said "Dear Mr.C. I can't be there on Sunday to pick up my son. Please give him a ride home" (I'm Mr. C. and I live near this boy's family) The SM asked the boy why he didn't tell anyone about this note and he answered that him mom told him to give the note to Mr. C. but that Mr. C never showed up. So much for following mom's directions to the letter.
  12. Our troop has just started having patrol and troop elections, after many years of SM appointed leaders. Some of the older scouts comment that they liked it better the old way, but recognize that elections are the correct scouting method. It's was a little tough going at first but we've learned from a few small mistakes. We decided to stagger PL and SPL elections so we don't have a completely new leadership each election. Our first SPL election will be in January, so I'm using this time to makesure the next generation of jr. leaders are prepared to take over from the current SPL.
  13. Sounds like a big problem. My suggestion is that your troop needs some adult intervention. Make sure that the SM and other adults demonstrate 100% support of the SPL. Get visibly and vocally behind every decision he makes and let the rest of the troop know that the adult leaders have full and complete confidence that he's doing the right thing. The stronger scouts might be able to bully the SPL, but probably not the adults. I'll bet that they will want to be on the same said as their SM, especially if they also get something out of it. It will also help the SPL deal with the pressure if he knows that his SM and other adults are behind him.
  14. I've written in this forum before about about what I observe as a lack of any type of religious connection in so many youth and families. I had an opposite suprise the other night when one of my scouts called and asked if I would be his confirmation sponsor (we're both RC). I said yes, of course, and told him it was quite an honor that he would select me. Later I spoke with his dad about it, concerned that maybe the family prefered that a relative be his sponsor. The dad said they didn't have any relatives that went to church, so his son thought he's ask his scoutmaster, and they supported his decision. I am personally very proud that one of my scouts felt he could ask me to do this, but I also think it's a tribute to scoutmasters everywhere. It kind of says how much a scoutmaster means to some of these kids, and how we can impact them in some unexpected ways. I'm sure many other scoutmasters have had similar tributes, and I just thought I'd pass this one along.
  15. I think a mixed program of advancement work and MB work at meetings works out OK. For example, a councelor working on a MB can use some meeting time to go over requrements with a small group of scouts to guide them into what they need to be doing on their own. I don't think troops should be MB factories, but I definitely see the job of SM as one who encourages and enables scouts to earn MB's.
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