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T216

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About T216

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  1. Well, for those who have followed this saga: The Troop Committee Chair and I met with the scout last night (with his dad there too). Basically, the boy pledged to remain alcohol-free so long as he continues to be in scouts (and achieve his Eagle rank). There was no stated remorse or accountability for deeds already done, and i just have to hope that the boy is sincere in his pledge. But unless the other parents who are directly aware of his drinking want to come forward and make claims they are willing to support, i see no choice but to take the boy at his word. And hopefully he understands the severity of our message and will in fact stop drinking now while he works towards his Eagle, and then hopefully continue that non-drinking after he gets it. I don't see how we could delay advancement without direct knowledge of ongoing drinking (again, I'm hoping that won't occur) or without allowing the scout to "face his accuser" if someone says he violates his commitment. I sure hope he's sincere.
  2. Wow. I'm overwhelmed. If only our action had a clear cut answer to it. To answer the last post, the pledge was signed - BY BOTH THE SCOUT AND A PARENT - when the boy joined our troop, as a rising 6th grader. He is now about to be a rising 10th grader. You are correct in that it is a critical part of this process to me. I didn't include it in the initial post becuase i was thinking more in "global terms" over our responsibilities under BSA guidelines and the Scout Oath and Scout Laws in general, not just as it applied to a Troop 216 pledge. But when asked about that later, and posting it, it clearly is the fallback for us to point to to delay this boy's advancement. For as long as it takes us to be comfortable enough that the scout is willing to give up his drinking so long as he is still seeking the Eagle rank. How long? Don't know. But i can tell you that as SM, i do not intend to sign off on his Eagle app anytime soon, assuming i hear what i expect to hear in our conference with him. And i don't expect further big pushback from the parents, given that they signed an Understanding of and Agreement to those expectations of the scout. (When i talked with the dad - and i haven't talked with him since - i had forgotten that a PARENT also acknowledges and agrees to those terms.) We will ask the scout his thoughts on why he feels he should advance (assuming he does) when he clearly has not lived up to this part of his commitment. I am hoping that he will be willing to get re-committed and realize that if he wants his Eagle rank, then the drinking has got to stop. And hopefully if we are able to stop it for a few months, then he may realize he doesn't need it later. And i like the idea of requiring him to do some research on underage drinking and its effects and consequences. The problem across our country is, none of these kids who do alcohol or drugs ever think that they will be the problem case - they all think they are under control.
  3. interesting, and timely, news item I came across today: interesting, and timely, item that was in the North Carolina Banker's Association (not sure why) newsletter today: ROAD TO ALCOHOLISM Research from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the Skipper Bowles Alcohol Center at UNC-Chapel Hill shows that children who begin drinking before age 15 have a four times greater chance of becoming alcoholics than those who begin at 21. Medical research also shows that teen drinkers run the risk of brain damage that will impair memory and cognitive skills. Those health risks are strong arguments against allowing teens to drink at home. Troop Comm will have a discussion with the scout. We have had a discussion with the parent (both myslef and then separately, wiht the same message I had, my Troop Comm Chair met with the dad for awhile). I do not plan on turning the parent/boy into authorities, as some have suggested. I know some think i should, but i'm not going there. Not even remotely thinking about that. I do want to help the boy but i don't think sending authorities into his home is the answer. These are NOT "bad people" - although i wholeheartedly disagree with this particular part of their parenting. But bringing in law or social services is just not approriate here at all, in my opinion. I think it would do more harm than good, to tear their family up. And i don't think it's the solution at all. We will talk to the scout, and my plan right now if i hear what i think we will hear (the scout acknowledging that he has "had a few beers") is to stress the REQUIREMENT that he give up alcohol completely as he seeks his Eagle rank - that we will not reward him with that rank if that is his ongoing attitude to both the law and "keeping himself clean and phsycially strong", as well as the commitment he made to our troop, continues to be violated. As we reminded him early in the summer. If the case is that he has kept drinking, then he needs to accept the consequences, which is a delay in his rank until such time Troop Comm feels comfortable that he has in fact made the right commitment to scouts and its values, and for his demostrated example as an Eagle candidate. And if he can't/won't lay off beer for 3-6 months (time period NOT to be defined), then he has a much more serious (and it already is serious) problem than he would be acknowledging. Either that or he sure doesn't value the rank of Eagle much, if he had to give up beer to get it but won't. This of course will require his ongoing participation in scouts this fall, which i don't think he was counting on, but that's the price he is going to pay for the decisions he has made (assuming we confirm with him that's the case - and at this point i do think he will be honest with us) - as well as our feeling that he hasn't learned nearly as much from scouts as he could. Thanks to all for input. I will post later with any new info, or after the meeting with him. Likely not to be until August 24, although i'm sure i will keep coming back to this forum before then just to see additional posts. PS: I do plan on sharing that news item with the scout and dad. I'm thinking the dad won't like it, because he will have the attitude "that doesn't apply to us", maybe, just maybe, it will make him think a little more about his attitude towards his 15 year old "having a few beers"
  4. Kahuna - i have tried to research it some, and everything i have found indicates it is against the law for drinking in North Carolina under age 21 (used to be 18). There probably is an exception somewhere for religious services, but i haven't found it (and haven't kept looking night and day). I have not seen anything that differentiates drinking "at home" versus away from home - to my knowledge it's all illegal. I wouldn't have as much of an issue with someone who tries a beer once, but 1. this is apparently ongoing behavior, with the parents NOT disturbed about it AT ALL and 2. it is a direct violation of what the boy agreed to, and Troop Committee reminded him of earlier this summer so as to not do anything to slow down his advancement, yet he has chosen to drink anyway??? I think that shows he doesn't value the merit of the Eagle Award enough (yet). I'm not proposing we kick him out of scouts or forever deny him his Eagle - but i don't think he's ready for it yet. And it disappoints me greatly that the parents also signed a Scout Parents Support Commitment of our policies and expectations, yet they are now taking a different position that this shouldn't affect his advancement. I just can't agree with this.
  5. Calico - i don't consider it hearsay when the dad has directly acknowledged the drinking. And we have never directly "accused" the scout of drinking - that's one of the reasons to talk with him person to person: to ask him about it, and then discuss it further.
  6. actually, i said "what our plan is" but that's really on my opinion on what our plan will be, after talking with a couple of my TC members on this. But we will meet with the boy and decide actions as a Committee. Just thought i'd clarify that.
  7. Thanks to everyone for input. Troop Com Chair is talking to dad today (I already have). Our plan is to delay his advancement until such point (3 months?) he can demonstrate that he has understood the severity of alcohol use underage and has completely quit himself. I am not naive - he may very well return to his ways after getting to Eagle. But to get there in the first place, he has to have a sustained period of commitment to the scout program through and through. We do not plan to turn this family over the authorities or anything like that. I know some disagree, but i think they are good, solid parents, with good solid kids. Except on this one issue. But there is no way i am calling authorities. i only talked with our district advisor about it to see what our responsibilities/obligations are - and going to the authorities was not one he mentioned. i'll keep checking this thread and would welcome and fresh thoughts. Thanks. PS: Drinking under age 21 is against the law in our state. There may be an exception for religious services, but that's not what's occuring here.
  8. from our troop handbook: A SCOUT'S CONDUCT AND DRUG FREE COMMITMENT: In the Scout oath and law, each scout will find a clear statement of what: conduct in expected of him as a Scout. A 216 Scout is expected to honor his SCOUT OATH promise to "KEEP MYSELF PHYSICALLY STRONG, MENTALLY AWAKE, AND MORALLY STRAIGHT..." by remaining drug free which includes illegal use of alcohol as well as use or possession of illegal drugs. These commitments are essential to rank advancement and participation in Boy Scout of America and Troop 216 activities. ------------------------------------------ and the boy - AND THE PARENTS - sign this: ------------------------------------------ We have read and understand and agree to the PERFORMANCE EXPECTATIONS FOR TROOP 216 SCOUTS and THE SCOUT PARENTS SUPPORT COMMITMENT. Boys Signature Date Parents Signature Date ----------------------------------------- Is that not pretty clearcut??
  9. ScoutNut Yes, I do have a drink outside of scout activities. I am 47 years old and am not breaking any laws nor any oaths I have taken as I seek an honor. (I do not drink on any scout activities.) It is somewhat common knowledge that it is recurring behavior with this scout. I dont know how often (daily? weekly? monthly?) but its not a one-time shot. No one, including the parents, is disputing this. I said he hasnt gotten into trouble because to my knowledge he hasnt. And with the parent grapevine around here, it seems like people know when someones child has gotten into trouble. So it IS OK to do underage drinking & pass BOR's for advancement as long as that BOR is NOT for Eagle. ABSOLUTELY NOT. Where did you ever get this idea? Re other boys we absolutely would hold up their advancement too if drinking is an issue. Whether they are 2nd Class, Star, Life, whatever. Were not trying to hold this one scout to a different standard. And I dont think we know more than any of their parents already know or suspect we probably know a lot less. If I hear hearsay, I dont think its my job to run to a parent to tell them what Ive heard secondhand. I do think its my responsibility to talk with the boy about it, and to suggest to the person telling me that they might want to call the parent and tell them what theyve heard. (But most dont want the confrontation.) His name has been gossiped about around town & the council. ALSO NOT TRUE. Weve talked about it at TC, and to Council on a nameless basis. Again, you have jumped to some conclusions that are wrong. All to show that they want to keep the sterling, ultra high quality of Eagle candidates (only) bright. Isnt that our responsibility to uphold the quality of the eagle rank? And again, I take exception to the word only we expect ALL scouts to live by the scout oath and laws, or we address the situation with them. We know they will all make mistakes. But an ongoing choice of underage drinking by a 15 year old who aspires to be an Eagle scout is not insignificant. How many Eagle Scouts here can truthfully state that they NEVER took a drink of alcohol while they were underage? How about more than 1 or even 2 drinks? How many can truthfully state that they NEVER smoked a cigarette before their 18th birthday? Or had an older buddy buy them a pack? How about you T216? Im not the one in question here. I probably shouldnt even address this question, but I will. I was never a scout. I didnt have an oath to uphold. But even then I made my own choices to not succumb to peer pressure. I had my first beer (which was my first alcohol) in college. I have never smoked a cigarette in my life. But I am NOT trying to say scouts should be like me. I am NOT the standard. The standard is the policies and guidelines of BSA and how they should apply to all scouts, but particularly Eagle candidates. Yes, I do think much more exemplary behavior is expected from an Eagle candidate than a 13 year old First Class Scout. stop polishing your Eagle & gossiping about this "good kid" (T216's words). We arent gossiping about him. Were trying to handle his situation as appropriately as possible. And he is a good kid. We reminded him back in late spring when he was with Troop Committee that scouts were expected to remain alcohol-free, and that not doing so could affect his advancement. He gave us the proper yes sir, I understand line. But then he chooses to do otherwise anyway? And were not supposed to hold him accountable for that? Have ALL the boys sign a pledge to not drink. Already done. Every single boy signs this when they join the troop, and they are reminded of it. I appreciate your sharing your thoughts but candidly, youve made some assumptions which are inaccurate. (This message has been edited by T216)
  10. When i say that beer drinking is rampant, i mean in general at our high school level (and likely many others across the country). Not rampant with my scouts (at least not to my knowledge). But i do suspect a couple of others who may be drinking more than "just trying it once" - and we plan to talk with them about drinking and scouts too. We're not singling out this one scout, other than his being close to wanting to go before Eagle review board and we know for sure (after my conversation with his dad last ngiht) of his recurring beer use and attitude toward it. And i don't know that it is rampant with this one scout. I don't knwo how often he drinks - to me that's not the issue, so i didn't even ask the question (to the dad). The dad acknoweldged the boy "has had a beer and will probably have one again" and that they don't have a real problem with it, so the frequency is not the root of the issue to me. Just the fact that it is recurring behavior. While i disagree with the parents' position on this, i am not at all trying to enforce my own beliefs (which happen to be the law) on them. I have no intent on calling authorities to report this as a social issue. Not that it should matter (but it does), but these parents are friends of ours and i think are high quality people and have raised two good kids. It's just this one issue (teenage alcohol) that i differ with them on. And the boy is not a drunk who is getting into trouble. But he is partying with beer, and he's 15 years old. For an Eagle candidate, i have an issue with that and am wrestling with what mine and Troop Committee responsibilites are. Not just to this boy, but for the troop (to uphold standards and accountabilities). Another thought is, should we discuss this at one of our scout meetings, to see what the scouts themselves think the consequences should be? Not to name this scout specifically (although i think most who know who we'd be referencing) but just a scenario in general.(This message has been edited by T216)
  11. Just talked with my district leader at the Council. He said he wouldn't advance him (yet). Not until he showed an understanding that underage drinking IS wrong and is not in line with standards expected of Eagle candidates. And makes a commitment to stop. We don't police it - but we remind him that a scout is trustowrthy and honorable, so we expect him to be honest with himself and us that he is indeed adhering to this expectation. For how long?? 3 months? 6 months? No clear answer. This family's problem with that will likely be that they want him to go ahead and get his Eagle so he can 1. have it and 2. not have to keep being active in the troop, coming to meetings and going on trips. My thought though is that that is the commitment that the boy needs to make, to demonstrate his worthiness of being an Eagle candidate. Any action such as this is not something that we (Troop Committee) will have done to the boy - it's a result of his chosen actions, which have consequences. The District leader said he definitely would not sign him off at this point but that he was going to check with "higher-ups" to see what they say. To his knowledge, there is not a clear black-and-white policy on this - other than the basic requirement that an Eagle candidate is supposed to be "the cream of the crop and a role model in his life and in society" - and that someone who is 15 and is underage drinking on a recurring basis doesn't currently fit that mold in his opinion, regardless of his other scouting accomplishments. More later, after he talks with other leaders at Council. He promised to try to call me back today. (i'm thinking about sending the dad in question a link to this thread, so he can see it's not just my own personal opinion that affects this scout. That i am in line with other consistent thinking. Thoughts on this?)
  12. IBSteveC- You say he has done nothing wrong in scouts - presumably because the drinking occurs away from scouts. But he's 1. breaking the law and 2. not living by the Oath to keep himself "physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight" - which includes staying away from alcohol and drugs. Not just on scout activites but in everyday life. We should just turn a blind eye to this, simply because it doesn't happen during scotu activities? I have a problem with the message that sends. ANd he is very close to otherwise getting his Eagle. Has finished most (if not all, i can't remember tonight) his badges, his leadership position, and his Eagle project is at Council to get approved next week (for him to hopefully knock out this month, before school starts). He wants to get his Eagle immediately and basically be done with scouts. I do not sense that he will be one to continue to participate in scouts once he gets it. Too many other activities that are more important to him.
  13. Not that i think it has bearing on the real issue at hand, but i would like to add in that i have no reason to believe that the parents are buying it for him. (But yet the dad told me that they choose NOT to have a "zero tolerance" policy at their house. They know the son drinks beer from time to time (I really do not know how frequently) and do not have a problem with it). Sad (to me), but true.
  14. It was brought to my attention by other adults. This is a fairly close-knit neighborhood troop, a lot of the guys go to the same school, the parents know what is going on, etc. I talked with the dad tonight and he acknowledges that the son "has had a drink and will probably have more". He sees it as a common "social issue". Clearly I disagree with their approach to the issue. I do not know who buys it for him. But apparently getting beer is no problem. Use among high school students, particulary on weekends, is rampant. I told the dad, i'm not pretending to be the boy's parent or tell you how to do your job (as parent) - other than the obvious that what he is doing is against the law. But along these lines, how do you expect us (troop leaders) to sign off on his being an Eagle scout, when we know that he is choosing to drink underage? Yet the dad doesn't feel we should do anything, and that this shouldn't affect his son's advancement at all. I'm not proposing to kick him out of scouts or forever deny him his Eagle opportunity. Yet it seems we just shouldn't ignore this choice the boy is making, even if he does think he is "drinking responsibly" (which I think most people would agree that for a 15 year old, that is an oxymoron)
  15. Hi - I would appreciate some input here. I am a scoutmaster of a troop of about 45 scouts. I have a 15 year old who is nearing to be ready for his Eagle candidacy. He has been a good scout at meetings, on trips, etc. However, it has come to light that he drinks some with his buddies. Not on scout trips, but over the weekends or other "social" times, not scout-related at all. Troop committee has reviewed with all Life scouts the importance of their oaths to stay subsdtance-free, but yet this boy seemingly doesn't see anything wrong wiht having a beer or two at times. Nor do his parents. Should his advancement to Eagle be delayed because of this? The parents think not - they think it's okay for scouts to have a policy against alcohol use but that we shouldn't do anything to hold a scout back if he chooses to drink. I think that this shows a choice the scout makes to NOT adhere to the oath and pledge he has made, and there ought to be some consequence? More service work? More leadership to be shown? Or what? I jsut feel that if you have standards and expectations but then there are no consequences for not living up to those standards, then what kind of message does that send to the other scouts about the validity of the standards in the first place? Obviouisly, the parents disagree with me. I am going to call our District office tomorrow to discuss this and see what their suggested guidelines are, as well as bring this up at the Leaders Roundtable next week. But i'm curious as to input from this board. I am sure this is not a unique situation. Thanks.
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