I accompanied my 2nd year Webelos den on a Boy Scout camping trip over the weekend, and have some questions/concerns. Brief Background: I took over as Webelos Den Leader when the previous leader, along with his son and three other boys bridged up to the boy scout troop. This left my son and one other boy behind in Webelos with no leader. These two can bridge up as early as February, so I agreed to assume DL responsibilities until then. I've taken Basic Leader training, and consulted with the previous DL (who seemed to do a very good job with the boys), but still feel somewhat lost at times.
The Boy Scout campout was an eye-opener. My two boys, along with several 1st year webelos, were assigned a Boy Scout for a patrol leader. He was a pretty mature kid. He really did an admirable job, especially considering the immaturity of some of the younger Webelos. I generally observed from a distance, but became very aware of the role of the patrol leader. Some of the patrol leaders for the other patrols really abused their power. Naturally, this was not received well by their patrols, and some fairly ugly power struggles ensued. Some of these boys, in turn, seemed to really enjoy Barking at the younger Webelos, acting in the same inappropriate (I thought) manner that their own patrol leaders did. (ex. GET OVER HERE! I SAID GET OVER HERE! I MEAN NOW!, etc, together with insults and disdain) There was some very limited input from the Scoutmaster about this, but it was generally left unchecked. Is this the Boy Scout way? I understand that "Boy Leadership" is a program cornerstone, but is this how it is achieved? I've had only a weekend to observe, and perhaps what I saw is an awkward stage in an overall effective process. This type of communication and interaction is inappropriate in any workplace or community organization, and inappropriate within a family. The only place I know of where such interactions appear common is in a military boot camp setting.
I do intend to visit at least one other Boy Scout troop with my 2nd year Webelos, and hope to see a different situation. Please advise.