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Chagrined Chair

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About Chagrined Chair

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  1. Thank you to the previous posters for their kind words of support. There are so many details about the ordeal that I did not provide, but I will add the following for anyone who reads this post seeking to remedy a similarly serious conflict that involves contacting the council. In her disgust, the other CC officially tendered her resignation to the CO and council in such a way that she may have left herself legally vulnerable to lawsuits by the SM and outside the legal umbrella of the council and BSA. It is very unfortunate that the word lawsuit gets thrown about, but it does happen. If you have a legitimate complaint, help protect yourself by remaining a member in good standing and do not resign from the BSA. Happy 4th of July to the Scouts and with special appreciation to all the adult volunteers who guide them!
  2. Scouters, It has been over two years since my original post about inappropriate behavior by a SM, and I felt compelled to provide an epilogue for the record. Thank you to the members who provided feedback about the original post. Prior to the COH 2014 that I referred to in my original post, I tried to contact the COR about finding a replacement and wanting to discuss the reason. At the COH, the SM unceremoniously announced my departure before without any conversation with me and was already working behind the scenes to recruit another CC. I was embarrassed and furious for myself and because it was certainly not something that should have been brought up at the COH, which should be focused on the scouts' achievements. I had not discussed the details of my experiences with other troop volunteers and parents. The new CC was an excellent choice, because she had a proven record and ongoing significant leadership commitment to girl scouting. And her husband was actively involved in the troop and in the past with cub scouts. Within 8 months, I heard that she was resigning. The new CC did not detail her reasons for resigning officially to the troop, but it was out of character given her reputation and commitment with the girl scouts and her son's and husband's involvement with the boy scouts. I reached out to her, asking if her resignation had to do with the SM's behavior. She confirmed that she too had issues with his behavior, both interpersonal (i.e. harassment) and with how he filled (or not) his role as SM. My replacement CC and I filed separate complaints with the (new) council. I commend both the council and the chartering organization for taking our complaints seriously. All parties involved were "interrogated" by a "neutral" committee of scout adults. I put neutral in quotes because anyone actively involved in scouting may know others actively involved in scouting. Based on my interview, the inclination by the council was to give this SM a pass. I believe that the SM responded in a way consistent with my and others' statements, damning himself in the process. Not only was there other evidence that he made inappropriate comments to other female parents and volunteers, the record showed that he consistently neglected the troop in general. It turns out that the SM had some kind of agenda to make his homestead a boy scout camp, training other troops from other districts, but totally ignoring our troop except for eagle candidates. It explains why parents took over the planning of the trips with success, but the one trip the SM was in charge of got postponed to future dates, multiple times. The SM was banned from scouting (or was he?). The ASM was made the SM. He was the one attending all the trips and interacting with all the scouts. He was trained under the former SM, but with a good sense of duty and good sense of humor. No kids of his own yet, but so patient with the kids who want to learn( and me trying to split wood.) Why am I posting after two years? My son went to an eagle COH recently, and the former SM was acknowledged by several of the scouts that provided no leadership and know nothing abut the outdoors. Due to legal concerns, the former SM hasn't truly been called out. During the last part of the SM's tenure had more to do with the parents' determination than the scouts' because everybody knows that eagle scout would look good on college applications. What really bothered me most were the big lies the SM told the scouts and the little lies he told to the parents and that some still believe. I can only hope that my actions will help set a new normal for both scouts and parents about values and honesty in the troop in the future.
  3. Thank you all for the feedback. In response to the comment about the personal stuff---it is personal to me. I ignored the little alarm bells ringing in my head for a long time and am kicking myself for my naiveness. I feel humiliated and betrayed that someone who claimed to be my friend was apparently taking advantage of my vulnerable state. I have distanced myself from him without explicitly confronting him about his inappropriate advances. I consider the fact that he no longer personally communicates with me in any way as evidence that he knows that he crossed a line and there is no going back. That hasn't stopped him from offering his assistance if I needed help with anything when there is an audience. The bottom line is that a troop cannot function very well under these circumstances. I can't help but think that if the other adult leaders in the troop had the strength of character, including myself, and/or the inclination to take on the role of SM that the current SM would have been ousted by now. If he steps down or is asked to step down, I believe it is highly unlikely that the troop will continue. As far as I know I am doing what the long-term CC did before me. That included taking a lead role in communicating with the troop, making sure the calendar is put together and distributed, and reviewing Eagle applications for typos and grammar. I even heard the SM tell a parent that was my job and he took care of everything else. And for what it's worth, if they only took away the idea that when they go out into the real world, the ability to communicate with proper grammar and correct spelling will benefit them in the long term, then I would be happy just to do that. Based on your responses, I think that my troop is more dysfunctional than I thought. I had next to no involvement with the troop until I became CC. I suppose that it is inevitable that a troop will fall into a rut when the CC and SM have been running it for a decade or more. As far as I can tell, the troop follows more or less the same schedule and on the same trips year after year. Don't even think about bringing up going to a different summer camp to the SM. Most of the higher ranked scouts seem focused only on ranking up to Eagle Scout because it will look good on their college and future work applications and the same is true of their parents. This situation is reinforced by a SM that only seems interested in those who will be Eagle Scouts because he says "it makes him look good." Hence, the parade of spls that are so involved in other activities that they can barely plan the weekly meetings, let alone plan a weekend camping trip or calendar for the year, or think about the long-term health of the troop. The system that has evolved is that parent volunteers do most of the legwork to plan the trips. From what I gather, this is why the former CC had to be so involved in the planning and I felt it was my duty to do the same. I had hoped to speak with the COR at the COH last week, at least long enough to arrange a time a more lengthy discussion. Unfortunately I was told that he had a heart attack and I am still trying to find out the details. You hear news like that and this all seems so petty and unnecessary. I wish that I had run across this forum sooner. I tried numerous google searches to see if anyone else had a similar experience as mine. As women have been increasingly involved in their son's troop, I thought I would have gotten some hits about this issue, but was surprised to find nothing about sexual harassment among leaders except for the written policy for Philmont. I will continue to monitor the responses to my post and consider how to proceed in a way the doesn't totally blow up the troop. Thanks again.
  4. I apologize in advance for this long post. I agreed to take over as committee chair in 2013 after a long-term chair stepped down. She stuck me with the chore of rechartering in late 2012, despite the fact that my husband suffered an acute illness and was in and out of the hospital with a life-threatening condition for six months, continuing well into 2013. During this time, the long-term (and married) SM offered me friendship. He also told me that he would be all over me if he wasn't married or I wasn't married, which should have raised a red flag, but then he has a reputation of sorts, and I thought it was probably not such a big deal. Besides, since we were supposed to work closely to make sure the troop functions, it seemed to make some sense to let these comments slide, and it would pass. Not so much. He asked what my intentions were and told me that he would only kiss me when I was ready. I told him my life was complicated enough and I was only interested in friendship. Because I told him that it was none of his business whether I ever had an affair, he cornered my friend at summer camp and asked her if I had. He engaged her in conversations that made her uncomfortable so that she was compelled to leave camp a day earlier than planned. Still willing to let my personal concerns slide, I was starting to focus on planning for the next year. I asked at the April committee meeting about reserving the scouts' favorite cabin for the Dec camping trip and was told by the SM that the sp needed to plan the calendar. The spl passed the buck to the next spl, who never came to a committee meeting. Finally, in late Aug, the SM told the spl to arrange a meeting and WE would be there. Well, the senior patrol was there and I was there. We went through the calendar, considered the school calendar, and put it all together. The SM shows up an hour and a half late, jokes that he is also supposed to be at another meeting and will be late for that too, then proceeds to go through the entire process again. After that he brags about himself and all he has done for the troop for another half hour or more. Meanwhile I am ready to be sick and starving because I came straight from work. And it gets worse...the October trip is one that was going to be led by the SM and originally planned for a year earlier. Because he procrastinated the first time, the SM couldn't reserve a campsite and it was postponed for April. Because SM procrastinated, the April plans were not set until a couple weeks before the date and had to be cancelled for low turnout. When cancelling the Apr trip, the SM agreed it would be used as a webelos recruiting trip for the fall. I had to keep asking him to set a date. It really bugs me when I have to treat an adult like one of my children. Finally a date was set and we invited the webelos. Guess what, he couldn't find a suitable campsite. Then it was a day trip. Then because some of the older boys wanted to do a particular activity in addition to the main activity, they started talking about changing the date. I said that it would be wrong to change the date this late in the game, but they did it anyway and told the webelos liason to inform them of the date change. Before the meeting was even over, the older boys realized that the new date was the same day as homecoming and they would not be going on the trip. Only a handful of our scouts and only a handful of webelos attended the trip. None of the webelos joined our trip. When the SM completely screwed up things that were important to the troop, not just me, I realized how completely insincere that he was about being my "friend". I began to doubt anything that he had to say and because he talks a a lot, there are numerous contradictions and inappropriate comments confirm my doubts. Jump to current day. My life has totally changed from when I accepted the CC position less than two years ago. My husband is slowly improving and has a job after being out of work for a year and a half. I was a stay-at-home mom for 13 years, but was fortunate enough to find a salaried full-time job. The scoutmaster and I have essentially no communication. We had our COH last week and no one responded to my email about volunteers, an ongoing problem. So I suck it up an buy the supplies and in the process of setting up, during which, thankfully, the usually helpful parents started on, I was summoned to by the SM, by way of a recently aged-out scout, to sign some paperwork. The paperwork consisted of two rank advancement cards and a completed Eagle Scout Application, which I had not reviewed. I told him that I could not sign off on an application that I had not reviewed. I think that he was in shock that I did not do what he asked. The SM said that he would let the scout know. The scout had been on vacation, which means that the SM had the application for a week, and I would have had a week to review the application and sign off on it before he returned. Instead, this is the second Eagle scout application that I have just had an hour to flip through. The scout came by with his report and even with limited time, I could pick out typos, etc. What could I do? The scout's birthday was the next day and it's not his fault that the SM is looking to marginalize my role in the process. I signed off on the application, not knowing if there were bigger issues that I could have caught. I would appreciate feedback on two issues: 1) leader-leader sexual harassment; and 2) the role of the committee chair (vs the SM), particularly when it comes to planning the calendar and the Eagle Scout process. Thanks!
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