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I'd like people's opinion on the following scenario. We have a scout in the troop who comes from a home fraught with risk factors. His father shows up at meetings reeking of alcohol, and has been heard to be extremely verbally abusive toward his son. The mother is "gone." The scout does not like women, thinks they are good only for cooking and cleaning and believes they know nothing and do not understand boys. This year at summer camp, he brought with him seven knives (which we confiscated), supposedly because he was afraid his brother would steal them. He enjoys antagonizing the other boys, often to the point where the other scout will break down in tears, ask to be moved to a different tent, and as in the case of summer camp this year, pull their own knife out in their own defense. He has been known to destroy other people's property, and verbally abuse the other scouts. He and his father have been spoken to by the committee as to why this boy wants to be in scouts and what behavior is expected if he is to remain. He made some progress this year at summer camp, passing three of his merit badge classes. He says he wants to stay in scouts, but the scoutmaster and the committee are of the mind that for the protection of the other boys, he is on his last grace, and may be asked to leave the troop. I am torn on this issue, because I see a boy who will end up in the juvenile system or worse sooner or later if everyone gives up on him. What suggestions can anyone give us to help this boy while not allowing a dangerous situation to exist for our other boys?


Thanks so much.

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I am the C.O.R. for our Troop and a member fo the church that sponsors it as well as an experienced Asst. Scoutmaster. I have been in this situation more times than I wish I had, but then again, like church, Scouting is for all of the boys, not just the good ones. I know the feeling you have about this boy. Lord William Baden Powell did too - so your in pretty good company.


In the past, we (the Troop Committee and all of the Asst. Scoutmasters - usually 11 to 14 of us) have tried to keep these "problem boys" in the Troop almost at all costs. However, there does come a time when you MUST maintain the Troop for the Bulk of the Scouts - purely from a protection stand point. There are other good answers still left to you however.


We suggested to the father, mother and Scout (one like yours) that for the good of the Troop and the other Scouts, he would have to leave. Ever though he was making progress which was a major breakthrough for him, the Scouts in the Troop had experienced too much to over come. The solution, if he wanted to remain in Scouting, would be to transfer to another Troop who did not know him. If he wished to do this, we told him and his parents that we would meet first with the other Troop leaders/committee to first tell them about the Scout's past and about his current accomplishments inorder to determine if they would accept him. If they would, he would then have, perhaps for the last time in his live, a chance to start out fresh. At his current rank with new Scouts, in a new situation, with everything being up to him and his wish to succeed or fail.


Our last Scout to accept this "second chance" made Eagle one and one half years later. He went into the Navy, served on the Carrier Harry S. Truman, and was discharged July 21st, 2000. He died in a car crash July 23rd, 2000. I attended his Memorial Service last Teusday and while there, I remembered when he came to see me on leave just before Christmas. He had told me what a great change it had made for him to have been given a second chance in Scouts. How he appreciated the talks we had after that, from time to time, about his dad and step-mom and how much I ment to him.


I think all boys are good. I think this one is just crying out to every one who can hear him for help. I know you have empathy for his situation and I can assure you that "where there is a will, there is a way". God be with you.

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