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little dove

Bad Example in Scoutmaster

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I belong to a troop with a Scoutmaster who comes to the Troop meetings smelling very strongly of alcohol. The boys all notice it. The Scoutmaster forgets what ever is told him. He forgets to do the things he should do. He has awards and patches from Jan.2000 he still has not awarded to the boys, because he says the paperwork is time consuming and complicated. My son has been in this troop almost 2 yrs and he just got his 1st merit badges this past summer camp. The Scoutmaster is a merit badge counsler. He drinks at camp outs, not in front of the boys but he makes excuses to leave for awhile and comes back smelling 90 proof. He comes to committee meetings that way too.I joined the committee to try and get things changed but his wife is the committe chairperson. My husband became Assistant Scoutmaster, took training, passed Wood Badge to try and get things changed. The question is what do you do. The last woman that went to the higher ups was outsed fromthe committee. She went to the Council, Charter Rep., the Charter. They took the side of the Scoutmaster. The Charter said they would pull out if the Scoutmaster was let go (their friends). What to do? We really don't want to go to another troop because it would be a bit of a drive. When he's not drinking he is a rather likeable guy.

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Drive or not, I wouldn't continue to expose my son to such a poor example of Scouting. If the committee, sponsoring organization, or council won't correct what is an obvious problem, it's time to move on. One last thing, what do the other parent's say?

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You have two choices if even your local Council won't get involved. Start screaming at the national level and get some people removed from Scouting PERMANENTLY or find another unit (or start a new one)and take all the people that have a problem with the Scoutmaster with you.

Personally I implore you to do what you can to get those people removed from Scouting. We don't need or want them counted as Scouts, Scouting has enough problems without being torn up from within.

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Here is an idea, if the guy comes to meetings inebriated, next time call the local police and have them meet him at the door. What you cant do within the committee, you can do anonymously and by the law.

Friends or not, alcohol kills and its time he was apprised of that fact

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The BSA rules are very clear that this person is not to be SM. The example he gives the boys is that any law or rule may be violated. My entire family was abused by an alcoholic during his binges. If the Chartering organization will not do anything, then it is imperitive that you contact the district with the problem, and also the Council Executive.

 

The chartering org should know that this type of behavior violates BSA policy, and endangers the boys. If this type of person is what the charter accepts, what keeps them from accepting a convicted child molester? Rapist? Murderer?

 

You did not specify the type of organization was the charter. If the org wants this guy to be SM, does the org's supervising agency know? Let the people over the org know what is going on, and very likely the org will be reorganized to eliminate the current leadership.

 

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I cannot believe that the Council would not do anything. It is the responsibility of the Council Executive to respond immediately to this type of situation, or loose his job.

The charter org. officials would surely be liable for any suite that was brought for endangering the youth in this guys charge.

National preaches "Safe Haven" in all of their literature. I know that they will respond to any requests for intervention.

I like the idea of having the local police or sherriff greet the person. This seems appropriate. Good Luck, but persue this with vigor.

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I agree with Tiny1pj about going up the chain of command of the chartering org.

Unfortunately, I have encountered simmiler problems in the past. Council's responce through the D.E. is allways the same party line -- "it's a matter for the unit committee and the chartering org.". We sure wouldn't want to hurt the D.E.'s pressious numbers now would we?

 

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I know pretty much how you feel I don't have a drinking Scoutmaster but I do have one who smokes in front of the boys. He has great knowlege of scouting with out a doubt he himself earned the Eagle. Not only does he set a bad example by smoking he also fails to pass out advancement my son has been active since April 1998 and so far has received one merit badge that was earned at his first summer camp, thats it he has now almost completed his 1st class requirements and has never received anything for it. This is not right it only hurts the boys they begin not to care because they are not getting recognized. Now to tell you how we fixed it we to had the DE's and DC make a visit to complain formally it didn't sink in. So I asked my 2nd year Webelos Leaders to really take a look at the Troop and decide if thats what they wanted for their sons, You can guess what their answer was they have now completed their Scoutmaster indoor and outdoor training and we will soon have a new Troop ran By the boys the way it's supposed to be and have people in place that care about the EXAMPLE they are setting for ours and your boys. You must either be part of the solution or you are part of the problem. Your son is worth any fight you have to get into, don't sell him short thats why you're a parent. As you can tell this has touched a nerve in me but I beleive in kids and I definitley beleive in the BSA. Take a stand I bet your District would love to have another Troop it helps get Quality District. Oh Yaa don't forget to put in a little knee time to pray he'll lead you! God Bless

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Like Peter the Wood Elf said "All said and done we started a new pack". I was the Committee Chair and Peter was the Assistant Cub Master and we were pushed out by some parents and the DE so when we started going up the chain of command the council realized where our hearts were and asked us to start a new pack. Cub Master is no longer involved and the new pack is doing great. The one thing that bothered me the most was my son may not be aware of the cubmaster being drunk right at that moment but as he got older would his memories of scouting be of the drunk cubmaster!! Not what we wanted for our scout. The decision was easy. Good Luck with whatever you decide, but keep your son active.

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Hi,

This is little dove of the "Bad Example in Scoutmaster". I wish to Thank everyone who replied, you're input was appreciated. My husband and I came up with something a little different. After our Court of Honor we wrote an anonymous letter to the Pastor (Our Chater) and our Council, and said we didn't appreciate that the Scoutmaster smelled and acted drunk (he did). That he was a extremely poor example to the boys and that he was a lawsuit waiting to happen. That if something happened to one of the boys while under his care he would probably be sued and the Church with it. She (the Pastor) had a meeting with him the following Sunday and he showed up at the Tuesday meeting stone cold sober and not very happy. I guess you have to threaten the pocket book in order for someone to care. It's sad but true. We don't know how long it will last but we've got the ball rolling. Everyone (adults) know of it (drinking)but we could'nt get any of them to stand behind us. I told them I did'nt think they thought so little of their son's welfare. You would'nt leave your child with a drunk sitter. Our popularity is hanging on by a thread but I don't care my son is more precious to me than anything. We heard of another troop that may have to close up shop because of many reasons and they are looking for volunteers, etc. If this does'nt work out we will be heading to the other troop. Thanks to everyone.

Little Dove & Big Bear

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Little Dove,

I have been through this, and successfully dealt with it. Let me tell you my solution.

 

First, what you have done so far is a good start. You have (anonimously) notified the sponsor of a problem. The next move, I propose, is to do what I did.

 

I was a trained scoutmaster who moved to a new town, and began to work as an assistant with the troop sponsored by my church. That troop was one of the oldest and most respected in the area. It was obvious that the SM had a drinking problem. We never had a problem at meetings (as you have) but it was a very real problem on camping trips. This SM was a great guy, and had been a wonderful influence in many boys lives over the years, so nobody wanted to acknowledge this problem. I found out later it had gone on for years, and people had just looked the other way.

 

I went to the troop committee and informed them of the problem. It was hard, because every one of them knew and loved him. But I told them that I had witnessed the problem, and was reporting it to them. I told them that, now that they knew, they had the fiduciary duty to do something about it. If they did nothing, if a child was hurt, and the SM's alcohol use in any way contributed to it - or if he had been sober, he could have rendered better aid - they would be personally liable for any damages, and COULD face criminal charges, under certain circumstances.

 

Within a few days, he was removed. They hated to do it, but none were willing to risk their own homes and savings accounts to protect him.

 

If this doesn't work with your committee, it should work with the governing body of your sponsoring church - because it will apply to them as well. It is a drastic step. Maybe the lives and safety of the boys are not worth it. No, you have already shown you know the right thing to do.

 

(By the way, in addition to being a trained scouter, I am also a lawyer, and this doctrine of "respondeat superior" liability is valid in all states.)

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What an interesting exchange. I personally have never experienced or observed this kind of situation. Removing a senior volunteer from any volunteer organization, particularly one who is well entrenched, is more difficult than terminating someone's employment. The politics in volunteer organizations are often more intense than in most companies. I think the last response by leaderNC nails it.

 

I would not tolerate drunkeness for a moment. On many outings at the end of the day it has been in my mind "Miller Time," but there rightly is no Miller available. Aside from the example question, it is too dangerous for the youth and other adults to have liabilities like drunken adults along on an outing.

 

Hang in there Little Dove.

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