Jump to content

Recommended Posts

I agree with Calico when he stated that his assessment was a bit harsh. Adults have a learning curve also. Many/most adults have not had an experience where they had to stand up to such egrarious behaviour. Given the desire to keep from making a bad situation worse, and to make accomodations to help a single boy that really desparately needs the type of role models that scouting can provide, bad behaviour is tollerated until it passes a tipping point.


Basement, after this situation is dealt with, it can become an event that strengthens the adult leadership by helping you all to learn to candidly communicate with each other and with scouts and their parents, and to develop a common vision to guide your unit in the future.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 54
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Go ahead and be annoyed with me - and while you're at it, try to figure out what, and who, you're really annoyed with.


You (and not the rhetorical you) came in and started out by identifying a scout as psycho. I think it's safe to say that we already knew you thought the Scout is a punk and the family are jerks and that you might hold some kind of personal animosity towards them.


You (again, not the rhetorical you) suggested that unrolling a tent was "helping" and was enough to qualify for a sign off. I simply believe that this standard is too low. From my point of view, helping means working with the entire process - putting together the poles, threading pole sleeves, pounding in stakes, raising the tent, putting the fly on the tent. Whatever it takes to get the tent from a rolled up in the sack position to a fully set up tent. If a dad came up to me and said his son deserves a sign-off on putting up a tent because his help consisted of unrolling the tent, I would be rolling on the ground (metaphorically) laughing. If someone else signed off on the basis that unrolling a tent was enough to qualify, then it seems to me the program staff (SM & ASM's) need to get together and get on the same page on what the standards are. (aside - the requirement is that the Scout pitched the tent - not "helped").


This Scout and father has been allowed to change the culture of the Troop and has been granted privileges other Scouts didn't get (waving steaks under other scout's noses certainly is not scout-like behavior - we agree on that - but the Troop allowed that Scout to be put in a position to do just that). It is the Troop's leaders that have done this - and it's just as apparent that you (again, not the rhetorical you) don't agree with how the Troop's leaders have handled this.


You asked what is Scout Spirit? My opinion is Scout Spirit is a nebulous term that can mean different things to different people. Perhaps the best way to put it is a paraphrase: "I can't define what Scout Spirit is, but I know it when I see it". I imagine most of us think "living the Scout Oath and Law" is a big part of having Scout Spirit. It's probably much easier to articulate what Scout Spirit is not. IMHO, calling a Scout a psycho and a punk, and calling a Scout's family jerks, is not Scout Spirit. For that matter, letting one Scout and his family change the culture of a Troop is not Scout Spirit either.


So sure, go ahead and be annoyed with me - I can take it. But before you slam the Scout for Scout Spirit in a BOR, make sure the Troop hasn't contributed to the problems first. Make sure that the Troop's standards have been clearly explained and that the proper expectations have been set. If someone signed off on the Scout's service project requirement, and camping requirement, you need to be looking at the standards of the folks doing the sign-off.


Finally, if you have as much personal animosity towards this boy and family as it comes across here, you might be best not to be involved at all when it comes to this lad's advancement and activities. It might be you ending up on the outside looking in.

Link to post
Share on other sites





Venividi restates my own position on this issue above.


The good will and generosity of troop leaders was taken advantage of in this case. Perhaps it could have been nipped in the bud earlier, but waiting a bit to see if something is really a Problem is often a good strategy.






Most Troops do not have such detailed standards, and there is no agreement on forums like this about what standards should be. Most troops rely on the good faith "professional" judgement of Scouts and Scouters as to when requirements should be signed off.


Usually that works fine until somone comes along who wants to exploit ambiguities for all they are worth. When that person does come along then those same standards start being enforced more rigidly, when may seem "unfair" to the Scout and parent who is now used to skating by.


I suggest that the basic problem is a Scout and parent who don't understand or practice the Scout Oath and Law.




Link to post
Share on other sites

Your right Calico


our Adult leadership is terrible.



I guess you missed the part where I caught them working the ASM's and PL's trying to get requirements signed off. then dad coaching him from behind the PL's back.


Yes that is all our fault.(This message has been edited by Basementdweller)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well is the majority of your adult leaders wanting this scout to "get with the program or get out".. Or is the majority the type who want to "make no waves, so refuse to see what is going on in front of their noses".. If the majority are fed up with the boys' actions, there hope that you leadership can turn itself around and retake control of the program..


I guess you will all have to get on the same page of how you want to treat this, and move as a unified front.. Or continue to igore the problem.


Calico - If Basement is the only one thinking this boy is a punk, then he may be the wrong one to address the problem, but if most the leaders think he is a punk, I wouldn't give the decision making of how to deal with the kid to the one or two adult leaders who will let the boy run them over.. It though can not work if one ASM (Basement) is the only one saying "No" while all the others let him do what he wants.. Or they are all trying different things at different times.

Link to post
Share on other sites



"But remember that Scoutcraft is only one of the three paerts of advancement -- the other two are Scout spirit and Scout participation.

One of the best tests of a fellow's Scout spirit is the way he acts on a hike-how he shows himself prepred, ready for anything that might happen, how he behaves when things are going not quite right, to what extent he is willing to help with what needs to be done.

For Scout participation, a Scout who shows up for a patrol hike rain or shine, who takes whole-hearted part in everything the patrol does, is well on his way toward meeting this requirement. But here, a boy's participation in hikes is not enough--you also need to check the way he helps at home, in school, in church and community."


--that ol' radical Green Bar Bill

Link to post
Share on other sites

SCOUT SPIRIT What is it? How do we measure it? How can we get more of it? How do we get our Scouts to pay more attention to it? Why cant the BSA give us a more tangible definition of it? How do we know when its there and when its not? Is a rank-directed Scoutmaster Conference or Board of Review the only place we talk about it? What do we do when we think we need more of it?


These and questions like them have been coming into this column for a bunch of years, now, and Ive tried to do my best in offering insights on these important issues. Perhaps its time to put some real focus on it


Scout Spirit is simple in concept: Live by the Scout Oath and Law in your daily life. Meaning honor your God by whatever name you choose and your country, extend your helping hand to others, and steadfastly improve yourself in body, mind, and principles. But its simultaneously vague, because it doesnt say do this or do that Our founder, Baden-Powell, put it even more simply, and possibly more obscurely, too: Were not about being good; were about doing good.


The wise Scoutmaster knows that we cant cut a hole in our Scouts hearts and stuff this stuff called Scout Spirit in there, or inject it into our Scouts veins, or spoon-feed it to them. But the wise Scoutmaster knows that, as our Scouts primary role model, living daily by the Scout Oath and Law is paramount, and one of the ultimate keys to success.


We do know what not to do We have lots of laws in our cities and towns, counties, states, and country that tell us what we cant do. But the Scout Oath and especially the Scout Law are unique. Unlike even the Ten Commandments, these dont tell us what not to do; they point the way to whats the right thing to do. Thats a darned sight more difficult than not doing something, because it takes personal, individual judgment to, as the legendary Davy Crockett is reputed to have put it, Be sure youre right; then go ahead. Its also been put this way, perhaps tongue-in-cheek, but pretty correctly nonetheless: Conscience is the voice that tells us what to do when nobodys looking.


So, what can we, as Scoutmasters, do to help our Scouts understand and internalize whats right so that they, on their own, can get it right and then go ahead? Here are some ways. Pick what will work for you, based in part on your troops size


The Scoutmasters Minute is the most important public opportunity you have to make a difference. Every one of your Minutes can focus on a different aspect of Scout Spirit. Your first twelve Minutes are a slam-dunk Just tell a brief story focusing on a point of the Scout Law. The next handful can focus on the ideals contained in the Scout Oath. By now, youre on a roll, so just keep going. Maybe youll pick a point from a recent sermon you heard, or maybe its from something on the news the night before, or even from a popular TV show!


One of the reasons why we still remember Abraham Lincolns address at Gettysburg is that it was 268 words long. It can be entirely spoken in about two minutes. Use this as your model for your Minutes. Youre not there to lecture, or even to moralize. You have an opportunity, each week, to deliver a succinct, powerful, dramatic message that can have immense lasting power. Thats why its the Scoutmasters Minute.


Have a Troop Movie Night, or, like the old Saturday Matinees used to do, run portions of a movie over several troop meetings in succession. Here are a few that are real winners for what were doing here:



Follow Me Boys (starring Fred MacMurray, with Kurt Russell as a boy actor) gives splendid opportunities to talk over stick-to-it-iveness, the relationships between boys, the Scoutmaster-to-Scouts relationship, and even adult mutual respect and love.


Miracle, (Kurt Russell again) by focusing on the seminal Who do you play for scene.


October Sky, with follow-up conversations about setting a goal and sticking to it.


Remember The Titans (starring Denzel Washington), about race relations and teamwork.


Akeelah And The Bee provides some marvelous opportunities to reflect on honesty, doing whats right, parent-child conflicts, boy-girl relationships, sticking to your dream, and even respect toward adults.


There are many others, of course, and these can get you started.


Patrol flags (NOT made by Mom!) and yells. So fundamental, yet still so very valuable about reinforcing the essence of Scouting, which is all about the patrol. Baden-Powell put it this way: The Patrol Method isnt a way of delivering the Scouting program; its the only way.


The Scout Benediction: May the Great Master of all Scouts be with us till we meet again. Not just at some meetings; at the close of every meeting. And never without the friendship circle.


The opening ceremony, with a twist: The spirit patrol (rotated each weekyou do remember this from Wood Badge, yes?) not only leads it butto get startedtheyre asked to make it their own by injecting something into it that hasnt been done before. Maybe its a recital of the history of an earlier flag (the Betsy Ross, or Dont Tread On Me flag, and so on), or maybe its inspirational (why red-white-and-blue what do these colors symbolize) or even informative (which star is our own states star).


A Troop yell, cheer, or chant. My own was Troop 5, Troop 5, Busy as a bee hive, Yes we are from Troop 5, Troop 5 B-S-A RAH! Your PLC is charged with doing this for their own troop! Then infuse it into every meeting and outing."


-- slightly abridged from Ask Andy

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Scoutmaster is in charge of the advancement program. As an SA, my first stop would not be to question the Scout or his parents but to have a nonconfrontational sit down with the Scoutmaster and ask him (or her) what his expectations are for that requirement. Again, not if that particular Scout "passed" or not but what are the Scoutmaster's expectations for any Scout to "demonstrate scout spirit by living the Scout Oath (or Promise) and Scout Law in your everyday life."


Essentially, your tactic was to call the Scout's father and Scoutmaster and accuse the Scout of providing false information - that's probably not the best approach. Your "psycho" label of the Scout kind of tells what your bias may be on the subject?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Acco I was at the events I questioned, the boy was there an hour never lifted a shovel or moved a wheel barrow, complained the entire time and left with mom who returned with milkshakes for him. He claimed 8 hours of work. it goes on and on.



Fair enough, I have seen too much and I am bias.



I will keep my mouth shut and watch this young man get his eagle.


I will watch silently as they work the ASM's and PL to get the requirements signed off complete or not, knowledge or not.


I will watch silently as they have pizza delivered to the camp site for them.


I will watch silently as he refuses to participate with his patrol.


I will watch silently as they leave resident camp for the safety of the motel and hot tub


I will watch silently as he receives his Eagle.


I will remember this thread and my fellow scouters who thought I was being unfair and judging this boy unfairly. I will remember that as a leader I have failed.


You are correct it really isn't any of my business, Advancement it the concern of the SM.






Link to post
Share on other sites

Basement, have you talked to the SM about this? We have had several similar discussions about advancements in our troop. I had a big disagreement with another ASM in our troop about the 10 requirements for 1st Class. We took it to the SM and let him decide. Of course, I was happy because he sided with me. There are many advancements that are open to a lot of interpretation.


The putting up a tent requirement is not one of those, in my opinion. In a life and death scenario when a scout needs a shelter, he needs to be able to put up a tent by himself.


I am curious how long you have been in this troop. I know it is hard to walk away if you have been there a long time, but if it has not been a long time you may want to just find another troop. The standards for advancement are very important and it sounds like this troop does not have any.


Maybe you can work on developing some standards with the SM and not make it personal about this boy, but at the same time get your message across and solve the problem.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Basement, I feel that SOMETIMES you can be a touch too rough and gruff.


But this is not one of those times.

It's one thing to think a scout could do a little better, do a little more than what he is and maybe even put more effort in his work.


But that does not fit the bill here. It's had to think he could work harder if he ain't working at all.


I do see a future in scouting for this kid though...he's gonna be one of the parents who does nothing but complain at every function, every event, and find fault with everybody...yet will not lift a finger to help out or participate or even come up with a soulution.


Personally, I think you you are seeing this the right way.


Let this one scout do things ( or lack of) his own way, and you might as well just tell al the scouts that merely showing up meets all requirements.


Link to post
Share on other sites


I also think you are doing the right thing in addressing the issue.

If this (i.e. this forum) were my unit, I would be giving a scoutmasters minute on civility and kindness, as some of the responses to you have not been in keeping with the scout spirit that we work hard to instill in our scouts.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yah, hmmm....


First, let me say that I agree with everyone else ;). Da Rules and Regulations of the BSA are clear, eh? All advancement is to be administered and interpreted so as to harmonize with the Aims of Scoutin'. So if the lad isn't showin' character, fitness, and citizenship in the way he performs any requirement, yeh should not sign off on that requirement. Instead, yeh should do the hard work we all volunteered for, and teach the boy character, fitness, and citizenship so that eventually he will be able to achieve what is required.


So I'm just fine with yeh throwin' the flag, Basementdweller. It's what all of us promised to do.


I think Calico's point is that the troop should have thrown the flag earlier, eh? Perhaps that way there wouldn't have been the same angst. Did he help with pitching the tent? No. No signoff. No need to get angry or get upset. The boy's at where he's at. The advantage of startin' there is that there's a lot of room for growth! Yeh counsel, but hold firm. Dad tryin' to pink book lawyer the requirements is somethin' that yeh just laugh at and say "no." "Sorry, George, but in the BSA, help really does mean help, eh? The point is to work hard and contribute to the team, and you know that as well as we do. Let's give your son some space and see if he's able to figure it out."


I think what happens is that adults in particular try to be "nice guys" or avoid conflict and let kids skate by. If they thought for a minute, they'd really realize just how mean that is to the boy, eh? It says "I don't think you're even capable of doin' a simple camp chore, and you'll never be" just as loud as possible. What an awful thing to do to a kid.


So there's no question in anyone's mind, BD. Yeh must not sign requirements in this way in your troop. And if someone did through a moment of weakness or a lack of gumption, yeh should fix that. In the mean time, holdin' the lad on "scout spirit" is a fine temporary fix. This is also a spot, in a true youth-run outfit, where includin' a couple boys on a BOR works a special magic. Dad can pick nits with adults, but a couple of peers telling Junior that he's not pulling his weight hits home in a way that's hard for Junior to ignore, in spite of dad.



(This message has been edited by Beavah)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought I understood early in the thread that BD and the SM were together on this. Otherwise we usually go through about a half-page of chain-of-command posts.


As an SM I would appreciate an ASM willing to take point on a problem of this magnitude. I don't spend a lot of time worrying with the org chart.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Basement - I also think you are right with holding your ground. And yes, your SM backed you up and agreed with you. Just seems through what I read, you did not discuss it with the SM first, you were presented with the kid to sign off something, made an executive decision, and then "hoped" the SM would back you up. Lucky for you he did..


All I am saying is it is best that yout, the SM, and the other ASM's discuss the situation and are all in agreement on how to tackle this problem to either fix this scout and his dad's attitude, or cut the cancer out of the troop before it spreads.


I don't know if any of us are saying you should do nothing.. Even Calico. He just thinks the troop as a whole should not have let it go this far.. As for your attitude toward the boy, if he is doing all he is doing in your troop, is there any Adult leader in your troop who does not feel the kid is punk? Some may not have the backbone to stand up to the kid and his parent yet, but, who thinks his actions are just fine, normal boy actions?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...