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Buffalo Skipper

Disgruntled adult-MBC question

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We have a family who has just left our troop. The parents have been registered ASMs of another troop for several months, and the scout has been working with that troop as well. The scout formally advised me last night that he was leaving. The mother (a MC with our troop) ended up leaving in a huff over some self created drama. She has been serving as a MBC for some of our scouts for at least one Merit Badge. I no longer feel it is appropriate to have her continue to work with our scouts.

 

How would you handle this situation?

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I'm a bit confused here. The boy is in your troop, but his parents are ASM's in a different troop......and the scout is also active with that troop until he told you he is switching troops. The parents have never been associated with your troop other than offering MBC services to your scouts. Is that correct? You said she left in a huff over self created drama. Left what? You as SM can exert some control over which MBC's your boys go to simply by only providing them with the names of the folks you approve of. If these folks help staff a MB Fair, you might not be so lucky.(This message has been edited by sr540beaver)

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SR540Beaver is correct about any new assignments.

 

For boys already working the MB with her, I don't think you can force them mid-stream to change. But, you can let them know that you would be open to anyone wishing to change mid-stream.. I believe once working with a MBC it is their call, to stay with them or not.

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Sorry if this came off as confusing. I want to focus on the parent rather than the scout; but I will briefly sum up.

 

The scout and parents transferred to our troop 22 months ago after a falling out with another local troop. Because of the past history with the other troop and concerns about their interaction with the scouts, the decision was made to offer the parents positions on the committee rather than as ASMs, which they only begrudgingly accepted. Our relationship with the parents has been challenging, at best, but I continued to work with our CC and COR to find meaningful responsibilities for them within the troop. They resisted any offers of actual committee positions, but both were registered with the district as counselors for a score of MBs each. I know they have a lot to offer, and when several scouts wanted to work on the Fishing MB before a fishing campout in May, I assigned the mother as their MBC. Sometime before May, both parents dual enrolled with a brand new troop, as ASMs. Both the mother and father had maintained a cantankerous relationship with me (in spite of the fact that I was one of the few troop leaders actually making an effort to involve them with the troop), and I was frequently reminded that they were registered with another unit as ASMs.

 

The scout attended NYLT last summer (out of council just 3 weeks after his 13th birthday), the National Jamboree, and this year NAYLE at Philmont (while the parents attended PTC for their second time). The scout has been serving as SPL since September, and has done a fair job, at best. As he would be out of the country when we were at summer camp (People to People in China), he announced he would be attending our local camp with another troop as a contingent camper a different week (we ended up sending 2 other scouts with the other troop as well.) I found about about his involvement with this other troop when I spoke to the SM about our 3 contingent campers and he advised me our scout had been helping out this troop for several months. As SPL for over 6 months, our scout had been complaining about being too overloaded (I was unaware of his work with the other troop at the time), and as he would be out for much of the summer (NAYLE and China), we agreed that he would work with the ASPL as closely as he could until elections, which he did. We changed our election cycle last February, and last night were the new elections. Following the meeting he approached me and announced he was leaving. By now, I had been expecting this for several months, so I was able to talk to him about it without surprise. I expressed my disappointment as his departure but wished him the best and assured him I would see that his records were transfered and in order.

 

A minute or so later his mother approached me, very concerned about receiving a copy of all his service hours (I cannot explain her fixation on this issue, but obviously, it meant something to her). He had just this past week done several hours of volunteer work at a local nursing home, including a significant effort to repair wheelchairs and other equipment and facilites; he had in fact that night given me a brief description of his work and an account of his hours. I started to explain to his mother that I had not yet recorded this when she interrupted me, stormed across the room and shouted that I never did anything to support her son.

 

And they were gone.

 

Under the circumstances, I no longer feel it is appropriate to have our scouts continue with her as their MBC for Fishing. I just wanted some advice on how to proceed, under the circumstances.

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Chances are it is moot. In my experience scouts working on a merit badge like you describe will not do anything until an adult initiates with the scout about finishing the requirements. They will not care who that adult is.

 

If they still have the blue card and if it has the counselor's contact information on it they might call her to finish. But it has been almost three months for a merit badge that, other than catching the fish, takes 2-3 hours to compete. In other words, if they haven't completed it by now they will not be competing it until you have another fishing campout with another MBC.

 

Do you have any idea if they have their completed requirements noted on their blue cards?

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I agree with jet526

 

Don't stir the pot if you don't have to. Wait and see what happens (and schedule another fishing campout :-)

 

 

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Buff,

 

Thanks for the expanded detail. God bless you! There is one of those in every council. I'd count my blessings that they are gone and I wouldn't pass their names on to any boy wanting to take a MB they teach.

 

We have one of those overachieving dads.....er, I mean scouts.....in our council. The dad is a real pain. The first time I was aware of him was when his son was still a Cub and my son who was staffing had a run in with the dad. The dad kept questioning everything my son said until my son asked him if he wanted to come forward and teach the session. The dad announced before he ever crossed to Boy Scouts that his son would earn every MB. He was the top popcorn seller in the council. They looked at coming to our troop when he crossed over. We luckily dodged that bullet. The troop they moved to is in a shambles because of dad's actions. He undermined the SM and CC wit hthe COR and gotr them removed. He is now the SM and brought back an old CC who was removed years ago for inappropriate languafe and actions around the boys. Most of the scouts who are still left at the troop are visiting other troops since he took over. I admire that you went the extra mile and tried to make it work. I'm leased that you have them out of your hair now.

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SR540Beaver, thank you my friend for the kind words of support. I can assure you that what I put here is only the tip of the iceberg. Here are just a few examples:

 

http://www.scouter.com/forums/viewThread.asp?threadID=267849#id_267849

and

http://www.scouter.com/forums/viewThread.asp?threadID=286275#id_286311

 

The scout just turned 14 and has attended NYLT (one of less than a dozen scouts in our council to do so as NYLT is not offered locally) and NAYLE (the only scout in our council to ever have attended). He has already earned 55 MBs, a significant portion of which he earned with his parents as MBCs (while with the previous troop). There was once a blowup when I assigned him a counselor for a MB when he wanted to have his father as a counselor. He allegedly cried over the incident (according to his father, who called all in a huge huff).

 

When they left their previous troop, it had just about come apart at the seams. The parents (ASMs) had hijacked the other ASMs and the SPL at summer camp (the SM did not attend that week). The scout earned 12 MBs that week, and 6 scouts quit or transferred after camp. I am not sure which number is more unbelievable. Some of these details did not emerge until after they switched to our unit.

 

So why did we accept this walking disaster into our troop? We were approaching a low point in our troop (membership wise). We saw it coming (aging out scouts and others loosing interest), but we saw an "experienced" scout as a way to invigorate our program; the scout had great potential and we was well supported by his parents (something our outgoing scouts lacked).

 

It has been a tough few years, but we are now on a strong building campaign, with great up and coming leaders. Our adult support has increased from near zero to mostly functional, and our prospects for this year are looking good. I only hope that our current make-up of scouts and adults provide a good stepping stone to continued growth and development of our program and our scouts.

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Brother, you survived it. I would say, direct the young men to another MBC. I suspect you will not be done with this bunch any time soon.

 

Something really odd with the family....They seem over the top.

 

So what is their angle??? Why are they going to PTC twice????

 

Something just doesn't add up with them.

 

 

I know some super scouters how I am sure sleep in scout pajamas and eat on their bsa issue mess kits at home, but nothing like the two you describe.

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Hope the screen door didn't hit them in the butt....

 

Any idea of the remaining Scouts who have open merit badges with these folks? I would make sure you have counselors for the MBs they covered and very simply let the boys know the names of the "new" counselors and that they should work with the new folks from now on. I would ask the new counselors to cut the boys some slack for "completed" requirements which may not be documented.

 

Don't get into the drama, just shuffle the boys off to the new counselors. I bet most folks will assume it a normal course of business to get new counselors when the old ones leave the troop.

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Skipper --

 

You survived ... and it sounds like your unit is doing better ... chalk that lesson up to one in the "learned" column.

 

Just please tell me they did not come over here to do NYLT!

 

 

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Yeah, its over. Think of all the free time you will have to deal with new things if you just put it behind you.

 

If the boys want to continue fine but line up a substitute MBC. I agree most boys will take the easier path.

 

If I were you I would be happy they moved on to a "better fit."

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BS,

 

Sounds like you're not the instant gratification kind of guy this woman is looking for. That said, I don't think you need to worry about the fishing MB. As long as the boys are getting her signature if they complete the requirements, accept the card.

 

I would leave it up to the boy to switch. And, only suggest it to him if you know of a better counselor (e.g. catches more fish, teaches boys to cook them really well).

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I've been down a very similar path... married parents wanting to be ASMs and committee members and on and on...

Chalk it up to experience, it happens to everyone I think if they're around long enough, sadly. Addition by subraction is what you need to keep reminding yourself, don't beat yourself up over it and move on.

 

What I'd do is tell the boys about them leaving your unit and if they want a new counselor you'd be glad to give them one. Considering the volume of MBs Junior has earned, I'd really question the quality of counselors they are. But you have to feel that one out.

 

So let the boys make the call. Take the high road and keep the disagreements between the two (three?) of you between you.

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If you feel it's no longer appropriate to have her handle merit badges, then tell the kids that.

 

Without more information, though, I think it's all no big deal if she's a mertid badge counselor. As long as she's teaching everything that she's supposed to teach and otherwise being a good merit badge counselor, then it doesn't matter what troop she's affiliated with. Sure, you don't want them around your regular program, but the fishing merit badge? Sure, why not, as long as all proper things are followed (two-deep leadership, etc.).

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