Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Need your help settling an issue with TwoCubSon (now a 17-year-old Eagle Scout and defensive nose tackle):


The issue: Last Tuesday another Scout from patrol #5 was responsible for a cooking demonstration during instruction time. For some reason, three different patrol stoves were pulled out for the demonstration (no on is admitting to have brought any stove out, except for patrol #5's own stove.) Apparently, the other patrols' stoves were use without asking those patrols. Instruction went well but clean up was aborted.


Wednesday afternoon I discovered that two stoves, a propane tank, camp table and a general mess had been left outside, beside the hut. I called the SPL and asked him to handle it. Sunday, with the mess still left outside, I cleaned up the mess, put the table and propane tank back in storage but locked the two stoves (#2 belonging to TwoCubSon's patrol and #6 belonging to one of the new Scout patrols) in my locker.


Tonight, as the patrols were checking their gear for this weekend's campout, patrols 2 and 6 discovered their stoves to be missing. Once the missing stoves finally made it up the food chain to me, I reported that they and been left outside all week and had been "taken." TwoCubSon, the PL of patrol #2 (our "leadership" patrol) and who has been down the trail a time or two, immediately figured I had them locked up. I fessed up, but held my ground that because the equipment had been left outside for a week, it would not be available for use this weekend. They're lucky I got to it before it was stolen for real, or they wouldn't have it at all.


Since he's sitting here in my office pecking away at his iPod, I'll let him make his own case --


TwoCubSon writes: As stated before, I have been around the block a time or two. I was never informed that they wanted to use our patrol stove nor was I asked about it ( and for that matter would have told them to use their own patrol stove had I known it was being used). Since I or any other member of he patrol was unaware of the use of our patrol's stove, we should not be responsible for the actions of the instructors. They refuse to admit that they ever took the stove out and that somebody put it there. The SPL,in response to the phone call with my father, called the instructor and told him that his stove was left out and that he needed to come to the hut and clean up the mess that he left. Needless to say, he did not do what he was told. I don't believe that the new scout patrol and our patrol should be punished, however I do understand that the locker should have been locked. If we are punished for their actions, it sets a precedent that I can go into any unloked patrol locker and use things without permission and come off scott free, which isn't right considering that I can think of at least 9 points of the scout law this breaks. The punishment should be given to the instructor, not my patrol. How to do this? Well...thats the million dollar question, now isn't it.


TCD again -- Part of the problem we're having is the Scouts don't take responsibility for their equipment. It's been on-going for quite some time and nothing seems to get the Scouts' attention. I started collecting gear an stashing it in my locker for several months, but the kids so far have figured some work around and haven't been too inconvenienced. Each patrol is assigned a standard set of equipment -- tents, stoves, cooking gear -- and have secure lockers to store their gear. Everything is labled with their patrol number and/or color. But there is always a pile of gear which never makes it back to the patrol lockers or the locker are left open. Had patols put their gear away and locked it up, we wouldn't have an issue. So I don't think the two patrols which had their stoves used and left out are without responsibility.


I've asked to Scouts to figure it out. TCS has told the Scout who used the stoves that his patrol needs to give them their patrol's stove or cook for them this weekend. As the other Scout denies any responsibility, I don't see that happening. I've told TCS and the SPL that they need to resolve it before we leave Saturday morning. The one solution which is off the table is for me to return the confiscated stoves. That's the expectation and part of the problem.



Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 30
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Was this instruction during a regular Troop meeting?


Who was in charge of the meeting?


Why was the meeting area not "policed" prior to everyone leaving?


Do you have a Troop Quartermaster? If so, what are his duties?


What are Patrol 5's reasons for not cleaning up per the SPL?


Why didn't the SPL follow up with Patrol 5 to make sure the gear was returned and the area cleaned up?


What does the CO have to say about the state the meeting place was left in?

Link to post
Share on other sites

He is what I gathered from it.


- Gear not accounted for has been a continuing problem in the Troop

- Outside of gear confiscation, nothing much else has been done?


I assume your the SM? What I think needs to happen is the SM and the SPL need to sit down and discuss the issue. The SPL & Quartermaster need to come up with a solution to the problem and implement it with the SM's support. This solution should include methods for prevention (ie, a regular after meeting/outing cleanup or an assigned service patrol that is responsible for the end of the outting/meeting cleanup); established expectations (ie, don't get in other patrol boxes, cleanup and replace what you use, etc); established concequences (ie, loss of item for an outing, service patrol duty, or some other).


From the sounds of it, nothing specific has been established, as a result, noone feels responsibility. It also sounds as if the offending Scout was notified and chose not to follow directions from the SPL. This should be dealt with. Additionally, it doesn't sound like either of the other two patrols had responsibility in this situation, unless they left knowing that the gear would not be cleaned and returned.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like something that should be handles by the PLC. PLC might consider reinforcing the rule that no one goes into another patrol's gear without permission.


The Scout that refused to listen to the SPL should be dealt. Maybe by the SPL unless he is a repeat offender of not listening to the SPL, then he gets an audience with the SM.



Link to post
Share on other sites

2cson, welcome to the forums.


Looks like your three patrols are working off of one stove because of your hard-nosed SM. You all will have to rely on the good graces of patrol#5. (By the way, I hope you are using #s for a convenience. dens have #s, patrols have names.) Otherwise, read up on campfire cooking.


Your real problem is that you have scouts who aren't yet brave enough to own up to their mistakes. The only way through this is to endure a little hardship as a troop. Hopefully in this process the neglectful boys will come forward, you'll find it in your heart to forgive them, shelter them from SM's wrath, and move forward.


It doesn't hurt to figure out how to make SM a decent cup of coffee in the morning. That would give him a reson to open up at least one burner for you!

Link to post
Share on other sites

2CS: Got lemons, make lemonade.


Do you have access to any lightweight backpacking stoves? Going in the other direction, how about dutch ovens? Failing those, how about box ovens or other means of cooking on/in coals?


Your patrol is the "leadership patrol" and the other impacted patrol is the new scout patrol. So, leaders, take the opportunity to help the new scouts earn some of the cooking requirements in 2nd class (consider 3d-3g). Teach them to cook without that bulky, heavy, patrol stove. Eat well. In fact, eat better than patrol #5. Consider that your revenge.


Then deal with the underlying problem via the PLC. Of course you're right that no other patrol should have been using your gear without permission, although it sounds like you should have locked your locker. Your SM/dad is right that the SPL and instructor both let the troop down by not following through on clean-up. And you should probably thank the SM for cleaning up and securing the equipment for you, no matter how it got there.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Bottom line is


Two stoves are missing



Who is going to replace them?????


I may suggest if your going to penalize each patrol, then you provide them a means of securing their gear so the other patrols cannot get into it.


It is tough to penalize the instructor....although in my eyes he was the person at fault.



I find it interesting that all that gear was left outside after the meeting????? Doesn't anyone in the troop do a walk around after the meeting????? I do to check the doors and windows at the CO... During these walks I pick up books, shirts coats hats on and on.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Another case of where no-one is at fault. Ha! True, the patrol stoves did not walk out of the equipment room by themselves. Who unlocked it in the first place?

Did not anyone from patrols 2 & 6 notice their stoves were out on the table? They are color coded?

I would have a chat with the demonstrater and his PL (and with the SPL for inadequate followup).

Still, I find it hard to make these two patrols suffer for the actions of others -- especially if they did not even know.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm with TwoCubSon on this.


1. Instructor(s) borrowed stuff without permission and did not return it correctly. This is a failure of instructor(s) and their supervisor - SPL to take corrective action. SM to work with SPL to determine the best course for correcting these issues.


2. Scoutmaster stole stoves from patrols. It does not matter if they were left out or whatever, the SM is now withholding property that belongs to patrols in a supposedly scout-led organization. Stoves to be returned immediately.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll try to back fill --


I am the Scoutmaster. TCS is a JASM and PL or the "Leadership" patrol.


We have patrol names, but all gear is numbered and/or color coded as are the lockers which do have operable locks.


There is plenty of blame to go around. Personally, I see the major responsibility on the Scout who was responsible for the program and who used the stoves. Then there is the ASPL/Program who missed the meeting that night, the troop quartermaster who doesn't believe he has any responsibility for patrol's gear (which I agree with, up to a pooint), the SPL who had overall responsibility, and the adults -- leaders AND parents -- who only want to blast out as soon as the Scoutmaster's Benediction trails off. Ultimately, the buck stops with me, the SM. I, however, did do a walk-about, discovered the mess (after everyone was gone) and decided to leave it and call the SPL to deal with it. Of course the other two patrols share in the responsibility for leaving their gear either out or their lockers unlocked (no one is sure which since the other two patrols' stoves apparently walked themselves out to the program area. If the stoves were taken from unlocked lockers, I'm willing to cut the other patrols some slack since we've not really made an issue of locking the lockers. The locker room is fairly secure and it's not really an issue. Personally, we could take the doors off the lockers and I'd be thrilled to get the gear IN them.


The CO doesn't really care about our area -- totally off the trail for anyone else at the church. Frankly, we do so much to maintain and improve our area, the properties committee would love to have us take over upkeep of other parts of the church property, too.


I think we will convene a meeting of the PLC Saturday morning before we leave for the camping trip and let them come up with a solution. Dang shame, too, since we're camping at a local lake and the whole program is just goofing off and playing in the water, fishing, swimming, canoeing -- one dad is bringing a ski boat. Hope the PLC doesn't take too long to figure things out.


Edited to respond to rdclements --


I assumed someone would take that point of view, but the gear "belongs" to the troop, it is "assigned" to the patrols. Do we have an obligation to keep giving the patrols gear if they have a demonstrated lack of interest in taking care of it? How would you handle the situation if the stoves were actually stolen? We would be in exactly the same position as we are now, with me returning them obviously not an options. Actually, I have a whole locker full of gear left unattended by the patrols. This is just the first time it's been a critical piece of the gear they can't work around. (And, yeah, there are some pretty obvious solutions here, too, but I'm more than pleased to let responsibility for the stoves to be the issue.)


As SM, me being Scoutlike is teaching the Scouts to live by the Scout Oath and Law. "A Scout is Thrifty...He is careful in his use of time and property." We've gone round and round with this issue -- talking, reminding, teaching, fussing, training and bailing the kids out isn't working. Choose the behavior, choose the consequences. I think it's time for the Scouts to start living with the consequences of their behavior. Having your gear ruined or stolen is a fairly foreseeable consequence of leaving it outside, unsecured in the weather. If that's not Scoutlike, I can live with it.(This message has been edited by Twocubdad)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't figure out why the QM isn't a central figure in this play. If he isn't, I really think he should be at the center of the solution. After all, it may "belong"(be issued to) to the Patrols, but it's all "HIS"(responsibility), or should be...


In the case of one patrol ahem, "borrowing" another Patrols gear hopefully the two PL's can work that out, if not it's time to bring in the QM, then the SPL, then the PLC, then having abjectly failed it's time for the adults to show up and guide a solution.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You might even have a case of a TG/Trainer even being told by an ASM to get the stoves out... they might assume the "training" was outside the normal camping/Patrol distribution...


I think the only mis-step you might have made would have been owning up to "recovering" the items left out. What wopuld have happened if they were really stolen/lost?


To drive it home you could have a officer, who is "a friend" to the Troop, come by and "investigate it", on the side.


I think I would have alloted a pro-rated cost to replace the items (payble to the Troop). Presented the bill to the Patrol leader to deal with and see where that went.


Or just keep "picking up" after the Patrols.........



Link to post
Share on other sites

Each patrol has their own "locked" locker for their patrol gear? Really?? So how does anyone advance in your Troop if they can't live by the first point of the Scout Law - a Scout is Trustworthy.


Did you actually watch the demonstration? If you did, you would know if the instructor used more than one stove, wouldn't you? Did the SPL watch the demonstration? If he did, he would know that the instructor used more than one stove. If you know the instructor used more than one stove, then you can pretty much corner the instructor (and using that word - Trustworthy), and ask him to explain why you witnessed him using more than one stove and ask why he shouldn't be responsible for making sure all the stoves were put away in the right place. If neither of you watched the demonstration, was it because you had something more important to do? Someone must have noticed whether the demonstration was using more than one stove, and just what the demonstration was about. What were the other stoves used for? Practice on safe lighting of the stoves? Regardless, the instructor should have made sure that all the gear was put back in it's place, even if Scouts from other patrols took out their stoves to practice with (since the instructor was the one with control of the meeting at that point).


Why was clean-up aborted? The benediction should never have been started and the meeting should never have ended until the clean-up was complete. Would you stop taking down a campsite and leave the remains just because the time was up?


The Troop Quartermaster is ultimately responsible for all Troop equipment. In most cases, Patrol Equipment is borrowed from the Troop. They may have specific equipment assigned to them, but the Patrol doesn't generally own the equipment, the Troop does. The Troop Quartermaster, if he was there, has the responsibility to make sure the equipment locker is in ship shape and that there is no gear left outside. I don't think he needs to be the one who is responsible for clean-up and putting the gear away if left out (he should be rounding up the instructor for that job) but he should have noticed that equipment was not properly put away. In fact, how did the instructor, and the "unknown stove users" get into the locker area without the Quartermaster being present and letting them in? Why isn't it part of the QM's job to check the gear locker to make sure it's locked up and there is no gear left out when the locker is accessed during a meeting?


How is the ASPL/Program responsible at all? He missed the meeting - he wasn't there. Would it have been his job to make sure that the instructor had cleaned up and had only used his own stoves? Are you suggesting that if he isn't there, then no one does his job? Uh uh - its the SPL's responsibility to make sure that the ASPL's job is done by someone that night, even if he does it himself. Just as the ASPL will take the responsibility to act as SPL if the SPL can't make it.


Now we come to discover that not only did you see it on Wednesday, you noticed it the night before - and left the gear out anyway. If it had gotten stolen, after you, personally, saw that the gear was left out, I would, as COR or CC, expect you, personally, to reimburse the Troop for the cost of the replacements because as the last person to see the gear, you now have a responsibility to ensure that it's locked away. Maybe locked away in your own locker, but locked away anyway. I understand your desire to get the Scouts to live up to their responsibilities, but don't you have a responsibility here as well?


TwoCubSon is correct on this whole issue of you witholding their stove, and the new scout patrol's stove - the folks who borrowed the stoves for the demonstration were the one's responsible for making sure they got put back in the right place. Why, then, are you punishing the people who weren't responsible for this mess? It's like taking Jimmy's knife away from him because Bobby carved his initials in a tree.


There are plenty of errors in this mess - including some of your own - don't compound it by passing the blame to folks who aren't responsible for any of the mess, including the ASPL/Program and Patrol #2 and #6.



PS - a message to TCS:

From TCS: "I was never informed that they wanted to use our patrol stove nor was I asked about it ( and for that matter would have told them to use their own patrol stove had I known it was being used)." Really? You would have told them to use their own stove and not let them use your patrol's stove? How is that Helpful, Friendly, Courteous and Kind? I can understand being a bit miffed that no one had asked first, but once asked, I would certainly have said yes.








Link to post
Share on other sites

Some battles are just not worth fighting. This scenario seems to be composed of a long chain of screwups by several. After the upcoming PLC, in which I would make them understand all the "wrongs", I would let it rest.

The next time something similar happens, I would just put the gear into the "special locker" and not say a word until after they created and used a work-around one time. After the event is over, a big smile and,"Look what I just found."

Someone else asked about trustworthy. If we were all born trustworthy, then we wouldn't need a Scout Law in the first place. Learning the Law is more than a one-time sign-off where it automatically becomes firmly embedded; it takes time and repeated lessons. This was more a case of didn't think, it was convenient, instructions were misunderstood, assumptions were made such that more than one fell down

Link to post
Share on other sites

So, if I was the SPL, once I discovered what had happened ... I'd chew out the offenders (en masse), then tell the SM to cough up the gear and get on with the trip.


After all, it's boy-run/led ... SM is in the passenger seat ... not a safety issue, except for maybe food poisoning from undercooked food being rushed off the stove.

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...