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SM Sabatoges Eagle Project?

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Yah, hmmm...


Echaney, welcome to da scouter.com forums. You've already stated that the boy in question is doin' fine and continuing his scouting progress, so let's let that go for a bit, and take a look at the troop drama yeh seem to be most caught up in.


Can I ask what your position in the troop or district is? And can yeh give us a bit of background on the SM and the troop? How long has the troop been around, how long has the SM been around and what's his experience, who the sponsor is, that sort of thing?


What you're describing to me sounds like a Scoutmaster who identified some issues with a project, alerted the beneficiary school (as perhaps he quite properly should have done), got their agreement that they weren't comfortable with the project proceeding, and notified the scout. All of that seems perfectly OK to me, and da proper role of a SM. Without havin' a bit more information it's hard to comment.


With respect to the unit, let me say that it is very unusual for a unit committee to remove a boy from a troop. Scout leaders by their nature tend to see the best in boys and tend to think they can work with any boy, so removal from a program is almost always over relatively serious behavior issues with the boy or with the parents. I suppose that a boy who proceeded to do a project on someone else's land after being told not to by the SM and the landowner might get there, dependin' on da circumstances. Whatever da reason, though, it would be no surprise that a SM and a CC would discuss that in advance and be in agreement. Far from being a "secret vote", that's what most of us would expect in da relationship between a SM and CC.


Given that, my guess is that perhaps you are the parent here, and that that is coloring your perceptions considerably. Most scouters would be more circumspect before accusing a fellow adult of being mentally unbalanced on a public forum, eh? ;). In that case, what yeh need to understand is that the district folks may be helping your son just because they see it as a duty to a scout, not necessarily because they disagree with the SM or with the unit's decision to remove the boy. In any event, the district folks have no authority to overrule the unit in such a decision or to remove the SM.


So give us a touch more information, and perhaps we can give yeh a bit more perspective and advice.


Beavah(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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Thank you, Beavah,for your insight and perception. Perhaps more information should be provided. Yes I am the father of the scout, and yes I am emotionally involved, however I am trying to keep an open mind about the situation and not let emotions rule reason. My former position in the troop was ASM. I say former because I don't currently have a troop since my son was removed.


My son is considered by everyone else in the troop as the "model scout". He has helped many younger scouts obtain up to 1st class rank advancement. The decision to ask him to leave was made solely by SM and CC (whom he handpicked for the job) and only a couple of CM (not the whole committee or even a quorum). There have been do documented behavioral issues with my son, only his disagreement with SM over whose project it is.


As for the project itself, the SM approved it. However when it came time to do the project it did not fit into his schedule and as such he pulled his support when my son wanted to do it anyway (Council did tell us the SM did not need to be present at the time of the project). The SM became furious with my son and sent him a long, nasty e-mail announcing his pulling of support. According to Council, a SM cannot pull support like this and the e-mail was very unprofessional. I have this e-mail, but don't feel this is the appropriate place to post it. Next the SM went to the sponsor (a young school teacher) and badgered her to the point where 2 day before the project (which she just a few days prior said she would be there and was looking forward to participating) she basically copied parts from the SM's message in an e-mail and pulled her support. She has since told other people she felt in the middle and was uncomfortable. There were no holes in the project. The project was initially approved by Council, SM, and sponsor and went as written up and planned. Again this is not just opinion, but facts that have been documented with our Council.


The Troop has been around for over 50 years, and the SM has been in position for 7 years. He has a reputation in our area of skirting the requirements to get whatever he wants. Council does not particularly care for him. It is a known fact the the District Executive does not care for SM at all.


The district representative is helping my son because she sees everything the is wrong with this situation. She also runs a Crew in town and has invited my son to join. I don't think she would do this if he is at fault and troublesome as the SM makes him out to being.


I agree scouters mainly see the good in boys. However this SM only sees the good when the boy agrees with me. When the boy does not agree, the boy is disrespectful (SM words, not mine).


The COR and CO have been informed of all that is going on, but chose not to get involved. If I were wrong, why has 70% of the troop already left?


Finally, I agree that you are only seeing one side of the situation. But lets look at the documented facts. The SM intentionally rejected a council-approved project. SMs are supposed to help boys, not stand in their way and definitely not kick them out without reasonable cause.


Again any insight and suggestions are extremely welcomed, whether agreed or not. I have nothing to hide. Thank you for your input.

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If all the signatures were present, and the project was executed, it's time to let the unit implode on its own, and start escalating this for the district and council advancement folks to evaluate.

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Yah, echaney, thanks for the additional information, or at least a bit of it. You'll have to forgive us a bit because we don't actually have any documentation, eh? So claims about stuff being "documented" are just claims on this side of the screen.


The current Eagle Project process is different than it used to be. Nowadays the district/council only approves the proposal for a project. Then the SM or another advisor has to approve the boy's final project plan. It's also now true that because the project is considered a unit activity for which the troop is responsible, many councils and troops are requiring full adult supervision the way they would for any unit outing. So dependin' on your troop and the availability of other registered adult leaders, it may well have been perfectly reasonable for the SM to take the position he did. Just the way a SM may insist that he be present for the Venture Patrol's whitewater raft trip to ensure proper adult coverage. If I were the boy, I think I would have said "Ok" to this request without makin' a stink. Sure would have been easier. ;). That's one of those lessons of life and character about choosin' hills to die on.


Now let's take a look at a few other things.


Yeh seem to suggest that the project was being done for an individual teacher, which is not something that should have been allowed by either the troop or the council. So that makes things more complex. Had it properly been approved by the school, then there probably wouldn't have been as much of an issue. School administrators are more used to dealing with odd adult behavior. :)


The district rep. in this case is somewhat overstepping her bounds, and that isn't a great thing. That kind of thing compromises her position with all units.


So what we have is da usual round of hyper adult behavior messing up the kids' program. The SM could have been more flexible about finding other supervision if it was available and should have followed da rule about setting angry emails aside for 24 hours. The district and troop should have done its job in terms of ensuring a proper beneficiary approval before the proposal was approved. The boy should have learned by now that sometimes being a teenager in terms of how yeh behave toward and address adults is not always the most productive thing. The district representative and DE should have learned that their job is to support the CO and the unit, and that talkin' out of school is always inappropriate. And the parent should have learned that most of the time the right thing to do is to support the coach or the referee even when it's a bad call. ;). Sportsmanship and character, eh? And you've known this fellow as SM for all these years.


Unfortunately, all of that is could have would have should have. So often in scoutin' at the council level we can't help the behaviors of adults. So the troop is goin' to continue, without some members. It's no longer your son's troop, so that's all water under the bridge, eh? Scouting is a volunteer endeavor, and when the volunteers don't want to deal with a particular boy, that's their right. We can't hold 'em at gunpoint. ;). No lad is entitled to the generosity of others.


So rather than spend any more emotional energy on the old troop, I reckon you and your son need to be lookin' forward, not back. Perhaps to a crew, perhaps to another troop. As bnelon44 mentions, your son can also ask for an Eagle Board of Review Under Disputed Circumstances, provided he has the other requirements complete. That board can approve the current project for the rank despite the lack of endorsement of the sponsor and the troop, though that would be very unusual. But if your son still has other requirements to complete, as I suspect he does, then now is a good time to find a new unit.


I'd look for an adult leader who likes dealing with obstreperous teenagers. :). Some adults do very well with such kids, while I've found other adults who are more law-and-order with their own children sometimes have a hard time with the more "lively" teens.


Good luck with it.



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Under current process, no one has to approve the final project plan. It is developed by the Scout and the beneficiary. In fact the final project plan is not indicated as mandatory and there is no place in the workbook for anyone to sign off on it. According to the process, if it is reviewed it is reviewed by the Project Coach, not the Scoutmaster. The Project Coach is someone selected to do that job by the District (not necessarily the Scoutmaster.)


In section of the Guide to Advancement we find:


It is also acceptable for the coach or the advancement

administrator responsible for approvalif he or she

becomes concerned the project will not meet the

requirements or it will not be completed to the satisfaction

of the benefi ting organizationto contact the Scout

and his parent or guardian and, as appropriate, a

representative of the beneficiary. However, even though

the project coach may provide guidance critical to

success, final design issues are ultimately between the

Scout and the beneficiary. For limitations on the coachs

role, see Eagle Scout Service Project Coach,


(This message has been edited by bnelon44)

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WOW Beavah!!! True we are getting only one side of the story, but for you to narrate the other side as practically fact is really odd..


The person assigned by district to be the Eagle advisor does not have the job of supporting the CO or the unit, but to be there for the guidence of the scout. If the scout has difficulties and calls the advisor, they are not at all out of line to advise and guide the scout and be in support of them..


As to the other comments you made, it is just too weird to even try to comment on the dreamworld of the Beavah...


Basement - I did not get that take.. It is more like scout was kicked out and 70% of the troop decided to walk with him in support. Sort of like that lifeguard who was fired for doing a rescue outside of bounds.. He got fired and half the other lifeguards quit in support.(This message has been edited by moosetracker)

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..."It is more like scout was kicked out and 70% of the troop decided to walk with him in support"...


You are correct. This is exactly what has happened. I originally posted this question because I was wondering if this sort of thing is common in scouting, and maybe to have some insight on other peoples' experience. All of these comments have been extremely helpful, and I welcome and appreciate all.

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echaney...if all is as you said in your initial post, it is unfortunate and not a common occurence.


This is not an Advancement Issue, this is a Youth Protection Issue and the SM's bullying is a clear violation and you should inform the Scout Executive that you intend to pursue this to the National Office unless he takes the appropriate action he is required to do.


The YPT link is provided. From what you've said, I found more than one policy that is not being followed by this so called leader.




As stated by others, there are other remedies for the EP if it was approved by all signators before he started.(This message has been edited by NACAP)

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Yah, BNelon44, quite right. No approval on the final plan required, just recommended. All the councils around these parts are requirin' functional approval by the unit project coaches for safety and supervision reasons, though. I expect that's goin' to become the practical norm.


Yah, moosetracker, I agree that readin' carefully when only hearin' one biased source is hard, eh? So I'm mostly raisin' the obvious issues that a wise reader who has dealt with a lot of unit melt-downs of this sort would consider. When helpin' units work through this sort of thing, that's what yeh do, eh? Calm people down, get 'em to see other perspectives.


I think it's especially important not to do the usual Scouter.Com thing and start foamin' at the mouth and gatherin' pitchforks. NACAP's post above I'd put into that category, because there's just no possible way to interpret the information we have as any form of youth protection issue. That's completely ludicrous. But that's the sort of thing that happens when yeh read only one highly biased side uncritically, eh? Adrenaline and (for some) testosterone kick in, yeh get that powerful surge of righteous indignation that comes from watchin' Fox or MSNBC, and pretty soon the adults in the room are doin' and sayin' the most ridiculous things. :)


Besides, I got the parent thing right in my "dreamworld", didn't I? ;)


Eagle Coaches by and large are unit scouters, because they are supposed to be chosen at the option of the scout, not "assigned by the district."


In this case, though, I interpreted "district representative" to be the representative of the district advancement committee who signed off on the project proposal. In many councils, that same person is the district representative who will sit on da Eagle Board of Review. That person shouldn't be the Eagle Coach, because their role is as evaluator. Like all district volunteers, such people are supposed to support the BSA by helpin' the council in its proper role of supporting the Chartered Organization and units, not by workin' with individual boys.



(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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Thank you for your insight. This is exactly the kind of questions I have asked others and have not yet received a clear answer. I have often wondered if the SM's actions could be considered bullying. I guess I don't understand what exactly constitutes bullying. Would you care to expand?


Thank you.

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BSA Bullying Prevention training defines bullying as:



Bullying is any behavior that is deliberate, hurtful, repeated over time. It is usually characterized by a relationship involving an imbalance of power, such as size or popularity.

Bullying can be physical, verbal, emotional, social, behavioral, or any combination.

Bullying can take place just about anywhere: on the bus, at school, at soccer practice, even online via the Internet.





A Scouting Magazine article on the topic




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What you have said so far I would not put as bullying either.. SM may be a control-freak, a micro-manager, rude, abnoxious.. But, I did not see bully.. But, that might be the fact that what was specifically said word for word isn't in the story.. Even if it were, we still may get the tone, body language and of course one-sided point of veiw may make it sound like bullying..


He just sounded like he got it in his head this was all about him, got his nose out of joint that someone would even think of doing something without his being the center controler.. Because of his out-of-focus perspective that an Eagle project is not all about the SM, but about the scout's planning & leadership, he probably had his pride hurt by your sons actions, therefore he childishly lashed out at him..

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