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MrScout

How do we cope?

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Well,,, I have been involved in Boy Scouting for over 6 years now and for the first time I lost one of my scouts this past Saturday in an automobile accident. My question is simple while this has hit me very hard I know how to deal with it. How do I address this subject to my scouts?

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I have not had to deal with this, although we did lose a dad in our troop a few years ago. That dad was a very active and fit man, and he died young. But I digress.

 

You don't give any details. My approach to this situation would be tempered by considerations of the boy's family, and the extent of religious conviction exhibited by the boy and his family. If the boy was very active in the troop and the family desires it, some level of troop participation in the various rituals may be appropriate and appreciated by all, including the scout participants. In our case, we were not involved in the funeral mass, but the scouts were involved in the rosary earlier. Concerning dealing with your other scouts, there is no point in beating around the bush. You may wish to seek some outside professional assistance in this. If the boy was active and highly regarded in the troop, there will be more to deal with. You may wish to devote part of a meeting to discussion of the boy and his contributions. Good luck.

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How terrible for you, and the boys in your troop. I extend my condolences to all.

 

Death has never visited me in the troop, although I have lost friends in the Scouting community. But I am aware of friends in Scouting who have faced the situation you find yourself in. In those cases, discussion of death was never something they chose to tackle, but they did work with the Scouts in the troops to find a way to remember those who had passed. Perhaps you might address the subject with your Scouts from that point of view. Remembering is what you have before you. And it is the simplest way to approach the subject with boys who do not live under your own roof. The troop has lost a member and a friend. He will be missed, and his place in line might be left open for a while. The Scouts might find some enduring value in the hole. It may become the first place for them to see the loss of a close friend. There may be other ways for you. Talk it over with your fellow leaders, and your senior Scouts. Some way to always remember your lost Scout may be the easiest way to go forward.

 

I do sincerely hope that your path through this time will be one that brings you all a little closer together as a Scouting family, and as friends. Such a loss is never easy to deal with. Death comes upon us mostly unexpected. Kids will ask why. There is no simple answer, so don't seek it, and don't lead the kids to think there is a simple answer. Just remember.

 

Ask your fellow Scouters, even those from troops near you, but not in your troop, to lend assistance. Get the word out to all Scouting families in your troop and area, and ask parents to sit with their children, and explain as best they can. And ask them to deal with the loss through whatever faith they are part of. Kids and their parents may find more comfort in that setting, together, than you can provide in the troop setting. You can, though, provide a place to remember.

 

My thoughts are with you. Peace.

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Here too, our Troop has been blessed in that we have never suffered such a loss.

 

God, country, and family...These are the things that BSA purports to embrace and teach. I feel strongly that this is a most appropriate time for a public prayer by the Scoutmaster. I would pray for strength and comfort for the family, praise God for allowing the boy to be a part of your Troop's lives, and wisdom for the Scouts so that they may understand - God's ways are not our ways. Depending on the Scouts, I would also consider opening the prayer to others. If you think they are too immature for this, then perhaps open the prayer to the older Scouts (let them know ahead time so they can gather their thoughts). If the Scouts do not want to participate, then that's fine too. The point is, in a time like this, we should turn to God for strength, comfort, wisdom, and courage.

 

The point is, in a time like this, we should turn to God for strength, comfort, wisdom, and courage. This is consistent with BSA's core beliefs. If you cannot say such a prayer, then I would suggest finding someone in the Troop that is willing and able (CC, COR, ASM, etc.).

 

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First let me extend my condolences to your scouts and families.

 

In addition to the excellent suggestions that have been stated here,I might add that some tangible memorial of the scout might be an appropriate way of helping the scouts cope. They could decide together what it might be. Perhaps a tree planted at your meeting place or at a special campsite with a small placque at its base. Or a special campership in his memory funded by some fundraiser that the troop holds like a car wash, or something where your scouts can take an active role.

If the boy was known for something, like his special sense of humor or scout spirit, you could make a troop award in his memory, an award awarded at Court of Honor, like the John Smith Spirit award. Let the boys help determine what they would like to do in his memory, that putting them in control will help their grieving process.

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