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OldGreyEagle

The Image Of Scouting

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It seems lately quite a few positngs have been centered around poor scoutmasters who seem to want to be a one man show, a my way or the highway kinda guy. I have deep sorrow for mommascout and BWACfan. Now I realize I am most likely preaching to the choir here, but I cant understand why someone that miserable would stay a scoutmaster.

 

I loved being a scout and I know I had a great scoutmaster as a youth. I think I am part of a pretty fine troop right now. You hear the expression a lot about a "once in a lifetime experience", seems we have 2-3 of those a year. I cant tell you how happy I am my son feels the same about scouting I do.

 

Yet often I meet people whose experience in scouting was not the idyllic experience I remember or the excellent program my son's troop has. Being run vastly through volunteers, the quality of the scouting program varies wildly from area to area, troop to troop. I tell our jumior leaders the most important thing they can do is be a good example, because whether they want to or not, they are role models as are we adult leaders. I just cringe when I see scouting not presented as it was intended.

 

I know after reading about these events, I will try harder to be sure my troop could never be a subject in one of our discussions

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One person said that 20 scouts had left one troop in a year. WOW! I'd be really upset if I was an adult in this troop. What about the district and the council? Are they are aware of numbers like that?

 

I realized from a parent's perspective, most parents don't know what to do if they have problems with a pack or troop. They only thing they know is to leave. Parents aren't told about the structure of the organization or given a list of "here is who you call when...". I don't think we should come across negative to new parents, but at least let them know something about who is involved beyond the ones they see.

 

Would that help?

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OGE,

The Scoutmaster before me was becoming a grouchy old man. He wasn't like this when my son joined the Troop. He just got that way over the years. He loves to camp & still goes with us from time to time (he's now an ASM). I learned a lot from him (not how to be a grump). When he does go camping, I keep the Scouts & he as far apart as I can.

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

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I agree.

 

One of the major reasons I and my wife are active in Scouting even though my wife and I do not have any children as of yet. (NOTE: Our first is due in September and it's a girl. I'd better read up on Girl Scouts.) Is that I had a great Scout experience as a boy and in my opinion I had the best Scoutmaster/mentor/hero a kid could ask for. I'm biased, he was my Dad. It pains me when I get in a discussion with other men and when we discuss Scouting they all tell me they quit for one negative of another. Bad program, bad leadership ect. I despise the phrase "We didn't do anything."

 

To that end I work to provide a better program than I had. I want to give these boys a chance to do what I did AND didn't do.

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I think the strength of the program changes greatly from council to council. I am truly envious of the troops and councils that I read about on this board.

In the area I am in Scouting is not very strong and has very little organization from the council level on down. Someone mentioned being surprised at losing 20 scouts. This happens around here every time ball season changes. We have some parents that come to meetings yet their boys are at ball.

Many of the one man show scoutmasters come into being just so their is some type of troop for his boy.

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Old Grey Eagle (I admire that name!) thank you for your empathy. I too have trouble understanding why there is so much discrepancy among Scoutmasters methods when we are all reading the same script. Even if the trainings are handled differently in different areas the Scouting method is supposed to be universal and one would assume interpreted in a very similar way.

 

I've met many great SM's at campouts and trainings and council events and it's because of them that I realized how Scouting is supposed to be and how our SM was falling far short of the ideal. I believe that the type of SM we had is truly in the minority because the people who are drawn to the Scouting organization are really the best people in the world - good people with good hearts - and the kind of folk that I want to spend my time with and have my son grow up with.

 

What we experienced was unfortunate but like you I learned alot and will always be aware of the impact I personally have on any Scout or Scouter.

 

I believe in the Image of Scouting and the reality of what Scouting can be and mostly the Promise of Scouting for my son. This forum has been a wonderful outlet for the frustration I felt with warm resposes from everyone and it has reinforced in me that Scouting IS what I always knew it to be - a family of friends where you should always feel welcome. My family is back on the right trail now, we just got lost in the dark woods for awhile! Thanks again.

 

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While I was a Scout in the 70's and early 80's, my troop which my father helped found, went through 7 SM's and 3 committees. My goal as a Scout was to hold the troop together.

My last SM, Carey, turn me around and in two years, I went from Star to Eagle with a Bronze Palm.

 

My continued service to Scouting stems from my strong desire in helping Scouts NOT to experience the things I went through as a Scout. I have been fairly successfull of instilling this into the leaders I have worked with and trained. As an Assistant District Commissioner, I have contact with number of leaders in Troops and Packs. I work with unit leaders to help them provide a quality program that follows the BSA rules and regs; and embraces the ethics of Scouting.

 

While it is true that not all units provide the best program by the guidelines laid out in the literature. Best we can hope for is that the leaders are doing for the right reasons and not out of some feeling of obligation or the feeling: "If I don't do it, no one else will." The right reasons are to help young men grow into adults that have good citizenship, strong moral charactor, physical and mental fitness.

 

Leaders often become grumpy as they approach the burn out phase of leadership. It should be an indicator to those around them that it is time for a change. Get your COR and Commissioner involved in finding a replacement or at least, offer to assist the leader in his duties to lessen the approaching problem. These signs are often an indicator that the leader has taken too much of the responsibility for the unit. He/she maybe doing the SM/Cm and tresurer and advancements, and 20 other things no one is doing. The committee and the other leaders should take such actions to help the burnt out leader to find a way to relieve the stress he or she is experiencing.

A properly run Boy Scout Troop or Cub Scout Pack should have shared leadership in the youth and the adults, more so in a troop.

 

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shemgren I agree,

 

I lead my Troop of 12 and have since starting in Feb 01. It is my fifth Troop or thereabouts. I fly solo although there is a leader in training so these days are thankfully numbered. I also work casually and away meaning that in the last three weeks I have been away from home for 11 nights. I have two Cub Scout children and an adorable wife who all need my time. I could not run Scouts if it were not for my three P/L's.

 

They were decent young men in Feb last year and I have trained them to lead in every sense of the word. They run the meeting to our prearranged plan and recently took the Troop to a competition camp while I was away with work. Our program is dynamic and detailed. We have heaps of fun and there is no way I could do this alone. The involvement of the Scouts is vital to me doing the job and them enjoying their Scouting.

 

Those who go it alone without using this huge resource are either power hungery or ignorant of the possibilities. Either way they are wrong.

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shemgren-

 

I stay in Scouting for many of the same reasons you do. While in Webelos, my leader was an Eagle Scout who told us all these great stories about what the Boy Scouts were like. Crossover couldn't come fast enough for us. The troop I ended up crossing over to was adult run and had some pretty rough kids in it (although most were great). After about three months, my Webelos leader called me and said he was helping to start a new troop that was going to be boy run and he would help me have a Scouting experience similar to the one he had. I transferred along with four other guys from my troop and we did great for the first year or two. However, my Webelos leader left the troop after a year when his son lost interest and he disagreed with the SM on some things.

 

My troop never did become like the dream my Webelos Leader spun for me. My troop went through a couple of SM while I was a Scout and experienced a lot of ups and downs. However, that dream has never died. Through my involvement with the OA, I saw a lot of the things my Webelos Leader described in other troops.

 

Today, I'm working to build the troop I always wanted to belong to and for the Scouts to have the experiences in the troop (developing friends, etc.) that I never had. I think the BSA is greatly helped by volunteers that don't have sons involved and that involvement helps the BSA's image.

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