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Scout Master Conferences

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The troop my son is leaving uses the scout master conferences as "grilling sessions" for the ranks of star and life. Rather than relying on the BSA program that is in place, they feel it is necessary to spend 3-4 meetings "grilling" the boys with tests of every item in the handbook. Their theory is that this will impart the gravity of attaining star and life on the boy but instead it builds resentments and hostilities. How does your troop use this time?

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The SMC is designed for the SM and the Scout to plan the future,look at the past, to get at the Scout's feelings of how he is doing in life, and to get to know each other.

 

The first point of the Scout Law is "a Scout is Trustworthy." The person(s) who sign off the advancement and the Scout himself are stating that he has completed the requirements and the SMC is the second to last requirement. Never should the SMC or the BOR retest the Scout! If this happening, the Committe should take strong look at what the SM is doing and why he or she feels it necessary for this level of review. To state that there may be lack of proper training may be at the cause is the stock answer, however, I feel by the comments of the poster that this due to these leaders' attitude. Grilling should never be part of the equation.

 

Most SMC's I have conducted and observed are laid back and informal, a simple talk between a Scout and the SM about the Scout.

 

 

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I'd be willing to bet that this subject has not been thoroughly discussed with the SM. I would suggest (since you're leaving the troop anyway) that you sit down and tactfully tell the SM that you think he may be misinterpreting the goal of the SMC. Explain what it is supposed to be and have the documentation to back it up (show him the the advancment manual). It may not do a bit of good, but it may turn him on a dime if he is a teachable SM.

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Weekender:

 

Maybe this SM is an unteachable one because we have approached him on this topic and we did have the book as well as material we printed from various sites to back our position. Last year after our son expressed his displeasure with going to the Star Scoutmaster Conference 3 times.

 

This time when we talked with committee members about this problem and a problem with the troop merit badge counselors, we were told that it is the SM's philosophy that the boys should be kept from advancing too quickly and getting Eagle too quickly because many times they lose interest after getting Eagle. Obviously these ideas are not conducive to a good scouting experience.

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Sounds like the man is jealous of your son and experience has taught me that usually this type of SM has a son in the program that wants to be Eagle therefore they hold others back. Also their program probably lacks merit to keep youths interested. Id look for a troop that pushes the kids to advance and make Eagle and offers lots of activities after that therefore they want to continue in scouting and do summer camp as Eagles etc. I would also make it known that theyre not the only game in town and inform others why your leaving and what else is available and educate the parents how the troop should be run. Maybe you can wake them up by having half their troop quit and move across town.

 

I would also venture to say that your SM and your committee are not trained therefore they do not know their job and what should be done. What often occurs, theyre entrenched in their own vision of scouting which Ive seen. Remember, the charting organization owns the troop and all its equipment and funds. Youll find as long as the charting organization allows this to continue there is nothing you can do. Council will refuse to get involved even if theyre not following the rules theres nothing anyone can do. They can follow any rules they want as long as the charting organization refuses to make changes. Ive actually seen SMs run troops with the committee nothing more than a body that thinks the SM has the final say. And if the SM and the COR are buddies they can do anything they want (as long as its legal) and nobody can stop it. Remember the COR appoints the committee. Which mean the COR fires anyone that doesnt do what the SM wants; if your charting organization allows that to happen move across town to one that follows the rules taking as many with you that will follow.

 

I know a lot of people may disagree but that is just the way it is; its a fact. I can show you rules and regulations about advancements from BSA etc. but it is meaningless. This whole organization is built on the fact that the charting organization owns the unit and it is not a franchise. If your charting organization doesnt hold the COR to following the rules youre wasting your time. All BSA cares about is the money. The registration is paid and your unit is NOT doing anything illegal youll find no help outside your unit. Find another unit that allows you to sit on the committee, has published by-laws, and follows the rules. Hopefully theyll wake up and change before all their boys leave. Of course this assumes you have another unit to join. If not, quietly go (you dont want a public feud going on) to your American Legion, different church, VFM, etc. and get them to sponsor a unit and run it correctly.

 

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