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Its Me

I got a dear "den leader" letter

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This weekend one of my Webelos who I thought was one of my core scouts quit. His mom sent this email:

 

"Hi DEN LEADER - my husband and I have decided (with Junior) that he is not going to be participating in scouts this year. He is having a lot more school work and is already having a tough time keeping up with it. Thanks for your great work with the den and I'm sure we'll see you around at the pack meetings for Son 2 (who is a wolf and is staying in scouts). thanks - Junior's mothers"

 

I am crushed. After raising a stink in here about the Webelos porgram being too academic, I followed the boards advice and thought outside the box. I arranged for the fitness requirement to be given at a YMCA by their fitness director. We have ordered custom den t-shirts with the den's mascot chosen by the boys impprinted on it. I have planned a two night, Webelos campout complete with a written program for all three webelos dens in our pack.

 

This is the second boy who completed his bear rank with me to leave scouting. But the other scout was weak at attending, didn't like camping and his mother just had their third child.

 

 

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Its Me,

 

Believe me, I know exactly how you feel. In spite of all of your best efforts, scouts will 'quit' for a myriad of reasons. Do not take this personally. The family is just trying to do what is best for their son, and you should be supportive of their decision.

 

You can keep the door open until things improve for this boy in his school work. With a younger brother still in scouts, I have a suspicion that the scout may be back sooner than you think. Maybe, respond to the parents how impressed you have been by their son, you completely understand the desire to improve school performance and that you consider this a 'sabbatical' rather than an out-n-out quit, because you truly hope that he returns soon. Keeping the door wide open makes it so much easier to come back in.

 

Over the years, I have had this same situation on several occasions. Some return and some are seen no more. The ones that return always seem more committed then ever.

 

Good luck.

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Hey, at least they had the courtesy of telling you. Thinking back through nearly 3 years of Boy Scouts and 5 years of Cub Scouts, I can only remember one parent that did this. The others just "disappear". We have two boys that have gone MIA in the past two months. Mom or dad hasn't said anything to any of the leaders when we've seen them around. But the rumors around the schoolyard is that they're quitting. I hold out hope in these cases that one of the parties (youth or parent) wants to quit, and the other is trying to convince them otherwise.

 

Here are two fundamental truths about kids dropping out:

1) Kids will drop out of scouting, even with a perfect program.

2) Sometimes the "perfect program" isn't what they are looking for. I have had some drop out because they said we just did "too much".

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Things like this happen in both Cubs and Boy Scouts. It seemed to me that the parents in Cub Scouts, at least in my experience, were more likely to give you some notice of what was happening, perhaps because, as a den leader, you see the parents much more often. In Boy Scouts, I've seen boys just "disappear", as others have noted, and sometimes you never do figure out what happened to them. I had one very interesting experience recently with a Scout who dropped out. He hadn't been attending meetings, and I contacted the family to see if the Scout was ok (as I always do if they miss a meeting or two), and the parents were unaware that their son wasn't attending the meetings. Turns out he wanted to quit, but was afraid to tell anyone, so his brother (who drove him to and from the meetings), was just driving around with him when he was supposed to be at the troop activities. While I'd love for all of the Scouts to stay, some don't, and it's important, as best we can, to understand why they're leaving, in order to see if there's some fault in the program we're offering.

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It's me,

 

Sure like everyone said, it is sad that you have lost one, especially one you thought of as dedicated, but this happens. Just keep on driving. Remember don't change your program, the other boys are still there and there must be a reason.

 

Fred

 

Chin up and smile!!!

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I'm disappointed each time I learn of a fellow who has quit the troop. Sometimes, I get a call or email thanking me and the troop but usually it's just me asking a PL why we haven't seen Billy around lately and being informed that Billy has dropped. Sigh. We followup with a call to these fellows. We also let them know that we'll keep them on the roster until next recharter in case they change their mind or if their school load lightens up (it sometimes happens).

 

We've just gotten our recharter packet from council and in reviewing the roster, I've realized that of the half-dozen scouts who have dropped over the past 12 months, only one had a parent who was registered. Next year, we're going to put a priority on registering the parents of all new incoming scouts and getting them involved with the program.

 

 

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It would be nice if they would tell the real reason they are quitting. Maybe that's too much to expect.

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FScouter wrote:

"It would be nice if they would tell the real reason they are quitting. Maybe that's too much to expect."

 

I would like to know too.

 

It could be they didn't like me or another family. They had been very good at coming to meetings and outings last year. I liked the dad, he was fun to have around, and the mom was nice too. Their boys are well behaved and easy to handle. Their younger boy will remain in our pack in a wolf den. Maybe 7 scouting activities a month are just too much.

 

 

 

 

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I think the explanation of more homework could be a true reason, especially if your meetings are on school nights. This is happening about a month into the new school year, and this boy may have experienced a substantial step up in homework. If his grades have suddenly tanked, his parents may well react by pulling him out of outside activities. I agree that you should tell them that he's more than welcome to return when he's more comfortable with his work load from school.(This message has been edited by Hunt)

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But, but... the note said:

 

"He is having a lot more school work and is already having a tough time keeping up with it."

 

You have to take these things at face value - you cannot try to read something into it... son 2 is still in the pack, right?

 

You got a note... I've had scouts drop without a word, now THAT you might want to read something into, but if they go to the trouble of sending you a note, then accept the reason and keep the door open, but move on...

 

 

 

 

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I agree with CA_scouter. Take it at face value. Always, ALWAYS assume the parents are making decisions in the best interest in their sons - and that's what the appearance is here. They owe you no apology or explanation but they gave you the courtesy of the latter anyway. Respect that.

Don't second-guess.

Don't take any of these things personally.

Just get on with the business of cub scouting and be thankful for the great cubs that are still in the den.

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I'd have to agree with Semp in that the boy may be back if the underlying situation gets better. Stay in touch with him, especially since you felt that he was one of your core scouts. You will probably see him at Pack meetings at least. Ask how he is doing and let him know that you'd like to seem him in the Den again. Hopefully you will.

 

Jerry

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Here is what I wrote her back.

 

 

 

Dear Junior's mom

Junior was a model scout who was a joy to have in our den. We enjoyed your whole family and the (xxx family) will surely be missed. I completely understand the desire to improve school performance. We will keep the door to returning to our den open. Should Junior want to return to scouting either as a Webelos or latter as a Boy Scout he will be most welcome.

 

Sincerely

Den Leader

 

 

She replied thank you and said she would pass this along to junior.

 

(This message has been edited by Its Me)

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It's me,

 

I think that your response was right on target. You let them know they will be missed, allowed boy to return with grace, and ended it gracefully. If he gets his school work under control I hope he returns. I know that if this was my son I would feel better about you and the den. It could not have been an easy decision to stop scouting, you validated their concerns and gave them the opportunity to come back!!

 

Now.....on with your year!!

 

k

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Its Me,

 

Very well said. It's easy to say not to take it personally, but though I don't believe you should, there's always just a bit of sadness that goes along with a boy leaving. You've done your best for him and have kept the door open to Scouting for him; there is truly nothing more you can do. And for the record, it's nice that the family let you know the boy wasn't coming back; that doesn't happen often. I'd take it at face value.

 

Keep on serving those boys that you clearly love to serve :)

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