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Family Camping Weekend from He**

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I recently had the worst experience of my Scouting career - not that long, a little more than 4 years. Our Pack went on our Annual Family Camping weekend recently and was it ever a disaster!


Friday night began with no power to the pavillion we reserved at our Council Camp and no flush toilets. There was no power to the camp at all. Then we had one of the most horendous thunderstorms I have ever experienced. Did I mention that I was fighting a horrible cold/sinus infection? And my tent leaked? And the power company wouldn't come out to check the power until it stopped raining. Well, it stopped raining Saturday around noon. The power company came out and told us the meter was shot and an electtrician had to come out to replace it. We finally got power about 6PM and the boys spent the day fishing and they didn't really care about not having power.

Dinner went well and everything seemed back on track.


I am one of three people in our Pack who are Baloo trained and I was in charge of this weekend. The rain and the power problems shot my schedult to pieces, so we went with plan B. OK, no big deal. Well, our Cubmaster took the boys on what was the highlight of the weekend. They went on a night hike- no flashlights- just glow sticks so we could see where all the kids were. It was pretty cool watching them hike from far away - just seeing the glow sticks bobbing up and down.


Anyway, they came back from the hike and I notice one of the parents with a can of beer sticking our of his jacket pocket! I went to the Cubmaster and asked him to ask this man, who is a very good friend of his, to not have the beer can in his pocket. I didn't ask him to stop drinking - like I should have. I didn't ask him to leave - like I should have. I asked for him to not have it out in the open. And for that I got my head snapped off by our Cubmaster telling me to not be such a prude. I gave up and walked away. Later that night, the wife of the man with the beer (who is a trained leader) walked up to where I was sitting with a beer in her hand, and popped it open right in my face. I just shook my head at her and her response was "oh yeah!"


I made it very clear to everyone that there is no alcohol allowed on BSA property. I worked very hard to put together a good program that was fun and safe for our Scouts. These people's behavior put our Scouts at risk. I am feeling unappreciated and insulted by these people. I know I should have asked these people to leave, but I knew I would get no back-up from the Cubmaster. What would you have done? And what do I do now? DO I let the issue go? DO I report it to Council? Do I bring it up to the Committee? Advice appreciated!


The only redeeming thing about this whole weekend is that our Scouts had a good time in spite of the rain and no electric or flushing toilets!


Sorry for the long post.:(


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it's crunch time. you need to make a personal decision to follow the BSA policies or not. You did the right thing. You told the parents no alcohol, you asked for the cubmasters support and didn't get it. The CM was wrong to do that.


You asked what we would do in that instance. I would report the CM and the adults who had the beer to the charter organization head and the COR (along with an expaination of the BSA policy), and to the Council Executive. Then let them do the right thing.


Sounds like you adapted well to some unfortunate circumstances.


Bob White

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The only thing I think that you should have done in hindsight, and you know what they say about hindsight, I would have found the camp Ranger to help Back me up.


I agree, if the CC and COR do nothing about it I would find a new pack.

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Scoutmom - you're 100% right! And it was completely out of line for the Cubmaster to dismiss your concerns that way. Even if I (as Cubmaster) disagreed with you, I would never undermine the authority you had as the adult leader responsible for the event. It sounds like the Cubmaster needs to attend training again.


Bob White - Before reporting the circumstances to the Council Executives, why not a PRIVATE meeting at the local level to discuss this issue and see if it can't be resolved there (by everyone recognizing BSA policy and agreeing to enforce it)? Only if this internal method fails to correct the problem would I go up the ladder. Or is there an specific obligation that requires us, as leaders, to report these circumstances to the Council Executive?



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While I want to see how Bob White answers, I have to add my own view.


Do you know if any other adult besides the CM and the couple know about the beer "being along" on the campout?


All you need is one adult who saw what happened and is waiting to see what happens.


You need to follow procedure lest the unknown witness steps forward and reports the offense and then says "the trip leader knew and didnt do anything about it"


Having the courage to step forth and do the right thing even when its not easy or popular is the role model I want my son to see and I think would develop more charactor than laying on the ground and frying like bacon if he misplaces his cup

(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)

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Hi Scoutmom:


Sounds like you had the makings of a great weekend until the beer showed up.


It is unfortunate that your CM did not support you. I agree with what the others have stated. Work it out on a local level. Talk with or write a letter to the CM. Tell him of your concerns, and that no alcohol is permitted on BSA property. If it was discovered, the ranger could have the parent or even the unit removed. Remind him that the basis for Scouting is to teach youth good moral behavior and ethics-based decision-making. If the adult leaders dont set a proper example by following the rules, it is ludicrous to expect the youth to obey the rules.


You were very patient with the woman who opened the beer in front of you. That was extremely disrespectful and in no way adheres to any Scouting method. She owes you an apology. It may not come, as it sounds like this persons empathy level is very low. I am sure that meetings will be tense for a while; I hope that the boys dont catch on. If there is escalation of hostile behavior, I recommend locating a new unit, and you should make it known to the other parents and the charter organization why you are leaving. Dont blame anyone, but state that you dont feel this unit is being run in accordance with the policies of the BSA. Other parents may or may not choose to move with you. If there are no other units, start a Lone Scout Den, or even a new unit.


Good luck, tell us how it goes. You have more support here.


Keep on Scoutin ora

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I recommended reporting to the Council Executive for 3 reasons.


First the Cubmaster was made aware of the violation and ignored it. If he will overlook an issue as important as this one he or she is a danger to the pack and to the program.


Secondly, if the CO is not intune with the severity of the violation they made drop the ball, and this event needs to be addressed.


Thirdly, if the CO does the right thing then there will be some angry ex-volunteers calling the scout office and the Executive needs to be aware of the circumstances.



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Um folks, those of you who suggest that this be worked out within the unit may I point out that Scoutmom stated that the leader in question WAS trained? I don't know about you but in every training I have been in it was clearly stated the BSA rules regarding alcohol. This isn't a matter of innocent ignorance, this is a matter of willfull violation. Not only that the unit leader and those involved were not only unresponsive but hostile.


My opinion would be different if the CM's response had been to at least listen. The response indicates an unwillingness to discuss the issue.


Get them gone, quickly.

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I agree this is not a situation to be handled locally, but through your DE and CE. we had a situation a few years ago where an ASM became inebriated on a campout. This could have been a big safety concern, but he saw nothing wrong with his behavior. We informed the CE and his membership was temporarily suspended through the regional office until he could prove rehabilitation. Unfortunately this never happened before his son (an eagle) turned 18 and also resulted in a divorce. The Council and Region has very good policies regarding this kind of situation and should be informed. Kind of a tough love situation, but it is for the best. Good luck.

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Thanks for all of the input, everyone. I guess I knew all along what I have to do, but I wanted to get your collective opinion.


I don't think handling this on a local level with the CO and COR will do us much good. Our CO is very uninvolved with the Pack and basically the COR only signs the Charter. Not the best situation, but it has been working up until now. We have made efforts to involve the CO more with the Pack, but we don't get much response.


OGE, yes, other adults were ther and saw the incident. Thank you for pointing out what should have been obvious. I have no choice but to address this issue. I intend to make an appointment with our DE, this is not something I want to do over the phone or via email. I also intend to bring it up at our next committee meeting.


I am prepared for the fallout from this, but I'm not sure about my son. He is a second year Webelos and will be moving up to Boy Scouts in February. He is well on his way to the AOL and I hope this doesn't cause him any problems. You know, "Your Mom is a snitch", or that kind of stuff.


What makes things a little more awkward is that I work for a Drug and Alcohol Rehab. I am not prejudiced against alcohol and I partake of a beverage every now and then, myself. I can however, recognize behaviors and attitudes that might point to a problem. I'm not suggesting any of the people involved have a problem, but why you cant go two days without a beer, is beyond me.


Anyway, thanks everyone and I'll let you know what happens from here.

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