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LauraT7

dissention in the "adult' ranks... HELP!

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We have a very old troop-strong and with some old traditions and lots of community support - chartered for over 80 years. That's good? right?

 

But our troop is in a state of transition, due to some adults who want to act like kids.

 

First, in 2000, we had a group of boys and fathers come into the troop from a pack that allowed these fathers to run things - well, not in the Scout way. Scout rules say that cubs are to be family campouts - 1 parent 1 scout - their pack would allow boys to camp without a parent. they allowed the boys to use knives without earning the tote'em chip - they 'bent' the rules to suit themselves, stuff like that.

 

this did not go over well with our troop, and came to a head at summer camp 2001 - my first major outing with the troop. These fathers started out the camp week - I came midweek - and the unit was divided, those "for" them and those "against" them. They had pushed the boys too hard, and allowed some mean teasing to go on, even teasing and name calling some of the boys themselves. By the time school started these men had left the troop for another troop - no loss, but unfortunately, they pulled away about 8 boys and families from their original pack. then they proceded to "bad mouth" our troop with the result that at 2001 crossover time - we got ONE new boy.

 

Now, that wasn't all their fault - we have been very slack on recruiting - resting on our well-known laurels, so to speak. and we didn't do ANY active recruiting, nor did we know how (or try)to combat their negative talk.

 

We now have about 15 boys, not all active, and a handful of parents carrying the ball.

 

this January, our Scoutmaster annouced that due to health and work reasons, he wished to step down and that we should look for a new scoutmaster. some adults in the troop were asked, and declined the job. one volunteered, but said he would be limited in what he can do because of his work. (He is a great guy who grew up in scouting in the area, in his 30's - not married, no kids - his family is a "scouting" family, he knows the program inside out. He's a great asset - BUT he is not as strong a leader, as our previous Scoutmaster) this man has been our "acting scoutmaster" while the scoutmaster was in the hosp and recuperating, now the scoutmaster is back, but not fully, and we're in no man's land.

 

Now the problem - the scoutmaster isn't quite ready to let go - the new guy isn't in yet, and one of the adults who was asked to lead and turned it down, has taken it upon herself to "run the show" - at least parts of it that interest her. For example: the troop had a trip planned and reservations at a state park made months ahead, she decided another park would be better, and made reservations there, instead. She recently cancelled a day outing the troop had planned, because she thought that not enough boys (4) wanted to go. she called the SPL and had him call all the boys and cancel the night before the trip. We had a fundraiser planned this weekend, and agreed to meet and load stuff at a certain time and cover certain areas - and she again called all the boys and changed the plans, leaving me and another mom, and our two boys out of the loop, and left us to load and do the fundraiser by ourselves. She committed the troop to another fundraiser, without the committee's vote or permission, (raising and selling pumpkins)and then proceeded to call the boys out on a meeting night to weed the patch!

 

In addition, we have some adults who have their own agenda's - but do at least, try to work within the framework of the committee. We have one who really wants to push "no impact camping", we have a couple who are really into badges and advancement- and push their kids like crazy, we have some of the men with no kids - used to having older boys in the troop, who want to do 50 mile bike trips and backpacking and high adventure - when most of our boys are 11 and 12, and haven't ever paddled a canoe! (our bike trip this spring was 25 miles, and for most of the boys, the first time they'd been on their bikes since fall - most were not conditioned for it!)

 

the boys are sick of fundraisers ( which we don't need - that's another story) we had NO activities in June except fundraisers and reg meetings, and the adults are ready to BBQ her over the next campfire!

 

Despite her big independant streak, this woman is a likable and knowledgable asset to the troop - I don't think we really want to push her out (and in the process add to the reputation started by the two dads mentioned previously)we just want to get her to be part of the team.

 

Our troop is getting smaller, and we are getting divided among too many different agendas, and commitments. the boys and the parents that are left are getting burned out and frustrated. It's summer, and vacations and sports are cutting into our time, and I'm afraid that without something strong and drastic - this troop with the great history is going to be just that - history.

 

Personally, i think we ought to drop everything but fun and active Webelos recruiting (like i said - we don't need money) we need boys to broaden our base of interests and adults with skills and commitment to the BOYS.

 

I did quite a bit of training this spring - and the one thing i had pounded in my head, was BOY - lead programming. they talk it in our troop - but they don't DO it. And we have some AWESOME boys, too. it makes me sick to see it falling apart.

 

Sorry this is so long - but any suggestions?

 

thanks!

 

 

 

 

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Hi Laura,

Sorry you're not having more fun. When the parents aren't enjoying scouting it is a sure bet the scouts aren't.

 

Here is what I would suggest.

1. What's past is past. Let it go.

2. Focus on the current troop and using the scout methods. Focusing on recruitment before your program is working is not the answer.

3. Get more adults to training. If you are the only one who knows what the big picture is the puzzle pieces will never get put together.

4. Gather like minded parents to your home along with the Charter Rep if possible. Ply them with pie and coffee and positive words, then say we need to change for the good of the boys. Make a new plan and at the next committee meeting lay out your expectations and your personal committments to affect the change.

 

Best of Luck,

Bob White

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Been there. A good resource for you and the troop is the unit comissioner. If you have one, invite them to a committee and/or troop meeting. Your COR may help too. After all, the chartered organization there too. The commissioners, both unit and ADC, are not the enemy and will come if invited. The local OA lodge or chapter is available to help you with the outdoor program. The lodge is there for the troops, many of their arrowmen will help with the selfless service or counsel.

Committee training is good for the learning who's job is what. From what I can see the problem is that she is trying to deliver a program without approval. What is fun for adults is not always fun for scouts. Maybe if you or the commissioner could get her to a roundtable to speak with other scouters. Maybe a visit to another troop and watching how they do things. They are not the enemy either. Sometimes, you may have to hurt her feelings and lay it on the table and see whether she will let the PLC and the committee get things running smooth. Hope this helps.

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Some (I hope MOST) Districts/Councils will send a trainer to your unit if you have a certain number of adults (4?) present. If this could happen, 1) you could get all the adults trained, 2) they would all hear the same thing, and 3) a neutral party (the trainer) would be the one "instructing" them, instead of you.

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For all the help we need we are supposed to ask or UC's for help. Someone please read its 7 o clock do you know where your unit commissiones is? Alot of troops dont have UC or they are doing there own thing. That is why my advice is to get help from a different troop including a joint troop committee meeting to discuss some activiteis for both troops.

 

If that doesn't work dont be afraid to ask for help from the DE they actually have good advice.

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LauraT7

My 2 cents

It sounds like its time for an all adult. meeting. Yes, invite the UC and COR also anyone else on your district training committee that will listen. Gather all the adults and let them know what you see. With the knowledge and moral support of you higher ups you should be able to get the program back together. With having adults interested in different areas you just need them to work as a team for the common cause "The Boys" Don't give up, Remember if the boys aren't enjoying activities as a troop you have a good chance of losing more before its all over.

 

 

YIS

 

jethehiker

 

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LauraT7,

Sounds like these adults forgot the 1st word in Boy Scouts is Boy. I would get the unit commissioner involved and possibly the district commissioner. Scouting isn't a dictatorship.

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

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Lots of good advice -

 

We do have the COR involved - She is the Mom of our new/acting/temp Scoutmaster. Like I said, they are a scouting family from way back. I have no idea how many hats she has worn in the district, but they are many, and she is a terrific resource.

 

We have only 2 arrowmen in our troop - one boy working on his Eagle, and our new scoutmaster to be. Unfortunately, OA in not very active in our area - wish it was. We did just have an OA election, (first in years) and some of our boys will be "tapped out" at camp this summer.

 

We also just sent five boys to JLT camp for a week, again, for the first time in years.

 

Actually a group of 5 or 6 of us have taken advantage of all the training offered this spring, (Basic leader, SM and ASM, Committee training, and other training) and while we are a little green - we do have a solidly trained group - except for this one person, who, of course, did not take advantage of the training offered. It is these "new trainees" that are encouraging involvement in OA and JLT, using the district resources, etc.

 

We're having a committee meeting on Mon - I'll talk to our to-be SM and the COR and see what they think about getting a Unit com there. sounds like that might keep it from getting nasty and get some good things going instead.

 

and Bob - thanks - I HAD been thinking of recruitment - but you are definately right - "Focusing on recruitment before your program is working is not the answer." so I'm going to back off on that. I don't need to be pushing MY agendas either ! ;-)

 

I'll try to work on improving our program and seeing what the boys like, with an eye to simply noting what works that we might invite webelos to AFTER we get the team working again.

 

As always, Lots of good minds here - Thanks!

 

lauraT

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Sorry for your problem. Yes, I said your problem because I've been there and done that. I had a similar incident and invited the DE to a parent's meeting. At the meeting, the DE said we were doing the right thing and would support our pursuit of the scouting values. A special committee meeting was subsequently called to order and I was thrown out. Imagine that, an Eagle scout with 20 years of scouting experience was remove by the CC who was in his second year of scouting. And the DE sat there agreeing with the CC.

 

Since then, our scouting family has found a new Pack and couldn't be happier. Meanwhile the old Pack continues to fall apart with the boys and its leaders leaving scouting altogether. So my only advise to you is to be careful of what the "professional scouters" say, and keep your eyes and options open.

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