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ASM1

Oh My! Seeking advice on this one...

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Greetings everyone, I have posted here before but never thought I would be the one in trouble seeking advice. I guess we learn everyday.

 

Anyway, recently we had to replace our scoutmaster because our old scoutmaster had family obligations to tend to. There were five candidates for the position. The troop parents were very devided over the choice, but they were not involved in the process of choosing. The troop committee, and our COR were the deciding factor. A few of the ASM's were consulted on their recommendations, I was one of them. For the sake of this forum, I strongly recommended candidate #1. Our committee chair also wanted candidate #1, but not for the same reasons. I wanted candidate #1 because I thought him to be of outstanding character. Our CC wanted him because he was freshly retired military, Special Forces.

 

That holds little water with me, character must come first. Anyway, like I said the troop was fiercly divided over the choices. The committee elected candidate #1 and the COR approved. Done deal.

 

Before I go further, I meant to mention above that my wife is on the troop committe, and we both are on the district activities committee for our council. So I think our recommendations were counted.

 

That was two weeks ago. We went to summer camp last week and what a roller coaster ride we were in for. Candidate #1, knowing full well that the troop was very divided in the choices for SM, assumed on his own that me and my wife were against him and he went clear out of his way to completely crush our sons activities for the week. Our son came home with nothing. As a result, I had words with the SM after we came home to alert him of the true situation.

 

Today the new SM calls me and insists that I take my wife, my son, and leave the troop. This SM has been in scouting all of 3 years, most of which he missed because of active duty. My wife and I have been in scouting for more than 30 years with our four sons. Tonight, our CC tells me that she has no choice but to support the new SM's decision and remove us from the troop.

 

Roundtable tonight, most were there, none would talk to us. Now I have to ask advice, do any of you see something here that I am missing? Were we used to gain this persons position only to be discarded after the successful appointment? And what the heck to we do now?

 

Our last son is 15, Life scout and starting to work on his Eagle project. Our oldest son is Eagle and also an ASM of this troop, but has been inactive for the last year due to cancer. There has to be something here that I am missing.

 

Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated. WOW, what a slammer!

 

ASM1

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Sounds like a Troop Commit decision to me. If what this all boils down to is petty politics within your Troop than you should make the other Commitee members aware of these abuses, as they are to act as an impartial check on the Scoutmaster's power. You might ask them to consider the Scout law while they make this decision, as the chap serving as SM doesn't sound like he's living up to the ideals of Scouting.

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Wow, hate to tell you this but you maybe out looking in. The key to your organization is the Chartering Organization which appoints the Charter Rep. If they are the ones indorsing this then youre done. Technically, the scoutmaster has no say in the matter but this is of little value if the Chartering Organization and the Charter Rep. agree with him. If the Chartering Organization has a different opinion then your council will (or should) help you resolve it along with your commissioner etc. But, bottom-line the CO has that right and Ive never seen any council ever tell or try to tell a CO that they cannot appoint whomever they wishunless the appointment is against BSA policy.

 

Also, in another thread I started How many adults heres another example of adults not being trained and widely accepted just because having many adults is thought a good thing sorry but just had to get that in.

 

Anyway, work with council and your commissioner and try to resolve it. If not then either have your son participate in that troop or look for another one. If you cannot find another unit then seek starting your own. Starting your own isnt difficult at all and many counsels are more than happy to increase charters.

 

 

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While the SM has wide latitude in disciplinary matters, removal is an extreme action that needs support of the troop committee. I suggest getting on the telephone to all the other committee members. The CC and SM also owe you a direct conversation as to the reasons for the action. It sounds to me like the new SM is one needing to be removed.

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I might add that people always use the excuse, "I had no choice" Sounds like "I was just following orders." The CC does have a choice. She should convene a meeting of the full committee to fully and fairly air the matter. She is not obligated to do anything, particularly this drastic, just because the SM says he wants it done. If that were true there would be no need of a committee or a chair at all.

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Well, I appreciate your responses. We are lost for answers, after five years in this troop I have never had in the past, a reason to be suspicious of leadership/committee activities. We are floored to say the least. Our boy wants to quit scouts now, can you imagine? A scout with brothers involved in scouting, one of them an Eagle ASM in the troop fighting cancer? Where did this come from? Wife says it was planned months ago and we were the willing victims. Is she right? Who Knows... But blown away we are. And what about the primary reason we are involved? My son now wants to quit Scouting... I have a problem with this one.

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It may not matter at this point but you didn't mention how the COR felt about your removal. I bring this up because the SM, the CC, and the other committee members have no authority to remove you from the troop. That has to be done by the COR.

 

Assuming that the COR approved this action, there is nothing that can be done. The COR has the authority to take such action.

 

It is impossible for us to know all the ins and outs of the personality clashes through the eyes of just one individual. Whatever caused this action is now past. You need to find out where your son wants to go from here. Hopefully there is another troop nearby where he can complete his scouting experience.

 

I hope things work out for your family,

Bob White

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Fortunately, the troop COR ia also a firend of mine, and has not yet been informed of the upcoming axe to the neck... I do think he will severely question this action. But in the end, how does that sit for our son and his future with this SM? And this troop?

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If the ax is going to fall your friend the COR is the one holding the ax. Only the COR can remove you from the troop. He or she can remove you, or remove the SM, or even better... step in and mediate the problem to a resolution that best serves the scouts.

 

Consider contacting your friend and askiing for a meeting of the SM, you, and the COR to discuss the situation.

 

Bob

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Whatever the outcome of this unfortunate situation, please do not abandon the Scouting program. We need dedicated families like you! And above all, do not let your son drop out being so close to Eagle. It can make a difference in his life in future years. I'm sure there is another troop near you that would be very welcoming. And my prayers are with your son battling the health issues.

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For Bob White's opinion....this requires some "peeling of the onion"...Are you saying that only the COR can remove someone from a troop? In this case it appears to be a whole family but are you saying that the troop committee, for example, has no ability to remove even a boy for disciplinary reasons?

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The key to the whole thing is your son who is still in the troop. You might get the COR to tell the SM that you and your son are still in the troop, but is your son going to want to face an SM every week who wants him out? Who denies him advancement opportunities? My first priority would be to find another troop for my son and leave the petty politics of this troubled unit behind.

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Dan Williamson,

The role of the unit committee does not include approving or denying membership. The youth members and adult volunteers are members of the BSA through the unit sponsored by the chartering organization. The charter organization is responsible for membership.

 

The committee can certainly offer recommendations, but they have no authority in this particular matter.

 

I agree that leaving the scout in a hostile environment is counter productive. If the COR cannot calm this situation, it would would be best to move on to another unit.

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Bobs correct on this one; the CO has the ultimate say. If the CO and committee disagree then council will help mediate it to resolve the issue and they will even make a recommendation to the CO as to what should be done. But, if the CO drops the axe youre done. Either way you may want to consider another unit as politics like this maybe more than your son can handle.

 

Whatever you do, do not allow him to dropout especially since Eagle is on the horizon. You may find another unit more to your liking. Kids relate to athletes, so I use professional players that change teams as an example where players change teams but they dont quit the game. I another unit maybe in need of adults and welcome you into the program.

 

If another unit is not an option, then consider starting another unit. Many organizations are willing to charter a unit, but often they are without leaders to run the program. This can be a sticky situation for council if they feel the area is not big enough to support another troop causing a feud between troops is not what you want to do. If thats an issue, charter a Crew or a Varsity program. These programs are a standalone program that allows a boy to complete Eagle without being in a troop (they have to be a certain rank prior so check the rules). With a Venturing Crew you can offer something to the community that turns into a win-win situation for everyone.

 

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Thanks Bob White, you are correct.

 

I just emailed our COR concerning the problem, I am awaiting a reply. This is a sticky situation for him as well because I am also a member of the CO.

 

I have talked to my son and he wishes to remain in scouting, I would hate to leave this troop in which we have spent 4 years in, but my son must come first. If he chooses to switch troops, we will switch. If he wishes to remain in this troop, well, we will have to see how this situation comes out first.

 

Tonights scout meeting should be interesting to say the least.

 

ASM1

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