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Just What Would It Take...

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Boy, OGE..., you're taking a risk asking that question around here. But let me take a stab at it, for our troop has 'invited' a number of boys to go elsewhere over the years.


I don't think you'll get a solid definitive 'this is what he'd have to do' type of answer. The way we look at it, in situations of behavioral problems, there's only so many volunteer adults. And they can only be spread so thin in the areas of responsibility that exist within the troop. When the adult/scout ratio reaches a critical level, one single onery foul-mouthed mis-behaving boy can really cut into the attention that the adults need to pay to the entire troop. The resources of the troop can opnly be spread so far at any one time. In those instances, and we've had a few, Mom & Dad are asked to sit with the leadership to discuss the situation. Invariably, their take on the subject is that their son is a little angel at home, so they don't know why we things otherwise. Our answer is that we request (read 'require') one or both of them to come to the next few meetings to witness what we see. If they can't, we can't take their boy. We don't have the resources to appoint one adult leader to be the boys mentor and guide and disciplinarian. And these issues are usually beyond what the SPL and PLC should be held responsible for handling. Unless one of the parents can attend each and every meeting and outing when their son is present, hoping that his behavior will eventually change for the best and be what they say they see at home, the boy is no longer welcome. Sorry, but we can't and won't use the few and valuable volunteer resources on one boy at the expense of the many. If they're willing to get involved, hurrah..., we'll do what we can to help and train them so they can attend to the issues of behavior while their son learns to become a 'member' of the larger group.


Not that we've faced the situation, but with regard to the pregnancy issue, I think we'd have a fairly hard time looking upon the boy as living the Oath and Law. Some will say that a boy like that needs Scouting like no other. Our response would be that he needs the help of other, and more professional counseling organizations well before he needs Scouting. A boy in that situation is embarking on a trail unlike anything Scouting has to offer, and he needs help beyond what Scouting can give to prepare him for the oncoming birth and parental responsibilities.


What we have seen, is boys in Scouting getting in trouble with the law. In those instances, some soul searching has been the road travelled, but in each case we've seen, as with the preganancy issue, the help and counseling the boy needs is well beyond what the troop can offer. The boys have been invited to leave until such time that both they and their parents can show that there has been a life change of direction, and Scouting can be of some worth in the boys future.


We're all volunteers, and only volunteers. Many situations like the pregnancy and law issues are well beyond what even the trained volunteer can offer, knowing that he/she is going in the right direction. The professionals are trained to deal with child related issues such as these, we're not. We're only trained in how to deliver the Scouting program, and we should not pretend that we can handle things beyond that unless that happens to be our career. And even then, it should be handled outside the troop.


We've had a number of boys 'invited' to leave. We've told 2 never to come back. We've left the door open for others to find their way back if they so choose and can show evidence of positive change. We feel bad every time we've had to take that road, but we don't lose sleep over it.


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With the scout/father issue, I am still trying to decide. Other issues like constant disruptive behavior, fighting, etc, I can see asking them to leave the troop/scouts. I came down pretty strong on the side of not allowing the pregnant female leader to be a role model, am I being hypocritical now that it is a Scout who is a father/child who I know? Maybe if I did not know the boy I could more easily take the stance that he is not a good role model and ask him to leave. I am also curious to see others post on your thread, it is a good question.




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We have told one scout he is not welcome to attend summer camp with the Troop and would be on probation for the upcomming year. He is still a member, but has a history of behavior problems that constantly demand attention from adult leaders.


This last summer the scout in question had a run in with the camp Director and was nearly sent home. The ASM at camp agreed to take responsibility for the scout for the rest of the week. The scout managed to stay out of trouble at the camp level, but continued to be disruptive within the Troop. The ASM basically said next year it would be either him or the Scout, he would not put up with another camp week with such behavior. The Troop Committee agreed, this scout's ongoing behavior issues were not secret and had gotten to the point where they potentially threatened the rest of the Troop's camp experience.


I don't know if there are strict rules as to when a Scout should be removed from membership. I believe membership is a priviledge and the Scouts and adult leaders do not have a right to membership, and there are circumstances where they could lose the priviledge. But I think each case needs to be judged individually within each Troop for each individual.




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There are reasons but before I get into them let me start off by saying scouts who are asked to leave are very few and far between.


1) When a scouts partisipation creates an unaccaptable risk to himself, the scouts, the unit leaders or the unit as a whole.


2) when the scout is no longer getting any thing out of the program *AND* is a major drain on the troop.


3) When the member is such a drain on the program that we can no longer justify his negitive impact on the program. (Can only recall one case and he left on his own after we caught him breaking into an airport while on a campout next to it. Had he come back he would have been sent home.)


4) when the needs of the scout could be better served by an other toop the youth may be informed of this as an option to the boy. (example: Scout was the only one with in 2 years of his age. We helped get him into a unit where he would not be a babysitter. Hated to see him go.)


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Ok I'm no longer with a troop so maybe I don't count?

First let me say that if directed by the Charter organization or the Scout Exec. I would of course comply with their directive. I do however feel that Scouts and Scouting is for all boys. We are there to help them, something that we can't do if they are not there.I have in the past had Lads who have managed to land themselves in hot water and in a few cases in trouble with the law.I don't see anything in the BSA literature that tells me that Scouting is only for good kids. When a Scout makes the Scout Oath he is saying that he will do his best.While I like to think of myself as being a good judge of character I can't look inside a boys heart and really know if he has done his best. I can't know if he was just lucky and didn't get caught? I can't know a lot of what is going on. As long as I don't know how can I set myself up as judge and jury? I can't. Sad to say we don't live in a perfect world at times we all mess up. I do think that everyone is deserving of another chance and some people need lots of chances. There may be a situation where repetitive wrong doing without any effort to change for the better might after I had tried my best to deal with the situation and the Scout, ask him to look at joining another unit. I would I think have to accept that maybe just maybe that I had failed the Scout.


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When the Institution Head or the Charter Organization Representative determinines that


A) the behavior of a scout creates a safety hazard to himself or others


B) that his behavior puts an unreasonable burden on the ability of the troop to deliver a quality program


C) for any reason determined appropriate

The scout can be removed from the unit.


The Council Scout Executive must be informed of the decision. No other persons have the authority to make this decision within the unit.(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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Your troop had a boy that caused so much trouble at summer camp that every class leader that this boy had wanted to talk with me, they told me that they did not want him unless an adult came with-- ( a long week)-- this happens most of the times we camp out and in the troop meetings-- so to keep him in the troop we wanted one of his parents to come with him-- his parents didn't want to do this. It got to the point that other parents wanted to take their boys to another troop-- his parents didn't want to make the commitment

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Thankfully as an adult leader I have fortunately never had a boy that was problematic. When I was 17 and SPL, though, I was presented with a new troop member that I just could not handle. Smart-mouthed, dangerous, and disruptive. I presented the issues to my Scoutmaster, and we determined that we'd talk to him and have a period during which we'd monitor his behavior. He only got worse.


I'm glad Bob posted, because he detailed exactly what my troop leaders did in that case. Our COR and Institution Head (a pastor) were involved, as was our Commissioner and even our DE. The boys parents were brought in, and though I wasn't part of the proceedngs, it was decided that the boy would leave the troop.


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I can think of only one instance where a boy was permanently removed from membership. This boy had seriously injured another scout at summer camp and was viewed as a danger to himself and others.


I have seen a couple of scouts suspended for six months for some gross misbehaviour who chose not to come back.


Question for BW: You said that only the instutional head of the chartered organization had the authority at the unit level to remove someone. I can see that such a person has that authority. I thought the COR, if there is one, also had that authority. Further, suspension is not permanent removal. Who has the authority to suspend a member from active participation?



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If you re-read my post eisely you will note that I wrote either the IH or the COR had the authority and no one else in the unit. The same holds true for suspensions. The unit is a youth program of the Charter Organization. Unit leaders and committee persons are there to operate the unit for the CO, not to determine who it shall serve.


Hope that helps,


Bob White(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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I am going to hyperbolize a little. I understand about the behavior in the troop, and the troop I enjoy has had its share of horror stories with disruptive behavior. But actually I wasn't talking about in meeting or activties behavior, I know how to deal with that.



Lets say scout/father stays in the troop, he apologizes and is a model citizen, until he gets girl number 2 pregnant. Now what do you do?



Police are called to the local high school and apprehend vandals "red handed" Amoungst the alleged perps is a scout from the troop, what do you do ?


What a scout does outside of the troop has to have consequences, just what actions would you consider "bad enough"

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You are the waiter in a restaurant, a customer comes in that you know for a fact cheated your father on a business deal. At what point do you decide to throw him out of the restaurant?


You don't! It's not your restaurant, you just work there. It is the owner or the manager's decison as to who gets to be a customer.


"What a scout does outside of the troop has to have consequences, just what actions would you consider "bad enough""


Perhaps, but I don't make that decision, I just work here. It is for the IH or the COR to determine who gets to be a member.


If I were the IH or COR I would look at each individual situation and decide if the scout's behavior is dangerous to himself or others or is an unreasonable burden on the ability of the unit to deliver a quality program.


There are some many elements that would need to be considered that I don't feel I could make up my mind ahead of time and still judge the scout or the situation fairly.


Bob White

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