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Basementdweller

Why Don't you pay for it?

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No, it's not a success, but where does the failure lie?

 

I agree with Base. Scouting is a voluntary extra-curricular activity. If either parents or Scouts cannot play by the rules they don't need to be in the program.

 

You could tack the money onto the boys recharter fee, but, frankly, the money is beside the point. The mother's utter contempt for the troop leadership is the real concern. Parents must be on board with the program and a partner with the unit. This broad ain't. What would have happened if her son had been injured or his behavior necessitated him going home? I tell my parents (sorta jokingly, but not completely) if they aren't available to pick their son up within drive time of our location plus about 30 minutes, I turn their him over to Social Services or law enforcement.

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IMHO, I don't consider this a success. The boy dropping scouting may be removing the one thing in his stable in his life. I'm not saying it is wrong, it is just different from what I would have done.

 

 

Your right the boys loses. Are you going to send me a check for his recharter fee, uniforms and summer camp?

 

 

OK big mouth, what exactly would you have done?

 

Call family services, left him on his door step, call the law.

 

So the next time she tries this, it will be a weekend campout or god forbid summer camp. So mom could careless about scouting, but she wants her free babysitting.

 

She sent a note with another parent giving permission for him to be taken home by them.

 

 

 

 

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IMHO' date=' I don't consider this a success. The boy dropping scouting may be removing the one thing in his stable in his life. I'm not saying it is wrong, it is just different from what I would have done.[/quote']

 

I'm with BD on this one. Don't use actions that don't matter for problems that you can't fix.

 

One can spend all day splitting hairs between judgmental SM vs. ignorant parent, but the best way out is for the boy to own his financial predicament, and ask scouters (probably a MC or whoever) for a way to earn some $$ to get him some independence. Not a ton, just enough to drop into his scout account so parents can't get it.

 

Then he can begin to underwrite his cost of scouting from registration fees on up.

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What would have happened if her son had been injured or his behavior necessitated him going home? I tell my parents (sorta jokingly' date=' but not completely) if they aren't available to pick their son up within drive time of our location plus about 30 minutes, I turn their him over to Social Services or law enforcement.[/quote']

 

You remind me of a friend of mine who was a summer camp director. Had a "scout" cause such major problems at summer camp, the the unit leadership called the parents to pick him up. They were having a second honeymoon and refused to do so. The leader's approached my friend the CD to deal with them. Friend calls them up and find out they were in Florida, about 9 hours away.

 

CD gave them 10 hours to pack, pay the bills, and pick up the son or he was going to call child protective services to pick up an abandoned child. They got to the camp with 20 minutes to spare. This was around the time of a jamboree in which one of the council contingent had to be picked up by mom and sent home. So no one thought he was joking.

 

 

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Your right the boys loses. Are you going to send me a check for his recharter fee, uniforms and summer camp?

 

 

OK big mouth, what exactly would you have done?

 

Call family services, left him on his door step, call the law.

 

So the next time she tries this, it will be a weekend campout or god forbid summer camp. So mom could careless about scouting, but she wants her free babysitting.

 

She sent a note with another parent giving permission for him to be taken home by them.

 

 

 

 

No need to be rude to me. I am entitled to my opinion and respect that you have yours.

 

You talked about how you had him sit and eat a PB&J sandwich during movie event. How do you think you made him feel? You probably made him feel worthless.

 

I have paid more than my share for scouts in my unit that need it. If they are unwilling but able to pay the fees I have a discussion with the parents not the boy. If they are unable to pay and willing to put in the effort, our unit manages to swing the recharter fees but not some of the addition events. It isn't a perfect system, but I do my best to focus that the program is for the boys.

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... You probably made him feel worthless.

Yes and no. The boy hit the bottom of his "safety net". Now, it would have been nice for it to happen where BD could help him forage for some cattails and trap some fish in a sieve. (Or entice them to bite on some baler twine .. seen that done.) Then he could have gone home angry, but empowered. He may not appreciate it now, but by forgoing the movie with him, SM could afford the PP&J and gas in the Mrs' car. It's not what a boy wants, so on one level that's downright mean. But it may be what the boy needs. If his mom pulls stunts like this in other areas of his life, he will need to understand that level of resourcefulness ... accepting that other people may help ... but not in the terms he thinks he needs.

 

I have paid more than my share for scouts in my unit that need it. If they are unwilling but able to pay the fees I have a discussion with the parents not the boy. If they are unable to pay and willing to put in the effort' date=' our unit manages to swing the recharter fees but not some of the addition events. It isn't a perfect system, but I do my best to focus that the program is for the boys.[/quote']

You mean the cubs, right? There the scouter's strategy is more straightforward. With Jr. High and High schoolers, we're constantly asking ourselves "Is this one he must manage? Or, must we cover the gap?" Minimizing emotional distress (even if it involves covering these exorbitant administrative fees) is often the wrong reason to cover the gap for a boy scout. It only sets him up for more failure down the road.

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Unfortunately been there, done some of that. In my case, I sent a formal bill for fees and costs to the Scout's parents. I itemized the expenses, listed the total cost, divided by the number of participants and then listed those that had paid and those that hadn't. Small letter detailing the need to be fair to all. The boy unfortunately did not come back. Or should I say the parents did not come back. This was after more than one occurance, and more than one drop and scoot. Never really had a chance to talk directly to the parents, they never contacted back. Sad, but it happens.

Now in Boy Scouts, back in my halcyon days of yoooth, we (the Patrol) had a Treasurer who collected weekly dues, which were put forth for movie tickets, etc. If we went camping, the food money was collected BEFORE the trip, and we adjusted the menu accordingly as we bought. Now, I see/hear "grubmasters" buying and AFTER the trip billing the Scouts and asking for repayment. And asking, and asking. Daddy's checkbook is always there..

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compassion...

 

I agree, it's important to have compassion for others, especially when they are acting poorly (it's easy to have compassion for the angels among us, but the ones that really need it are often far from that).

 

But there is compassion, and there is being a doormat. All we have on this incident is Basementdweller's description of the events. We don't know this scout's or his families story, and if we did, it would probably color our impressions (one way or the other).

 

I have no idea what the family in Basementdweller's case is like. What I do see is that Basementdweller is investing his time, money and emotional capital (i.e. heart) in scouting, and trying to do the best he can. It's a difficult situation to be in. We all want to do what is best for the scout, but there is a point where bad behavior by the parents does have to effect the scout to prevent that behavior from damaging the whole unit. It might be completely out of the scouts hands, but we can only do so much. I don't know if the parent in question simply has too much chaos in her life, or is trying to manipulate a free ride for her son. But Basementdweller is in a much better position to figure that out then any of us.

 

Should Basementdweller have allowed the scout to freeload in order to allow him to save face? If he did, would that have been fair to the scouts that payed their own way? Basementdweller's unit comes from a pretty low income community. For some of his scouts, getting the funds to pay for the event might have taken a substantial effort.

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Very interesting discussion.

 

The handling of the bowling/pizza event was right on the money. It would be one thing if a parent came to me beforehand to ask for assistance, but just doing the "drop and scoot" is completely unacceptable (as I'm sure everyone would recognize). I do admit to having spent a lot of money on various Scouts over the years. I don't regret any of it.

 

Dropping the Scout based on the actions of the parent(s) is a tougher call in my book. I wouldn't do it based on the information provided, but that doesn't make it the wrong decision. There's more to the story and a history I don't know.

 

There's no indication of even so much as a conversation with the mom in this matter, although I'm sure she knows the rules (even if she doesn't appear to understand what's right). It's possible that getting dumped out of Scouts will be just the tonic the kid needs - I've had Scouts like that - the hope is that a "fresh start" gives them a chance to re-make themselves and seek a different outcome.

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Of course I don't know the whole story of Basement's Troop and I don't claim to. However, I find that not allowing the young "free loader" to bowl and eat pizza with the other Scouts is a shame. On the other hand, I don't know if that Scout was malicious and said, "hey, I'm not going to pay for this and totally make out like a bandit." I think it's great that Basement didn't let the boy go without dinner completely. :D

 

Going back to the original post, I don't think it's even remotely fair that anyone would suggest the Scoutmaster pay for the entire outing. That's just ludicrous.

 

One of the things I helped create as part of my Wood Badge ticket was an "Earn Your Way to Camp" program. My personal belief is that lack of money should never be a reason why a Scout can't participate in an outing. Any Scout can apply for financial assistance provided that he is active, participates in service projects, and, in the case of summer camp, he must apply for a council campership. Our Troop is fortunate in that people approach me from the chartering org and the community asking if any Scouts need help to go to camp. I never turn that money down and I always find a good use for it.

 

I think it's time to set expectations with the parents and the Scouts. But at the same time, I don't think that removing a Scout from the Troop is going to do that boy any good. As someone mentioned before, Scouting is probably one of the only good things going on it this young man's life. For example, I had a Scout who didn't have money or much of a family and for those years he was a Scout he always had somewhere to go on Monday evenings for an hour and a half. He also had camping trips to look forward to. Sometimes he was a real jerk and made my life hell. But I wouldn't go back and change that for the world.

 

In the other thread on stranding kids I mentioned our Troop's policy of home drop-offs. It avoids this very situation and parents are aware that their kids will be dropped off at home. Maybe that doesn't work for Basement's Troop. I don't know.

 

Personally, had I been at that bowling alley I would have rented the shoes and given the boy a slice of pizza. There's no reason a lesson couldn't be taught to the boy at the same time. It's a teachable moment but not a time to humiliate him and make him feel different.

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I think Base handled it just right. If the boy was made to feel worthless, that's on his Mom, not his Scoutmaster. Mom was well aware of the cost and was well aware that the Scoutmaster was not going to cover it for the boys. The boy still got to do the overnight, just not the parts of it that had to be paid for. Mom's "lesson" in "how to be entitled" just got turned on it's head.

 

Well done!

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Of course I don't know the whole story of Basement's Troop and I don't claim to. However, I find that not allowing the young "free loader" to bowl and eat pizza with the other Scouts is a shame. On the other hand, I don't know if that Scout was malicious and said, "hey, I'm not going to pay for this and totally make out like a bandit." I think it's great that Basement didn't let the boy go without dinner completely. :D

...

Personally, had I been at that bowling alley I would have rented the shoes and given the boy a slice of pizza. There's no reason a lesson couldn't be taught to the boy at the same time. It's a teachable moment but not a time to humiliate him and make him feel different.

 

Interestingly, at least to me, I was just this morning listening to a podcast talking about the balance between the realist and the idealist in us all. This particular situation, and the drop-off thread, seem to test the elasticity of that boundary for all the players. I suppose the challenge is a mis-alignment of the boundary between all the players.

 

I don't know what I'd have done. I have said in committee meetings myself that it's wrong to punish the boy for the actions of the parent. I suspect I'd have let the boy participate and tried to deal with the parent separately, particularly if it was the first time it had happened. The 2nd, 3rd or 10th? Hard to tell.

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You guys are absolutely ridiculous.

 

 

So I am making the lad feel worthless?

 

He let his mother drop him off in the hopes that I would pay his way anyway.

 

HIs mother dropped him off hoping I would cave in.

 

Till his mother failed to answer the phone and his emergency contact did as well I very well may have paid his way. But I understood what was at stake here. She was testing my resolve. I was a man of my word. while her boy was tended too while she did what ever she did that night. He did not participate in the scouting event. I fed him and made sure he was safe and that is my responsibility. He did not bowl, enjoy the movie or eat pizza with the troop, because he didn't pay for it.

 

 

 

While many of you have six figure incomes, I do not and have sunk way too much personal cash into scouting for boys who are not my own to even begin to reconcile.

 

Where is that line?

$10 for a camp out, a pair of socks, a new scout shirt, book, summer camp.

 

I will not pay for pizza, movies or bowling for a lad.

 

 

 

compassion.....pssssst.

Guess you haven't been taken advantage enough yet.

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You guys are absolutely ridiculous.

 

 

So I am making the lad feel worthless?

 

He let his mother drop him off in the hopes that I would pay his way anyway.

 

HIs mother dropped him off hoping I would cave in.

 

Till his mother failed to answer the phone and his emergency contact did as well I very well may have paid his way. But I understood what was at stake here. She was testing my resolve. I was a man of my word. while her boy was tended too while she did what ever she did that night. He did not participate in the scouting event. I fed him and made sure he was safe and that is my responsibility. He did not bowl, enjoy the movie or eat pizza with the troop, because he didn't pay for it.

 

 

 

While many of you have six figure incomes, I do not and have sunk way too much personal cash into scouting for boys who are not my own to even begin to reconcile.

 

Where is that line?

$10 for a camp out, a pair of socks, a new scout shirt, book, summer camp.

 

I will not pay for pizza, movies or bowling for a lad.

 

 

 

compassion.....pssssst.

Guess you haven't been taken advantage enough yet.

 

 

I love you, too, Basement. Remember that time I thanked you for being a Scoutmaster even when people weren't nice to you? I meant that.

 

Also, I make nowhere near six figures. But I know when it's worth it to help one of my Scouts. None of us were with you but, in my opinion, you made it sound like it was the mother who was taking advantage of you and not the Scout--the "mother pulled a fast one".

 

Take care and keep Scouting with a smile.

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