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Oldscout448

can a CO change the rules? if so, how far?

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In another thread there was a question of adult authority from one unit, a cub pack, spilling over into a scout troop if both had the same C.O.   One of our posters when asked to show where this was written B.S.A. policy, replied that if it was the C.O.s policy then the official B.S.A. rules and regs. were superseded.       I did not know that was possible.   If it is then it begs the question, how far can the C.O. rules differ from scoutings before you can no longer in truth call their youth group a scout troop?

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COs have a lot of authority since they own the units. COs can make stricter policies if they want. While they can give authority of Cub Scout leaders over Boy Scouts, I strongly do not recommend it. There are two completely different programs using trwo completely different methods. Most Cub Scout leaders do not understand Boy Scouts and how it works.

And if the Cub Leader, or troop committee member for that matter, is not active with the troop, wear a uniform, etc , how would a Scout know that person is registered? Best example of that type of situation was a recent fundraiser. SPL gave directions to his PLs, and one PL was following through with them. All of a sudden an adult tells him to stop what he is doing and go back to work. A minute of two later I pass the PL and he is confused and asked me what to do. I asked him did he know who it was who told him to stop doing what the SPL told him to do? "No." then I asked was he in uniform? "No."  Then do what the SPL told you to do.

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I've had scouts complain about being in a dysfunctional family. (These were not boys showing/reporting any signs of abuse, BTW.) I asked, "Are you alive? Then it seems to have functioned."

I've known:

  • CO's who wanted to charge rent.
  • CO's who asked the troop to go to mass as if their camping activity extended to Sunday. Non Catholics could wait outside the church for that hour if their faith demanded it.
  • COs who would not remove leaders who generated drama.
  • CO's who welcomed (insisted?) that girls in the community be part of the program. Rogue troops do not happen in vacuums.

 

I would say that if the CO insisted on something egregious, like refusing to send its leaders to training, that would be too far. 

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It would seem reasonable for the CO to add rules about how the troop operates when they don't compete with official BSA rules.  Those rules could be more restrictive.  For example: the troop can not plan an activity at a time that conflicts with other CO activities.  The referenced rule that boy scouts should obey cub scout leaders feels like that category.

A CO cannot change advancement rules.  They cannot say - here's extra work a scout has to do.

Beyond that, I believe they can make other changes they see fit.  For example, they could say no patrols.   The more they remove here, the less like a BSA troop they are.

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9 hours ago, Oldscout448 said:

In another thread there was a question of adult authority from one unit, a cub pack, spilling over into a scout troop if both had the same C.O.   One of our posters when asked to show where this was written B.S.A. policy, replied that if it was the C.O.s policy then the official B.S.A. rules and regs. were superseded.       I did not know that was possible.   If it is then it begs the question, how far can the C.O. rules differ from scoutings before you can no longer in truth call their youth group a scout troop?

Of course it is possible for BSA to be superseded. BSA is not the ultimate authority in the world.

If a park ranger tells you to pack up and move to another camp site, you do it. His authority supersedes that of anyone in your unit. If a police officer tells you to stop doing something. You stop. No argument. It doesn't matter who told you to do it.

I agree with Eagle94. A scout should not take his orders from just any Tom, Dick, or Harry who happens to wander by and wants to butt in. The scout should know the person, or at least know what sort of authority the person has. There is a big difference between obeying a police officer (or a fireman, paramedic, etc.) and obeying some random passerby.

At my CO, a staff member can over-rule any volunteer. A teacher can over-rule a scoutmaster.

The scouts know all the teachers. If a teacher tells a scout to move a display out of the lobby, the scout must do it, even if a SPL or scout leader told him to put it there. The scout must obey the teacher. It doesn't matter if the teacher is registered with (or has any position or standing) with BSA. The teacher's authority comes from the CO, not from BSA.

From the very beginning, BSA understood that having the Chartered Organizations own the units would create some interesting challenges. It had always felt that the benefits of such an arrangement outweighed the difficulties. This has been true for a very long time. 

I sense that there are a lot of execs and council/district scouters who would like BSA to be more like girl scouts, with the councils owning the units, but for now, that is not how it works. The CO's own the units.

 

Edited by David CO

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In the school lobby of course the teacher has authority, in the park the ranger does. It's a matter of the position the person holds and the corresponding location.  Outside of their specific area they are just another citizen. 

As a scouter it seems my main function while camping with the troop is preventing helicopter parents from interfering with the patrol leaders who are trying to lead.  That is after all one of the main things they are supposed to learn in scouting, right?

It's an old saying ,I think you will find it in Machiavelli,  that you never publicly undercut a subordinates  authority unless you are attempting to discredit him and replace him, or render him inept in the eyes of his subjects and thus unable to lead them.

 

 

 

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21 minutes ago, Oldscout448 said:

 

As a scouter it seems my main function while camping with the troop is preventing helicopter parents from interfering with the patrol leaders who are trying to lead.  That is after all one of the main things they are supposed to learn in scouting, right?

 

Right. 

It gets tricky when the parent is also someone who can supersede your authority, like a teacher. It puts the scout leader in a tough spot. You want to do things the right way, but you must still give in to a higher authority. It's not easy to give in when you know that you are right.

When this happens, it is up to the CO to set it right.

 

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44 minutes ago, Oldscout448 said:

 

It's an old saying, I think you will find it in Machiavelli, that you never publicly undercut a subordinate's authority unless you are attempting to discredit him and replace him, or render him inept in the eyes of his subjects and thus unable to lead them.

 

Sometime it is necessary. I'm sure that you wouldn't want me to let a teacher, who is also the parent of a scout, walk all over a scout leader because I am too concerned about undercutting a teacher's authority, would you?

You have put you finger on the difficulty of being an administrator. You need to direct and supervise your staff without diminishing them in the eyes of the students and parents. They need that respect in order to do their jobs.

I do this by focusing on the policy rather than the person. My staff is usually pretty good about understanding the distinction.

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1 hour ago, Oldscout448 said:

 

It's a matter of the position the person holds and the corresponding location.  Outside of their specific area they are just another citizen. 

 

This is the biggest problem I have with the scout execs. They don't get it.

BSA would like to treat scout leaders like they are subject to BSA rules and authority, 24 hours a day, in every location and circumstance. This doesn't work. A scout leaders kids should not be forbidden from having friends over for a sleepover because of their dad being a scout leader.

I am a teacher. BSA cannot insist that I have two-deep leadership in my classroom because some of my students might also be scouts. Time, place, and circumstance do matter.

 

Edited by David CO

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31 minutes ago, David CO said:

 

Sometime it is necessary. I'm sure that you wouldn't want me to let a teacher, who is also the parent of a scout, walk all over a scout leader because I am too concerned about undercutting a teacher's authority, would you?

 

I have read this thrice,  but I am still not sure I understand what exactly you are saying.     

Are we talking about a teacher/parent in a classroom setting?   Or in the school  gym where the scouts meet?   Or camping  on land owned by the Scouter?  In the first two it is a given that the teacher should and does have authority. Although they should interact with the SM. rather than directly with the scouts if possible.   In the latter I do not perceive how a teacher would have any more authority than any other parent.

 

 

3 minutes ago, David CO said:

This is the biggest problem I have with the scout execs. They don't get it.

BSA would like to treat scout leaders like they are subject to BSA rules and authority, 24 hours a day, in every location and circumstance. This doesn't work. A scout leaders kids should not be forbidden from having friends over for a sleepover because of their dad being a scout leader.

I am a teacher. BSA cannot insist that I have two-deep leadership in my classroom because some of my students might also be scouts. 

In this we are in complete agreement.  Well said!

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48 minutes ago, Oldscout448 said:

 

I have read this thrice,  but I am still not sure I understand what exactly you are saying.     

Are we talking about a teacher/parent in a classroom setting?   Or in the school  gym where the scouts meet?   Or camping  on land owned by the Scouter?  In the first two it is a given that the teacher should and does have authority. Although they should interact with the SM. rather than directly with the scouts if possible.   In the latter I do not perceive how a teacher would have any more authority than any other parent.

 

When a scout unit is owned by a school, the scout program is a part of the ministry/program of the school. The scout activities are school activities. A teacher's authority exists at all school activities, not just the ones that take place on school grounds.

This is where my opinions differ from many of the scouters on this forum. I believe the CO owns the unit. Others act as though the CO merely sponsors the unit.

A teacher should always exercise good sense and judgement, recognizing the differences in time, place, and circumstance, before asserting his/her authority as a teacher.

We have had school sponsored parties (8th grade graduation parties, end-of-year sports parties, etc.) at parents' homes. It is an interesting situation. We make sure that the parents understand that, even though the party is at their home, it is still a school activity. School rules and policies still apply. 

Even so, I would feel uncomfortable asserting my authority while I am a guest in someone else's home, or camping on their property, regardless of whether or not it is a school sponsored activity. 

 

Edited by David CO

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1 hour ago, David CO said:

Right. 

It gets tricky when the parent is also someone who can supersede your authority, like a teacher. It puts the scout leader in a tough spot. You want to do things the right way, but you must still give in to a higher authority. It's not easy to give in when you know that you are right.

When this happens, it is up to the CO to set it right.

 

I think this is the point where we differ.   As a scouter hold that I am charged to deliver, to the best of my poor ability, the scouting program to the scouts.   Not the schools program, or the churches program, if the boys want that then they can go there and I will ( and have )  happily teach them in that venue.  

Why should I give in when I know I am right?   "higher authority" or not?  How is that serving the scouts?  What in the end would I be teaching them by my example? That you should just meekly submit to every rule by some person in " authority" no matter how arbitrary or capricious?  Then hope that the very  organization that employs said person will somehow reverse this rule?    In my limited experience this happens only rarely. 

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1 hour ago, Oldscout448 said:

I think this is the point where we differ.   As a scouter hold that I am charged to deliver, to the best of my poor ability, the scouting program to the scouts.   Not the schools program, or the churches program, if the boys want that then they can go there and I will ( and have )  happily teach them in that venue.  

Why should I give in when I know I am right?   "higher authority" or not?  How is that serving the scouts?  What in the end would I be teaching them by my example? That you should just meekly submit to every rule by some person in " authority" no matter how arbitrary or capricious?  Then hope that the very  organization that employs said person will somehow reverse this rule?    In my limited experience this happens only rarely. 

No, it is the Chartered Organization that has the authority and responsibility to deliver the scouting program to the scouts. The CO then selects the unit leaders and charges them with making it happen.

By accepting and acknowledging the ownership and authority of the Chartered Organization, I think I have taught and demonstrated a certain amount of humility to the scouts. I think humility is one thing that is sorely lacking in many of our scouts. They benefit from acquiring a little more of it.

I don't know how a scout leader can expect the scouts to respect and obey him if he is unwilling to "meekly submit" to the leaders and officials who supervise him.

The scouts and scout leaders always have a recourse if they feel that the Chartered Organization and/or its leaders act in an arbitrary or capricious manner. They can join a different unit.

 

Edited by David CO

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1 hour ago, Oldscout448 said:

I think this is the point where we differ.   As a scouter hold that I am charged to deliver, to the best of my poor ability, the scouting program to the scouts.   Not the schools program, or the churches program, if the boys want that then they can go there and I will ( and have )  happily teach them in that venue.  ...

 

17 minutes ago, David CO said:

No, it is the Chartered Organization that has the authority and responsibility to deliver the scouting program to the scouts. The CO then selects the unit leaders and charges them with making it happen.

By accepting and acknowledging the ownership and authority of the Chartered Organization, I think I have taught and demonstrated a certain amount of humility to the scouts. I think humility is one thing that is sorely lacking in many of our scouts. They benefit from acquiring a little more of it.

This is where many of us take for granted that we've each gravitated toward the CO's who give us the latitude we feel we need to deliver the program we think we must.

As a scout, I was always puzzled why a troop started up on the same side of our very small town as my own troop. Reflecting on it, I've come to realize that my SM, who was more than happy to have some rough guys as ASM (all good as gold, but not necessarily paragons of the church who sponsored us), was not the kind of guy everyone wanted to be scouting with. Although strict regarding manners and generous towards missionaries, he would be nobody's agent of protestant reformation. Same for the committee. Clearly, the church hosting our troop expected them to leave any preaching to the professionals. I'm sure it caused no small amount of discomfort to parishioners that we would sometimes attend scout Sunday and the Catholic church and share activities with the LDS troop.

The Baptist church's troop, I believe, was somewhat different. Camp less. Preach more. Watch which lines you cross.

Needless to say, certain types would work well with one CO, but not the other.

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13 minutes ago, qwazse said:

 

This is where many of us take for granted that we've each gravitated toward the CO's who give us the latitude we feel we need to deliver the program we think we must.

 

...or gives us the structure and support we feel we need.

Yep. Some of us want latitude and independence from the CO, others want structure and financial support.

How much are your dues and camping fees? We don't have any. 

Edited by David CO

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