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New troop, big problems

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We started a new troop about a year ago. We have an SM that has no boy in troop. Our charter org is a business owned by the COR. He has labeled himself COR and ASM. CORs wife is CC. I am Adv chair. 

Problem is my son was elected as PL (we are young troop with no FC for SPL) and he has no idea what he is supposed to do. I bought him the book and he has read it. I found training online that the SM is supposed to do with the troop but neither the SM or ASM/COR will listen. Instead, every time something comes up and my son doesn’t do it right, they yell at him. They do not listen to him or find out why he did x instead of y. They don’t explain the right way. They always point out the wrong. They think it’s ok to yell. They say it’s how they treat their kids and they think of him as their own. They constantly belittle him in front of the others claiming it’s a learning opportunity for the others. The ASM/COR’s son is same age and rank as mine. They push him to complete his requirements and have the SM or the other ASM sign off on everything saying he did some things a year and a half ago out of state. There is no verification that the things he is claiming were done but he’s waited over a year to have anyone sign off. That raises questions for me. His mom/CC has taken over and sets up the board of reviews, selecting who she wants on the board because she is district Advancement/Eagle BOR.  She has never asked me to be on board until this last rankup. They were not at the meeting before when my son and another ranked therefore, she didn’t get to harass my son about the BOR and ridicule him. As far as I could tell, She had intended to flunk him so her son could pass him and be first scout to FC in the troop. My son doesn’t care about that, but hers was constantly asking me how close my son was to ranking. She has since mouthed about how we did the BORs wrong. (I had 3 others, only other adults present that were NOT ASM, not me, for my sons and the other boys BOR) She has made several threats to my son that unless he is dressed to the 9’s in his uniform, including the green pants he has outgrown, and military style demeanor, she won’t even do a BOR with him. I have put a lot of money into the troop to get it started and don’t have money now to buy him new green pants.

The ASM/COR has been in Scouts for several years. the new SM is learning the ropes, but at every opportunity the ASM/COR ridicules him. It has gone to the point of him telling the SM that he will take over as SM if he doesn’t get his s*** together. The ASM/COR told the SM they were camping out just overnight and he wanted to do fire and dogs. The SM asked what he needed to do and he told him nothing, he would get everything. All was covered. They get to the camping spot and the ASM/COR asks him where the trash bags are. When he said he didn’t bring any, all was covered, the ASM proceeded to degrade him again in front of the boys.

We went on a hike, one boy sat down. We had hiked several miles already and stopped for info on a sign. ASM/COR told the boy to get his ass up. The boy called him on it and his reply was that it’s a donkey. The boy replied not in the way you are using it. 

Now they are at camp with the SM and ASM/COR. They’ve only been there 2 days and one kid already left the first day.  I talked to my son earlier and he has been yelled at and disrespected by both to the point he doesn’t want to be in scouts anymore. He said he would have me come get him but I paid a lot of money for him to go. Summer camp is supposed to be at least a little fun. I didn’t pay that much for him to be tortured for a week! He’s had enough and so have a couple other parents. What can/should we do? 

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Contact the Camp Director, your District Executive, and District Commissioner RIGHT NOW.

Next time you talk to your son, tell him to go talk to the senior camp staff (program director, area director, or older staffer) and have him describe the issue and ask for help from the camp director and Council professionals. They SHOULD take him seriously and protect him from further abuse while higher ups deal with the adults. If they don't act that day CALL the council office and DEMAND to talk to council Exec about "Youth Protection and Abuse". 

Should you not get a response call the new national hotline 1-844-scouts1 (1-844-726-8871)

There are SO many things wrong with what you have said it needs outside professional help right away. 

Good luck. 

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Posted (edited)

Hopefully Summer Camp will provide enough distractions to keep your son interested for the short term.  But I would definitely plan on finding a new troop.  The situation you described is toxic and you are not in a position to change it.  Leaving for a better troop is definitely preferable to dropping scouting because of aberrant adults.

Consider letting your boy know that y'all will be troop shopping (keep it to himself) so that he'll have something to look forward to.

Edited by JoeBob
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I’ve seen and heard of units like this before.   I rarely would recommend lone scouting.... but that would be better than this.  Document and report this Troop and get out.  The lessons he is learning are not good ones.  Ideally, find another Troop or even leave scouting completely if needed.

“Summer Camp is supposed to be at least a little fun.”  Scouting should be a great time and memory for youth.  Yes, at times it is tough and during that time you many not think of it as fun, but most of it is and even the tough times end up being great lessons.  I see no benefit of your son continuing with this Troop based on what you summarized. 

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@Scoutinglife, welcome to the forums!

The only other suggestion is to contact your institution head and let him/her know that the leadership is not delivering on the promise of scouting.

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Posted (edited)

From the OP, the IH is the business owner who is also the COR and ASM.  This is disconcerting.  

I echo what Chris1 posted above--make those calls.

Edited by TuckahoeJoe
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I read the first 3 sentences of the second paragraph and thought “I would’ve quit by now”. 

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I know you don't want to hear this, but Finding another troop is likely inevitable. And I speak from way more experience on this matter than I would like. I don't know how many other troops are in your area, so maybe Lone Scouting is a option to take for At least a while.

Still, make those calls. The Council and District should know what is going on, and there should be a record of this. 

Good luck

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Thank you all for the great suggestions! I’m fairly new to the Troop side of things. Them holding several District positions left me at a loss for who to go to. 

My son takes a lot and internalizes it. Most of the time, he doesn’t complain until long after an incident. To have him spill his guts like that over the phone worries me. He usually comes away from camp and campouts with so much excitement about what they did. He is excited about the pioneering and orienteering classes he’s doing this week and tells me all about what they did and what they are going to do the next day. It’s sad that all the other is overshadowing that excitement. They were told before they left, don’t bring any phones. I thought it was odd because last year his son had a phone and called home every night (dad had to work and couldn’t go). I slid my sons phone in his pack and told him it’s there if he needs it. I’m not worried about him losing or breaking it, it’s insured. I expect they said that so most would forget any negative by the time they got home and they will remind them of all the fun they supposedly had.

 I texted him, his phone is off to preserve battery, and gave him the name of the Camp Director and told him to take his buddy and go talk to the Director. He’s 12 and very intimidated by most adults. His buddy has knowledge of what’s going on and can shed light on certain details. Then he can decide whether or not to continue at camp until Friday night when we will be going up for Family night. He can return with us then. If he chooses NOT to stay, we will go get him as soon as we get off work. The decision is his to make.

We will be checking out other troops when he gets home. I know of AT LEAST 2 others in the area and he knows some of the boys from merit badge classes from both. 

 

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Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out

There is NOTHING to excuse the behavior of abusive leadership, and your FIRST priority is getting your child away from them. The fun activities he may miss, the cost of the trip for which you paid - none of that matters more than his security. Discontinue your relationship with that troop immediately upon his return. I am grateful you know of other troops nearby; many families don't have that easy an option. But that troop is a TRAINWRECK. Uniforms cannot be required at Boards of Review. No leader has a right to justify foul language to children. No adult has any right to degrade, insult, or demean a child, nor his parents for that matter. The catastrophe that is that troop needs to end immediately. Make the calls, take action, and get your son out. 

Learning from our trials is essential, but learning how to get out of them when we can is just as important. 

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4 minutes ago, The Latin Scot said:

Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out Get out

There is NOTHING to excuse the behavior of abusive leadership, and your FIRST priority is getting your child away from them. The fun activities he may miss, the cost of the trip for which you paid - none of that matters more than his security. Discontinue your relationship with that troop immediately upon his return. I am grateful you know of other troops nearby; many families don't have that easy an option. But that troop is a TRAINWRECK. Uniforms cannot be required at Boards of Review. No leader has a right to justify foul language to children. No adult has any right to degrade, insult, or demean a child, nor his parents for that matter. The catastrophe that is that troop needs to end immediately. Make the calls, take action, and get your son out. 

Learning from our trials is essential, but learning how to get out of them when we can is just as important. 

Absolutely run.  There is a lot wrong here.  Being properly uniformed, especially for a BOR, isn't a terrible idea- but, the youth is not going for Eagle yet, so use it as a teaching moment rather than ridiculing him or degrading him.  Get him out, give him a few weeks to let his feelings about that troop dissipate and then start making a list with him about what are the things he would want to see in a troop.  That would be helpful for him to "interview" the other units and see which is the best fit for him.  Best of luck to him (and you).

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Posted (edited)

Verbal abuse of Scouts by leaders is not permitted.

The leaders (at least the IH/COR and his wife the CC) are abusing their positions to benefit their son - which, if we are being honest, happens often, but there is a line of "way too far" and what you describe crosses that line.

There is no rule that says the COR and CC can't be husband and wife - in fact that wouldn't make sense, because one person can be COR and CC at the same time - but it seems to me that if a person effectively owns the troop and his wife is CC, trouble is almost a certainty.  And trouble there is, since it appears that the SM is not being allowed to do his job.

Nor are you.  The CC is not letting you do your job, which includes arranging BOR's.  She definitely should not be selecting members for her son's BOR.  I have extra sympathy for you here, because I am Advancement Chair in our troop, and have been through a situation where the CC was not letting me do my job.  So I quit and was just an unassigned committee member until the CC was replaced by the person who had succeeded me as AC, so I then became AC again.  I arrange the BOR's, recruit the members, and chair the BOR's - even when the CC is also a BOR member, which he often is.  I feel very lucky to have a CC who understands what the roles are supposed to be, and I wish those in other troops the same.

You already know what the answer is.  You just need to keep your son at a minimal level of unhappiness for the next few days so he stays in Scouts long enough to move to another troop.

Edited by NJCubScouter
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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Scoutinglife said:

We started a new troop about a year ago.

I can't help but feel that you are at least partially responsible for this whole mess since you were one of the people who chose to organized the troop this way. A little more thought and planning in the beginning can save a lot of grief and regret later on.

 

Edited by David CO
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