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Hawkwin

SM Conference for higher ranks ONLY on campouts?

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5 minutes ago, TMSM said:

Just a suggestion - Have your son send a note to the SM thanking him for the date of the SM conference but remind him that that wont work and he (the scout) is avaiable to meet tonight at x:00 pm at the town library. 

At the same time I would just go to the Council Advance Chair and District Commissioner and tell your story and ask for advice, forget the CC.

 

SM never gave him a date. I think your secondary idea is good - and might have been one we could follow earlier in this process but the SM has now ignored an email from my son and two emails from me. Telling him we will be at the library on a specific date and time seems like just another waste of our time.

I want to give the troop and the scouters every reasonable possibility to save face and correct the issue. Where as the SM has copied all other leaders in their initial email response to me (I assume to try and shame me), I have only communicated with the CC and SM. I have left the ASMs off of my replies.

If I have to take it above the CC, then I likely feel obligated to make a scene. Like making me take you to small claims court to settle a debt. I am going to ask for court costs, mileage, and time off work compensation if forced to take a 1 v 1 conversation to the proverbial boss.

I don't want the scouters involved to be "punished" but that opinion will change if I have to go to the district level.

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7 hours ago, Eagledad said:

Hmm, very philosophical. I'm not sure I agree or disagree, but we all grow in our experiences with others. We'll see what you think next year.

Still, life has a way of making us hurry up and wait. Biblically, patience is a virtue, and a show of love. If your scouts know your heart, they are better for the wait.

This has been and interesting discussion because posters have been all over the field describing why the scoutmaster is wrong. He added an extra requirement. Really? As I've pointed out, we all add requirements in our own way. Are we all bad people? The SM is making the scout wait. OK, but life happens to all of us and more often than we realize, we can't jump at a moments notice for each and every request by a scout. Is there really harm in waiting. 

The SM is simply putting himself before the scout. He is not modeling the oath or law. He wants what he wants and is making the scouts dance to his tune (Sorry, my daughter just had a son and I find myself blurting out grandpa-isms). The SM is modeling selfishness. Or more to the Oath and Law, he is not doing his best to help other people, and he is not being trustworthy. His honor has lost integrity. 

Can the SM save himself? We are all human and I'm on record saying that humility is the greatest character trait an scouter can teach a scout. Can someone give the SM a chance to teach.

Barry

I don't view this discussion as philosophical at all.  But you do answer what I would have said later.  

Our duty is to support the scout.  If they ask for a scoutmaster conference, then the scout has done his job.  It's now our job to help make it happen.  Doing any less is not fulfilling our role in scouts. 

 

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59 minutes ago, Hawkwin said:

I don't want the scouters involved to be "punished" but that opinion will change if I have to go to the district level.

The District guys are there to help you and may not require you to provide a troop number and doubtful they would punish another scouter if you did. If you come across as someone trying to help all the scouts in your troop and not just your own son it may help your case. 

In my opinion the max wait should be 2 weeks and if more time is needed a good reason should be offered. As SM I serve the scouts.

 

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@Hawkwin - I fear you are burning bridges with the troop.  Though I think the scoutmaster is very very wrong here, you and your son have to continue in this troop through Eagle.  Or switch to another troop.  Scoutmaster can be a fiefdom owned by the scoutmaster.  It's not always right, but it's how it often is.

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30 minutes ago, fred johnson said:

 @Hawkwin - I fear you are burning bridges with the troop.  Though I think the scoutmaster is very very wrong here, you and your son have to continue in this troop through Eagle.  Or switch to another troop.  Scoutmaster can be a fiefdom owned by the scoutmaster.  It's not always right, but it's how it often is.

I have to agree with @fred johnson on this. I too believe the SM is wrong on this, but @Hawkwinyou are mistaken if you think somebody will "make" the SM drop his policy. I have seen this played out numerous times, and unless there is a legitimate safety or YPT violation, nothing usually changes. Your son can ask for a BOR under disputed circumstances without the SM conference, and then have the BOR conducted by district volunteers. But what then? Unless he switches troops, he's gonna be "that Scout," and you will be "that parent" to the SM, CC and other adults. It'll be difficult for your son.

I have also seen troops tell a family "this is the way we have always done things and if you don't like it, maybe its best for you to find another troop."

Not saying any of this is right, but it's the way things play out sometimes.

 

Edited by an_old_DC
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I'm hoping there are other good troops in your area to choose from. With this SM and CC, your current troop is not one I would stay with. You can appeal to the district and win (but still lose), so just vote with your feet instead. They and you will be happier in the end.

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@an_old_DC and @fred johnson

In complete agreement but unfortunately, I think that ship has already sailed. I did not include all of the reply of the SM but it was heated, critical and as stated prior, was to all the ASMs too. He became immediately defensive when I initially questioned his policy and pointed out the rules. Now that Scouting Magazine has also stated the same, I don't think the relationship can be recovered.

I hope I am wrong but I doubt it. The SM has already stated that he only has a few more years with the troop (2-3 I think) but this appears to be a policy supported by the CC too.

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3 minutes ago, gblotter said:

I'm hoping there are other good troops in your area to choose from. With this SM and CC, your current troop is not one I would stay with. You can appeal to the district and win (but still lose), so just vote with your feet instead. They and you will be happier in the end.

Yes, there is another troop very close by (and we have some ties to that troop) but they meet on a week night. The current troop meets on Sunday night which is perfect for us.

I called the CC tonight and got their voicemail. No response so far. Email sent to the DE, DC, and the DAC (district advancement chair) a few moments ago with all the emails and a timeline.

@fred johnson  Just to give you a bit more insight, Here is how I started my reply to the SM:

Quote

 

Good afternoon [SM]. I appreciate all you do for our Troop. Your dedication and professionalism is always on display and I am glad that my son gets to learn from your leadership.

While I appreciate your position, guidance and rationale on this issue, the Guide to Advancement differs with your position.

 

And how they began their response:

Quote

I am 100% in compliance with the Guide to Advancement.  I never denied him a Scoutmaster Conference nor will I. Those are your words.  I am available for Scoutmaster conference for Star and Life Scouts as I stated during Camp outs and lock ins.  I offer them monthly..If a Scout is unable to attend and wants it done at his convenience that is another story. 

I think you might have it right with your fiefdom comment.

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@Hawkwin, thanks for the background on the emails. I have mediated this type of situation more times than I wish as DC. Frankly, based on everything you report, I recommend you look for a new troop. I know it’s not right or fair, but that’s where it is. You and your son could stay and your son could live with SM conferences on campouts, but I fear the relationship is already strained.

if your son has some buddies who also wish SM conferences were not only done on campouts, maybe they could all switch troops together?

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@an_old_DC Thanks again. I am going to wait and see what response I get from the district and I also plan to bring this up at the committee meeting next week if it is not resolved by then. As far as I know, the rest of the committee is unaware of this issue and they might have a different opinion after it has been shared. I am aware of at least three advocates on the committee that would very likely support a change to this unwritten rule (their scouts will be impacted too and my son is in their patrol). I assume these things are voted on but I have no idea.

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Hawkins, I have been in a situation similar to this and unfortunately I suggest you look for a new unit. You are right he is wrong yet the council or District are not often very effective in dealing with this type of matter.

A lesson that I learned the hard way is just because you're right does not mean that you will win. I know a number of troops. Blakely violate advancement policies and have gotten away with it for decades. Some of the scoutmasters from these units are extremely high in the council and continue to gain influence.

This is not to say that your battle was not worth it. For I feel any battle in the interest of the youth is worth it. The argument will cause others to reevaluate the policy and within a few years thanks will have changed. Unfortunately it is not really possible for you to stay around during that change

This can be a lesson to your son and others standing up for what is right when backing down for being quiet would be the safe and Easy Choice.

Good luck to you and your family

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7 minutes ago, Hawkwin said:

@an_old_DC Thanks again. I am going to wait and see what response I get from the district and I also plan to bring this up at the committee meeting next week if it is not resolved by then. As far as I know, the rest of the committee is unaware of this issue and they might have a different opinion after it has been shared. I am aware of at least three advocates on the committee that would very likely support a change to this unwritten rule (their scouts will be impacted too and my son is in their patrol). I assume these things are voted on but I have no idea.

If you do have enough support on the committee you could win the battle and have this policy eliminated. From my experience however even if the committee sites with you scoutmaster is likely to make things difficult for your son and family. Maybe he won't but I would suggest continuing to look at other troops.

Adults that Run troops as their personal fiefdom do not like it when lowly peasants win. And they tend to lash out with whatever influenced they have.

 

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18 minutes ago, Hawkwin said:

@an_old_DC Thanks again. I am going to wait and see what response I get from the district and I also plan to bring this up at the committee meeting next week if it is not resolved by then. As far as I know, the rest of the committee is unaware of this issue and they might have a different opinion after it has been shared. I am aware of at least three advocates on the committee that would very likely support a change to this unwritten rule (their scouts will be impacted too and my son is in their patrol). I assume these things are voted on but I have no idea.

So...if you can garner some support from other adults on the committee, but the SM and CC show no sign of changing the policy, you and the other adults should speak with the COR. Not an email, but a face to face meeting. Sometimes the COR will just say that whatever the SM and CC want is fine with them. However, if the COR is truly engaged and you have some critical mass (so it isn’t just one parent complaining), then the COR may intervene. You never know, maybe there have been lots of complaints about the SM over the years and the COR wants a change. That can happen too. 

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1 hour ago, an_old_DC said:

So...if you can garner some support from other adults on the committee, but the SM and CC show no sign of changing the policy, you and the other adults should speak with the COR. Not an email, but a face to face meeting. Sometimes the COR will just say that whatever the SM and CC want is fine with them. However, if the COR is truly engaged and you have some critical mass (so it isn’t just one parent complaining), then the COR may intervene. You never know, maybe there have been lots of complaints about the SM over the years and the COR wants a change. That can happen too. 

Thanks, the dynamics of all this are so foreign to me. I expected that the SM served at the discretion of the committee. I've since learned (through a bit of research) that the COR appoints the SM so all this time I spent trying to get the CC on board has been somewhat wasted. I wonder if should have started this process with the COR Rep instead. The COR Rep was copied on the SMs reply.

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Your SM and CC won't back down. Their errant policy will eventually get fixed, but only through a long and painful process - possibly involving their departure. None of this will happen in time to benefit your son, so it seems clear that he will end up in another troop. The main questions are: Do you want to switch now or later? And do you want to scorch the earth on your way out?

If me in this situation, I'd get settled on a new troop immediately. Then after your son's BSA membership and Scoutbook record are transferred over, I'd send out an email to every family in the old troop bidding farewell with a brief and polite explanation (including a link to the Scouting Magazine blog). Every family in the troop will recognize your SM in that blog, and your SM will instantly drop down several notches in credibility and respect (but he deserves that). Otherwise, the troop leadership will surely portray your family badly as you depart (heck - they likely will, regardless). At least your viewpoint will be aired and perhaps other silent sufferers will gain courage from your ordeal. That's just me - others might choose to simply depart quietly and be done with it.

Edited by gblotter
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