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Recently my Troop committee (in a divided vote) replaced me as scoutmaster. History...

1) My son joined the troop in Jan 2018 and I was asked to be an assistant scoutmaster not long after. I accepted the position.

2) July 2018, the scoutmaster abruptly resigned (not sure why) and I was asked to take over. I accepted the position and attended both 6 day summer camps that two groups in my troop signed up for.

3) Three older scouts were causing problems at one of the camps including skipping on merit badges one morning/not listening to SPL. One of the adult leaders dragged one of these scouts out of their tent one morning for refusing to get up. (YPT violation?)

4) Found out the scoutmaster previous to the one resigned slapped a scout at a camp and was forced out of the troop. That explains why many mothers came with the scouts the next year.

5) Upon returning from camp, two parents started a movement to remove one of the older scouts from the troop based on some tweets and retweets that they felt was inappropriate...plus behavior at camps. My view as scoutmaster was that I wanted to give him a second chance and a chance to mentor him. More tweets and retweets surfaced and a committee vote was scheduled to remove scout. I convinced the parents of the scout to find another troop, so the scout has a true fresh start. There was a meeting between the parents of the scout and committee soon afterwards and it was ugly. 

6) September 2018 I took wood badge training. Most of my tickets were related to improving the program of my troop, like jump starting patrols. Having never been a scout myself, wood badge taught me how the patrol method works. 

7) Sept-Dec 2018, I organized advancement Saturdays (2 hours at a McDonalds) where scouts can get signed off on advancement stuff. Popular, but not scout led.

8) Learned that my son was bullied at a court of honor several times for sitting in a seat that an older scout wanted. 

9) January 2019, gave patrols goals to plan 3 outings for their patrol. It didn't have to be scouting related (like a movie), but I saw this as a baby step to planning scouting outings as a patrol. Next committee meeting started to get complaints from parents of scouts having too many activities to attend. 

10) January 2019, started PLC meetings. Initially, held on Saturdays, but few months later, a few parents complained at a committee meeting about too many meetings.

11) January 2019, had to cancel a fundraiser because of the lack of participation from scouts. Hurt troop reputation.

12) April and May patrol activities canceled due to lack of support from some parents. 

13) Planning for Spring Camporee went well as patrols. However, two parents (same as above) wanted one of their sons to finish their cooking merit badge. This son was a patrol leader. They insisted that he cook for the "adult patrol". I informed them that the merit badge requirement says that he must cook for his patrol (or another group of boys if that option is not available). Parent called the district and found a scouter to say that "adult patrol" will work for the merit badge. Not much I can do at that point without causing a huge conflict. Patrol was hurt by this, but they got through it.

14) Summer camp in 2019 when well. Accidentally left a medical binder with personal information on the wheel well of the trailer on the way home. When I realized what I have done, had to backtrack to find it given the sensitive information. I as able to recover all by two sheets of paper (it must have been an explosion, because there was paper everywhere.) Parents over-reacted and complained to committee chair. Sent out an email apologizing for my mistake. I also stated that it would have been better to talk to me to get the latest on the documents, instead of spreading misinformation between parents. 

15) I gave the PLC an idea to do install ceremonies for our new SPL and PLs after getting a text from a scout wanting to MC the court of honor. Something a remembered from Wood Badge. Later that day, I got a text from parent complaining scouts will be left out of the ceremony. 

So in a nutshell, I certainly own some responsibility for all of this being unable to communicate my vision, making some mistakes along the way, not handling issues with parents well. Not doing annual planning last year (something I missed in my inexperience) caused a disaster in getting campouts done. But there is an underlying battle between a scout led troop and an committee led troop. Aim for some is getting a eagle badge for their son, instead of focusing on the scouts running their own troop. 

So here are my options...

a) Accept my demotion from the committee to Assistant Scoutmaster and serve the new Scoutmaster to the best of my ability. I work well with him, but not sure how the program will change. He was shocked at this outcome as I was. He will need my help given that the other assistants are busy with work.

b) Chartering Organization was not involved in this decision, so I can get my Scoutmaster job back with the help of them. The COR does not have to sign the application of the new Scoutmaster. Work to remove parents causing trouble from the committee.

c) Committee Chair job is open and I can serve in that position. Though I would take the support role of the committee seriously and let the scoutmaster run the program. I will run into conflict with parents that want to run the program from the committee. Though Scoutmaster needs an assistant that can help him.

d) Find another troop for my son and offer to serve that troop. 

Order of options right now is a, d, c, and b. Any thoughts on this?

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The troop committee does not have the authority to replace you as scoutmaster.  That is not their job. Officially only the COR has this authority.  That being said my advice is as follows:

GET OUT!!!!!!

I may have missed it but I don't see your son's age and rank.  They would have to be nearly done for me to say that you might as well stay.  This sounds like a very toxic place. You might discuss the issue with your COR (the person really in charge).  If they are supportive of you continuing to develop the troop then they need to inform the committee that they don't have the authority to remove scouters and need to get off their power trip.  If the COR is not willing to do that then there is no fixing this troop and you need to find a new one. 

 

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Goodness - sounds like you've got a real mess on your hands with this troop. 

Two points:

  1. The COR absolutely does have to sign the new Scoutmaster's application.  A position change requires a new adult application.  Until such time that the COR signs the application of your successor, you're the Scoutmaster in your Council's & National's eyes.  
  2. The Troop Committee can not fire a SM.  The COR can absolutely fire the SM.  There's some difference of opinion on this, but I believe the CC can fire the Scoutmaster.  But the unit committee - nope. The best they can do is to agree they want a new Scoutmaster and then bring that to the CC & COR.

 

But, reading your post my take is that you've got an out of control adult team.  Politics, bickering, parents calling district volunteers, etc.  Sounds like someone needs to tell these adults to knock it off.

Myself, I think you need to be stronger with these adults.  If the CC and COR are happy with what you're doing, then great.  Keep going and soldier on.   But, you do need to tell these parents that they need to stop with the politics or find a new troop.  This kind of nonsense kills units.

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1 hour ago, Owls_are_cool said:

Parent called the district and found a scouter to say that "adult patrol" will work for the merit badge. Not much I can do at that point without causing a huge conflict.

BTW - can we once and for all recognize:

  1. The BSA makes very clear that within a unit, the Scoutmaster has the final say on advancement.
  2. District Volunteers can not overrule unit level volunteers with their unit.
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3 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

Goodness - sounds like you've got a real mess on your hands with this troop. 

Two points:

  1. The COR absolutely does have to sign the new Scoutmaster's application.  A position change requires a new adult application.  Until such time that the COR signs the application of your successor, you're the Scoutmaster in your Council's & National's eyes.  
  2. The Troop Committee can not fire a SM.  The COR can absolutely fire the SM.  There's some difference of opinion on this, but I believe the CC can fire the Scoutmaster.  But the unit committee - nope. The best they can do is to agree they want a new Scoutmaster and then bring that to the CC & COR.

 

But, reading your post my take is that you've got an out of control adult team.  Politics, bickering, parents calling district volunteers, etc.  Sounds like someone needs to tell these adults to knock it off.

Myself, I think you need to be stronger with these adults.  If the CC and COR are happy with what you're doing, then great.  Keep going and soldier on.   But, you do need to tell these parents that they need to stop with the politics or find a new troop.  This kind of nonsense kills units.

I don't think BSA documents actually support the CC having Hire/Fire authority over the SM or ASMs. 

BSA Rules and Regulations published June 2018 state the following-

"Chartered organizations may remove or refuse to renew the unit registration of unit leaders when the unit committee and chartered organization representative agree that the Scouter’s service is no longer desired or required."

CO's may remove scouters.  The confusion comes because so many CC's are dual CC/COR.  

 

4 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

BTW - can we once and for all recognize:

  1. The BSA makes very clear that within a unit, the Scoutmaster has the final say on advancement.
  2. District Volunteers can not overrule unit level volunteers with their unit.

I don't know what district volunteer would have said that.  

Besides, the camping requirement is unambiguous.  It says "While camping in the outdoors, cook at least one breakfast, one lunch, and one dinner for your patrol from the meals you have planned for requirement 8c. At least one of those meals must be a trail meal requiring the use of a lightweight stove"

The only flex might be in the case of an adhoc patrol formed by some troops with poor attendance.  

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A lot to unwrap here, but this pretty much sums it up

34 minutes ago, mds3d said:

GET OUT!!!!!!

As Dirty Harry said in Magnum Force "a man's got to know his limitations"  Your limitations may be turning this Titanic around

Not sure of the timing but 4 Scoutmasters in a few short years is a sign of trouble

  • The one who slapped a Scout (Was his name Patton??)
  • The one there when you joined
  • You
  • The next Scoutmaster victim

As a comparison my home troop had 4 Scoutmasters in 16 years 70's and 80's.  Current troop has had 2 in last 19 years, retired one and current.  Overall in 35 years current troop has had 9 SM's and one had a short tenure due to heart attack.

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You shouldn't have to fight this on your own. Go or stay comes down to how many quality, helpful parents believe in you. Sounds like you have great enthusiasm and you're learning. If you're all alone then leave, you'd be wasting your time. If the majority of parents and a couple of good asms believe in you then talk to them, get their ideas, lead, and solve the problem. You did get voted down by the committee but I don't know if that represents the majority of the troop. Usually it's just a couple of bad apples that cause the problems. One solution might be that, after you share your vision, half the troop wants boy led and half wants adult led. Fine, split the troop. You don't need to be confrontational, just believe in your ideas and that there are those that don't.

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36 minutes ago, mds3d said:

I don't think BSA documents actually support the CC having Hire/Fire authority over the SM or ASMs. 

BSA Rules and Regulations published June 2018 state the following-

"Chartered organizations may remove or refuse to renew the unit registration of unit leaders when the unit committee and chartered organization representative agree that the Scouter’s service is no longer desired or required."

CO's may remove scouters.  The confusion comes because so many CC's are dual CC/COR.  

I'm willing to concede that I'm in the minority opinion on this one.  The literature encourages the idea that the CC supervises the unit leaders.  If a volunteer's supervisor cannot remove said volunteer, then that puts the supervisor in a pretty weak position.  But, this isn't the point of the topic - so I'm not looking to push the point.  I'm just adding it for context.

41 minutes ago, mds3d said:

I don't know what district volunteer would have said that.  

Besides, the camping requirement is unambiguous.  It says "While camping in the outdoors, cook at least one breakfast, one lunch, and one dinner for your patrol from the meals you have planned for requirement 8c. At least one of those meals must be a trail meal requiring the use of a lightweight stove"

The only flex might be in the case of an adhoc patrol formed by some troops with poor attendance.  

More likely, what I think happens is a parent knows someone in a district role.  They ask their opinion on an issue which then gets related as fact.  Too many unit leaders go along with it because they don't realize that the real organizational structure in the BSA is one of an inverted pyramid where the unit's are in charge.

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My 2 cents

- SM should not be involved with determining requirements for any MB for a specific scout. However scouts should not be cooking for adults, adults are not patrol members  although could be part of a crew. You own the program and you should be able to determine who is in which patrol when needed.Make yourself the leader of the adults patrol so you can deny this type of MB requirement bending

- The new -to-be SM and you need to sit down and have a discussion on your vison vs his. Does he have one, is he willing to put in the work, what makes sense for the scouts you or him. One of you should be SM and the other can serve as CC for a short while to cover for the other.

- Have a plan, communicate the vision SM + CC and move forward. BSA says patrol method so run it by the book, use the book in your defense for everything. Your answer to anyone who says the book is wrong should be the number of years scouts has been doing it this way. 

 

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The current Cooking merit badge requirements are even less ambiguous:
 

Quote

5. Camp cooking. Do the following:
a. Using the MyPlate food guide or the current USDA nutrition model, plan five meals for your patrol (or a similar size group of up to eight youth, including you) for a camping trip...
...
d. ...  Serve all of these meals to your patrol or a group of youth.**
e. In the outdoors, prepare a dessert OR a snack and serve it to your patrol or a group of youth.**


And the merit badge counselor has the final say on merit badge requirements.  If the Scout is working on the requirements prior to working with a counselor, then I would look to the Scoutmaster for guidance.

In addition, the parents are usurping their son as the Patrol Leader.  He and his patrol had a plan, but Mom and Dad overruled him.

 

 

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@Owls_are_cool

1) WELCOME TO DA FORUMS!

 

2) Sorry to read about the situation. I was in an adult run troop that had parents constantly interfering, and ignoring, the trained Scouters. my advice is...

 

...RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!

I spent 19 months dealing with parents you are describing. It made my life miserable. But more importantly, it was affecting my boys. Oldest wanted to Eagle and leave because he was getting fed up.  Middle son was becoming extremely cynical with the situation. We had to leae, and it was a good decision.

 

It will be hard to do. But what is in your son's best interest?

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I had long conversations with the outgoing COR and the next Scoutmaster today. I feel comfortable that I can contribute as assistant scoutmaster and we are on the same page. I will be able to focus more on mentoring scouts and let the arrows be pointed at another person for a while. 

The COR was surprised (after I read the role of the Chartering Organization from the Troop Committee Challenge) that the CO selected the scoutmaster, appointed the committee members, etc. The new COR is a much more experienced scouter and has potential in being able to address some of the drama associated with the troop. Maybe leave some of the troublemakers off of the charter renewal and thank them for their service. Maybe have the CO leader make this so sooner. Not sure how many of the scouts will leave the troop if this is done or if a lawsuit will be filed. 

In end I see a positive outcome for the scouts in my troop. My son just earned his first class rank at the age of 12 last month. Younger scouts are taking over the leadership of the troop, so there is a new start. It is awesome to watch them figure out this leadership thing.

 

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16 hours ago, Owls_are_cool said:

I had long conversations with the outgoing COR and the next Scoutmaster today. I feel comfortable that I can contribute as assistant scoutmaster and we are on the same page. I will be able to focus more on mentoring scouts and let the arrows be pointed at another person for a while. 

The COR was surprised (after I read the role of the Chartering Organization from the Troop Committee Challenge) that the CO selected the scoutmaster, appointed the committee members, etc. The new COR is a much more experienced scouter and has potential in being able to address some of the drama associated with the troop. Maybe leave some of the troublemakers off of the charter renewal and thank them for their service. Maybe have the CO leader make this so sooner. Not sure how many of the scouts will leave the troop if this is done or if a lawsuit will be filed. 

In end I see a positive outcome for the scouts in my troop. My son just earned his first class rank at the age of 12 last month. Younger scouts are taking over the leadership of the troop, so there is a new start. It is awesome to watch them figure out this leadership thing.

 

I hope you are doing the right thing.  This still sounds like a bit of a toxic environment.  Why would a lawsuit be filed?

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17 hours ago, Owls_are_cool said:

I had long conversations with the outgoing COR and the next Scoutmaster today. I feel comfortable that I can contribute as assistant scoutmaster and we are on the same page. I will be able to focus more on mentoring scouts and let the arrows be pointed at another person for a while. 

 

Sounds like you are on the right track - good luck. The pain will only last a year or so but it will be worth it.

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Every Scoutmaster should develop and maintain a strong key-three relationship through regular communication and the full sharing of all disputed issues.  In our case the CC and COR are officers in our CO.  And we regularly consult the CO CEO on key decisions, who also stayed 2 nights with us during summer camp.  Such a relationship makes very clear to parents where the adult authority lies in a unit and prevents the rise of abusive “parent clubs” that attempt to micromanage.  I wish you luck in your further efforts to reformulate authority lines within your troop, but believe you need to have the relationships described above if you and the new SM are going to be able to steer in a new direction.  These are the legally-correct authority structures as well, which should ward-off litigation-threatening circumstances.  I sense that your COR will likely face a confrontation with one of the trouble-making adults.  When the first significant incident occurs, the COR will avoid years of continued trouble by firmly dealing with the person.

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