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If it were me, I would run far far away from that circus!  Sounds like there is some fundamental issues with the scouts and more importantly with the parents.  These are going to be the parents who do everything for their scout including the Eagle project.  You know the everyone gets a trophy mindset.

If the Committee Chair is vacant, can the committee actually make a vote for this?   Where is the COR?   I would at the least have a conversation with that person prior to leaving.  Taking over the CC spot will only further fuel the flames that that committee and parent core has.  

Its a shame, sound like you had a good solid plan in place and was implementing it and the scouts and their parents failed you. 

#9 needs to be addressed whether you stay or go.   Bullying is not acceptable.   

Also for those parents who squawked at the # of activities, they should be aware that the goal should be at least one activity or outing a month for a troop right?   Sounds like they never transitioned over very well from Cub Scouts. 

Also, I used to be an owl... :)

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The plot thickens. We had an SPL election, a patrol realignment, and PL elections two weeks ago. In judgement of two parents, the new SPL is not worthy of the position. These parents have been documenting every instance this scout has broken the scout oath and law and given past behavior, likely passed this information on to other parents. Some of this is being done to drive the scout and their mother out of the troop, because the mother is not in their faction to build the troop in their vision (adult led). 

No doubt they think I had a role in getting this scout elected as SPL. However, the scouts ran the election completely on their own and made a decision. I did not say a word during the process. I guess now a majority of parents think I manipulated the process to get this scout elected or I should have found a way to prevent this "unworthy" scout from being elected.

This is adult bullying and against BSA policy. New COR is getting involved. Not sure what the plan is, but something will happen in the next few weeks.

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10 minutes ago, Owls_are_cool said:

The plot thickens. ...

How am I not surprised?

Hopefully the COR has the unit leaders' backs on this. In general, most CO's I know won't countenance gossips.

If not, get an exit strategy.

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On 8/13/2019 at 5:34 PM, Owls_are_cool said:

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.

 

If you and your son want to stay in this Troop and make any difference, Option C is the only way to go. Grab that CC seat and boot the troublesome parents to the curb.

 

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50 minutes ago, Owls_are_cool said:

The plot thickens. We had an SPL election, a patrol realignment, and PL elections two weeks ago. In judgement of two parents, the new SPL is not worthy of the position. These parents have been documenting every instance this scout has broken the scout oath and law and given past behavior, likely passed this information on to other parents. Some of this is being done to drive the scout and their mother out of the troop, because the mother is not in their faction to build the troop in their vision (adult led). 

No doubt they think I had a role in getting this scout elected as SPL. However, the scouts ran the election completely on their own and made a decision. I did not say a word during the process. I guess now a majority of parents think I manipulated the process to get this scout elected or I should have found a way to prevent this "unworthy" scout from being elected.

This is adult bullying and against BSA policy. New COR is getting involved. Not sure what the plan is, but something will happen in the next few weeks.

Where to begin.

1) In my experience, the Scouts know who will do a better job in a POR than the adults do. That is why if the Scouts elect someone, you need to give them the opportunity to lead. AND you got to be fair and unbiased.

I'll give you an example. There was a Scout elected SPL who I didn't think was ready for it. He was 11 years old, Second Class, and had only 6 months as a PL prior to being SPL. He beat out 2 older scouts, one of whom was SPL before. I tried to talk my son into stepping down! It was talking to him, trying to convince him to step down, that I realized he "got it," the concept of servant leadership. He did a great job for an 11 year old SPL. He got the troop started more on youth led for a while. 

2) Sometimes the most mischievous of Scouts are the best ones. They are bored, hence why their misbehave.

Another example. We had a guy who was a major P.I.T.A. There were times I wanted to strangle him. Somehow he convinced the SM to approve him to work summer camp with his older brother. Discussion among the Scouters ensued, and he got approved. BEST THING TO HAPPEN TO HIM. Being given some responsibility changed him for the better, and it carried over into the troop. He was just bored, and wanted attention.

3) Parents need to BUTT OUT! Their commentary will affect not only the other adults, but also the Scouts. Let's face it, the Scouts will pick up the parent's attitudes. And their recording of what one Scout does may come back to bite them in the butt when the same thing happens to their child.

An example of this happening was another bored and mischievous Scout. He got elected PL and did a good job. He got elected SPL, and some parents, and a few Scouters, were ticked off. They did not think he would make a good SPL due to his previous behavior, and they wanted his opponent to win.They undermined him  among the other adults, and their attitudes started affecting their Scouts. Long story short, the SPL could not get anything done without an adult either telling him no, he cannot do that or completely taking over. He eventually  quit Scouting altogether 2/3 of the way through his term of office.

As I mentioned their recording of what the Scout did may come back to bite them in the butt about their Scout.  The Scout who lost the election for SPL, and then the election for PL, made it known to the other Scouts that he did NOT want to be in a leadership position. Only folks not to know this was the adults, including ASM dad. It got out that during the patrol election, which was happening during his BOR. He submitted an absentee ballot, but it did not get in before the vote. It was a tie. When his ballot got in, it tipped the PL job to his opponent. dad was ticked off, but tried to play it off.

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45 minutes ago, Pale Horse said:

If you and your son want to stay in this Troop and make any difference, Option C is the only way to go. Grab that CC seat and boot the troublesome parents to the curb.

 

At this point, only the Chartering Organization can rescind their approval of these two parents to be on the committee. Could be as painless as leaving them off of the recharter in two months. Maybe the CO can make it effective immediately.  For one parent (actually grandparent), their boy turns 18 in two months, so I suspect they are ending their involvement with the troop at that time. The other one has a first class scout and could be around for 1.3 years minimum, so will have to deal with the parents a bit, even if off the committee. 

Bad deal all around. I wonder if the BSA could come up with a training module "Advanced Troop Conflicts and Approaches For Unit Leaders for Dealing with them". Walk scouters through a series of nightmare scenarios and help them recognize that a serious conflict is developing, plus give them tools to mitigate the conflict. Also show how some actions can make the conflict worse. Wood badge touched this a bit, but scenario training would have been more effective for me as a new scoutmaster.

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That's what the commissioner corps is for. Professionals won't touch unit problems with a 10 foot pole unless A) Youth Protection, and B ) Money is involved.

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25 minutes ago, Owls_are_cool said:

At this point, only the Chartering Organization can rescind their approval of these two parents to be on the committee. Could be as painless as leaving them off of the recharter in two months. Maybe the CO can make it effective immediately.  For one parent (actually grandparent), their boy turns 18 in two months, so I suspect they are ending their involvement with the troop at that time. The other one has a first class scout and could be around for 1.3 years minimum, so will have to deal with the parents a bit, even if off the committee. 

I would suggest that as a SM or CC, you'll need to get comfortable dealing with these kinds of situations.

Don't worry about BSA registrations and recharters.  Don't worry about what is the COR's job and what is yours.  Assume control of the situation and have a plan to deal with it.  As a member of the key three, this is your troop.  I would stop letting parents bully the volunteers (including yourself).  Tell them privately, tell them in a meeting - it doesn't matter.  This kind of nonsense is unwelcome in your troop.  End of discussion.

33 minutes ago, Owls_are_cool said:

Bad deal all around. I wonder if the BSA could come up with a training module "Advanced Troop Conflicts and Approaches For Unit Leaders for Dealing with them". Walk scouters through a series of nightmare scenarios and help them recognize that a serious conflict is developing, plus give them tools to mitigate the conflict. Also show how some actions can make the conflict worse. Wood badge touched this a bit, but scenario training would have been more effective for me as a new scoutmaster.

I'd go back to the Stages of Team Development material from Wood Badge.  You've got an adult team that is clearly Storming.  In the case of Storming, the leader (presumably you) needs to provide clear instruction to the group on what the goal and objective is here.  

If the BSA were to develop more materials on this, I think my expanded agenda would be something like:

  • Senior Leaders need to set the tone.
    • Newer leaders look to experienced leaders for direction.  In the absence of that, people start getting inventive
  • Senior Leaders need to be strong leaders.
    • Always be open to new ideas.  But, when the group starts storming it's time to step out and provide some direction.
  • Occasionally you have to tell people to knock it off.

Your case is pretty normal and very solvable.  But, it's going to take some leadership to make it happen.  You could certainly say "I've had enough" and let another take the leadership role.  Or, you could do it.  I think either can work fine here.

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Posted (edited)
58 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Professionals won't touch unit problems with a 10 foot pole unless A) Youth Protection, and B ) Money is involved.

Pessimistic question: which will get their response quicker?

Edited by Pale Horse

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1 hour ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

That's what the commissioner corps is for. Professionals won't touch unit problems with a 10 foot pole unless A) Youth Protection, and B ) Money is involved.

Sure - but why would anyone want a professional to get involved anyways?  Locally we've got really great professionals and I like them a lot.  But, they've got no more insight into complicated leader issues like this than any other Scouter.

But if I had a unit issue like this one, I'd rather have an experienced SM or CC to go to.

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19 hours ago, Pale Horse said:

Pessimistic question: which will get their response quicker?

YPT, and their response nowadays is scorched earth.  Anyone with a touch of involvement: scouts, scouters, and parents, goes, no shades of gray.

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On 8/17/2019 at 11:19 AM, T2Eagle said:

YPT, and their response nowadays is scorched earth.  Anyone with a touch of involvement: scouts, scouters, and parents, goes, no shades of gray.

Can vouch for that as friend of mine's reputation was destroyed over an accusation from a Scout with a history of breaking curfew and being where he isn't suppose to be. She caught him hanging outside the adult female shower house after hours being a peeping Tom. He accused her of propositioning him. She had her membership revoked and a criminal investigation done. He got to stay despite enough evidence to exonerate her and show someone was being a peeping Tom when she said there was.

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Owls Are Cool:

At some point in these kinds of dispute-prone circumstances a Scouter has to ask whether the potential task is worthy of what the Scouter brings to the table.  You have energy, Scouting experience and a great heart.  I cannot know if you are at the point where you need to ask and answer that question, but surely you have some local confidant you can download with.  I think in your case the question is: "Is it better for me to exert the next 3 years of my volunteer time building a great new Troop at a different location without meddlesome interference, or is it important enough for me to spend the same amount of time salvaging an existing Troop through a series of managed disputes?"  Said differently: "Why not start fresh somewhere else where I can immediately begin to implement great Scouting instead of delaying that time to a point when a series of disputes are mostly-resolved and troublemakers are mostly-gone?" 

I spend a good amount of time in my career circumstances dealing with unavoidable disputes and I am pretty good at it.  However, I do not resolution of disputes to dominate my volunteer life.  Earlier in my Scouting activity I did not ask that question as often as I should have.  You have nothing you need to prove other than that you are a fine father who wants to assure a great Scouting experience for his son.  If you determine to form a new Troop, do is with a fine spirit, providing compliments to everyone at the old Troop.  It never, ever, helps to share what will be regarded as negative comments by those left behind. 

People on this post are never going to understand more than 20% of the relevant facts here, but I'm sensing that you might be holding on too-tightly.

 

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A short update: 

The Chartering Organization removed from the committee the two parents causing trouble in my troop. Ideally, intense conflict resolution with a professional would have been better, but my gut says they would not come to the table. The two parents convinced other parents to join their faction and will be starting a new troop. So half of the active scouts will be leaving my troop. It is a sad day for me given the year and a half I invested in these scouts. Looks like I will return as scoutmaster and will put the pieces back together for the second time. The committee will be decimated with the loss of a number of people willing to do some work, so we'll have to find and train replacements. 

So I find myself looking back to see if I should have done something different to avoid all of this, but at root I took a stand against adult bullying of scouts and parents. I started to give back the reins of the troop to the scouts as the scout program dictates. Not popular with the faction, but I think I did the right thing. I am looking forward to a new start and challenge, however. 

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I am not going to lie, it will be a challenge. BUT you will have a greater impact and make a bigger difference.

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