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swilliams

Ideas/Help with Resolution of Conflict Between Scouts

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Here to pick your brains while I wait for our Scoutmaster to be available.  I did a quick search, but (surprisingly, or not) there are a LOT of topics that contain the words 'scout' and 'conflict'.

I was encouraging one of our scouts to go on our camping trip coming up this weekend.  He's an older scout (age 15, joined about 18 months ago) who is still not First Class.  He wants to advance, so this would finally have given him some of the opportunities we've been missing during Covid times to complete some camping-related requirements.  He had one excuse after the next, and it came to light (after I got a text from his mom) that he'd gotten into a fight with another scout.

Details that might be pertinent. It wasn't a physical fight. I haven't had a chance to speak to the Scoutmaster.  The boy's mom emailed the SM and myself this morning, but he has not answered the email yet.  The scout doesn't want to come to tonight's meeting, either.  I did NOT bring this up with either scout or the other boy's parents: this is just a what-would-you-do question.  I only have one side of the story, but am being told the other boy has been ostracizing/bullying the first about various things such as his 2nd Class rank.

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Well obviously the SM is gonna need to do some conferencing.

He could start by saying there's a stranger on the internet who says the best scout ever aged out at 2nd class rank. What made him the best? He invited his neighbor to visit his troop.

The corollary is, of course, that to be the worst scout ever all you have to do is drive someone to quit your troop. And I was on the brink of being that scout on a couple of occasions.

The offending scout might not even have a clue about what he did. Did the SPL or the scouts' PL witness the altercation? Was it overt hostility or just one of those things a guy might say without thinking how hurtful it could be? These are the data the SM needs that he may not have. So, good luck getting it.

The SM's best hope is that the offending scout recognizes that no matter how much he might have been part of the problem, he has a chance to be part of the solution and become the "2nd best scout ever." ;)

But that's about as much help as I think we can give on this side of the internet. The rest of it is lots of listening and setting up a safe, in-person opportunity to clear the air.

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The fight happened outside of scouting.  Online gaming.  Ugh.  One accused the other of cheating, and it was all downhill afterward, allegedly with a bunch of name-calling and 'your mother' comments thrown in as well.  That seems pretty typical and straight-up to me (being one of eight kids in my family and having four of my own, lol).

My worry is that this has morphed into bullying in the scout world.  Hope the SM gets back to one of us soon.

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One thing that will really help this situation is an adult in the troop that gains the trust of this scout. He likely won't talk to someone he doesn't have a positive relationship with. The SM would be the first logical choice. I'd call the SM and find out what his view is. He may already be on top of it and you're done. He might really appreciate your help. He might have insight. He might need your insight. He might not want to deal with it.

The scout needs to understand that he can talk about what happened without consequences from the other scout. Getting his side of the story, and not just a facade, is the first thing that will start to solve this problem.

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Family dynamics. 

Scout Troop/Patrol dynamics. 

Sometimes kids pick the wrong parents, they might meet /need a Scout Leader to latch on to for exampling, for a role model. 

The adult (adult?) Leaders need to think about other things/places besides the Troop Meeting or campsite.

Scoutmaster's Minute?   What /Why are we in Scouting ? to "earn" colorful patches?  Is that all ?  What do they represent, really? Or are we here to explore, go places and do things other kids may never have the chance to? 

Who is the better Scout?  The fellow that drops a log in front of someone so they can trip on it and be laughed at?  Or the one who reaches back and helps his buddy over that log?    How do YOU want to be remembered ?  As a HELPER or a HINDERER ? 

And think of this:    Your Scout Promise and Law also applies outside of this meeting room. Outside of the Scout camp.  "You mean I should be Trustworthy, loyal, cheerful, helpful and all that stuff at home? In school?  Really?"  yes, really.  

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On 10/13/2020 at 4:57 PM, swilliams said:

...  gaming.  ...  One accused the other of cheating, ...

My daughter does not play basketball to this day because of how her friends In fourth grade violated unwritten rules of smack-talk. (They didn’t keep it on the court, and she wasn’t willing to call their bluff in their accusations that she fouled unnecessarily.)

Don’t be quick to blame the online environment. That’s not going to go away. Your SMs job is to point out to the boys that kind and courteous aren’t just things that are left hung on the scout house wall. Thy need to bring those to their games or consider themselves to no longer be scouts.

It’s really that simple. Learn to love one another, or stop calling themselves something they aren’t.

Edited by qwazse

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Showing my age again, and I REALIZE that we do not live in the fifties now, so just take note that I do understand there are different views today, though I do wonder if some may be overreach much of the time.  

Anyway, when most of my peers were kids this would have been settled by themselves and they would be friends again soon after.  My dad brought a set of boxing gloves home for my brother and I, and on occasion, neighbor or two.  At times, I wonder if there might be some in between place that would put the onus on the kids a bit more to simply figure it out.  But, I realize, as noted, we live in a different world, and there were some really bad situations that happened back then as well, though most of us would have a fight, sometimes physical and emotional, and very soon be friends, or at least, accepting, with the other kid.  Where to draw the line to not interfere is the question.  But helicopter parents sometimes are flying military grade ones now.  One more reason to find a way to get the foundation of Scouting back into play with the youth of today.  

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I'm not always the best at handling subtle situations like this.  

If it happened outside scouting ... and one kid is not showing up ... there is not much we can do.  Perhaps a friendly chat might be nice with the kid that is showing up.  Maybe if done well, the kid might not realize there is advice during the conversation. 

BUT, I am a firm believer that we as adult leaders can make things worse if we inject ourselves too much.  

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