Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

The Story of Mr. One

For seven years I haven’t been known by my real name.  I’m really not that indistinguishable from countless others in my ranks – over nine hundred thousand of us.  All formerly known by names like Jim, Sue, Bobbie, Mr. or Mrs. Smith… but now, our name is One.  Some One.

Indulge me as I expand on this thought.

Being a volunteer is often a thankless job.  Most do it because they feel it’s their calling, or need in life, to help those less fortunate.  Scouting is different.  While yes, there are certainly some less fortunate, most are certainly most capable.  Scouting is not free – it’s not cheap.  It cost money… sometimes a significant amount of money.  Yes, we offer this unofficial option of ‘Scout Accounts’ but the reality is most just pay their way.  They have the funds, the means, so they just pay.

And they leave the day-to-day tasks, the thankless “one hour a week” (pardon me as I choke on my coffee as I type that last phrase)... so that those who just pay their dues leave it to others to do.

Who are the “Others” I refer to? Some One…. Me and my over nine thousand closest associates.  The few doing for the many so that the many can come in, enjoy, and leave the mess for Some One to clean up, put away, organize and prepare for another event for others to enjoy.

“Who will do this, that or the other thing?”  “It needs to be done”  “We need Some One to do this” and there you have… Some One is there to do the task.

So year in and year out… Some One does the jobs for others to reap the benefit.

The lucky Ones get a thank you – maybe a gift card to Starbucks.  Really appreciative units reach out to craftsmen and have a thank-you plaque or other such kind gesture created, others create home-made handicraft thank you items to show their appreciation.  The sad truth, however, is most just wring the life out of a volunteer like an old sponge – taking all they can take, tossing them aside and then looking for another Mr. or MS One to be the new Some One.   And the cycle continues.

So, herein belies the question:  What will happen as more and more “Ones” dwindle away... either through exhaustion, frustration or other such attrition?  Those around, reluctant to step up at the outset, rescind further into the backgrounds to remain the paying recluse and the over nine hundred thousand reduce even further.

Think I’m wrong?  Just look at BSA’s numbers?  Units closing….. Districts “reforming”... Membership dwindling faster than a gambling addicts personal savings…  

And so goes the life of Mr. (or Ms.) One….

The instant case of this particular Mr. One goes even deeper into a darker place.  

The final chapter of this story begins with a late rechartering.  Mr. One encountered many problems due to COVID19 and collecting outstanding payments – at one point over 16 units were late so Mr. One and his unit were not alone.  Finally, rechartered and just a short time from the Blue and Gold, Mr. One is approached and asked to create AOL Cross-over plaques (he makes these for units across the country).  He accepts, even though he now lives and works hours away from his home, returning to his home only for the weekends.  This is for HIS Pack… HIS SCOUTS… so of course, he accepts.  Then, the night before the Blue and Gold, his Pack leadership appears at his home and requests another TWO appreciation plaques for the outgoing leaders.  Mr. One accepts.

Next day, Mr. One delivers all to the event – not thanked, not asked to remain at the event – just drop off and please leave.

And then the fun begins.  Mr. One is sent a “Dear John” letter from the Charter Rep two days later… demanding any and all Pack materials be delivered on a weekday evening.  Mr. One responds that the demanded date is not possible as Mr. One is out of town, working to support his family.  “BAH HUMBUG!” responds the Charter Rep… “Do as you’re told!”… Mr. One offers to meet over the weekend at a time of mutual convenience, but the Charter Rep continues his belittling stance “You heard me… DO AS YOU’RE TOLD!!”

Mr. One is now in a fight with the Charter over what is nothing more than a big angry foolish bear on a power trip.

Mr. One writes countless times to the Charter Bear… and includes his District Executive and District Commissioner – both turn a blind eye and ignore the communications while the Charter Bear threatens legal and criminal actions because, as they say, Mr. One has failed to obey.  Mr. One continues to respond that there is no failure to obey, but a lack of ability to obey what is a preposterous demand – put quite simply, Mr. One is more than two hours away throughout the week and just not capable of teleporting himself through space and time.  Why would Mr. One not have another comply with the demands of the Charter Bear and deliver the items?  Fair question.  More fair would be why would the Charter Bear not inform Mr. One of this decision earlier to allow Mr. One to deliver the items AND the awards on the Blue and Gold day…. So to answer why:  RESPECT.    Aretha spelled it out years ago R-E-S-P-E-C-T.  Lack thereof is tough to motivate Mr. One or ANY of his more than nine thousand friends.  What is that old phrase?  Oh yes, “You can attract more flies with honey than with vinegar”.


Mr. One contacts National for a reasonable prudent person to come forth and help.  National Refuses… saying it is the local Council that must resolve this.  Local Council???  Isn’t that the District Executive and District Commissioner who have been on countless emails and have never involved themselves?  Isn’t the District Executive paid for through member fees and dues?  Doesn’t he report to his boss the Scout Executive?  Why are they not stepping in?
So… Mr. One’s fight continues… with threats of legal and criminal actions against Mr. One… all the makings of Cancel Culture at its finest – and fully condoned by the District Leadership and vicariously, National.

So I close by asking you this:  Are you the next SOME ONE willing to endure this abuse?  Think about it long and hard before you join the rapidly dwindling ranks of the now ONE less than nine hundred thousand.
 
 

Edited by someone
fix formatting
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

absolutely agree.... and not harbouring the bad feelings - there were great times seeing the proud smiles on our scouts' faces.... but the evil in some people absolutely destroy the good Scouting stands for... and they are rewarded and the "Ones" are downtrodden

  • Upvote 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to the forum. Hope you can find some peace in the knowledge of the positive contributions that you made in the lives of youth and adults served through Scouting.

Link to post
Share on other sites

gpurlee - thank you for the kind words, very much appreciated.  Why, however, do I feel as though the saying "no good deed goes unpunished" is most accurate?

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

No, what I'm saying is a couple of good memories make up for a truck load of strife. I believe you when you say you're frustrated. We've all been there. Time can help fix the frustration. If not, then it may be time to walk away. I know of several scouters that stuck around, hoping to get things back to a more fun time and it never worked out. The result was a lot of resentment and anger towards scouting. From what you've written it sounds like you might be approaching that. It might be better to take a break and find another way to volunteer. That's what I'm going through right now. Last weekend I went on a campout and really enjoyed it. I didn't have to put on a program for hundreds of scouts but I did help a handful cook their dutch oven cakes. That was reward enough for me till the next campout.

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I appreciate the advice  - there were plenty of good moments, but the issues now are my son  - Life working on Eagle, has seen the ugliness of the BSA enough that he just wants his Eagle and will be out - he'll not continue the tradition of being a leader... has seen too much ugly, sees what his parents are going through now and truly despises the very program we all honoured.  The Charter Bear continues to growl, Council appears to have been neutered and National is a disgrace... so afraid to step in that they hide in their Ivory Tower in fear of reality outside their walls.

The frustration is there - but it's more anger at what can only be considered dereliction of duty = the absolute abandonment of the Scouts in favour of money and power.

I accept my time has come to go - but I worry about the state of what we are leaving behind.

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, someone said:

I accept my time has come to go - but I worry about the state of what we are leaving behind.

I am sorry about the situation you are in. Focus on you son, and remember the positive impact you made on him, his friends, and other youth.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, someone said:

I appreciate the advice  - there were plenty of good moments, but the issues now are my son  - Life working on Eagle, has seen the ugliness of the BSA enough that he just wants his Eagle and will be out - he'll not continue the tradition of being a leader... has seen too much ugly, sees what his parents are going through now and truly despises the very program we all honoured.  The Charter Bear continues to growl, Council appears to have been neutered and National is a disgrace... so afraid to step in that they hide in their Ivory Tower in fear of reality outside their walls.

The frustration is there - but it's more anger at what can only be considered dereliction of duty = the absolute abandonment of the Scouts in favour of money and power.

I accept my time has come to go - but I worry about the state of what we are leaving behind.

 

Only time will heal these wounds.  Only getting outdoors sitting under a tarp during a downpour will wash the pain.  

Many times it's the kids of the extremely dedicated adults who get affected the most.  They see the damage, the cost, the pain, the frustration.  They may be wisely saying they don't want to repeat that.  

I really believe scouting works best when it's kept simple.  Get outside and go for a hike.  Light a camp fire and cook a meal.   Overly focusing on the ideal way of running scouting damages the program.   It's fun and useful to think about the ideal scouting program, but when it comes to working with others and working with the scouts, be like Nike.  Just do it.  

I wish you the best.  Be there for your son.  Create good memories.  Leave the past in the past.

Edited by fred8033
Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

What fred8033 said! 

It's the outdoors,the memories ,and the friendships that matter in the end. Don't let a little tin god with delusions of his own importance taint the good that Scouting was.  

It's hard. I know it is. My Eagle sons are in their mid twenties and thirties now and I'm still working on letting it all go. Going hiking with my grandchildren helps a lot.

Edited by Oldscout448
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, someone said:

I appreciate the advice  - there were plenty of good moments, but the issues now are my son  - Life working on Eagle, has seen the ugliness of the BSA enough that he just wants his Eagle and will be out - he'll not continue the tradition of being a leader... has seen too much ugly, sees what his parents are going through now and truly despises the very program we all honoured.  The Charter Bear continues to growl, Council appears to have been neutered and National is a disgrace... so afraid to step in that they hide in their Ivory Tower in fear of reality outside their walls.

The frustration is there - but it's more anger at what can only be considered dereliction of duty = the absolute abandonment of the Scouts in favour of money and power.

I accept my time has come to go - but I worry about the state of what we are leaving behind.

My Scout just earned Eagle.  Unfortunately he has witnessed a lot of ugly behavior from adult leaders as a result of my volunteerism.  (And unfortunately when I wasn't a volunteer.) We were seriously concerned about his EBOR because of the many unscrupulous leaders, including at the District level. He doesn't even want an ECOH, despite his very impressive Scouting resume.  However, he moved to a new Unit and is happier than he has ever been.  Not sure about his ongoing level of participation but I'm glad he's still involved.   Having earned Eagle has been a relief to him.  He has a tremendous amount of resentment toward the BSA.

We don't attract the best volunteers, just the only ones who sign up.  Unfortunately some of the adult volunteers are on power trips, ultimately hurting the youth they are there to guide.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My veterinarian told me the reason chose veterinary school instead of med school was he didn't want to deal with people. Little did he know when he made that decision that pet owners can be more demanding and unreasonable. 

Very few volunteers think about the difficulties of working with other volunteers, and parents. We just believe everyone is this thing for the same reason and all of us will get along. My wife logged that we got at least one parent complaint call every night for the first two years I was Scoutmaster. Oh, I have many many other stories of adults acting badly from the Cub days to my volunteering at the council level. I just used the Scoutmaster example for reference. 

I don't regret my time as a Scout Leader because I have so many many wonderful memories. But, I have many bad ones too. For some of us, the passion pushed us through. But, there certainly aren't enough of us to say that.

Thank you for all your giving.

Barry

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting, I was reading the thread about CO support of units and it reminded me of the struggle we had with our CO. It started out good, but we started seeing a trend toward less support. That was OK so long as we had facilities for meetings, but, then the CO started charging us for meetings outside of regular weekly troop meetings. Then they started asking us to pay for damages caused by  our scouts. Turns out it was the Girls Scouts and the church youth groups causing the damage, but that didn't stop them from putting tighter requirements on us.

After several failed attempts to improve our relationship with the CO, we finally told the DE to get ready because we were searching for a new CO to get away from hostility of the present CO hostile. Our troop was the fastest growing troop in the council at the time, so our request lit a fire under council. Long story short, we were told the pastor of the church had a bad experience with his son in Cub Scouts some 20 years earlier and he didn't want the BSA in his church. We also learned he was an activist for gay ministers, but they didn't say how much that may have contributed to the hostility.

I don't know the politics or details for changing the relationship with the scouts, but the church committee gave us a new COR and a promise of good relations. I was told that the bigger financial contributors of the church may have had some influence. And, not to long after, the church got a new pastor. Rumor was the church didn't like his activism. But, who knows, church politics are complicated. His attempt to kill the BSA in the church backfired because the COR, true to his word of support, started a new Cub program in the church. The church was also recognized a couple of years later with having the biggest older scout program in the council.

That was an example of what someone with influence and a sour taste for the BSA can do to a scouting unit. 

Barry

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

What Eagledad said.   Perhaps it is only the COR who has the problem. Impossible to say from our perspective. Perhaps it is time for a switch to another Troop.  With the turmoil BSA is going thru right now, in every level and area,  your experience may not be an isolated one.

Try to allow folks to do the right thing. Smile and wave as you go by. 

See you on the trail. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...