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Part 2... or 3... whatever - The Committee Meeting

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Hey there folks. We have a small troop, 12-14 active Scouts. I became Scoutmaster in January 2020. Our charter org is a church in our neighborhood. There is a man at the church, very active in the church, a pillar of the community, I guess. 

Mr. Pillar used to participate as an ASM before Covid, as his son, Billy, a young Scout at the time, participated. When covid hit, we went to Zoom meetings like so many troops did. Their participation dropped off and then stopped. Understandable. Over time, well for brevity I will just say, despite covid, lots of Scouting happened. Finally things returned to normal. But we hadn't seen Mr. Pillar or his now 15yo son until summer camp.

Summer Camp Episode

Off we go to summer camp. We get there Sunday afternoon and everyone was excited. We went to the dining room, standing in line with all the other troops, I asked each of my guys what merit badges they were signed up for. Each one told me, Oh I'm signed up for swimming, I'm signed up for Cooking, I'm signed up for Metal Working, I'm gonna do Polar Bear Plunge, on and on. Everyone was laughing and cutting up. I get to Billy and I ask him what merit badges he signed up for. He glares at me and says WHY?  

Why? um okay, I was just... I was stunned. I didnt know what to say. I think I said Nevermind, but I dont know if I said anything. I talked to each Scout, but that guy was cranky so I left him alone. True, I had long ago noticed that kid was kind of sour, but there's all different personalities, so, uhg! but whatever.

Next morning we go to breakfast. The whole camp is gathered outside the dining hall. Hundreds of Scouts, scouters, camp staff. Great weather. My guys are in their line, ready for opening flag ceremony, and again we were chatting, and feelin' the good vibes. I noticed Billy was missing, as was his dad, and was told he went home. Huh? I'm the SM for petes sake, I should know about this. What happened? Nobody knew.

Then our troop ASM comes over and says Hey can you see me over here? I said sure. So we go over there, then around side of the building, and then oddly all the way around back. He was silent and serious as we walked, very weird. We get there, around back of the building, and there's a picnic table at which is sitting the Camp Director and her Assistant, each with a page of hand written notes. And, standing at the head of the table, is Mr. Pillar of the Community.

I said, good morning, wow, what's up? Mr. Pillar, who is visibly upset - red faced, veins bulging - says his son is going home because I acted strangely. I said, Oh, wow, what did I do? I was dumbfounded. He said that Billy said that I went over to his hammock and looked at him. Wha? I ...what? He was in his hammock this morning and you went over and bent over him and looked at him. Well needless to say that didnt happen. I wasnt even exactly sure where his hammock was pitched, in the woods back behind the adirondaks. I hadnt been over there and certainly didnt peer down at a guy. Just simply didnt happen.

There was some talk of sending me home. I mean, it was 8:30 Monday morning, we had been at camp probably 16 hours. I hadn't even had a cup of coffee! The camp director allowed me to stay but asked that I dial back my activity and operate in the background. I said holy cow, I'm the Scoutmaster and you know what, I havent done anything wrong. Not a thing. The camp director said she was required to file a report with Council. Yikes.

Mr. Pillar drove Billy home, leaving me, the ASM, and the troop - including I might add, Mr. Pillar's 11yo son who had just crossed over - at camp. Mr. Pillar came back same day. That evening we passed on the gravel camp road and he said he didn't think I had meant to do anything nefarious. I was dumbstruck and I don't think I responded.

I cant tell you how much this upset me. I couldnt sleep. I relived that meeting in my mind a hundred times. The Scouts inquired about Why did Billy go home, we just said he was homesick, and everyone went about their business. It was a great week otherwise. I assume I was under the microscope that week - scrutinized for any little thing - I don't know. Nobody said anything more to me! It was kind of unbelievable.

Apparently there wasn't much of an investigation. I heard later they had talked to the 11yo son. I don't think they interviewed any of our other Scouts. You know, the Scouts that actually know me? The Scouts that come to all the meetings... that go on all the outings... The Scouts that had been through so much during Covid times? Basically all the other Scouts? I'm pretty sure the Scouts would walk barefoot on hot coals if I asked them to, but I don't think any of them were interviewed.

On Saturday morning we were all packed up and about to drive home. I walked over to the camp director, who was waving goodbye to troops as they departed. We had not spoken again all week. I said I hope next time we visit there is no further drama. She said Yeah me too, or something like that.

Her report was transferred to our Council. Our Committee Chair contacted them about it and was told it was dropped. That's all the information I have and that's pretty much where it stands.

Until this past week. What happened this past week? Ah, dear reader, Part 2.


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MattR: These situations are always fact-intensive and it is impossible to understand the detail of Mr. P's accusations or the fullness of how such accusations might impact the future of the perso

I’ll should wait for part 2. But what you’ve recounted so far emphasizes the importance of two-deep leadership and no one-on-one contact, and the difficulty ensuring it every minute of 240 hours of su

As a SM, I was called at least once a week by a parent with an opinion of something they saw that bothered them. Sometimes more than 1 a week, rarely less. And you would be amazed of what bothers pare

I’ll should wait for part 2. But what you’ve recounted so far emphasizes the importance of two-deep leadership and no one-on-one contact, and the difficulty ensuring it every minute of 240 hours of summer camp.

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7 hours ago, RainShine said:

Until this past week. What happened this past week? Ah, dear reader, Part 2

Let me guess. The recharter paperwork came back and you're no longer the SM?

Either way, having a good relationship with the CO is a really important goal of unit leadership. That's what prevents surprises, at least the kind that come in two parts.

I wish you the best.

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Please tell me you did not receive a notice that you are now in the IVF?

Good friend of mine was placed in the IVF due to a "scout's" accusation. He said  she made a pass at him. She said he was being a peeping time after hours when the ladies had access to the showers. The police investigation found evidence to support her story, yet she was removed permanently from Scouting. As for the "scout," he was given Eagle. Sadly the "eagle" had a history of getting into trouble and lying to stay out of it.

A year previously he accused folks of stuff when he was caught  after curfew. If it wasn't for his accomplices telling the truth when it came to reporting what happened, three good Scouters would have been placed in the IVF because of his lies. 

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That's the trouble with accusations.  They happen.  Sometimes real.  Sometimes someone squirming to get out of somewhere they don't want to be.  How do you defend against loose accusations but also protect the vulnerable.  This #### is hard.  Wishing you the best.  

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13 minutes ago, fred8033 said:

How do you defend against loose accusations but also protect the vulnerable. 

By adhering to our legal principle of presumption of innocence.

BSA has turned this on its head.  If someone accuses in BSA, you are guilty until proven innocent.  Except, you are never given the Kafkaesque opportunity to prove innocence.  And even some who have been proven innocent are still left on the IVF.

In the case @Eagle94-A1 relates, the Scout accused an adult of "solicitation of a minor" or "unlawful contact of a minor", or some other statutory violation. 

We should take accusations seriously, and clear the air when they are made, because sometimes, they are based on an inexperienced misread of the situation. 


BSA mindset appears to be that it can discard adults at will, and suffer no negative consequences.  I would posit this as one of the many reasons, overall, that BSA is failing.

Edited by InquisitiveScouter
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Lots to say but first, I recognize this could have been a lot worse. Waaay worse. The kid could have said I touched him or myself or something.

In fact, having thought about it (and thought about it, and thought about it...) I mean, his story... think about that... that I came over and leaned over and looked down at him. He was in bed. I think he dreamed it. Seriously. I think he dreamed it. A branch or something cast a shadow on his face and he dreamed it, and he probably sat upright scared out of his wits. full on nightmare type thing. 

The only knock on that theory is the guy is 15. He aint some little kid anymore. 

But he obviously doesnt like me. Before Covid, I was on Committee then ASM, another kid reported that he said disparaging remarks about me. Thats fine, I mean I made a mental note but its fine. I remember one time he said Hello to me and that was so remarkable I considered it was a major breakthrough. Then that weird episode in line at the dining hall. "WHY?" I mean, it was harsh.

My mom always told me, Consider the source. And I know there is a lot going on in that family. BTW the 11yo, nice kid, no problem. During the week we eventually did Scout rank requirements. The little brother was friendly, courteous, kind...

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I will deliver a continuation from my earlier post later. But first, if it pleases the court, two stories:

 Story 1

My son was doing Arrow of Light and the den leader was flaking out so I took over, and I did a great job. 7 of the 9 guys got AoL and 8 of them crossed over to Scouts. When my son crossed over, I did too, and I went to the troop Committee. But I heard, back in the Pack, there were to be 16 Webelo Scouts moving to AoL. Wow that will be a riot. I offered to do another stint as AoL den leader, so there would be two dens, and this was accepted. Great.

But when the time came, there weren’t 16. There were, like, 9 if I remember. So two AoL dens weren’t needed. And yet, I stuck around, like gum on the den leaders shoe. I had been really good at AoL den leader, and I was eager for another success. Trouble was, I was no longer needed or wanted there. I ‘helped’ for too long, and stepped on the toes of the AoL den leader. Once I realized I was being a jerk, I departed. I apologized to the AoL den leader. Not one of those apologies, like I’m sorry but… it was a real apology with no but’s. He accepted it, but damage was done. When it came time for his son and him to cross over, I was now SM at the troop. They chose another troop. I know that wasn’t the only reason, but it was a real reason.

 Since then, he and I stay in touch. They are doing well, in fact he is now SM at the other troop. We bumped into each other at a neighborhood spot recently and chatted and laughed about Scouting, the way SM’s do. Last week I emailed him about borrowing some training gear, and his reply was easy and affirmative. I’d say we have a pretty good relationship. But yes, they went to a different troop because of me. No youth protection issue, mind you, but we lost a good Scout and parent because of me.

 Story 2

I was ASM. We had some Webelo Scouts scheduled to visit, so I suggested to the PLC an activity – you guys know it – where they build these tripods and the Scouts climb up on them. Our troop had never done it. The Scouts would do the lashings and the Webelos would finish the lashing with a square knot. Great. PLC approved it, so I got the spars and ropes, and taught the PLs the lashings. Time for the big night, it didn’t go great at first. The Scouts skill level was low, they asked for my help which I provided. I was very busy, working two builds at once. In fact, everyone had a great time, smiles all around. The Webelo Scouts all finished the lashings with their new square knot skills, and everyone had fun. It could have been a disaster, but in the end a big success.

 After the meeting, the two ASM’s, one of whom was Mr. Pillar from the Summer Camp Episode, asked me aside (the SM was away that night). They said a Webelo mom had suspicion’s about me. I said Oh, what did I do wrong? Both were cheerful, and said don’t worry about it, but be careful. I said, well but, wait, what did I do? What did she say? They waved me off cheerfully, and said, don’t worry about it. Well, I worried about it for months. Years. I still do. I cant imagine a youth protection offense. There were probably 30 people there, tons of adults all around. And I was busy! I was up to my neck in program, helping the Scouts with their lashings. I didn’t really interact with the Webelos. I took a few photos, like others did, but no-one asked to see them, so that cant be it. Nothing more was ever said about it to me.

Ah, but dear reader, both these stories appear in Part 2, The Committee Meeting.


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23 hours ago, RainShine said:

... A branch or something cast a shadow on his face and he dreamed it, and he probably sat upright scared out of his wits. full on nightmare type thing. 

The only knock on that theory is the guy is 15. He aint some little kid anymore. ...

Or, this painting might have have caught his attention at one time.

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Perhaps its a side note to your story, and perhaps not, but in truth, you probably should have been talking to the Webelos parents and letting the Scouts run the lashings. One of our standards of success is if the Scouts don't hear me speak until the Scoutmaster's Minute.

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