Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
T216

should alcohol use affect advancement

Recommended Posts

Hi -

 

I would appreciate some input here. I am a scoutmaster of a troop of about 45 scouts. I have a 15 year old who is nearing to be ready for his Eagle candidacy. He has been a good scout at meetings, on trips, etc.

 

However, it has come to light that he drinks some with his buddies. Not on scout trips, but over the weekends or other "social" times, not scout-related at all. Troop committee has reviewed with all Life scouts the importance of their oaths to stay subsdtance-free, but yet this boy seemingly doesn't see anything wrong wiht having a beer or two at times. Nor do his parents.

 

Should his advancement to Eagle be delayed because of this? The parents think not - they think it's okay for scouts to have a policy against alcohol use but that we shouldn't do anything to hold a scout back if he chooses to drink. I think that this shows a choice the scout makes to NOT adhere to the oath and pledge he has made, and there ought to be some consequence? More service work? More leadership to be shown? Or what? I jsut feel that if you have standards and expectations but then there are no consequences for not living up to those standards, then what kind of message does that send to the other scouts about the validity of the standards in the first place? Obviouisly, the parents disagree with me.

 

I am going to call our District office tomorrow to discuss this and see what their suggested guidelines are, as well as bring this up at the Leaders Roundtable next week. But i'm curious as to input from this board. I am sure this is not a unique situation.

 

Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm curious how did this come up? Did the Scout admit to this during a Scoutmaster conference? Did he get in trouble at someone's house? Was he arrested? If this is not happening on Scouting activities then how did you become aware of it? Next question is who is supplying him ? In most states that against the law. If you know this is going on don't you have a duty to inform someone to protect the youth ? While what he is doing is wrong- I'm kind of worried about you

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It was brought to my attention by other adults. This is a fairly close-knit neighborhood troop, a lot of the guys go to the same school, the parents know what is going on, etc.

 

I talked with the dad tonight and he acknowledges that the son "has had a drink and will probably have more". He sees it as a common "social issue". Clearly I disagree with their approach to the issue.

 

I do not know who buys it for him. But apparently getting beer is no problem. Use among high school students, particulary on weekends, is rampant.

 

I told the dad, i'm not pretending to be the boy's parent or tell you how to do your job (as parent) - other than the obvious that what he is doing is against the law. But along these lines, how do you expect us (troop leaders) to sign off on his being an Eagle scout, when we know that he is choosing to drink underage? Yet the dad doesn't feel we should do anything, and that this shouldn't affect his son's advancement at all.

 

I'm not proposing to kick him out of scouts or forever deny him his Eagle opportunity. Yet it seems we just shouldn't ignore this choice the boy is making, even if he does think he is "drinking responsibly" (which I think most people would agree that for a 15 year old, that is an oxymoron)

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting quandary. A 15 year old drinking alcohol is breaking the law. And if he is buying it, he is breaking the law again. Trustworthy? I'd say not. And if mom & dad are the purchasers or suppliers of his alcohol, they, too, are breaking the law.

 

I would hold him up until he decides to be trustworthy.

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Years ago I served on an Eagle Board of Review. I learned prior to the BOR that this young man illegally parked his car every day and had an excessive amount of parking tickets. These tickets had not been dealt with at all according to reports. I could imagine the headlines reading Eagle Scout arrested fo having outstanding tickets. During his BOR I asked him to tell me the duties of a US citizen. He seemed to understand them or at least be able to verbalize what he thought I was after. I then asked him to go out to his car which he had driven to the BOR and bring in his parking tickets. ( He had over twenty) He was awarded his Eagle after paying off all the tickets and he also learned about how to legally park a car.

The young man has done nothing wrong in Scouting by your story. He appearantly has not gotten into trouble. (yet) I think its time for a Scoutmaster's conference. You did not indicate how close he is to Eagle but I would tend to slow him down if I could.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not that i think it has bearing on the real issue at hand, but i would like to add in that i have no reason to believe that the parents are buying it for him. (But yet the dad told me that they choose NOT to have a "zero tolerance" policy at their house. They know the son drinks beer from time to time (I really do not know how frequently) and do not have a problem with it).

 

Sad (to me), but true.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IBSteveC-

 

You say he has done nothing wrong in scouts - presumably because the drinking occurs away from scouts.

 

But he's 1. breaking the law and 2. not living by the Oath to keep himself "physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight" - which includes staying away from alcohol and drugs. Not just on scout activites but in everyday life.

 

We should just turn a blind eye to this, simply because it doesn't happen during scotu activities? I have a problem with the message that sends.

 

ANd he is very close to otherwise getting his Eagle. Has finished most (if not all, i can't remember tonight) his badges, his leadership position, and his Eagle project is at Council to get approved next week (for him to hopefully knock out this month, before school starts). He wants to get his Eagle immediately and basically be done with scouts. I do not sense that he will be one to continue to participate in scouts once he gets it. Too many other activities that are more important to him.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If it doesn't happen under the scouting umbrella and if the parents are aware and engaged, outside of conversations and perhaps some friendly advice regarding the law, I am not sure you have any other avenues to address this behavior and I would not hold him up unless he has not completed the requirements. Rather, I would use his rank advancement as a means to impress on him his added responsibility as an example to the other boys.

 

It also wouldn't hurt to have a police officer pay a visit to the troop to inform them of the law and the consequences of breaking it. You might let the boy introduce the officer and the topic of his presentation. And to remind all the boys that none of them will be able to claim ignorance...if they ever get caught.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would be interested in what District has to say. I can't lean on any kind of precedence but I'd tend to believe that District would not be as strong armed as you - and I - would be. I hesistate to say that they may even turn a blind eye, as unfortunate as that may be.

 

As you so accurately state, the Oath, and Law that we learn in Scouting is intended for us to live by. Not just during the hours we spend doing scouting activities. This boy is doing someting that is wrong on all levels. It shows no consistency with Scouting and its values. As you state, he is showing no interest in continuing on in the Scouting program after his Eagle. His actions and this decision show me that he values little in what (if anything) he has learned in scouting. Eagle is just a trophy on his mantle, not a badge he wears on his chest with pride, dignity, and honor.

 

If it were my decision, I wouldn't just slow him down, I stop his progress toward Eagle. Unless he can change.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stop the Eagle advancement. Scout Law and Oath are being violated and with foreknowledge. There is admitted law breaking going on. This is not just a "social issue." This is something you can BE ARRESTED for. How would you feel about it is there was illegal intravenous drug use going on? I know it's an extreme example but both actions are illegal. If you're going to advance and join the cream of the crop, you can't smell like a brewery.

 

CMM(This message has been edited by Cubmaster Mike)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Being morally straight and physically strong do not preclude the responsible use of alcohol...in adults. The young man is willfully breaking the law. His parents are condoning it, and are therefore guilty of contributing to the delinquency of a minor or worse. I would say he is lacking in Scout Spirit, and for Eagle, the bar should be very high.

 

See my other posts about "fatal flaws" that should prevent the awarding of the Eagle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I keep thinking about Rafeal Palmeiro. He got caught and his candidacy for Cooperstown is in serious jeopardy. Yet, Bonds, McGwire and Sosa will likely be standing on those steps five years from now. They were just as juiced as Raffy, maybe even more so, but were just fortunate that they could 'retire' sooner or not get tapped for random testing. The guilt is the same, yet some go on for accolades while others are thrown in the dumpster of life.

 

Do you think boy scouts have ever drank before...absolutely. I would suspect there have been many an Eagle scout that have had a beer. The only difference is that their indescretion may not have been known, and so they discover that keeping that part of their life a secret is a good thing (...which is a bad thing). Being known that this boy consumes alcohol (incredously condoned by his parents), it makes it very easy for troop leadership to go down the road of making an example of him. But, this is a private matter and so no one (other scouts) should know about the issue.

 

So, we are left with how to help this boy. The first issue, I suppose, is does he even need help? His parents don't see a problem here (still incredulous), so why should an adult scout leader? Well, obviously there is a problem (bad parenting), but that can't be controlled. I would be very cautious in holding up Eagle advancment. At what point would you consider that the boy has corrected his ways? A signed statement from that he hasn't drank a beer in the past 6 months? 12 months? Corrobating evidence from the 'small community' or his 'parents' that he hasn't drank? Or, is he now forever tainted and can never make amends for his past behavior? When you start heading down the holding up advancment path, make sure you know where you are going and where the exit signs are posted beforehand, otherwise both you and him can get really lost.

 

If I were in your shoes, I would probably sit down with the boy and his parents for a nice long chat. Do it out of genuine concern for the boy, rather than a sense of upholding the sanctity of the Eagle badge. Share your concerns with them about how underage drinking is against the law and therefore, contradicts the ideals of the Scout Promise and Law. How those ideals are intended to be lived, rather than just met at scout outings. How, we should strive to follow them as best we can so that we can better ourselves and be a good example for others. Listen to the parents and the boy, but have them try to explain to you how this is not counter to what being a boy scout is about.

 

Good luck.

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Way back in a previous life, when I worked in the hospital, I seem to remember a law that said something like if a hospital worker saw evidence of child abuse, they were to report it to the authorities. Does anyone know if this extends to Scout Masters or other youth organizaiton leaders?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OGE, it sure does apply to leaders, though the reporting requirements varies from state to state.

 

T216, I'm not sure I'd bring this up at roundtable; please use caution when discussing this Scout. Perhaps you could ask the RT commissioner to work something relating to alcohol use into RT, for you are surely not the only SM to be confronted with this. What you might find helpful is the YP reporting guidelines. They are online, if not through your council, then through national council's site: www.scouting.org .

 

Edit: Sorry about that--the YP is not online for reference any longer, only the entire training after logging in. What I was hoping to link you to was the list of states and their reporting requirements, which is an excellent resource that is now gone. Your council will have this though.(This message has been edited by bbng)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just talked with my district leader at the Council.

 

He said he wouldn't advance him (yet). Not until he showed an understanding that underage drinking IS wrong and is not in line with standards expected of Eagle candidates. And makes a commitment to stop. We don't police it - but we remind him that a scout is trustowrthy and honorable, so we expect him to be honest with himself and us that he is indeed adhering to this expectation. For how long?? 3 months? 6 months? No clear answer.

 

This family's problem with that will likely be that they want him to go ahead and get his Eagle so he can 1. have it and 2. not have to keep being active in the troop, coming to meetings and going on trips. My thought though is that that is the commitment that the boy needs to make, to demonstrate his worthiness of being an Eagle candidate.

 

Any action such as this is not something that we (Troop Committee) will have done to the boy - it's a result of his chosen actions, which have consequences.

 

The District leader said he definitely would not sign him off at this point but that he was going to check with "higher-ups" to see what they say. To his knowledge, there is not a clear black-and-white policy on this - other than the basic requirement that an Eagle candidate is supposed to be "the cream of the crop and a role model in his life and in society" - and that someone who is 15 and is underage drinking on a recurring basis doesn't currently fit that mold in his opinion, regardless of his other scouting accomplishments.

 

More later, after he talks with other leaders at Council. He promised to try to call me back today.

 

(i'm thinking about sending the dad in question a link to this thread, so he can see it's not just my own personal opinion that affects this scout. That i am in line with other consistent thinking. Thoughts on this?)

Share this post


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
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...