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T216

should alcohol use affect advancement

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Per YP training - In Scouting - Suspected instances of abuse should be reported to the SE to investigate. Out of Scouting - It depends on the laws of your state. Check your on-line YP to see what your state requires. Here in Illinois we are required to report to the proper authorities. To NOT do so would be criminal.

 

As others have said, the parents are enabling their son's underage drinking. That is against the law & police departments DO enforce it. We have had a few instances in recent years here where parents have purchased beer for high school parties. The parents have been arrested, fined & in one instance I believe even jailed.

 

I can't help but wonder about your "close-knit neighborhood troop". If it is common knowledge that underage drinking is rampant in your community, & that this boy is involved with his parents consent, why is it that no one has done anything about this before? Also if it is that rampant, & a lot of the scouts go to the same school as this boy, then I would also bet that more scouts than just that one are drinking. They may not have their parents behind them, but I would bet they sneek a "cold one" now & again too.

 

 

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When i say that beer drinking is rampant, i mean in general at our high school level (and likely many others across the country). Not rampant with my scouts (at least not to my knowledge). But i do suspect a couple of others who may be drinking more than "just trying it once" - and we plan to talk with them about drinking and scouts too. We're not singling out this one scout, other than his being close to wanting to go before Eagle review board and we know for sure (after my conversation with his dad last ngiht) of his recurring beer use and attitude toward it.

 

And i don't know that it is rampant with this one scout. I don't knwo how often he drinks - to me that's not the issue, so i didn't even ask the question (to the dad). The dad acknoweldged the boy "has had a beer and will probably have one again" and that they don't have a real problem with it, so the frequency is not the root of the issue to me. Just the fact that it is recurring behavior.

 

While i disagree with the parents' position on this, i am not at all trying to enforce my own beliefs (which happen to be the law) on them. I have no intent on calling authorities to report this as a social issue. Not that it should matter (but it does), but these parents are friends of ours and i think are high quality people and have raised two good kids. It's just this one issue (teenage alcohol) that i differ with them on. And the boy is not a drunk who is getting into trouble. But he is partying with beer, and he's 15 years old. For an Eagle candidate, i have an issue with that and am wrestling with what mine and Troop Committee responsibilites are. Not just to this boy, but for the troop (to uphold standards and accountabilities).

 

Another thought is, should we discuss this at one of our scout meetings, to see what the scouts themselves think the consequences should be? Not to name this scout specifically (although i think most who know who we'd be referencing) but just a scenario in general.(This message has been edited by T216)

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Directly from YP Training:

 

Youth Member Responsibilities

 

All members of the Boy Scouts of America are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the principles set forth in the Scout Oath and Law. Physical violence, hazing, bullying, theft, verbal insults, and drugs and alcohol have no place in the Scouting program and may result in the revocation of a Scout membership in the unit. Units should consult with the parents of members who fail to meet behavior standards.

 

Hope that helps to give a perspective on alcohol in Scouts (and I personally don't think a Scout is a Scout only during specific hours).

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Interesting thread. I would not have a discussion with the troop over what the consequences would be, if it will be obvious to all who the scout in question is. I can't really put my finger on a reason, but that is just my gut feeling.

 

I agree with what has been posted here, sit down with the scout and talk about how his actions violate the scout oath/law. This would depend on who the scout is, but he may be able to come up with some good way to detirmine when he is ready for eagle.

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So the youth is 15 now. In a year or two he will be getting his drivers license. It doesnt appear his behavior will change in that time. So, what happens when the intoxicated youth runs over and kills a loved one of yours? Tell the cops the kid has been drinking for years and you just knew this would happen?

 

I see two issues, Scouting Advancement and knowing civil laws are being broken.

 

I may be hung in effigy for suggesting this, but I think the laws being broken need to be addressed long before we worry about scouting advancment

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"(and I personally don't think a Scout is a Scout only during specific hours)."

 

All members of the Boy Scout of America means adults too. I take it that you neither smoke or drink even outside of scouting activities?

 

While re-reading the replies to this thread, some things start to stand out to me. T216 states that while he does not know how frequently this scout drinks the issue to him is that it is "recurring behavior". The way he knows it is "recurring" is because the dad acknowledged the boy "has had a beer and will probably have one again". To me that is one beer with the possibility of one more. T216 states that "the boy is not a drunk who is getting into trouble. But he is partying with beer." How do you go from - I don't know how much he drinks & he has had a beer - to partying with beer?

 

T216 also states that "i do suspect a couple of others who may be drinking more than "just trying it once" - and we plan to talk with them about drinking and scouts too." No mention here of holding up their advancement? How about talking to their parents? Or telling the DE about them?

 

T216 then says "We're not singling out this one scout, other than his being close to wanting to go before Eagle review board". So it IS OK to do underage drinking & pass BOR's for advancement as long as that BOR is NOT for Eagle?

 

I'm starting to get the feeling that this Troop just might be singling out this one boy to make an object lesson of. His name has been gossiped about around town & the council. All to show that they want to keep the sterling, ultra high quality of Eagle candidates (only) bright.

 

Well, while Eagle is the highest rank a Boy Scout can achieve, it is still a RANK. The same as Life or Tenderfoot. It is achieved by first earning 6 other ranks and then completing some final requirements. Boys who achieve the rank of Eagle are NOT GODS. They are still BOYS. Boys who have completed a LOT of hard work, but still boys. With all of the foibles & problems that come with ANY teenager.

 

What is the old saw about throwing stones in glass houses?

 

How many Eagle Scouts here can truthfully state that they NEVER took a drink of alcohol while they were underage? How about more than 1 or even 2 drinks? How many can truthfully state that they NEVER smoked a cigarette before their 18th birthday? Or had an older buddy buy them a pack?

 

How about you T216?

 

I know I will get flamed for this, but IMO, stop polishing your Eagle & gossiping about this "good kid" (T216's words). Do a program in your Troop meeting about the problems with underage drinking. Do some role playing, invite a community service officer, invite a youth counselor, invite the parents. Have ALL the boys sign a pledge to not drink & to not drive with another youth who has been drinking. And, if you must hold up advancement, hold up EVERYONE'S. Until you can run the program & get the signatures.

 

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I have a somewhat different take on parts of this. I also have mixed emotions about the whole situation. I spent much of my youth scouting days in Europe, where there was no age restriction on sale or consumption of alcohol. In most European countries, children regularly drink alcohol at home with their parents. Only beer and wine, generally. The U.S. is about the only Scout organization that makes a big deal about alcohol. If you've been to an international event or world jamboree, you have probably been invited to have a beer with the leaders of some group or other.

 

Also, I want to point out that it is NOT necessarily illegal for kids under 21 to drink alcohol. It depends on the law in your state. It IS illegal to purchase alcohol or serve alcohol to under 21's almost everywhere. The exception in many states is where the parents serve it at home to their own children.

 

I don't know if this kid is getting it from someplace else or not. The parents are probably not telling the whole story (I wouldn't in their circumstances).

 

So, bottom line, if he is getting it from outside, he may be breaking the law. If he is getting it from home, he may not. Otherwise, this is pretty much one of those issues like some of the religious discussions on other threads. Reasonable people can disagree about the wisdom of letting your kids drink at home, but it's difficult to see where he is violating the Scout Oath and Law if what he's doing is not illegal and done with parental consent.

 

If I were the leader, I would check the law carefully and examine the facts. If he's breaking the law, he shouldn't proceed to Eagle. If not, I don't see it as a unit prerogative. You would not, for instance, deny a boy Eagle because he was Jewish or Catholic and took wine during some ceremonies.

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Let me begin by saying that I am personally anti-alcohol. Don't like it - I'mm 44 and have never tasted alcohol.

 

My question to the OP is have you actually observed this Scout drinking? From what I havve read, you or other members of the Scouting organization haven't.

 

It's pretty unsettling to read that the parents of the Scout permit him to drink - but some of my kids' friends have done so as well, with the parents giving them wine at dinner or turning their heads when they see the kid sucking on the keg at a family reunion. Again - I don't approve, but that's none of my business.

 

Now - a question to all - there's been much quoted about Scouts not drinking (and rightly so) - but do the Scouters also take an oath to be clean, healthy, etc? Would this apply to them as well? Should they abstain from drinking, smoking, and swearing?

 

I'm not being nasty, really - just very curious.

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"(and I personally don't think a Scout is a Scout only during specific hours)."

 

All members of the Boy Scout of America means adults too. I take it that you neither smoke or drink even outside of scouting activities?

 

Does that matter? What I posted was one paragraph taken from the Youth Protection that relates to youth behavior and posted it to help give the BSA perspective rather than opinion only. My opinion that Scouting isn't just during Scouting hours stands, but isn't the goal to teach good citizenship and character and fitness? Wouldn't that include at least having a conversation with this Scout and his parents about the BSA's goal in relation to this issue? This is a youth--not an adult--who according to these posts is drinking underage, and there is an opportunity for him to be warned of the consequences and perhaps avoid a tragic accident/mistake down the road. IN dealing with this, my concern is one that you have nailed: this one Scout seems to be singled out because he is going for Eagle. Is there a legitimate concern? I think so from what is posted, but I do not think this should be handled in a public way and have stated that. To ignore this does the Scout a disservice (sp?). And the talk, quite frankly, must stop. A community and/or troop discussion about a Scout, even without naming him, will do more harm than good; a discussion with the Scout motivated by concern for HIM may be all he needs to think twice about the next time he wants a beer.

 

p.s. For the record, I find that the Scout Law is a good way to live life, and I believe that if I'm going to be a leader in the BSA then I'm going to do my best to live it and not just talk it.(This message has been edited by bbng)

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ScoutNut

Yes, I do have a drink outside of scout activities. I am 47 years old and am not breaking any laws nor any oaths I have taken as I seek an honor. (I do not drink on any scout activities.)

It is somewhat common knowledge that it is recurring behavior with this scout. I dont know how often (daily? weekly? monthly?) but its not a one-time shot. No one, including the parents, is disputing this. I said he hasnt gotten into trouble because to my knowledge he hasnt. And with the parent grapevine around here, it seems like people know when someones child has gotten into trouble.

So it IS OK to do underage drinking & pass BOR's for advancement as long as that BOR is NOT for Eagle. ABSOLUTELY NOT. Where did you ever get this idea?

Re other boys we absolutely would hold up their advancement too if drinking is an issue. Whether they are 2nd Class, Star, Life, whatever. Were not trying to hold this one scout to a different standard. And I dont think we know more than any of their parents already know or suspect we probably know a lot less. If I hear hearsay, I dont think its my job to run to a parent to tell them what Ive heard secondhand. I do think its my responsibility to talk with the boy about it, and to suggest to the person telling me that they might want to call the parent and tell them what theyve heard. (But most dont want the confrontation.)

His name has been gossiped about around town & the council. ALSO NOT TRUE. Weve talked about it at TC, and to Council on a nameless basis. Again, you have jumped to some conclusions that are wrong.

All to show that they want to keep the sterling, ultra high quality of Eagle candidates (only) bright. Isnt that our responsibility to uphold the quality of the eagle rank? And again, I take exception to the word only we expect ALL scouts to live by the scout oath and laws, or we address the situation with them. We know they will all make mistakes. But an ongoing choice of underage drinking by a 15 year old who aspires to be an Eagle scout is not insignificant.

How many Eagle Scouts here can truthfully state that they NEVER took a drink of alcohol while they were underage? How about more than 1 or even 2 drinks? How many can truthfully state that they NEVER smoked a cigarette before their 18th birthday? Or had an older buddy buy them a pack?

How about you T216?

Im not the one in question here. I probably shouldnt even address this question, but I will. I was never a scout. I didnt have an oath to uphold. But even then I made my own choices to not succumb to peer pressure. I had my first beer (which was my first alcohol) in college. I have never smoked a cigarette in my life. But I am NOT trying to say scouts should be like me. I am NOT the standard. The standard is the policies and guidelines of BSA and how they should apply to all scouts, but particularly Eagle candidates. Yes, I do think much more exemplary behavior is expected from an Eagle candidate than a 13 year old First Class Scout.

stop polishing your Eagle & gossiping about this "good kid" (T216's words). We arent gossiping about him. Were trying to handle his situation as appropriately as possible. And he is a good kid. We reminded him back in late spring when he was with Troop Committee that scouts were expected to remain alcohol-free, and that not doing so could affect his advancement. He gave us the proper yes sir, I understand line. But then he chooses to do otherwise anyway? And were not supposed to hold him accountable for that?

Have ALL the boys sign a pledge to not drink. Already done. Every single boy signs this when they join the troop, and they are reminded of it.

I appreciate your sharing your thoughts but candidly, youve made some assumptions which are inaccurate. (This message has been edited by T216)

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Oops! I read the first page and then posted my opinion.

 

I just read Scoutnut's post and his thoughts were very much on the lines of what I asked.

 

 

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A Scout pledges to uphold the Scout Oath & Law. I read "Trustworthy" as not breaking the law (among other things). Since this Scout is under the age of 21 and consuming alcoholic beverages, he is breaking the law therefore, not living up to his pledge to uphold the Scout Oath & Law.

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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from our troop handbook:

 

A SCOUT'S CONDUCT AND DRUG FREE COMMITMENT:

 

In the Scout oath and law, each scout will find a clear statement of what: conduct in expected of him as a Scout.

 

A 216 Scout is expected to honor his SCOUT OATH promise to "KEEP MYSELF PHYSICALLY STRONG, MENTALLY AWAKE, AND MORALLY STRAIGHT..." by remaining drug free which includes illegal use of alcohol as well as use or possession of illegal drugs.

 

These commitments are essential to rank advancement and participation in Boy Scout of America and Troop 216 activities.

------------------------------------------

 

and the boy - AND THE PARENTS - sign this:

 

------------------------------------------

We have read and understand and agree to the PERFORMANCE EXPECTATIONS FOR TROOP 216 SCOUTS and THE SCOUT PARENTS SUPPORT COMMITMENT.

 

Boys Signature Date

 

Parents Signature Date

-----------------------------------------

Is that not pretty clearcut??

 

 

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That helps. Your troop policy clearly ties no-alcohol use to continued rank advancement. The scout and parent have agreed to these stipulations and are now trying to argue the point, when they should be taking a hard look at themselves in the mirror.

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