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First off, some info. In May of 2005, our scoutmaster of 6 years decided to step down, as his son had earned Eagle Rank and he decided to give more of his time to his family. One of our Assistant Scoutmasters that had transferred from another troop 6 months earlier volunteered to take over as scoutmaster. As there were not any others looking to take the position and he was trained, the committee and the sponsors agreed to except him in this position.


With new people comes new ideas. He had some things that he wanted to see done differently, and as they seemed to be promoting more boy led leadership, the leaders and the committe once again agreed.


Unfortunately he is great at ideals, but lacks in the ability to follow through. He would dictate to the SPL what he wanted said and done. He does not communicate to others himself, but dictates to scouts what he wants said. These things were exceptable as it appeared that he was trying to instill in the youth leadership.


It has now been 8 months. There has been no advancement in the troop, except what was done at summer camp last year. Scouts have quit and told others that they don't like his attitude. He has been observed scolding scouts (loudly) in front of others. He has chosen to belittle scouts when they make youthfull mistakes. He has called Life Scouts and threatened to not sign their Eagle paperwork unless they attend a certain amount of meeting and events. These scouts are some of the scouts that are described in other topics now on the discussion topics. They made Life at 14 fulfilled all their requirements except their projects, and have been to some events in the past year, but not reguarly as they have other obligations. His opinion was noted, but as our troop has no guidelines otherwise, the committe feels that advancement is by the book. The final straw came at a fundraiser recently. One of the foremention Life scouts was supposed to work a 2 hour stint, but as this was a Sunday morning he forgot and attended a youth group meeting at church. Our present scoutmaster took our committee chairman aside and advised her to call council the following Monday and tell our DE that she didn't know this scout, he doesn't attend "any" scouting functions and didn't deserve his Eagle.


These are not the leadership qualities that the committe is looking for in a scoutmaster. They are having an emergency meeting in a couple of nights to bring this all out into the open, and they are going to ask for a vote to authorize asking him to step down.


The question is? With the support of the sponsoring organization, can they in fact vote him out? I can't find any info on this in any of our council books. Though I'm sure there probably is. Any thoughts will be appreciated. Thanks Eagle96

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The scoutmaster serves at the discretion of the troop committee. With the CO's support a scoutmaster could very easily be removed. That said lets tackle everything else.

What kind of training has the scoutmaster had (if any)? Training will usually make for a better leader.

Has the committee addressed their concerns to the scoutmaster about his behavior?

Is everything being done above the board? i.e. is the emergency committee meeting being kept secret from the scoutmaster?

Everything needs to be above board andout front.

Also has any thought been given to who would take over as scoutmaster? At least on an interim basis.

Don't rush into a decision, make sure the scoutmaster knows what areas are creating problems and let him have an opportunity to respond.

If the committee has addressed these issues and still feeels the need to remove the scoutmaster, then allow him a chance to resign first.

He may even resign on his own upon hearing the committee wishes to remove him.

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thanks for the quick response. He had the normal leaders esential, but also had atteneded woodbadge and was just finishing up his required time. The other assistant scoutmasters have delicately advised him that many parents have contacted them, and expressed concerns about the direction of the troop and the lack of respect that the scouts have shown and expressed. Again he has said that in the long run it will work out for the best and we may have some losses along the way. This is not exceptable to the unit or the committee. Yes he will be at the meeting and yes they are hoping that it won't have to come to a vote, that he will step down. They feel that he can still benifit the troop in an assistant position or some other way. Any more questions or other suggestions, please keep them coming


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"Scoutmaster took our committee chairman aside and advised her to call council the following Monday and tell our DE that she didn't know this scout, he doesn't attend "any" scouting functions and didn't deserve his Eagle."


"He has called Life Scouts and threatened to not sign their Eagle paperwork unless they attend a certain amount of meeting and events."


"It has now been 8 months. There has been no advancement in the troop."


"He would dictate to the SPL what he wanted said and done."


"He has been observed scolding scouts (loudly) in front of others. He has chosen to belittle scouts when they make youthfull mistakes."




If these are all true, this guy is a severe head case and he needs to go before he causes more problems for the young men in your troop. The CC in consort with the CO should relieve him of his duties post haste. He is not voted out by the Committee, although nothing is stopping a large contingent of scouts and parents from expressing their vote of no confidence in this adult and demanding that the CC and COR take immediate action.








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Bottom lines up front:


1) CC should be talking, now, with the COR and the serving unit commissioner if program execution is off task. The COR and the IH are the agents of change.


2) If the CC assesses unfair and/or undeserved treatment of a Scouts advancement, then the CC needs to talk with the UC, the COR, and the District Advancement Chairman. There are remedies.


Above is the short version. The longer version is:


1) Unit Committees do not get a "vote" in hiring/firing anyone. The Committee Chairman nominates people using the adult leader application to be Scouters. The Chartered Organization Representative approves those people at the community level. The Council, through the background check, does due diligence on those people in support of Scouting and the Chartered Partner.


If there are performance issues (as opposed to personality issues), the COR, as the representative of the Chartered Organization, is the decisionmaker. The Committee Chair needs ongoing communication with the his/her COR!!!


At the same time, disinterested feedback on issues at hand is a must have. That's where the unit commissioner, his/her ADC, and the District Commissioner come in. Even at this hour, they can help diagnose problems and describe remedies for all, both program and support side.


2) If there is a Life Scout who is not being allowed advancement to Eagle, then the Scoutmaster needs to be talking to both his/her Committee Chair AND the District Advancement Chairman. There had best be a very good reason.


My District Advancement Chair was training a new Eagle guest at one of our young men's Eagle BOR last week. AN INTERESTING FACT HE TOLD ME: The District Advancement Chair has the authority to intervene in a Scouts advancement process. At its most extreme, he can remove a Scouts' advancement process from unit hands if the Scout is getting the shaft by unit leaders. This is an authority not used lightly! Generally, my advancement chairman will be asking the unit commssioner to look at facts and circumstances in the unit before making such a drastic intervention.

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John-in-KC hit this one dead on. The Troop Committee does not hire or fire anyone, they dont run the troop ideally the SPL runs the troop. The function of a Troop Committee is to support the Scoutmaster in delivering the Scouting Program. Far too many Troop Committees think they have the power to direct, to plan troop calendars or have advice and consent powers over program, not so. The Troop Committee is not Congress they are the Cabinet, they advise and support. Troop policies are set by the TC with the consent of the COR as long as those policies do not conflict with National policies and guidelines. Policies should not dictate program.

The Scoutmaster serves at the will of the CO. The Co can remove any member adult or youth at its discretion. If the Troop Committee feels the SM is not delivering the Program in the manners prescribed by current National training standards they have a duty to bring this to the attention of the COR. Its the CORs duty to resolve this issue by removing the SM, if the COR has been given that authority by the CO, or to reconcile the differences between the Committee and the SM. Failing that the COR should bring the matter before the COs directing body through the IH.

If a District Advancement Chair has to invoke the right to remove a youths advancement process from a Troop, a large number of adults have already failed all the youth members of that troop. The new SM should be given time to implement his approach, advancement should not be the bench mark. As SM, I must provide the opportunity to advance, if the youth dont avail themselves of that opportunity its not necessarily grounds to seek my removal. Berating youth leaders in public and seeking to alter the published rank requirements however can be.

Finally I must say that this is another case of where we are hearing only one side of this story. Supposedly we have heard of several instances occurring in this troop but what we have not heard about is the history of this troop. Has this been an adult run troop and now the boys are being asked to take responsibility and do more work causing dissention? Are the TC members parents of Life Scouts waiting to become death bed Eagles? Are the members of the TC trained? Does the TC understand boy led and how to establish it? Will appointing a new SM provide a better program or just return to the status quo?



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LongHaul and I are in violent agreement!!!!


An internet bulletin board is not the place to make decisions. It's a place to get both input and feedback on processes and procedures. It's also a place to borrow good ideas for use elsewhere :) :)


As an operating practice, the SM and CC should regularly get together and discuss how the unit is doing and where it should go in the future. As an equal practice, the CC should provide input and feedback to the COR regularly. Both the SM and CC should bounce ideas of the Unit Commissioner for "have you seen this before? Does it work?"


Good, open, caring two-way communication keeps crises from happening.

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Here's what Ask Andy has to say from the Netcommish:




"If, conversely, the current Scoutmaster isnt performing his responsibilities in accordance with the aims and goals of the BSA and/or the sponsor, then it's the sponsor's responsibility to replace him as quickly as possible. This is done by first identifying and recruiting a replacement, and then making the transition happen. The transition happens by either "moving" the present Scoutmaster to another position, where he can be effective, and installing a new Scoutmaster, OR by dismissing the present Scoutmaster and installing his replacement. The most efficient time to do this, if it must be done this way, is when the Troop's charter comes up for renewal. That's because a person who "refuses" to abandon his position can simply not be re-registered with the Troop, thereby effectively ending his "legal" association with it (a non-registered person cannot continue in his or her prior registered role, because they're simply not members of the BSA any longer!). It's important to remember that it's the sponsor and the appointed committee that ultimately governs the Troopnot the Scoutmaster. The Scoutmaster reports to the committee/committee chair, and not the other way around."


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I think that while there are certainly problems involving this individual, we can't overlook that "active participation" requirement to advance. If boys are not attending/participating, they cannot advance. In our troop, there are guidelines for our very busy boys. We have the usual football players, actors, and ill kids who can't come for some reason or other, but they know what we consider a "good reason" to miss and just "I forgot" doesn't teach responsibility to them.


Examples we use can be: Would your baseball coach allow you to miss 6 practices and still play? Probably not. Would your director allow you to miss 6 rehearsals and still keep your role in the school play? Probably not.


Why then, should Scouting expect less? When you join a group, there are rules and guidelines and teaching kids not to follow them because they are "too busy" to live up to those responsibilites isn't teaching them to be responsible adults.


Our group has set a 50% participation minimum and that is IF they call the SM or ASM to say why they missed within a 24 hour window (unless they are hospitalized or something like that). If they take the initiative to call, we consider it "half-present" since they recognized their responsibility to phone just like calling in sick at work. This was set by a request from our parents, actually, because we were seeing too much absence that the parents didn't know about from their kids that were driving to the meetings and not arriving. Our group will hold advancement if a child isn't actively participating and this does not include doing merit badges at home (again by request from the parents). It also includes meetings, outings, work parties, public service, the whole shebang.


We have seen a huge increase in attendance, better attitudes, and more interest in advancement since the parents insisted on this change. Was it because the parents are seeing it done or the boys, themselves? I don't know. What I do know is that boys tend to be lax in attending meetings in favor of more "fun" things or where their friends are and expect to advance anyhow just because they earned the required merit badges at summer camp. This is true throughout our entire district, not just our troop. I think our parents had a good, clear vision of their sons that we, as leaders trying to be accomodating, missed out on.


It worked for us. I know it's not a popular opinion for some reason, but there is a participation requirement and our parents decided to make that a priority.

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