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Smithgall

Forged Merit Badges

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I would like to get your thoughts on this. This is a very real situation but I am leaving out any details that would point to the parties involved.

 

We have had a husband and wife team as scoutaster and comitee chair. we joined the troop a year and a half ago and began noticing problems with the behavior of this team. Let me make it very clear THIS IS NOT SEXUAL. However there was alot of yelling at boys and just a general inability to handle stress. As new parents we were not sure if this was just the way it worked or were we just overly sensitive (we are not really yellers so our home life didnt really lend it self to this type of behavior)

 

What was odd was the the scoutmaster would stress out very early with just a few boys yet he would tell us all that he was a Navy Seal. I have never been in the military so my only contact with special operations people is through the movies but i just couldnt image that a man that was a navy seal couldnt take a few boys being loud without losing his cool and yelling at them. The wife was kind of a controld freak and would usually come to the beginning of each meeting and lecture the boys on all sorts of subjects. In fact we parents used to joke that the scoutmaster didnt say a word unless his wife first told him what to say and when to say it.

 

A few significant things happened to bring it all out. First the navy seal scoutmaster failed our troop cpr class. He and two eleven year olds failed the exam. That was kind of an eye opener. how could a seal fail CPR. then this summer he couldnt pass the boyscout lifesaving test. Again, how could a seal fail the boyscout test. When we went to our local camp for an aquatics weekend, we had teenager girls as lifeguards...Teenage girls were qualified to save the seal!!!

 

The next most significant event happened when we went to summer camp at camp woodruff. Two of the boys went to camp but took their extreme zone course so they left sunday night with the scoutmaster and didnt come back until friday while myself and some other parents stayed at the normal camp with the remainder of the boys. When we returned home our advancement coordinator asked the comitee chair for the boys paperwork from camp. the comitee chair said she would get them to her later. It took a month to finally get the paperwork showing all the badges earned. By sheer twist of fate at the end of a meeting one night someone happend to mention how many badges the two extreme zone boys earned. Luckily there were 4 comitee members that are all long time scouters with a total of 5 eagle children between them all over the age of 24. they immediately recognized that the badges that were supposedly earned at camp by these two boys (hiking, cycling, whitewater, backpacking, horsemanship, climbing) couldnt have been earned in a one week period and especially not more than one. None of these badges had ever been started by either boy prior to camp. Because the one boy is the son of the comitee chair (and a new 17 year old eagle) and stepson of the scoutmaster and the other boy is their close family friend it looked suspicious. One of the long timers called woodruff and they confirmed that the paperwork had been doctored and that they infact did not give any badges out during summer camp for extreme zone.

 

At the same time this was being investigated another father (retired navy) checked into the validity of the Navy Seal claim. It was proven the scoutmaster was not a seal. Eventually all this came out at a leadership meeting. The scoutmaster claimed he was not only a seal but that the reason he wasnt showing up in record was because he was a classified seal.

 

So now we have a scoutmaster that has been proven to lie about being a navy seal and the comitee chair that has forged nerit badges.

 

Ahh but here is the rub. The Charter orginization has refused to remove these people and the local council says their hands are tied.. WHAT!!! The local council says that the charter has the right to run their troop they way they want.. My question is what does a person have to do before council enough is enough? You have a scoutmaster lieing about something as significant as military service and you have a comitee chair forging documentation to give her son unearned merit badges.

 

Obviously there is a lot of other things that happened but its way too long. I am purposefully not mentioning who these people are or the troop, etc. I dont want to seem like i am trying to smear people. i am truly wondering if anyone has ever heard of such a thing. Have you ever delt with forged merit badges by a leader? I am very disapointed in the council for basically not upholding the values. If the number one law if TRUSTWORTHY how can they say hands off when these type of things happen. Incidently the badges were eventually pulled from the council roles so the boys did not benefit from the fraud. However that simply means that council did agree that the docs had been forged, removed them and still say hands off..

 

ok vent is over..

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Yah, Smithgall. Such things happen. Some leaders exaggerate and engage in puffery to make themselves important in the eyes of boys and parents. Some parent leaders pencil-whip badges.

 

Sorry to hear it's happenin' in your program.

 

Generally speakin', I discourage units from usin' husband/wife teams as unit leader and CC, eh? All kinds of possibilities for ill will or at least poor perceptions by others. SM/Treasurer and CC/Treasurer combinations are also ones to avoid.

 

In Scouting, though, the units are owned and operated by the Chartered Partner. The Chartered Organization is responsible for the leadership, not the BSA. Yeh can think of the BSA as a materials provider, like a textbook publisher. They provide trainin', and materials, and support services. But the school provides the teachers. Same with the CO.

 

BSA only takes membership action against individual leaders for criminal activities or very serious things that affect da BSA's reputation or risk exposure. Otherwise it's up to the CO. There are important reasons for that, includin' protecting the BSA from liability for unit activities, and the terms of da congressional charter.

 

So yeh need to voice your objections to the head of the chartered organization. And then vote with your feet.

 

Beavah

 

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Well the council is correct! It is up to the charter partner! In this case, it's sad your charter partner won't do anything although it's not unusual. A lot of charter partners are paper partners only.

 

I would be leaving this unit & looking for another. This will all catch up to them and then the whole thing will blow up in their faces!

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Maybe I'm being naive...

 

What is the COs reason for NOT removing them?

What is the reaction of the other parents?

What is the reaction of the Scouts?

 

Seems to me this would be a fast-sinking ship unless the CO stepped up to make repairs.

 

The Council's hands are not entirel "tied". Leadership is influence more than orders. Has the UC, DE or other council rep met with the CO about this? Council can not force a Charter to replace a leader in most cases; they can refuse a unit charter.

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Yikes. What a mess. If this has all come out publicly, then maybe it is time for upset parents to go to the CO and tell them bluntly - either you remove these people or we'll be leaving the troop.

 

The CO may not fully comprehend the level of upset that these individuals have caused. They may not understand that they have the right to retain these folks as SM and CC, but that in doing so, they'll have an exodus of boys.

 

But unfortunately, previous responders are correct, this is not a situation where the Council will remove leaders. You could, however, also contact your District Executive and let him or her know you're looking for a new troop because of the situation. A bunch of emails and calls from people to the DE may give the DE some better ammunition to pressure the CO into making a different decision.

 

Good luck!

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As the Doctor would say, "Run for yoru life!"

 

Seriously the council is correct in that they cannot step in until some criminal ot YP related happens. COs own and are responsible for the unit.

 

It definitely sounds like a soap opera in the making. I would definitely leave.

 

In reference to the "SEAL," there is a wonderful museum and association in FL that keeps a list of everyone who has been part of Navy special forces, whether 'frogmen" of WWII-Vietnam's UDTs, the predecessors of Navy SEALs, or SEALs proper. I also believe, again stress belive, they also keep track of members of the Special Boat Teams. The 2 SEALs I met don't really talk too much it, and you wouldn't know it unless asked.

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I agree with Beavah and Lisa.

 

If a group of parents do go to the IH/COR, one option those two might put on the table is "who among you is prepared to be the new CC; who among you will be SM?" Parents need to talk about that before meeting with the Chartered Partner. Wholesale leadership replacement is not easy, and the youth will need continuity as the adults are struggling.

 

For that reason, this is one time where leaving the unit seems a better option than trying to rebuild it.

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Without revealing too much, is the CO a church? Hard to see any religious organization turning a blind eye to open dishonesty. But maybe I am naive

.

Still, I think to get the CO to move, a significant group of parents/committee members need to go to the CO and lay this all out. Have a new SM and committee chair ready to step in.

 

If that doesnt work, you need to leave and get your son out of this mess.

 

Lastly, I believe some of the real seal organizations (navyseals.com, or google phony seal) are pretty aggressive about outing phonies. Some pressure might be brought to bear here. Maybe you can make life uncomfortable enough that he will just leave.

 

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Good one Sandspur, get the real SEALS on board to out him :)

 

Regardless, I like the Beavah's suggestion - vote with your feet.

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Most Real Navy Seals don't advertise that they were Seals. This is a problem in the martial arts world also, a lot of people claiming to be special forces, or seals, to bolster their image. I can see why in the martial arts they would lie, but to lie to a scout troop to bolster your image????

 

Get him out as fast as you can. You can also report him to pownetwork.org

 

Curious, does he have a tattoo? If so can you supply a description or picture?

 

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I agree with those of you that suggest walking. Unfortunately when we a few months after starting in boyscouts after leaving weblos we really wanted to leave this troop because it just seemed disorginized and the boys didnt seem to do anything (they didnt cook at camps, they werent being taught scout skills, and again the yelling drove us crazy) but our son liked the boys and we thought that maybe we were just being new parents and wanted to give it time before we started questioning things too badly. Then after University of scouting we heard how thing were supposed to run and we took more notice. Luckily we live in a large city and there are probably 5 troops with in our middle school area so last week we started visiting.

 

EAGLE1982...when i read your post i laughed out loud. Something i didnt mention because its not directly tied to scouts is that he has always claimed "14 years of martial arts training". If I have heard him say that once i have heard it a thousand times. The guys seems pathalogical in his approach. I sometime wonder if he beleives it. he once told a few of us that he had 3 years of child psychology and 1 year of para psychology. The child psychology threw us all because again it just didnt jibe with his disfunction with handling kids. But after a while someone realized.. wait what is para psychology.. Look it up. Its the study of ghosts. Bill Murray was a para psychologist in Ghostbusters. Again that was one more piece of the puzzle.

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I agree with captain Ron

I would not want these people to serve as role models to my children. I would transfer to a new troop!

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I agree with the suggestions made by others:

 

1. Meet with the head of the chartered organization with a committee of concerned parents. Have replacement SM and CC lined up ahead of that meeting.

 

2. If this is not feasible leave the troop.

 

As with Beavah, when I teach troop committee challenge I advise that the CC, SM, Treasurer, and Advancement Coordinator should all come from separate households. Require two signatures on checks for fund disbursements. We have seen too many other similar situations described in this forum where a husband/wife team runs a troop into the ground. Separating these repsonsibilities in this manner will not guarantee a lack of the problems described, but will minimize them and make them easier to address when they do arise.

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