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ok I've posted a few times here before, and listed some of the issues that I've had with my son's SM


here's a timeline

1) moved to this area summer of 2008, son was a second year-webelo

2) I was asked to be a webelo den-leader since I had been a leader in my son's previous pack, I accepted

3) all 4 boys in the den finished and received the arrow-of-light and crossed over in February 2009

4) I attend a few boy scout meetings and a campout in the spring of 2009... not exactly thrilled with the way things are run, but hey, I'm the new guy, kept my mouth shut and helped where I could

5) I attend summer camp with my boy, SM mostly interested in Order of Arrow stuff even though 20 of the 25 kids who attend either aren't in or aern't eligible, we talk some, he indicates that another adult leader (who is working on Wood Badge) along with his boy is going to be "run out of the troop". SM is very derogatory towards Wood badge. I indicate that I've signed up for WB in the fall of 2009. SM doesn't say anything.

6) I attend Wood badge. I write all my ticket items for district level activities, since I don't want to run the risk of "being run out of the troop". My boy finishes the 1st class requirements in october at a campout. Assistant SM informs us that we will wait until some of the older boys finish some requirements before the first class is awarded.

7) At the December '09 roundtable, the SM asks me if I would take care of the activities for the Scoutquest Patch and award. I said I would. He wants me to plan activities during scout meetings and campouts to complete this award. I say fine, I'll need to be informed about when and where leader meetings are held. I never recieve a call or email (even though we get emails on every other event the troop holds), I approach the SM at several troop meetings and at the january roundtable trying to get information about meetings. In EVERY CASE the SM turns his back on me and starts talking to another leader. I finally give up. My wife finally takes a phone call from the SM who is asking for the Scoutquest paperwork to be returned so somebody else could do it.. she asks why I was never informed about meetings and why I was ignored... the SM says I didn't try hard enough to get the information.

8) March 2010, my son finally gets his first class award which he earned last October. the boys he was supposedly waiting on didn't receive any advancement awards.

9) after a recent camping trip, my son was upset about the bullying that was going on by the older scouts to the "newbies". My son (to hear him tell it) tried to stop it and ended up being bullied himself. My wife called the ASM who claimed that he didn't see anything and that there were 10 adults there, so my son must be lying. My son says that the 10 adults all sat in the barn out of the rain while the scouts were camped out in the pasture.



Our committee chair is a doctor who's wife has terminal cancer. There are about 40 committee members and assistant scoutmasters listed on the troop website. I DON'T want to be scoutmaster and I DON'T want to necessarily change troops (it's the only one in town). But I don't like that the "wealthier" higher achieving kids have all dropped out of the troop, the hazing and bullying that is allowed to go on, and the scoutmaster's primary focus is on OA and the upcoming trip to Philmont (he's taking about 8 kids and 15 adults, while the rest of the troop, some 20-25 kids are not included).


Ok sorry for the long rant. I'm sure it's familiar tale, and I'm not above taking some of the blame myself. I'm a prickly old bastard who likes to have things my way. But I'm trying very hard NOT to ruin the experience for my son... who generally seems to like what he's doing in scouts.


Any advice?




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Hi kcs_hiker!


So what I got out of all that is that your SM isn't perfect, and like most SMs he's overworked. And da troop isn't perfect.


It's fairly normal for a Scoutmaster, whose first role is to train youth leaders, to be spendin' most of his time with those boys. The OA / high adventure group. That's da way scouting works, eh? It's the older boys who then work with the younger fellows. And workin' with the older boys, doing OA and high adventure, can take a lot of time.


So other aspects of the program fall to ASMs, eh? Seems like it was an ASM, not the SM, who was behind the delay in your son receivin' his First Class. That's just bad form. The boy should have gotten his badge right at the next meeting. Might have spurred some of those other fellows to get working! But yeh sometimes run into folks who carry over the cub scout notion of everyone sort of advancing at once so boys don't "feel bad." Your troop should fix this practice, but it's an ordinary mistake.


Busy SMs generally prefer self-starters as volunteers, eh? They're workin' with the boys, and don't have a whole lot of energy left to help adult volunteers who don't self-start. Trying to get the attention of a busy Scoutmaster at a troop meeting is always a bad idea. The SM is goin' to be focused on the kids. And da same thing might be true at a RT, where a SM is focused on other things.


A good Committee Chair usually will support a SM by tryin' to fill that need of helping adult volunteers get goin'. With a good CC, he or she might have helped yeh out getting started on the Scoutquest paperwork. If the CC isn't able to because of his personal tragedy, that's somethin' yeh just shrug over and be supportive. Hopefully someone is sorta stepping up a bit to being co-CC, but that takes some time and finesse. Still, I don't reckon you should be too upset at having a task taken away from you if you "gave up" and hadn't really done anything since December.


Hazing and bullying are more of a worry, dependin' on what we're talkin' about exactly. That happens a lot when the adult leaders are kind of weak and not good at understandin' kids. Havin' a lot of ASMs and adults on a campout also sorta diffuses the responsibility so that people are less likely to act. If you feel like you can fill some of that need, yeh should consider volunteering to be an ASM. But if you can't, you should keep an eye on it, and especially be really supportive of your son for his character and courage.


Don't know what to make of da "wealthier, high achieving" kids comment.


So I'd say overall what you're reportin' is normal. It's not great, it's perhaps not awful. It's just gettin' under your skin as a fellow who "likes to have his way". If your son likes it and is getting something out of it, then your role is to be dad and encourage and support your son. If yeh see a volunteer task that you feel you'd be great for and can step in and do, then step up. If yeh feel it'll only put yeh into "rant" mode, then step back.




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Pretty much go with Beavah here. But am curious as to how, if your info is accurate, the SM thinks he is taking 8 scouts and 15 adults to Philmont, unless most are actually going to a conference while the rest are on the trail. Philmont will not allow more adults than scouts in a crew; believe the ration is 8:4 max with a crew of 12, and fewer adults should the youth be fewer.



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You clearly shouldn't have been ignored.

Bullying and hazing has no place in BSA

Have you considered finding the "wealthier" boys/families and starting a troop with them?


Maybe others will vote with their feet.

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I have a question. You speak of a five-month wait for First Class. Does this mean that the Scoutmaster Conference and/or Board of Review was put off for five months, or that they were completed in October and that the badge was unawarded for five months?


This could be important where the Star/Life/Eagle rank requirements are concerned. If the latter is true, then it shouldn't impact your son's eligibility for Star. Is he in a POR now? For how long?


Now if the former is true, and your son was made to wait for the advancement to happen, then I would agree with the proposition that a change in venue is in order for you and your son.

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To be honest..I would find another Troop. This coming form a parent whose son was in 3 troops before he found the troop that fit him. Not all the Troops are the same...I think you may have to find one that is a better fit for your son and you.

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