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Removed as Scout Master with no notice

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I've been lurking these boards for a few months, getting great ideas. I apologize if this is not the right board to post this to, so please let me know.


We recently lost our great Scout Master, and the troop needed a new Scout Master. Immediately, another lady and I volunteered to become co-Scout Masters. We were sworn in by the committee 10/04/2010. Since that time both we have come up with activities and projects the boys can work on, including a camp outing this very weekend. Both of us have registered and paid for Scout Master training. I've begun ordering my (rather expensive) uniform.


We have gone over summer camp ideas with the boys, and the boys have voted. (This took a lot of time and research on our part.) We also have begun making arrangements for the boys to attend Olustee in February. I have spent countless hours researching troop meeting ideas, and have made arrangements for 5 troop meeting ideas, as well as activities/games. I've also arranged my work schedule around these activities. We want this troop to be boy-lead, with proper supervision and encouragement. Things were going well.


Tonight there was a Committee meeting (while I was providing merit badge counciling for the boys) and during this Committee meeting Michelle and I were removed from our duties. This came as a complete surprise, and was quite the inappropriate setting for an announcement. One of the members of the Committee should have come to speak to us privately, and explain their reasoning. I have no clue why I was removed from my duties, and I am very insulted and disappointed. I put a lot of time and effort into this, and was very excited about this opportunity. A new Scout Master, was sworn in. I know the new Scout Master will do a great job, I have no doubt at all. What I am concerned/confused about, is how can a Committee remove a current Scout Master and place a new one in their place? Can that just occur, at the drop of a hat? What about the training I paid for?


I'm not certain the behaviour of the committee was in line with the Scouting guide, I've never seen a Scout Master removed without reason, and with no discussion. I understand I am new to this role, but I have put my heart and soul into helping these boys. I'm quite discouraged by this process and this troop.


I've decided to write the Scout Executive, but what else should I do? We both stepped up to the plate and while we have had to organize a few things ourselves (the prior SM left so we had to scramble quickly) we very much want this to be boy led. The prior SM left on good terms, but I think was getting tired of the same thing over an over. He had been doing it for quite some time, and was exceptionally good. I'm confused as what to do next.

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You say you were both "sworn in". Did you both submit BSA Adult Volunteer applications (along with youth protection completion certificates)? Was your Co-SM at this Committee Meeting? One of the SM's should have been. Did she question the Committee?


I would immediately contact the Committee Chair(CC), and ask what the reasoning was, and why there was no discussion with you about any issues. I would also request reimbursement for SM training.


If you do not get an answer then I would give the Charter Organization Representative (COR) a call and ask him/her the same questions.


The COR, and the CC are the ones who do the "hiring" and "firing" of their volunteers. Your council Scout Executive has nothing to do with it (unless your applications were rejected by the council after the background check, but then council would have notified you).(This message has been edited by Scoutnut)

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Strange that you were not given any reason or warning.


The scoutmaster serves at the pleasure of the charter organization. How the troop is organized will determine if the committee has the authority to remove you like that.


As for what to do. Talk to the Committee Chair to start. Find out why you were removed. If that does not cut it for you then you should go to the Charter Organization Rep and finally the Institutional Head (This is generally the head of the CO). The Scout Executive will not get involved, certainly not to overrule an IH. The District Executive might have your Unit Commissioner pay a visit but there is little he can do other than be a mediator.


BTW, there is not such thing as Co-Scoutmasters. Only one or the other of you could be the Scoutmaster, the other would be an Assistant Scoutmaster.

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Well, that must feel terrible. I'm sorry that happened to you.


The institutional head (IH) of the chartered organization (CO) has the ultimate responsibility for leader selection. They may effectively delegate that responsibility to the COR or to the CC or committee.


They do not actually have to give a reason, although I'm sure they have some reason in their own minds. There are not a lot of materials available that describe the detailed process for removing a volunteer, but my expectations would be that it should be handled professionally and courteously. It is certainly not ideal that you were not informed ahead of time.


I suspect that there was indeed discussion. It's just that they didn't make you a part of that discussion. As a courtesy they could provide you with some explanation, but I doubt that any explanation that they give will really help things at this point.


It's very strange for this to change so quickly in a matter of two weeks.


You should certainly ask for reimbursement for your training, not because they are obliged to pay it due to any BSA policy or in any legal sense, but because it would be the right thing for them to do.


People can do rude things. No BSA policy is going to prevent that, and it is definitely going to be the case that Scoutmasters can be summarily removed because such things become necessary from time to time. I'm sorry your troop treated you this way and you certainly have some reason to be discouraged with them.


I'd suggest starting with a quiet conversation with the CC and let him or her hear your side of the story. I wouldn't argue or complain - I'd just lay out the story the way you have done so here.

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There is no such thing as Co-Scoutmasters. So as you've explained, you and the SM or the ASM were abruptly removed from that position, and another adult leader was asked to become the Scoutmaster.


Unfortunately, the forum can't tell what is in the mind of the Committee. If you and the other leader were not yet trained, it sounds like most of your adult leadership in your troop is probably not trained as well. Hopefully the committee will attend training as well (not only on-line, but in a group setting). From your post, it reads like there are no other trained ASMs, or more specifically, no ASMs at all. This sounds like a huge problem within your troop.


Hopefully the committee makes the best decision they can at the time. Though this is not guaranteed. Even committees make mistakes or are misinformed sometimes.


But to summarize your question. Can a Committee (and Committee Chair) remove a Scoutmaster? In the absence of an active COR, Yes.


The main issue was the lack of tactfulness. It would be inappropriate for a committee member to barge into a troop meeting and announce another Scoutmaster has been selected, in front the current Scoutmaster.


The committee decision was probably a valid decision. A DE/SE or the units IH would probably support the committee. The behavior, probably not the best way to announce the decision to the Scouts. They may lose trust in the ASMs and committee if they believe there are reasons behind the removal.



Scouting Forever and Venture On!

Crew21 Adv

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As Crew21_Adv posted, there can only be one Scoutmaster in a Troop. Lots of questions.


What do you mean by "sworn in"?


Did you complete the adult application and pay the fee?


Scoutmaster Training????


Without more information we are just tossing darts at the board.



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Love2Camp thanks for posting.


Your message wasn't as much "can they do this" as it was "why".


Can they? They did! So I guess the committee is not worried the charter will resend their decision. Fighting this will blow up the troop committee and bog down the unit in adult battles for a year or two. Two camps will form and the program will suffer. Chances are this is going to happen anyway because many parents will be sympathetic to your poorly handled treatment.


I see two things here:


One, your post sounds a little Den mother-ish. The Co-Scoutmaster arrangement sounds like something women do more than men. The outings and projects in the way you described them sounded more like a Webelos I den leader. The old guard may have had issues with women scoutmasters or at least den mothers posing as scoutmasters.



On the other hand, it sounds like you were doing the things that needed to get done. I believe what you were doing was very much like any brand new scoutmaster would do. A summer camp plan (reservation are filling fast),a council outing some service work. All good stuff. These things just don't happen and if you lurked through the "PLC is in a Rut" thread you know that boys don't always self actuate a quality program.



You didn't mention your scout experience, such as years in the troop and on the committee, a son who eagled a year ago... that may help to understand this.



(This message has been edited by Thomas54)

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First of all welcome to the forum and although you have been lurking, it's good to see you getting active in the conversation.


The post you provided is a wee bit sketchy and has a lot of elements that raise questions as others have indicated.


However, the troop has lost a SM and now is looking to replace him/her. That means there are some pretty heavy duty shoes to be filling and with the background you have they might be a bit gun shy. I wouldn't take it personally, but I would seek out a troop that wasn't in transition if you would like to participate in a program with a bit more stability.


I'm thinking that the CC and COH are as clueless as everyone else at the present time. I'm surprised that if the SM was planning on leaving, there be some ASM standing in the wings somewhere that could transition more quickly into not only the "training" but also the traditions and expectations of that particular troop. To walk in off the street or even come in fairly cold with only Cub experience might be a stretch for anyone. I would say, continue with your present course of training, etc. so that if nothing else you're ready to provide a shaky troop with some good ASM's. Being a SM isn't as great of a job that one might be led to believe. I had 13 years as ASM in one troop before taking on SM in another, and if someone wants my present job, no big deal there are a lot of troops out there struggling and in need of good SM's.


Hopefully your CC figures out this political bombshell before the boys' program begins to suffer.


Best of luck and relax, your career in scouting is just beginning and it's a great journey even if you don't know where you're going. :)



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There are just too many facts missing to even attempt an answer. If the COR was present at the committee, as they should always be, and just cause was given for your removal then yes they can remove you both as the COR has that final say. I find it hard to believe that the committee acted just out of spite or malice, but too much information is missing.

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Perhaps I'm being overly charitable, but based upon the limited information given, my first inclination is that this could be a mere case of poor communication. (Obviously, there is poor communication, but it seems quite possible that's all it is.)


The original poster was appointed "co-scoutmaster", and then two weeks later was "removed".


I think it's possible that the original intention was to appoint an _interim_ scoutmaster, they were overjoyed to have two volunteers come forward, but forgot to communicate the part about it being an interim position.


It's possible that when they found the permanent replacement, they thought the interim replacements would be happy to know that they were now off the hook, so they announced it at the earliest possible moment.


Again, there's not enough information here to know if that happened. But I would consider that possibility. If so, the mistake was made when the original appointment was made, because it wasn't explained properly.


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Welcome to the campfire! There are some details that are missing here. Was this an interim appointment? If so, then what clemlaw says makes some sense. I was actually involved in one of these arrangements, and they are seldom permanent.


I am also curious as to what happened next. Did they ask you to serve on as assistants or as committee members? Was there any indication that the IH and/or COR wanted to put "their guy" in? If they want you to continue with the troop in another capacity, then your training money really wasn't wasted.


At any rate, if you could fill in the details then we would be in a better position to help.

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First, thank you for the many welcomes. It's nice to have this type of resource available! :)


A little more information, we were elected as new Scout Masters (With this troop I have volunteered for a year, and the other Scout Master volunteered for over 7 years. It was clear that we were Scout Masters, and we signed up for all the applicable training (we are even getting RSO trained in December.) I was handed the Scout Master handbook, the other SM was handed the keys to the church where we hold our meetings. We have went through and began inventory, going through files to make sure they are up to date and current, etc.


We both have adult volunteer applications and have passed background checks. (I've worked 8 years in finance and was bonded and insured-so no criminal background)


(Just a little background info) We are both experienced campers, and have varying levels of scounting experience. Her boys have been in Scouts for years (and she has been active the last 7 years.) She is currently the Chairwoman for Relay for Life in our community. She was also a Assistant Scout Master for years and has also served on the Committee. I have 3 years of volunteering with my sons Cub Scout troop when he was much younger. I was a Girl Scout (not leader but a scout)for 6 years. As an adult I have worked extensively with youth with disabilities, mental, emotional, autism spectrum, etc. I also volunteer in the school and for civil war reenactments/school day presentations. (Over 10 years of active participation.) I've previously served as a Co Chair for Relay for Life in our community, and have a lot of volunteer experience, especially with youth. In my profession, I supervise and coach wide age ranges, from 18 years old and up. We are both confident public speakers. I will freely acknowledge that I don't have a lot of experience with Boy Scouts (as you can tell I was not aware Co Scout Masters could not be.)


So to answer a few questions- we were sworn in by means of the committee getting together and doing a vote. The vote was unanimous, in favor of us being Co SM's. One raised a motion, and there was a second to the motion, etc. (Hope this makes sense!)



There are several men involved, but they requested to remain as Assistant Scout Masters, as they do not have the time, etc to completely dedicate theirselves to the position, but are kind enough to stay and help with the boys, including camp outs.


There are 4 active members of the Committee, which includes the Committee Chair. Another member is the sister of the "CC" and serves as treasurer. The other Co-SM heard tonight that the Committee (the two unrelated committee members) were led to believe that we stepped down, and therefore "swore" in the other SM.


At this point I'm really confused....

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Never heard of such a thing. I hope it all works out to everyone's satisfaction.


Just a little speculation, and I don't mean this to suggest you were not 110% committed to the job, but maybe the co-scoutmasters arrangement created a perception that neither of you really wanted the full responsitility of being the scoutmaster.

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