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Twocubdad,"I suppose that's part of my frustration -- this numbnuts dang-well knows better!"


With respect like this its no wonder the youth in your unit act out.


I think the first and most important thing is safety in everything. The next is adults having respect for youth. The next is remembering that boys will be boys. And along with being a boy many crazy, foolish, and sometimes dangerous things will happen. Remember we were once where our youth are and we did many of the same stupid things they are doing.


Getting angry providing punishments and calling the kids names is not going to do anything to stop the boys from doing crazy, foolish, and sometimes dangerous things.


The most important thing we can do is show love for the youth, teach them about safety rules and why. Show love for the youth, and teach them safety rules and why. Show love for the youth and teach them safety rules and why.


Show them you care by giving the youth your respect. Did I mention show them love and lots of love.


In this case I would have the senior troop leaders do safety briefing on the proper use and storage of fuels.


And may I suggest that the adults of the troop review the GTSS, as it seems like there may have been some lacking on the adults side that may have prevented this episode from happening.



From the GTSS


"Storing, Handling, and Using Chemical Fuels and Equipment


An adult knowledgeable about chemical fuels and equipment should always supervise youths involved in the storage, handling, and use of chemical fuels and equipment."



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So Gary......they were backpacking.....so the adults need to carry the stoves and fuel. Naw that isn't right, I have more 100,000 mile's on my knees than they do. If I cannot trust them to haul a stove and fuel I don't need to be responsible for him on an outing.




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So being a CM and not a SM, I have to ask what may very well be a stupid question:


Does/did this boy have a Firem'n Chit card?


First offense of the nature he acted in would be the total revocation of the card. Next time would be sitting a trip out at home. 3rd time..let the boy go because even though a thick head isn't necessarily a banning issue, the continued life threatening endangerment of others is.


If he's done this before or is he really does know better but doesn't care...then you probably won't get through to him. But he will become a great teaching example to the next one who thinks about it.



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Take the opportunity to educate, if he continues to be a problem the safety of eevryone else trumps him being on tips in my opinion...


1. Have him go to the local firehouse to learn the dangers of fires

2. Have him contact the forest fire service to come and do a presentation to your troop

3. Consider a tour of your regional burn center.


If your in North Jersey, your welcome at my firehouse and I can put you in touch with the Forest Fire service and the burn center.


I do not know of a video showing the rapid spread of wildland fire but here is a frightening video of how fast a structure fire progresses.





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I agree with a few of our fellow forum members.


For Consequences, a punishment such as fire guard he may just be too stubborn to learn from. But seeing the consequences of an out of control fire, might enlighten him. Taking a tour of a burn victim center, is closer to my thoughts, but still may be too much. But an clear understanding of the dangers, an appreciation of what fire can destroy, homes, property and human skin, may be about right.


During Introductions to Outdoor Leadership Skills for our adults, I give a "Gloom and Doom" topic before the "G2SS"; I remind them of BSA being one of the safest programs out there. But every year, a small amount of Scouts are injured and some die. Quickly before the G2SS we cover some of the worst Scouting headlines in the past decade. Including exhausted Scoutmasters falling asleep at the wheel.


Over a few years, I personally have seen a few Scouts rushed to the emergency room.


Just two summer ago, there were a few staffers playing with lighter fluid, spraying the fluid on the concrete floor of the messhall, near midnight, while most of camp slept. Short version of the story, a few of the boys were doused in lighter fluid, two of them twins. One was in critical condition that morning, the other twin died from his severe burns that next morning. Of course during the training I tell the longer version with a little more detail of quite a few headlines.


Right now, I believe your 15 y/o Star Scout in your troop, thinks he is invincible and that nothing will ever harm him. I expect that your 15y/o Star Scout, may appreciate learning (maybe from graphic stories and possibly a few photos) of how other 16-17 Scouts have become severely injured and/or died, from just "having fun".


Good Luck!


Scouting Forever and Venture On!

Crew21 Adv

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I've had this occur several times over the years...a boy or even boys deciding to do something foolish with extremely flammable materials. So far, no one has been hurt (there must be some wood around here somewhere....)


In most of the cases the boys were from other units at camporees. I addressed the problem by asking them who their SPL was and then mentioning the facts to their SPL. In one case, because it involved the SPL, I woke the SM (and then left to get back to sleep myself).


In this unit, once, the boy was having fun with the troop supply of charcoal lighter. As a result, the troop did NOT eat those steaks that we had hoped to grill. I really didn't have to say another word about it - the boys took care of everything. In other cases it depends on the specific incident.


I try to keep in mind that flammable liquids don't mix well with testosterone and undeveloped brains...it's going to take repetition of lessons to make these things 'sink in' and sometimes it's to no avail...the adults can be susceptible too. So I just keep a watchful eye and stay ready to intervene...and sometimes lose a little sleep.

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If I were one of the adults going to Philmont with this Lad, I'd be worried.

For me along with the danger that this Lad exposed himself and maybe others to? The matter of trust comes into play.

I am a very forgiving sort and do see that boys will be boys, I also see and know that at times kids do dumb things - A lot of times as some sort of experiment, even when they know what will happen, they still want to try it out and see for themselves. This in no way takes away from the danger that they place themselves in and because we care and because we love these kids we need to treat the situation with tough love.

However in this case, this isn't the first time. It seems from what has been posted that he and the adults have been down this road before.

It has gone past any sort of experimentation. The Lad knows what happens next, he has been educated and trained. He has a history of doing this sort of thing.

I'd want to meet with the adults who are going on the trek and find out how comfortable they feel about taking this Lad and if they feel that they can trust him?

Then I'd meet with his parents with him present and explain that there had been a meeting to see if he could be trusted and how this in it self is not a good thing, then I go over what was said at the meeting.

My vote would be not to allow him to go. I've been at Philmont when there was a wild fire burning. But even if he is allowed to go. I would explain that what he has done has led to his trust being questioned and that it is up to him to try and show everyone that he can be trusted.


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Twocubdad,"Horse hockey."


Ok, what ever you think. But go back and reread your posts it seems that there is a lot of youth in you troop that act out. My guess just from your posts that there is a lack of respect between the adults and the youth.


Basementdweller, "So Gary......they were backpacking.....so the adults need to carry the stoves and fuel. Naw that isn't right, I have more 100,000 mile's on my knees than they do."


So the adults don't have to pack it in. However, once the troop is on site the fuels should be collected and store in a safe area.


Basementdweller, "If I cannot trust them to haul a stove and fuel I don't need to be responsible for him on an outing."


Like it or not you are responsible for him once his parents leave the parking lot of the troop gathering place. This is why its important that adult and youth have respect and trust for each other. Adults gain this respect from the youth by showing them they care about them as an individual. Youth gain this respect from the adults by following the rules and working together with the other youth. Only when you have this respect can the learning process start. Remember,its easier to build a boy into a man than repair the man.


The G2SS does not say youth can't handle, transport, or even be involved in the storage of fuel. It says "An adult knowledgeable about chemical fuels and equipment should always supervise youths involved in the storage, handling, and use of chemical fuels and equipment." The key word is supervise.




(This message has been edited by Gary_Miller)

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I once saw something that served for a long time to teach our boys not to play with flammable liquids. I do not suggest anyone duplicate this method. We had a campout that involved a lot of wood cutting. By the ned of the day, everyone was tired. Come time for the campfire, the guys in charge of the fire lay did a poor job and couldn't get it to burn. All they were getting was some smoldering. The SM who at times can be a hot head (no pun intended) was tired and had had enough of the repeated attempts to light the poor fire lay. In his tired and frustrated state, he stormed off and grabbed his gas can he had used for his chainsaw and walked up to the fire and poured gas on the fire. As you can imagine, a ball of flame jumped up about 12 feet in the air. This caused him to jerk backwards which just served to douse himself with gas which ignited. Seeing your SM running in flames is a great deterrant to playing with gas around a fire. It made an impact. Fortunately, he got it out quickly and only had some second degree burns on his face. He really is a great SM and extremely safety conscious. He let his tired and frustration get in the way. It was a lesson to all of us about not using gas, keeping our cool and always thinking about the example we set.


As far as a boy playing with gas, he loses his fire chit and has to re-earn it and he has to teach fire saftey to the troop. That's what our SM did.

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I had a really good conversation with the boy's dad this morning. The boy told his dad he "really screwed up bad" and was pretty upset and remorseful. We can work with that. My hunch is we'll go with the essay and presentation to the troop and move on. Seems to me we're all headed for a good result.


Eamonn, I hear what you're saying. His Philmont crew advisor will be on the board of review, so he'll have full access to the infomation and input into any any final decisions.


Per usual, Eagledad hit it square on -- "Our scouts learned that observers were held to the same consequence as the offender." Yeah, that's the next step. There were a number of guys standing around the fire watching and I know of at least one as-of-yet unindicted co-conspirator who needs to be dealt with. I'm thinking the two patrols involved (because of the constraints of the campsites, patrols were paired up into trail crews for the weekend) may not be allowed to use stoves for the next seveal campouts. There are all sorts of great lessons there.


The number one co-conspirator is going to be a bit tougher. He's a real Eddie Haskel type. He never has the guts to pull the trigger, but anytime theres' a problem, this same kid is ALWAYS standing in the wings, holding coats and enjoying whatever mischief the other guys get into. Always manages to maintain a plausible defense, but sure does enjoy other folks misery. Going to think on that one a while longer....

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I think the gross generalzations you are accusing Twocub's troop and its leaders of is not only unscoutlike but spoken from a position of ignorance. This was a serious issue and your "lets show each other a lot more love" is inappropriate when you have no knowledge of the inner workings of his troop. Giving a kid love after he has just burned down your camp for example is simply totally unrealistic.


Twocub: I agree with your solutions, good luck with the boy.

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