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altabill

lack of committee support with problem parent

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The committee chair and the Scoutmasters (SM & ASs) are having a bit of a disagreement. Allow me to set up the background.

 

Last weekend our troop went camping. At the outing, a dad (not one of the Scoutmasters) approached the SPL. He informed the SPL (in the for of a question, sort of..."This is okay, right?") that he and his son would be riding their bikes instead of doing the planned troop activity. There were conversations with the boy and his father. However, the father still took his son bike riding while the others did the troop event.

 

This is one incident. There are others. On campouts, dad repeatedly takes his son from his patrol to do dad and lad things (eating in a nearby restaurant, playing cards in their vehicle, secretly giving him food, etc.).

 

Family background. Two-parent household...Scout is home schooled...dad has completed Scoutmaster training (classroom part only)...Dad gives lad very little room to mature.

 

We (the Scoutmasters...Scoutmaster and assistants) have grown tired of dads interference. The latest issue was the straw that broke the camels back. We asked our committee chair for assistance. We first asked for dad to be barred from campouts until he changed his point of view. We softened our approach and suggested that dad be informed of the troops philosophy regarding the patrol method and purpose of the outdoor program. Dad would be permitted to camp if he wished. However, if he decided to interfere with the boy leadership or continue his dad/lad excursions, he would be asked to stop camping.

 

The committee chair said no. She admits that dad may be over involved but she feels the benefits to his son outweigh his over involvement. She is willing to speak with him but says that parents are NEVER (NEVER?) prohibited from camping with the troop. She wants to let him continue his behavior since it involved only a father and his son. She is missing the interference with the SPL part.

 

The Scoutmasters' contention is that he can go camping but he needs to disassociate himself from the patrols. Are we out of line here? Does the boys limited benefit outweigh his fathers disruptions? How do your troops handle parents that dont follow your program?

 

Hopefully I have given you enough background.

 

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One more important fact I left out. The Scout transferred to us about 9 months ago from another troop. He came to us as a Star Scout. He is thirteen years old.

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I've battled some similar situations. Our thought is that - while on a campout - none of us are "dads". We are all scout leaders. That boy that happens to look like us, talk like us, and have the same last name.... well, he's just one of "our" scouts. It's hard to do, and I certainly don't hit the mark 100% of the time. But that's the goal. Have you ever spoken generally to your parents about this?

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A showdown, if it ever comes to that, is going to get kicked up to the committee for resolution; this transcends program delivery. If your committee chair isn't on the same page with the SM/ASMs, it's a loser from the start. Your only hope is to go mano-a-mano with the guy and try to get him to see what he's doing. If that doesn't work, you'll just have to live with it.

 

Funny, that sounds exactly like a situation in my last Troop, but before I was SM. But, the dad in question WAS the CC. Other than that, everything else almost identical. They moved away...

 

KS

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I would invite him for coffee and a round of great ideas. He is not vested and may be struggling with his lack of expression. I have found that Adult Scouting has always been a place for sharing and friendship. His talents may be used in a variety of ways.

 

Pushing him away should be near the bottom of the list.

FB

 

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Have you had a sit down w/ the Dad? Have you invited the Dad to be a ASM? Once he becomes a ASM, give him a patrol (not his son's) to mentor.

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We have tried to sit down and talk about how it works. That didn't work. We gave him a role as an ASM for a patrol. Instead of mentoring the PL, he was running the show. Asked him to be Chaplain and assist the Aide. He did all the planning and took over Scout's Own (left the Aide basically standing there). Has volunteered in committee for jobs but not finished any of them. I don't like pushing people away but I am running out of ideas.(This message has been edited by altabill)

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You don't get off that easy. I didn't mean that he should be given a position. I meant something similar but more difficult. Become his friend.

 

More than likely, he is not the person that you would like to spend time with talking about Scouting. Consider him for an "assistant" type job for special projects. If he is working with you, some of your knowledge will rub off. It is obvious he is not ready, so by giving him a real position he will only fail, as you found out, not once but two or three times and you probably knew before you did it.

 

Include him with a couple of others that you work with and trust. To become part of the group, he will need to reconsider his role as a leader.

 

 

FB

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I looked at this and my first thought was that you should hide his car keys some where a long way from the camp. (Just joking)

Sad to say I think that this chap and I would have to have words.

I think that the troop committee need to hear how you really feel. The troop committee need to let Dad know that when his son is with his patrol / Troop he really needs to be with the patrol/ Troop. Anything else is not acceptable. You might want to reinforce this by sending a copy of the planned program home with each Scout and requesting that all Scouts follow the program. This could be followed up with a phone call to Dad asking him if he has read the program and informing him that this is what we will be doing.

Come to think of it maybe hiding his car keys isn't such a bad idea!!

Eamonn

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