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CWKitchenStaffer

Commitee member who doesn't know his place

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I just turned 18 over the summer and became an ASM. There is one guy on our troop comittee that only seems to do things his way. The two shining examples are: On our last winter campout (in a cabin) a scout (14yrs) was making some crude jokes. This kid has done this before, and when we speak to him, he stops, unless the younger kids egg him on. Well, this comittee member happened to be at the campout and heard the comments. He way overeacted, (especially since we dealt with it right away) and called the kids mother as soon as we got home. Shes a little nuts to begin with, and that didn't help. That ws incident 1.

Incident 2 happened at Camp Wanocksett this summer. we have a clear rule that no hats are allowed worn in the Dining Hall. We (The dining services staff) are required to wear hats, so hair doesn't get in the food. When one of my colleauges asked this committee member to remove his hat, he said something to the effect of "Why don't you take off your hat?! Getoff my back!!" He seems to be trying to shelter his own son, but I don't know. Is there anything I can do as a new ASM? This guy hasn't been in very long, I was the den chief for the den he led for 5 years, and they crossed over 2 years ago.

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First crude jokes do not have a place in Scouting. As you pointed out the Scout has done this before and whatever actions the program leaders took it obviously has not taken hold yet. If a Committee member chooses to call the boy's parents I have no problem with that I don't believe you will find that the BSA program has a problem with it either. So I would let go of that one.

 

As far as not following the rules, consider some quite counseling. "Mr. Smith, one of the things I enjoyed most about working with you when I was a Den chief is that it seemed you always tried to set a good example for the boys. What kind of an example do you feel you set when you do not follow the same rules we ask of the scouts, in the same cheerful and obedient manner we expect of them?"

 

I'll bet that would give him pause to think.

 

 

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Just as I was about to post my message, I saw Bob's response. We're pretty close in agreement. He may have overstepped his boundaries a little on the joke incident, but I would let it go. It obviously bothered him, and as long as it's an isolated incident, then I wouldn't worry about it.

 

Bob's suggestion may work very well. It all depends upon his attitude toward you, and his own ego. He may not look at you as a man yet. Even with an adult patch on your sleeve, he may not view you in that category. Give him time, he eventually will. If this approach doesn't work, here is another.

 

I assume you have a good relationship with your scoutmaster. On your next campout, pour a cup of coffee and take a walk with him. Tell him your concern. He'll value your opinion because you are now an adult leader, but you are much closer to the boys than he is. Use the same logic as in Bob's post regarding setting an example. The SM can then approach this committee member to address the situation.

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In the first case, you have admitted what has been done hasnt worked, maybe calling the mother will maybe it won't. I know as an adult leader if I saw something that I felt a parent should know about, I would be telling the parent regardless of what the troop did.

 

In the second part, does the scouter know about the tradition of hats off in the dining room? I know when I went to my first scout camp as an adult I didnt know about the hats off rule and was quite taken back by it and was going to make a big deal about it. Luckily a fellow ASM told me, they have been doing this for as long as I was a scout, its what is done. I complied and now even when the Dining Hall is used to checkin at the Klondike Derby and wearing a hat makes good sense, I feel like I should remove it.

 

A lot has to do with the approach. If some kid comes up to me and demands "Hey you old fart, take off your hat, you dummy" (hyperbole added for effect, insert your random insults anywhere)

you will get a much different reaction thaN, "Mr GreyEagle, when in the Dining Hall it has always been the tradition of the camp to remove ones hat, we invite you to join us in this tradition"

 

Ok, maybe the last one was a trifle over the top, but the point is, the approach matters.

 

How is this guy otherwise?(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)

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OK, First, thanks for your quick replies. The scout in question on incident 1 is a Scout that can be much, much worse. He has been making giant strides of progress, because we have found yelling etc. doesn't work. We have discovered that when we make him stop and think about his actions, he stops. This is a kid who went from almost being kicked out of camp one year to being runner up for honor camper the next. I think I've ranted about that enough. Second, OGE, I don't have a very good relationship with my Scoutmaster. No one really does, and we are all somewhat glad he's retiring after our big trip next summer. My beef with him started a few years ago when I was working on my Eagle. He felt I should wait 6-8 months before doing any work what-so-ever. He almost didn't sign off on my project. I am lucky, because I fought him on it. I am now an Eagle w/ 5 palms. (Because of his ideas, no one in my troop even remembered there were palms until I came along.) Many guys have been denied palms because they waited so long to get started.

Anyhow, I've drifted way off the original point. I think my original question was how to prevent this committee member from doing this sort of thing again, not dealing with what has already happened.

By the way, my friend was very proffesional when he asked this genlteman to remove his hat. "We are proffesionals" is the first commandment of Wanocksett Staff, and strictly enforced.

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CW,

I feel sure that you are a very nice chap.

I also feel that you need to slow down a bit, and think about your new role as an ASM.

If you were my ASM, and I was the Scoutmaster. I would want and expect you to support me and the troop. That includes the Troop Committee. You are now an adult leader. While the words of the Scout Oath and Law have not changed, people will now expect you to live up to the words working in your new role as an ASM.

While you were a Scout,it was hoped that you would grow into the Law and Oath. When you at times not have done as good a job as maybe you could have, people looked at you as a youth member. Those days are gone. You are now supposed to be a shining example.

If you find that you can't work with the Scoutmaster or the Committee members then maybe you need to give some thought to moving your Scouting elsewhere, maybe to another troop or maybe you could join a Crew?

If you decide to stay take a long hard look at the words in the Scout Oath and Law and ask yourself "Am I really living up to these words?"

Eamonn

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CW,

 

First your conflict with the C.M. depending on your troop size and structure you need to figure out the troop chain of command. Is the adult structure corporate or community? By that I mean is the group so small (or close) that all adults are program leaders who by what ever means to make it work (community type structure) or is the program corporate with set duties and responsiblities?

 

Keeping in mind that this may not be truely the BSA way... Under a corporate structure the adults divide into "program" and committee (troop support). Program is the S.M. and his ASMs(you)

the committee obviously is the Committee Chair and the C.M.s.

 

Program runs the campout and activities with the committees support. But policy is the committee's job not the S.M.s. In fact (and coldly put)S.M. and ASMs have no actual vote in the "business" of the troop they make suggestions, offer plans and program,but in the end they run the program approved by the committee. So in a way, in the corporate structure with you as a ASM... the CM is representing your "boss", the committee and the charter organization by way of the C.C.... This is a long winded way of saying look long and hard before you do anything "less than intelligent".

 

That said the CM was probably wrong in speaking to the mother unless he had a good relationship with the family and did so as a 'friend'.

He should have gone through the S.M. for immediate action (this was after all a program activity) and was the S.M.'s responsiblity if more action was called for. Then if he felt that the S.M. did not handle the issue well, he should have worked through the committee. The C.C. would then follow the 'will' of the committee if more action was felt necessary. Group dynamics is a wonderful and tricky business...go slow and feel you way through...understand that as you mature...(the farther you are from your teen years) the more you will appreciate that you don't have the answers to everything and and hopefully you will gain the ablility to see two (or more) sides to each conflict.

 

The coffee and a walk suggestion is good but take it further...after the troop is put to bed make it a habit to do a "sneak attack" on the old _ _ _ _ _(fill in the blanks) around the campfire. ASK them how things work in the land of adult scouting? How the committee works? How the program side works vs the committee? How both work together?

 

Ask in a non challenging- "I want to learn" sort of way. Ask them how they handle internal conflicts and what they see each of their jobs is. The answers may surprise you and by seeking you may even start to find some answers.

 

Good luck and remember most of the old guys really mean well even if they don't do it very well.

Y.I.S.

anarchist

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Anarchist's post although not in keeping with the name does raise some very good points I am dealing with now. I have assumed the duties as SM as our previous SM was hurt on an outing.

I have been with the troop for three years. I was not involved with scouting when I was young and have spent the last three years observing.

One of the observation was that my son was struggling with sign-offs because our troop did not use the patrol method and advancement was left up to the scout to figure out. We are changing that with help from my ASMs. Along with changing our structure I am trying to change the the BOR format. Previously the BOR was a review of the SM conference and the scouts abilities. The BOR could be inquisitions if the advancement rate was slow. This is where the issues have developed. I feel the committee is stepping into the SMs shoes and trying to run the programs as well as the "financial."

In our troop the SM generates 90% of the guidelines and then presents these guidelines to the committee. These guidelines cover advancement, outings and DISCIPLINE. It is the SMs job to administer the guidelines. Our CC is very involved and attends a lot of outings but he seems to be a little more intrusive than I like to see and this is another issue we are working through. I have tried the walk and coffee with some success but the full frontal assault seemed to get the best results. Sometimes it just takes a little more assertiveness to get the point across. This is a sad fact but it has to be done. Good Luck I feel your pain.

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First of all a BOR is supposed to be, in part, a check up of how well the Troop is functioning. Although it should not retest the scout or be an inquisition, it should ask the scout how well the Troop is working for him.

 

Second, why is it that "the SM generates 90% of the guidelines"? If your Troop decides, for whatever reasons, that it needs "guidelines", they should be generated by the Scouts, NOT the SM.

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I agree with Anarchist on most of this.

 

In regards to the CM, as someone else said, the dynamics of this kind of depend on the size of the troop. In most cases, the committee members are not part of the "program" group that deals with the Scouts. That is the SM and ASMs. In this case, it probably would have been most appropriate for the CM to bring the behavior to the attention of one of the Scout leaders. Since he took matters into his own hands, and you think otherwise, you should feel free to contact the mother yourself and let her know that, "yes, there was a problem behavior there, but you should also know that, etc", if you think some balance is needed.

 

Regards the hat, as others said, I'd let it go, unless you thought his actions were disrespectful of your position. Regardless of your relative ages, you are still a leader, and he has no right to treat you any less respectfully than any other leader. If such was the case, I'd probably still let it go, but be wary of his continuing to treat you that way.

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CWkitchenStaffer.

Hopefully your troop is run by the boy's, and there is a chain of command as how matters are handle: first Patrol leader then Senior Patrol leader, etc... to the ASM's, Scoutmaster to the Committee.

In most cases the Troop should handle any discipline action, then it goes up hill to the ASM, SM, then if it can not be handle at that level it goes to the committee.

 

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seabear, I think you got the chain of command slightly wrong. The SAs (ASM) report to the SM and the interface between the SPL should be with the SM not the SAs.

 

Think of it in this way. Make a typical business org chart with the SPL on top, ASPLs under him, PLs, patrol members, etc. Make a similar one for the SM and his SAs. The interface beween the two groups should be the SM/SPL interface. Now, sometimes SAs are assigned to patrols, but in general, that is how it works.

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