Jump to content

Bewitched, Bemused & Bewildered.

Recommended Posts

I have been trying hard to understand all the dialogue from those who are "Pro Troop Rules"

I am having a hard time.

Could be that I have a birthday this month and the little gray cells are not up to snuff.

But I just don't get it.

First I come from a place where there are expected standards of behavior.

I expect people to be well mannered.

There is no "Please and Thank You" Rule. This is just expected behavior.

I don't wear my hat in any building not because it is a rule. But somewhere back in my history I was led to believe it was bad mannered.

While the air around me does get a little blue at times. This is normally when something has gone wrong. I know that it is wrong and I really do everything possible to ensure that it never happens around young people.

When someone is trying to communicate with me I do my best to pay attention. I expect the same courtesy. If you want to talk to me I will remove my Walkman or stop using the computer. Just as I would put down or stop making a woggle or the newspaper.

Do I need a rule that says no Walkman, Computers, rope, or newspapers?

What might help me out a lot would be if those who do have written Troop Rules would share them with me.

Maybe if I could see them in black and white I might not be so bewitched, bemused and bewildered. It would also be a big help if you would explain why you have each rule.

Many Thanks


Link to post
Share on other sites

Look at the different parenting styles that abound. Many are very rule laden. Many are not. I believe that the culture one was raised in greatly influences how they view rules.


I continuously argue (very politely I might add!) with the SAs about what to do if the boys ... (stay up too late, don't get up early enough, don't clean up on time, etc.). Some take the position that "you can't just let them ...". My position is yes we can let them ...


The best way for them to learn is by witnessing the consequences of their actions. Take the running in camp rule or no rule. Where our troop attends summer camp, many tree roots protrude up from the ground along many of the foot paths making ones footing precarious. Should I (as SM) make a rule of "no running in camp"? Should the camp staff? Should we let the campers experience first hand what happens when they run in camp? If a rule is stated, should it have a firm consequence (i.e. if caught running in camp, no candy)? Rules that try to monitor risky behavior are tricky. Yes, one may run in camp and not get hurt. Yes, one may swim alone and not drown. Our summer camp has rules of no running in camp, no swimming without a buddy, no riding your bike too fast yet held a triathelon (well supervised mind you) that violated all of those rules!


A Scout is courteous. Now, in my mind, using a cell phone on a plane, train or automobile is a discourteous act. Many disagree. Should society make a rule/law? It is not so black and white.


What I think Bob White, Eamonn and others feel is that too many Scouters make rules that are really their own personal desires (no electronics) that part of the learning process for the boys is to determine what is right or wrong, not to blindly follow a set of rules.


For our troop we have a few "leftover" rules from previous "administrations" that seem to have been ingrained in some of the members. Examples are no pop (soda or "Coke" to some), no personal stereos except in your tent, etc. I could care less if those rules stay or are removed. What is important is that the boys know why some feel why the rules are important. For example, one of my sons would wear his headphones (ear buds really) and carry his CD player around. When addressed by an adult he (usually) would turn the CD player off or pause it but not remove the headphones. As most boys his age are prone to do, he always looks like his attention is on other things. I explained to him that when an adult is talking to him, remove the headphones. While your music may be off, the adult does not know this and by taking them off you assure the adult that you have given them your attention. Kids at this age are still very self centered (psychologicly, not necessarily selfish).


Now, is it required to have a rule of no personal stereos? While maybe easier on the adults, the kids may just view the rule as exerting control or simply as being mean.(This message has been edited by acco40)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Eamonn, thanks for picking up the rational part of this thread. I'm enjoying the debate.


As to your post, is it not possible that those things which come naturally to you now, doffing you hat, saying please and thank you, holding your tounge, were not presented to you as rule to be obeyed at some point in your life?


I think I understand your and Acco's point (and maybe Bob White's, to a lesser degree.) What I'm hearing from you is not rules that are bad at face value, but rules which were handed down by Scoutmaster fiat, poorly applied, or poorly enforced.


Troop rules are not a problem in and of themselves. Troop rules which are badly constructed and applied are bad. A troop whose Scoutmaster throws his hat to the ground and announces "That's it! I'm sick of trying to talk to boys who are wandering around in a fog listening to Walkmen and playing Gameboys. From now on, no more electronics on campouts!" has more problems than just a new rule which must be obeyed.


We have a couple troops in our district, both thought to be the best of the best, who hand new boys troop handbooks when they join. The handbooks contain pages of troop rules, standards of behavior, punishments for violations and in one case, a list of "additional" requirements boys must meet for each rank. My sons won't be joining either of those troops.


On the other hand, Hunt's hypothetical on which I expanded about the use of the church hymnal closet for troop equipment is an example of a boy-led troop developing a good and useful rule fully in tune with the Scout Law. The way BW's troop developed, explains and enforces it's rule against running in camp is also appropriate, even though you guys don't seem to think it's a rule.


I agree with you that too many troops have rules which are capricious and misapplied. If you've gotten to the point that you need a handbook to keep up with all the rules, I think that's a good clue you have too many.(This message has been edited by Twocubdad)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I like the first one the bestest! Some of it is a joke and some is someone just retyping the handbook or other BSA policies.


Troop Bylaws

New Membership New boys must attend two troop meetings prior to joining the troop. A parent or guardian must attend at least one meeting before the boy may join.

Troop Meetings A troop meeting will be held each Monday at 7:00PM at the Lindbergh Schweitzer Elementary School west campus auditorium during the school year. During the summer, meetings will be held every Monday at 6:30PM at Lindbergh Park. If unexpected circumstances require a change or cancellation of a troop meeting, the scouts will be notified.

Uniform Scouts shall be required to wear a Scout uniform at all scout meetings and functions, unless informed otherwise by the Scoutmaster. Neckerchiefs will be worn at all special functions.

Dues Dues will be paid by all scouts. The amount and manner in which they are to be paid will be set by the Troop Leaders Council and Troop Committee. Dues will be based on 12 months/52 weeks per year. No scout will participate in camping and recreational activities, or receive any awards if he is one month or more behind in his dues.

Patrol Meetings Patrol meetings should be held each week, with the scheduling of these meetings to be the best compromise among the members of the patrol. It is recommended that these meetings be scheduled on a regular basis; the Patrol Leader shall make the final decision as to the meeting time and place. Patrol Scribe will submit a report of activities to the Senior Patrol Leader.

Discipline Discipline at troop meetings is primarily the responsibility of the Senior Patrol Leader, his staff and the Patrol Leaders. Discipline at patrol meetings is primarily the responsibility of the Patrol Leader and his Assistant. Disciplinary decisions by these leaders require approval by the Scoutmaster or adult leader in charge.

Meeting Attendance A scout shall not miss more than one troop meeting and one patrol meeting in any one month. If he does miss more meetings, he may be excluded from the next campout. An exception may be made if the absence was due to serious illness or other circumstances beyond the control of the scout. This exception can only be made by positive action from the Troop Leaders Council.

Board of Review A troop Board of Review shall be convened at the last troop meeting of each month. Special Boards of Review may be convened should the need arise. This board shall review Scouts for advancement in rank AND lack of advancement or participation in the troop or patrol. For reviewing advancements, a minimum of three adult leaders is required; however, members of a boys immediate family cannot be on his Board of Review. The scout will be required to appear in full Scout uniform, with his Boy Scout Handbook, and will be expected to display a general working knowledge of each of those activities completed as requirements toward the advancement presently sought as well as past advancement awards earned.

Elections Elections of Patrol Leaders and Senior Patrol Leader shall be held each March and September or at the discretion of the Scoutmaster. The Patrol Leader shall be elected by the Patrol and the Senior Patrol Leader by the entire troop. The Senior Patrol Leader election will be held two weeks prior to the Patrol Leader elections. A Patrol Leader election may be requested by the patrol at any time. The Patrol Leaders may request a Senior Patrol Leader election at any time.

Assistant Leaders The Assistant Senior Patrol Leader(s) shall be appointed by the Senior Patrol Leader and approved by the Scoutmaster. The Assistant Patrol Leader shall be appointed by the Patrol Leader and approved by the Scoutmaster.

Other Troop Officers All troop offices (Scribe, Quartermaster, Librarian, etc.) shall be filled by appointment of the Senior Patrol Leader and approved by the Scoutmaster. The Scoutmaster shall appoint den Chiefs.

Troop Leaders Council Meeting A Troop Leaders Council meeting should be held on a prearranged day of each month. The Senior Patrol Leader or Scoutmaster may call special meetings if a need arises. Too frequent absences from these meetings by a Patrol Leader may result in the Troop Leaders Council recommending that the patrol have the opportunity to hold a new Patrol Leader election.

Campout Participation All campouts and troop activities will be subject to approval by the Troop committee, and should have a ratio of one adult per eight scouts, with a minimum of two adult leaders present for any activity, no exception. A scouts desire or intent to participate in a campout shall be made known at the troop meeting prior to the activity. Failure to do so may result in exclusion of the Scout from the activity. Menus shall also be submitted at the troop meeting prior to the activity. Any fees required must be paid at the troop meeting prior to the activity. Each Scout will present a permission slip signed by one of his parents or guardian prior to the start of the activity.

Communication, A Scouts Responsibility Each scout is responsible for keeping himself and his parents (or guardian) informed of what is going on in the troop and his patrol. If the scout misses a troop or patrol meeting, it is his responsibility to find out what went on at these meetings. A scout is also responsible to notify his Patrol Leader or another troop leader when he is unable to attend a meeting.

Court of Honor A Court of Honor shall be held every March, June, September and December to recognize the scouts who have advanced and for presenting awards (recognition of outings, skill awards, Merit Badges, etc.). Parents of the scouts are encouraged to attend these Courts of Honor. An advancement of rank requires parent/guardian attendance.

Honor Patrol A system shall be established and maintained to grade patrols in various areas as designated by the Troop Leaders Council and Scoutmaster. Upon recommendation of the Scoutmaster and approval by the Troop Committee, funds may be used from the general Troop treasury once every three months to award recognition to the Honor Patrol in an appropriate manner.

Service Projects It is an obligation of every Scout to participate in troop and patrol service projects. A scout need not participate in all projects, but should make every effort to do his share (preferably participating most of the time).

Troop Equipment When troop or patrol equipment is used by a patrol or scout, the patrol or scout assumes responsibility for the return of such equipment in good, clean condition. If a piece of equipment is clearly lost or damaged by an individual scout or patrol, he/they will be held personally responsible for the repair or replacement of the item.

Troop Treasury An account shall be maintained at the Scout Service Center trading post. All items charged to the account require a receipt to be turned in to the Troop Treasurer for entry into the troop financial records.

Committee The Troop Committee shall meet during the second week of each month, unless otherwise designated. Any recommendation/complaint must be presented to the committee at a committee meeting. A quorum the number of committee members necessary to conduct troop business shall consist of at least three troop committee members from different families. A majority vote of the committee members present the number not to be less than a quorum shall be required to amend, suspend, add to or in any way alter these bylaws.

Campership Funds and Fund-raisers Various methods of raising funds to be used by scouts for scout related activities such as equipment purchases or scout-sponsored functions are provided by the troop. Some of the fund raising activities might be: candy sales, scout fair ticket sales, popcorn sales, program sales or newspaper and can recycling. Participation in these events is encouraged and benefits the scout as well as the troop. As to each specific fund-raiser, the troop committee will decide in advance of the activity the proration of income between scout and troop general fund.

Use of Funds Campership funds, at the discretion of the troop committee may be used for:


Scouting related activities such as patrol, troop, district or council events or other certain special events.


Uniforms and scouting related equipment purchases such as tents, sleeping bags, backpacks, hiking boots, etc. Receipts are required for reimbursement.


Campership funds may be used to pay scouting dues, but the transfer must be requested at least a day prior to and Court of Honor to restore eligibility for awards.


Transfers and Forfeitures When transferring to another troop, a scout may request that his troop campership fund be transferred to the new troop to be used for scouting activities. If a scout decides to leave scouting, the remaining funds in his campership will be forfeited to the troop general fund.


These by-laws were revised January 1999. Enforcement of these by-laws is the responsibility of all members of Boy Scout Troop 1: Scouts, Leaders and Parents.


Link to post
Share on other sites

I fall somewhere in the middle of this (Sorry, Dan, I'll let others comment on your post) debate about rules.


I believe that the basis of any rule used in Scouting be the Scout Oath and Law.


I also believe, however, that words like should, may, no and yes, do have their place in Scouting. Like a wise volunteer once said to me, "the books have a paper cover, they're made to bend a little bit."


I said a little bit, and I mean in some cases. Not all. Don't jump down my throat, but English is a subtle language and synonyms are do not always mean the same thing. For instance, "should" and "don't" have subtly different meanings -- or to some of us, not so subtle.


To give specific examples, when I was a Scoutmaster, our troop had an aversion to personal electronic devices being used on outings. A lot of that aversion came from me. I didn't tell the Scout he couldn't have it, I told him he didn't need it and I would hold it in my car for him until the outing was over. I felt it was up to the PLC and the committee and myself to make sure the outing stayed interesting enough that the Scout never missed his walkman, gameboy, whatever. If the kid didn't want to give it up, he was invited to stay home. That never happened.


Of course, I had my own vice -- I really needed an hour or so after everyone else had gone to bed to read a book by the fire or somewhere else by myself, just to quiet my mind. However, the book didn't bleep and the light didn't bother anyone. I had no problem with a Scout who wanted to read for a while . . . but I had a problem with Nintendo, or whatever the current equivalent is.


Maybe there truly is a difference between a guideline and a rule and that's what's got this thread going.


In my opinion, a troop by-law against electronics or personal electronics could become a real problem when you get a Scout who needs hearing aids -- which are also personal electronic devices. Now you have a hard-and-fast-rule, written by the troop that has to be bent (to the parents who believe their son has a God given right to the gameboy) when a little extra work explaining "Courteous" would have done and would have no need to be bent.



Link to post
Share on other sites



Don't you see that your rule about when the committee meets is unnecessary? If your committee members lived by the Scout Law, they would all be courteous and hold the meetings at a time when it was convenient for all committee members and interested parents who wish to attend.

Link to post
Share on other sites

OK here's a couple we have in my Troop.


During Troop meetings, all Scouts will keep their hands to themselves. No hitting, slapping, poking, etc.


If a Scout is unable to attend a Troop meeting, he is to contact his PL prior to the meeting to let him know he will be absent. If the PL is unable to attend, he will contact the ASPL. If the ASPL is unable to attend, he will contact the SPL. If the SPL is unable to attend, he will contact the SM.



I'm sure most of us have sat on a few Eagle BOR's. How many of those Eagle candidates showed up for their BOR in uniform? I know in my case 100%. Now the BSA doesn't require anyone to own or wear a uniform yet we expect one to be worn. And I am sure some districts & councils require the Eagle candidate to be in full uniform for his BOR.


Ed Mori

1 Peter 4:10

Link to post
Share on other sites

When various meetings are held is program planning, rules about hitting and other abusive behavior are already covered in G2SS (a scout is Friendly), requiring a full uniform for the BOR is a violation of advancement regulations. Communicating among leaders is covered in leadership training, if you were to fulfill the SM responsibility to train junior leaders they would not those rules.


Teach the program don't make more rules.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems that dsteele is coming the closest to expressing the opinion I hold on this issue.


I am not in favor of creating troop rules unless there is a need for those rules. Because each charger org, each community, and each unit is different, I can not say what is or is not needed to carry out the program in individual cases.


If a unit does create rules to assist in carrying out the program they must originate in the appropriate location. Any "arbitrary" rules that are not addressed by BSA policy, charter org policy, laws, and other binding things should generally originate with the PLC or other applicable youth leaders/bodies. Rules related to safety, finances, or to clarify/reinforce binding policies would naturally originate from adult leadership in most cases.


That being said, creating your own version of the BSA program by ignoring some policies and creating others of your own is not acceptable, as long as you claim to be carrying out the BSA program. You can't add to rank requirements. You could create something like a FAQ to clarify the rank requirements, if something is unclear. (and rank requirements are pretty clear, to those who can, and do, read) You can't require that someone be in complete/correct uniform for a BOR. You can let it be known that it is appropriate, or even expected, that Scouts will be in uniform for such occasions.


The key question is, are the "rules" created by the unit supporting or suplanting/superceding the BSA program? If the answer is supporting, it would seem to be acceptable. If the answer is something else, it would not be acceptable.



Link to post
Share on other sites

"And thanks for addressing both rules I posted."


Actually Ed, it appears you posted three not two and I responded to all three.


I was not belittling them simply demonstrating that they validated the point I was making. Troop rules tend to be repetitive of BSA rules, conflicting to BSA rules or uneeded. The conditions you sited happened to meet all three conditions.


Physical violence and harrassment is covered already in the G2SS.


Communicating between leaders is a leadership skill the SM is supposed to be teachin junior leaders through training courese and ghuidance not relying on a rule to do their work.


Requiring uniforms for BORs as you yourself pointed out is in conflict with the requirements of the BSA. That being the case you cannot require them either.


Please do not make this thread another tug of war. disagree with my points if you wish, but please curb your personal attacks.


Bob White


Link to post
Share on other sites

Only posted two. The part about the uniforms was an observation. Mentally awake applies.


The 1st on I posted about hitting etc was to help prevent the poking & proding Scout age boys due. An occasional push or poke isn't isn't violence or harassment but can lead to it. The 2nd was to put in place a standard of who notifies who.


As far as the uniforming, Bob, have you sat on any Eagle boards where the Eagle candidate was NOT in uniform? And didn't you expect the Eagle candidate to be in FULL uniform for his Eagle BOR?


Ed Mori

1 Peter 4:10


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Advancement Policies require that the scout were as complete a uniform as he can when at a BOR. What you prefer has nothing to do with what the BSA requires or what you must accept.


Those are the rules already existing in the BSA.


Bob White

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for not answering my question, Bob.


If the BSA doesn't require a Scout to have a uniform to be a member, how can it require a Scout to be in the uniform it doesn't require? And I did look in the Advancement Policies & didn't find reference to a Scout being in uniform. Got a page #?


Ed Mori

1 Peter 4:10

Link to post
Share on other sites

What did I expect? I expected the BOR to follow the policies and guidelines set by the BSA for an Eagle Board. I do not anticipate what the scout wil wear, but I do notice.


You are arguing in support of my point Ed.


Since the BSA does not require a uniform, a unit, district, or council cannot require a scout be in full uniform for a BOR. I believe you will find the reference in the section on Eagle Scout BOR in the Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures manual. I do not have the book with me or I would supply the page#.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...