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District Chair Overstepping The Mark?

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OJ is on the rampage. He is very upset with his Crew Advisor. The Advisor is a friend of mine who has had a very rough time of it over the past few years. He was one of the ASMs to the Jamboree troop in 2001. The day we arrived home and as we were unloading the gear his wife informed him that she had left him. They have 3 great kids the two young ones went to live with her but the oldest boy opted to stay with him. Then he lost his job, got another one only to lose that. If it wasn't for bad luck this poor chap would have none what so ever.

With all that has been going on the Crew really has taken second place in his life. Which I understand and I think in his heart of hearts OJ does.

In November they were to go to some kind of training in Maryland everything was set but at the last minute the Advisor got a job and had to go to New York. Those that were going had no way of getting there. They did ask me the day before they were to leave which wasn't enough notice for me and my work. The Crew members were upset. They do have a female leader who has a son in the Crew but she has a young baby so getting away is hard and staying in a tent in November just is not going to happen.

She called me to say that the Advisor was not making it to a lot of the meetings and was unsure what to do about the two deep leadership. I said that I would go if and when needed.

I do have a big mouth. So I attend a couple of meetings and nothing is happening. I have a word with the officers and in a nice way tell them that if they don't come up with a plan and do something that the crew will start to fall apart. While I'm imparting these words of wisdom I add that they need to improve their communication. A week later in the mail we find a Crew News letter telling us that they are going to ski day at Nemacolin Woodlands. I offer to drive those that need a ride. The Crew Leader has talked with them and said that he has had a lot of stuff on his plate but he is "Back".

The Crew really gets behind this ski trip they recruit new members because of it and are very excited. Then last night the Advisor called to say that he isn't going. They were counting on his car also another crew member who has a car now has to work. So they have all these members and are now phoning parents to beg a ride.

I don't ski. I hate being cold in fact I went out and bought this new high wicking underware in order that I won't be too cold. If this were not a Scouting type event I would find a nice cosy mug of Irish coffee and sit back and watch the people who enjoy playing in that cold white stuff.

I feel bad for these crew members and in some ways feel that I have interfered over stepping my mark for the position that I hold in the District but not as a parent. I am keen to drive these guys as it will be a chance to play with my new SUV. I don't know if I should just stand back and allow them to sort it out or if I should go out and rent a van for the day. I dearly want this crew to get off the ground. However I don't have the time to get too involved while at the same time do not want to be seen as interfering from the sidelines. I feel as if this a "Catch 22" Situation.

Any ideas what I ought to do?

Or have I done too much already?


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I think your son is lucky to have a dad willing to go to such lengths to make sure they have a good scouting experience. Go skiing, have a cup of hot chocolate on me, enjoy watching the crew have a good time. This has nothing to do with your District poaition. This is about your responsibility as a dad, and helping a friend who is having a rough time at the moment.


Have fun.

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I also agree. You should do everything you can to aid the program. I applaud you for stepping in as a concerned dad.


I have two additional sugesstions.


1) In your dual role as both a parent of a Scout, and as a District volunteer, I think you have a unique opportunity and perhaps a responsiblity to begin recruiting additional or new adult leadership for this crew. As much energy should go into that as the energy you put into covering for the leader that is not carrying his load.


2)If this leader were with another Crew (not associated with your son), and you came to know about the situation, would you not react as a district volunteer? I'm guessing you would. I have found that some of the toughest calls I must make in Scouting are the calls concerning my sons. I am always concerned that I tread carefully. But if you would act as a District Commisioner and do something for another Crew, I think you should be doing something officially about this Crew.



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We know you're a district chairman, but if we didn't know that and it wasn't mentioned in your thread, we would have assumed that you were a parent dedicated to his son who is acting as we all hope parents would when their help is needed to assist a unit.


In other words, you're doing the things good Scouting parents do. You're not a district chairman in this manner . . . you're Father. Keep it up.


Now put your district chairman hat on (and pretend you don't have a son in the Crew.) Is the District Commissioner's staff on top of the situation, or are they just hoping that this Father saves the Crew? Is the District Executive aware that the Advisor is struggling with personal issues? If so, you've done your job as district chairman in this instance and can now go back to being Father and helping your son's Crew.



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I'll give you five reasons:


1. "I said that I would go if and when needed."

2. "I offer to drive those that need a ride."

3. "I am keen to drive these guys as it will be a chance to play with my new SUV."

4. "I dearly want this crew to get off the ground."

5. Everything everyone else has already said.


Rack 'em and stack 'em in any order you like, but go.


If you still feel squeamish about stepping on the advisor's toes then talk to him -- just a friendly chat to let him know you're volunteering to drive the crew and let him know you're also available anytime he needs you.


Go and enjoy yourself -- nurse that mug of hot chocolate; read a book (I recommend the Lord of the Rings, but follow your own tastes); bring a sewing kit and 13 venturing socks and see what comes of it ;)


Bonus reason: "I went out and bought this new high wicking underware." C'mon how often do you really have a reason to use it?!


Have a great trip!


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Don't know how many kids you have, Eamonn, but in the blink of an eye, you will wish that you could go on skiing trips with your child. And then, except for very special circumstances, it will be too late.


Go. Enjoy. Go as a parent or as an interested adult. And be thankful that the temperature isn't zero as it is outside my front door or -20 as it is in my place in NH.

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So I picked up the 15 seater van last night. The guy owns and runs a used car lot. His son is signed up for the next jambo. So he cut me a break on the cost.

We met at Micky D's at 7:00. Only 11 Crew Members turned up. This could be due to the fact that it was so darn cold and the telly was telling people not to go out unless they had to and to cover all body parts.

The Van didn't have a CD player so I had thrown a few tapes in. It turned out that there were two Johnny Cash tapes and these guys thought that "Don't Take Your Guns To Town" was really very corny.

It was only about a 45 min drive. I just drove listening to the banter and general chit chat going on. I had almost forgot how much I enjoy just being a fly on the wall hearing young people just chit chat. It really is a very happy sound even over Johnny Cash.

Once there they sorted out all the paper work and who was doing what, some were Snow Boarding some Skiing others Tubing. I was all dressed up for the cold but had spied a nice fireplace and the coffee shop.However they thought that I ought to at least try something so I said that I would give tubing a bash. Never done it before. So I went with a couple of the girls hoping that if I was going to wimp out it wouldn't be anywhere near the guys.

Man Oh Man was it cold 5F, which is not good for displaced Englishmen. We are more with the mad dogs that go out in the mid day sun.

I did a few runs on my tube which is a lot of fun and needs no skill what so ever. I turned it over a couple of times trying to get high air on a small mound. But by lunch time I was very very cold and aware that I'm no longer 21 or 31 0r even 41. So I found a nice table in the lodge and held court. There were about 300 youth members at this even from our council. Over the afternoon other Scouters came and shot the breeze with me. The Crew was in and out trying to warm up and make sure that I was still alive.

I sat sitting there just watching a whole bunch of young people all dress up in winter garb. They all seemed to have red rosy cheeks from the cold but they all looked really happy.

By about 6:00 everyone had suffered enough of the cold so we loaded the van and drove home them singing "Don't take Your Guns To Town"

I had a great time. I miss not spending more time with our kids. They want me to go back next year I think only to see if I can really get some high air and they can watch their District Chair bury his oversized nose in the snow.


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