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Summer camp issue/concern

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We have currently only had our son's version of what happened.


We have a mom who is a ASM, she was there the first part of summer camp. There were three things that occured with the boys and in my opinion (based on DS's version) an over reaction on her part to the initial situations. She did threaten to send the boys home and had them sign a behavior contract that lists out about 15 or so rules. Apprently it was printed up and handed out before camp and we the parents were to have seen it and signed also. Niether my husband or I remember seeing it and being that she made them sign it during summer camp, makes me think it was not before. She told them that if they refused to sign it they would be sent home.


I am talking about the older boys (15-17 year age range).

They were lectured for use of bad language in the ASM eyes.


What words did the boys use..

While working with carving one boy stated "My knife sucks." The word suck was considered a swear word by this ASM (mother).


The other was the use of the word "butt" in context with ones rear. She agian spoke to them and told them the proper word to use is buttocks.




The other incident was with two of the older boys also...boy A put a rock in boy B's lemonade....Boy B then dumped lemonade over the head of Boy A. (Boy A was not upset and took in stride).


ASM made all the boys in the above situations make public apologizes at Flag Ceremonies.


Basically the boys lost all respect for her and it showed through some of their later actions. This of course caused the boys to start using those words in proper settings. Which we have spoken to DS about. An example of a later reactio..at the rifle range they would point to the "butt" of the gun and state this is the butt of the rifle.


I am sure there is going to be a meeting over these issues...I know that we plan to talk to the Scoutmaster about it. To find out what he knows and maybe request a meeting with the boys involved with the scoutmaster and the ASM involved.


My husband and I feel there was really nothing to these and she over reacted to what is common slang words and not curse words.


This has also created a huge issue with the older boys...so far DS and two of his friends have stated that if she is on an outing/campout they are not going to go on it.


Any thoughts would be great?




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When I was young, I'd have gotten my mouth washed out with Fels-Naptha for using what some people today consider to be "common slang words."


A Scout is courteous. You might ask how a Scout can be courteous using language that is offensive to some people.

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I think I would like more information about the "butt" situation. It could be something like, "hey Charlie, get your butt over here, Environmental Science starts in 10 minutes" or it could have been "Hey Charlie, why are you always such a butt?" Not quite a swear word either time, but still worth finding out the context.


Saying "my knife sucks" isn't swearing in my opinion, but its not refined language either. I wouldnt mind if an adult corrected my sons language.


Messing with another persons food/drink is never ok, even if the target is ok with it. The next target may not be and I am not sure which point of the scout law is honored by sticking a rock in some one elses drink.


So the older boys wont be going along if "that woman" comes? Do any of them have parents who would fill in for the leader? Is this a case of youthful masculine pride being injured by someone who dared call them on questionable behavior?


Nothing I see explained is worth sending anyone home, yet there seems to be alot of emotion invested in this that may indicate other issues are at work

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In typing and retyping I now have read over what I typed and realized I left out a sentence...oops..I had it there orginally.


My husband and I feel there was really nothing to these and she over reacted to what is common slang words and not curse words. We think the over reaction was in threatening to send the home and humiliating them in front of the larger group vs just speaking to them about thier word usage and apologizing to those that were present. Yes my son's friend states he felt humilated by this ASM.



Maybe it is just a matter of youth masculine pride.



As to the butt comment I just checked with DS..he doesnt recall the exact wording..but it was along the lines of one boy telling another he had dirt on his butt.(This message has been edited by jemek)



As to what I mean by common slang words in this situation is using the word

butt vs buttocks

sucks vs My knife stinks/doesn't work well.(This message has been edited by jemek)

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Yeah, public humiliation is a great way to build resentment. Even if the leader didn't think that was what she was doing, that's how it felt to the boys. The ASM's method of correcting the behavior is not, from a practical point of view, likely to win her any respect among the boys. As you've already found, she'll come across as an over-controlling leader. Such a leader is likely to turn off older boys. I wonder, is this a punishment that the SPL would recommend?


From what I read in your description, this woman is just about begging to be mocked. It doesn't surprise me at all.


There was a recent thread on how to deal with language. Private correction is preferred, as far as I'm concerned. Personally, I don't think I'd even bother with corrections of the language that you list; maybe I'd give a stern look depending on the circumstances.


You don't really ask a question. I agree she over-reacted. But what are you going to do about it? It's in the past, and it's not worth making an even bigger deal over (that would be you over-reacting.) Is this woman going to be the one setting rules on upcoming campouts? I'd think you might want to find someone else. What does the Scoutmaster say? I'd mention my concern to the Scoutmaster, but boys have to deal with all types of leaders.


If she really is driving boys away from the program, due to this, or other behaviors, then your SM/CC will really have to look at her contribution to the program. I've worked with ASMs to get them to back off - usually through a friendly comment, but I've done it bluntly as well.


But since you're not the Scoutmaster, all you can reasonably do in this situation is to mention it to the SM and let him handle it from there.

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From what you've posted, it was not well handled. That applies both to the ASM (again, from what you've posted) and to the older boys.


Is this ASM someone who has camped with the troop before and is well known? Or was this her first trip with the troop? In the former case, assuming that she isn't generally known for being unreasonable, then I'd have to wonder what else had already happened that week that put her on her last nerve with these boys. Perhaps they'd been using progressively worse language all week long to test boundaries, for example. (I'm not saying that happened, just thinking of a situation that might have occurred to illustrate that you may, or may not, be getting the full story).


If she is new to the troop and/or has a reputation for over reacting, then I think it might be good to ask whether she has gone through training, what sort of experience she has with youth, and how better to put her desire to volunteer to good use. Perhaps she is a mom to a younger boy and isn't used to dealing with older teens. Great, get her involved working with those younger guys where she may be more comfortable. This is ultimately something to have a polite conversation with the SM and CC about though.


At the end of the day it sounds like the older boys in question could have comported themselves differently too. "Sucks" is a word that offends many people because of what it implies (sucks what?), and certainly it wouldn't hurt for them to be more aware of the way they come across to others. There's nothing wrong with making sure they realize that speaking like that in the "adult" world is generally inappropriate, and that if they want to be treated more like adults - isn't that something most older teens want? -, then they have to act the part. (though personally, I wouldn't have handled it the way this ASM apparently did) And at ages 15-17 these boys should also be old enough to understand that respect is, indeed, a two way street. While the ASM may have missed her own opportunity to build respect in the boys' eyes (and maybe she realizes this now), that doesn't give them a right to disrespect her, either. That's not leadership and that's not character. Challenge them to think about the outcome they want and to take a course that's more likely to achieve it than just saying they won't go if "that woman" is on a camp out in the future.



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And people are surprised that the International Scout jamboree served no meat...


Yes, she definitely overreacted. I feel very sorry for her son(s) because she sounds like the type who is emasculating them. I would certainly agree with the 15-17 year olds who won't go on another outing with her. I can't imagine placing my young man under such authority - men (yes, they are men) under a shrew are never happy.


A simple "Scouts in this troop don't use that word" would've been enough.(This message has been edited by Aquila)

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>A simple "Scouts in this troop don't use that word" would've been >enough.


Yes Aquila, I agree (though I don't know that I'd go so far as to call her a "shrew."). But then, this assumes that the story being told is in fact the full story. I'm curious to know what the ASM in question would say about all of this?


I have a 13 year old son. He's a great kid and generally very polite. But occasionally his depiction of events is so very different from my own that I have to wonder if we've been living in alternate universes. This isn't to say he's not telling the truth as he sees it, just that he might be bringing his own issues (raging hormones, whatever) to the situation and things sometimes get blown out of proportion on his end too. I can imagine the same thing happening here. ("Honest mom, ALL I said (remember saying?) was ..." except, this maybe skips over the tone of voice in which it was said, the eye rolling, the stomping, huffing, and general body language that accompanied the (not so?) "innocent" words.)


Or, on the other hand, maybe this woman really is a walking disaster. Hard to be sure from just what we've heard. I guess I'm channeling Beavah here, suggesting we first trust the adult leaders to use reasonably good judgment most of the time, especially if there's no prior history to suggest otherwise.


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I continued along the same lines, but got the "deer in the headlights" look.


The I got something like "we hear these words on TV and mom and dad use them, what's the big deal?"


Then, our ASPL told the guys to say that " _______ vacuums" I let him know I wasn't amused - - but it is kinda funny.

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