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What is / is not tolerable behavoir in a leader ?

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This is spun from the "leaders smoking at a campout" thread.


Let me pose this to the group... WHAT do you consider the cut-off for a leader? At what point would you HONESTLY think about asking an adult volunteer to no longer volunteer? (or make it an issue with the unit committee to the point they'd be asked to step down)


I ask, because I suspect its at a very different level for most everyone.


The G2SS places some very BIG expectations on leaders. There are some things (YPG for example) that are black and white. There are others (smoking at a campout) that are more open to interpretation.


Should a leader be asked to step down:


If they smoke around the scouts?

If they are obese?

If they use occasional foul language?


What if they espouse a prejudical view? (as long as its against atheists or gays - BSa is probably OK with it - I'd guess)


If they add a little "tonic" to their hot chocolate at a campfire?

Are they involved in / or had in the past, an adulterous relationship?

What if their profession is borderline on the morality scale?

- I know scout parents / leaders that work for casinos

- I know of scout parents that own bars / distribute liquor

- I know scout leaders who sell tobacco products / own a 'cigar bar'

- Some distribute caffinated beverages (gasp)...

- Some are even in government

- Some are LAWYERS.... Ewwwwww !!!


Why do I ask this?


Because as a youth in Scouts, at one time or another - I had a leader that fit into everyone of these groups.


Is it not the CONTEXT of their indiscretion that carries the wieght? Or is it simply the act itself. Personally, I view the high moral values espoused by scouting to be much like those supported in the Bible. They are very nice ideals and we should all strive for them. However, very few of us will make it our entire adult lives living up to the standard that is set. Again, much like the Bible, I'd let those without 'sin' cast the 1st stone.


Unfortunately - there are far too many of us (myself included on occasion) that are all too willing to throw that 1st rock, without contemplating: 1) what our own behavoirs project to the youth and 2) whether the youth served will actually be better off if we make an issue out of a one time (or very infrequent) episode.

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Your aside that if a prejudice is against Gays or atheists it is okay with the BSA is erroneous IMO. The BSA position does not encourage leaders to do any such thing; they only state that these life styles are not compatible, in their judgment, with the basic tenets of scouting. Good leaders will not abide denigration of others, especially in the presence of scouts. You can disagree with people and their choices, and still be tolerant of their rights to believe as they do.

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Like the 10 Commandments, the 12 Scout Laws are the idea to which all scouts aspire to. If one were to hold everyone accountable to them, the program would collapse in a heartbeat.



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There has been only one time when I have advocated for removing a leader in a unit where I was serving too. In one case the person and her husband were involved in a fight (punching and shoving, screaming obscenities, way out of control) with the cubmaster and another parent at a pinewood derby, in front of the boys. Though this was the worst and the only time things came to physical blows, it wasn't an isolated incident either. I refused to support her/her husband's attempt to stay on as den leaders.


There was one time when I've cautioned against accepting an application from someone who had been asked to leave another troop after being accused of mishandling of funds AND who then had similar problems in a pack whose leaders I knew well and trusted.


And there was one time when I wasn't sorry to see an ASM who consistently used racist language leave mid-way through his first year with the troop. He was well aware that this was offensive to others but didn't seem to care. In fact, if he had stayed much longer, I probably would have pushed for his removal or put my child in another troop.


In all three of the above cases, it was a bit tough because all of them have sons who are great kids and who enjoyed scouting. And you risk losing the child when you start talking about adult behavior. (Maybe surprisingly, of the 3 above, only the last one yanked their kid out with them.) And I would never claim to be perfect, but for me personally, all three of the above were pretty clear cases of adults behaving in ways that had very large negative implications for the whole unit.(This message has been edited by lisabob)

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Luckily I don't have to deal with most of the issues you listed. One infraction of most of those wouldn't get anyone a "do not return" letter. I would not hesitate to let any leader or parent know the language and smoking issues are not acceptable in front of the boys.


The alcohol is the one that sticks out. If a leader were to ever show up drunk, I would remove them/ have them removed. Alcohol on a scout reservation is a sure way to get the entire unit sent home. If an adult couldn't go an entire weekend without a drink, I don't think I need them around.


I tell the boys (and make sure the parents hear) that there are two things I can't stand - litter and bad language. Seeing litter on the ground hurts my eyes, just as if someone were shining a very bright flashlight directly in them. Hearing bad language hurts my ears, just as if someone were standing there screaming at the top of their lungs. If they want me to volunteer my time to be SM and help with camping trips, I better not see or hear either one. So far, this has worked very well.


I'm no saint, and I used to use some pretty colorful language (hey, I was in a fraternity), but I take the role of modeling as SM very seriously. And believe it or not, I have found you can still communicate very well without having to include the foul language. :-)

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In our Philmont contigent, one of the adult advisors from a neighboring troop worked as a program director for the company that provides video services to national hotel chains. One of his job responsibilities was to select which adult entertainment would be offered. A parent in his unit found out, and tried to have him thrown out of BSA.

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The bottom line is how Adult Leaders are around the Scouts.


Smoking around the scouts? Find another place to smoke.

Habitual cursing around the Scouts? Do something else for the Troop.

Drinking around the Scouts? Unacceptable at any level. Out.

Providing Scouts with alcohol? Out.

Gambling with the Scouts? Out.

Litigating with the Scouts? Out.


Most everything else discussed here comes down to someone's own personal business unless it's clearly illegal, adversely effects the Troop, or is blatantly against Scout policy. The morality scale is subjective - it's all relative and can only focus on the Scouts and the Scouting program.


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Yah, in most cases I reckon da CO should be the arbiter of the moral/social example of its leaders, eh? When those things come up in units, I tend to shuffle things that way. Caffeine use by adult leaders in an LDS unit is different than in other units. Same with da other stuff.


As I've gotten grayer, I admit I wish units were quicker on da trigger for one particular type of adult. I think units should be faster about removin' disruptive/contentious adults who don't play well with others. This is a youth program, eh? Either you're contributin' positively as an adult or you're supporting passively. If you're actually consuming resources and time and energy, you're a burden that should be dumped. Those resources, time and energy are better used for the kids than dealin' with disruptive adults.




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Maybe I had some control about adult behavior, but I have personally only asked three adults to get out. Each case was a different circumstance, but I acted in each case because I felt the boys were in danger.


For alcohol problems, I have asked two parents, one cub and one boy scout, to not volunteer for any unit activities. Both parents got professional help after. I did not suggest it. I know of one SM ask by council to leave scouting after he was caught offering a beer to a scout. That comes under stupid people tricks to me. But, as the District Membership Chairman, I suggested the Troop committee get rid of him for other types of behavior with other adults in his troop. It was silly to me that it took the beer thing to get rid of him.


I would never ever even consider the idea that obesity be an issue to scouting. I'm still in shock that we even suggest it on this forum.


As for cussing, I just plan did not allow it by anyone. I personally just find it offensive by anyone and I never really had any problems with it.





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