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What is / is not tolerable behavoir in a leader ?

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OK - so the prejudice against gays / atheist was somewhat tounge-in-cheek. However, one can be prejudice without endorsing hate (as one other poster tried to equate the two). Some might even suggest that the simple idea of exclusion based on sexual orientation or creed (or lack thereof) IS the definition of a prejudice.


I agree that all the things I listed, if done consistently and in a manner to provoke unscoutlike behavoir (especially from the scouts)or to act against the moral welfare of scouts, warrants action if not removal.


SMT22 - I find it VERY interesting that litigating with the BSA is grounds for removal. So to disagree is to be expelled? Or at least to disagree to the point of going to court = you're out. Might make some people a little gun-shy about bringing up issues with local council or national if they think they might just be asked to leave.


I find the gambling part interesting too. Maybe that's because I learned to play poker on Troop campouts and at summer camp. Nothing big, but everyone playing for candy. Heck - I played poker on my 50 miler at Northern Tier for fish hooks and bait!


I find it interesting that many say Alcohol is grounds for asking someone to leave, yet being obese or smoking is not. To me, there is a great difference in painting often in colored language, or hitting your hand with a hammer putting in tent stakes and muttering an explitive under one's breath that might be in earshot of one or two scouts.


So, a ASM, SM, CM, ACM, etc... that is grossly overwieght and cannot take on the physical challenges that the Pack or Troop engages in, yet goes on their "nightly walk" on a campout to get their nicotine fix is MORE desirable than an in shape, physically capable, non-smoker, who just so happens to "spike" his own canteen after lights out sitting around the campfire w/ other adults?


I get the offerring scouts alcohol - I would never do it. I get not glamorizing either alcohol or tobbacco to the scouts. What I don't get is the idea that a couple (or 4) dads, sitting around the campfire after the scouts are in the tents (and the adults have worked hard all day) having 1 drink a piece and making sure it is NEVER seen by the scouts and the "evidence" (in the form of cans / bottle / flask) is packed back out - not left in the camp dumpster. What's the big deal?


Someone offering alcohol to scouts, or showing up drunk to a BSA function... they have bigger problems than being banned from BSA.


But ONE drink among adults... heck - its how I got talked into being cubmaster. I close deals in business all the time over dinner and a drink. Its an integral part of male bonding for a vast majority of men. You plan something together, you work hard at it, you raise your kid and spend time with him, then when they're in bed, you have a drink with your friends and celebrate / reflect on your day. Its as American as mom, baseball, adn Apple Pie.


Yet - there seems in the responses, a more open tolerance towards smoking - even when the health effects of tobacco are far worse than very moderate intake of alcohol.


Interesting discussion...


BTW - not being in an LDS unit - I've always wondered WHAT they do drink at the Cracker Barrels.... I thought bad coffee was a right of passage for BSA leaders. Guess there's always bad decaf? Don't get me wrong, I think the LDS has saved BSA and given more to it than detracted. If it wasn't for LDS - the majority of our adult meetings and trainings either wouldn't have a place to happen, or would cost considerably more - to rent space. With that said - I was taken aback some when I signed up for my 1st training ever and the flyer had on it, "Please do not bring any caffinated beverages to the training." I thought it odd - but hey - when in Rome, do as the Romans... (guess that would be for the Knights of Colombus Catholic units).


The point I was trying to make (and get feedback on) - is where is YOUR personal break point? At what point would you call out another adult leader and say, "either knock off that behavoir, or I'm going to take it up w/ the CC and committee..."


Hypothetical or real world answers...they are all good "what if's"...


So far - I like Beavah's best of all, "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."

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DeanRX, I find your opinions on alcohol interesting. I agree, offering alcohol to underage scouts is criminal behavior and there is zero tolerance. But the jails are full of DUIs who swear they "only had one". My son's boss, the Deputy Police Chief is one who comes to mind. She's now demoted after being publicly humiliated in the newpaper. When we have youngsters out in the woods, we have an obligation to be on top of our game. Who knows what emergency will occur in the middle of the night requiring a trip to the ER. If that happens, I want all the adults to have a BAC of ZERO. Period.(This message has been edited by scoutldr)

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DeanRx, here's another angle. When you take other people's children on a trip, you are asking parents to trust you with their children's well-being. Parents know and understand the scouting rules, and the no alcohol rule in particular, is clear-cut. When making a judgment about whether to trust you with their children, parents ought to be able to expect you will follow the rules as written. So for me this comes down to an issue of trust, as much as anything else.


Personally, I might not find ONE drink a problem (though there's always that temptation to have more than one, and if you introduce it into a group you'd better be darn sure nobody there succumbs to that temptation - which might be awkward, depending on the backgrounds of the other adults present). Heck, hypothetically speaking, somebody might not find ONE puff on a joint especially problematic. And somebody also might not find ONE little foray into the tent with another unmarried leader especially problematic. Etc. (I'm using hypotheticals here people, please don't jump on this) The fact remains, though, that the rules clearly prohibit these sorts of things and parents who are trusting you to look after their children have a right to expect you to follow those rules.


You want to have a little spike in the bug juice? Great, do it on your own time. And don't think the scouts won't notice, either. Teens are surprisingly perceptive when it comes to adult behavior and especially adult hypocrisy. And they're not likely to keep silent about it.

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Beavah, I hear you regarding units being more pro-active about removing problematic people. But my observations as to why that doesn't often happen:


1) The line between someone who dissents when faced with a situation where the troop is way off base and someone who is just difficult can be blurry. Troops who are straying significantly might also be likely to view any open disagreement as grounds for getting rid of the person who speaks up. Not sure we want to encourage that.

2) People who are really difficult often manage to do their destructive bit in ways that are hard to pin down.

3) Most people prefer to avoid confrontation and will attempt to "manage" rather than face unpleasantness head-on.

4) Many units who are struggling to find any volunteers at all are loathe to turn away anybody for all but the most egregious behaviors. Again, probably shouldn't be this way but I bet most of us on the board have seen this.


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I had seen the "secret" cooler come out only once in my Scouting experience and it was on the first Pack overnighter I went on with my son when he was a Wolf Cub Scout...I was a bit shocked, I expected better behavior from Scout leaders...the tobacco was prevalent too after the lights out was in effect and the adults stood by the dying fire having a sip and a smoke.


I dont begrudge anyone from responsible use of intoxicants, so long as they're used in the proper venue...and ANY Scouting activity doesnt count for a proper venue at ANY time.


By deanRx's reasoning, one is ok...right? So is one joint ok? This shouldnt even need to be asked...use of ANY substance by an adult accompanying Scouts irregardless of when and who is present or not present, IS PLAIN OUT WRONG!


If any adult cant go without there "fix", be it no more than booze, or worse...well then maybe there is a issue here of dependancy.


I dont care for the line about "being asked to be a leader over a drink"...you needed to get a buzz to make up your mind to serve as a role model and leader to youth?


I dont begrudge anyone from enjoying a drink and feeling the effects. I dont think less of ones who have smoked...but dont do it around kids...by sneaking off, some may feel they have it hidden well enough, but kids are far from stupid...they know what you were doing out by the fire/in the parking lot/taking a walk in the woods/etc...



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The event that always amazes me is the District dinner where all the scouters show up in civies so they can have a drink at the dinner to which SPL's were invited. Somehow drinking is ok at a scouter function as long as one doesn't wear the uniform.


By the way, I wore full uniform as did 2 others. We all survived the evening without any DT's.


Hmmmm, kinda interesting too, whereas gambling is illegal, but tobacco and alcohol are both legal substances and it's ok to for the boys to play poker but not smoke. Go figure. Kinda makes one want to re-write the definition of hypocracy.





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Kinda think that at any minute I'm going to be tossed out on my ear!!

My list of intolerable behaviors:

I enjoy adult beverages.

I don't drink and drive (Now days not even one drink!!)

I don't drink at Scout functions or on property owned by the BSA.

Some Scouts have come to my home at meal times,during dinner when wine was on the table and I have been drinking it.

I have made a living from selling alcohol.

I owned and operated a couple of Bar/ Restaurants for almost 20 years and never knowingly sold booze to anyone underage.

Never sold alcohol to anyone who was visible impaired.

I have been known to use very bad words. (Bad Language)

Sometimes when I'm mad or upset (Yes I remember getting lost in Washington D.C with a car load of Sea Scouts and repeating three times "Oh S!@&") The Scouts thought it was very funny as they never had heard me use language like that or lose my cool.)

Sometimes at work I do use bad words or swear words as a means of communication with the inmates. I never swear at them but this is a language that they understand and can relate too.

There are some bad words that I would never in a thousand years use.

I do smoke.

I try not to smoke around young people and anyone that might get upset by my smoking.

My biggest challenge is when I'm driving Scouts a long distance. I don't smoke in my car, but will smoke at rest stops. I do not smoke near or close to the youth members, but they seem to have a way of finding me.

I have during my time on the planet looked at and read adult magazines. (I seem to have out-grown them about twenty years ago.) I have never shown or wanted to show a Scout any material like this. Years back, in the Troop we did have a few Scouts who did sneak what today might be seen as adult magazines into camp. We asked the Scouts to leave them in the Scout van and if they wanted the magazines returned to their parents. (Only one Scout ever did!!)

I suppose I could list a lot more of the things I do that might result in my getting tossed out.

I have a bad back. Which at times can make being Physically Strong very difficult.

As I get older I don't think I'm anywhere near as mentally awake as I used to be.

I have missed Mass a few times, so maybe I'm not doing my duty to God.

I left England about twenty-five years back. So maybe me doing my duty to my country is in question?

I'm not always the easiest of people to get along with and can at times be very stubborn and selfish.

Looking at this list of my failings, I'm glad that I haven't invested anything into buying a new uniform!


I'm very aware that I'm not perfect.

But as to the question:

"What is / is not tolerable behavior in a leader?"


Someone once said about pornography that they couldn't define it but knew it when they seen it.

I have messed up a lot over the years.

I hope I have learned from my mistakes.

I hope I would never knowingly do anything that would place anyone in harms way.

While maybe the idea that Scouts and Scouting being a safe haven where no one gets harmed in body or in spirit is not in use anymore? I still like the idea.

I would think that anyone who intentionally does anything that would harm others especially a youth member, would need to take a long hard look at themselves and question if this is the right organization for them?

I would also hope that when people do mess up we, where possible (I know some thing's are just so wrong that second chances are just not right.) We find the right time and place to tell them and let them know that this sort of behavior is just not acceptable.



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scoutldr wrote: When we have youngsters out in the woods, we have an obligation to be on top of our game. Who knows what emergency will occur in the middle of the night requiring a trip to the ER. If that happens, I want all the adults to have a BAC of ZERO. Period.


Exactly. Thanks for succinctly stating what I was thinking.

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If you can't leave the bottle at home, then you should stay home also. I feel the same about tobacco, but I'm not addicted so I can't say how hard that would be.


At one camp at Philmont, staff told me that the previous week they had a stray backpack at one of the cabins. They opened it to try and find its owner and found to bottles of hooch. Needless to say, the owner was escorted off property.

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Are you sure you are on the right web page? Looks like you were doing an online confessional. :-)


Back before my son joined Cubs, the CM told me about a Pack Family Camping trip in the spring at one of our council camps. As one of the the dads was unloading their gear, a 12-pack of beer loses it's bottom, and the cans go rolling all over the parking lot. That family and another ended up having a good ol' time around the campfire, until about 1:00 in the morning. Lots of unhappy neighbors in the morning.


Most camps I know have designated smoking areas. I don't have a problem with anyone smoking in those areas, or anywhere out of sight of the Scouts. While not healthy, smoking isn't nearly as dangerous as alcohol. I haven't heard of too many cases of smoking causing a driver to become impaired, leading to a crash and multiple deaths. Alcoholic beverages have no place in Scouting when youth are involved - period.


R-rate movies? To Scouts?? I don't think I'd get a second chance on that one in our Troop. I make sure I get permission for any movie we show. When I was CM, we put together an outdoor movie event at our local nature center. We showed Jungle Book one year, and Follow Me Boys the next. As SM, I have shown Remember the Titans, Master & Commander, and October Sky at special training events. If you can't find PG or PG-13 movies the boys want to watch, you aren't looking hard enough.

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