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What is / is not tolerable behavoir in a leader ?

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Speaking of leaders drinking at scout functions. What would you think of A work weekend at a scout camp where anyone under 21 is prohibited because they were going to party after the work is done?


It happens in our council with the blessing of the executive board.

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Eamonn, shame on you, for your penance say 3 Our Fathers and 5 hail Mary's, lol, as an ex Catholic I couldn't let that get by.


As far as drinking at scout events while I was a DE my council gave annual distinguished citizen of the year banquets. At my very first one I watched as the ASE got stinking drunk then going over to the guest of honor put his hands all over her before throwing up all over her expensive gown, this was in the presence of two cub packs and one troop. Fortunately this was towards the end of the event but the woman was livid. Three months later that same ASE became an SE in a neighboring council which goes to show that even a drunken idiot can succeed in scouting. Poetic justice did prevail however and at his first dinner as SE he pulled a similiar stunt and the council executive committee called in regional the next day to remove him, which they did. Regional and National then decided he was no longer professional material and terminated his employment with the BSA after 15 years on the job. Sometimes the system does work.

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OK - I understand folks point with regards to being in charge of other people's children. Guess, I haven't gotten to that point as in Cubbies, its all family camping, and while I (and other adult leaders) do plan and run the program, the scouts are 'technicially' in the control of their parents.


I'm not talking about getting drunk, or even getting tipsy. I find it somewhat offending that someone suggested I had to "get buzzed" to decide if I wanted to be a CM. Nothing is further from the truth. It was post Pinewood Derby, I helped the old CM and one other guy load up the track and put it back in the storage locker. Then they said (out of uniform), hey lets go get a cold one, I want to talk with you about future leadership in the pack...


As for the idea that ONE drink is OK, therefore ONE joint is OK. Well now - even I can understand that ONE is legal for adults to consume, the other is not. So, I don't really see the logic there.


I do understand WHY some folks would be upset if ANY alcohol was brought along on an outing. Its not a matter of not being able to go without. Its a matter of being a responsible adult and making my own decisions when I'm in the great outdoors.


My overall point is - I don't always do it. Have I in the past? YES - Have I ever gotten out of control? No. Did it put anyone at risk? No. Would I make a big deal out of it if another parent shows up at a campout with booze? As long as its out of sight, out of mind and they are not getting drunk and not providing it to youth - I have no problem with it.


To me - its kinda like two married adults having sex in their tent on a campout.


Its only an issue IF and WHEN other campers know that its going on. Its only an issue if youth is involved. Other than that, its nobody's business. (Heck - I'd say the same for two UNmarried people having sex, but that a whole other topic to post on).


I've been to council functions (both with and without scouts present) and have observed drinking by pros and volunteers alike (both in and out of uniform). Did anyone get drunk? Not that I could tell. Did anyone get out of hand? No.


As for the idea that everyone should have a BAC of zero in case a scout needs to go to the ER in the middle of the night... 1) WHY would that happen? 2) BAC of zero is not what is legally required to drive. I can attest that I have NEVER been anywhere near the threshold of DUI when on a scout function and could (if needed) act in the same responsible manner as if I'd sipped tea in the evening.

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I suggest taking a look at page 26 of the G2SS. This is BSA policy, not just our own policies. Bold type throughout the guide denotes BSA rules and policies.


In bold:

"The Boy Scouts of America prohibits the use of alcoholic beverages and controlled substances at encampments or activities on property owned and/or operated by the Boy Scouts of America, or at any activity involving participation of youth members."


In that rule, the BSA treats alcohol and drugs as the same. Any camping trip with Scouts would be an "activity involving participation of youth members."

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As usual the BSA writers and lawyers have a difficult time writing what they really mean...or maybe they do really mean it. AS WRITTEN, anyone who needs to take a prescription drug is not allowed on BSA property. And DeanRx...being "legal" from a DUI standpoint does not mean you're not "impaired" with a slower reaction time or thought process. Every high school kid learns that in Drivers' Ed these days. After 2 beers, I turn my keys over to someone else because I'm buzzed, but based on my weight, I'm still "legal". It all depends on how a body metabolizes it and individual tolerance.


As to the "work party" party for adults over 21? Personally I don't see a problem with it, except that it clearly violates the G2SS and is probably a liability issue for the BSA, if someone "parties" on BSA property, then drives home. And District Dinners serving alcohol? Not in my council. It's a "full dress" uniform event, with guests from the community as well as Scouts present. One of the few events where adults are expected to wear ALL their doo-dads.

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No, I think I knew where I was! Having not done any nasty stuff in a few days!

The point I was trying to make and a very big hang-up of mine !

Is that just because I choose to wear a BSA uniform, it by no means makes me into some kind of an angel.

I feel the same way about the youth we serve.

Last time I checked there were no holes in the back of the BSA shirt for the wings.

Being a Scouter is just one part of who I am.

I'm also a lot more.

Sure I like to crow about the good stuff.

Man Oh Man! I wish I was that light on the hill.

But I'm not perfect.

While by no means an anarchist. I do think that there can be exceptions for just about any rule.

I'm very willing in fact more than willing to do my very best to be a good example to the youth I know.

In a perfect world we all would make plans that would ensure that nothing bad ever happens and we would avoid bad situations.

But it's not a perfect world.

A couple of years back the Ship went to a Winter Training weekend in Maryland. We ended up staying in a Scout hut a little way from the main event. There was a very old TV in the hut.

One of the Sea Scouts had his portable DVD player and asked if he could play it through the TV set. He was our Boatswain. I gave the OK.

I went away to attend a Skippers meeting, when I returned the DVD was hooked up to the TV, the Scouts were all in their cots watching a Robin Williams HBO special!!

The material was not suitable for Scouting.

I looked at my options.

In the end I let it play.

I really didn't want to make the Boatswain look bad in front of all the rest of the ship and if the truth be known I thought it was very funny.

The next day I had a chat with the Lad, explaining why this sort of thing wasn't really a good idea.

He apologized and he met with the parents of the Scouts who had attended to let them know what had happened. (Thankfully no one was upset!)

At the next Quarterdeck meeting we talked about what sort of movies we would show.

Clearly I messed up by not asking what he was going to show.

Some would say I should have not allowed the DVD to continue once I became aware what it was.

I feel we all learned a lot more by me allowing it to be played and I didn't show the Boatswain up.

Had it been a movie with nudity or the like, I would of course have had to stop it.


I have been at a wedding when I received a phone call from our local Boy Scout Camp. The Camp-master had been taken to the hospital and the unit in the building was ready to leave.

I had drunk a couple of beers (Really only a couple!!) I explained that I really didn't want to leave the wedding, but in the end HWMBO drove me to the site. I explained to the SM in charge where I'd been and how I had not planned on being at the camp. While I'm sure he was aware that I'd been drinking, (The fact I was in a suit might also have been a bit of a give away?) He was fine and more worried about getting out of camp than about me.

The next day I sent an e-mail to the then SE explaining what had happened and why I'd gone to a BSA camp smelling of beer. Not that I thought I'd done anything wrong, but just in case anyone wanted to make something of it.

Needles to say HWMBO was none to happy and I didn't get to dance with her that night when we returned to the wedding.



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I have seen one instance where a scout leader suggested that another "take a break" from the troop and he ended up quitting. The reason he was asked to take a break was that he had invited the other leader out to the parking lot when they had a disagreement at a troop committee meeting. Violence, physical threats, and verbal abuse are all intolerable.


When you ask a leader to leave, you'd better have a good reason, because there will probably be additional fall-out that will last at least a year, including hard feelings and possibly other people also leaving the troop. I would also suggest to do it quietly to try to minimize the problems.


Although I think that obesity is a bad example for the boys, I don't think it's good enough reason to ask somebody to step down from their leadership role. Nobody is perfect. However, it wouldn't hurt to tell them you are concerned for their health and want to make sure there's not going to be a safety issue caused by their weight problem. Having somebody bring it up like that might motivate some people to go on a diet.

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My apologies. I didn't mean to over-simplify an difficult problem. As a 43 year old who has struggled with weight issues most of my adult life, I know it's hard, but I'm also increasingly thinking about my health and being able to keep up with the scouts as I get older. So, I'm not just going to sit around worrying about it, I'm taking action.

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We had a family in my troop that repeatedly kept threatening to sue the troop leaders, sponsoring organization, and the council. After a few years of this, they were asked to leave the troop by ALL of the leaders and parents. I was a scout at the time, but I knew something was going on. All I knew was that the troop ran better without them and they were not missed. I think there were butt prints left on the door as well.


I also knew of one leader that constantly yelled at the boys. Nobody could stand the man. He made the mistake of yelling at me once and never did it again. So I guess being verbally abusive is on the list for removal.


I know of another leader that was out of scouting for about 10 years. He ended up being arrested for making kiddie porn movies with his own kids as the stars. I did not know the man that well, but something about him made me not want to be around him. I don't think the BSA would approve of him getting back into scouts.


I heard rumor of a woman that attended camp outs and was giving the scouts hot oil massages to the scouts as well as the leaders. It supposed to have occurred in a tent and the scouts were wearing nothing but towels. It sounded like it was inappropriate to me. Also with the rumor that she was a generous donor to the troop and council and that is why she was not removed. As I stated, "A rumor" so I am not sure of its validity. The guy telling me the story was mad since he did not get a massage. I think the guy was just pulling my leg. RD

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Wow the things we navigate to get some boys into the outdoors and help them develop some positive personal attributes! DeanRx sure seems to stir the pot. The what ifs are really interesting to me in light of the repeated posts quoting G2SS and other rules and regs. They make pretty clear the types of behavior that is intolerable. The notion of the leader too fat to lead would, in my experience, lead to our council losing the majority of its most experienced volunteers.


I think that the more interesting question is HOW you deal with behavior that is unnacceptable, or "intolerable". If it was easy, I don't think the forum would be so devoted to discussing all the possible sins against scouting. The real issue is similar whether its a scouting unit, or a professional setting; how to confront the one who has stepped outside the circle of acceptable behavior. When they are way outside of the norm, its easy to notice isn't it? The scout executive who gets drunk and vomits on the honoree for instance. But even then, who steps forward and says Jim, your behavior is not acceptable and we are driving you home... etc.?


I don't have good answers for this thread, but I do enjoy struggling with the questions, I like Beavah's way of framing the troubled adult as taking valuable resources away from the unit. After all, I've only got one hour a week, I want to give it to the kids!

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Thanks for all the discussion folks... and for not over villifying my very honest description of what I have engaged in (or seen) on a couple of outings. Not saying it has to happen, or that I will or won't in the future.


I'm really interested (especially about the vice type issues), b/c I guess when I was a scout - it was almost a given or a right-of-passage, to be sent off on a snipe hunt at least one night of the campout with one or two adult leaders (sometimes without any adult supervision).


All the other adults would sit around the campfire, have their one to two cups of spiked hot chocolate and / or a cigar/cigarette, and be finished (or at least quickly toss it in the fire) as the "hunting" scouts returned.


Maybe because as an adult I now imbibe on occasion and even more rarely smoke a stoggie - this had some terrible effect on me as a youth. More than likely, I don't think it really mattered. I'm not THAT old yet (was a scout in the 80's). Even then it was taught and understood by both adults and kids that there are certain things adults can do and kids can't do them. Is it a hypocritical? Yep. Is it ture? Yes, it is. Do adults OWE youth an explaination b/c of this double standard? Nope.


Choosing to responsibly drink an alcoholic beverage or smoke are two of those things.


If anything - the restraint and good judgement modeled and SHOWN by those adults I was surrounded by TAUGHT me as I grew up HOW to be responsible with such adult decisions. I fear in a zero tolerance society (which we live in with many things these days - not just @ scouting functions), children, tweens, teens - MISS the opportunity to see how RESPONSIBLE adults CHOOSE to act when enjoying such "vices". Thus, they grow up with it being a taboo, a mistery, and once they are confronted with it as an adult, they have no learned set of coping skills to make responsible, adult decisions.


Now - I'm not suggesting that we should have a smoking and drinking merit badge. But, I don't think it does much harm (and may even does some good) for kids of scout age to see correct behavoir modeled with such substances. We can debate the merit of the BSA lawyers either being correct in their guidance, or just wanting to cover the organization's backside.


Its in bold type in the G2SS that paintball is not allowed. I know several Troops in our area that do it (as a troop), but as an unoffical and non-BSA / Troop event. I guess the details are that if a scout gets injured, BSA is nowhere on the line for the treatment costs.


I've been to multiple district / council events (with pros and vols in full uniform), some even with scouts from Troops serving as hosts, foodservers, etc... in which people were not encouraged, but certain were allowed to have a cocktail.


Also - Guess I need to add a "medicine bag" shakedown to all participants at future campouts. I know some of the adults are on OTC pain meds for joint aches / etc... a couple I know for a fact are on precription strength pain relievers, some are controlled substances (as they've asked me about them b/c of my line of work). Should I tell them they have to camp without their pain meds? Its in violation of G2SS.


I agree w/ Beevah and Backwoods - I think its easy to tell when someone is WAY over the line. Its very hard to tell when they are flirting with the line. Its even harder to figure out HOW or WHEN its time for the unit leadership to step up and ask someone to sit-out or outright leave b/c of their transgression.


Guess its kinda like congress trying to define obscenity. "I can't tell you what it is, but I know it when I see it"


I really just am into this thread for the acedemic persuit of it. That, and I marvel at after taking over as CM, how many times, from how many different avenues I or the CC has been approached by one adult, regarding something another adult did or didn't do and how we, or I, or the committee needs to address it with the offending individual.


If anyone ever said anything to me about a sip at a campout - thats it. I'm done, I'll never bring it again. I don't have to have it and its not worth causing trouble in the unit. But, on the same token - I've been asked to address smoking with one adult in view of scouts and he outright told me that he didn't feel it was a big deal and would continue to smoke when he felt the need.


I didn't feel it was worth making a scene over (kinda like the Robbin Williams DVD), and ultimately not worth loosing a good volunteer over a habit he's had long before scouts and one he'll have long after. If his wife, doctor, etc... has had no luck getting him to curb it, I sure don't stand much of a chance at it.


I've decided my break point is: 1) if and when it causes an unsafe enviornment for the scouts 2) if its illegal and 3) if it detracts from the good spirit and harmony of the unit. If it interfere's with one of these, then I'll take action. Otherwise - I focus on the program and the boys and leave the adult "bickerring" to the so-called 'adults' standing on the sidelines discussing it.

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DeanRx wrote: "I've been asked to address smoking with one adult in view of scouts and he outright told me that he didn't feel it was a big deal and would continue to smoke when he felt the need."


The issue isn't whether an adult leader smokes. He can smoke when he feels the need; you're not asking him to quit. He just has to do it away from Scouts. I don't think you have to make a scene over it - going a few hundred feet away from the campsite isn't that big a deal.


If he's a registered, trained leader, he should know the rules and agree to follow them. If disregards these rules because it's personally inconvenient, what other rules will he discard?

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not tolerable IMO - though I don't know what the "punishment" should be...


abuse in any form - verbal, physical, sexual (of course sexual they should be kicked out right away)


drinking during any scout function or even showing up after having been drinking and same for all illegal drugs (obviously you can take your prescribed meds as prescribed of course)


smoking around scouts


using foul language (our troop rule for all any way, so if boy's can't then leaders can't either)




I don't go on summer camp with the boys because of the smoking rule that is for the camp grounds - there you have to go to a specific place in the parking lot to smoke. It's ok for a day visit, but after several days of hiking to and from it can really wear out the legs. When we camp as a troop I'm the only adult who smokes (all though I don't know about the ones the just joined) I keep a pocket ashtray and I always walk away from the boys... normally we have a fire going and so I just go on a little walk to find some kindling and tinder and carry that back so the boys don't know for sure that I was out smoking.


the foul language - oh man, I can have a dirty mouth when I'm around my friends... but I'm been involved with scouts and with coaching for so long that I know how to keep my mouth clean then... although I will admit when I went down at one soccer practice and sprained my ankle I do not recall what I said as I went down.


if obeciety became a rule - I'd be out... I am over weight and with the medications that I have to take it takes over double a normal person's workout just to stay at what I'm at now so I don't see any pounds dropping off. But, I always know what the troops activities are and if it's something that I know I would not be capable of doing because of my weight I just wouldn't go - just like I don't go on summer camp because of the smoking rule. And just like if we are hiking more than 8 miles I can do with my weight, but I have a bum knee that I've already had 1 surgery on, but after about 6 miles I really feel it in my knee so I wouldn't go longer than that.

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