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JimFritzMI

Improperly dealing with troubled scout?

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I need some help please. I am an ASM to a new and struggling troop. Beyond that I have only been involved with the troop since my son joined 10 months ago, however I have been involved in scouting off and on for almost 30 years, and I am an Eagle scout. Just some background it doesn't really have any bearing on the issue. Anyway, has anyone here ever heard of a SM taking a rank away from a scout because of an incident. The incident wasn't that grave, the scout in question has some emotional issues, lost his temper after a great deal of provoking, and slightly struck out at someone. No one was hurt, in fact it really wouldn't have been very memorable at all except this boy is very, very quiet and reserved and it surprised everyone. True, the fact that this scout was pushing another should not and can't be tolerated, I believe the punishment is inappropriate, and quite possibly against the rules. I blame this incident on myself (I was an adult leader in camp that week) and the other scouters that were there. It was our responsibility to prevent it from escalating this far and we failed the young man, at least in my opinion. I should have spoken up even if the more senior ASM didn't want my input. Although he has been with the troop longer, and is a member of the CO (a church by the way), there is no doubt in my mind I have much more experience as far as scouting goes, and should not have acquiesced. Anyway my question is this, does the SM have the authority to take a rank away from a scout? I can't believe it is so, not for something like this. I would approach the District Exec; however, he is a "huge" supporter of the SM, and when I have approached him in the past he has ignored my concerns. In a few days, at a committee meeting, I am going to be bringing up a large amount of changes that need to take place for this troop to even approach doing things the BSA way. The troop has always viewed itself as a youth outreach for the church, under the guise of boy scouts, however at this time less than 30 percent of the troop are members of the CO. Should I bring this up? Did the SM have the right to take away a rank from a scout? What do you think? Please help, I myself feel isolated and just want the troop to be the best it can, or at the very least function as a BSA troop. More importantly, though, I feel like this action was the worst possible, especially for this particular scout.

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One battle at a time. If you go into the committee meeting with a laundry list of complaints, you risk being dismissed entirely. Beavah may fuss at me for assuming bad things about other Scouters, but it sounds to me that you're dealing with an old-school, well-entrenched bunch of Scouters. You need to earn your stripes with these guys before charging ahead on all these issues

 

If you want to persue the rank issue for this boy, get a copy of Advancement Committee Guidelines and Policy book. It clearly explains that a rank cannot be recinded. Take that to the troop committe, highlight the appropriate passages and ask if recinding the Scout's rank is the right thing for the troop to be doing. Don't lecture or argue. Just lay it out there and see how they respond.

 

You probably don't have all the information on this Scout. I generally treat discipline stuff on a need to know basis. You may be out of the loop somewhat. But recinding an advancement is clearly beyond the pale. The troop needs to find some more constructive (and permissible) forms of dealing with the Scout's behavior.(This message has been edited by Twocubdad)

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If the Scout has already passed the BOR and has his rank patch, how exactly do they plan on taking away the rank?

 

Ripping the patch off of his chest?

 

Calling council and telling them to delete the rank from ScoutNet?

 

Not possible.

 

Now, they might put arbitrary obstacles in this Scouts way toward any future advancement, but there is nothing that can be done about that in the present.

 

As for the church using their BSA Troop as their youth outreach group, that is entirely permissible by the BSA.

 

On the BSA Youth Application it states under Program Policies -

 

"Chartered organizations agree to use the Scouting program in accordance with their own policies as well as those

of the BSA. The program is flexible, but major departures from BSA methods and policies are not permitted."

 

The LDS church is a perfect example of a faith based charter organization using the BSA program as their own youth program.

 

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Don't fight 'em, volunteer to fill out the rank revoking form as soon as they can find it for you.

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They aren't old entrenched scouters at all. The SM has little more than a year as a scouter, and well less than a year as a scout many years ago. The ASM has only slightly more experience as a scouter, and neither has fully completed the training to call themselves trained. They believe since it is supposed to be youth led, that they should stay completely hands off, only none of the scouts has every even seen a real scout meeting. Heck when I came along they played games 5 nights out of 6. As far as not knowing all of the circumstances actually I know them a little better than either of the other scouters, as I was the one to interdict in both instances. However, I am empathetic and sympathize and talk plainly trying to relate to the scout on his level. This is contrary to the everything is love, and simply control yourself point of view. The reason I was asked to stay out of it was because I expressed that I understood how he felt and understood why he wanted to punch the scout who was provoking him. Apparently that was wrong of me to say. I actually think it was exactly what the boy needed to hear at the time, especially since I did understand, and his biggest problem is he feels marginalized and left out because he is so shy.

 

I am glad to hear that they don't have the right to take the rank advancement away, I didn't believe it was right.

 

As far as the CO using the BSA program, I understand and agree. However, this troop's usage makes the term "major departure" look trivial. I am going to just have to push ahead. I can't and won't stand by while boys have requirements signed off, which they can't even explain, let alone demonstrate. I mean how would you feel, if you had a troop where no one could tie basic knots (taut line hitch, clove hitch, etc...), whip a rope or properly stake a tent. I'm not talking some of the scouts, I'm talking all of the scouts, including scouts who have earned the rank of Eagle. Or should I say have been presented with the rank of Eagle. How about when a scout who just received his Life rank, explain to a younger scout that he only needs to learn enough to get by, that no one really expects him to remember how to do these skills beyond the signing of his blue card. Would you feel the need to stand up and say that things need to change, even if you knew it would make you unpopular?

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Jim,

 

Greetings!

 

Twocubdad said it well.

 

I have a Scouting buddy as a new ASM crossing over from a Pack. The troop he and his son choose appeared good from a few visits, but their procedures and methods were abbreviated. They did not believe in any meeting format, (no opening/closing or any middle) their meeting was to walk in the door and work on merit badges. After attending Specifics for Boy Scout Leaders and WB21C, he questioned some methods of that troop and was invited to leave at their next committee meeting.

 

Fellow Forum members, Scoutnut and wingnut also answered specifically. Rank cannot be repealed.

 

Seems like all troops will go thru peaks and valleys thru the Scouting year. From well behaved Scouts, to Scouts that fight and cause drama within a troop. Now regarding discipline, there are various ways to handle discipline. From restricting involvement in camping or outdoor events to removing a Scout from the charter.

 

The G2SS acknowledges this and only protects the Scout from harm by the adults (physical discipline or emotional harassment), but national BSA does not advise on how to discipline. It does state in the Advancement handbook that rank cannot be rescinded.

 

But you asked. Should I bring this up? I'd recommend yes, certainly. The troop committee and COR will either decide to abide by national BSA or continue doing things "their own way".

 

Also, Did the SM have the right to take away a rank from a Scout? No. Not to take away rank. Discipline, yes, maybe, within the guidelines of G2SS and knowledge of the committee; but not to remove rank.

 

NYLT has a lecture on Ethics during day three. There are various decisions that can be made, but eventually you (and your son, and the troop) will have to live with your decisions. Can you back up your decision? Do you have an alternative? (Another local troop to join or Lone Scouting)

 

Good Luck in your decision! Hopefully it improves the dealings within the troop! And, even if this Scout (and future Scouts) deserves discipline, it is administered appropriately.

 

Scouting Forever and Venture On!

Crew21 Adv

 

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I'm prepared to go to a new troop if that is what I am asked to do. I have talked with my son about this and he doesn't want to stay, even though he has formed some great friendships, if it doesn't change. I don't want to leave though, because as I see it this troop needs me and others to help them to fix the many problems. I see this as "our" problem, and will up until the point that I am asked to leave. I know why the troop is the way it. I know that it is wrong. I don't care about that. I just want to see the scouts get the program I was so very privileged to participate in. I want the boys to get the chance to learn to lead, to learn what working in a group truly is. The only thing they currently know about the Patrol method is that if asked about they must say that they use it.

 

I am just very apprehensive about the reaction I am going to receive. I realize that I will have some support in the committee meeting, as a number of other parents have brought many of these concerns up as well, and I know some of them will be there. However, I just wonder if the established leaders will see it as me trying to help or not. I guess only time will tell.

 

By the way, Crew21_Adv if they were working on merit badges with no meeting structure I would be tickled pink. The problem is they are usually working on their dodgeball and football skills.

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Jim,

 

Greetings again!

 

Yeah.. I've visit a few troops that had excellent basketball and football skills. My own troop was very well skilled at dodgeball for a few years back.

 

Thank goodness our SM and additional ASMs got our troop back on track years ago. Dodgeball is still fun, but now only for 10 minutes of our hour and a half meeting, and only once a month.

 

Again, good luck with you decisions and hopefully the boys will benefit from a better program!

 

Scouting Forever and Venture On!

Crew21 Adv

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I have struggled with the "Pack and Troop needs me to improve the Program"

 

 

Remember this is your sons scouting experience and as DAD you need to make sure his experience is the best it can be. If you get lost in the troop politics experience will suffer.

 

To be real blunt, Your son says he wants to leave. Time to look for a new troop

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What's wrong with playing games 5 nights out of 6? Our troop does that. Now, the games aren't the whole meeting, but they are an important element of it. Usually, we have a opening--present colors, say Pledge, Scout Oath and Scout law. Then we get to the business of the meeting--often it's the older boys teaching the younger boys rank advancement skills (knots, lashing, first aid, fire safety, etc.), or planning the next campout. Then they play a game. then we have a closing--announcements, prayer, Scoutmaster minute, advancement announcement, and retire the colors.

 

Games are an essential part of Scouting. Without them, the boys get burned out with school part II.

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Games are ok as a small piece of the meeting.. Better if the games are creative and not the same-old-same-old, and have some team building or skill building involved. I think the previous posters were talking about games as the main purpose of the meeting.

 

Bringing up the issue of the rank revoking should be done, I would like to see them explain to their council why the rank should be struck from the council records.

 

Other then that, I agree with Basementdweller.. We moved twice out of poorly running troops. The first was no issue leaving. The second got us bogged down in trying to improve the program.. Bottom line is if they really don't want a boyscout program, there is nothing you can do to change them. You will just get burnt out and negitive. Meanwhile your son who is not getting the excellent program he deserves, and wants to have, will become disenchanted, and just want to get out..

 

If the Troop was struggling become successful, and just were disorganized, then maybe you could help. If the Leaders of the troop are purposely following an adgenda that is not the BSA, and really don't want to be trained to do it the right way, time to leave.

 

Take your son to visit troops in the area.. Check them out more then once, compare plus's and minus's and then move on.. Turn your energy to a unit who will value your efforts, and give your son a great program.

 

If their are boys from your old pack you left behind, just let them know where you are going. If they want a good program they may eventually follow.

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I want to echo Base's comment in that it's your son's program, and if he wants to transfer to another unit, you need to do it. I've seen cubs and scouts stay in the unit or program only b/c dad is a leader. The scouts are not happy, are not motivated, and get into trouble. It usually hurts the unit, as well as the parent-child relationship. Family first!

 

I also know how difficult it is to back away from trying to provide all the boys in your troop teh same expereinces, or better ones, that you had as youth, but for your son's sake you need to do what is best for him. I love the OA, and had been very involved in my chapter and lodge because I wanted to help youth have the same good times I had in the OA. But when my son became a TC, his needs and wants trumped what I wanted to do. He needed a TCDL, and that's the job I took. I'm now his CSDL. Yes I do additional duties on the district level, and am part of a council committee, but that CSDL position trumps all of it.

 

Again do what is best for your son.

 

Forgot to add, we had a CC that left b/c of his son. CC was great, long time member of the troop, camped with the troop, did ASM work when needed, etc. His CS son joined another troop b/c that was where his den was going, and he wanted to stay with friends. They got an excellent ASM in him(This message has been edited by eagle92)(This message has been edited by eagle92)

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Yah, JimFritzMI, welcome to da forums, eh?

 

There's just way too much goin' on in your posts to make it easy to sort out, but let me do my best to talk you into taking a big step back.

 

First off, da CO is in charge of the troop, eh? They own it. They operate it. They select da leaders. If they like it to run as primarily a youth outreach with a lower-grade outdoors program than what you want, that's their prerogative. You will not be able to change it, and everybody in da BSA will back the established leaders because that's their job, eh? To provide services to allow the CO to do what it feels is best.

 

Second, you're a first year dad, eh? As such, yeh don't have much credibility or social capital to be able to affect changes of da magnitude you're talking about. If yeh take a new job, you're not going to be able to change the company in da first year, and if yeh try, you're just going to be labeled a trouble-maker and dismissed out of hand. Same here. If yeh read other threads in these forums, you'll find it's a well-known phenomenon for new troop parents to helicopter about trying to remake an established program in their own image and vision - in this case, da memory of what scouting was like when it was meaningful to you as a boy. It never works, in fact, it usually destroys da good things about the troop because of all the adult conflict and misbehavior it generates.

 

So I'd be pulling yeh aside in real life and saying "what in da world are you thinking?". Why would you step into a disciplinary matter with da SM? How do yeh think it is at all respectful, loyal, courteous, kind to show up at a committee meeting and tell a bunch of hardworking fellow volunteers that they're doing everything wrong and you have been sent to "save" them?! You with your 10 months experience.

 

If your wife made your son miss a ball game because he didn't do his chores and you disagreed, what would you do? I hope you'd support your wife. Same here. Da SM gets to make the call. No, he cant take away a rank in the eyes of the BSA, but he can in da eyes of the kids and the parents. It might even be an OK call, if that gets da message across to the lad. But it's a done deal, regardless. If yeh want to address it properly, yeh buy the SM a cup of coffee and talk personally and respectfully about your concern, admitting your own failure in supervision. You know. Yeh act like a real adult. Yeh don't undermine and embarrass da SM in public.

 

So I'd say, given your long laundry list of grievances and your level of agitation that you need not to be involved for a bit until you get your head together. Yeh wont do your son or da troop any good in the way you are approaching things "hot" at the moment.

 

If yeh cant take a step back without messing it up for your son, then I think yeh need to find a new troop.

 

Beavah

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JimFritz,

Been there, done that, started a new Troop.

 

From your last post, it appears that you feel compelled to "save" this Troop, instead of leaving. I have news for you - the people running that Troop don't want to be "saved," and they are going to resent you for trying. Banging your head against a brick wall will be a more productive and gratifying excercise than trying to change that Troop into your mindset. If the Troop isn't providing the experience you want your son to have in Scouting, go find another Troop or start a new one. Good luck.

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