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Improperly dealing with troubled scout?

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"Well, he could just read the Boy Scout Handbook..."


I'm not sure if that was one of the suggested text mentioned in the SM specific training session. I'll check my notes. If it was, I will definitely think about borrowing a handbook and reading it.



I'm sorry, I don't mean to be a smart aleck. I'm just amazed how many haven't ever read the handbook. Given, that a high percentage of scouters have had children involved in scouts, presumably they have one in the house.

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Beavah, the fact that I was not only talking about JimFritz current troop, but also about yours & Scoutnuts attitude, I had to add the comment that this attitude comes from both bad and good troops, because I know that is where you & SN attitudes are coming from, is the pride you have in the excellence of your units, so you do not like those who come in new & full of sweeping ideas.


Yah, hmmm... Huh?


It's been quite a few years now since I was a unit scouter, eh? :) Though I do get out in da field with different units a lot more than most council volunteers I know. Not just at Camporees and such, but at unit outings.


So my "attitude" is coming from my experience with a lot of different units that are not "mine" in da sense of being a unit scouter, eh? Comes from servin' scouting a lot of years in a lot of places and a lot of levels. And in those roles, spendin' a lot of my time helping when adults start trying to tear a unit apart through their own bad behavior.


I've no doubt that there are things that need improvement in JimFritzMI's troop, eh? Heck, there are in every troop. My point is that there are good and bad ways to approach that, and right and wrong people to take da lead. A new parent with a different vision than da CO and current leadership who feels he is called to "save" them is IMHO da wrong person and the wrong approach. It's the sort of thing that ends up hurting or even destroying a unit, not helpin' it. Even if the "intention" is good.


Can yeh imagine what da response of a parent or scouter like CalicoPenn would be to JimFritzMI's new emphasis on being strict about testing and ranks? ;) How would that kind of adult shootin' match help kids?


Readin' between the lines of his most recent message, the unit seems to have a lot of active, athletic boys who are enjoying their scouting experience. His son has a lot of friends. Da SM is properly directing issues to the PLC that JimFritzMI wants to take on as an adult. Could it be perhaps that JimFritz's emphasis on rank, advancement, and winning camporee events doesn't jibe with da troop's emphasis on fun and youth leadership?


Point is, even if he's 100% right about da troop, that's not enough, eh? Yeh also have to be "right" about how yeh approach problems and differences in vision with fellow adults. That's what I'm calling attention to.


Beavah(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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"I'm sorry, I don't mean to be a smart aleck. I'm just amazed how many haven't ever read the handbook. Given, that a high percentage of scouters have had children involved in scouts, presumably they have one in the house."


No smart aleckiness taken, sir. I, too, have been amazed at how high that number is. Almost every outdoor skill you need is in there somewhere, and yet many adults don't even crack it.

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"JimFritzMI's new emphasis on being strict about testing and ranks?"


Beavah, possibly I don't understand, but are you condoning giving rank advancements to scouts who blatantly haven't earned them?


I agree that I need the right approach. That is why I am here. I don't need someone telling me to give up on them, I am not going to do it. I don't need someone telling me to shut my mouth and keep quiet, this is even less likely to happen. Knowing what I know, this troop is promoting scouts down the road to the rank of Eagle who have not earned it, there are only two actions that I can take as I see it. 1) Walk away, and by doing this accept that being an Eagle is meaningless. I mean if all you have to do is show up and pay your dues, what does it mean? or 2) Do what I promised I would do when I took the scout oath, and do my best to help this troop.


Once again I am looking for advice in approaching the leaders and parents in the committee meeting. I already have talked with the scouts on numerous occasions, they want the change, they are willing to work at it. The scouts themselves have told me the reason they don't go to the camporees is that they do so poorly, and who wants to go to a competition that you aren't prepared for, over and over again. I just want to come away from the meeting Thursday, with at the very least tacit approval so I am not banging my head against the wall.

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It is a great book, isn't it shortridge. I would have to say though that my favorite is the field guide. Specifically the one from the late 70's, I'm not sure of the edition. I still have one, but I completely wore out the first one my dad gave me when I was 8. I'd take my book, my knife, a 3/4 axe, some food, and as much rope as I could get away with and head to the woods and spend all weekend there. If I could find a job where I could do Scoutcraft all day every day, I'd quit my current job tonight. With the knowledge in that book you could just plain survive, I love it.

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Moose, no attitude, or resentment here on my part. Just trying to give Jim some ideas of why, as he states he is, having trouble with his son's Troop leaders.


Moose, and Jim, you might not like to admit it, but there are always two sides to every story, or complaint.


What we see on forums like this one is usually only a very one-sided picture. It helps everyone, including the person who posts a problem, to try to see more than just that one, very emotionally charged, side.


And BTW Moose, yes, I have worked as a unit volunteer. However, as a Council volunteer, trainer, and Commissioner, for many years, I have seen many, many, different types of units. Some bad, some good, some great. Even the great ones were not perfect. I have also had to learn to deal with a good many different kinds of folks. I don't resent new blood or new ideas. There is always a need for both.

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So lots of good stuff being thrown around here.


I mainly want to comment about the whole DE situation. This isn't an issue for the DE at this point. Right now, this is something for the Commissioner staff if you do want to discuss it outside the unit. Specifically the UC. I'm not necessarily advocating going to a commish, but that's the better route to go. Their job is to work with units to keep them healthy, which is what it appears this unit might be needing.


I've been in your position before, though not with my own child. I have no kids at this point, but I went right in to being an ASM when I turned 18. In fact, my Outdoor Leader Fundamentals was done on the weekend of my Eagle ceremony (long story as to why the ceremony was that late). I was part of a dysfunctional troop, and tried to help it along. Some troops just won't let you though. I even went the UC route, then eventually the DC route. This was 6 years ago, and I still get parents from that troop who know me, complaining about things in that troop. My only advice now is to find another troop, and I give my recommendations.

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I miss spoke it was the Unit Commissioner I spoke with. And I did not do it to complain, I was hoping to gain some support. I was always taught the the UC was there as your first stop in seeking help outside the troop for any problem with the troop. The only reason I mention him, is because I thought this is where I should go, and I wanted to explain that I had tried that route.

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I agree with you about going to a UC, the problem is in many cases this kind of stuff happens because there are no UC's visiting the units. This is a huge problem in my council where almost all the commisioners, save RT, are in name only and totally inactive. The council commish keeps crying there are no volunteers who want to be commishes, but since he is a close and personal friend of the SE it is impossible to get rid of him. The result is a lot of this kind of nonsense is going on on the unit level with no one to go to for help. So when they go to the DE its all about numbers and money.

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Beavah, possibly I don't understand, but are you condoning giving rank advancements to scouts who blatantly haven't earned them?


LOL. Yah, I don't think anybody would accuse me of that, eh? :) I reckon yeh need to read some of da archives, or even the recent thread "Scoutmaster options - Improperly accomplished merit badges". As you'll see, I lean toward your side in that argument, but I think it's really important for you to read and appreciate the views of CalicoPenn and da other side, too. Yeh need that perspective.


I don't need someone telling me to give up on them, I am not going to do it. I don't need someone telling me to shut my mouth and keep quiet, this is even less likely to happen.


Yeh asked for feedback as a gift, eh? So we're giving it to yeh as best we can from afar. But collectively and individually, da folks who are responding to you here have many times the scouting experience that you do. I reckon we're worth listening to rather than pulling the "I don't need someone telling me..." routine. Quite possibly your UC is also someone worth listening to, rather than dismissing him when he didn't agree with yeh.


For some reason in my experience, adults who behave badly and do serious damage to troops always have this sort of self-righteous thing going on. Don't tell me what to do. I'm right and because I'm right it justifies any behavior I choose and all that.


It's a kids' program, eh? Yeh need to stop treating it as a right-and-wrong issue. Some soccer teams are aggressive travel league competitors. Some soccer teams are recreational lets-kick-the-ball-around fun pasttimes. MVP in each is goin' to look different, eh? But both can serve (different) kids well.


Da point of the Oath we took and the Law we agreed to live by is to challenge ourselves, our own viewpoints and behavior, eh? That's not a license to go save others from themselves because we think we're better. Yeh can't convert your son's troop into da troop you remember from your youth, and yeh shouldn't try.


Again, yeh need to take a step back, give your son some room, and gain some perspective. Bulls in china shops only break lots of china before someone shoots 'em. :)



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Sorry Beavah, I guess when you talked about your expirences, I always assumed they were based on your troop. So I guess I was not so good reading-between-the-lines with you.


Understand where your coming from in saying there is a right way & wrong way to approach an issue. Same thing I am saying, but sometimes your reading between the lines are seeing Jim in a negative light where I don't see that.


Yes I agree he can't save the troop, because of the attitudes of the adults. As stated many times scouting would be great if you could take the adults out of the equation. I will give you on "ALL SIDES" not just Jim's and not just the other adults in the troop.. Jim has a great background in scouting, which makes him believe he can change the troop. The thing is he does have the background. The thing is he will be resented for it, not valued for it. Jim's son needs to find a good troop, If it is a good troop, it will have volunteers there on an equal footing as Jim. Jim will be happy, the other leadership of the troop will be happy, and best of all the son will have a great program and be happy. But in the current troop he will just be a threat to the current leaderships security. If they don't take it out on Jim they will take it out on his son.


Scouts are going to make friends where ever they go, that does not point to a good program. That only points to the normal tendencies of a healthy child. They could be in the worst school district in the State, and still make friends. May not learn to read, but will have friends (even if they call their friends their gang)...


All I see is one general statement from Jim asking if there was any quality control in BSA, for troops that advance scouts who have obviously no merit to be at the rank.. Also that the program should be more then an hour long game of basketball or soccer.. That is all I see in his comments.


I don't see any other lines about horsewhipping kids until they comply to BSA rules, or testing kids until they do the skill with eyes closed and one hand behind their backs. So where do you read into these statements he has a "new emphasis on being strict about testing and ranks?" ? I read into these same statements as he just feels the scout should be of normal aptitude to receive the rank, not handed it for taking up space. I see he has an average expectation of wanting his boy to do BSA related events in the BSA program.


I don't know what it is Jim said that reminded you of some unpleasentness in your past, and I think you are not seeing Jim any more but some other "unknown" ghost. I think with scoutNut it was mention of his Eagle rank as proof of background. I could be wrong, but something set him off, and his harshest comeback was to that issue.


But, I also see that he has alot of Scouting background and training beyond his young scouting years, to assess the quality of the troop. He has been in scouting for way past his youth to assess memories from fact of how BSA operates. I don't understand with all his years in scouting why before his son crossed over they did not visit more troops in the area. Maybe it was just that this is the troop the pack graduates to, and his son just choose to stay with his buddies from the pack.


Let Jim know that his idea's to fix will not work. But don't attack him personally, or twist his words for hidden negative meanings.. Normally you & ScoutNut are very fair minded, and have I come to value most messages the both of you put out.


Yes I did read-between-the-line on you incorrectly and think you were still active at unit level.. But, I only read-between-the-lines on you in a positive way. Yes I might also be reading-between-the-lines for Jim to see the positive. So sorry if I am wrong for seeing the best in people.





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Gee, I would hope my views are a bit more nuanced than is being presented.


I have no problem with strict testing for requirements - provided it's done so before the requirement is signed off on. If the requirement states to demonstrate how to fuse and whip a rope, then it's incumbent on whomever is signing off on the requirement to have the Scout demonstrate how to fuse and whip a rope. But if the person who signs off isn't as rigorous as s/he should have been, and signs off the requirements without the proper testing, my view is don't take it out on the Scout. Make your changes elsewhere - just don't penalize the Scout.


I think people forget sometimes that just because a requirement is signed off on, doesn't mean there is no longer a need to practice the skill. So maybe the person who signed off on a requirement was a bit loosey goosey with it. There is certainly nothing wrong with reinforcing the skill with repeated practice. If a Scout say's "I've already done it for my rank", then it's time to have a little SM conference to express that the reason they've learned these skills is to use them so since they've demonstrated that they can whip a rope, the Troop has a couple of ropes that need to be whipped and they're tasked at doing it. If they can't, no big deal - pull the book out and just relearn it - tasks that aren't done often usually need a refresh (how often do you make chocolate chip cookies? I'll bet if you only make them a couple of times a year you pull out the recipe every time - but if you make them every day, you don't need the recipe). Just don't take away or delay rank because someone else screwed up.




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Wow. So now, according to Jim, we are all bigots, and he is going to save us all by facilitating change at the national level. Well, hallelujah! Let the healing begin!


I guess you like to pick and choose which parts of the "BSA way" you like to follow, eh?

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Sorry Moose, but to me, it sounds like you are the one who has a resentment problem. You are the only one who keeps bringing that up.


You seem to be bound and determined that Jim (or anyone) will be resented simply because they are Eagle Scouts and have a "great background in Scouting".


What a bunch of horse hockey pucks!


Stop trying to psychoanalyze us.


If Jim gets shut down by his Troop when he aggressively pushes his changes on them, it will NOT be because of his Scouting background, or because he is an Eagle Scout. It will because he is AGRESSIVELY pushing his changes on them.


I seem to remember an old saying about flys and honey.


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"Wow. So now, according to Jim, we are all bigots"


I can see that asking for comments and voicing one's own opinion, may get me into hot water on here. So be it.


Maybe, I am not communicating well, I certainly have been misunderstood on some points. Thank you Moose for helping me see that. I have taken in everything everyone has said, and realize this is not going to happen over night, it may take years. So be it.


I don't want to attack the scouts for having not earned an award. I don't want to attack the leadership for letting requirements being marked off that weren't earned. I want to help the boys learn how to whip and fuse rope, so they know how, and can teach others as they come along. It seems there is this mystique about whipping a rope, at least in this troop. It isn't mysterious, it isn't even hard to learn. However, I do understand how it can seem that way when you have a troop where no one has ever seen a rope whipped before. Nothing, I ever learned as a scout or scouter is magical, or mysterious, but if there wasn't anyone there to teach me I would be overwhelmed. There is no maliciousness coming from the current leadership, I really don't know what it is, and I don't care. Does it really matter why the scouts weren't being taught properly? I don't think so. I think the important part is that they start being taught properly.


I would like to ask this though. Somehow some of you feel, at least I think you might, that I want to come in and aggressively rant and rave. Slash and burn the current ways of doing things. I never meant to imply that. Yes, a lot of things need to change. However, I would be a complete idiot to for one second believe that many things could all change at once. Or to believe that I could change anything by alienating or blaming the current leadership. Everyone here seems to have agreed that it needs to change, that the scouts really need to do the work. It also seems that quite a few of you have been through this before. I know my father has, he was a SM for over 30 years, he gave me his opinion and prefaced it with the same advice he repeats every time I ask for advice. "Here is what I think, but go find some others and ask their opinions." I'm asking. Yes, we have established telling them that they are wrong and what they need to do to fix it won't work. But hasn't anyone here seen a troop turn around, if so, what would you say was some of the tactics that caused this. Please share.

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