Re: excluding scouts at meetings
James R. Holman (jrholman@MAGNUS.ACS.OHIO-STATE.EDU)
Fri, 4 Feb 1994 12:42:17 -0500
No one has a RIGHT to be able to attend den meetings regardless of behavior.
We all have rules of conduct (which SHOULD be spelled out clearly from the
start) and the punishments for breaches of those rules. One of the first
things I had my new Webelos den do was to discuss (as a part of the Citizen
badge) appropriate behavior and the consequences of breaking the rules. I
think you'll find that the kids come up with MUCH stricter rules and
punishments than the adults would.... you kind of have to tone them down a
bit. Behavior needs to be addressed in stages as well: the first major
offence gets a 'time out', then a call home, then a parent has to come with
you next time, then you are 'suspended' for a meeting, and, finally,
expulsion. Expulsion SHOULD be rare.
That much said, you have to be realistic. Even a first class entertainer
can't expect to hold rapt attention of a bunch of cub scouts for any period
of time. They're going to be joking, picking at one another, making
comments, etc. When the activity becomes really disruptive, you have to
step in, but expecting kids not to look bored during a 20 minute speech is
expecting a lot. The challenge is funneling the energy level INTO the
activity at hand. If a kid is REALLY bored, he won't keep coming back.
Your situation sounds a bit strained. Why not 'visit' a den meeting to see
what really goes on. We always welcomed parents (and generally got comments
later -- 'how can you put up with this week after week?'). Maybe the kids
ARE monsters, or maybe the den leaders just aren't good at controlling the
activity. In order to maintain control, you have to have something planned
EVERY MINUTE.... you can't have ANY dead time or you're a gonner. A good
leader always has a spare game, puzzle, or something sitting on the shelf
just in case.
One solution might be to require parents to take turns helping with the den.
One of our dens has a particularly disruptive boy who has diagnosed behavior
problems.... his mother comes with him every week and it works out well. He
is benefitting from the activity but because of the extra help, doesn't
disrupt or endanger the other boys.
I survived Webelos (and Bears and Wolfs)
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City