How to deal with disappointed scouts
Ronald Oakes (oakes@PEACH.RTSG.MOT.COM)
Tue, 8 Feb 1994 15:23:40 -0600
Last weekend, my scout troop attended the district Klondike Derby. We
entered two patrols, both with 3 of 5 scouts competing. The event was
very competitive since most of the patrols that showed up were top patrols.
I would be proud to know any of them!
However, my scouts did not do as well as they had thought. My Lightening
Patrol -- represented by a First Class scout and two Star scouts -- was
especially disappointed. They only received a 3rd place award. There were
several 3rd place, 2nd place and first place ribbons presented, and one
award for top patrol. Adding to their disappointment was the fact the my
other patrol, the King Cobra Patrol -- represented by a First Class scout
and two Second Class scouts, all with less than 1 year in the troop --
received a 2nd place.
After the awards, I took my patrol leaders and my Assistant Scout Master
and talked to the Activities Chairman -- who was running the event. He
showed us the scores, which did reflect the placing. However, much to my,
and everyone elses, surprise the Lightening Patrol had the lowest score in
their first event.
This event was a rope toss rescue event. Of the three scouts, all three
hit the target, and the earned bonus points by getting the rope to a patrol
member placed at the target. This station was also responsible for judging
the construction of the sled. Their sled -- while not the pretiests sled
-- met all of the requirements, and should have earned extra points for
being made of all natural materials. I could see no reason for them to
have had such a low score!
I quickly acted on the increasing disappointment by reminding my scouts
that "A Scout is Cheerful," and letting them know that they were reviewing
the scores to see if an obvious error was made transfering the information.
However, I expect little to come from this review.
I think that this disappointment may linger for some time. I would like
some advise on how to deal with it. One thing I am already planning on
doing is sharing a chapter from Bill Young's "Trailing the Eagle" where he
describes a camporee where a similar thing happened to his patrol. The
words given by that Scoutmaster will be as good as any I could come up with
on my own. I will use this as my Scoutmaster's Minute at the meeting on
I have also mentioned, in passing, the award method used by the district in
New Mexico where I come from. They would have ribbons made up that would
read something like "Award of Participation With Merit and Honor." These
ribbons can be trimmed to remove "and Honor" and "With Merit." This allows
every unit an equal chance of receiving any award. The categories can have
a fixed scoring range, and every patrol that reaches that range receive the
appropriate award. This makes the patrols only competing with their own
abilities to perform.
Ronald B. Oakes
Scoutmaster, Troop 91
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City