Re: An interesting challenge
Rex Goode (rexg@IMS.COM)
Thu, 24 Feb 1994 06:00:14 PST
> Tonight at my troop's scout meeting, I was presented with
> and interesting challenge, which I could greatly benefit my
> troop, or cause serious problems.
> Early in the meeting a potential new scout and his father
> stopped by. This scout is a Life scout, who turns 18 in
> December and wants to finish his eagle. He is a very large
> young man -- I would guess 6'2" or more, and very bulky. He
> has also not had the best of experiences.
> He dropped out of school after a less then successful 9th
> grade year, and a traffic accident that kept him out during
> his 10th grade year. He is currently presuing a GED. He
> also apparently (euphemism mode on) made a mistake with a
> young lady, and has married her, but they are not getting
> along real well.
Wow! What a challenge! Was the mistake that he married at
17 or did I read you right about the young lady being in
the family way? If the latter, it should be remembered that
a Scout should keep himself "morally straight." Of course,
this varies depending upon one's religious beliefs, but most
would agree that the moral thing to do would be to at least
live up to his responsibilities to the young lady. This might
not have meant marriage as much as some form of financial
support during the pregnancy and after the birth of the child.
But, since he has married her, I personally think he needs to
be faithful to her as long as they are married. I know a few
Scouters who would not agree. How does his wife feel about
Scouting? Achieving Eagle is a great thing, a wonderful thing,
but to me it would have to take back seat to my responsibilities
as a husband and father, if I were in his shoes.
> My first impression was that he is basicly a nice person,
> who is sincerly interested in completing his Eagle, and
> helping my troop.
> However, after the meeting this evening, he was talking with
> several of the other scouts. I was involved in other
> conversations, but noticed him place a "choke hold" on a 12
> year old scout, who nearly passed out. At that time, I
> misinturpreted this as a demonstration that got out of hand.
> I later learned, through my Assistant Scoutmaster -- who
> learned it from his son -- that actually the younger scout
> had been teasing the new scout about his name (The new
> scout's mother is from Mexico and his first name is
I have a particulary large Scout in my troop who was using
some pretty gruesome, IMO, moves on smaller Scouts. We had
to lay down the law and say, "One more time and you're out!"
The head of our sponsoring institution (LDS Ward) also got
involved and repeated the warning. This boy has been a
bully for years, but at 17 he finally grew up enough to
heed the warning. He is also fighting a hefty Eagle deadline
and can't afford to screw up right now.
> Because of this incident, I am now somewhat concerned that
> this scout could have a very negative effect on my troop.
> We are currently about to enter the third year of a slow and
> difficult rebuilding process. We expect to get several new
> scouts from the pack at the same school. If this large, and
> apparently short tempered, scout causes problems with any of
> our scouts we may lose these scouts and several friends.
I know this is a worry, but I think it would run counter to
Scouting ideals to not give him the chance.
> Additionally, since this scout does need a leadership
> position and I did not want to risk him getting into a major
> role, I asked him to serve as a JASM. I felt this was the
> position where I could allow him the time to do what he has
> to, and still get the necessary experience. Since the JASM
> is also part of the SM's team, this should allow me somewhat
> better control over which tasks he undertakes.
> Unfortunately, my Assistant fears that this might give this
> new scout authority over other scouts in the troop, and lead
> to political problems. My thought was the opposite, it
> would keep him clear of the SPL and PLC where the actual
> running of the troop is done (most of the time).
My big problem :*> has been assigned as JASM. He has worked out
really well. I remind him all the time that the SPL is in charge
and that we should stay back and let him do his job. It hasn't
been a problem since we had words with him about bullying.
> This scout's father is a trained scouter (I don't know how
> recent his training is) who is willing to work with our
> troop committee, but does not feel he has time for any more
> involved work.
I'm afraid that I would tell this father that I don't give a
rip about how much time he feels he has. If it's important to
him to see his son through these last few months, he'd have to
> I would like some advise on how to deal with this new scout.
> Specifically, I could use some suggestions for the following
> 1. How do I fit this new scout into a program
> consisting of 5 scouts with 1 year experience, 2 or 3 with 2
> years, and 2 scouts with 3 years experience. We also expect
> several brand new scouts to join us in the next few months.
JASM sounds great to me!
> 2. Next week I plan on sitting down with this scout
> for a Scoutmaster's Conference to discuss where he fits in
> the troop. I also will need to discuss the incident with
> the sleeper hold and make sure that he is aware that that is
> unacceptable. What else should I discuss, and how can I
> approach this to gain maximum benefit.
Scout Spirit! Also, if he's not totally separated from his wife, I
would ask to meet her. I've never been successful with any
Scout without taking an interest in his personal life. I don't
mean that you should be nosy. I'm talking about the same kind
of thing where you would go to a Scout's school soccer game
to show your support.
> 3. Should I reconsider my decision to ask him to
> serve as JASM. Is there another position that he could fill
> without impacting the troop leadership as much.
I believe that the Eagle requirement is either to serve in a troop
leadership position for six months OR to fulfill a special service-
to-the-troop assignment given by the Scoutmaster. Look it up. You
may be able to come up with something that lets him fill the
requirement but doesn't give him occasion to overexercise his big
> 4. Our district uses an "Eagle Coordinator"
> position to approve eagle projects and to help the Eagle
> candidate work through his requirements. The coordinator
> for Palatine is an old scouter and can be a bit of a "hard
> case." He has the attitude that too many scouts are getting
> advancement too easily and it is his job to make sure that
> make up for that before getting Eagle. I do not feel that
> he would necessarily be good for this scout. I am currently
> planning on talking to another Eagle coordinator for another
> community in our district, and asking him to deal with this
> scout. Is this a good idea.
If you can get away with it...
> 5. Are there any other suggestions that might help
> me deal with this new challenge, one which right now appears
> to be almost over my head.
You have to decide just how hard you want to work at this. As
long as you think he can fulfill the letter of the law regarding
Eagle requirements, you just have to figure out how your going
to keep from throwing him out between now and then and how you're
going to teach him some real Scout Spirit. Boys in trouble need
a solid rock to which to attach a line and hold on to it. Are
you going to be that rock? You could be, but only if you really
want to be. All you need is to do is spend more time as SM than
you are currently spending. :-}
> If it makes a difference, I do not have a son in the troop
> and am in fact single. My two active Assistant
> Scoutmaster's are a father and a 20 year old student at a
> local comunity college.
> Ronald B. Oakes
> Scoutmaster, Troop 91
> Palatine, IL
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City