Re: An interesting challenge
Settummanque, the blackeagle (waltoml@WKUVX1.WKU.EDU)
Thu, 24 Feb 1994 11:42:08 EST
Ronald Oakes <oakes@PEACH.RTSG.MOT.COM> writes:
>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 their meeting, a potential Scout and his dad (a
trained Scouter) stopped by. He's a large guy, Ron guesses
about 6'2" or so and very bulky. He's also had a run of
"bad luck" which included dropping out of school and later
a traffic accident that kept him from returning. He's working
on a GED and "made a mistake with a young lady", has married
her, but they are not doing well together. The Scout wants to
complete his trek toward Eagle before he turns 18 in December.
During the introduction, Ron was impressed that this kid wanted
to come back and complete his Eagle and to help out the Troop.
However, during the meeting, apparently this kid has a sort of
self-esteem problem, and had placed a "choke hold" on one the
12-year old Scouts because the younger Scout was teasing him
about his Spainish first name.
Now in light of the incident, Ron is having second thoughts about
placing this Scout in his Troop....and what he wants to do is
to appoint the new Scout as a Junior Assistant Scoutmaster
(JASM), in order to keep him "away from the leadership" of the Troop
and at the same time, to exercise some control over the kid while
he works toward Eagle. He needs a leadership position for Eagle,
and JASM is one of the accepted positions. Ron is also concerned
about the impact of this boy's membership to newer boys coming
into the Troop in the fall. )
>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.
I would NOT place him in my Troop. His level of maturity exceeds
those of the majority of the youth. I would recommend and even assist
him in finding an Explorer Post to join, since that would be closer to
his peer group than working with my "younger boys". This kid is 17
going on 20 (as evidenced by his ability to father a child and to take
responsibility for that child and its' mother).
Let me temper this by saying that I have had several Junior Assistant
Scoutmasters that were 17 going on 18 and close to Eagle. However,
those young men started with the Troop, had other 16 and 17 year-olds
to relate and model after, and in essence, knew what was expected of
them because of their tenure in the unit. This kid is new to your
unit, and may not understand that the same things he does out on the
street he cannot do at the meeting. Also, as evident from the display
of "agression", he's not confortable with younger kids.
That's why I say he needs to complete his Eagle (which he can), in an
Explorer Post in the community.
At this point, let me speculate what happened here. This kid was
in trouble at school and had some problem to keep him from completing
his high school education. He does realize that he needs some form of
high-school level education, and started work on his General Education
Development (GED) certificate, required before a person can continue
vocational or college-level education. He's got a young bride and a
child which he is trying to assist in taking care of and Dad is saying
"You really need that Eagle to help open those doors for you, son".
So, they track down to your unit and asks for you to bring him back
in, give him a leadership position and get him ready for Eagle (Ron:
how long has it been since he'd been in a Troop?).
That's how I based my opinion.
If you cannot find an Explorer Post, or if the young man is insistant
about staying in your Troop, then I would appoint him as a Junior
> 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.
Start out with some open-ended questions like "Why do you want to
return to Scouting?", "What do you think you will get out of the
experence here?", "You see, I have mostly younger kids. I'm in a
rebuilding mode here. How do you think you would be able to help me
with this goal of rebuilding?", "What are your strenghts and
weaknesses?", and a really important question, "What do you prefer to
be called while you are in the Troop?" (self-esteem; if there's
another non-threating name that he would prefer being called, or a
nickname, use that instead of his real name. It could be a systemic
thing, part of the reason why he dropped from school and out the
doors. Some parents are not very sensitive about the names they give
their kids....Picabo Street, of skiing fame, is a good example).
Next, explain to him about what YOU expect of all of your Scouts. For
a minute, pretend that he's a brand-new Scout (which in reality,
despite his rank, he *is*). Finally, close with a WRITTEN AGREEMENT
(I use the written agreement with all of my Assistant Scoutmasters...
I'll post it later on this evening. Basically, it calls for them to
take training and coaching assignments, do one of the "traditional"
roles called for in the OLD Scoutmaster's Handbook (one person to
hand the administrative details, one to handle the program details,
one to handle the facilities details and one to work with community
programs or projects, if you have more than the three Assistants or
in this case, you have a Junior Assistant), and to be there as much as
possible to support the youth leaders.
> 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.
You could have the Senior Patrol Leader to appoint him as an
Instructor, but it's not a Eagle-level job. No, if you are going to
place him in your Troop, Junior Assistant Scoutmaster *is* the
> 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.
No. That's giving preferential treatment to one Scout over all of the
other Eagle candidates. While this "hard case" won't understand what
took this guy so long (in his mind, not in the mind of you nor the
Scout), talking with him and explaining the situation (and following
it up in writing as a attachment to the Eagle application, so as to
"jog his mind" when the completed project is sent, would help the
process. At the same time, tell the Scout that this guy is NOT a
pushover and that if he wants to earn Eagle, he needs to be "on the
ball" and not dependent on his age as to "get over" with this guy on
approval of the project or the other requirements. This *may be* what
this kid needs!
> 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.
Nope. I can't think of any other than what I've written above. I do
feel that the Exploring route is perhaps this kid's best route. I say
this, not wearing my Exploring "hats" but rather wearing my Boy
Scouter's "hats". There comes a point where the Boy Scout program may
NOT be appropriate for a kid...and in this kid's special case, he's
reached it. Let Exploring take over from there.
(for general information, an Explorer CAN serve as a Den Chief or
Instructor in addition to other Exploring elected positions. The new
Exploring Leaders' Handbook will be more explicit about that and a
couple of other issues that were straightened out a month ago at the
last National Exploring Program committee meeting.)
Settummanque, the blackeagle... (MAJ) Mike L. Walton (
(h) 502-782-7992 (f) 502-781-7279 (w) 502-782-7467 |-=-|]
3201-D Cave Springs Avenue -- Greenwood, KY 42104-4439 -=====-
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