Re: Scoutmaster Troubles
Wed, 20 Apr 1994 23:27:37 -0600
Wow. What a list of differences and difficulties. Ken (I'll trust you do not o
bject to my using your first name), I think you need to start with the youth
leaders. See if you can arrange a meeting witht them - either a PLC meeting
arranged by them or an informal, non-scout sanctioned event for talking.
Do spend time talking to them and finding out what they want to see in
the program and how they want it to be run. Take notes. Offer suggestions. Do
not do anything for them right at that meeting. Once you have all of their
concerns and questions written down (and hopefully at least one of them will
also think to record the meeting), suggest that they call an official PLC
meeting to air out differences with the SM, and tell the SM how they want to
run their troop. (Unless you have another registered adult, remember that this
cannot be an official meeting)
Do give the Scoutmaster time to respond to what the Scouts suggest. Do
offer to be available to talk with either group. Do try to have a meeting with
the Troop Committee and SM to discuss your specific problems with the way the
program is being run now. Once you have done this, see what happens and take
steps to make yourself available to help make the changes happen. If the
Troop Committee and SM are unwilling to change, and the boys are becoming
disatisfied with the program, call in the District Executive (might want to
let him know what is happening anyways) to mediate - maybe an afternoon meeting
with the DE to get his input and suggestions - both for you and for the SM and
There are a few questions I have about your objections. The first - and
perhaps only one - deals with merit badges at troop meetings. What is wrong
with that? I can understand the case of all scouts in the troop earning first
aid in one night being bad, but no merit badges during meetings? Here is how
my typical experience with a Scout meeting went (both as a troop member and as
a troop leader). After the opening (run by patrols on a monthly basis) the
SPL and SM would do announcements and recognitions and give a brief explanation
of the night's activities.
After the opening and annoucements, there was a first session for about
20 minutes. It offered advanced merit badges for the older Scouts and skill
awards (I guess now it would be simply requirements) for the younger scouts.
Adults would teach the MB and youth would teach the skill awards. There would
be a break and then a half hour training segment for general merit badges that
everybody could work on. The PLC would meet if they had to and Boards of Review
and Scoutmaster Conferences would also occur during this half hour.
The final half hour was reserved for a game, a speaker, or other busines
s that needed to be conducted. The game would continue until 5 minutes before
the meeting was scheduled to be over. The last 5 minutes were reminders and the
closing (also run by a patrol). Then it would break up into a social affair.
Some Scouts would talk, whatever until they were picked up by parents. Others
would start up a game again. The clean-up patrol would make sure that
everything was back in order and lights were turned out. The SPL and ASPL as
well as the SM and a Troop Committee member would be the last to leave and
would make certain that the building was locked up.
It is from that experience that I don't see a problem with MB during a
meeting. Also, it is not possible to run the meeting without adults because
there are many cases where they have information (who is driving? Who will
have the Tour Permit? etc.) for the scouts or need to get information from
the Scouts. Youth controlled and run generally is the best bet, but do not
try to shut adults into the back room. It is as bad as letting them run the
I hope that provided any help my opinion can on that matter. Now a
question of my own: Where is Marnoc Lodge #151?
And in a different matter: I've just been elected to be the Section Secretary
for Section W-5A - Western Region, BSA. What I would like information on is
methods of promoting attendence at events that are a long distance away. Our
conclave next year is going to be up to 12 hours away for some of the members
of the Section and I would like to see a high attendance at this event for the
training and fellowship it offers. Any suggestions?
Plus, for those of you who are in the Order of the Arrow, what kinds of events
and training do you think is the best to offer? It can be anything from
Native American traditions, to camp promotion, to Leadership Training, to
??????? Please help if you can. Thanks.
W-5A Section Secretary
Vigil Honor member of Yah-Tah-Hey-Si-Kess Lodge #66
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City