Re: Scoutmaster Troubles
Settummanque, the blackeagle (waltoml@WKUVX1.WKU.EDU)
Thu, 21 Apr 1994 09:01:53 EDT
Ken Burns <R3KMB%AKRONVM.bitnet@UKCC.uky.edu> writes:
(with some deletions only for space...)
> Now we're in 1992. The committee picks as Scoutmaster the past Cubmaster
>from our sister pack. He seemed like the perfect Scoutmaster, got along
>great with all the Cub leaders and Committee members, and his boy just joined
>the troop. I was the SPL with him for two months and things seemed to be
>going well. The PLC planned the meetings and campouts, and the youth ran
>all the activities. I resigned as SPL that summer to be a staff member at
>the local summer camp. My assistant took over. AM (the assistant), was 14,
>and didn't have much leadership experience.
Point one, Ken....BOTH Senior AND Assistant Senior Patrol Leader
SHOULD have about the same amount of leadership experience. AM's
perceived inability to do the job to the level that he seen you do it
could cause him to lose interest in the job.......
>When I started to attend meetings
>again in the Fall, things had changed. AM didn't care about what happened
>at the meetings. He lost all interest in being the SPL. The troop was looking
>bad. And RM, the Scoutmaster, started to take control. During the meetings
>he conducted all the announcements, which used to be done by the SPL. Campouts
>were worse. He told the boys what to do, where to set up tents, when to eat,
Point two. RM (the former Cubmaster-turned Scoutmaster because his
son joined the Troop and nobody else stepped up...) should have been
TRAINED as George Huffman stated in his posting. Just because I'm an
Exploring leader doesn't qualify me to serve as a Tiger Cub leader!!!
Likewise, just because he was a Cubmaster don't mean that he (or she)
can step into a Scoutmaster or Advisor's role WITHOUT the appropriate
training and background.
Likewise, RM SHOULD be training his new SPL and the ASPL along with
the other Troop officers!
>A new SPL was elected and things got a little better. Then that SPL
>moved away, and a 13 year old took his place. I left for Summer Camp
>staff again, knowing that the troop was in pretty bad shape.
At this point, Ken, you should have approached the Troop's Committee
and stated your concerns...you should have also contacted the Troop's
Commissioner (it has one, right?), and voiced your concerns with him
or her. Hey, where were those folks during all of this time? Didn't
they see the program lagging somewhat?
> I came back last fall and attended a meeting in September. I was shocked,
> shocked at what I was seeing. A mother of a boy, had recently become very
>active in the troop. She had taken over the program of the first two meetings
>that I had come to that fall. And the program for those nights were First aid
>MB. She had brought in a nurse and was teaching First Aid MB to 30+ scouts. A
>s I said before, I was Shocked! I immediately went to the Scoutmaster and
>complained, but he said it was fine and there was nothing wrong with doing it.
What was your concern, Ken? Was it that a woman was somehow
inituitive enought to see that there was no program and volunteered to
do the program element, or was your concern that new Scouts were being
exposed to merit badge work? Again, if your new Scoutmaster would
have been trained, I think that the program element would have been
treated a little differently. I personally don't see the problem
>Now every scout in our troop has First Aid MB, including those who are only sco
>ut! First Aid is not an easy MB, but it was for the kids in my troop.
...and I feel that the nurse made it a lot easier to learn. Many
communities use nurses, EMTs or Paramedics, or even doctors to
teach the skills of first aid (including some of the blood barrier
techniques we've talked about here earlier this year). I don't see
anything wrong with this except, if the woman showed up unannounced
with the nurse and stated "I have tonight's program for your Boy
Scouts. Here's Ann Martin from the community hospital. Don't they get
a badge for first aid? She can do it....right Ann?"
> Back on the topic now, I complained to some other Assistants and luckly
>some saw it the same as I, that Merit badges should not be done in this fashion
More on this later on, Ken.....
>. And we got the PLC to make a decision never to do Merit Badges again at
>troop meetings. A few weeks later, I went camping with the troop to our distri
>ct camporee (I was 19 at the time and a ASM). It was the first campout I've
>been on with the troop since the Spring and I was appalled at what happened.
>RM, the scoutmaster, took complete control of camp setup. From unloading the
>troop's trailor to setting the Dining Flys, he was there telling everyone what
>to do. My friend, Erik, and I set up our tent and sat down to relax (We are
>both adult leaders).
Again, lack of training as a Scoutmaster. He was used to telling Cub
Scouts what to do and how to do it, which is different from what we
try to do in Boy Scouting. Hey..you two are Assistant
Scoutmasters...how come you two weren't prompting this guy and saying
"Hey look, R, you need to lighten up and let the boys in charge do
their jobs?" (you can say this, since you are a Assistant
Scoutmaster!) instead of letting him rant and rave at the guys!
>RM came over to us and told us (didn't ask us) to set up
>the flys. I looked around and saw over twenty scouts and at least 3 patrol
>leaders not doing anything. I asked RM, "Aren't the patrol leaders and the
>SPL in charge of setting up camp?" He told me that they needed guidance. They
>hardly needed guidance. All had been to camp at least thirty times before and
>could set up a fly blindfolded. I continued to sit there as RM went back to
>setup the flys. I watched in amazement as fathers of boys, and ASM's put
>up the Dining Fly's. RM got very angry with me throughout the course of that
>weekend. I refused to do anything that I thought the boys should do. He
>asked me to help cook dinner, and I refused. Adults cooked dinner for the
>entire troop of thirty scouts that Saturday. I was outraged at what I saw
>happening to my troop, that had for many years boasted as being the most
>'Boy run' troop in the district. It had now turned into a Cub Pack, with RM
>as our Cubmaster.
You and the other Assistant Scoutmasters need to sit down with this
guy and explain the facts of Scouting to him quickly, Ken, or you
won't have much of a Troop left. He needs to be shown that the
senior-most boys have been camping with this Troop for well over three
years and that they CAN handle everything. He needs to be told that
he NEEDS to be TRAINED as a Scoutmaster and that means that HE needs
to train his youth leaders. The Troop's Committee needs to explain
that fathers are not there (if this is your Troop's policy) to cook
for the boys...that Scouting is a Patrol thing and that the Patrol is
responsible for everything connected to that activity.
Then, you need to volunteer to serve as Scoutmaster for the next
campout, and allow RM to see what it is you guys are talking about.
Since (I am only going on the information you gave) he's never been on
a campout with the Troop before, he doesn't know what the Troop can or
As a District and Unit Commissioner, I've always told new Scoutmasters
in letters and personal visits to "go on a campout and serve as a
OBSERVER for this first time. See what the boys can do for
themselves. See what the level of youth leadership is. See what the
level of adult interaction with the youth is. See what state the
Troop's equipment and support given to the Troop (i.e., how do they
get the equipment to and from the campsite) is in. Finally, observe
what effort YOU need to do in order to do your job as Scoutmaster,
remembering that the Scoutmaster IS NOT THE PERSON IN CHARGE...you and
your Assistants are only there to keep Scouts from chopping off
fingers, to lead discussions at the end of the day, and to offer bits
and pieces of your personality and the "spirit of Scouting" to each
This should be done immediately AFTER the Scoutmaster attends
Scoutmaster Fundamentals, if all possible. At any rate, he needs to
see that the Scouts are NOT "overgrown Cub Scouts".
Point three, Ken and I'll get off of the soapbox. You need to get
involved in your Troop. Those that have been there in the past look
at you and the other Assistants as a link to the "old days" whereby
the Troop seemed to be running better and more things were out there
to do. By staying active and involved with your Troop, you can help
shape and train and coach the youth leaders to at least deal with RM's
role as Scoutmaster. When RM goes to Scoutmaster Fundamentals, you
and the other Assistants should go with him too (yeah, even if you've
been there before). In this way, ALL of the present adult leaders
have the same level of training (even though there may be some of you
that have more experience) and as a team, you all can return to the
Troop and work with the youth leaders to make it better.
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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