Re: Homesick - with a sting in the tail ! The full story.
Ian Ford (ianford@DIRCON.CO.UK)
Thu, 11 Aug 1994 01:20:54 BST
Thank you to everyone who replied to my posting. That incident certainly
made me more away of just how much responsibility we take on when we take
other people's kids away Scouting.
What actually happened was I spoke to our minister, and she agreed to drive
down to the camp should it be necessary. I also made aware that the site
crew would only give telephone messages to me or another Leader.
I had a quiet chat with Robert , mainly general stuff about Scouts , what
his cousins were doing etc. but he didn't seem as though he wanted to open
up about his Dad, so obviously I didn't push the issue.
When the washing up incident occurred I played a hunch. I took the P/L on
one side and levelled with him. I told him what Robert's aunt had told me
and stressed that this was confidential to be discussed with nobody except
me. I said that Robert knew his Dad was ill but didn't know just <how> ill.
I then asked the P/L to look after Robert and sort out the patrol. I
suggested he might roster himself with Robert for cleanup, rather than the
The P/L was very good - calmly went over and got Robert to join in with what
the Patrol was doing. Clearly his lead influenced the other Scouts, and
they stopped complaining.
In the event Robert's dad <did> die , but his aunt decided that the news
ought to come from the family. I spent an anxious weekend waiting for the
phone call and wondering how to break that news to a kid.
When we got back to the church hall Roberts aunt met him. She caught me eye
and nodded sadly, then took him to one side and broke the news. The P/L saw
what had happened and quietly asked if it was all over. I said yes, and we
both sniffed a bit and pretended we were blowing our noses.
Robert stayed with the troop for another few months and the family moved.
Since his mum didn't drive and they were some way away from public transport
Robert left the troop.
Looking back I wonder if it was fair to put that responsibility on a
fourteen year-old Patrol Leader. He was certainly shaken when I told him,
and I had not seen him so quiet on camp. But on balance I think my judgement
was correct. He grew up a bit that weekend too. I guess it comes down to
knowing your junior leaders and their capabilities. On balance I think that
in similar circumstances I would do the same things again.
Ian N Ford
AGSL 25th Greenwich (Our Lady of Grace) Scout Group
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City