Paul Miles (PGM01@ALBNYDH2.BITNET)
Thu, 1 Sep 1994 10:21:51 EDT
Thanks to all for your kind words and phone calls.
It seems that most are encouraging me not to resign. Some think that I am
doing so in anger, I am not. I am angry. I am also am feeling betrayed and let
down by our Council. When this thing began, I thought long and hard about what
would happen if we did not prevail.
There are many other factors at work here. I can deal with council staff that
seem to be counter productive at times. What I can't deal with is the total
lack of support from them. This issue had been thoroughly investigated at a
district level. To a person the result was that the troop leadership was doing
the right thing. It was upped to the Council Advancement Committee and again
investigated. Again to a man they agreed with the Troop. Their findings were
that the boy re-do a project from the start according to BSA rules. They also
told the boy that he must display Scout Spirit and prove this over a period of
time. The Council refused to listen to it's own Advancement Committee and
secretly held a BoR for the boy. After all these extrordiary steps, the
Council President simply had a BoR appointed and proceded. The BoR was not
told of all the circumstances and their instructions were to disregard
improprities with the Project, disregard the improper signatures (no one from
Troop 18 ever signed any portion of the Eagle Application). Their sole charge
was to evaluate the Scout spirit of the boy. So four people who have not
interacted with this boy spent some small period of time with him asked him
some questions and he satisfied them. One other person who sat on the board
was a member of our committee, not active, but does have outside financial
dealings with the boy's father. He had previously mentioned to our committee
that he also felt that the boy was not Eagle material.
What we are up against here is very powerful parents (he is an Eagle, NESA
member Silver Beaver receipient - she is on the Council Exec. board, Silver
Beaver receipient ). Economic pressure (very big $$$ contributors) is also a
factor. The threat of lawsuit has even been mentioned to several who have
looked into this matter. I came thisclose to being possibly sued because I
reprimanded the kid (bad language) and he knew that another adult was not in
hearing range. I was talked to by many in the district about watching my
donkey. They were told I was mistreating his son and harrassing him - I
eventually had to answer to the Council investigators about it.
I don't mind a good fight, even one that is not quite fair, but the fact that
there is no one willing to stand up to them makes it a loosing proposition.
Council knows about bogus Merit badges, they know about this kid's behavior
but when the rubber hit the road they did NOTHING. The sad thing about this is
that for eight months, the parents of T-18 urged us to stay with the matter,
the District Scouters urged us to continue and Council Scouters gave support.
Never once was anyone of us ever approached and told "you know that kid is a
good scout and why are you doing this?" We were totally supported all the way,
our actions were never questioned.
The boys of T-18 who really know whats going on will join other troops, they
will carry on. If they just learn to fight the good fight to the end and stand
on principal THEN I DID MY JOB. I feel that my resignation will further show
those who care that I am willing to do that job to the end. They know that I
didn't abandon them, but I had to do what is right.
With a Council that is not supportive and does not listen to even its own
investigatory committee I feel at serious risk in anything I would do in the
future. If ever a charge was brought against me (YPP related or anything else
for that matter) I would be up the creek. I am sorry, but I feel that I can't
put my family, my career or myself at risk. This is not an imagined risk, we
all feel it, it is very real indeed.
As I have said I will continue to be there for my son in his new troop. I also
have talked to the boys of Troop 18 and said I will be there for them.
I am sending a FED-EX package of all my paperwork to Houston this AM and
asking them to investigate. If any would like help me avert this true travesty
please let write to Mr. T. J. Van Houton at the National Scout Office in
Texas. Some have asked for the address of our Council, here it is: Mr. Jerry
Vorse, Council Scout Executive, Twin Rivers Council, 253 Washington Avenue
Extension, Albany, New York, 12205-5553. Phone 1-800-734-2721 or (518)
869-6436 FAX (518) 869-6439.
I have not tendered my resignation yet, I will try to get a new SM and some
committee in place and the troop hopefully will continue. I will watch with
interest. I will not go out with my tail between my legs, but with my head
Thanks again for your support.
Paul G. Miles BITNET: PGM01@ALBNYDH2.BITNET
STILL Scoutmaster, Troop 18
Greenfield Center, New York(Saratoga Springs)
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City