Re: A Bad Night at Scouts
Settummanque, the blackeagle (waltoml@WKUVX1.WKU.EDU)
Tue, 13 Dec 1994 00:30:00 CST
Richard Ickler <ICKLERR@DELPHI.COM> writes:
>Tonight I had one of those Scout meetings that I would really like to forget.
> Unfortunately I can't. As the Scoutmaster, I really felt like a failure
>even though I knew that it was a situation out of my control.
Au Contrair, Richard...you had A GREAT NIGHT....I'm sorry that you
feel bad about the experience, but read on....
>I have really been making an effort to overcome my instincts and allow the
>boys to develop their own program with just some oversight. Still, it was
>all that I could do to allow the boys to make the disastorous mistakes they
But Richard, *that's part of what Scouting leadership is all
about...letting them discover what happens when they *do* make those
decisions!! Two months from now, you will be beaming with pride as
those "leaders" will either quietly leave, bravely tell you and the
Troop that they can't "hack the job", or blow up at a Scout or you (or
your Assistant, which is a clear indicator that "something's bothering
Or those Scouts will SURPRISE YOU with their "sudden" personal growth.
I had one of your Scouts in one of my Troops, so I know. This guy
attended only four meetings every three months, usually two weeks
before a campout and a week afterwards. After he became Scribe,
however, he became a regular fixture and eventually became Senior
And he NEVER missed a meeting since his election.
As far as the kid that isn't registered, is there a reason why you
allowed him to be elected? Just curious, you're the Scoutmaster, but
part of my Troop's election policies was that they had to be paid up
as far as registration is concerned. Something about "leading by
example", or something silly like that...
> I'm now going to have to figure out how to deal with showing
>them that they made a major mistake without being the "Big Boss".
>Fortunately, I have until January because we follow the school holidays.
Don't try to "create situations", Richard....let them come up on their
own. If you attempt to "create situations for failure", sometimes
(and I have personal background on this!), they will succeed because
them Scouts KNOW that you've "created a wall for them to break
through". Let the natural process of Troop operation dictate what goes
on during the meetings and during the activities....
THEN, do what I call a "rest and review" after each critical event or
activity and ask both members AND leaders to examine what went wrong
and what they can do to make it better.
>After that fiasco comes the "coup de grace". Since I took over as
>Scoutmaster I have had to deal with an Assistant who really wanted the
>Scoutmaster title but wouldn't do the job. Since that time, he has been
>constantly playing the kindergartener with wounded pride.
Have you every asked him if he wants to become a Scoutmaster really
bad, why hasn't he started a new Troop? Since he's making comments
to you, it's only natural that you should "place the idea in his
head". I betcha he's never even thought about it seriously, and one
of those "Hey Terry, I KNOW you can be a GREAT Scoutmaster. Have you
ever thought about starting a new Troop here in town...you know, give
me some REAL competition?"
Yes, you will have to "deal with the plans" (if any) made at the
Planning meeting. However, you DO have input, as the Scoutmaster. I
hope that you have provided your Assistant with dates and information
about the times you would NOT be available and ask them to consider
those dates when planning the Troop's program. Also, when you and the
Senior Patrol Leader goes before the Troop Committee to gain approval
of the program (that's part of the process), you can again voice your
concerns about programs that were "conceived in a vaccumm" (or
conceived in a car/truck/van on the way to or back from the Planning
meeting) before the Troop's Committee.
Also, it is IMPORTANT that you allow this person freedom in developing
the youth of your Troop. How else is he or she supposed to learn if
YOU did everything? Yes, Richard, you did the right and best thing
here. It don't FEEL that way, because you, as I and every other
Scoutmaster here, has our "favorites" and those that we want (and
know) that can do a good job.
But Scouting is not about "favorites", it's about developing skills in
ALL Scouts that want to develop themselves. It's your job to set the
example, to develop BOTH youth_and_adult, and to create an enviornment
where they can try things out and sometimes fail (and fail miserably).
We don't like it when youth fail in things. I don't know of a parent
one that REALLY likes it when their son or daughter is not selected
for something or another. But we in Scouting have learning that once
the decision is made, we try our hardest to support those that were
selected/elected to lead.
>I really was close to quitting tonight but I think I still have a few more
>months of fight in me before I throw in the towel. Now I just need to figure
>out my next move. Any suggestions/comments are welcome. I will also
>graciously listen to criticism.
Don't quit. All that tells those Scouts there is "If I don't like
something, I can quit it and go do something else." Stay in there,
Richard....you had a GREAT NIGHT....now, make personal plans to use
the next few months as valuable TRAINING experiences with your Troop
and their new leaders. They will either lead, follow, or get out of
Same goes for your Assistant, too.
Get a mug of coffee, sit down, and listen to some great music. You're
doing your job, and you've done it well! Don't stop now!
Settummanque, the blackeagle... (MAJ) Mike L. Walton (
co-Owner, Blackeagle Services ___)_
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