Re: A Bad Night at Scouts
Bob Haar (rhaar@ALBERT.CS.GMR.COM)
Tue, 13 Dec 1994 10:42:49 EST
> From: Richard Ickler <ICKLERR@DELPHI.COM>
> 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.
Don't look at it as a failure but rather as an opportunity - an
opportunity to fine tune your troop's procedures and for the scouts
to learn some valuable lessons.
> 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
> did. It was SPL and PL election night. For SPL they had two good candidates
> and one candidate who is popular and a nice guy but this was his first
> meeting since June. Guess who won (Mr. Absentee). For Patrol Leader of the
> older boys Patrol they had three candidates, one who was qualified, and two
> who were ineligible, one because he wasn't First Class which is a requirement
> in our troop, the other because he had only been about four meetings over six
> months and isn't yet registered in our troop. They elected the one who isn't
> yet registered.
How did these guys get to be candidates? There should be requirements
for being active in the troop, with review by the scoutmaster before
anyone can be on the ballot. Certainly, the boy who isn't registered
in your troop should not have been eligible. Think about these
issues and get policies in place before the next election.
But since that is "water under the bridge" you should work with these
guys to get the best leadership you can. Do you have written "job
descriptions" for the leadership posts? If you haven't written
your own versions of them, there are always the standard BSA ones.
I suggest that you have a meeting of all the leadership, review the
duties of each position, and ask them to commit to those duties or
relinquish their position. Actually, it probably makes sense to do
this with all the candidates before the election.
You might be surprised. Sometimes having responsibility will
bring back a scout who has been inactive. You should also
talk with the SPL in private and find out why he has been
coming to the meetings.
But even if things don't work out with the new SPL, it can still
be a learning experience for the other scouts in the troop that
they should use their votes wisely, otherwise there may be consequences
they don't like.
> 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. He has not missed
> a chance to make snide remarks or to resist anything I might suggest. In the
> last couple of months he has decided that he (through a surrogate) was going
> to do the annual planning meeting. Tonight it was announced that they were
> going to a local mountain resort this weekend. This was the first time I
> heard about this and when I said that I couldn't go this weekend, ASM's
> response was a very sarcastic, "what do you have to do this weekend?" I hope
> that they have a fun time but unfortunately that is exactly what it will be
> because no one who is going will spend any time on planning. At this point,
> I also expect to simply accept whatever plans they make and start over again
> as part of dealing with the PLC election fiasco.
Do not turn this into a them-vs-us confrontation.
Are you sure that your attitude to this ASM isn't tainted by the
If you discuss things with him without having background feeling
(which will show through), make sure that he knows you would like
work with him. Send him to the weekend outing with some tasks to
be accomplished - topics you would like worked on or activity
suggestions to be considered - and schedule a time for you two
to get together afterwards and discuss what went on.
Where is your troop committee in all this? Are either the
Committee Chair or the COR involved? How can there be a
planning meeting with you and these people? If they are
involved, then you need to look more at why you are being
put in the position of an outsider.
Does this ASM have any specific assignments or is he just
a backup SM. It is sometimes useful to have each ASM take on
some well-defined task(s) on the troop operation. Maybe all
he needs is something that he can call his own where he has
responsibility and is trusted do do his job.
> 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.
Please don't. Scouting needs all the dedicated adults we can find.
Youv'e had what feels like a bad experience, but go on from there,
learn from it and do better next time.
Bob Haar (email: email@example.com )
Chartered Organization Representative, Troop and Pack 188
BSA, Clinton Valley Council, Pontiac, Michigan, USA.
Chippewa Lodge #29, WWW
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City