A Bad Night at Scouts -Reply
Larry Rinaldo (RINALDO.LAWRENCE@EPAMAIL.EPA.GOV)
Tue, 13 Dec 1994 10:15:21 -0500
On Tue, 13 Dec 1994 Richard Ickler < email@example.com > wrote
concerning a typical problem:
>Tonight I had one of those Scout meetings that I would really like
First, Richard DON'T quit. I can sense your frustration, and your
love for the unit, however, hang in there. Remember, YOU have the
endorsement of your Troop Committee, the program leadership rests in
your hands, use this "terrible" situation and turn it into an
EFFECTIVE learning experience for the BOYS, and I think YOU will
learn some things about yourself as well.
I am glad you had a lousy night, not at your expense, but this is an
opportunity that can have a long lasting impact on the boys for years
to come. How you handle it, and the ASM will greatly affect the
current boys, and when word gets out (that you are a GREAT
leader--with a GREAT unit) you could reap some benefits for
>It was SPL and PL election night. ...(Mr. Absentee). For Patrol
>Leader ...They elected the one who isn't yet registered. 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.
Richard, why do you have to figure out how to deal with showing them
their mistake? Let them DISCOVER it. This may sound strange but sit
back and let the SPL and PL make mistakes, go on your camp-outs, just
observe, bite your tongue, and let mistakes occur. It won't take
long before the Scouts, who WANT to have FUN, will complain. You can
discover that during, a campout evaluation--if you have them at all.
From experience, in my sons troop, some younger lads, WITHOUT camping
skills were elected to be PL and SPL. The campouts were a disaster,
the SM held his tongue, and evaluated each campout. There seemed to
be a great deal of frustration from many of the boys. Several scouts
talked to the SM about the lack of Scout Skills from the PL or SPL.
Numerous scouts were going to thrash the SPL if he yelled at them
again--seemed power went to his head, and was not helpful. Needles
to say, there were new elections, and surprisingly qualified Scouts
were elected. So let the games begin, give the unqualified scouts
the ability to lead. Remember, even failure provides a learning
>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. ...I also expect to simply accept whatever plans they make
>and start over again as part of dealing with the PLC election
This seems to be your bigger problem however, HANG IN THERE. You
have the mandate from the CC to carry out a program, which leads me
to ask: what are these guys doing the planning for? As you know the
program should be boy-run, and as such, they should do the bulk of
the planning--guidance and a nudge here and there from you, but the
boys should do the bulk of the planning. Again, a learning
In dealing with this clandestine ASM, clearly state to him HIS role
with the troop. I urge you to communicate with your CC and if you
don't want to be the heavy, have the CC state the ASM role to him.
He is out-of-line. From this distance, and very subjectively, he may
want to be the SM, or has a beef with the way your running the
program, whatever his opinion, it is imperative YOU deliver a solid
program to the unit. Having done that, the excess baggage with the
ASM and scouts will fall by the wayside.
So, Richard, whatever you do DON'T quit. The unit needs your
direction, guidance, and nurturing. You say you still have a few
more months of fight in you before you throw in the towel. Your next
move is the same as it always has been, deliver a quality program.
To accomplish that, get the boys involved in planning, understanding
the need to plan, determine how to carry out the plan, what will be
why they need to plan for the activity, and then execute the plan.
When your event is over, evaluate yourself. Could you improve what
you did, if not you've been successful on every count. If the answer
to is that some things could have been changed, then have the SCOUTS
determine (you advising) what should be done for a better outcome.
So, Richard having said these things via electronic mail I hope your
enthusiasm for Scouting stays strong, your commitment stays strong
and ask for you to relay some outcomes of your unit. If you can
relay what went wrong or even what went right, others on-line may
learn from it.
...I used to be a Fox!
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City