Behavior Away from Home
James H. McCullars (mccullarsj@EMAIL.UAH.EDU)
Wed, 1 Feb 1995 10:39:05 -0600
Milt Forsberg writes:
-->I am concerned because, not only are these places becoming unavailable to
-->us, but it is giving people outside the Scouting Prgram a bad picture of
-->what we should be. My troop has travelled the Midwest for over 25
-->years. We always instruct our members on behavior and we supervise them
-->to be sure the behavior is maintained. What is happening to control of
-->some of the other units out there? Where are the leaders when this is
-->happening? What can we do collectively to curb these problems? I wonder
-->if there is anything which can be put into the training process on
-->etiquette, behavior, and supervision. This should be more of a common
-->sense item, but we appear to lack something in this area.
We sure do. Let me add a couple of examples.
A couple of years ago, I wanted to take my troop to Noccalula Falls Park
in Gadsden, Ala. I grew up near there and always thought it was a real
special place, and wanted to take the troop there. When the rest of the
troop agreed to go, I called the campground to make arrangements. They
weren't too excited about us coming, since they had had some bad
experiences with another troop (leaving trash in the campground and
throwing t.p. all over the bathrooms). Fortunately, I was able to get us
permission to go, and after the first night, the people running the
campground couldn't do enough for us. We've been back a couple of times
since, and they always treat us great.
A couple of weeks ago, our troop went to Cumberland Caverns in
McMinnville, TN, which has an overnight program for Scout and other youth
groups. I wasn't able to go, but got a report from the Asst SM that led
the trip. During the commercial tour, there is a part where they turn off
all the lights and do a special presentation with lights and voice-overs
and music that is somewhat spiritual in nature. They ask that no
flashlights or flash cameras be operated during the presentation, and even
offer to repeat parts of the light sequences after it is over for the
benefit of those wanting to make pictures. Seems that boys from one of the
other troops couldn't follow simple instructions like leave the flashlights
off and kept disrupting the presentation. According to my SA, the other
leaders didn't say a word to their Scouts, and finally he turned to them
(the Scouts) and told them he would take their flashlights if they didn't
leave them off. They left them off.
At the university campus where I work, there is a lake with a small
(maybe 50) population of ducks and geese. Several years ago, one of my co-
workers mentioned that while running around the lake after work, she
observed a group of Cub Scouts that were having a marvelous time chasing
the ducks and geese. She said that the two adults that were in charge of
the group (one male and one female) were apparently paying more attention
to each other than to the boys in their charge. She finally went over and
politely told the boys that this was the ducks' home, and they shouldn't be
treating them that way.
At a summer camp we attended a couple of years ago, the camp director
made a speech at the beginning of the week that any Scout caught outside
his campsite after taps would be detained by the local juvenile authorities
rather than taken back to his campsite. He was visibly upset by some
things that had gone on the week before. Privately, he told me that they
had problems with Scouts cutting holes in brand new tents, and someone had
defecated in the water fountain at one of the program shelters.
I share Milt's concerns about the image that is being done to Scouting
by those who would give it a bad name. While I believe the majority of
Scouters do not tolerate such behavior, it does remains an unfortunate fact
that the troublemakers are the ones remembered.
What do we do?
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City