Re: Advice needed(long but serious)
(no name) ((no email))
Thu, 7 Dec 1995 15:29:54 -0600
Mike Montoya wrote (with some deletions only for space concerns):
>Here's the problem:
>The father (Troop Committee Chairman) thinks this is unfair. He wanted this
>son to get his eagle awarded during his oldest son's (an Eagle now at the
>Citadel) Christmas Break. He wants to know when we will pass on his son.
The answer I would give is "When you son lives up to the ideals of the Oath
and Law he raises his hand up to each week." When pressed for a timeline, I
continue, "You and I both know how your son is. Would YOU, in my position,
approve a Scout with your son's discipline problems for Eagle? Would your
older son, whom is an Eagle Scout, and now a Citidel Cadet...would HE
approve another Scout if he behaved like your son has?"
When the parent pauses, and starts to say "Sure I would", I would reply,
"That's the problem I have. I'm not you. I have a problem with the way your
Scout son has displayed Scout Spirit. I came here kinda at the tail end of
things, and I don't understand how come this has went onward as long as it
already has (I do, Mike, but I don't want him to know that I do!).
"It may take me -- and your son -- a couple of months."
When the parent mouses about wanting to have his son to receive his Eagle
during Christmas break with his older son present, remind him that the Eagle
Scout process takes longer than that, and even if I approved it last month,
it may be
after the New Year before National returns the Badge and other materials to
the Troop for presentation.
"And in THIS Troop, the Eagle is going to be presented...this is our first
Eagle, and it's important that we have it presented the RIGHT WAY and in the
>I'm going to have to see another 3 or 4 months of his "new" side before I'll
>be convinced that he won't lash out and hit the younger scouts when they get
>in his way, and work towards making the troop function more smoothly, and in
>general, demonstrate that he is Eagle material.
You may have to settle for two to three months instead. Longer, and the
Troop Committee Chair and his Scout son may leave (which may NOT be a bad
thing afterall *hitting self on leg*). Seriously, when things drag onward
for an extended period like that, you can be sure of other problems creeping
up and everything being "related" back to the "core issue" here.
>By the way, the issue of whether the SM is within his power to even set up
>"Scoutmaster conference by committee" never even came up in the discussions.
Technically, there's nothing that says that the Scoutmaster cannot depend
upon others' opinions before signing the application. I talk with my wife
before I sign papers, so I don't think that having "a committee" to HELP you
make the decision (not to MAKE the decision), with the Scoutmaster having
the final word (as it should always be) is anything bad (Jessica, don't read
>I wonder about that, but maybe I'm just a little sore from having to be the
>"bad guy" on this one, but I feel very strongly that somebody had to be, and
>I would have had to do something if the SM had yielded to the pressure of
>the dad and passed on this one.
I would have taken the same road you did, Mike, so don't feel bad at all.
The most important thing is that as the Scoutmaster, HE and only HE have the
FINAL SAY no matter who says what about this matter. So, even though you
may recommend that the Scout not be approved, the Scoutmaster can still turn
around and sign the application and let the Board of Review handle it.
This is what I would have done, as Scoutmaster, however:
First, I would have sat down with the Scout WHEN HE BECAME LIFE. I would
explain to him *my* expectations, and go over again what the Scout Spirit
requirement says. I would also listen to *his* expectations of how he's going
to complete the requirements for Eagle during this period. That's what the
Scoutmaster's Conference is all about!
Second, I would observe his interaction, along with listening to others in
the Troop (youth and adult) over the six month period. I would talk with
and work with this kid, as I would any other of the Life Scouts in the
Troop. Remember, I too, want an Eagle Scout in my Troop badly too, and I
want to insure that I give it my (and their) BEST SHOT.
Third, with the Scout's behavior still as negative as Mike wrote here, I
would sit with the Scout *and his parents* and explain that I will not sign
the Eagle Application unless I AND THE OTHER LEADERS (youth and adult) SEE
AN DRASTIC IMPROVEMENT OVER A TWO TO THREE MONTH PERIOD. That's where that
discussion I outlined above comes into play.
Finally, with no significant improvement, I would place on the Scoutmaster
approval line "DOES NOT APPROVE", and inclose a letter to the Board of
Review why I wrote this. The Board of Review has the authority to forward
the application if they feel that I misspoke or if they did not value my
opinions on the Scout Spirit of the Scout. Remember, the Council Scout
Executive must sign the application too, and he or she can refer back to me
if he or she has problems with the application.
By placing the words "DOES NOT APPROVE", it prevents someone else (angry
ambitious Troop Committee Chair or District Advancement Chair) from "placing my
signature" there. By adding the signed statement, at least the Board of
Review would be alerted as to how I felt about the Scout and his progress
(or lack thereof).
Note that there's NO PLACE along the process that the Scoutmaster MUST SIGN
the Eagle Scout Application, nor is there anywhere where the Scoutmaster
MUST include a statement on the behavior of the Scout. Finally, there's NOT
a requirement for the Board of Review to even consider my statement
(although most Boards will consider it). Therefore, it is possible that
despite your Troop's valiant efforts to do "quality control" (a bit late,
but it's being done!), that
kid can STILL become an Eagle Scout.
Hope that this all helps in the discussion.
(MAJ) Mike L. Walton (Settummanque, the blackeagle) (
co-Owner, Blackeagle Servics of Kentucky __)_
174 Chapelwood Drive, Henderson, Kentucky 42420-5036 | ** |]
(H) 502.827.9201 (F) 502.826.7046 (W) 800.816.6746 coffee? anytime!
also via Blackeagle Services 502.826.7046 or 800.816.6746 /BlkeagleS@AOL.COM
"Ask about Geoworks, Leaders' Online & visiting *your* place to talk Scouting!!!
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City