Re: Camping Problems with Parents
(no name) ((no email))
Fri, 9 Feb 1996 12:16:36 -0600
Bruce Rosen wrote (with deletion only for space)
>As a result of my speech all but three families did sign up to >participate
in our remaining campouts this year, including one >father who is in a
wheelchair but is able to do one of our trips >because of the location (in
fact he has even managed to complete >SMF). However, 3 families have not
signed up. One boy has >parents who are practically invisible in the Troop
since the >first camping trip that he attended 2 years ago when the
>step-father did attend.
That happens a lot in "splintered families", Bruce. It could be
that the step-father was unconfortable being the "dad" to this
Scout during the event, and rather to endure it further, they
opted not to participate in subsequent events.
>The other 2 families have both had 2 boys in the Troop (one made >Eagle).
In both cases they have never once gone camping with >either the older, or
now the younger boy. One of the families >will drive to events if needed.
They once drove from MD to NY to >transport boys back from Summer Camp the
year both of their boys >attended together. The father in the other family
is actually >our Committee Chair. He just plain says, "I will not camp."
>This includes refusing to go when he could have stayed in the >heated house
My father, whom was a Army drill sergeant during the majority of
the time I was in a Troop, also refused to camp. He told the
Troop's Committee Chair (a Colonel) and one of the Scoutmasters
during the many years I was there (a Lieutenant Colonel) that
"I'll drive whatever vehicle, I'll haul materials, and I will
even attend the training course. But I won't camp with the boys.
That's where I draw the line. My son's in the Scouts, not me
and I want him to have the experience of camping and doing all
of the Boy Scout things. I do enough camping-out as it is!"
I'm sure that it took him a lot of personal courage to say that
to his Battalion Commander, but I'm sure that it took even more
courage on the part of Colonel Vockery to say "Okay, Bob. You're
going to be our Transportation Chair", instead of putting on
his "military hat" and saying something to the effect of "I camp,
YOU camp, get the picture?" (I'm giggling as I'm typing this,
because not only I can't see Bill Vockery say that to anyone, I
KNOW how much he LOVES (said tongue-in-cheek) to camp!)
You get what you can get, Bruce. I think that you've got a great
set of parents, even if you only 70 to 80 percent of the parents
helping you out. If those parents did NOTHING at all, I would
have some concern. But my feeling is that as long as the majority
of the parents are willing and do assist you and the Troop Committee out
with significant help, don't worry about those
few that choose for WHATEVER reason, not to participate. Keep
encouraging them to assist you and the Troop Committee, but don't
badger them for refusing to help and don't penatlize the Scouts
for their parent's lack of participation in *their* program.
My father was right. It is MY program and MY participation is
the most important. You might want to consider asking the
chartered partner organization for additional adult support, or
even another Troop. I know of LOTS of Scouters that would camp
out overnight if "push came to shove" and you can't find anyone
else. As a Unit Commissioner, and later as a District Commissioner, I was
on the receiving end of a lot of phone calls
from Scoutmasters that needed "one more Scouter" to go with him
to a camping trip, or "a last-minute substitute" for a Scouter
that got sick or have family problems that kept him from participating.
>I have talked with the senior boy leadership about changing our
>camping schedule next year to do more Sat. Night (after sundown)
>to Sunday camping in order to do it in better weather so as to
>remove the "its to cold" excuse from the non-camping families.
Not a bad idea at all.
>Assuming we modify our camping schedule for next year I have
>been thinking of telling the Troop Committee that I plan on doing
>the following. At the start of the school year I will ask people >to sign
up for camping trips. Unless we have had an unexpected
>increase in membership, families that do not sign up for at least >one trip
will be informed that there is not a place for their >boys in the camping
program because of our limited volunteer >base.
Not a good idea, Bruce. What you'll end up with is a lot of
parents signing up for events that they KNOW that they would NOT
be able to attend. Then, when that event comes around, they
cancel out, leaving you alone with a lot of boys to take camping.
The old plan of asking for adults prior to the event, and asking
for additional adults from the chartered partner or from the
District, is a better plan all the way around. Also, you might
want to consider recruiting several Assistant Scoutmasters to
help you on a more regular basis.
>given my Committee Chair's attitude towards camping the result
>would be a most interesting and very "loud" meeting. I guess my
>real question is, am I justified in taking this action, or am I >burned out
and should I instead resign as SM at the end of this >school year before
causing the resulting uproar?
Nope, you don't sound "burned out", Bruce. You sound frustrated.
Frustrated that the same folks continually help you out. What have you done
to recognize them for their help? What have you and the Troop Committee
done to get more Assistants for your Troop? Don't resign because you're a
little frustrated, Bruce.
As others will tell you here, your Troop's in GREAT shape. There are some
Scouters here that would LOVE to even get consistant
help during camping events....they have to go out and "corrall"
someone to go with them with EVERY event, and as far as seeing
the parents....they are lucky if they KNEW if some kids HAD parents!
>I should also point out that there does not appear to be anyone >at this
point willing to serve as SM. I became SM at the >conclusion of my son's
first year in the Troop and will have been >in place for 2 years this May.
Don't leave until you have someone well in place to serve as SM
when you leave. Where's your Assistant Scoutmaster? Are you training and
coaching him or her to take your place when you do
decide to leave? If you are, isn't that person the logical person
to assume the coaching role of Scoutmaster?
Hope this advice helps you out in your decision.
(MAJ) Mike L. Walton (Settummanque, the blackeagle) (
co-Owner, Blackeagle Servics of Kentucky (502.826.7046) __)_
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