Lighter Side of Lighter Fluid
Chris Schwartz (chris.schwartz@GSFC.NASA.GOV)
Tue, 12 Nov 1996 09:34:51 -0500
I sent the attached letter to a scout parent. The parent, who has
been reasonably active in the troop and is also the Unit Commisioner
took offense and said he would abide the conditions of his son's
probation but would not help the troop after that. I think I've
made an enemy and would like a strategy in correcting the problem.
The UC said that it was not the fact that his son was put on probation
that was the problem for him, it was the "tone" of the letter.
The UC's son was cought at the yearly planning camping trip playing
with lighter fluid. He was squirting lighter fluid on his own boots
and setting them aflame. The problem got out of hand when another
boy, wanting to join in the fun, squirted lighter fluid up the UC's
son's pants' leg. Nobody came away with burns (fortunately).
The kid is a good kid, but tends to be hyperactive. His brother is an
attention deficit disorder kid.
What do I do now? I am thinking of writing an apology to the father.
I wrote the letter to the most flagrant violater's parents first and
copied most of it to the parents of the other boys.
All three were put on probation. Clearly, if the other two boy's parents
pull the boys for the troop, this wouldn't be a loss. I am concerned
about the UC's son.
Chris Schwartz, CC Troop 1033, Beltsville, MD.
Dear Mr. & Mrs. McDonald,
I regret to inform you that as a result of your son, Mike's
flagrant misuse of fire during the leadership meeting of
November 1, 2 & 3, your son has been put on scout probation.
This is a decision of the Troop 1033 Committee. Since Mike
is a Life Scout who has enjoyed leadership positions in the
troop, he is well versed in fire safety. Your son was
selected for this planning activity because of his
leadership skills. The scout handbook explicitly states
that flammable liquids should be kept in sealed containers
around open fires. I hold Mike fully responsible for his
Scout probation dictates that you must attend a Scout
Committee Meeting before your son can be readmitted to the
troop. He is barred from attending scout meetings or
outings until you attend the committee meeting. The next
committee meeting is November 11 at 7:30 at Emmanual
Methodist Church. At this meeting terms for Mike's
readmission to the troop will be discussed. Typical
conditions include the following: Parent supervised
attendance at all meetings or outing for a period of six
months (you or Mike's mother must attend all activities);
Mike will be required to assist in the presentation of a
fire prevention training in the troop.
I hope you recognize that scouting must be a safe activity.
The leaders of troop 1033 cannot be expected to inspect all
camping gear or manage the minute by minute activities of
young adult scouts. Therefore, penalties for safety
violations tend to be harsh. I hope that Mike and you will
use this as a growing experience.
P. Christopher Schwartz Troop 1033 Committee Chairman
Christopher Crosswhite Troop 1033 Scoutmaster
Chris Schwartz (301) 286-7345
Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City