Dan OCanna (ocanna@ALPHA.CAER.UKY.EDU)
Mon, 9 Jun 1997 10:04:44 -0400
First of all, Mike, I'm assuming this is a hypothetical situation. It
gives a chance to stop and look at how we can help this (I hope) mythical
young man. One of the Aims of Scouting is character development and to me
the Scout leader's appropriate response to Willie and those folks involved
with the troop's Charter Organization should deal with with that issue.
Every young person will make a mistake (or two) in judgement. Like any
other mistake the important part of the experience for the Scout is to
give him a chance to learn a life lesson. As a Scout leader I see my roll
as being the person in the Scout's corner. Not a blind defendant
necessarily, but some one who is on the Scout's side.
>Now the hard part is figuring out just what you want to say. As you mull
>this over you realize you have several questions:
>1. Does this situation even require you to do anything?
Probably not much. Depending on the ammount of stir the incident caused
you may not be able to act as if it never happened. It should not be
blown out of porportion either. My personal opinion is that the prank was
just that. A momentary lapse of judgement that caused no lasting harm.
Probably a quiet chat with Willie where you give him a little help
deciding why his judgement was faulty would be enough. If the other
Scouts in the troop seem unwilling to let the matter drop quietly some
kind of statement encouraging them to do so may also be called for.
>2. How will this impact Willie's leadership roll in the Troop?
You could empasize to Willie how his leadership can be used constructively
and how things can get out of hand if he does not take that roll seriously.
>3. How is the chartered organization likely to feel about this?
I would prefer to see the CO be willing to give Willie another chance.
There's nothing wrong with disaproving of the incident and letting Willie
and the other Scouts know that. Also making it clear that any similar
indcidents would not be considered a temporary lack of judgement but
a deliberate act of disobedience would be important.
>4. What if they demand you kick Willie out of the Troop - how will you
Under the circumstances described kicking Willie out of the troop sounds
way too serious. If it turned out that Willie were the "Masked Mooner" who
had been terrorizing the town for months, or that he was acting our some
kind of sick sexual behavior then he certainly might need more help than
a typical volunteer Scouter is up to. That was not what was desceibed,
>5. You know the pastor will likely want to discuss the future of the Troop
> and what Scouting is about in the process. What can you tell him about
> the Scouting Movement, its aims, and its goals that will help in deciding
> what to do about wayward Willie?
This would be a good time to go over the part of the Scoutmaster Handbood
that deals with the Aims and Methods of Scouting with the pastor. IMNSHO
those Aims and Methods are just what is called for in Willie's case. I'd
love to see the pastor of our CO take Scoutmastership Fundamentals so he
could get first hand experience of what a Scout troop does and how the
Methods of Scouting are used to promote the Aims. In this case I'd try to
explain what the Aims of Scouting are. How the troop uses the Methods to
acheive those Aims and, how the Scouting program gives young men a chance
to test and develop their judgement.
If you think I'm going too soft on poor old Willie then you never saw
my dorm's yearbook from 1973-4. Even our mothers wouldn't recognize
us from our floor's group picture. And I hope MY mother never sees
it. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Just a short term lapse
in jugement and good taste, I guess.
Yours in the spirit of Scouting,
Dan O'Canna Lexington, Kentucky
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City