Intro, and scary story
Storms, Randy (rstorms@BHAM.WEDNET.EDU)
Tue, 10 Jun 1997 09:34:00 -0700
Greetings, all. My name is Randy Storms, and I am Acting SM for Troop
25, Blaine, WA. I am 29 years old, an Eagle Scout, and I served on our
council camp staff in various capacities for several years.
Troop 25 has just been "kick started" after being defunct for two years
for lack of leadership.
So much for my intro, now here's my story:
(it rambles a bit, bear with me)
At the first troop meeting I was introduced to the new Scoutmaster --
stringy, greasy hair to his shoulders, 5-day beard, dirty T-shirt and
jeans, and a fine set of prison-style biker knuckle tattoos (L-O-V-E and
H-A-T-E). I had some trepidation but somebody told me he was an Eagle
Scout, so I figured he deserved the benefit of the doubt.
I sat down to fill out my paperwork, and the SM said: "Don't worry
about the background check; I've got some convictions and they don't
care as long as they aren't sex crimes." (and I thought, where did they
*find* this guy?) But he seemed sincere in his desire to put a troop
together, so I did my job and kept quiet. It later became evident that
he was operating with less than a full command of basic literacy skills.
While I found that alarming, I work in education and I try not to hold
that against people.
Three weeks later he brought his son-in-law, who lives with him, to be
another ASM -- Another Eagle Scout, this one from a local troop, and he
seemed like a nice guy, until...
The next day I took my wife, 2-year old daughter and mother-in-law to
the local carnival. I saw the new ASM hanging around with the carnival
workers; wearing sweatpants with no shirt, and smoking a cigarette.
He saw me, walked over and introduced me to his wife, -- the SM's
daughter -- who happened to be missing three front teeth. (and I
thought, what is this, Dogpatch?)
After they left, my mother-in-law pulled me aside and told me that she
recognized the ASM's wife as a known junkie and dealer, and she had been
permanently banned from my mother-in-law's place of employment.
That was enough for me. I made a few inquiries at the courthouse (thank
you, Public Information Act!) and learned that since the Scoutmaster
moved here twelve years ago, he has accumulated four felony convictions
for assorted charges including seperate incidents of first degree theft
and possession of stolen property.
You might say, "The SM has served his time and paid his debt, his past
mistakes should not count against him." (I heard this from a district
I say, A convicted felon four times over with a drug dealer living in
his house is not the sort of role model I believe we should look for in
The ASM is just 23 years old, and the records only go back to when he
turned 18. But they still include several convictions including
assault, violation of a no-contact order, possession of drug
paraphenalia, DUI, multiple counts of driving with a suspended license,
a pending case in superior court for possession of cocaine, and a
current arrest warrant for obstructing a public servant.
I think we can agree he is not our ideal leader.
I contacted the Charter Rep and asked him to confirm my findings
independently. He did, and the pair were given an emphatic "thanks, but
NO thanks". After some yelling and threatening, they left.
Two days later a troop leader's house was vandalized. While there is no
real proof that the SM or ASM were involved, the sheriff said it was
probably an "I know where you live" kind of warning. That leader may
not stay with the troop - He is not having the warm, fuzzy, Fred
MacMurray type scouting experience he was expecting, and now he is
worried about leaving his wife alone.
Now here's the kicker -- It will be *eight more weeks* before we finally
get the official background check submitted with our leader applications
back from the scout office. If we had not taken our own initiative to
identify and solve the problem, our troop parents would have been
sending their children camping with two really scary guys, all because
they trust the BSA to provide good leaders.
It's a sad commentary on our times, but I encourage everyone to know who
they are jumping into bed with - the Eagle badge is not a guarantee of
Yours in Scouting,
Troop 25 Blaine, WA
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City