Re: Scoutmaster Problem
Michael F. Bowman (mfbowman@CAPACCESS.ORG)
Wed, 16 Jul 1997 20:00:09 -0400
> rank and merit badges, except two. These two boys are the Scoutmaster's
> sons. It seems that they do not have to complete all of the requirements
> for their rank (he just signs it off). When it comes to merit badges, he
> gives them to his sons even though the merit badge counselor advises him
> that they have not completed all of the requirements. The sad part of
What seems to be happening may not be an accurate assessment of what is
going on. Do you know for a fact that the sons have not completed their
requirements? How did they get through six and in the other's case five
Boards of Review, if they weren't doing their requirements? Who signed
the merit badge cards? Was it signed by a registerred merit badge
counselor? If the Board of Review members and Merit Badge Counselors
are all signing off that the boys have completed the requirements, then
it would suggest either that your perceptions are not accurate; e.g., the
boys have earned their ranks,or that the problem is much deeper than the
Scoutmaster and involves many more people - none willing to speak up over
the course of time, which is unusual but not impossible.
You mentioned that the SM listened to you say your piece and then went on
as before. Did he explain himself or what was going on? Or was he
allowing you all to vent and not taking it seriously enough to believe
any explanation was required? You may have a situation where he didn't
feel he owed an explanation and gave none or less than the full story.
Not so many years ago I had a woman tell me at a meeting that the only
reason my son got an award was that I was on the District staff. I was
too angry to respond and said nothing to her for fear of what I might say
and from the realization that I didn't owe her any explanation. She had
made an assumption and built a story on that without ever realizing that
I had nothing to do with the award at all. And this was in Cub Scouts,
where parents are supposed to work with their sons to see that they
complete their work.
If I sound defensive of your SM, it is only because it is often hard to
know the whole situation until you've walked a mile in the moccasins of
If your SM is passing off awards to his sons without them earning them,
he is cheating his own children and cruely, because for the rest of their
lives they will know they never deserved them. And if so all three will
bear the guilt for the rest of their lives. No small price.
As a practical matter, if things have gone this far, there is not much
that can be done except to verify that the Life Scout has met all the
requirements for Eagle. And it sounds like by the time the three of you
form a new troop this may have happened already. Starting a new Troop at
that point may not accomplish much or fix much. The damage will aready
How is this leader doing with the rest of the boys? Does the Troop have a
good program? Are the boys getting a good experience? If you left would
this cause you to have a weak unit and leave the remaining troop weak, so
that in time both might be in danger of folding?
It is a lot easier to fix a damaged but otherwise healthy unit, than to
start new one.
Finally, if you all leave, will this be better for the boys?
Speaking only for myself in the Scouting Spirit, Michael F. Bowman
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