A Scout's Poor Behavior at Summer Camp (long; sorry)
Theodore F. Argo III (t.argoiii@POSTOFFICE.WORLDNET.ATT.NET)
Wed, 13 Aug 1997 21:37:11 -0700
Dear List Wisdom,
(Kind of a Wood's Wisdom of the net?)
Our Troop has a second year Scout who has had a series of problems from
the start of his scouting career including ADD (reportedly), diabetes and
what might be considered behavior problems, related or unrelated to his
medical problems. There have been the occasional scuffles, some more
serious than others, a definite lack of scout spirit (not breaking camp
when asked, not participating, not assisting, a torn shirt as the result of
one scuffle with another scout at a campout, and others.) For nearly 9
months, he was allowed to go on a campout ONLY if a parent was with him.
By default, he became patrol leader of a group of young scouts, and with
constant adult supervision, occasionally showed growth and increasing self
control and maturity.
During patrol leader elections in the spring, another scout was elected
patrol leader. Also during this time, the parental involvement slipped and
the parents came to campouts late, left early, or didn't fully monitor
their son effectively leaving the adults in charge with some constant
His behavior, always "on the edge", eroded significantly and crossed the
frontier at Summer Camp.
Our Troop has an extensive "Code of Conduct" that the Scout, his parents,
and the Scout Master sign before the Scout is cleared for attending summer
camp. The Troop arrived at Camp by 3 in the afternoon; the adults there
consistently report that the lad had broken the rules sufficiently to be
sent home. Yet, with frequent one-on-one attention from our Scout Master,
ASM, and three other adults there, he was allowed to stay at camp. He had
been sent with a significant amount of candy (for the diabetes) which he
gorged in the first day. (His parents insist that he can monitor his own
blood sugar.) He spent as much money as he could cajole from his money
held in trust by a Committee Member to buy more candy; when she wouldn't
release any more and then when he ultimately ran out, he spent the rest of
the time begging, demanding, or borrowing money from other Scouts.
One parent was to be there Sunday through Tuesday night and the other,
Wednesday evening through Saturday. Real car trouble happened on the way
up and his Mom returned home with the car, not making it to camp.
Two incidents happened on Thursday. He was using an axe in the axeyard in
an unsafe manner. One of our older scouts, properly, I believe, told him
to stop and leave the area. Instead he threatened the older scout with the
axe. In addition to the safety issues, and given the size difference
between the two, it was unwise. He was stripped of the axe just as two
adults arrived back at camp and separated the two. Then, several hours
later, the scout and several other young scouts were engaged in a taunting
match on the beach and the scout in question threw a small, fist sized rock
at a scout from another Troop and hit him in the back. Before word got
back to the Troop for the Troop to take action, Staff told us to remove the
scout from camp. His parents were called; his Dad DIDN'T arrive on time
Thursday night, but did make it at lunchtime on Friday and took him home.
Since then, all of the ASM's and Committee members who stayed the week have
said that they will not attend any campouts if the particular scout does.
I'm meeting one on two with the Scout's parents next week, just before our
next regularly scheduled campout.
I plan to ask them what they know about the week and their son's
activities. I'll share what I've been told about the week (I was not
there.) I'll discuss with them what they see as options for their son's
scouting career. As a bottom line, I plan to set up the following ground
rules for his participation with our Troop:
1. The Scout is welcome to attend our weekly meetings.
2. No campouts at all for three months.
3. Campouts for subsequent months only with constant parental supervision
until the core of the Troop Committee is convinced that his behavior is
4. If there's no improvement, we'll ask him to leave the Troop.
Other suggestions from the collective wisdom?
Thanks in advance,
Ted Argo III
Committee Chair, Troop 162
Beaverton, Cascade Pacific Council, Oregon
"I used to be a Cub Scout"
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City