Re: A Scout's Poor Behavior at Summer Camp (long; sorry)
Mark Wright (wrightmd@ROANOKE.INFI.NET)
Thu, 14 Aug 1997 08:14:42 -0400
Theodore F. Argo III wrote:
> 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
> monitoring responsibility.
> 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?
First, Ted, I like your solutions to this problem.
A couple of additional comments, though. You say that the boy is
'reportedly' ADD. Who says so? ADD can be diagnosed only by an MD. My
son has been diagnosed with "profound ADD (not ADHD, which is another
problem altogether!) We have struggled with many of the same symptoms
which you describe. At one of his therapy sessions, though, his Dr.
said something to him which you might bear in mind as you go into this
meeting with the boy and his parents. ADD is a *reason* why some kids
behave badly. It is NOT, though an excuse for bad behavior. A child
with ADD *knows* the difference between right and wrong. He knows what
is acceptable behavior. Because of the impulsivity which is also a
symptom of ADD, the child has a difficult time, though, behaving in an
Trust me, the parents *know* their son has a behavior problem. They
also, though, need to know that you cannot allow 'their' little behavior
problem to destroy your Troop. Ask them if their boy is medicated for
ADD. There are several options in this area, and if he is as out of
control as you seem to indicate, I doubt if he can self-control.
If you can correct this problem, and if the boy *does* remain in
Scouting, he will probably improve with age. We have another boy in our
Troop who makes my son look normal! We'll call him Bob. Bob was
*always* in trouble. At Troop meetings he couldn't sit still. He was
always talking. When we played a game, he'd lose control and interfere
with the other boys. He chose as his two best buddies two young men who
wound up leaving Scouting. They were horrible to Bob. They had new and
unique ways of 'setting him up' and then standing back to watch him get
Well this year Bob couldn't ride the bus to camp with us. Seems he had
a family reunion. His sister drove him up on Monday morning, though.
We were set for lots of problems. Who would he gravitate to? How long
would it be until Bob was in trouble? We needn't have worried. He was
a model camper. Never late to anything. Always available to help.
Never without a smile.
Mike Walton posted a note yesterday that stated a lot of *my* reasons
for being in Scouting. They all deal with the boys, though. There is
one more. I won't soon forget the look on the face of Bob's Dad when I
told him what a *joy* it was to have his son in camp this summer. As
parents we all like to hear good things about our children.
Unfortunately, all too often, there aren't many good things to be said
about ADD kids. Or the good things are outweighed by the bad ones.
Oh, one more thing about Bob. He ages out in April of '98. He is a
CC Pack 584
ASM Troop 136
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City