Re: Refusing Adult Membership
Joseph Alessi (JosephAlessi@COMPUSERVE.COM)
Fri, 10 Oct 1997 08:30:32 -0400
Mike Sieber asks:
>> I am at the point where I would like suggest to the Troop
Committee that we refuse membership for both of these adults until
it is determined that we will not have any more problems from them.
Has anyone ever done this before? Can we refuse membership
with out sufficient reason? Any suggestions? <<
Adults serve at the pleasure of the troop committee and chartered
partner. Your unit is under no obligation to accept any adult. As
a matter of fact, BSA has vociferously defended our right to deny =
membership to anyone; we are a private organization, and as such are
free to discriminate in any way we choose.
By all means, kindly inform these gentlemen that there services are
not currently needed in your troop. If they still want to stay =
active in scouting, you might suggest that they talk to the District
Chairman about a district level position.
I've been thinking hard over the role and requirements for adult
uniformed leaders (SM and ASM's) since the posting about the HIV+
ASM who also is mentally disabled. This thread might be a good
point to kick off some discussions on what are the real requirements
for a leader, and what the job is.
As stated above, no one has the "right" to be an SM or ASM. It is =
the job of the chartered partner and the troop committee to screen
all applicants and make sure that they meet the requirements of
both organizations. Note that a chartered partner "owns" the unit.
They have the power to deny for any reason -- for example, if the
unit is sponsored by a church, they can require that the SM and ASM
be members of the congregation, if they wish. They can say "men
only" or "women only". They can say "no beards or tattoos". I'm
not advocating that anyone do this -- I'm just stating that it is
within their official authority.
IMHO, the SM and ASM have two major tasks: implementing the 8 =
methods of scouting within the unit, and overseeing all activities
to ensure the safety of the boys. As part of implementing the
methods of scouting, the leaders should be able to "advise" the
junior leaders to develop a boy-led unit.
In light of this, I wonder why a troop committee would approve =
a mentally disabled individual as ASM. Can this individual
understand the policies and procedures of the BSA? Do they
have the mental capabilities of recognizing an unsafe situation,
and take the proper steps? Can they fulfill the "two deep
leadership" role? Can they "advise" the troop junior leaders?
I've tried to think of reasons for doing something like this. =
The only thing I've come up with is that it might provide a
positive role model for the boys if they can see that no matter
what the difficulty, you can work hard to overcome it. However,
the person doesn't have to be an ASM to do this -- they could
be a skills counselor used by the troop without being an ASM.
Also, I don't think that this would apply for physical disabilities.
Given the "job requirements", a leader doesn't have to be a super
camper or hiker to fulfill the job - the leaders just have to make
sure that they do provide the resources necessary for the outdoor
I've put on my asbestos uniform now - what do you think?
Joseph A. Alessi in Ozwin 2.14
District Advancement Chair, Lafayette District
ASM Troop 313
Advisor to the Treasurer, Unami Lodge
I used to be an Owl
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City