Re: Transitioning Webelos Leaders Problem
Anthony Mako (ajmako@NLS.NET)
Wed, 5 Aug 1998 15:52:24 -0400
>Our troop ran into a problem with some new leaders, one a Cubmaster, one a
>Commissioner, and one who is the COR for our feeder pack that we
>will become our troop COR ... Our new leaders are heavily into CUB
>well versed in den discipline, etc.-- and are having a hard time making the
>adjustment to working with teenagers. The situation became quite
>camp last week. One of these guys even spent a great deal of time spying
>older boys' campsite at night -- that's right, he hid in the bushes and
>on their conversations. (The boys actually caught him one time and the
>caught him several times.)
Kathy, while we don't yet have this problem in our troop, your post got me
to thinking about what I would do as SM if the situation came up. Regarding
the "eavesdropping" adult:
If I had been the one to catch him I would have started by politely asking
him not to invade the Scout's privacy. It is one thing to overhear a Scout's
conversation while going about your business, and a completely different
thing to make it your business to overhear a Scout's conversation. My Scouts
have an expectation of privacy when they are in their tents. If they are
quiet and I can't hear what they are saying without standing outside their
tent, I try to ignore their conversation. It is simply none of my business.
If they are being loud and I can clearly understand what they are saying
without concentrating, they have lost that expectation of privacy.
If a Scout came to me and told me he saw or caught Mr. Soandso
eavesdropping, I would have been a little less polite. Sometimes
transitioning adults need some time to learn how to apply their training in
this new environment, but eavesdropping on Scouts is not a skill I learned
in any training course I ever attended. If Mr. Soandso continued to
eavesdrop I would have to ask him to leave. I can't allow adult leaders to
undermine a Scout's trust in me, even if it means losing a valuable adult.
>The Cub leaders spent a great deal of time discussing their problems of
>"disciplining the older boys" and complaining about the boys not only as
>individuals but as a group. It got to where I thought I would go
ballistic if I
>heard the phrase "the problem is that the older boys are . . . ." one more
This is a perfect example of why transitioning leaders should be given
training as soon as possible. They may scream that they have already been
through training in Cub Scouts, but situations like the above only prove
that it's not the same training. If they believe in the program and want to
contribute they will take the training. If they don't they aren't much use
to the troop.
>Additionally, the Cubmaster actually took our newest Scouts BY HIMSELF on a
>five mile hike very late one afternoon. When one of the boys got tired,
>instead of stopping so everyone could rest, he carried the kid!! (Boy-140
>pounds, CM-190 pounds!!!) He claimed this saved them 10 whole minutes of
>time. To this day, I don't think he can accept the fact that he did
>dangerous and foolhardy. (Also, he was using a camp orienteering course
>which he pronounced as incorrect because HE got lost.)
Yet another example of the need for Scout Leader Training. Had be been
through just Boy Scout Youth Protection training he would have known to take
another adult along. If he had been properly training in the methods and
aims of Boy Scouting (as opposed to Cub Scouting) he would have known that
stopping the hike for a short break would have been the better bet. Had he
completed Scout Leader Basic he would have known how to read the map
properly, and how to use a compass.
Situations like this make me wonder what the former Cubmaster would have
said if one of the Scouts had been seriously injured. In my troop, this man
would have been told by either myself, our advancement chair, or several
other members of the committee that he either get's training or no longer
will be allowed to participate directly with the Scouts (there are incidents
in the troop's past that makes the committee very conscious of litigation
>My question is how do your troops handle ex-Cub leaders (who consider
>themselves "trained already") and who have a terrible attitude about
Get them to training. Do not let them pass go. Do not let them collect $200.
Explain in very friendly terms that you recognize their training prepared
them to handle Cub Scouts, but Boy Scout specific training would help them
make the transition. If they complain that they've already been through
training and don't need any more, ask them to define the organization of a
Boy Scout troop from the patrol all the way to National. Better yet, ask
them to explain the aims and methods of Boy Scouting.
>The COR actually expressed to me his opinion that when a boy
>turns 14 he should be asked to leave the troop.
I would explain to the COR that if he really feels that way, he can run the
troop without me. Actually, in my situation, I would have let him know that
the troop would get on better without HIM (and I would be backed up by the
rest of the troop committee and SA's).
>Needless to say, the boys really dislike and distrust these men.
And that will only hurt the troop and interfere with its mission.
>Any thoughts on how your troops have handled this (I can't imagine
>that we are the first to experience this) is greatly appreciated.
Before I get dumped on by a boatload of former Cub leaders, let me say that
I realize not every former Cub leader acts this way. It sounds to me like
these men are the types who decide the pack won't go to Day Camp this summer
because "I don't feel like it." They also impress me as the types who went
to training only because the HAD to, already thought they knew everything,
and continued to do things their own way after training because what they
were taught in training sounded "stupid!"
These are the types of Cub leaders who generated a 35% Day Camp attendance
percentage in 1997 in my district even though we are the largest district in
membership. Only 35% of the Cub Scouts in Old Portage attended Day Camp in
1997. Percentage-wise that was the worst percentage. Real-numbers-wise, the
number of actual members who attended was less than half the number from the
smallest district. When the district staff investigated the problem they
discovered that most of the Cubs in the district didn't even know what Day
Camp was (even though Day Camp had been promoted to the point of saturation
over the previous year).
>This much I do know already: we have very fine young men in our troop and
>they deserve better treatment from their leadership.
Yes they do!
AJ Mako, email@example.com, Scoutmaster Troop 381
http://members.aol.com/Scouts381/ "Home of the Unofficial Boy Scout Desktop
Great Trail Council - Old Portage District - Akron, Ohio
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City