Re: Potential Problem Scouts
Bruce E. Cobern (bec@PIPELINE.COM)
Sat, 15 Aug 1998 11:47:33 -0400
At 10:42 AM 8/15/98 -0400, Anthony J. Mako wrote:
>Personally, my belief is that all boys can benefit from Scouting. Allowing
>one Scout's actions to negatively affect the experience of the rest of the
>troop doesn't help present a good program. I take losing ANY Scout very
>personally. That's what I have to do. If a Scout leaves the troop I have to
>expend some energy finding out why. Not so I know what to put on the
>recharter forms, but so I can either do something about the problem,
>reassure the Scout that he's welcome back whenever he wants, or offer to
>help him find a troop he'll be more comfortable with. The answer is zero. If
>just one Scout leaves because of the conduct of another Scout, it is
That's all well and good, but in the real world there are times when people
are incompatible, where those who are charged with the responsibility are
not either trained to or comfortable with dealing with certain situations
and where, thus, decisions have to be made. Scouting is not and cannot, nor
was it ever intended to be, all things to all people. These choices DO have
to be made. It would be nice if we lived in Utopia, but if it were Utopia
then these incompatibilities and conflicts wouldn't exist in the first place.
I think Rick's (if it was Rick) point in the very first post was that if it
was a case of a particular Scout creating a situation where his actions made
it unsafe for the rest of the unit it might be necessary to separate that
Scout from the unit.
>Your final question, however, is somewhat loaded. If "A" is a problem Scout,
>and "B" is your average Scout, sacrificing B's opportunity for the sake of
>A's isn't right. On the other hand, if I say A can't be in Scouts because he
>interferes with B's opportunity it is also not right.
>Before we get into a discussion of numbers, let's look at this a little
>differently. If all of the other Scouts in the troop got together and forced
>A to quit. Would that simply be an expression of majority will, or would it
>in fact be a case of sacrificing one Scout's opportunity in favor of another
>Scout's? What if A wasn't a problem Scout, what if he was just "different"?
This may sound harsh, but each of us has a certain comfort level in dealing
with certain types of people. I might not be comfortable working with
people with certain types of physical handicaps. That certainly is not
THEIR problem, it is MY problem, and I acknowledge it as such. The solution
is for me to try, within reason, to avoid dealing with people with those
handicaps. Now, in an employment situation I might not have a choice, but
in a volunteer situation, if I am not comfortable with the situation in
which I am expected to perform I can just choose not to stay in that
situation. Now the solution might be to remove myself from the situation,
rather than to remove those that are making me uncomfortable, but either way
I am no longer in that situation.
I think the same thing holds true with disruptive Scouts. At some point the
leader reaches a point where he is no longer comfortable functioning in that
situation. At that point his choice is either to remove himself or what he
considers the irritant. Initially my choice would be for the leader to
leave. But what if that leaves the rest of the unit without leadership and
puts their ability to enjoy the program in jeopardy? What if it is not just
ONE leader who feels that way but ALL or MOST of them?
My point is that it is very idealistic to say the every boy is entitled to
the Scouting program in the troop of his choice, but that just is not the
case in the real world. Ultimately, if the leaders are not enjoying their
experience they will just cease being leaders. This is clearly the
conundrum that faced Kirk and Spock in the Star Trek movies over whether the
needs of the many outweighed the needs of the few or the one, but there is
no one and only correct answer to that question.
God bless you for your patience and commitment. Each of us contributes to
the limit of our abilities, physical, mental and emotional, and those limits
differ for each of us.
(BTW: I have never actually had a Scout thrown out of a troop where I was
involved, although we had one where I wanted to do so but was out voted.
The only way I stayed on as an ASM at that point was with the understanding
that I would have nothing to do with him. Otherwise I would have found
Bruce E. Cobern
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City