Ed Thompson (thompson@VAX2.WINONA.MSUS.EDU)
Mon, 31 Aug 1998 11:56:38 -0600
On 8/28, Larry (a Committee Chair) pointed out a double standard when the
Scoutmaster asked Larry's son to resign as SPL because he had to miss scout
meetings or leave early for school events, but then decided to "amend Troop
policy" to allow his own son to hold the position even though there was a
conflict with football.
The real issue here boils down to who sets (or amends) "Troop Policies".
There should be two groups with this authority: the Scouts themselves or the
Troop Committee. If you have a Scoutmaster setting policies by himself, you
are asking for trouble. I suspect Larry's Troop has a relatively weak
Committee which is afraid to challenge the Scoutmaster, and the boys have
not learned the skills necessary for setting policies themselves. This can
be tough. A few years ago we had a similar situation, with an elected SPL
who did not attend meetings, compounded by an extremely small Troop size
(about 5 active boys) because conflicts with the Scoutmaster drove the older
boys to other Troops or out of scouting altogether. The ASPL, who ended up
trying to run things, was an 11-year old Tenderfoot scout. After a change
in Scoutmasters, we have spent a number of years working with the boys to
help them (re)develop leadership skills, and we're not there yet. In the
meantime, a reorganized Troop Committee (which, by the way, includes the
Scoutmaster and all Assistant Scoutmasters at all meetings) has set Troop
policies, but the goal must be to turn this over to the boys themselves.
That's the only way you will avoid an "us" (adults) vs. "them" (scouts)
situation than will destroy your Troop.
Ed Thompson, Committee Chair
Troop 6 and Pack 6
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City