scouts-l Mail Archive for April of 2000: Re: Scout Spirit and Advancement
dave beaver (xl23795@SWBELL.NET
Mon Apr 24 2000 - 06:34:29 CDT
You have received some great advice from previous posts. I strongly
agree with those who have advised you to "assume" that your son's Troop
has his growth and his best interests at heart. It is always advisable
to assume the "best," but I think it is also sometimes appropriate to
investigate the "worst" while we're assuming the best.
When I hear of a young man who has been denied advancement because of
"Scout spirit" by a Board of Review, I am usually suspicious of the
agenda which led to the denial of advancement. I am going to "assume"
that your role in Scouting has been limited to support of your son and
that you have not been an active committee member.
Typically, when I hear of a Scout that has been denied advancement for a
specific period of time, I "assume" that the Scout is essentially being
punished for a specific trait and is being given a period of time to
either (l) eliminate a character trait or (2) develop a character trait
that is lacking. As Scout leaders, our mission is to guide and enhance
those personal qualities that are not irreverant. We should never
punish qualities that do not conflict with the concept of reverance.
Units which engage in this practice seek, IMO, to break the spirit of a
Scout like a wrangler seeks to break the spirit of a colt. In other
words, these units seek to "domesticate" the Scout within their vision.
As a Scoutmaster, I am "fiercely" loyal to my Scouts. I expect my
Scouts to be fiercely loyal to (1) their creator, (2) their families,
(3) themselves and (4) their fellow Scouts. How does your son measure
up in this regard? If he measures up pretty good, then I'd start
inquiring a little bit. Let's turn the assumptions around. Keep in
mind that a Scout leader, any leader, should NEVER expect a Scout to be
loyal to any Troop adult.
If one of my Scouts was denied rank advancement due to "Scout spirit"
(or any other reason for that matter), I would immediately be in contact
with that Scout, his parents, the Board of Review members and anybody
else that might have something to do with the Scout or the decision.
Why? A Scout of mine, with MY initials in his book, just got denied
something that I very strongly believe he deserves. The Board of Review
just told me that I FAILED. I just got an "F." I don't like "F's."
Your post did not mention any contact in this regard from the
Scoutmaster. Therefore, I am going to "assume" that your Scoutmaster is
in "cahoots" with your Committee or it's Board of Review with reference
to a specific Troop or personal agenda.
Just who was on your son's Board of Review? How well do you know them?
Keep these two things in the back of your mind:
A. A Board of Review shoud NEVER have a member that is an Assistant
Scoutmaster or is the spouse of an Assistant Scoutmaster. For this
purpose, an Assistant Scoutmaster is ANYONE who regularly camps with the
Troop or who has significant interaction with Scouts on outings OR TROOP
MEETINGS, regardless of their title. Does your Committee Chair
regularly attend Troop meetings or campouts? If so, they have no
business serving on a Board of Review. Why? He or she cannot
impartially evaluate your Troop, the effectiveness of your Troop's
leaders, your Troop's program or the quality of your son's experiences
with his Troop. A Board of Review essentially evaluates the Troop, not
B. Your son's Scoutmaster should NEVER agree with a denial of rank
advancement by a Board of Review. This is akin to him saying "I'm a
moron." If he says he "left it up to the Board," then something is
amiss. He has abdicated his role as Scoutmaster or he is using the
Board as his "whipping post" because he does not have the guts to tell
the Scout why he is not putting his initials in his Scout Handbook.
If "A" above is the case in your Troop, your Troop has a problem. It is
not maintaining a safe haven. You do not have "checks and balances"
present in your Troop organization. The maintainence of a "safe haven"
is the number one thing for any Troop. You cannot have a Troop program
without a safe haven. Call other parents, get active on your son's
Troop's committee and get educated (get trained). Find out the name of
your Troop's Unit Commissioner, call him or her and express your
concerns. If you don't believe this person is "listening" to you, call
your Council office and talk to one of your District's professionals.
Express your concerns.
If "B" above is the case, get active on the Troop committee, go to
meetings and get things changed. If necessary, become an advocate for a
another Scoutmaster. Scoutmaster's owe their loyalty to their Scouts
and their parents, NOT the Troop Committee.
I'm sorry folks, but a Scout should never be denied advancement because
a Board of Review determined a Scout lacks "Scout spirit." If this is
the case, something is broken somewhere in that Troop's organization and
a "two month" period isn't going to fix the organization or develop the
heart of a Scout.
Mud Dogs 54
"Nichols, Kimberly" wrote:
> Hello, fellow scouters! I am new to the list, but joined because I need
> some feedback from everyone out there re. a situation regarding advancement
> in our troop.
> My son (age 14) was held back two (2) months on advancement because of Scout
> Spirit. My initial reaction is that this is not right. My son has the
> typical issues of being embarrassed to be a scout and being in the last year
> of Middle School he has that usual I'm the top of the heap attitude.
> However, he has done nothing in my opinion to warrant being held back from
> advancement based solely on Scout Spirit. He does not lie, cheat, or steal.
> In other words, his behavior is no worse or better than other boys of 14 in
> our troop. He has no discipline problems at school and none at home - other
> than the usual asking three times to mow the lawn or clean his room. He
> attends all meetings and wears his Class A uniform appropriately.
> Can anyone out there share their thoughts on this issue? I feel the Board
> of Review for our Troop is setting a terrible precedent for all boys in
> expecting darn near perfect behavior out of these kids, and that a boy
> should not be denied advancement because he is 14 and embarrassed to be a
> scout. Now he wants to quit scouting and I am trying my best to keep him in