I’ve mentioned in a few threads that I am a BSA Scoutmaster. Well the Troop Committee decided to fired me last month (technically the CO Rep but she is completely inactive and feels her role is to rubber stamp whatever the committee decides). Why did they do this? A couple of reasons:
About 2 years ago, the then Scoutmaster wanted to retire and no one else wanted to step in so I volunteered at what was the second meeting my son and I attended after we moved. As I would later find out, the Troop had never done any recruiting. Also all the adults (yes adults - more on that) wanted to do was go camping and hiking. Taking over as Scoutmaster, I decided to visit Cub Scout packs, plan joint activities and try to get some Cubbies to consider our Troop. I also came up with some ideas for public service, emergency preparedness, merit badge work and field trips so that every meeting was not merely planning a camping trip that less than half the scouts wanted to attend.
And here was the the major problem. Instead of a boy-led troop, the adults did everything. I am not joking when at the first campout I went on, the boys did not clean their mess kits after lunch. I actually had to make them do it since no one had ever had them clean up after themselves. The meetings were the Scouts listening to the adults plan the next trip and there was never a Patrol Leader Council meeting where the boys took charge. I worked to change that and the boys resented it. They refused to take responsibility for running the Troop and when as usual they wouldn’t plan an outing, the other adults (behind my back) would do the planning for them. If I asked for help in anything other than a camping or hiking trip, no one would volunteer.
You see, the Troop had devolved into being what the adults wanted. If the adults wanted to happen, they would do the work. If they didn’t want it to happen they sabotaged it. I proposed last year that we take our 2013 Summer Camp trip to a Scouts Canada Camp. The boys loved the idea. It was all they could talk about for a month and they had a year to help make it happen with fundraising, getting passports, etc. None of the other adults like the idea so despite what the boys wanted the Troop adults never supported it so it failed.
So I was told by the committee that even though no one wanted to be Scoutmaster they wanted me out so they could in effect go back to the old way of doing things. The boys love me being out since the new Scoutmaster pro tem (the ex-Committee Chair) does all the meeting planning and runs the meetings for them. Now get this - after firing me they told me that I would be the Troop recruiter since (in their opinion) recruiting was their biggest problem. I asked them point blank if they were serious. “You just fired me as Scoutmaster and you expect me to do you a solid? Did you people actually think this through? I recruited because that was my job as Scoutmaster.” I also pointed out that BSA is a volunteer organization and because of that, they couldn’t appoint me to a position of “Troop Recruiter”. I asked the committee if ANY of them would help me recruit and they were all silent except for two who claimed they wouldn’t help since they “weren’t good at recruiting”. I swear that they thought that they would oust me from my position and I would be happy to do all of the recruiting for them. When I explained that it doesn’t work that way, they were all dumbfounded.
So guess what happened to the flag retirement ceremony I had planned and invited two Cub Scout packs to join in with? They never did it. What about the recruitment booth at our town’s summer festival that I had started work on? No one followed through after I left and so next weekend = no recruitment. I’m not joking when I say that before the end of the year the Troop will be three scouts run by their parents as their own little universe.
Sometimes the committee fires the Scoutmaster, and that’s the best thing for the troop. Sometimes the committee fires the Scoutmaster, and that’s the best thing for the scoutmaster.
Sounds like the latter here. You ‘get’ scouting, the patrol method, the whole shebang. I think after being exposed to it, the kids get it too. It’s both sad and enraging that the other adults don’t.
I hope you and your son find another troop that ‘gets’ scouting - you sound like the kind of leader we need more of. You may already know this, but if you go to https://beascout.scouting.org/ it’ll give you a list of scouting units in your area, so it might be easier to find another troop.
I really just cannot get over how stupid the other adults in the troop are being over this. I hope you and your son (sons?) find another troop that knows what it’s doing soon. This is about the crappiest thing that can happen to a good volunteer.
The best thing that Scouts did for me was teach me how to take responsibility for planning and doing things like camping trips. I remember being 12 years old and going to the grocery store with my patrol leader, buying the food for a weekend camping trip after planning the menu for the weekend. If we didn’t do it right, we wouldn’t have enough to eat. Good lessons.
No kidding; our Scout troop was very big on self-reliance and independence; we’d go shopping as a patrol, or divide up the duties, and the cooks for that campout would go shopping. If we messed it up in some way- forgot the salt, or left out an ingredient, etc… that was our problem to overcome.
Even our meetings were almost wholly Scout-run. At times, it was kind of like “Lord of the Flies”, but in general, the patrol leaders stepped up and kept everything in line.
My primary accomplishment was to play troop gangster and basically collect the dues money that the previous troop scribes had been neglecting to collect- I got approval from the Senior Patrol Leader and Scoutmaster to ban people from meetings and campouts unless they paid up. We managed to collect enough to actually buy new tents!
I realize now that my Troop when I was a Boy Scout was a really good one. At the time, I thought it was no big deal, that all Boy Scout troops were the same. In retrospect, I wish I could find all the adults associated with it and give them all a big hug.
It’s alright, the parents will reap what they’re sowing. They’ll all be in their 60’s with their 40-something unwed sons still laying around the house sucking at their retirement teats and wondering when the next shipment of Cheetos will restock itself in the pantry. Oh woe, oh woe!
I’m not a big fan of BSA in general, but good on the OP for stepping up and at least trying to be a one man dam against the tide. If at least one of the kids noticed the courage it took for you to fight that losing battle to the death, and was impressed by it, it was worth it. Double xp if it was your boy.
We have found a new Troop and the District was well aware of what was going on. The problem is that the Troop needs someone from the outside i.e. not part of the old guard who can come in and give a fair evaluation. We are currently looking for that person. To be honest, the troop is in such a state and we have so many to choose from and the fact that 3 (soon to be 2) parents are running it as their little kingdom for their kids, I think everyone on the outside (me included) is thinking it’s for the best if the Troop folds and the boys find some other troop a little more committed to what Scouting means. As for me I’m a new ADC so I’ll be volunteering in an indirect way.
Adult apathy can manifest itself in other ways, too. My son and I wasted too much time with a troop that had once been big and active and well-led, but had had the same few people in charge for too long. The leaders, including the long-time scoutmaster who was still coasting on his self-image, spent every meeting in the back room socializing with each other, while leaving the boys alone under the occasional care of some older kid who “got it”, and any other random adult that came along. That happened on every one of the few trips they could pull together, and even those were for their own hanging out rather than to benefit the boys. No parents were allowed to volunteer to take on some of the leadership they had abdicated, because that would have meant facing their own failures and intruding on their tight little group. There was fortunately a blow-up and a mass departure just before the last boy finally left, but we were gone by then ourselves.
I do wonder how many other “Adult Scouts” troops there are out there, with leaders who either burned out on the boy thing long ago or were never really committed in the first place.
What I’m wondering is, why these parents didn’t just get together with each other and plan regular camping trips, without involving Scouting in their hobby? I’m not getting what they need Scouting for in order to do what they’re currently doing.