As I was saying, he doesn’t know where to turn. I asked him, “You should know where to turn…you have a Scoutmaster, you are TLT trained…you are also on staff for NYLT, so that means that you have been through it already. Why aren’t you using the tools that you were given? You must have found some value in the course, otherwise you wouldn’t have gotten on staff.”
“Well, I am just tired of the guys around me. Soinso does this all the time, and when he was the SPL, he did a bunch of stuff that I didn’t think was cool. He put stuff in place the I don’t like, but the committee likes it, so that’s what I have to do,” was Joe’s reply
“Yea, I don’t have any fun at the troop meetings. I don’t want to have to play board games anymore. That’s what we do…either board games or Merit Badges. And Mr. H is leaving the troop, so we won’t have anyone to teach us Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation and Citizenship in the World. I don’t know how we are going get our Eagles, now.”
I really couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I was stunned. Was this troop, one that had been around for so long, really running their program like that? I knew that they had some issues, but not to this extent.
And yes, this is the truth…I couldn’t make this stuff up
“OK,” I said. “You work on Merit Badges in the troop meetings? Why aren’t you using the monthly themes to work through it all?”
“We have to work on advancement for the new scouts for the first 6-8 months, and you advance by working on Merit Badges.” was both of their replies.
I still couldn’t believe it, so I changed gears, and talked about the youth leaders. I wanted to find out why the leadership was working in this manner. With proper youth training, these things shouldn’t be happening.
“OK, so I see that Soinso is your ASPL…why did you pick him? You just got done telling me that Herp was a really smart kid…use his talents and make him your ASPL.” I stated.
“All positions are elected…everything,” said the SPL.
“Whoa…where does it say that?” I said
“Those are the rules…along with having to be First Class and 1 year in the troop. All positions are elected…” he said.
“No, it doesn’t…that’s not true. I don’t know where you heard that, but that’s not the truth.” I said.
He got rather adamant to say that I was wrong, when my ASM walked over. I looked at him and said, “Tom, what are the minimum age and rank requirements for ASPL?”
Tom looked at me perplexed and said, “There are none..”
“What about SPL?”
I looked over at Joe and said, “Do you see where I am going with this? I don’t have my SM handbook with me, but I will tell you that the BSA states a couple things. #1, there are no minimum age or rank requirements for any position. #2, the only positions that are elected are SPL and PL…APLs are chosen by the PL, and all other positions are chosen by the SPL, including ASPL. I have a new troop, so how did I have a PL and SPL to start my troop? You know that I wouldn’t break the rules…”
By this time, I could see that his head was spinning with a lot of different things. At that moment, Aaron’s older brother, Justin, came over.
“Hey, Mr. Cleary!”
“Hey Justin…you can call me Shawn…all my scouts do. You have earned that much. How are you doing?”
“Aw, pretty good…lot’s of swimming and working out. Between swimming and football, I don’t have a lot of time for Scouts, but I get there when I can.”
“Good to hear, what are your thoughts on what these guys are saying?” I asked.
“Well, things aren’t that good, from what I see…we had a bad Scoutmaster the last time, and Mr. K is new, so things still aren’t the best. I wish we could do more stuff that we want to do.” was Justin’s answer.
I was still reeling from what I was hearing…and trying to process everything. I made a mental checklist in my head and quickly ran through it.
1. There are numerous NYLT trained scouts in the troop
2. The troop leadership is trained, some of them Woodbadge trained
3. They have healthy recruitment
4. They are active in many events, both district and council
So, what am I missing?
To be continued…