I have been blessed it seems. I don’t know how it happens, but I have been getting some really good scouts lately. A couple months ago, a new Scout, Weylin, came to the troop meeting on Thursday night, signed up and was at the campout the next night, ready for a great weekend. That Scout rocked it…helped out wherever needed. He then signed up for summer camp the next month, and he had a great time, and coming out of it, although he doesn’t know it yet, he may be a new patrol leader. I see great things with him.
Just last week, we had a visit from a scout who *was* from another troop. It seems that their lack of preparation, lack of leadership, and just plain lack of program forced him and his family to seek us out. They remembered us from Webelos Woods a couple years ago. Javier’s mom still had the CC’s number and contacted him in early July. Bob invited him to a troop meeting and gave mom the time and place. The first week was a soccer tourney, the next week, he was at summer camp with his old troop, and the next week we were at our summer camp. He invited them to the August 9th troop meeting. They came to the meeting, Javier was in full uniform, and chatted with me about his merit badges and his experience with his troop, and what he was looking for…fun, respect and a place where the boys run the program were things that he was looking for. I told him that he was at the right place. I introduced him to the SPL, and away they went.
I spent the next 30 minutes talking to mom and mom’s boyfriend, who was a former scout. They couldn’t believe the differences between Javier’s troop and ours. Mom commented on how we are truly boy-led and how Javier was having a good time, and how the scouts accepted him right away. We talked about Javier’s advancement, to find out that he’s been ready for his Tenderfoot and 2nd Class SMC and BoR for a month now, but was told that it would have to wait, as his troop only does SMCs and BoRs every 6 months! He also doesn’t have the blue cards from the 4 MBs that he earned…the troop kept the scout’s copy. Combined with some other issues and fitting right in with our troop, the decision was made and the application was filled out and signed that night.
And speaking of the SPL and how he takes control…he does an awesome job at doing what he is supposed to do. I never have to ask him if he has his ducks in a row, never have to mention about a scout getting out of line or watch any of the rest of the troop…he does a great job at this. I told him, flat out, that he is the best SPL that the troop has ever had, even saying that in front of 2 former SPLs. I did tell the SPLs that they were good in their own way, but Jimbo is better in other aspects, and that makes him a cut above them. I also told them that without their service, they wouldn’t have trained Jimbo to be such a good leader, or how their mistakes, showed Jimbo what not to do…all positive things that they did as SPLs.
I can’t say that all things are good…I did lose a couple of scouts…well, I didn’t lose them, I knew where they were, but they just don’t come to meetings anymore. One left because of funding; his family didn’t like that we didn’t give them money, but only offered opportunities to earn his own. The other left as he was never honest with his mother about his behavior in troop meetings and on outings. His mother saw and angel, the troop saw him as a devil…and when he got called out on it, he stormed off in a huff. Then he lost the election for SPL and didn’t get chosen as ASPL, so he tore off his ASPL patch and left the meeting, never to return. His mother emailed 6 weeks later to say that he wasn’t going to be in scouting anymore, as he couldn’t get past a disagreement between him, the SPL and me…a lie. So, I told mom that I understood, and if he ever wanted to come back, he could.
But, the quality of the scouts in the troop rose 10 fold, with the new SPL and the 2 new scouts, so I look at that as a big plus. We will see, as time will tell…there are scouts that we still have some problems with, but don’t we all when it comes to young men?