I ended up going to Joey’s pack meeting last week. We did the raingutter regatta, and other than a couple of parental hiccups, it went pretty good.
I got to talk to some of the Webelos, also. With a series of unfortunate events, I haven’t had a chance to talk with any of the Webelos. So, last night, I talked with 3 of them. I think that there were 5 or 6, but a couple of them came to me and asked for a Scoutmaster conference. Being that I talk to these Scouts all the time, I explained to them about the Scoutmaster conference and how I do it. I also explained that a SMC can happen anywhere, even at pack meetings, while we are putting boats together. The parents looked at me, and said, “so, when can we come and have soinso talk to you?”
I looked at them and said that they already have, and in my book, they’ve completed the requirements. The Scouts and parents kind of looked at me funny, and then I went into my You-are-entering-Boy-Scouting-now speech.
“I have talked to your sons for the last couple of years, and with that, I kind of know them. A Scoutmaster conference isn’t about what he needs to work on, it’s about what he did or didn’t like about the requirement that he worked on. It’s about making sure that he’s comfortable in the troop. It’s about making sure that his needs are being met, that he’s ready to do the things that he wants to do; what’s on his agenda.”
I went on…”I know that you’re looking at the book and that’s not the definition, as spelled out in black and white. The book, is one of our reference tools. We use it to help run the troop. We also use the Scoutmaster’s Handbook and the Guide to Safe Scouting as the other 2 guiding reference materials. We don’t have a troop rule book, or handbook that sets our rules. The Scout Oath and Law are what guides us, and I expect the Scouts to live by that. So, those looks on your face about my ‘leniency’ on the Scoutmaster conference, well, let’s just say that I have done enough of them, that just chatting about the weather constitutes a Scoutmaster conference to me, especially in this case. Your Scout will have enough time to get to know me, as not every Scoutmaster conference will be for his rank advancement.”
One of the dads looked at me as I went on…”There are going to be times that a Scoutmaster conference is going to be necessary, whether it’s to rain down praises for something good that he did, or for trying to find out what’s going on, or delving into why the Scout broke one of the 12 Laws that we live by.”
From there, we just talked and helped put away the raingutters from the race.
This led me to think that in a world where we need instructions for everything, this is one thing that has helped guide our troop to success. We don’t have any type of written rules or codes of conduct, and to date, it’s served us pretty well. I truly hope that we won’t have to traverse down that road, as we have a simple kind of way about running the troop. No complicated rules, no forms to fill out, no troop handbooks when they walk in the door.
If a manual is ever needed in 1363, it may be time for this simple Scoutmaster to move onto his next adventure. Always wanted to be a lounge singer in Vegas…