Some days, it’s not easy to be a Scoutmaster…Today is one of those days.
At last night’s den meeting, the boys made their decisions…4 of 6 were going to another troop. One of them was no surprise. The boy lacks discipline into controlling his behavior and his parents let him do what he wants. Our troop has self-discipline and likes to camp a lot…2 things this boy doesn’t like, and figures that he won’t have to do either at the troop that he goes to.
The other 3 were a surprise, to say the least. One of them really needs scouting, and I don’t think that he is going to get the guidance and support that he needs from the other troop. He is a financial hardship case, and he doesn’t do anything to change that…doesn’t participate in fundraisers and low attendance. I hope that it turns around for him, but once again, not holding my breath.
The other 2, well, I will say that I was very surprised and disappointed. One is the den leader’s son, a boy who has professed to me his desire to be in our troop, as we do the things that he wants to do. I know that he would be a perfect fit with the rest of the scouts, and would be a great asset to 1363. The 4th boy…hmmm, he just wanted to go where one of his friend’s went.
I usually have a faith in things, almost a blind faith. I don’t think that these 4 boys are making a good decision. The troop they are choosing to go to doesn’t have their best interest in mind. They talk “boy-led” but don’t follow it. They dodge the simple questions when asked…
“How much are dues?”
“Who owns the equipment?”
“What do you do for fundraisers and does that go into Scout accounts? If so, how much?”
“How many times a year do you have PLCs? Courts of Honor?”
“Do you work on Merit Badges in troop meetings? Who plans the meetings?”
I went on the visit to this troop with my son, and none of these questions got answered, or some didn’t even get asked. I didn’t feel that it was my place to ask the questions, as I was not sending my son to that troop…we went to that meeting in support of the rest of his den. It may have be construed that I was spying on the enemy, but I have all the scout’s best interest in mind.
So, I broke the news to Sam on the ride home. Sam had been playing with the other scouts, so he was very happy. Once I told him about his den mates going elsewhere, he leaned his head on the window and started to sob a little bit…
“Those are my best friends…” he said
I didn’t know what to say or how to handle it, so the rest of the ride was very quiet, other than the sound of my heart aching for my son. We got home, and I talked to Sonia about it. She said that he will be fine, give it some time. As he lay in bed, I walked in and asked if he wanted to join his friends at the other troop.
“No, I am going to stay with you. Daniel needs me, too.”
With that said, I kissed him and said…
“Well, maybe it’s time to start a new adventure in scouting with some new friends…you will be with me and your brother, and a couple other guys that you don’t know yet. Hang in there.”
I went to bed, still upset. I woke up this morning and decided that I am getting quality, not quantity. My program will survive. The scouts in the troop have come a long way since it’s inception. They are a boy-led troop, they are disciplined…they are what BP envisioned…they are what I envisioned. I just needed a bit more perspective to realize that we are there, now…