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Eagle and weed


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#41 Stosh

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 09:47 PM

TAHAWK, In an earlier post I did spell out what I would do in a situation like this. Please refer back to #20. Yes, I would give him a second chance. I think that if this is an isolated incident (the post doesn't really say anyone saw this coming), he should be given a second chance. If it seems to be part of a pattern, then there have been enough chances already. This is a call the SM needs to make having more info than what we have on the forum. After all are we not bound by oath to help other people at all times? I'm thinking that applies to this kid as well. If I can't live up to those words, how can I expect the scouts to? It's tough to live up to the Oath and Law as an adult, the kids are just trying it out for the first time with a lot less experience and maturity. Basement, One can't add or remove anything as part of advancement requirements. I would think that doing everything in my power to make it difficult is a flagrant abuse of one's authority. If that be one's conclusion, then I'm with Fred, cut the kid loose. Stosh
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#42 MattR

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 10:59 PM

This thread and the "too young to be an eagle" thread are similar in a way. Both are partially about whether a scout deserves Eagle. Both scouts have done the check boxes. One is "too young" to gain the experience and one made a huge mistake. One thing that’s not mentioned is how to motivate scouts, especially when it comes to making good decisions. The best thing I can do to motivate a scout is to praise him in front of his peers for doing something well that a man is expected to do. The other end of that is denying that praise when he does something poorly that a man is expected to do. The best praise I have to work with is the Eagle award. If there were something else that’s recognized across the country as well as the Eagle award I’d be happy to use it. So, it doesn’t matter to me that the check boxes are all one and done. What matters is the scouts in my troop see Eagle as something adults confer on young men for doing well what a man should do. You could say it’s underhanded or devious and you may be right. (BTW, I don’t play with any of the check boxes other than Scout Spirit.) Someone said that adults that don’t tell the scouts the real rules are doing things wrong. It may be, but I do tell the scouts the rules and most choose to stay. I had a scout that I told I’d help him find another troop to get Eagle because I knew he wanted Eagle and I figured he didn’t want the headaches I was creating for him. He said no thanks, he’d stay, and he’s turned things around and is a fantastic leader. I wish he would have done this a few years ago so he could become the SPL.

I just got a phone call from the dad of the scout in the OP. This is the first time this scout has done anything like this. He is also terrified. He’s not terrified that he’s got a court date, that he’s going to be taking urine tests until he’s 18, or that he’ll likely lose his license. He’s terrified that I’m going to throw him out of the troop. I have his attention like I’ve never had before and honestly this is much better than I hoped. Not only that, but hopefully if he listens to me he’ll stop listening to the “friends” that sold him the grass. I asked the dad to pass on the message that his son would be forgiven after he makes up for his mistakes, which includes proving this won’t happen again, and that 16 months should be enough time if he works at it. He's going to learn in much detail about righting a wrong. I also told the dad his son needs to call me for now on, rather than dad.

It's not that I'm choosing between giving him a second chance or expulsion from the troop. It's that I'm going to give him a first chance, along with some guidance, on how to make up for the mistake he made. It's his choice what he does with it.

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#43 Stosh

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 06:42 AM

Sounds like a good candidate for option #2. He just may end up a better person than he not done this. This is what growing up is all about. Stosh
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#44 King Ding Dong

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 09:50 AM

I like your approach Matt. How does this scout make up for his mistake? Live the law and oath like he is supposed to do or will you be setting other challenges for him? I don't have a problem with that, but what kinds of things will you be looking for?
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#45 qwazse

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 10:55 AM

... It's not that I'm choosing between giving him a second chance or expulsion from the troop. It's that I'm going to give him a first chance, along with some guidance, on how to make up for the mistake he made. It's his choice what he does with it.[/COLOR]


You have the right attitude. Here's the thing about bad kids: Even if you stop their advancement, expel them from your unit, etc ... They stick with you. You'll cross paths sooner or later, and when they do, you'll want to see signs that they've straightened out long enough for you to be willing to help them. Keep your guard up, but be open to accepting a little hurt to give the guy a chance to prove himself a better man.

For now, be honest with the boy. Let him know that he's done something that's gonna make a lot of people keep their guard up when he deals with them. No amount of being an excellent scout over the next year is going to change that. In some folks eyes, no bling is going to hide the user/dealer "patch" he just awarded himself. So, however you challenge him (suspension from troop so he can work on addiction issues, finding new friends or talking to good old ones, postponing SMC, etc...), it will be so that he can soberly reflect on his actions, forgive himself, and walk tall even though other folks might think less of him.

I get where folks who don't want to make this "all about the bird" are coming from. But if that's what the boy values, you would do well to let him know that that goal is still in play. He might even be able to spell out to you the conditions that he would have to meet before feeling that he deserved the award. He might be tougher on himself than any of us would be. Or, he might be clueless and just playing his dad and you for a fool. Regardless, if Eagle is his touchstone, use it.
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#46 mattman578

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 11:01 AM

MattR
OMG what a great response number one I like the fact that you are asking the son to stand on his own two feet and call you. I like the fact that you are willing to work with him and turn this in to a chance for learning to making good decisions. and that you are giving him a second chance.

Now as a recovering alcoholic and yes I did dabble in drugs a little bit. I think it is really important to help this kid emotionally my issues were a result of Depression I was trying to escape from my problems. It turns out there was a lot of stuff I was not taking care of emotionally. When I had a relapse a few years back it was because I was not letting my self handle my Grandmothers illness I was too busy trying to fix it and take care of my mom.
Not sure if you want to take on the roll of shrink but he needs to open up to somebody and find out what is bothering him. This is one thing we seem to forget when working with drug and alcohol related issues. Him taking a risk like that is a cry for help he wanted to get caught subconsciously of course. Hopefully the court will get him in a program that will help with that.

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#47 Basementdweller

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 01:28 PM

Your absolutely right, I will live to the letter of the requirement. But he will not be permitted a leadership position, because that requires scoutmaster approval. He will not be permitted to go on outings, again concerns about previous behavior, No signatures of recommendation from me. So you guys are all gonna roll over and let this kid slide. good for you, Not me, I will stand on my own two feet and do what I feel is right.
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#48 Basementdweller

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 01:31 PM

If it's a legal issue, let the courts decide what needs to be done. If they slap him on his wrist and send him home, so be it. I'm thinking the parents are going to heap a load of coals on him and now it's up to the BSA to add to that. Maybe we ought to get the school and church in on this little game of dump on the dummy.

I'm all for dragging him out in the parking lot and shooting him as an example to the rest of the boys. But if you do, make sure that along with the blindfold, you give him the right kind of cigarette.

Stosh




your making assumptions,

Recreational drug use is becoming more and more socially acceptable. Maybe his parents are ok with it. We never know.
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#49 Basementdweller

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 01:35 PM



I just got a phone call from the dad of the scout in the OP. This is the first time this scout has done anything like this. He is also terrified. He’s not terrified that he’s got a court date, that he’s going to be taking urine tests until he’s 18, or that he’ll likely lose his license. He’s terrified that I’m going to throw him out of the troop. I have his attention like I’ve never had before and honestly this is much better than I hoped. Not only that, but hopefully if he listens to me he’ll stop listening to the “friends” that sold him the grass. I asked the dad to pass on the message that his son would be forgiven after he makes up for his mistakes, which includes proving this won’t happen again, and that 16 months should be enough time if he works at it. He's going to learn in much detail about righting a wrong. I also told the dad his son needs to call me for now on, rather than dad.

It's not that I'm choosing between giving him a second chance or expulsion from the troop. It's that I'm going to give him a first chance, along with some guidance, on how to make up for the mistake he made. It's his choice what he does with it.
[/QUOTE]


I would never let the kid off the hook like that. I would never tell dad to give him a message, I would have a SMC with him and let him feel the pressure and sweat a bit. Have a serious heart to heart with him.


You still believe that this is the first time the boy has done anything like this? Boy if I had a nickle for everytime I am told that. Just like how many parents tell you their boy doesn't need a swimming test because he can swim.


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#50 fred johnson

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 01:52 PM

Your absolutely right, I will live to the letter of the requirement.


Great. Can't ask for any more.

But he will not be permitted a leadership position, because that requires scoutmaster approval. He will not be permitted to go on outings, again concerns about previous behavior,


Fine. You need to protect your troop.

I would do the same unless I believed the scout would probably not do it again. My experience is different though. A few scouts screw up one time and really don't want to do it again. They are really embarrassed that they disappointed those who trusted them. Others want to experiment with life as many teen age boys want to do. Smoking. Drinking. Pot. Pornography. It will take them years to mature out of it. As a troop leader, it's our job to protect the scouts and the perception of the troop. Scouting is supposed to be a more innocent place to explore the world and it is definitely not an intervention program or rehab.

....

But sounds like he doesn't need more camping or more leadership to earn Eagle.


No signatures of recommendation from me.


Fine. None needed. Preferred yes. Needed, no

So you guys are all gonna roll over and let this kid slide. good for you, Not me, I will stand on my own two feet and do what I feel is right.


There is no rolling over. Eagle is not a blessing from the Scoutmaster saying you are worthy of knighthood and can enter into the noble realm of Eagles. It's a rank reflecting completed requirements. Nothing more. Nothing less.

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#51 MattR

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 02:53 PM

KDD, I won't be setting specific challenges for him, that will be up to him. My tribe puts a big emphasis on atoning for one's mistakes and I'm going to start with that. If this boy's religious beliefs pull him in a different direction I can go with that as well. But I'm thinking something along the lines of admitting he screwed up - remorse and humility - understanding the impact of what he's done to other people and himself, making amends to those other people, and putting in an effort to make the world a better place, just to remind him. He also needs to confront his friendship with the people that got him into this. It can't be "sorry man, my SM says I can't smoke that any more, but you can." He needs to find new friends. Underlying all of this is the implicit fact that if it happens again, he's out. Mattman, I'm no shrink. If this were software I could say I'm trained, but I just do my hour-ish a week. But your point that he might have other issues is well taken. I'm hoping that after he goes through the justice system and the council exec talks to him, he'll be ready to talk to me about anything else that's going on in his life. BD, this has only just begun. He's anything but off the hook. There are no guarantees that I won't drop him. He's as good as dropped until he comes and talks to me (no campouts, no meetings). I don't need to find him, he needs to solve this problem and that means he needs to find me. If he shows, through his actions, that he is remorseful, humbled, and willing to make things right, then he can stay. I don't know that he's not a really good liar, but anybody that good wouldn't bring a bag of weed to summer camp. So I'm going to start with the assumption that he's a good kid that made a bad decision.
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#52 Stosh

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 08:52 PM

"Everything in life happens for a reason. Sometimes the reason is because you're stupid and make bad choices."

Okay, who's going to toss the first stone here?

While not as severe as this situation, I have had boys screw up big time while earning their Eagle and this is what I have always done. Take away all POR from the boy. He is now "just a member of a patrol." He's got 1 year to prove to me and to himself he has the leadership ability and character traits to be an Eagle. I then ignore him, but keep one eye on him at all times.

There are only two outcomes to this situation. 1) the boy will quit and maybe join another troop that will take him without the above mentioned requirement or 2) he will prove himself worthy.

So, how does it work? Well, let's just say I have had two boys fall into this situation in my career. Both chose #2 and strangely enough I wear their 2 Eagle mentor pins on my uniform collar.

Stosh


Okay, where does it say the boy gets a pass on what I would do? Where does it say I add anything to the requirements? Where does it say he has to make amends? Where does it say he has to be remorseful?

This kid knows he's in deep crapola over this, I don't need to rain fire and brimstone down on him.

All I am saying is that I will hit the pause button for 1 year and it's up to the boy to prove whatever it is he feel necessary to either fix, resolve or simply learn to live with what he has done. It's tough on everyone to withhold a signature for a year, maybe less if the boy is showing good progress, but it's only for a short time, not forever.

Stosh
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#53 Stosh

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 08:55 PM




your making assumptions,

Recreational drug use is becoming more and more socially acceptable. Maybe his parents are ok with it. We never know.


.
...and now you're making assumptions, too. :)

Stosh
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#54 Scouter99

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Posted 30 June 2014 - 08:45 AM

What this boils down to is association. My gut reaction on this one is "go away and never return" because the boy has made his personal problem a troop problem by enticing fellow scouts to join him. If he were allowed to stay in my troop, he would never, ever get that SM signoff on anything related to Eagle.

I've never had to deal with a Scout bringing drugs to a scout function, so it's all philosophical to me, but I think you've made a grave error in keeping him around. At the very least, you now owe an explanation to your scouts and to their parents as to why you're allowing this wolf to stay among the flock.

Back to association: I've had scouts who were deeper down the rabbit hole than this--harder drugs, seen them high as a kite in public, bled into school--but they didn't bring it to Scouts and if they did it was in the deep dark night by themselves. I have never thought they ought to go because if they keep their drugs away, then Scouting can keep working on them, and I believe its my duty to work on them, and I pray to God I'm doing something good by them. Some have pulled it out, cleaned up, and made Eagle with most people around them none the wiser. Others will live the rest of their lives bouncing up and down. At Boy Scout age, no drug is trivial.

I don't know when or why it started, but situations like this are one reason I'm glad that it's our troop's practice that the Scout Spirit requirement isn't ever signed until after the SM conference. There's no rule or anything, we just do it that way.

#55 fred johnson

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Posted 30 June 2014 - 10:58 AM

Scouter99 ... You are right. I hinted at it. What do you tell all the parents of the other scouts? It's a very important communication. They will learn about it from their own scout. So you better get ahead of the communication headache.

Unlike school and neighbors, scouting is a voluntary association and chosen because of the likelyhood of being with scouts of good character. Now a scout offered another scout an illegal substance at camp. Now the troop is a less safe environment for their kids. You have to explain to parents how this won't happen again when they trust you with their own scout.

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The reputation of a troop is a fragile thing. Because of BSA's recruitment model, the reputation is the life and death of a troop. A bad scout drive many scouts away. A bad reputation can kill a troop.

It's one of the reasons I take a more hard line view of behavior issues. I can sympathize, but I've got to protect the future of the troop.



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#56 Stosh

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Posted 30 June 2014 - 11:36 AM

Unless it's school where the scout is required by law to attend, any other organization out there can be afflicted by this problem as well. While it is one thing to view the scouting world as some sort of Pollyanna idealized youth program, it's probably not really what's going on. It might be the easy way out to bounce him from the organization, but that means the frustrated parents will seek another organization out there to help their boy. This pin-ball approach to problems doesn't solve problems, it only passes the buck on to the next guy out there. The troop's reputation may take a bit of tarnish on this, but if the BSA touts itself as developing young men of good character and then just cherry pick the kids that are already 3/4th the way there, then it really isn't doing its job. A reputation is not based on the problems it has, but on how it handles them. A youth program that only helps those that don't need help is of no help at all. Stosh
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#57 fred johnson

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Posted 30 June 2014 - 12:10 PM

jblake47 ... It's not a Pollyanna issue. No scout is perfect and every scout screws up. But all screw ups are not equal and some screw-ups cross boundaries.

Scouting has a higher expectation because we need to trust our scouts more. Schools have inspections and can bring in drug sniffing dogs (our high school does that every month or so). Baseball and soccer coaches can watch every member during almost every moment of practices and games. But as scout leaders, we can't do body pat downs or keep a constant eye on the scouts. And, scout leaders are not trained or experienced with this ... and they don't have the resources to handle it.

This may be fairly common and minor in the eyes of society, but in scouting this is a more major issue.

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Reputation ... Plus troops compete for scouts. Our city has six other troops. If you have a troubled scout, that gets through the grapevine quickly and a bad reputation sticks around for years. When parents make the choice of which troops their son can join, this could be a major strike.

I've also seen the active committee members who say "yeah, if any scout needs scouting, this kid need scouting". But it's the committee members very own sons who then stop coming to scouting.

As long as Boy Scout troops have to compete with other troops to get Webelos to join them, this is a significant issue.

My opinion may be different if our troop did not need to compete with six other troops for local pack Webelos.

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I'm not saying I would thow him out. The details decide that. But that's the level where I'd be discussing it. IMHO, I would be less focused on punishment. He was sent home from summer camp (which is plenty) and generally scouting does not use "punishments". We use positive corrections. As for help, the courts and family are going to deal with this plenty. He's going to have enough people "helping" him.

If he stays in the troop, I'd have to trust him. That's the issue.
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#58 dedkad

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Posted 30 June 2014 - 12:45 PM

Scouter99 ... You are right. I hinted at it. What do you tell all the parents of the other scouts? It's a very important communication. They will learn about it from their own scout. So you better get ahead of the communication headache.

Unlike school and neighbors, scouting is a voluntary association and chosen because of the likelyhood of being with scouts of good character. Now a scout offered another scout an illegal substance at camp. Now the troop is a less safe environment for their kids. You have to explain to parents how this won't happen again when they trust you with their own scout.

-----------------------------------

The reputation of a troop is a fragile thing. Because of BSA's recruitment model, the reputation is the life and death of a troop. A bad scout drive many scouts away. A bad reputation can kill a troop.

It's one of the reasons I take a more hard line view of behavior issues. I can sympathize, but I've got to protect the future of the troop.


Matt indicated in one of his posts that the legal system is now requiring that the boy take regular urine tests. I think that might put some parents' minds to ease knowing that this boy is being monitored.
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#59 Stosh

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Posted 30 June 2014 - 12:53 PM

In my area, there are far more than 6 troops to contend with. We have 5 troops to the north of us within easy driving distance and twice that many to the south. I'm the fool that put a brand new unit right in the middle of all of that and continue to grow, took on a new boy again last week. :) " He was sent home from summer camp (which is plenty) and generally scouting does not use "punishments". We use positive corrections. As for help, the courts and family are going to deal with this plenty. He's going to have enough people "helping" him." For me it's not an issue of trust. I may never trust the boy again, but that's not the issue, I can always keep an eye on him for the most part. The part that bothers me the most is the second line. "As for help....". As scouts we have all promised to "help other people at all times". This is part of a general pass the buck mentality that seems to think it's someone else's problem. I guess it may be better to cut him loose from the troop than to simply wait to see if you can ever trust him again. I don't see that as being very productive to anyone connected to the situation. I guess for me when someone has difficulties in life there is no such thing as having enough people helping. While not everyone is a trained counselor in a situation like this, but then being a friend to this kid doesn't need much training. Right now, I'm thinking he's feeling he hasn't anyone in his corner right now. Stosh
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#60 fred johnson

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Posted 30 June 2014 - 01:45 PM

dedkad - Urine tests was a fear the scout had and not a court assignment. It was posted by basementdweller, not MattR.

Plus, troop communications should never include what's happening between courts and a youth. You only have 2nd hand access to that information. But if you did, you can't share that information in a email to the troop because it would come to haunt the scout through his peers at school.

Maybe he'll have to take a drug test. Or maybe a 2nd. But that's it. These things close out fairly quickly.
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