This is the twelfth installment in a story that follows a new Scoutmaster, Chuck Grant, attempting to use the patrol method in a troop that has forgotten how.
I’ve based this work of fiction on the stories shared by readers and listeners, questions they have asked, and the advice I commonly share in reply. Scoutmasters can expect to encounter challenges and setbacks along the way.
I’ve tried to avoid being unreasonable optimistic, or overly pessimistic about the progress we can make when we stick to the basics.
The last Scout hoisted his pack into the trunk of a waiting car, “Thanks Mr. Grant, Mr. Katz, see you later!”
“Sure thing Jason,” I replied, “see you soon.”
“Well, Mister Scoutmaster, one down!” Dave smiled as he shook my hand, “and hopefully many more to go.”
“Thanks Dave,” I replied, “I was pretty happy with the way things went.”
“I think the boys…” Dave stopped himself, “excuse me; I think the Scouts had a good time.”
“I think they did,” I replied, “burnt pancakes and all.”
“They’ll get better at things like that,” Dave replied, “I, for one, am glad to see them finally get some practice.”
“That’s the idea,” I said stifling a yawn, “I don’t think anybody starved, and they all came back alive.”
With that, Dave hopped in his truck, waved goodbye, and we both headed for home.
My wife woke me from a nap later that afternoon, handing me the phone, “its Cheryl, Bob’s mother,” she said.
I held my hand over the phone, “What’s up?” I whispered.
“She says Bob is upset about something one of the other boys did,” Anne whispered back, “apparently there was a fight?”
“Not that I saw,” I replied, “any chance you want to figure this out?”
“Not on your life,” she smiled, “this one is all yours.”
“Hello Cheryl,” I said, “this is Chuck.”
“Hello Chuck,” she replied, “Bob says that one of the other boys, Jason, hit him this weekend, he has a bruise.”
“I’m sorry, Cheryl,” I replied, “This is the first I have heard about it.”
“I have already talked to Jason’s father,” she went on.
“Uh-huh” I said.
“I think Jason ought to be punished,” Cheryl continued, “you know as well as I do he makes trouble at school, and I don’t think my son should have to put up with this.”
“Well, I can certainly understand how upsetting something like this can be.” I said “Anne would be beside herself if our son….”
“How are these boys supervised?” she demanded, “Bob tells me that no adults were around when this happened, what was going on this weekend?”
“I don’t think you and I are going to find many useful resolutions to all of this over the telephone,” I said, “Let’s get everyone together tomorrow night at the troop meeting and see if we can figure things out.”
“I am not going to allow my son to be treated this way,” she said, “this is assault, you know, I have half a mind to call the police.”
“Can you come and meet with me tomorrow evening?” I asked, “I think that would be the best way forward.”
“Yes, I’ll be there,” she replied, “I want that other boy punished, and I don’t want him around my son.”
“I understand, let’s all get together and see what we can figure out, we’ll talk tomorrow evening,” I said, “sorry that this is so upsetting.”
“Well,” she replied, “you have no idea how upsetting this is.”
Once I had unsuccessfully tried to calm Cheryl down, I called Jason’s home, and asked his father to come with Jason to our troop meeting. He said he understood, and would be there.
The third call was to my committee chair, John, so he could join us.
It was only Sunday, and I had already used up my “hour a week”!
Read the rest of the story in my new book: