Here’s an email that I get fairly regularly asking me to help resolve Scouting trouble:
“My son’s (Pack, Troop, Crew) is having real difficulties with our (Scoutmaster, Cubmaster, Advisor, Committee Chair) and our program is (poor, indifferent, terrible). I’m only a (Den Leader, Assistant Scoutmaster, Committee Member, parent) but I want to try and fix this situation to benefit the (Cubs, Scouts, Venturers). What’s your advice?”
Find another (Pack, Troop, Crew) that better matches the way you think Scouting ought to be as soon as possible. Don’t send out any nasty emails, don’t throw any snide comments over your shoulder as you leave, just move on; make a break, draw a line.
Few people want to hear this advice. They want me to map out how they can bravely forge ahead and convince the Scout leaders who have been doing things one way to do them the other way. I won’t tell them that because it simply never works, so I get this answer:
“I would never abandon the boys in this (Pack, Troop, Crew), I don’t want to teach my son that quitting is an option when you come across difficulties, I know I can make them change their ways.”
“You will only frustrate everyone involved, including yourself, there’s really nothing you can do; trust me. To preserve the experience for your son find people who do things the way you want to see them done.”
Four out of five tines I don’t hear back after that email.
There are three possible outcomes to the situation:
- The leader is replaced
- The folks who don’t like the way things are going find another unit.
- Nothing really changes
Here’s a logic tree that describes how to arrive at one of three possible outcomes in this type of situation.
I know that our better natures would rather that everyone was able to sit down and figure things out amicably but if experience is any indication that’s a pretty rare situation.
It takes some brass and ego to step into the role of Cubmaster or Scoutmaster or Crew Advisor. The characteristics that make people effective in that role also often make it hard for them to change or to see things differently.
Changing units to find one that more closely meets you expectations does not have to be dramatic or traumatic, and neither does replacing a unit leader if your are in the right position to do so.