Boy, what a mistake! My Commissioner kept after me, telling me I should take some training. Couple of years of this and he finally wore me down. Me! Twenty years a Scoutmaster! Cubmaster before that! Besides, I’m a high-powered executive, and if I can run a company, I sure as heck should be able to run a Cub Scout pack or Boy Scout troop! Pretty silly, but at least it might stop the nagging, I thought. Big mistake!
Why, those trainers don’t have the first clue! Can you believe, they tried to convince us that the rules we make as Den Leaders, and Cubmasters, and Scoutmasters to get our kids to straighten up and stay in line don’t count! They tried to tell us that the BS of A already has enough policies and procedures in place, and that we don’t need unit by-laws. Nuts to that! In my troop, for instance, if a kid misses three meetings in a row without a written medical excuse, I hold back his advancement to the next rank by a minimum of six months past tenure, and if he misses four meetings he’s out of the troop, period. I can tell you from experience, unless you make these kids toe the line, they’ll just walk all over you! Those so-called trainers tried to tell us that it’s all about “unit program,” and that “Scouts ‘vote’ with their feet.” They don’t get it that it’s my job to decide what happens in my troop meetings, and where we’ll go camping and hiking, because if I leave it to the kids, they’ll just want to play games and have fun and stuff. They’ll want to take their cell-phones, iPods, and MP3 players up some dumb mountain trail, instead of taking it easy on a county park trail that’s flat so it doesn’t hurt my knees! Those trainers don’t understood that if you give in an inch to these kids they’ll just want to do stuff that’s in their Handbooks and not do what they ought to, like policing trails and campsites, and doing money-earning projects for the troop, and practicing close-order drill!
What a bunch of goody-two-shoes! They actually believe that left-hand handshake stuff! What kid in his right mind is going to want to do that? Just plain dumb! Better to use the right hand, just like normal. And uniforming! You’d think they’d have the sense to know that uniform pants are just too expensive and that jeans work just fine. My troop has its own “troop uniform” that’s a lot better than those up-tight follow-the-rules types!
Speaking of “rules,” they even expected us to stick with advancement requirements as written! They just don’t get it! In this day and age, those minimum requirements just don’t cut it any more. My kids know I’m tough, and they’d better know their stuff or I’ll flunk ‘em on the spot. Couple of easy knots for Second Class? No way! I make ‘em tie 15 different knots (a lot of them aren’t “in the book,” so they have to go find ‘em somewhere), and they’d better know how to do them in the dark and blindfolded or they fail! Same with merit badges: Go see some namby-pamby merit badge counselor over my dead body! I run good classes in every troop meeting, and I decide when the kids have learned everything they should know. In fact, merit badge classes are the best part of my troop meetings and take up at least an hour, which means I don’t have to spend a lot of time planning the rest of the meeting (between my uniform inspections and my Scoutmaster’s Speech – a “minute” is just plain not enough time to drum anything into their heads! – the meeting planning’s pretty much done).
These “trainers” were the same about Cub Scouts. They tried to take advancement away from the Den Leaders by telling them that the boys and their parents should be doing this sort of stuff at home. What a bunch of baloney! How do I know that the kid’s actually done the requirement if I don’t test him myself, so I can decide whether he passes or fails? Plus, there are enough den meetings for slow kids to do their requirements over and over till I tell ‘em they’ve passed, and then everyone can advance together if I hold back the speedy kids so the slow ones can catch up.
Speaking of advancement, they even tried to convince us that Cub Scout pack meetings shouldn’t use the “call-his-name-and-hand-him-a-Zip-lok bag” method. They wanted us to use ceremonies, and we all know how long those can take! Besides, then parents might show up at pack meetings, and then they overpopulate the room along with their other kids. Better to stick to the hired entertainer (Karate and Fencing are always good attention-getters) and Zip-loks if you want to get out of there in under an hour!
Then those know-it-all trainers wanted us to take Youth Protection training, too! How do they expect us leaders to talk privately with a kid in a separate room if they’re going to insist on this thing they call “two-deep leadership”?
Risk Zone? Another waste of time! When I have six to eight kids in the car with me, of course I’m going to drive carefully! Heck, only three or four of them will have seat belts, so how else would I drive! Besides, when I get tired, I don’t take chances. I just pull to the side of the road and let the kids play near the car while I take a quick nap. Can’t get safer than that!
Anyway, back to the training. They also got the “Scout Sign” thing all wrong, too! Can you believe they don’t yell, SIGN’S UP!!! when they stick their fingers in the air! That’s right. They just put up the sign and expect everyone to sort of notice it and come quiet. That takes way too long. One blast of SIGN’S UP and you’ve got their attention! So simple, but they have no clue!
Can you believe they told us that alcohol’s not a good idea? How can they expect us to get parents to drive the kids if I don’t offer them some wine or beer when they get to the campsite? Hey, it’s a natural product, so how wrong can that be?
Take last week, when I took the kids paint-balling. They loved it! And I could just stay behind at the shack and have a nice, cold longneck while waiting to drive ‘em home.
Patrols. That’s another joke! These kids join a troop, not a patrol! When we need patrols, like for a Camporee, I just divide the kids up and tell them what patrol they’re in. They don’t complain, because I pick the biggest kids to be the patrol leaders, so nobody argues about it. These trainers tried to tell me there are supposed to be elections for patrol leaders, but that wastes too much time and besides, that’s just a popularity contest. Just like the Order of the Arrow. That’s just a popularity contest, too, and besides, the OA just steals kids from my troop, so I outlawed that years ago! That new Venturing program does that, too, you know. Steals kids. Any kid in my troop wants to be a Venturer, I cut him loose. He can forget about Eagle, cause right then and there, there’s no way he’ll ever meet that “active in your troop” requirement – I’ll make sure of that! Besides, it’s sort of dumb to have a Venturing program that starts at age 14, because my kids aren’t anywhere near Eagle, and won’t be till I decide they’re mature enough to understand the Eagle rank and what it means, and that doesn’t happen till they’re at least 16, and 17 is even better!
Unit committee? Can you believe! A unit committee’s nothing more than people who will get in my way! Or start expecting me to do stuff I don’t believe in. Useless, is what I have to say about this lame idea! There’s nothing I can’t do myself, and besides, who wants to have to delegate anything, anyway?
Well, I’ve vented probably long enough here. I just don’t get what they think they’re doing, and I sure wish they would have wiped those silly grins off their faces whenever I tried to set them straight! All they kept saying to each other was, “Send a turkey to training and you get …a trained turkey.” Whatever that’s supposed to mean!
Oh, yeah, just one more thing. They didn’t like my calling the kids “kids.” They thought I should be calling them Scouts. Like I’m really gonna start doing something that might make these kids feel special or something. Yeah, right!
If you are reading this and nodding your head saying I sure agree with that, then chances are that you are the problem in your unit. If you aren’t understanding that this is a humorous April fool and you are taking this as support for what you think, then you do need to go to training and you do need to change your attitude because you are not delivering the Scouting program.
Have a question? An idea? Found something that works? Send it to me at AskAndyBSA@yahoo.com. (Please include your COUNCIL or your TOWN & STATE)
(Copyright © April 2007 Andy McCommish)