Scenario # 4 – The Troop From Hell
Within a few weeks of taking the job you get a call from Jumpin’ Jim, as he has been dubbed by his Scouting buddies. As a bright new Unit Commissioner, Jumpin’ Jim spent months developing a degree of rapport with Ivan “Independent Ivan” Doitmyway, the Scoutmaster of an old and very large Troop. At first Jim was really impressed with the Troop because there were almost as many parents at each meeting as boys. Later he realized they were coming for a social hour in the back of the meeting hall, while the boys were largely unsupervised most of the time, running wild.
Jim tells you that he’s really becoming successful at hearing what goes on in Troop 666 and is a little more than distressed. After the last campout he heard that new young Scouts were severely hazed. Specifically he heard that they were stripped and covered with peanut butter and moss the first night, dunked in the toilette after breakfast, made to jump over a large fire to get lunch, scared by costumed invaders the camp the second night, and that on Sunday morning when one of the younger boys didn’t wake up, the others placed his cot on a canoe and shoved it out into the lake. Jim has also heard that the only activity besides camping and cooking was dungeons and dragons, which the older boys started Friday and kept going through Sunday. None of the Scouts worked on ranks, unless their father was an ASM or at the Campout.
Jim also tells you that the SM and ASMs had an all night poker game the first night and were drinking beer. The next morning they slept in and let the boys run the Troop until lunch was well underway. Apparently the SM and ASMs have formed a patrol of their own and cook for themselves, rarely visiting the patrol sites. After meals they sit around in lawn chairs and tell each other various tall tales. Apparently they are having a great time.
Jim in a fit of exasperation tells you that when he asked one of the ASMs about what he’d heard, he was rebuffed with a “Well you know how it is, boys will be boys. They just have a lot of spirit.”
Jumpin’ Jim can barely contain himself, he thinks the SM and some of ASMs should be fired, etc. Despite all of this, you know that the troop produces three to five Eagle Scouts a year and has pretty steady advancement overall. You also know that the SM has been through training and has the Training Award, Scouter’s Key and Scoutmaster’s Award of Merit. What do you do?