May 18, 2009

I Live in a Glass House

I do not throw rocks.

We were camping and next to us was a Troop from down the street. What is the frickin' probability?


And the Scout Masters knew each other and their dads knew our dads and on and on.

Saturday afternoon, after spending too many exhausting hours doing lashings and knots, I went down to the camp site to find the Scout Master from the other Troop heading our way with a little guy (probably a new Scout... 5th grade?) with their Senior Patrol Leader... looked to be about 16.

My first thought?

Sh**. What did our boys do?

I'm not kidding. And it wasn't just a thought. It was a cold blooded, nasty lump in my stomach "Sh**".

I calmly walked down where the SM informed me there had been an incident.

I have perfected the blank expression that hides my gritting teeth and the seering hot pain that runs through this vein in the top of my skull that I don't think I should know belongs there.

He added, "Your boys didn't do anything. I need to just know what happened... their version."

Long story short, one of my Webelos who is now a 1st Class Boy Scout in our Troop, a boy I view as one of my own sons, came forward and I said, "Jay, just be honest and tell him the entire truth. I stand behind you... all I ask is that you be honest."

And he was... and the other boy had come to our Troop, wandered over, and was not very nice and then trashtalking ensued and... the little guy pulled a knife.

It was a small knife, all of 1.5 inches in length, probably with a 1 inch blade, but it was a knife and was dangerous and scared the ever living hell out of the kids in our Troop.

In all honesty? I think the vast number of boys in our Troop and their size, compared to his very small frame and the only one of him, scared the every living crap out of him, when he wandered over and tried to act like the big man on campus.

I don't know how it all got back to their SM and SPL, but they were PISSED and then I had our SM come over (they knew each other) and I quietly left as they discussed the incident.

The lecture from our end was "Scouts are Scouts... you're all Scouts no matter what Troop you're in."

The lecture from their end? I don't know. All I know is I sat there saying, "Thank you Dear God that I was not the Mother that got the phone call saying, "Your son pulled a knife on another Troop.""

Anyway, at the end, I was up at the Pavillion, letting the men handle it with the boys when the other Troop's SM came up to me and shook his head. The following conversation ensued to the best of my recollection:

Me: Seriously, we've all been in your position one time or another for something ghastly. We don't throw rocks.

SM, shaking his head: You know the funny thing? This kid goes to YOUR church.

(Both Troops meet at churches.)

Me, laughing: He doesn't go to MY church. I don't go there!

SM: OH! Well, that IS where he goes.

Me, laughing again: Wait! You're not trying to give him back to us are you? We have enough issues!

SM, laughing: No, no, no, I just think it's rather funny. We both end up in a camp in Miami, we end up camping beside each other, we have a kid pull a knife on the Troop that is from his Church.

Funnier still?

I called a girlfriend of mine who goes there. I said, "We had a kid from your church pull a knife on some of our boys..."

Her reply? Without skipping a beat she said, "Oh, was it So-and-So?"

And she NAILED it. First shot. Holy crap.

Good grief.

Posted by Boudicca at May 18, 2009 09:12 PM

No, you're right - no stones. I always felt like I could be the mom getting the call. I'm just glad you didn't have to mediate the entire thing. The harder part comes after the story is complete and something has to be done. *sigh*

Although from your friend's reaction, I think this boy has some issues.

Posted by: Teresa at May 18, 2009 10:55 PM

Thank God I never had a problem like that when I was a Scout Leader. Luckily we never had more than four boys at one time (all 11-year-olds) and they were overall pretty good kids. I did once have to deal with a very upset parent over an incident that, in retrospect, I should've handled better. Fortunately, when things cooled down, we shook hands and apologized over what turned out to be a series of miscommunications from all sides. Learned quite a lot that day, unfortunately the hard way. Mainly that being a Scout leader isn't for the faint of heart, make sure YOU'RE prepared even if no one else is (be prepared - duh!), and be careful about turning your back on your troop for any length of time, they'll find all sorts of trouble.

Posted by: diamond dave at May 19, 2009 12:31 PM

imagine if the kid had had access to more than a little knife (which also can kill or maim)... gah

i hope SOMEONE made a big damned deal out of it.

Posted by: ShyAsrai at May 19, 2009 07:02 PM

How odd,
I went scouting as a youngster before I started to sail and when we went camping, as tenderfeet, we took buck knives and hatchets. We, if you can believe it, dared to make fires on our very own under the responible guidance of senior scouts. We went into the wilderness with no more than our Scout Master and a deputy. There were not hordes of adults in attendanceand no moms. Seems kind of normal to me now.
In Explorers we went camping with girls and of course we were then joined by moms as chaperones. We still carried some serious sharp edged devices much longer than an inch or two.

Posted by: Curtis at May 23, 2009 05:30 AM