The Dilemma

Troop 881 had been pretty laid back throughout Senior Patrol Leader Jared’s time as a member. They went camping every month and did a lot of work for their chartered organization, but they didn’t get too uptight about proper uniforms, neatly pitched tents or calling their leaders Mr. Smith or Ms. Jones.

Things changed when Darryl Resch — make that Sgt. Resch — became Scoutmaster. A proud Marine veteran, the new Scoutmaster was determined to instill some military-style discipline into the troop, along with a heightened focus on patriotism. He didn’t get much pushback at first. But then he announced at the April patrol leaders’ council meeting that he wanted the troop to place flags on graves at the national cemetery for Memorial Day instead of taking their scheduled rock-climbing trip.

That was too much for Jared. After all, the climbing trip was a longstanding tradition, and the troop already had a service project planned for the spring. When Sgt. Resch wouldn’t budge, Jared finally blurted out, “Nobody cares about dead Civil War soldiers, anyway!”

“You’d better start caring,” Sgt. Resch said. “Otherwise, the summer float trip is off, too.”

For Discussion

Read the dilemma aloud with your youth. Then begin by discussing these general questions.

  • Who should develop the troop calendar: the Scoutmaster or the patrol leaders’ council?
  • What if the Scoutmaster and PLC disagree? Who should have the final say?
  • Is it important for Scouts to use titles and last names when addressing adult leaders? Why or why not?
  • How important is it to wear correct uniforms and pitch tents neatly?
  • How important is it to perform service projects and to participate in patriotic observances?
  • Is doing a project like Sgt. Resch has proposed more valuable than, say, cleaning out gutters for elderly neighbors or running a bike-safety clinic for kids? Why or why not?
  • Is doing a service project more important than going on a campout? Why or why not?

Next, discuss these questions:

  • Is Jared wrong? Why or why not?
  • Is Sgt. Resch wrong? Why or why not?
  • Is it possible for both of them to be wrong? Is it possible for both of them to be right?
  • How do the second, fifth and seventh points of the Scout Law relate to this situation? What about the Scout Oath’s mention of duty to country?

Finally, invite the group to roleplay different outcomes for this scenario. Discuss which option is the most appropriate.

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