Location: Kingswood United Methodist Church

Address: 300 Marrows Rd, Newark, DE

A Scouter's Paycheck

3/18/2008 Mr D Unknown

Join Scouting!….

See exciting places and stay in luxurious accommodations….

Be so close to nature – you can taste it….

Great Food!…

Travel….

Relaxation in a comfortable environment away from the daily stress of life….

Meet local people and marvel at their customs…

All this and don’t forget the great pay!...(please insert the sound of a car racing along at a blistering 150 MPH coming to an abrupt halt with screeching tires)

Hold on – wait a minute!… I’ve been both a scout and leader for a cumulative number of years that both seem to equal the sum of the number of pages in the recent edition of Funk and Wagnall’s entire set of encyclopedias and at the same time a single blink of an eye. (yeah, I had to read that 2x to get it myself, think about it) And while the opening thought for this weeks entry into “A Moment with Mr D” might be a little exaggerated, I have yet to receive my paycheck. While I appreciate the money that may be sitting aside for a time that I’m older, greyer, balder and overall more handsome, I’d like my money now please.

Let’s think about this and break down the word “paycheck” if your don’t mind:

PAY (verb) to yield recompense or return to, be profitable to…

AH HA! – see that BSA? “Recompense”. While I’m not entirely sure what that means, and I’m not going to look it up because it might not support my point, I’m sure it’s worth a BUNDLE!

CHECK – (verb) to mark with or in a pattern of squares…

Now sure, you may ask what that has to do with my argument. And to that I would answer, “I’m not entirely sure, so let’s just stick with the PAY part of this discussion.”

There we have it! Stand up my brothers and sisters in Scouts! PAY – say it with me Scouts and Leaders alike – “PAY!”

How many times have you heard or said “I don’t get paid enough for this (insert your own personal ending)”

That’s right Pay, from the Greek word “payment”, well it could be Greek – not sure

“Can’t get something for nothing, right?” Or how about “all that and $1.50 gets me a cup of coffee….”

But I’m open to negotiation Committee members, and I ask this question, does the pay have to be in cash? Sure, we all like getting a couple of extra duckets for our effort, but what is the payment for a Scouter? What is the legal tender?

Now, I’ve put a lot of thought into this, and for me that really means something and I think I came up with an answer. I won’t go into the amount of time spent with the BSA program, that was last week (shameless plug for Mr. D’s other post – Just an hour a week – which got rave reviews, I’m just waiting to sell the movie rights, I’d even go TV if pressed) but what about all we do each week. All of us, scouts, leaders, committee members, parents. How do we get through it all?

I’m going to share a situation that happened last week with a group of boys in our troop that I have invested a good bit of my own personal interest. First I have to give you the cast of characters (the names have been change to protect the Assistant Scoutmaster, ME, from waking up at our next trip with his sleeping bag jam-packed with tomatoes):

Leader: just don’t tell him that

Second Banana: great supporter, highly dependable

Joker: Funny, sure, but just try to keep him focused

Foundation: sits idly by but strong enough to build on

New Guy: Take it easy Hoss – the ideas are great – just don’t forget to breath

Mr. Quiet: always there for you, just don’t tell anyone else

Captain Follow Through: Where’d he go?

Peter Pan: I don’t want to grow up

Sneak: what’d I do?

Dr. Positive: This stinks

These are my boys, my mission, my reason for showing up. Make ‘em a team, mentor, teach and don’t be nervous because they can smell fear.

These guys have followed through on everything I’ve needed them to do with the attention span that you would expect from a diverse group of 14 year old…..ummm….14 year old… hey look at that shiny thing!

Anywho – last week was the quietest blow up I’ve ever had. Couldn’t take it anymore. I hadn’t gotten through to these yo-yo’s. A box of donuts has less holes that the lame excuses I was getting for why our meetings are lacking. And it finally happened, I snapped, blew up, lost it, got out, hit the road, shoved off and took a hike. AH- the old “I’m outta here” without a speech or a raising of the voice sent a tremendous shock wave of surprise through the boys, and myself actually. And that was when the 5 stages of “what the Heck” started:

1) Shock – “Did he really mean that? Is he serious?”

2) Realization – “Ummmm. Ummmmm….. now what?”

3) Accountability – “It wasn’t my fault – you guys made him mad!”

4) Split up – “I can’t stay here in this patrol anymore. You guys all stink. And my friend is coming with me”

5) Proposal – “Ok, we’ll talk to Mr. D, but those guys aren’t coming back”

The night was eventful, and didn’t get resolved until a few days later on our past camping trip – WHICH ROCKED!!!! On Saturday afternoon – the lion’s share of my boys sat down to ask me to come back and also to hear my expectations for the next few months. Now, I’ll admit, I was feeling like I had failed these boys. If one set wanted out and the other didn’t care, what did I really teach them? But in the end, we came to an agreement and they would reach out to the others and make peace.

After some roundabout coaching there they stood, eating their patrol-cooked experiment they swore were tacos. Of course, I’ve given you the Readers Digest version of three days of various coaching moments between leaders, scouts and scoutmaster. But in the end, all differences were put aside and they held one of the best campfires I had seen since my joining the troop! If they can keep this start going, they will end up with a bangen’ year.

So….maybe that really is the pay from the program. BSA, I propose that a new campaign of a Scouter's Paycheck. And it should be rendered in “Life Experience”.

The boys worked together to ask me for a new start – showed courage. I saw sides of each of them expressed that I knew they had, but hadn’t really seen yet. And while it may not be perfect, I am confident that we are still moving ahead.

With that – Treasurer please mark the boys and myself as paid in full for this month!

Now – could someone lend me that $1.50 for a cup of coffee?

Best Wishes!

Mr. D