Troop leader Leslie asked for help: In Search Of Advice. I am the leader and cookie manager for a small troop. Most of our girls have been together for all three years of scouting and at this point consider ourselves very close. We have two new families in our troop though. The girls have been rude, the parents have only complaints, and with cookie season it has gotten worse. They waited until the last minute to sell cookies and turn in money. Then they were rude to us that we are having them follow the deadlines. My co-leader and I are both insulted at the way we have been treated, and honestly are unsure that we want to continue with them in our troop next year. Has anyone else had this kind of issue? What did you do in this type of situation?
Our Facebook leaders offered their suggestions:
Wendy suggests: Just keep doing what you’re doing and don’t take it personally. When they complain about stuff, act DELIGHTED and thank them for their insight and for volunteering to do *whatever it is* next time. Then let them do it, even if they completely drop the ball and stuff has to be rescheduled. Either they will begin to play ball or they will leave. The problem will fix itself. But stay above the fray and don’t take anything personally.
Donna reminds us to document and report: Oh YES I hear you! I kept my service unit up to date on everything then asked if the daughter could be moved the next year.
Angie responded: Kill them with kindness. We are not allowed to have girls removed from our troop so we have to deal with it.
Becky thinks: It’s ok if another troop is a better fit. Not every troop is for every girl.
Courtney’s idea: Did the parents and girls sign the parent and girl behavior contracts? If they violate any of the rules you can point that out to them. If it gets to the point that they mistreat or are setting bad examples for the rest of the troop you can get your service unit involved. Good luck.
Doria suggests: We have parent packets for cookie season and they have deadlines written in there. Make sure they are aware of the timeline. Its not your rule its council rule. My parents always know ahead of time what is coming up by Facebook or printed yearly calendar. They snooze they lose If they don’t want to follow the rules then that’s there problem not yours. I had parents not even acknowledge their girls going to events until I made an info table with a signup sheet with a yes or no. I made it the girls responsibility to have their parents signup. It got better after that. I would suggest a welcome circle with the new girls about what is expected during meetings. That’s all you can do there. I always had a behavior form for parent and child to sign together. Give them a chance to settle in. If they still have issues offer them another troop.
Sara thinks polite and firm is best: Stand your ground in a polite no nonsense manner. Reiterate the rules are for everyone and not arbitrarily made by you, especially the cookie part. I would remove the disruptive girls from the meeting, which I’ve done in the past. Not knowing ages makes specific advice hard but our girls are 7th-9th grades. Most do get better with ages. Stress sister to every girl and rude behavior isn’t tolerated from anyone.
Colleen encourages a direct approach: I would say, have a little conference with the parents. Tell them you’re getting the impression that they aren’t happy with the troop. See what their response is. Ask if there’s anything within the rules that you can do to help, depending on their response. If necessary, remind them that you have rules you are required to follow and that’s why you need to have the parents and girls also follow rules. If not, ask them if they would like you to help them find a troop that would be a better fit.
Kerri thinks they need to see what being a volunteer is about: Give them a role so they can see how things work. Maybe when they have to walk in your shoes they will see the light.