My first Parent meeting
I , Alistair Wallace, as a very young Scout Leader who was trying to build a Gleniffer Scout Troop using all I had learned from Adam Blake and his assistants, received a phone call from a very irate scout parent.
The parent said his son had come home from my scout meeting with his uniform in tatters. I agreed to visit him that evening and asked for his address. It was a big posh house in Potterhill .
As I walked to the door via the immaculate front garden, I knew I did not know this scout, he must have been one of this year’s new cubs.
“Please come in,” said a softly spoken lady who directed me to a very smart sitting room which had a very sad scout uniform hanging on a hanger.
“So you are the man who was in charge of last Friday’s scout meeting. My wife went down into Paisley , bought a complete new uniform and after one meeting it is wrecked, look at this . How could you be so irresponsible? Did you stand back and watch, let this happen? With this amount of bullying going on are you a fit person to run this Scout Troop? That uniform is not usable for another outing. As parents, should my son ever be allowed back to your scouts? “ said an angry father.
After 30 minutes of being told how hopeless I was, and still not being able to put a face to the scout I had to agree that this parent was correct.
I explained that the last Friday of each month is always a ‘Wide Game’ near Black Rock and what I did not say was that I had stayed behind to tidy the hall.
“Well should he not have been told to go in old clothes?” asked the parent .
The last Friday in each month was always a ‘Wide Game’. But had I remembered to tell the new cubs ? No!
“That uniform cost £30 what are you going to do about it?”
I gave in to everything , then Mr Middleton offered me a large quality whisky and we talked about golf , gardening , and local government .
“Would you like another whisky?” said Mr Middleton ( Golf Course Designer).
After a while I asked him if he would consider joining the Parents Committee and he said he would .
I wonder what happened to his son? Did he stay in scouting or even become a PL or a leader for that matter?
Never give a Scout a trip for nothing, help with the cost but never make it free – While Scout Leader I had a boy from Glenburn who lived with his grandparents because the mother and father were a bad lot . There was never any money about the home. We were going a 7 day camp, and I asked three national scout charities if they could find the money to cover his costs. They did. The boy/ scout did not turn up . I thought there might have been a family crisis or something. I later found out he had gone to a Rangers v Celtic match on the camp’s first Saturday, so gave the week’s camp a miss. I had learned a lesson.