After 28 years, I've just been kicked out of Itchen North scout district.
My training stalled a few years ago as I was unable to get any response from my training advisor, which came to a head in June 2014 when I received a new role certificate, "Congratulations, you're now a.... assistant?". It would have been nice if someone had spoken to me about this before it happened. I was then told that it would only be reinstated when I completed some of my training, and I arranged to go through various things with another advisor, which then stalled again until we could find out what my previous TA had done while Compass is offline.
None of us get paid for this, most of us aren't accountants. I managed the accounts as the most "organised" and computer/maths literate. Unfortunately, I have very occasional access to pay anything in so all the received cheques and receipts were kept in a cash tin in my car so I had them when needed at scouts, and when I was able to stop at a bank.
At some point over the summer, the cash tin went missing, but I believe it was stolen from my car while in the garage. I can't prove this, and attempts to ask didn't go well, "I think one of your mechanics may have stolen something from my car" "We asked and no one said they stole anything" (duh!). At the time, this had about £250 of cash and cheques in (easily taken in a night) and my other leaders were notified and it was passed up to the district team. This was noted in the accounts when they were completed at the end of the year and passed to the district treasurer.
This week, I was asked to a meeting by my district Explorer Scout commissioner (my line manager) who passed on some news from the district team that I will never be reinstated as a leader or be allowed to get my wood beads. Some members of the district team seemed intent on getting me kicked out for negligence, and when pressed, I got this response:
Further to our discussion on Monday evening I have decided that Dee will remain as a Sectional Assistant while she is a member of Itchen North. My decision is based not only on the cash tin situation but in fact relates to a number of concerns over the years. I appreciate that Dee may not be happy with this decision but I feel that it is necessary for her own safety and well being.
Please could you relay this message to Dee at your earliest convenience.
Yours in Scouting
Itchen North District Scout Council
"..a number of concerns.." and for my "own safety"?
I have sent you an email confirming that Dee will remain as a SA so feel free to forward this on to her. If she asks my decision has been made because of several incidents. Such As:
* The cash tin situation
* Erratic driving at District Camp carrying Explorers. Dee hit a kerb causing a puncture and we had to rescue the Explorers.
* Returned the explorers back very late after an drop hike on a week night
* Chopping logs wearing sandals whilst teaching Scouts fire lighting
Generally I do not trust her to run an evening, event or any other Scouting activity within the district and to cover our own backs it is best that she remains in a position where she holds no responsibility and cannot run an evening with another adult.
Let's deal with these one at a time.
The cash tin situation
I can understand this being a bad situation, but what more could I have done?
As mentioned I notified my other leaders and line manager, and somewhere along the lines, this never got passed to the relevant parties.
Erratic driving at District Camp carrying Explorers. Dee hit a kerb causing a puncture and we had to rescue the Explorers.
This relates to an incident in May 2010 where there is a pothole and a broken curb on one of the roads out of the campsite. I'm not sure what more could be done at the time.
District couldn't provide any vehicles so we had to resort to using our own private vehicles.
Returned the explorers back very late after an drop hike on a week night
This was many years ago in March 2010 when the explorers had a small area to walk across and manage to get lost and leave the area. We've placed a leader with them on subsequent hikes, but I'm not sure how this is grounds for punishment.
Chopping logs wearing sandals whilst teaching Scouts fire lighting
Rubbish. I'm not stupid enough to be using a felling axe with no foot protection.
Why wasn't this bought up at the time or mentioned to me? (Sound familiar?)
While I haven't been "kicked out", they've stopped me actually doing anything significant with the group, and removed my ability to train and progress in the district. Yes, I did do this for the explorers, but how am I supposed to, without support of the district team behind me?
(I've included quotes from District so it's not just my point of view. If anyone disputes any of the mentioned facts, please let me know.)