One Door Closes

It is said that when one door closes.. another door opens.  Much as one chapter of a book leads to the next chapter we had a door closed last night opening the door or moving on to the next chapter in the history of our Troop.
Last night when I arrived at our Troop meeting, I was greeted by our Charter Organization Representative and another member of the Knights of Columbus.  They were friendly and said that they were paying the Troop a visit.   After I had met with a few Scouts that showed up early, they asked if I had a minute before the meeting started.  “Certainly” I said.  We went into a private meeting room.  I thought this was a great time to talk about all the great things that the Troop has been doing and to give him an updated calender of the 2012 Troop events.  So I started in with how we were doing on recruiting and advancement, then went on to talk about our run for “Troop of the Year” kind of going over our Journey to Excellence Score card.
About half way through my impromptu presentation, the COR asked if we could talk about recharter.  “Of course, I would love to talk about recharter” after all,  our recharter packet is due to the District on Wednesday.  They said that the Knights had discussed and voted to renew our Charter.  “That’s great I said.. we would hate to lose the charter partner after 8 great years”.  Well, they said.. no problem, we are going to sign the charter.. HOWEVER…  Yep.. here it comes.. the slamming of the door…
“The Knights” they started… “Voted to renew the charter, but you can no longer meet in the Knights Hall.”  My jaw hit the floor.. “WHAT?”
“Well, we [the Knights] held a discussion, and the Knights felt like you [the Scouts] no longer needed the Hall.”
“What the heck does that mean?”  I asked.  I was completely dumbfounded.  The more I asked why, the deeper and deeper the COR and Brother Knight hummed and Haa’d and danced around giving me an honest answer.
I think it is fair for me to say at this time, that I have been a Knight for 19 years.  I loyally served the Knights of Columbus as Grand Knight for several terms and as District Deputy for a term, not to mention being the Scoutmaster for the most successful program the Knights Council has.
They went on to say that we could still use the basement to store “all our gear”.. to which I replied, “What gear?”  They said, that this was the best they could do and unfortunately there was nothing else they could do for us.  Then they said, but we really want to recharter you.
I asked them what for… if we have no place to meet, we don’t need you.  As much as you are done with us, we also must be done with you…
Part of the responsibility of the CO is to “Provide adequate and secure facilities for Scouting units to meet on a regular schedule with time and place reserved”  Here are the Chartered Organization Responsibilities”
By receiving a charter from the Boy Scouts of America, the chartered organization agrees to:

  • Conduct Scouting in accordance with its own policies and guidelines as well as those of the BSA.
  • Include Scouting as part of its overall program for youth and families.
  • Appoint a chartered organization representative who is a member of the organization and will represent it to the Scouting district and council, serving as a voting member of each.
  • Select a unit committee of parents and members of the organization who will screen and select unit leaders who meet the organization’s leadership standards as well as the BSA’s standards.
  • Provide adequate and secure facilities for Scouting units to meet on a regular schedule with time and place reserved.
  • Encourage the units to participate in outdoor experiences.

At that point I heard the Scout Oath being recited, so I thanked them for the 8 good years and told them I had to get out to the meeting.  They asked me not to be mad or upset.  I told them that I was not mad, nor was I upset, I was disappointed in them, in the organization that I thought had a dedication to both youth and community.  I was disappointed that they could feel that this was the “right thing to do”.  I am disappointed in the Knights for displacing their Troop.  I told them that I was not mad and that this would be all that needs to be said.  They told me that we had till the 1st of the year.  I told them that in 24 hours we will have another Chartering Partner and they could rest assured that nothing will slow our program down and the Scouts will not be impacted by their decision.
One door closes… another door opens.
Today, I received many phone calls discussing the situation and it appears we already have a new place.  A bigger, better facility, and a Chartering Partner that values the Scouting Program.
We have not locked anything in yet, we have feelers out to two other organizations so we want to keep the options open.  After all we have 30 days to make the move.  We did have the Knights sign to get the charter in on time, but the Council knows we will be changing in the very near future.
Another door opens.
I am amazed at how our Troop committee mobilized in this effort.  Last night before the end of the meeting, they had a plan of action in place and things were on the move.  The Assistant Scoutmasters were already making calls and seeking the new location.  Today calls went out and we spent a good amount of time exchanging notes and discussions.  We are the move and not looking back.
One of the mom’s of the Troop has already volunteered to take the Charter Organization name off the flag.  Yes, they said we take everything with us.  They want nothing.
So the door is open, another chapter begins in the life of our Troop.
Last night I have to admit I was mad, disappointed, and upset that this chapter had closed.  But today is a new day and a new chapter, a fork in the trail.. the path to a new adventure.
One Door closed.. another Opened Wide!
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Categories: blog, Character, comments, Ideals, Journey to Excellence, Leadership, respect, Scouting, Service, Values | 11 Comments

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11 thoughts on “One Door Closes

  1. Jerry,

    “Stay On the Sunny Side” keeps coming into my head while reading this post. My son, on summer camp staff, always led this one when he visited the troop’s campfire – http://boyscouttrail.com/content/song/song-1130.asp

    A smile and thick skin goes a long way! Here’s to another great eight years with your new C.O.

    Scout On

  2. Gary Jaskowiak

    We’ll talk.

  3. Hi Jerry,

    this all seems rather short sighted by your current CO. They seem to want to penalise the Troop for no actual reason! Very odd behaviour.
    Good luck with your search for a new CO and I’m sure you’ll find one that appreciates all the good work your Troop does for the boys.

    YIS

    Nick

  4. Jay

    Hey Jerry;

    Keep in mind if this is a mutual change of CO it should not effect your tenure…..the tenure of your unit will still roll on

    • Totally mutual.. they want us out.. and now we want out.
      Whats great about this is within 36 hours we have 3 other organizations that are ready and willing to take us.. with much better support than we have been getting in the last year. Like I said in the post.. One door closes..another opens. Maybe this was a blessing.

  5. Bryan Spellman

    I think the Scouts deserve an explanation! If nothing is said they will think that they did something that the Knights did not want them in the building any more. Even when one says, it’s not you it’s me, one still thinks, well it’s me.

    You handled it better than I would have :) But I still think they owe you and the Troop a concrete reason.

    Good Luck in your search!

    • Search is pretty much over. Great options available.
      What upsets me the most is how they flat out lied to me on Monday night.
      I used the situation to talk about bullies in my Scoutmaster Minute Monday night. Kill them with Kindness I told the Scouts.
      I will explain the who situation to them after we secure the new meeting spot. They deserve an explination, but I don’t want it coming from the Knights. They lied to me, they will lie to them. I would rather give them the truth and call it a difference in direction and values.

  6. Scoutmaster Jerry,

    Greetings from the capital of Canada. I can somewhat relate to your situation. I have been involved in scouting since I was 5 years old. I have been a Knight for about 7 years. In Canada what you call CO we call sponsor. The role is more or less the same. The Scout group I am currently involved with has had sponsor issues over the years. A few years ago the sponsor at the time was a local community business association which unexpectedly folded. Being left without a sponsor we reached out to the local Legion who took over as sponsor. This was just prior to me joining this group. As grateful as we were for their sponsorship they did not really do much to support us. We are well funded through our fund raising so it was not finances that we were looking for. Two years ago I served as Group Commissioner and during my term I managed to get the my Knights of Columbus council to agree to sponsor the group. The group elected to invite them on as co-sponsor and not turn our backs on the Legion. Well as luck would have it the after one good year of having two sponsors this year my KofC council is in the process of disbanding. So we are back to just the Legion. It is not ideal but we do have a sponsor. We continue to try to improve the relationship with them or find a more suitable sponsor.

  7. I am shocked by this! Well if they don’t want you, you don’t want them! Hope you find the right door!

  8. Reid

    WOW! Jerry, I’m appalled and want to send my condolences. Sorry for the late notice, I’ve been away for awhile. I too am a long term Knight, PGK, current FN, Church Director, plus a couple of other positions in our local Council. The way that your council chose to handle this situation is . . . is . . . (words escape me) . . . ridiculous?
    My own troop (I’m the SM) has issues with our CO – they have several on their church council and influential members that for what ever reason do not like BSA. We try to make nice by service projects and minding our P’s and Q’s, but still get pushback.
    But the point is that at least we are getting feedback. For the GK and COR to come to you and essentially ask you to leave (let’s face it, that’s what they were saying) is just un-conscionable! I am truly sorry that you and the troop were treated this way!
    Looking forward – congratulations on your son earning his Eagle! I’m sure that there are great things in store for him.

    Jerry, thank you so much for your blog and podcasts! I’ve learned a great deal from you and Clark Greene and some others! I hope and pray that you will be able to continue because you bring a lot to the table and I’m thankful that you are graciously willing to share it with us.
    Yours in Scouting!

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