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!