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They’re Not Scouting For Trouble

, , , , | Right | January 17, 2021

I am an adult leader for Boy Scouts. Every year, we knock on doors in the neighborhoods surrounding the church building where we meet to pitch our flag fundraiser. Homeowners pay us a fee and we put up flags in their yards during several holidays throughout the year, and then we remove the flags and store them until the next holiday.

We put flyers on doors the week before and then the boys go out — in pairs accompanied by an adult leader — on Saturday mornings starting at 10:00 am. The boys are instructed to ring the doorbell and ask to sign people up. If no one answers, they leave another flyer on the door and move on to the next house.

I am in charge of the fundraiser, so my name and phone number are on the flyers in case of questions. I get a call from a number I don’t recognize at about 10:45 am on Saturday.

Me: “Hello?”

Caller: *Male voice, gruffly* “I have a question for you.”

Me: “Yes?”

Caller: “Why would I be interested in your fundraiser today if I wasn’t interested on Wednesday?”

Me: “I don’t understand.”

Caller: *Volume increasing* “You left a flyer on my door on Wednesday and I threw it away, but then you came again and rang my doorbell and left me another flyer today.”

Me: “Well, the first flyer was meant to give a short explanation of the fundraiser and to let people know we would be coming to sign people up this morni—”

Caller: *Cutting me off* “You came too early!”

Me: “Too early?”

Caller: “Yeah. You guys rang my doorbell and woke me up! Don’t you know that people like to sleep in on Saturdays?”

Me: “I’m sorry that the boys woke you up. We do purposefully wait to start ringing doorbells until ten because—”

Caller: *Cuts me off again* “That’s still too early! You woke me up! And you woke up my son, who’s sick and needs his sleep!”

I’m a little worried that the son has some kind of medical condition and we’ve caused a problem, so I pause.

Caller: “And I’m not the only one! I’m looking down the street at your boys and nobody is opening the door for them! Everybody’s asleep at this hour! I went out and told them to leave people alone because everybody is sleeping!”

Now I’m more concerned that he yelled at my boys, so I’m a little worked up.

Me: “I must ask you not to harass my boys! I assure you that plenty of people are awake and happy to talk to us at this hour. We’ve been doing this fundraiser for fifteen years and we’ve never had a complaint that this is too early.”

Caller: “What are you going to do for me?”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Caller: “Your boys rang my doorbell and woke my son up! What are you going to do?”

Me: “I guess all I can do is apologize. I’m sorry. We certainly had no intention of waking anybody up or causing any problems. Honestly, though, we are probably not going to change our time next year on the basis of one complaint. Maybe you can give me your address for next year or you can put some indication on your door that you shouldn’t be disturbed if you—”

Caller: “But it’s too early! What do you think the police will have to say about this? Huh?”

Me: “If you want to talk to them, you know they can get in touch with me. But it sounds like we don’t have anything else to discuss. So once again, I’m sorry for waking up your son—”

Caller: “You woke me up, too!”

Me: “I’m sorry about that, too. Goodbye.”

He never told me his address. When the groups returned, I found out which one had had some dude come out and yell at them. They said they rang the doorbell, waited about fifteen seconds, and then left the flier.

They were on to the next house when they heard the car from the first house screech backward out of the garage, not perfectly straight, so it slammed right into the other car in the same driveway. The boys and adult leader stopped and stared, and then the man got out and started yelling at them — an adult plus a seventeen-year-old and an eleven-year-old — to leave people alone because people were sleeping. He then turned around and stormed into his house… leaving the cars.

Older Than The Stars

, , , , , , | Learning | October 21, 2020

It is 2005 and I am volunteering as an Assistant Scoutmaster for a Boy Scout troop. While we are at a summer camp, I am walking with one of the eleven-year-old first-year scouts. I am nineteen but I guess at his age, that seems really old.

Scout: “Mr. [My Name], do you remember the moon landing?”

Me: “Uh… that happened seventeen years before I was born, [Scout].”

Scout: “Oh.”

Scouting Out The Helpers

, , , , | Right | October 13, 2020

I volunteer as a Cub Scout leader for my son’s troop, a group of eight boys about nine years old — volunteer, as in Nobody Gets Paid For Doing This. We have a lot of fun meetings, trying to earn various badges, and the boys always have a good time.

At the end of one meeting, a father comes into my home to pick up his son, instead of the boy’s mother, who has always picked up her son in the past. 

I introduce myself to the father.

Father: *Angrily* “When are they going camping?! I thought scouting was all about camping!”

Me: “We would really like to do that. We were hoping to go camping this spring.”

Father: *Still angry* “They should have gone camping a dozen times by now! Why aren’t they going camping all the time?!”

Me: *Fake excited* “Oh, my goodness, are you volunteering to organize a camping trip?! The boys will be so excited! What date are you thinking, and where do you think we should go?”

He literally recoils, stepping back two paces. 

Father: “Well, uh, well…”

Me: “The other leaders and I all have jobs, and it takes time to plan the meetings and do the activities. It is so nice that you are willing to do this for the boys.”

Father: “[Son], come on. Your mom is waiting for us,”

And he practically ran out the door.

We did manage to have a couple of family camping trips with the troop. It was no surprise that this dad offered zero help with planning and did not attend.

Realization In Horrific Harmony

, , , , , | Learning | February 6, 2020

(Our Boy Scout troop is visiting a museum. One of the boys is diagnosed with ADHD, but his parents don’t like him being on medication and regularly have him go without it. As a result, he can be a handful to deal with at times. At the end of the trip, we’re all in the gift shop when a friend and I notice the boy with ADHD grabbing a harmonica from one of the racks and walking with it over to the cash register. Realizing what will happen later, we both exchange horrified looks and immediately turn to one of the assistant scoutmasters who drove up in his own car.)

Me: “Say, is it okay if we ride back with you?”

Assistant Scoutmaster: *confused* “Umm… okay, I guess?”

(So, while the rest of the troop loads up in the van to head back, we get in the car with the assistant scoutmaster. Halfway back, we stop off at a gas station. My friend’s mother, who came along with for the trip and has been riding in the van, gets out with a very annoyed look on her face.)

Me: “Let me guess. [Boy With ADHD] was playing the harmonica the entire time?”

Friend’s Mother: *through clenched teeth* “Non… stop.”

This story is part of our Boy Scout roundup! This is the last story in the roundup, but we have plenty of others you might enjoy!

23 Crazy Stories About Camping, S’mores, And The Great Outdoors!


Read the next Boy Scout roundup story!

Read the Boy Scout roundup!

Their Brains Are On A Collective Potty Break

, , , , , | Learning | June 10, 2019

(I am working with my fourth-grade cub scouts on an outdoor activity involving cooking over an open fire, building emergency shelters, and learning the “Leave No Trace” principles for being in the wild.)

Me: “The first principle of Leave No Trace is, ‘Know before you go.’ What do you think that means?”

(The kids scratch their heads for a moment. Then, one of them pipes up.)

Kid #1: “Be careful where you go to the bathroom?”

(I just lose it laughing for about five minutes before I explain that it means to know what conditions you are going to encounter, make sure you are prepared, etc. After I recover, we go on to the second principle:)

Me: “The next principle is, ‘Choose the right path.’”

Kid #2: “To pee on?”

(I tried to steer things away from the bathroom. But the next two were, “Trash your trash,” and, “Leave what you find,” which, of course, the kids also managed to turn into bathroom references. I tried so, so hard to be the serious adult here. I really did. But I had to sit down and laugh while facepalming for about five minutes straight. My scouts are a great source of entertainment.)