How should Scouts react when a peer irritates them?

The Dilemma

Life in the Flaming Scorpion Patrol is good. All seven members came up through Cub Scouting as a den, they enjoy hanging out together and they work well as a team. On campouts, patrol leader Maya rarely has to give orders or even worry about who’s on the duty roster for cleanup.

But then the Chocolate Donut Patrol falls apart, and the patrol leaders’ council assigns Olivia and Sofia to the Flaming Scorpions.

Olivia’s cool, but Sofia’s a different story. Although she’s the same age as the other patrol members, she acts like an immature Cub Scout. She can’t sit still at meetings, won’t pull her weight on campouts and constantly interrupts Maya to ask the most random questions.

On one campout, several of the other patrol members confront Maya and demand she do something about Sofia. A couple even threaten to leave the troop if things don’t improve.

What should Maya do?

For Discussion

Read the dilemma aloud with your youth. Before exploring possible solutions, discuss why Sofia might be acting the way she is. Do those reasons offer clues to possible solutions to the problem? Could Olivia offer valuable insight?

Next, discuss these general questions:

  • What is Maya’s responsibility to the patrol?
  • What is Maya’s responsibility to Sofia?
  • How can she balance those responsibilities?

Have your youth brainstorm a list of five or more actions Maya could take. (These might include having a one-on-one talk with Sofia or asking the Scoutmaster for help.) Aim for a broad range of options, and point out that when you’re brainstorming, there are no bad answers.

For each option, discuss the following questions:

  • Is this option fair to the patrol? Why or why not?
  • Is this option fair to Sofia? Why or why not?
  • Is this option fair to Maya? Why or why not?

Decide which option Maya should choose. Then, discuss the threats a couple of members made on the campout:

  • Should those threats affect what Maya decides to do? Why or why not?
  • How should Maya address those threats?

Finally, ask the youth to describe situations when they’ve been in a position like Maya, Sofia or the other patrol members. Ask volunteers to share what happened.


  1. As a teacher by profession, I detect someone with a “learning Disability” or ADHD issue. She is away from most of her friends and out of her element. Maya at worst needs to be returned to her original patrol. Her original patrol gave her the group security that allowed her to be a “productive” member of the patrol. THe girls she came up with are her “security blanker” The moving of Maya to another patrol needs to be revisited by the SPL/PLC with the advice of the Scoutmaster or possibly a Committee member who had a background in education.

  2. We have several boys with ADD and have this happen at campouts. Listening and doing problems. Sure it has a name now but what can be done? Side by side adult-scout help defeats boy lead troops. I don’t want to babysit and it isn’t cub scouts anymore as I have been told. My sanity is not being preserved.

  3. “Maya” should discuss things with her Scoutmaster. Like the guy above, this child’s behaviour tells me she possibly has adhd or some kind of developmental disorder. The Scoutmaster should discuss things with the parents and ask for advice on how to keep the child focused on the task at hand WITHOUT bringing up the other scouts “threats” or insinuating that “sofie” has any sort of disability (Some parents naturally get very offended if you insinuate that you think their child is disabled). In a perfect world, parents would be open about their kids’ struggles in order to provide the best possible information to the scoutmaster and troop to help the scout blossom. Then again, in a perfect world, people with difficulties would not be mistreated simply because they have difficulties. It is possible to handle this delicately, but it requires people to work together.

  4. By the time students are of this age, they do know something is up at school….Some of them wave their IEP (Individual Education Plan) around like a sword, using it as a weapon. Are the other scouts in the same school and in the same classes….they might pick up on this. The PL needs to buddy our member with issues with another scout who will show her”THe way this patrol does its business”. Hopefully scaffolding her with another scout will help shape her behavior to conform withthe rest of the patrol.

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