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Is it ever appropriate to "slow" a Scout's advancement?

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  • #16
    The only time it would be appropriate to "slow" a scout's advancement is if the scout is not demonstrating scout spirit. I've done this, but never through subversive means. I've always been straightforward and honest with the scout.

    What thsi scoutmaster is doing is WRONG. For many reasons in addition to the advancement policy. It's dishonest and unkind. "Tricking" younger scouts doesn't resemble any points of the scout law that I am aware of. Perhaps you should ask him how this demonstrates the scout law in HIS daly life?

    Comment


    • #17
      Even if you accept the idea of slowing a Scouts progress, which I dont, this Scoutmaster is making some huge assumptions. He doesnt think a Scout should complete his Eagle rank before the age of 16, therefore he slows their progress if any Scout is on pace to complete the rank before then. But heres something that this Scoutmaster has obviously not considered. Many boys do not work at a steady pace. Some kids will advance through three ranks in two years or less, and then just sit and smell the roses for the next two or three years. What if a boy started out on fire and was on pace to have Life by age 12 or 13? I say - so what? He may very well stay at Life until hes 15 or 16 or even later. If this Scoutmaster had his way, the same boy would be slowed (by the Scoutmasters self-imposed rules) and would not achieve 1st Class until he was 12 or 13. Thus, in the end, the Scoutmaster may ruin this boys drive and motivation. The boy may never achieve the rank he could/would have had the Scoutmaster just did his job and not play the role of Emperor of the Troop.

      Comment


      • #18
        (The lantirn glows a little brighter. Or, I think I'm starting to see the light.)

        To re-frame the issue, why would we even consider slowing a scout's advancement? Usually because we don't think he has the maturity (or skills, spirit, participation, or whatever) to move up to the next level.

        The easy way to address the shortcoming is to set an arbitrary age, but there are a bunch of problems with this:
        1. No one can add a requirement.
        2. Age doesn't equate to maturity.
        3. It's just outright not fair to those fast-burners who DO have the ability, desire, and opportunity to move forward at a faster than average pace.
        4. I'm sure I'm missing more....

        Bob White hit the solution directly on the head. "The scout has either completed the requirement or he hasn't." If there's concern about a scout's readiness to advance, age doesn't provide a solution. Take a close look at some other parts of your program - you may find areas where we've wandered off the trail or at least missed some trail markers.

        1. Positions of Responsibility: Maybe it's time to take a look at our standards for the successful completion of a tour of duty in a POR. Do the scouts know what's expected? Do they have clear instructions of what they need to do in order to be considered successful in the position? Are they trained? Does someone check in on their progress frequently and provide feedback? Is it clear to them that if they do not meet expectations in spite of the training and assistance, they will not be allowed to continue to hold the position and will not get advancement credit for it?
        -- If scouts are given advancement credit for wearing a position patch for 6 months and making no effort to do anything at all, we could easily find ourselves promoting scouts who aren't ready for it. The problem is not the age, it's job performance. If we've done our part right, it will be clear he didn't meet the requirement.

        2. Selecting leaders: Do we follow the instructions in the handbooks? (There's more details, but in general, troop elects SPL and patrols elect PLs. Practically all other leaders that count for rank advancement are selected by the SPL.) SPL is told in his handbook to select the best guys available for the job that are willing to do it. It doesn't say anything about only selecting someone who "needs" a position for his next rank. It doesnt say anything not selecting someone for the same position two (or more) terms in a row if they are the best for the job and willing. Or selecting someone for another different position after theyve finished up a term doing something else. We can provide guidance for the SPL to select leaders with a consideration to growing the next crop helping them to mature in the process but thats about it.
        -- If leaders are selected when they're ready for a position, they stand a good chance of being ready for the responsibility and all it entails (including maybe the next rank). When adults foul with the program and assign PORs for a variety of reasons, the system doesn't have a chance to work. This one thing will do a lot to keep guys on the advancement pace that is right for them.
        -- Note: This doesnt mean the SPL should only select strong proven leaders for all of his positions. Most will have to grow into the position and many will need some care&feeding along the way. The issue of only selecting strong, proven leaders is also one thats almost never a problem. Most scouts will want a down-time after expending a lot of effort in a position. Some will have been motivated to take on the job only for rank advancement and it will be difficult to convince them to step back up to the plate so soon. But some will find they enjoy being a leader and wont be happy reverting back to Patrol Member status with minimized input into the troops operations. These guys will be hungry to lead and to grow and will form the nucleus of really strong leadership that it takes to run an active troop.

        3. Scout spirit: Do scouts have a clear understanding about what it takes to successfully get this one signed off? We need to make our expectations clear. When maturity or behavior problems are the underlying issue/concern, this one can be the key to holding a scout accountable and helping him grow in a positive direction. The requirement says Demonstrate Scout spirit by living the Scout Oath (Promise) and Scout Law in your everyday life. This shouldnt be an automatic signoff and it isnt just about being able to recite a few positive examples. When the SM knows about instances where the scouts actions were decidedly Un-Scout like, these are most certainly fair game. Actions inside scouting and outside (i.e., school, home, and community) are all to be considered it says in your everyday life. If they are Scouts, their actions at all times reflect on us all. This requirement directly addresses one of our three Aims of Scouting: Character Development.
        -- In short, if a scout has issues with his scout spirit, we are NOT slowing down his advancement. Keep the rationale clear he simply hasnt met the requirement.

        YIS,
        -mike
        (This message has been edited by Mike F)

        Comment


        • #19
          Mike F wrote:
          When the SM knows about instances where the scouts actions were decidedly Un-Scout like, these are most certainly fair game.

          True. And I would supplement this by adding that scout spirit shouldn't just be the absence of negative behaviour, but the presence of positive behaviour. As one example: Helpful isn't just being willing to perform specific tasks when asked or cajoled. A scout demonstrating the helpful point of the scout law would be actively looking for opportunities to be helpful; he would notice when another scout needs assistance and offer to help.

          Venividi

          Comment


          • #20
            NO, and I'm disappointed that we see leaders make choices that force us to ask the question.

            Concerned, someone should tell your SM that when boys take on positions of responsibility at a young age, it's great experience for the more complicated positions they'll take on at an older age. Your SM acts like Eagle is a destination - an end point - rather than a milestone upon a much longer journey. He's also acting like he knows better than 95 years of Scouting. He needs to read the posters above.

            jd

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            • #21
              I am a Scoutmaster and have been working with scouts for over 30 years. My youngest son who is 12 entered Boy Scouts via Arrow of Light when he was 10 years and 4 months old. Since he skipped 2nd grade and is large for his age he looks older and most of his friends in the troop are at least 1 to 2 years older. He earned his Life rank while still 11. I have done absolutely nothing to encourage him to progress nor have I signed off anything in his book, done any Scoutmaster Conferences, etc. I have worked with him when he asked me to on scout skills. I sat down with him when he earned his Life and told him I would like for him to slow down a little and enjoy scouting. I don't believe that a 12 year old is mature enough to be an Eagle even though my son is more mature and demonstrates better leadership than most of the 14-16 year olds in the troop (comments of assistant scoutmasters when asking how I got him to be that way - nothing I did he came that way - older brother made Star in 4 years and quit). Over the years I have had one 13 year old Eagle and know one who was in scouts when I was a scout - the later now a Council President, Vigil, etc. etc.) Kids are all different and in most cases what we do as adults will not change significantly their drive, initiative, and ownership in self. Some will earn Eagle at a young age and as long as the parents have not had a hand in them passing off a badge or requirement (other than training) they fully deserve what they earn.

              I'm not sure I did the right thing in slowing him down as he kind of went on hold. Going to have to wait to see. He turns 13 in November and lacks one Eagle required and the project. He went to National Jamboree this past summer and we will go to Philmont next summer. Time will tell but he has not lost any of his interest in participating in scouts.

              Comment


              • #22
                I understand that in Apr, 2013, this discussion is now over 11 years old and yet incredibly, it is still pertinent. I am an ASM in a large troop where the prevailing attitude is to be in 'prevent mode', as I call it. There are important items left off the list of thinsg to discuss with first year's, among them are how to work the blue cards (when/who/what to ask, and how and why...) and that certain ranks are needed at certain years for Pipestone, as my Troop attends 7-Ranges each year (Buckeye Council, OH). I have a SM who, during my 11 year old son's SMC told him that he needed to 'hang out with your Dad less'...baffling to us because when were outdoors, we rarely see each other, especially at summer camp, and have to set times and dates to go get an icecream slushie to catch up. Then this SM assigned an Eagle Scout to speak to my son after his First Class SMC about, you guessed it, 'slowing down to have some fun', he actually did this with one other Scout as well, but did that Scout's father the courtesty of telling him he planned to do this prior to doing it. I would not have objected, my son's ambition is bullet-proof at this point, but I do object to the underhanded way he went about all theses activities.

                'First year to First Class' is a satndard that he, my son, loved, and he stated to me that he planned to get his Eagle prior to getting his liscense, he is well aware fo the 'fumes' from talking to other adults (perfume and exhaust fumes...) and doesn't want to let those and sportd get in his way, knowing that they inevitably will.

                My real concern is, given the SMs past behavior, they the SM may try to talk the newly elected SPL out of choosing my son for any positions of responsibilty.

                What would I do in this case? This would set my son to waiting for 14 months until the next election, for Star rank which should take at MOST 4-6 minths....??

                Comment


                • #23
                  I understand that in Apr, 2013, this discussion is now over 11 years old and yet incredibly, it is still pertinent. I am an ASM in a large troop where the prevailing attitude is to be in 'prevent mode', as I call it. There are important items left off the list of things to discuss with first year's, among them are how to work the blue cards (when/who/what to ask, and how and why...) and that certain ranks are needed at certain years for Pipestone, as my Troop attends 7-Ranges each year (Buckeye Council, OH). I have a SM who, during my 11 year old son's SMC told him that he needed to 'hang out with your Dad less'...baffling to us because when were outdoors, we rarely see each other, especially at summer camp, and have to set times and dates to go get an ice-cream slushy to catch up. Then this SM assigned an Eagle Scout to speak to my son after his First Class SMC about, you guessed it, 'slowing down to have some fun', he actually did this with one other Scout as well, but did that Scout's father the courtesy of telling him he planned to do this prior to doing it. I would not have objected, my son's ambition is bullet-proof at this point, but I do object to the underhanded way he went about all theses activities.

                  'First year to First Class' is a standard that he, my son, loved, and he stated to me that he planned to get his Eagle prior to getting his license, he is well aware of the 'fumes' from talking to other adults (perfume and exhaust fumes...) and doesn't want to let those and sports get in his way, knowing that they inevitably will.

                  My real concern is, given the SMs past behavior, they the SM may try to talk the newly elected SPL out of choosing my son for any positions of responsibility.

                  What would I do in this case? This would set my son to waiting for 14 months until the next election, for Star rank which should take at MOST 4-6 months....??

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    boys advance as they will, some quick others,well, not so much.

                    Patrol leaders are elected by their patrol.......So SPL has no input.....There is no set standard on term dates.....But most troops use a 6 month election cycle...SPL and PL are both elected positions and the rest are appointed......My suggestion would be for him to try to get elected PL.......

                    Sounds like your sons troop got lost along the way......You have two basic choices stay and not make a big deal about it or leave and find a troop that is more boy led and holds regular elections. If you go troop shopping be aware he probably won't get elected till he gets to know the boys in that troop.

                    The SM has a point.....Advancement is one method of scouting.. The SMC is just a discussion and shouldn't be anything more....I don't think the SM is doing anything underhanded,

                    Honestly, why do you feel the need to catch up with your son at summer camp?????? There will be plenty of time to talk about it when you get home......I find setting a date and time to meet him at the trading post for Ice cream odd. The SM has a point about hanging out with dad at summer camp, It is his time with his friends, let him have his own experience.

                    Your going to take this the wrong way, Is there any reason for you to attend camp this year?????? Stay home, let your son grow.....He will be fine.......And so what if he brings home some partials.......Camp is supposed to be fun, not all work.....

                    Far as the star rank taking X amount of months.....pssssst......it takes what it takes.....It is the journey and not the destination..

                    So is he going to Eagle and out????? I hope not....

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Mikey,

                      Let's forget about ages and clocks and calenders, and set up a more practical metric:
                      Has your son mastered all of his first class skills? Could he be trusted to take a group of his buddies hiking and camping? If so then he is a 1st class scout and not just wearing a patch. He should tell his SM that he would like to discuss a position of responsibility with the SPL. Not for the purposes of rank advancement, mind you. But simply because he is confident that he qualifies to lead. He can make a deal that if he's not living up to his responsibility after a month, he'll resign the position and wait a few months until he's really ready.

                      If not, table the discussion on calendars and don't pre-judge the unit leader's intentions. When you're both at home, ask your son to show you his book from time to time to see what he'd like to "fill in next."

                      Likewise, Pipestone, like O/A, is not an advancement. It is a recognition of honored campers. Advise your son to spend a couple of years being honorable. That is, participate in his unit showing scout spirit throughout. If you notice Pipestone's schedule, 1st class isn't expected until year 3!

                      Now, as ASM, what should you do? Assist the Scoutmaster. That means, if he would like things done a certain way, do it!
                      I might suggest looking to help an older scout who has yet to make rank and doing your best to help him along the trail. Or, maybe, the boys are weak on a skill that you're good at. Help come up with a few challenges for that skill. I might suggest other stuff, but I'm not your SM!

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by mikeknr View Post
                        I understand that in Apr, 2013, this discussion is now over 11 years old and yet incredibly, it is still pertinent. I am an ASM in a large troop where the prevailing attitude is to be in 'prevent mode', as I call it. There are important items left off the list of things to discuss with first year's, among them are how to work the blue cards (when/who/what to ask, and how and why...) and that certain ranks are needed at certain years for Pipestone, as my Troop attends 7-Ranges each year (Buckeye Council, OH). I have a SM who, during my 11 year old son's SMC told him that he needed to 'hang out with your Dad less'...baffling to us because when were outdoors, we rarely see each other, especially at summer camp, and have to set times and dates to go get an ice-cream slushy to catch up. Then this SM assigned an Eagle Scout to speak to my son after his First Class SMC about, you guessed it, 'slowing down to have some fun', he actually did this with one other Scout as well, but did that Scout's father the courtesy of telling him he planned to do this prior to doing it. I would not have objected, my son's ambition is bullet-proof at this point, but I do object to the underhanded way he went about all theses activities. 'First year to First Class' is a standard that he, my son, loved, and he stated to me that he planned to get his Eagle prior to getting his license, he is well aware of the 'fumes' from talking to other adults (perfume and exhaust fumes...) and doesn't want to let those and sports get in his way, knowing that they inevitably will. My real concern is, given the SMs past behavior, they the SM may try to talk the newly elected SPL out of choosing my son for any positions of responsibility. What would I do in this case? This would set my son to waiting for 14 months until the next election, for Star rank which should take at MOST 4-6 months....??
                        I will be honest here. Scouting for many kids these days seems to be more about getting Eagle before 16 (or even 14) than it is about actually being in Scouts. Every troop I know have kids that rocket through to Life by 13 or maybe just turned 14 and then *poof* they drop off the radar and you never see them until they need their Eagle SMC. Where is the journey? Where is the enjoyment? These kids rocket around from activity to activity and barely give Scouting the time of day...or at least after football or baseball or soccer come first. But they want Eagle. Not for what it means -- being a Master Scout -- but for the resume value of it.

                        Sorry Mike, I am with your SM on this one. I would if I could flat out tell kids to slow down and enjoy the journey. Build deep skills. Master one skill in particular like first aid or something that will continue to be a life-skill. Don't just treat Scouting as a brief activity, but as something you are actually ACTIVELY engaged in. BW hit the nail on the head: It is the journey not the destination. My own kid is at Star right now. Will have been Star for two years. All he needs is his SMC to get Life. He said on his own that he did not think he was ready to be a Life Scout. THAT more than ANYTHING spoke volumes to me.

                        If I were you I would tell my kid to slow down and enjoy Scouts. What does he get if he makes it fast? He won't be the youngest Scout to make Eagle. The only person he short changes is himself.




                        Comment


                        • #27
                          We took care of that boy who shows up for an SMC......With the guide to advancement, the what is active......for a boy in non leadership role it is 50% of the meeting and 50% of the outings for the last 6 months.....and in a leadership role it is 75 for both.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Basementdweller View Post
                            We took care of that boy who shows up for an SMC......With the guide to advancement, the what is active......for a boy in non leadership role it is 50% of the meeting and 50% of the outings for the last 6 months.....and in a leadership role it is 75 for both.
                            BD...but to be clear...those percentages are a unit-specific measure, right? The Guide to Advancements does not provide percentages for attendance that I saw. Rather, they provided the litmus test of:

                            - Be registered

                            - Be in good standing (i.e., not suspended)

                            - Meet the unit requirements for "active" OR be able to justify why you cannot or did not using the special means test.

                            My guess is some units do not track attendance (yet another use for TM btw ;-) ) or if they do they do not apply their attendance standard unless there is an obvious issue (e.g., someone falls well below any 50% level, rather than someone who is at 45%)

                            I used our TM software to track they attendance when the scribes submit attendance. I run a report and identify boys that are in the process of dropping off the radar. We have a quick SMC and discuss their activities and our expectations for future attendance. Had to do this with two Eagle candidates last week...had not seen them except to sign blue cards in THREE YEARS!!! all that despite me sending them requests to talk and re-engage. They were registered and in good standing but literally did nothing with us. Sent a few shots across the bow and then said we need to talk. One kid came in, had a good talk and we established a way he could stay active AND still do his other stuff. The other kid? Missed the meeting with me, the advancement chair and the Eagle advisor, made excuses about how buys he was and even used his mom's minor surgery as an excuse...despite the fact that his mom was actually AT the troop meeting that night delivering something to the CO. Go figure. Clearly the kid does not have Scouting as a priority and demonstrated right there that the Scout Law and Oath does not mean a great deal to him. Our next conversation will be interesting.

                            @Mikeknr...this is the very reason your son should slow down. These Scouts got Life by 13 1/2 and then just dropped of the radar to focus on other stuff. Scouting is a resume builder for them. I see too many kids in my Council follow this same path. In the end the choice is yours. I prefer the boys slow down and become solid scouts. Eagle should be about who you become, not how fast.

                            Comment


                            • Basementdweller
                              Basementdweller commented
                              Editing a comment
                              Those are the numbers we use to define active. I use troopwebhost that has the ability to do it real time from a smartphone without add ons or extra charges. To this point in my adult scouting career a boy is either active or has quit......I haven't had one leave for football or band and come back yet.

                              if mikes son is first class at eleven he could be eagle by the time he is 13.....

                          • #29
                            Originally posted by mikeknr View Post
                            I understand that in Apr, 2013, this discussion is now over 11 years old and yet incredibly, it is still pertinent. I am an ASM in a large troop where the prevailing attitude is to be in 'prevent mode', as I call it. There are important items left off the list of thinsg to discuss with first year's, among them are how to work the blue cards (when/who/what to ask, and how and why...) and that certain ranks are needed at certain years for Pipestone, as my Troop attends 7-Ranges each year (Buckeye Council, OH). I have a SM who, during my 11 year old son's SMC told him that he needed to 'hang out with your Dad less'...baffling to us because when were outdoors, we rarely see each other, especially at summer camp, and have to set times and dates to go get an icecream slushie to catch up. Then this SM assigned an Eagle Scout to speak to my son after his First Class SMC about, you guessed it, 'slowing down to have some fun', he actually did this with one other Scout as well, but did that Scout's father the courtesty of telling him he planned to do this prior to doing it. I would not have objected, my son's ambition is bullet-proof at this point, but I do object to the underhanded way he went about all theses activities. 'First year to First Class' is a satndard that he, my son, loved, and he stated to me that he planned to get his Eagle prior to getting his liscense, he is well aware fo the 'fumes' from talking to other adults (perfume and exhaust fumes...) and doesn't want to let those and sportd get in his way, knowing that they inevitably will. My real concern is, given the SMs past behavior, they the SM may try to talk the newly elected SPL out of choosing my son for any positions of responsibilty. What would I do in this case? This would set my son to waiting for 14 months until the next election, for Star rank which should take at MOST 4-6 minths....??
                            Another option for Star is to do a leadership project approved by the Scoutmaster. That said, 12 months between elections is way to long, for either the office holders or the people who hope to be office holders. 6 months is about as long as I've seen a boy to function as SPL. At 5 months, they are getting burned out.

                            Comment


                            • Basementdweller
                              Basementdweller commented
                              Editing a comment
                              So how is the SM going to react if the ASM goes to him and asks for a project for his son or son asks sm for project....Probably not real well.

                          • #30
                            Originally posted by Region 7 Voyageur View Post
                            If you cant kick a dead horse when it is down, when can you kick it? This is my opinion, a Scout that is very active, has set personal goals, and works consistently at advancing will achieve the Eagle rank when he is 14 years old. This is good! A Scout may then look to earning Eagle Palms, or joining a Venturing Crew and working towards the Silver Award and the Ranger Award. A Scout may also have an interest in working towards the Quartermaster Award in a Sea Scout Ship. Scouts that I have observed that have earned Eagle at 17+ years of age have usually had long periods of inactivity in advancement and participation in the troop. Many are procrastinators that were pushed in the end by their parents to finish their Eagle. If you believe that a Scout has not earned the Eagle rank then the fault lies with those that have signed off along the way. If a requirement, merit badge, or service project was signed off with out meeting the standards then shame on the person that signed off. It seems to me that most people that have an issue with Scouts earning Eagle before the age of 16 are either: people who earned eagle at the age of 17, or parents of Scouts that earned Eagle at the age of 17. In my opinion they cannot fathom someone earning the rank at a younger age than they or their son did. Was Theodore Roosevelt too young to be President of the United States? (This message has been edited by Region 7 Voyageur)

                            My observation about the older Eagles is the same. We hardly see them for a year (as Life Scouts), and then suddenly they are back for their Eagle Project, so they get that done before they graduate high school. Except for obviously immature boys, I see no reason to delay a 14 or 15 yr old Eagle candidate. I see our high school age Life Scouts getting bored with Scouts, and getting more involved with high school life.

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