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  • Advancement - Which six months?

    This question is raised by another thread. Suppose the last rank advancement a specific scout was three years ago. Time passes. The scout starts participating at a much lower level for a year or two and that level is unacceptable.

    The scout needs six months active for advancement. QUESTION - Which six months do you use? The first six months after the rank advancement where he met expectations or the last two years where he did not meet expectations? If you choose the most recent activity, how do you justify ignoring the quantity of time where the scout met expectations.

    ...

    Follow on ... during those three years, the scout has at least six months of outside activities, on a now-and-then basis. Say three months of band here, a month of church service trip and three months of lacross. But the scout has at least two years where he was not as active.

    QUESTION - Does that meet the six months of "active" per the new GTA that allows outside activities to qualify for being "active"? He only needs six months of active and he can show six months of outside meaningful activities. Or do you say that well he could have been more involved in the troop for the other two+ years and ignore those six months of meaningful outside activities that qualify under the GTA.

  • #2
    Any combination of months, the requirements doesn't say "consecutive months". Your unit can decide how it wants to define active.

    2012 Advancement Guide 4.2.3.1 says:
    "The Scout meets the units reasonable expectations; or, if not, a lesser level of activity is explained.
    If, for the time period required, a Scout or qualifying Venturer or Sea Scout meets those aspects of his units pre-established expectations that refer to a level of activity, then he is considered active and the requirement is met. Time counted as active need not be consecutive. A boy may piece together any times he has been active and still qualify."

    So your unit active requirements need to be reasonable, pre-established, and time doesn't need to be consecutive.

    Comment


    • #3
      You know, I just realized that allowing someone to count nonconsecutive time for the active requirement allows people to come to a meeting once a month and count up 12 weeks a year, which is 3 months. Do that, or even a little more, and you have you 6 months needed.

      Comment


      • #4
        to me this varies for each scout.

        scout A is only a student and scout - would expect them to be much more regular

        scout B is in marching band, basketball, and scouts - would expect them to be much more active in the spring and summer until band camp starts

        scout C is in debate which has compitions all fall on same night as scouts - will obviously miss all those meetings

        scout D is in whatever activities but splits time between mom and dad's homes and only 1 parent supports scouts - they will be there when at that parents house.

        To me part of active is staying in touch and that can be as simple of coming up to SPL or SM and saying "hey XXX is starting so I will be missing the next X meetings, if I'm able to attend an outing I will notify via email to sign-up" Any time leaders say to each "haven't seen or heard from XXX for a few months anyone know what's going on" and no one knows and phone calls go un-returned then they are no longer active.

        Comment


        • #5
          sailingpj, that's where your unit steps in to set the standards.

          My troop handbook says "To be active in ones Troop or Patrol you are required to attend at least 2 meetings per month and one Troop or Patrol activity per quarter to fulfill this requirement for rank advancement..." This requirement has been in place since before I was SM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Yah, da answer to the question is who cares? How many angels can dance on da strained definition of a pin?

            Yeh do what yeh need to do to help this boy and the other boys who are watching learn an appropriate lesson about responsibility and commitment.

            B

            Comment


            • #7
              I guess it depends on whether you believe the advancement requirements are requirements, or just suggestions to be added to or subtracted from at the discretion of unit leadership.

              I think a lot of these problems and uncertainties could be avoided by simple communication, as IM_Kathy suggests. Leaders should be making clear to the Scouts, if you have a problem, including a problem that is preventing you (or is going to prevent you) from attending regularly (or at all) for some period of time, please let us know. And the Scouts have to do their part, and actually communicate rather than simply vanishing for awhile with nobody knowing why. We have had Scouts come to the Scoutmaster and say they are basically going to be absent for an entire sports season, and the Scoutmaster says fine, thanks for letting me know. That also gives the leaders the opportunity to relieve that Scout of any POR's they may hold for that period of time. And that conversation should also include a discussion of where the Scout stands advancement-wise and should seek an understanding that any relevant time periods are "on hold" during the leave of absence.

              I also agree with IM_Kathy that after the "season" is over, or before it begins, the Scout should be giving extra attention to Scouting activities and being especially active, though reality doesn't often work out that way.

              Comment


              • #8
                And thus the advancement mess we will be eternally stuck in. We have many view points.

                - ends justify the means advancement camp very well represented by Beavah and others.
                - not really requirements as much as guidelines advancement camp very well represented IM_Kathy, NJCubScouter and others.
                - contract requirements advancement camp very well represented by fred8033, Eagle732, the BSA and others.

                All three can produce good troop programs and good results.

                Comment


                • #9
                  One thing that I think is of paramount importance is to make sure everyone knows the expectations. My troop's policy is in writing, it is reviewed at a new scout/parent orientation when they join, it's posted on our website, and every family gets a copy and signs for it. There's no reason for a member to have an questions about our policy.

                  Of course the problems happen when you have a change of policy in mid stream like we did with the new "active" language in the GTA. In that case I think you have to allow the scout work under the old guidelines until he completes the rank he's currently working on. In our case we just continued on with our current policy knowing (or hoping) that we now had BSA backing.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    All three can produce good troop programs and good results.

                    Nope, we disagree on this point as well, fred8033. As well as on whether you actually speak for the BSA.

                    I'm a fellow who understands contracts and deals with contracts and such.

                    I don't believe for a minute that contracts teach character and values, especially not in an adversarial system.

                    When we're talkin' about young people, I believe a notion of needin' to "put everything in writing" or "make them sign a contract" is at best poor practice. At worst, it's completely coercive and bankrupt. It reflects adults who in some ways probably aren't well suited to bein' the primary leader/mentor for young people, because I think young people need leaders and mentors who are willin' to stand on principle without hiding behind weasel words.

                    So no, as much as I truly support and trust all da fine men and women who volunteer with kids in da BSA, contracting is a poor practice and viewin' Advancement as a contractual agreement is poor use of da method. Just like bein' completely adult-run with token youth PORs is poor use of da Youth Leadership method.

                    That doesn't mean that the troop can't still be a fine troop and that the kids can't learn because the troop may well be using the other 7 methods to counteract their poor use of da one. That happens a lot. Good Adult Relationships can overcome poor advancement practice, eh?

                    So while the troop may still be a great troop, I believe that da approach yeh advocate for advancement does not ever produce good troop programs and results.

                    The means do not justify the end, nor does the end justify the means. Both means and end must be examples of character and values.

                    Beavah
                    (This message has been edited by Beavah)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      In a nutshell what you are saying is....

                      for 6 month of being active you are simply making sure he attends 24 meetings irregardless of the duration of passing time????

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The funny thing is, the Scout needs the same time in their POR. Surely while serving in their 6 month POR they were also fitting the role of active? Aside from perhaps OA rep and Den Chief, I can't think of a POR that would not require a Scout to also be active in the unit as well.

                        If not, you shouldn't be focusing on adding up weeks but instead be focusing on ensuring that you have real PORs. This is a PLC problem, not one for the Scouters IMHO.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Beav, You call it a contract, I call it an expectation. And I don't think our expectations are unreasonable at all.
                          In reality if a scout isn't attending 50% of the meetings and 4 camping trips a year he's not advancing anyway since he's obviously not interested in Scouting.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Fred, I am not in any of those camps, nor am I in either of the camps of which Beavah has written.

                            I will try not to take it personally that nobody seems to want me in their camp.

                            I do believe the requirements are the requirements. I also believe there are times when a common-sense interpretation must be made. I also believe that a Scout who has made an agreement and ignores it has displayed a tenuous grasp of trustworthiness that should be addressed in a BOR under the heading of "Scout Spirit".

                            If you want to find a label to fit all that, be my guest, but I don't see the point.(This message has been edited by Njcubscouter)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              NJCubScouter - Perhaps you hit it on the head when you said you just don't see the point. I've been re-reading this forum's discussion threads and these exact same debates have been going on for 10+ years. Requirements versus guidelines. BSA control versus unit leader control. It's never ending and there are many hard headed people involved. Leaders asserting there's no real standard so units can create their own.

                              The problem is that I'm mostly polite when I say that I think Beavah's example produces good results. It might but it also burns way too many scouts. I just don't want my sons or their friends or anyone that I'm responsible for near that type of leader or that type of program. I want them involved in the program as BSA documents it. No more. No less.

                              I'm just sad when I see such misguided comments and advice as I often see published in this forum.

                              Comment

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