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- Jan 2006
Now, what was it the Scoutmaster was supposed to say to the Scout? Oh yes: "Have you asked your Patrol Leader?"
As I thought about it, it occurred to me that here we have a real good example of the Scoutmaster asking a question that might have gone to his Commissioner... if he had one... So here we have a bunch of Acting-Commissioners, able to make use of their collective experience and knowledge. "Have you asked your Commissioner?" might be a reasonable response, but as I think about it, that might lead to other questions:
@ What's a Commissioner?
@ Who is he/she to me and my Unit?
@ Why should I ask them instead of Scouter.com, if I can find them?
@ What's the use... He'll only tell me to ask the DE...
So why even met with the boy?????
He has never contacted the SM/EL...
He is not a member of the troop.
So how is this different from a life scout troop hopping because he has hit a brick wall at his previous troop trying to find a troop that will let him get his eagle.
Now I don't know the lad, but sounds like mom is just pushin the issue and the boy could careless.
- May 2008
I started a thread a few months back ("skirting the bare minimum") that well-hashed some of the issues related to attendance expectations. For those that remember that thread, I should have an update soon -- I've heard some things unofficially, but have heard nothing official...
Anyway, I suggest being upfront, direct and clear about attendance expectations for troop members. Problems arise when gray areas are presented for consideration.
If you want to talk to the boy, I would find out his contact info (from council if you don't have it) and call before the meeting date and let them know you will talk to them but that it is not an SMC.. From what I understand an SMC is just the act of having it, it really doesn't need you to say pass or fail.. Holding it will give them another check mark.
If your CC & COR don't remember signing this application, I would sugest asking council for the original paper copy (they should hold on to the paper app in a file cabinate). So they could then look at the signatures to see if they signed something and didn't remember it, or if it was forged.
I would have a sit down with him, not as a SMC, and defiantly not with his mother present. I would have a ASM with me who would be taking notes. I would ask him how he has contributed to his troop and how he fulfilled his requirements. I would also be reluctant to accept any advancement signed by another SM for the rank he is currently working on without verification from the previous SM.
As soon as mom finds out she can't bully you she'll find another troop. I've dealt with bully parents in the past and I can assure you it never gets better, only worse. If you let this boy join your troop expect more of the same.
My guess is he's going for 1st Class so he can move on to the crew and start working on Eagle.
I'd be real interested in seeing the application to see if my signature somehow appeared on it. If that were the case I'd be asking all kinds of questions on how it got there.
- Feb 2008
A Scoutmaster Conference does not grant a rank, even if you sign off. It takes a BOR to grant a rank.
If this kid is registered in your unit then you can give him an SMC. You don't have to set up a BOR - that is up to your committee to do that. Use the SMC to help the lad understand his situation, and how it came to be. You find out something interesting, and you might find out that you have a great Scout who has been really functioning as a lone Scout.
Don't punish the kid for the parent's actions.
I am NOT saying grant him an unearned rank - instead see what is going on. Shucks - invite him to an SMC on a campout (those were always my favorite).
But, Horizon it has been debated many times on here, and policy has it that both SMC & BOR are rubber stamps, unless perhaps the BOR can site that requirements were not met. They may have a shot at this, but who knows how the book has been doctored. As others stated it is 1st class rank (or below), or it would not be needed to finish up Eagle in a Venture crew, so the POR is not required.
I just wouldn't start down the path, especially if you are going to contest his membership in the unit. Seems you will have stated acceptance of him as a member if you conduct an SMC for him.
Mother sounds slick and cunning, so I would be cautious not to get trapped into her web.(This message has been edited by moosetracker)
EagerLeader, you said the application went directly to council. I assume he paid the BSA registration fee to council. Does your troop have membership fees in addition to the BSA registration fee? If so did the scout pay those dues to your troop? If he didn't than I would not consider him a member. As I said before I'd want to see the application because if the the SM's signature is not his than the app is not valid.
Horizon, you are correct that a SMC does not guarantee advancement. I do SMCs all the time with my scouts for a multitude of reasons. However, most parents who are not familiar with the process would consider it so even though they would be wrong. In this case I think one would need to make it clear that this meeting was in no way going to lead to advancement. That would be for a SMC in the future.
(This message has been edited by Eagle732)
MT, some people like spiders and collect webs! And the OP doesn't sound fly like at all.
An SMC by any other name is still that. If he meets with the boy to discuss his scouting career, how things are going (or in this case, not going) in the troop, what his goals are, what he thinks of all these monkey-shines, etc ... it is an SMC. Sure you could withhold a signature, but doing so would be a lie if in fact you have had a forthright conversation with the boy. That conversation should end either recommending that the boy to a BOR or asking the boy to demonstrate his to the SPL or PL before he goes to the board.
This is not a "once and done" debate, this is a recognition that sometimes when troops fold, things slip through the cracks, or things get done in hurry. The only way to be sure of the validity of any signature is to see a scout in action.
Now, the SM can take a hard line and say "I only take requests for SMC's at troop meetings by boys in attendance." But if that results in not seeing the boy *at all* then you've defeated your purpose.
As far as registration goes, the CC should have the "unit copy" of the form. It should be obvious who signed it. In any case, it's on the CC to tangle with the mom about bypassing the unit leader.
The bottom line: you don't want to punish a boy for the actions of adults, but part of that means insisting that a boy speak for himself.
- Jun 2005
Nah, da notion that any time a Scoutmaster talks to a lad means he gets a signoff for Scoutmaster Conference strains credulity. Scoutmasters should always be talkin' with kids about da stuff qwazse mentions, eh? It's part and parcel with every meeting and campout and just bein' a Scoutmaster.
So da Scoutmaster Conference as required for rank is somethin' different. It's somethin' specific that has a special meaning in that context. Yeh can have a talk with a lad (especially with da SPL and another ASM present) about joining the troop and attendance expectations and what's goin' on in his life, his past troop, his scouting progress and whatnot without havin' it be da "Scoutmaster Conference" associated with rank.
- Jun 2002
The "actions of adults" theory would apply if this were only an issue of the kid's mom and/or the council finagling a membership application. The key issue here is that of a Scout never having been active in a troop asking the SM to sign off on advancement. That's not an adult action or error, that's a Scout who never really joined the troop. "On paper" may be good enough to count towards the district/council's membership numbers, but it sure wouldn't fly in our troop.
Even if you want to play the "outside activities" card (which I think is absolute BS anyway) on what basis do you do so? You don't know the Scout or anything about him.
If you want to call any SM talking to scouts an SMC, but not the SMC related to advancement. Then fine have an SMC that is not related to advancement. I guess our units never called anytime a SM talks to you an SMC, just the talk for advancement an SMC.. So I will give on the fact there is a different interpretation of the phrase..
I restate what I said to being that before the meeting, you should contact the scout and let him know the SMC is not a (for advancement) SMC.
Okay, maybe I'm being too literal about things. And in practice, I wouldn't have an "official" SMC until all of the rank requirements have been reviewed by our advancement chair. All of us have productive talks with our boys about, life in and out of scouting. I think the SMC encourages boys to get in the habit of those talks.
And let's be honest about the kid who needs to go back to the drawing board. You know, the one who just doesn't believe you when you say "this is what you need to do." Those multiple meetings bout requirements are in effect one drawn-out SMC. We only sign off when we're convinced the message got through and work is done.
So, EL, if you are convinced the work is done, your SMC is complete. If you think there is more to this story (e.g., the boy intentionally avoided the troop because of negative past experiences and now he's on the other extreme and needs to excersise a little accountability), make it clear to Mom that this is not a one-evening deal! If I were you, I would try to contact the former leader and see if there is any data independent of mom. Especially, I would want to know who are the folks who could legitimately sign off on work, what merit badges the boy was working on, etc ...
Finally, if there is any real work to be done, and the boy wants to give it a go, make a plan. Team him up with your best PL. There's nothing wrong with him being a venturer while working on rank advancement in the troop. (My best crew members are often multiples of other units.) Let him know why you think your troop is a great one to earn Eagle in and let him know, that if you will definitely make it worth his time if he digs in.
- Dec 2006
"I wouldn't have an "official" SMC until all of the rank requirements have been reviewed by our advancement chair."
This seems easy and reasonable. Let the AC review and verify signed of items, part of his job anyway. Not retest but get a better feel as to when and how requirements were signed off.
Also having the boy talk to the SPL first is good for the boy to understand the operations of the troop and its expectations.
Then you can have a SMC.
I would have him removed from the charter.