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followup to "seems like skirting..."

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  • #16
    OGE: "I guess the real question is what is being done to prevent this from happening again?"

    OGE, I'm not entirely sure if you're directing this question to me, in this circumstance, but the parent thread of this one pretty much laid out the situation that our troop had been in, and the changes that the SM and I (now as CC) had been trying to make.

    Prior situation: advancement-oriented troop, almost an "Eagle Mill" in a way. Many, many Scout were expressed through early ranks and treated the troop as if becoming an Eagle Scout was the only point to belonging. Outings had been cut back to bare minimum, and in general, Scouts would attend summer camp maybe twice with the troop, once or twice go to "Eagle Week" (provisional week at camp, concentrating on Eagle-required merit badges), and then not really participate in the summers any more. In fact, when my older son joined the troop, the CC treated the troop as an "academic year" unit (like some Cub packs do). Fall camping was sparse, because the SM hunted, and wasn't involved with weekend outings. Winter outings didn't happen, because it's the northeast, and the "Eagle prospects" didn't really have requirements to go winter camping.

    Patrols were non-functional, even though Scouts had PoRs including Patrol Leaders. Our typical SPLs were high school students who rarely showed up (because, in reality, they didn't need to). In fact, and this is off the top of my head, past Eagles had these PoRs: Ass't PLs (but were listed as "acting PLs" even though patrols were non-existent), Bugler (he would play Taps at the end of meetings that he showed up to, his only real bugler duties; when he realized that Bugler wouldn't count for Eagle, he lobbied to become ASPL, even though he knew he wouldn't be showing up on outings or to meetings), ASPL that came to about 3 meetings during the course of a year, Quartermaster (who did absolutely nothing besides hold the title), a Librarian that did nothing besides store a box of merit badge pamplets for a year.

    It was a mess. However, I'd like to report that 3 or 4 years later, now, the situation looks much more like a Boy Scout troop should. We actually have functional patrols, and we have PoR-holders that actually do something. Our former Advancement Chair (who started the accountability movement, in Boards) is now our Scoutmaster, where he has continued with the accountability movement. We went from meeting once or twice a month, to meeting practically every week. We went from less than six outings a year, to about 16 outings last year, which included two summer camps. The prior summer, two summer camps and a high adventure trip for First Class and above Scouts. We have a real treasurer, who wrote our first budget and took care of annual re-registration for me. We have a 5-year plan for high adventure trips, which we hope to turn into a rotating schedule. We have a "participation policy", which had been discussed by the troop committee. That policy was listed in the parent thread to this one.

    As a relatively new CC, I just hit my first recharter. I did drop a few Scouts that we haven't seen in a year. There is one that I should have dropped from the charter, but didn't. He's a few months from 18, and I know we won't see him again (why did I recharter him? Because his dad paid the registration fee...).

    Guy

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    • #17
      "Now honestly if he was truly inactive for three years, why was he kept on the charter."

      Hard to tell. Maybe his parents continued to pay his "Dues" but he was not really showing up for anything during that time. For some units, "active" means Dues paid. I don't agree with that, but I'm sure it happens in low-quality Troop programs.

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      • #18
        Probably time for someone to come in with a competitor system of awards for all da units who want to do scoutin' for real. Either that or just do away with appeals at all levels, not just T-2-1. Close as I can tell, they're not value added.

        I sorta consider the National Outdoor Achievement Award the competitor system for Eagle. I'm more impressed with the requirements for it than I am for Eagle (certainly considering the lax standards). At least 125 nights camping, several challenging MBs, WRFA and LNT trainer certification, plus planning and leading a big trip. I think it beats Eagle for participation, accomplishment, and leadership.

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        • #19
          It was rhetorical, not directed at you

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          • #20
            This is exactly why we have an attendance policy and we won't let dear old dad drop by at recharter to pay the fee for a boy we haven't seen in 6 months because of sports or lack of interest.

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            • #21
              The impression I have gotten from some threads in this forum, and from things I have heard "around town", is that many of the council and district-level advancement people focus mainly on making sure the "objective" requirements, namely the merit badges and project, have been completed, and are not that interested in "interpreting" whether the "active", POR and Scout spirit requirements have truly been satisfied. Based on the current Guide to Advancement, National is probably fostering this attitude. Meanwhile, many people in the units would like to make sure ALL the requirements have been met. The result is that when an appeal is taken, or there is a BOR "under disputed circumstances", if the merit badges are there and the completed project workbook is there, the Scout is probably going to be awarded Eagle. I would prefer to see the Scouts meet ALL the requirements, but this is seems to be the reality.

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              • #22
                NJ and that is exactly why we have eagle scouts who don't fit the spirit of the Eagle profile. any kid can work a list and get all the check marks and signatures.

                But do they actually learn the lessons along the way?????

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                • #23
                  It almost seems like we need a blue card for PORs and Activity!

                  The real problem with this is that for every boy like this, there are dozens who agree with SM that they haven't done enough to earn Eagle. For some of them, they run out of time to make it right. They may know that there it's possible to argue their way to Scouting's highest rank, but they let it go or conclude it is wrong to do so.

                  For some, they still carry a lot of pride in what they've achieved as a scout and pay it forward in years to come. But for others they feel it's a shame and will steer themselves (and maybe their kids) clear of scouting!

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