"I don't have an Eagle pin to wear on my shirt, but I'll take on any Eagle scout, skill for skill and I'll at least hold my own, if not blow him out of the water. The Eagle pin is supposed to indicate a certain level of accomplishment. If reality doesn't match, people will soon find out and make appropriate judgments. "
Is an Eagle Scout supposed to be the "Ultimate Outdoorsman" or one who is proficient or above proficient at Outdoor skills?
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- Dec 2007
> Is an Eagle Scout supposed to be the "Ultimate Outdoorsman" or one who is proficient or above proficient at Outdoor skills?
Just curious, where in any BSA literature does it say that?
I think if we guide the PLC into designing a program that allows them to use the skills, and as leaders stress the importance and utility of these skills, our Scouts will retain them far better than they will because they might get "retested".
Yah, sure Sentinel947. That's the way it should work, eh? Da first step of Advancement is "A Scout Learns". The scout should learn by doing and repeating, using the skills over and over while being coached and then on his own. Only after that first step of Advancement does the second step come in, eh? "A Scout is Tested". And then there's still another check, because sometimes the lad doin' the test blows it, or da lad takin' the test fakes it well enough (easier to do with all these memorize/bookwork requirements).
Da problem is that Step 1: A Scout Learns takes time and practice, eh? Just like you describe. Yeh have to plan and cook a lot of meals before yeh become proficient at cooking. Yeh have to do a lot of swimming before yeh are proficient at swimming. It takes a lot of practice before yeh can reliably put on a good splint or do other first aid.
But da materials and guidance from national never explains that, eh? It never says "obviously, a boy who has only helped with cooking two meals in his life is not proficient in cooking and not ready to be tested, and if tested he should not pass." It never says "obviously, a boy who has only seen a demonstration of water rescue methods once and then spent 20 minutes on them is not yet proficient, and testing or signing him off on water rescue would be dangerous and irresponsible."
Instead, some of da materials from National do what JMHawkins points out, eh? They seem to encourage da path of least resistance. No retesting, no adding, First Class in a year, etc. Adults who themselves have weak skills or are unfamiliar with da program seem to take that to heart, eh? Just look at these forums and how many people ignore or are unaware of all the rest of the advancement literature, Rules & Regulations and history, but they can repeatedly spout "no adding to the requirements." :P To be fair to National, those little bits that get over-quoted are really peripheral to the whole program; just a few sentences here and there largely because da national office is sick and tired of dealin' with appeals and threats. But as a result da national advancement team for da last decade in particular has been very poor in their communication to councils, and themselves overemphasized these peripheral points.
So yeh get even caring, experienced fellows like OGE who start to believe that a boy who passes the test should not be proficient. Da proficiency only comes after he passed da test and got the rank, through repetition and practice. The problem with that is that the whole point of the Advancement Method is to provide an incentive for the boy to do the hard work of practice and repetition to achieve proficiency, eh? If yeh give him da cookie without bein' proficient, then there's no point to the method. Lads who would have been motivated without advancement will still achieve, of course. Chalk that up to the family, not to Scouting. But lads whom da Advancement Method and Scouting would have helped get short changed, eh? After they get da cookie, they aren't motivated to do the hard work for proficiency without an incentive. So they end up bein' Life and Eagle Scouts who are fakin' their skills and talkin' a good game. Probably like their adult leaders.
Personally I think programs should retrain/retest the outdoor skills outside of advancement. And as the Scouts get older the tests/simulations/challenges should get tougher, with appropriate troop awards/privileges.
The Outdoor Achievement Award would be one option to shoot for.
(This message has been edited by bnelon44)
- Apr 2013
Beavah, if you are going to mention me and my "position", could you at least try to accurately represent it?
Where do you see anything I have written that I do not think a scout should be proficient in a skill before it gets signed off?
The scout has to know the skill. But just because he knew the skill last week doesnt mean he will know it in 6 months unless he is afforded opportunities to use the skill.
- Jun 2002
> While doing it once and getting it signed off may be what National wants,
Just curious, where in any advancement literature from national does it say that?
Everywhere it says "No Retesting". It's the same thing.
Everywhere the BSA pushes First Year/First Class it's pushing one and done. Ten kids in new Scout patrol, monthly camping and everyone has to serve a patrol cook within the year. Do the math.
Of course BSA never uses the phrase "once and done." It's a somewhat pejorative short hand which coveys both the facts and sentiments. Kinda like describing troops which expect Scouts to take their Boards of Review seriously by wearing their uniforms and bringing their handbooks as "administrative roadblocks."
- Nov 2007
You can shour all you want, if you end up with an Eagle that can't tie knots, its a program thing
In part the shouting is out of frustration that nobody seems to be listening. Here, I will walk you through it:
Step 1 - Yes, if you have Eagle Scouts who can't tie basic knots, it is indeed the result of a poorly run program.
Step 2 - The program will ultimately be run according to what the local adult volunteers in the unit this is right.
Step 3 - Many local volunteers have very little previous Scouting experience. Many other have only experience with poorly run units.
Step 4 - Adults without previous experience of a well-run program will tend to run the sort of program advocated by the program and training material created by National.
Step 5 - Even in units with Scouters experienced and knowlegable about a good program, there will be other volunteers -Commitee members or ASMs - without such experience who will tend to think the program should be run according to the "offiical rules" from National instead of the ideas of some "abusive gatekeeper" Scoutmaster.
So yes, it's all about program, we don't disagree. But bad training leads to bad program.
> Everywhere it says "No Retesting". It's the same thing.
No, that doesn't necessarily mean they do it once and you sign them off. Signing the Scout off means you have tested them and they have done what the requirement said they must do, however it doesn't necessarily mean that the test you conduct is that they can barely tie a knot once and you sign them off. If that is what you are doing, you are doing the Scout a disservice.
- Jun 2006
Obviously I don't expect ever Eagle Scout to be the ultimate outdoorsman, but I expect a reasonable level of proficiency.
I once was prepping breakfast and one of my Eagle Scouts were nearby. I asked him to start a fire so I could cook breakfast and the other kids could have some hot cocoa and after a half hour didn't even have it lit. When I asked him what was up with the process, he informed me he never had done this before.
I had always assumed that a first class scout had all the training to at least take care of himself in the outdoors. I have had many occasions where I could not rely on that assumption.
And in this day and age of personal responsibility, I often wonder about the excuse, "it's the programming that is bad!" bantered around. Since when is it solely the responsibility of the teacher to insure learning? A teacher teaches, the student has a responsibility to learn or at least press the issue with questions until they do.
Sorry, when I get to the point where I rely more on the outdoor skills of my wife who has had no scout training over that of my FC+ scouts, there's something wrong. There's nothing wrong with the program, it's all in the book, but seldom in the heads of the scouts.
Okay, the Grubmaster is making dinner. He has 3 12" dutch ovens sitting next to the already lit fire. He asks an Eagle Scout to prep the charcoal. Okay, 3 up-3 down. That's 24 briquettes for each dutch oven. Multiply that by 3 dutches, 72 briquettes, toss in 3 more for good measure and toss them in the fire to start.
Do the math, none of that is in the book, but it's something that should have been learned by the time they get to Eagle. Otherwise, they are pretty much useless when it comes to camp life and working with making sure others are able to go out into the woods with him.
Be Prepared - if you're not part of the solution to a problem, you are the problem.
Stosh(This message has been edited by jblake47)
- Oct 2002
OGE - "Beavah, if you are going to mention me and my "position", could you at least try to accurately represent it?"
I'm going to have to second that.
Me: Imagine a college student in his second semester of his senior year. Before he can graduate, he has to be retested on every course he took the previous seven semesters. Would you pass?
Beavah: Well, I reckon some of us had to take da Bar Exam, testin' us on all da courses of all three years of law school. I reckon other folks here had to take medical board exams, eh? Other folks who have gone through business school will tell yeh that many have a "capstone" course or experience that requires yeh to use all da knowledge from all your courses. Anybody who has done graduate work will probably tell yeh they had to pass oral and written qualifyin' exams, testing 'em on all da material in all their courses.
So I'd say da answer is ABSOLUTELY YES. If yeh really learned da material, of course you can pass a comprehensive exam. Just like if yeh really learned how to ride a bike, of course yeh can still ride a bike.
My Response: Apples and oranges. When you decide to be a lawer or doctor, you know that there will be bar or medical board exams at the end. You know as well as I do, that there is a whole industry out there to prepare people for those exams. In scouting, national is pretty clear about there not being a comprehensive exam at the BOR. Imagine a kid's surprise when after testing and being signed off by the SM as having fulfilled that requirement to earn the rank that he is now going to have to do it all over again to really earn it. It isn't part of the program. His buddy across town doesn't have to do it. Neither did his grandpa. When BSA makes retesting on all the material they've learned previously part of the program, then you'll have a valid apples to apples comparison.
If SM's are signing off when a boy is not proficient, that is on the adult and the program. If boys are not being given the opportunity to use the skills and maintain proficiency, that is on the adult and the program. I don't understand why so many adults don't get this.If little Johnny isn't proficient......why did you sign him off. If little Johnny isn't retaining it......why is your program not designed to provide the opportunity.
Little Johnny followed what was in the book.
bnelon: I was replying to someone else's post. I feel like my use of quotation marks made it very clear I was replying to JBlakes statement.
Jblake: I agree with you. An Eagle Scout should be a dependable outdoorsman. And the scenarios you described make me get a strange mixture of distaste and humor.
As I've said previously, just because a boy is "proficient" in the eyes of National, and gets a rank badge, doesn't mean they are gonna retain this information. Part of the issue lies with them, and part of it lies with them being in a program where they never get to light a fire.
A quick story for ya. *Disclaimer, I am an Eagle Scout.* I was at Summer camp with the boys last summer. A few Scouts approached me about making a fire. "I said sure, but I'm not making it for you. If you want one, the group of you can do it, and when you are done with it, put it out, because I'm not watching it for you."
Well these 12-13 year old lads ran off into the woods, and came back with dry straw grass and green leaves.
I ended up putting on a clinic for fire building for a Life Scout and two first class Scouts. They'd never demonstrated making a fire since they did the "Fire man chit". It was a learning experience for them, and a crash course introduction to being an Adult Leader for me. I hope this summer, when I ask them to make a fire, they'll remember.
I don't know what the solution is, other than National freeing up the Units to define their advancement a little more openly.
- Aug 2008
Page 7 of the IOLS syllabus:
"Each participant must be able to complete and check each skill form a task list, just like a scout does ( bold in original).... Leaders should encourage this method when instructing in their own units."
- Apr 2011
iols is partly the expectation that a new scout leader is going to be able to complete all the scout skills in one or 2 days. At least from my experience the vast majority of this course is simply a lecture. you will simply not have the time or manpower to teach lets say 40 people everything that a scout actually should know in this time frame. Just learning a single type of lash might take 20 mins and there are several. so the teachers will shortcut and these leaders will never really get a mastery of skills which is absolutely essential if they ever expect to teach anything to the troop.
the most visible example i normally see of a failure to actual learn something with advancement is also the fire building. building a cooking fire from scratch with natural materials is a skill which will take a significant amount of time to learn especially when you need to light it in the rain or snow. (real world conditions)
Imagine a college student in his second semester of his senior year. Before he can graduate, he has to be retested on every course he took the previous seven semesters. Would you pass?
Absolutely YES I would have passed. What did yeh spend your time in college for if not to genuinely learn somethin'? I was blessed by good professors as an undergrad who taught well enough so that yeh couldn't just cram-and-slam-the-exam in a do it and forget it manner, who held us to high standards. And I also learned as a lad from my scoutmaster and other mentors that even if some professor would let yeh get away with that, it wasn't the right thing to do. You should really spend the time and effort to learn, not pass tests. Which of course means that yeh can still pass a test 3 years later.
That's the same lesson Scouting should be teachin' all boys. That real advancement and real recognition comes from real learning. Real learning yeh don't forget 6 months later.
Where do you see anything I have written that I do not think a scout should be proficient in a skill before it gets signed off? The scout has to know the skill. But just because he knew the skill last week doesnt mean he will know it in 6 months unless he is afforded opportunities to use the skill.
Yah, sorry, OGE. Between you and SR540 I seem to be failin' in clarity this week. Must be da accent.
Where did I see anything you've written that you don't think a scout should be proficient in a skill? On the very next line!
I'm not sure why this is so hard to grok, but let me try to make it simple and bold. If a boy cannot perform the skill six months later then he was never proficient in the first place. Your test failed. Yeh signed him off when yeh shouldn't have. You blew it. You let the boy down by not givin' him da real Scouting program.
Up here in da north, it's ski season. Boys who haven't been skiing for ten months are back on skis and snowboards doin' their thing. Every one of the lads who were signed off for Snow Sports MB last February could go out on da very first day of the season and pass da requirements for Snow Sports MB again. Even though they had no opportunity to "use" da skill in the intervening 10 months. That's what it means to be proficient.
Because it's winter up here, all of the boys and the adults stopped swimming and paddlin' canoes and whatnot by October if not before. Come April or May, 6 to 7 months later, on da very first day of da season, they will still be able to pass a swim check. They will still be able to paddle a canoe. If they have Swimming MB or Canoeing MB or Sailing MB, they will still be able to pass all da requirements. In fact, they will think it's fun to do so! That's what it means to be proficient.
The point of Scouting advancement to my mind is to build real proficiency. Part of that is because if we're goin' to spend our time and the boys' time on somethin', then they should get somethin' out of it. If yeh know how to change a flat tire on your car, then you're still able to do it 4 years later when your car gets a flat. If yeh know how saving and investment works, then you'll remember those lessons from Personal Management MB 6 years later when yeh first get a regular income. Part of our gift to the boys is that we give 'em the gift of proficiency in skills that lasts.
But da second, bigger part of that is that building proficiency teaches character. It teaches boys that hard work leads to real ability, and real ability gets yeh real recognition, and enables yeh to do genuine service. Yeh don't have to be assigned to teach somethin' as a punishment for not bein' proficient, yeh want to teach someone because yeh know you're good at it, and want to be of service.
Yah, yah, there are other ways to achieve da same ends. Yeh can treat da badges as a taste of a topic and then build proficiency and character afterwards through other Methods. I support units that try to do that. It's just not usin' advancement method very well, IMO, and as a result it's not as successful as it could be. If they're doin' that and also have an advancement-driven program, then yeh get a badge mill.
(This message has been edited by Beavah)