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  • The BSA with no rank advancement

    Watching the antics over at bryan on scouting.....

    The crazy stuff with merit badges......The bickering and carrying on about 13 total service hours.....

    I wonder.......What would happen if the Boy Scouts adopted something along an age based rank system????

    Just musing or maybe even trolling....


    But so many adults are Rank driven....Our own KDD is worried about his scout getting passed by other boys, Krampus has parents beating him up over scout spirit and marginal skills.....

    If we removed that component of the program, which is seems brings the worst out in some folks, what would the Boy Scouting Look like......

    Would summer camps still be merit badge fests????? What about merit badge boot camps?????



  • #2
    If no rank to work towards, what's the point..... just flounder along, doing various activities and outings...... talking about "stuff".....with no specific point or direction.....?

    Comment


  • #3
    Earning the rank of Eagle Scout is one of the accomplishments that I am most proud of. It was not an easy road by any means, and like many scouts, when faced with competitng priorities for my time, I questioned whether "Eagle" was really worth it. I decided it was and continued and did what I needed to do to earn the rank. Simply giving out ranks to boys just for 'being there' would completely undermine the value of all ranks. The ranks only mean something as long as they're actually earned.

    Comment


    • Basementdweller
      Basementdweller commented
      Editing a comment
      I am an Eagle scout as well.

      I used to be very proud of the accomplishment.

      But I look at the EXTREMELY POOR Quality of some the new eagle scouts and well I am not as proud of it.


      Because regardless of the fact you and I actually did the work to earn it.....I will say that 50% have not and yet still have the right to call themselves Eagle scouts.

  • #4
    Originally posted by Basementdweller View Post
    Watching the antics over at bryan on scouting.....
    "Basement Bob," I presume? :P Quite the battle you're putting on. Definitely a lot of dumb going on in the comments for that blog.

    After he decided to turn his scouting manual into a full-blown program for boys, Baden-Powell's program had no advancement, and it didn't float. When he incorporated Seton's Woodcraft Indians advancement concept, he had what he needed: motivation. Young men can camp, fish, set fires, play Frisbee, build a robot, toast marshmallows, and fool with rope anywhere. They get the ceremony, recognition, belonging/bonding, etc. in Scouts.

    Comment


    • Basementdweller
      Basementdweller commented
      Editing a comment
      Ya that's me.....

      I just see folks short cutting how the program was intended........

      The discussion in the service hour thread is completely ridiculous.......We are talking 13 total service hours to get you to the Rank of Life scout. My point in that discussion was your scout wastes that in a week on video games, and social media alone......So there should be no reason to double or triple count hours.

      We have boys getting awarded, notice I didn't say Earning, Eagle without ever having to call a merit badge councilor on the telephone and arrange a meeting. We have boys camping in backyards over summer break to get their nights of camping for the camping merit badge.

      then the one fellow who can quote you line by line from the GTA....

      We have boys picking up trash and planting flower beds for Eagle projects......

      I love the Eagle gift thread.......We have Scoutmasters buying their eagles rifles, sit down formal dinners and on and on and on......

      With my plain talk and simplistic view of things, I am a popular fellow over there as well.


      I just shake my head.....

    • Basementdweller
      Basementdweller commented
      Editing a comment
      Oh my personal favorite service hour counting was the fellow and scout who greeted folks at the church and collected the offering and counted that as community service......Really are we that pathetic.

    • King Ding Dong
      King Ding Dong commented
      Editing a comment
      I agree that the offering thing is over the top, but what about serving as an alter boy? The way I read the policy it counts, but I am not sure it should. I do get your point that is not that much time and shouldn't even be a course for concern. Any scout should have way more than 13 service hours by life.

  • #5
    BD. Sounds like your talking about the venturing program. (Awards and recognition instead of advancement.) The one youth in my crew who actually pursued a bronze award was thrilled to be able to do the equivalent work of obtaining Star rank without the hassle of collecting badges along the way. I've kept venturing awards strictly voluntary. Only one in 40 venturers have taken up the challenge. And my crew still holds together.

    But ... I may not be seeing the numbers that other crews see because, since we don't have a culture of mostly everyone pushing through the gauntlet, my program doesn't have the structure that other crews provide. Only the self-starters get the awards in my crew. The rest get a pat on the back when they step up and lead something. That's satisfying for some, pointless for others.

    I could see the problem being even a little worse if applied to Jr. High kids.

    Comment


    • #6
      Without advancement, it's an outdoor club, and nothing more. Nothing wrong with that, and BSA provides cheap insurance in return for lots of paperwork, but it would cease being scouting.

      Comment


      • #7
        Advancement and adventure used to coexist in the BSA.

        I recall, as a scout in the '70s, some encouragement. But not much. Most leaders took the angle: If you want to earn Eagle, great, get to work and let me know how it goes. If you don't, that's fine, glad you are in the troop, hope you are enjoying the camping and backpacking.

        To bring that ideal back, we'd have to officially stop emphasizing the metric of "how many scouts earned Eagle." That isn't going to happen.


        Comment


        • Basementdweller
          Basementdweller commented
          Editing a comment
          You and I have similar views on scouting and at some point I hope our paths cross and I can buy ya a beverage of your choice and chat for a couple of hours.

        • desertrat77
          desertrat77 commented
          Editing a comment
          Basement, though I'm several months behind in replying, I would welcome that opportunity to visit over a beverage!

      • #8
        Gasp! Next I suppose you will propose that kids could get benefit from organizing their own neighborhood teams to play baseball in the summer in some vacant lot somewhere. How can kids be expected to organize themselves without the benefit of adults? what if they choose to modify the rules to their liking? Where are the trophies? How could a kid ever develop baseball skills if therre are no trophies to be had? Pure fun and enjoyment doesn't provide that type of motivation! (this was sarcasm, in case anyone had any doubt).

        Comment


        • Basementdweller
          Basementdweller commented
          Editing a comment
          Same for you veni......I would really enjoy sitting down and chatting....


          The fun is lost in the race to Eagle.
          Last edited by Basementdweller; 05-22-2013, 02:00 PM.

      • #9
        The cub parents.....what oh my gosh no rank advancement......Your right the cub scout program would no longer exsist because most adults have no clue what to do with a bunch of 8 year old boys.

        Comment


        • #10
          That is one aspects of our troop I really enjoy. There doesn't seem to be a race to eagle

          I have never had a new scout show up with a 3 inch binder and his plan to get to eagle.

          I watch my scouts on campouts.....The SPL holds camp gadget races....that was outstanding to watch the different ideas to fix the problem......I watch their fire building contest......I watch them correct for dinner mistakes.....the group truly are friends inside and outside of scouting.

          I guess advancement is very organic in our troop. I asked a scout last night if he had time for his SMC for second class.....He asked if he could do it after the meeting......they were having fun and it couldn't be uninterrupted.....My point, he had no idea he completed second class.....


          I read here and on other scouting blogs that the Troop has to organize an advancement weekend.....Why is that????


          Comment


          • Basementdweller
            Basementdweller commented
            Editing a comment
            Too me it is a courtesy thing......

            When the boys advance naturally and aren't counting every meal, mile hiked or night camped.....they need to be reminded....

            I won't have to ask your son......but ya know that is ok too.
            Last edited by Basementdweller; 05-22-2013, 11:15 AM.

          • King Ding Dong
            King Ding Dong commented
            Editing a comment
            No you won't. Helicopter Dad will be there to remind him. Seriously working with him to take charge of his book. That is something I see seriously wrong in cubs. The book is treated as a parent handbook and not the cub's book. The pack moved to Scouttrack, the downside it further takes the recording responsibility away from the cub.

            What is your response to the goal setting and ambition that advancement fosters?

          • Basementdweller
            Basementdweller commented
            Editing a comment
            Don't

            The goal should be go on the next camping trip, hike or simple adventure.....Do what it takes to make the trip successful......Set up a tent, cook and clean up meals.....buy the food....take care of the gear....take your turn planning and leading the activity.

            We rarely hold a class for anything.....We do toten chip and fire'n chit just makes more sense than one on one on the fly....

        • #11
          I could take or leave the advancement program. The skills taught are great and the adventure is great. The advancement ... ho hum.

          FOR MY KIDS ... I have them in scouts to #1 push their comfort zones and develop skills, #2 build "healthy" friendships and #3 get a tan that is not from the basement TV. I view the MB program as something nice to expose topics and broaden horizons. BUT .... Since they are in scouts, I encourage them to also go for advancement and Eagle. If they get it, great. If not, no loss.
          Last edited by fred johnson; 05-22-2013, 11:23 AM.

          Comment


          • #12
            Scouting with no advancement.... Hmmmm.... Isn't that what KDD's describing for the boys in his troop over age 14?

            My whole reason for slowing the mad rush to Eagle by 14 is specifically to KEEP advancement out there as a carrot for the 15, 16 and 17 year olds. Earning Eagle is a big motivation for Scouts. Now whether they've internalize the intrinsic value of the program, think it will help them get into college or because their mama's wailing on them is another story.

            Advancement is one leg of the three legged stool which keeps boys in the program. (Actually, the stool has a lot of legs, but work with me here on the analogy.) When you knock one leg off, either by fiat or by "completing" the program at a young age, we lose boys. Certainly there are other elements of the program which attract and keep Scouts, but advancement is certainly on of them.

            BD -- I suspect that some point someone put a great deal of effort to develop a troop culture of organic advancement. Like an organic garden, it takes time and effort to get established and is mostly self-sustaining once it is. Also like an organic garden, you have to be vigilant. A very few boys and/or leaders can reignite that competitive race to the finish.

            Comment


            • Basementdweller
              Basementdweller commented
              Editing a comment
              When previous SM and I joined the troop there were two boys left......the culture was meetings and cabin camping.

              We recruited some new scouts and we were off......as a side note.....the last two boys of the original troop quit very promptly after we started ramping up the outdoor program.

              The entire organic advancement was very accidental........Watched billy scout put up the patrol tarp....Let me look at those knots....hey that is pretty good.....you wouldn't happen to have your book with you would you.........Hiking Billy scout hollers back look out for that poison ivy right there.........Check out where the beaver chewed that tree.....look at that squirel nest.....man cool deer track....got your book..... so where are we on the map........how do you know....well here is the feild, the woods are right there and that bridge is just up a head...........first aid happens the same way, well for some of it......Lucky no broken bones and such.

              I would like to take credit, but it just happened....

          • #13
            Historically the top rank of BSA was First Class. For me FC means the boy has mastered enough of the basics to be able to go out and do outdoor activities with enough knowledge to get him back home on time. He can hike, camp, cook, do first aid, swim, etc. so that he's not a burden on his buddies. He may even have more than enough skills to actually help out his buddies if they need it.

            With that being said, Star to Eagle is merely icing on the cake. MB's, projects and leadership development. Fine, but not a driving force to keep the wheels of scouting on the road. There's enough training for leadership development long before they get to FC anyway. Unfortunately the policy for most is to rush through those early requirements, demonstrating, but never mastering the skills necessary to be self-sufficient in the out-of-doors. So what do we end up with? Eagle Scouts that can't start a campfire or cook a meal for his patrol. He looks to the adults to bail him out when someone gets hurt. and the list goes on and on... and on. Early scouting tradition identified such boys as parlor scouts. Well, today we have a ton of them. It is really a good thing that adults are always present with these boys when they are out camping, because they are totally not prepared to do it on their own. Seriously, we are running a babysitting service because we have not taught our boys to actually, and practically, grow up to a modicum level of self-sufficiency.

            If TF -> FC were a curriculum of material to be mastered before heading out on a trek rather than a pencil-whipped check in a book, we wouldn't be having this discussion in the first place.

            Comment


            • jblake47
              jblake47 commented
              Editing a comment
              Basement hit it on the head. BE PREPARED to deal with any and all crisis that come your way.

              As far as your reaction to the first scenario, I would not have said anything. Was this FC scout doing a safety audit on the NSP? Just a gentle reminder to have a personal first aid kit handy, not in the bottom of their pack. As one who works closely with safety personnel where I work, there is no such thing as too much safety and audits are way to make sure all your people are prepared. What I am assuming happened in the first scenario was you shut down any safety leadership incentive that FC scout may have been developing. We talk a lot about patrol competitions, here you have an older boy coming over and giving an ad hoc challenge on an important issue, personal safety. If the day comes when you are complaining about the older boys not wanting to work with the younger boys, well, here's your answer to the problem. Personally, if I had stepped in on that situation (where I didn't really belong, but felt a strong need to defend the new guys) I would apologize to the FC scout and mentor him in developing a safety program where he not only challenges the NSP, but any and all patrols at the drop of a hat. Put the Instructor POR patch on him and he becomes the first aid/safety instructor that fills his free time with a useful purpose interacting with the other patrols. If he does it out of a concern for the welfare of others, I can see him fitting nicely into the SPL position without a whole lot of discussion.

              Second scenario, the adults were too quick to take away a good opportunity for the boys. If a boy gets hurt, whose responsibility to care for him? His PL! That's his job. The parent stepped in and took over the PL's POR. A burn is not life-threatening, it's not the end of the world and if proper care is given by the PL everything would have turned out well with NO ADULT involvement. The only thing I would add to Basement's comment was if he didn't know what to do (Star scout? Really?) talk to his PL. If a Star scout can't figure out what to do for a simple burn, chances are he blew through the T->FC requirements way too fast and is well on his way to being a great "Parlor Eagle Scout."

              By the way, did you do a follow up with the boy to make sure mamma kissed it when he got home after the campout?

              I know it runs against every fiber in your personality to let the boys do it because you can do it better, but when will the boys ever learn if you keep taking away their opportunities by interfering?

              If life-threatening, adults step in in a heartbeat. If not, sit back and rely on the training you have given them.

            • King Ding Dong
              King Ding Dong commented
              Editing a comment
              Jblake thanks for your comments. Good advise.

              In this case the scout was not conducting a safety audit, just being lazy. He is also allowed to sleep solo in his own tent. Can't cite the source but IIRC that is not advised.

              I saw the same thing this past weekend on the bike trip. A not very active in the troop older scout attended the bike campout for 1night/day only with his mom. Not sure of her position currently but she had a uniform with some bling. She allowed him to set up his tent in the parking lot IN THE BED OF A PICKUP! Away from the 2 patrols. Fortunately the park rangers came by and nixed that plan. I was racking my brain for an ecological reason, but turns out it was to keep vagrants out of the park. Still don't think he had to move to the patrol camp. Sigh.

              One more thing to add to my list of stuff wrong with this troop. Not ready to stand up and start demanding changes yet, I am still new to the troop. I am mentioning my observations to the CC.

            • jblake47
              jblake47 commented
              Editing a comment
              In the back of my mind, I assumed the older scout was just screwing around. With that being said, fore go the apology but tap into his actions as something to be developed. "Assume" he had good intentions and that it was a good idea. If he has a bit of lazy free-time, you might be able to channel it into some kind of constructive activity instead. A lot of these kinds of kids respond well when the feedback they get is positive. Kids are looking for attention, if it's positive, that's great, but if no adult really cares, the negative attention is a satisfying backup.

              On this other older boy, it is obvious the only reason he's there is because his bling-ladened mother is forcing him to be. It's an uphill battle, but someone needs to sit him down and call him out to either pee or get off the pot. One way or the other. A scout is honest and if he's not honest with his mother all he's really doing is wasting the resources of the adults that could be put to better use with the boys that are interested.

              If he decides to get involved with the troop, welcome him with open arms, make a spot for him, and help him assimilate. If not, it's time to be honest with the mother if the boy isn't going to.

              I use a lot of the Peter Principle's dynamics of Creative Incompetence when working with my boys. I ask a lot of "stupid" questions such as, "Why would anyone want to be part of a group and then make every effort to get/stay out of it?" "Isn't it kinda difficult to get to know the boys when you're camping 8 sites down the road?" "How are you going to know when lunch is when you're camped so far away?" Nothing in those statements/questions are confrontational, but are designed to have the boy evaluate the situation on his own on his own terms, and conclude, the question may be stupid, but my reason for doing what I'm doing is even more stupid.

              Also if you are new to the scene and are SM, the last thing you need to be doing is standing up and demanding changes. As a servant leader, focus on helping the current boy leadership evaluate the situation and mentor/assist them in standing up and demanding changes. Often time all they need is an adult mentor that gives them the permission to do so. If these boys are constantly used to having to watch over their shoulders because some adult is hovering, they will never break out of their following and get out and lead. No one wants to be a target, but if you're only comment is a repeated, "Sounds like it might work, why don't you give it a try and see what happens." Once you empower the boys with the responsibility to lead AND AUTHORITY to lead, they will do some really good things for the troop. Your role is to mentor, assist, offer advise and enable youth leaders. Give them opportunities, not demands and rules.
              Last edited by jblake47; 05-23-2013, 10:44 AM.

          • #14
            My first thought was the same as qwazse's that Boy Scouts without advancement is Venturing. At least in our neck of the woods. Maybe a restructure along the lines of jblake's note is appropriate? Make Boy Scouts a 6th - 8th grade program, emphasize T21 skills, and put star/life/Eagle into Venturing as one of many recognition paths? Eliminate the MBs and Eagle in Jr. High Scouting and the focus automatically goes back to skills and leadership? No MBs at summer camp but rather just hanging in the woods, shooting rifles, burning stuff, paddling canoes for no apparent reason? I'll go.

            Comment


            • #15
              I see the same issues with the Cubs and advancement too. Drives me crazy to give these awards to boys that I can tell didn't do their best.... or I'm pretty sure in some cases that the parent signed them off late one evening after they were in bed, just because they did this or that once..... maybe last year or the year before.....
              A personal regret I have is not continuing with Scouting as a boy.... I made it through cubs and quit after the first year or so in the troop......so to that end I'll push my son.... scratch that, GUIDE him....but only so far. I gave into the peer pressure that scouting wasn't cool, but I think if I'd had someone encouraging and guiding me, AND I'd not been so shy and made better friends in scouting, maybe I would have.....
              I'd like to join you Basement, desert, and veni for that drink.......

              Comment


              • Basementdweller
                Basementdweller commented
                Editing a comment
                had a parent sign and entire Bear book in 10 minutes while I waited years ago....he was going to get his patch

              • King Ding Dong
                King Ding Dong commented
                Editing a comment
                Just don't leave camp for that drink. I got slapped around pretty good for bringing that idea up.

              • blw2
                blw2 commented
                Editing a comment
                Last year I watched at one of the last den meetings of the year, as the DL sat down with several of the moms and went through their books signing off on stuff...... then they went through through the belt loop book......

                "Sure, little billy knows how to swim"... "Safe Swim Defense, what's that?".... ah, that doesn't matter......
                "He played volleyball at a family picnic last year".....
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