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  • Advancement problems in Troop

    We have a pretty strict advancement chair and I don't have a problem with that. It's a good thing. But I'm a little unsure of where she is getting her info when she starts quoting stuff.

    I go by the Boy Scout Handbook. But am I missing a document here? Is there some sort of document or BSA web link that further defines or specifies the requirements and how they are to be administered? I'm not talking about the documents or links that suggest certain ways to go about things. I'm talking about the official requirements.

    Recent issues:

    * Disqualified about 10 kids from getting Swimming Merit Badge. The council-certified counselor had sent out a bunch of information ahead of time that was good reading in preparation for the badge. She disallowed the badge, saying it was the Scouts' responsibility to look up their own information. I had a real problem with this one. That's like a teacher giving an exam without bothering to go over the material. The counselor didn't take any short cuts and it was a multi-session thing. He and the kids spent an awful lot of time on it. He went over the material in the handouts with the Scouts. He just wanted the kids to familiarize themselves with the stuff he was going to talk about on shore.

    * Disallowed about a half-dozen Tenderfoot requirements for eight or nine Scouts at a Patrol Meeting because the Patrol Advisor did not have any other Scout Leaders present, just about a half-dozen dads. In a roundabout way, she was questioning the integrity of the Patrol Advisor as to whether the material was taught. Of course, I was wondering about the two-deep requirement from a liability standpoint. None of the other dads had done the online Youth Protection thing, just the advisor.

    * Absolutely insists that the child have their IHR from Troop Master printed out with the satisfied requirements printed on the form. They cannot be handwritten, even if it is initialed by the Scoutmaster. This is a problem because only she inputs data into Troop Master (her rule) and we have to wait on her to conduct SCMs or Boards of Review because only she can produce the printed form. And because it has to be printed out, this prohibits us from doing SCMs on campouts or things. I think this requirement ought to be restricted to just Boards of Review.

    * Told the Troop parents to totally ignore keeping a personal record in Scout Handbook (you know the places where an adult signs in a kid's book). She said the only official record is the data in TroopMaster and told parents "The initials in the book do not matter."

    The committee chair, a very intelligent and decent man, tends to back her, citing concerns over data integrity. But as an advisor, and for the assistant Scoutmasters, it's driving us crazy. For example, Child A lacks the first -aid requirement for Tenderfoot. Goes on campout with troop and passes the requirement. But that Scoutmaster conference will not be held for at least two weeks because a) you have to return from the campout and report the data to the Advancement Chair and b) the updated IHR must be fully printed, which is sent to the Scout via email a week to 10 days later. Then you can hold the SCM.

    I'm a former Eagle Scout and just recently reconnected with Scouting. And we did not have 14-year-old Eagles I can assure you of that. But this stuff just seems ridiculous and the people really suffering are the boys.

    Any thoughts? Seems like a power trip to me. But I don't know. I'm new to 21st Century scouting.

    And tx in advance.





  • #2
    There is an advancement guide that gives additional detail and regulations, but you wont find explainations for most of their actions there.

    Here is the link for a pdf version: http://boyscouttrail.com/docs/guidet...ment-33088.pdf


    As far as advancement chairs actions:
    1. MB requirements / interpretation is to be done by the MB counselor (they may neither add or delete from the MB requirements, but how they teach them is up to them), not the advancement chair or even the SM. If a problem is found, the solution is to approach the MB counselor, NOT penalize the scouts who earned the MBs.
    2. Rank requirement, especially for lower ranks, can be signed off on by PLs, SPLs, ASPLs, as long as the SM approves. Again, if there is an issue about how the requirement was taught / tested, it should be brought up to the PL, not the scout. If a problem is found, just retrain the scouts informally, but do not take away their rank.
    3. The last 2 issues are clearly wrong, as Troopmaster is in no way, shape or form the "official" record. In fact, the scout handbook and blue cards are the ONLY official records, along with signed advancement forms. At least in our council, ALL electronic records take a back seat to these paper versions, and are tools for organization only, not records themselves.

    Sounds like your advancement chair is on a micro-management trip. And your scouts are going to suffer because of it. Time to have a sit-down.

    Comment


    • #3
      Sounds like a total abuse of power on the part of the advancement chair.

      No one can veto a properly signed MB. If the counselor says the boy met the requirements, that's the end of the story.

      The boy's handbook and blue cards is the only official record of advancement. That is the record that will be used when applying for any rank. If the SM says someone is to sign off on a requirement, that's it, they sign and it's official. Once a rank has been signed off it's permanent.

      On the YPT issue. As long as one of the two adults have had the training, you are good to go. I have had many occasions where a parent has backed me up without the training, especially when a parent comes late to pick up their boy and I don't want to be waiting in the parking lot alone with another boy.

      As Frank says, Troopmaster is a backup record to the handbooks for ease of research on how well a boy is doing. There is nothing official about Troopmaster.

      Your advancement chairperson needs to be properly trained.

      Oh, by the way, the SM runs the program for the troop, not the advancement chair nor anyone else on the committee including the chair. If the advancement chair has a problem they are to discuss with the SM and CC before acting unilaterally.

      Stosh
      Last edited by jblake47; 05-24-2013, 10:11 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        As Frank said this is all wrong. Your AC, SM, TC all have absolutely no control over Merit Badges. Those are outside the realm of the troop. The guide to advancement is the controlling authority. If your CC cannot be convinced this is all wrong your next step is the Chartered Organization Representative. If no luck there, run don't walk away from this troop. This is not scouting. Does this idiot think the scout is supposed to drive himself to the scout shop and purchase is own Merit Badge Pamphlets. They or the worksheets are not required but helpful. The swimming thing is just over the top. The sit down should be "Thank you for your service. Your services are no longer needed."

        Comment


        • #5
          Issue 1.....who disallowed the swimming merit badge???? Once the merit badge is signed it is to be awarded.

          Issue 2....Sounds fair enough....I would never ever permit parents to sign off on requirements......My youth leadership does it.

          Issue 3 sounds like she is on a power trip...Why does she have any input at all regarding outings.....

          Issue 4....I would have a couple of coffee with the CC and COR and have her get trained for her position or removed.

          here is the link to the guide to advancement..

          Comment


        • #6
          Issue 1 - The guide to advancement is clear on this on, 7.0.4.6 Once It Is Earned, It’s Earned Once a registered and approved counselor has passed a Scout on requirements for a merit badge, it cannot be taken away. Nor does unit leadership have the authority to retract approval, or take the badge away. Even if a merit badge counselor were found to be improperly documented, it would be a rare occasion when a Scout would be penalized for the mistake of an adult volunteer.

          Issue 2 - Two deep is not an issue here as it was a patrol meeting, two deep is on required on trips and outings, from the Guide to Safe Scouting Two registered adult leaders, or one registered leader and a parent of a participating Scout or other adult, one of whom must be 21 years of age or older, are required for all trips and outings. As for not trusting the patrol adviser, the scoutmaster designates who may sign off on rank requirements. If the adviser was approved by the scoutmaster, then the advancement coordinator has no business kicking out the approvals. If the book was signed off improperly, that is for the BOR to decide, again not the advancement coordinator on her own.

          Issue 3 - This is just crazy. The scoutmaster is in charge of implementing the advancement program, the advancement coordinator is just the record keeper. No where in the Troop Committee Guidebook, Scoutmasters Handbook, or the Guide to Advancement, does it give the advancement coordinator authority to do any of this. A campout is a GREAT place to hold a SMC.

          Issue 4 - Basementdweller hit this on on the head, she need to be re/trained

          According to the Troop Committee Guidebook, the job of the advancement coordinator is:
          • Encourage Scouts to advance in rank.
          • Work with the troop scribe to maintain all Scout advancement records.
          • Arrange quarterly troop boards of review and courts of honor.
          • Develop and maintain a merit badge counselor list.
          • Make a prompt report on the correct form to the council service center when a troop board of review is held. Secure badges and certificates.
          • Work with the troop librarian to build and maintain a troop library of merit badge pamphlets and other advancement literature.
          • Report to the troop committee at each meeting.

          Comment


          • #7
            cherokee,
            My recommendation is to ask your cc to invite a district trainer to your next committee meeting and presenting the Troop Committee Challenge to the committee as a whole. The training is much more helpful if the entire committee takes it together. Plus I have found that most committee members will not make the effort to take training on their own, whether instructor led or on-line.

            For you own reference, stop at the scout shop and pick up a copy of the troop committee guidebook, (along with guide to advancement

            Comment


            • #8
              just wow.

              What everybody else said. As long as the people who did the signing off had authority from the SM. She has absolutely no authority to do any of what you mentioned (whether she is right or wrong). Get her trained or replaced by someone who is.

              Comment


              • #9
                Did an authorized person indicate the requirement is complete?

                Stop thinking about where the "official" record is. That's just wrong thinking. Yes, think about where to keep the most up-to-date record. I prefer the Boy Scout Handbook and ScoutNet. TroopMaster is just supporting materials.

                *** The correct focus is *** Did an authorized person (leader or appropriate scout) tell the scout he completed the requirement. The "authorized people" are the people the troop leaders say can test/approve the requirement. It's moot whether the recorded is in TroopMaster or the Boy Scout Handbook. That's evidence. It's not the approval. It's all just evidence to support did the requirement get completed.

                The only official sources are the person who approved the requirement and BSA ScoutNet. Everything else is just supporting materials.

                Comment


                • #10
                  Originally posted by CherokeeScouter View Post
                  We have a pretty strict advancement chair and I don't have a problem with that. It's a good thing. But I'm a little unsure of where she is getting her info when she starts quoting stuff.

                  I go by the Boy Scout Handbook. But am I missing a document here? Is there some sort of document or BSA web link that further defines or specifies the requirements and how they are to be administered? I'm not talking about the documents or links that suggest certain ways to go about things. I'm talking about the official requirements.

                  Recent issues:

                  * Disqualified about 10 kids from getting Swimming Merit Badge. The council-certified counselor had sent out a bunch of information ahead of time that was good reading in preparation for the badge. She disallowed the badge, saying it was the Scouts' responsibility to look up their own information. I had a real problem with this one. That's like a teacher giving an exam without bothering to go over the material. The counselor didn't take any short cuts and it was a multi-session thing. He and the kids spent an awful lot of time on it. He went over the material in the handouts with the Scouts. He just wanted the kids to familiarize themselves with the stuff he was going to talk about on shore.

                  * Disallowed about a half-dozen Tenderfoot requirements for eight or nine Scouts at a Patrol Meeting because the Patrol Advisor did not have any other Scout Leaders present, just about a half-dozen dads. In a roundabout way, she was questioning the integrity of the Patrol Advisor as to whether the material was taught. Of course, I was wondering about the two-deep requirement from a liability standpoint. None of the other dads had done the online Youth Protection thing, just the advisor.

                  * Absolutely insists that the child have their IHR from Troop Master printed out with the satisfied requirements printed on the form. They cannot be handwritten, even if it is initialed by the Scoutmaster. This is a problem because only she inputs data into Troop Master (her rule) and we have to wait on her to conduct SCMs or Boards of Review because only she can produce the printed form. And because it has to be printed out, this prohibits us from doing SCMs on campouts or things. I think this requirement ought to be restricted to just Boards of Review.

                  * Told the Troop parents to totally ignore keeping a personal record in Scout Handbook (you know the places where an adult signs in a kid's book). She said the only official record is the data in TroopMaster and told parents "The initials in the book do not matter."

                  The committee chair, a very intelligent and decent man, tends to back her, citing concerns over data integrity. But as an advisor, and for the assistant Scoutmasters, it's driving us crazy. For example, Child A lacks the first -aid requirement for Tenderfoot. Goes on campout with troop and passes the requirement. But that Scoutmaster conference will not be held for at least two weeks because a) you have to return from the campout and report the data to the Advancement Chair and b) the updated IHR must be fully printed, which is sent to the Scout via email a week to 10 days later. Then you can hold the SCM.

                  I'm a former Eagle Scout and just recently reconnected with Scouting. And we did not have 14-year-old Eagles I can assure you of that. But this stuff just seems ridiculous and the people really suffering are the boys.

                  Any thoughts? Seems like a power trip to me. But I don't know. I'm new to 21st Century scouting.

                  And tx in advance.



                  She doesn't have the authority to disallow the merit badges. Only the counselor and the SM can do that. Her responsibility is recording it for the Advancement Report.
                  She doesn't have the authority to disallow the Tenderfoot requirements. If the Patrol Advisor is authorized by the SM to sign off requirements, then it is done.
                  The book is a scout's official record. Troopmaster (or whatever form is used) is the Troop's official record. The Advancement Report is the Council's official record.
                  What does the SM feel about it?

                  BTW, I am a former Advancement Chair and was for over 3 years. My job wasn't making decisions and judgements--that was the SM and ASM's job. My job was recording MBs, and rank advancements, and occasionally signing requirements related to attendance, and sending advancement reports to council.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    I wonder what she's like at her day job.

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      There are so many things wrong with this situation one could almost think CherokeeScouter is a forum troll. And then again, this is so bad one would think that even a troll couldn't think this one up!

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        Boils down to this: Do the scouts have the skills? Why we make it more complicated than that stupefies me.

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          Generally speaking, I would say they don't. To think a FC scout has sufficient skills to take care of himself in the woods is not the norm. When Baden Powell selected the name scout, it was from his military background to indicate a small group of soldiers that could disconnect from the main body of the army, pass into enemy territory, survive on what they could carry and return safely. On the other hand, I don't think the modern scout could fare well unless tethered to a camp trailer or zippered tent.

                          Stosh

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            Originally posted by CherokeeScouter View Post
                            * Told the Troop parents to totally ignore keeping a personal record in Scout Handbook (you know the places where an adult signs in a kid's book). She said the only official record is the data in TroopMaster and told parents "The initials in the book do not matter."
                            This is the only issue that has any merit. That merit, however, is very limited.

                            Parents have no business keeping any kind of record for their Scout. The Scouts are the ones who are responsible for their own records. The sign-offs in a Scout's Handbook should be made only by the person(s) the SCOUTMASTER has approved to do those sign-offs (see section 4.2.1.2 in the BSA Guide to Advancement).

                            As others have stated - it is WAY PAST time to have a in-depth discussion with your COR (Charter Organization Representative), and get both the Advancement, and Committee, Chairs to start following the BSA program.

                            Comment


                            • King Ding Dong
                              King Ding Dong commented
                              Editing a comment
                              My only difference of opinion is that the parent can assist the scout keep a backup record of his book if the scout does not have the means to do so. For instance a cell phone photo of the requirements pages once a month or so, just in case the book gets lost or wet. Believe it or not there are some kids out there without cell phones, digital cameras or scanners.
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