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Eagle Scout Advancement Question where scout has a poor reputation with the troop?

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  • Eagle Scout Advancement Question where scout has a poor reputation with the troop?

    Hi all,

    I'm a new scoutmaster. In the troop, I have a boy who got life scout back in 2009. Did his 6 months of active service and his position of responsibility (with some "extra" projects to help him fullfill this) back in 2010. Has all his merit badges for eagle done. But during the last 2.5 years, he's pretty much been an absentee member. Hasn't held a position in those years, and has only been camping with us once in the 2.5 years. Old scoutmaster would occasionally give him a pep talk and he would show up occasionally. But the worst part, is that when he does come back, he volunteers to do things and has a track record of not showing up to deliver. Never apologies, nothing. His reputation is so bad the boys at the PLC meeting bad mouth him and hold him up as an example of what not to be.

    Now it's 8 months until his 18th birthday. We heard that he went before the Eagle board and got his project approved. Old and new scoutmaster (me) have asked him to attend a meeting where I want to put him on some kind of reputation rebuilding plan. Local district officials tell me to address the problem now and give him a success path to make Eagle -- which I'm fine with doing. But if he ignores me, what recourse is there? Is requirement #2 my "final scoutmaster approval". Or do I have to sign it as long as he gives the required references? My head is all twisted around with this one.

    Seeking sage advice.


  • #2
    Mostly you're toast.

    Are the activity and POR signed off in his handbook? If so, they're complete and off the table. But since you stipulate the requirements were met in 2010, it would be disingenuous to hold him up on that now whether it's been signed or not.

    Who signed his project proposal for the troop? It requires signatures by both the SM and committee? If it were approved without unit approval, I'd be raising holy terror with the Eagle committee. But I'm not sure what your recourse there is. That situation isn't addressed in the Guide to Advancement (and you REALLY need to buy or download a copy and read it). I suppose it could give you the opportunity to hold the kids feet to the fire to gain you approval of his project, but if the committee has already given it's okay, on what grounds would you hold it up?

    You can go off reservation and just refuse to play ball with the Scout. If you haven't seen him in 2.5 years, he's not a member of the troop. That his mom mails in a check for $15 every year doesn't matter to you. Unfortunately the $15 check does matter to the council and he is a member. This approach is going to put you in a bad light of not following the rules yourself and probably get you several concerned visits from the advancement committee, and/or the mythical Unit Commissioner. And the kid will likely get Eagle from the Council on appeal anyway.

    Bottom line, is there is little you can do at this point. Troop's defense against this sort of "career track" is proactive. You have to build a troop program which doesn't permit this. Once you let it slide, it's hard to fix.

    Some of the stuff you should have done:
    • Set and enforce reasonable attendance/activity standards for attendance up front. Until the new Guide to Advancement came out, units could not do this, but the new policy allows units to set their own standards for attendance as long as they are reasonable and are made known in advance. (But even then the policy includes a number escape hatches for the Scout and hoops for the troop to jump.)
    • Don't recharter the kid. If he's not an active member of the troop, simply drop him. If his mom mails in a check you don't have to accept it.
    • Sounds like this kid actually served his POR, but if you have a Scout marking time in a no-show POR, you have to remove him BEFORE the time is completed. The time counts whether he does a good job, bad job or no job. Yes, this means a Scout can serve two months and get fired, serve two more months and get fired then serve two more months and get fired and will have met the requirement. Welcome to the world of high-speed, low-drag advancement.
    But here's my best advice to you. When the time comes, hold your nose and sign the Eagle application. At this point, this isn't a hill you need to die for and, trust me, you will die on it. Been there, got the t-shirt, patch, hat and scars.
    Last edited by Twocubdad; 06-12-2013, 08:08 AM.


    • #3
      Had a very similar circumstance, which was chronicled on this forum, a little less than a year ago (under "Seems Like Skirting") -- but there were some major differences. We had a Life Scout who disappeared on us, just after his Life BoR. The only outing we can remember he attended was a 5-day canoe trip, about 4 months after his BoR. Didn't see him for a long time after that (Aug 2009 to Sept 2011). No POR or anything.

      The next we heard from him, was an email to me, asking about some dates. I thought the question sounded like he was prepping his Eagle Application. So I asked him about his POR -- he told me, via email, that the prior SPL had signed him off in his handbook (BTW, the prior SPL was pretty much a no-show during his SPL year). I suggested he contact the SM, and he asked why -- I told him because we have no record of him having had a POR during that time. Turned into a major event, with the Scout eventually telling us that he'd be checking out some other troops. Turns out we're on good terms with the other troop in town, and their SM contacted us about our side of the story. That troop suggested that the Scout resolve his differences with us, so the Scout came back to us.

      The Scout had a detailed discussion with our SM about rejoining the troop and "what do I need to do to finish Eagle?". The SM gave him some conditions...start coming to meetings, attend at least half the outings over a six-month period, and fulfill a made up POR that fit the Scout's schedule. He did that, except for the outings part. At the end of six months, just after his project was finished, the Scout asked for a signature. The SM asked about the agreement to come on half the outings (three)...the Scout said, paraphrased, "I couldn't make any of them, can't we come to some kind of compromise?" The SM responded, "that was the compromise."

      The end to that story was the Scout ended up filing his application under disputed circumstances, per the "Guide to Advancement". The council advancement committee met, and decided that the Scout had done enough in his prior tenure (which I think is a dubious claim, because really we only saw him once after his Life BOR) to warrant the granting of a EBOR, and the District Advancement Committee did one for the Scout. He's now an Eagle.

      So, the point: we had a Scout which really only participated 5 days or so after his Life BOR. After all of the discussions, email flying back and forth, hurt feelings, etc. Eagle was still granted to this Scout without SM and committee signatures. The council advancement committee determined that he met the requirements, and the Board of Review was scheduled.

      You have a Scout that did participate for six months after earning Life -- bottom line, he's met the requirements. You should sign, and move on.

      (there was a lot more to my story than the simplified version I posted above...check the prior thread if it interests you...there was lots of very interesting banter back and forth on that one)



      • Twocubdad
        Twocubdad commented
        Editing a comment
        Yep. Hence my advice to hold your nose and sign the app.

    • #4
      I am thinking your SOL when it comes to doing anything to hold the young man up or preventing the eagle.

      My question to you is.....

      How does your recharter process work??? Do the boys pay their own fees or does the troop pay an keep them on the roster till they age out/????

      Do you have an attendance policy??????

      We have one and it has significantly improved our attendance.

      The absolute biggest mistake I see made here is the continual rechartering of a boy who isn't active.


      • #5
        You do have a few points to help you in this matter:

        1) As has already been mentioned, who in the Troop (specifically SM) has signed approving the project (weak, but one option)
        2) Scout Spirit: Where has he demonstrated his loyalty, integrity, etc especially to the Troop?? This is a requirement for every rank and one which only the SM should approve. This is the most nebulous of requirements, but one which should be taken most seriously. Remember, Eagle is not just a piece of cloth the Scout wears on his shirt (which I had a Life Scout tell me while "waiting" for a SM Conference ... my next point
        3) One of the requirements is for the Scout to have a SM conference ... don't grant it until you feel he is ready. I had a Scout complete all the requirements, but still did not demonstrate the behavior or qualities to be an Eagle Scout. When he requested an Eagle SM Conference, I denied it, and instead, granted a SM conference to define his path ... I wanted to see him demonstrate more maturity and leadership (especially interaction with younger Scouts ... he was a "bully" in the eyes of many of the younger Scouts). I even sat with his parents and laid this out for them ... after about 6-7 months of further mentoring and experience, he matured and learned ... he actually thanked me for doing it.
        4) The actual EBOR. Tell them your conundrum. You should also have a chance to address the Board. If you have misgivings concerning the Scout, let the TCC know about them, and bring them up to the EBOR. Hopefully, they can make a right decision (or at least address your issues towards this young man and see how he responds).

        There are options open to you, as the Scoutmaster. You just have to be strong enough to be honest with the Scout, and possibly his parents and your Committee. Good Luck.


        • #6
          Your district eagle board will over rule scout spirit or smc being withheld......

          Once the boy completes the project he would have to be a mass murderer or on that order of magnitude for his eagle to be withheld

          You missed your chance to do quality control when you kept rechartering him as a no show.


          • #7
            To the group........

            So you have a scout who is a no show for months, no communication as the whys........Recharter time comes around and a check shows up in the mail for his fee.........

            Do you recharter him?????


            • #8
              We've never dropped anyone over the Scout or family's objection, but it is a possibility. We have accepted dues only after a SM conference with the Scout and parents regarding our expectations. I know showing up at an Eagle appeal board of review with the "contract" a Scout agreed to probably isn't worth a pitcher of warm spit, but we have set specific conditions on Scouts returning with a short time to Eagle. We've not yet been burned but it could happen.

              Generally we're more passive aggressive with the process. One of the early steps to recharter is me going through the roster and marking out the boys who have been inactive for a long period without any contact, We just don't contact them about rechartering. The few on that list who contact us are the ones we talk to before accepting their dues.


              • #9
                A few quotes from the Guide to Advancement
       Active Participation
                The purpose of Star, Life, and Eagle Scout requirements calling for Scouts to be active for a period of months involves impact. Since we prepare young people to go forth, and essentially, make a positive difference in our American society, we judge that a member is “active” when his level of activity in Scouting, whether high or minimal, has had a sufficiently positive influence toward this end.
                Use the following three sequential tests to determine whether the requirement has been met. The first and second are required, along with either the third or its alternative.
                1. The Scout is registered. The youth is registered in his unit for at least the time period indicated in the requirement, and he has indicated in some way, through word or action, that he considers himself a member. If a boy was supposed to have been registered, but for whatever reason was not, discuss with the local council registrar the possibility of back-registering him.
                2. The Scout is in good standing. A Scout is considered in “good standing” with his unit as long as he has not been dismissed for disciplinary reasons. He must also be in good standing with the local council and the Boy Scouts of America. (In the rare case he is not, communications will have been delivered.)
                3. The Scout meets the unit’s reasonable expectations; or, if not, a lesser level of activity is explained. If, for the time period required, a Scout or qualifying Venturer or Sea Scout meets those aspects of his unit’s pre-established expectations that refer to a level of activity, then he is considered active and the requirement is met. Time counted as “active” need not be consecutive. A boy may piece together any times he has been active and still qualify.
                Alternative to the third test if expectations are not met:
                • If a young man has fallen below his unit’s activity oriented expectations, then it must be due to other positive endeavors— in or out of Scouting—or to noteworthy circumstances that have prevented a higher level of participation (see below). In this case a Scout is considered “active” if a board of review can agree that Scouting values have already taken hold and been exhibited. This might be evidenced, for example, in how he lives his life and relates to others in his community, at school, in his religious life, or in Scouting. It is also acceptable to consider and “count” positive activities outside Scouting when they, too, contribute to his growth in character, citizenship, or personal fitness. Remember; it is not so much about what a Scout has done. It is about what he is able to do and how he has grown.
       Demonstrate Scout Spirit
                The ideals of the Boy Scouts of America are spelled out in the Scout Oath, Scout Law, Scout motto, and Scout slogan. Members incorporating these ideals into their daily lives at home, at school, in their religious life, and in their neighborhoods, for example, are said to have Scout spirit. In evaluating whether a member has fulfilled this requirement, it may be best to begin by asking him to explain what Scout spirit and living the Scout Oath and Scout Law mean to him. Young people know when they are being kind or helpful, or a good friend to others. They know when they are cheerful, or trustworthy, or reverent. All of us, young and old, know how we act when no one else is around.

                A leader typically asks for examples of how a Scout has lived the Oath and Law. It might also be useful to invite examples of when he did not. This is not something to push, but it can help with the realization that sometimes we fail to live by our ideals, and that we all can do better. This also sends a message that a Scout can admit he has done wrong, yet still advance. Or in a serious situation—such as alcohol or illegal drug use—understand why advancement might not be appropriate just now. This is a sensitive issue, and must be treated carefully. Most Scout leaders do their best to live by the Oath and Law, but any one of them may look back on years past and wish that, at times, they had acted differently. We learn from these experiences and improve and grow. We can look for the same in our youth.

                Evaluating Scout spirit will always be a judgment call, but through getting to know a young man and by asking probing questions, we can get a feel for it. We can say however, that we do not measure Scout spirit by counting meetings and outings attended. It is indicated, instead, by the way he lives his life.

       Initiating Eagle Scout Board of Review Under Disputed Circumstances

                An Eagle Scout board of review under disputed circumstances is held at the district or council level. Volunteers from the candidate’s unit are not involved. It is indicated when a unit leader or committee chair does not sign the application, if a Scoutmaster conference is denied, if it is thought a unit will not provide a fair hearing, or if the unit leader or project beneficiary refuses to sign final approval for what might be considered a satisfactory service project. See “Evaluating the Project After Completion,”

                If a unit leader or committee chair does not agree a Scout has met the requirements, then before a board of review is held, he or she should confer with the Scout and his parents and come to an understanding of all viewpoints. Guidance should also be sought from the district or council advancement chair to assure expectations are not more than are actually required. If the leader or chair remains unconvinced, then they may deny approval of the Eagle Scout rank application. In this case, the application is returned to the Scout or his parent or guardian, who may then choose to request a board of review under disputed circumstances.

                In any case, if a Scout or his parent or guardian has legitimate concern that a unit cannot deliver a fair hearing, one of them may write a letter explaining the reasons and request a board of review under disputed circumstances. The letter is attached to the completed Eagle Scout application and sent with the service project workbook to the council service center. The council advancement chair or staff advisor, or other designated volunteer or professional, then guides the process through the council or district advancement committee according to local practices.

                It should be rare that a council or district would deny a request for a board of review under disputed circumstances. However, the request may be denied if it is deemed frivolous, or any concerns about the unit’s inability to deliver a fair hearing are deemed invalid. In that case, the initial board of review must be held according to local council practices (not under disputed circumstances). If that board decides not to approve, the Scout may appeal the decision (see “Appealing a Decision,”

                Procedures for a board under disputed circumstances are the same as for any Eagle Scout board. The members should be well versed in related policies and organized in advance so they can research background and facts. Written statements or telephone interview summaries must be obtained from the unit leader, knowledgeable committee members, a representative of the service project beneficiary (if applicable), and others familiar with the case. Every effort should be made to have balanced representation. Only review-board members and administrators with a need to know may see the evidence. The review is like any other for Eagle, but with extra attention to the concerns at issue. Afterward, all statements, summaries, or notes are sent to the council and then destroyed once any appeal efforts are concluded.

                If a board of review under disputed circumstances approves a candidate, his application goes through the process as outlined under “The Eagle Scout Rank Application Process,” The board must attach a letter to the application indicating it may be processed without the signature of the unit leader or unit committee chair, the date of the Scoutmaster conference if it had been denied, or the date of the final Eagle service project signature if that was at issue.
                The first issue to address is who from the troop signed off on the project plan.

                This young man needs to be active for six months, I would sit down with him and come up with a written plan that you both can live with and both sign off on it. By doing this you have established the unit’s reasonable expectations.

                He also needs a POR, and this is up to your senior patrol leader with you advice and consent. While PORs are not guaranteed, but as the Guide to Advancements states, certain positions such as instructor may be filled by more than one scout. I would a come up with a written job description for the POS, these can be found on the internet. Again, the purpose here is establishing the unit’s reasonable expectations. See section Positions of Responsibility in Guide to Advancement for more detail on this.

                I would go over with him the definition of Scout Spirit above and make sure that he can live up to it.

                As for the statement above from ScouterWamp, "When he requested an Eagle SM Conference, I denied it, and instead, granted a SM conference to define his path", it is bad advice. The Guide to Advancement states "Some leaders hold more than one (Scoutmaster Conference) along the way,and any of them can count toward the requirement."

                Remember, that no matter high of an opinion of the Eagle rank, it is no more than a set of 7 requirements, and once those requirements are met you have an Eagle Scout.


                • #10
                  Meh. He met the requirements for Life, he's going to meet the requirements for Eagle, he just took a break in between. Since your troop has no clear activity policy, he didn't do anything wrong. I wouldn't like it either, but it's better that he came back and wants to do it than that he never did.


                  • #11
                    I concur with Twocubdad and Scouter99. There's nothing wrong with having a SMC, though, to find out his reasons for his absence. If it is a heartfelt conversation, you might learn that he had good reasons, or you might learn what the troop can do to help head this kind of thing off in the future. Good luck.