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  • Scout denied Eagle conference

    My son has been in scouts for almost 12 years starting as a tiger cub. He has been in two boy scout troops and is now trying to get eagle. He has completed all the requirements for eagle: 6 months of leadership, 40 merit badges, signed off service project. He is a senior in high school and has 6 months until his 18th birthday. He has been trying for 4 months to get his eagle conference scheduled with his scoutmaster and the scoutmaster keeps delaying things, giving him more things to do each time he asks for a conference. In fact he told my son "you're a good kid, I'm just giving you a hard time." He then wanted a list of activities he has done with the troop since becoming a life scout 2 years ago. My son gave this to him, but he through it down, saying "this is a joke". When my son came to the car after the meeting he told me the scoutmaster said he's not worthy to be an eagle scout. My son was devastated! The scoutmaster wants him to continue with the troop for the next 6 months going on campouts every month and being active. He is a senior in high school and does not have the time to devote to scouting, but he has completed all the requirements he needs for eagle. I'm frustrated, and feel my kid is being treated cruelly. What should I do?

  • #2
    Contact your District or Council Advancement Chair. There is a process in place specifically for this scenario which will trigger the Eagle Board of Review even without the final Scoutmaster's Conference. 4 months is much too long to wait, 6 more months is ridiculous. If there really was some reason to hold up your son, the troop has plenty of time to bring up the issue in years past.

    Comment


    • #3
      I wish you and your son the best of luck.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks Tim. I will approach the scoutmaster at the next meeting. If I don't get any satisfaction I will go around him to the district. There always seems a rush to push kids to eagle when their 18th birthday is approaching, however, when kids get thing done early, the troop drags their feet.

        Comment


        • #5
          Wow. I can't imagine waiting that long. My son emailed his Scoutmaster on Thursday. SM came to our house on Sunday for SMC.

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          • #6
            Is it possible the SM is testing your son? Maybe it would be best if your son approached his SM rather than you.

            Comment


            • fred johnson
              fred johnson commented
              Editing a comment
              We only have a short story from the original poster but ...

              ... There is nothing to test.
              ... There is no reason to delay if the scout has completed the requirements.
              ... There is no reason to ask for a list of everything the scout has done in the last two years.

              Testing? I assume you were tying to find a position to justify what the SM is doing.

            • Austinole
              Austinole commented
              Editing a comment
              Just trying to get in to the head of the SM. Like you said, we're going on little information. I was mostly just brainstorming. Maybe the SM feels like the Scout hasn't stepped up enough and wants him to take the initiative to get this resolved.

          • #7
            It sounds like the SM's problem is your son's level of activity over the past 2 years. That raises some questions: How active has your son been? Has the SM spoken to your son about his level of activity in the past 2 years, or only just now? Were the "things to do" that the SM kept giving your son part of his Position of Responsibility, and if so did he do them? Was your son's effort in his PoR (which fell in that 2-yr period) acceptable to the SM, if not did he meet with your son to correct him during his term in the PoR?

            Before your son and/or you approach the SM, you both (both, not just you, he's a big boy now) need to read the Guide to Advancement so that you have a clear understanding of the rules, what the SM is allowed to do, what he's not allowed to do, and what options are available to you if the SM doesn't budge (if he is wrong in the first place).
            You can find the Guide to Advancement here for free (PDF): www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/33088.pdf‎ If the SM's games are over your son's activity level, pay particular attention to section 4.2.3.0 Sections 8 and 9 deal with boards of review and the Eagle rank.

            Originally posted by Austinole View Post
            Is it possible the SM is testing your son?
            By telling him he's "not worthy"?
            One of our best (active, avid camper, taught the young kids) scouts came to us from another troop at 17 because his SM had told him he'd "never be an Eagle." Guess who was wrong.
            Last edited by Scouter99; 02-08-2014, 01:00 PM.

            Comment


            • Myboy
              Myboy commented
              Editing a comment
              Thanks. We will read that. My son has been very active in the troop over the past two years. He attends most meetings, attends event and outings, participates in service projects. Helps out with younger scouts. The only thing is he doesn't attend every campout. He does go to a few. The scoutmaster is very big on campouts. He wants every scout to go to campouts. He said in a meeting a few weeks ago to all the scouts "no campout, no rank advancement". I'm pretty sure that's he's beef.

          • #8
            Tell the scoutmaster to go topple a rock.

            Comment


            • #9
              Okay. I just read what "MyBoy" wrote on Sunday 9:02pm. ... "He said in a meeting a few weeks ago to all the scouts 'no camp out, no rank advancement'. I'm pretty sure that's his beef."

              Yeah, that's an SM trying to solve a perceived problem using authority he does NOT have. You want scouts to camp. Make it interesting. Make it new and exciting. Make it well organized.

              Scoutmasters can NOT use their advancement as a tool to manipulate.

              Please note that there are zero camping requirements for Star, Life and Eagle. Potentially, you can complete all camping related activity BEFORE earning Tenderfoot. Requirements for 2nd class and 1st class say "since joining the troop....". Star, Life and Eagle have no such requirements. Merit badges can be completed at any time.

              As posted, your situation is addressed in section 4.2.3 of http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/33088.pdf. Troops can require a level of participation BUT there are limits.

              - Is it written down? Was it written down and communicated BEFORE you son earned his Life rank. Advancement requirements apply based on the start of the next rank. So those expectations written down and communicated on or before your son had his Life rank board of review (not court of honor).

              - If it was documented, but had changed since he joined the troop, you might be able to challenge that troop expectations have shifted and it was not a commitment he agreed to when he joined the troop. Was he supposed to quit the troop and his friends because the troop leadership had a new plan?

              - Is it reasonable? 100% is absolute and by definition not reasonable. Period.

              You might face arguments that POR was not completed because he did not camp. If that is the case, it is the responsibility of the scoutmaster to communicate that early and during the POR. Otherwise, the scout has completed his POR time requirement.

              GTA section 4.2.3 is so so so written for this type of situation.
              Last edited by fred johnson; 02-10-2014, 05:27 AM.

              Comment


              • Myboy
                Myboy commented
                Editing a comment
                Thanks for you comments and advice. I was just looking at the minutes of the last committee meeting:
                “2014 will put the outing back into Scouting” They will be camping 11 times per year.
                Need to have Scouts go on the outing to “build men of character” no matter the location of the outing.
                This came directly from the scoutmaster.
                My son has come this far and does not have time to go on campouts every month. He has fulfilled his requirements. Holding him hostage to go on more campouts is unfair. I will speak to the scoutmaster tonight, however, I know he's going to want my son to campout with the troop until his 18th birthday. My son had plans of going for his bronze palm, but I fear this has soured his outlook on scouting.

              • scoutergipper
                scoutergipper commented
                Editing a comment
                "Please note that there are zero camping requirements for Star, Life and Eagle."

                This is a bit of a mis-statement. While there are no direct camping requirements, there are implied ones in the POR and "Scout Spirit" requirements. If you have a POR that you are using for one of these rank advancements, you CANNOT demonstrate leadership on a campout or at a Troop meeting you do not attend. A Scout who does not camp, or who infrequently camps, is not showing proper Scout Spirit.

                While it does not seem to me this particular Scoutmaster has a leg to stand on in this situation, a Scout must be active in his Troop - including going on campouts - to advance in rank.

            • #10
              I have to agree with the other posts. You should have a conversation with the SM, but after that I would not hesitate to go around him. It is too bad that things like this happen, but recognize that all of us are human and some of us let authority go to our heads.

              Comment


              • fred johnson
                fred johnson commented
                Editing a comment
                Agreed. Your next immediate contact should be the district advancement coordinator. If that does not work, contact the council advancement coordinator. Don't wait. it's your son. I'm sure he's worth it.

            • #11
              Well my son finally received an e-mail from the scoutmaster. He said he wants my son to do three more overnight campouts to fulfill his "active in the troop" requirement. He also copied all the assistant scoutmasters on this e-mail. Is this reasonable? That would mean my son would have to do weekend campouts in April, May, and June. (there is no campout in March). My son completed all his requirements in October, and he won't have his scoutmaster conference until June. This seems unreasonable. I read on the BSA website that doing a percentage of outings is NOT a requirement for being "active in the troop".
              He participates in all activity in the troop including helping younger scouts, fund raising, service projects, community service, etc. The scoutmaster doesn't see this, as the only activity the scoutmaster attends is weekend campouts. I have never seen the scoutmaster at a service project, or fundraiser. In fact, in all the time I have been at the troop, I have never seen the scoutmaster help at any eagle project or even attend Scout-o-Rama.

              Comment


              • qwazse
                qwazse commented
                Editing a comment
                Ya know, if someone dumped this on my son, he'd call his patrol together and they would be camping on the next three consecutive weekends. Fact is, not camping for the next two months is unacceptable. I'll wager that half of his bad attitude comes from keeping cooped up all winter!

                If the camping requirements had been given to the boy when he earned Life, I would call this "borderline reasonable."

                Well, your son has two options. Cheerfully go camping (which honestly, I think he should do regardless) and wait out this storm, or call your council and ask how to file an appeal for a board of review without the scoutmaster's conference.

              • scoutergipper
                scoutergipper commented
                Editing a comment
                Has the "be active in your Troop" requirement been signed off? We encourage our Scouts to come to an Adult leader as soon as this part is complete for sign-off. I very, very rarely sign off anything at the SM Conference for any rank advancement other than Scout Spirit and once is a while if they've finished the last Merit Badge they need for it recently.

            • #12
              My son called home from college the other day complaining about his physics professor. He just got his first test back on which he made a 55. Not to bad considering the average for the class was less that 50 and no one passed, according to the professor. And there is no curve . If he makes 100 on the remaining three test and the final he still makes a B. According to him, the test is a common on for all sections of the course offered by a number of different professors. Unfortunately, his professor covered only a portion of the material in class. The practice test his professor distributed only covered those topics the professor covered in class, Hardly seems fair, huh?

              So his options are to file a complaint against the professor, informally whine to the department chair, or have me call and raise Cain with the university over the shabby treatment my son is receiving, pointing out that I'm paying $20,000 a year and expect better instruction.

              Instead, my son, an Eagle Scout, has done the following: 1) he has signed up for tutoring for the course, 2) he's found when other sections of the course are being taught and is planning on auditing the classes taught by other professors, 3) he's figured out how to download course materials and study guides from all the other professors, and, 4) he spoke to the graduate assistant who teaches his lab for the course and found out that the exams are all based on the textbook and that he should focus on that, not the materials the professor gives him.

              So, Myboy, my boy, what lessons do you want your son to gain from this experience? How do you want him to handle similar situations in, say, September?

              Comment


              • Myboy
                Myboy commented
                Editing a comment
                Point taken. I would want him to handle this on his own. My suggestion will be to have him negotiate with the scoutmaster to find a middle ground. Also, he needs a commitment from the scoutmaster that he will get his conference when he has met the conditions. I wouldn't be surprised to see the scoutmaster ask for more things for him to do after he's gone on these campouts.

              • packsaddle
                packsaddle commented
                Editing a comment
                Twocub, he must have the same prof I had when I was coming through. Sheesh, that guy must be REALLY old now.

              • Pack18Alex
                Pack18Alex commented
                Editing a comment
                Any science/engineering prof that doesn't use a curve should be reported. Hard tests and a curve are the norm, that's what makes the test realistic.

                Separate from what your son has done, that prof is an idiot.

            • #13
              It sounds like your son has already been trying to work it out with no success. A call to the District Advanvement Chair is in order by you - at least as a sounding board to get a feel for the District reaction to the situation.

              Comment


              • #14
                What Q said. Twocubdad's son is an adult and professors can do whatever they want. Your son is not an adult and scoutmasters cannot do whatever they want, and this scoutmaster is out of line.

                If your son doesn't mind playing the SM's games, then that's that. If he does mind, like Q said, he'll just have to call the council and start the appeal process.
                My 17-yr-old self would have hit reply all and let the SM know that he does not have the authority to do what he's doing but that I'm a reasonable guy and will camp 3 more times in addition to the a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h,i,j,k,l,m activities that I had already participated in, and wished he'd been there to see how active I am.

                Comment


                • Scouter99
                  Scouter99 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Like I said, TCD, your adult situation is not the same as this boy's situation. But as a mature young man, he's got decisions to make on his own.

                • Hal_Crawford
                  Hal_Crawford commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Just have to point out that professors cannot do whatever they want. Even tenured faculty can be overruled and in some cases sanctioned for misbehavior. Twocub's son is handling this well; he is doing the right things but he may still find that he is given and unfairly low grade that could hurt his academic career. He should be ready to go to the dean if his efforts fail.

                  There was a chemistry professor at my university that used his own special curve to make sure that no more than 30% passed Chem 101. He openly said his mission was to weed out unworthy pre-meds. Students were able to prove that he used an arbitrary grading standard and though the prof was extremely tenured he was removed from teaching that class.

                • Myboy
                  Myboy commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Great reply thank you. In fact my son used part of what you said to an e-mail to his district advisor. The district advisor wants to meet with him in full uniform with all his documentation sign-off. Perhaps he's ready to move forward.

              • #15
                One side of the story here.

                So Honestly.......how many meeting does he make a month???? How many campout has he made in the last year????

                My Troop has an attendance policy of 50% for meetings and outing for scouts and 80% for youth leadership.

                Active is a unit policy...That might be what his beef is


                Hard to give advice......

                Go a head and do an end around and go to the District Advancement chair and see how it affects his ECOH.

                If your going to have that conversation with the DAC, how about not making it about your son, but about a SM who is not following Advancement guidelines and the district should look at it.

                You understand this is going to get real ugly if you just go stomping around

                Comment


                • Sentinel947
                  Sentinel947 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Attendance guidelines only apply if they were communicated when the Scout in a timely manner (like when the Scout started his current rank). I'm stating that for the OPs benefit. I'm know you already knew that BD.

                  It's tough to give advice when we don't have all the info.

                • packsaddle
                  packsaddle commented
                  Editing a comment
                  "Go a head and do an end around and go to the District Advancement chair and see how it affects his ECOH."
                  It should have no effect whatsoever.

                • Basementdweller
                  Basementdweller commented
                  Editing a comment
                  So you don't think that it is going to affect the court of honor.....Sure it will.

                  A half hearted or even pointed Scoutmaster speech. Heck he might not even attend if it got that ugly.

                  To be completely honest.....As SM and I thought a lad did not complete the check list.....and was over ruled....I wouldn't attend at all.

                  That message is important for the lad.......The guy that mentored me all these years doesn't think I earned it. Maybe I didn't....
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