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Would you award service hours?

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  • Would you award service hours?

    So we had the untimely death of 2 cubs in a pack chartered by our troop's CO. The pack put together a candlelight vigil for the family. Our Scoutmaster has a son in the pack and was in the pack planning meeting. He volunteered our troop, and put out the word that the boys should come help put up the stage, lights, run power cords etc, since it would be outdoors. (for the boy-led folks, the planning meeting was in the morning, the vigil was that night. No time to get action from our scouts while they were in school) We had a great response with our boys and they did a bang up job setting things up. Some other troops' scouts came by to help as well.

    One scout of the neighboring troop emailed our scoutmaster requesting acknowledgement of service hours for helping to light candles, pick up litter and stow away gear. We weren't awarding service hours to our troop (none of the boys even asked), because we just think it was the right thing to do. For purposes of this discussion, lets disregard the whole scoutmaster approved part of the service hour requirement.

    So how would you respond to this scout's email? Would you award service hours for this type of thing?


  • #2
    This is why I hate service hour requirements. They should be struck from the book. The true requirement should be "do a good turn daily".

    Why are you counting service hours for your boys? They have their own book, they can note where they served and when. (I know why we do it, to keeps parents busy ... ) If you really shouldn't be splitting hairs over your boys, why fret over this scout? Send him a note thanking him for his help, and let his SM be bothered with counting it or not.

    Comment


    • qwazse
      qwazse commented
      Editing a comment
      By the way, sorry for your community's loss. I'm coming coming on the fourth year anniversary of ours, and nothing about it is any easier.

    • koolaidman
      koolaidman commented
      Editing a comment
      qwazse, we're not counting. The boys are. This is more in the area of scoutmaster approved than anything else. We were kinda shocked after receiving this email and took a little time to think it through first before doing anything else...

  • #3
    Sorry to hear of the loss of two scouts.

    What a extremely discourteous thought to think of one's personal benefit at this time of grief. It was his duty to help and the honor was reward in itself.

    No service hours for serving others in a time of need - death, first aid, natural disasters, emergencies. Service hours are for non-emergencies like building park benches, park cleanup, raking,...

    My $0.01

    Comment


    • #4
      With Schiff

      Comment


      • #5
        If the question is would I let one of my boys count it: I'm not feeling so black-and-white. This is something where I'd ask the boy what he thinks about it.

        Are we taking advantage of someone's suffering? But is every service project in some sense not really service if you are getting some kind of credit? On the other hand, would the beneficiaries feel kind of glad that some good is coming of a bad situation? Is counting service hours really right? Why do you think we have to do it? How did serving in this way make you feel? Do you think this kind of service is something you want to do more of?

        In other words, I think it's more important you use the boy's record of his service as a way to reflect on his personal growth. If you spend a lot of time fussing over "this troop counts it, that troop doesn't", you'll miss the teachable moment.

        Comment


        • #6
          You are not "awarding" the service hours.

          The Scout was there. He helped. I would do as the Scout requested - send him back an email listing what he did, and how long he was there.

          Anything else is up to the Scout and his SM - not you.

          Comment


          • #7
            For me the line got fuzzy when "definitions" started creeping in with the "getting credit" for something issue.

            Do parents pay for chores the boys are expected to do as part of being in a family? In some cases with some parents yes. That way they have a way of motivating their kids without them having to feel part/connection to any family/community.

            Even then, the values taught me over the years were never in black and white. Yes, as a kid I shoveled the walk in the winter and didn't get paid for it UNLESS it was for a neighbor, and then if that neighbor was elderly, then no. They usually paid in cookies anyway.

            Up until just recently my elderly neighbor's son would shovel the walk, but I always was available first and would always shovel access to the house in case of emergency until her son could get there to do it all.

            These service project hours have always concerned me because of the message they give to the boys. It would seem that everyone is out to do the minimum just to get credit and at the same time, get by. Doing a good turn daily usually means holding the door for someone, once, and then you are good to go until tomorrow.

            But then again, you will hear it from the parents first that expecting little Johnny to go out and clean ditches for 6 hours is really a Good Turn.

            Someone needed help, it may or may not be an emergency. Is helping another scout with his Eagle project a good turn or service hours?

            If we spent more time helping out and less time figuring out whether we get credit for it, we'd be better off.

            Stosh

            Comment


            • #8
              A bit more information: The scout is Tenderfoot and the vigil was between two scouting for food weekends. Would this change or enhance anyone's opinion?

              We did step back a bit and discuss (ASM and SM) that it is probably not within an 11 year old's maturity level to comprehend why requesting credit may seem discourteous. Ultimately SM thanked him for coming and declined to write the email. (If he really needs the hours, the thank you acknowledged he was there, so he has evidence).

              Comment


              • qwazse
                qwazse commented
                Editing a comment
                Doesn't change how I'd do things. There's always an SFF or some other service opportunity somewhere, and who knows what else this young man did? Maybe he was most proud of this opportunity and he wanted to it to count.


                I can relate to Stosh's example. Our kids would duck out of church service once a month to pack bags from the food pantry for folks who would need them. Their only reward was missing the sermon. To my knowledge, they never counted that for credit for anything. Nobody said they couldn't, they just wanted their on-paper service hours to be other things like helping on Eagle projects.


                I will say that the more interesting SMCs were from boys whose hours involved non-scouting activities. These were typically older boys whose lives were starting to branch out a little.


                I think your SM did the right thing. Maybe a note to the boy's SM would be a good idea as well.

            • #9
              "Approved by your Scoutmaster" I have always taken this to mean "pre-approved" rather then a "hey, I did this six months ago, can you sign off" requirement). If they didn't ask before the event, they wouldn't get a sign-off from me.

              Comment


              • fred johnson
                fred johnson commented
                Editing a comment
                BSA GTA addresses this. And it is re-iterated in BSA advancement news. http://www.scouting.org/filestore/ad...75_AugSept.pdf

                BSA does not require pre-approved service projects. It is helpful but it is not a requirement. Also, BSA does not require planning service projects and BSA explicitly states it does not require planning service projects.

                So, our troop interprets "approved" as pre or post. As long as the scoutmaster is good with it being a service to others that meets the intent. I think that is what the requirement means.

            • #10
              Just ask this simple question: would you have done it if you knew you wouldn't get credit? or it wasn't required? (its a rhetorical question, watch the scouts face, and this is why I'm not asked to sit on Boards, its the only question I ask)

              Comment


              • qwazse
                qwazse commented
                Editing a comment
                Judging by the excessive number of hours our boys have logged (and that's only the tip of the iceberg compared to what I know they have actually done), they would not take it rhetorically and reply with a resounding "Yes, sir, of course!"

                The older ones -- who may be attuned to subtlety -- may take offense that you would even suggest such a thing. They would certainly not say anything. Well, maybe the more clever ones would reply "Respectfully sir, I'll let the MC's also joined in that project attest to my motives after I've left the room. Or, if you would rather table this board until you've joined me on next week's project, you are welcome to make a shoulder-to-shoulder assessment."

            • #11
              BSA needs to address it's hypocrisy. On the one hand they promote Good Turns which means it only counts if one doesn't take any credit/reward for it, then in the same breath turns around and expects them to credit their service hours.

              No wonder we have a ton of questions revolving around this issue.

              Stosh

              Comment


              • #12
                Why wouldn't you award service hours? They did service for a good cause. All service should be done because "it's the right thing to do." The whole recording of the service hours is just to make sure that the slacker scouts are doing things. Most of the active scouts we have have no problem with the service hour requirements, because doing those service hours is a natural part of the program, just like most of the rank requirements. We do have a few boys who need to be forced to do service hours, like the scout who showed up to work exactly one hour on my son's Eagle project, because that's all he needed for rank advancement. Thankfully he changed troops. In terms of that, my own sons do a lot of volunteer work. Pretty much we only record service hours for scouting, so that they advance. They probably do as much service work in a few months as scouts are required to record for Eagle (which IMHO, is pretty minimal).
                Last edited by perdidochas; 02-10-2014, 10:23 AM.

                Comment


                • #13
                  Service hours are not "awarded". I really hate that thinking. Scouter leaders are not sitting on high with benevolence to those surfs in their troop.

                  We view it as service hours are "recognized". Have you helped others?

                  And as hard is this candle light vigil is, it is EXACTLY the intent of the service hour requirement. People were in need. They helped. It was the right thing to do. Of course it fulfills the requirement. Anything less is sending the wrong message.

                  Service hours always help people in need. Homeless. Hungry. Sometimes the people are just harder to recognize such as people who are tired from hiking and so we create benches to help them rest. Or land scape a non-profit that helps others in need.

                  Comment


                  • koolaidman
                    koolaidman commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Yes, "recognized" or "approved" is really the term I should have used. We don't hold out sign offs to be something handed down from on high.

                • #14
                  I agree with schifff.


                  this is pathetic.....

                  If it were one of my lads an SMC would be needed and a discussion about doing the right thing and not always receiving payment in any form.

                  Comment


                  • #15
                    Good Gawd. I wish we would go back to just teaching our Scouts to do a good turn without reward, recognition, or even thanks because it is the scout way of doing the right thing. Instead we have created generations who expect something more for doing the right thing or even just doing their job.

                    What's in it for me, Mr. Schiff?


                    Comment


                    • T2Eagle
                      T2Eagle commented
                      Editing a comment
                      On the other hand, we've created a generation that we say we don't trust. What would the answers be if the question was asked "I ahve a scout who says he did the service hours required but he never wrote them down?"

                      How many would answer "if he didn't write them down in his book then he can't claim them, tell him there will be plenty more activities and this is a lesson in writing everything down."

                      The scout didn't say I'll come if I can count it. He came, he did the work, he wants to record it. If you say no you can't use this one is he going to undo what he did?

                    • fred johnson
                      fred johnson commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Not written down? We'd count it. Approval can be pre or post as long as it's service to others.

                      I fully agree. It's about teaching scouts to do a good turn. I worry the bank book approach to advancement may teach the wrong thing at times.
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