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Response to a parent who think their scout is entitled to a rank?

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  • Response to a parent who think their scout is entitled to a rank?

    I'm CM for a Pack and did our last court of honor for the current scout year Monday night. Since then, I've been receiving emails from the grandparent of one of our Bear scouts who didn't get his rank badge. Here is the latest:

    [Scout] was very disappointed.We feel we have fill [his advancement worksheet] out several times on our end explaining to the Den Leader it was done. Both of our boys did boy scouts and advance and they didn't do what was ask of [Scout]. I hope in your heart [Scout] will get his deserving badge.
    Now the background:
    • Our Bear Den leader has been been tracking advancement with a slightly modified Bear Trax spreadsheet in his Google Docs account. We know that this boy's grandparents have updated his requirements. The spreadsheet clearly shows he has completed 58% of the requirements for the badge.
    • The Den Leader and I have made several offers to help any boy in the den who wanted to advance. They haven't taken us up on this.
    • Before the Blue and Gold when we told these grandparents that his requirements weren't done their reply was "If [Scout] doesn't obtain this badge on Monday, it will not be feasible to attend subject event."
    • The scout does not attend many meetings. When he does, the grandparents are dump and run people. They never interact, volunteer, and in several cases have tried to guilt various leaders into giving them more. (They tried this with me and the Pinewood Derby car.)
    • The Grandmother, who attended Monday's event, stood off to the side and didn't interact with anyone. I approached her during the event, and gave her a pack T-Shirt that they hadn't picked up yet. She didn't discuss this in person then (after the awards ceremony).
    So I'm putting this out there to my esteemed other Scouter.com members. What do you think is an appropriate reply?

    I'm leaning towards something along the lines of "Your scout should be disappointed in you, and so should your sons. Go find a new pack."
    Last edited by TSS_Chris; 06-19-2013, 06:58 PM.

  • #2
    I ran into something like this a couple of times. I chose to focus on the boy. Yes, I invested extra time and effort in getting him to meetings and getting him to other events. I just couldn't bring myself to punish the boy just because his family couldn't/wouldn't give him the support he needed. I made that decision knowing it would put a strain on me and my family. I did it anyway and in retrospect I am glad I did. However, if someone else in the same situation chooses another response, I respect that as well because I DO remember well the strain it put on me and my family.

    I wish you well and hope that you can resolve this in a way that is best for the boy and for you.

    Comment


    • #3
      You said the PARENTS have updated the sheet, but it's still showing incomplete requirements? But the GRANDPARENTS are complaining?

      I don't think the grandparents have a dog in this hunt. Say to them "Well bless his heart." Then thank them for their interest in the program, smile sympathetically and walk away.

      Comment


      • TSS_Chris
        TSS_Chris commented
        Editing a comment
        Sorry. My bad. His parents are out of the picture. The boy is being raised by his grandparents. I edited my original post, but I am referring to them.
        Last edited by TSS_Chris; 06-19-2013, 06:59 PM.

    • #4
      While my current pack is a bit lax on the requirements, 58% is really low. It is obvious the grandparents are not involved as they should realize all that is needed is for Akela to sign off at the Bear level. Sounds like they are not willing to lie but want you to lie to the Council for them. Dont do it. Given how easy it is to appeal Eagles I suspect it is even easier for to appeal Cub Ranks, though I have never heard of it. Is this a regular grade based pack? Seems odd that rank advancement is still occurring on June 17th. Is your program year complete ? If it is then the Bears should be graduated into Webelos and it hoses these people unless they appeal to council. What is up with the B&G thing? Were you supposed to be so devistated by the possibility that he would not attend you would just hand him rank advancement ? My reply would be "Your grandson can not advance until Akela signs his requirements, here is the number to the Council if you would like confirmation of that policy." Let them figure out who Akela is.

      Comment


      • King Ding Dong
        King Ding Dong commented
        Editing a comment
        Dang, I hate when all paragraphs are lost.

      • TSS_Chris
        TSS_Chris commented
        Editing a comment
        Yes, we are a grade-based pack, but this was a strange year for us. At the request of our DE, we merged with another pack in the late fall, and I did a recruiting session with my DE at that school in January. We gained 20 members from that school, plus several others from our local school (including this scout) in the first week of January.

        Our program year usually ends in April because we can't compete with baseball. We had a substantial number who couldn't get the requirements complete during the regular year, so June 17 it is. I've told them that if they show me the work is done, I'll award him the badge in the fall. That still isn't enough for them.

      • King Ding Dong
        King Ding Dong commented
        Editing a comment
        I appreciate your commitment to a quality program. Just remember that all that is required is Akela's initials in the book for Tiger through Bear. Webelos is "show me" time.

        Sounds like you had a tough year, I would tend to favor twocubdad's approach and let them have more time if they need it. However from your description of their attitude, they just want the bling without the work so don't expect much.

        It has been a couple of years since I did Bear but rarely is a requirement written such that it cannot be done at home with family.

    • #5
      Got it. Then how about this:

      Dear Mr. & Mrs. Kettle -- I'm sorry your understanding/expectations for the Scouting program are different from those in our pack. We have a very clear mandate from BSA that requirements are to be met as written -- no more and no less. As you see from the BearTrax spreadsheet you completed for Dear Sweet One, he is substantially short of meeting the requirements for Bear. It would be unfair to both Dear Sweet One and the other Scouts to award a badge he did not complete. Both his den leader and I have offered numerous times to help him complete requirements he as missed, but it is difficult to complete all the requirements when missing numerous meeting. Dear Sweet One can continue to work on these requirements until (date)** and I will be more than happy to work with him, to the extent my family's summer schedule allows. But the great thing about Cub Scouts is every year is a new start. Beginning in September we will all start anew working towards the Webelos badge and I have no doubt that Dear Sweet One can complete it along with his friends in the den. Sincerely Yours in Service to Scouting, Chris

      ** A note on the cutoff date. There is nothing which says a pack has to have a hard, fixed program year. There is no reason a Scout can't continue working toward last year's rank through the summer. You just can't go back and work on Bear once you're a Webelos. Consequently, I wouldn't let them work on both Bear and Webelos at the same time or go back and forth.

      And as Pack says, there is only so much you can do. We've all gone above and beyond to help particular boys and sometimes it pays off and sometimes it get thrown back at us. You (and the DL) have to decide where the boundaries are.

      Comment


      • TSS_Chris
        TSS_Chris commented
        Editing a comment
        For the cutoff date, I have to go back to my DE on this one. He's led me to believe that there is a June 1 cutoff date for Cub Advancement. Of course, I can't find any supporting documentation about this.

      • dedkad
        dedkad commented
        Editing a comment
        Great letter suggestion. The only think I would change is add after "I have no doubt that Dear Sweet One can complete it along with his friends in the den" is "if he makes an effort to complete the requirements" or something like that. Don't want to make any false promises. They still need to do the work.

    • #6
      TwoCub: I like the letter, and I think you clearly let them know the ball is in their court. Hopefully they work with you. I'm honestly surprised at the low level of completion, as I know several of our new Bear Scouts are on par to be 50% complete before the end of the summer. (and they can certainly be further than 50% with a little more work) There are some of the Bear requirements which are extremely easy and can be done over a single weekend.

      A couple of points I'd like to make: Cubs advance on 1 June, or once they are complete with each grade. (i.e. completing 2nd grade, the boy advances) I know many Packs allow for a couple of extra weeks in June....but 2 full months is a bit excessive. That being said, if I was in your position....I'd probably work with our advancement chairman to allow this as well. As you point out.. as long as the boys aren't working towards WEBELOS...

      Hope this ends well for the Scout and your Pack.

      Comment


      • dedkad
        dedkad commented
        Editing a comment
        I had a similar situation and asked our Unit Commissioner about how to handle it. He told me that the boy can use the entire summer to complete his requirements. Maybe that isn't exactly the way the rules are written, but since we don't meet in the summer, why not give that boy the extra time to succeed? Your boy is obviously dealing with some family issues if he's being raised by his grandparents, so a little extra assistance is probably warranted. But by assistance I mean helping them to complete the requirements, not waiving any requirements.

    • #7
      I wouldn't cave to a single parent or grandparent........2cd said....let him finish it over the summer.

      The threat that he won't attend the B&G if he doesn't receive the award, what kind of threat is that??? So they are cheating their scout out of the experience.....

      Now I am king of chasing boys in scouting.......I can't tell you how much time I wasted chasing boys because they need scouting........Well it only took oh 5 or 6 years to figure it out....

      Focus on the boys and families who want to be in scouting.

      Comment


      • #8
        June 1, is BSA's program year cut-off for Cub Scouts. The Cub Scout program is mainly grade based. Boys move to the next level of Cubs at the end of the school year (whether or not they have earned their Rank Award for their current Cub level). Since School Districts across the country all end their school years on different dates, BSA chose June 1 as the date that their computer system (ScoutNet) automatically moved all registered Cub Scouts to their next Cub level.

        BSA allows Cub Scouts who have not completed their level rank award by the end of the school year to take a few extra weeks to complete it. However, this is ONLY for the rank award, and does not include electives or any other awards. Also, Cubs can not work in more than one level at a time. So, if a Cub decides to take time during the summer to complete his rank award he may NOT work on anything in his new Cub level, until he is completely finished with the old.

        I would sit down, face to face, with these Grandparents, and the den leader. Show the Grandparents a list of EXACTLY what their Bear Scout needs to complete in order to EARN his Bear Rank Award. Explain the rules. Explain about how we are teaching Character Development. Explain that he must complete ALL of the requirements for an award in order to earn, and receive it.Explain that if their Scout opts to spend his summer working on the Bear rank award, that is fine. However you also need to CLEARLY explain the restrictions involved. NOTHING done during that time will count toward ANY Webelos awards.

        Most Cub Scouts I have had this talk to have decided to forget about the "old" award, and focus on their "new", fun, different, level.

        Comment


        • #9
          With so many Achievement options available at Bear level, I find it hard to believe that any boy can't complete the requirements with minimal effort. The fact that he missed meetings certainly complicates it, but not everyting has to be done with the den. Since my son is in my den, I follow his school work closely. Are there some things they did at school, like projects and field trips and assemblies, that may qualify for some of the Bear requirements? I've also found that if I just ask the boys if they did a particular requirement, they will tell me no. But don't just take their word for it. Try expanding the reach of your questions. You'd be surprised how much a boy has done throughout the year if you start digging and thinking creatively. A boy has a life outside Scouting. Try applying some of those life activities to his Scout requirements and see if that gets you a little closer. Then make a specific list of the remaining things that need to be done to finish his Bear rank and give that to the grandparents.

          Comment


          • #10
            I'm a Cubmaster, Webelos Den Leader and a dad of a Webelos 2. I have run into this sort of thing on several occasions and den leaders have asked me what to do in these instances. My first question to them is did they adhere to "Do Your Best"? Sometimes given learning disabilities or family situations call for being a little less stringent when the effort looks to be there. That's been my belief but I have also run into the type of family that doesn't do a thing and expects to get something for no effort. that usually doesn't fly.

            I hated the Bear year because it was tough to make a themed den meeting toward the end as it seemed the electives are so different from one another. It was also confusing because the requirements were vastly different from the wolf year. Instead of doing a set number of achievements you had to do a certain number from each section. For a new Bear leader/parent most of us found it confusing at first.

            That being said, we always made sure we covered in the den and assigned homework so that each scout had the opportunity to get their Bear badge by the B&G in February. Yet we still seemed to award them in the May pack meeting for those that fell behind. Some never got it.

            The way I explained it to my parents was that from Tiger year to the time they cross over to boy scouts they grow and work more independently. To give the badge to a scout who did 58% wouldn’t be fair to the others who did the work.

            But I have to ask, in keeping with the theme of “Do your best” what’s the rest of the book look like? If you take BearTrax out of the equation did he do a lot of achievements and electives? I remember it was confusing for one of our den leaders. She had set up a whole curriculum of den meetings and in early January realized that no scout had earned a single progress bead because they did random achievement s from different sections. I’m not suggesting that you cut them some slack because they didn’t follow the requirements correctly. As you indicated they weren’t there and you gave them many chances have help and told them exactly what to do.

            I don’t know their situation but I have had a few grandparents who had to take custody of their grandchildren and scouting is sometimes a way to keep some normalcy in their kids’ lives. Maybe if the book looks like it’s been filled out you give them a “Nice effort” and explain that given the communication and warnings previous to the end of the year it wouldn’t be fair to award their scout something he didn’t earn.

            Things will certainly get harder in the Webelos year for sure.

            Comment

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