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  • First Class

    Where is it written that the goal of the BSA is that every scout should earn the rank of First Class? In the Wood Badge for the 21st Century Administrators guide, there is a question, with an answer:

    "What rank is the goal of the Boy Scouts of America that every Scout should earn? First Class"

    I have always believed a great scouting experience is more important than reaching the rank of Eagle, however, the two do not have to be mutually exclusive. I do agree with the SM LST Manual quote:

    "Advancement should be kept in perspective. It is not an end in itself, but rather is the outgrowth of the other seven methods of Scouting. A Scout troop can have great Scouting
    without great advancement, but a troop with an active outdoor program will naturally have a strong advancement program."

    I was reading about the 13 year old eagle scout, and I believe that situation is a 3-sigma case (could be wrong), but it caused me to reflect upon what is the purpose of scouting. In our troop the scouts view OA as the highest honor, high adventure next, then receiving LNT, WFA, BSA Lifeguard, as next, and then rank advancement. We tend to respect experience more than rank, and of course the two have some correlation.

  • #2
    It is also in the Guide to Advancement 2013 revision that one of the objectives for unit advancement coordinators is to:

    Assist the unit leader in establishing practices that will provide opportunities for each new Boy Scout to achieve First Class rank within 12 to 18 months of joining, and Star rank soon thereafter.
    In the previous revision stated:

    Establish practices that will bring each new Boy Scout to First Class rank within a year of joining, and then to Star rank the following year.

    Comment


    • NJCubScouter
      NJCubScouter commented
      Editing a comment
      I am pleased to see they have made that change. It brings the expectations for the program, and the role of the advancement coordinator (which is me in my troop) in line with what I have always understood them to be anyway. We don't "bring" Scouts from one rank to another. We provide opportunities for them to pass all the T-2-1 requirements, but they have to "bring" themselves to each new rank. They have to do their part, by actually attending the meetings and outings, participating in the program, and doing what the requirements say they are supposed to do. The clarification of my role is good too: I do not "establish" the program, and I do not really "establish" the "practices" by which Scouts advance, either. The SM does that. I do "assist" the SM by making suggestions about how the program might be improved, and in so doing, how the activities required for advancement might be better integrated into a fun, exciting, program. So now the book says what I do, and what the program is supposed to do.

  • #3
    2 Issues here.
    (1) All scouts being First Class. I agree. A lot of scouts will drop out along the way but a well trained First Class scout has learned enough basic skills to be helpful and not a burden in an emergency and outdoors. Good goal.
    (2) The push for 1st Class 1st Year. This is different and it pushes boys through before some of them are really ready. Follow the BSA plan (and I got trained up on it) and you can fall in the "one and done" trap. And that dilutes the value of (1) above. So what is the value of First Class rank if the boy never really learned anything?

    Comment


    • #4
      Beyond FC, the scout really doesn't really pick up any real skill development, mostly leadership, projects and merit badges. A FC scout is (well, should be) trained enough to take care of himself in the outdoors well enough to enjoy the program. FC used to be the highest rank in BSA. The additional ranks are there to occupy the boys till they turn 18. Yeah they're nice, but unless forced by requirements, they should be doing such things as leadership, service and MB's anyway.

      Stosh

      Comment


      • ghermanno
        ghermanno commented
        Editing a comment
        You are absolutely correct. It used to be FC w/Star, FC w/life, and FC w/Eagle. First Class was the highest award. It is supposed to be the point where the youth is self sufficient and could take a group of boys camping w/o adult supervision. Now that National expects them to learn within one year all that is required, a lot of Scouters have gone to the one-and-done method. I asked a First Class Scout to tie a square knot a couple of weeks ago and he could not. He did not remember what a bowline was for either.....

        Guess I'll wait for "EAGLE" the Wii game so National can ensure the numbers stay artificially high.

      • perdidochas
        perdidochas commented
        Editing a comment
        Ghermanno,

        National has pushed that back to 12-18 months, not under a year.

        That said, about half of our First Class scouts are far from being first class. The problem is that we took in a lot of kids from other troops, and trusted their Scout handbook sign offs. A couple are because we trusted summer camp signoffs. At our Camporee last weekend, I was pleasantly surprised that all of the boys knew their knots, basic orienteering and fire building.

    • #5
      It's important for Troops to continue to provide opportunities for First Class Scouts to practice their Scout skills. Very few kids can learn something at age 11, not use it very often, and then remember that skill perfectly at age 15. First Class Scouts should be working on their Scout Skills on every campout, including teaching those skills to younger or less experienced Scouts in their Patrol.

      It's a mistake, in my judgment, to rush boys from Scout through First Class. Our Troop has picked up "drop outs" from Troops who tried this method and simply burned those boys out. "It wasn't any fun" was their number 1 complaint. A good time should never be sacrificed on the altar of advancement.

      Comment


      • #6
        I am fortunate to have a self-starter Troop Guide in my Troop who loves Scoutcraft skills and has devised a great refresher course for this weekend. His goal is to do some serious skills instruction on lashings/ropework, cooking and map/compass. The younger Scouts are really pumped about learning stuff while their parents are pumped about the fact that their children are advancing. It's the best of both worlds for me as Scoutmaster. The Scouts are happy and the parents are happy.

        First Class is definitely, in my mind, the goal of every Scout. Just look at the requirements. Very few have changed since the beginning...

        Comment


        • #7
          I believe somewhere in my Boy Scout Handbook it called a First Class Scout "the all around perfect Scout."



          However, First Class like Eagle, should not be pushed as the ends of the program. Advancement is a method. The journey is the purpose. It is a mistake to push the rank as a checklist. Their proficiency in the skills from T-1st teaches them confidence and arms them with the useful skills they'll need for their adventures.



          Sentinel947

          Comment


          • #8
            Originally posted by LeCastor View Post
            First Class is definitely, in my mind, the goal of every Scout. Just look at the requirements. Very few have changed since the beginning...
            The most important First Class requirement is missing: The First Class Journey.

            Therefore the BSA's outdoor requirements are designed to get Cub Scout survivors to Eagle without ever walking into the woods with packs on their backs.

            For a while, Hillcourt's Patrol Leader Training got Patrols out into the woods without adult helicopters, but in 1972 Wood Badge replaced it with Troop Method training called "Leadership Development."

            Therefore the BSA's leadership skills requirements are designed to get Cub Scout survivors to Eagle without ever walking into the woods with a Patrol at their backs.




            Comment


            • scoutergipper
              scoutergipper commented
              Editing a comment
              Perhaps, but both those items could be easily completed in a neighborhood or town. Heck I could do the bird requirement in my backyard. Maybe it was assumed that all these things would be done in the woods in those days without having to actually specify it. Different time.

            • qwazse
              qwazse commented
              Editing a comment
              I think the vision of 1st class journeys as full-on backpacking trips is mistaken. Many of the drawings depicting this sort of thing involve open farmland.

            • Kudu
              Kudu commented
              Editing a comment
              Here is a journal of a First Class Journey which includes farmland and villages:

              http://inquiry.net/outdoor/hikes/1st_class_journey.htm

              A "How To" set up First Class Journeys guide for Scoutmasters:

              http://inquiry.net/outdoor/hikes/1st_class_hike.htm

              The actual requirements for Journeys, Second Class through the equivalent to Eagle.

              http://inquiry.net/advancement/tradi...quirements.htm

          • #9
            Nike commented:

            "How would you implement the First Class Journey in this day and age?"

            You mean in the "day and age" of Bruce Tuckman Wood Badge?

            For Webelos III Troops, the same way the Patrol Hike is implemented in Wood Badge: In a Boy Scout camp if necessary.

            One reluctant Baden-Powell Scouting association implemented my compromise "Shadow Party" of older Scouts or Scouters that tracked them at a distance through rough territory. If the Scouts undergoing the Journey needed to interact with the Shadow Party in any way, the Journey was cancelled.
            Last edited by Kudu; 10-30-2013, 07:36 PM.

            Comment


            • Nike
              Nike commented
              Editing a comment
              I was really wondering how to address the lack of unposted/unregulated land, highways and byways, permits required for everything, and the ever present threat of a well intentioned bystander alerting police or social services to a couple of unsupervised kids. I think these kinds of trips could be very formative and instructive for everyone.

            • Kudu
              Kudu commented
              Editing a comment
              The undeveloped areas of National Forests do not require permits or minimum ages. The same is true for groups of two in most wild backpacking venues.

              Likewise for Patrol Camping. Patrols of less than ten Scouts do not require a permit in the Adirondack Mountains, for instance.

          • #10
            just want to throw in 2 cents about terminology. I hate it when people refer to unsatisfactory Troop programs as "Webelos III". It is insulting to the Webelos program itself. Thank you.

            Comment


            • Basementdweller
              Basementdweller commented
              Editing a comment
              Why is it insulting?

              That is exactly what it is.

              Webelos
              Adult led
              Adult Planned
              Boys participate.


              Boy Scouts
              Boy led
              Boy Planned
              Adults tag along because they have to.


              This is one of the Big reasons I disagree with troops planning big cross country trips because the boys do not plan it.

            • Baseballfan
              Baseballfan commented
              Editing a comment
              Because it is clearly being used as an insult... not just a comment but a putdown. Maybe it's just me. In related news I hate calling adults "helicopters", not because it insults actual helicopters, but because they can just be called "adults" or "leaders"... "helicopter" is derogatory. I freely admit I'm probably too sensitive!!

            • qwazse
              qwazse commented
              Editing a comment
              BBF, Webelos is perfect for 8, 9, or 10 year-olds. Treating an11 year old like he should still be in a Webelos program needs is insulting. Treating a 14 year old like that is degrading.

              Myself, I don't use the term "Webelos III." I just promise a boy that I will never treat him like he's a girl scout. And, GS mom's, when I do that I am not insulting your troop (if they are camping - under canvas or less - every month out of the year).

          • #11
            I think the First Class scout as a lad who should be able to take care of himself on a cmapout and not be a burden to his peers / leader. He knows how to plan a meal, how to shop it, how to cook it, what to pack, what type of gear / shelter he needs for a given outing. A first class scout is self sufficent / independent.

            I have had / seen a few boys rush this "trail to first class" and it only hurts themsleves and possibly the troop. My own son was a little disappointed b/c it took him a little over 18 months in Boy Scouts to get to First Class. However, I reminded him that its better to take your time and KNOW your stuff than to rush it. I repeat this with every scout I do a 2nd class or 1st class SM conference with as well. One of my lead ins in the SM conference:...

            "How well do you know these requirements? Do you feel confident that you can TEACH them to other scouts? Lets pick a couple and you can tech them to me right now...."

            The point of demarkation IMHO is that once you pin on that 1st class rank, you are considered a de facto troop trainer for anyone of lesser rank than you. If you are 1st class, you not only know how / what to do for yourself, but you know the material well enough to TRAIN YOUNGER SCOUTS. If you cannot, you are making your troop weak because those coming up behind you have an ill prepared teacher and they deserve better than that. Once I make it known that the expectation is you should be able to teach the skill, not just do it once yourself and check the box, most scouts self regulate their rapid accent to 1st class on their own. There is nothing a youth hates more than being asked to demo a task / technique in front of other (especially younger scouts) and not be able to pull it off. If you know your scout skills well enough to teach it, then you are confident in your skills and it shows. period.

            I think the First Class scout as a lad who should be able to take care of himself on a cmapout and not be a burden to his peers / leader. He knows how to plan a meal, how to shop it, how to cook it, what to pack, what type of gear / shelter he needs for a given outing. A first class scout is self sufficent / independent.

            I have had / seen a few boys rush this "trail to first class" and it only hurts themsleves and possibly the troop. My own son was a little disappointed b/c it took him a little over 18 months in Boy Scouts to get to First Class. However, I reminded him that its better to take your time and KNOW your stuff than to rush it. I repeat this with every scout I do a 2nd class or 1st class SM conference with as well. One of my lead ins in the SM conference:...

            "How well do you know these requirements? Do you feel confident that you can TEACH them to other scouts? Lets pick a couple and you can tech them to me right now...."

            The point of demarkation IMHO is that once you pin on that 1st class rank, you are considered a de facto troop trainer for anyone of lesser rank than you. If you are 1st class, you not only know how / what to do for yourself, but you know the material well enough to TRAIN YOUNGER SCOUTS. If you cannot, you are making your troop weak because those coming up behind you have an ill prepared teacher and they deserve better than that. Once I make it known that the expectation is you should be able to teach the skill, not just do it once yourself and check the box, most scouts self regulate their rapid accent to 1st class on their own. There is nothing a youth hates more than being asked to demo a task / technique in front of other (especially younger scouts) and not be able to pull it off. If you know your scout skills well enough to teach it, then you are confident in your skills and it shows. period.

            Comment


            • Eagledad
              Eagledad commented
              Editing a comment
              >>The point of demarkation IMHO is that once you pin on that 1st class rank, you are considered a de facto troop trainer for anyone of lesser rank than you. If you are 1st class, you not only know how / what to do for yourself, but you know the material well enough to TRAIN YOUNGER SCOUTS
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