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Advancement Resources

Scouting ranks, merit bades, and the advancement programs

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  1. How does this happen? 1 2

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    • I'm on board with the "vote with your feet" theory. Strong troops will have an incoming new scout patrol every year with a few active parents to offset the natural attrition of kids hitting high school or otherwise aging out of the program. A strong troop can survive a "weak class" of scouts and parents, but can be derailed if they onboard 2 or 3 consecutive weak classes. A low number of incoming Scouts vs. prior years doesn't necessarily translate to a weak class if the scouts are well-behaved and the parents are willing helpers. Rather, the pitfall comes when troops onboard multiple scouts will behavior issues and parents who either don't support the program or whose presence becomes a net negative.  How many potentially great Scouts either never made it past Cub Scouts or quit too soon because they had one or two disruptive peers that ruined their experience?
    • @ramanous , the most important one for me is whether the older scouts are looking out for the younger scouts. If the younger scouts don't look up to the older scouts then the troop will develop all sorts of problems from lack of participation, young SPLs that struggle while older scouts stay home, a lack of team work and just a real self centered attitude. The term scout led really is too vague. What most adults think of scout led is scouts making plans. But leadership, good leadership, is all the little things like including the shy scouts and encouraging those that are struggling.  It's the essence of the Scout Law. Once in place, this will feed itself as the younger scouts look up to the older scouts and eventually become those older scouts that give back to the new younger scouts.. However, getting it in place is hard because teenagers can get very self centered when given a chance. Tending this process was the most important and challenging problem for me as an SM. Good luck.
    • All good responses so far. I apologize for not including this phrase in my prior reply as I feel it is very important; others have hinted at it in their responses. I believe that Scouting done well is evidence of the truth of this statement.  Not eveything that counts is measureable, and not everything that is measureable counts. (paraphrase of a quote often attributed to Einstein)  
    • Zack Gridley was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy when he was just one year old after suffering from a double brain bleed shortly after birth. After years of developmental therapy Zack Gridley decided to join cub scouts in 2016. He's earned over 40 badges with Boy Scout Troop 55. "I would highly recommend because you get to develop a bond with people in your troop," Zack said. "Everyone helped me through this journey, and I worked very hard," Zack added. Zack's parents said though he received some accommodations on his journey, he mostly took on scout challenges on his own. "He biked on a recumbent bike 15 miles at one of his outings, so you know for someone like him.... It's a big deal for any kid that age but for him especially to be that dedicated to go out and do that ride," Zack's Father, Brad Gridley "It's very exciting to me because he's worked very hard, and he's embraced it all. I just feel like it's been a terrific thing for him to do. He's learned a lot of valuable life skills," Tammy Gridley said. "Work hard and if you want to achieve something. You can do it. But it may take a little hard work to get there,' Zack said. More at Source: https://www.katv.com/news/local/defying-odds-boy-with-cerebral-palsy-paves-unique-path-to-becoming-an-eagle-scout-zack-gridley-tammy-troop-rank-bradley Scout Salute.
    • Thinking a bit more about this thread, I think we are speaking of a variation of answers.  Whose success are we perhaps trying to measure?  The obvious answer appears to be the success of the youth.  But we also can expand our discussion to the success of the adults who mentor the Scouts.  And, we also then are reviewing the success of the program, which is variable, depending on the membership involved, and also the actual program in play.  Each level and type of program and group may have different points of consideration, depending on how detailed we may choose to get.  Ultimately though, we may not really see that measure of success until much later, sometimes even decades.  One of the good things about hanging around for a long time is that I have been privileged to have a few past scouts speak directly to me about the positive things they realized, later.  We all have heard, or if fortunate have experienced that.  But I also have seen some youth fail themselves, and as an extension perhaps, our efforts.  And, while we may take that measure from our own perspectives, the youth and even their families may not see the same evidence, positive or negative.        The fiasco that has played in the press and in the program is too real, yet when we look at the larger picture, and speak to the majority that went through the program, that tragedy is NOT the true picture.  It is a dark spot or shadow that shaded into the overall successful program and lives of a very small percentage of the millions that have walked through.  It is the ever present worst element of human nature and society that we allowed to creep in.  But it does not negate the overwhelming positives, which reflect the brighter and better parts of human nature and society.        As I have now entered into my ninth decade, most of it having some touch of Scouting involved directly or peripherally, I mourn the known "failures", the youth that went down their own dark alleys, and the fine young people lost to things over which I, and we, have little or no control.  It still comes down to the foundation on which BP and his many cohorts built it.  Scout Spirit, when allowed to function, wins out.  Maybe immediately, or maybe a decade later when you meet a youth you thought you lost, and they spend an hour telling you how they finally got it, and say thank you.  Try to not dwell on the hard ones you know we lost, as I suspect most of the young people have better perspectives and are better parts of society, ones that in the best world would be running things.  JMHO of course.      
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