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Scouting ranks, merit bades, and the advancement programs

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  • LATEST POSTS

    • You have me beat by 2.  🙂  I've asked other counselors whether their phone has ever rung from a scout outside their unit, and the answer is almost always no.  The exception was someone who counseled a required badge that generated a lot of partials at summer camp.  He said he got calls occasionally for that one.
    • Thanks a lot for the comments @fred8033.  I very much see what you're saying. I'm sorry if my own comments came off as "too bad, so sad - you should have joined a big troop."  It was not my intent to make this a big vs. small discussion. At the core of what I've seen in our larger troop experience is a sense of "let's make sure the Scouts we serve are provided opportunities to enjoy and learn from Scouting."  It's been my experience that our ASMs, Troop Committee Members, and Merit Badge Counselors work to make sure they do their job - provide the infrastructure so that Scouts can run their own program.  So, as you run down the list of needed infrastructure, what you see in our larger troop is effort is expended to make sure the support is there. MBC is a good example of that.  It's not that we're trying to keep our MBC to ourselves - not at all.  In fact, we proposed to the district that we establish a network of MB coordinators in larger troops to help build up the list of MBC. (That offer was declined.)  It's that we looked at what our Scouts were requesting and said - hey, we've got 100 parents, let's see if we can put something together to support what our scouts are asking for.  In our trips and activities, we routinely have friends from other troops join us.  We routinely lend out gear and supplies.  We routinely hold joint trips with other units. We don't try to cut corners on advancement.  Not at all.  No-one is making our MBC soft sell requirements.  Scouts earn their merit badges with us.  We just don't believe in having a ton of hoops to go line up a MBC.  We have someone who will make sure you don't have to go find a guy four towns over who will counsel you on First Aid. There's nothing we do that a smaller troop cannot do - nothing.  Further, we'd bend over backwards to help smaller troops.  But, the small troops rarely ask.  In fact, most of the support we lend outside the troop is to other big troops.   
    • In my view, the single biggest membership blunder that BSA has made is allowing Boy Scouting/Scouts BSA to develop in a way that makes it almost totally dependent upon crossovers from Cub Scouting.  It puts the future of the Scouts BSA almost entirely in the hands of Cub Scout leaders and their ability to recruit kindergarten and first grade families.  It allows Webelos and Arrow of Light Den Leaders to heavily influence whether Scouts should cross over to a troop at all.  Having to leave one Scouting organization (the Cub Scout pack) and find and join a new Scouting organization (the troop) provides a convenient opportunity for youth to simply not continue with Scouting after Webelos/Arrow of Light.  It allows Webelos and Arrow of Light Den Leaders to heavily influence the choice of which troop to cross over to.  The expectation that new Scouts BSA members will join at pretty much the same time and same age, together with New Scout Patrols and first-year advancement practices mean that it is awkward for older youth to join when they would be significantly "behind" their age/grade peers. The result is that simply by running our program as expected, we leave a lot of youth un-recruited and we allow many who are already in Cub Scouts to slip through our fingers.
    • In our area, the reason scouts "Eagle and Out" is largely because they are busy on the college prep treadmill and move on to other things. I don't know how you counter that. I've been involved in scouts for 15 years and every year it seems like parents are pushing their kids to earn Eagle at younger and younger ages so that they can be "done" and have more time to focus on high school course work and other college relevant extra curricular activities. Also, by Eagle, some kids are just burned out on it, especially those kids who have been pushed by parents. 
    • I would agree with troop iff, the entire goal of their unit is getting scouts to eagle. It is then their own fault for not delivering on the promise of scouting. Now, I have zero evidence this is the case. 
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