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Advancement Resources

Scouting ranks, merit bades, and the advancement programs

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  1. NOVA Award question...

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    • Let me be upfront with my bias on this.  The POR I used for all of my rank advancements was Den Chief.  Yes, I served other positions in the Troop - Scribe, Patrol Leader, Librarian - but I was a Den Chief starting at 12 years old through my aging out at 18. I always considered Den Chief to be a service to the Troop - its one of the best recruitment tools out there - a good Den Chief is an ambassador to your Troop - not only within the Pack they work with but often to the Cub Scout community as a whole if they get involved in District level events like Bike Rodeos and Pinewood Derbies.  Is it possible that no one from a Pack will transfer to your unit?  Sure - it happens all the time - but you have a greater likelihood of Webelos Scouts crossing over to your Troop if you have Den Chiefs involved in a Pack.  Its pretty hard for a Webelos Leader to not include their Den Chief's Troop in unit visits.  But sometimes, the den will all cross over to another unit - rather than see it as a failure, look at it as a success for Scouting (and if they don't like the unit they go to, they might come to you - if they never cross over, they'll never become A Scout. How do you know if your Den Chiefs are "doing their job"?  Easy - call the Cubmaster and/or Den Leader and ask - they'll give you an earful if the Scout isn't showing up as promised - but for those that are taking it seriously and doing it right, your chat with the Cubmaster and/or Den Leader will be one of those rewards we all like to get. As for time in POR - don't conflate it with the time needed for the Den Chief Service Award - they are two completely different things.  Most Den Chiefs know that they are committing to at least the Pack Year (September to May) but there may very well be times when a Den Chief only serves the 4 months needed for Star - they may get elected to a POR like SPL or PL that will take a lot more of their time and will no longer have time to be a Den Chief.  A great Troop will find a replacement in this case.  The Den Chief Service Award is a strange hybrid award that requires a full 12 month year of service to the Pack - note I didn't say Den - the requirement is a year of faithful service to the Pack.  It is a Boy Scouting award, not a Cub Scouting award, yet the requirements are signed off on by the Cubmaster and Den Leader.  Its is not, however, presented by the Pack - it is presented by the Scout's Troop (or Crew) and should be presented at a Court of Honor.  But it is a great opportunity for the SPL and Scoutmaster of the Troop to present the award at a Pack Meeting in front of the Cub Scouts he serves and then for the Cubmaster and Den Leader to help present it (again) to the Scout at a Troop Court of Honor. 
    • No doubt there are plenty of agitators and activists who would agree. However, open defiance and boastful disobedience is definitely not how I define good leadership in Scouting. Some Scouters on this forum are quite particular about following every guideline and regulation issued by BSA. This scrutiny and hair-splitting can sometimes reach levels of absurdity (e.g. to wear a neckerchief over the collar or under the collar). Then I read threads like this where other Scouters brag about breaking fundamental rules. Such a fascinating discussion.   In truth, it doesn't matter to me. I am an LDS Scouter, and our troop of 30 Scouts will be dissolved at the end of 2019. I'll be continuing along straight ahead as BSA takes a left turn. I'm not surprised that BSA's recent changes are still not enough to satisfy the detractors and dissenters. I don't expect they will ever be satisfied. I have accepted that this is no longer the Scouting program that captured my heart and imagination as a youth. Do what you want with it. The bumblers and liars at BSA National have made quite a mess of things in my view. I'm the last person who will be running to their defense at this point, so defy, disobey, and dissent all you like.
    • My breaking point is when the fun leaves.  Currently the fun has left for me.  
    • IMHO a good Den Chief is worth their weight in gold. In fact I think they are more important than the SPL. DCs can mold and inspire Cubs. They are a natural recruiting tool. Sadly I've seen troops go uner because the Den Chiefs they provided were not up to the job. Scouts did not want to go to that troop.   SM and SPLs I had as a Scout had a similar idea. "Just because you no longer wear the green bars, doesn't mean you are not a leader."
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