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Everything posted by BoyLedMyEye

  1. On a different note.. It seems many kids today don't know how to communicate live. They text, instant message, email and tweet in 140 characters or less, almost exclusively. They seem to have almost no use for picking up the phone and making a call, resisting doing so at all costs. They use their smart-phones as everything but phones! Employers get irritated with the lack of live communication skills, and the lack of relationship building skills. Having to pick up the phone to call a Merit Badge Counselor should be highly emphasized. I would like to see the Scout calling the counselor become part of the registration process for attending MB fairs, even if only to confirm their name made it onto the counselor's list before the fair begins. That way it is not adding to requirements of any particular merit badge, but they get to practice the skill.
  2. Do you make taking and/or "passing" the quizzes a requirement for merit badge sign off?
  3. Sorry. Paper Scout - Paper Eagle - hits a raw nerve. Let's call it what it is - ADULT BULLYING. What is lacking from the discussion of Paper Scout / Paper Eagle is any consideration of what it takes any particular Scout to meet the Eagle requirements as written, before a heap of subjective, judgmental additional hoops are placed in his way. What does the patch actually represent on the individual boy wearing it? What about the Scout who has to work ten times as hard to make it, vs a Scout to whom it comes easy? Maybe the bookworm has struggled all his life with athletics and truly suffers out on the trail, while maybe the natural athlete is dyslexic and suffers through the required Merit Badges and needs extra mentoring to achieve them. Maybe the introvert finds leadership intimidating, despite having a razor sharp mind, and reverts into his shell at the slightest fear. Do you think calling him a name will increase his confidence and make him the leader you envision? What about the boy with very subtle developmental issues no one can quite put their finger on? Or the boy who is a dichotomy - far ahead in some areas and severely behind in others - incredibly frustrating to adults to work with and extremely easy to write off unfavorably because the adults can't make sense of it? Are these boys not equally deserving of the opportunity for personal growth and development? And why must it be developed in full by Eagle to be a "worthy" Eagle? Who gets to decide "worthy" anyway - I thought we had a very clear list of 7 Eagle requirements in black and white for that. It seems the Eagle workbook was changed precisely to reign in the subjective interferences of such adults. Do the boys suddenly stop growing and learning at Eagle? If they do, it is a reflection on your program, not them. If you must maintain your membership numbers by holding them hostage to being older Eagles, you've got problems. I am not talking about the simply lazy Scout, the dishonest Scout, the disrespectful wise-cracker, the true troublemaker, etc... But many of the comments are made as if every boy is out to game the system, and made with a sense of adult superiority instead of humility. You do not know it all about each and every Scout, no matter how many years you've been doing this or how many Scouts have come and gone in your program. Each Scout is unique. In general, the kids are different today, they are under pressures socially, academically, competitively and in the family that most adults never had to contend with, can't imagine and probably couldn't have managed as well at their ages. Most of the comments in this thread are truly disappointing to read knowing they come from adult Scouters who are supposed to build boys up, not mock them, talk about them behind their backs like it's a big joke, and tear them down. It is about the boys, not about you, the adults. If you do not agree with the National program the way it is laid out, if you'd like to see Eagle rank become a 17 year-old-only domain, or you'd like there to be 15 or 150 requirements for Eagle instead of the current 7, then petition to change the requirements, or quit BSA and start your own program. Thank you to the few in the thread who seem to get it. You restore my faith that decency still exists in the program. The Scouts who struggle to achieve do not deserve to be called names - they show much more Scout Spirit than the adults who call them those names. It is unseemly for any adult, particularly a Scoutmaster, to utter such a demeaning name, especially to a Scout's face. There's an old saying - go pick on someone your own size (position, maturity, stage of development, etc). It is certainly not Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Cheerful, or Brave. I really hope those who may think it appropriate to call a Scout a paper-anything, or any other derogatory name, will reflect, and look with new eyes upon the boys in your charge. Let's let Scouting be a refuge, a safe haven for ALL boys, instead of just another pressure cooker situation or source of rejection for them. Let's build each other up, not tear each other down. Let's actually live the Scout Law. Let's be Scout-like. [stepping down from soapbox now.]
  4. Congratulations to your Scout and Council, and a sincere thank you to the many adults who mentored him to such an accomplishment ! I see your point - Eagle is not required, other than Palm opportunities, but it does seem to lend itself to a natural progression - each of the last three ranks done in order, so most Scouts in my experience will naturally gravitate toward the goal of "finishing" the main journey to Eagle, then focus on other, additional awards, if they do so at all. Especially since most Scouts never attain Eagle, it make me ask two things - one, why so highly discourage the ones who strive for it, just because they may be younger? And second, though they CAN have many irons in the fire at once, why encourage them to start many things with an even lower chance of follow-through on each, rather than letting them focus on fewer things, serially, with a higher chance of success for each, just because it might dictate attaining Eagle at a younger age? That's not reason enough in my book to limit opportunities for achievement, especially if you have a young go-getter, for whatever his reasons! Eagle is not the last opportunity for personal growth and leadership development of younger Eagle, and it shouldn't be regarded as such or promoted that way, even subtly. It might, however, be easier for the adults to conclude their provision of support rather than helping a Scout through, for example, the five Hornaday projects required for the Silver medal, or the many requirements of the various levels of the Outdoor Award. This might be for very practical reasons, such as limited time due to adult job demands, lack of familiarity with Hornaday or other award requirements, lack of facilities or finances, or simply leader burnout. But trying to gate-keep a Scout from becoming an Eagle when HE decides to pursue it is simply not justified in my opinion.
  5. When a Scout leaves a Troop, does he receive a Troop written check as reimbursement for his ISA in the amount reflecting the total he earned for selling xx dollars of xx product during the Troop-wide fundraiser? Does it matter whether he leaves voluntarily or involuntarily? What is the correct, legal, and ETHICAL thing to do with such a check if it is received, unprompted, and is notated on the memo line as individual Scout fundraiser credit reimbursement?
  6. http://www.stlbsa.org/scouts/boy-scouts/Pages/Bronze-Hornaday-Award.aspx From the above article on a Bronze Hornaday recipient: Michael’s other notable Scouting achievements include Eagle Scout with 11 Eagle Palms, Varsity Scout Denali Medal, all four National Catholic Committee on Scouting (NCCS) Scout Religious Awards, all four God & Country Scout Awards, the BSA Triple Crown of high adventure (Philmont, Northern Tier and Florida Sea Base), the Congressional Gold Medal for Community Service, Brotherhood in the Order of the Arrow, and the National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) veteran staff pin for five years of volunteer service. There seems to be widespread negativity toward younger Eagles in general - not exclusively, but in general. When I read an article like the one above about a very high achieving Scout, it renews in my mind the question of who is really to be the judge of the worthiness of a Scout's achievements regarding the timeline they follow, as long as the requirements are achieved according to National's standards? It should be the Scout's decision alone. I would bet, and the math would indicate, he did not achieve all he has achieved in a Troop which emphasized "protecting" Eagle rank from the younger ones. The Scout in the article may not be typical, but there is so much more they can actively pursue after Eagle while remaining in Scouting - if we'd only let them. Most will aim for Eagle first, before ever contemplating other highly involved and very time consuming projects or awards. It dismays me greatly to see them Eagle sometime during 17, then generally disappear, because Eagle has been portrayed as the end of the road in many cases. By continuing to push for later and later Eagles, it almost seems they are being robbed of later and equally valuable opportunities for achievement, continued personal growth, and leadership display, while the BSA movement is robbed of retaining valuable, active and enthusiastic Scouters to lead it into the next generation. It would be better to have young men stay active, to bridge from younger Eagle to adult Scouter without interruption, rather than to Eagle and disappear, only to think about possibly returning years later should they eventually have a son of their own. It also doesn't seem to respect what is valued by the Scout - what does HE want his Scouting experience to be vs. what do the adults want to impose on him, and how will they do that? The way it is now, it seems the message to most Scouts is "Eagle and done". Especially for the fast runners, I think a more functional message would be more along the lines of "If you're hungry, go for it, because there's so much more to Scouting after Eagle, if you want it!" What do you think?
  7. One option is on speakerphone or via Skype, with a parent within earshot, and have the parent say hello to acknowledge they are there at start of conversation and end of conversation. Simple, quick, respects two deep.
  8. On a related note... This must be common enough for there to have been an article written on it some years ago. Unfortunately, I have seen all the behaviour described, with similar treatment extended to other leaders and parents also. It's easier to ignore it, and not be the one to get the arrows in your back, but that is exactly what can allow it to flourish and become entrenched. Pity the fool who resists. http://netcommissioner.com/askandy/2008/08/issue-144-how-scoutmasters-can-lose-it/
  9. Thank you to the participants who respond in a Scout-like, give and take, manner. The other, not as helpful. If it makes a difference, I have no dog in this fight, in the sense that I do not have a Scout son in need of a POR. I am also not a mom, if a certain comment was meant for me. I enjoy hearing varying viewpoints, because no one has all the answers and we should always be willing to learn from others, to improve ourselves as leaders and improve our delivery of the program for the sake of the boys we serve, though when there is an entrenched culture in a Troop, that is not always a shared viewpoint. Thank you all for sharing your thoughts.
  10. "Officially Patrol Leaders and the SPL are elected, and the SPL selects all the troop wide positions with the advice of his Scoutmaster. Unofficially many troops elect every position." "The SPL assigning everything besides Patrol Leaders is how it's supposed to be. " In my youth Scouting, other than PL and SPL, I do not recall our employing other POR's. We functioned differently back then, though we did have a bugler. So despite my long experience, I am so very surprised to read the above quotes, and think to myself a stunned "REALLY!?!", because I have in seven years never seen any POR be given out by our SPL, only by, and directly by, the SM to the Scout the SM has decided will fulfill the particular role. Have no idea if our SPL is given input behind the scenes, but the roles are certainly assigned to (communicated to) the Scout directly by the SM to the Scout. The impression has always been given very strongly that it is solely the SM's decision who gets what role, when, and for how long, and never having a reason to question it, just assumed it was how it should be happening. Also, our Scouts are not allowed to be Webmaster or make any change to, or add any feature to, the website, even with the adult webmaster's supervision. Are there circumstances these practices might be preferred in a large Troop with plenty of age and rank variation, since they do not really seem to respect the boy led ideal?
  11. "So the OP is looking to educate/extract revenge or some other agenda. " Nope. Simply seeking various opinions. As a leader, I would never utter such an expression to a Scout, any Scout, even if it were well deserved, and was wondering if it was common practice in other regions, and considered acceptable. Will keep considering your view points and I thank you for them. Scout is not misinterpreting what he heard. Can tell you with certainty the Scout in question does high quality work, inside and outside of Scouting, the quality of which is well known in the larger community. He has always gravitated toward the academic aspect of Scouting (Merit Badges etc) due to chronic and well documented physical and medical challenges, issues well known to the Scoutmaster for many years, but the minor accommodations for which were greatly irritating to him. So the comment of being called a Paper Scout was particularly devastating to this Scout. No, Scout did not seek waivers, he struggled through until he could meet the physical requirements, some taking him a very long time, but which he finally achieved. Please keep the conversation going.
  12. Is it ever OK for a Scoutmaster to tell a Scout, dismissively and with contempt in his voice, during a Scoutmaster Conference, that the boy is a Paper Scout, and that he, the Scoutmaster, will never allow his Troop to produce a Paper Eagle - basically telling the Scout - forget ever attaining rank while I'm Scoutmaster? Aren't "Paper Scout", and especially "Paper Eagle", considered by many in the Scouting community to be among the most offensive insults that can be uttered? Even if it were true of the Scout, should these words ever come out of a Scoutmaster's mouth? Is it psychologically abusive? Or is this OK to do? If it's not OK, what does the Scout / parent do, what might be done about it, by whom, and how hard and high up do they press for the issue to be corrected? Can / should a Scoutmaster be removed for such an interaction with a Scout? I have a strong opinion, but would first like to hear and consider what others might think. BoyLedMyEye
  13. Thank you for considering my perspective on MyBoy's situation. My Scouting history/positions were included only to show I am not an inexperienced outsider looking in, but someone who has worked through the system as a youth and then contributed as an adult leader, which might be important to some people as they consider my viewpoint, as there are not only leaders posting in these forums, but also non-involved Scout parents and also perhaps people just learning or curious about Scouting, but who have no actual Scouting experience or contributions from which to draw, which might render their opinions less valuable in some peoples' eyes. I am glad for those who have been able to encounter more reasonable Scouters along their path, but there are the rare Scoutmasters, as was mentioned, who do give Scouting a huge black eye, and unfortunately, I have encountered this with increasing regularity. I did state, and I reiterate, that I have also been very fortunate to have worked with many wonderful, generous Scouters through the years who are owed a tremendous debt of gratitude by their Scouts and Scout parents. But there is a reason for the saying - One bad apple... The damage they can do is disproportionate and long lasting. All it takes is one less than benevolent leader in a key position to make a Scout's time in Scouting absolutely miserable. They do not see the emotional damage they create and the pain, nor do they want to. All they care about is letting you know they are the boss. They do not see the turmoil in a Scout as he struggles to decide whether to stay with his troop and his friends, or make the excruciating decision to join a new troop to get away from the emotional bullying of the adult(s). No teen boy will share this vulnerability at SMC, but the misery is there, and the anxiety induced, from not ever being able to please and the inability to hit a moving target, ever present. But thank you for considering my experiences, whether you agree or not, and for sharing your own input as well. I am sincerely interested in hearing many viewpoints on these situations: The gate-keeping SM who declares "There is no way you will be allowed to be a 13 year old Eagle Scout" and "We don't believe Eagles younger than about 16 have the maturity to be what an Eagle really is supposed to be" or one that tests and retests requirements at future SMC's long after a skill has been signed off, and makes repeated testing a requirement to "pass" the CURRENT SMC (testing is not the stated purpose of SMC - testing is completed at individual requirement sign-off, no?). When asked to see justifications for the above in writing, SM falls back on holding hostage "Scout Spirit and Active" sign-offs to delay rank advancement, because those are the subjective ones, without taking into account any of the questions regarding evaluating true Scout Spirit I listed in my original post. Without quoting chapter and verse of the GTA, NONE of this is supposed to go on, but it does, very often, to the adults' ego and control, and the Scout's detriment. IDK, maybe I just got lucky encountering the rare SM or two. Maybe I should play the LOTTO at this rate. :-) BoyLedMyEye
  14. Very long time lurker, MB Counselor, Committee Member, Den Leader, parent, and longstanding Eagle Scout and Order of the Arrow member who has heard of this situation one too many times to not finally express an opinion... "You understand this is going to get real ugly if you just go stomping around" To the careful reader/observer, the quote above from a prior commenter is very telling indeed.... this type of gleefully being primed for a fight should have no place in Scouting on any level by any adult, least of all a SM. Not very attractive nor honorable. If this young man has completed his requirements in good faith, has participated in good faith to the best of his abilities within the parameters of his physical abilities and other obligations, especially academic obligations which as a high school student may be exerting a tremendous pressure on him, then perhaps it's time for the Scoutmaster to move along and find other avenues within which to express his ego and need to dominate the underlings. Instead of giving him a hard time over exacting attendance requirements which he may simply be unable to meet at this stage of his schooling, look at him holistically - does he LIVE Scout spirit? Have YOU as his leaders been successful in instilling the VALUES of Scouting, as demonstrated in his everyday life? Does he set an example to his high school peers by maintaining good grades and lending a hand to those who struggle? Does he have good relations with his teachers and mentors? How easily can he get letters of recommendation, from how many people in the community outside of Scouting, and what are the contents of those recommendations - non-commital or impressively glowing - and how consistent are they? Does he regularly and willingly without duress attend to the obligations of whatever faith he may follow? Does he share his time and talent with his faith community? Does he have a job? Was his Eagle project thoughtfully conceived, significant and touch people's lives by serving a real need, whether it involved a million hours or not to complete? Not everyone has to build a bridge in the woods, clear fifty miles of trails, or involve fifty people to be "worthy". Look at the VALUE it brings and the depth of maturity it took to conceive instead. Has he done anything other than not meeting your stringent and most probably arbitrary attendance requirements to displease or dishonor the troop - such as have a driver license suspended, get a girl pregnant, do drugs, take alcohol or smoke pot where it is illegal, drop out of school without cause, have someone sue him, especially if these things have been very public or in the newspaper? Does he lie, steal or cheat his way to success? Has he used profane language when addressing peers or adults? Has he physically or verbally hurt or threatened another Scout or caused a safety hazard on a campout? Is he a bully? Has he been involved with the police or court system? Can the SM or other adult leaders answer NO to all these questions regarding their own behaviour in their past youth or now as adults? If the answers above are yes and no to the appropriate questions, then CELEBRATE the wonderful job YOU have done to help him become that honorable type of person, instead of looking to nit-pick technicalities and artificially stand in his way to make yourself feel powerful and important. With the year after year decline in overall Scouting membership numbers nationwide, SIX percent decline this year alone, wouldn't it be better for the survival of the organization you all claim to love so much to help an honorable young man achieve his long-term goal, deepen his love for the program and have him look with fondness toward the day he might have a son of his own to introduce to the program, perhaps becoming involved as an adult to lead the next generation of Scouting forward? OR is it better to take a good kid who may not be YOUR perfect, ideal Eagle and make him bitter and resentful forevermore? Having worked with a number of them myself, I acknowledge there are wonderful Scouters and SM's out there. Those Scouters are owed a tremendous debt of gratitude by the Scouts they work with selflessly and by their parents. Increasingly though, and very distressingly, I am more and more frequently running across narcissistic, egotistical, power-tripping, head-game playing, passive-aggressive, subtly-bullying, hostage-taking, gate-keeping, boy-leadership usurping SM's who have completely lost sight of who and what this program is supposed to be about. It is particularly infuriating when these behaviours are committed by a SM who is himself NOT an Eagle. To them I say, you should be ashamed of yourselves and the sooner you move along the better, for the good of the boys you are negatively affecting and the Scouting organization as a whole. I encourage you to re-read the guide to advancement - it is clearly stated you don't get to gate-keep a Scout from becoming an Eagle because he does not live up to some fantasy ideal you have of what a "worthy" Eagle is - that is not your prerogative. Particularly for older Scouts, it explicitly states that a Scouts outside obligations, accomplishments, and service are to be counted toward whether he is active and spirited. Ask yourself, who is truly living Scout Spirit? Who is truly making it ugly? Who is truly doing the stomping around? And more importantly, WHY? Original poster, if your son can look himself in the mirror and honestly know he EARNED that rank, then teach him to respect himself enough to respectfully not take no for an answer and pursue what is rightfully his without indulging the fancy of this SM's ego. Remind him this an opportunity to learn to deal with this type of difficult personality which he will certainly encounter in the real work-world. It is unfortunate he has to encounter it so early within the supposed safety-net of Scouting. Don't let it get him down. And certainly don't be intimidated by words such as "You understand this is going to get real ugly if you just go stomping around". Because that is what they are counting on and how they flourish in acting inappropriately. Oh, and anything you might agree to, GET IN WRITING with a specific deadline - concrete things that are not open to their subjective interpretation, so they cannot employ their favorite trick of all - running out the clock to the eighteenth birthday. Been there, done that, seen it all from both sides. Best of luck to both of you. - BoyLedMyEye
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