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Posts posted by Hedgehog

  1. @@David CO


    I think that the "RULE" is an over reaction to the problem of one boy choosing Eagle over Confirmation.  I don't see how the two are mutually exclusive.  The boy could do Eagle first and then Confirmation later.  It is sort of like choosing to start out your day by drinking coffee or exercising.  Choosing one doesn't preclude the other later. 


    Nonetheless, I think the conflict between Confirmation during 8th Grade and Eagle would be minimal.  My son received his confirmation in 8th grade this spring and also earned his Life rank.  He progressed pretty quickly in our unit (First Class in a Year - mostly at summer camp), Star the next year and then earning Life).  Most of his buddies just got Star or are still at First Class or Second Class.  He stll has three or four merit badges to earn for Eagle.  


    But, even if there is a conflict it can be resolved without a RULE.  How about "our SM encourages the 8th graders to focus on their confirmation before they start their Eagle project."  I see that as being perfectly fine (no added requirement).  I encouraged my son to take a year before starting his Eagle project because I think he would be better able to manage it after completing 9th grade.  For the older boys, I encourage them to get a head start and not wait until they are 17 and 10 months.  Are they requrired to listen?  No.  Does it work most of the time?  Yes.


    A better answer is to encourage the older boys do Eagle projects that also count as service hours for the younger boys for Confirmation.  I'm sure some of the Eagle projects benefit the Church.  I even think a younger boy could do an Eagle project that benefits the Church as part of their preparation for Confirmation.  You could even incorporate the religious awards into the Confirmation program.  Rather than having a conflict between Scouts and Religious Education they can work together.


    @@Beavah, I think we all are pushing back on this thread because we like to see COs, IHs, COR, CC and SMs saying we want to present this program as close as possible to what it was designed to be.  I think that @@David CO recognizes that some rules are mandatory, some guidance is just suggestions and some so-called rules just don't exist.  I think much of it is a matter of approach.  We are generally boy-led.  However, if our CO asks us to help out on something, the adults tell the boys that we are helping out.  Does that violate any rule?  No.  I don't like Merit Badge Fairs (even those run by council) but I can't reject or retest for a merit badge earned at a fair under the Guide to Advancement.  We think certain merit badges (Cooking, Camping, Wilderness Survival) are not done well at camp and encourage the boys to do that with the Troop.  However, if the do it at camp, we will give them credit because the Guide to Advancement says we have to. 


    In this case, the Guide to Advancement allows reasonable requirements for active participation and active service in a Position of Responsibility.  Those must be reasonable and prospective and must be considered in conjunction with other activities the scout is involved in according to the Guide to Advancement.  In SFF's case, the requirements were an additional 10 nights of camping (recognizing that only 20 nights are required for the Eagle Required Camping Merit Badge) to earn Eagle AFTER the boy completed his active participation and POR requirements and without consideration for other activities.  Not reasonable, prospective or considered in context.  There are some things that don't matter in the long run - but following this requirement would have the result of denying a boy who completed all of the requirements for Eagle the award due to added requirements.  That is specifically contrary to the Guide to Advancement.


    Do we pull the charter, ban the SM, beat the CC and castigate the COR?  No.  Do we use the existing protocols, processes and proceedures to make sure that this boy isn't denied an award he earned?  Of course.  Would each of us approach this differently?  Yep.  Would we all approach it with the same goal of seeing the boy treated fairly?  I hope so.  


    I think all of us like to see the program implemented the way it was designed or as close to it as possible.  Let's find common ground rather than looking for differences.

    • Upvote 3
  2. Hedge, you've got a great handle on management for your boys.  I have no doubt that there are great things happening in your troop and patrols, but are there boys that stand out that are always there when needed?  Always cheerful and willing to volunteer to help others?  Who will work with another boy because he needs help and for no other reason?  That's a dynamic that is VERY difficult to teach a boy.  They have to want to care in order to be an effective servant leader.  For me people who serve others, regardless of what the "task" may be is what leadership is all about.  


    @@Stosh.  I recognize that our troop has a long way to go to teach true servant leadership.  i've mentioned before that I'm working on the materials for a weekend training program for the leaders. All of your thoughts are helping me think about how to teach servant leadership.


    In this situation, I have a boy who does care and wants to lead by helping others achieve what he has.  I think it is true servant leadership to spend your time making sure someone else enjoys and benefits from scouting.  Really, he is leading one boy at a time and being a mentor.  Maybe his example will inspire others.


    What yeh choose depends on your troop, eh?  But yeh have to figure out how to get the adult agenda off of Advancement and make it a part of the kids' game again.  No managers or leaders or job descriptions, eh?  Just playin' the game.



    @@Beavah, I understand where you are coming from.  I think my adult agenda wasn't the need for people to advance but it was a sense that some boys were not being taken care of -- or a Stosh put it, a lack of servant leadership.  So I have someone who stepped up and asked "can I help?"  My answer is "of course."  I'll share you ideas with him.  It is a different perspective about making it fun or part of the game.  A good start to thinking outside the box.  Whatever ideas he comes up with, he can take it to the PLC and see if they like those ideas too.  Great opportunity to learn and use skills in problem solving, creativity and working with others.  Aren't those opportunities what we are here to provide to the boys?

    • Upvote 1
  3. @@Hedgehog, that was just by way of example. What you want to make clear to the boy is that there is no boiler-plate way to get this done. Thus, giving him a POR patch will not help him have reasonable goals. But devising a project with measurable goals will. Obviously, the more that those goals are self-designed, the more likely they are to be implemented.


    That is another "adult goal" that I have - asking the boys in all positions to set goals for their positions and to think about (and maybe plan) how to accomplish them.


    @@Stosh, I think our definitions are more similar than different.  When I talk about "what needs to be done", I'm talking about goal setting.  Leadership can be an individual setting a goal ("I'm going to organize the troop gear") or a group goal ("Our patrol is going to teach lashing skills").  Management is "We have to arrange the troop gear  because the ASM told us to."  Deciding "How to do it" can be leadership by an individual (asking others to help him because they agree the task is important) or a group (deciding who will teach which lashing based on knowledge, who will get the rope and sticks, who will come up with ideas of what to make using lashings).  Management is "the ASM told me to get you to help with the gear and gave me the diagram of how it should be arranged" or "the SPL said to build tripods using the lashings described in the book because that is easy."  Getting it done can be management in telling people what to do or it can be leadership in inspiring people to do the task.


    Management is telling people what to do to get the job done, but leadership is teaching, mentoring, inspiring, encouraging, reassuring, pushing, praising, helping and cajoling people as they get the job done.  The same task can be management or leadership.



     Boy needs to progress so it will look good for the troop to have everyone at FC.  How is that helping the boy?  It may or it may not.  A leader will first ask if the BOY wants to advance.  If not, THERE IS NO TASK NEEDING TO BE DONE.   :)



    I guess I wasn't clear on the "need."  I think that some boys who want to advance are falling through the cracks because nobody is paying attention to them.  This isn't about numbers, this is about the boys feeling like they are part of the program.  In a word, they need a little guidance,


    All tasks again, we're still talking management.



    I see taking initiative and coming up with ideas and working with others to implement those ideas as leadership.



    A servant leader doesn't need to be "in charge" of anything, that's a management dynamic/directive.  



    True.  But giving someone a position of responsibility based on what they are doing is an encouragement to keep doing that.  Especially when there are others who have patches but do not take responsibility (another issue, but not for this thread).


    But does he even know what that word means?   :)



    If he has a goal and that is the only instruction I give him, he will figure it out if he doesn't know already.


    To bring it back to more of a kid game, yeh need to get off the field and stop directing the game, eh?  Yeh just need to set up da rules to incentivize what yeh want from the lads.  Put up a poster so they can see advancement in each patrol and (naturally) compare.  Give 'em patrol points for advancement or whatnot.  The boys' strategies should be up to them, eh?  Maybe the Beaver PL takes it on himself; maybe da Bobwhite PL assigns advancement to a Patrol Signer-offer, maybe da Eagle PL decides to hold separate patrol advancement nights or day trips.   Whatever!   Advancement is part of the youth game, it isn't an adult goal.




    As I mentioned above, it isn't a sense of advancment metrics but of people who want to advance not receiving the assistance and encouragement they need.  


    I tend to stay away from any "rules" if I can avoid it.  We could easily put in adult dictates that the PL's provide a list of requirements signed off on over the past month at the PLC meeting (ugh more paperwork).  We've tried gently encouraging the PLs to pay attention -- which was ineffective and brought @@Stosh's wrath as being top down adult management. 


    As I've read through all the responses here, the solution that makes the most sense to me is to tell the boy who wants to do this to just do it.  It isn't an adult dictate requiring metrics and analytics.  The boy will figure out what he has to do to take care of the younger scouts.  I won't tell him what he has to do, but I'll just tell him that it is up to him to firgure out what is best and to work with the boys and others in the troop to accomplish it.  



    One doesn't need to be in charge of anything, all they have to do is care about helping the people around them. 


    But it is amazing the sense of responsibility and purpose some boys get when they are told they are truly in charge.  I think B-P and GBB knew that.  


    Whether we have an NSP or not next spring, my decision is to give this boy the TG patch now and tell him to take care of the newer guys.  


    We often talk about giving someone the credit for the position they are doing despite the patch.  Last night this boy was going through Scout requirements with a new scout.  He was talking about the troop leadership.  When he explained the TG role as "helps the new guys get used to being Boy Scouts and helps them with working toward First Class" the new scout looked at him and said, "that's you, right?"  The scout looked at me and I nodded.

    • Upvote 1
  4. @qwaze - I like your idea, but my sense is to let the boy who wants to do this figure out his own way.


    At the end of the day, it isn't about the various organizational contrivances that can be made to accommodate a certain outcome.   It's about the scouts.


    After thinking about this, my sense is that I let the scout that wants to take this role do it.  It works for him as a learning experience, it helps the other scouts with advancement.  What I've realized that I'm tripping over is the organizational contrivances that I'm trying to fit this into.  If the boy wants to help others with advancement, then the most important thing is that he be given that chance.


    @@Hedgehog  Let me guess at this one.  Your boys have yet to figure out the difference between leadership and management.  Boy led is not just boy managed.  GBB training has management tasks for everyone in the patrol.  If everyone is managing their tasks, then real leadership can take place which doesn't seem to be happening in your situation.  The PL/APL team is overwhelmed with management that they can't do leadership of taking care of the people they are responsible for.  If there's micro-managing going on anywhere in the system, it usually is a major red flag for task overload and the first casualties are the people involved. 


    I think you run your PLC far differently than I do when I had one.  Nothing "came down from the top" so to speak.  The PLC was not a management tool in as much as it was a support system for the PL's.  It's a group that takes care of it's people, i.e. the PL's.  This is one of the concerns I have run into in the past.  Trading the adult mandated management for boy mandated management is not a move towards boy led, only boy managed or boy run.  Boy led is where the leaders lead rather than having managers direct.  I really don't worry about boys not doing the tasks correctly, or on time, or according to any standard as long as the boys are cared for and don't feel alone or on their own.  As long as the PL assures each member they are working together for a common goal for everyone, they will all follow and get the job done.  Far easier to live with those dynamics than some prescribed management routine of operation. 


    I don't understand your distinction between leadership and management.  To me, leadership is working with others to decide what needs to be done, how it will be done and then getting it done.  Management is checking boxes on someone elses checklist without knowing why you are doing it.


    What I have is a boy who wants to lead by helping others progress in ranks because he sees a need in the Troop.  How will he do it?  I don't know.  Can he work with the PLC in organizing the outdoor program and the monthly themes to hit some hard to accomplish requirements?  Can he talk to the PLs and APLs to have them pay attention to a couple of scouts who need requirements? Can he reach out to the shy guys and offer them help and encouragement?  Can he invite a guy over his house to teach him lashings or take time on a campout or hike to show someone how to use a map an compass?  Can he pull someone out of the troop portion of a meeting to sign off on requirements?  Of course to all of those.  Is it up to him to decide how he does it?  Of course.


    I have a boy who wants to take care of the boys in the troop.  What would you do if a scout asked, "can I be in charge of helping all the new guys get settled in the troop and advance?"  


    Should I tell him that it is up the the Assistant Patrol Leaders in each patrol but because we are a boy led troop I have to wait until the SPL notices the problem and addresses it? 


    Or should I just give him a one word answer....LEAD.

  5. @@Stosh - I agree that the PLs and APLs should be doing this.  But that has proved harder in practice in part because of our focus on boy-led.  The issue has been discussed at PLC meetings by the SPL based on a mention by the SM.  But, it seems that everyone agrees that they need to do something, but forget when they go to their patrol meetings because of everthing else they are judgling.  So I'll admit that my adult solution is to put a boy who cares in charge of taking care of the new guys.  It beats micromanaging how the PLs operate.  There are a lot of other priorities that I'd like to see the PL's focus on improving and change is gradual.


    @@DuctTape - I was responding to your earlier post about planning adventures that include advancement.  The boys do that naturally.  The problem is there is no encouragement concerned nudging, follow-up or assistance regarding advancement.  I think the idea is to have someone ask, "what do you need to do for the next rank?"  If the answer is I don't know, then the follow up is "bring in your book next week and we can look at it together."  Once the scout who is advancing identifies what he need to do, the question from the scout assisting is "how can I help you?"  Also, there is a benefit to having one person that anyone in the Troop can go to to ask Scout through First Class advancement questions.  The greatest predictor of success in any aspect of life is knowing that someone else cares that you succeed.


    That behind the scenes, one-on-one encouragement also answers the question how a someone in the position I'm imagining can function without undermining the PL or APL.  They don't interfere with or even attend a patrol meeting, but just looks out for the new guys in every way (see list of duties above).

  6. Every new group (as well as the older groups) are a box of chocolates.  As soon as one thinks they have it all figured out, everything changes. 


     Agreed.  That is why I won't rule out a NSP if we get 10 crossovers and won't automatically form one if we get 4.


    @@Stosh and @@DuctTape, our issue isn't the lack of opportunity or coordinaton with the outdoor program.  We have at least one campout per year where the boys can do orienteering, a hike on half the campouts, two backpacking treks a year, etc.  The issue is like @@qwazse said, for the PLs advancement of other scouts is low on their list.  Nobody is paying attention to the fact that the guys HAVE completed the requirements and that is with TG's inserted in each patrol, presumably coordinating with the patrol leader and lots of encouragement from the Adults (i.e. suggesting one meeting a month to focus on advancement).  


    I'd give them instructor patches and assign them a variety of duties.    But I'd keep them out of the PLs' lane.


    My sense is that the we give the other folks who would be TGs within a patrol the Instructor patches and leave them within the patrol and develop clear responsibilities.  Part of problem solved.


    I'm still not sure what falling through the cracks means, but I'm curious, shouldn't the SM be catching any of this stuff with conferences? Shouldn't he have a clue when he looks through the scout's handbook? This is where the SM can learn about scouts who are shy and too immature to ask for guidance. 


    Right now, that is being done by the ASMs.  My sense is that should be done by a boy.  That really is what I see as the problem, ASMs intervening to make sure the boys pay attention to advancement.  You pinpoint the exact scouts that I'm worried about -- the ones that won't ask for help.  


    I feel like your trying hard to fix one problem by hand selecting PORs. But at some point the "taking care of the scouts" has to kick in and the job gets done because someone just steps up. 



    So I see a guy working with guys in his patrol and others with teaching skills and signing off on requirements, being a friend to the new scouts and working as a Den Chief.  This is the guy that goes over to the scout sitting by himself on a campout and asks if he is OK, that goes into his tent to get a sweatshirt for the scout who's jacket got wet because he left it outside his tent.  He is doing the job and I want him to continue doing the job and be recognized as a leader.  


    I kind of feel that in the big picture, your patrols haven't really bonded to the habit of taking care of each other yet. Maybe they haven't really bonded as a patrol either. If I were to guess (and it really is purely a guess on the limited information), the adults are still a little too intrusive on the patrol method. Not that some intrusion isn't necessary because boys have to be reminded now and then to take care of each other using the scout law. But eventually that practice should go into autopilot and the needs of a scout will be filled by the will of their brother scout taking care of his boys. Just as Beavera hinted, it does work that way. The scouts just need a few nudges towards the beginging to keep them on course.


    My first suggestion would be to give the adults and the scouts 300 feet separation during their activities and see what happens. That doesn't really require any policy or program changes and it gives the scouts a more breathing room. Then hopefully any interaction by the SM is reactionary instead of proactive. AS they say, you don't really know what you don't know. 300 feet will help both the scouts and adults learn what they don't know. Then you, the adult, can guide the scouts in how they initiate fixing their problem instead of you handing them your fixes to their problems. Of course habits take time and experience requires some tuning, but maybe it's time to let the scouts fail on their own instead of failing with the adults. As a result, the patrols may bond closer and that is a good start.


    The patrols seem to be functionally oriented toward deciding what to do for the one week a month they are in charge of the Troop activity portion of the meeting.  The adults do keep their distance and the SMs and ASMs are reacting to the boy leaders not taking care of their boys related to advancement.  For most of the PLs the concept of advancement seems to be treated as an adult agenda item ("does anyone need help with advancement... no?  OK, let's do something fun now").  



    IMHO a Troop Guide is a very special cat who enjoys being around the young guys or at least can maintain a sense of humor. The Den Chief analogy is perfect. As for Instructors we have had some success for instructor-specialists (a guy for knots, a guy for fire making, etc)



    My sense is to give the boy the TG patch, tell him that his job through next March is to do the things that are bolded in the description below and that if we have enough scouts to have a NSP, we will have one (from crossover through summer camp or sooner if the boys in the patrol want to integrate into the troop).  Most likely the majority of scouts crossing over would be from the Den he is the Den Chief for, so that role would seem natural. 

    1. Troop Guide

      • Introduce new Scouts to troop operations.

      • Guide new Scouts through early Scouting activities.

      • Help set and enforce the tone for good Scout behavior within the troop.

      • Ensure older Scouts never harass or bully new Scouts.

      • Help new Scouts earn the First Class rank in their first year.

      • Coach the patrol leader of the new-Scout patrol on his duties.

      • Work with the patrol leader at patrol leaders’ council meetings.

      • Attend patrol leaders’ council meetings with the patrol leader of the new-Scout patrol.

      • Assist the assistant Scoutmaster with training.

      • Coach individual Scouts on Scouting challenges. 

  7. Our troop hangs out at night at camp.  There are at least three or four chess games, a checkers game and a couple of card games including an interesting one where you play without people telling you the rules (which I've never figured out).  A couple of guys bring books to read.  I can't think that our troop is that much different from the rest.  


    Have him do the First Class skills.  Our camp includes rifle shooting and archery, a 5 mile hike and a lot of swimming as part of that.  If he is a good swimmer, swimming is a great badge (and there is some overlap with the First Class skills) and it is Eagle Required.  That is the badge we usually tell our First Year scouts to take.  Actually, some of the guys like the basket weaving merit badge because they make a stool with a woven seat that you bring home.  I saw one scout working on his on night and it looked really difficult but came out great.


    I know scouts that like your son get easily upset and can mad at the world.  I came to camp mid-week last year and one of those boys had just about had it and I could tell by taking one look at him.  After about 10 minutes of talking and solving a couple of problems, he was all smiles and ready to go back into the game.  It is amazing the infulence that a caring adult can have on these boys.  As Assistant Scoutmasters and Scoutmasters, "these boys" really become "our boys."


    To quote Stosh - tell him the first rule is to have fun.

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  8. Every group of new boys that come into my units has always been evaluated on what works best for them according to THEIR choices.  Not the other way around.  It cuts down on a lot of group dynamic issues that would otherwise arise.


    Valid point.  The problem is our recruitment is like a box of chocolates -- we never know what we are going to get.  


    I always look a the bigger picture and it seems you are looking for problem to fixed. The only struggle that really seems to stand out is in your last post mentioning "advancement". Are the new scouts not advancing? Are you trying to fix that because the PLs aren't doing a good job helping the new scouts advance? Why is there a concern on advancement? Who is complaining? 


    My first concern is that we have four Troop Guides and no NSP patrol - not really "standard" BSA practice.  With that structure, I am seeing some problems with advancement where it seems that some scouts are falling through the cracks - having completed requirements and not having them signed off or just not knowing what to do to get the next requirement completed.  My sense is we have four guys not taking responsibility.  Like the saying goes - if everyone is responsible, no one is responsible.  I think having a boy who's job it is to be responsible for helping all the guys below First Class advance is a good idea.


    Hedge, it does seem like an unusual use of what a troop guide normally is. It might not be bad but whenever I see someone from outside of the patrol assigned to the patrol for some function then it can be troublesome.


    It sounds like the underlying problem being solved is having someone look out for the new scouts in a regular patrol. I think that's a worthy problem to solve. You said the PL's are busy doing other stuff. Why not make a patrol troop guide, much like a patrol quartermaster? The PL picks him and not the SPL. This offloads some work from the PL and teaches him how to delegate, gives a scout some leadership, and keeps the patrol working as a unit without outside interference.



    I think that is the idea that started the structure we have and then we stuck the Troop Guide label on the boys responsible at the patrol level for looking out for the new scouts.


    So, I'm thinking about three options:


    1) Give a boy the responsibility with or without the patch for TG


    2) Change the current TG's to instructors and have them assist the PLs with more coaxing from adults to pay attention to advancement


    3) Push the NSP idea again and have the TG work with the new scouts from when they cross over until the end of the school year and then have the TG continue to coach them (and any others below first class) as they progress as members of various patrols.

  9. Why do you need to hand out a patch at all? Explain to the boy you have a special service project that is JASM-ish, but considering his young age, you will give him a focused mission.

    The "deliverables" will be those few items you fear will fall through the cracks because you're dropping TGs and are concerned that PLs aren't fully ready to take up the slack.


    I like that idea.  I still think giving a "path" will more strongly instill a sense of purpose and recognition, but this is a workable solution.


    I can walk down to da church at the end of my block and see it happen every week.  :)    This isn't theory, mate, this is what lots of troops do in practice.  The boys get it pretty easily, because it's natural.  No special trainin' on job descriptions or organizational charts required. ;)


    The problem is that the PLs have not been historically attentive to advancement because they are focused on their other duties.  We've got a group of young PLs coming in next year and my concern is that they will be spending their time getting up to speed on other duties that are more urgent (but not neessarily more important) than advancement.


    One has to look at the overall outline of what BSA is trying to do with their tiered patrols.


    Stosh, we have a significant retention rate of boys that join our troop.  Over the last three years, we had two boys drop out within the first year out of around 20 that crossed over.  One didn't like camping and I'm not sure why the other dropped.  The older boys stay engaged -- at least for the weekly meetings.  We have a drop out of the participation of the older boys in outings which is more related to the conflicts of other activities rather than the level of adventure in our outdoor program.  The new guys are told "you can do it" and they do it.  


    That being said, I understand what you are saying about having a TG without a NSP.  I'm considering trying the NSP again (from crossover up to summer camp) expecially because the boy who I'm thinking of for TG is already the Webelos 2 Den Leader.


    The PLs can handle the duties.   Train and encourage.   Then stand back and be amazed.


    Once a scout is actually allowed to lead, there's no stopping him.



    I'm trying to get to a more boy led toop by giving a boy who wants to lead real responsibility.  The alternative is having the SM and ASMs doing this role as has happened in the past because the PLs didn't get around to it.  I understand where you and Beavah are coming from, it should be the PL's job but I haven't seen it happen in three years despite training and encouragement.  To me it just made sense to give the job to someone who wants it and avoid having to encourage, cajole, push or require someone who isn't focused on the job to do it.

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  10. So one has 8 new boys and they buddy up and go to 4 different mixed aged patrols.   A TG is assigned to work with 2 boys in a single patrol?  That's really not a whole lot better than wearing the patch with no work.  The only thing that TG can do is get in the way of the mixed patrol trying to assimilate the new boys along with whatever else they are trying to do.  I just see it as a major distraction to 4 patrols when the whole business could be put into one patrol, they select their leadership and a TG is on-hand to do the things described in the list of duties mentioned above.  All  the new orientation/instruction is focused into one area, not spread around to the various patrols to all deal with differently under different PL's.  The PL has better things to do with his time running his patrol than worrying about teaching some new scout how to tie a square knot, and everything else, every time a boy joins his patrol.



    Having an NSP is a non-starter.  Been there, tried that.  Listening to feedback from new scouts they unanimously say the best part is that they are part of a patrol with the older guys from the beginning.  I like the NSP idea, but I can't impose that over the boys decision.


    I'm in agreement that having a TG for each patrol is overkill.  It take most guys around 18 months to get to First Class - some in 12, some in 24.  They set their own pace.  So there probably are around 4 guys in each patrol that are below First Class at any point in time.  That is why I was thinking having one guy do the job.


    I also don't think advancement is an all encompassing endevor that supplants the patrol's regular activities.  It could just be a boy who keeps track of where the guys are, what they need and then works to provide opportunities -- "hey, a bunch of guys need lashing requirements - let's keep that in mind when the patrols are deciding what to do for next month's activities" or "hey, can we camp at Camp Igotnodirection so they guys can do the orienteering course requirement?"


    Some adult-led troops have an ASM dedicated to tracking boys through the early ranks. A youth who does the same thing is suddenly no longer the SM's assistant?


    Either you have a boy who is not a SPL or PL or Instructor who is really helping you out in a unique way to tend to these boys or you don't. If you do, pick a patch for him based on the character and maturity of the boy. If you don't, stop trying to draw lines that don't exist on your org chart!



    I've got the boy and got the job.  Unfortunately, he's not 16 so the JASM patch doesn't work.  TG seems the closest, but still not a perfect fit.  



    Yah, @@Hedgehog, da key is in da title, eh?   Troop Guide.   Da position is part of the Troop Method, not the Patrol Method.


    Exactly.  That is why I have a problem with four Troop Guides.


    Since yeh have a functioning Patrol Method in your troop that the kids have bought into, yeh should work that instead.   Make the Patrol Leaders and the rest of the new lads' patrols responsible for helpin' 'em with advancement.   That's their role, eh?  To take care of their guys and work to improve the patrol. 


    I can't disagree in theory, but I don't see it happening in practice.


    One way yeh can do it is with patrol competitions, eh?  Havin' all your patrol-mates up-to-speed on various skills is how yeh can kick those silly Bobwhite's butts on the next campout.   Could be that the second-year boy sees a chance to teach the first year lad how to tie a knot or do better in fire-building to help his patrol, eh?  It doesn't have to be da PL or some assigned "instructor".


    If I could mandate patrol competitons every week, I would.  The best I can do is to encourage the boys to plan interactive activities where everyone is doing some scout skill or another.

    Another permutation yeh can try that I've seen one troop use is that only da PLs can sign off on requirements for S-T-2-1, but they can't sign off for their own guys.   So they have to prepare their guys to go to a different patrol's leader for testing and signoff.   It works well for 'em, because it makes da PLs really pay attention to preparin' their guys well. 


    I like that idea, but we have enough problems with guys signing off for the boys in their own troop (despite trying to designate one meeting a month to follow up on advancement) -- and that is with 4 TGs.


    Always remember that positions and job descriptions and organizational charts and all that are adult impositions on da boys' world.  Boys organize themselves more organically and naturally, and learn better that way.   Yeh just provide challenges and incentives, and let them figure it out.


    Agreed.  However, advancement is an adult defined structure, I'm just trying to come up with a boy-led solution.



  11. A TG with no NSP is like a PL with no patrol. 


    I have no idea how to jury rig the POR into something other than what it was intended. 


    In a way, that is what I'm struggling with.  However, there is more to the description of the POR in ILST than just the new scout patrol:

    1. Troop Guide

      • Introduce new Scouts to troop operations.

      • Guide new Scouts through early Scouting activities.

      • Help set and enforce the tone for good Scout behavior within the troop.

      • Ensure older Scouts never harass or bully new Scouts.

      • Help new Scouts earn the First Class rank in their rst year.

      • Coach the patrol leader of the new-Scout patrol on his duties.

      • Work with the patrol leader at patrol leaders’ council meetings.

      • Attend patrol leaders’ council meetings with the patrol leader of the new-Scout patrol.

      • Assist the assistant Scoutmaster with training.

      • Coach individual Scouts on Scouting challenges.

      • Set a good example.

      • Wear the Scout uniform correctly.

      • Live by the Scout Oath and Scout Law.

      • Show and help develop Scout spirit.

      • Teach basic Scout skills. 


    This is where an SM earns his cup of coffee. If you have four groups of boys on varying schedules and trajectories towards 1st class on account of their different patrols or other things, maybe you do need 4 guides. If in each patrol there is a natural "guide" (may be PL or APL, or other) you might not need any TGs. If you have boys who instruct as well as guide, and maybe even do it for Star or Life scouts, maybe it's time to just pull out the JASM patches!


    In general, I'm a big proponent of assigning patches according to the work that's actually getting done, not to blanks being filled on organizational charts. This allows boys to do a little more accurate after action review.


    Based on what you've described, I'd lean toward no guides, a couple of instructors based on boys with particular scout skills, and a JASM if you really think one has the maturity to "look in" on new scouts in their respective patrols without disrupting the PL.


    I guess I am trying to look at what is being done.  The JASM patch would seem to be too much for just monitoring the advancement for Scout through First Class.  The instructor patch would seem to be too limited because the task is more than just teaching, the job is really taking care of the new guys.  The Troop Guide seems closest, but as Stosh points out, there isn't a NSP.

  12. Our Troop has 4 mixed age patrols with a Troop Guide assigned to each patrol.  The TG's role is to assist with advancement of the scouts through First Class and help integrate the new scouts into the Troop.  Our new scouts come from one to four packs in any year and we get anywhere from 2 or 3 to 10 new scouts.  Our Troop's experience has been that the NSP doesn't work because the new boys want to be part of the regular patrols.  Our boys have decided that they don't want a NSP and I'm not going to overrule that decision.


    My first thoughts are that we aren't using the Troop Guide the way that position was designed and that our Troop Guides are functioning mor as Instructors.  My sense is to make one Scout the Troop Guide who performs all of the functions except working with the NSP and to convert the other Troop Guides to Instructors (which appear to be designed to be Troop PORs that can be dispersed into patrols).


    I'm interested in thoughts on my idea and any input on how other troops use Troop Guides where there is not a NSP.

  13. Again, I don't want to step on toes, and I do not want to tell the SPL what to do and how to do it. But this is driving me nuts.



    Maybe reach out to counsel and have them find someone to do training for the boys.  It seems like nobody in your troop is trained - adults or scouts.  


    Heck, if you are located within 2 1/2 hours of Princeton, NJ or are willing to have the leadership do a weekend campout at a location somewhere in that range, I'd be glad to come out and do leadership training for both the Scouts and Adults (not SM Specific).  I"m currently (I mean moments before I checked in) working on a program to be done during a two night campout.

  14. Now is the time to start to build a boy-led troop.  The boys should be the ones teaching the skills and the boys should be the ones signing off on the requirements.  You really don't learn something until you either do it repeatedly or have to teach it.  


    In our troop it is the Troop Guide, the APLs and the PLs that are permitted to sign off for Scout through First Class.  The Scoutmaster signs off on Star, Life and Eagle.  The boys should be encouraged to do activities that practice scout skills at their weekly meetings.  


    Have a contest to see who can build a tripod the quickest and hang a dutch oven from it or who can lash together a ladder to reach some candy put just out of reach.


    Have the boys camp in a separate campsite from the adults.  Have the do everything independently.  The ASMs are there for health and safety.  The SM should be coaching the SPL who is mentoring the PLs who are (as Stosh puts it so well) charged with taking care of the boys in their patrol.  

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  15. When yeh choose to put on da self-righteous / precision scouting / rules-not-relationships / I want my kid to get his  hat and go chargin' off to do battle against da evildoers, yeh do nuthin' but damage, eh?   Damage to kids, damage to units, damage to Scouting.


    @@Beavah you are not the first person in my life to criticize me for standing up for my principles.  I've stood by my principles even when I knew the outcome would be better if I just "got along" or "went along."  I will always take the side of a child when an adult uses their position to disadvantage a child.  I will always take the side of following the rules even if it means damaging relationships.  I will always speak out when I see something that is wrong regardless of who I'm speaking out against.  I will never just stand by when I see an injustice - no matter how small.  


    SSF's boys have a standing invitation to join our Troop.  I'm more than happy to help out with their Council if they need to do the Eagle under contested circumstances. if that becomes necessary I'm ready to talk to SSF's son to help him prepare for the EBOR and help him stand proud for his accomplishments.


    You are more than welcome to advocate standing by, getting along and maintaining relations and @DavidCO is more than welcome to insist that the CO is always right.  I prefer to judge each set of facts on its circumstances and decide what to do based on my principles.  


    With that, I'm out of this thread.  We are just going around in circles.  SSF did what was required and we need to wait and see what happens.  SFF knows how to send me a message if I'm needed to be "helpful."  

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  16. I really like Beavah's comparison to licensing a textbook.  I wish I had thought of it.


    Just read the charter agreement.  "One or more" does not mean each and every.  "Consistent with" does not mean in strict adherence to.


    I have sat in many meetings with BSA where we have discussed the charter agreement.  I know what it means.


    The charter is an agreement between BSA and the Chartered Organizations.  The parents and volunteers are not parties to this agreement.  I would suggest that parents and volunteers leave it to BSA and the Chartered Organizations to work it out themselves.



    However, "consistent with" doesn't mean "contrary to."  If a SM and CC are violating the rules to advancement, there is no way they are consistent with BSA Policy.  If the CO knows of that violation and permits it, then they are not following the conditions of their charter.  We're not talking about asking the scouts to take care of the CO's property, we're talking about going against very clear BSA rules.


    Maybe a scout's advancement by the rules isn't important to you.  It is to me. Every scout should have to follow the same set of rules and criteria to attain a merit badge or rank.  It frustrates me to no end when SMs or MBCs change the rules to make them more or less difficult.  I don't agree with a lot of the requirements for merit badges, but I don't ignore them or add my own.  Yes, I teach additional material but the boys aren't required to do anymore than the merit badge requires.  I also think earning Eagls is WAY TOO EASY.  However, I'm not going to put up roadblocks to kids because I think I know better than the BSA.  


    There are certain matters that should be left to the CO's judgment including who the leaders are, where and when the Troop is allowed to meet, how the troop is required to keep the space they meet in, etc.  A CO can even dictate that scouts can't camp on Saturdays or Sundays due to religious issues.  None of that is contrary to the BSA's rules.  However, when an SM does something that is contrary to the BSA's rules, it should go to the CC.  If the CC doesn't correct it, it should go to the COR.  If that doesn't work, try the IH.  At that point you have everyone in the CO saying we know the SM violated the rules and we don't care.  Then you go to District and Council or even National.  The problem only escalates is the CO doesn't do anything about it.


    We have a great relationship with our CO.  I've dealt with the IH and other that work for the CO for years (as a ACM, CM and ASM).  Our COR is great. He's been in Scouting around 70 years -- unfortunately, he wasted the first five years of his life  :D.  He comes to COH's and B&Gs.  He trusts the leaders to find their successors and train them so that the troop continues.  I'd be mortified if a parent felt so upset that thay had to go to the COR or IH.


    You talk about the kindness of the Chartered Organization.  I fully agree.  However, the SM and CC in this case need to remember the reason why they are there -- FOR THE BOYS. 


    There really are just two simple questions here:  1) is the 17 year old entitled to earn Eagle or should additional conditions put into place after he fulfilled his POR requirement prevent him from attaining Eagle; and 2) are the SM and CC behaving in a scout-like manner -- friendly, helpful, courteous, kind and obedient?  If the boy is entitled to the award he has earned and the SM and CC are not being scout-like, I would do whatever I can to be helpful to the get the boy what he deserves - even if that means escalating to the CO and then to Council if the CO doesn't act.


    It really comes down to everyone being trustworthy and obedient.  The BSA has a program, as leaders we have to implement it in the way it is supposed to be done.  We have to be trustworty and do what we promised to do.  Yes, there are areas where there isn't a lot of guidance, but where there is guidance we need to be obedient. 

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  17. We have a very strict rule.  Only non-scuffing soled shoes may be worn in our gym.  I am an absolute tyrant when it comes to this rule.


    Sure, I can be rigid about some things and lax about others.


    I don't think it is at all odd that a Chartered Organization would be focused more on its own rules.


    I'm encouraging our CO to insert an additional rank of "Hedgehog" between life and Eagle. Small furry friendly mammals are under represented in the BSA ranks. We have wolves, bears and Eagles. The requirements are an additional 10 nights of camping, a 50 mile backpacking trek, the Wilderness Survival merit badge plus a boating merit badge and a shooting merit badge.


    If they do, could or should a scout challenge the CO's ability to do that?

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  18. We are talking about a parent being banned because of a disagreement over the advancement program.  Only the CO can ban someone from the CO's property.  This is about the parent/volunteer/CO relationship.


    You are assuming facts not in evidence.  The post said the SM and CC banned this parent, not the CO.  We have absolutely NO IDEA what the CO's role in this is.  As @@CNYScouter stated, most CO's have no clue what the unit is doing.  Your CO most likely is the exception.



    Some things are certain.  The parent doesn't own the unit,  and the SM and CC don't own the unit.



    It is also certain that as @@TAHAWK pointed out, that the CO is requied to implement a program following the BSA's rules.  You can own a McDonalds franchise, but you can't sell pizzas unless McDonalds says you can.  The CO can own a BSA unit but it can't come up with its own advancement rules.



    In my experience, when parents or volunteers raise the issue of the charter agreement and the council/CO relationship, the real issue has nothing to do with either the charter or the council/CO relationship.  


    It is usually about the parents or volunteers trying to take the ownership and control of the unit away from the Chartered Organization. 



    No, it is typically because the unit is not following the rules.  In this case, the problem is not with the CO.  It is with the SM and CC.  They have decided to set up their own rules for Eagle which read something like "you don't get Eagle unless we think you deserve it."  

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  19. I really can't let this pass without commenting on it....


    The question of Youth vs. Adult led is for the owner of the unit, the Chartered Organization, to make.  It's not your call.


    No.  Boy Scouts are boy-led.  An adult-led is Cub Scouts.  Please read this link:




    which is quoted below:


    Boy Scouts is a boy-led, boy-run organization, but the boys must be trained to be leaders. One of the Scoutmaster's most important responsibilities is to provide the direction, coaching, and training that empowers the boy with the skills he will need to lead his troop.



    Although the BSA may ignore it, being ADULT-LED is not a method of Boy-Scouts.

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  20. Yah, @@SSF, do yeh see what you're writin' here?   This is a decision to pull your boys out of this troop now.  Yeh can't continue, eh?  It's not good for you, and it isn't good for them either.


    Go find another troop or another program that meets your needs.



    It is sad when people have to leave a troop because it is being badly run. @@SSF, if you are anywhere near New Jersey, your sons are welcome in our troop.  

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  21. The current charitable mileage write off rate is 14 cents per mile so a 1,200 mile trip will get you a write off of $168.  Don't know what kind of mileage you get but lets assume 25 miles to the gallon - 1200/25 = 48 gallons used.  Let's assume $2.50 a gallon x 48 = $120.


    Choice is yours



    Correct. But the benefit of the $168 write off depends on your tax bracket.  If you are in the 25% tax bracket, it would be worth $42.  As a result, the decision doesn't rest on the benefit of being reimbursed vs. taking a tax deduction -- you will almost always be worse off while taking a tax deduction (the break even point is getting 75 miles per gallon with 2.50 a gallon gas at a 25% tax rate).


    The decision is whether you want to increase the costs of the trip to include the cost of gas or if you think the adults are comfortable donating the costs for gas.

  22. It is a shame that scouting is not more popular, it might help out a great deal.  Though in all honesty, I think you are doing yourself a disservice with all the school merit badges and other requirements. 



    We've got 50 boys in our Troop and there three other troops in the same town -- pretty popular if you ask me.  :D


    I share your frustrations with the "school" merit badges and the "school' parts of other merit badges.  However, you have to understand that Eagle is not just a measure of the boy's competence in the outdoors (Camping, Hiking/Biking/Swimming, Cooking) (actually, I think that there should be more emphasis there) but also is a reflection on character (Personal Management, Family Life, Personal Fitness), citizenship (Community, Nation, World) and stewardship (Sustainability / Env. Science) and preparedness (First Aid, Emergency Preparedness).  It really is about being prepared for life.  The "school" merit badges can be pencil whipped or they can be active learning experiences.



    Perhaps Eagle might not be his cup of tea. Take a look at the National Outdoor Award Program. Very little school work and is much more intense than Eagle and rare. It just doesn't have decades of branding. In addition since it is now open to Venturing he would have until 21 to complete it. There are even rumblings about expanding Venturing to 26.




    I think the National Outdoor award is more challenging than Eagle.  My son is working toward the National Outdoor Medal .  He has his camping segment with one gold pin so far getting his second gold by the end of the summer.  He  will complete the merit badges he needs for the hiking segment at camp this summer.   Looking at taking through his junior year in High School to to get the medal -- it will be a lot of work and will take him longer than Eagle.

  23. Still kinda befuddles me how a cooking MB requirement for 5 meals would include 40% of them not cooking.  Maybe it's like Driver's Education where 40% of the work is walking and riding a bike rather than driving the car.





    It is actually 4 out of 5.  The five meals would be for a weekend campout and would typically be a breakfast, a lunch, a dinner and a second breakfast.  The menu and shopping list is for the five meals..  However, you only have to prepare four of the meals: 2 using a lightweight stove or low impact fire, 1 using a dutch oven, foil, kabobs, etc. and then 1 dessert or snack which is "prepared" but not necessarily cooked (i.e. application of heat to ingredients).  It makes sense to cook a breakfast, a lunch, a dinner and a dessert and not repeat the breakfast.  My guys do bteakfast on a Coleman stove, lunch over a fire, dinner with dutch ovens and foil (wits sides cooked on a stove) and desserts in a dutch oven.

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