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SteveMM last won the day on July 15

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About SteveMM

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    A former Scout whose son is a current Scout.

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  1. While I wouldn't ask a Scout to demonstrate how to tie knots during a BoR, the example I gave (knowing the Oath and Law) is a piece of core Scout knowledge. It seems to me (and perhaps I'm dead wrong here) that while the BoR should not be testing a Scout, it can identify that a Scout hasn't actually learned basic things that they should know. It would be the same to me as if you asked a First Class candidate where they camped and they said they didn't, even though the camping nights had been signed off.
  2. But, if a Scout can't remember all of the things "A Scout is" then how can he live by them?
  3. My son and I were talking yesterday about his Eagle BoR, as he just got it scheduled for early next month. We were looking at some resources together to try to give him an idea of what to expect. As a member of the Troop Committee, I do a lot of the Boards of Review for his troop, and I said it would be a lot like the ones that he's done for every rank, except it would be longer and there would be more people in the room. That led him to ask if I'd ever wanted to "fail" a Scout after a BoR. I did almost do it once, and here's the story... This was back when Scouts had to do a BoR for Eagle Palms. I'd done a few of these, and they were always a really casual affair because, really, the kid was already an Eagle and had done a lot of them. But, this one Scout made me wonder how the heck he got his Eagle in the first place. As with every BoR, we asked the Scout to recite the Scout Oath and Law. When he got to the Scout Law, he dropped one of the things that "a Scout is." We laughed and figured he just had a brain fart, but asked him to do it again. The next time, he forgot a totally different word. Getting a little concerned, we asked him to do it AGAIN ... and he messed it up AGAIN. The fourth time, he finally got it right. Now, bear in mind that this was not a kid that had any kind of learning disability that we were aware of. If this hadn't been for an Eagle Palm, I probably would have had a talk with the SM and suggested that the Scout bone up on the basics, then come back and do it again. So, I ask you --- what would it take for you to "fail" a Scout after a BoR?
  4. Fair enough! I need to remind myself that what seems obvious to me isn't always the case in other troops and other people's Scouting experiences.
  5. Yeah. I'm new, and I'm now learning that there isn't much agreement around here. That's not a bad thing so long as it's respectful.
  6. I don't have anything against partials, but in this instance it just doesn't make sense to me. I think if the Scout walks away with a partial and won't actually complete the merit badge for more than a year (which could easily happen with Camping) then they should just wait to take the merit badge. In this example, they could take a more enjoyable merit badge in their first summer camp and then take camping later, when they at least have the camping nights. Edited to clarify: There are some badges where partials will just happen, and there's no pressure to even finish them if they're not Eagle-required. My son has a couple of those, and may never finish them. My issue is with this particular instance -- taking Camping Merit Badge in a Scout's first summer camp. I think it would make a LOT more sense to wait on that one.
  7. Whatever we all disagree about, I think we would all say that it's monumentally stupid to take Camping at your first summer camp. The Scout won't have the camping nights, and won't have any of the 9B requirements. What you're left with is a partial that probably won't be finished for a year or more. There's no point in bothering with this one until the Scout at least has the camping nights. Once he has the camping nights, he'll likely have knocked out one or more of the 9B requirements as well, and can focus on figuring out ways to get the rest.
  8. Very good point and I imagine it's oh so true. My son got another piece of advice from a parent in our troop, which many around here may not like: "Congrats on finishing your Eagle project so young -- now you have a few years to just relax, have fun, and not worry about which merit badges you're taking." I agree with it, but I'm sure some here would say that's what he should have been doing all along.
  9. THIS is the truth, and the most important thing about summer camp. My son is missing his first summer camp this year since bridging, but it's because he's in Philmont on a two-week trek right now. As soon as he returns, he's going to go about getting his Eagle Board of Review scheduled. I asked him a few weeks ago if he planned to keep going to summer camp, and he said he did. He really enjoys it. He's only 15 right now, so he has plenty of time. He's talked about joining the staff of our local camp as well.
  10. The more I read the opinions in this thread (and thanks for them, by the way) the more I realize that my son HAD to do it a little differently than some Scouts. Since he missed a lot of meetings in the spring and fall due to travel soccer, he needed to make up those badges somewhere. He has never missed a winter camp or summer camp, but did miss a majority of the merit badge weekends that the troop attended. So, it behooved him to sprinkle in some non-fun badges at camp. Thankfully, it never seemed to bother him, and he always enjoyed camp.
  11. We were having a discussion on the sidelines of a troop meeting recently about who *should* be an SPL or even ASPL, and who shouldn't. I think those positions should be exclusively (if not by rule) Scouts who have attained Life rank and are at least 14 years old. Our most recent outgoing SPL in our troop was a minor disaster. He just now turned 14 at the end of his time as SPL, and is very immature for his age. He got the position because no one was available to run against him. None of the adults were happy about the situation, but couldn't do anything about it. The SM basically had to hold his hand for six months. The new SPL, who my son will be backing up as ASPL, might or might not be better. We don't know yet. Right now, and even worse so a year ago, we just didn't have enough "older" Scouts to lead the troop. This is what we have right now: We have two rising high school seniors. One was SPL a year or two ago, and it didn't work out well. He's just too goofy to be taken seriously. The only one has his Eagle and is a good kid, but is only interested in going on campouts and not leading. We only have one rising high school junior in the troop. He's an exceptional scout and earned his Eagle very early, but has held the SPL position multiple times already and wants to act instead as sort of an elder adviser ... sort of a JASM without the rank. We have a handful of rising high school sophomores, but only two of them are active. One has been SPL and is a very good Scout, but he doesn't really have a commanding presence. The other one is my son, who until recently was tied up by soccer for portions of the year. We have a good number of rising freshmen, but maybe one of them in my view is mature enough for SPL right now. He was actually SPL last year and did a good job. A different Scout from this age group is the one who is about to take over as SPL, and I'm a bit nervous about it. The people in the discussion I mentioned earlier, which included our one high school junior, were thrilled to hear my son is finally able to step up to run for a higher position, because we were in desperate need of another older Scout who could take over. He can also help out the new SPL, who may or may not be able to handle the job. By the time my son rises to and finishes his time as SPL, the problem should be fixing itself because the age group behind him will be another year older and more mature.
  12. This is why, for good or bad, my son never ran for SPL or ASPL until recently, despite being in the troop for four years, being a Life Scout for two years, and being fairly respected by his peers. Because of his soccer schedule, he would vanish for several months in the fall and several more in the spring and it just wouldn't have worked. He did hold leadership positions back before the troop really followed the patrol method. He did those jobs as well as he could, although some of them were really just titles, unfortunately. My son's schedule opened up a bit when he joined a new soccer club a year ago, and he has now decided to "self-relegate" from competitive travel soccer, and just play rec level and school ball instead. Neither of those conflict with Scouts all that much. He's been a strong patrol leader for the last year, and since he knows that he'll be around more, he ran for ASPL last month. In our troop, as I mentioned, that means he'll be ASPL for the second six months of this year, and SPL in the first six months of next year. I mentioned all of this to say that my son has been wise with the leadership roles he chose, not biting off more than he can chew given his schedule. Despite this, our SM once raised his voice at my son when he learned he couldn't come on a hike because of a soccer tournament, saying that he had to skip soccer. Thankfully I was there, shot the SM a look, and explained that it was an important tournament that my son couldn't miss.
  13. This is exactly how I feel. Our young Scouts don't do the 1st year program at summer camp because the older Scouts teach that stuff during weekly meetings. Swimming is a no-brainer because without it you can't do a lot of the fun stuff at the waterfront. I really think First Aid is right behind it for me. That leaves a lot of wiggle room for fun electives that first year.
  14. I was just looking at the requirements for Cooking. Did they recently add the below line? I don't remember it when my son took the merit badge. I'm pretty sure they definitely doubled up, using these merit badge requirements for advancement. Given this statement, I retract my suggestion of Cooking as a good first year merit badge, unless the Scout has some interest in cooking in general. The meals prepared for Cooking merit badge requirements 4, 5, and 6 will count only toward fulfilling those requirements and will not count toward rank advancement or other merit badges. Meals prepared for rank advancement or other merit badges may not count toward the Cooking merit badge. You must not repeat any menus for meals actually prepared or cooked in requirements 4, 5, and 6.
  15. I'd add Cooking in to that list, but I agree with you. I'd never suggest that a Scout take one of the Citizenship merit badges at his first summer camp. That's just cruel. Although, it's funny (or not) but I just found a string of emails from 2015 when I was sending my son's list of merit badges to our advancement chair. His list was: 1) Swimming 2) Cooking 3) Leatherwork 4) Fishing 5) Citizenship in the Nation He also took Standup Paddleboarding, which wasn't (and I think still isn't) a merit badge, but it's something he wanted to learn. If I had to do it over again, I wouldn't have been quite so cruel. In my defense, I was a new Scouting parent and we had a different advancement chair at the time, and he suggested it.