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77Jamboree

Scout Reluctant to Go for Signoff

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My son crossed over last year. Our troop has an excellent new scout program with the founder of the troop taking the kids for two months to help get them integrated into the troop and to help them with their scout and tenderfoot advancements. With a lot (too much in my opinion) of prodding by me, he advanced to second class and has stalled there. He loves scouting especially the camping and activities. His doesn't even mind working on the requirements though he doesn't have the initiative for it that he did in the beginning. His real reluctance is with the Adult Association method. It's not that he isn't comfortable talking with adults, because he is. He has been "working" on his 1st class 1st aid requirements since October and each week on our way to a meeting I ask him if he is going to get them signed off and and he says yes. When I go to pick him up and ask if he got them signed off, he says "he didn't want to" or "he wants to work on them for one more week."

 

Another example is that he received his Swimming Merit Badge at summer camp and has yet to get his "Safe Trip Afloat" requirement signed off.

 

Yet another example is that his patrol had a patrol meeting and one of the ASM's was there to sign of requirements. The only requirement he wanted to get signed off was his "10 activities since joining the troop".

 

I really want him to develop the initiative to advance without me taking him by the hand to an ASM (which I would never do). Any suggestions?

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I think most troops do give more "prodding" until the boys reach 1st class. I'd talk with the SM and other leaders to get their ideas and also to alert them that your son is doing the work, but not initiating meetings for sign-offs.

 

My son, too, was slow to get things signed off. In his case, he IS shy with adults, although, I've seen a great improvement in the 2 years he's been a Boy Scout. The first class requirement that was toughest for him was the one where he needed to talk to a civic leader about their responsibilities as a citizen. My son was very nervous about approaching a teacher, and most of his patrol finished this requirement quickly. Finally, when a good buddy joined the troop, the 2 of them went together to talk to a teacher.

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I have scouts who are in all-city band at the High School level, and I can't get them to come to me to get Music MB signed off. That would be a gimme, but they're just not interested enough to ask me. I refuse to spoon feed them.

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77Jamboree,

 

You do know that the Safe Trip Afloat is available to do online don't you? Though it's not a requirement that he do it, do you think that if he did the online training for it that he would then feel comfortable in taking the printout to the SM so he could show that he'd done it? It's just a thought..

 

Sue M.

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Safety Afloat might be of passing interest to a Scout working on First Class requirement 9a: "Tell what precautions must be taken for a safe trip afloat."

 

This was probably covered on his first day of Swimming Merit Badge (Requirement 3), but signing FC 9a off now, six months later, may not be automatic.

 

Safety Afloat is an adult leader training. There's little benefit in it for a boy.

 

All of the following Merit Badges require that the Scout review and discuss BSA Safety Afloat:

 

Whitewater

 

Small-Boat Sailing

 

Lifesaving

 

Rowing

 

Canoeing

 

When I go to pick him up and ask if he got them signed off, he says "he didn't want to" or "he wants to work on them for one more week."

 

Try pairing him off with a more assertive buddy.

 

Ideally these requirements should be signed off by his peers, an approachable and responsible Scout such as the Patrol Leader or Troop Guide. Limiting sign-off to adults only is part of the "Troop Method" and such adults should at least make an extra effort to reach shy Scouts if the Patrol Method is not in full swing.

 

Real "Adult Association" is being practiced when the Scouts are running things well by themselves and the adults seem to be invisible.

 

Kudu

 

 

 

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Are only troop adults signing off on requirements? If so, mention it to one of the adults that you have observed that seems to work well with younger scouts. He might be able to draw your son out with an encouraging talk.

 

This example is one that reinforces the concept of experienced scouts signing off requirements - troop guides, troop instructors, etc. A good experienced scout that likes working with younger scouts is a significant asset. Also, under these circumstances, young ASMs like Eagle Scouts just aged out can often connect better than us old fogeys.

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Safety Afloat is also needed for the Kayaking patch. I had my own son do it online after I did it. I think there is a lot that boys can learn from both the Safety Afloat and the Safe Swim Defense. Yes, the main reason for the training is to teach adults how to keep boys safe, but I also think that it teaches them how to take responsibility for not only their own safety but those around them but still have fun. We all know that "boys will be boys" but the more qualified supervision that is involved, the better..especially if it comes from the boys being able to do some of it themselves. JMO though...

 

sue m.

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Kudu's correct that the 9 points of Safety Afloat are part of several "afloat" merit badges. (This message has been edited by a staff member.)

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My understanding is that in our troop only the SM, ASMs, and the JASMs can sign off on requirements. Since the JASM hasn't gone on any of the activities (he does regularly attend the meetings) since my son has joined, he has less of a relationship with him than he does with the SM and ASMs.

 

With regards to only leaders signing off on requirements being indicative of a troop run by the troop method as opposed to the patrol method, I would say that our troop is a hybrid. We have strong patrol identies and use new scout patrols that stay together for the duration. On campouts, we use the troop method (one reason is because there is not enough equipment for each patrol). This appears to be changing to be more patrol method as the troop is going through significant growth. I would say that while we are hybrid when it comes to the patrol method, we are more boy led than leader led (though there could be improvements here too).

 

After reading a thread about over zealous parents, I took a long hard look in the mirror to make sure that wasn't me. I do want my son to achieve first class so that he can start participating in some of the "high adventure" activities that are reserved for those of first class and above in our troop. Beyond that, it is entirely up to him to take the initiative as it comes to merit badges and advancement. Last night, I asked my son if one of his friends had a bike accident, would he know what to do. His answer was, depending on what was wrong, he felt that he could apply what he has learned. So clearly, he is ready to demonstrate his skills to the leaders to show what he has learned.

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