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gilski

New Life Requirement for our Troop.

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In the troop my sons are in, it is suggested to Star Scouts to try their hand at leading a simple service project. However, that is not the first time it's suggested, nor is it a requirement in order to advance. It has come from frequent communications between the SM and Green Bar. One way that the troop has set up a way to implement leadership, beginning from as soon as a boy feels ready, is to have the Scouts plan all trips with the help of an adult. The adult role is to handle paperwork and financing for the most part; the Scouts plan out all other elements. Does it always work? No, sometimes get terribly confused, but interestingly enough, those trips/outings are those that seem to be enjoyed and remembered the most. An item on the calendar will not be removed if a Scout doesn't set up that event either. The way it's looked at is: the Scouts want the opportunity to truly run the troop, and the adults want to support them in that, so they work together with the understanding that the Scouts always have "first shot" at setting up anything. This may sound muddled, and I hope it doesn't, but I wondered at even the suggestion of taking on leadership as one advanced to Life. Then I learned that this began far before Life. The reason? The Scouts have identified a weakness in the troop, and it is that the Scouts aren't always confident in planning and need practice.

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I believe that following the rules of an organization I belong to is the right thing to do

 

But that's just my point, OGE.

 

The rules of the organization gilski belongs to state that a Life service project should include a leadership component. I think gilski and his son should honor and follow the rules of his troop, even though they may disagree.

 

It's a different question what the SM should do. But we aren't giving advice to the SM. We're giving advice to gilski. I think he should follow the rules and support the SM. Unless he's willing to be the SM somewhere; then he gets the hard job of figurin' out how to best serve the kids in the troop.

 

That's what all of us Commissioners do. Support and assist the unit leaders, not act as policemen. That's what the BSA's entire side of the Charter Agreement says - the BSA supports and assists the unit leaders and CO in their youth work; it does not act as policeman. The BSA as an organization is a model of service leadership.

 

So much of the time adults get into rules because it's all about control, when it should be about service.

(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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"So much of the time adults get into rules because it's all about control, when it should be about service."

 

Have to agree with that statement. Here we have a Scoutmaster and/or committee that has refused to advance a boy despite that fact that he has already logged 30 hours of service, when only 6 hours is required. The boy's advancement has been delayed by several weeks while he complies with their additional requirement. That sounds a whole lot more about adult manipulation and control than it does about service.

 

The sad thing is that, as Barry and others pointed out, the troop could very easily find ways to develop leadership in boys other than blocking advancement by imposing an additional advancement requirement that BSA has clearly stated may not be done.

 

Troops all over the country turn out boys with good character and good leadership skills, and they don't need to resort to these tactics to do it.

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No matter how many people say its adding to the requirements, no matter how bold the type is, no matter who the person is, the requirement will still read the same way. The requirement states that the SM must approve the project. The boy can do 100 hours of work if the SM didnt approve the project it doesnt fulfill the requirement. No where in the requirement does it state what parameters the SM is required to use as a base for his/her approval. No where in the requirements does it restrict the SM from establishing his/her own parameters for approval. What the requirement does say is that National has given the SM the right and power of approval. What shall and what shall not constitute an approvable service project is entirely up to the Scoutmaster according to the requirement as written. Denying the SM that right, restricting that right, placing conditions upon that right by anyone other than the CO, is altering the requirements.

Page 20 of the requirements publication is titled Selecting Leadership Service Projects The prefacing paragraph speaks about Leadership service projects but as soon as this SM wants to include leadership in the service project the cries begin.

LongHaul

 

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LongHaul,

You are absolutely correct when you say "the SM must approve the project." The project. And all the Scout has to do is "take part in" the project. Requiring leadership is adding to the requirements. There is no interpretation by anyone!

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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Ed,

So where does it say that the scout gets to pick which part he does? Where is "take part in" defined? Where does it say the SM can't assign duties? Where does it say a SM has to approve or can't refuse to approve any specific project. You can say what ever you like and interperate this requirement as you see fit in your troop as long as your CO doesn't object it still doesn't change what the requirement says. You want to imply things which simply aren't there.

LongHaul

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(Feeling the tug on his shirt sleeve, EiKY slips back into the room with his buddy, Barry). "Gee, Barry, I was trying to stay out of this."

 

Okay, do I agree with what this troop is doing and do I think they are adding a requirement? No, I don't agree with what they are doing because I believe they are adding a requirement.

 

BUT, is this worth splitting a good troop or making a federal case out of? No way. Is it worth running off a good SM? Nope! If the troop is as successful as gilski indicates it is, I'd stick with it. I'd try to get the system changed, at least to the point of not making it mandatory. As Barry, I and a few others have said, it's not an altogether bad idea. Perhaps it can be integrated in as a way to get more boys involved in the leadership.

 

I've got to admit, gilski has patience. If he had already done 25-30 hours and was acting as SPL, I would think he's already shown a lot of leadership. I think it's pretty tough on a kid to make him do more. But I'm glad your son went ahead and did it and didn't fight it.

 

Now, to address some of these other points. Are we supposed to be identical clones of each other? NO WAY. Should a scout be able to move across the country to another troop and have all his previous advancement accepted? OF COURSE. May he find that his new troop is tougher on the POR requirement or doesn't let passing the offering plate at church count as service hours? ABSOLUTELY. I have no problem with that.

 

Even within our troops, we don't treat all boys alike. I've got boys that have real challenges (mental, physical). I hold a different standard for them. I've some some boys (like my son) who are extremely talented leaders. I absolutely hold them up to the highest standard. I also have boys who always look for the easy way out. I find myself always having to push them to do a little more. I'm trying to get each scout to step up and perform to his maximum potential.

 

It's obvious here that some struggle with this. It's nice to say the program should be equal and identical for all, but that's not reality. My son has seen me struggle with a situation with an Eagle candidate. I've allowed this particular scout a little latitude in some things that I probably wouldn't with others. I did this because he is an extremely insecure kid with an extremly overbearing father. His dad is borderline psychotic and constantly complains to council and other adults about me. (I've written about him before, we could dedicate a whole thread to him). I make sure to tread lightly and not give his dad any amunition. But, on the other hand, I've cautioned the lad that his dad should probably stay far away from his project when he works on it. This is because his dad will take over if he's present. I know for a fact he will, that's his nature. Now, will I approve his project if he goes ahead and lets his dad help. Sure, unless I found out his dad did all the leading.

 

What's the point of this? We need to be people of reason that understand the overall goals and vision. Adhering to the rules is great, but let's not blow this out of proportion. I mean, seriously, it's not like they are doing something serious like using the terms "Class A" & "Class B". Let's focus on something more important.

 

Okay, I digressed and rambled on a bit, but that seems to fit this thread. I know that I have come up with what I thought were good ideas, until I realized the implications. I've also sometimes done some things that I thought were within the rules, until someone questioned me on it. For example, I used to think hours worked on someone else's Eagle Project couldn't be counted for the other ranks. That's a fairly common mistake by SMs. In fact, I'm pretty sure I was told it in SM Training! Once I dug into it, I found out that there was no such rule. So I've changed my criteria for approving service hours.

 

Bottom line, I think Fscouter's recommendation was best "The Scoutmaster could discuss and develop a plan with the Patrol Leaders Council to encourage boys to take leadership of troop service projects. This may meet the objectives of the adult leaders without imposing a rank requirement."

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Yah, LongHaul, thanks there! I had missed that bit in the Official Requirements Book, eh?

 

Leadership service projects shall be meaningful service not normally expected of a Scout as part of his school, religious, or community activities (Boy Scout Requirements, p. 20).

 

Never knew they were even called Leadership Service Projects for Star and Life.

 

Given that most of the boy's service hours were part of religious missionary work, it may also be that the SM didn't approve them because of the above clause. Or perhaps because the SM didn't want to get into whether to count prostyletizing as service.

 

Yah, FScouter, I agree with you. Also possible that some adults on a trip are jerkin' a kid around because of their own agenda or rules. Most of those don't last in units too long. They all end up at the district or council level.

 

Hard to tell which is which here, eh? Especially from a distance.

 

Best to support the SM.

 

 

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Here's the requirement

 

While a Star Scout, take part in service projects totaling at least six hours of work. These projects must be approved by your Scoutmaster.

 

Let's break it down.

 

While a Star Scout, take part in service projects totaling at least six hours of work.

 

1st is the rank requirement. The Scout must be the rank of Star. 2nd the Star Scout must take part in service projects. This doesn't say lead or show leadership in just take part in.

 

These projects must be approved by your Scoutmaster.

 

The projects must be approved. Not what the Scout will be doing in the project but the projects themselves. Leadership isn't mentioned anywhere.

 

So for a SM to not approve a service project for rank other than Eagle because the Scout isn't leading it or showing leadership is adding to the requirements. No interpretation just fact.

 

And what gliski's Troop is doing is adding to the requirements.

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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Thanks Ed.

 

One thing here is, If your Committee doesn't think that your boys are getting good leadership skills before they start their Eagle Projects then there is something really wrong within the troop and it isn't the boys. It is the adults.

 

Are your boys taking Junior Leadership Training? Are they taking Den Chief Training? All of these teach leadership skills.

 

We teach our boys to be leaders. We also should be teaching them to be fair and go by the rules.

If you add a requirement to a Rank Advancement you are telling them that it is OK to change a rule you don't like.

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We teach our boys to be leaders.

 

Yah, not necessarily LyndaJ. There's no explicit requirement in da BSA program for leadership skills in any form until a boy hits the Eagle project. And you and others are clear that you don't want to "add to the requirements."

 

There's no requirement for JLT (and most council-level JLT/NYLT will only take a couple of boys from each troop a year). There's no requirement to hold a leadership role, just a Position of Responsibility. Many if not most of da PORs involve service and support, but not leadership (quartermaster, scribe, librarian, historian, bugler, OA representative, chaplain aid, instructor, etc.) At least not leadership of the type necessary to succeed at an Eagle project.

 

So if yeh follow the literal program and don't add a thing, this problem arises. If you're not havin' a problem, my guess is that your troop is adding to the requirements somewhere, eh?

 

We also should be teaching them to be fair and go by the rules.

 

Yah, including the rules of their troop. As parents, we want to teach them to respect their teachers and scout leaders and the other adults in their lives, not argue with them like spoiled junior attorneys. To do that, we teach them by example to respect and follow the judgment of their SM.

 

 

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So, consider this scenario-

 

Troop 999 has a troop policy that life service hours must be of a leadership nature. Life Scout Joe comes to the Scoutmaster and asks to have the 6-hour service requirement signed off. The Scoutmaster tells Joe that Joe did not lead a service project. Joe responds that he worked last weekend for 6 hours on Freds Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project. Fred is a member of Troop 999.

 

In this scenario Joe has worked 6 hours giving service on a service project that the Scoutmaster has approved. A Scoutmaster must approve all Eagle projects in the troop before they start, along with the Troop Committee and the District. The requirements book says that hours worked on an Eagle project may be used for Star or Life service hours.

 

Joe has met the requirement in any troop chartered to the BSA.(This message has been edited by Region 7 Voyageur)

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Region 7 Voyageur,

First the entry in the Requirements publication you are referring to is part of the methods and procedures not the requirements for rank advancement. Second you have misquoted the entry it does not say that hours worked on an Eagle project may be used for Star or Life service hours, it says that Star and Life service projects may be approved for scouts assisting on Eagle service projects. The difference is that the "may" is the decision of the SM not the scout. What I approve as an acceptable service project for a Tenderfoot scout may not be an approved project for a Star scout regardless of the part the Star scout played in the project.

LongHaul

 

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LongHaul,

You can approve what you want to as a service project for any rank. Just remember you are approving the project, not what the Scout does in the project. All he is required to do is "take part in".

 

Region 7 Voyageur,

 

Excellent example!

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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Nah, Ed, Longhaul got this one right.

 

"Star and Life service projects may be approved for Scouts assisting on Eagle Service projects." (33215 p. 20, emphasis mine).

 

So just because the Eagle project was approved for the Eagle candidate doesn't mean that the SM has to approve work on the Eagle project to meet the Star or Life requirement.

 

For example, a Star Scout might assist da Eagle candidate with his project by helping him organize tools before the project. But is that really providing service to the community, or just being helpful to a friend and troopmate?

 

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