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Lisabob

Will they ever get past Tenderfoot?

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My son is one of those nearly 13-year-old TF types that someone in the "Be Prepared" thread mentioned. He's been in the troop for 2 years. He goes on almost all the campouts, does most everything, has 10 or 11 merit badges, most of which he has earned or at least finished up on his own rather than at camp or in other big group settings, and he recently finished up a 6 month stint as PL, in which he served admirably, by the way. Most of his cohort are at or beyond 1st Class at this point and he's the only one of them still at TF. What's holding my son up? He's having fun and just doesn't care that much about rank advancement at this time. He continually "forgets" to get his book signed at camp outs and then doesn't follow up later on at meetings. In short, he's been unprepared to advance because he isn't interested in taking the personal responsibility to secure it, rather than because he isn't able to do the skills.

 

This bugged the stuffing out of me for about the first 12-15 months because it was so silly. For lack of a pencil or an extra 2 minutes of effort to track down a signature he didn't get things signed and I couldn't understand it. I rarely said anything to him about it, but if I'm truthful, sometimes it was really hard not to! In all honesty I still don't understand it, but it no longer bugs me much.

 

A couple of scouters, good friends and wiser than I, have managed to pound it into my head that it is his experience, not mine, and he'll get to rank advancement on his own. It helps that I have seen him having fun and growing/maturing as a result of his involvement in the program. It helps too, that I've seen several of our older scouts earn Life and Eagle as 16-17 year olds and these young men are solid examples of the qualities we all envision that an Eagle Scout would have. They weren't diminished for having earned these ranks late in their scout careers; rather, they might have been diminished if they had been pushed into the ranks before they were ready. These scouts are also the ones who my son identifies as his role models in the troop.

 

I imagine he'll get moving on rank advancement sometime soon since, for summer camp, there are several MBs he wants to earn that have a 2nd Cl or above rank restriction placed on them (the camp's way of limiting class sizes, I think). So I suppose he'll get around to getting sign offs for 2nd Cl. over the next few months, or else he'll find himself doing the basketry MB at camp instead of the "cool" MBs he has picked out! When it matters to him - not to me - he'll become prepared.

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What can you do? Probably nothing unless the scouts wants to advance. We had a similar scout, had lots of merit badges, lots of skills but was tenderfoot because of the book thing et al. The Council announced a Philmont contingent trip for the following summer and he realized to go he had to be first class and so he was in about 6 weeks. Then, because he had so many merit badges he was Star in 4 months (He was a PL almost all along) and Life in 6 months. I don't know if he will reach Eagle, but he can't stop talking about Philmont and if thats the sum total of his scouting experience, the program did him proud.

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Seems every troop has its own culture, back when i was a scout nobody stayed a Tenderfoot any longer than they had to, they wern't teased but boys either earned their 2nd class or dropped out after a year or so. These also tended to be the boys who didn't do many campouts, skipped summer camp and always seemed to be somewhere else when work had to be done. I also recall very little encouragment of rank advancement once 1st class was reached.

 

Could it be his way of showing the rest of the troop he is his own man by avoiding advancement? I know I would not have gotten near as much out of Scouting had my dad been there all the time.

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One comment:

 

If a Scout wants to be Eagle, there is a "metaphysically impossible cut-off date." Beyond that date, the Scout cannot make the time in rank needed to advance.

 

Since the SM conference cut-off for Eagle is the day before the 18th birthday, a Scout must have his:

 

- Life BOR no later than 17 1/2.

- Star BOR no later than the day before the 17th birthday.

- First Class BOR no later than 16yrs 8 months.

 

The dates above assume a healthy young man with no special needs.

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I spent 4 years as a tenderfoot scout and then 24 years as an adult leader (so far). I'm always thankful my SM let me do it my way.

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LisaBob,

 

I haven't been around this forum for quite a while, but you may remember that my older son is similar to your boy. My son is 13 and has been 1st Class for over a year. He was ready for his Star BOR 6 months after becoming 1st Class, but just didn't get around to asking for it. He tells me that he forgot to ask, or the leaders were busy.... He also isn't completing merit badges very quickly. He has missed out on high adventure trips that I would love to go on, because he doesn't have his Star rank or the required merit badges done. However, he LOVES scouts, and is having a great time.

 

It will be interesting to see if his younger brother motivates him, now that YB has crossed over to scouts, and has a goal of beating his older brother to Eagle!

 

My brother is an Eagle Scout and I would love it if both my boys make Eagle. If neither one does, it's not the end of the world, and I know they will have gotten a LOT out of scouting.

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I have to commend you for your patience. I think you will see a change with in a year, two at most, as he is goes through his physical and mental changes. He is turning into a man and self evaluation in the world is part of that change. Sounds like you are part of a really good troop because in my experience, maturity is based a lot from the experience of the earlier years and if a lot of scouts are accelerating through advancement after age 13 as you say, they are having great experiences.

 

As a mother looking ahead, Im sure this is pretty tough. As someone who watches mothers looking 5 to 10 years back, you will find it all worth it.

 

I love this scouting stuff.

 

Barry

 

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I think the important thing is it's their advancement, not ours. While we all want what's best for our kids, they need to work on some things at their won pace. And it sound like your son is having a great time & learning! Once he does decide to "stick his nose to the grindstone", he won't be able to slow down!

 

Ed Mori

1 Peter 4:10

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We assigned the PL from last year's NBP to be the APL of this year's NBP. The reason? Because after the first year, even as PL, he's still a TF. The very first thing he told the new cross-over Webelos was to pay attention, don't skip activities, and "don't do what I did".

 

I could have lectured for 2 hours and couldn't do any better than this kid did in 2 minutes.

 

Stosh

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(ducking head a bit) Ahem, yes Barry, I would like to be able to honestly claim that it was all about me being patient... but people who know me would probably laugh! Patience isn't always one of my best qualities although I try. More like, I've attempted not to voice my occasional frustration and bewilderment about why he didn't bother to just-hand-the-book-to-the-guy-standing-next-to-him-and-get-it-signed (!) to my son and have found a nearby friendly adult's shoulder to chew on instead.

 

You're absolutely right though, this is a developmental process and he'll get to it when he's ready. And I guess I've come to realize that a bit more these days, even though he has only been in the troop for two years. It was hard to have a little perspective in that first year because, well, it was the first year. I can only imagine how proud I'll be of him and how much more he will grow, in another three or four years.

 

Anyway, setting my son's particular case aside for a moment - in the thread I spun off from, a few people were voicing concern about the fact that their troop has 13/14 year old scouts "stuck" at TF, and what to do about it. I guess what I intended by this thread was to suggest that as long as they're being active in the program, it may be better to have a few happy older TF scout than a bunch of very young 1st Class and Star scouts who are totally at a loss for how to proceed. (And sure, I realize some younger guys really are ready to tear through the ranks - good for them too! - but I suspect that they're not all that common either. Most, though not all, of the boys who I've seen do this in the last couple of years are being pushed - hard - by their parents, rather than responding to some inner drive at age 10-11-12.)

 

 

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I have known several boys similar to your son. They sat at Tenderfoot forever. Then something happened to motivate them, a high adventure trip, wanting to join their friends in the PLC, or wanting to join their friends in the OA. Then they advanced like crazy.

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>>I guess what I intended by this thread was to suggest that as long as they're being active in the program, it may be better to have a few happy older TF scout than a bunch of very young 1st Class and Star scouts who are totally at a loss for how to proceed. (And sure, I realize some younger guys really are ready to tear through the ranks - good for them too! - but I suspect that they're not all that common either. Most, though not all, of the boys who I've seen do this in the last couple of years are being pushed - hard - by their parents, rather than responding to some inner drive at age 10-11-12.)

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Wehave aboy in our troop that is 15 and just finished 2nd Class. Same thing won't bring book,he has only completed about 5 badges and those were troop done ones. Has about 15 in his incomplete file. He' emotional maturity level is really that of about an 11 year old. Most of the time when we are camping he roams around like a chicken digging in the dirt. But he has a good time and I don't think advancement is a big thing for him. So we simply leave him alone and let him do his own thing.

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