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Quality Control in Advancement Is it Needed?

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The first ingredient of Boy Scouting Advancement is "the Scout Learns." If the Scout really hasn't learned, it doesn't much matter whether he has managed to complete paperwork or scam a test signoff from "the weakest link."


So true!


Sure that requirement is done, but the Scoutmaster Conference may not be completed. If the Scoutmaster feels that the skills are not learned (forget mastering them) the Scoutmaster doesn't need to complete the Scoutmaster Conference. He can tell the scout to go home and practice the skills and then come back in a week or two.


This isn't the purpose of a Scoutmaster Conference. The purpose is to see how the Scout is doing, how he likes/dislikes his Scouting experience to date & talk about his Scouting future. And a Scout only needs to participate in a Scoutmaster Conference. There is no pass/fail.


Ed Mori

1 Peter 4:10



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"At the T-1st class level, scouts are not expected to master skills for the purpose of advancement."


Where do you get that? Mastering a knot or building a fire isn't like mastering particle physics. After a week of practice, a Scout should be able to tie a square know, bowline, and a clove hitch with his eyes closed. Of course that would require that the scout practice outside of the troop meeting and we know that isn't going to happen becuaue it will slow down advancement.


The SM conference isn't pass/fail but the Board of Review is. If the BOR believes that the Scout never learned his stuff, they have an obligation to fail him and then chastise the SM for letting the Scout get that far.



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I see "learning" and being able to demonstrate a skill for the purposes of advancement different from mastering the skill. Sure you can teach a scout a couple of knot one night, have him practice them and test him a week later and he will likely be able to correctly tie the knots. However, ask him 3 months later and unless he's had the opportunity to use the knots, chances are he will not be able to tie those knots correctly, or at least not without some difficulty.


I see mastering is being able to perform the skill correctly over and over again one the first attempt. This occurrs after repeated use of the skill, whether it's for a real need such as map and compass, or scout games at distric or troop events, like knot tying or 1st Aid.


I don't expect a Tenderfoot candidate who has learned to tie knot and practiced for a week for a specific test of skill to have the same level skill retention for that knot as a Life candidate working on Pioneering MB.


As far as First Aid goes, no one time course will make an individual proficient in 1st aid regardless of the students age. This is why we test 1st aid skills an many scout functions and competitions and adults who expect to remain certified in Red Cross 1st Aid must repeat the course every 2-3 years.


How many of us who took calculus in college to earn a degree in science or engineering or business who are over 40 could solve a differential equation now? Do any of us that don't use this skill on a regular basis but were once taught it and successfully demonstrated the knowledge at one point still retain the same level of proficiency? Does this make your degree any less valid?




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"Chastise the SM?"


Maybe admonish first and then chastise.



One of the purposes of the BOR is to do "a checkup" on the health of the troop. That is an indication of whether the SM is doing his job. If he isn't doing his job, the CC needs to have a chat with him and say, "Hey Bucko, if you don't fix this." If he refuses, he need to be shown the door.


If you were a baskeball coach and had a player who refused to pass the ball, you'd say, "Jones, you need to pass the ball." but Jones tells you, "Nah. I'm too good, I'll play the way that I want." What do you do?

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If someone isn't willing to follow the program in the first place, a friendly chat usually won't do any good.


"Bob, do you remember how BP talked about the boy lead concept?" "So?" "Well, you need to encourage the boys to step up and take charge." "It's my troop and I'm not going to let a bunch of kids mess it up."

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When I ran advancement for my son's troop, I required that anyone who sat on a BOR had to have completed at least Fast Start and gave preference to those who had taken advance training. We may have been usual but after I took over BORs were staffed mostly by people who had gone to SMF. Why'd I set the bar that high? How can you judge the program if you don't know what the program is supposed to be. That's like asking a parent from the stands to umpire a baseball game. He thinks he knows the rules because he's a fan but he really only has half a clue.


I never had a problem getting the boys to open up.


FWIW, if you had been the SM in my son's troop, you wouldn't have been allowed in the room.

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I just love random shot ad hominem attacks...


One of the nice things about discretion is we get to define the word. Yes, the requirement is "participate in a Scoutmaster Conference." If the SM sees the Scout is just not ready, he can decide the conference needs continuing. Boys do have short attention span brain freezes. Boys do "wink out." If the SM determines he needs more time working directly with a Scout (it IS part of Adult Association, after all), so be it.


As for MB programs, here's the lesson I've learned: Year 1, send just a couple experienced Scouts. Ask for their impressions of the operation and of the teaching. Since you're sending a couple boys, 2-deep leadership is in order. Let the adults also soak up impressions. If the program is a mill, never return. I've found that 15-16 year old HS students who are Life or Eagle Scouts can wave the baloney flag pretty darn well. They've seen good teachers and bad in their day jobs at the local HS!

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I think Barry has a good point in the way boys are brought into a troop. Funny, I'd never thought of it before. I can certainly see how entering a troop in various times of the year 2-3 at a time instead of the mass exodus from Cubs in the early quarter of the year would lesson the "advancement dragon" as I see it. There would be less competition as boys would be fewer in number and the "need" to grow as a large group would be gone. It's amazing how much that cleared things up for me in my own experience. Also, that would give more individual needed time with each boy to teach a skill correctly and well. Isn't that interesting. (or at least it is to me)


Maybe quality control isn't in place at MY place because there is such a push to advance a group at a time or because of a time limit (before the next herd comes through from Cubs--heaven forbid we have a couple of boys still in "first year" when the newbies come in.....). I plan to explore that theory as a possibility. It's amazing how well that theory fits my group.


Thanks bunches, Barry, and to all who replied. It really opened my eyes.


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