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To push or not to push that is the question?


I know a lot of leaders that believe that if a Scout wants to advance or finish a merit badge the scout will come to them even if they are idle for a long period of time.


I understand that some boys are just in it for the camping but they have to do something and the ones that are so close to Eagle I just cant let them go with out them making eagle.

Some have worked hard to get to Life rank and then get into sports or get loaded down with homework or just fall off the track.


So my question is should you just let them slide thru scouts and turn 18?

Or keep a Scoutmaster sheet that tells him just where each scout is at anytime and start pushing the ones that need to be motivated ?


(Scoutmaster sheet is a spread sheet (huge help) that tells me exactly where each scout is Rank, Dates, Merit badges and so on updated every month by troop advancement)


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Are yeh sure?


You're talkin' about an Eagle Scout here.


Does an Eagle Scout really need an adult to push him along? Is that what an Eagle Scout is? Shouldn't an Eagle Scout have reached da point where he can self motivate?


I think yeh find that the kids always slow down and dilly dally a bit at Life Scout. That's normal. And some choose to be Life for Life. That's normal, too.


I'm not sure us nagging 'em to finish Eagle should be normal.




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no dont get me wrong not nagging not pushing them along just giving them a kick now and then

i dont see anything wrong with that.

you give them a task and they do GREAT they handle what ever you put in front of them.

but to just let them be?

maybe im wrong?

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We arent supposed to be invested in their goals, but we are supposed to teach them the skills of the process to reach their goals.


Teach them to dream, set goals, plan and then how to methodically execute the plan. Those who practice those traits usually reach their goals. I think where most Scoutmasters fail is teaching planning and execution. Adults know in their mind how to complete a plan, but they dont know how to teach boys those skills. A SM should find those actions written somewhere. Even a new scout learning his knots should be encouraged set a new goal to learn more scout skills and to write that goal down.


I really dont have a problem with asking a scout where he is at in his plan, whether that is the next campfire of his Eagle, because that is a discussion of how well he doing in his personal management skills (process). While I understand being concerned about their goals, our power is teaching the skills of the process that they will use for the rest of their life.


I love this scouting stuff.




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I see nothing wrong with keeping track of each scout's advancement with a spreadsheet. I remember using the TroopMaster software to create reports on what each boy needed to do to get to the next rank. I even handed these out to each scout so they knew.


Informing them on what they need to get to the next rank and asking them what their plans are to get these done is not pushing. Also, part of each Scoutmaster's Conference for advancement was to find out what the scout's plans were to achieve the next rank.


You can't get every scout to achieve the Eagle rank, and yet you want to give them every opportunity to try if that's what they really want. You don't want them looking back at the scouting years regretting what they didn't do. You want them satisfied in the fact that they got as far as they could and had fun trying.

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I liked my old Sm's approach. A gentle reminder that your b-day is coming, or a swift kick to the butt to drop you a nitch or two if you're being a smart aleck about "getting old" when the folks you were PL and ASPL for are gettign Eagle before you. Actually SM just made a comment about some folks following through on their goals and others just coasting. Got me back on track.

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It could be argued that I push, pull, cajole, and talk about goals with all of my Scouts. Downtime is oft filled with, "Let me see your Handbook - how are you doing?" This triggers a short SMC with the Scout on ideas for meeting the next round of requirements. When my Life Scouts are around, I ask them about their project and they talk about it with me, "I am thinking about two benefactors" or "I need to schedule some work days." Sometimes they have a barrier and we discuss how to manage getting past it. Sometimes they admit that they have done nothing in awhile.


Our Troop Eagle Advisor keeps a spreadsheet of all Scouts Life and above, their birthdate, and the current status of their Eagle Project (Benefactor selected, project approved, project finished, project write up, COH scheduled). He presents this write up at Committee meetings.


I have sat down with some Scouts and asked them when do they hope to earn Eagle, and then used that as a teaching moment to talk about working backwards from that point. This fits in with how I teach the calendaring aspects of Personal Management MB - the need to look forward to goals, and to then determine how to achieve them.


For my son, he certainly has been pushed a bit by me I admit. My pushing has been things like, "You get the password to World of Warcraft back AFTER you finish writing up your Eagle Project." How long he chooses to spend is under his control, and he worked through the project with his project advisor and his Eagle advisor. But I did regulary ask him as a weekend approached, "Have you talked to Mr. Advisor? Have you checked your email? What still needs to be done?"


I won't do things for the boys (mine included), but I WILL ask them what needs to be done.

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If we follow the program like we should ...


The members of a Board of Review should have the following objectives in mind:

To make sure the Scout has completed the requirements for the rank.

To see how good an experience the Scout is having in the unit.

To encourage the Scout to progress further.

Provide quality control on advancement and the program as a whole


So, if a Scout has not been advancing, slipping attendance, etc. it is completely appropriate to initiate a BOR with the Scout and encourage them to progress further (not just in advancement mind you) and find out about what kind of experience, good or bad, he is having within the troop.


It doesn't matter if we start throwing around pejoratives and call this nagging or pushing. It really is simple.


Learn the program. Execute the program.(This message has been edited by acco40)

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Barry says: " Adults know in their mind how to complete a plan, but they dont know how to teach boys those skills."


Yes, exactly - and most of us learned through trial and error, and/or by working along side others who helped guide us pretty explicitly through our first projects. Yet, we expect boys to "get it" somehow on their own.


I think this is a big part of why some boys stall out at Star and Life. They get that deer in the headlights look when you start asking them about their Eagle project plans, because they have no idea how to make or execute plans for something as seemingly enormous as that. One young man said to me a while back, "I don't think I'm the kind of person who could plan such a big project." He had no concept for how to approach this as a series of manageable tasks, rather than one monolithic (and scary) task. Thus, he figured that his inability to grapple with this must be a flaw in his personality or character. Nonsense!


This is a failing of an adult-led program. The boys don't know how to eat the elephant because we adults (whether scout leaders, parents, or both) have not taught them and probably have not given them the opportunities (or required them) to plan and execute projects of increasing scale, as they've moved through the program. Another reason we shouldn't be doing things "for" them, even if it is more expedient and less painful in the short term to do so.





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Two of the best scouts I ever knew, they were brothers, never made it past Star and Life, respectively. So many leaders openly questioned why neither of them got to Eagle, and why there was nothing that would cause them to budge when it came to advancement. It would have been so easy for them, two kids who were obviously brilliant, hard-working, high achievers at every single thing they did, leaders in school, sports, and the community...


Yet neither of them really cared about Eagle. Why? Because they wanted to camp and hike and canoe and have fun with their friends and not get bogged down in the advancement game. Would it have been hard for them to do? Nope. But that wasn't the point.


Not a lot of people really respected that, but seeing them in action, they needed Scouting as a vehicle for the adventures they wanted to do and the friends they wanted to be with. They didn't need Eagle or any rank to build their resume, or feel like they needed validation for being good people or good leaders, because they were the personification of both of those values. It just wasn't a priority. And it was refreshing to see two young men stand up for what THEY wanted out of Scouting, instead of what their leaders wanted for them, which in our troop was a common motivation for anything getting done.


I think those guys are the way I've molded my thinking about advancement. If a kid wants it, he'll get it. It's our job as adults to facilitate opportunities and provide mentorship to make it happen. Yet it's not our job to want it more than the kid wants it, or make him value or want it because we obviously want it in a disproportionate amount to his level of interest. There has to be a two-way street- what he as a youngster wants to get out of the program, and our recognition of those goals in what we do as leaders.

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As adults, we need to make sure the resources are available and present the opportunities for the Scouts in our units to advance. It is up to the Scouts to take advantage of the resources and opportunities. As OGE so aptly stated, the certificate will have the Scout's name on it, not ours.

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I am aware of never push never pull dont kick dont poke.

Just seeing kids go so far and then more less stop just kills me.

Im told that I care too much and I should step down from SM and let someone else do it.

Ok Im to give up my Boys to someone that doesnt care I DONT THINK SO.

Thanks for all your comments and help just wanted to see what everyone else thought about the subject




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