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IM_Kathy

advancement boys vs. parent

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what do you do when a parent says that on this campout or summer camp they want their boy to finish T,2, or 1 rank... and then the boy has no interest in doing it?

 

most of the time we leave it up to the boys to come up and say I want to work on X, and then we set him up with an older scout to learn it or if he already has it then we have him demonstrate the skill. when a parent requests I will say hey Scout your parent mentioned that they'd want you to do X and if they say yes they'll do it then I do as we normally do, but we have a few scouts that say they don't want to or they will do it later and never do.

 

of course when we return and parent finds out the boy didn't do it the parent gets mad at the adults on the campout. I always say it was offered, but the scout didn't want to do it. You'd think this would get the parent to have a talk with the boy, but instead there are a few that stay mad at the adults.

 

so, any suggestions? are we doing it right? I mean you can't force a boy to do what they don't want to do.

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are we doing it right?

Yes

 

any suggestions?

Provide them with a list of neighboring troops where they can receive this level of "service", preferably those troops with reputations as eagle mills. Seriously, I would not want parents expressing anger towards volunteers in my unit, particularly over something over which the volunteers have no control. (This message has been edited by the blancmange)

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I'd just tell them "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." We had plenty of oppportunities for your child that he chose not to avail himselves of. This isn't school, and we won't force a Scout to do anything.

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are we doing it right?

 

Yes. At least, as far as the boys are concerned, I'd say that you've got it exactly right.

 

My suggestion would be with setting the expectations with the parents ahead of time. You don't want the parent to have the idea that you will try to help their boy finish the rank. When they suggest that they want their son to finish up, your immediate response could be "That's up to him. We can provide opportunities, but advancement is the Scout's responsibility."

 

You could also do some additional communication to the overall troop. Talk about advancement philosophy, how the advancement is more meaningful to the Scout if it's something that he works to get, the way that different boys advance at different rates. Show how some boys take a long time but still get to Eagle. You could also discuss how the boys are more likely to grow, mature, and stick with the program if they are doing tasks that they think are meaningful, and not just because the adults will give them a badge for it.

 

The more the Scoutmaster can to do share his vision of the troop with parents, the better the relationships are likely to be, and the more understanding the parents are of the way things are progressing.

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I would also add that the adult leaders will bust our butts to help a willing boy advance. We might even cajole an unwilling boy a bit. But we won't force it.

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You can't really force a scout, but you can trick them a little.

 

We encourage rank advancement in different ways. First, we have a really cool board with name "chits" which are hung in groups by rank. Everyone can see what rank you are, and when a scout completes a BOR (most often same night), they are called before the troop, presented with their rank patch and move their chit from one rank to the next. Patrols compete for Patrol of the Month, and rank advancement is rewarded handsomely. This does not fix the problem you have presented, but it does foster an environment in which scouts want to advance, rather than be left behind or not support one's patrol.

 

For the youngest scouts, the PLC thru the PLs work with scouts on advancement. But it is not pushed. Remember that Baden-Powell said that "Advancement's like a suntansomething that happens naturally while you're having fun in the out-of-doors." The PLC plans a program which provides first year (and all) scouts the exposure to all the elements of the T-2-1 skills at activities and campouts throughtout the year. When a scout is working on Tenderfoot, the PLs ask for books and sign off requirements as scouts show competency. For 2nd Class, this happens less, but scouts are reminded that they may have completed requirements but have not had them signed off. By the time they are working on 1st Class, it is expected that a scout pretty much expected to intitate the signing off of any requirements they still need. If scouts are not advanceing, the SM (me) and the ASMs will have a SMC with the scout in a very informal manner, sometimes without the scout even realizing it has taken place.

 

As for parents, I occasionally have to remind parents that advancement in Boy Scouts is the scout's responsibility, and that every scout will advance at his own pace. I also may show them the latest (dated) report I have printed (from Troopmaster) showing progress of all scouts, indicating that I am aware of their progress, or lack of it. I also remind them that Advancement is only one method of scouting, and that exposure to all the methods of scouting in balance is what makes good scouts. If a parent is persistent, I may tell them that as a scout, I was slow to advance, especially at the lower ranks. I took 10 months to make Tenderfoot; and yet, I completed all the Eagle requirements before my 15th birthday. Never has this not been enough for our parents.

 

Hope that helps.

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You are doing it right and stand firm. If the parents are upset, then they need to be informed how scouting works which is this in a nutshell: The SCOUT is responsible for all of his actions, including but not limited to advancement, PORs, attending activities and meetings. ( bold for emphasis not shouting)

 

Now one thing my troop did was keep a track of what things we were doing and how theycan be used for advancment. Best example of that would be me earning Motorboating MB and not realizing it. The ASM, who was also the MBC, created a fun and efficient way of teaching the material without us realizing it at the meetings. On the water campout, we played in his motorboat and had a blast. Little did we realize we earned that, and some also earned Waterskiing, or Skiing I don't remember as I didn't get up on the skis.

 

"Advancement should come a naturally as a tan....

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We have had this come up on several occasions (one with my dear wife and son's mother).

1. We make it clear that it if the boy expresses a desire to advance we snap to and help him.

2. If the boy is a great kid and could care less about advancement we let him have fun. If he accidently proves he learns something we may make him grab his book and get the SPL's signature.

3. If the boy does not want to contribute to the life of the troop, well he'll probably catch it from the SPL, but we'll tell the parent that we need to team up and help engage the boy -- not for the sake of advancement but because the kid's putting down a lot of (their) cash just to act surly.

 

Fortunately, my boy fell into category #2.

 

But, we've made it clear to everyone (advancement chair included) that in no way will the SM and ASM's heed a one-rank-advancement-per-year-per-boy goal. We insert the "horse-to-water" analogy. (Some of these folks have never led a horse anywhere so if anyone has a different one, please provide). If an adult sputters about that, I pull out the "I'm not gonna tarnish the value of my Eagle by browbeating someone to hike their trail faster."

 

That usually settles it.

 

I could pull out troop stats that show earlier T21 has not resulted in any more Eagles before 17, but people chalk that up as oh-so-much mumbo jumbo.

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I agree with Oak Tree.

It comes down to communication.

If a parent wants to browbeat their son? That's on them.

I've never seen my job as being to push Scouts into doing stuff that thy don't want to do.

In fact I have a very long list of things that while parents maybe might like seen done, I'm just not going to do.

By the time a Lad is of Scout age he should be able to decide a lot of things for himself and be able to manage his own parents.

Ea.

 

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This is a boy led and boy motivated program. If the scout wants to do it then he will. Maybe he was doing that mysterious thing that is hardly ever seen anymore: Having FUN.

 

Then again, you can always tell the parents that if they do not like the way you are providing the program, then they can fill out the OFFICIAL BSA COMPLAINT FROM. Form number 524-501A. Provide processing fees and training documentation.

 

 

 

 

Incase you are wondering: 524-501A is an Adult Application

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Oh, this is an easy one. First: when the parent is making his request of you, call his son over to take part in the conversation. This shouldn't take more than five minutes; let them do all the talking and reach their own consensus.

Second: Ask Dad what two days he is volunteering for at camp since you are short of experienced trainers, camp cooks, etc

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