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LanceEagle

How to define "activities" for Second Class and First Class

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I'm looking to find out if other Troops have specific criteria to determine what does, or what does not, constiute a valid "activity" for Second Class and First Class requirement 3a and 3 respectively (pasted below). The requirement seems very clear cut, yet this has become a contested issue within our Troop.

 

Do you count Troop service projects? Eagle service projects? Troop fundraisers? This has become somewhat of an issue within our Troop.

 

Second Class

3a.Since joining, have participated in five separate troop/patrol activities (other than troop/patrol meetings), two of which included camping overnight.

 

First Class

3. Since joining, have participated in ten separate troop/patrol activities (other than troop/patrol meetings), three of which included camping overnight. Demonstrate the principles of Leave No Trace on these outings.

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"Meetings" are held every Tuesday night

"Campouts" include sleeping under the stars or in a tent.

Everything else is an "activity."

 

Of course both campouts and activities count toward the requirement.

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Service projects, patrol hikes, Scout Sunday/Sabbath, camporees, campouts, etc.

 

On a practical level, though, this should not be an issue for an active unit. If you camp every month, a Scout who joins in March can have these knocked out by December. No biggie.

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We count anything that's not a "troop or patrol meeting": eagle and troop service projects, fundraisers, scout sunday, parade, pretty much anything scout related.

 

We read the requirement as a question of do you show up for things besides just the Wednesday night meetings.

 

I see this as a requirement that rewards enthusiasm at the early stages of a scout's career not something that acts as a high hurdle to advancement.

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Yah, I'll echo shortridge's comment, eh?

 

If this requirement is actually what is holdin' up a kid for rank, then yeh have to fix the rest of your advancement and outdoors program. There should be almost no practical way for a boy to have fulfilled the other requirements without havin' exceeded these requirements by a fair margin.

 

Once yeh get down to this sort of thing being a contested issue, yeh know that somethin' has gone off the rails. I'd encourage yeh to figure out how to take a big step back and wean everybody from the notion that advancement is the program, rather than lettin' anyone waste people's time by tryin' to lawyer out the definition of "activity."

 

Or, to put it another way, perhaps it isn't showin' good scout spirit for 2nd Class to argue with your Patrol Leader over what constitutes an "activity" ;)

 

Beavah

 

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If activities definitions and counts are a problem.....Maybe you should step back and look at your program because it is weak.

 

Last year we had 35 activities and so far this year we have had 12.......

 

 

 

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First, I show a boy where in the book he should list his activities. (Why it's not in the requirements page simply defies reason. So, I figure this is one case where I don't just give the kid the "There's this thing called an index line.") I encourage him to write down the one or two he's seen so far.

 

Second, I encourage PLs to only sign that one off if the activities are listed in the scout's own writing.

 

The point of this is in my opinion to teach the boy a basic discipline of reflecting on his scouting career - not to make sure his attendance is checked off and logged in some electronic administrative quagmire.

 

Here's one for y'all. Thanks to enthusiastic parents, boy's 10th activity is a council event that he attended on a weekend when the troop had nothing planned. If he put it down, I'd count it. What would you do?

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Here's what counted for adavancement back in the day.

 

Service projects

Patrol Hikes

Patrol Shopping

Troop fundraisers

Troop Hikes

Camp outs

COHs (usually not on the same nite as our meetings)

ECOHs

Scout Shows.

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We do not count anything that happens on the troop meeting night - even if we are doing something other than a "meeting".

 

But pretty much anything that happens on another day would count. The only exception are the monthly PLC meetings - which are "meetings".

 

We count service projects, Eagle projects, fundraisers, Scout Sunday, camping trips, day trips, patrol hikes, swim checks.

 

We don't count merit badge days because those are generally not a troop or patrol activity.

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Is it something the Troop or Patrol has done together that is not a meeting? Then it's an activity. If the patrol decides to get together as a pstrol on a Saturday morning to play frisbee golf? Patrol activity and it counts. Troop gets together on a Saturday morning to clean out the Troop trailer? Troop activity and it counts. Pretty much everything everyone has listed could and should be considered an activity. Activities don't always have to be outdoors, or advancement focused - sometimes - in fact most time - it should just be plain old fun.

 

Qwazse asks an interesting question though (and since I'm usually the first one to jump to the lads side on most every advancement question, I might make Beavah and a couple of others faint). A Scout attends a Council (or District) event on his own, not with the Troop or with his Patrol - and it's not part of the Troop's calendar. I don't believe I would accept it as an activity because the requirement isn't to attend 5 (or 10) Scouting activities - it's attend 5 (or 10) Troop/Patrol activities. Now if a lad was to ask if it would count before going to the activity, I might gather the PLC together for a 5 minute confab to see if they would add the activity to the Troop's calendar as an "optional" activity that a Scout would need to find his own way there, and if agreed upon, make sure that all the other Scouts are informed of the activity and let them know they have the option to go on their own, but if they were to approach me afterward, I'd ask if they had a good time and let them know that it's just not a Troop/Patrol activity but not to worry because we have activity X coming up in the next couple of weeks.

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We do not count a Council or District activity as done as an individual (for example a MB academy). I think the logic is anything that fosters "group spirit" over the individual. A half-way active scout should be able to bang this one out pretty easy in our Troop.

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Thanks to all, lots of great information and feedback.The contentious issue within our Troop is the fact that our SM is not willing to accept any service oriented activities for the purpose of advancment; that's about a third of all activities that we do. The scouts are participating just not getting credit for it because of the SM's view on this matter. What this boils down to is that, in most cases, only camping trips count for advancement, so for a. boy to earn Second Class he must have five overnight camping trips and similarly ten overnight camping trips for First Class. As a result of all of this, advancement within our Troop is very slow. To date, none of our scouts who just hit the one year mark (after crossing over Feb. 2011) have earned the rank of Tenderfoot. Of the boys who just hit the two year mark this month (crossed over Feb. 2010) none have advanced beyond Second Class; and to be clear the vast majority of these boys are active. Yes, there are most definitely weaknesses to our program that we are trying to address

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You're absolutely right there is a weakness in your program - that weakness is your Scoutmaster, who has made up his own rules, and a Committee, COR and Parents that are letting him get away with it instead of insisting he follow the program or be replaced.

 

It is unconscionable that you have lads that crossed over a year ago that have not earned Tenderfoot as a result of this guys "policy".

 

You can call in a Unit Commissioner to have a friendly chat with him to see if he can point this Scoutmaster back to true north, or you get the COR and Committee Chair to have a cup of coffee with him to make sure he follows BSA policies and procedures, and not his own. If he won't? Let him go.

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