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GKlose

seems like skirting the bare minimum

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Beavah wrote: "Almost makes me wonder if he's doin' it so that at he can stand up and say "this award is worthless, I was able to get it for doing nothing! Here, mom and dad. You wanted it, not me." Those do happen occasionally, more's the pity."

 

That's a perverse interpretation.

 

The more basic interpretation of the direct interpretation. It's called a disputed process because the two sides don't agree. In another words, I'd interpret it as someone who feels he's been wrong and now feels like he's standing up for himself.

 

As for the three outing agreement, sometimes people make agreements out of pressure or the quickness of the situation without thinking thru it. I'm just saying the scout probably does not feel as bound to the agreement because he might hold the opinion that he should never have been asked to make that commitment. I tend to hold that view myself.

 

Of course, this is all just supposition.

 

I agree the scout is rolling the dice and taking the harder path. But sometimes the harder path is the right path. That's for the scout to decide.

 

In any event, I'm glad this situation is being used as an opportunity for reflection.

 

...

 

Did you have the troop policies written, approved and communicated in 2009 and 2010 when the clock was ticking on the scout's "active" requirement?

 

 

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The Scout made the agreement under duress therefore the contract is null and void.

Sorry, I'm just practicing to be a Scout Lawyering Merit Badge counselor (or is it councilor?) ;)

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Fred, this hurts to admit, but last year, we had another Eagle who fits that mold exactly. All along, it was pretty clear that he wasn't interested and put in minimal effort. I received email from him that really sounded like his mom had written them.

 

This Scout, and his natural buddy, in the "old days" of the troop pretty much scammed their way through a PoR. Just after I joined the committee, sitting on a board for one or the other of them, I saw that his PoR was listed as Assistant PL. I asked the other board members about that, and I was told "oh, well he was kind of like acting PL". Later on, the other one came due for a Board, and he sailed through too. When I asked about it, I was told that they co-led the patrol. So earning Star and Life, they both received credit for being PLs (in non-functional patrols no less). It was in this sort of advancement environment that Chris and I stepped into, and when he volunteered as Advancement Chair, he started to make corrections in our advancement policy.

 

Which leads up to their last six months before turning 18. Both were handed PoRs, and knowing that they wouldn't be putting all that much effort into it, the PoRs were kind of non-challenging, but fit their schedules. One stepped up. The other, well he didn't. He wasn't even skirting the line, he just wasn't doing it. With about 3 months to go, I talked to Chris about it. This was just before he became SM.

 

Chris washed his hands of it. He told the SM that it was his mess and he'd have to take care of it himself. The SM took the easy way out and signed (rather than disappoint the mom, I guess). Even at the CoH, it was kind of like mom's show.

 

The other Scout -- well, at least he tried. He got the signature. Did the EBoR, and then he disappeared. Didn't want the ECoH.

 

I really do appreciate the constructive criticism that everyone is providing, but there is some expediency involved here. I can't always give the full story of the state this troop was in, and how difficult it has been to try and improve standards.

 

I've said all along, it is near impossible to improve standards in a troop (such as what, actually following rank requirements?) without actually improving the standards. We got a lot of flack along the way, sometimes being accused of singling out a particular Scout, when in fact I think we've been pretty fair at equal treatment across the board. There comes a time where, yes, you really do have to expect more out of an individual (or a lot of individuals).

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Hey GKlose, I really appreciate the openness with which you are discussing a difficult issue that your troop is facing. One of the things I like about this forum is that we learn from each other's experiences, which only happens when we share those experiences.

 

That said, you mentioned in a post (bottom of pg. 6 I think) something about sharing more data on the scout's participation, attendance, etc, if people here ask for it. I don't think you should go much further down that road. Much as I appreciate hearing more on the story, the scout has a right to some privacy, too.

 

 

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Yah, hmmmm....

 

Well, GKlose, that set of troop expectations seems pretty doggone clear, and yeh seem to have followed it to the letter. To my mind, your position should be supported at the district, council, and national level accordin' to the current guidance.

 

Now, let me just say that what yeh describe is almost always the way this stuff plays when a troop is tryin' to "up" its expectations, eh? For the lads and the families who perhaps chose the troop because it was an Eagle Mill, and who certainly spent their formative years in boy scouting in a troop that was an Eagle Mill, it can be hard to readjust when they run into a tightening of da process. This causes a lot of ill will when a district does it by denying Eagle (essentially tellin' the SM that his program stinks). And, as you're experiencing, it can cause some grief with the older lads when it happens in-troop.

 

Honestly, the same thing happens when a troop does other sorts of things, like tryin' to rein in a bullying culture among da older boys. Those lads grew up in a troop where bullyin' was the norm and was how yeh gained status, and now you're changin' da rules on 'em. Doesn't mean that yeh shouldn't change da troop culture, just means that you're bound to get resistance. I always tell folks that in such cases yeh almost always need to leave one body on the floor (metaphorically speakin'). Yeh have to pull the trigger on one boy to convince all the others that yeh mean what yeh say, and that things are goin' to be different. Because they never have been before, right? Folks always would talk about how bullying was bad or Eagles were great, but it was never really true, eh? :p

 

Beavah

 

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I agree with Lisa. Maybe we still don't have every single fact relevant to this Scout, but we have enough. Someone who was really determined to do so could probably figure out what troop you are in and who this Scout is based on the information you have already been provided. Remember that under the Guide to Advancement, all of the letters, emails and whatever that go to council/district are supposed to be destroyed after the entire process is complete -- but postings on the Internet are "forever."

 

At this point, it's probably best to let the situation play out and see how it goes -- and I do hope you will keep us posted on the process, but I think we have already seen and heard enough of the "evidence."

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I hate to throw a curve ball in here, but has the Scout actually completed the six months in his POR? I seem to recall one of the earlier posts in the thread saying he was in the process of fulfilling the POR, but I got the impression he had not completed the time. I ask because, if he is asking for signatures on his Eagle application, he must have filled it out, including the part where you have to list the dates of your POR's as well as the date of your Life BOR, and if there aren't six months of POR's after that date, the Scout has yet another problem.

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GKlose wrote: "I've said all along, it is near impossible to improve standards in a troop (...) without actually improving the standards."

 

Hard to argue against improving standards. Just don't confuse it with re-writing history. That's really the issue here. Two leaders are trying to improve things are still stuck recognizing scout advancement that was mostly done under the previous leaders who they view as having a less than stellar program.

 

It's not fun putting your name on the paper, but that's really the fair thing to do. We don't penalize scouts for the failures of previous leaders.

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GKlose wrote: "I've said all along, it is near impossible to improve standards in a troop (...) without actually improving the standards."

 

Hard to argue against improving standards. Just don't confuse it with re-writing history. That's really the issue here. Two leaders are trying to improve things are still stuck recognizing scout advancement that was mostly done under the previous leaders who they view as having a less than stellar program.

 

It's not fun putting your name on the paper, but that's really the fair thing to do. We don't penalize scouts for the failures of previous leaders.

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Nor do we give lads awards that they haven't earned. A Life Scout who never shows up is not a failure of da leaders. We might wish that the leaders had succeeded in our mission of teachin' character to the lad earlier on, or had somehow gotten inside the lad's head to say or do exactly the right thing so as to turn him around.

 

But just because a leader doesn't succeed with every boy does not mean that the leader is a failure.

 

Otherwise I reckon we're all failures for every lad who doesn't make it all the way to Eagle.

 

Beavah

 

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Fred, I appreciate what you're saying (and I am resisting the urge to post something in the other thread -- I have a thread here, so I see no need for a possible hijack of the other one -- I'll read it, and pay attention to the responses).

 

But I think that you are seeing this situation a little differently than Chris and I. We did have some "transition Scouts" that completed advancement under the previous administration. A story I told yesterday, just about this followup, is about a Scout who didn't even do a bare minimum. He gave up, and the previous SM still signed.

 

But this Scout. He had a Life BoR in May '09 (a correction from when I first started this thread). His next, and only outing, was August '09. After that, no sign of him. No meetings, no outings, no service projects, etc. If I read your point of view correctly, then you are considering him as 6 months active as of November '09.

 

Yes, granted a lot of stuff happened in between, including a change in advancement policy, not only on the national level but with our troop.

 

Chris' point of view, which I am choosing to support, points back to a discussion that the Scout had with him in January of this year. "What do I still need to do?" The answer was 5 more merit badges, a project, a position of responsibility, and be active with the troop (attend as many meetings as you are able, and attend half of our outings, over a six month period -- that turns into a metric of 3 outings, even though we had some 10 or 11 outings in that time period, two service projects, and a couple of Eagle projects). The Scout agreed. Probably would have been the best time to negotiate.

 

He fulfilled most of the agreement -- that is not in dispute [side note: NJCubScouter, the PoR is not in dispute, let's just leave it at that]. He did attend troop meetings, several of them, and he was reminded monthly that he still needed to show up on outings.

 

I do understand your point of view, and I fully realize that the DAC and the EBoR might view this case differently, and I am fine with that. I am not trying to sink this Scout, and if he advances to the EBoR, and passes, I will be happy for him. I will congratulate him. With this history, I am guessing that he will opt out of an ECoH with the troop. I will support him if he decides otherwise.

 

I have many concerns that I feel must be kept in balance. I have to support Chris -- he and I have come a long way in 3 years, and we have many more years to work together. I have to support fair policy for all Scouts in the troop, and see that it is applied equally. I also have to follow national advancement rules. We reach gray areas when we talk about old policy versus new policy, and I have to reconcile those too.

 

Are we being unfair to this Scout? I'm not sure. Would we be unfair to all other Scouts if we went ahead and signed? I'm not sure of that either. Unfair to all Eagles? I don't want to even try and comprehend that one. I've enjoyed the various responses in this thread. Many respondents are very clear about what they think in this case.

 

Guy

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Beavah - The failure being refered to was the past weakly administered troop program and no expectations for active.

 

The question on the table really is "did this scout fullfil the active requirement?"

Life BOR on May 2009.

Attended an outing in August 2009. Atended another in 2012.

Three years registered and in good standing since Life BOR.

Seven years (probably) actually registered and in good standing since joining the troop.

BSA ACPP defined active as #1 registered, #2 not dismissed from troop and #3 leaders in contact with the scout.

In 2009, troop had no published policy on being "active".

In 2009, BSA did not accept troop policies to establish "active".

Scout only needed six months of last three years.

 

 

I don't even know why this is being discussed. It sounds more like two very good, but frustrated leaders dealing with a mess caused by a past weak troop program.

 

I don't even see where this is even debatable.

 

 

Completed his eagle project.

 

That itself requires significant activity, leadership and service.

Eagle projects ARE unit activities. Always have been.

So he completed an eagle project (unit activity, significant scope, leadership, service), but was not "active" enough ? Really?

 

Completed his POR requirement.

 

How do you complete a POR but not be "active"?

Scout was under scruity to meet minimum POR expectations.

So he met POR expectations without being "active"?

 

Completed the remaining merit badges.

 

Needed SM signature to start

Had to work with MBC(s).

Had to spend signficant time to complete them.

 

Fulfilled BSA's active definition.

 

ACPP - (May 2009 - Sep 2011) - Fulfilled by being registered and not dismissed. He was registered for three years in the troop, was at some meetings and did at least two camp outs in that time.

GTA - (Oct 2011 - current) - Fulfilled by having outside activities. Doesn't matter if he could have participated more during his less busy times. He could have slept less too. The point is he had GTA qualifying outside activities too.

For Star, Life and Eagle, there has never been a BSA requirement to camp or go on outings. Your troop may have one and it could be marginally enforced from Oct 2011 to current. I say "marginally" because then you get into the outside activity debate with the scout and, I hope, the margin of doubt favors the scout.

 

 

 

I'm glad the unit leaders are willing to congratulate the scout if he earns it. I hope they are willing to offer him an apology too. The simple fact is the troop should not have asked him to enter into this "agreement" earlier into the year.

 

The scout is fully justified pursuing a disputed EBOR. I wish him the best.

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