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GKlose

seems like skirting the bare minimum

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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.

 

LOL! Yah, hmmmm.... drat. I just spilled coffee all over my lap.

 

Now the lad is owed an apology for expecting that he come to more than one event in da three years since he earned Life if he wants to be active?

 

You're too funny.

 

They probably should have told him at that point that he was not a member and was not bein' renewed on the charter.

 

Yah, yah, but I'll admit that you're entirely right, fred8033. Da far easier and fairer thing to do for everybody would have been to just shout "Yea! You're breathing! Here's your Eagle Award for College, now let's have a party!!" It would have taken less time and caused less distraction for da adults so that they could do a better job for the lads who actually want to be there. Tyin' up adult time and troop resources just isn't fair to them or the other kids.

 

Besides, who cares if in a few years the lad fails out of college for not actually goin' to class or loses his job for not actually comin' to work? It wasn't our responsibility to teach him habits of the heart like - things like yeh have to actually earn awards, degrees, and pay. Yeh came on da 5th, so yeh deserve the whole month's pay, right? When yeh weren't there, yeh always had a good excuse and some other worthy thing to do!

 

Scoutin' is the adult world brought down to boy size, so that lads can learn and practice how to be men.

 

Beavah

(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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Not really sure there's much left to thrash about here, but I did want to respond to one thing Guy wrote.

 

Are we being unfair to this Scout? I'm not sure.

 

I am sure. You are being fair to him. He came to you/Chris and asked what he needed to do to get the Troop's support for his Eagle application. You outlined a very reasonable set of goals. He agreed to them, and accomplished almost all of them. But he failed to accomplish the most important one.

 

Being active on outings is the most significant part of his "work" as it is the part most closely connected with citizenship. Like Kudu says, citizenship in Boy Scouts means being a citizen of your patrol and doing your share of the work and having your share of the fun in the micro-society it represents. Some of that can be done indoors at meetings, but the biggest part, the most relevant lessons are learned outdoors where the difference between good and bad planning, good and poor teamwork, are magnified by the adventure setting.

 

His troop used the advancement method correctly, as an incentive for the Scout to engage in activities that promote his growth and maturity. Unfortunately, the scout doesn't look at advancment as a method for growth, he just looks at is as a credential to help get him into the next credential program.

 

At some point, he will need to learn that no matter how many pieces of paper you have, you will be judged on how reliable other's feel you to be.

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I don't want to push this into argument territory, because Fred, I really do appreciate the reasoned responses you have added to this thread. But I will honestly admit that my first reaction, on seeing that an apology would be in order, provoked a fairly negative reaction in me. I decided not to respond right away.

 

But I just got to thinking, moments ago -- I think it would be far more important for us to first apologize to several Scouts that we delayed from Boards of Review, and to the ones we delayed, and who decided to leave the troop. We'd also have to apologize to the dad that shouted at us, when he thought we were singling out his Scout for special treatment. We'd have to apologize to the others, for doing their best to make it to outings, despite busy school and sports schedules (that includes both of my sons), especially if it really wasn't necessary for them to do it. We'd have to apologize to those we challenged, through agreements, to actually be active and be active in their PoRs. We'd have to apologize to one Scout, and his frustrated dad, who also agreed to similar "conditions", but seems to be making little progress (3 months to go), which is why his dad is so frustrated. And at this moment, I'm not sure who else. How about the Scout who hasn't held a PoR since becoming Star (3 years ago) -- all the while others had a title, but did nothing? He's about to age out, and has been overwhelmed (for at least a year) of the requirements he's facing.

 

So I don't know...I'll have to think about apologies. I'm very confused where fairness starts and where it ends. Maybe I'll see where the DAC/EBoR ends up first, then contemplate it.

 

Guy

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GKlose - Sorry, that's how I view it. It's wrong to judge whether a scout earns eagle based on a separate agreement instead of the BSA requirements. I know you mean well and that your doing good things with your troop. But good intentions and good people still make mistakes and do wrong. You used current expectations and policies that were put in place significantly after the scout had his life BOR. Those policies also weren't enforcable until starting Oct 2011, 29 months after the scouts life BOR. He needed six months active. That's it.

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Last night I just saw an vocal stand of boys get a yellow card and evicted from the end-zone because the goal keeper complained that she was being harassed.

 

No trial. No appeal. The ref just deciding that there was a teachable moment, and put a strike against the team.

 

Two more of those could have cost the team the game.

 

But complain to the conference that the ref was holding too high a standard of sportsmanship? Not a coach or player around that would dare ...

 

Reason #4 (I'll wager) why families choose sports over scouts: varsity athletes AND fans are held to high standards, a letter means something nowadays.

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GKlose, in no circumstances would you owe the Scout an apology. You have expressed exactly the right attitude in a previous post:

 

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.

 

That's all anyone could expect. In fact, some who have posted in this thread seem to be supporting a more "adversarial" attitude. But I think you are right on target. What you and the SM are doing is reasonable, meaning I think that the requirements could be interpreted the way you are interpreting them. If persons with the authority to overrule your decision decide to do just that, so be it. They may interpret the requirements differently than you did. It doesn't necessarily mean you were "wrong", and you have nothing to apologize for. (I have yet to hear a judge apologize to a litigant when the judge's decision has been reversed by a higher court. They probably grumble a little to themselves and maybe to their peers and spouse, and get on with the next thing. I don't think anyone would fault you if you did the same -- well, except for fred.)

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An active youth member is one who, with the approval of a parent or guardian if necessary, becomes a member of a unit; obligates himself or herself to attend the meetings regularly; fulfills a member's obligation to the unit; subscribes to the Scout Oath or the code of his or her respective program; and participates in an appropriate program based on a member's age, as promulgated from time to time by the Boy Scouts of America - Rules & Regulations of the BSA

 

"I agree to comply with the Charter and Bylaws, and the Rules and Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America" - BSA Adult Leader Application

 

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BE ACTIVE IN YOUR TROOP AND PATROL: To Gain Full Advantage of all that Scouting has to offer, you need to be present when things are happening. Take part in meetings, in planning activities, and in the fun of adventures. If you're there, you can do your part to make your patrol and troop a success. - The Boy Scout Handbook 2000 (in force in 2009), chapter on the requirements for Star, Life, and Eagle Rank

 

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Not so clear cut after all, eh fred8033? :) Providin' the above for yeh, GKlose, in case yeh want to include it in your bit to the DAC.

 

Then we have da actual text yeh refer to, which was only in one printing of ACP&P which came out after the lad had earned Life, not before. That was in a side box, not in the main text, and as we all know was roundly criticized at the time and repudiated by the next release of the document as the GTA. It actually said

 

3. Engaged by his unit leadership on a regular basis (informed of unit activities through Scoutmaster conference or personal contact, etc.)

 

Since the lad was almost wholly absent, he was not engaged by his unit leadership on a regular basis per that definition, and therefore not active. No SM conference. No regular personal contact.

 

So even if we play da game of straining at gnats in the wording, we have to ignore da Rules & Regulations, ignore the instructions the lad was given by the Boy Scout Handbook specifically with respect to the Star, Life, and Eagle "Active" requirement, and misinterpret da ACP&P language which was promptly rescinded by the BSA anyways.

 

I'm with qwazse, eh? If this is da sort of thing many folks are actually dealin' with, it's time to treat da SM's call like da sports referee's call, and simply not allow any appeals on Star, Life, or Eagle the way we eliminated appeals on T-2-1. Scouting is meant to be a game, not a courtroom.

 

Beavah

(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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Beavah - As always, justifying your own rogue interpretations by picking and choosing the generic to confuse and ignore the very specific. You confuse and ignore the specifics.

 

BSA also writes...

 

Charter & Bylaws, Article X, Section 1, Clause 5 - "The Boy Scout requirements for ranks shall be the basis for the Scouts advancement."

 

Charter & Bylaws, Article X, Section 1, Clause 6 - "Section 1. Boy Scout Advancement, clause 6. Ranks. There shall be the following ranks in Boy Scouting: Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, and Eagle. The requirements shall be those authorized by the Executive Board and set forth in the official Scouting publications. Eagle palms may also be awarded on the basis of requirements authorized by the Executive Board and set forth in the official Scouting publications."

 

Those official publications are BSA Pub 33088 GTA and BSA Pub 34765 Boy Scout Requirements. Don't have 34765 with me now. My version was older and put into troop library.

 

GTA 1.0.0.0 "The Guide to Advancement is the official source for administering advancement in all Boy Scouts of America programs: Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, Varsity Scouting, Venturing, and Sea Scouts."

 

GTA 4.2.3.1 Active Participation ... specifies how to interpret advancement.

http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/33088.pdf

 

ACPP page 24 (for before Oct 2011) "A scout will be considered "active in his unit if he is ..." http://scoutmaster.typepad.com/2008AdvancementGuideBook.pdf

 

Those are the specifics.

 

The Bylaws that you committed to follow even says BSA will publish and approve the specficis.

 

The scout was not "wholly absent" and ya don't punish scout for failure by the leaders. Heck, it sounds like the leaders did stay in contact. Not as much as ya want, but still some.

 

That's the clear cut answer. Advancement is meant to be fair and under the control of the scout, not the whim of the scoutmaster.

 

...

 

It's funny because as part of looking this up, I found a scouter.com forum thread in 2007 that pointed out it's been published that way by BSA since 2006. http://www.freewebs.com/activescout/activescout.htm Here's a funny quote from that thread that is still applicable today.

 

ScoutNut wrote: "This is great, but I don''t think this will really change much of anything. This has been on the National Web site for a while now and has been pointed out to those who do their own thing. They still did their own thing. ... The folks who do their own thing don''t read the Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures, or if they do read it, they don''t really care what it says because they will always find a way (any way) to justify doing things their way. "

 

And Beavah Beavah was right in the debate back in 2007 confusing and distracting the debate to justify leaders doing what they want instead of what BSA publishes.

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Ah, but we teach Citizenship in da BSA, eh?

 

When da Constitution says "The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation" that does not mean that da legislation on specifics can contradict the constitution, eh?

 

Any more than the a side-box in a program guidebook can contradict the Rules and Regulations.

 

But just in case someone like you is out there mis-readin' the things, there is additional text that the BSA actually publishes:

 

Education is the chief function of the Scouting movement and it shall be the basis of the advancement program. A fundamental principle of advancement shall be that the boy's progress is a natural outcome of his activities in his unit.

 

In Boy Scouting, recognition is gained through leadership in the troop, attending and participating in its activities, living the ideals of scouting, and proficiency in activities related to outdoor life, useful skills, and career exploration. - Rules and Regulations of the BSA

 

And for a final word, if yeh happen to feel there is a conflict anywhere in da BSA materials, explicit instruction is given for how to resolve the conflict:

 

All advancement procedures shall be administered under conditions that harmonize with the Aims and Purposes of the Boy Scouts of America - Rules and Regulations

 

So we are required to read and interpret all BSA advancement guidance in ways that teach character and citizenship. That is exactly what GKlose and cbowe are doin', eh? And they are exactly correct in doin' so.

 

Again, even congress fails sometimes at writin' laws which are constitutional. Da BSA ain't congress. It's just a small office in Texas that publishes youth program materials. If yeh are really expecting 'em to always be more consistent than da Code of Federal Regulations then yeh are always goin' to be disappointed. Yeh don't lawyer kids' program materials. Yeh read 'em and play with 'em and try to make 'em work.

 

But yep, I'll keep defendin' the BSA program when folks do nonsensical stuff like trying to lawyer da stuff in the worst way. I happen to believe in Scoutin', and I've seen how well it can work for kids, and I've seen where it can fail. What you're describin' epitomizes one of da ways it can fail.

 

Beavah

 

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Hey Fred,

 

I appologize that this post may seem personal. I really do not mean to offend.

 

But I am overwhelmed with curiousity about your motivation to argue for a ridiculously low standard.

 

Why no standards?

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"Why no standards?"

 

Read the requirements and the guide to advancement - those are the standards.

 

The real issue is that some of those standards can't be standardized. I know 2 different ways to tie a clove hitch - but the end result of either is a clove hitch. We can say that no matter which method I use, I can show that I've met the objective standard of tying a clove hitch.

 

Active and Scout Spirit? Too subjective to be standardized. What I accept as active or Scout Spirit is going to be different from what you accept - and unless National develops an objective standardized checklist, they will never be standardized. The BSA could solve the whole "active" issue by replacing the word active with registered - that would be an objective standard not open to interpretation - you're either registered or you aren't. But right now, active is defined just enough to leave a lot of wiggle room for individual interpretation.

 

Guy shared his unit's expectations for participation. It's going to be different from other units - there is no standardization. Unfortunately, I don't think Guy's unit's expectations are clear enough - I find them rather vague, with no really clear cut guidance. In fact, I could argue that the guidelines don't treat everyone equally and put unreasonable expecations on folks that are involved in after school activities. I read it as setting the expectation that if your coach expects you to give 50%, you're expected to give 50% to the Troop as well. If the band Director expects you to give 75%, you're expected to give the Troop 75% as well. The reason the BSA has included the guidance on counting outside activities is because high school students expected to give 75% or 100% to their team/activity are less able to give 75% to 100% to their Troops at the same time. Add to that, there really is no guidance for lads not in other activities - does it mean they can get by with 2% active participation? Does it mean they're required to give 100%. It's a nice statement of purpose, but it kind of falls flat, in my view, of setting out clear expectations.

 

I almost think we could solve all of this, and make life much easier for everyone, if we went back to the original method of earning Star, Life and Eagle Scout. No PORs, no time in rank, no service projects - just earn a number of Merit Badges, including specific required ones. Up the count of Merit Badges and list specific required badges for each rank. For instance, maybe you have to earn 8 Merit Badges for Star including 4 required: First Aid, Citizenship in the Community, Camping and Swimming, 10 additional for Life, including 5 required: Citizenship in the Nation, Hiking or Cycling, Personal Fitness, Lifesaving, and Environmental Science and 12 additional for Eagle Scout 6 required: Citizenship in the World, Personal Management, Family Life, Emergency Preparedness, Wilderness Survival, and Communications.

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B-dweller, I don't have a good answer for that question. We do an annual renewal every fall, for our recharter by the end of January (for an April 1 charter date). We didn't have a policy of dropping inactive Scouts in the past. If a parent does the renewal with us (and in this Scout's case, his older brother was in the process of earning Eagle, so he was renewing regardless) then we'd recharter him.

 

Our entire committee is new now -- so I imagine that Chris and I will talk about this, and then decide what to discuss at a committee meeting (in terms of revisiting policy).

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I dropped a teaser in another thread -- with regards to the situation outlined in this thread, the district advancement chair told me something unofficially about six weeks ago, based upon actions of the council advancement committee. I haven't felt comfortable relaying something unofficial, so I haven't followed up. I plan to, once I get official word.

 

To my knowledge, the DAC was the "fact finder" talking to the Scout (or his dad, I'm not sure), our SM, our prior SM and to me. He relayed that information to the CAC, and I would guess it was discussed at a council advancement committee meeting. The DAC did tell me that the CAC has run into similar appeals before.

 

Guy

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You have a difficult situation here, and have spent a mutch time pondering whether, or not, the technicalities will let you diapprove this application.

 

However, what I've not heard you talk about is the scout hinself. Has young man has learned the lessons behind the advancement proccess: Can this scout plan and lead a project, overcoming obsticles? Does this young man know how to build and motive a team leading them to a set goal? Does this scout demonstrate scout spirit, doing his best to live by the Scout Oath, Law, Motto, Slogan, and Outdoor Code? What kind of citizen is this scout; what kind of friend to his brother scouts? Can this would-be Eagle Scout walk the walk?

 

Yes, you could decline to sign the app, but that could also be appealed. What I would be asking is "should I approve this application, and if not what is my purpose?"

 

As a scoutmaster I've faced the same situation, and it looks like I will again. Honestly, letting things get this far, knowing these issues exist, should not happen. However, we live in the real world, and here we are. I can't tell you what you should do, but I will say, don't pass the buck, not to District, not to your COR, not to your DE.

 

Consider what scouting has done for this young man,consider what kind of scout he is, and what kind of man he is becoming, and do what you think is best. Also, we aware of the overall impact of what you do, the impact on the other scouts, charter org support, and your fellow leaders. This is no small thing, either way.

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