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seems like skirting the bare minimum

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This must be one of those flashbacks they warned us about in junior high health classes. 'Cause this is EXACTLY the situation I faced my first year as SM -- same attitude, the lack of participation, bogus POR, failure to follow through on compromise solutions offered by the troop. Our contention was he hand not met the POR or active participation requirement and were ultimately upheld by the CAC. But I bet I wasted 80 hours -- time I could have spent with boys who cared -- meeting, documenting meetings and emails, writing summaries for the CAC, etc.


Here's my advice: follow your conscience. What happens after that is no longer your problem.



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Every SM gets a chance to go through this. I've been down this road and that's why I so bluntly say that in the end he will get Eagle. Not EARN, or not BE an Eagle but get Eagle.

The problem always seems to be a boy not active for the last few years comes back to get Eagle for a resume stuffer. Under the old advancement rules it was hard to stop. Now the SM has a little more leverage.


You guys are doing a great job handling this. This is hard on everyone involved.

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Yah, GKlose, why don't yeh just turf it back to the SM at this point, eh?


I think that would be better. Just a quick note or a call sayin' that Mr. Cbowe is da SM, and yeh need to speak with him about meetin' the requirements. Once he signs off, then the Committee has a say on whether or not we agree and also will recommend you, but we do that after da SM makes his final decision.


One of da hardest things about teamwork and leadership is recognizin' there are times when yeh should do nothing. In this case I also think da SM should do nothin', and say that he's happy to talk to the boy after the third outing. That's just me, eh? I don't like to offer any encouragement for teenagers to whine. ;)


If yeh feel that yeh have to meet, at very least meet with the lad together. The SM should be takin' lead and you should be playin' "observer" to match the father's "observer."


Never, ever, ever go into a meetin' like that, though, without knownin' the outcome(s). You and the SM have to mind-melded on this one, eh? One voice. Yeh have to know together what yeh expect, whether and how much you'll bend, and who is playin' lead.


Anything else isn't fair to the boy. He won't understand or learn from mixed signals. He's already gettin' 'em from dad it would seem, so if the other adults in this drama also send mixed signals you'll leave him confused and miserable. Firm clarity is a kindness in these things.



(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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Frankly, I don't have to defend anyone else's actions. The biggest problems I saw there was that the scoutmaster used the conference to create a new requirement, chose not to work within any of the other options - scout spirit or position of responsibility - and used it as a way to punish a scout. If the scoutmaster had a discussion with the scout, talked about advancement and his scout skills, I would call that a scoutmaster conference. As for the CC signing off on it, another bag of beans.


His scouting skills? Don't really care. We don't retest requirements and for good reason. If you think he should use them in a greater capacity, that's up to the SM and youth leadership to figure out how. If he was a poor fit for the unit, again, that's something that should be discussed, but not as a form of punishment. I hear attitude a lot, but generally come to two things 1) these are teenagers, and teenagers are by and large moody and irritable and 2) attitude reflects how someone feels. If they feel disliked, they will be hostile, if they feel accepted, they'll be open. There are more factors of course, but generally when I find adults squaring off with youth my first reaction is to look long and hard at the adults to make sure that they are doing what is best for the boy.

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How are you punishing a youth by giving them proper recognition of their abilities?


IMHO, SP and his SM were finally according this boy his proper rank. That is not a punishment.


Making the boy do push-ups for every end-around his parents pulled ... that would be punishment.

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There have been some very undeserving boys earn eagle scout. Some of the Adult Troop leadership have tried to do some quality control others have simply rubber stamped it to get the scout out of the program.



Bottom line here is once the scout has the Rank of life and completed his project there is little the Troop can do to prevent him from getting Eagle....


He can appeal it to council then national.....To be honest, I have never heard of an Appeal getting turned down.


So all this banter is irrelevant.


Guy stand your ground, I applaud you for it, but the scout will appeal and receive his patch.

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Basement....yup, yup, yup.


I have seen some pretty creative end runs assisted by parents... questionable Den Chiefs, orchestrated patrol elections (where boys dad bribes entire patrol), multiple MB academies and parents registered as MBC for 30+ MB's. So we have boys who are great raw material who are advancing too fast for their own good. And I know some of them will just vanish off the face of the earth once they make Eagle.


Also got a boy barely 13 as SPL and will make Eagle soon. I think he will break our MB record. He is just on fire. But he is the exception to the rule.




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When we talk about "being deserving of Eagle" what are we really talking about here? Do you mean honor scouts? A scout can reach Eagle and never be a member of the Order of the Arrow, even though its "Scouting's National Honor Society." Do we mean the best of the best? If so, what do we do about developmentally disabled scouts, who put in a lot of effort, but will never have the "camping skills" that I have seen bemoaned in this thread?


I'm curious because I have yet to see a clear standard that can be applied to everyone. My biggest problem with this situation is that the standard isn't being applied to everyone, it's being applied to this youth only. Advancement is a means to an end and a method of the scouting program. Eagle may be the highest rank, but it is not the one BP thought most important, nor is it the one that national today believes to be the most important. I appreciate the obvious pride people have in reaching Eagle and seeing others reach it, but it's not the end all be all of scouting that it's being made to be.


Now, since it hasn't been quoted, here is the excerpted relevant secton to the GTA 2011:


1. The Scout is registered. The youth is registered in

his unit for at least the time period indicated in the

requirement, and he has indicated in some way,

through word or action, that he considers himself

a member. If a boy was supposed to have been

registered, but for whatever reason was not, discuss

with the local council registrar the possibility of

back-registering him.


I think all can agree that the scout here has met this. Though the troop may not see it that way, from everything I've read that sounds correct.


2. The Scout is in good standing. A Scout is considered

in good standing with his unit as long as he

has not been dismissed for disciplinary reasons.

He must also be in good standing with the local

council and the Boy Scouts of America. (In the

rare case he is not, communications will have

been delivered.)


I haven't heard anything discipline related thus far and it sounds like he is welcome at meetings. Check that one off.


3. The Scout meets the units reasonable expectations;

or, if not, a lesser level of activity is explained.

If, for the time period required, a Scout or qualifying

Venturer or Sea Scout meets those aspects of his

units pre-established expectations that refer to

a level of activity, then he is considered active

and the requirement is met. Time counted as

active need not be consecutive. A boy may

piece together any times he has been active

and still qualify.


Now let's talk about this first. The key phrase here is **pre-established.** These expectations must be made clear ahead of time and not just when the scout is going for Eagle. If the troop wants to make these standards, they need tomake them ahead of time and let everyone know what is expected. A good time to review this is during a scoutmaster conference and during the board of review.


Alternative to the third test if expectations are not met:

If a young man has fallen below his units activityoriented

expectations, then it must be due to other

positive endeavors in or out of Scoutingor to

noteworthy circumstances that have prevented a

higher level of participation (see below). In this case

a Scout is considered active if a board of review

can agree that Scouting values have already taken

hold and been exhibited. This might be evidenced,

for example, in how he lives his life and relates to

others in his community, at school, in his religious

life, or in Scouting. It is also acceptable to consider

and count positive activities outside Scouting

when they, too, contribute to his growth in character,

citizenship, or personal fitness. Remember; it is not

so much about what a Scout has done. It is about

what he is able to do and how he has grown.


Now let's review what is being said here. If a scout is busy doing other activities, it is important to consider them as well. What is important here is to assess how his growth has come along. The original poster seemed to come off as dismissive of the boys outside activities, but I haven't heard much discussion of what those activities entail. How involved with band is he? What kind of family outings is he going on? How is he doing outside of scouting? These are important questions to ask.


Separately, this section doesn't say this is a scoutmaster assessment. It says it is a board of review assessment. It's important not just to note what is being said, but who it is being said to.


There may be, of course, registered youth who appear

to have zero level of activity. Maybe they are out of the

country on an exchange program, or away at school.

Or maybe we just havent seen them and wonder if

theyve quit. To pass the first test above, a Scout must be

registered. But he must also have made it clear through

outright participation or by communicating in some way

that he still considers himself a member, even thoughfor

nowhe may not meet full expectations. A conscientious

leader might make a call and discover the boys intentions.


This section, I believe, really addresses the key to the poster's question. Now this is a gray area, which has a few points. You have to answer whether the expectations were set ahead of time, but if they were, the next question is how proactive has the boy been about communication. Another question is how much has been asked about the boy's Intentions? It's not required, but this sounds like what is going on. Maybe now is the time to really spend some time and get to the bottom of this?


In considering the third test, it is appropriate for units

to set reasonable expectations for attendance and

participation. Then it is simple: Those who meet them

are active. But those who do not must be given the

opportunity to qualify under the third-test alternative

above. To do so, they must first offer an acceptable

explanation. Certainly, there are medical, educational,

family, and other issues that for practical purposes

prevent higher levels of participation. These must be

considered. Would the Scout have been more active if

he could have been? If so, for purposes of advancement,

he is deemed active.


This is where I bring up the standard must be universal. If there is no expectation set ahead of time, it seems unreasonable to change it later on. In addition, there really needs to be some thought put into his explanations. If he really did have family obligations, that should be noted.


We must also recognize the many worthwhile

opportunities beyond Scouting. Taking advantage

of these opportunities and participating in them may

be used to explain why unit participation falls short.

Examples might include involvement in religious activities,

school, sports, or clubs that also develop character,

citizenship, or personal fitness. The additional learning

and growth experiences these provide can reinforce

the lessons of Scouting and also give young men the

opportunity to put them into practice in a different setting.

It is reasonable to accept that competition for a Scouts

time will become intense, especially as he grows older

and wants to take advantage of positive outside

opportunities. This can make full-time dedication to his

unit difficult to balance. A fair leader therefore, will

seek ways to empower a young man to plan his growth

opportunities both within and outside Scouting, and

consider them part of the overall positive life experience

for which the Boy Scouts of America is a driving force.

A board of review can accept an explanation if it can be

reasonably sure there have been sufficient influences in

the Scouts life that he is meeting our aims and can be

awarded the rank regardless of his current or most recent

level of activity in Scouting. The board members must

satisfy themselves that he presents himself, and behaves,

according to the expectations of the rank for which he

is a candidate. Simply put: Is he the sort of person who,

based on present behavior, will contribute to the Boy

Scouts of Americas mission? Note that it may be more

difficult, though not impossible, for a younger member to

pass through the third-test alternative than for one more

experienced in our lessons.


Just reiterating what has been said for before - this is a board of review question, it should take into consideration outside factors, and it has more to do with the development of the scout, rather than his showing up to meetings.

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Eagle732 -- thanks -- this really hits home:


GET Eagle.


BE an Eagle.


EARN Eagle.


Thank you for helping me have a moment of clarity :-).



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rismith: "My biggest problem with this situation is that the standard isn't being applied to everyone, it's being applied to this youth only."


This is one aspect I'll have to think about. There are a couple of similar cases in our troop that would feed into this, but I also think that if I told those stories, we could have all kinds of tangents open up, and complications added.


So in this particular case, this is the first time that Chris/CM and I/CC are running into this. It is a situation that started about a year ago, when the Scout first started to fill out his Eagle application.


We have another Scout (who turns 18 in December) who has kind of been in this same circumstance. That situation is developing. There was a different agreement (with him, it wasn't about participation in outings, it was more about his PoR) put in place. We have three older Life Scouts, two of which have approved project plans in place (I could spin off another thread on one of those, which would make an interesting debate). The third is, I think, giving up. Haven't seen him in a few months. He'd make an interesting story too, but maybe I'll save that for after he turns 18.


To my knowledge, we don't have any other Scouts in the pipeline where we see participation issues.


Offhand, and this would be a metric that it would take some time to pull together, I think we could figure out if every First Class and above Scout had at least one six-month period where he attended at least 3 outings (we've been pretty much offering at least 8 outings in every six month period). For all of the Eagle candidates mentioned above, would we find 3 outings in a six-month period, while being a Life Scout? Yes, we would. I know all these guys and can easily say yes.


But let me focus on one thing that Chris pointed out: this Scout has had exactly one overnight, and one day hike, with the troop in the last 3 years. For close to two of those years, we thought he had quit. I think the only other Scouts in the troop that dropped to that inactivity level in fact did quit.


When he "came back to rejoin the troop" (because he told us, via email, that he was going to consider his future participation in the troop, and also consider joining another troop), he had a conference with Chris and they talked about his remaining work to earn Eagle. That's when the agreement was made. So I would argue that a "reasonable expectation" of participation was made at that moment. We haven't run into any case like this since.


The way I feel about the comment that the standard isn't being applied to everyone is that I feel we have insufficient data. We're not deep enough into it. Are we setting a precedent? I'm not sure -- but I am hoping that we will be learning something from this situation, and can prevent it from happening again.


Would this be a good time to reiterate that I really do value all of these varying inputs? I am doing a constant gut check here, and I can thank all of you for helping.



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Hey Guy,


I would strongly urge you to set a high standard instead of a low precedent. Whatever you decide now will be used for even more excuses/aspirations down the road.


I am bemused at some of our more verbose forum members who invest so much of their time arguing for the lowest common denominator. I don't understand the motivation.


If you want to protect your boys from challenges, don't join scouting. Why try to bring scouting down to the level of book-club?



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The motivation is because I'm not quite sure this scout is "the lowest common denominator." I know what is in the guide to advancement, I know the aims and methods of scouting, and I want to make sure that they are followed for the benefit of scouts, rather than the pride of adults. In the end, if the boy doesn't get Eagle? I'm ok with that. If he hasn't done what is expected and it's kosher with the guide to advancement, I don't have a problem with it.

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"For close to two of those years, we thought he had quit. I think the only other Scouts in the troop that dropped to that inactivity level in fact did quit. "


Then you should have removed him from the roster instead of rechartering him in absentia for 2 years.


That's a problem. You're trying to address it after the fact, but that's much harder to do in any kind of non-controversial way. I don't think there's an elegant solution to be had, here, because so much has changed in the intervening couple of years (troop leadership - both boy and adult, troop program, troop expectations, national standards for "active," and of course the boy himself).


Still, as I've said before, you've got 5 months with this fellow before he turns 18. You can share with him how the troop has changed while he's been away, and why you think the troop is a much stronger one because of those changes. You can invite him to be part of that positive change by attending a few activities and reaching out to help out the younger guys who came after him. You can encourage him to be a man of his word and honorable reputation by living up to the side agreement he already made with the SM. But it needs to be clear WHY you want him to do this - not because you're trying to assert your authority, control his behavior, or make him jump through hoops, but for other, better, reasons. And he might still balk, which lands you right back at deciding whether he goes ahead over your objections or at least, without your signatures.


Or you can try to force him to do it because you want to compel him. You might ultimately even be able to do it - though I doubt it - but it seems unlikely that he'll learn what you want him to, from that approach. And I can't see where having an older boy who is disconnected from your current troop showing up under protest for your events is going to make for a great time, for anybody.


So what's it going to be:


1. Ask him to be a bigger man and be part of the solution to this problem? This means, acknowledge that part of this problem is of the troop's own making because you used to have much different/lower standards, and you never removed him from the troop roster even though he vanished on you for 2 years, and now you're trying to address the logical result of all of that by appealing to his sense of honor?


2. roll over and sign the paper?


3. dig in your heels and refuse to sign until he spends the requisite # of minutes (and not one less) in your presence?



You can probably tell, I'd try #1 if at all possible. But I can see that you might end up at #3, which to me is a lose-lose proposition in the bigger picture.


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Another tidbit from the GTA: Boards of Review Must Be Granted When

Requirements Are Met

A Scout cannot be denied this opportunity. When **he**

believes he has completed all the requirements, including

a Scoutmaster conference, it is up to the unit leader

and committee to assure a board of review is held.

Scoutmasters, for example, do not have authority to

expect a boy to request one, or to defer him, or to

ask him to perform beyond the requirements in order

to be granted one.

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Lisa -- I can't exactly recall the conversation we had with the Scout earlier this year, on his rejoining the troop, but I certainly would characterize it as #1, with some of those same words (we'd worked hard to rebuild the troop, it became vibrant again, with lots of new and interesting outings, etc). I think we did appeal to his sense of honor, and our desire to help him succeed at fully completing requirements (remember, at the time, several requirements were incomplete). Along with that discussion, of course, was the agreement.


So with those parameters, what if the Scout still falls short, with what appears to be minimal effort?


This is one of the struggles I have. Yes, black and white is easy. Requirements complete, sign the application. But minimal effort, to the point that some kind of value judgement takes over whether they are really complete or not?


That was a point that Chris made in his post at the top of pg 2. The Scout was asked for participation, a metric was placed on that, and he agreed. Reminded along the way, several times, of the expectation. Didn't do it. What now?


Chris isn't signing otherwise (so #2 isn't happening). He's already made that clear. From that alone, we'd have a dispute playing out at the district level.


I agree that #3 is lose-lose. But is #3 the only option after #1 has not worked?


I've seen rismith's response too -- I was reading that section of the G2A this morning, to familiarize myself with the appeal procedure.


Personally, I think the Scout has two options at this point:

a) go on the outings, get the signature, proceed to EBoR

b) start on the appeals process, by notifying the district of the disputed circumstances


I think the choice is clear. I think a) is win-win. Choice b) may or may not end in the Scout's favor.



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