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First Class in 5 months

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That is the challenge of recuriting new scouts, you get what you get. Once they crossover, failure is the troops responsibility, not the pack.


Yah, I agree with Eagledad here, eh?


Da fact that the troop couldn't adapt suggests to me an adult-run "curriculum" rather than a youth-run scout troop. That's one of da traps of New Scout Patrols, eh?


Da kids playin' the game of Scouting can adapt fairly quickly. Yeh suddenly have a chance to really up the fun and challenge of outings, since yeh don't have to worry about the basics. It's usually the adults who don't have da skills/fitness/mental elasticity to go along with really uppin' da adventure and challenge of outings when such an opportunity presents itself.


I'm struck by the close mindedness of letting a scout work towards a worthy goal.


I think perhaps da question is whether such an approach is really "worthy." Workin' toward First Class and doin' it well is worthy. Workin' on da skills for First Class to serve others and help your patrol is even more worthy. When yeh add in the timeline race, it creates a tension between doin' it well and doin' it fast, and a tension between doin' it for and with others and doin' it for yourself.


For advancement to fit with da other methods, especially patrol method and Scout Spirit, it can't be a solo activity, eh? It can't be "I want this". It has to be part of the rest of the program. Part of outdoorsmanship, part of youth leadership and followership, part of workin' with others in a patrol and a life of service. It has to be "I want to be my best, with and for the group".


Now, would I tell the lad "No?". Of course not. There's no learning from that, other than learnin' the adult is in the way.


Would the lad make First Class in 5 months? I've never seen it, because I'd expect a Scoutmaster workin' with the boy to use some of TwoCubDad's tricks, but more because I'd expect the SM to demand proficiency from such an enthusiastic lad, and bein' proficient in those skills is more than a 5-month endeavor. Bright lads should be challenged to do things better than average in any event, and I've never seen a bright lad turn away from such a challenge.


In the end, though, even if because of previous skill and hard work on the requirements the lad plowed through it all, ignorin' all the hints and suggestions and advice the SM gave along the way and avoidin' the challenge to demonstrate higher levels of skill, I'd hope the Scoutmaster would sit with the lad at his conference and talk about the Oath and Law and Scout Spirit. He'd doodle up a map of the lad's time over the past 5 months, and he'd point out how much of the lad's time was spent on himself and his own goals, and how much of his time was spent on making his patrol run, and helping/leading others in their advancement, and all da other things that are Methods and show character. He'd ask the lad who he respected more, someone who spent all of his time seekin' awards for himself, or someone who spent most of his time workin' to help others and make the group better. He'd talk about how those who have more talent are expected to do their best, which means settin' their own personal standards high so as to challenge themselves.


Together, they'd decide that he hadn't yet met da requirements for Scout Spirit, and they'd come up with a plan over the next 5 months to do that. After all, that's the lesson he needs to learn to be successful in a POR for Star, and to be successful in life.


Let the howlin' begin. ;)




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Shucks, if a particular Scout or Scouts want to set a goal of rapid advancement, that's certainly fine.


I just think it unlikely that a group of Scouts are likely to pursue such a goal without an adult setting that as a goal and facilitating achievement of the goal.


Self motivation is fine and to be encouraged. Pushing boys along to First Class in a hurry by adult leaders seems like misplaced effort to me.

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Yes, maybe Im just going a little over the top, I am sure we all pretty much agree on adult motivated aggressive programs. Im very confident that Twocub is an outstanding SM because he gave an impressive list of approaches to guiding a scout to broader program. However, the challenge is how to say No to the adults without saying the N word.


It is a common problem with scouts whose parents are pushing their sons to Eagle. But the aggressive parent for first class seems like an every year problem for new scouts going to summer camp. Its enough of a problem that we warned first year parents early that their scouts are restricted to only three MBs with swimming and canoeing being two of them. The reality is scouts can earn as much as they want, but we try to give them room to find out if MBs is what they want to do at summer camp. Or even pass all the requirements to first class.


Some parents are quite passionate about their sons advancement. A few require special attention in explaining why we arent in as much of a hurry. I can think of two Life Scouts who asked me to speak to their parents about slowing down their Eagle time table. These were those go out for coffee kind of conversations and I certainly dont take sides, but instead try to listen to both sides. But when you get to that level of conversation, those parents usually don't just jump up and agree. I learned that one star generals do not like those kinds of converstations.


Some parents will see the SM as the problem. The parents of two scouts changed troops. Another mother didnt force her older son to leave only because her younger loved our troop, but she sure wanted to. Older son never got Eagle but younger son was one of those scouts that age 16 was the SPL, Venture Crew Leader, Eagled, and planned a one week backing trip for a crew of ten. Mom has never forgiven me about older son and hasn't spoken to me in years.


So it can be a challenge. I asked Troop scouters to remove the obstacles that can hold a scout back, but I tried to explain to all visiting parents how the advancement part of our program fit in the over objective of building men of character and leaders of integrity. I got better at this scouting stuff, but there is always that one parent that requires learning a new skill.




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Cross-arguing hypotheticals again. In the little assumed world on my side of the computer screen, those responses to the Scout were just the ones in which I try to redirect him from his 5 month First Class obsession. In my assumed world, there were probably more times when the boy charged ahead on his advancement quest. I want to slow him down, not shut him down.


And if you read closely, I did say yes in about half the cases. Yes to playing with the fly rod, yes to going on the hike, yes to building the survival shelter, etc. There are more things to say yes to than just burning through another requirement.


But you're smack-on that the problem here is often the adult/parents. Our troop doesn't think earning First Class in 5 months is a reasonable goal. At some level I would expect the parents to get on board with our program and help us guide their son to a more reasonable approach to advancement or help him find a troop which better fits their expectations.


As to the Webelos program, you're right about that, too, in that the troo needs to take the approach that they need to do all they can to accommodate the Scouts. But in the final analysis, when you step back and look at how the overall program is being implemented, you have to look hard at the WDL. A Web program like that could be great if the WDL is working closely with the troop. I still say it is irresponsible if all the WDL does is send the boys off into different troops not knowing what their programs.(This message has been edited by Twocubdad)

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those go out for coffee kind of conversations and I certainly dont take sides, but instead try to listen to both sides. But when you get to that level of conversation, those parents usually don't just jump up and agree.


In this case, I prefer the get-yourself-invited-for-dinner kind of conversations. In my consulting business, I charge more if I'm more likely to be ignored.

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