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pamaha

meeting attendance

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What is acceptable attendance on the part of a scout? Is there a BSA guideline? What about a scout who does not attend regular weekly meetings, does not assist in the ONLY yearly fund raising event and then signs up for merit badge college and is allowed to do so because the ASM in charge of camping is a friend of the scout's dad?

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Let me ask the question ofyou Pamaha. In your training and in your learning about the scouting program, what lead to you to belive that there is or should be a coorelation between unit fundraising and earning a merit badge?

 

In what part of your role as a someone who develops and nurtures positive values in young people were you instructed to use punishment to motivate a scout to participate.

 

Were you warned not to allow friendships between parents and leaders?

 

Rather than ask us to provide evidence that what you want to do isn't a part of scouting, what eveidence can you provide that it is?

 

Bob White

(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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B.W. -

Please reread our own reply about Pro-scouters having to determin who gets called back first... Can you see how this might relate?

 

Panaha,

I would say there is no min level but when the scout comes up for his next rank he'd have to answer the question when and how did he show scout spirit. There are many ways but he'd have to explaine how he did it.

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I guess I should have prefaced with "Our Troop Guide Book" (written many years ago by people who are no longer in the troop) states that since our troop only has one fund raiser per year, ALL scouts and families MUST participate in order to belong to the troop. Our guide book also states that a scout must notify his PL if he is going to be absent and any scout who has 2 unexcused absences shall be brought up for discussion at the PLC as to his interest in being a part of the troop. Perhaps our guide book is not in sync with BSA guidelines which is why I was asking. I realize there is no correlation between participating in a fund raiser and earning a merit badge, however, if our guide book is only to be followed by selected individuals, how is THAT in line with scouting principals? Maybe our guide book was not written in line with scouting policies and needs to be addressed and re-written. I don't think I have been in socuting as long as some of you guys, so bear with me, OK? Is it our guide book that is wrong or is it OK to have someone attend, literally, 3 meetings in the past year and consider him an active member? I know we never want to discourage anyone fom being in scouts, but aren't we trying to instill good values inthese young boys? Commitment? Dependability? Loyalty? Am I taking this too seriously or what?

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Pamaha, Bob White believes that no rules are needed in Scouting beyond whatever BSA sets, however, Bob lives in a town in New York called Utopia.

 

In my mind, as tiny as it may be, a troop may set its own standards for what is considered active in the troop. This really isn't out of line with BSA since they say that every troop or Charter Organization can decide who can join that troop.

 

Do you have some standards for being allowed to attend the merit badge college? If so, they need to be applied to everyone.

 

If the standards are in question, maybe they need to be reviewed by the PLC with some guidance from the SM.

 

 

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Before a shooting war breaks out here, I think we should relax a bit and get to this at a later time.

 

I'll respond in the morning. I feel I was personally attacked earlier on these forunms (not by any party so far involved in this thread,) but I need a break.

 

I think Pamaha asks a fair question and deserves a reasonable answere that I'm sure we can provide. I'm in the wrong state of mind to do so, but I'll be okay after a bit of sleep.

 

Others around the world can and probably will, post their answers and Pamaha and her Scouts will benefit.

 

Goodnight.

 

DS

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Hi again Pamaha. I too think it's a good question, that's why I wanted you to ask it of yourself first, because I was certain you already knew the answers.

 

Question "What about a scout who does not attend regular weekly meetings, does not assist in the ONLY yearly fund raising event and then signs up for merit badge college?"

 

Answer "I realize there is no correlation between participating in a fund raiser and earning a merit badge."

 

Question "What is acceptable attendance on the part of a scout? Is there a BSA guideline?"

 

Answer "Our guide book also states that a scout must notify his PL if he is going to be absent and any scout who has 2 unexcused absences shall be brought up for discussion at the PLC as to his interest in being a part of the troop. Perhaps our guide book is not in sync with BSA"

 

Pamaha, You know that using attendance as a means of blocking advancement is wrong, You have a pretty good idea that your troop rule book does not jive with scouting. You took the time to learn the rules in your troop guide book have you read the manuals for troop scouting? Have you looked for the answers in the Boy Scout Handbook, The Scoutmaster Handbook, The Advancement Committee Policies and procedures book. What did you find?

 

You are willing to turn to take the advice of total strangers, but have you turned to the official BSA resources yet?

 

It's not that I don't want to help, but I want you to know that the answers you ask are in in Basic Adult Leader Training and common BSA resources, and should be used first.

 

Rather than insist on participation we need to focus on delivering a program that scouts want to attend. Rather than look for ways to punish, we need to talk to scouts to find out why they are not attending and how we can do a better job to make scouting work for them individually. Scouting is delivered not in a group but one scout at a time. What do you know about the needs and characteristics that motivate this particular scout?

 

Some posters (one or two) will try to sidetrack this discussion to make this seem a personal attack, it is not, ignore them. The issue is not what anyone of us think the rules or the program should be. It's about what the program IS. You will find that in the resources and training of the BSA, not in manufactured troop rules or in the personal opinions of any forum.

 

Bob White(This message has been edited by Bob White)(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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I argue repeatedly about having "must" type rules in our troop. My comment is always the same, if you are going to make a "must" rule, it needs to have a consequence if the Scout does not do the "must" task. When confronted with this, most see the folly of their ways.

 

When a Scout does not attend troop meetings that may very well be a sign a bad troop meetings. This is an excellent opportunity to make the Scout and his parents aware that he has some responsibility to make his troop meetings a quality event. The troop meetings don't just happen, they need input from all of the boys communicated to the SM via the PLC. As for fund raising, again, if the troop has a "must" rule, it needs to have consequences if the "must" is not followed out or trash the rule.

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While I agree that poor meeting attendence could quite easily be a sign of a problem with the meetings or some other part of the program, that may not be the only answer. It is also possible that the Scout has little desire to participate in the Scouting program or does not wish to embrace the values of Scouting. Any of those, or even other things, are all possible.

 

Now unless I am mistaken the CO can set additional requirements for membership in a unit they sponsor. (I am uncertain if the CO could choose to delegate this authority to the unit or not.) If this is a properly established requirement for membership in the unit it should be either upheld in a reasonable way or changed, not ignored when convienient for some people. It would be reasonable to question who made the rule and under what authority they did so. Applying a rule to some people, but not others for no good reason is fundamentally unfair.

 

Now I happen to agree that the unit shouldn't be setting up arbitrary rules just to have its own little program seperate from the rest of BSA. I also agree that it is usually better to offer the carot rather than the stick to encourage some behaviour. The unit certainly shouldh't be adding anything to requirements set forth in the program that they are not specifically empowered to do.

 

This case does bring up some interesting side issues that I think are pertanent and are being missed. (I could be wrong. I also lack sufficient information to relate these points to this case in anything other than a hypothetical way.)

 

I would suggest that a key point that needs to be considered is the finance issue. Is the unit paying part of the costs of this merit badge college (or transportation to it, or any other related expense)? If so that changes the question quite a bit. Also, if the troop has any sort of system for rewarding good attendence that could come into play. In my troop the committee sometimes chooses to use troop funds to pay part of the expense for each Scout. Sometimes this is done regardless of funraiser participation, sometimes it is only done for those who chose to participate in a fundraiser. Even in cases where no per person supplement is made the unit often pays all adult leader related costs, as well as maintanence and other fixed costs related to vehicles and equipment. I don't really want to turn this into a discussion on finance, but it is somewhat relavant to the topic since fundraiser participation was mentioned.

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"When a Scout does not attend troop meetings that may very well be a sign a bad troop meetings."

 

So when 39 out of 40 Scouts show up regularly for meetings but the 40th only comes twice a year, that indicates that there is a problem with the meetings? Interesting logic.

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"So when 39 out of 40 Scouts show up regularly for meetings but the 40th only comes twice a year, that indicates that there is a problem with the meetings? Interesting logic."

 

I attended an Eagle Court of Honor last weekend. The minister, who was the guest speaker, told of how this was a bitter-sweet moment for him.

 

His family was made up of basketball players. His dad played pro ball, his siblings were all-stars at Michigan State, but he wanted to be a Boy Scout. He begged his parents to take him to join. He bought his own Handbook and started teaching himself the scout skills. He was anxious to join a troop and learn with other scouts. He finally got to join and one evening was on his way to his first troop meeting. As he walked past his family as they played basketball together they asked him if he really wanted to go to scouts. He assured him that this is what he wanted and not basketball.

 

He got to the school were they met and walked in the gym for the meeting ready to be a real scout.

 

What was the troop doing? Playing basketball. They played for the entire 45 minutes. When he asked the scoutmaster if this was normal, he was told that this is what the boys liked to do. The young man never went back.

 

Can 1 scout be right and 39 be wrong?

Absolutely!

 

Good scouting is about following the scouting program, not about doing what the majority belives is scouting.

 

Bob White

 

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Sorry Bob White, you don't let anyone else use exceptions to rules to make a point so your comments are invalid. Null. Void.

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The race may not always be won by the swift, nor the fight by the strong, but that how the smart money bets.

 

If poor attendance is a valid indication of a poor program, why isn't the reverse true?

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Pam - (please try to get past the asinine and childish wrangling that appears in the midst of far too many of these discussions) I think that your Troop Guidelines are going a little too deep into the particulars of operating the Troop - and has your PLC reviewed it lately BTW?

I'm inclined to think that we're able to stay closer to the original ideals with less formalized interpretation from a specific group. Granted some rules are necessary but remember who we're dealing with and what we're trying to accomplish

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WOW! I never realized my questions would bring about such a variety of answers, but I suppose each person has his/her own opinion.

Being farily new to this forum, I detect a bitter conflict between Fat Old Guy and Bob White, which may or may not be real. Sounds like B.W.'s take on scouting does not allow for opinions and that everything is "in the training or guide book". So why have these discussions? Perhaps I don't need to come to people (yes, total strangers) thinking they may be able to shed a clearer light on the picture since they are not in the midst of it. I'm not in this to "punish" any boy for not paticipating, just trying to set a clear guideline of what is fair for everyone. Other scouts have been made to supply documentation of another conflicting activity when they have had to "take some time out of the program" during a sports season they play in. This particular scout has had carte blance to do (or not) whatever he wants becsue no one wants to upset his dad who is a former SM of the troop. The boy himself has told the SM and ASM's that he would rather be home watching TV. I cannot believe that 39 are wrong and 1 is right...sorry Bob! Why does everyone jump to the conclusion that there "must be somerthing wrong woth the program" if a boy doesn't want to go? Are ALL boys cut out to participate in scouting? Remember, this is not an ideal world we live in and we have to keep those who DO continue to attend, becasue they LIKE the program, interested. Our meetings are 1-1/2 hours each week and the boys (at their PLC meetings) plan on some advancement work with younger scouts, some skill for all levels and then some sort of game or outside activity for each meeting. Anyway, i drift from my original question...since the boy doesn't want to be there anyway, why would you change the program to suit his desires, i.e. playing video games or watching TV when the others are happy with the program? Do we chase away 39 other boys so we can keep ONE happy and interersted? Is there an answer in the training book for this one?

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