Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
pamaha

meeting attendance

Recommended Posts

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

 

Excellent point! And is attendance a valid meter to judge the quality of the program by?

 

Ed Mori

1 Peter 4:10

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Try to hang in there Pamaha, at times this forum appears to take pride in its myriad of complex and diverse opinions. And doesnt mind taking shots at each other well.

 

As far as scout meeting attendance, I am against using attendance as a meter of a scouts interest in scouting or as a measure of how much scouting spirit a boy has.

 

Now, in order to advance to First Class the boy HAS to attend some meetings and events to perform and have requirements signed off. To get to Star, Life and Eagle, the scout has to earn the required merit badges, serve in a posiiton of responsibility, (BTW, not only serve, but adequately serve as well, but thats another thread altogether) and live the scout oath and law, etc.

 

There may be a scout who is very active, is a scout as well as football player or a bandmember, then wrestles in the winter and plays baseball in the spring. He is in line for a full athletic scholarship to a division I school and loves being a boy scout. Now, he doesnt make many meetings because of his schedule, not due to a lack in the program, but he still works with the troop. Maybe he is a Quartermaster, and during the week he maintains the equipment, assures its all in working order and keeps track of who took what home to clean. He might not make many outings, but the troops equipment is cared for, accounted for, and always in its place, because this scout makes sure of it.

 

He maybe is an Assistant Senior Patrol Leader, he doesnt make many PLC meetings, but after the PLC meets, the Senior Patrol Leader emails him the meeting schedule with topics and our scout schedules all the instructors and outside speakers and confirms the attendance of those scheduled prior to the meetings and gets replacements if needed.

 

Attendance is only a part of the overall picture of a scouts committment to scouting. Would I love 100% attendance? Certainly, would I accept much less than that from a scout who is a valuable asset to the troop through his time spent at non-meeting activities, yes again.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BW will likely disagree, but I don't recall seeing, hearing, or reading anything in the adult leader training one way or another about units setting attendance requirements. If I am wrong, I would honestly appreciate a citation of a specific source.

 

In my mind units have the authority to set participation requirements, and these should be established by the PLC, subject to concurrence by the committee, just as the committee has to approve other program elements planned by the PLC. I also believe that it is best that these be written down somewhere and distributed to scouts and parents so everyone knows what the expectations are. It may be pamaha, that your particular guidelines or rules, whatever you want to call them, need review and updating, but I think you have the authority to do this. BSA does not have any national guidelines of which I am aware.

 

In my mind the foundation for setting participation standards rests in the rank requirements for Star, Life, and Eagle. The requirements for lower ranks do not have this kind of language, but do have other specific participation requirements. The key language, taken from the Star requirements are:

 

Requirement 1: "Be active in your troop and patrol for at least four months as a Star Scout."

 

Requirement 5: "While a First Class Scout, serve actively for four months in one or more of the following positions of responsibility...."

 

Similar language is used for both Life and Eagle, although the minimum term is six months.

 

I think we can all agree that being "active" entails more than just being registered as a member. If this is so, the unit has to supply a workable definition of "active" that is both fair and that meets its program needs. In particular, "active" execution of a tour of duty in a key leadership position is often critical to the success of the troop/patrol. For example, boys who expect to get credit for just being elected to a patrol leader position and never showing up or doing anything are doing themselves and all the other scouts a disservice. Yet, how can "active" service be fairly judged without some clearly established expectations?

 

Poor attendance at meetings and outings may indeed be a sign of a program that the boys do not find interesting or fun. This does not negate the authority of the troop to establish expectations for participation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

pamaha

Put on your thick skin before you read this one! I do this to make you think about some of the rules.

 

ALL scouts and families MUST participate in order to belong to the troop

So a scout cannot do the fundraiser this year, death in the family, hes out, or do you have a list of excused non fundraisers excuses also!

See the problem with a MUST rule?

My sons troops ask for a donation if a scout does not participate in the fundraiser. But it is not enforced, because we do not know whats going on with the scouts family life, at all times.

 

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.

WOW 2 whole absences in seven years, so in this case the guide book would also have to spell out what are unexcused absences? Think you could possibly list them all? Do you think the scouts are having fun, coming up with excused absences reasons?

 

Is it OK to have someone attend, literally, 3 meetings in the past year and consider him an active member?

YES, I am assuming ;) that the SM is sitting down with this scout and finding out why. If he says I have done it all, a good SM will come up with a job for this scout to keep him from being bored; bluntly the SM is removing excuses.

 

When you build in rules, it becomes a monster that keeps growing to cover all of the exceptions! Use common sense! The SM should be talking with the scouts one on one, to make sure that all is well. Not all scouts have the same needs.

 

Hang around, you will learn alot, like which posters to ignore and which ones to listen to! I am one to ignore, OK!

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"See the problem with a MUST rule?"

 

A Scout MUST earn certain merit badges to advance to Star, Life or Eagle. Maybe we should allow slippage in this requirement. "You have 19 merit badges but you had an essay to write for English Lit so we won't worry about those last two."

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Did you find some wiggle room in that one? I am sure you can bend the rules if you want, I would rather follow them, or try to get them changed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FOG, you make a great point!

 

There have to be rules, guidelines, laws, edicts, tenets, etc. to keep things fair for all invovlved. As a national program, the Eagle Rank stands for something. People look at Eagle Scouts and know these are young men who accomplished something not many do. The naitonal rules are there to be sure those in Maine follow the same requirements as in Florida who follow the same requirements with Matua Warrior. Its the integrity of the program that makes the Eagle Scout rank what it is, a recognition of a special individual.

 

Now, nowhere in the Naitonal literature does it mention anything about an attendance requirement, so some assume since there isn't any attendance mentioned, then it's ok for the Troop to set an attendance policy. I say no, there is no attendance policy on a Naitonal Level because none should exist. There are requirements for number of merit badges so I cant say in my troop its 15 for Eagle, and some one else can say, I want real men, you have to get 30 in my troop. Its says you must serve 6 months in a position of responsibility so I cant say, hey, 3 months is long enough and another one says, I only want committed scouts, 18 months is what they need in my troop for Eagle. The rules are there for consistancy, if there was suposed to be an attendance requirement there would be.

 

Ok, some posters will say, the heck with you OGE, we/I want an attendance policy and you and your pointy headed friend can't do anything about it. And you would be correct.

But to the unconvinced out there, consider this.

 

Lets say Troop A requires 50 percent attendnace at troop meetings a year to stay a member.

 

And Troop B requires 75 percent attendnace at troop meetings a year to stay a member.

 

Now, consider Troop A meets every week through the year with only 4 meetings off. so the scout must attend 24 meetings. Troop B on the other hand only meets once a month with patrol meeting in between troop meetings. Those scouts only have to attend 18 meetings. Yet their ranks are the same, and if one of either troops make Eagle, its Eagle, not Eagle with special attendance requirments.

 

Now, fine, if a scout cant meet the attendance requirements of a troop, he doesnt have to join. So, he shops for a troop with requirements he can meet. Yet he works for the same ranks as if he was in the other troop. Maybe there are'nt other troops in the are and he has to drop out, not because he doesnt like scouting, but because he met an artificial barrier that if he lived somewhere else, wouldnt have been a problem

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A minor correction:

 

When I was transcribing the requirements for Star in my previous post, Requirement 1 clearly refers to the rank of First Class.

 

Responding further to OGE:

 

I understand that you think that attendance requirements are not a good idea, and you are entitled to that opinion. What do you think of the authority of the troop to have these things? Is it permissable?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"if there was suposed to be an attendance requirement there would be."

 

However, there is a requirement to be "active" which is open for interpretation by anyone and everyone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Eisely,

 

A Troop does not have the authority of setting an attendance policy, this is under you can't add or subtract requirments. So, what do I think of a troop that does have such a policy, very little.

 

If a Scout attends enough meetings and activities to fulfill the stated requirements and fulfill his posiitons of responsibility, how can you justify adding on more requirements?

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been reading up on a few things, looking for one thing but coming across a bunch of others. In this reading, I came across this:

 

Rules and Regulations of the Boys Scouts of America

copyright 1976

revised June 2001

 

Article VII. Youth Members

Section 1.

Active

Clause 1. 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.

 

***

Pamaha, welcome! I don't know if this definition helps you or not. I don't know how each unit would define "regularly" or "obligations", and I am just beginning to learn about the troop. Good luck in working this all out. As far as the "paper" resources go, if you don't yet have a copy or access to a copy of the Scoutmaster Handbook and Boy Scout Handbook, these are great references for a leader worth every penny paid for them. I use them in my position as Assistant Cubmaster, and my husband has begun using them along with the Advancement book for his position as Assistant Scoutmaster/Advancement Chair. The information is just plain good to have handy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Pamaha,

 

A couple points to make clear.

 

"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?"

 

A more accurate explaination is that I feel the scouting program is best determined and delivered according to the Boy Scouts of America and not by the personal opinions of total strangers. I do not want you to operate a scouting program according to my personal opinion, anymore than I would want you to run it by FOG's or any one else's. I would hope you woulf want to deliver the scouting Program according to how scouting says it should be done, and that information is available to every leader in the BSA resources.

 

Do I think some of these discussions are uneeded? Sure I do. There are posters here who would wnat you to do what they do rather than what scouting says to do and I see no reason for that. You, like the rest of us signed an agreement to follow the BSA program. If everyone would keep their word them the majority of these threads would be unnecessary.

 

Next.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Pamaha.

While I agree that you have every right in the world to ask anyone anything about whatever you like and that even here in these forums there are items that can be discussed. There are things that are laid down by the BSA. When you ask and the answer is not the one you wanted. I have to ask Why bother?

It is clear that even by what you have said that this "Guide Book" is wrong.

Please take the time to read the mission of Scouting. Then think about it. If you still have any doubts what is going on in your unit is wrong I will be most surprized.

Eamonn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would disagree that an attendance policy is adding a requirement. Rather suc a policy is merely articulating a requirement.

 

The problem I have with BW's view expressed in his last post is applying "active" on an "individual basis" in the absence of some notion of a standard. One can have very lenient standards that accommodate a variety of situations, but at least one should have a consistent standard.

 

In a prior thread at least two years ago, another forum member from whom we have not heard in a long long time, described a process that was used in his troop. It was particularly important in the situation described by jmcquillan to balance the leadership needs of the troop with the competing interests of the older scouts with regards to sports. In that unit, those scouts who needed both time in active leadership and wanted to participate in sports would in essence take a leave of absence from the troop during their sports seasons. This required closer management and cooperation all around, but at least they had a way of dealing with the conflicts. This is somewhat away from the limited notion of attendance. I prefer the broader terminology of "participation." Be all that as it may, when it comes to credit for leadership positions, I think a troop is absolutely entitled to establish expectations in advance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I may not have made myself clear, based on comments. I have said all along that I am against attendance policies. But I also asked the unanswered question

 

"If a Scout attends enough meetings and activities to fulfill the stated requirements and fulfill his posiitons of responsibility, how can you justify adding on more requirements?"

 

I expect a scout to honor his position of responsibility, a position he has been trained for and accepted knowing its duties and responsibilities. A position for which he is evaluated constantly and formally at least once, around the 3 month mark for Life and Eagle and 2 months for Star. If the scout isnt living up to expectations, then remediation needs to occur. But once the term is up, I don't see how the BSA program gives a troop authority to impose an attendance policy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...