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pamaha

meeting attendance

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OGE

 

I agree that it would be inequitable to impose an attendance policy retroactively. That is why such policies should be established and enunciated early and consistently, if they are to be there at all.

 

One thing that comes through in your last post is that you seem to expect a SM to be completely on top of the performance of youth leaders at all times and give them a progress check, particularly for the top three ranks. I think that is a great idea. If everybody did that consistently, there would be fewer problems all around. Even so, I think that having some sort of standard or policy at least in the background gives all concerned a better yardstick to work with.

 

We cannot, and should not strive, to eliminate all elements of human judgment from these matters. I just can't see leaving it all up to the judgment of the SM. I see that as a path to controversy and likely disappointment, if not bitterness, on the part of some scouts and parents who may feel they were treated arbitrarily and without any rules to go by.

 

It is also worth noting that the POR requirements do not require a scout to do an outstanding job, or even be successful, as a leader. They are only required to "actively serve", i.e. try.

 

Regarding the wisdom of articulating unit policies on participation, we agree to disagree, politely and respectfully.

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So since there is nothing in Nationals policy regarding attendance by a Troop having an attendance policy is adding to the requirements? What requirement is this adding to? Or is this like the uniforms? There is no requirement for any member of the BSA to own a uniform but many units require Scouts to wear uniforms.

 

Ed Mori

1 Peter 4:10

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evmori

I guess I will keep asking this.

Do you agree that some scouts cannot afford uniforms and by making them required, could force these scouts out of Boy Scouts? Would you drive these scouts out of scouting because they cannot afford a complete uniform?

 

Should we not use positive reinforcement to encourage uniforming?

 

Do we really have to confuse uniforming with attendance!

 

I do not understand why I see so many units only wearing the scout shirt and a hat, I do not understand why these units feel they can change the uniform standard? The correct uniform is spelled out in the Boy Scout Handbook and the Scoutmaster Handbook. This does not seem any different to me than changing the requirements for advancements. If a unit feels they can change the uniform than why not the requirement for Life Scout?

Aw heck I know it says 6 hours of service hours, but this unit only requires 1 hours, I do not see the difference.

 

Another pet peeve is calling it a Class B uniform, I understand what you are trying to say, but where can I find out what a Class B uniform is? As I read through the handbook, it say a Sport activity uniform, is this another reason we need units rules and gudielines? Because the handbook does not dicuss Class Bs? We have to make troop rules and guidelines to tell them what a Class B is instead of calling it a Sport Activiy uniform?

 

Hey pamaha are you still out there? If you stay around you will learn a lot about the BSA! If you follow the correct path!

 

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Ed

I think that we don't "Require" We encourage.

If we go with this attendance policy and there are consequences for non-attendance. Are we then not adding a requirement?

Some wise person in these forums only recently posted " Less Stick More Carrot"

Eamonn

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As long as we are going down this path, I don't have a problem with a unit having standards for wearing the uniform either. There is very little grey here since the complete uniform is spelled out, and the insignia guide is quite clear. This has been visited in other threads. Some units, out of consideration for family budgets do allow wearing of blue jeans with the shirt for ordinary meetings. I don't care for it personally, but I can understand it.

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Every level of scouting has specific responsibilities and oligations. The responsibility for establishing rules and policies for scouting such as advancement, safety, membership and uniforming is the Exececutive Board of the BSA. The obligation to follow those rules is the Unit's.

 

One might have no problem with a unit setting its own uniform standard, but the fact is it's not their uniform and not within their authority or responsibility to do. The uniform is a trademark symbol of the BSA, and it is not the unit's, nor any individual's right to determine the standards of wear except for the specific elememnts that the BSA allows them to choose, such as the neckerchief.

 

We all agreed as leaders to accept the obligation to follow the rules, policies, and program methods of the BSA.

 

A Scout is Trustworthy

 

Bob White

 

 

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I think everyone here would agree that you can't add anything to the current rank requirements and still be within the BSA program. I would, however, argue that it is OK to create some sort of guideline for interpreting the requirements when they are vague or unclear in some way. If, hypothetically speaking, a requirement said that someone must be active in their unit for 6 months since achieving the previous rank, it would be reasonable to set out what that actually means. In this way you make it clear to the Scout what is expected of them. Otherwise all they can do is guess as to what will be considered being active.

 

Now we all know that chartered organizations can set requirements for being a member of a unit they own above and beyond the requirements of the BSA. (As long as this does not directly conflict with the policies of the BSA.) So could a chartered organization then delegate the authority to set additional membership policies to the SM, unit committee, COR, PLC, or other unit level authority? I don't really know the answer to that question. My guess would be that they could. Further, isn't being a member of Scouting considered to be a priveldge rather than a right? I always had the notion that members were invited to be a part of a unit.

 

I personally am not in favor of saying you must attend X number of meetings and work X hours at the fundraiser and sell X amount of popcorn to be a member of the unit. On the other hand I would support the idea that good meeting attendence could be used as a criteria for some reward such as a special trip, or the troop paying for merit badge college costs. I would also support the idea of requiring fundraiser participation (or other financial support) to the level possible if someone expects to recieve the benefits of those fundraisers. It would be totally unreasonable for a Scout that does not contribute to the planning or preparation for a trip, and skipped out on the fudraiser to pay for it, for no reason other than they would rather play games at home, to expect to walk in and be given the same benefits as those who made the trip possible.

 

All of this being said I am rather worried about unflexable rules with no room for special circumstances that require someone to do one thing or forbid them from doing another. Reasonable accomodation should be made to the needs of others, but you shouldn't force everyone to break their backs while bending over backwards to include someone that isn't willing to make the effort needed to do what is expected of them.

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"Do you agree that some scouts cannot afford uniforms and by making them required, could force these scouts out of Boy Scouts? Would you drive these scouts out of scouting because they cannot afford a complete uniform?"

 

Yes I agree some Scouts can't afford uniforms. That has nothing to do with them being required or not. If you play on a sports team, you are required to wear the team uniform regardless of the cost.

 

If a Scout can't afford a uniform then I would find a way to help him pay for it even if it meant the money came from my pocket.

 

Ed Mori

1 Peter 4:10

 

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" I would want you to run it by FOG's or any one else's."

 

Once again Bob White shows that he doesn't understand the Scout Law.

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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;"

 

BSA says you have to attend meetings "regularly" but what is regularly. I'd say at least 3 out of 4. I used to go to church "regularly" which meant at least 50 Sundays a year. Now I go three or four times a year, is that regularly? I regularly go a couple times a year.

 

Similarly, what is a member's obligation to his unit?

 

These requirements are wide open to interpretation. To simplify matters and for fairness, units write their own requirements and no one has presented anything from BSA that says that they cannot.

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Reading over the last days posts, something struck me, I think a brick thrown by another poster...

 

But moving on, according to the requirements for rank advancement to Star, Life and Eagle there is a time requirement for a scout to stay at that rank and a length of time that a scout has to "actively" serve in a positionm of responsibility (POR). In all three ranks these two limits match.

 

I do not assume that four months after earning First Class, a scout will be ready for his Star Board of Review. That would mean he started on his POR the day after his Board of Review, that doesnt always happen in a troop. In the troop to which I belong, at the Board of Review we recount what posiitons are available and ask the scout to think about what he would want to do, he might love Patrol Leader, but he has to be elected, he might covet Assisitnat Senior Patrol Leader or Quartermaster, then he has to get appointed by the SPL so it may take awhile to obtain a position.

 

Same thing with Life and then Eagle. A Scout may actviely serve his POR for six months and then enter an "unsettled time" where his attendance is spotty and then returns, actively serves for six months and then is spotty again. A Troop must lay out what is expected of the scout during the 4 (Star) and 6 (Life, Eagle) months of their POR and if they are doing any good to the scout, they will be sure the expectations are met but once those terms have been met, the troop has no authority to impose attendance requirements after that.

 

I think some are thinking I am against performance standards while the scouts serve in their POR, I am not. I beleive the Troops have a responsibility to lay out exactly what needs to occur in that POR and have the review resources figured out. It doesnt have to be the SM, it would be best if it was 2 or more people.

 

So, I guess the follow up question would be, how many months, on the average do your scouts remain at First Class, Star and Life? Is it closer to the minimum or is it varied?

 

Now, I thought of this while I was typing, I come from a large troop, aprox 86, Maybe if we were much smaller I might understand wanting an attendance policy to have the numbers to have good meetings and activities.

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It was explained to me at our Councils Scouting University by our district advancement chair that the councils position on deciding if a scout is active is if the scout is a registered member of the troop listed on the charter. If the scout is listed he is considered active. If the troop feels that a scout is not active then the troop must remove that scout from the charter even if that is mid-year.

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"Active" varies with each individual. The BSA has as one of it's Aims for a scout to develop in physical fitness. We have a scout promise to be physically strong. Yet many leaders want to punish a scout for being in organized sports, when in fact the scout is fulfilling his obligation that he swore to in the Scout Oath.

 

Each Scout has his own unique obligations to school, family, scouting and other activities. As sout leaders we are not charged with determining what those priorities should be. We are charged with having a scouting program available for him to participate in and grow in.

 

Leaders need to respect the individidual scout enough to sit down and learn about his life and interests and to help the youth incorporate scouting in his life. We do a better job when we focus on delivering a program that scouts will want to attend rather than counting heads of who is there and who is not.

 

"Green Bar" Bill Hillcourt often reminded leaders "if you expect scouts to attend then you need to be the best game in town"! Are your meetings the most fun a scout can have? Are you more fun to a scout than a video game? More interesting than a computer? More active than running around the neighborhood with friends?

 

Sure the scout needs to feel an obligation to participate, but we as leaders are responsible for creating and nurturing that feeling. A good leader has better tools to do that with than threats and attendance rules.

 

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

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R7 Voyageur, based on what Laurie quoted, it sounds as though your Council has set different standards than BSA. Could this be because they are more concerned about advancement and retention than actually producing good Scouts?

 

OGE asked, "So, I guess the follow up question would be, how many months, on the average do your scouts remain at First Class, Star and Life? Is it closer to the minimum or is it varied?"

 

It varies depending on the pushiness of the parents. Without exception, all of our first and second year Scouts who are looking for PORs so they can advance are being pushed by mom or dad. How do I know? Because mom or dad comes and says, "Jimmy needs a POR for advancement" and when Jimmy is asked if he wants a POR he says, "I guess so, my dad says I need it."

 

 

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FOG, I know from time to time you have been known to accuse Bob White of living in Utopia with a fairyland troop, or something similar. I think you must live down about Dante's Level 5 from the way you describe your troop and its parentage.

 

The Troop I serve takes the position a scout is responsible to decide what POR he wants and pursue it. As accounted earlier we make him aware of the positions at the BOR, and from time to time an adult will remind him he needs a POR, but the final selection is up to the scout. If a parent asks what about his POR, the stock answer is, has he (the scout) decided what he wants to do and what is he doing to attain it. Its works just like our response when a scout asks a quesiton regarding the troop, the response, I dont know, ask your Patrol Leader, Or SPL depending on the situation.

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