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MaineScouter

HELP! The STAR... what does it mean?

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I'm hoping someone out there can help. My son was asked at his Life board of review to tell what the five points of the star in his Star rank symbolize. He has scoured his handbook, called our local Council and asked every Scouter he knows but no one seems to recall ever being told that those points mean anything! Our Council will contact National, they said, if they can't find the answer. My son did not pass his BOR, pending this information. He has three weeks to find the answer. At that time he has to reappear before the BOR.

 

There must be someone out there that has heard of this??

 

TIA,

MaineScouter

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Found this in a history of BSA ranks.

 

((1911 Eagle Requirements

 

The BSA adds three higher ranks for earning merit badges beyond First Class: Life, Star, and Eagle (Star was switched before Life in 1924, apparently because the five points of the Star could symbolize the five merit badges required for the rank))).

 

Hope this helps. Strange question to hold up a scout though.

That is one tough troop.

 

Barry

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I think I once read somewhere (I don't know where) that the five points stand for the five merit badges that must be earned for Star. Of course, somewhere between the time that I earned Star with five merit badges, and today, they changed the requirements so you need six for Star. I have not noticed them changing the Star badge so it has a 6-pointed star, so whether the 1-point-per-merit-badge theory is accurate, or ever was, I can't really say.

 

I have to comment, though, it seems somehow wrong to me that a board of review would even ask a Scout this sort of trivia question, much less decline to pass the boy for this reason. The board of review is not supposed to be a "re-test" anyway. Now, if someone wanted to ask a question to which the answer is IN THE HANDBOOK, that would seem reasonable. Like, what do the 2 stars under the wings of eagle on the First Class badge mean? The answer is right in the handbook. (This might not be the greatest example since I think knowing this is actually part of the requirements for Tenderfoot.) But I don't know why a board of review would be making rank advancement contingent on knowing information that is NOT part of a rank requirement and NOT included in the handbook.

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I think it means the people on the Board of Review have no clue what they are supposed to be doing. The objectives of a Board of Review is to make sure the scout has done all he is supposed to do to earn the rank, to see how good an experience the scout is having as a scout, and to encourage the scout Holding up advancement to discover the hidden meaning of the star is sheer stupidity. Its clods like these people that totally screw up the scouting experience for scouts. Then again, maybe being on a BOR is the only time they feel like they have power and have a need to really stick it to someone.

 

In any case, I hope he finds the meaning, sure hate to lose a scout because of such an asinine task.

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I know of no explanation of the five points of the star. I would appeal the board's decision to the district or council advancement committee. Your son's board has made an unfortunate mistake. Since the information they are requesting is not a BSA requirement for the rank they are in violation of the BSA Advancement policies and procedures to require it in order to advance. (you will find support for this in the Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures manual available from your local council service center. I would also urge that you request the district advancement chair to come in and train the committee in the current duties of the BOR and the advancement policies and procedures of the BSA.

 

Best of luck and apologies to your son for his inconvenience

 

Bob White

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Barry... thank you SO much! Yes, it's a very strange question to ask a Scout at a BOR. You're not the first person to comment on how "tough" our Troop can be. Heck, it took my son nearly 6 months since completing the Life requirements just to get a SM conference! Another boy just got his SM conference for Life on Wednesday night. He's been waiting since early December! His BOR is in three weeks and he's scared to death. I would be, too! These two boys are both sons of very active Scouters (an ASM, a committee member and a former commmittee chair) in the Troop. I think they are being held to a higher standard so that the other parents can't say they had an advantage based on their parents. They are both sons of Summer Camp staff, too... so they had a an "advantage" the other boys didn't, according to the SM. It's tough. I've offered to transfer my son to another Troop in the area but he wants to stay with the boys he started with as a Tiger Cub. I understand that but things are harder than they certainly need to be.

 

Again, thanks for taking the time to find an answer!

 

MaineScouter

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Thank you, everyone, for your insightful, timely and supportive responses to my question. I agree with all of your answers and comments regarding his BOR. You are especially right about not requiring knowledge that isn't part of the rank requirements. I'd completely overlooked that fact. Our Troop does need help with the BOR process. (understatement of the year) Surprisingly, one of the men on my son's BOR just stepped down as our District Training Chairman. You'd think he'd have known better.

 

We'll get through this. My older son achieved his rank of Eagle last September, just days before his 16th birthday. He hasn't voluntarily been back to a Troop meeting or campout since. It's easy to see why.

 

MaineScouter

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I'm so mad I'm shaking! Oh . . . yeah.

 

First of all to not pass him on this basis is ridiculous and flat out wrong. I agree completely with Bob White's answer regarding contacting your district advancement chairman.

 

Okay, venting aside -- here's the good part.

 

1) I have been unable to find the answer to the question in any resources I have in our office.

 

2) I do not believe the 5 points are for the five merit badges. That may be an interesting coincidence, but it isn't the answer.

 

3) The theory two of my DE's and I came up with are that the top 3 stars stand for the 3 duties of a Scout: God, Country, others and the bottom two are carried over from the first class patch for the ideals of truth and knowledge.

 

4) Not being satisfied without backing up my theory, I placed a request with the Archivist at the National Scouting Museum who will research it and get back to me with an answer early next week.

 

No offense to the learned on the boards, but I'll accept the archivists word (whatever it may be) as final.

 

DS

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MaineScouter says:

 

Heck, it took my son nearly 6 months since completing the Life requirements just to get a SM conference! Another boy just got his SM conference for Life on Wednesday night. He's been waiting since early December!

 

Whoa! Six months to get a Scoutmasters conference?? And this other boy, EIGHT months and counting! That is just wrong. Now, just to make sure, did these boys actually go to the Scoutmaster and say "I need a Scoutmaster conference"? And then have to wait all that time? It may seem like a silly question, but there are some boys (including, sometimes, my son) who seem to think that other people can read their minds. But assuming that a conference was requested, and not given for all that time, there is something very, very wrong. I am surprised these boys weren't out the door months ago. In my son's troop, a boy would have to wait AT MOST until the next weekly troop meeting, and that is only if the boy were to make a request near the end of a meeting. Otherwise, the SM would take the boy aside while the meeting is going on and do the conference the same night. I am sure he did several at summer camp (and in fact they were ready to do BORs at camp, since 3 committee members were there.)

 

As for a boy being "scared to death" about a BOR, again, it sounds like some changes need to be made in your troop's advancement system. "Scared to death" is an appropriate reaction to your first parachute jump, not a board of review. Scouting is supposed to be an enjoyable experience. A kid shouldn't have to be on Xanax or something because he is worried about a BOR.

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It really ticks me off when people pull these type of things. No where can I find in the Scout Handbook that you must know the 5 points of the Star to make Life.

 

Like BW said, get the Committee trained, or find another troop.

 

 

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dsteele says:

 

3) The theory two of my DE's and I came up with are that the top 3 stars stand for the 3 duties of a Scout: God, Country, others and the bottom two are carried over from the first class patch for the ideals of truth and knowledge.

 

It may turn out that you are correct, but I don't think so. The explanation of the top three points is reasonable enough. But why would it be necessary to have points depicting truth and knowledge, when the stars (the little ones) depicting truth and knowledge are ALREADY on the Star badge. The entire First Class badge, including what have by now become very tiny stars, is right there superimposed on the big star.

 

I don't have a better answer, though. Except that MaineScouter's troop needs to stop denying boys rank advancement based on obscure trivia questions, and also needs to stop making them wait months for a Scoutmasters conference.

 

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The reaction to this question and my son's BOR as made it very clear to me that our adult leaders simply must be made aware of the proper (BSA) way to conduct a BOR. I just got off the phone with our District Executive... who expressed very similar reactions to my story. I am now going to place a call to our Committee Chair and ask that she give some time at our next meeting for our District Advancement Chair to discuss how to do board of review. Luckily, the Adv. Chair lives right here in our town and has a personal interest in our Troop (one son is an Eagle, the other Life). I know he'll be willing to help.

 

Thanks again for your help and support.

 

MaineScouter (a firm believer that if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem!)

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"Whoa! Six months to get a Scoutmasters conference?? And this other boy, EIGHT months and counting! That is just wrong. Now, just to make sure, did these boys actually go to the Scoutmaster and say "I need a Scoutmaster conference"? "

 

Yes, they both went to the SM on numerous occasions and asked. They were both told that they "weren't ready" to advance. Both were finally told that they needed to attend Summer Camp in order to "demonstrate their readiness" where they fulfilled the positions of PL and ASPL (they were BOTH positions, each). Both boys also spent several weeks as CIT's at camp this summer. My son asked for a SM conference at camp (the week there with his troop) and was told to call the SM at the end of summer after he had then completed his weeks as a CIT. The SM told me this, not my son, so I know he was asking. Both of these boys are 14, but small for their age. They often have to prove themselves to the SM and ASMs. Neither will quit, though, as they love being Scouts and are determined to make Eagle one day.

 

You don't EVEN want to know what it's like to get an Eagle project approved by this SM! We could start a whole new thread with that one...

 

MaineScouter

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