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mdsummer45

Eagle Problems....BIG

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My son needs your help(and I guess as him mom I need your help too). My son will be 18 in approx. 7.5 wks. He has completed his Eagle project(10/08 and signed off by troop 2/09) he has completed all of his merit badges. He is now ready to have his SM conference and herein lies the problem...the SM gave him a letter (late Oct '08....after my son had completed his eagle project) stating that he(SM) did not feel that he(SM) could give my son the SM conference . No actual reason were given the letter stated that it was the SM 'perception' that my son was not eagle material. My son is not perfect and has made mistakes but so has most every other scout in the troop including others who have received eagle. (To be fair I do not have the letter in front of me so I am writing from memory.) My son approached the SM on at least 2 occasions after receiving the letter because my son wanted to talk to the SM and find out exactly what the problem was. The SM either told my son to "talk to me later" or was not avail to talk. Therefore my son sent the SM an email requesting a meeting. That email was not answered by the SM. Therefore my son decided that he would just continue along finish up the last 2 merit badges and then in late March '09 approach the SM again to request the SM conference....that leads us to the present. March 23 my son approaches the SM to ask for a conference and was again told " talk to me later" March 25 my son attends a PLC mtg and again asks for a conference and is told " Talk to me Monday(3/30) so Monday nite again my son asks the SM for a conference and the SM says I have not changed my mind, I can not give you a conference,I question your character, you appear to be a loner. The SM said that my son could ask the troop committee chair to set up a special mtg. My son was stunned...but handled it like an adult and said thank you and walked outside. He was crushed...after gathering himself he went back to the meeting and at the end went up to the SM and troop committee chair and requested the special meeting. The SM actual had the nerve to say to my son that he was surprised that my my son wanted the mtg because it did not seem to him that my son was very upset after being told that he would not have his SM conference.. My son said to him...I was trying to react as an adult, what did you expect me to do...create a scene? The SM made no comment. WE need HELP/ADVICE...time is short...do we contact the district chairperson and let them know what is happening....the SM hold 3 positions within the local district council....My son is planning to create handouts to give to all of the troop committee members at the special mtg which will list the characteristics noted in the scout law and identify how he feels he exhibits those traits. I want to attend the special mtg and I would like to have his high school counselor either attend or write a letter in support of my son. Any thoughts??....sorry this is soooo long.

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According to "Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures" if a unit leader refuses to recomend a scout for a board of review you have the option of appealing.

 

I would contact your district advancement chairman and discuss the situation.

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I am a SM and have done 2 Eagle SM Conferences in the last few months, I have a few more coming in the near future one of which is a problem Scout. WIth that being said I don't believe that it is my place as a SM to be the gatekeeper to the EBOR. Even though your son has not been signed off on a SM Conf. he in fact has had one with the discussions he has had with his SM. He can bypass the SM Conf. and go right to the EBOR assuming he has all other requirements completed. It's the Scout Spirit requirement that can be a problem for him. I would suggest a call to the District Advancement Chair and you should also review the Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures, page 25. I'm sure others will weigh in with more expertise than I have.

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Wow...let's tackle this one by one.

 

First, this SM should have had the SM Conference back in October, stating that he found these deficiencies, and what he needed to do to fix it, along with a timeline of how long he had to fix it [30, 60 days...really, no more]. That would have taken until the latest, Jan. 1. So he would have another SM Conference in January. If the SM still felt the same, outline and timeline the problems again, this time, should be no more than 30 days. That would be February...so the SM is making the mistakes here...regardless of whether your son is a "loner" or not.

 

Second...a Scoutmaster and 3 different positions on the district/coucil....that is wrong, wrong, wrong...this SM can't focus on his first and foremost duty, and that is to the troop...he needs to step aside and let an ASM step in...or...resign all his district duties to focus on his shortcomings as an SM.

 

Third, you have recourse...the troop advancment chair, then the committee, then the district advancement chair...

 

I am giving the benefit of a doubt that everything else is in order, other than the final SM conference.

 

This has fallen on the SM's head, and unless he has a really good reason, this shouldn't have happened. He probably has clout on the district level, and you can fix that by pointing that out...get a copy of the Scoutmaster's Handbook...review the procedures and go from there, to see if you think that he is on with his decisions...

 

*stepping of soapbox*

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Time to go over his head & get 'er done! All this guy is trying to do is stall long enough so your son ages out. This guy doesn't have the stones to be a stand up guy!

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Yah, hi mdsummer45.

 

Quick question for you, if you can share. No boy is perfect, as you suggest, but can you let us in on what your son's "mistakes" in the program have been? Sometimes, yeh know, a serious mistake or two can be hard to overcome in peoples' minds. Does your son have any learning disability or similar issues? Sometimes Scoutmasters aren't very good at interpretin' the nonverbal cues of such boys, or the boy misjudges situations with the Scoutmaster.

 

That havin' been said, kudos to your boy for being mature in his approach. His next step is to (in person and in writing) request that the Committee Chair schedule a special session to consider his Eagle Application without the Scoutmaster's recommendation. If in your area Eagle Boards of Review are done at the unit level, it's common for such an appeal to be combined with an Eagle Board of Review with a district representative present, but that's not required.

 

Document that request.

 

When the troop committee does the review, if they choose not to recommend your son for Eagle, they should give him the reasons in writing. He can then either work on those things in his remaining time and request another review, or he (or you) can appeal to the district. The district will typically conduct an Eagle Board of Review at the same time as the appeal, if it hasn't been done already. If the troop committee refuses to hear your son's appeal or schedule a meetin' in a timely way, yeh can also appeal to the district (usin' the dated copy of your request above as documentation).

 

So essentially, your son keeps up his mature and adult-like responses, and firmly but courteously moves things "up the chain." Along the way he gets to learn important lessons about documenting things, and about how to politely use the mechanisms that are available to resolve disputes.

 

As far as you attending the committee meeting, it's allowed, but I think whether yeh choose to do so depends on your son and the adults involved. An almost-18-year-old HS senior goin' for Eagle should be able and allowed to stand on his own. I'd only attend if yeh really think the adults will get out of control, which seems unlikely given that the SM has politely indicated the route of appeal. Let your son fight this fight, and it will mean more to him. Just be quietly encouraging at home, while still demonstrating your respect for the other adults in the troop.

 

His high school counselor should be listed as a reference on your son's Eagle Application, and so will submit a recommendation to his Eagle Board of Review in the normal course of events.

 

Hope that helps.

 

Beavah(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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This is not simply a matter of signing off on the SM conference. The Application for Eagle Scout Award http://www.nesa.org/trail/58-728.pdf requires the "approval signatures" of both the Unit leader (SM) and Unit Committee Chair, before a EBOR can happen.

 

That being said, if the SM had no intention of signing, why did he approve the lad's Eagle Project? And, if he feels the lad has serious character flaws, why wasn't this mentioned at Life or Star?

 

I'm afraid I don't have any answers, except talk to the District Advancement Chair, or transfer REAL quickly to another troop/Crew.

 

PS: I just read some of the other posts...apparently this has been festering since at least Nov 08? And your son hasn't done anything about it yet? Sounds like the SM is a piece of work, writing the lad a letter saying "don't have your parents contact me about this". Sheesh.(This message has been edited by scoutldr)

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mdsummer45,

 

Due to the time constraints, I would suggest you first contact the District Advancement Chairperson. This person may (or not) be the District Representative for the EBoR's but is responsible for ALL District Advancement. The next step is to request an extension from National via the Council. This will be routed through the District and Council Advancement Chairperson to National. It is a request for extension of the deadline for your sone from 18 to 18.5 years of age. District and Council do NOT like to file for extensions because someone refused a SM conference (even if it is thier bud).

 

The District Advancement Chair should be able to help you from the start. He had to sign on the Eagle Project and should therefore know any problems before signing.

 

Kudo's to your son for behaving properly (I am assuming behavior as you have noted as I do not know you or your son) but he can only push the rock up-hill to the top. It will roll back down without help.

 

YiS,

Rick

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Thanks all..this HAS been going on since Nov '08. Both my son and I felt that the SM was just giving my son "the talk" ...trying to scare him....the troop has a history of holding on the the scout until close to the 18th bd so that the older boys still attend the meeting. Once any boy gets Eagle they are gone. So since my son had ~6mos until he turned 18 he felt that riding it out and waiting until late March to ask for the SM was appropriate. That is why my son was stunned when the SM told him he had not changed his mind. The SM is accusing my son of not making any attempts to contact him to set up a meeting once my son received "the letter" he told my son that he thought my son was indifferent.. since my son did not make any attempt to contact him. Even after my son told him that he asked for a mtg and was continually told "talk to me later" and even sent an email to the SM the SM said" I never got that" my son even produced a copy of the dated email and the SM only said I never got it. Funny he received every other email my son has sent , everyone but that one. My son said that he stopped asking because he felt that if he continued to ask it would bee seen as bugging the SM... The SM said well, you should have bugged me.

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Rick

 

our troops eagle adviser (who is not the SM--in our troop the SM does not approve the eagle project although he does sit on the committee the SM does not have a vote as to approving or not approving the project ) signed off on the approval on both the advisor line and then put the initials of the council/district advancement committee member on that line followed by the advisors initials. I guess this troop has been told they can do that.

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Yah, ghermanno, there's no need for a time extension here, eh? The lad has all the requirements completed. He's just holdin' on SM approval and BOR. Both of those can happen after a boy's 18th birthday without an extension.

 

mdsummer45, it sure seems like there's somethin' else goin' on here, eh? I'll ask again whether your son has been involved in any behavioral incidents recently, is dealin' with any personal issues. Did he once swear at the SM and the SM hasn't gotten over it or somesuch? Is he the sort that argues with everything? If you've been an active volunteer in the unit and know the SM or one of the ASMs or the CC personally, you might also ask them on the side what they perceive the issue(s) to be, just so as a parent you have both sides of da story. Teens aren't always the best communicators, eh? ;)

 

Barring any of that, there just seems to be a real communications disconnect here. That usually takes two to tango. But I think the boy's response to a Scoutmaster sayin' "I never got that", etc. is to respond, "Well, I'm sorry you were having difficulty with your internet service. Now you have received it, and you now know I sent it 3 months ago, so can we meet this week?"

 

Since this is proceedin' more formally at this point with an appeal to the unit committee, I think yeh encourage your son and be quietly supportive, while respecting the leaders. Yeh might coach your son to write up a documentation trail. "Talked to Mr. Scoutmaster on meeting 11/22, was told to email. Emailed on 11/23, got no response." etc. If everything is as you have said, your son will prevail on appeal at some point (district, council, national). It might take a step or two, and you should quietly encourage that.

 

Beavah

 

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Careful Beavah - Scoutmaster's conference must be before the scout turns 18.

 

From step 3 on page 31 of "Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures":

 

"It is imperative that all requirements for

the Eagle Scout rank except the board of

review be completed prior to the candidates

18th birthday."

 

mdsummer45 wrote...

 

"Talk to me Monday(3/30) so Monday nite again my son asks the SM for a conference and the SM says I have not changed my mind, I can not give you a conference,I question your character, you appear to be a loner."

 

To me that was a Scoutmaster Conference whether or not the Scoutmaster says it wasn't. And whether or not it is favorable. You don't pass or fail Scoutmaster Conferences.

 

At this point he cannot be denied a Board of Review. If he is then he should appeal.

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Neither my husband nor myself are part of the "inner circle" of this troop. When my son first bridged over to scouts the troop would not allow any new scout parents to go on any outings, so the 2nd yr my husband went on 2 trips and after the 2nd trip he informed me that he would never go on another trip with this group of men. He said that he was made to feel less than welcome. These men are a tight group who live and breath scouts and unless you are will to devote 100% of your free time to scouts they are not interested(my son is the only one in his age group who does not have a father as a scout leader, any boy whose father was not a leader left scouting, my son is the only one who has stayed. 10 boys bridged over w/ him and only 4 have stayed with scouting)

 

My son is no more argumentative than any other other almost 18 y/o. LOL The only situations that he can think of are that:

 

His attendance dropped off during his jr yr of high school (although that is VERY common in this troop (even the SM son went MIA during his jr yr) My sons attendance since May '08 has been on target and he has participated in almost every outing.

 

The only other situation that he was involved in was this past Oct '08 (two weeks before he received "the letter".) He attended the WEBLOS Camporee they arrived late and the 2 boys (same age and rank as my son) who were the SPL for this trip were having trouble getting the younger scouts to get things moving,,unloading, setting up camp site etc. So my son who has been the Asst Senior Patrol leader for the entire troop started directing the younger scouts to get moving. (later my son will be told that he should have not demonstrated this leadership). A bad decision was made by all(including the adult leadership in attendance) to allow 5 boys in be in one large tent. Both of my sons and my younger sons friends were in that tent. thing became loud and while my older son kept telling the others to be quiet 2 of them continued which cause a leader from another troop to come over and tell them to BE QUIET. One of the leaders must have heard this & came over and ordered the boys out of the tent --bare feet, sock , no jacket--into the cold and then proceed to yell and I do me yell at them and specifically berated my oldest saying that he never shows any leadership...my son listened to the man then said "Mr XYZ it's late , I'm tired , I need to go back to the tent" and he got up and left. The other boys said can we go and the reply Mr XYZ gave them was...I don't give a sh-t what you do. The other boys got up and left back to the tent. There are other situations which occured on that outing BUT my son was not involved in any of them. The night they returned the SM called and said he heard there was a problem on the trip and wanted to have a meeting with the boys and their parents. At that meeting the adults leaders who were on the trip did not attend. At the meeting the SM asked who wanted to tell him what happened...my son looked around the room and the younger scouts were all looking down and he also felt that he should be the one to explain thing because he was the oldest. He explained what happened and acknowledged that perhaps he should have pushed harder for the boys to be quiet but that he was tired, it was late so he tried to go to sleep. He asked the SM if he could ask a question..SM said sure..He asked if the SM felt MR XYZ acted in the proper manner...the SM said yes he saw nothing wrong with what MR XYZ did.. my son said(& this is where I personally think the current problem the SM has with my son lies)" Do you think it is okay for an adult to curse at us?" the SM did not answer..so my son said" I'm just trying to understand how you feel about an adult leader using curse words". The SM said to my son in a loud voice " That's enough". My son was not disrespectful to the SM and I even asked another parent who was in the room if he thought my son was disrespectful to the SM and was told no. Personally, I think the SM felt my son embarrassed him in front of the other parents. I think he embarrassed himself by not answering the question. Two weeks later the letter arrived. Coincidence?? I think not.

 

 

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It appears that our SM is the only one who can sign off on the requirement: demonstrates scout spirit........scout law in your everyday life. So the SM is also refusing to sign off on this requirement. Don't know if I ever mentioned that..how can one person be judge and jury??? Maybe that's why the SM said to ask for a special troop committee mtg. I'm so confused ..is this the SM trying to save face by pushing it off on another group of people?

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