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mdsummer45

Eagle Problems....BIG

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Thanks, Beav. But I was referring to the version put out by National to us common folk...

 

Active = Registered.

 

If they are not meeting the SM's definition of Scout Spirit by way of "actively serving", then WHY keep them on the roster? We pass them up the ranks, then wait for them to submit their Eagle app, then slam-dunk 'em? Sorry, but that stinks.

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There is nothing that states active=registered but upon appeal that seems to be the interpretation.

 

It's so sad this Scout is getting the run around. It seems every step has a new excuse (none are reasons) for not advancing him. And the excuses (none are reasons) for the delays are even worse. I would be getting your council involved & also National at this point. This is a black eye on Scouting.

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Something Seems amiss here I wish we could hear the other side. There is always another side. and the truth is always (in my experience) in the middle.

tony

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From the BSA national website:

 

Question: Rank advancement requires a Scout to demonstrate Scout spirit. How is Scout spirit defined and determined?

Answer: Scout spirit applies to how a Scout lives and conducts his daily life. He shows Scout spirit by being a role model to his peers, living by the Scout Oath and Law. The concept of Scout spirit is not based on how many Scouting events or outings a Scout attends, but rather by how he helps bring out the best in others as a reflection of his own character and attitude in his daily life.

 

Question: For the Star, Life, and Eagle Scout ranks, how is "Be active in your troop and patrol" defined?

Answer: A Scout is considered to be active in his unit if:

 

1. He is registered in his unit (registration fees are current).

2. He has not been dismissed from his unit for disciplinary reasons.

3. He is engaged by his unit leadership on a regular basis (Scoutmaster conference, informs the Scout of upcoming unit activities, through personal contact, and so on).

The unit leaders are responsible for maintaining contact with the Scout on a regular basis. The Scout is not required to attend any certain percentage of activities or outings. However, unit leaders must ensure that he is fulfilling the obligations of his assigned leadership position. If he is not, then they should remove the Scout from that position.

 

So, in the absence of a SM attesting to Scout Spirit (and no evidence to the contrary), as an EBOR member, I would go with the Letters of Recommendation to satisfy this requirement.

 

As to being "active"...I see no evidence to the contrary, either, based on what was provided to us by Ms. Summer.

 

 

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Click23 write: No one has the power to decide who is Eagle worthy and who is not, or to decide what an Eagle Scout should be, the requirements do that for us

Click: I agree with the latter part but not the former. If no-one has the power to decide who is Eagle worthy, what is an EBOR for anyway? (I know it hasnt happened here yet).

If a BOR just rubber stamps the check boxes in the scout handbook/application, then why do we even have them?

Like Beavah, I am beginning to get the uncomfortable feeling we dont have the whole story here. I have seen unreasonable SMs and individuals before, but the list keeps growing. Everyone who sits and hears both sides seems to agree with the SM. If the story is as clear cut as it seem(ed) to be, surely someone would be agreeing with the scout by now.

 

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"Everyone who sits and hears both sides seems to agree with the SM. If the story is as clear cut as it seem(ed) to be, surely someone would be agreeing with the scout by now. "

 

Not quite, because each level of review has come up with a separate reason/excuse in order to not overrule the SM, which is not the same thing as agreeing with the initial reason for not signing the application.

 

Apparently the district has now used an attendance excuse to not overrule the SM on a Scout Spirit issue. I find that odd. I fail to see how not attending a 90 minute meeting means you are not living the scout oath and law in your everyday life (considering the 90 minutes makes up just 0.892% of a week). Yup, you read that right. They are saying that 1% of your life not attending a meeting is more important than what you do with your life in regards to living up to the Scout Oath and Law the other 99%.

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If they are not meeting the SM's definition of Scout Spirit by way of "actively serving", then WHY keep them on the roster?

 

I reckon because advancement and the advancement requirements are only one method out of eight. We don't remove kids from da program for not meeting the advancement requirements for a rank.

 

A lad can be gettin' somethin' out of other aspects of the program which may be beneficial, even if he isn't advancing. Right now, I know one troop that's dealin' with a lad from a single-parent family, very insecure, spotty attendance, a bit disruptive. Lad is dealin' with a lot of issues and growin' up. He's not makin' any real progress in advancement, but I don't reckon they should drop him from the roster. In terms of membership, most scouters I know bend over backwards to try to keep reachin' out to a kid, encouraging, keepin' a light on and the door open.

 

In this case, though, they're not spinnin' it on "active", but on Scout Spirit, eh? As in he hasn't been "a role model to his peers", hasn't "brought out the best in others", hasn't met his obligations as a member, etc. within da part of his life that is in the Scouting program. A mix of behavioral issues, attitude, and lack of commitment as close as we can garner from what's been reported.

 

And I think we can all agree that da Scouting program is and should be a significant part of the life of an Eagle Scout, not less than 1%. ;) All of da Eagles I know consider scouting to be a major part of their life growin' up.

 

Da troop has been the model of proper procedure throughout da appeals process and mdsummer reports that the SM has a high level of training, so I don't think we have a case of not understandin' the system where a book quote can help. I think there's a genuine difference of opinion on substantive matters between people of good will. And I'd never try to assess Scout Spirit from a keyboard listenin' to only one side.

 

So all we can do is give some advice and direction to mdsummer, eh? While respectin' our fellow scouters. Sometimes when yeh get above a group of more closeknit folks at da district level yeh gain some perspective. That's what da appeals process to the council advancement committee is for.

 

I'm still curious about da answers to NeilLup's questions myself ;).

 

Beavah(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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Let's not turn this into another thread on the definition of active. There are plenty of those floating around we can pick up if we like.

 

Whatever definition of active you use, keep in mind the requirement is to be active for six months. That six month period could have been immediately after the Scout earned Life YEARS ago. Under no definition of active is there a requirement that the active participation be in the six months immediately proceeding the Eagle application.

 

I don't recall much previous discusion related to MDsummer's Scout's attendance. (And, no, I'm not taking the time to re-read 20 pages looking for it.) It seems to me this is a fairly new argument. If my recollection and assumptions are right, it sounds like a bit of piling-on occurring. When forced to justify a decision, who of us wouldn't pull out all the stops (and I'm not suggesting anything unethical) to support our position or place it in the best light. If your boss questions something you've done at work and schedules a meeting to discuss it, we're all going to prepare our best case, right? No doubt that the Scoutmaster and troop committee is doing that. I would too, but in this situation I have to question the basic fairness of that.

 

It concerns me that with the adults circling the waggons, that we expect the 17-year-old to go it alone and defend himself. I don't disagree that the Scout should be the one speaking in his own behalf. My concern is with the folks on the other side of the table: The Scoutmaster, the troop committee, the district advancement chairman and committee.... These folks likely have decades of combined Scouting experience and hundreds of years of professional and life experiences in making presentations, defending themselves, negotiating with others, debating and thinking on their feet. Maybe I would be more comfortable if this were like a college Honor Court where the "prosecution" is another student. Perhaps it would be more fair if the troop's case were presented by the SPL, although I know that's not appropriate within the structure of a Scout troop. Perhaps council advancement committees should have designated "public defenders" to help Scouts and their parents through advancement issues and prepare for meeting with committees.

 

I make that point because I think it's now time for the adults to take over. The original controversy with the Scoutmaster and now two rounds of appeals is enough. As with the real legal system, we are beyond the point of finding facts. If the troop denied the Eagle due to lack of attendance or Scout Spirit, the facts on which they made that decisions should be on the table. From this point forward the appeals should be on how the troop and council applies BSA policy to the know facts.

 

Subjecting the Scout to further questioning and interviews is pointless. Either the coucil is going to apply policy properly or not. This doesn't need to take another two months. The council advancement committee should be able make a ruling quickly and move on. Personally, my approach would be that the council has had their bite at the apple -- they just chose to let the district do it.

 

On to national.

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"Whatever definition of active you use, keep in mind the requirement is to be active for six months. That six month period could have been immediately after the Scout earned Life YEARS ago. Under no definition of active is there a requirement that the active participation be in the six months immediately proceeding the Eagle application. "

 

Ain't that the truth. If the opposite were the case I certainly wouldn't have earned Eagle. In the couple years immediately after earning Life, I was very active. ASPL, SPL, went to most campouts, meetings and other events. I was very active through my sophomore year of high school, tapered off my junior year (other than OA) and pretty much not present my senior year. For the last 11 months before my district EBOR, I can't remember attending anything except a meeting to get signatures on my Eagle application and then a troop-level "practice" EBOR.

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Nolesrule writes: each level of review has come up with a separate reason/excuse in order to not overrule the SM, which is not the same thing as agreeing with the initial reason for not signing the application

Yes, but I still have that alarm going off in the back of my head. Remember, the SM, Committee etc are not on this forum and posting their side. Even if they are on the forum, it would be improper of them to post what might be confidential or disputed information.

I make no judgment as to who is correct here. I do not know. But I do know I have heard only one side of the story.

 

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Sides don't matter. What does matter is what is in the written decision for denials, because that is the limit of the scope of an appeal.

 

In addition, because this started as a dispute over signatures for Scout Spirit and Scoutmaster Conference, the denial of signatures should have included an opportunity for the scout, in conjunction with the adult leaders, to develop a plan of action to "qualify" for those signatures and seen as an opportunity for growth, rather than a "no, you'll never be good enough, bye-bye". This didn't start as an Eagle Board of Review, which once a decision has been made can only be appealed.

 

EDIT: To clarify, yes, the appeals process can begin once someone refuses to sign the application, but everyone would be better served if the unit would/could provide an opportunity for the scout to show improvement given a reasonable amount time to do so before the 18th birthday.(This message has been edited by nolesrule)

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Scout Spirit requirement for Eagle is unique from all the other Ranks. Tenderfoot through Life Requirement: Demonstrate scout spirit by living the Scout Oath (Promise) and Scout Law in your everyday life. and is signed off by Unit Leadership.

Eagle Requirement 2: Demonstrate that you live by the principles of the Scout Oath and Law in your daily life. List the names of individuals who know you personally and would be willing to provide a recommendation on your behalf, including parents/guardians, religious, educational, and employer references. Those recommendations decide whether or not the Scout has fulfilled the requirement not Unit Leadership.

As for attendence getting signed off for POR took care of that. In order for that to be signed off there had to be enough attendence to successfully fulfill the Position he had.

Considering the requirements as written and Although they did tell my son and I that his LORs were wonderful/glowing I do not understand how the District Advancement Committee upheld the Troops decision. Unless there is a good ole boy network where whatever the Unit decides is good enough for them or DAC doesnt want to overrule a Unit and is passing the buck to Council.

 

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Those recommendations decide whether or not the Scout has fulfilled the requirement not Unit Leadership.

 

Nah, that's incorrect. Yeh can't be a fine fellow at school and a foul-mouthed bully in your troop and expect to earn Eagle. Those outside recommendations along with the SM's and TC's recommendations determine whether or not the scout has fulfilled the requirement. That's why there's a specific appeal procedure for cases like this where the SM or unit leadership choose not to endorse an application. It's also why the requirement doesn't say "outside of scouting" the way it does for the Eagle project, eh?

 

It's just that we don't need to get separate recommendations from the unit leadership because in most cases we have their endorsement already on da application.

 

That six month period could have been immediately after the Scout earned Life YEARS ago.

 

Yah, I reckon that's why I was interested in da answers to NeilLup's questions, eh? ;)

 

I think it's really hard to determine from afar whether da inconsistency in reasons is real or is a factor of mdsummer's reportin'. I think Twocubdad's insights are right, the adults are likely to be makin' the best case for their position they can. As is mdsummer and her boy (to the point of collecting information and arguments from all of us!). Dat's just the nature of disputes.

 

For my part, I'd be loath to turn rank appeals into legal proceedings with opposing counsel. That to my mind is just adult malarkey. Every appeal I've been a part of has involved good folks on the committee who were lookin' for the truth and the right thing to do. Dat's the way it should be for a youth program, eh? We've got enough of attorneys and lawyering in da adult world without bringin' that into scouts or little league or whatnot.

 

Anyways, mdsummer, your next appeal is to the council advancement committee. Sounds like you're settin' that up. Same routine, be polite, be respectful, address the concerns not da personalities. You can attend with your son. National won't accept an appeal except after da council advancement committee has ruled, so there's no short-circuiting the process. And council folks are a bit more remote and objective, eh?

 

Beavah

(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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Beavah, my experience as a Council or District representative on EBORs tells me differently. During which times have sat on a few EBORs where a Unit approval signature was lacking on the Eagle application. Guess on this point we will have to agree to disagree.

But that is neither here or there in mdsummers case. The appeal was not over Unit approval signatures but the SMs refusal to grant a SMC. What started out as an appeal of SMC somehow has now morphed itself into a question of his Scout Spirit.

Hopefully as you stated Council will be more remote and objective.

 

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MDSummers, how goes the situation (I wanted to say battle, but that just doesn't feel scoutlike to me, although in your case I imagine it feels just that way to you) Has your son heard anything, scheduled a council board?

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