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Myboy

Scout denied Eagle conference

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Beav's usual assumption was always that the person being tried in absentia was a reasonable Scouter with the best interest of the Scouts and the program at heart.

 

Unfortunately, my experience with SMs as both a youth and adult is of ignorance and ego as described by Myboy. There's a book--a few, actually--with 90% of this stuff in it. My opinion in my troop is always the minority and written off as "my way or highway" because I am literally the only person who has ready any of these books. The SM handbook, the PL and SPL HB, the Guide to Adv., and the Guide to SS, etc.

 

Every one of these threads is situational, and this SM is ignorant--willfully or inadvertently, it doesn't matter--and his position is wrong. I don't care about his intentions, I don't care about his heart: He's wrong. He is either wrong on purpose, or he is wrong because he is no good at his job, whichever, same difference. If he's wrong because he's unfamiliar with the GtA, his heart isn't in it. If he's wrong because he refuses to abide by the GtA, his heart isn't in it.

 

Next week someone might come around to pan their SM and if they're wrong and the SM is right I'll be right there by the SM. But in this situation, taking Myboy at face, the SM is a heel.

What was his POR and did he fulfill it? Kind of hard to lead if you're not there (outings included). IF he did, case closed. IF he was on 1 camp out in 6 months then yeah he would have a problem.

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Beav's usual assumption was always that the person being tried in absentia was a reasonable Scouter with the best interest of the Scouts and the program at heart.

 

Unfortunately, my experience with SMs as both a youth and adult is of ignorance and ego as described by Myboy. There's a book--a few, actually--with 90% of this stuff in it. My opinion in my troop is always the minority and written off as "my way or highway" because I am literally the only person who has ready any of these books. The SM handbook, the PL and SPL HB, the Guide to Adv., and the Guide to SS, etc.

 

Every one of these threads is situational, and this SM is ignorant--willfully or inadvertently, it doesn't matter--and his position is wrong. I don't care about his intentions, I don't care about his heart: He's wrong. He is either wrong on purpose, or he is wrong because he is no good at his job, whichever, same difference. If he's wrong because he's unfamiliar with the GtA, his heart isn't in it. If he's wrong because he refuses to abide by the GtA, his heart isn't in it.

 

Next week someone might come around to pan their SM and if they're wrong and the SM is right I'll be right there by the SM. But in this situation, taking Myboy at face, the SM is a heel.

The question is irrelevant, NCMount. The boy's PoR period ended 4 months ago and has been signed off. If the SM had an issue with the scout's performance, the time (as spelled out in the GtA) to address it was at least 8 months ago.

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What Q said. Twocubdad's son is an adult and professors can do whatever they want. Your son is not an adult and scoutmasters cannot do whatever they want, and this scoutmaster is out of line.

 

If your son doesn't mind playing the SM's games, then that's that. If he does mind, like Q said, he'll just have to call the council and start the appeal process.

My 17-yr-old self would have hit reply all and let the SM know that he does not have the authority to do what he's doing but that I'm a reasonable guy and will camp 3 more times in addition to the a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h,i,j,k,l,m activities that I had already participated in, and wished he'd been there to see how active I am.

Just have to point out that professors cannot do whatever they want. Even tenured faculty can be overruled and in some cases sanctioned for misbehavior. Twocub's son is handling this well; he is doing the right things but he may still find that he is given and unfairly low grade that could hurt his academic career. He should be ready to go to the dean if his efforts fail.

 

There was a chemistry professor at my university that used his own special curve to make sure that no more than 30% passed Chem 101. He openly said his mission was to weed out unworthy pre-meds. Students were able to prove that he used an arbitrary grading standard and though the prof was extremely tenured he was removed from teaching that class.

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Okay. I just read what "MyBoy" wrote on Sunday 9:02pm. ... "He said in a meeting a few weeks ago to all the scouts 'no camp out, no rank advancement'. I'm pretty sure that's his beef."

 

Yeah, that's an SM trying to solve a perceived problem using authority he does NOT have. You want scouts to camp. Make it interesting. Make it new and exciting. Make it well organized.

 

Scoutmasters can NOT use their advancement as a tool to manipulate.

 

Please note that there are zero camping requirements for Star, Life and Eagle. Potentially, you can complete all camping related activity BEFORE earning Tenderfoot. Requirements for 2nd class and 1st class say "since joining the troop....". Star, Life and Eagle have no such requirements. Merit badges can be completed at any time.

 

As posted, your situation is addressed in section 4.2.3 of http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/33088.pdf. Troops can require a level of participation BUT there are limits.

 

- Is it written down? Was it written down and communicated BEFORE you son earned his Life rank. Advancement requirements apply based on the start of the next rank. So those expectations written down and communicated on or before your son had his Life rank board of review (not court of honor).

 

- If it was documented, but had changed since he joined the troop, you might be able to challenge that troop expectations have shifted and it was not a commitment he agreed to when he joined the troop. Was he supposed to quit the troop and his friends because the troop leadership had a new plan?

 

- Is it reasonable? 100% is absolute and by definition not reasonable. Period.

 

You might face arguments that POR was not completed because he did not camp. If that is the case, it is the responsibility of the scoutmaster to communicate that early and during the POR. Otherwise, the scout has completed his POR time requirement.

 

GTA section 4.2.3 is so so so written for this type of situation.

"Please note that there are zero camping requirements for Star, Life and Eagle."

 

This is a bit of a mis-statement. While there are no direct camping requirements, there are implied ones in the POR and "Scout Spirit" requirements. If you have a POR that you are using for one of these rank advancements, you CANNOT demonstrate leadership on a campout or at a Troop meeting you do not attend. A Scout who does not camp, or who infrequently camps, is not showing proper Scout Spirit.

 

While it does not seem to me this particular Scoutmaster has a leg to stand on in this situation, a Scout must be active in his Troop - including going on campouts - to advance in rank.

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Well my son finally received an e-mail from the scoutmaster. He said he wants my son to do three more overnight campouts to fulfill his "active in the troop" requirement. He also copied all the assistant scoutmasters on this e-mail. Is this reasonable? That would mean my son would have to do weekend campouts in April, May, and June. (there is no campout in March). My son completed all his requirements in October, and he won't have his scoutmaster conference until June. This seems unreasonable. I read on the BSA website that doing a percentage of outings is NOT a requirement for being "active in the troop".

He participates in all activity in the troop including helping younger scouts, fund raising, service projects, community service, etc. The scoutmaster doesn't see this, as the only activity the scoutmaster attends is weekend campouts. I have never seen the scoutmaster at a service project, or fundraiser. In fact, in all the time I have been at the troop, I have never seen the scoutmaster help at any eagle project or even attend Scout-o-Rama.

Has the "be active in your Troop" requirement been signed off? We encourage our Scouts to come to an Adult leader as soon as this part is complete for sign-off. I very, very rarely sign off anything at the SM Conference for any rank advancement other than Scout Spirit and once is a while if they've finished the last Merit Badge they need for it recently.

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What Q said. Twocubdad's son is an adult and professors can do whatever they want. Your son is not an adult and scoutmasters cannot do whatever they want, and this scoutmaster is out of line.

 

If your son doesn't mind playing the SM's games, then that's that. If he does mind, like Q said, he'll just have to call the council and start the appeal process.

My 17-yr-old self would have hit reply all and let the SM know that he does not have the authority to do what he's doing but that I'm a reasonable guy and will camp 3 more times in addition to the a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h,i,j,k,l,m activities that I had already participated in, and wished he'd been there to see how active I am.

Great reply thank you. In fact my son used part of what you said to an e-mail to his district advisor. The district advisor wants to meet with him in full uniform with all his documentation sign-off. Perhaps he's ready to move forward.

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Very long time lurker, MB Counselor, Committee Member, Den Leader, parent, and longstanding Eagle Scout and Order of the Arrow member who has heard of this situation one too many times to not finally express an opinion...

 

 

"You understand this is going to get real ugly if you just go stomping around"

 

To the careful reader/observer, the quote above from a prior commenter is very telling indeed.... this type of gleefully being primed for a fight should have no place in Scouting on any level by any adult, least of all a SM. Not very attractive nor honorable.

 

If this young man has completed his requirements in good faith, has participated in good faith to the best of his abilities within the parameters of his physical abilities and other obligations, especially academic obligations which as a high school student may be exerting a tremendous pressure on him, then perhaps it's time for the Scoutmaster to move along and find other avenues within which to express his ego and need to dominate the underlings.

 

Instead of giving him a hard time over exacting attendance requirements which he may simply be unable to meet at this stage of his schooling, look at him holistically - does he LIVE Scout spirit? Have YOU as his leaders been successful in instilling the VALUES of Scouting, as demonstrated in his everyday life? Does he set an example to his high school peers by maintaining good grades and lending a hand to those who struggle? Does he have good relations with his teachers and mentors? How easily can he get letters of recommendation, from how many people in the community outside of Scouting, and what are the contents of those recommendations - non-commital or impressively glowing - and how consistent are they? Does he regularly and willingly without duress attend to the obligations of whatever faith he may follow? Does he share his time and talent with his faith community? Does he have a job? Was his Eagle project thoughtfully conceived, significant and touch people's lives by serving a real need, whether it involved a million hours or not to complete? Not everyone has to build a bridge in the woods, clear fifty miles of trails, or involve fifty people to be "worthy". Look at the VALUE it brings and the depth of maturity it took to conceive instead.

 

Has he done anything other than not meeting your stringent and most probably arbitrary attendance requirements to displease or dishonor the troop - such as have a driver license suspended, get a girl pregnant, do drugs, take alcohol or smoke pot where it is illegal, drop out of school without cause, have someone sue him, especially if these things have been very public or in the newspaper? Does he lie, steal or cheat his way to success? Has he used profane language when addressing peers or adults? Has he physically or verbally hurt or threatened another Scout or caused a safety hazard on a campout? Is he a bully? Has he been involved with the police or court system? Can the SM or other adult leaders answer NO to all these questions regarding their own behaviour in their past youth or now as adults?

 

If the answers above are yes and no to the appropriate questions, then CELEBRATE the wonderful job YOU have done to help him become that honorable type of person, instead of looking to nit-pick technicalities and artificially stand in his way to make yourself feel powerful and important.

 

With the year after year decline in overall Scouting membership numbers nationwide, SIX percent decline this year alone, wouldn't it be better for the survival of the organization you all claim to love so much to help an honorable young man achieve his long-term goal, deepen his love for the program and have him look with fondness toward the day he might have a son of his own to introduce to the program, perhaps becoming involved as an adult to lead the next generation of Scouting forward? OR is it better to take a good kid who may not be YOUR perfect, ideal Eagle and make him bitter and resentful forevermore?

 

Having worked with a number of them myself, I acknowledge there are wonderful Scouters and SM's out there. Those Scouters are owed a tremendous debt of gratitude by the Scouts they work with selflessly and by their parents. Increasingly though, and very distressingly, I am more and more frequently running across narcissistic, egotistical, power-tripping, head-game playing, passive-aggressive, subtly-bullying, hostage-taking, gate-keeping, boy-leadership usurping SM's who have completely lost sight of who and what this program is supposed to be about. It is particularly infuriating when these behaviours are committed by a SM who is himself NOT an Eagle. To them I say, you should be ashamed of yourselves and the sooner you move along the better, for the good of the boys you are negatively affecting and the Scouting organization as a whole. I encourage you to re-read the guide to advancement - it is clearly stated you don't get to gate-keep a Scout from becoming an Eagle because he does not live up to some fantasy ideal you have of what a "worthy" Eagle is - that is not your prerogative. Particularly for older Scouts, it explicitly states that a Scouts outside obligations, accomplishments, and service are to be counted toward whether he is active and spirited.

 

Ask yourself, who is truly living Scout Spirit? Who is truly making it ugly? Who is truly doing the stomping around? And more importantly, WHY?

 

Original poster, if your son can look himself in the mirror and honestly know he EARNED that rank, then teach him to respect himself enough to respectfully not take no for an answer and pursue what is rightfully his without indulging the fancy of this SM's ego. Remind him this an opportunity to learn to deal with this type of difficult personality which he will certainly encounter in the real work-world. It is unfortunate he has to encounter it so early within the supposed safety-net of Scouting. Don't let it get him down. And certainly don't be intimidated by words such as "You understand this is going to get real ugly if you just go stomping around". Because that is what they are counting on and how they flourish in acting inappropriately. Oh, and anything you might agree to, GET IN WRITING with a specific deadline - concrete things that are not open to their subjective interpretation, so they cannot employ their favorite trick of all - running out the clock to the eighteenth birthday. Been there, done that, seen it all from both sides.

 

Best of luck to both of you.

 

- BoyLedMyEye

Thank you for you very helpful post. My son is in contact with the district eagle advisor. I'm trying to stay in the background here. I recommended he try and negotiate with the sm, however, going on an additional 3 campouts puts him into the summer and getting close to his birthday. What then, the sm will be too busy at that point give him a conference. That will be 7 or 8 months after asking for a conference. As much as I'd like to get this done without any conflict, it seems that's not going to happen. It's unfortunate the sm doesn't attend any service projects, he'd see a different side of my son.

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One more thing. If it so happens that my son is given a BOR without a scoutmaster's conference, does that mean he'll be deprived of an ECOH. I'd hate to see that happen.

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One more thing. If it so happens that my son is given a BOR without a scoutmaster's conference, does that mean he'll be deprived of an ECOH. I'd hate to see that happen.
Why would he be deprived of an Eagle COH? Normally an Eagle COH is planned by the Scout and ran by people who are close to the Scout. Not the Scoutmaster.

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One more thing. If it so happens that my son is given a BOR without a scoutmaster's conference, does that mean he'll be deprived of an ECOH. I'd hate to see that happen.
Some boys don't even want an ECoH. I hope that if your son earns his award, he will still want to have one. But be understanding if he's jaded on the whole process by the end of this. It really is up to him, and generally senior scouters in a district will do their best to help mend fences with no hard feelings.

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My son called home from college the other day complaining about his physics professor. He just got his first test back on which he made a 55. Not to bad considering the average for the class was less that 50 and no one passed, according to the professor. And there is no curve . If he makes 100 on the remaining three test and the final he still makes a B. According to him, the test is a common on for all sections of the course offered by a number of different professors. Unfortunately, his professor covered only a portion of the material in class. The practice test his professor distributed only covered those topics the professor covered in class, Hardly seems fair, huh?

 

So his options are to file a complaint against the professor, informally whine to the department chair, or have me call and raise Cain with the university over the shabby treatment my son is receiving, pointing out that I'm paying $20,000 a year and expect better instruction.

 

Instead, my son, an Eagle Scout, has done the following: 1) he has signed up for tutoring for the course, 2) he's found when other sections of the course are being taught and is planning on auditing the classes taught by other professors, 3) he's figured out how to download course materials and study guides from all the other professors, and, 4) he spoke to the graduate assistant who teaches his lab for the course and found out that the exams are all based on the textbook and that he should focus on that, not the materials the professor gives him.

 

So, Myboy, my boy, what lessons do you want your son to gain from this experience? How do you want him to handle similar situations in, say, September?

Twocub, he must have the same prof I had when I was coming through. Sheesh, that guy must be REALLY old now.

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One side of the story here.

 

So Honestly.......how many meeting does he make a month???? How many campout has he made in the last year????

 

My Troop has an attendance policy of 50% for meetings and outing for scouts and 80% for youth leadership.

 

Active is a unit policy...That might be what his beef is

 

 

Hard to give advice......

 

Go a head and do an end around and go to the District Advancement chair and see how it affects his ECOH.

 

If your going to have that conversation with the DAC, how about not making it about your son, but about a SM who is not following Advancement guidelines and the district should look at it.

 

You understand this is going to get real ugly if you just go stomping around

 

"Go a head and do an end around and go to the District Advancement chair and see how it affects his ECOH."

It should have no effect whatsoever.

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One more thing. If it so happens that my son is given a BOR without a scoutmaster's conference, does that mean he'll be deprived of an ECOH. I'd hate to see that happen.
Agree with Sentinel and Qwazse.

In all the units I know, the ECOH is the responsibility of the family, if they even want to have one. Once you've made it to the point of presenting the award, you are free to do that any way you want.

My ECOH consisted of about 5-10 minutes of recognition during a regular Sunday church service. There was nothing more. I was good with it.

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One more thing. If it so happens that my son is given a BOR without a scoutmaster's conference, does that mean he'll be deprived of an ECOH. I'd hate to see that happen.
That's a political question. If the CoH is the Eagle's responsibility in your troop as in mine and Sent, Q, and Pack's troops, of course you could technically have one. But if going over the SM's head sours people to your son, then what you're really asking is if anyone will cooperate. We can't answer that because we don't know the personalities involved.

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1- There have been a few blanket condemnations of the SM in this thread based entirely on the perspective of a parent with an agenda. 'MyBoy' wants her son to be awarded Eagle without having to participate in 3 camping trips. Some have accepted her viewpoint as a full and accurate description, and posters have jumped on the band wagon because they feel that all SMs are egomaniac power trippers.

My experience differs. When an SM feels that he needs to CC the ASMs in his troop, I don't assume that he's beating down a boy. More likely he is in a situation where he feels the need for a documented chain of evidence.

2- Should we start another thread to address SM egos? Does being selected to lead your troop's youth leaders MAKE you an egomaniac? If not, why are egomaniacs selected as SMs? Why do self-centered individuals (egomaniacs) give away so much of their time? Which came first, the ego or the shoulder patch?

3- Is three camping trips really that big of a deal? Youth soccer and basketball trophies have devolved into 'Participation Awards.' Eagle is much more than a participation award, but how could a Scout possibly earn Eagle if participation is waived?

 

Full disclosure: this is a current hot button for me. Last month a boy whose face was vaguely familiar to me wanted me to sign off an Eagle Project form. I've been the SM for 2 years (ego almost fully swollen) and I had to search in the paperwork to find out his name.

 

4- It's not 'Mom Scouts'; it's 'Boy Scouts'. Even if 'MyBoy' went on the camping trips for her son, it shouldn't count.

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