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koolaidman

Would you award service hours?

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So we had the untimely death of 2 cubs in a pack chartered by our troop's CO. The pack put together a candlelight vigil for the family. Our Scoutmaster has a son in the pack and was in the pack planning meeting. He volunteered our troop, and put out the word that the boys should come help put up the stage, lights, run power cords etc, since it would be outdoors. (for the boy-led folks, the planning meeting was in the morning, the vigil was that night. No time to get action from our scouts while they were in school) We had a great response with our boys and they did a bang up job setting things up. Some other troops' scouts came by to help as well.

 

One scout of the neighboring troop emailed our scoutmaster requesting acknowledgement of service hours for helping to light candles, pick up litter and stow away gear. We weren't awarding service hours to our troop (none of the boys even asked), because we just think it was the right thing to do. For purposes of this discussion, lets disregard the whole scoutmaster approved part of the service hour requirement.

 

So how would you respond to this scout's email? Would you award service hours for this type of thing?

 

 

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This is why I hate service hour requirements. They should be struck from the book. The true requirement should be "do a good turn daily".

 

Why are you counting service hours for your boys? They have their own book, they can note where they served and when. (I know why we do it, to keeps parents busy ... ;) ) If you really shouldn't be splitting hairs over your boys, why fret over this scout? Send him a note thanking him for his help, and let his SM be bothered with counting it or not.

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This is why I hate service hour requirements. They should be struck from the book. The true requirement should be "do a good turn daily".

 

Why are you counting service hours for your boys? They have their own book, they can note where they served and when. (I know why we do it, to keeps parents busy ... ;) ) If you really shouldn't be splitting hairs over your boys, why fret over this scout? Send him a note thanking him for his help, and let his SM be bothered with counting it or not.

By the way, sorry for your community's loss. I'm coming coming on the fourth year anniversary of ours, and nothing about it is any easier.

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Sorry to hear of the loss of two scouts.

 

What a extremely discourteous thought to think of one's personal benefit at this time of grief. It was his duty to help and the honor was reward in itself.

 

No service hours for serving others in a time of need - death, first aid, natural disasters, emergencies. Service hours are for non-emergencies like building park benches, park cleanup, raking,...

 

My $0.01

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If the question is would I let one of my boys count it: I'm not feeling so black-and-white. This is something where I'd ask the boy what he thinks about it.

 

Are we taking advantage of someone's suffering? But is every service project in some sense not really service if you are getting some kind of credit? On the other hand, would the beneficiaries feel kind of glad that some good is coming of a bad situation? Is counting service hours really right? Why do you think we have to do it? How did serving in this way make you feel? Do you think this kind of service is something you want to do more of?

 

In other words, I think it's more important you use the boy's record of his service as a way to reflect on his personal growth. If you spend a lot of time fussing over "this troop counts it, that troop doesn't", you'll miss the teachable moment.

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You are not "awarding" the service hours.

 

The Scout was there. He helped. I would do as the Scout requested - send him back an email listing what he did, and how long he was there.

 

Anything else is up to the Scout and his SM - not you.

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For me the line got fuzzy when "definitions" started creeping in with the "getting credit" for something issue.

 

Do parents pay for chores the boys are expected to do as part of being in a family? In some cases with some parents yes. That way they have a way of motivating their kids without them having to feel part/connection to any family/community.

 

Even then, the values taught me over the years were never in black and white. Yes, as a kid I shoveled the walk in the winter and didn't get paid for it UNLESS it was for a neighbor, and then if that neighbor was elderly, then no. They usually paid in cookies anyway. :)

 

Up until just recently my elderly neighbor's son would shovel the walk, but I always was available first and would always shovel access to the house in case of emergency until her son could get there to do it all.

 

These service project hours have always concerned me because of the message they give to the boys. It would seem that everyone is out to do the minimum just to get credit and at the same time, get by. Doing a good turn daily usually means holding the door for someone, once, and then you are good to go until tomorrow.

 

But then again, you will hear it from the parents first that expecting little Johnny to go out and clean ditches for 6 hours is really a Good Turn.

 

Someone needed help, it may or may not be an emergency. Is helping another scout with his Eagle project a good turn or service hours?

 

If we spent more time helping out and less time figuring out whether we get credit for it, we'd be better off.

 

Stosh

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This is why I hate service hour requirements. They should be struck from the book. The true requirement should be "do a good turn daily".

 

Why are you counting service hours for your boys? They have their own book, they can note where they served and when. (I know why we do it, to keeps parents busy ... ;) ) If you really shouldn't be splitting hairs over your boys, why fret over this scout? Send him a note thanking him for his help, and let his SM be bothered with counting it or not.

qwazse, we're not counting. The boys are. This is more in the area of scoutmaster approved than anything else. We were kinda shocked after receiving this email and took a little time to think it through first before doing anything else...

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A bit more information: The scout is Tenderfoot and the vigil was between two scouting for food weekends. Would this change or enhance anyone's opinion?

 

We did step back a bit and discuss (ASM and SM) that it is probably not within an 11 year old's maturity level to comprehend why requesting credit may seem discourteous. Ultimately SM thanked him for coming and declined to write the email. (If he really needs the hours, the thank you acknowledged he was there, so he has evidence).

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A bit more information: The scout is Tenderfoot and the vigil was between two scouting for food weekends. Would this change or enhance anyone's opinion?

 

We did step back a bit and discuss (ASM and SM) that it is probably not within an 11 year old's maturity level to comprehend why requesting credit may seem discourteous. Ultimately SM thanked him for coming and declined to write the email. (If he really needs the hours, the thank you acknowledged he was there, so he has evidence).

Doesn't change how I'd do things. There's always an SFF or some other service opportunity somewhere, and who knows what else this young man did? Maybe he was most proud of this opportunity and he wanted to it to count.

 

 

I can relate to Stosh's example. Our kids would duck out of church service once a month to pack bags from the food pantry for folks who would need them. Their only reward was missing the sermon. To my knowledge, they never counted that for credit for anything. Nobody said they couldn't, they just wanted their on-paper service hours to be other things like helping on Eagle projects.

 

 

I will say that the more interesting SMCs were from boys whose hours involved non-scouting activities. These were typically older boys whose lives were starting to branch out a little.

 

 

I think your SM did the right thing. Maybe a note to the boy's SM would be a good idea as well.

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"Approved by your Scoutmaster" I have always taken this to mean "pre-approved" rather then a "hey, I did this six months ago, can you sign off" requirement). If they didn't ask before the event, they wouldn't get a sign-off from me.

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Just ask this simple question: would you have done it if you knew you wouldn't get credit? or it wasn't required? (its a rhetorical question, watch the scouts face, and this is why I'm not asked to sit on Boards, its the only question I ask)

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BSA needs to address it's hypocrisy. On the one hand they promote Good Turns which means it only counts if one doesn't take any credit/reward for it, then in the same breath turns around and expects them to credit their service hours.

 

No wonder we have a ton of questions revolving around this issue.

 

Stosh

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Why wouldn't you award service hours? They did service for a good cause. All service should be done because "it's the right thing to do." The whole recording of the service hours is just to make sure that the slacker scouts are doing things. Most of the active scouts we have have no problem with the service hour requirements, because doing those service hours is a natural part of the program, just like most of the rank requirements. We do have a few boys who need to be forced to do service hours, like the scout who showed up to work exactly one hour on my son's Eagle project, because that's all he needed for rank advancement. Thankfully he changed troops. In terms of that, my own sons do a lot of volunteer work. Pretty much we only record service hours for scouting, so that they advance. They probably do as much service work in a few months as scouts are required to record for Eagle (which IMHO, is pretty minimal).

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