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SlowDerbyRacer

Informal Poll - Strictness Of Requirements?

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I'd like to hear how closely other packs and dens follow the listed requirements for achievements, electives, belt loops, etc.  I'm definitely a do what the book says kind of guy, but I'm at the extreme in my pack.  It seems to be the norm in my pack that the scouts get credit if a topic is touched on, viewed, or is otherwise in the room when something is covered.  Our dens don't seem to hold to the letter of the law.  I recognize that sometimes staying true to the book is not always feasible given logistics and other circumstances, but I wonder how often other packs & dens stretch things?  

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For Belt Loops, I've told my Den Leaders they are free to swap in/swap out requirements that they think satisfy the "spirit" of the awards.  My Lion/Tiger Den did a trip to the Animal Humane Society and two other projects for their "Pet Care" belt loop.  Cubs/Parents working on loops at home don't have/know about this option, since I only tell my Den Leaders about it. 

 

Only one family really tried powering through Belt Loops on their own, and they burned out on the repetitiveness of it.  Every other loop is another damn poster. 

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I'd like to hear how closely other packs and dens follow the listed requirements for achievements, electives, belt loops, etc.  I'm definitely a do what the book says kind of guy, but I'm at the extreme in my pack.  It seems to be the norm in my pack that the scouts get credit if a topic is touched on, viewed, or is otherwise in the room when something is covered.  Our dens don't seem to hold to the letter of the law.  I recognize that sometimes staying true to the book is not always feasible given logistics and other circumstances, but I wonder how often other packs & dens stretch things?  

From the 2015 Guide to Advancement:

 

 

4.1.0.4 “Do Your Bestâ€

Cub Scouts—even those of the same age—may have

very different developmental timetables. For this reason,

advancement performance in Cub Scouting is centered

on its motto: “Do Your Best.†When a boy has done

this—his very best—then regardless of the requirements

for any rank or award, it is enough; accomplishment is

noted. This is why den leaders, assistants, and parents or

guardians are involved in approvals. Generally they

know if effort put forth is really the Cub Scout’s best.

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I don't watch what our pack does, but they seem to be bringing up boys who love scouting so mind-your-own-buisness seems to be a reasonable strategy. :)

 

But as a parent, here's a confession and a little bit of advice:

I did let Son #2 slide on the thow-and-catch requirement. (He might have been able to go back and forth once, but catching projectiles twice was just not in his wiring. The boy could kick a ball across the field to his buddy until they both were punch-drunk.) One day he kinda sort caught a wiffle ball twice in a row, so I chalked it up to "do your best", told the DL, and he signed off on it.

 

The guy eventually did learn to throw and catch. He just Eagled (BoR pending) in his own right and is starting on a stint as ASM. So, no harm no foul, right? Wrong! He still thinks I cheated on that one requirment for AoL, and reminds me of it from time to time ... more to point out that as a third child, a little more time playing catch with dear old Dad would have been welcome. :wub:

 

So if you want the kid to look good for the photo shoot, be fast and loose with the bling. If you want him have no doubt that he deserved it, be strict.

Edited by qwazse

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He still thinks I cheated on that one requirement for AoL, and reminds me of it from time to time ... 

 

So if you want the kid to look good for the photo shoot, be fast and loose with the bling. If you want him have no doubt that he deserved it, be strict.

 

That's less about cheating or not and more about teaching new leaders lessons in compassion and teaching how the scouting program works.  Sometimes we get so caught up in the propaganda of the program that they lose sight of using advancement to keep scouts involved and progressing.  For each person, it's a different starting point and a different rate of progress.  

 

So ... when new leaders step up, I think it's time for a strong discussion about the purpose of scouting and how to use advancement as a tool toward that purpose.

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I'd like to hear how closely other packs and dens follow the listed requirements for achievements, electives, belt loops, etc.  I'm definitely a do what the book says kind of guy, but I'm at the extreme in my pack.  It seems to be the norm in my pack that the scouts get credit if a topic is touched on, viewed, or is otherwise in the room when something is covered.  Our dens don't seem to hold to the letter of the law.  I recognize that sometimes staying true to the book is not always feasible given logistics and other circumstances, but I wonder how often other packs & dens stretch things?  

Far as I'm concerned the job #1 for a Den leader is to make sure the boys have fun. If I eased up on a requirement (and I frequently did) it was to make sure the boy had fun. I did get a little more strict every year though and AOL was "ya gotta do it" unless there some actual reason ya can't. One kid, like a boy mention already, just was not gonna get some of the physical stuff, it didn't matter how much time was spent with him. So the choice was don't sign him off or let it slide, I let it slide. Failing him for AOL served no useful purpose.

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We let them slide as Tigers, when only the adults actually knew that we were letting them slide.

 

But you need to adhere more to the actual requirements every year, as the boys grow aware of what the fulfills the rule.

 

If you let WebIIs slide like Tigers ("Doing your best" gets gamed by older boys!), then you're not preparing them for the higher expectations of Boy Scouts.

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To clarify my original question, I was referring more to the doing of all the requirements versus the quality of what is done.  I totally get the do your best standard, but I'm talking about how closely others follow the stated requirements.  For example, the Bear Elective for Weather has the following two items:

 

  1. Learn how to read an outdoor thermometer. Put one outdoors and read it at the same time every day for two weeks. Keep a record of each day's temperature and a description of the weather each day (fair skies, rain, fog, snow, etc.).
  2. Build a weather vane. Record wind direction every day at the same hour for two weeks. Keep a record of the weather for each day.

We had a den do a den meeting where the kids learned about reading a thermometer and built rudimentary weather vanes.  The kids were given full credit for completing these items without any need for the two week record keeping.  I have an issue with that and it has nothing to do with do your best.

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To clarify my original question, I was referring more to the doing of all the requirements versus the quality of what is done. ...:

... Keep a record... Record ...

The kids were given full credit for completing these items without any need for the two week record keeping.  I have an issue with that and it has nothing to do with do your best.

You are right. I would make an issue, at least with your boy. Talk to him and tell him that you won't let him have the award until he does the important part. This may mean Mom or Dad taking the time to do it with him. Get a special notebook or clipboard just for the purpose. The whole point of weather is not the clever instruments, but the persistent observation! Lacking a severe mental disability or having to live in a sealed bunker, there's no getting around that one.

 

We have a similar problem in boy scouts with a 5 mile land navigation requirement. Folks have asked if a scout can just do 20 laps around a quarter mile track ... which misses the entire point. We need the boy at some risk of leading his patrol off the trail for a mile or so and then having to make a safe correction. A scout with a disability can do an alternative requirement involving road navigation. But, if he's not the guy with the map and compass dictating every turn, he's just joy-riding instead of scouting.

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To clarify my original question, I was referring more to the doing of all the requirements versus the quality of what is done.  I totally get the do your best standard, but I'm talking about how closely others follow the stated requirements.  For example, the Bear Elective for Weather has the following two items:

 

  1. Learn how to read an outdoor thermometer. Put one outdoors and read it at the same time every day for two weeks. Keep a record of each day's temperature and a description of the weather each day (fair skies, rain, fog, snow, etc.).
  2. Build a weather vane. Record wind direction every day at the same hour for two weeks. Keep a record of the weather for each day.

We had a den do a den meeting where the kids learned about reading a thermometer and built rudimentary weather vanes.  The kids were given full credit for completing these items without any need for the two week record keeping.  I have an issue with that and it has nothing to do with do your best.

Yeah that's a little different don't skimp on requirements just because.

 

However in Cubs and Webelos sometimes it's hard to make the call parent assistance is required to quite a  few requirements (maybe not in the new Trail) if they are really to be fulfilled at home. In my experience that's the sticking point for a lot of the boys to fully complete stuff. Fer instance lets say, I set up Readyman two weeks in a row and make sure the parents know it's important that the boys show up both weeks, yet a couple still missed. Then despite me setting up time to be at a meeting early WITH the parents they never show up early for make up. So do we punish the boy because the parents can't bother to keep a commitment? 

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Yeah that's a little different don't skimp on requirements just because.

 

However in Cubs and Webelos sometimes it's hard to make the call parent assistance is required to quite a  few requirements (maybe not in the new Trail) if they are really to be fulfilled at home. In my experience that's the sticking point for a lot of the boys to fully complete stuff. Fer instance lets say, I set up Readyman two weeks in a row and make sure the parents know it's important that the boys show up both weeks, yet a couple still missed. Then despite me setting up time to be at a meeting early WITH the parents they never show up early for make up. So do we punish the boy because the parents can't bother to keep a commitment?

 

Yes, you do.  For a couple reasons:

 

1) What does it teach the boy if he still gets the Readyman?

 

2) What message does it send to the other scouts when Johnny Noshow gets his award when everyone knows he wasn't there?

 

The parents screwed up.  Don't compound the error by rewarding the wrong behavior.  It sucks for the one kid that his parents are deadbeats, but it doesn't create an excuse to skirt by.

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... Then despite me setting up time to be at a meeting early WITH the parents they never show up early for make up. So do we punish the boy because the parents can't bother to keep a commitment? 

 

Since when is not giving a kid an award a punishment?

 

The point of setting aside meeting time is to give parents a space to spend time with their kid and his buddies. But, it may work for some parents to use a different space at a different time. If they miss your opportunity, they are on their own. That's precisely what I did with son #1 for a couple of requirments (one was to visit a police station ... had to do it on a different night). You award every kid (and parent) who gets it done.

 

The boys who don't get it done, tell them to keep trying ... and maybe give the parents some ideas on how they can do it on their own.

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Yes, you do.  For a couple reasons:

 

1) What does it teach the boy if he still gets the Readyman?

 

2) What message does it send to the other scouts when Johnny Noshow gets his award when everyone knows he wasn't there?

 

The parents screwed up.  Don't compound the error by rewarding the wrong behavior.  It sucks for the one kid that his parents are deadbeats, but it doesn't create an excuse to skirt by.

Again I don't give a single fig about the parents and they are the ones not doing their job, the boy has no say in when or what time he shows up. Boy Scots is different but in Cubs the boy moves along whether he does the work or not, i.e. he'll be a be a Bear/Boy Scout next year. For me it was a simple matter of will not giving the badge lead him to Boy Scouts or not. If I thought it would have encouraged the parent (the boy worked his but off when he was with me) to do something different I would have done different things but it wouldn't have.

 

I get the argument about not earning the badge/pin, heck I agree, but in the end that to me is less important than providing a boy that might very much need it a different perspective on life than he might be getting at home. I can't do that if he's not there so if that means letting something slide to have more time with a boy I'll do it. As a Cub leader it was not my job to protect the sanctity of an award it was my job to provide a positive role model for a lot of boys from single parent families that might be in some REAL crappy situations. It's the same for Boy Scouts but there I have little to nothing to do with deciding if a boy advances, excluding merit badges where I follow the requirements to a tee, that's up to the other Scouts. 

 

As always individual situations will vary and in a different Pack I probably would have done things different.

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Since when is not giving a kid an award a punishment?

 

The point of setting aside meeting time is to give parents a space to spend time with their kid and his buddies. But, it may work for some parents to use a different space at a different time. If they miss your opportunity, they are on their own. That's precisely what I did with son #1 for a couple of requirments (one was to visit a police station ... had to do it on a different night). You award every kid (and parent) who gets it done.

 

The boys who don't get it done, tell them to keep trying ... and maybe give the parents some ideas on how they can do it on their own.

I think you missed something, the parents would NOT work with the boy at home, heck most of my parents couldn't even be bothered to lie and say the boy did the work at home. In 5 years not once did a single parent do anything at home with their son, despite my urging, explaining, begging, and providing supplies for them to do it. if I didn't do it with the Scouts it didn't happen. I spent plenty of my own money to go pick up boys and transport them, cover their dues, etc. And while I'm sure that's not a good idea to some, for the boys I had it was needed. Did it work for all of the boys, nope but it worked for one that really needed some help and now he's in Boy Scouts and loving it, we still talk on the phone regularly and he comes to me for advice on all sorts of stuff. So far as I'm concerned I'd do it again.

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I think Renax is hitting on a disparity that isn't really addressed by the current Cub Scout program..... and I'm guessing is an underlying cause for the OP's question

I know that I am not alone in noticing that much of the cub scout program is really intended for the boys that Renax is writing about....

broken families

uninvolved parents

limited exposure to things....

Boys that need a positive male role model.

 

My son, and at least most if not all of the boys in our pack, are fortunate enough to have parents that work, have some money, and are involved with their kids.  Most have been on many family vacations, flown on airlines, etc...

So these requirements to say, visit an airport (perhaps with an exception of any behind the scenes exposure), are really a bit redundant for most of these boys.

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