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griffsmom

Leadership requirement for Eagle Palms

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Geesh! What happened to kids who would show up to an ECoH because their buddy's mom was making their favorite cookie?

 

I judge the caliber of a troop by their worn-out boots and the smiles on the boys' faces.

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I'm thinking a BOR cannot make judgments about what is siigned off.  If the SM signed off on the leadership requirement then it's a done deal.  If he has to approve it before hand, he has a control issue going on here.  None of the boys need SM approval to show scout spirit, when did it become necessary to do so for showing leadership.  A POSITION OF RESPONSIBILITY can be successfully done without showing any leadership at all.  This SM needs to be educated in the BSA program.

 

I had a 15 year old boy with some maturity issues going on and he had all his information into the council office for his Eagle, but the council was insisting on a form filled out by me saying I wholeheartedly support him being an Eagle.  I tossed the first one away because it isn't necessary for the boys Eagle according to BSA rules.  But the EBOR wouldn't convene without it.  He came to me and I told him he had 6 months to prove to me he was Eagle quality through his leadership.  He held no POR, he rolled up his sleeves and for 6 months worked with all the other boys to improve their leadership in the troop.  Seriously, it kinda surprised me what he was able to do and at the end of 6 months I would easily wholeheartedly support him being an Eagle.  Anything tangible?  Nope, just a subjective observation of a kid doing what he thought was good leadership.  It was.

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I'm truly surprised and as well as disappointed to hear that earning a palm has turned into a big red tape exercise. For a BOR to disapprove a palm? Until now, I hadn't heard

That was 20 years ago and our troop was only 3 years old still learning how to do this scouting stuff. As I said, the experience taught me how to be a better SM.

 

Griffsmom, I am an engineer and a very black and white. Just ask my family and coworkers who are psychologist. Actually I think that makes for a better SM because most people are some shade of grey and that tends to intrude on the scouts decisions and challenge a boy run program. Where your SM might be going wrong is Pride. That gets in the way sometimes.

 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad

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That was 20 years ago and our troop was only 3 years old still learning how to do this scouting stuff. As I said, the experience taught me how to be a better SM.

Barry, I hope I didn't offend...my criticism was directed to the BOR members not to you.

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I don't think you need apologize, I don't think there's anyone here on the forum that thinks the SM and BOR members have their heads and hearts in the right place. PERIOD!

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Barry, I hope I didn't offend...my criticism was directed to the BOR members not to you.

Oh no not at all. Sometimes my black and white writing style comes off a bit emotional. LOL

 

Actually the members of the board were good adults trying to do the right thing. We were in a stage of maturing. I took the situation personally because we didn't give the scout a good out. I could have forced my hand I guess, but it didn't seem appropriate at the time. A lot of scouts benefited from that experience because I learned more about the requirements of all the ranks as well as providing expectations and guiding scouts more consistently. That was only one of many many of our learning experiences toward growing into a functioning boy run program. LOL

 

I was young and wiling to change, but I think the humility would kill me now. :)

 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad
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Geesh! What happened to kids who would show up to an ECoH because their buddy's mom was making their favorite cookie?

 

I judge the caliber of a troop by their worn-out boots and the smiles on the boys' faces.

Did someone say refreshments? :)

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Actually the members of the board were good adults trying to do the right thing. We were in a stage of maturing. I took the situation personally because we didn't give the scout a good out. I could have forced my hand I guess, but it didn't seem appropriate at the time. A lot of scouts benefited from that experience because I learned more about the requirements of all the ranks as well as providing expectations and guiding scouts more consistently.

We were in a similar position a few years ago. I learned to include a POR for the scout just in case someone objected. Thankfully our parents and district folks understand the requirement. Brought it up to our district who was very helpful in making sure the requirement is properly interpreted by the district advancement committee.

Edited by Krampus

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I think "develop and demonstrate leadership ability" can be pretty clear.  It is definitely not the Live the Oath & Law in everyday life bit.  Like 98% of all problems, communication avoids them and lack thereof creates them.  An Eagle Scout certainly can be held to a much higher standard of being responsible for reading the requirement.  That requirement is mentioned no where in Scouting so the Scout can, and should, ask and should never ever assume.

Most of our Palms are former SPLs.  We reserve JASMs for ex-SPLs who served their term w/o problems, are an Eagle, and agree to and develop a post-Eagle project to "give back".  Up to the Scout - usually creating a 90 day program that the Scout wants to do like writing and communicating job descriptions or policies to help the Scouts move into senior leadership positions that these Eagles just served in.  Certainly an Eagle Scout knows full well BSA has rules and paperwork - like the real world.  Certainly an Eagle serving as ASPL, even semi-actively but doing an OK job, would meet the 90 day leadership requirement.  We've never had a problem.  Some have asked 30 days post-Eagle how to get a BOR 60 days later - they are told they have to at least do something and then it all works out, but the clock starts then, not as of the Eagle date unless the Scout is still serving actively in a leadership position already.  

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That was 20 years ago and our troop was only 3 years old still learning how to do this scouting stuff. As I said, the experience taught me how to be a better SM.

 

Griffsmom, I am an engineer and a very black and white. Just ask my family and coworkers who are psychologist. Actually I think that makes for a better SM because most people are some shade of grey and that tends to intrude on the scouts decisions and challenge a boy run program. Where your SM might be going wrong is Pride. That gets in the way sometimes.

 

Barry

 

Barry, you could very well be right that it could be the SM's pride. On more than one occasion, he has said that our troop is "the best of the best," so maybe he thinks interpreting this requirement rigidly and making a scout really earn a Palm supports or upholds his perceived status of our troop? I think his heart is in the right place, in that he doesn't want scouts just checking off boxes in order to obtain rank advancment; he wants the scouts to actually do the work required and learn the skills. In fact, he and I have disagreed before when he wanted to ask scouts to perform a skill during their SMC or BOR and I told he couldn't quiz or retest the scout if the requirement had been signed off. But as to why he's choosing to approach this loosely-worded Palm requirement this way with this scout is beyond me.

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I think "develop and demonstrate leadership ability" can be pretty clear.  It is definitely not the Live the Oath & Law in everyday life bit.  Like 98% of all problems, communication avoids them and lack thereof creates them.  An Eagle Scout certainly can be held to a much higher standard of being responsible for reading the requirement.  That requirement is mentioned no where in Scouting so the Scout can, and should, ask and should never ever assume. 

 

You make a valid point; communication is key! But this isn't the first scout to earn Palms in our troop, just the first scout under this SM's tenure. I don't know how the requirement was interpreted by our former SM, but I certainly don't recall any Eagle scouts doing any kind of separate projects or performing any special leadership roles to earn their Palms.

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I think "develop and demonstrate leadership ability" can be pretty clear.  ...

 We reserve JASMs for ex-SPLs who served their term w/o problems, are an Eagle, and agree to and develop a post-Eagle project to "give back".  Up to the Scout - ...

This may be tangential to @@griffsmom's original post, but the other noteworthy aspect of the requirement is that it does not specify "in your troop or crew". How many of you have your boys consider things a little beyond scouting. Like:

  • Specific training like BSA guard, EMT certification, or Wilderness First Aid?
  • Tutoring for academically challenged students.
  • Joining or increasing responsibilities in clubs like Toastmasters, Athletes in Action, or Junior ROTC?
  • Helping facilitate another organization's activities (e.g. a GSUSA camporee)?
  • Studying up on what it takes to be an officer in one's place of worship? Serving as an officer?
  • Attending town council meetings ... possibly in preparation for running for office when eligible.

These are things that I've seen 15-17 year old scouts/venturers do. And if I understand correctly, the kinds of things that we're looking for in Palm SMCs and BoRs.

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This may be tangential to @@griffsmom's original post, but the other noteworthy aspect of the requirement is that it does not specify "in your troop or crew". How many of you have your boys consider things a little beyond scouting. Like:

  • Specific training like BSA guard, EMT certification, or Wilderness First Aid?
  • Tutoring for academically challenged students.
  • Joining or increasing responsibilities in clubs like Toastmasters, Athletes in Action, or Junior ROTC?
  • Helping facilitate another organization's activities (e.g. a GSUSA camporee)?
  • Studying up on what it takes to be an officer in one's place of worship? Serving as an officer?
  • Attending town council meetings ... possibly in preparation for running for office when eligible.

These are things that I've seen 15-17 year old scouts/venturers do. And if I understand correctly, the kinds of things that we're looking for in Palm SMCs and BoRs.

This is a good post.

 

We went through a few years where our scouts were the OA lodge chiefs and many of the officers. They put in a ton of time in those positions and I certainly gave them a credit as well as praise. The lodge adviser made sure to let me know that there was a reason that our scouts kept getting selected for officers and chief. 

 

But you are right in pointing out the outside responsibilities of these scouts. They should be credited for their leadership in the community, especially when the community recognizes them. I got a call from a parent telling me that 5 of the scouts in our troop were selected as leaders by the high school student body. I had never heard of this honor before, so she told me that each year the students vote for the 6 top leaders of the school. Five came from our troop and she wanted me to know. The sixth was a girl. I don't know what 1800 students saw in those boys, but it certainly should be in consideration when we are discussing leadership honors in the unit. Ya know not one of those scouts said anything. When I congratulated them for the honor, they were very humble and just said thank you. Man we had some great kids in our troop.  

 

Barry

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He contacted the troop's SMC/BOR coordinator to schedule an SMC with our scoutmaster. When she requested a date from the SM, he told the scout that they had never met to discuss the leadership activity that he had accomplished or whether such activity would even qualify. He then told the scout that they would need to meet discuss this before they could proceed on anything in regards to an SMC.

 

Once again, this group demonstrates it's bias in assuming the Scoutmaster's sole reason for volunteering is to torment teenagers, bash their fragile egos and deny them the rightful fruits of their efforts. 

 

Please re-read griffsmom's explanation.  All the SM is saying is the kid needs to have all the requirements signed-off before scheduling a SMC.  Granted, it seems to me to be a better use of time to do that sign-off DURING the SMC, but if the SM wants to break it into two meetings, that's his prerogative.

 

But maybe the SM is trying to buy himself some time for some reason.  This could be a polite and/or discrete way of saying, "I haven't seen this kid since his EBOR.  He's done nothing to demonstrate leadership and he and I need to discuss it."   There could also be some things going on of which the general troop membership is unaware and the mom is not forthcoming.  I could list dozens of instances over the past 10 years where I discretely put off signing a requirement, meeting with a Scout or parent, or holding a SMC or BOR in order to solve a problem, give a Scout a chance to fix something, or just gather more info.  

 

I have no idea why the SM in this case would put off the SMC with this Scout.   And neither does anyone else.  So let's not rush the guy off to the gallows quite yet.

 

Edited to  add:

And I don't understand why the adults are involved in this.  This kid is and EAGLE SCOUT.  Why can't he walk up to his own Scoutmaster and say, "Mr. Smith, I need to talk to you about the leadership requirement for my Eagle Palm"?   Folks want to talk about the troop's communications problems?  Right there is your communications solution.

Edited by Twocubdad
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I am confused.
 
In looking at the Palm requirements, the Scoutmaster Handbook and the GTA, none of these documents say that the requirements for any rank need to be signed off before an SMC can be granted. In fact, Section 4.2.3.5 of the GTA go the opposite direction, saying that:
 

"While it makes sense to hold one after other requirements for a rank are met, it is not required that it be the last step before the board of review. This is an important consideration for Scouts on a tight schedule to meet requirements before age 18. Last-minute work can sometimes make it impossible to fit the conference in before then, so scheduling it earlier can avoid unnecessary extension requests. The conference is not a retest of the requirements upon which a Scout has been signed off. It is a forum for discussing topics such as ambitions, life purpose, and goals for future achievement, for counseling, and also for obtaining feedback on the unit’s program. In some cases, work left to be completed—and perhaps why it has not been completed—may be discussed just as easily as that which is finished."


All these documents concur that an SMC should be granted at the request of the scout, and when the scout believes they have finished all the requirements for a rank. 

 

If anyone can find where the granting of an SMC requires "sign off" before hand I would like to see it.

Edited by Krampus
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