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Scoutmaster denies 17 year old Life Scout Eagle

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Some people overestimate the amount of influence a council has over a Chartered Organization.  From the point of view of the Chartered Organization, the Boy Scout program is probably their smallest and least popular activity.  This doesn't give the council a great deal of leverage.

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Councils have forced switches of chartered partners ... when the partner wasn't.  Rare, but it happens.

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Some people overestimate the amount of influence a council has over a Chartered Organization.  From the point of view of the Chartered Organization, the Boy Scout program is probably their smallest and least popular activity.  This doesn't give the council a great deal of leverage.

 

 

Then it becomes simple, revoke the charter.  A scout is obedient and if the SM isn't following the BSA rules and making it up as he goes along he should be removed.  If the chartered organization will not remove a SM that is blatenly disregarding the BSA rules and making his own, then the charter should be revoked.  

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That would really be a feather in their cap.  Maybe BSA should create a new award for successfully destroying a scout unit.

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That would really be a feather in their cap.  Maybe BSA should create a new award for successfully destroying a scout unit.

 

 

Who is "their"?  In this thread, "their" would refer to the SM and the Chartered Organization who have created their own version of scouting which doesn't follow the rules of the BSA and puts additional burdens, if not roadblocks, on boys earning advancement.

 

If my reccollection is correct, you work with a Catholic School.  The school is under a Diocese.  What would happen if a teacher failed a student who had earned 80s and above on all his work because the teacher felt "the student didn't really deserve a B" because he didn't do the extra credit assignments that the teacher had developed but never gave to the students? What if the teacher took the student's final exam when he handed it in and said he wouldn't grade it because he thought the student should fail?  That is the situation here.  The Scout did everything that was required in to earn Eagle, but the SM is refusing to sign his Eagle workbook (like refusing to grade the final exam).  The SM also is adding requirements (an additional 10+ nights of camping) that were not previously explained to the student (the extra credit projects) and that are not required.  Let's throw in that failing this class will prevent him from graduating.  What would you tell that kid?  What should the principal do?  What would happen if the principal said, I'm backing the teacher beause it is his class and it's only one student out of a couple hundered and one class out of more than 50, so it isn't significant (that is what you said about scouting for your CO)?  Would you advise the boy to go to the Diocese to protest his treatment or tell him, it's only one grade, don't worry about it (it's not your life's work)?  If you were the person in charge at the Diocease would you be "loyal" to the school in that instance or would you stand up for the student?

 

That example is pretty much what is happening in this troop.  The BSA's guide to advancement provides that adults cannot add requirements to attain ranks.  The Camping Merit Badge which is required for Eagle requires 20 nights of camping.  It appears that this scout has a lot more than 20 nights BUT the SM is requiring more than 10 additional nights.  The Scout completed his active participation requriements a long time ago, but the SM is requiring additional months of those requirements.  The Scout has completed his Eagle project and the SM is refusing to sign off on it because he thinks the boy should not be an Eagle.  The SM is refusing to give a Scoutmaster conference when BSA rules do not provide any justification for denying such a conference.  The SM is refusing to schedule a Board of Review despite his job being to schedule that (the Guide to Advancement specifically says it the SM and CC's responsibility and not the parents).

 

Assuming the facts are as the original poster laid out:

 

1)  Do you think that the SM and CC are following BSA policies and proceedures?

2)  Do you think this boy should be denied Eagle based on the SM and CC's subjective judgment?

3)  Do you think that the Chartered Organization should support the SM and CC even though they are not following BSA policies and proceedures?

4)  Do you think that the Council should intervene to make sure that the SM and CC follow BSA policies and procedures?

5) Or would you advise this Scout and his parents to accept that despite meeting the BSA's requirements for Eagle, the boy will never make Eagle because of the subjective judgment of the SM and CC?

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That would really be a feather in their cap.  Maybe BSA should create a new award for successfully destroying a scout unit.

The answer would depend on the definition of a "scout unit"- more accurately a "Boy Scout Troop."  There should not be a dispute about the definition.

 

We are, of course, getting the story second hand, but assuming the accuracy of what we are being told, the SM, at least, should not be re-registered as a commissioned B.S.A. leader and the CO needs to be reminded that it voluntarily agreed to sponsor a Boy Scout Troop, inclusive of following the rules.

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A Chartered Organization doesn't just sponsor the unit, it owns the unit.

 

The OP has said nothing about the Chartered Organization.  This seems very strange to me.  

 

I've said this before.  It would not have been possible for something like this to occur in my unit without me hearing about it. 

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Moderator's Note:

 

If you wish to discuss the license/franchise/charter of Scouting between a partner and a council, then I suggest you open a new topic in Council Relations.

 

This is about a youth member not advancing to Eagle.  There may be issues of unit ownership, but the greater matter here is the advancement within the situation

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A

I've said this before.  It would not have been possible for something like this to occur in my unit without me hearing about it.

 

So as a Chartered Organization Representative, what would you do assuming that all the facts stated turn out to be true based on your investigation?

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A Chartered Organization doesn't just sponsor the unit, it owns the unit.

 

The OP has said nothing about the Chartered Organization.  This seems very strange to me.  

 

I've said this before.  It would not have been possible for something like this to occur in my unit without me hearing about it. 

 

Sure the CO "owns the troop."  But what that means is quite clear.

 

The CO owns the troop so long as there is a troop.  There is a troop so long as B.S.A. decides there is a troop.  Unit Charters are subject to revocation.

 

The SM is a Scoutmaster if commissioned by the B.S.A. as such, and that commission is subject to revocation.

 

It should never come to revocations, but it can and has.

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But if they are not implementing the BSA program as designed and making stuff up council can remove them and compel the CO to find new ones.

Council may propose.  Region decides.

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I thought I'd share a brief update. If nothing else it's somewhat, therapeutic, to share my thoughts here.

 

 

In short, my older son completed his one final partial for his one outstanding merit badge. The merit badge counselor signed the blue card, but when my son gave the card to the SM, the SM refused to sign it.

 

Made no sense, but I am no longer surprised by anything from this SM at this point. He's shirked all accountability up to this point. Why start doing the right thing now?

 

So, the merit badge partial is also something that is now technically, under dispute, although since my son has a blue card signed by a registered counselor and a copy of the work he did, I'm hopeful that this will not be an issue.

 

 

Also, a week after my son and I had that horrendous meeting with the SM, CC and UC, I was informed that I had been banned from any and all troop functions, activities or events. It was also emphasized that both of my sons would be immediately removed from the troop if I did not abide by this. 

 

I guess that when a father speak the truth and is unwilling to sit idly by while two grown men (SM and CC) throw all kinds of false accusations and barbs at your son and tell him that he’s not worthy of being an Eagle Scout, that you’re supposed to just sit there and let them do that.

 

And when you call them out on statements that are unfair or false, you’re labeled as a trouble maker, and then banned.

 

 

Beavah, as you predicted, it seems that my bridges have been burned.

 

 

The main issue that I’m now wrestling with is my younger son. He’s indicated that he wants to remain in the troop solely because this is where his friends are – but that is going to be virtually impossible if I’m banned from attending any and all functions. My younger son is not aware of the ban, but my older son is.

 

 

On the flip side, in a much as I want my younger son to be able to remain with his friends, I have to think of my son’s health and well being and put that first. The SM and CC have shown a level of contemptuousness that I didn't believe possible for scout leaders to possess.

 

They've hurt my older son and I have to believe that they would try to hurt (through advancement or other means) my younger son also.

 

Quick side note - my younger son had recently begun an Eagle required badge with the CC, but low and behold, sure enough I stopped getting any info on when they'd be meeting next...

 

 

 

I am at somewhat of a loss as to how the SM and CC have been allowed to remain in their current positions. 

 

Council is investigating but, at present, it seems that the self-serving interests of the scouters are being put ahead of what's fair and right for the scouts.

 

The joys of scouting, so much fun...

 

 

Yah, hmmmm....

 

Sorry to hear all that, @@SSF.   We often say that Scoutin' is a lot of fun, except for the adults, eh?

 

I suspect that da only viable thing is to take your younger lad out of the program.   How can yeh possibly send your boy out into the woods with these folks given what you're sayin' about 'em here?   Either it's irresponsible, or yeh really don't think they're that bad if you're willin' to trust your son to them on a regular basis.   Yeh have to really think about which it is.

 

On da flipside, no adult in their right mind should choose to assume responsibility for your boy on campouts or in counselin' situations knowin' yeh feel and behave da way yeh do, eh?   It's not worth da aggravation or da risk for a volunteer.  They might stop just short of removin' your boy from the program because scouters hate kickin' boys out, but they're goin' to put up a lot of barriers to protect themselves that will impact your son's scoutin' experience.  Da CC is just a volunteer, eh?  He isn't required to spend time with your son workin' on a badge if he's not comfortable with that.

 

I reckon yeh need to find a new activity for your boys, eh?   Da only other possible option is if your spouse is better at this sort of thing, and you're willin' to step completely out of da scoutin' game and let her/him handle it from here on out.   Accept your ban as being a permanent thing for your own benefit and your son's, and let your spouse be da one who interfaces with the troop goin' forward.   I've only seen that work a couple of times, but yeh might think about it.   My guess would be that it's not somethin' yeh would be willin' or able to do, so you're back to findin' a new activity for your younger son.

 

I'd take a look at 4-H, or activity-specific adventure programs in your area.   If yeh have a semi-local rock climbing gym, for example, they're sure to have a youth program that's way more adventurous and fitness-promoting than da BSA.   Odds are your younger son will be able to suck some of his school and scout friends into another activity that he finds cool or interestin'.

 

Good luck with it.

 

Beavah

Edited by Beavah
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But if they are not implementing the BSA program as designed and making stuff up council can remove them and compel the CO to find new ones.

 

Yah, you all are funny, eh? :)

 

That's not at all the way the BSA works.   If that's what you're lookin' for, yeh need to find a different organization for your volunteer time, eh? 

 

In da BSA, councils are chartered to provide service and support to Chartered Organizations and units.   That's it.   We're there to help 'em use Scouting as part of their organization's youth programming. 

 

They don't have to use it "as designed".   They can run Troop Method instead of Patrol Method, they can do lots of Outdoors or very little.   We don't make 'em wear uniforms or throw 'em out for puttin' on an "Untrainable" patch.  They can choose not to do any advancement at all, and da organization can decide what Duty to God or Duty to Country or Loyal or Obedient means within their unit.   They choose their own leaders, they decide what da role of da Troop Committee is (if any).  They're perfectly free to "make stuff up".   They can create their own awards, they can decide to have a youth treasurer instead of a scribe or whatever.

 

Yah, yah, if there's a credible claim of child molestation or someone makes a big public deal about bein' an atheist or posts a YouTube video vandalizing a national monument (or a fellow becomes a whistleblower about council mismanagement) then da SE can remove an individual's scouting registration.  Even then da individual can still work for the CO and even be put in charge of hiring/firing da COR. ;)

 

Yah, yah, if a CO insisted in da news media and in court that it must have a gay leader a few years ago, or it proves to be a major PR or financial liability in other ways then National (through da Region) can choose not to renew a charter.   If it's part of a very large chartering partner then not even then, eh?

 

Da thing of it is, it goes both ways, eh?   In fact, it's far more common for a CO to remove an adult than it is for a council SE to do so, and it's far more common for a CO to drop a charter than it is for the BSA to do so.   Orders of magnitude more common.   The CO always has da stronger hand, eh?   They are our customer, and for the most part da customer is always right.  Not the youth.  Not the parent.  

 

We're there only to provide support and service to da CO and unit, eh?  Without them, we cease to exist.   Without us, they just go run other youth programs.  Maybe CYO, maybe TLUSA, maybe Campfire, maybe just their own thing.  They might choose Scouting, but they don't need Scouting.  We need them.

 

So yeh can imagine da Advancement Police or da Uniform Police or da BSA Program Police goin' in and throwin' people out and settin' fire to unit charters on da front lawn pour encourager les autres.   It just ain't reality.   That's not the way Scoutin' works.

 

Beavah

Edited by Beavah

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Yah, hmmmm....

 

Sorry to hear all that, @@SSF.   We often say that Scoutin' is a lot of fun, except for the adults, eh?

 

I suspect that da only viable thing is to take your younger lad out of the program.   How can yeh possibly send your boy out into the woods with these folks given what you're sayin' about 'em here?   Either it's irresponsible, or yeh really don't think they're that bad if you're willin' to trust your son to them on a regular basis.   Yeh have to really think about which it is.

 

On da flipside, no adult in their right mind should choose to assume responsibility for your boy on campouts or in counselin' situations knowin' yeh feel and behave da way yeh do, eh?   It's not worth da aggravation or da risk for a volunteer.  They might stop just short of removin' your boy from the program because scouters hate kickin' boys out, but they're goin' to put up a lot of barriers to protect themselves that will impact your son's scoutin' experience.  Da CC is just a volunteer, eh?  He isn't required to spend time with your son workin' on a badge if he's not comfortable with that.

 

I reckon yeh need to find a new activity for your boys, eh?   Da only other possible option is if your spouse is better at this sort of thing, and you're willin' to step completely out of da scoutin' game and let her/him handle it from here on out.   Accept your ban as being a permanent thing for your own benefit and your son's, and let your spouse be da one who interfaces with the troop goin' forward.   I've only seen that work a couple of times, but yeh might think about it.   My guess would be that it's not somethin' yeh would be willin' or able to do, so you're back to findin' a new activity for your younger son.

 

I'd take a look at 4-H, or activity-specific adventure programs in your area.   If yeh have a semi-local rock climbing gym, for example, they're sure to have a youth program that's way more adventurous and fitness-promoting than da BSA.   Odds are your younger son will be able to suck some of his school and scout friends into another activity that he finds cool or interestin'.

 

Good luck with it.

 

Beavah

 

If the facts are as reported, and we have no contrary report, Scouting is fine for this Scout.  

 

The adults in power in the present troop are, as described, not fine, or minimally acceptable, for Scouting.

 

The position that whatever the SM says goes is contrary to the rules and ideals of Scouting.  Scouting in fact urges the "obedient" Scout to attempt to change things that are wrong, and the behavior of the troop's adults in power as reported is wrong by every standard EXCEPT "Whatever the SM says goes."  It is not "brave" to knuckle under to bullies who have decided to defy the Guide to Advancement, and for a Scout's parent to agree to knuckle under is a poor example.

 

Of course, we have no first-hand knowledge.  It's all hearsay, but the automatic assumption that any complaint about a SM just must be wrong and an evil reflection on the Scout and/or the reporter, must have some basis in experience outside the facts presented here for our consideration and comment.

 

 

It is probable that the Council will not refer this mess to Region, which has the power to act delegated from National Council.  

 

Whether anyone at council will help in any way is unknown.  I had a Scout brought to my troop in a situation even worse than that reported here, and the District  Director and Unit Commissioner of the other troop brought him, introduced him, furnished his records, and vouched for him.  Within a year, he was an Eagle Scout and his former SM was a former Scouter. (That SM also had his own personal advancement rules requirements.  For example, only one who had been appointed SPL and served to this SM's entire satisfaction could advance beyond Star.)

 

That leaves transferring to another troop.  Hopefully there is another troop where your son has one or more friends or at least positive acquaintances.  Discuss the situation with prospective SMs.  Try to have someone with good rep introduce your son to the prospective SM.   Bend over backwards to be fair to those who have not earned fairness.   Hopefully, your son can honestly say, " I don;t want any special breaks.  I just want Eagle if I have passed all the requirements - no more and no less."

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