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Scoutmaster denies 17 year old Life Scout Eagle

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Hedgehog,

 

The OP was never very specific about the rule change that started this whole mess.  The OP only said that it has the effect of requiring his oldest son to complete 10 more days of camping.  I don't think I have enough information to judge the reasonableness of the rule.

 

The very first post in the thread lays out what happened.  The boy actively participated in the Troop and actively served in a position of responsibility for 6 months as required for Eagle. After he met those requirements, the SM and CC added a requirement for "scout spirit" which required additional nights of camping.  The first post is reproduced below with the most important sections highlighted.

 

My older son is 17, an honor student and highly involved with sports throughout the year. He has been consistently active as a Boy Scout since crossing over as a Webelo in the 5th grade.

 

He has successfully completed his project and the final write-up in the workbook. He has completed all merit badges, with the exception of one required badge for which he has one remaining partial that he will have completed very soon. My son has been a Life Scout for more than two years and he has been on several camping trips in that time, including one long term camping excursion. He attends troop meetings regularly. He has held two acceptable PORs as a Life Scout and performed both admirably.

 

While he has been on the several camping trips, including the one week long camping excursion, his Scoutmaster feels that he has not been “active enough†and indicated that he needs to complete a complete an impractical and unrealistic additional number of camping trips in order to earn his scout spirit to be eligible for Eagle. Both the scoutmaster and the troop committee chair, have both adamantly refused to sign my son’s completed Eagle project workbook, his Eagle application and the SM has stated that he refuses to grant a SM conference until these additional nights of camping are completed.

 

At this stage of his life, and with the timing involved, it is not realistically possible for him to complete these additional nights of camping.

 

The troop committee imposed new, and more demanding, scout spirit/active participation requirements, however, my son had already completed his camping trips and six months of active participation, many months prior to the new requirements being put in place.

 

My older son has been very proactive in moving the Eagle Application and Workbook process forward and he and I have long suspected that the scoutmaster was intentionally delaying this process.

 

His announcement to my older son just a few days ago that he was adamantly refusing to sign anything or grant a SM conference, marked the first time in the past year that he had made any mention of the additional nights of camping.

 

If I were to share all of the details and specifics around this situation, this post would be the equivalent of a short novel, however, to give you the condensed version, it’s clear from the SM’s comments and the indifferent way in which he’s been working with my son (or rather not working with him) that he is doing his best to see that my son does not earn this rank that he has rightfully completed. I suspect that I know his reasons for this.

 

The SM and the troop committee are very much in cahoots and the majority of the troop committee, or at least it’s loudest members, are all supporting the scoutmaster.

 

 

The first problem is that you cannot add camping requirements for Scout Spirit under the BSA Guide to Advancement 4.2.3.2:

 

 

Evaluating Scout spirit will always be a judgment call, but through getting to know a young man and by asking probing questions, we can get a feel for it. We can say, however, that we do not measure Scout spirit by counting meetings and outings attended. It is indicated, instead, by the way he lives his life. 

 

You can add them for active participation in the troop and for serving actively in a position of responsibility, however they need to be established in advance, not after the Scout has fulfilled those requirements.  The BSA's Guide to Advance Section 4.2.3.1 provides the following regarding active participation: 

 

 

3. The Scout meets the unit’s reasonable expectations; or, if not, a lesser level of activity is explained.

If, for the time period required, a Scout or qualifying Venturer or Sea Scout meets those aspects of his unit’s pre-established expectations that refer to a level of activity, then he is considered active and the requirement is met. Time counted as “active†need not be consecutive. A boy may piece together any times he has been active and still qualify. If he does not meet his unit’s reasonable expectations, then he must be offered the alternative that follows. 

 

The alternative requirements provide that "If a young man has fallen below his unit’s activity- oriented expectations, then it must be due to other positive endeavors—in or out of Scouting—or due to noteworthy circumstances that have prevented a higher level of participation." 

 

The BSA's Guide to Advancement Section 4.2.3.4.3 proves the following regarding Positions of Responsibility:

 

Meeting Unit Expectations. If a unit has established expectations for positions of responsibility, and if, within reason (see the note under “Rank Requirements Overview,†4.2.3.0), based on his personal skill set, the Scout meets them, he ful lls the requirement. 

 

Reasonableness is defined in Section 4.2.3.0 as:

 

 

The concepts of “reasonable†and “within reason†will help unit leadership and boards of review gauge the fairness of expectations for considering whether a Scout is “active†or has fullled positions of responsibility. A unit is allowed, of course, to establish expectations acceptable to its chartered organization and unit committee. But for advancement purposes, Scouts must not be held to those which are so demanding as to be impractical for today’s youth (and families) to achieve.

 

Ultimately, a board of review shall decide what is reasonable and what is not. In doing so, the board members must use common sense and must take into account that youth should be allowed to balance their lives with positive activities outside of Scouting. 

 

The first violation is you can't require camping for Scout Spirit.  The second violation, assuming the requirements are active participation or leadership based,  is that the requirements were established after the requirements were already met.  The third violation is that the 10 nights of camping over 6 months (the time required for Eagle) is not reasonable because that would be missing one outing over six months (assuming the troop has a 2 night outing every month).

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I very much doubt that TAHAWK accurately represented my position to Mr. Lo Vecchio.

 

Doesn't really matter what your position is, if it at all runs contrary to the published BSA documentation.

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Our restriction applies to all candidates for Confirmation, not just the Boy Scouts. Our restriction applies to all service projects, not just the Eagle projects.

 

Because our restriction is general, and not specific to scouting, it is not a scouting requirement.

 

Does our restriction discourage community service? Yes. Is it an over reaction? Yes.

Edited by David CO

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Well, Sunshine, why don't you ask him directly if your Co may add requirements to those set out by B.S.A. and see what he says.

 

 

 

 

My CO has a service requirement that members are expected to complete as part of their preparation for Confirmation.   The CO doesn't want boys to be doing any other service projects that might compete with their time and energies until after they have received the Sacrament of Confirmation.

 

We won't approve an Eagle project until after Confirmation.

Edited by TAHAWK

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It surely is and was intended to be.

 

But it's not as bad as accusing someone of lying, Sunshine.

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Our restriction applies to all candidates for Confirmation, not just the Boy Scouts. Our restriction applies to all service projects, not just the Eagle projects.

 

Because our restriction is general, and not specific to scouting, it is not a scouting requirement.

 

Does our restriction discourage community service? Yes. Is it an over reaction? Yes.

 

What about service project hours that are required for the lower ranks?  Are all advancement postponed until after confirmation? 

 

I prefer Son-shine myself.  :)

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I did misspeak when I said that the CO doesn't want boys to be doing any other service projects that might compete with their time and energies until after they have received the Sacrament of Confirmation.

 

I shouldn't have said boys. The policy applies to both boys and girls.

 

In my later posts, I used the more correct terms, candidates for Confirmation or Confirmation candidates.

Edited by David CO

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It seemed clear from the outset that his CO's policy applied across the board.

 

It's quite simple to me.

 

Does duty to God trump your troop's implementation of any of the methods of scouting?

I would answer in the affirmative.

Can a CO lay out what the duty is?

There are plenty of instances where it has. (Not camping on Sabbath or Sunday, keeping kosher, etc ...)

Can it apply that broadly?

It can and it has. (E.g., a Jewish buddy sat with his grandson on the steps of a church while the troop attended the mass his troop was required to do if they were traveling on a Sunday.)

Does academic work trump scouting activities?

As a duty to country, it can and it has. (Educators have come on this forum and asked as much regarding troubled youth.)

 

Rank advancement is not the be-all and end-all that we sometimes make it out to be. And, frankly, any scout who hasn't knocked off the requisite service hours before the middle of 8th grade can wait a few months.

Now, if the CO as zealously treated a 17 year old life scout who transferred in never confirmed, we might have something to write about!

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Q,

 

None of the instances you described either added or subtracted to requirements for advancement.

 

Another thing to consider is how any of this is discussed with the boys. These processes and procedures, I mean. It appears many of these policies, and expectations are adult decisions. I wonder how the boys feel, and whether they were wven consulted, let alone make the decisions.

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Of course these are adult decisions.  This is the Catholic Church.  Even we adults don't always expect to be consulted.

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I've given you two examples.  Here is a third.

 

Eligibility.  A student can be declared ineligible for extracurricular activities because of poor academic performance.  The period of ineligibility can vary from 1 week to a semester.

 

This is a general rule that applies to all extracurricular activities, not just scouting.

 

Do the math.  If a student is ineligible for extracurricular activities, then he is ineligible for scouting, and that makes him ineligible for advancement.

Edited by David CO
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Doesn't really matter what your position is, if it at all runs contrary to the published BSA documentation.

 

I totally disagree with you.  Intent is everything.

 

My CO has no intent to alter any part of the Guide to Advancement.  My CO couldn't care less about advancement.

 

I understand that my CO's policies may have an effect on advancement, but that is more of a side-effect of the policies, not the intent of the policies.

Edited by David CO

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