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Scoutmaster denies 17 year old Life Scout Eagle

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I have never seen a scout loose a challenge based on an adult leaders opinion. The adults are more incumbent to present factual evidence than the scout. And while it seems the adult here is taking a lot of hits, typically it is the scouts who are pushing the boundaries. And it is more often than not usually the scout's parents forcing the challenge. 

 

Barry

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It's a kids' program, eh?   It's not da codes to the nuclear missiles, and BSA guidance documents aren't Holy Writ.   No need for jihad here, just some calm adult perspective.

Spot on!

 

Welcome back, Beavah.

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Anyone who has followed my posts on this site would already clearly know where I place my loyalty.  My loyalty is to the Chartered Organization.

 

 

My loyalty is to the Program and to the boys.  This situation is neither following the program or helping the boys.

 

  I just wonder if we really want to teach the lads that it's in their "rights" to be defiant.  

 

From one furry barrister to another, I think that asking that rules be applied to check the overreach of authority is not being defiant and that pursuing what is right to the highest arbitrer to get the correct answer is what we would expect of an Eagle.

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CAN A TROOP SET A STANDARD SUCH AS ATTENDANCE AT 50 PERCENT OF MEETINGS AND OUTINGS? Yes, so long as the standard is reasonable and recognizes the many worthwhile opportunities beyond Scouting. A Scout who falls short of the unit’s expectations must be given the chance to offer an acceptable explanation. Certainly there are medical, educational, family, and other issues that may prevent higher levels of participation. If the Scout would have been more active if he could have been, then he is deemed active. A board of review must also provide the Scout an opportunity to demonstrate how non-Scouting activities have contributed to his growth. (However, this option is only available if the board of review members can agree that the young man has already exhibited Scouting values.) For example, he might have missed a campout to attend a church youth retreat. Remember, the advancement program isn’t about what a Scout has done; it’s about what he’s able to do and how he has grown.

 

DO MONTHS OF ACTIVE PARTICIPATION HAVE TO BE CONTINUOUS? No. A Scout may piece together any periods he has been active and still qualify. And his active months don’t expire if they are followed by inactive months.

 

“Good question. As the writer states, it is true and stated several times in the Advancement Policies and Procedures Guide that neither, councils,

districts, nor units may add to, modify, or delete BSA advancement policies. This rule is highlighted, bold, and in a box so people won’t miss it. If

a unit does modify the active requirement as the writer suggests, it could come back to haunt them if the youth appeals a negative decision based on that

modification. The national advancement taskforce just revisited the definition of ‘active’ and, after great discussion, decided to leave it as it is. Units may not add a percentage of meetings to attend.â€

 

Rank advancement requires a Scout to demonstrate Scout spirit. How is Scout spirit defined and determined? Answer: Scout spirit applies to how a Scout lives and conducts his daily life. He shows Scout spirit by being a role model to his peers, living by the Scout Oath and Law. The concept of Scout spirit is not based on how many Scouting events or outings a Scout attends, but rather by how he helps bring out the best in others as a reflection of his own character and attitude in his daily life. Question: For the Star, Life, and Eagle Scout ranks, how is "Be active in your troop and patrol" defined? Answer: A Scout is considered to be active in his unit if: 1. He is registered in his unit (registration fees are current). 2. He has not been dismissed from his unit for disciplinary reasons. 3. He is engaged by his unit leadership on a regular basis (Scoutmaster conference, informs the Scout of upcoming unit activities, through personal contact, and so on). The unit leaders are responsible for maintaining contact with the Scout on a regular basis. The Scout is not required to attend any certain percentage of activities or outings. However, unit leaders must ensure that he is fulfilling the obligations of his assigned leadership position. If he is not, then they should remove the Scout from that position.

Edited by TAHAWK

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There are a few things about the OP that set me on edge.  

 

First was the statement that the Scoutmaster and the troop committee were in cahoots.  I didn't like that choice of words.  

 

The Scoutmaster and the unit committee should both be on the same page.  This is how a well run unit works.  If someone feels they're both on the wrong page, they should take it to the COR.

 

Second was the statement that the parent hopes to enlist the support of a couple parents.  I didn't like that as well.

 

Unless the couple parents being referred to are the COR and the IH, this is wholly inappropriate.  A well run unit does not make important decisions through parent led insurrections.  

 

Third was taking it to the council.  Strike three.

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@@David CO

 

What about the Scout? Huh?

 

He's following the rules and the arbitration procedures laid out by BSA.

 

The adults are not.

 

So where's you sense of fair play for the youth?

 

Side Note: No the SM should NOT be on the same page when the BOR and TC are breaking BSA policy and rules.

Edited by Krampus

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Yes, this is a forum. Yes the post is by a parent. Yes, we should be skeptical of posters who might have an axe to grind. I think everybody here is being pretty calm, but it is important to note we only have one half of the story. Krampus and Hedgehog (and I) are making a working assumption that the OP's description is true. That being said:

 

No offense to Beavah, but, Folks use that same line of (BSA documents are just guidelines) to create their own little fiefdoms, where they create "perfect" "boy run" troops that are anything but. They refuse to adapt, adjust or follow the rules. They play fast and loose with the rules, and in the end, their Scouts are the real losers. So is Scouting as a movement.

 

I wouldn't call it Holy Writ, because there's only a handful of documents in this world I'd call holy writ, and none of it is written by the BSA. That being said, isn't our job as BSA volunteers to execute a BSA program to the best of our abilities? Wouldn't part of that gaining of knowledge and skills being to read BSA documents that were created to help us do our volunteer roles? Specifically the Guide to Advancement in this case? 

These documents and requirements often establish a bare minimum. It's up to us as leaders to encourage and motivate our scouts to achieve beyond the requirements. Waiting to ambush a Scout about his activity at the last minute is cowardly. Sure, it's an unpleasant conversation to talk with/or call the Scout and his parents and inform them that he is not meeting the troop's (already made and established) standards for Activity or a POR, but come on. 

 

I'm with @@Krampus and @@Hedgehog on this one. What's the harm in getting the council to look in to it? If the Troop is breaking the rules, they deserve the smackdown. If they aren't than they should have nothing to fear. It would actually be a positive because then the Council can correct the parent. 

 

I know my unit would have nothing to fear. 

Sentinel947 


 

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If the SM and CC are doing it correctly, what's the big deal if the council wishes to investigate?    There's nothing I'm doing that wouldn't stand up to a council audit.  As a matter of fact I have the council watching over my shoulder because what I do seems to be things they are interested in knowing more about and want other units to consider. 

 

1) New troop heavy emphasis on patrol method where boys are making it happen. 

 

2) Boy Scout run AOL program to facilitate the Webelos to Boy Scout transition.

 

3) Middle school recruiting for Boy Scouts, not just grade school for Tigers.

 

4) Public recruiting at various businesses in the area.

 

5) Starting a regional Venturing Crew rather than a whole series of smaller ones.

 

6) Revamping the structure of the UC program to focus on units in difficulty rather than spreading out the seasoned UC's on units that are running smoothly.

 

These are the different foci I have promoted in the past 3 years in the council and they have been attentive and wanting quarterly updates on the progress shown.  They come and visit a lot when I'm late with my reports.  :)  More power to them, the more they come and see what I'm doing the less I have to report.

 

Am I always following the rules?  Maybe not all the little ones, but if there is progress and measurable success in these efforts, they don't seem to really care.

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Thanks again everyone.

 

 

This is very much a case of a troop that wants to run their own program, as opposed to the BSA program, but even regardless of that the SM has acted in an extremely egregious manner. The SM has made comments  to me essentially saying that he does not feel that my son is worthy of being an Eagle Scout, that’s what this all comes down to.

 

 

Thanks Beavah, I hear what you’re saying and I've always let my son fight his own battles in scouts, but this situation is so far off the charts that no scout should have to address something like this on their own.

 

 

To add a little more context to this, my son completed his project in November. Long story short, he faced a lot of obstacles, challenges and setbacks for his project, but he did not give up, he stayed the course and  in the end, his project was a great success and the beneficiary couldn't have been more pleased. As my son was going through the final steps of compiling all of his project numbers and doing the final report, he was consistently asking the SM about what he needed to do next to move things along. 

 

 

At that time and  then over the next several months, the SM seemed to be very disinterested in discussing the project with my son, and it seemed to be a very low priority for him. This was painfully apparent to both my son and I.

 

 

Ultimately my son got his book done and he asked the SM if they could review his book and get it signed. He also asked if he could have his SM conference. The SM said that "signing the book is the last thing we do." My son and I both thought that was a little odd. Did it not make sense to sign the workbook after the project was completed?

 

 

My son also asked if he could schedule time with the beneficiary to go through the book to request their approval and signature, but the SM said that he should not do that.

 

 

The SM had previously given my son a rundown of the final things he would need to do towards Eagle, those being to complete the Eagle Application, have his reference letters mailed and write his statement of ambition and complete his merit badge partial. So, over the next few weeks my son did all of that, and using his cards, he included his rank advancement dates and merit badge dates on the application.

 

 

The SM told my son though that the dates on the Eagle application had to come from Council and that he can't just put them in himself. The SM insists that he has to obtain the dates from Council and that he will do that.

 

 

The following week my son asks the SM if he had a chance to obtain the dates from Council for the application, the SM says he hasn’t had a chance to, but he will. About three weeks go by, and my son asks, and reminds, the SM each week about the dates for the application. The SM tells my son that he’s been very busy but that he is going to do it.

 

 

At this stage, my son and I are both extremely frustrated and I myself am trying very hard not to get directly involved.

 

 

Keep in mind also that throughout this time the project workbook has been fully completed and is ready to be signed, but again, the SM will not sign himself nor will he allow my son to seek the signature of the beneficiary.

 

 

This nearly brings us right to the present. Earlier this month, my son sent the SM an e-mail asking if he had an idea about when he might be able to get the dates for the application. He also expressed essentially, that he would like to speed up the process and that he would like to see if his SM Conference (where his workbook would supposedly be signed) could be scheduled.

 

 

The SM replied to my son’s e-mail four days later and he told my son in his very brief e-mail that he would need to complete a double digit number of additional nights of camping this year in order for him to be eligible for Eagle within the troop.

 

 

That was the first time, since September 2015, that the SM had ever made any mention to my son whatsoever that he needed to complete additional nights of camping.

 

 

Again, my son had already completed his six months of active participation, long before the new camping-participation-scout spirit requirement was put in place. Yet, the SM and the troop committee are applying this after the fact.

 

 

I believe that from the SM’s view, my son would have to complete double the camping quota for next year to make up for the nights he missed this year.

 

 

Even if you were to, hypothetically, overlook the fact that my son has already successfully completed his six months of active participation, and that the troop is essentially adding an additional rank requirement for him to complete Eagle, how and why did the SM wait seven and a half months before telling my son that he needed an additional ten nights of camping.

 

 

As a final side note, regarding my son’s merit badge partial. He had actually completed the partial in the Spring of 2014. He showed the SM his work and the SM said it was fine and my son believed he had completed the badge. When he didn’t get the badge at the COH, he mentioned to the SM that he had not received and the SM said he would look into it to see what happened, My son never heard anything back and unfortunately he and I both forgot about it as his focus had shifted towards preparing for his Eagle Project.

 

 

He is now re-doing this requirement with the troop’s MB counselor. I’m not at all in favor of my son having to re-do a requirement, but at this point, and considering the timing this is the fastest option towards getting the blue card signed.

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"My son also asked if he could schedule time with the beneficiary to go through the book to request their approval and signature, but the SM said that he should not do that."

 

Why is this up to the SM?

When my son made Eagle he went to the beneficiary and got their signature that he had finished the project and they approved.

The SM wasn't involved (and shouldn't be).

There is no reason why the SM (or any other Troop leaders) need to be present to get this signed

 

"The SM told my son though that the dates on the Eagle application had to come from Council and that he can't just put them in himself. The SM insists that he has to obtain the dates from Council and that he will do that."

 

Why is the SM doing this and not leaving it to the Scout?

I (with my son) can go to the council's Registrar and request his records. (tell them you are filling out his Eagle app).

In our council it is suggested that any Scout getting close to Eagle do this to verify that his records (and dates) are correct

They will either print them on the spot or email a copy.

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Like @@Beavah, I believe the best solution continues to be the fun one. Since this topic started, the boy could have called his patrol mates, picked a weekend (this one's looking real nice on the East coast, btw) and location and have the menu planned.

 

The plan could include a hike to the beneficiary for his signature in the workbook and inviting the MBC to evening campfire for the blue card (and maybe generate some interest amoung younger scouts in starting the badge).

 

Someone mentioned holy writ, well, "if compelled to walk a mile, go two." Bling vs. the Lord's favor ... You choose.

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Like @@Beavah, I believe the best solution continues to be the fun one. Since this topic started, the boy could have called his patrol mates, picked a weekend (this one's looking real nice on the East coast, btw) and location and have the menu planned.

The plan could include a hike to the beneficiary for his signature in the workbook and inviting the MBC to evening campfire for the blue card (and maybe generate some interest amoung younger scouts in starting the badge).

Someone mentioned holy writ, well, "if compelled to walk a mile, go two." Bling vs. the Lord's favor ... You choose.

But you've always been a big supporter of the unit NOT to making up or adding to requirements. This unit appears to have done just that. The scouts completed an MB and completed his active six months, now the adults are adding more. Why should he have to redo anything?

 

When does this kid turn 18? He's got his senior year, college applications, tests/exams, prom, etc. Why can't the adults work with this kid instead of throwing more road blocks at him?

 

Done with the project? Sign the wookbook.

 

Done with the requirements? Sign the handbook.

 

Application ready? Re-review the workbook to make sure it's signed, re-review handbook to make sure all sections are signed and dated, review the application to make sure all dates match what council has on file and sign the darn thing.

 

Have the SMC and prep the kid for his BOR.

Edited by Krampus

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While I don't think this SM is correct in his methods, I do think ScoutSon should step up his game and take charge of his progress towards Eagle.  He needs to complete everything that doesn't involve the SM including the beneficiary signature and records from council to audit his progress in rank and wrap up his MB.  He needs to have everything BSA requires completed and ready for the SM signature.  Set an appointment at a specific time and place for him to review and sign and be done with it.  If at that point the SM refuses, find a SM that will and for $1 transfer over to his troop for the signature.  If this were a business transaction between professional adults this would have been cleared up a long time ago.  If one can't do business with one vendor, there's another out there that is willing to.  One cannot be making up the rules to keep an Eagle from a scout, It is at that point when everything but the signature is complete that it gets taken to the Council.  If that fails, I'm sure there's a SM out there that is willing to take on a good scout for $1.

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