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Requirement clarification

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One of the things I find so strange about the activity/participation requirements is that a unit cannot deny advancement to a scout, but it can drop them entirely.

 

Should we really want to leave units with no recourse except the "nuclear option" to maintain standards for activity/participation?

I don't consider it a nuclear option so much as a "reality check." And it helps guide a youth in more than just advancement.

 

I've had venturers (especially those also in GS/USA) who were invisible to me and my co-advisors for years, except when it was time to sign-off on NHS hours for both time in the crew and their troop. We said "Really? How did your troop benefit from your service in the past two years?" Somehow, they figured making our numbers "look good" was a service.

 

Since then, within the year they stop showing up, I give them a call, ask if it's okay if I drop them from the roster, and let them know it's just paperwork when they want to come back.

 

To call him/herself a scout, I want a high-school age youth to give his/her fellow scouts a good few solid months each year. Then, if he/she is needed by a team or church or some tribe on the other side of a mountain whose medical supplies can only be hiked in, let us know (and send pictures.) My reasoning (and I have coaches who concur): an active youth who can concentrate on scouting for that long will probably pick up enough to improve their performance in other groups -- and academics.

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No, Beavah, but it's covered in GTA. It says something to the effect as Scouts get older, enter HS and participate in more stuff, there is a different expectation. 

 

Yah, hmmm...  not that I can see.

 

Shouldn't our expectations be higher for older boys who have spent more time in da program?   For lads who are aspirin' to higher rank?

 

Beavah

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CherokeeScouter, on 19 Jul 2016 - 12:35 PM, said:snapback.png

No, Beavah, but it's covered in GTA. It says something to the effect as Scouts get older, enter HS and participate in more stuff, there is a different expectation. 

 

Yah, hmmm...  not that I can see.

 

Shouldn't our expectations be higher for older boys who have spent more time in da program?   For lads who are aspirin' to higher rank?

 

Beavah

 

By "not that I can see", I assume that is a view point statement.  BSA GTA has it mentioned fairly well in section 4.2.3.1 "Active Participation".   ...

 

"Alternative to the third test if expectations are not met:

 

"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.

 

"A Scout in this case is still considered “active†if a board of review can agree that Scouting values have already taken hold and have been exhibited. This might be evidenced, for example, in how he lives his life and relates to others in his community, at school, in his religious life, or in Scouting. It is also acceptable to consider and “count†positive activities outside Scouting when they, too, contribute to his growth in character, citizenship, or personal fitness. Remember: It is not so much about what a Scout has done. It is about what he is able to do and how he has grown."

 

...

...

 

"In considering the third test, it is appropriate for units to set reasonable expectations for attendance and participation. Then it is simple: Those who meet them are “active.†But those who do not must be given the opportunity to qualify under the third-test alternative above. To do so, they must first offer an acceptable explanation. Certainly, there are medical, educational, family, and other issues that for practical purposes prevent higher levels of participation. These must be considered. Would the Scout have been more active if he could have been? If so, for purposes of advancement, he is deemed “active.â€

 

"We must also recognize the many worthwhile opportunities beyond Scouting. Taking advantage of these opportunities and participating in them may be used to explain why unit participation falls short. Examples might include involvement in religious activities, school, sports, or clubs that also develop character, citizenship, or personal fitness. The additional learning and growth experiences these provide can reinforce the lessons of Scouting and also give young men the opportunity to put them into practice in a different setting.

 

"It is reasonable to accept that competition for a Scout’s time will become intense, especially as he grows older and wants to take advantage of positive “outside†opportunities. This can make full-time dedication to his unit difficult to balance. A fair leader therefore, will seek ways to empower a young man to plan his growth opportunities both inside and outside Scouting, and consider them part of the overall positive life experience for which the Boy Scouts of America is a driving force.

 

"A board of review can accept an explanation if it can be reasonably sure there have been sufficient influences in the Scout’s life that he is meeting our aims and can be awarded the rank regardless of his current or most recent level of activity in Scouting. The board members must satisfy themselves that he presents himself, and behaves, according to the expectations of the rank for which he is a candidate. Simply put: Is he the sort of person who, based on present behavior, will contribute to the Boy Scouts of America’s mission? Note that it may be more difficult, though not impossible, for a younger member to pass through the third-test alter

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Da actual official definition of "active" is provided by da BSA's Rules & Regulations:

 

Where can I download a copy of "BSA's Rules & Regulations".  BSA provides GTA, G2SS and other docs to help.  I've never seen this promoted as a guiding document, but I would like to have a copy.

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It sounds to me like BSA has created an all-inclusive exception that would allow any registered scout to claim to be active, regardless of actual participation in scouting.

 

I think its sole purpose is to keep the phony numbers up and the dues rolling in.  It is blatantly dishonest.

Edited by David CO
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We expect our Scouts to follow the rules, yet we just can't seem to resist the urge to bend, twist, and snap them based on our own personal whims, eh?

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We expect our Scouts to follow the rules, yet we just can't seem to resist the urge to bend, twist, and snap them based on our own personal whims, eh?

 

The rule is a lie.

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"If it looks like an active Scout and sounds like an active Scout and (smells?) like an active Scout,   it (he/she)  must be an active Scout."

 

How can we see, hear (smell!)   a Scout if they are not actively "present"? 

It is all well and good that  the presumptive Scout (there's that word again. I've seen it a lot lately, must be on my mind)  is seen as a "Good Scout" by his/her activity in their school, faith, athletic endeavors,  but if they are not HERE,  how can their Scout "activity"  be judged?  Either by SM or Committee? 

 

And, yes, I think a truly "active" Scout may indeed have a distinctive "smell"!   I know  my Scoutson  did when he returned from some of his "active" Scouting!

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A Scout in this case is still considered “active†if a board of review can agree that Scouting values have already taken hold and have been exhibited. This might be evidenced, for example, in how he lives his life and relates to others in his community, at school, in his religious life, or in Scouting. It is also acceptable to consider and “count†positive activities outside Scouting when they, too, contribute to his growth in character, citizenship, or personal fitness. 

 

Yah, nuthin' wrong with this, eh?

 

If a lad has been absent enough not to meet his unit's general expectations, it is acceptable for the Board to consider other activities outside of Scoutin'.    Caring for a sick relative, a special mission activity for his church that overlapped summer camp, that sort of thing.   

 

It's acceptable.  Can be reasonable.  Sometimes there are exceptions that should be considered.

 

It's not required, nor should every single lad who is doin' any other outside activity be granted such a "third test" exception.  Exceptions are for exceptional circumstances.

 

What it definitely does not say is that older, high-school aged boys should be held to a different expectation.

 

Beavah

Edited by Beavah

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We expect our Scouts to follow the rules, yet we just can't seem to resist the urge to bend, twist, and snap them based on our own personal whims, eh?

 

I confess I'm not particularly interested in scouts followin' rules.  

 

I'm more interested in scouts havin' good character so that they do the right thing even when there aren't any rules (or sometimes, in spite of da rules).

 

Most of our sponsors are organizations that have some version of a sabbath, eh?  A day of rest, with expected participation in religious services.  That's a good example of the sort of thing that's part of "fulfilling a member's obligation".  

 

As far as I know, almost all churches make exceptions.  Doctors on call, family emergencies, travel far from any church.  Sometimes other good works truly do fulfill a "member's obligation."  At the same time, most churches still expect yeh to come to church even if you're a good football player, or yeh take AP classes, or whatnot.  

 

That's just to be a good member, eh?  I reckon folks lookin' for awards from the church should be doin' even more. 

 

Seems like that's what we're tryin' to teach the boys.  A commitment to being a member of a group is a commitment.  There are times when somethin' else is truly a higher priority, but those by and large are temporary and rare.  Just like the good Lord expects us both to truly honor the sabbath and still make exceptions for healin' the sick, we should be teachin' boys to truly honor their commitment to scouting but still skip da meeting if they come across an auto accident, or if a friend needed 'em to switch days for a volunteer shift at da nursing home.

 

What just ain't honorable is to expect to receive an award from an organization when yeh haven't even been showin' up.

 

Beavah

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I'm dyslexic and haven't read all the guidelines yet but I'm trying. Unfortunately, everything I've seen so far is, learn it, forget it and move on. It is all beginning to look like a participation trophy to me.

  A kids skills or lack thereof can not be retested. If the kid doesn't come to any of the troop outings, oh, well, I'm sure he had a reason. You still have to advance him, he came to 1/3 of the meetings and did nothing. That counts and you can't deny it.

  The troop I am in needs more structure and I'm trying to get the Scouts to take control of their troop. This hasn't been successful in the past but I am trying now. I'm just having a hard time with the feel good, politically correct, open ended subjective vague guidelines I read so far. From what I've read a board of review is nothing more than what was your favorite merit badge, what was your favorite trip, do you like it here, is this a nice easy way to skate through scouting.

   How is this politically correct,  everyone gets a trophy nonsense going to teach a young man to try harder, to strive for excellence. to overcome adversity and stand proud of his accomplishments.

 

IMHO, this is not about "politically correct" or "everyone gets a trophy.".   That is entirely wrong.  

 
This is about if someone does the work, they get the reward.  If the scouts are not learning their skills, deal with it when they are evaluated for that skill.  If scouts are not remembering their skills, add patrol competitions or situations where they use the skill.  Put the scouts in situations where they need the skills.  Otherwise, why are we even teaching the skills and using the learning of those skills as a requirement.  
 
Too many adults want to raise the bar when the scout wants to advance.  IMHO, that's wrong and mean.  Leaders see the BORs as the gotcha moment when they can enforce higher standards.  That's wrong.  The BORs exist to get feedback on the program and to encourage the youth.  Period.  
 
If you want to raise the bar, improve the teaching and do more so that scouts use the skills.
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This is about if someone does the work, they get the reward.  If the scouts are not learning their skills, deal with it when they are evaluated for that skill.  If scouts are not remembering their skills, add patrol competitions or situations where they use the skill.  Put the scouts in situations where they need the skills.  Otherwise, why are we even teaching the skills and using the learning of those skills as a requirement.  
 
Too many adults want to raise the bar when the scout wants to advance.  IMHO, that's wrong and mean.  Leaders see the BORs as the gotcha moment when they can enforce higher standards.  That's wrong.  The BORs exist to get feedback on the program and to encourage the youth.  Period.  
 
If you want to raise the bar, improve the teaching and do more so that scouts use the skills.

 

 

Yah, hmmm....

 

I don't disagree with this.  Scouts should learn their skills by doing things, eh?  By patrol competitions, by situations where they need to use their skills.  Raising the bar involves improvin' the instruction, but mostly improvin' the program to provide a lot of active practice and fun usin' the skills.

 

Da thing is, that's all part of Step 1: A Scout Learns.   Earning rank comes after all that, eh?  It comes well after learning, and after bein' tested, and after bein' reviewed.

 

Sometimes at a review we find that we blew it somewhere along the way, eh?  Maybe we did a one-and-done group parlor test which didn't show that a boy hadn't really learned; maybe we discover the instruction was poor and the lad learned the CPR procedures from 10 years ago; maybe mom or dad signed off when they weren't supposed to, or someone who wasn't a MBC for the badge signed off on da badge.  Maybe someone got confused and signed off on "active" when the lad was largely absent.

 

Mostly, that's good feedback for the program, eh?  It allows us to go back and try to improve da program in those areas, or fix procedures or whatnot.  That's the primary purpose.

 

It's also good feedback for the scout, eh?  The burden is not only on the unit.  We want to build independent, responsible, character-filled young men.  The way to do that is to teach 'em that not everything is spoon-fed and not all da responsibility falls on adults. They have to take responsibility for their own learnin' and advancement.  Just because they can get away with scammin' a signoff when they don't really know something doesn't mean that they should.  So we also give feedback to the boy and encourage him to go back and do a better job.  Boards of Review should happen fairly frequently, and lots of 'em should be without a boy advancing.  

 

Or, put another way, a lad who hasn't learned the skills or been meaningfully active hasn't done the work.  Givin' a boy a fake patch that doesn't represent skills he has really learned or growth he has really achieved is truly mean to the boy, eh?  Makes him a poser in da eyes of his peers.  Can even put him in a bad or dangerous position, like when a pencil-whipped First Class lad comes on a high adventure trip unprepared.   It's also not healthy for da program, since it makes the badge less valuable in the eyes of other boys and the Method less effective.

 

All things in balance, eh?  Advancement isn't a make-work-for-pay arrangement, it's a mentoring process we use to help lads become self-motivated learners and participatory citizens.

 

Beavah

Edited by Beavah

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Yah, hmmm....

 

I don't disagree with this.  Scouts should learn their skills by doing things, eh?  By patrol competitions, by situations where they need to use their skills.  Raising the bar involves improvin' the instruction, but mostly improvin' the program to provide a lot of active practice and fun usin' the skills.

 

Da thing is, that's all part of Step 1: A Scout Learns.   Earning rank comes after all that, eh?  It comes well after learning, and after bein' tested, and after bein' reviewed.

 

Sometimes at a review we find that we blew it somewhere along the way, eh?  Maybe we did a one-and-done group parlor test which didn't show that a boy hadn't really learned; maybe we discover the instruction was poor and the lad learned the CPR procedures from 10 years ago; maybe mom or dad signed off when they weren't supposed to, or someone who wasn't a MBC for the badge signed off on da badge.  Maybe someone got confused and signed off on "active" when the lad was largely absent.

 

Mostly, that's good feedback for the program, eh?  It allows us to go back and try to improve da program in those areas, or fix procedures or whatnot.  That's the primary purpose.

 

It's also good feedback for the scout, eh?  The burden is not only on the unit.  We want to build independent, responsible, character-filled young men.  The way to do that is to teach 'em that not everything is spoon-fed and not all da responsibility falls on adults. They have to take responsibility for their own learnin' and advancement.  Just because they can get away with scammin' a signoff when they don't really know something doesn't mean that they should.  So we also give feedback to the boy and encourage him to go back and do a better job.  Boards of Review should happen fairly frequently, and lots of 'em should be without a boy advancing.  

 

Or, put another way, a lad who hasn't learned the skills or been meaningfully active hasn't done the work.  Givin' a boy a fake patch that doesn't represent skills he has really learned or growth he has really achieved is truly mean to the boy, eh?  Makes him a poser in da eyes of his peers.  Can even put him in a bad or dangerous position, like when a pencil-whipped First Class lad comes on a high adventure trip unprepared.   It's also not healthy for da program, since it makes the badge less valuable in the eyes of other boys and the Method less effective.

 

All things in balance, eh?  Advancement isn't a make-work-for-pay arrangement, it's a mentoring process we use to help lads become self-motivated learners and participatory citizens.

 

Beavah

 

 

Beavah ... as always, you are well spoken and have meaningful comments.  

 

IMHO, the rules exist as they are because of the mix of people.  In an idyllic Utopian single troop, it works fine.  But the reality is adult leaders change and have differences of opinion and differences of view point.  In addition, scouts are all different between themselves too.

 

I agree with "All things in balance".  It's a matter of where you put the balance.  IMHO and from BSA's comments, put it at testing the individual requirements.  If the troop blows it or the scout skirted the issue ... and it's an important skill or significant hole ... then find a way to convey the skill and knowledge to the scout outside the advancement channel.  That happens all the time.  

 

Advancement may not be a work-for-pay arrangement, but it's also not a certification program.  If you go on high adventure or swimming, you need to make sure you are comfortable with the scouts and their abilities.  

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Yah, I hear yeh, @@fred johnson.  I'm supportin' a lot of units with different adult vision, and turnover and all the rest.  Yeh have to sort of roll with these things and not take 'em too seriously...  while also keepin' the Vision of da program in mind.

 

To my way of thinkin' one of da sadnesses of the modern G2A is that da mandate from above was to reduce the number of complaints and appeals, eh?  That's the metric used for evaluation.   By that metric it's been quite successful.   :p   So I get what you're sayin' about the way some of that document reads.   I fully admit to bein' a bit more of a traditionalist who cares for doin' right by the kids rather than helpin' lighten da staff load in Irving.

 

I don't think we should have to re-test a lad with a Swimming MB to see if he can swim.  I think if we need to do that we failed the boy, eh?  Worse, we set him up to get hurt because he thinks he can swim and might go out when we're not around and get himself into trouble.  High adventure bases require lads to be First Class scouts because at some level we expect First Class to mean something in terms of a boy's readiness for that sort of program.

 

Eagle is the biggie in this regard, eh?  We hold that rank out to da community as bein' deeply meaningful - meaningful enough to merit an advantage in college admissions and military pay grade and employment opportunities.  If at some level we're not a certification program, then we need to stop trumpeting the value of Eagle Scout as well.    

 

That's why Eagle is our most frequent conflict point with Advancement, eh?  Units follow da G2A and let kids slide by until they come up for Eagle, and then they realize that approach doesn't result in a boy who merits all those accolades and advantages.  It's not so much that they're tryin' to "change da rules" on the boy at the last minute.  It's that they were followin' da rules and didn't get the outcome they wanted, and they don't want to be dishonest with the broader community.  

 

What they need to do in such a case is go back and fix their approach to Advancement startin' with Scout, eh?  No way to fix an almost-18-year-old, and that's not fair to the lad.  But in fixin' their program, they should be makin' sure that Scout, and Tenderfoot, and First Aid MB and all the rest really mean somethin'.   That way a lad with an Eagle badge will really mean something too.

 

Beavah

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