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changing requirements does little to change a poor program into a better one, and a quality program will still be a quality program. As long as bsa, councils, troops focus on requirements and advancement almost exclusively little will change to improve program. IMO the best, and only way to improve the program is to focus on fun and adventure. If this is the focus, the program will improve and advancement (as a secondary interest) will take care of itself. My suggestion to bsa is to stop playing with requirements and focus on how to help councils and troops create a fun, adventure filled program which is truly boy led using the patrol method. Pencil whipping occurs when the goal is paper and pencil.

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Here's a rundown of an average year in my Troop growing up:

 

January - Klondike Derby - outdoors but not camping

February - Cabin Campout - though overnighting inside, activities take place outside - no camping

March - First Aid Meet - not camping

April - Galena Grant Encampment - 1st camping overnight

May - Camporee - 2nd camping overnight

June - Canoe Trip - day trip - no camping

July - Summer Camp - 3rd camping overnight - using pre-set tents - doesn't meet the "in shelter you set up" requirement

August - Service Project - help sponsor with corn roast - no camping (our unit considered this a rest month from Summer Camp - we camped for two consecutive weeks at summer camp)

September - Camporee - 4th camping overnight

October - Troop campout - 5th camping overnight

November - Brown County Biking & Hiking - stayed in lodge - no camping

December - day hike - no camping

 

I'm biased but that's a pretty decent set of activities for a Troop.  It just doesn't meet the 6 camping trip requirements - it only meets 4 of them (because the Scouts aren't setting up tents for summer camp).  And keep in mind, its trip, not nights because ironically, this schedule does give a Scout 13-15 nights towards their camping merit badge requirement depending on if you count a week of summer camp as 5, 6, or 7 nights (our Troop camped for two consecutive weeks - we used 7 nights as a week).  It does meet the 10 activities, 6 outdoors, 3 camping and setting up tent requirements.  A Patrol might go camping on their own a couple of times but even back then, patrol overnight camping trips were fairly rare. 

 

If the goal is First Class/First Year, then 6 camping trips a year might be difficult for an averagely active unit that provides a variety of activities. 

Could some of these activities be turned to overnights?  Sure - in theory - until it meets the reality of wives telling their husbands that they need to spend time with the rest of the family. 

 

I thought it was a mistake to have changed the outing requirements to the "new old" ones in the first place - it seemed to me that the advancement folks were narrowing their definition of "outing" to camping - I, for one, am glad that they've recognized that outing is a lot more than camping - and that they recognized it sooner than later.

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11 year olds in LDS troops cannot camp more than 3 times a year. With the january 1, 2016 to yesterday requirements, they could not earn First Class in a year.

 

I didn't realize there was a time limit on First Class. So it takes them 18 months to earn First Class. Why is that an issue worth changing the whole program back for?

 

I must be missing something here too? If LDS units no longer operate over 14 years old, is the push to get them Eagle before 14 now? What's the problem if kids make FC in 18 months. I have several guys that took 18 months to get FC. Several of those were the first to make Eagle from their peer group. I just don't see why we needed to reverse the requirements to allow making FC in one year for one particular group.

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Flagg, I could be wrong, but I think this one is as much about scouters in general feeling micromanaged as it is about LDS being bent out of shape that its 11 year olds can only advance to 2nd class.

 

...  All the boys' tents went down in a thunderstorm and soaked everything they had.  The leaders' tents were all still standing.  After a quick lesson on doing it right, all the boys could then do double half-hitches and taunt-line hitches in their sleep.  There's no way to teach that except at a campout.  After that they paid more attention to the other requirements as well. ...

 

I'm told that some scouts can go for 6 camping nights without ever their knots being proven in a storm. Never seen it happen, because any scouts I know wind up camping with me. :p

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Why is that an issue worth changing the whole program back for?

 

 

Just as an aside to the discussion - I find it rather interesting that there were no big discussions about National changing the requirements in the first place given how generally reluctant folks are at accepting changes by National in the first place.  I didn't see anyone asking if there was an issue worth changing the program for in the first place. 

 

(Col - not a reflection on you - your post was just very convenient for the observation).

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First class-first year should not be a goal.

 

I suspect that even if Troops are pushing First Class-First Year, 6 camping trips a year might be ambitious for some troops trying to provide a balanced program.

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I suspect that even if Troops are pushing First Class-First Year, 6 camping trips a year might be ambitious for some troops trying to provide a balanced program.

6 trips is one every other month. 6 nights is 3 trips from Fri-Sun. A troop which puts other limits on number or type of trips may introduce additional obstacles to, but that is their choice.

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My current troop:

January            Lock in, mostly because we get new Scouts in December/January.

Feburary          Camp

March              campStaff the Webeloree

April                 Council camporee Practice (required for points)

May                  Council Camporee

                         HA prep trip

June                  Camp

July                    Summer Camp

August               Camp

September         camp

October             District Camporee

November         Camp

December     Christmas party, if early enough and no conflicts camp

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Just as an aside to the discussion - I find it rather interesting that there were no big discussions about National changing the requirements in the first place given how generally reluctant folks are at accepting changes by National in the first place.  I didn't see anyone asking if there was an issue worth changing the program for in the first place. 

 

(Col - not a reflection on you - your post was just very convenient for the observation).

 

I suspect the lack of discussion around the increase in nights is because -- I suspect -- the majority of us would prefer more camping, not less. Truth be told, I'd like the "old, old" requirements that required even more camping.

 

My unit camps Jan-June (2 nights x 6 months), July summer camp (6 nights), August (HA usually 6-10 nights), Sept-Nov (2 nights x 3 months), Dec is a lock in. So without summer camp and HA that's 18 nights.

 

Not sure why units can't get any kid to FC in 12-14 months unless they simply are not camping.

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Just as an aside to the discussion - I find it rather interesting that there were no big discussions about National changing the requirements in the first place given how generally reluctant folks are at accepting changes by National in the first place.  I didn't see anyone asking if there was an issue worth changing the program for in the first place. 

 

I think there were so many changes made at the same time that the discussions got kind of "scattered" among the different changes. I recall raising concerns about a few of them, but not this one, which I thought was a good idea.  As for First Class First Year, I think that is mostly a relic of the past anyway.  When I see it expressed these days, it is usually a "softer" version along the lines of, a troop should have a program that gives Scouts the opportunity to make First Class within the first 12 to 18 months, as opposed to a "forced march" to make it in a year.  I don't think 18 months is unrealistic.  We have had kids make First Class in 6 months (not many) and kids make it in 2.5 years, and everywhere in between, so 18 months is right in the middle.

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I didn't realize there was a time limit on First Class. So it takes them 18 months to earn First Class. Why is that an issue worth changing the whole program back for?

 

I must be missing something here too? If LDS units no longer operate over 14 years old, is the push to get them Eagle before 14 now? What's the problem if kids make FC in 18 months. I have several guys that took 18 months to get FC. Several of those were the first to make Eagle from their peer group. I just don't see why we needed to reverse the requirements to allow making FC in one year for one particular group.

LDS units DO and WILL operate over 14 years old. The only change is that instead of automatically being registered into a varsity unit at 14 and then a Venturing crew at 16, now the boys simply continue to be registered in the Troop if they want to continue Scouting. LDS Scouts can stay in Scouting all the way until they are 18 if they want; they just won't be registered in a Church-sponsored Varsity or Venturing unit is all. People really need to understand this; there are a LOT of misconception being thrown around everywhere. 

 

But yes, we keep the 11-year olds separate from the boys 12 and up because of the way we divide our programs for youth. Children under the age of 12 fall under the Church's Primary program for children, so 11 year-old Scouts fall under a different overall program than the boys 12 and up, which fall under the Young Men's program. Because of the fundamental divide in how the Church runs it programs, 11 year-olds are still treated as children (which they are), so we don't like to throw to much camping on them at that age is all. At 12 we let them camp all we want. Some people do it younger, some wait till they are even older than that. But as a Church we do it at 12. 

 

Now, what the BSA chooses to do is its own choice, so let's not create all kinds of misguided or incorrect information about the Church's role in this when really, that isn't the case.

Edited by The Latin Scot
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... We have had kids make First Class in 6 months (not many) and kids make it in 2.5 years, and everywhere in between, so 18 months is right in the middle.

LOL, NJ. You all are high speed! :wub:

 

We usually have a good cadre who take 3+years. Typically swimming in that 250 acre lake (even though we're only testing them in a 200 sq ft section of it) looms large for many of them, but it can be anything and usually it boils down to a lack of focus.

 

Needless to say, all of our guys have racked up dozens of nights camping and oodles of service hours ... to the point where I chide adults when they announce a project and add "counts for service hours." These boys don't care!

 

So, I am coming from a different point of view. Time outdoors is not what keeps our boys from ranking up, so in my frame of reference, it is a wasted stipulation to an already wordy requirement. I'd rather the requirement read:

 

Do 10 activities that you planned in advance with your troop or patrol during your regular meetings.

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Now, what the BSA chooses to do is its own choice, so let's not create all kinds of misguided or incorrect information about the Church's role in this when really, that isn't the case.

 

Thanks for the info.

 

I don't think we can assume away that this wasn't done for the LDS units either, given that they are the largest single CO group. What baffles me is why the "FC in 1 year" is such an issue. Big deal. Take 18 months. There is simply no reason to change back. 

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 What baffles me is why the "FC in 1 year" is such an issue. Big deal. Take 18 months. There is simply no reason to change back. 

 

Back in the 1980s, some research was done on why Scouts stay involved. One of the things the survey harped on was If a Scout gets First Class in the 12 Months, they tend to stay, Hence "OPERATION FIRST CLASS" as it was called in 1989. What the study didn't address was how active was the units these Scouts were in.

 

I hate to say it, but  IMHO "OPERATION FIRST CLASS" was one of the things that has led to the "One and Done" and "pencil whipping" that I see more and more of. 

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