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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. 

 

I think the problem was that the BSA was unable to tell the difference between a "cause" and an "effect."  Which is ok, a lot of people can't, but it does create an issue when you turn an entire program upside down because you drew an incorrect conclusion from the data.  They saw that there was a correlation between Scouts who made FC in 12 months and Scouts who stayed in Scouting (let's call those two things A and B), and they drew the conclusion that A caused B.  It probably didn't, and doesn't.  In all likelihood, C causes A and B, where C = A highly motivated and interested Scout, especially one in an active unit that follows the program.  In other words, if you have a highly motivated and interested Scout, in an active unit that follows the program, it is likely that that Scout will make First Class faster AND will stay in Scouting.  A forced-march through the ranks by a Scout who would rather move at a slower pace is not good for anybody.  We had a couple transfers in from a troop that took FCFY literally, 11 or barely-12 year olds who had been "advanced" to FC in a year, and I think it took all the fun out of it for them.  One of them quit within a year after transferring, the other one kind of moped along through Life and quit at around 16.

 

And then we had 3 kids who crossed over together, one made FC in 6 months, one in about 8 months and the other in about 9 months.  Nobody told them they had to.  They wanted to. (And ok, maybe they were in a friendly competition with each other, just a little.)  And they all made Eagle and were either SPL or ASPL, for whatever that's worth.

Edited by NJCubScouter
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I had 6 boys in my Webelos den, they crossed over and stayed in their own patrol and encouraged each other throughout their careers.  The all Eagled in an adult led troop.  But, they were "My" boys and I worked hard at keeping their wishes to stay as a patrol and not have adults interfere with their scouting.  It was because of them I became a strong proponent of the NSP, regular and older boy patrols.

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"Since its inception, Boy Scouting has relied heavily on an outdoor program to achieve its objectives. This program meets more of the purposes of Scouting than any other single feature."  BSA 2017.

 

Overnight camping is just one example of the outdoor program, but what is replacing overnight camping to represent the use of outdoor programming?

 

Advancement is supposed to come naturally out of an outdoor-centered program, not be a program driver in and of itself.  Much less should advancement be a rationalization for reducing outdoor program.  Unless BSA is, sub silencio,  making [more] fundamental changes in Boy Scouting.

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The problem I have with the First Class in the first year is that, they go to camp and do the trail to Eagle program or whatever it is called and they start marking off requirements for being present and not actually doing it.  We check the boys after camp but I know most just say ok they get credit for it.  We had a boy get the swimming merit badge while having a broken arm and never getting into the water.  The camps are just mills....  And no he didn't get credit for the merit badge from us.

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

 

 

I always enjoy seeing what other units do.  We are similar, but try to target 10 weekend trips (2 nights), one summer camp (7 nights) and one adventure program a year.  We try to have one activity available per month, but that's 100% up to the scouts.  So it's pretty easy to get 25 nights camping a year and possible to get 33 or more nights a year.  

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The problem I have with the First Class in the first year is that, they go to camp and do the trail to Eagle program or whatever it is called and they start marking off requirements for being present and not actually doing it.  We check the boys after camp but I know most just say ok they get credit for it.  We had a boy get the swimming merit badge while having a broken arm and never getting into the water.  The camps are just mills....  And no he didn't get credit for the merit badge from us.

Over time we found this to be quite frustrating as well. We tried several camps and they all work about the same. So we asked the patrol leaders to kind-of retest the scouts to get a book sign off. I know that is a big taboo on the forum, but it helped our program by shifting the integrity of the skills onto to us. We also don't push advancement at summer camp, we push fun. The new scouts still take some of the skills classes, but don't feel pushed to earn rank by the end of the week. Our program typically provides skills sessions on most campouts all year long for any scouts who request, so there is no do or die expectation needed at summer camp or MB fairs. Also, along with a couple badges like swimming and camping, we ask scouts pick jsut plain fun MBs. And we find that new scouts typically add a couple of easy fun badges during the week as they find their schedule will allow.

 

Summer camp for the adults is more about patrol method than advancement. Summer camp is typically the first time boys are given the independence to make choices and to learn by those choices for several days at a time. I've told the story before about the new scout who skipped all his classes for stuff that was more fun like swimming, biking, and so on. No big deal to us, but his mom volunteered next year to go to camp and make sure all new scouts went to all their classes and come back with some kind of rank advancement. She was not happy that her son, who Eagle two years later, was behind most of his friends in advancement. She was kindly asked to stay home. LoL

 

Barry

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The problem I have with the First Class in the first year is that, they go to camp and do the trail to Eagle program or whatever it is called and they start marking off requirements for being present and not actually doing it.  We check the boys after camp but I know most just say ok they get credit for it.  We had a boy get the swimming merit badge while having a broken arm and never getting into the water.  The camps are just mills....  And no he didn't get credit for the merit badge from us.

 

We actually don't allow books to be signed by camp staff. Our Instructors hold a session at the end of the day where the first year Scouts demonstrate what they learned. If they know it, book gets signed. If they don't, it is re-taught until they can demonstrate it (EDGE) then book gets signed.

 

Re/ MBs signed but not earned, there's a section in the GTA for that and we use it. If you could not possibly have done the requirements we don't award it. Case in point, I was told by a Scout last night that he got Cooking done at camp. Impossible!!! Yet he has a signed blue card.

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Wow. That trumps the one we saw this summer where a boy attend one day of Engineering yet completed all the MB requirements.

 

We remind ourselves not to expect blue card perfection from college age volunteers.

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We remind ourselves not to expect blue card perfection from college age volunteers.

We don't expect college students to be able to effectively teach something they're being hired to teach AND do the proper paperwork!?!?!

 

I think you sell college students short. Should we take away any weapons from 18-22 year olds serving overseas?

 

That type of thinking is what's wrong with society. Expect more from people, not less.

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We don't expect college students to be able to effectively teach something they're being hired to teach AND do the proper paperwork!?!?!

 

 

It's hard when staff from multiple summer camps consistently make errors and show inconsistencies in MB requirements on blue cards every summer. So Back Pack, you've never questioned or disagreed with the completed/partial MB report for your boys at the end of summer camp?

 

I think you sell college students short. Should we take away any weapons from 18-22 year olds serving overseas?

 

Hmmm I'm hot sure how teaching a Scout to collect stamps is the same as serving in our Military, but ok...

 

That type of thinking is what's wrong with society. Expect more from people, not less.

 

LOL don't worry Back Pack, I do.  :)

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Never settle! Our camp director asked us how we felt about him dropping cooking from the course schedule after the requirements changed. We nearly give the guy a standing ovation.

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It's hard when staff from multiple summer camps consistently make errors and show inconsistencies in MB requirements on blue cards every summer. So Back Pack, you've never questioned or disagreed with the completed/partial MB report for your boys at the end of summer camp?

 

 

 

Hmmm I'm hot sure how teaching a Scout to collect stamps is the same as serving in our Military, but ok...

 

 

 

LOL don't worry Back Pack, I do.  :)

You imply we shouldn't expect much from college age students. I pointed out the very same are fighting and dying for our liberties.

 

Point being that if they can fight for us the same age group can teach a class and sign a darn blue card properly. You just have to raise the bar.

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Agreed! Believe me, I don't want to question whether or not a Scout fulfilled a requirement, but sadly, that's the reality at times. I'll gladly help those summer camp directors hoist that bar if I can!

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You imply we shouldn't expect much from college age students. I pointed out the very same are fighting and dying for our liberties.

 

Point being that if they can fight for us the same age group can teach a class and sign a darn blue card properly. You just have to raise the bar.

 

Instead of staff week we should have staff boot camp!  Three days bread and water for fraudulently signing off a blue card!  :)

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It does seem inconsistent that camp staff, either by camp policy or troop preference, commonly does not sign off on S-T-SC-FC requirements, their core competencies (I hope :confused: ) , while merit badge blue cards they do.  :blink:

Edited by RememberSchiff

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