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PeterS

Delays in presenting rank or Merit Badge patches

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I have two questions about presenting newly earned ranks or Merit Badges to Scouts.

 

Can a Troop, as a standard practice, delay presentation of new rank and Merit Badge achievements until some later event, even if it is several months later?

Can a Troop specify additional requirements before they will present a newly earned rank or Merit Badge to a Scout?  If so, what types of additions are permitted, and what types of things are not permitted?

 

These questions pertain to ranks and Merit Badges where all requirements have been met and appropriately signed off, including the Scoutmaster Conference and Board of Review for the rank requirements. 

 

The “Guide to Advancement 2017 says, “When a boy has earned the Scout rank or when a board of review has approved his advancement, the Scout deserves recognition as soon as possible. This should be done at a ceremony at the next unit meeting. His achievement may be recognized again later, during a formal court of honor.† Since it says “should,†this means that it is a recommended best practice but not required.  So I guess they can wait as long as they want.  Also, what form must the “recognition†take?  Can it simply be saying that the scout has the new achievements?  What is acceptable about presenting the actual patches?

 

I know a troop that will only present newly earned ranks and Merit Badges at a Court of Honor.  They have a Court of Honor 3 times a year.  If the Scout does not attend the Court of Honor, then they must wait until the next Court of Honor they attend to be presented with their new rank and Merit Badges.

 

The troop does say that the Scout earned the rank as of the date of their Board of Review and uses that date as the start of their next rank progress, and they do say the Merit Badge is achieved as of the date the counselor signs off on completion.  They will give the Scout their portion of the Merit Badge Blue Card at that time, however they will not give the new rank card, the new rank patch, or the Merit Badge patches until a Court of Honor.  This means that the Scout may have to wait almost 4 months to receive these items, and even longer if for some reason they cannot attend the next Court of Honor.

 

Additionally, they say that if the Scout is not current on their dues at the time of the Court of Honor then they will not present their rank and Merit Badges.  The “Guide to Advancement 2017†says, “No council, committee, district, unit, or individual has the authority to add to, or subtract from, advancement requirements. There are limited exceptions relating only to members with special needs.† There are similar guidelines regarding Merit Badge requirements.  The troop’s position would be that the Scout has still earned the new rank or Merit Badge and it is recorded as such, so they are not adding to the requirements for earning them, they are just not presenting it to them until they have fulfilled additional requirements.  It still seems contrary to the guidelines and spirit to me.

 

Are these policies permissible?

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@@PeterS, most troops I know present merit badges at COHs. That's pretty normal but you get immediate credit for the badges toward next rank. My troop gave out ranks the night of your bor. They recognized you again at the coh. But no they cannot add any requirements unless you are not registered with the troop.

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Welcome to the forums.

And, by the way you know to browse the G2A, thanks for all you do for the boys.

 

You answered your own question. Troops may set policies regarding when awards are presented. My troop growing up did about the same as in your example. We all grew up strong and good. My sons were in he same troop under different SMs who preferred to operate differently. One would have he SPL distribute awards at the end of the very next meeting, the other two preferred to take one big order to the scout shop and distribute them at a CoH two or three times a year. Both boys are now strong and good young men. Even their sister says so.

 

Awards cost money (plus shipping, if you aren't near a scout shop). The troop either fundraises or collects dues to pay for them.

 

Having observed all that, I don't advise our latest SM one way or the other. I do tell him to make sure the scout's portion of the MB application (blue card) stays with the scout at all times. I think he's settled on giving awards at fairly frequent CoH's. That's fine. The boys are growing up strong and good as far as we can tell.

Edited by qwazse

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1) WELCOME TO DA FORUMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  J

 

2) I’m putting my response in red to distinguish them from yours.

 

 have two questions about presenting newly earned ranks or Merit Badges to Scouts.

 

Can a Troop, as a standard practice, delay presentation of new rank and Merit Badge achievements until some later event, even if it is several months later?.... I know a troop that will only present newly earned ranks and Merit Badges at a Court of Honor.  They have a Court of Honor 3 times a year.  If the Scout does not attend the Court of Honor, then they must wait until the next Court of Honor they attend to be presented with their new rank and Merit Badges.

 

 

Up until Aug 1, 1989, it was standard practice for troops to award everything at courts of honors, that included rank. While it is recommended a troop holds a court of honor every three months (4 times a year) it is sometimes not practical. My son the SPL was barely able to get 2 COHs scheduled in his term of office.

 

So Merit Badges without question can be placed on hold until a later event.

 

Rank is trickier to answer.

 

For some old, traditional units, the “This should be done at a ceremony at the next unit meeting.†Means they only need to recognize that a Scout advanced publically. The “His achievement may be recognized again later, during a formal court of honor.† Means that it is perfectly acceptable for the troop to continue the traditional practice of handing out all awards at COHs. 

 

My troop growing up was established way before the 1989 recommendation. The PLC saw the recommendation, and we decided to continue with tradition. The only award we gave out at troop meetings was the Scout Badge, and that was part of the Investiture Ceremony we did giving them their badge, neckerchief woggle, and troop totem. In essence they were officially part of the troop at this point.

 

 

As for delays in awarding badges, sometimes it is not possible for the next meeting.

 

Some units are in councils with strict adherence to advancement  rules and regulations. They must turn in an Advancement Report with two BOR signatures in order to purchase rank. Not everyone lives in a city with a council office. So there can be delays in going to the office to purchase the ranks, and delays in getting them back in the mail. The pack I’m with has a firm deadline: all DL advancement reports must be turned in 2 weeks before the pack meeting to insure they get the awards in time.

 

Some units will present the award the night it’s earned, like Back Pack’s troop. What they do is buy some “replacement†badges using names of Scouts who already have the Rank, mark “REPLACEMENT†on the Advancement Report, and then stockpile the badges. As Scouts earn them, use the badges in the stockpile, and replace them when the AR is turned in.

 

As for making a Scout who misses a COH wait until the next one, that is a decision for the PLC to make. Courts of Honor are big deals, and I can understand if they decide to make someone wait. My two sons were going of be out of town when I COH was scheduled, and they were fully aware of having to wait to receive any awards and were OK with it. But the PLC made that decision. And my boys knew that COHs are a big deal. Thankfully the COH was cancelled at the last minute as the road to the location was washed out. And they were able to attends the rescheduled COH.

 

Can a Troop specify additional requirements before they will present a newly earned rank or Merit Badge to a Scout?  If so, what types of additions are permitted, and what types of things are not permitted?

  

Additionally, they say that if the Scout is not current on their dues at the time of the Court of Honor then they will not present their rank and Merit Badges.  The “Guide to Advancement 2017†says, “No council, committee, district, unit, or individual has the authority to add to, or subtract from, advancement requirements. There are limited exceptions relating only to members with special needs.† There are similar guidelines regarding Merit Badge requirements.  The troop’s position would be that the Scout has still earned the new rank or Merit Badge and it is recorded as such, so they are not adding to the requirements for earning them, they are just not presenting it to them until they have fulfilled additional requirements.  It still seems contrary to the guidelines and spirit to me.

 

Are these policies permissible?

 

Regarding being current with dues/ financial obligations and awarding ranks at COHs, every troop I’ve been in or affiliated with has had that policy. Reason being the awards are EXPENSIVE! (emphasis not shouting). The awards at the last court of honor my sons’ troop had was a very small one. Approximately 15 ranks were handed out, 30-40 MBs, and a few special awards the Scouts earned. Cost was over $200. I hate to see what the bill will be for the next COH when all the summer camp MBs and new ranks are purchased.

 

Financially we are not well off. Since Oldest joined 4 years ago, the troop tripled in size. A lot of money has been spent on adding and replacing equipment Yes, we have stuff from the troop’s heyday 30 years ago that is slowly falling apart.

 

So the dues are VERY Important. At one time we gave out awards without dues being collected. Sadly, we had folks get their stuff then quit without every paying what they owed.

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"A Scout is Trustworthy, loyal, helpful, courteous, kind,  etc.  "

 

It sounds like the Troopleadership (adults?) are holding to MOST of that list, but maybe not all.   

If the records are correct, and the Scout has earned the MB/rank correctly, that's good.

If the actual BADGE has not yet been presented because the Scout could not (for whatever reason) attend the CoH, then some adjustment should be made.

Has the Troopleadership made effort to find out WHY the Scout did not attend the CoH?  We still have telephones.  Knock on his door.

Is he still a registered member? On the Charter list?  Then he is a Scout still. Either (1) wait for the next CoH ( phone him and remind him !) or (2) Make some other arrangement (present it to him at his hospital bed?)  or (3) Mail it to him. Include a letter (what a concept !) to congratulate him,  remind him he is still welcome in the Troop)  and wish him well.

If he is no longer an "active" member (it is known he quit, moved, family is down on Scouting, ) mail the awards to him and wish him well in his future activities. 

 

When our Cub Pack fizzled out and de-chartered,  I found a box  of  awards (ranks, Den Leader Knots, craft kits paid for/assigned/never done...)  in the detritus.  I made it a personal goal to find and give these out.  It took some research, but oh, the surprised looks when I knocked on their door and presented the badges, sometimes more than  a year late.  But the person who EARNED it, received it. 

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we only have COH twice a year.  MB's and Rank patches, along with any other misc awards, are handed out at that time.  It's understood that a scout has earned his rank after the BOR or MB when the blue card is completed and turned in.  My son is a Star scout now working on Life requirements but has a First Class patch on the uniform.  He won't receive the Star patch until Sept or Oct because the COH isn't even scheduled yet to my knowledge.  He may have the Life requirements done by Dec or Jan and wait until April for that patch.  Once or twice a scout in the troop has received two rank patches at the COH. ex: Star and Life.  Don't know about anyone else's COH but the parents are there and we have food.  It's an awards ceremony. Parents like to see their scouts go up and receive the MBs.  The scouts give out the Mother pins for rank advancement (should be father pins too). 

Scout rank has little impact in our troop with or without the patch so no one is concerned about getting it immediately.  I don't know why we do it this way, it just is.  We do not hold MBs for missing the COH but most scouts that care about the patches are there to receive them.  Usually the un-awarded patches float around for a few weeks or months until the scouts in question decide to show up to a meeting.  I do not know of any patches our troop has held due to outstanding fees but I do know we have had scouts leave owing the troop money and as Eagle94 posted earlier, the costs start to add up. 

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I've suggested in the past the design of clothes with electronic ink. A boy's sash could have a digital subscription to scout-net, and when the troop recieves a blue card, the SM snaps a picture of it, which is wirelessly uploaded, and an image of the medallion would appear on the sash ... saving time, toil, and textile.

Same for shirt pockets. It would be cool as a boy comes out of a BoR to watch an oval "float" from the right front pocket to the back of the sash, and the new oval reappear. Youth-led wonks could ad voice recognition processes so the the whole visual transformation would only occur on the SPL's declaration.

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Great answers so far ... Just a few details to re-peat.

 

Critical date is the BOR and/or MB signed date - The COH date means nothing.  The COH is about receiving the decoration.  So receiving the next rank and/or other progress is measured by the BOR date.  Hopefully, the BOR date matches the date signed in the scout's handbook for the rank.  I say this because many parents just don't realize the COH means nothing for advancement.  It's just ceremony.  

 

It's tricky to use dues to hold back awards at a COH - Yep, things are expensive.  If someone is not paying up, I can see holding them back from camp outs and/or receiving advancements.  But it would be hugely demoralizing to not get your awards because of dues.  

  • If holding back awards because of dues,
    • you better make sure the scout knows in advance and
    • you better not put the scout on the printed COH program
  • If the scout's mom shows up with a check that day,
    • do you then add the scout to the agenda or make him wait for another court of honor?
  • What about the case mentioned in the original post?
    • If a scout is expecting the award at COH #1 ... and the scout was current with dues ... but the scout could not attend ... so then at COH #2 ... the scout attended ... but dues were not paid .. is it right to not present the award?  He was current at the previous COH when the award was planned and the troop spent the money.  It's just been in storage for three months.  
  • Personally, I'd disconnect presenting awards and whether the scout is financially up to date.
  • IMHO, if a scout is repeatedly late, I'd be "tempted" to use a scout spirit or other similar requirement to get it fixed.  

Do some type of ceremony - I really hate holding back awards if a scout can't attend.  I'd get them the awards as soon as possible at the next troop event / activity / meeting.  But I also hate the "envelope" and "Here's your advancements.  Sorry weren't at the COH." ... Just make sure there is some type of call-out.  ...  "Jimmy couldn't be at the last COH, but I want to make sure he's recognized for the work and progress he's made.  Jimmy could you come forward ..."

 

"REPLACEMENT" - So that's how you do it?  I'd like our troop to have an awards chest ready to go so that we can recognize scouts with patches immediately.  Then, the COH would be the paper certificates and/or recognition and handshakes. 

Edited by fred johnson

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"REPLACEMENT" - So that's how you do it?  I'd like our troop to have an awards chest ready to go so that we can recognize scouts with patches immediately.  Then, the COH would be the paper certificates and/or recognition and handshakes. 

 

This is how we've done it for years. COH is nothing but rank cards, mother pins and handshakes. The patch was given the night they passed the BOR. While I am not big on immediate gratification, this has helped retention big time!

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This is how we've done it for years. COH is nothing but rank cards, mother pins and handshakes. The patch was given the night they passed the BOR. While I am not big on immediate gratification, this has helped retention big time!

 

Yeah, I agree.  I think it's the right way of doing things.  I wish the scout store let troops build up a stash of patches without having to work the system to circumvent limits. 

IMHO, I think it's important for scouts to be able to wear their patches ASAP. 

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I have two questions about presenting newly earned ranks or Merit Badges to Scouts.

 

Can a Troop, as a standard practice, delay presentation of new rank and Merit Badge achievements until some later event, even if it is several months later?

Can a Troop specify additional requirements before they will present a newly earned rank or Merit Badge to a Scout?  If so, what types of additions are permitted, and what types of things are not permitted?

 

These questions pertain to ranks and Merit Badges where all requirements have been met and appropriately signed off, including the Scoutmaster Conference and Board of Review for the rank requirements. 

 

The “Guide to Advancement 2017 says, “When a boy has earned the Scout rank or when a board of review has approved his advancement, the Scout deserves recognition as soon as possible. This should be done at a ceremony at the next unit meeting. His achievement may be recognized again later, during a formal court of honor.† Since it says “should,†this means that it is a recommended best practice but not required.  So I guess they can wait as long as they want.  Also, what form must the “recognition†take?  Can it simply be saying that the scout has the new achievements?  What is acceptable about presenting the actual patches?

 

I know a troop that will only present newly earned ranks and Merit Badges at a Court of Honor.  They have a Court of Honor 3 times a year.  If the Scout does not attend the Court of Honor, then they must wait until the next Court of Honor they attend to be presented with their new rank and Merit Badges.

 

The troop does say that the Scout earned the rank as of the date of their Board of Review and uses that date as the start of their next rank progress, and they do say the Merit Badge is achieved as of the date the counselor signs off on completion.  They will give the Scout their portion of the Merit Badge Blue Card at that time, however they will not give the new rank card, the new rank patch, or the Merit Badge patches until a Court of Honor.  This means that the Scout may have to wait almost 4 months to receive these items, and even longer if for some reason they cannot attend the next Court of Honor.

 

Additionally, they say that if the Scout is not current on their dues at the time of the Court of Honor then they will not present their rank and Merit Badges.  The “Guide to Advancement 2017†says, “No council, committee, district, unit, or individual has the authority to add to, or subtract from, advancement requirements. There are limited exceptions relating only to members with special needs.† There are similar guidelines regarding Merit Badge requirements.  The troop’s position would be that the Scout has still earned the new rank or Merit Badge and it is recorded as such, so they are not adding to the requirements for earning them, they are just not presenting it to them until they have fulfilled additional requirements.  It still seems contrary to the guidelines and spirit to me.

 

Are these policies permissible?

IMHO, permissible, but not recommended.  Anybody that knows educational psychology realizes that achievements need to be awarded fairly close to the time of being completed in order for the achievement to be valued.  

 

My sons' troop gave out Rank Advancement patches ASAP after the BOR for the rank.  MB patches (and the cards for Rank/MBs) were awarded at the COH, or the next meeting (if the scout didn't attend).  The Scout part of the blue card was never taken from the Scout, except for while being signed/recorded.  

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Yeah, I agree.  I think it's the right way of doing things.  I wish the scout store let troops build up a stash of patches without having to work the system to circumvent limits. 

IMHO, I think it's important for scouts to be able to wear their patches ASAP. 

 

This was an issue at first UNTIL we came up with this idea. Yes, I know, it is not strictly Scout-like...but we figured if the Scout Shop was not allowing units to execute what is written in the GTA (immediate recognition) then we'd find a work around.

 

For about two months we had moms and dads of Scouts of various ranks to and get "extra" rank patches for their kids' uniforms. They'd bring the shirt in to prove they needed it. We built up a stack of about 8-10 for each rank up to Life. We did this years ago so now we have about 15-20 Scout, 15-18 TF, and so on.

 

Note: We found a sympathetic shop manager who is willing to sell us ranks (not Eagle) whenever we need them now.

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Note: We found a sympathetic shop manager who is willing to sell us ranks (not Eagle) whenever we need them now.

 

Heads up on Eagle Badges. IF you are not going to present them to the Scout, but use them for other purposes, the manager MAY sell you an extra or two.

 

One of the things my troop growing up was make an individual table tops for our COHs and banquets.One side had the troop patch other side had an Eagle Badge, name of the Eagle Scout, and year. Scout Shop had no problem with us doing that, or buying an extra patch.

 

Aside, since my troop folded, I'd love to get my table top as a memento.

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We found a sympathetic shop manager who is willing to sell us ranks (not Eagle) whenever we need them now.

 

I think it's great.  IMHO, BSA should focus less on guarding wrongly purchased patches and focus more on timely recognition.  Heck, if anything, it would increase BSA sales of patches.  

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