Jump to content
gblotter

Minimal Effort Eagle

Recommended Posts

5 hours ago, JustAScoutMom said:

Doesn't the scout have to be a member while completing MB and/or eagle project?  If he has been inactive for three years....was he on the roster?  Doesn't he need approval by the SM before he starts a MB? Our SM is the only one that hands out the blue cards.

Yes - this boy has remained on the troop roster, but he has rarely meetings or activities. He does get a signed blue card from me for merit badge work. As I said, he does the minimum required.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, gblotter said:

Yes - this boy has remained on the troop roster, but he has rarely meetings or activities. He does get a signed blue card from me for merit badge work. As I said, he does the minimum required.

I used to use the term "minimal requirements", but after some thought I put that term to rest.

Requirements are requirements. There isn't a graduated level to them. I do, however, encourage my Scouts to always try to exceed the requirements, be it Scouting, grades, sports or whatever. It is themselves they shortchange if they never try to go above and beyond. But, a Scout that has 21 merit badge and 6 months of PoR is just as eligible as the Scout that has 60 merit badges 12 months of PoR is, assuming all other requirements are met.

There is one specific requirement that I read differently than some, "As a Life Scout, demonstrate Scout Spirit by living the Scout Oath and Scout Law. It is the first part of requirement 2.

An SM signature on an application is not a given, it is a recommendation. So I go back to the first sentence. His time at Scouts in part of his everyday life. Has he DEMONSTRATED living the OAth and Law as a Life Scout?  I find in most things Scouting (and not Scouting) if you go back to the Oath and Law and apply them you will find your answer.

Has the Scout been trustworthy in fulfilling the duties of his PoR or has he shirked them? Has he been Loyal to the unit or just shown up when he feels like it or gains something? Has he been helpful to the other Scouts or just show up as a warm body. Has he done his best?  and so on........you get the point.

The SM signature is an endorsement that a young man has met ALL of the requirements. The Eagle Scout Award is not a participation trophy. If I were you, I would sit him down and have that discussion. I would probably have the same with his father separately.

He can still request a disputed BoR without the signature, but that is a red flag.  If a person that has worked with the Scout for the better part of two years, or more, is unwilling to endorse the Scout, what does that say? It says something about the Scout and the SM.  Then it is in the hands of the BoR to figure out what it says about whom.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, HelpfulTracks said:

Requirements are requirements. There isn't a graduated level to them.

Quality is not binary.

You ask me to paint your house.

I can slap one coat on there in an afternoon without any prep work, leaving splatters and drips everywhere.

Or I can take several days to power wash, scrape, fill, sand, tape, prime, plus two top coats.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

""What do you call the Medical School Graduate with the lowest GPA?

 

 == Doctor"" 

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, gblotter said:

Quality is not binary.

You ask me to paint your house.

I can slap one coat on there in an afternoon without any prep work, leaving splatters and drips everywhere.

Or I can take several days to power wash, scrape, fill, sand, tape, prime, plus two top coats.

I do believe quality is important, but it is also a slippery slope.  How is it defined? Who defines it? Is it different for each Scout?

I think it better to define the requirements in measurable terms.  For example, "active in the troop" means X% meetings, y% of campouts, z% of service projects. To be credited with completing PoR X, the Scout is expected to do the following; A, B, C.

In your example, I have no problem defining a proper painting job to include those elements IF they are needed.  In fact, the Paining MB does a good job of making those part of the requirements and leaving some room for judgment. 

As for quality, I will go back to the Oath and Law. Did the Scout do his best?

As a Scout, there were MB's I excelled at. If my work had been held as the standard of quality, it would have been unfair to others. There were MB's I struggled with. Had the quality of my work be judged on the standard of some of my peers I would not have received those MB's.

Each Scout is different. The “quality” of their work will differ. Requirements should be standard and defined. They should mean something and not be arbitrary.

Case in point. A real-life situation I have witnessed first-hand. Pioneering MB, two different ASM's as counselors. One was hung up on the "quality" of the fraps (among other things). The fraps had to lay just so or he would not let the Scout move on. Other than esthetics, his quality requirement added nothing to the lashing, no more strength, no better hold, it lasted no longer.

The second ASM focused on the "quality" of the lashing. Did it hold? Did it last? Was it strong? The quality of the aesthetics was not a barrier for the Scout to fulfil the requirement.

Most of the Scouts under the first ASM didn't finish the MB, at least not with him. They didn't have fun because they rarely were able to get past just doing lashings on two poles, they rarely built anything.

With the second ASM, most Scouts finished the MB, most continued to build projects after they completed the MB. The quality of their lashings continued to improve, and they taught other Scouts.

The first ASM truly believed he was teaching the MB the right way and that aesthetic quality of the frap counted. But it turned into a barrier for the Scouts to complete the work. 

Quality is important, but it is an arbitrary value that is in the eyes of the beholder. Requirements are far less arbitrary and give the Scout a defined goal to work towards.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can understand the frustration some feel when they witness a boy completing the requirements "at the bare minimum" or "with minimal effort". I think for most it comes from the desire to want the best for the boy. Some see the a boy who completes the reqs with minimal effort as cheating himself out of what he could achieve. We are scouters because we believe in the boys and their potential, so I can understand the frustration. The boy's pride in their own achievements is typically proportional to their efforts.  That said, I think all we can do is model, encourage, and mentor. The cub scouts are "to do their best" and that is the requirement. The boy scout has a minimum metric to achieve but we should still be encouragong them to do their best. Not because it is necessary for sifn-offs, but because they will feel more proud of their accomplishments. Cubs leaders can help with this by not just signing off on the best-try, but also making sure it was their best, and focusing the boy to reflect on their pride of success based on their effort.

  • Like 2
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, SSScout said:

""What do you call the Medical School Graduate with the lowest GPA?

 

 == Doctor"" 

What do you call the Law School graduate with the lowest GPA?  Your Honor.

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, David CO said:

What do you call the Law School graduate with the lowest GPA?  Your Honor.

Ahem.  Sometimes.  Or, “Senator.”

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/3/2018 at 8:25 AM, SSScout said:

""What do you call the Medical School Graduate with the lowest GPA?

 

 == Doctor"" 

No. It's someone with a lot of debt and not a license to practice (that requires passing residency) and make money. So I'd say "a fool."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, MattR said:

So I'd say "a fool."

I took my A&P courses in a class loaded with pre-med students. They were hardest grades I ever earned. There's one thing I came away with. The dumbest medical student in the school is still a lot smarter than me.

I later had a similar experience once while having a catch with a Major League baseball player. Until then, I had no idea how hard they throw. Wow!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, David CO said:

I took my A&P courses in a class loaded with pre-med students. They were hardest grades I ever earned. There's one thing I came away with. The dumbest medical student in the school is still a lot smarter than me.

I later had a similar experience once while having a catch with a Major League baseball player. Until then, I had no idea how hard they throw. Wow!

I take A&P and Human Biology (and some other stuff) my Junior and Senior year at my vocational HS as part of my medical program. (Yes they are college credits)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/1/2018 at 2:27 PM, gblotter said:

His dad views Eagle as a way to lift the kid's self-esteem and instill a sense of accomplishment.

If I read this right, the dad this earning Eagle is good for him. I'm going to infer that the dad has latched onto the college application argument to motivate his son.  It appears to have had a little success, but not a lot.

If I'm right, you and the dad are walking a fine line. Push the boy too much and he gives up.

I think you support the boy here.  Will he get more out of Scouting if he gives up, or if he even puts a tiny effor?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, ParkMan said:

If I read this right, the dad thinks earning Eagle is good for him. I'm going to infer that the dad has latched onto the college application argument to motivate his son.  It appears to have had a little success, but not a lot.

If I'm right, you and the dad are walking a fine line. Push the boy too much and he gives up.

I think you support the boy here.  Will he get more out of Scouting if he gives up, or if he even puts a tiny effort?

You have grasped the situation well. And you mirror my thoughts on this. It is a fine line. Support the boy, but still require genuine efforts from him so that whatever outcome has meaning in the end.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, gblotter said:

You have grasped the situation well. And you mirror my thoughts on this. It is a fine line. Support the boy, but still require genuine efforts from him so that whatever outcome has meaning in the end.

My gut tells me that the PoR is where you will really want to see his growth. There are simple reasons for this:

  • He hasn't spent his time as a life scout around the troop, and it doesn't sound like you have heard from any of his peers or his other coaches teachers, etc ... . You need to vouch that you personally have seen how capable leader he's become.
  • A PoR like TG is not about the number of dog-and-pony shows he puts on. It's about guiding boys in becoming a solid patrol with great leaders. It's also about helping the SPL with a couple of boys who joined late or are playing "catch up" for whatever reason.
  • Lot's of applicants have Eagle Scout on their resume. Few have "Troop Guide", fewer still can write a good essay about it. But, those who do will likely stop an admissions officer in his/her tracks.
  • Being skilled in welcome newcomers is something that colleges actually pay for.

So, rather than lay out a minimum number of meetings etc..., team up with your SPL and make a plan like this:

  • He will be given the position for two months. At that time your or the SPL (or you, during SMC's) will touch base with the scouts he's supposed to guide and ask them, "Do you know your troop guide's name? Did he help you? How?"
  • Based on what those boys report, the SPL and you will decide if he should hold the position for another two months. If not, you'll meet with him offer him a week or two break in which time he can look at the troop meetings/activities and see if there's another position of responsibility he'd like to try.
  • In all cases, continuing in a position will be determined by
    • the net result (for TG, the net result is boys who feel they were guided well), and
    • because you're also trying to develop the SPL's leadership, communication. So, part of the position involves attending PLC's, cracker barrels on camp-outs, etc... because what he observes as he fulfills his PoR will help the other boys fulfill theirs.

The plus side for a Life scout: if he's attending regularly, he'll have access to caring adults who will want help him succeed in his project and other paperwork.

Needless to say, we should all be doing this for every PoR we hand out. With most scouts who attend weekly, we can let them in on these real benchmarks gradually. But, just like Son #1 who signed up to be the kicker his Senior year, if you haven't been around, you need to know up front that you'd better put in extra time, learn your special team's every move, and learn how to tackle the star running backs that nobody else could stop!

If you lay out specifications like that, and the boy doesn't flinch, then he's probably ready to score the deciding point in playoffs earn eagle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, gblotter said:

You have grasped the situation well. And you mirror my thoughts on this. It is a fine line. Support the boy, but still require genuine efforts from him so that whatever outcome has meaning in the end.

If you haven't yet, I'd have a open talk with the dad.  See if you guys can find a way to walk that line together.  

Tell the dad you'd like to challenge his son a bit so that accomplishing this means something to his son - in return, you'd like the dad to reinforce some level of participation.

Something like that.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×