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UncleP

Boy Scout with Downs Sydrome, Autism Rejected for Eagle Scout

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@Eagledad   As a parent I'm all on board with the concept of practicing "how". Our son has some difficulties that require a little extra help (vague enough? good) and one of the techniques that works for us is some coaching about how to work with situations he encounters and shows he needs some help with. It's the same as working with cub scouts and teaching them how to approach people to sell the ol' blue and gold. We worked with our son with every fund raiser he had to do (scouts, school, church) up until he was confident able to approach us and say, "Hey how does this sound?" before he ran off and did it. The only thing we "parental-recording" do now is to remind him to be courteous after the pitch whether a sale is made or not. 

p.s. We're proud to say that we never took our son's (or daughter's) sale sheet and sold for them. 

For this scout in Utah, I am sure we're not privy (nor will we be) to the exact details of what is going on. A lawyer's approach is always to frame the debate in your client's favor. So both sides will make their statements. The main intent of the parents here was to get their son's project and needs met after hitting a rejection, which the BSA is now fully addressing with the care of walking through a minefield. 

Makes me wonder if the process was fully followed or if the project was started before being fully approved. 

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I've been around several handicap scouts, some in our troop and some in the council. This situation reminds me of a Eagle Scout who was born with severe birth defects. I don't remember what those defects are, but imagine Steven Hawkin. This scout's father became the ASM of a troop so that he could work officially with his son through the process of advancement. I met with this dad a few times and learned that he took as much training as possible so that he work side-by-side with Council and District to create a modified plan for his son. This dad knew the advancement process better than most of the DEs.

When I read about the scout of this thread, my first thought was dad, for whatever reason, didn't register his son as a Scout. Minor detail to dad, but a huge misstep in the whole scouting process. In general, National tries to give benefit of doubt and  judgment to the scouts. So, I'm curious of this situation.

Barry

Edited by Eagledad
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On 3/21/2018 at 9:12 PM, Hawkwin said:

Per the rules, that can be hard to do without first going to the SM or other leader to get their name.

To quote 7.0.2.1 Getting Started:

Kind of hard to seek out the counselor first when scouts are supposed to be prohibited from knowing who is on that list. I just learned that this week and thankfully, our troop does not follow that rule.

I've never understood that part.  Why shouldn't the counselor list be open to all in Scouting?  

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7 minutes ago, perdidochas said:

I've never understood that part.  Why shouldn't the counselor list be open to all in Scouting?  

Because atleast in my district it has addresses and phone numbers on it. I mean my troop doesn’t follow that either, but that’s why.

Edited by ItsBrian

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47 minutes ago, ItsBrian said:

Because atleast in my district it has addresses and phone numbers on it.

Address and phone are not really considered private information. You may not remember but we used to get a paper phone book mailed to all residents with address and phone numbers listed. :)

Additionally, there is this thing called the internet where you can look up anyone's address and often their phone for free.

Besides, if we can't trust a scout to treat such information with respect, then who can we trust?

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Hawkwin said:

Address and phone are not really considered private information. You may not remember but we used to get a paper phone book mailed to all residents with address and phone numbers listed. :)

Additionally, there is this thing called the internet where you can look up anyone's address and often their phone for free.

Besides, if we can't trust a scout to treat such information with respect, then who can we trust?

 

 

You got a point there. I guess so BSA doesn’t get blamed if someone’s information is used without permission for bad.

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28 minutes ago, Hawkwin said:

Address and phone are not really considered private information. You may not remember but we used to get a paper phone book mailed to all residents with address and phone numbers listed. :)

Additionally, there is this thing called the internet where you can look up anyone's address and often their phone for free.

Besides, if we can't trust a scout to treat such information with respect, then who can we trust?

 

 

Some people used to pay to keep their phone number and address private (and some still do) for a variety of reasons.

I think the reason they don't make the list available to Scouts is because they want the Scouts to have a discussion with their SM.  And sometimes Scoutmasters know the MBCs, and might know that this counselor is a really good one, this other one doesn't return calls, etc.

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1 hour ago, Hawkwin said:

Besides, if we can't trust a scout to treat such information with respect, then who can we trust?

Was that a joke? :D

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2 hours ago, Thunderbird said:

And sometimes Scoutmasters know the MBCs, and might know that this counselor is a really good one, this other one doesn't return calls, etc.

Sure, but that reads like something that is best practice not something mandated. When you straight up prohibit something, is should be and is usually based on something more than that - sort of like earning a MB is better from an adult different than your parent (best practice) yet earning such from your parent is not prohibited. Besides, once the SM signs off on the card, the scout is free to seek out any MBC, regardless of one that may have been recommended by the SM.

As outstanding as my Troops SM is, I doubt he could name more than a dozen MBCs, and then likely only those that are Eagle required. He simply has way too much on his plate to get into the minutia of which is the best MBC for Leatherworking or Chess.

 

44 minutes ago, David CO said:

Was that a joke? :D

Not in the least. You give share more private information to the guy working for the TSA when you board a flight than you give to a scout looking to earn a MB. I certainly would in general trust a scout with my address, phone and email more than I would the vast majority of other entities and individuals that require such information of me.

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On ‎3‎/‎22‎/‎2018 at 10:35 AM, Eagledad said:

Agreed, and even more.

For me scouting (all scouting) is about growth in behavior. Parents are shocked to learn that I don't care much about their little Johnny getting Eagle. My passion is for their son to learn habits that give him the tools to get his Eagle on his own initiative. Rank is fine I guess while he is a scout in his youth, but I want to teach life Habits of setting goals and building a plan to achieve those goals. Part  of that process for us was to guide the new scout in how to initiate working a MB. We teach him to ask for the SM counselor list, call the counselor to learn more about the badge, get counselors information and set a plan for their meetings. Then the scout fills out the MB card with all the information including the counselor information and present it to the SM for approval.

We found that scouts pretty much do this on their own without any help after two MBs. The challenge for them is usually calling or communicating the counselor. 11 year olds  just haven't called total strangers much in their life, much less to talk about specifics and asking for pertinent information. So we sit down with them and practice what they will talk about. The secret of maturity growth in scouting is giving them just enough confidence to venture into the dark.

1. "HI" (I am amazed at how few of youth know how to start a conversation with a simply "Hi!". 

2. MY NAME IS __________

3. I am a Scout with Troop _________

4. I am calling you because _________

We help them practice a little bit, and many times ask their parents to practice with them (I found that the parents really like doing this because they enjoy watching their sons learn the skills). Communication with a stranger is a challenge. But, as I said, they typically have it mastered by third MB. And, more importantly, they have learned a leadership/management skills that they will use a lot in their future with the troop. And life.

So, even though I don't get personal with a scouts rank, I place a high value on the MB process for learning growth.

Barry

I never realized how little my son knew about how to have a phone conversation until he was given his first blue card and had to call the MB counselor.  We did exactly what you posted above, along with the scenario of what to do if he got voicemail.  Now that all of my kids are old enough to be left at home alone, I recently went out and called home for something.  My youngest (Bear/almost Webelos) answered the phone.  No 'hello' or greeting.  I got, "Who is this?"  Haha.  Hopefully we've fixed the phone manners now.  (They're pros at texting, though.)

For this reason, I'm happy that our boys have to request a blue card from the advancement chair, and have him fill out the card with the counselor's name and number.  One more adult conversation/interaction under the belt.

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9 hours ago, Thunderbird said:

I think the reason they don't make the list available to Scouts is because they want the Scouts to have a discussion with their SM.  

Yep- I'm pretty certain this is the only reason.  

From the GTA:

Before he begins working with a merit badge counselor, however, he is to have a discussion with his unit leader. 

I think this is really just their way of helping to make sure this happens

 

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On 3/22/2018 at 10:00 AM, Buggie said:

@EagledadMakes me wonder if the process was fully followed or if the project was started before being fully approved. 

Jumping the gun was addressed in BSA Advancement News Nov / Dec 2017.  Essentially, BSA stood on both sides of the fence.  Getting the project is expected, but the project proposal approval is not a rank requirement.  As such, scouts can still get the project approved as fulfilling the rank requirement even if the project proposal was ever approved.  ... IMHO, BSA means well, but the expectations now are clear as mud.  

In any event, the project proposal not being signed is not the stopping point.  From what I've read, the family wanted to use the scouting program without actually being a scout, using registered MBCs or following the expectations for rank advancement.  I've seen multiple scouts with similar disabilities advance.  But the got the disability recognized and alternate advancement approved by the council advancement committee.  From what I've read, all of the scout's advancement is in question due to never having gone that route.

Edited by fred johnson

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1 hour ago, fred johnson said:

Jumping the gun was addressed in BSA Advancement News Nov / Dec 2017.  Essentially, BSA stood on both sides of the fence.  Getting the project is expected, but the project proposal approval is not a rank requirement.  As such, scouts can still get the project approved as fulfilling the rank requirement even if the project proposal was ever approved.  ... IMHO, BSA means well, but the expectations now are clear as mud.  

The approval process can vary from council to council. In fact, the process can vary a lot from district to district, which can be challenging for troops. We had a transfer scout who assumed his previous units project approval in another state was satisfactory for starting his project, which was going to done in the other state with his previous troop's help. But to make sure everything was in order, the scout's mother drove her son to our District approval board to make sure everything was ok. The board meets once a month where all applicants are in the room together. Well, the board leader expressed his frustration of the scout's proposal that was written in hand (I had previous discussions with the board on this very subject of adding requirements).

The scout's mom stood up to defend her son by explaining that the Eagle project process in this district was different from the process they experienced in the troop they transferred from. The troop committees' approve all the Eagle projects in their previous council. The scout was still going to do the project in the city of the previous location with the help of scouts from their previous troop. They only wanted to know if they needed approval by this District.

I can't remember what the board leader said, but the mother left in tears. The troop sent a letter to the district chairman explaining the reason the scout went to the board was only to get some clarification for proceeding with the project because  the situation was confusing and complex. There was no reason for the lecture by the board member followed with scolding of both the scout and the mother in front of all the other applicants. It wasn't as if the family was trying to take short cuts, this scout is the 3rd son of four. Mom was the committee chairman in their other troop and dad is an Eagle, as well as the two older brothers. So they were very familiar with  how the process works. And the scout still didn't get a clarification of how to proceed.

The board leader stepped down the next day. 

Barry

 

Edited by Eagledad

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3 hours ago, fred johnson said:

From what I've read, the family wanted to use the scouting program without actually being a scout, using registered MBCs or following the expectations for rank advancement.

That doesn't seem to be what the BSA is saying.  The latest statement that has been linked to in this forum:

https://www.scoutingnewsroom.org/blog/bsa-clears-misconceptions-path-eagle-scout-rank-utah-scout-down-syndrome/ 

includes the following:

Quote

FAQ

"Were Logan’s merit badges revoked?

No, Logan still has the merit badges he worked on.

 

Was Logan demoted to a Cub Scout?

No, Logan is still registered as a Boy Scout."

It does not say how long he has been registered as a Boy Scout, but it does say he has been registered as a Boy Scout for at least some period of time.  And normally, he would not still have the MB's he worked on if he had not been registered when he earned them, and there is no indication in the statement that any exception to that rule has been made in this situation.  The statement does not say that registration is the problem, and seems to say the opposite.

Which still leaves the question:  What was the problem?  The BSA statement is completely silent on that point.  It says what the problem isn't, but it does not say what the problem is.

Edited by RememberSchiff
add FAQ quotes for NJ

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48 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

The troop committees' approve all the Eagle projects in their previous council.

Something does not sound right.  The Eagle project proposal has always required the district/council approval as a separate distinct approval.  It's right after the troop committee chair approval.  In addition, councils are not allowed to change the workbook or the process.  Now can council's give the power to the troops to sign for council / district?  I'd be interested to hear if that's true.  It would be a big surprise to me though.  

As for the process varying district to district, I do grant you that.  We have 15+ districts in our council.  In one district, there is a board similar to what you discuss.   They meet once a month and (I think) it's a first come first serve basis to present and get your proposal approved.  Multiple people sit on the board.  The scout may be competing with many others for a time slot or may have the night to themselves.  Some may not even get in that night.   In our district since summer 2011, it has been one person.  The scout calls them and schedules a meeting.  Usually two or three days later, they meet (bringing a parent).  Usually, the scout leaves with a signature.  I know I would cringe to send our scouts through the other district's monthly board for a proposal review.  Likewise, they probably are not impressed with our district and would accuse us of not holding a high enough standard.  

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