Jump to content
Jenn

When is a Scout "Recognized"?

Recommended Posts

My son attended his first COH last night and received his Scout rank badge.   Some older boys also received badges recognizing their rank advancement, new positions, and merit badges.

The SM explained that the scouts took on their new positions immediately after the elections (which were held a month ago) but they were given the badges last night at the COH.  He also handed out several merit badges that were earned 6-12 months ago!

So my question is:  Do most units wait and hand out all badges at a COH?  Or do you present the scout with the badge at the next meeting and then formally "recognize" him later at a COH?  Our troop only has 2-4 COH a year.   That seems like a long time to wait, especially for new scouts who are trying to advance to first class within a year.

I checked the Guide to Advancement and it states:

"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."

I'm curious about how other troops interpret this.

Thanks for your feedback!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, the normal standard is COH's 4 times a year.  In my sons' former troop, the PORs were given their patches usually the week after the election.  Rank advancement patches were given as soon after the BOR as possible (usually as an announcement just before the SM's Minute). The official paperwork was given at the COH.  Merit Badges and any other advancement was awarded at the quarterly COH. It's a waste of time to have COH's more than 4 times a year or so. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Recognition does not necessarily mean "getting the bling", it simply means getting the recognition.  Nothing as you describe prevents the scout continuing on their advancement track- the date recorded for their advancement record is the date earned, not when they get their patch.  Our troop has a formal COH 3 times a year.  Rank patches are granted typically the night the scout ahs their BOR- if we have one on hand.  Merit badge cards are also typically handed out the night that the advancement team records it, and the patch comes at the next COH.  Bear in mind though that for a troop to obtain rank or merit badge patches, the advancement coordinator has to have the records updated and pushed to the council office to be able to purchase them at the council trading post or a scout shop. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our troop has a very simple ceremony when a scout completes a rank. Someone shouts "KA-CHING!" and everyone claps and congratulates the scout. It can be right in the middle of a meeting. Right after an election the new scouts are announced. At the COH they get their patches. For merit badges we don't do anything before the COH. So, the scout is recognized verbally. Now, for the Scout rank, I tried to have patches available to hand out right away. Unfortunately there are other processes that make it harder than it sounds.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rank Emblems are given out the day off.  Assuming we still have some the stockpile. 

 

Rank cards and Parent pins are held for a formal ceremony for COH.

All merit badges and cards are held for COH

POR (SPL, ASPL, PL, APL) are usually given during the COH when they do the pledge. Other positions are given once their term starts.

 

COH are held 4 times a year.  First one of the "season" is after Summer camp, last one is before we break for summer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

The ideal is to recognize as soon as possible.  Position patches should be given as soon as possible so the scout has the patch during his tenure in the position.   Another example is rank patches.  Hand them out ASAP otherwise the scouts will often never wear that rank patch as they may receive multiple at a COH.

But all of this gets complicated by an ugly issue.  Paperwork.  Unless troops "game" the system, they can't get merit badges or rank patches in advance of having proof the scout earned the rank.  A good troop will build up a tackle box of patches, badges, rank cards, MB cards, blue cards, etc.  They will find a way to stockpile extra.  More importantly, they will anticipate what they need to make sure it's on hand.  Example:  If you are having elections Monday night, the troop should have a stockpile of new position patches on hand ready to go.  

A troop playing by the letter of the law faces delays and are taught procedures by store staff that effectively delays recognizing the scout.  Volunteers don't want to drive to the store every week.  So, building up a stockpile of to-be-awarded MBs is what normally happens ... and then they get delayed until the COH.

My preference is to build up that tackle box of advancements for on-the-spot use.   Then, use appropriately.  

The only thing that frustrates me in this discussion is the contradiction between the BSA GTA instructions to recognize ASAP and the BSA scout shops not selling advancements without paperwork indicating the scout earned it.  It's a contradiction that causes the months and months of delay for wearing rank patches and recognizing scouts quickly.

Edited by fred johnson
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, fred johnson said:

...A troop playing by the letter of the law faces delays and are taught procedures by store staff that effectively delays recognizing the scout...

...The only thing that frustrates me in this discussion is the contradiction between the BSA GTA instructions to recognize ASAP and the BSA scout shops not selling advancements without paperwork indicating the scout earned it...

 

I've been told that with ScoutBook becoming the new National standard for advancement tracking, actual "paper" paperwork might go away. Not 100% sure yet, but it sounds like we could effectively show up at a Scout Shop and have advancement verified via computer, so no more delays in getting badges. In theory, at least. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Congratulations to your son!

We recognize scouts' achievements verbally usually at the end of a meeting. We award the bling at the next CoH.

As you can tell, there is no one-size-fits all. If your troop hasn't stockpiled badges, to make rapid recognition happen, someone has to volunteer to push the paperwork every week, take the trip to the scout shop, and buy the bling.  With the rise of internet advancement, that process is a little smoother, but not all of the kinks have been smoothed out.

As a scout, I was perfectly content waiting every three months for badges. Within your patrol, it was never a secret what rank you were. Beyond that, nobody cared.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, fred johnson said:

The ideal is to recognize as soon as possible.  Position patches should be given as soon as possible so the scout has the patch during his tenure in the position.   Another example is rank patches.  Hand them out ASAP otherwise the scouts will often never wear that rank patch as they may receive multiple at a COH.

But all of this gets complicated by an ugly issue.  Paperwork.  Unless troops "game" the system, they can't get merit badges or rank patches in advance of having proof the scout earned the rank.  A good troop will build up a tackle box of patches, badges, rank cards, MB cards, blue cards, etc.  They will find a way to stockpile extra.  More importantly, they will anticipate what they need to make sure it's on hand.  Example:  If you are having elections Monday night, the troop should have a stockpile of new position patches on hand ready to go.  

A troop playing by the letter of the law faces delays and are taught procedures by store staff that effectively delays recognizing the scout.  Volunteers don't want to drive to the store every week.  So, building up a stockpile of to-be-awarded MBs is what normally happens ... and then they get delayed until the COH.

My preference is to build up that tackle box of advancements for on-the-spot use.   Then, use appropriately.  

The only thing that frustrates me in this discussion is the contradiction between the BSA GTA instructions to recognize ASAP and the BSA scout shops not selling advancements without paperwork indicating the scout earned it.  It's a contradiction that causes the months and months of delay for wearing rank patches and recognizing scouts quickly.

That's what we do.  We have plenty of each rank, merit badge, POR.  A scout earns something or takes on a new POR - he gets it that night in front of the troop.  The COH is for formally recognizing the boys, parent pins, and speeches.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, FireStone said:

...  it sounds like we could effectively show up at a Scout Shop and have advancement verified via computer, so no more delays in getting badges. In theory, at least. 

Yeah, but you have to show up at the scout shop.  If you have 25+ meetings a year, that's a lot of driving to and from the scout shop.  Four COHs are manageable.  25+ will never happen.  It's why I recommend stockpiling in advance.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


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

So my question is:  Do most units wait and hand out all badges at a COH?  Or do you present the scout with the badge at the next meeting and then formally "recognize" him later at a COH?  Our troop only has 2-4 COH a year.   That seems like a long time to wait, especially for new scouts who are trying to advance to first class within a year.

 

I'm at the Cub level so I don't know exactly how much variation there is when it comes to the goal of quick recognition. But I do know that it is heavily emplasized by the BSA at the Cub level that recognition should happen quickly, no more than 2 weeks after completion of something. We want the Scouts to make that connection between what they did and what they received to mark the achievement. If months go by, the system is less effective. 

I suspect that the intent at the Troop level has to be about the same. We always want to connect the "doing" with the "recognizing", and for the younger guys coming from the Cub experience not all that long ago, it's probably even more important to continue with that system of quickly recognizing advancement. 

I struggle with this in my Pack. Our advancement chairperson won't go to the shop more than once per month. And advancement reports have to be turned in 1 week prior to that trip. So in some cases if we just finished up something the week of the shop run, it will be more than a month before we even get the belt loops. 

I've occasionally worked around that by buying loops myself (some shop employees are helpful with this, in the absence of an advancement report), and then I just use my receipt to return the loops once I eventually do get them from the advancement chair. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, fred johnson said:

Yeah, but you have to show up at the scout shop.  If you have 25+ meetings a year, that's a lot of driving to and from the scout shop.  Four COHs are manageable.  25+ will never happen.  It's why I recommend stockpiling in advance.

Absolutely. I'm just saying that if this online system works as it's been explained to me, it would at least cut down on those "no report, no badge" trips. Again it's all in theory at this point, but if it works, you could basically show up at the shop and get a badge for your unit that is in the ScoutBook system as complete as of the minute you step up to the register. 

Of course this is the BSA, and so my skepticism regarding how smoothly this will all work as it has been explained to me is of course highly suspect. :)

Edited by FireStone
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, FireStone said:

I've occasionally worked around that by buying loops myself (some shop employees are helpful with this, in the absence of an advancement report), and then I just use my receipt to return the loops once I eventually do get them from the advancement chair. 

My recommendation - next time don't return the loops.  Even in Cub Scouts we had a tackle box.  That made it a lot easier to facilitate the last minute requests.  In my mind, if a Cub Scout shows up at a pack meeting and says "look what I finished today", you try to find a way to award it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No set answer.

Once upon  a time, For a troop, the Scout would be verbally recognized as soon as they passed the BOR, but wait until the COH to receive their badges. That is still how many traditional or older troops do things.

In the 1980s, the need for "Immediate recognition" at the Cub Scout level came about. Waiting for the monthly pack meeting was not enough. Then in the 1990s, the idea of immediate recognition for Scout troops came about.It was recommended that you give the Scout the patch as soon as possible after the BOR. I am assuming folks were so use to Cub Scouts that the idea of immediate recognition carried over.

As others have mentioned, there is a lot of paperwork involved in getting insignia, and ScoutBook will not help to much  on the Scout, Sea Scout and Venturing levels as 2 signatures from the BOR are required for ranks.

One thing I find insteresting. the recommendation to give the Scout rank ASAP to the youth before the COH has been around for a while. But if you look at t many ECOH pictures, as well as the Cstari Eagle print, all those Eagles are still wearing their Life ranks. Considering most ECOHs are done months after the BOR, you would think that more folks would be wearing their Eagle rank at their COH if immediate recognition was truly the norm.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the helpful replies.

It's my impression that scouts are encouraged to earn First Class within their first year in the troop.  If Rank badges are only awarded at COH, and our troop only holds 2 COH per year, some scouts will never get a chance to wear each of these!  I know it doesn't prevent them from continuing to work on advancement, but there are some scouts who really look forward to actually wearing the rank badge.

Maybe they will hold more frequent (4x/year) COH if their are more boys advancing.  I suppose I'll wait and see how it goes.  :)

Thanks for the insight.  It's nice to hear how other troops operate.

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

×