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Hawkwin

"Serve actively in your troop"

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2 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

I'm not judging, so don't take this question in that context; How do you answer to the "adding requirements" question?

Barry

I am not answering for T2Eagle, but vague issues like the term "active" are left to the SM discretion. Just like a vague MB requirement (assuming there are any) would be left to the MB Counselor.

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9 minutes ago, T2Eagle said:

Way too few facts to answer as a hypothetical.  If a scout counted the days, hit 120 and said "that's it, time card punched, job done" we'd be having a pretty serious conversation.  On the other hand, the world turns: what looked like in mid August would be a great thing for everybody, might look very different in mid December as finals approach, other activities make their own demands, schedules change, etc.   

 

4 minutes ago, HelpfulTracks said:

I am not answering for T2Eagle, but vague issues like the term "active" are left to the SM discretion. Just like a vague MB requirement (assuming there are any) would be left to the MB Counselor.

LOL, ok ok. Seems folks are afraid of the big questions.

Maybe one of the hardened adults has an opinion.

Barry

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Hawkwin said:

Since rank advancement only requires four months but the service award requires a full year of service, how do you handle those that meet the former but not the later?

I don't think I have ever seen the question come up.  As far as I know all Scouts in our troop who have been den chief (and there have been many) have done it for at least one full Cub Scout program year (basically the school year) and often for more than one year.  It is generally considered to be a one-year-at-a-time job.  We have had Scouts who have had another position for at least part of the time that they were also a den chief (leaving one to wonder how good a job they did at either, but as far as I know nobody has ever been refused a signoff for a POR in my troop.)

To Eagle94-A1's point, I did not mean to suggest that one can earn the Den Chief Service Award just for showing up for a year.  I do not know how many other Scouts in our troop have earned that award.  I know my son did.  He did do the Den Chief training (in person, because I drove him there along with a few other Scouts from the troop; it was not "online" back in the antedeluvian days of 2006 or so.)  I have a suspicion that some of those other requirements may not have been there 12-ish years ago, but whatever the requirements were, the den leader determined that my son did them.

 

Edited by NJCubScouter

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

... Maybe one of the hardened adults has an opinion. ...

I've had plenty of application of this issue with venturers who were working on a boy scout rank with their troop while their leadership was in my crew. Also, I was a DC of a den who, to my knowledge, sent no cubs to the troop. Same strategy applies to both types of positions, as their tenure may be used for multiple ranks if they are disciplined with advancement.

2 hours ago, Hawkwin said:

How do you define such when the position of authority is not within the troop?

Den Chief is service to a Pack, not a troop but is an approved position of responsibility for this requirement. As a SM, what would you require of the scout in order to demonstrate that the scout has "serve[d] actively" enough to sign off on their Conference?

Quite simply. At the SM conference and BoR, the scout should be able to describe what he did in that position. What went well, what didn't go so well, what he'd do differently. Early in a scout's tenure as an officer in my crew, I encouraged his SM and CC to ask those questions.  When they did, it helped the scout get a dose of accountability for his office, and it helped share ideas between youth in different units.

Pro tip: where should an SM look for "demonstration" of a DC fulfilling his duties?

  1. Talk to the cubs in the den. Ask one simple question: "What's the name of your Den Chief?" In addition to hearing your scout's name, check for smiles on the boys faces as they say it.
  2. At round-table talk to the Cubmaster (and, if possible the Den Leader). Same question, but rephrased. "Which of my guys is your Den Cheif?" Listen for the answer, check for a smile.
  3. If you see an eye-roll, frown, or the slightest ambiguity in those responses, it's time to have an impromptu conference with your scout.

Training benchmarks and attendance check-lists are nice, but they can be deceiving. For example, a busy den might meet too frequently for a DC to keep up, but if he makes a point to show up when the DL's gonna need him the most, the DL will literally worship the ground he walks on.

Edited by qwazse

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I think we're within the guidelines set out in the GTA.

"4.2.3.4.3 Meeting Unit Expectations. If a unit has established expectations for positions of responsibility, and if, within reason (see the note under “Rank Requirements Overview,” 4.2.3.0), based on his personal skill set, the Scout meets them, he fulfills the requirement."

Here's the note referred to: "The concepts of “reasonable” and “within reason” will help unit leadership and boards of review gauge the fairness of expectations for considering whether a Scout is “active” or has fulfilled positions of responsibility. A unit is allowed, of course, to establish expectations acceptable to its chartered organization and unit committee. But for advancement purposes, Scouts must not be held to those which are so demanding as to be impractical for today’s youth (and families) to achieve. Ultimately, a board of review shall decide what is reasonable and what is not. In doing so, the board members must use common sense and must take into account that youth should be allowed to balance their lives with positive activities outside of Scouting."

We're crystal clear up front, with both scouts and parents, that you have to make half, and we're not fanatic about it if there really are offsetting circumstances.  When we first established this several years ago there was a fair amount of grumbling, among some adults, that 50% wasn't high enough.  But I gathered some records and showed that 50% is rare.  Most scouts either make it easily, or really easily aren't making it, and that's what we want --- that it's clear either way --- what we really want to avoid is having to make judgment calls and exceptions, and that's what we would end up doing if we set things higher.  We've had a handful of scouts over the years that we had to tell them they didn't get credit and they were all OK with it. 

One scout, ASM's son, was really on the bubble and approaching 18; he was looking at having to skip something really fun but not really a requirement at school to make the number of campouts.  His solution, "hey, if I can organize an additional campout this month and get a bunch of guys to go would that count? "  Worked out just fine. 

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56 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

 

LOL, ok ok. Seems folks are afraid of the big questions.

Maybe one of the hardened adults has an opinion.

Barry

I've been doing this stuff for a long time.  I've been called a softy, but never soft.

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25 minutes ago, T2Eagle said:

But for advancement purposes, Scouts must not be held to those which are so demanding as to be impractical for today’s youth (and families) to achieve. Ultimately, a board of review shall decide what is reasonable and what is not. In doing so, the board members must use common sense and must take into account that youth should be allowed to balance their lives with positive activities outside of Scouting.

Not exactly inspiring, is it?  It makes it sound like the standard is "Oh well, good enough", to be accompanied by a shrug of the shoulders.  But that's what the book says.

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12 minutes ago, T2Eagle said:

I think we're within the guidelines set out in the GTA.

"4.2.3.4.3 Meeting Unit Expectations. If a unit has established expectations for positions of responsibility, and if, within reason (see the note under “Rank Requirements Overview,” 4.2.3.0), based on his personal skill set, the Scout meets them, he fulfills the requirement."

Here's the note referred to: "The concepts of “reasonable” and “within reason” will help unit leadership and boards of review gauge the fairness of expectations for considering whether a Scout is “active” or has fulfilled positions of responsibility. A unit is allowed, of course, to establish expectations acceptable to its chartered organization and unit committee. But for advancement purposes, Scouts must not be held to those which are so demanding as to be impractical for today’s youth (and families) to achieve. Ultimately, a board of review shall decide what is reasonable and what is not. In doing so, the board members must use common sense and must take into account that youth should be allowed to balance their lives with positive activities outside of Scouting."

We're crystal clear up front, with both scouts and parents, that you have to make half, and we're not fanatic about it if there really are offsetting circumstances.  When we first established this several years ago there was a fair amount of grumbling, among some adults, that 50% wasn't high enough.  But I gathered some records and showed that 50% is rare.  Most scouts either make it easily, or really easily aren't making it, and that's what we want --- that it's clear either way --- what we really want to avoid is having to make judgment calls and exceptions, and that's what we would end up doing if we set things higher.  We've had a handful of scouts over the years that we had to tell them they didn't get credit and they were all OK with it. 

One scout, ASM's son, was really on the bubble and approaching 18; he was looking at having to skip something really fun but not really a requirement at school to make the number of campouts.  His solution, "hey, if I can organize an additional campout this month and get a bunch of guys to go would that count? "  Worked out just fine. 

Good post. I believe "reasonable" is a good base for judging performance.

The struggle for many of us is the individuality of each scout in their effort to perform. I'm not one who cares one way of the other about "adding requirements" because I respect the challenge of judging a scouts performance. But, I do like to caution scouters that as soon as a fixed rule is set in stone, it will be challenged with an unexpected situation. It's great to add a hard expectation to draw lines between success and failure. But at the same time, these rule often restrict creativity of unusual situations. 

I typically ask adults, what is the troop gaining by adding requirements like the 50% meeting rule. I mean really, how did they come up with that number. But, I understand that some added rules or guidelines are needed for a unit to move forward, especially new units. However, at some point the unit should mature past the added rule and used their hard earned wisdom to judge individual effort. I had a 15 year old Life Scout volunteer to run a Boy Scout Skills day for a Webelos leader who had requested it. He knew exactly what to do and was excited about it. But, he informed me two weeks before the event that he couldn't be there. However, he promised he would make sure the event would occur as planned. And it did. The Den Leader said her scouts loved it. Now,  was that scout irresponsible by not showing up to an event he promised to lead, or should he be complemented for his performance delegating, training, and planning a very successful activity.  By the way, the scout didn't ask for, nor did he, recieve any credit for the activity. Well, I did brag about him a lot. His dad is my neighbor and is a little tired of hearing about it after 20 years. That scout has two kids now after all. Still.......

When general rules are set for groups of individuals, individuality will eventually force the rule to get in the way of the main objective.

Our troop pushed the PLC to take as much responsibility as possible, so they also would set rules like the 50% rule, or discipline rules, or something to help them in their responsibilities. But as the scouts learned and matured, the rules were replaced with wisdom. 

Always keep and open mind so the path to the goals is always clear. 

Barry

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19 hours ago, Eagledad said:

I'm curious, how would you as a SM feel about the scout if he considered his responsibility with the den was completed after 4 months?

Barry

I am not sure where you are getting that implication. I simply stated that the requirements for advancement can be achieved in four months but the other recognition takes a year.

In other words, the Den Chief should qualify for their Conference just like any other scout in an authorized position. Doesn't mean they quit being a Den Chief.

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41 minutes ago, Hawkwin said:

I am not sure where you are getting that implication. I simply stated that the requirements for advancement can be achieved in four months but the other recognition takes a year.

In other words, the Den Chief should qualify for their Conference just like any other scout in an authorized position. Doesn't mean they quit being a Den Chief.

I didn't imply anything. I asked a question that would simply guide a frame of thought in working with Den Chiefs. A lot of times scouts of this age have a different perspective of the responsibility than the Den Leader, pack leaders and Scoutmaster. Den Chief is a lot of responsibility for both the Troop and Pack and how the scout perceives that responsibility is important or for both units. A negative experience can hurt the troop program a lot if the pack has a bad experience. So, how the SM guides, coaches and mentors Den Chief is important.

Barry

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Hawkwin said:

I am not sure where you are getting that implication. I simply stated that the requirements for advancement can be achieved in four months but the other recognition takes a year. ... In other words, the Den Chief should qualify for their Conference just like any other scout in an authorized position. Doesn't mean they quit being a Den Chief.

@Hawkwin, I might be missing your point, and here's why: the requirements for advancement never let up. Fine, a scout knocks of four months as a DC for Star, my working assumption that time in a PoR was all he needed for that rank. He earns the rank, then he needs a PoR for another 6 months to earn Life, then another PoR for 6 months to earn Eagle, then for each Palm, another 3 months in which a scout will in accordance with requirement 3 "Continue to set a satisfactory example of accepting responsibility or demonstrating leadership ability. Same for every Palm after that." If a scout hustles on all other requirements, that's more than two years of responsibility just to get that first Silver Palm (or whatever third one he could earn beyond any insta-palms).

Are you thinking about a star scout who works his position diligently for 122 days, then ditches the DL on day 123 thinking that he won't "need" a PoR until he earns Life? For a scout like that I underlined the word continue. Sure, that word is not used in Life or Eagle Rank, but by virtue of it being in the  requirements for Palms it is implied. In other words, those four months are a minimum. I've seen committee members reject a Star Scout's position as den chief for roughly that reason. That and other corner-cutting made for a Life BoR that was protracted over a few weeks.

I have a reputation for pushing older scouts into challenging leadership positions. I've never held their next rank over their heads. I've simply said, "Your a [insert current rank] scout, this is what we do." For a Star, Life, or Eagle scout there is simply no break in being responsible.

Finally, in a properly boy-led troop, and SPL would be very slow to give a PoR to any Life scout who made such a poor showing while a Star scout.

Edited by qwazse

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IMHO a good Den Chief is worth their weight in gold. In fact I think they are more important than the SPL. DCs can mold and inspire Cubs. They are a natural recruiting tool. Sadly I've seen troops go uner because the Den Chiefs they provided were not up to the job. Scouts did not want to go to that troop.

 

5 minutes ago, qwazse said:

I've never held their next rank over their heads. I've simply said, "Your a [insert current rank] scout, this is what we do." For a Star, Life, or Eagle scout there is simply no break in being responsible.

SM and SPLs I had as a Scout had a similar idea. "Just because you no longer wear the green bars, doesn't mean you are not a leader."

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Posted (edited)

Let me be upfront with my bias on this.  The POR I used for all of my rank advancements was Den Chief.  Yes, I served other positions in the Troop - Scribe, Patrol Leader, Librarian - but I was a Den Chief starting at 12 years old through my aging out at 18.

I always considered Den Chief to be a service to the Troop - its one of the best recruitment tools out there - a good Den Chief is an ambassador to your Troop - not only within the Pack they work with but often to the Cub Scout community as a whole if they get involved in District level events like Bike Rodeos and Pinewood Derbies.  Is it possible that no one from a Pack will transfer to your unit?  Sure - it happens all the time - but you have a greater likelihood of Webelos Scouts crossing over to your Troop if you have Den Chiefs involved in a Pack.  Its pretty hard for a Webelos Leader to not include their Den Chief's Troop in unit visits.  But sometimes, the den will all cross over to another unit - rather than see it as a failure, look at it as a success for Scouting (and if they don't like the unit they go to, they might come to you - if they never cross over, they'll never become A Scout.

How do you know if your Den Chiefs are "doing their job"?  Easy - call the Cubmaster and/or Den Leader and ask - they'll give you an earful if the Scout isn't showing up as promised - but for those that are taking it seriously and doing it right, your chat with the Cubmaster and/or Den Leader will be one of those rewards we all like to get.

As for time in POR - don't conflate it with the time needed for the Den Chief Service Award - they are two completely different things.  Most Den Chiefs know that they are committing to at least the Pack Year (September to May) but there may very well be times when a Den Chief only serves the 4 months needed for Star - they may get elected to a POR like SPL or PL that will take a lot more of their time and will no longer have time to be a Den Chief.  A great Troop will find a replacement in this case. 

The Den Chief Service Award is a strange hybrid award that requires a full 12 month year of service to the Pack - note I didn't say Den - the requirement is a year of faithful service to the Pack.  It is a Boy Scouting award, not a Cub Scouting award, yet the requirements are signed off on by the Cubmaster and Den Leader.  Its is not, however, presented by the Pack - it is presented by the Scout's Troop (or Crew) and should be presented at a Court of Honor.  But it is a great opportunity for the SPL and Scoutmaster of the Troop to present the award at a Pack Meeting in front of the Cub Scouts he serves and then for the Cubmaster and Den Leader to help present it (again) to the Scout at a Troop Court of Honor. 

Edited by CalicoPenn

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2 hours ago, qwazse said:

Are you thinking about a star scout who works his position diligently for 122 days, then ditches the DL on day 123 thinking that he won't "need" a PoR until he earns Life?

No, again that is not my implication. I simply wanted to confirm that a Den Chief would not have to wait until completion of their service in order to advance in rank as any other position would that may be completed in four or six months. Additionally, the GtoA already states that a scout need not even complete the four months in the same position or concurrent so it is entirely possible that a scout may start off as a Den Chief for two months, have to quit the job due to conflicting time commitments, and then do two months as a historian six months later (once XXX sport is over) and still meet the four month requirement.

For a scout like that I underlined the word continue. Sure, that word is not used in Life or Eagle Rank,

If it is not used, then it should not be added. The GtoA also covers that issue as well. What is required for Palm should be as irrelevant as what may be required for Eagle. Not all scouts earn either.

 

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Posted (edited)

Feel confirmed! Advancement milestones and terms in PoRs don't have to line up. Actually, a lot of our scouts have PoRs since year 1. So they often might be wrapping up the last two months of one and starting another at the beginning of their time as a first class scout. Those scouted will be ready for Star after their time in a PoR -- any of them covers 4 months.

So, a First Class scout who started a year commitment as a DC could use that position for Star and Life ranks and part of Eagle if he's diligent with the MBs and pedagogy requirements. Since many of our scouts take a few years to achieve 1st class, they often have the requisite number of MBs, and achieving Star and Life that way is pretty common.

Edited by qwazse
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