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Hawkwin

SM Conference for higher ranks ONLY on campouts?

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9 hours ago, malraux said:

This sounds like someone way back had a cute idea that got formalized for no good reason.

 

8 hours ago, AVTech said:

not force attendance by tying advancement to it.

My thoughts are that someone along the way made a knee-jerk reply to a Scout to get them to go do more outings, and on second thought believed it was a very good idea after all. Idea became policy, policy becomes tradition, tradition becomes law. Now the current SM may or may not know where and when it started but believes it's how to meet his responsibilities. Armchair psychology says if you  press the SM on it he will definitely go on the defensive because, as happens with many of us, he's locked in to a single way of doing things because it has worked so far. If thinking differently about it or some kind of action is required then people can get in a huff.

So it comes down to how do you approach the SM on the subject. Honestly I don't think it's your turn to do that just yet unless you really really feel something sketchy is going on. Instead have your son go over his requirements to ensure they are done, then have him approach the subject with the SM. Let him make his own case, explaining he's met the requirements, that he can't attend the next few camp-outs, and if he really needs to press it...that he's read that SM conferences aren't required to be at camp-outs. Hopefully the SM will move forward with the conference or explain himself better. BUT if he doesn't do either then he has at least heard it more than once before you approach him about it. It's not going to be a surprise to him and hopefully he can account for his choice better to you without being defensive. Hopefully. SMC's are some of the first time when Scouts speak to adults as relatively equals. Your son standing up for himself could be as telling as the SMC anyway.

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Bottom line is, no unit leader can impose a change to the Scouting program as outlined in official materials and policies. So, while they may try to enforce this "rule" for the sake of convenience or achievement or whatever, they cannot force you to follow it. Talk to your Unit Commissioner and then your District Advancement Chair if needed; simply put though, they can't force any of their Scouts to follow this change in official programming.

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5 hours ago, qwazse said:

3) The conferences on campouts seem to be less rushed, more relaxed, and more reflective.

I did a few on campouts but less rushed is not how I'd describe it. The scouts wanted to get back to whatever fun they were having. As much fun as I had with scouts I could never compete with scouts hanging out with their friends.

I did a lot at my house. Those were the most relaxed and I could get scouts to talk the most.

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Adding requirements like that is obviously wrong, but I can sympathize with what this troop might be trying to do (encouraging activity by older Scouts). Right objective, wrong implementation.

We have a troop of 30 boys (about half are age 11-13 and half are age 14-17). All the older Scouts are grouped into one large patrol. The lives of these older teens get so busy, and we rarely see them on a troop campout or other Scouting activities. I remind those still working toward Eagle that real activity in the troop is requirement #1, and I challenge them to attend at least one campout a year (not setting a high bar). But that counsel never seems to translate to actual campout attendance. I have also urged their Patrol Leader to organize their own separate patrol campouts, to no avail.

This is a point of frustration (for more than just our troop).

 

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14 hours ago, The Latin Scot said:

Bottom line is, no unit leader can impose a change to the Scouting program as outlined in official materials and policies. So, while they may try to enforce this "rule" for the sake of convenience or achievement or whatever, they cannot force you to follow it. Talk to your Unit Commissioner and then your District Advancement Chair if needed; simply put though, they can't force any of their Scouts to follow this change in official programming.

I do not see this as a problem of the official scout program,  or of scouting policy.  This is a matter of scheduling (even if it is bad scheduling).  The SM is offering scoutmaster conferences, only at a place and time of his own choosing.  In our troop scouts meet with a specific person (SM), at a specific time (last monday of the month) and at a specific place (church meeting hall).  This SM can say he is exercising his prerogative in how he implements the scout program. 

As far as the Unit Commissioner and the District Advancement Chair are concerned, these men are support personnel,  and have no direct line authority to the SM.  If you want to go over the head of this guy, you go to the CC or the COR to make your case.  These are the persons who can dismiss a SM.

I have heard the argument that making scouts go on campouts is unfair because they have to pay  money for their review.  But the BSA does the same thing, by saying that only registered scouts can have scout advancement, and that costs a charter or recharter fee.  

 

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29 minutes ago, allangr1024 said:

In our troop scouts meet with a specific person (SM), at a specific time (last monday of the month) and at a specific place (church meeting hall).

Interesting point. I'm reminded that the Scoutmaster conference can be held at any time while working toward the new rank, and it doesn't need to be the last requirement satisfied before a board of review is held. Would your troop would make an exception to provide alternate arrangements for a Scoutmaster conference if a Scout found himself up against a deadline (six months before turning 18, for instance)?

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1 hour ago, allangr1024 said:

I have heard the argument that making scouts go on campouts is unfair because they have to pay  money for their review.  But the BSA does the same thing, by saying that only registered scouts can have scout advancement, and that costs a charter or recharter fee.

 

Respectfully, I disagree.  The Guide to Advancement says:

Policy on Unauthorized Changes to Advancement Program
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. For details see section 10, “Advancement for Members With Special Needs.”

Units / individuals do not have the authority to add to the requirements.  This isn't just a scheduling issue if a Scout cannot attend a campout for several months and this delays his advancement.  It might be the Scoutmater's preference (due to several different reasons as mentioned earlier in this thread), but it cannot be made a requirement for rank advancement.

 

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2 hours ago, gblotter said:

 I remind those still working toward Eagle that real activity in the troop is requirement #1, and I challenge them to attend at least one campout a year (not setting a high bar). But that counsel never seems to translate to actual campout attendance. I have also urged their Patrol Leader to organize their own separate patrol campouts, to no avail.

This is a point of frustration (for more than just our troop). 

I don't understand why participation can't be a requirement. Imagine the soccer player that only plays one game a season. Scouts is about doing so why not let the SM make a requirement? If it's too harsh then the scouts can go elsewhere. As long as it's consistent I'd be okay with it. I always told the scouts if they don't like the campouts then let's talk about it so they can do something about it. But it's easier to just not do anything.

Getting back to the aims of scouting, I'm not sure how scouting can have much impact if the scouts are never around. Without the activities the aims are just a bunch of empty words. If the scouts can't make one campout a year then what's the point? Sounds to me like they just want that last patch. The cynic in me sees the point as sending $33 to national every year. Which brings up another point. My council chucked friends of scouting and now just requires $200/scout/year. So we've taken a few scouts off the roster. Five scouts that don't participate costs our troop $1000 a year. We can't make participation a requirement to advance but we will remove scouts from our troop if they don't participate. It doesn't really sound right but that's where we're at.

I'll try and stop being a cynic now.

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1 hour ago, Thunderbird said:

 

Respectfully, I disagree.  The Guide to Advancement says:

Policy on Unauthorized Changes to Advancement Program
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. For details see section 10, “Advancement for Members With Special Needs.”

Units / individuals do not have the authority to add to the requirements.  This isn't just a scheduling issue if a Scout cannot attend a campout for several months and this delays his advancement.  It might be the Scoutmater's preference (due to several different reasons as mentioned earlier in this thread), but it cannot be made a requirement for rank advancement.

 

I think you will have to define the terms "requirement" and "Advancement Program".  I do not see this as being a specifically redefined requirement.  I do not hear the SM saying, "I require you to go on 3 10 mile hikes and build a lookout tower out of lashings before I will pass you off. "  He is not even denying the scout a conference.  He said "Come, I will be here."  (BTW, I would not set this up this way, as there will always be exceptions to the circumstances this guy is envisioning.)  Holding a conference may fall under the admonition to recognize advancement quickly, but that is not quantified (must be in 2 weeks of the requirements be done), and hard to be held accountable for.

And, if I am reading Hawkin's posts correctly, the scout has not brought the issue of being unavailable for two camp outs up to the SM.  Has he refused to do anything else to get the scout to a conference?  I think this SM has a worthy goal of getting the older scouts to go on camp outs, which they may not be attending.  But he would be unwise in being inflexible on this kind of stuff, since these scouts could vote with their feet and find something else to do all together.    

The scout needs to follow the chain of command.  Talk to the SM, then the CC, then the COR.  Scouting is set up to have power spread out to the local units in local matters.  I don't see the district level professionals or volunteers doing much but making an appeal to the unit.  

 

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Participation is already a requirement for the lower ranks, and holding a POR for the upper ranks would by necessity require participation. This seems, to me anyway, either a way to increase participation in program that the Scouts aren't thrilled with, or a way for a SM to minimize the time he spends working with his Scouts. In either case, it is adding to the requirements for rank advancement, and a de facto denial of a SM conference. Both are putting roadblocks in place that ought not be there.

 

 

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6 minutes ago, MattR said:

I don't understand why participation can't be a requirement. ... Sounds to me like they just want that last patch.

The Eagle Scout participation requirement is not being ignored. Eagle has been a long-term goal for them. To meet Eagle requirement #1, they would insist that they had six good active months shortly after becoming Life but not so much recently.

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Is there any documented maximum allowable time from when a SM conference is requested to when one of given to the Scout? I'm not aware of anything but wondering if it's written somewhere. Like "a troop must make a conference date/time available to the Scout within no more than 60 days from request" or something like that?

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32 minutes ago, FireStone said:

Is there any documented maximum allowable time from when a SM conference is requested to when one of given to the Scout? I'm not aware of anything but wondering if it's written somewhere. Like "a troop must make a conference date/time available to the Scout within no more than 60 days from request" or something like that?

There is not.  The GTA does speak to the SM delegating the responsibility for the SM Conference to another leader if they are going to be absent for an extended period

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36 minutes ago, FireStone said:

Is there any documented maximum allowable time from when a SM conference is requested to when one of given to the Scout? I'm not aware of anything but wondering if it's written somewhere. Like "a troop must make a conference date/time available to the Scout within no more than 60 days from request" or something like that?

I think the general emphasis on immediate recognition gives us a sense that National's advancement team would rather us respond to scouts sooner rather than later. This makes sense. Three months may be a blink of an eye for those of us who wait for peer-reviews, but it is a long time in a boy's mind.

Boys in upper ranks often are becoming responsible citizens and committing weekends to good things besides camping. So, if you're only available for upper-rank SMC's on troop camp-outs, you probably should find an ASM who you trust to handle the boys who aren't gonna be on the next couple of camp-outs.

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7 hours ago, allangr1024 said:

I do not see this as a problem of the official scout program,  or of scouting policy.  This is a matter of scheduling (even if it is bad scheduling).  The SM is offering scoutmaster conferences, only at a place and time of his own choosing.  In our troop scouts meet with a specific person (SM), at a specific time (last monday of the month) and at a specific place (church meeting hall).  This SM can say he is exercising his prerogative in how he implements the scout program. 

But we hold BORs for those same ranks at the weekly meetings.

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