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Hawkwin

SM Conference for higher ranks ONLY on campouts?

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15 minutes ago, mashmaster said:

I guess I would point out that he is putting more of a burden on your son for advancement than is specified in the guide to advancement.  I would include the CC on this mail and also the Unit Commissioner, since they can be useful to help advocate for the scouts.    The SM doesn't seem to be putting the needs of the scout before his desire for having his rule.

I agree.  The Scoutmaster is adding to the requirements by making the Scoutmaster conference conditional:  He will only conduct Scoutmaster conferences for higher ranks while on campouts.  He doesn't seem to be flexible at all with Scouts who are unable to make those campouts for 90+ days.

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This SM is definitely adding requirements to the SMC.  Depending on where the campout is, I would be tempted to find out what time he will do the SMC and then just show up for that time. Then leave from the campout.  That way, it is working within the time he has made available, but not consenting to the campout as a requirement.  If I'm only there for the SMC and not the campout, then I'm not paying either.  I would make it clear I'm showing up for the SMC only to jump through his hoop.  I understand that this may not be possible if you have a conflict.  But it's not right to add a campout as a condition of a SMC.

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11 hours ago, awanatech said:

This SM is definitely adding requirements to the SMC.  Depending on where the campout is, I would be tempted to find out what time he will do the SMC and then just show up for that time. Then leave from the campout.  That way, it is working within the time he has made available, but not consenting to the campout as a requirement.  If I'm only there for the SMC and not the campout, then I'm not paying either.  I would make it clear I'm showing up for the SMC only to jump through his hoop.  I understand that this may not be possible if you have a conflict.  But it's not right to add a campout as a condition of a SMC.

That was my initial thought but we are out of state (and out of the country) for the next two camp outs.

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7 minutes ago, Hawkwin said:

we are out of state (and out of the country) for the next two camp outs.

When was the last time your son attended a campout? Has your son attended any campouts while working toward this rank?

The Scoutmaster conference can happen at any time while working on the next rank - it doesn't need to be the last requirement fulfilled before the board of review.

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24 minutes ago, gblotter said:

When was the last time your son attended a campout? Has your son attended any campouts while working toward this rank?

Summer camp in July with the Troop (SM was in attendance) and completed is Order of the Arrow Ordeal two weekends ago (SM was in attendance).

24 minutes ago, gblotter said:

The Scoutmaster conference can happen at any time while working on the next rank - it doesn't need to be the last requirement fulfilled before the board of review.

Agreed, which is why I am more than a little upset that the SM did not take the opportunity to have one with my son during the week they were at camp together or even during whatever down time they might have had during the Ordeal weekend.

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If the goal of the Scoutmaster's policy is to encourage campout participation among his older Scouts, that goal has clearly been met with your son this summer. You previously said his heart is in the right place and you support his reasoning. What goal did he articulate to you that is motivating this difficult and inflexible stance?

A lesson has been learned the hard way that you need request a Scoutmaster conference at the earliest possible opportunity while working on a rank advancement because this Scoutmaster won't offer any flexibility later on with his scheduling. And you should not wait for the Scoutmaster to initiate the conference - request the conference proactively.

It's embarrassing and sad to see a Scoutmaster behave like this. He clearly doesn't understand the philosophy of servant leadership. Our troop once had a Scoutmaster who was attracting lots of family complaints over his rigid policies. He ran a very active program with lots of camping and advancement, but his rigidity was driving families away from the troop and poisoning them toward Scouting altogether. It took a lot of complaints but the CO finally replaced him. He left in a huff, which was sad for all concerned because he sacrificed much for the troop and Scouting.

Certainly you can stay and fight this, but the battle may poison your son. Have you considered switching to a different troop?

Edited by gblotter

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13 hours ago, mashmaster said:

I would include the CC on this mail and also the Unit Commissioner, since they can be useful to help advocate for the scouts.    The SM doesn't seem to be putting the needs of the scout before his desire for having his rule.

The SM copied the CC/Advancement Chair on his reply to me. I assume that if the CC disagrees he now has an opportunity to weigh in. I will give him a day or two and then likely call him to discuss. I am unfamiliar with the Unit Commissioner position and I don't see anyone with that title under our unit leadership within Scoutlander.

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8 minutes ago, Hawkwin said:

Summer camp in July with the Troop (SM was in attendance) and completed is Order of the Arrow Ordeal two weekends ago (SM was in attendance).

Agreed, which is why I am more than a little upset that the SM did not take the opportunity to have one with my son during the week they were at camp together or even during whatever down time they might have had during the Ordeal weekend. 

There's not much down time in an Ordeal weekend. Ideally, you don't even cross paths with your SM. Regardless, I think the SM is missing an opportunity to break in an ASM to help with these kinds of situations. More importantly, a scout like this is getting to know other leaders and hear from other troops. They are learning how things could be done differently, and those ideas often come up in SMC's and BoR's. The more adults can hear from their boys, the better.

55 minutes ago, Hawkwin said:

That was my initial thought but we are out of state (and out of the country) for the next two camp outs.

Since you're traveling, your scout should consider starting Citizenship in the World, Photography, or some other MB(s) related to whatever you might be doing on your travels.

Just because his ovals are being awarded a little later than expected, there's no reason he can't rack up some MBs toward insta-palms. (The delays in delivering SMCs and BoRs is is probably one of the justifications for insta-palms.)

Also, for all of the kids, don't forget international recognitions https://www.scouting.org/international/recognitions/

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4 minutes ago, gblotter said:

If the goal of the Scoutmaster's policy is to encourage campout participation among his older Scouts, that goal has clearly been met with your son this summer. You previously said his heart is in the right place and you support his reasoning. What goal did he articulate to you that is motivating this difficult and inflexible stance?

"The reason I only do SM Conferences on camp outs is to get the senior leadership on the camp out so that they should be on leading younger scouts. My expectation for Star and Life Scout should and is more rigorous since they are moving into Leadership roles."

Like I stated, I get the rationale behind his policy but the inflexibility of it is both disappointing and appears to violate the spirit of the rules (e.g. a different standard for higher ranks is adding requirements).

 

4 minutes ago, gblotter said:

A lesson has been learned the hard way that you need request a Scoutmaster conference at the earliest possible opportunity while working on a rank advancement because this Scoutmaster won't offer any flexibility later on with his scheduling. And you should not wait for the Scoutmaster to initiate the conference - request the conference proactively.

Yep. Lesson learned the hard way. Won't ever make that mistake again. SM conference will be requested immediately on the next camp out after advancement and he can either comply or refuse.

4 minutes ago, gblotter said:

Certainly you can stay and fight this, but the battle may poison your son. Have you considered switching to a different troop?

This is our first poor interaction so while it has occurred to me, it isn't something we are seriously considering. That might change based on the response I get from the CC and/or others.

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13 minutes ago, Hawkwin said:

"The reason I only do SM Conferences on camp outs is to get the senior leadership on the camp out so that they should be on leading younger scouts. My expectation for Star and Life Scout should and is more rigorous since they are moving into Leadership roles."

...

That's a poor reason IMHO. (See note about missed opportunities above.)

I'd rather have the conference, find out the scout will be away for a couple months, help him think through what his next MB should be, get him that blue card, and encourage him to accept a PoR when he gets back and commit time to it.

So @Hawkwin, unless he was really creative at managing a troop from a distance, your scout might get his oval for this coming rank sooner, but would probably not advance to the one after that any more quickly in my troop. (At the last committee meeting this was a discussion, and I made it pretty clear that giving a scout a break from a position he couldn't fulfill was always in the offering.) So, same net result, but I think our approach gets to the grit of what a boy needs to experience in terms of leadership development.

Edited by qwazse

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3 minutes ago, Hawkwin said:

"The reason I only do SM Conferences on camp outs is to get the senior leadership on the camp out so that they should be on leading younger scouts. My expectation for Star and Life Scout should and is more rigorous since they are moving into Leadership roles."

 

Well honestly, that is his problem not your sons' problem.  That is specifically putting more requirements on your son.  If the senior scouts aren't going to campouts, he needs to figure out why that is.  Having this requirement is clearly forcing a scout to go to something that he may not want or be able to to.  The main goal of scouting is fun with a purpose.  It sounds like the campouts aren't fun for the older scouts.    And...  your son is actually camping, so he is penalizing a scout that is doing what he wants.   

I would absolutely involve the unit commissioner on this, because the SM is entrenching himself into his way or the highway and not focusing on the needs of the scout.  You should be able to call your local council and ask the receptionist for the contact information for your District Executive.  The District Executive will be able to connect you with you unit commissioner or your district commissioner.   The SM is not allowed to change rules of advancement.

It isn't your sons fault for waiting until the end to ask for the Scoutmaster conference.  It is reasonable for the Scoutmaster to say I can't do it right now but let's work together to find a time that will work for both of us.  And that should be withing a least 2 weeks.

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13 minutes ago, Hawkwin said:

I am unfamiliar with the Unit Commissioner position and I don't see anyone with that title under our unit leadership within Scoutlander.

it's not a troop position so you wouldn't see it. The UC is supplied by the district. He/she is a volunteer with usually a lot of experience. If you can't find it on the district web page then look for the District Commissioner, who can help you. If you can't find that title then look for the council commissioner or the district chair, either of which should be able to help you find a commissioner.

I think this is the way to go, if you can find someone with experience and has a level personality. It's someone not tied to one side or the other and also with experience. I'd think that maybe if the SM realized you'd be gone for a few months then it's time to make an exception.

Anyway, this whole situation is a shame and I'm sorry to hear things like this. It sounds like the SM is usually a good guy so maybe there's an echo chamber that just needs to be broken up.

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This policy could likely have the unintended effect of older boys only attending a campout for the purpose of a SMC. Then they disappear until they need another one. Force a teenager into a contrived activity? Not really a recipe for trust, cooperation, and success. That could then spawn a "needs too attend consecutive campouts" policy to secure a SMC. That might be an avenue of discussion to take to helping them see their choices are band aids, not solutions.

I feel for you. Not a comfortable situation.

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54 minutes ago, qwazse said:

That's a poor reason IMHO. (See note about missed opportunities above.)

I'd rather have the conference, find out the scout will be away for a couple months, help him think through what his next MB should be, get him that blue card, and encourage him to accept a PoR when he gets back and commit time to it.

So @Hawkwin, unless he was really creative at managing a troop from a distance, your scout might get his oval for this coming rank sooner, but would probably not advance to the one after that any more quickly in my troop. (At the last committee meeting this was a discussion, and I made it pretty clear that giving a scout a break from a position he couldn't fulfill was always in the offering.) So, same net result, but I think our approach gets to the grit of what a boy needs to experience in terms of leadership development.

He isn't away for a couple of months. We simply have a long weekend planned for our annual hike to Mt. LeConte in Gatlinburg in September when the Troop is camping and we are taking a family cruise over fall break in October when the Fall camporee is scheduled (another bone of contention at the district level - don't schedule weekend camping the first weekend of school vacation). He won't be missing out on any of his responsibilities in his PoR as he is a Den Chief.

 

57 minutes ago, MattR said:

it's not a troop position so you wouldn't see it. The UC is supplied by the district.

Thanks, our District Website lists only an email address with no name. Our Council Page for our district doesn't even list the position.

I'd try the District Commissioner as needed. Thanks.

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8 minutes ago, Hawkwin said:

 (another bone of contention at the district level - don't schedule weekend camping the first weekend of school vacation

I've helped plan a lot of Fall Camporees for a fairly small district.  If we ruled every homecoming weekend and school break off limits, there would be no camporee.

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