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AOL Bridging Up Issues

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I need advice please.  We have one parent that has been difficult to say the least.  All of a sudden they want their child to bridge up because they don't want them to be a part of our pack and they want it done by the end of the year.  They want to move on to a troop (that their other boys are in) because they do not like our troop or pack, apparently they do not like what we are doing.  I think we are doing a banging job, we have expanded our program to incorporate more of boy scouts' offerings.  

They are constantly telling the other parents that we aren't following the safety rules for the kids by having two deep leadership.  Well we don't have enough leaders for 2 deep leadership so we always grab a parent to come along so we are never alone with the scouts.  She was also going around telling people I would not let her kiddo bridge up.  I had a parent approach me asking if it was true and I explained that I will not discuss another child's progress without their consent but that I would never keep a scout from earning an award when they have completed all of the requirements.  

Well, their scout is only 10 and in order to bridge up they need AOL.  They had only completed the requirements for Webelos in Oct. because they missed a lot of the meetings.  The parent has now signed off on a lot of the requirements in the book.   When we went over a few of the items with the scout he could not recall doing it at all.  Heck, I can tell what he actually did with the leader last year because it is written in child's handwriting and the stuff she signed off is written in hers. 

I do not want to award a child a big honor when they have not earned it but at the same time I don't want the drama.  I hate drama.  The Webelos book says that the den leader is to sign off requirements, what do I do?  Do I let electives go but be more firm with requirements?  Please help.

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I see three choices...

1) You can accept the requirements as  "passed" and note for the parent and the Scout that "A Scout is Trustworthy" .  I have often found that if the Scout says he passed the requirement,  then he has passed the requirement. If not, ask him would he like to pass it NOW ? 

2) Suggest, if  in your judgement (as Webelos DL, yes?) the Scout has not quite fulfilled the requirements as listed (age, skill, attendance, etc.), do not sign off.  While addressing THE SCOUT (!) not the parent, (because it is the Scout who must pass the requirements, yes?) ask about  the discrepencies, smile and ask "when would you like to pass these requirements? Maybe today or... ? "

3)  Note for the Scout (with the parent  present)  the age and other requirements for Boy Scout joining (listed in the book !) . Review these without ire or judgement.  Note that Scouting is available for all youth and here are the local Scout Troops,  Johnny Scout can join any he wishes.  Wish them well.  Do not do any of these things without BOTH the Scout and the parent(s) present.  And, if possible, a second, silent, unattached, adult  witness.... 

Drama is not necessary nor warranted. Stay on an even keel, do not allow yourself to be drawn into a shouting match or a blame game or a "my son is..." type of thing.  Make it a point to include the Scout in all discussions.  Do not ask the parent what THEY want, but pointedly ask the Scout what HE wants.  This may well be one of the first times the Scout has actually been asked what HE wants...

See you on the trail. 

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12 minutes ago, DuctTape said:

This is exactly the problem euth parents signing off in cubs, etc...

True, but this is really more of a mother pushing her agenda over the den leader. That is a harder problem.

Over the years I learned that some drama isn't worth it. It's sad for her son, but I would abide by her wishes and not stress over it. Keep on providing a fun program for the rest of the scouts so that they wish they could stay one more year.

I've told the story here before of the Eagle scout who said some of his best memories as of scouting were from my Webelos den. He wouldn't have said that if had joined my troop.:cool:

Barry

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The real question is do you feel strongly and are you ready to make the decision that this a beach you want to die on?  Seems like the answer is probably a resounding no.

4 hours ago, SSScout said:

I see three choices...

1) You can accept the requirements as  "passed" and note for the parent and the Scout that "A Scout is Trustworthy" .  I have often found that if the Scout says he passed the requirement,  then he has passed the requirement. If not, ask him would he like to pass it NOW ? 

2) Suggest, if  in your judgement (as Webelos DL, yes?) the Scout has not quite fulfilled the requirements as listed (age, skill, attendance, etc.), do not sign off.  While addressing THE SCOUT (!) not the parent, (because it is the Scout who must pass the requirements, yes?) ask about  the discrepencies, smile and ask "when would you like to pass these requirements? Maybe today or... ? "

3)  Note for the Scout (with the parent  present)  the age and other requirements for Boy Scout joining (listed in the book !) . Review these without ire or judgement.  Note that Scouting is available for all youth and here are the local Scout Troops,  Johnny Scout can join any he wishes.  Wish them well.  Do not do any of these things without BOTH the Scout and the parent(s) present.  And, if possible, a second, silent, unattached, adult  witness.... 

This seems solid advice.  Be ready to just do the proverbial "whatever" to the lawnmower mom, wish them well, and send them on their way

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On 11/6/2018 at 7:01 AM, ncscouterz said:

Well we don't have enough leaders for 2 deep leadership so we always grab a parent to come along so we are never alone with the scouts.

This seems a little cross-wise and similar to things I encounter from folks now and then. A common confusion. 

Two deep leadership is where we want two adults with the Scouts in case of issues. The adults don't need to be joined at the hip, but within the same general nearby area. And like you pointed out, they both don't need to be registered scouters. 

Youth Protection is where there is no one-on-one contact between non-related scout and adult.

We had a visiting parent accuse our troop of two deep/YPT violation because they were left alone within the same room as the scouts while the nearest other scouter was in the next room. This of course was not a YPT issue.

It was, however, a poor judgement call in not being with the parent in case they had questions while they observed their kid interacting with the troop. I had been sitting and talking with them when I was called away by the SM who stayed with them when I left. I had assumed he realized that a good practice was to keep a scouter with the visiting adults in case of questions. As it was, the parent didn't want their child with our troop. They were experts because their older child had obtain Eagle rank the year before in another troop and knew we were violating YPT and we should be thankful they didn't turn us in.

I was thankful. 

Thankful they didn't choose our troop.

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If they were going into your troop, I'd say nip it in the bud before it gets worse. I've seen parents like this and it can destroy a troop if you let them.

Since they are going to another troop, it's up to you. Part of me says no, don't give them anything. Especially since if memory serves, at the Webelos level, the WDL and those assigned by  the WDL are the only ones who can sign off in the book. I know in the pre-2015 program that was the case so that they can prepare for rank advancement and working with MBCs

And part of me knows how dealing with these type of folks can be physically and emotionally draining. And it is worth getting rid of them.

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I'm with you on the "no drama"...especially the older I get.  However...I would NOT sacrifice my integrity by approving an AOL for a mother who clearly did not follow the rules.  "A Scout is Trustworthy" applies to adults too.  I would print out an advancement sheet of her son's APPROVED accomplishments, hand it to her and wish them well.  If she has issues with that, she can take it up with the District Advancement Committee.

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On 11/6/2018 at 8:53 AM, SSScout said:

... 2) Suggest, if  in your judgement (as Webelos DL, yes?) the Scout has not quite fulfilled the requirements as listed (age, skill, attendance, etc.), do not sign off.  While addressing THE SCOUT (!) not the parent, (because it is the Scout who must pass the requirements, yes?) ask about  the discrepencies, smile and ask "when would you like to pass these requirements? Maybe today or... ?  ...

I'd opt for @SSScout's option #2. I agree with @Eagle94-A1 that we want the WDL's signature in the book.

But, I'd also call ahead to the SM of the troop they want their son to join. Maybe ask if he's going to your next roundtable and so you can touch base about this in person. If he's gun-ho about having the kid, see what you can do about moving things along. (Maybe he can loan a Troop Guide to play den chief and tutor this kid so he's solid on his AoL requirements.) If he's really concerned about accepting a scout too young and too early (maybe because the troop is doing something fairly rugged January and February)  you can convey to the parents that it's not just your wish, but the SM's too, that you all tow the line.

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We have one parent that has been difficult to say the least.  All of a sudden they want their child to bridge up because they don't want them to be a part of our pack and they want it done by the end of the year.  They want to move on to a troop (that their other boys are in) because they do not like our troop or pack, apparently they do not like what we are doing.

You do what you can for the biggest number that will benefit - some folks are never happy with anything.  It’s a shame they waited until now to voice their displeasure  have they offered to help make it how they think it should be?

We had a Webelos who’s parents wanted him fast tracked to be able to hang with the AOL boys since he likes them better.  Apparently boy has done Most of the Webelos requirements on his own over the summer. Father was adamant this happen for his son. Even though the kiddo is just in 4th grade and young for grade. “Very advanced. academically” in dads words. 

After much consideration and talking with the 2 den leaders who would be working with this boy - we talked to the dad and showed them the timelines involved for rank. And said we would like him to stay with the age group that corresponds to his grade and since both groups meet concurrently we thought it would be best. Dad disagreed strongly so the Dad was also offered that I as CC would talk to other area packs to see if they would fast track son so that he could advance to a Boy Scout troop at the end of 4th grade with the boys moving from 5th to 6th.   I gave him contact info for all the packs too. The dad agreed and NO pack in our area would touch this idea with a stick - they were using the timeline as their argument. 

The key is to let them see you’re trying to work with the parent to solve their problem. Because it’s probably more the parents issue and not the child’s.  Some things just can’t be fixed or the solution they want to happen.  

Ours didnt come back, after being told NO by 2 other packs stating the organization doesn’t accommodate a very advanced child.  Next step would have been to suggest they talk to the Scouting with special needs people to see if they could help their child get the accommodation the parents desired but it didn’t get that far. 

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Thank you for all of the comments.  Of course she has not volunteered, though I hear "when I was a leader" quite often.  I am a fan of all of the recommendations.  

We are going to have a sit down and chat very soon.  For the discrepancies I think I may just say, "here are the requirements, do you feel as though you completed this?"  Yes, sign and move on/no, when would you like to do this?  If mom jumps in to remind him, I will go back and ask him again if he feels like he completed the requirements.  

For the requirements that are not signed off, I will remind them again that I need to sign and to please come to me for any items completed at home so I can do it.

It really is a shame to want to rush your kiddo through a program like this. Yeah, you can rush and get done with the minimum requirements but it overlooks the spirit of the program.  

  

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If you are not the den leader, make sure you are working as a partner with the Webelos den leader so you two are on the same page, and I would reiterate that the Webelos den leader needs to sign off. 

I'm the mom of a 10 year old Webelos who has missed several meetings due to hockey, and we need to play catch up, so I'm going through this myself -- I need to figure out how to do things at home (not a problem, I was a den leader for my older son) and then he needs to get them checked off and talk about what he did with his leader.  

As far as fast-tracking a kid ahead of his peers, I suppose if he does all the work and his den leader approves that work he could move up.  I would not give him a big ceremony (our pack does that as a group) but I would get him all the awards and present them with the Cubmaster and then let the kid go apply to the Troop he wishes to join. 

I think the den leader should make sure the requirements are met.  Then set the kid free and get on with the rest of your Pack. 

You might want to dangle that the kid might want to stay with his buddies.  Crossing over with friends is nice.  Or maybe he wants to serve as a den chief or run for patrol leader and do some Boy Scouty stuff in Webelos.  If they are fast-tracking to Eagle though (I wouldn't be surprised), just make sure they get the work done and let them get out of your hair.  Good luck and thank you for working with the Scouts! 

Edited by WisconsinMomma

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