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Ranman328

"Pencil Whipping" Requirements

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The big difference between Bobcat rank and Scout rank is that the standard for Cub Scouts is "Do Your Best" -- if Cub Scouts need some help with the Scout Oath and Law, they can have it.  All of the Bobcat rank requirements (except for possibly the parent exercises "How to Protect Your Children From Child Abuse: A Parent's Guide") can easily be done at the first meeting.

However, the standard for older Scouts is that they meet the requirements as written.  In addition, all requirements for the Scout rank must be completed as a member of a troop.  Scout rank used to be a joining badge (prior to 2016), and the requirements were easier (for example: (old) Understand and agree to live by the Scout Oath or Promise, Scout Law, motto, and slogan, and the Outdoor Code vs. (new) Repeat from memory the Scout Oath, Scout Law, Scout motto, Scout slogan, and Outdoor Code.  In your own words, explain their meaning).

Did the girls really meet all of the requirements as written during the three-hour meeting?  Did they do the older Scouts BSA version of the parent exercises "How to Protect Your Children From Child Abuse: A Parent's Guide"?  Did they have unexpired Cyber Chips for the 5th grade and demonstrate their knowledge to the Scoutmaster (or Scoutmaster's designee)?  If they are in the 6th grade (or older), did they "Write and sign a personalized contract with [their] parent or guardian that outlines rules for using the computer and mobile devices..." (Cyber Chip requirement #2 for grades 6-8 and 9-12)?  Did they choose a patrol name, emblem, flag, and yell?

I am sure that there are situations where the girls have been working towards February 1st for a while, and the troop leaders got everything organized in such a way that it is possible for all 7 girls in the troop to earn Scout rank on the first day (see @Treflienne's description earlier in this thread).  Based on @Ranman328's updated description of the meeting, it sounds like they basically ("Army of Darkness" movie reference) did the requirements, but perhaps not completely as written.

It does sound like the Unit Commissioner could help mentor and explain how these girls would benefit by treating Scouting as a journey -- not just a race to Eagle.  It's difficult, though, because all of this falls under the Scoutmaster's responsibilities.

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22 hours ago, MattR said:

You could have mentioned that no fire is required to whip a rope. And besides, go outside and fuse the rope.

Yep. I'd say it's better to get everything else signed off and then ask the scouts what they want to do about the ropes.

Again, not sure how the commissioner should best affect things.

I really wish we could stop picking posts apart.  Yes you are correct that fire is not needed for Whipping a rope but the requirement says "Whipping and Fusing" a rope. Which they apparently did not do but got signed off on, which is what this Commissioner's concern was.  I'm not here to argue the fine points.  I am not here to be picked apart from a discussion I had with another Commissioner because I did not pick apart his visit with a Troop.  I come here to get advice from long time Scouters who might have had the same type of situation in their Scouting and learn something possibly.  Lately, all I get is others picking apart posts like "Not calling them Girl Scouts" and now "I didn't mention fire is not required for Whipping,"  Really?  Can't we just go with a post, read it for what it is and give "Helpful" advice instead of picking people apart? 

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4 minutes ago, Ranman328 said:

Can't we just go with a post, read it for what it is and give "Helpful" advice instead of picking people apart? 

Sorry that you don’t like the answers you’re getting.

It actually is helpful to reiterate the name of the program, considering that we’re being sued by another organization that used local volunteers’ incorrect language as evidence that the national organization was in the wrong.

Do you know if the UC contacted his boss, the district commissioner, and asked for feedback and advice? That would have been the most proper route.

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Thicker skin, @Ranman328, please. You didn't say that they actually have the leader's sign-off in their books for "whipping and fusing."

If that's the case, the UC has to come down firmly and say 3/4 of scouting is outing, and 1/2 of outing is working with fire.

If it's bad outside, surely they can light candles somewhere in that church! (The kitchen?)

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On 2/18/2019 at 12:45 PM, Ranman328 said:

Update:  Meeting was approximately three hours.  Seven scouts, none above 13, two were Webelos that did not earn AOL.  UC did not see any Patrol voting or Patrol decisions occur but he arrived about 15 minutes late to the meeting.  He did have an interesting that three Scouts did not even have their handbooks at the meeting.  No flags to be seen and did not conduct a closing ceremony.  Have a Scoutmaster and one Assistant Scoutmaster.  Conferences lasted about five minutes each.  They were only instructed how to "Whip and fuse a rope" but did not actually do it due to having fire or flame inside the building.  I advised him to monitor the Troop and give advice as he is a former Scoutmaster of 10 years himself.  My advice would be slow down and enjoy the program and absorb as much as you can because it is over before you know it.  I'm not sure what the rush is all about. 

@Ranman328, it looks like you were right to be concerned about this new unit.

If a kid has a requirement signed off, knowing that he has not actually completed it -- or if a kid has a requirement signed off by an adult who tells him he did it, but the kid later looks up what is required and realizes he has not actually done what was required -- this is discouraging and demoralizing.  It also casts doubt on whether others who have that badge/award have actually done the work.  I have seen this problem far too often in a different youth organization.

The question is how to instill in the scouts a sense of pride in accomplishment, of pride in mastery of skills,  so that they will refuse to have something signed off until they have truly mastered the skill or otherwise completed the requirement. So that they will Be Prepared and will have skills they can use when they Do a Good Turn Daily.

My daughter has quoted me a snippet from a mid-twentieth century fiction book about Girl Guides, in which advice is being given to Guides who are wanting to just squeak by their requirements:

"All the same, it's poor satisfaction to go round labeled as a First Class Scout, and then, when an emergency comes along, find yourself shown up as a Tenderfoot.  We might know inside the Movement that a First Class Scout was just a Second Class chap who'd scraped through a dozen extra tests by the skin of his teeth, but outside people couldn't be expected to confine their expectations to the Book of Rules, could they?  If you wear a First Class badge they'll expect to find the First Class sort of Guide inside your uniform every time.  They'll look to you to take the lead when things go wrong, and if you aren't expert at the sort of things they connect with us Scouts and Guides -- woodcraft and First Aid and all the rest of it -- you'll see them raise their eyebrows and smile a bit, that's all." quoted from Cherries in Search of a Captain, by Catherine Christian.

 

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@Treflienne, your daughter has some good quotes to work from!

Kids usually get it.

The challenge is to convince scouters that it's more fun to make good on the promise of scouting than dole out bling.

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14 minutes ago, qwazse said:

The challenge is to convince scouters that it's more fun to make good on the promise of scouting than dole out bling.

Any good advice on how to do so?

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Just now, Treflienne said:

Any good advice on how to do so?

There's a reason I called it a "challenge." No adults want to be accused of not delivering on the promise of scouting. The UC in this thread might have an advantage in that this is a new unit. He might not if these are old scouters wanting to run things "better" than their former unit did.

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19 hours ago, Ranman328 said:

... all I get is others picking apart posts like "Not calling them Girl Scouts" and now "I didn't mention fire is not required for Whipping,"  Really?  Can't we just go with a post, read it for what it is and give "Helpful" advice instead of picking people apart? 

The "girl scouts" thing is definitely justified in being picked apart. We all have a lot of adjusting to do to the new language of the BSA, so calling each other out on missteps I think is necessary and constructive.

Not just because of the lawsuit. I cringe every time we're at a Pack meeting with girls in attendance and a leader addresses the Pack saying "boys". At the Cub level we've been at this since last summer and we're still not getting it right. This needs to be picked apart.

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I'm still intreguied by the new unit Commissioner part of @Ranman328's question.

I've always been of the understanding that the role of a UC is to provide guidance to the unit leaders to help them be successful.  Advice can certainly sometimes be directive i.e. "you should allow the Scouts more time to individually finish ranks on their own timeline instead of rushing it."

But, generally I've always thouht of the UC as more of a trusted advisor or a consultant.  If a new UC showed up and started telling me what I was doing wrong, I'd don't think I'd listen too much.  "who is this UC person and why do they think they can just show up and tell me how to run my meeting?"

I wonder what other people thought in this instance.  For the sake of discussion, assume for a minute that the Scoutmaster did the wrong thing here.  Should a new UC to a new Scoutmaster critique the first meeting like this?

 

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47 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

... For the sake of discussion, assume for a minute that the Scoutmaster did the wrong thing here.  Should a new UC to a new Scoutmaster critique the first meeting like this?

Yes. Without question. What's at issue is how to deliver that critique.

I started advising a crew after being a seasoned ASM; however, I still felt inadequate. And I felt that I had to respond quickly to things that were coming up. So, I sought out folks who could give me a blunt critique quickly. And the venturing commissioner was pretty good at laying out "must do" vs. "must stop doing" vs. "take it or leave it" advice. And for the "must stop doing", I could go back to my youth next meeting, apologize, and promise to do better.

I think this SM and ASM are in a similar situation. The only question is if they will take brusk advice, if they will allow such critiques at a committee meeting, or if they need a let's-sit-and-have-a-coffee approach.

Edited by qwazse

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9 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

I wonder what other people thought in this instance.  For the sake of discussion, assume for a minute that the Scoutmaster did the wrong thing here.  Should a new UC to a new Scoutmaster critique the first meeting like this?

 

I don't think there is and easy answer. UC advising can be tricky. For example, the UC had to guide us on how to give BORs without retesting the scouts. He could have said not to do it. But instead he did this by leading a few or our BORs. Also, the vast majority of troops don't follow the recommended advancement guidelines and policies. The UCs are closest to units for following published policies. Should the unit leaders pride prevent them from at least listening to the UC advise? An Eagle can hang on how units react. A good UC will try and stay away from adult pride and instead suggest attending training, or even do the unit a favor by bringing a trainer to the unit for an hour of training.

Some UCs are better at passing this information to the leaders than others. Where I think they start crossing the line is when they tell the unit how to run their program. The year before I joined the Cubs as a leader, a UC told our leaders to split the pack because it was too big. That created a huge mess, especially during recruiting. He also got in the middle of adding to meeting agendas before we finally asked him to step back.

On the other hand, our Troop UC tried to stick to advising by clarify BSA policies and rules. He wasn't sure about our 100 yard campsite separation approach because it wasn't how he Scoutmastered his very successful program. But, he never told us to stop. He ended up getting some kind of award for his UC experience because our troop grew from 15 to 100 scouts in 6 years. He got that award because he stayed out of the way. If we weren't going off in a dangerous direction, he just stepped back. 

I have watched good UCs make bad programs good, and bad UCs kill good programs. Over the years, I have found two observations that determine the quality of UCs. First is the District Commissioner. Some of them just aren't very good. The other is the quality and experience of the UC. I've said this before in other adult leadership discussions, but success with Unit Commissioners depends a lot of good recruiting. More often than not, bad unit leaders make bad UCs. 

There is a big gray area for how and where a UC advises. Looking at different units from the District and council side, unit leaders should have some patience with UC guidance, as well as the UCs having patience. Developing a good relationship with the DE and DC (district commissioner) helps a great deal because they are the UC advisers. Many times the UC is just relaying information from his superiors. 

Barry

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13 hours ago, Treflienne said:

All the same, it's poor satisfaction to go round labeled as a First Class Scout, and then, when an emergency comes along, find yourself shown up as a Tenderfoot.  We might know inside the Movement that a First Class Scout was just a Second Class chap who'd scraped through a dozen extra tests by the skin of his teeth, but outside people couldn't be expected to confine their expectations to the Book of Rules, could they?  If you wear a First Class badge they'll expect to find the First Class sort of Guide inside your uniform every time.  They'll look to you to take the lead when things go wrong, and if you aren't expert at the sort of things they connect with us Scouts and Guides -- woodcraft and First Aid and all the rest of it -- you'll see them raise their eyebrows and smile a bit, that's all." quoted from Cherries in Search of a Captain, by Catherine Christian.

This is going into our District News..... Thank you....

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On 2/19/2019 at 12:34 PM, Ranman328 said:

 I'm not here to argue the fine points.

I'm actually agreeing with you. Sorry if it didn't read that way.

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FWIW, I also think a UC (or any of us who are friends of a unit) should critique positively when a new SM/ASM is by-the-book regarding advancement.  It's likely that they are getting flack from someone for it, and if you don't voice your positive reinforcement, you may not hear that a leader may be struggling with parents on that issue.

Sometimes someone from the outside can provide the necessary unified front before such parents. I've often found myself in that position, and leaders and parents have thanked me for walking them through the advancement method.

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