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FGarvin

SM Preventing 1st-Years From Being On Ballot

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Our Troop recently held our OA elections, and unbeknownst to any of the parents of 1st-yr Scouts, the SM had decided not to allow any of the qualified 1st-yr's to be placed on the ballot.  I understand that SM approval is required, but I also know that part of the requirements can be interpreted several ways.  I guess the issue is that it was a blanket decision, not one based on the individual Scout.

Can the SM prevent a qualified Scout from being placed on the OA ballot simply because they're in their first year of Scouting?

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Posted (edited)

Scoutmaster certifies. Period. 

If there’s an issue, the CC should take it up over a friendly cup of coffee with the SM and the UC.

So, tell me how a Scout gets First Class and has 20 days and nights of camping, including at least one long term camp, if these youth are IN their first year?  It’s March, so Do I see second year Scouts?

Finally, @FGarvin, welcome to Scouter.com, please take a few minutes to read our procedures, to help all of us make this a helpful and friendly community b

Edited by John-in-KC

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6 minutes ago, John-in-KC said:

So, tell me how a Scout gets First Class and has 20 days and nights of camping, including at least one long term camp, if these youth are IN their first year?  It’s March, so Do I see second year Scouts?

It's a puzzler, isn't it?  

Unless a troop is hyper-active and has multiple campouts every month, I'd also wonder how a scout is able to meet the camping requirements in less than a year...

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Posted (edited)

My son had 24 nights.  Summer camp and camping most every month.  (March '18 to February '19)  One of our unofficial mottos is:  We CAMP!

Edited by FGarvin

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@FGarvin, welcome to the forums. I love to hear about scouts getting out there.

The short answer: yes, the SM can decide that scouts who've only been in the troop for a year aren't ready for this honor. I can think of several reasons:

  • These scouts might not really be demonstrating 1st class skills consistently,
  • The SM sees a maturity issue.
  • He heard back from the lodge about a previous batch of 1st years (his or some other troop's) not really prepared for their ordeal.
  • The SM feels that their might be a bullying problem at the ordeal.

I find it interesting that the parents are involved in this at all. Are these boys really upset about having to wait until the next election?

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23 minutes ago, John-in-KC said:

So, tell me how a Scout gets First Class and has 20 days and nights of camping, including at least one long term camp, if these youth are IN their first year?  It’s March, so Do I see second year Scouts?

Quote

Have experienced 15 nights of camping while registered with a troop, crew, or ship within the two years immediately prior to the election. The 15 nights must include one, but no more than one, long-term camp consisting of at least five consecutive nights of overnight camping, approved and under the auspices and standards of the Boy Scouts of America.

Am I missing a requirement for first class to get to 20? Because with 15, 5 of which would be summer camp, 5 months of 2 day campouts would do it. Its certainly possible in the first year. That said, I can see the idea that first year scouts might need a bit more growth before being considered for OA, assuming it should mean something.

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Not all the parents had an issue with the decision.  It's just that the boys weren't told of the policy.  (it was pretty much a surprise to everyone other than the SM and Committee Chair) 

There were five boys expecting to see their names on the ballots and when they didn't see them, there was a good bit of disappointment and confusion. 

A blanket policy like this really needs to be common knowledge and probably in the by-laws.

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9 minutes ago, malraux said:

Am I missing a requirement for first class to get to 20? Because with 15, 5 of which would be summer camp, 5 months of 2 day campouts would do it. Its certainly possible in the first year. That said, I can see the idea that first year scouts might need a bit more growth before being considered for OA, assuming it should mean something.

Just to clarify general BSA camping requirements....

  • First Class requires participation in 10 troop activities, 6 of which include overnight camping (so it's not, strictly speaking, "nights of camping", but more "campouts")
  • OA eligibility requires 15 nights of camping over a 2-year period
  • Camping merit badge requires 20 nights of camping

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7 minutes ago, FGarvin said:

A blanket policy like this really needs to be common knowledge and probably in the by-laws.

Right.  Arbitrary "rules" made up on the fly are obstacles to the scouts. They are inappropriate and reflect bad leadership.  Scouts and parents are 10,000 percent right to feel surprised, offended, and cheated by these kinds of policies. 

On the other hand, SM discretion is important. The kinds of problems/issues/abuses that qwayse described in his post are valid reasons for a SM to exercise his discretion. The SM needs to guide and lead the troop on their path to development as quality young men with leadership and strong values. 

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4 minutes ago, FGarvin said:

Not all the parents had an issue with the decision.  It's just that the boys weren't told of the policy.  (it was pretty much a surprise to everyone other than the SM and Committee Chair) 

There were five boys expecting to see their names on the ballots and when they didn't see them, there was a good bit of disappointment and confusion. 

A blanket policy like this really needs to be common knowledge and probably in the by-laws.

Blanket policies and by-laws will come back to bite an SM the year an exceptional 11 year old is in the troop. The older boys will want to vote the kid in and will be really upset that he's not on the ballot.

Maybe these are exceptional 11 year olds? Each of my kids thought they were exceptional soccer players, when the coach didn't give them playing time, I told them, "Your team, not mine. Talk to the coach about what you need to do to make the cut."

If it matters to a scout, he should arrange a scoutmaster conference to discuss the issue. He can then talk about what skills he is missing that SM thinks would keep him from being an arrowman.

I do think the SM should have had a quick conference with each boy who wasn't going to be on the ballot. But since that didn't happen, it's on the boys to take the initiative to have that conversation after the fact.

 

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Why create bylaws? its right in the OA rules that the scout master has to give approval - 

  • At the time of their election, youth must be under the age of 21, and hold one of the following ranks corresponding to the type unit in which they are being considered for election: Scouts BSA First Class rank, the Venturing Discovery Award, or the Sea Scout Ordinary rank or higher, and following approval by the Scoutmaster, Crew Adviser or Sea Scout Skipper, be elected by the youth members of their unit.
  • Upvote 1

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@TMSM, So, when were these five boys told that they weren't approved by the Scoutmaster?  And when were they told why?  Finding out on election night the way they did is unacceptable.

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Posted (edited)

What happened to the Patrol Method and "boy-led"?

Seems like this is the perfect opportunity to put that into practice. Let all eligible scouts appear on the ballot and let the scouts decide by vote. Isn't that the point of these elections?

I find myself increasingly frustrated by the adult interference in the BSA lately. I see it locally, a lot. A SM at a recent district event made the comment in front of a crowd that he actively enforces age rules for advancement, especially higher ranks. He admitted in front of a crowd that he blocks advancement unless a scout is at an age that he deems appropriate to allow advancement to that particular rank.

To which of course a district rep had to jump in and say, "Well, we cant really do that, that's not what the guide to advancement allows..." But that's the culture with a lot of troops. Arbitrary rules.

Edited by FireStone
  • Upvote 1

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, FGarvin said:

@TMSM, So, when were these five boys told that they weren't approved by the Scoutmaster?  And when were they told why?  Finding out on election night the way they did is unacceptable.

So, why did the five boys think they would be on the list?

Personally, I would like to hear the SM's side. I rarely had a 12 year old who I felt was mature enough for OA. And the statistics support my observations with 9 out of 10 Arrowmen not showing interest in OA after they are selected. Arrowmen are supposed to be the best scouts in the troop, they need some time to prove it.

Barry

Edited by Eagledad

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1 minute ago, Eagledad said:

Arrowmen are supposed to be the best scouts in the troop, they need some time to prove it.

Totally agree. But I would also hope that the scouts would be able to decide that, and I'd trust them to make those choices in their votes. If it works the way it's supposed to, they should be voting for scouts who have been around long enough to prove that they deserve the vote.

  • Upvote 1

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