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FGarvin

SM Preventing 1st-Years From Being On Ballot

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1 minute ago, Eagledad said:

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

I can only speak for my son, but because he knew he was qualified and was never told that he wasn't approved by the SM, he fully (and rightfully so, imo) expected to see his name on the ballot.

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5 minutes ago, FireStone said:

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.

Yep!

Barry

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SURPRISE:  I've seen this occur before.  Scoutmasters have lots to coordinate and are often not sure how to announce who's going to be on the ballot.  Instead, the ballot can be a surprise to the scouts and they are surprised by who's on it.  I've also seen scouts surprised by not being on it and the reasoning was the person who made the ballots didn't think they had enough qualifying nights.  There was no chance for scouts to correct that.  All the issues appear at the moment of the ballot.

QUALIFYING:  A good troop should have enough program to allow scouts to qualify for OA at the end of one year.  A good troop will camp two nights a month and at least one week in the summer.  Even if they take two months off, that's 25 to 31 nights of camping.  I remember one year one of my sons had 34 nights of camping with the troop as we had two extended campouts that summer.  

FIRST YEAR:  I assume the original poster meant scouts that were just finishing their first year or had just finished their first year.  

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As SM its my perogavitve to to put scouts on the ballot that meet the camping rule, rank requiremnt and have the right scout spirit. Its also important to have a chance to talk to each scout before creating the ballot so there are no hurt feelings or misunderstandings. I would like them to show the troop some maturity, be a leader a few times and show that they can teach camping skills. I have been consistant with this and have denied my own son this until he was in eighth grade. I always discuss who will be on the ballot with my committee before the OA elections and why and we discuss if this is the right path to take. If the committee decided to not follow that path and just using camping and rank I would understand and abide by that guidance.

OA is for older scouts, to let them grow above what the troop can provide. Lets let them get the max out of the troop before putting them in an older scout program.

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First, I’m adamantly opposed to blanket rules. I prefer that each Scout be judged on his/ her attitude and accomplishments. 

However, one of the requirements for being on the ballot for OA is approval of the Scoutmaster. We do that because the SM should know the qualities of the Scouts in question better than anyone else in Scouting.

OA is not a rank or merit badge where the requirements can be checked off. It is an honor, where first the Scoutmaster must approve and then the Scouts. 

I have watched thousands of Scouts go through Ordeal and some have been 11-12 years old. Most of those 11-12 year olds struggle, with great difficulty, with some or all of the test. Some are exceptional and go through Ordeal without issue. Those that struggled are most frequently sash and dash.

I have often disagreed with SMs on Scouts who have been put on/left off the ballot, but that is the process, and their prerogative.

Also, if a very young Scout is surprised or upset that they were not honored, it may be an indicator that the SM or Scouts made the right call. It would seem to me that OA is seen as a right rather than an honor by those Scouts. I have seen the same attitude with Vigil, “I’m Brotherhood, ive done my time, now it’s my turn to be elected to Vigil.” That is just not how it works. It goes counter to the concept of Cheerful Service in the midst of irksome tasks and weighty responsibilities, as well as being unselfish in service and devotion to the welfare of others.

As I have told Scouts who did not make the ballot and those that did but were not elected, continue to work hard at providing cheerful and exceptional service to others and you will almost certainly get on the ballot and you will be elected. But if you chose to take it as a slight, then you will almost certainly not.

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5 minutes ago, HelpfulTracks said:

... It would seem to me that OA is seen as a right rather than an honor by those Scouts. I have seen the same attitude with Vigil, “I’m Brotherhood, ive done my time, now it’s my turn to be elected to Vigil.” ...

Many scouts have precisely that view.

OA is often viewed as something that comes automatically with First Class rank (since most scouts will have enough camping nights and most scouts will not get an automatic rejection by the SM).  Then the OA election becomes a kind of "reverse popularity contest" with all but the quietest or quirkiest kid getting voted in. I wish the OA in practice was closer to the OA described in theory (i.e., the honor organization).

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9 minutes ago, HelpfulTracks said:

Also, if a very young Scout is surprised or upset that they were not honored, it may be an indicator that the SM or Scouts made the right call. It would seem to me that OA is seen as a right rather than an honor by those Scouts. I have seen the same attitude with Vigil, “I’m Brotherhood, ive done my time, now it’s my turn to be elected to Vigil.” That is just not how it works. It goes counter to the concept of Cheerful Service in the midst of irksome tasks and weighty responsibilities, as well as being unselfish in service and devotion to the welfare of others.

As I have told Scouts who did not make the ballot and those that did but were not elected, continue to work hard at providing cheerful and exceptional service to others and you will almost certainly get on the ballot and you will be elected. But if you chose to take it as a slight, then you will almost certainly not.

Very well said.

Barry

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22 hours ago, TMSM said:

As SM its my perogavitve to to put scouts on the ballot that meet the camping rule, rank requiremnt and have the right scout spirit. Its also important to have a chance to talk to each scout before creating the ballot so there are no hurt feelings or misunderstandings. ...

Great points, TMSM!

I wonder how often, we see posts in forums like this that describe a Scoutmaster's "arbitrary rules" when, in fact, Mom or Dad simply doesn't understand that a Scoutmaster is exercising his duty to advise boys and to use discretion.  I wonder how often, a Scoutmaster tells the boy that something is quite difficult or would benefit from pre-training, only to have that boy go tell his parents that "there's a rule..."

I like your approach of talking to the scout and making sure they understand the reasons. Same is true for a scouter who doesn't sign off on a rank requirement, merit badge requirement, etc. Make sure you talk to the boy and help him understand how he can grow and meet requirements and achieve any scouting goal he wants to reach.

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, mrkstvns said:

Great points, TMSM!

I wonder how often, we see posts in forums like this that describe a Scoutmaster's "arbitrary rules" when, in fact, Mom or Dad simply doesn't understand that a Scoutmaster is exercising his duty to advise boys and to use discretion...

I agree on the SM using discretion. But in this particular case, it is, in fact, an arbitrary rule, no first-year scouts allowed on the ballot.

That's often where the frustration comes in, I think. What the SM sees as "discretion" becomes a rule instead, even if unintentionally.

Edited by FireStone

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46 minutes ago, FireStone said:

I agree on the SM using discretion. But in this particular case, it is, in fact, an arbitrary rule, no first-year scouts allowed on the ballot.

And a month or so later, one of the first-year Scouts not allowed on the ballot was awarded Junior Scout of the Year.

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1 hour ago, FireStone said:

I agree on the SM using discretion. But in this particular case, it is, in fact, an arbitrary rule, no first-year scouts allowed on the ballot.

That's often where the frustration comes in, I think. What the SM sees as "discretion" becomes a rule instead, even if unintentionally.

This is not an "arbitrary" rule - that would mean it was random or based on personal whim. SM has the power to determine to who is on the ballot - its as easy as that. The SM should know and understand what OA is and make sure that scouts are both ready and worthy. For some troops this can become an issue because the SM has bias or plays favorite but this is rare. 

Am I missing something? Is there a rush to be in OA at age 12? If any rule seems random then attend a committee meeting and ask for rules to be written and have the SM explain his vision of the program. Sometimes first or second year parents are in a rush for their sons to be an "older" scout but I really don't know why.

 

 

 

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23 minutes ago, TMSM said:

This is not an "arbitrary" rule - that would mean it was random or based on personal whim

How is it not personal whim of the SM if they did not discuss such with the impacted scouts?

If it isn't based on the quality and maturity of the scout, then how should one describe such a decision other than personal? The rules allow for such scouts to be on the ballot but the SM is deciding to prohibit them based on?

27 minutes ago, TMSM said:

Is there a rush to be in OA at age 12?

What suggests it is a rush for a scout to pursue something for which they are otherwise qualified? What you call rush, I call "meets the criteria."

Perhaps the better question, and one the SM should be able to answer, is why the necessity to delay?

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Posted (edited)
27 minutes ago, Hawkwin said:

Perhaps the better question, and one the SM should be able to answer, is why the necessity to delay?

That is a very good question.

This is also the reason I don't like hearing about Scoutmasters or MB counselors or camps or MBUs that have "age restrictions" on merit badges. The rule in scouting is that any scout is allowed to work on any merit badge at any time.

Yes, there are badges that a young scout would be best off waiting a while to tackle, but that doesn't mean EVERY young scout should be blocked. A great example is Lifesaving: a scout who is 10 or 11 is unlikely to excel at Lifesaving, and a Scoutmaster is well within his area of responsibility to advise the scout to wait until he has proven himself capable of handling the swimming and first aid aspects of that MB (preferably, by earning Swimming and/or First Aid MB first). But not every 10 or 11 year old is the same: I've seen kids who are on swim team do a GREAT job at Lifesaving, no matter how young.  So if that 10 or 11 year old scout pushes back on your "great advice" and explains why he really is ready, then the Scoutmaster should just wish the scout well and give him his blue card....he should not second-guess the scout's skills or ability because, after all,  it's really the MBC's job to test whether the scout can meet requirements, not the Scoutmaster's.  

Similarly, as Hawkwin says, the OA criteria are defined. So if you can't come up with a good explanation to the scout as to why he should wait, then why is there any necessity to delay? 

 

Edited by mrkstvns

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Hawkwin said:

How is it not personal whim of the SM if they did not discuss such with the impacted scouts?

Thinking back, I can't recall a single first year scout who was disappointed he didn't get the call. It was the parents I always had to have a meeting with. Shesh. 

Now the 2nd year scouts and older were different. They wanted it. But then they were also a small minority of their age group. Time definitely sorts out those who want to be an Arrowmen compared to those who happen to be standing in the right place at the right time.

Barry

Edited by Eagledad

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1 hour ago, TMSM said:

SM has the power to determine to who is on the ballot - its as easy as that....

Yes, it's as easy as that, but it should still be merit-based, not just a blanket "no first-years allowed" rule. The SM should decide on an individual basis, not a group basis.

1 hour ago, TMSM said:

Am I missing something? Is there a rush to be in OA at age 12? If any rule seems random then attend a committee meeting and ask for rules to be written and have the SM explain his vision of the program. Sometimes first or second year parents are in a rush for their sons to be an "older" scout but I really don't know why.

Personally, I don't think most 12-year-olds are ready for OA. But there's always an exception. I'm just not a fan of these age-based rules that units create around advancement, OA, etc., stuff like "no Eagles under 16".

 

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