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FGarvin

SM Preventing 1st-Years From Being On Ballot

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20 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

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

Son #1's buddy got to 1st Class ahead of the rest of that class. He asked to not be put on the ballot. I can't remember if it was his 2nd or 3rd summer camp. (We never pushed 1st class, 1st year. Most of our scouts took at least two years to get there.) Anyway, he knew that year was not the right time for him, and the next year he was willing to go with the rest of the boys.

As I mentioned earlier, I'm ambivalent about blanket age restrictions for O/A. An SM may have his reasons. But, having such a rule (unwritten or otherwise) does not absolve the SM from a quick conference with each 1st class scout individually before the election. And, it is on the blind-sided 1st class scout to request it after the election.

Adult association ... it's a method for a reason.

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1 hour ago, Hawkwin said:

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

I think the real questions here is "why give the SM the power to put scouts on the ballot or not, even if they meet the criteria?"  

 

 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.

The SM in this case can make any rule and most likely over ride his rule as needed when it is not written. In true scout spirit the SM should work with all the scouts to help them know what is expected and what guidelines he has for being on the ballot.  A true leader should alway be upfront about the rules at the begining of the year not at OA ballot time.

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2 minutes ago, TMSM said:

I think the real questions here is "why give the SM the power to put scouts on the ballot or not, even if they meet the criteria?"  

 

 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.

The SM in this case can make any rule and most likely over ride his rule as needed when it is not written. In true scout spirit the SM should work with all the scouts to help them know what is expected and what guidelines he has for being on the ballot.  A true leader should alway be upfront about the rules at the begining of the year not at OA ballot time.

Wow! condemn all the SM's from the example of one. The SM in most cases has the most knowledge of where the scouts stand in the program. If you want to get it back to merit based, then I suggest setting the NATIONAL age to 13 so the AVERAGE scout has a good understanding and maturity of what he wants. Otherwise, the SM is the most knowledgable expert for this situation. 

Barry

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On 03/04/2019 at 9:58 AM, FGarvin said:

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?

 

On 03/04/2019 at 10:34 AM, 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.

maybe I missed it in all the responses.  Do you have confirmation that the SM prevented those Scouts because they were first year scouts?  And awesome job have 5 scouts with first class in a year, my troop has had 2 in the last couple years. 

And do you have a copy of the units by-laws?  I know my troop has by-laws, but they are usually a thing of forgotten past, and no one remembers to pass them out to new parents.

If the scouts were expecting them to see their names on the ballet, it is up to them to talk to the SM about it.  Having another parent push on their behalf isn't going to solve anything.  Either way, its not going to change the results for this year.

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I view this differently. I do not see it as the SM stopped them from being on the ballot, I see it as the SM recommended others to be on the ballot. In other words, being first class and having minimum other requirements met does not automatically get you on the ballot. Instead, the SM recommends certain scouts to be on it. Viewing it from this perspective, no scout should assume they will be recommended by the SM and thus there is no obligation from the SM to tell all the scouts ahead of time who isn't recommended. 

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1 minute ago, DuctTape said:

I view this differently. I do not see it as the SM stopped them from being on the ballot, I see it as the SM recommended others to be on the ballot. In other words, being first class and having minimum other requirements met does not automatically get you on the ballot. Instead, the SM recommends certain scouts to be on it. Viewing it from this perspective, no scout should assume they will be recommended by the SM and thus there is no obligation from the SM to tell all the scouts ahead of time who isn't recommended. 

I'm surprised the Scouts even cared/knew enough to think they were on the ballet,  every year with my scouts, its been a surprise that they are on the ballet.

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27 minutes ago, DuctTape said:

being first class and having minimum other requirements met does not automatically get you on the ballot. Instead, the SM recommends certain scouts to be on it. Viewing it from this perspective, no scout should assume they will be recommended by the SM and thus there is no obligation from the SM to tell all the scouts ahead of time who isn't recommended. 

This 

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15 hours ago, DuctTape said:

no scout should assume they will be recommended by the SM and thus there is no obligation from the SM to tell all the scouts ahead of time who isn't recommended. 

Why should a scout NOT expect the SM to inform them that they will not receive the SMs recommendation? You don't find it odd that a scout would not learn of their lack of recommendation until the election? No one wants to wait until election time to learn that they were not nominated but otherwise qualified. That has to be a terrible feeling considering the fact that the ONLY reason they didn't get nominated was some perceived but otherwise unknown and undefined deficiency determined by the SM. Shouldn't that conversation happen in advance?

That would seem to be a critical part of any SM conference or generally open lines of communication - ESPECIALLY in cases where some 1st class scouts might be on the ballot and others were not. A scout shouldn't have to go to the SM and ask "why" after the fact.

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34 minutes ago, Hawkwin said:

Why should a scout NOT expect the SM to inform them that they will not receive the SMs recommendation? You don't find it odd that a scout would not learn of their lack of recommendation until the election? No one wants to wait until election time to learn that they were not nominated but otherwise qualified. That has to be a terrible feeling considering the fact that the ONLY reason they didn't get nominated was some perceived but otherwise unknown and undefined deficiency determined by the SM. Shouldn't that conversation happen in advance?

That would seem to be a critical part of any SM conference or generally open lines of communication - ESPECIALLY in cases where some 1st class scouts might be on the ballot and others were not. A scout shouldn't have to go to the SM and ask "why" after the fact.

No. I did not get nominated for the Silver Beaver, and have no expectation that I would be notified of that fact. My point was to view the SM rec, as an affirmative recommendation not as a rejection. Should the SM discuss OA process ahead of time? For sure, and this is where the problem truly exists. But to go to every scout and tell them they have been "rejected" is not kind. Instead, the SM rec is a surprised recognition of exemplary that warrants the recommendation above all others.

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16 hours ago, DuctTape said:

I view this differently. I do not see it as the SM stopped them from being on the ballot, I see it as the SM recommended others to be on the ballot. In other words, being first class and having minimum other requirements met does not automatically get you on the ballot. Instead, the SM recommends certain scouts to be on it. Viewing it from this perspective, no scout should assume they will be recommended by the SM and thus there is no obligation from the SM to tell all the scouts ahead of time who isn't recommended. 

I think that's fine as long as that is communicated. Maybe this whole thing is just a failure of communication at some level. Re-reading the OP, it sounds like parents were under the assumption that to get on the ballot, a scout simply had to meet the qualifications, those qualifications seemingly being the more quantifiable stuff, rank and nights camping.

If SM recommendation isn't viewed (or communicated) as a "requirement" to get on the ballot, it could just be a matter of making that clear.

Again, if this is presented as "no first-year scouts allowed", that doesn't speak to the SM recommendation part of the process. That just makes it sound like the troop is adding a rule of their own, which hardly ever sits well with parents and leads to discussions/debates exactly like this one.

Ultimately I think this whole thing could be put to rest with a clearer explanation of the ballot process. Don't say "no first-years", instead just say "SM recommendation required". The SM can then do whatever they want really in regards to their personal criteria for ballot selection.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, FireStone said:

I think that's fine as long as that is communicated. Maybe this whole thing is just a failure of communication at some level. Re-reading the OP, it sounds like parents were under the assumption that to get on the ballot, a scout simply had to meet the qualifications, those qualifications seemingly being the more quantifiable stuff, rank and nights camping.

I guess, but in our area OA suddenly shows up at a meeting to do the election. Oh we may get a couple days warning, but it's not like  there are months of preparation and counseling before the election. I'm not even sure how parents find out about it. If I'm counseling any scouts about qualification, it's usually the night of the election because it suddenly came up. And as I said, when it comes to first year scouts, I counseled more parent than scouts.

When did not getting elected become a bad thing? Not getting elected should be normal because it's a program for elite scouts. Or was. 

In my opinion, OA is only for mature scouts. Scouts should have enough maturity and knowledge of OA to counsel their parents about the program and process, not the SM. That much maturity and knowledge requires some scouting experience. And maybe that should be the standard SM response to parents, "Go ask you son. If he doesn't have a satisfactory explanation, then he's not qualified yet." 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad
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21 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

I guess, but in our area OA suddenly shows up at a meeting to do the election. Oh we may it a couple days warning, but it's not like  there are months of preparation and counseling before the election. I'm not even sure how parents find out about it. If I'm counseling any scouts about qualification, it's usually the night of the election because it suddenly came up. And as I said, when it comes to first year scouts, I counseled more parent parents than scouts.

At some point it got back to parents that there was a rule, no first-year scouts allowed on the ballot. I have to imagine that just as easily it could get back to parents that SM recommendation is one of the several requirements (alongside rank and nights camping).

This still feels like just a case of the wrong info being put out there. If it becomes known in the troop that the SM has to recommend a scout to get on the ballot, that's what will circulate among scouts and parents. The problem seems to be coming from the seemingly broad rule that scouts and parents think this SM created about first-years. It doesn't have to be that way, just make it known that there are 3 requirements to get on the ballot, and SM recommendation is one of them, equal to the other two.

If there is sufficient time at a meeting when OA shows up to discuss the other 2 requirements, surely there is time to mention the 3rd one.

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Just reading up on the OA election guidelines/procedures, and found this interesting as it relates to this discussion:

Quote

Unit Election Rules:

4. The unit leader provides a list of registered active members of the unit who meet all eligibility requirements, including attitude and participation.

So technically, the SM in this discussion is not wrong to impose a rule against first-year scouts. "Participation" is a pretty broad term and could be made to mean having participated in the troop for a period of no less than 1 full year.

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Where to begin.

I have seen challenges over the years regarding OA.  I have seen it as the "best of the best" with strict voting guidelines, and it was common for folks to get in on their second, third, and in one instance 4th, year. Nowadays it seems as if folks expect OA membership automatically upon reaching First Class, and everyone on te ballot getting in Heck I had a SM ticked off at me and the OA election team because we gave the eligible candidates the option to withdraw their name, and several did. He was furious.

So it appears attitudes have changed about the OA over the years, yet the eligibility process still requires the SM's approval.

My thought is eligibility for the ballot should not be automatic and  that the SM's approval is vital. He knows the Scouts best. If he does not believe a Scout is not ready, he has an obligation to the OA not to approve the Scout. And if there are concerns, the Scout needs to talk to the SM., not the parents.

I do not know what is harder, talking to a Scout about why he was not placed on a ballot, or talking to a Scout who was on the ballot, and finds out at the Call Out Ceremony he didn't get in. I've had to do both over the years. 

The OA is suppose to be an Honor Society, and the obligation an Arrowman takes a heavy one. sadly I see too many "Sash and Dashes" these days.

 

The Scout in question needs to talk to his SM, not the parent.

 

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It would be a good topic to bring up when the scout has a scoutmaster conference for 1st Class. 

"When you obtain your first class rank, you are also ...  And here's how it works ..." 

Communication is a double edge sword. You think it will solve all your problems because now people will know. However what ever is being communicated can be garbled, forgotten, or confused/contorted. It can also open up things you don't intend to, when folks become aware of something and now they make incorrect choices/assumptions on it. 

Honestly though, I think it is best to let scouts/scouters know things now and then, communicate in short messages. Don't do like one troop I saw, having their scouts stand in lines for 30 or so minutes while you tell them one thing after another. Few remember anything that way. Especially when the adult leader gets mad because someone tried to take notes instead of being more attentive/standing without moving around so much. Yah, I know.  Adults.... sigh. 

As parents, we are well aware when our child gets that glassy eyed look. 

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