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FGarvin

SM Preventing 1st-Years From Being On Ballot

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On 3/4/2019 at 9:58 AM, FGarvin said:

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

I have a question for the OP. Had there been no 1st year rule and none of the Scouts had been on the ballot would the Scouts and parents in question still be disappointed and confused?

if 1 or 2 had been on the ballot would there still be an issue?

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1 hour ago, Buggie said:

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.

Sounds a little like the military troop I was in 50 years ago.  Patrols all stood a attention for inspection, then at parade rest during announcements.  We would never have considered fidgeting or talking while our Drill Sargent SM was speaking.

This was the troop that elected me an Arrowman 50 years ago in April.  We did not have the problem being discussed here, as elections were a lot different back then, as in we had a maximum number of scouts who could be elected in a year, based on the number of scouts in the troop.  

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1 hour ago, Buggie said:

...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's true, but still better to at least try to get the correct message out there and then maybe you'll have some help in relaying the corrected message if/when things do get garbled. Some scout, parent, or other leader will know what's accurate and maybe help pass along better info to the lesser informed parents and thus avoid the issue becoming a topic of discussion on an Internet forum. 😉

1 hour ago, Buggie said:

...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...

Parents are just as bad. I do recruitment for my Pack and I have a rule about recruiting events: No chairs. Despite the many opinions I hear otherwise, it is my belief that the worst thing I can do at a recruiting event is sit people down in chairs and drone on about all of the things everyone thinks new parents should know. (They do need to know a lot, but not all in the first night). It makes no sense to me that I'd put out a bunch of flyers and promotional materials around town selling the idea of "adventure" and then welcome them into that adventure in seated position with a boring speech. Likewise, I would not expect parents to remember anything from such a speech. Other leaders in my Pack (and some district folks I've talked to about this) think I should be filling parents with info about the uniform, camping, meeting schedules, Bobcat requirements, etc. I could, but I'd rather let Den Leaders handle much of that. And I won't, because it's boring and they'll forget 80% of the info before they get up out of those chairs.

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On 3/5/2019 at 10:54 AM, FGarvin said:

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

Personally, I have told scouts when they had the camping and rank requirements but not my approval.  100% of the time, the boys understood and agreed.  100% of the time I got an angry email from the parent.  It was never a blanket statement of mine but each one on an individual basis.  I have been called many names in those emails.  And I still stand by each of those decisions.

I also have never been a fan of "Scout of the Year" awards.  Scouting is a personal journey and these awards imho tells a scout he is better than the other scouts which I disagree with.

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What is a Junior Scout and who picks him? 

I don't see the OP getting much support from Scoutmasters for his concern. The reason is Scoutmasters continually receive a lot of heat from parents for how they run the troop.

Of course Scoutmasters can abuse the privilege, but they are the designated person to draw the line for minimum quality of a scout. The SM is the gatekeeper for keeping the program fair and equal for each and all scouts. If the SM is taken out of that role, then who sets the standard? As mashmaster points out, it will be the squeaky wheel parent of the week.

Once the parents start setting the quality standard, all standards go away because each parent is only in it for their son. 

The only way an unsatisfied parent can change the quality of program for their son is to either switch to another troop or change Scoutmasters. I've watched parents do both and no matter what those parents choose to do, they are never satisfied. 

Of course the SM will listen to the parents concern, and sometimes the concern is valid and an adjustment is made. But, more often, the SM has to ease the parents concern and sell the program once more.

I'm not sure which is better, I was Scoutmastering before email was a standard form of communication and on the phone every night listening to concerned parents. It's one thing to type a few words in an emotional haste and hit "Send", it's another to confront the calm tone of the polite human who carries the weight of a program that takes dozens of sons into the woods to build character, and then bring them home safely.  

Barry

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Another point submitted for your consideration,  how do most of the first year scouts do on the Ordeal?

Do they have the skills to stay warm and dry on the first test?   

Do they have the education to understand what symbolism is and how it is used?    If not, they are simply unable to understand the ceremonies.   Do they even have the vocabulary?

(and if you can't understand the ceremonies you don't even know why you are there)

Have they developed the mental discipline to maintain silence over a prolonged period?

Most of all,  do they have the maturity to understand that an Obligation, sworn upon a Scouts Honor, should be serious stuff.   That the Brotherhood of the Arrow is not just a kids  tree fort  gang? 

 

 

 

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27 minutes ago, Oldscout448 said:

Another point submitted for your consideration,  how do most of the first year scouts do on the Ordeal?

Do they have the skills to stay warm and dry on the first test?   

Do they have the education to understand what symbolism is and how it is used?    If not, they are simply unable to understand the ceremonies.   Do they even have the vocabulary?

(and if you can't understand the ceremonies you don't even know why you are there)

Have they developed the mental discipline to maintain silence over a prolonged period?

Most of all,  do they have the maturity to understand that an Obligation, sworn upon a Scouts Honor, should be serious stuff.   That the Brotherhood of the Arrow is not just a kids  tree fort  gang? 

Great questions. This is where I feel the Scoutmasters opinion is important. Of the hundreds of scouts I watched go thru our troop, two scouts stick out that had the skills and maturity Oldscout448 ask of first year scouts. Both where Chapter Chiefs and both were our youngest SPLs at age 14. 

Barry

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3 hours ago, Eagledad said:

The SM is the gatekeeper for keeping the program fair and equal for each and all scouts. If the SM is taken out of that role, then who sets the standard? As mashmaster points out, it will be the squeaky wheel parent of the week.

Once the parents start setting the quality standard, all standards go away because each parent is only in it for their son. 

 

THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED IN MY OLD TROOP! (emphasis, not shouting) SM and several ASMs tried to work with the "squeaky wheel parents." Each compromise of the standards emboldened those parents more and more until all standards DID go away. The Scouts complaining as well as me and several other Scouters complaining did no good to change the situation. Only with my sons and I leaving did things change. More likely because it almost set off a stampede of the dissatisfied Scouts.

 

 

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As someone who was not elected to the Order as a youth, I have to say that much of what I witnessed at my Ordeal (this past August), was lost on a good number of the youth assembled there. That also goes for some of the Elangomats who thought little of having conversations with many of the Ordeal candidates, despite the rules that had been clearly spelled out for all of us. I am going to hazard a guess that other than showing up for their Brotherhood weekend, most of them will seldom feel any sense of obligation to the Order (pun intended). For me, the weekend was amazing, and was capped off by a Bald Eagle circling the amphitheater where we had our closing ceremony.

As a Scoutmaster, I have always taken my responsibility as gatekeeper to the few things that I am allowed to control seriously. I can counsel against a Scout starting 12 Merit Badges at a time, but I can't stop them. I can (and have) removed a Patrol Leader from office, after multiple SMCs didn't alter his behavior towards his Patrol (it was at their request, after the consulted with the SPL on multiple occasions). The Order is supposed to be an honor society, comprised of Scouts who live and breathe the Oath and Law. If a Scout who otherwise qualifies for membership based on Rank and camping nights doesn't have the strength of character and the maturity to understand the Obligation of the Order, I will have that conversation with him (or her), and if necessary, with the angry parents. 

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1 hour ago, AVTech said:

The Order is supposed to be an honor society, comprised of Scouts who live and breathe the Oath and Law. If a Scout who otherwise qualifies for membership based on Rank and camping nights doesn't have the strength of character and the maturity to understand the Obligation of the Order, I will have that conversation with him (or her), and if necessary, with the angry parents. 

I very much agree.  

With the current election procedures allowing every scout on the ballot to be elected, it seems that more and more troops expect every First Class scout should be in OA.  Many of them do lack the maturity or character to be an Arrowman.  When I was elected 50 years ago, we were able to elect a maximum of 4 scouts, regardless of how many met the rank and camping requirements.  As I recall, I was the only person elected that year, and we were a fairly large troop.  

I am all for progress, but changing OA election procedures is one change I wish had not happened.  We saw much less 'sash & dash' in the distant past, as it was never a given that eligible scouts would be elected.

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I'm all for Scoutmaster discretion on this.

But, isn't the original issue here more about the Scoutmaster correctly setting expectations? It's not that the scout didn't get in.  It's that the scout didn't even know he wouldn't even be on the ballot because of his age.  

Since the troop meets weekly there seems like lots of opportunities for a 30 second announcement that Scouts had to be at least 13 or 6th grade or whatever. 

 

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Ah, pity the poor Scoutmaster.....

 

When A Scouter’s not engaged in his employment (his employment)

or planning to go camping with his Troop (with his Troop)

his capacity for innocent enjoyment  (-cent enjoyment)

Can easily be knocked off for a loop (for a loop)

Our feelings we with difficulty smother (-culty smother)

When some  Scoutmasterly  duty’s to be done (to be done)

Ah, take one consideration with another, (with another)

A Scoutmaster’s lot is not a happy one.

 

 

Ooooohhhhh…

When Scoutmasterly duty’s to be done, to be done,

A Scoutmaster’s  lot is not a happy one.

 

 

When the  helicopter parent is  not  hov’ring (is not a hov’ring)

When the Scout is not a-cutting off their thumb  (-off their thumb)

He loves to hear the  bug-a-ler a-bugling  (bugler bugling)

And enjoy his tea while sitting  on his bum (on his bum)

 

 

When the  PLC has finally decided  (has decided)

Where the Troop should hike on  weekends  yet to come (yet to come)

Ah, take one consideration with another (with another)

A scoutmaster’s  lot is  not a happy one.

 

 

Ooooooohhhhh,

When  Scoutmasterly  duty’s to be done, to be done, ,

His duty  is often not a happy one.  (happy one).

 

 

( with apologies to messrs Gilbert & Sullivan)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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9 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

I'm all for Scoutmaster discretion on this.

But, isn't the original issue here more about the Scoutmaster correctly setting expectations? It's not that the scout didn't get in.  It's that the scout didn't even know he wouldn't even be on the ballot because of his age.  

Since the troop meets weekly there seems like lots of opportunities for a 30 second announcement that Scouts had to be at least 13 or 6th grade or whatever. 

 

I'm still not clear, having watched this thread grow over the past several days, that the scout referenced in the OP actually has asked the SM why he wasn't eligible to be on the ballot.  I'm more focused on that part than trying to tell that SM, or any SM, how to handle themselves- if the scout has questions, it's their job to ask the SM, not the parent or us in the peanut gallery. 

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31 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

I'm all for Scoutmaster discretion on this.

But, isn't the original issue here more about the Scoutmaster correctly setting expectations? It's not that the scout didn't get in.  It's that the scout didn't even know he wouldn't even be on the ballot because of his age.  

Since the troop meets weekly there seems like lots of opportunities for a 30 second announcement that Scouts had to be at least 13 or 6th grade or whatever. 

 

I think the OA bears the brunt of the responsibility on this front. It is up to them to explain the program, the process, etc... not just show up and expect an election to be conducted for them. The arrowmen in the troop should be the point people for this. 

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23 minutes ago, DuctTape said:

I think the OA bears the brunt of the responsibility on this front. It is up to them to explain the program, the process, etc... not just show up and expect an election to be conducted for them. The arrowmen in the troop should be the point people for this. 

a bit confused here...

All we ask the SM for is to point out the SPL, TOAR, make sure 50 percent of the scouts are present, and sign his name.  The OA election team then explains the Order, and the election process, and with the TOAR, conducts the election,  counts the ballots, and submits the paperwork.

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