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swilliams

First Class 1a - Troop Activities

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I'm sure this has been asked before, but a quick search didn't turn up quite what I was looking for.  Does BSA have any guidelines as for what constitutes "Troop Activity"?  Obviously they spell out the requirement that the activity can't be a regular troop and patrol meetings.

If there aren't any real rules, what does your troop consider an activity?  In the thread about girls advancing quickly, one forum member posted a list of activities his troop as done since the beginning of the year, so that's helpful.  It included some service projects.  Our troop does service where the project is arranged by the service chair.  Individual scouts who need help with their Eagle projects set up their own times and hours.  Does your troop include Eagle project service as an activity?  Any help is appreciated.

 

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Short answer: BSA doesn't offer much in guidelines for a reason: it's a big country.

Everything you mentioned is an activity. Certainly helping their fellow scouts do Eagle projects is an activity.

Studying in school is not an activity. Going to church is not an activity. But ...

Maybe a patrol decides to take a special class at school, or speak at an assembly about scouting, or the troop visits a church and participates in the service in uniform. They may throw on their uniforms and pay respects at the funeral of a departed scouter. Those would be troop/patrol activities.

Now, you could split hairs. If the course is over a few weeks (e.g. swimming lessons every Wednesday) does that count as one or multiple activities? My suggestion: ask the scouts what they think.

Whatever you do, don't take your cues from strangers on the internet.

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Thanks.  The question came up because we have one scout who is very anxious to rank up (which is a separate issue the SM will tackle).  When he was talking to me about advancing, I let him know that he still needed a bunch of troop activities.  Everything he's done lately has been a service project, which is awesome in that he's doing a lot of service, but he hasn't been on a single camping trip since last year's summer camp.  Of course, this means he hasn't fulfilled the camping/tenting portion - unless he's counting every night as an activity, haha.   But it raised questions for me, the SM and the CC as to what other things we might consider.  We'll bring it up at our next committee meeting.  I thought I'd put this out there and see what others do; maybe be able to present some new ideas or reinforce what we're currently doing.  Strangers on the internet, yes, but at least scouts.  :)

To that point, your mention of a class reminds me that we did a flight simulator day at a local airport in February, and that event isn't showing up on any of the scouts' records.  That, imho, should definitely be a troop activity.  Secondarily, I'll need to check and see how the person who enters attendance is marking things in Troopmaster.  Since the software automatically generates completion of this requirement, there's got to be some distinction that must be made so that the software isn't counting regular meetings.

 

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A few things that might be considered as counting towards 1C requirement 1a (troop/patrol activities):

  • troop campouts
  • patrol day hike (5-mile hike, orienteering course, 10-mile hike, etc., even if it also counts towards other rank/advancement requirements)
  • participation in district/council activities (if done as a troop/patrol group), for example, Scout Fair, helping at Pushcart or Webelos campouts
  • helping fellow scouts on Eagle project
  • helping fellow scouts on Hornaday project
  • participating in other troop/patrol service project (for example, helping senior citizens weatherize houses)
  • participating in Merit Badge midway event (if done as troop/patrol group, but not if done individually)
  • participating with troop in  Scouting for Food drives
  • participating with troop/patrol in Scout Sunday activities
  • participating with troop/patrol in unit fundraising activities, e.g., bake sale or car wash

As long as it's something that was done within the scouting program as a troop or patrol group (and not as an individual), I think it's fair to let a scout count it as an "activity".  I'm not inclined to let a scout who is a Den Chief count activities done by the den or pack towards this requirement....

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On May 22, 2019 at 1:56 PM, swilliams said:

... To that point, your mention of a class reminds me that we did a flight simulator day at a local airport in February, and that event isn't showing up on any of the scouts' records.  That, imho, should definitely be a troop activity.  Secondarily, I'll need to check and see how the person who enters attendance is marking things in Troopmaster.  Since the software automatically generates completion of this requirement, there's got to be some distinction that must be made so that the software isn't counting regular meetings.

 

Just a general point: I go with what the scout records in his log, regardless of if it is in troopmaster. This does mean that a scout may have an event as one of his ten that his buddy who also participated does not. If a scout asks for a calendar of events, that's fine, otherwise adults should not be auto-filling requirements. I find that mindfulness is an important tool for the scout to have.

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On ‎5‎/‎24‎/‎2019 at 5:50 AM, qwazse said:

Just a general point: I go with what the scout records in his log, regardless of if it is in troopmaster. This does mean that a scout may have an event as one of his ten that his buddy who also participated does not. If a scout asks for a calendar of events, that's fine, otherwise adults should not be auto-filling requirements. I find that mindfulness is an important tool for the scout to have.

Looks like we record our attendance a lot differently.  None of our scouts keeps a log, and as much as it drives me crazy, the troop doesn't record any advancement in the scout handbooks. The scribe takes attendance, then gives it to a committee member who enters it into Troopmaster.   To mark progress, the ASPL of advancement has access to Troopmaster, so he prints out sheets that show which requirements scouts still need.  He marks any completed requirements on the sheets, then I review it and enter the info.

The one exception was for my younger son, who crossed over from a different pack over a month earlier than our pack in town.  It took a while to get him entered, so most of his Scout requirements are recorded in his book.

I'm not sure why we do it that way.  When I was shown what my predecessor did, I never thought to question it, being somewhat new to Boy Scouts (vs. Cub Scouts).  It sure makes a lot more sense to have a scout keep a log.  We've had a few errors in attendance; my older son wasn't credited with summer camp last year, for example.  It would be nice if the scout had his own record to check against that in the software.

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This also should be a topic during the SM conference for the rank prior. Part of the SM conference should be to discuss the scout's future endeavors. Talk to the scout about their previous activities and how he plans to accomplish the ten. Ask how will he know when he has reached the threshold. Most advancement related questions/concerns can be avoided by having the conversation with the scout ahead of time. What a perfect thing to discuss at the SM conference for the prior rank.

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, swilliams said:

as much as it drives me crazy, the troop doesn't record any advancement in the scout handbooks. 

Ooooooof. That’s bad. What happens if the software crashes? If a disgruntled volunteer decides to wipe everyone’s accounts? If the Scout has a disagreement with the adults and the troop won’t give him/her their records?

Scouts should ALWAYS record advancement in their book. For one, it teaches that they are responsible for their own advancement, not an adult on a computer.

Edited by shortridge
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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, shortridge said:

Ooooooof. That’s bad. What happens if the software crashes? If a disgruntled volunteer decides to wipe everyone’s accounts? If the Scout has a disagreement with the adults and the troop won’t give him/her their records?

Scouts should ALWAYS record advancement in their book. For one, it teaches that they are responsible for their own advancement, not an adult on a computer.

In theory, all of their advancement would be synced with the council if they are using Scoutbook or whatever it is (Can you tell I don't do advancement?) If the Scout has been awarded a rank, then the council would have record of what requirements they completed up to that point and when. It would just be a pain for whatever requirements they had completed on their current rank, but hopefully the Scout or Troop would still have blue card stubs saved, or the counselors. It'd be a pain, but very possible to bounce back from any of those situations. 

Still, I like being able to look at my old handbook from time to time and reminisce at the signatures in my book. 

Edited by Sentinel947
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Posted (edited)
On 5/22/2019 at 7:49 AM, swilliams said:

I'm sure this has been asked before, but a quick search didn't turn up quite what I was looking for.  Does BSA have any guidelines as for what constitutes "Troop Activity"?  Obviously they spell out the requirement that the activity can't be a regular troop and patrol meetings.

If there aren't any real rules, what does your troop consider an activity?  In the thread about girls advancing quickly, one forum member posted a list of activities his troop as done since the beginning of the year, so that's helpful.  It included some service projects.  Our troop does service where the project is arranged by the service chair.  Individual scouts who need help with their Eagle projects set up their own times and hours.  Does your troop include Eagle project service as an activity?  Any help is appreciated.

 

Sons' old Troop called a troop activity anything that the Troop did as a whole outside of fundraising for the Troop (this was a few years ago, so we had individual scout accounts for fundraising).  If the Eagle project was open to the Troop, it counted.  

Edited by perdidochas

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Posted (edited)
40 minutes ago, perdidochas said:

Sons' old Troop called a troop activity anything that the Troop did as a whole outside of fundraising for the Troop (this was a few years ago, so we had individual scout accounts for fundraising).  If the Eagle project was open to the Troop, it counted.  

Just to clarify, the requirement actually says, "...10 separate troop/patrol activities..."  so it doesn't even need to be the troop as a whole.  If an individual patrol wants to do a hike on its own, even if it's just a handful of boys, that should count.

Edited by mrkstvns
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