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Balanced Advancement Timeline Goals

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17 minutes ago, Cleveland Rocks said:

The origins of OFC came from studies done in the 1980s that said that Scouts who got to First Class quicker than others tended to stay in the program longer than those who didn't (these were also the same studies who said that if a Scout did not attend Summer Camp their first year in the troop, they were very likely to drop out much sooner than those who went to Summer Camp, and it also brought on the introduction of the First Year Patrol). Of course, that's trying to apply a one-size-fits-all method when there are so many differences.

I suspect that what they observed is that Scouts who become engaged in the program tend to stay and scouts who do not tend to leave.  Too much inaction leads to boredom and loss of interest.  At a national level, they saw that emerge as trends such as First Class First Year.  

We see that in our troop.  Scouts we get started and get engaged stay.  Those who get started but never really get going leave.  In our world, an active Scout tends to advance.

I translate all of this as:

  • getting a scout to first class in 12-18 months isn't the goal.
  • having a program in which Scouts are engaged is the goal.  Advancement is a by product of that goal.  Scouts advancing is one (but not the only) way you can assess whether the program is getting Scouts to be active.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/27/2019 at 8:59 PM, astrila said:

We’re currently in cubs and looking ahead - it seems there are 7 ranks for Boy Scouts, and there are also 7 years, right? It makes sense at first glance to complete one rank per year... However, in the handbook, it says you should try to complete the first 4 the first year... So 4 ranks in one year and 3 the next 6 years?? So grade-wise are they basically saying 

6th grade complete  Scout, tenderfoot, 2nd, 1st

7 & 8th grade work on Star

9-10th Life

11-12th Eagle ... ?

This just seems odd to me... Please correct my thinking here and help me understand the timelines... My son & our family want to create a balanced goals timeline that will most evenly space out the amount of time required, not trying to rush or finish early.  It also seems to me that if the first 4 ranks are so easy maybe there shouldn’t be so many ranks??

Thx!

 

First, I know few scouts that finish T21 in a year. 18 months is about as fast as I've seen, with two years more typical.  Second, forget the whole school grade thing, and don't plan this out that way.  Let this just proceed at the rate of your son, not at some kind of schedule.  The first 4 ranks are, IMHO, the second hardest part of Scouting. (hardest, of course, being Life to Eagle).  

Edited by perdidochas

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On 6/28/2019 at 6:08 AM, qwazse said:

Black out anything that says there is a specific timeline. "First Class First Year" (a.k.a. FCFY) is a lie and harmful to the health of the troop. Also, telling a scout he should earn just one rank a year will probably bore him. The best guidance is "Hustle up, but take your time."

A good troop will naturally provide opportunities to practice each 1st class skill every year. But a healthy troop will have some scouts who master those skills in under six month and others (like my boys, both Eagles) who take 3 to 4 years to make 1st Class.

Star, Life, and Eagle are much more challenging. The minimum time to earn those ranks is 16 months, but most boys can take two or three times that. I suspect girls will find the same experience -- not impossible, but not a slam dunk.

So you will find a fair spread of ages of earning Eagle -- from 12 to 18. After Eagle, a scout can earn Palms, and be challenged with other awards and accolades. Really, Eagle is just one piece of a much larger puzzle. 

I agree with you on FCFY, but have a different view of it.  I think a Troop should be capable of producing a FCFY scout. By that, I mean that if a Scout attends every activity/meeting, etc., and is diligent, they could get First Class in a year.  That said, I don't think I've seen a Scout get FCFY in our old troop.  They could have theoretically, but in practice, it just didn't happen. The quickest I can remember is about FC in 18 months, with 2 years being more typical.

 

In terms of Eagles, etc., I think a 15 year old Eagle is about ideal.  At that age, the Eagle will probably still want to participate in troop life, but won't get bored by it.  

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1 minute ago, ParkMan said:

I translate all of this as:

  • getting a scout to first class in 12-18 months isn't the goal.
  • having a program in which Scouts are engaged is the goal.  Advancement is a by product of that goal.  Scouts advancing is one (but not the only) way you can assess whether the program is getting Scouts to be active.

Yep, you stated it perfectly. It's about engaged, not advancement. I found in my own observations and poling that if a scout stays active after summer camp, the scout likely stays for several years. I believe summer camp is where everything the new scout has experience up to that time all comes together, or not. 

The BSA looses more youth during the first year troop experience than any other time. The problem is that difference from being told how to do just about everything by parents to relying on their independent decision making is huge. Up until they join a troop, most boys feel safe around adults. Now their safety depends on other scouts. Troops that help the scout just enough so he doesn't feel lost, but gives him enough of the independence to like making decisions have the most success. The numbers show that doing that kind of program is challenging. 

Barry

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6 minutes ago, perdidochas said:

First, I know few scouts that finish T21 in a year. 18 months is more typical.  Second, forget the whole school grade thing, and don't plan this out that way.  Let this just proceed at the rate of your son, not at some kind of schedule.  The first 4 ranks are, IMHO, the second hardest part of Scouting. (hardest, of course, being Life to Eagle).  

 

I agree.  From what I have seen, 12-18 months is fairly typical (since the 2016 rank requirements went into effect), and most are closer to 18 months.  The Scout Handbook no longer mentions First Class in the first year (this is a good thing, IMO).  It now says that making First Class rank will probably take one year to 18 months.  This assumes an active Scout who attends campouts, etc.  The part that seems to take the longest for Scouts in my son's troop is the fitness tracking for Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class.  The Scouts enjoy being physically active, but tracking / logging what they did is the hard part (writing what they did is not as much fun as actually doing it).

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18 hours ago, Thunderbird said:

I agree.  From what I have seen, 12-18 months is fairly typical (since the 2016 rank requirements went into effect), and most are closer to 18 months.  The Scout Handbook no longer mentions First Class in the first year (this is a good thing, IMO).  It now says that making First Class rank will probably take one year to 18 months.  This assumes an active Scout who attends campouts, etc.  The part that seems to take the longest for Scouts in my son's troop is the fitness tracking for Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class.  The Scouts enjoy being physically active, but tracking / logging what they did is the hard part (writing what they did is not as much fun as actually doing it).

Exactly right.

I'm the ASM in our troop tasked with guiding the PLC in implementing the First Class program.  I've been doing it for a few years now.  Things changed quite a lot in 2016. Before that, Scout rank was a slam-dunk that could easily be done in the first meeting or two. The 12-month target was realistic.  After 2016, it took more work to get past Scout, and most scouts needed closer to 18 months to reach First Class. 

Scout rank is still mostly easy, but the new scout patrols typically take a few weeks before they figure out their patrol identity (patrol name, yell, emblem, flag). The real stumbing block for Scout rank though seems to be requirement 6.  New scouts coming into our troop struggled particularly with the requirement around reading and doing exercises in the the youth safety brochure in front of the scout handbook (most parents didn't doing it and most scouts were bored to tears by it).  Requirement 6 also required Cyber Chip. Less than 10% of incoming scouts had a Cyber Chip from their webelos den, and again, parents had no clue how to guide their kids through it, so the troop started doing a Cyber Chip class every 6 months, 1 geared towards grades 6-8 (for new scouts) and one geared towards grades 9+ (more for those who need it for Star or merit badges).

In our troop, we make sure that it is always possible for every scout to earn First Class within a year. Most won't, but it is always possible. I work with the SPL and PLC to make sure we have Guides and Instructors who can teach the skills needed for rank advancement and that we have suitable opportunities to do things built into either the weekly meetings or camping trips. We also have certain events scheduled for the new scout patrol outside of regular meetings and campouts: these include a map/compass session with a 5-mile hike, an orienteering afternoon at a nearby park, and an invited speaker (lawyer, politician, etc) to talk about citizenship. 

From a typical incoming new scout patrol of about 10 youth, we'll have...

* 2 scouts who finish First Class within their first year

* 4 scouts who finish First Class in 18 months

* 1 scout who just likes activities and takes 2-3 years to reach First Class

* 2-3 scouts who drop out, even though the troop is hugely active and always has opportunities for scouts to do anything they want in scouting

 

 

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Looking at your timeline I would modify it to be done before Senior year, and maybe even by the end of Junior year. Senior year is overwhelmingly busy without trying to do an Eagle project. By the end of Junior year most kids are looking to get a job, are driving, and enjoying more freedom.

Of course it can still be done then, but it can be more challenging and can feel like the clock is ticking. Just is something to keep in mind. 

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2 hours ago, baishengli said:

Looking at your timeline I would modify it to be done before Senior year, and maybe even by the end of Junior year. Senior year is overwhelmingly busy without trying to do an Eagle project. By the end of Junior year most kids are looking to get a job, are driving, and enjoying more freedom.

Of course it can still be done then, but it can be more challenging and can feel like the clock is ticking. Just is something to keep in mind. 

@baishengli, Welcome to the forums!

I think there is a lot to be said for getting it done earlier ... not the least of which it prepares a scout to choose challenging courses, take on other projects, apply for grants and scholarships, etc ... But, ...

I never saw a job, driving, or more freedom to be a problem with our older scouts. On the contrary, those things provide the funds and contacts to earn meaningful badges and plan better projects, a vehicle to go meet their counselors and procure supplies, the ability to earn badges on their own schedule, and unique skills that they can pass on to other scouts by way of leadership.

The only problem with a slow pace that I can think of: a scout has more time to change his/her mind and decline rank advancement. I don't consider that to be a problem ... at least not for the scout.

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