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astrila

Balanced Advancement Timeline Goals

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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!

 

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Others can probably address this better, but there's really two different sets of ranks in a troop. The Scout through First class represent gaining of basic competency in the outdoors and the scouting program. Those can go quickly for someone who already has lots of outdoors experience, or slowly from someone who isn't as competent. 

Star, Life and Eagle represent gaining leadership experience from positions of responsibility and well roundedness from earning merit badges. That can go quickly if the scout is determined, or more slowly if developing those skills just needs more time.

All of that said, the pace of advancement should be the choice of your son, and not your job to make the schedule for him. If getting to first class takes two years, that's not a big deal. Someone else who joined at the same time will probably beat him, but it really doesn't matter as long as he's having fun, and growing as a person.

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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. 

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Let me also repeat (to the yawns of senior forum members) that the best scout I ever knew aged out at 2nd class. What made him the best? He invited me to join his troop!

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1) WELCOME TO DA FORUMS!

2) There is a major difference between Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA. With Cubs, adults are in charge, the organize things, and are responsible for the Cubs. In Scouts BSA, the Scout is responsible for themselves,  including advancement. This can be hard for new parents, especially former Cub leaders who must "unlearn what you have learned" as Yoda would say. Some have described Boy Scouts as "organized chaos," and it is.

3) IGNORE FIRST CLASS, FIRST YEAR! While the 1980s stats it is based on do show greater, those stats did not take into consideration a variety of factors including, but not limited to: how active the troop is, is it adult led and organized or youth led. An active, youth led troop may have lower advancement rate than an semi active adult driven troop, but the retention is the same, or possibly higher.

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Rank advancement is up to the Scout. His pace.  His advancement.  Some I have seen complete First Class really fast, then they wrap up Eagle a day prior to their 18th birthday.  Others have been more journeyman and have a different journey.

Your Scout needs to first and foremost have FUN and enjoy the Scouting journey.  Anything else is just a bonus

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I'm starting to see another view of advancement. Rather than FCFY I'd suggest thinking about how FC can help meet the goals of scouting. Advancement is, after all, considered a method in the BSA. It's just one of several tools to help reach a goal. So first of all it would help to define what your goal is. If it's to get eagle then sure, do it as fast as possible. If it's to develop character then it gets more complicated.

@astrila, maybe your question should be changed from when to advance to why and how to advance. This leads to other questions: Who teaches the skills, how are they taught, how are they checked, how much responsibility does the scout and teacher have at each rank, whose character is being developed, how does this relate to adult participation, patrol method, and the outdoor methods, how is this made fun? Too bad there aren't answers to these questions on my.scouting. I really wish they had been around when my son joined a troop.

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Thanks everyone for the replies.  This is my son's question as well, not at all trying to plan things for him.  I'm proud to say though that it seems I've raised a very organized little guy, he loves to make lists etc, and he is trying to figure this out for himself and I'm trying to assist, not at all like doing it for him as a parent.

I showed him these responses, but we are both still confused as to the answer of our original question.  My son is intent on making Eagle, he hasn't decided if he wants to go for the palms or not yet, but he has set Eagle as his personal goal.   He likes concrete time goals, even if he decides later to change them or go at a different pace, he wants to have some kind of spread-out goals that spread out his time because he says the number one thing he doesn't like is being rushed, and he wants to be sure he can reach his goal without being rushed.  Scouts isn't the only activity he's involved in, so it makes sense I think to come up with at least some general plan.

After reading these responses he's actually feeling more anxious about it - he says "So... everyone is saying to go at your own pace, but how do I know what my own pace is without setting a timeline for my goals I want?  I feel like I just have to do it as fast as possible till I'm almost done and then relax... but I don't want to do it that way, I want to spread things out".  The other older boys he knows are basically racing "I'm going to make eagle by 16!"  "Me, 14!" etc, he's not into that, he wants to moderate his involvement so he also has time to spend with his friends and lego competitions and things. 

Can anyone suggest a sample timeline where the work is the most spread out?  This is really what he's looking for.   Like - 

6th grade complete  Scout, tenderfoot, 2nd

7th grade 1st class

8th grade Star

9-10th Life

11-12th Eagle ... ?

Thx

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If he is really into make lists and deadlines, then stop him from focusing on the RANK.  Have him list the knowledge, skills and training he will need to reach each recognition point.  Other words, I will camp and make my own tent on my first night under the stars by xxx, 2019.  I will volunteer to make the menu and cook the food on the second outing by xxx, 2109.  I will earn my whittling chip and fire making skills at next camporee which is on xxx, 2019.  I will attend my troops leadership course on xxx, 2020.  My first merit badge will be in xxx and will be done by xxx, 2020.

He will (hopefully) quickly realize, that if he is involved; advancement happens........

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Agreed with @ShootingSports, the thing to do is focus on requirements, at least through 1st class. So look at the different first aid skills and set timelines on those, same with camping skills, cooking skills, etc. The important element is learning the skills, not getting the piece of fabric, so look at the different actual skills.

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HEAR YOU SCOUTS, AND YOU PARENTS TOO, OF THE ...

TALE OF TWO EAGLES! :)

Once there were two Eagles. The First Eagle was the son of a "Double Eagle," or an Eagle Scout and Explorer Silver recipient. "Double Eagle" dad pushed and pushed and pushed his son to earn Eagle at the ripe old age of 13. Since the Silver Award was no longer around for Exploring, dad did no pushing for that. Since the First Eagle met his dad's expectations, and thought his journey was over, he quit Scouting at 13, only to rejoin many years later when his own son became a Tiger Cub.

Now the First Eagle had a cousin. Both "Double Eagle" Uncle and First Eagle Cousin pushed and pushed and pushed the Scout to earn his Eagle. As a 13 year old Life Scout, he was  well on his way to becoming an Eagle at 14. But the Second Eagle took some winding trails after earning Life. First he did a local high adventure program instead of the traditional MB summer camp program, and he had FUN! A few months later he took the NYLT course of its day; Brownsea 22. It was a challenging week and he had FUN. Next Second Eagle was inducted into the OA, becoming a Brotherhood Member before earning Eagle. And guess what, HE HAD FUN! Then Second Eagle went to a National Scout Jamboree and then did a Canadian canoeing trek. It it was FUN. Finally Second Eagle realized he was 17 and some odd months, and he needed to buckle down fast if he was to become an Eagle. He finished everything but his Eagle BOR 5 days before turning 18.

 And Second Eagle was having so much fun, stayed active in Scouting. He got involved in Sea Scouts, earning Ordinary, and then the OA again, becoming a Vigil. Second Eagle was selected to participate in the European Camp Staff Program, spending an entire summer at Scout camps in the UK.  He also attended a World Scout Jamboree. He stayed active in a variety or roles, and was proudest when his three sons earned their Bobcat badge with him as their DL.

Now tell me who had more fun in Scouting, my cousin the First Eagle, or me the Second Eagle? Over the years, no one has asked me how old i was when i got it, or how many palms I earned. They ask if I am an Eagle, and what my adventures have been. And I can go on and on about my 35 years in Scouting as a youth and adult.

Good luck on your journey.

Moral of the story is to learn, take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves, and have fun. "Advancement will come as naturally as a suntan, it's something that just happens in the outdoors." Lord Baden-Powell.

 

 
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Tell him one rank every eight months ... and one, maybe two merit badges every three months.

Then, if he really wants to be in control of his future, he should make himself useful to his parents to the tune of  $100. That should allow him, by age 14, to amass the funds to do any big-ticket scouting that suits his fancy.

Considering how much he likes to plan things, he may want to consider Personal Management MB early in his scouting career.

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5 hours ago, astrila said:

Thanks everyone for the replies.  This is my son's question as well, not at all trying to plan things for him.  I'm proud to say though that it seems I've raised a very organized little guy, he loves to make lists etc, and he is trying to figure this out for himself and I'm trying to assist, not at all like doing it for him as a parent.

I showed him these responses, but we are both still confused as to the answer of our original question.  My son is intent on making Eagle, he hasn't decided if he wants to go for the palms or not yet, but he has set Eagle as his personal goal.   He likes concrete time goals, even if he decides later to change them or go at a different pace, he wants to have some kind of spread-out goals that spread out his time because he says the number one thing he doesn't like is being rushed, and he wants to be sure he can reach his goal without being rushed.  Scouts isn't the only activity he's involved in, so it makes sense I think to come up with at least some general plan.

After reading these responses he's actually feeling more anxious about it - he says "So... everyone is saying to go at your own pace, but how do I know what my own pace is without setting a timeline for my goals I want?  I feel like I just have to do it as fast as possible till I'm almost done and then relax... but I don't want to do it that way, I want to spread things out".  The other older boys he knows are basically racing "I'm going to make eagle by 16!"  "Me, 14!" etc, he's not into that, he wants to moderate his involvement so he also has time to spend with his friends and lego competitions and things. 

Can anyone suggest a sample timeline where the work is the most spread out?  This is really what he's looking for.   Like - 

6th grade complete  Scout, tenderfoot, 2nd

7th grade 1st class

8th grade Star

9-10th Life

11-12th Eagle ... ?

Thx

I agree with your son.  We get lots of feedback in life that being goal oriented is a good thing.  Setting targets and achieving them is a good skill and trait.

Here's a timeline I've used in the past:

  • Scout - Start of Summer/End of 5th grade
  • Tenderfoot - Fall Court of Honor (COH) - 6th grade (about 6 months after Scout)
  • Second Class - Spring COH  - 6th grade (about 6 months after Tenderfoot)
  • 1st Class - Fall COH - 7th grade (about 6 months after Second Class)
  • Star - Fall COH - 8th grade (about 1 year after First Class)
  • Life - Fall COH - 9th grade (about 1 year after Star)
  • Eagle - Spring COH - 10th grade (about 18 months after Life)

This gives plenty of time in each rank.  It has the benefit of leaving "oh no" time to recover.  It also has the benefit of recognizing the Jr/Sr. year of high school often gets very busy.  

A big however...

Advancement is just one of eight methods of Scouting.  There's a world of Scouting out there that is way cooler than advancement.  I've been blessed in my Scouting travels to see some of it.  Patrol life, Patrol Leadership roles, Troop Leadership roles the OA, Venturing, OA, Summer camp, Summer camp staff, Advance leadership training such as NYLT or NAYLE, high adventure (Philmont, Sea Base, Northern Tier, Summit - triple crown/grand slam), National Jamboree, World Jamboree, District/Council/Area/Regional leadership roles, and many more.

My advice is to encourage your son to get involved, find things he likes, and then explore them.  Scouting is a very cool world with lots of great people.  

 

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First Class First Year (officially, "Operation First Class") is no longer a program emphasis in the BSA advancement program. While some councils (like mine) still have an award they present to Scouts who complete First Class within their first year of joining, it is no longer something emphasized in the advancement program.

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.

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