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RainShine

on the trail to ... Scout?

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In our Troop it takes months for the guys to get to Scout rank. I observe that the meetings are busy (which sounds good, but I will complain about our meetings another time), and no time is carved out for rank advancement conferences. Same is true on outings, not always. So at meetings we have closing flags then a bunch of guys come up wanting rank advancement. We have a boy, earned his Arrow of Light, crossed over in April, still no Scout rank. He's a clever fellow too, and I perceive he wants to rank up, just doesnt get the opportunities. All our rank advancement seems slow, even for guys that care.

You'll have to forgive me please. I'm fairly new, couple years in Scouting. When you have a keen boy with arrow of light, how long does it typically take for him to achieve the Scout rank in your troop?

him/her, sorry

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Pretty much by the time they have completed their second campout.  Does the patrol have a Troop Guide assigned to them? We would usually have the TG take the new patrol aside after opening for the first 2-3 meetings apart from what the rest of the troop is doing, and go over all the book-work stuff (requirement 1-3, though some will need to spend some time at home memorizing if they aren't quite as sharp as needed on Outdoor Code, etc.).  Totin Chip is at first campout, knots (as many as possible, including bowline and sheet bend) on the 2nd.  The hope is by that second campout, they will be at Scout and have started on requirements for Tenderfoot and 2nd Class, and by the time summer camp is over they will be at (or darn close) to completing Tenderfoot and be on good ground to focus on 2nd Class during the fall.

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There are a lot of variables that affect how fast a Scout advances.

One of the biggest differences between Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA is the standard for.  Cub Scouts is "Do Your Best." Scouts BSA is currently'"DO, " and once upon a time it was "master the skills." Whereas a Cub Scout could have some trouble with something and still earn advancement, Scouts need to meet the requirements as written. So that is one factor.

As for having AOL, I use to say if they had it, they should get it within a month or two since SCOUTING ADVENTURE Activity Badge is 86% of the Scout Rank. BUT I have found the quality of Webelos dens vary from pack to pack, and even from WDL to WDL within a pack. Best example are the WDLs my three boys had. Oldest had a good WDL who really prepared them for Boy Scouts. They knew the stuff, and advancement occurred fairly quickly, 1 to 2 months tops. Middle son had 2 great WDLs, and most of his group that joined the troop he was in got it withing 2 weeks of joining. One thing his WDL did was SCOUTING ADVENTURE in 4th grade, using it as an elective for Webelos rank, and then having them do an elective to make up for it during 5th grade. Youngest had a good WDL, but started the transition late. Since she started working on Scouting Adventure a few months before Cross Over, they didn't have as much repetition fro the Scouting Adventure as the other dens. Most of them got Scout either during or after Summer camp, 5 months after Cross Over. So that is another factor.

A third factor is who is authorized to sign off? I have found that when PLs, SPL, and select older Scouts sign off, the Scouts tend to take more ownership on the matter, especially PLs. The PLS work a lot more with the Scouts, and are easier to get access for the sign off. If only adults sign off, everyone is trying to get their attention.

Another factor is how flexible is whomever is signing off. Sadly my older 2 boys had been in a troop that only adults sign off. All three boys' current troop only allows the adults AND the SPL. A little better IMHO. Anyway they have met adults outside of meeting nights, at their homes, at Starbuck, or at a park to get stuff signed off. I have met Scouts at the library too.

Regarding meetings, that really isn't the time set aside for that because each Scout advances at their own pace. In adults only sign off troops, It is either before the meeting, during the Interpatrol Activity aka Game Time, after the meeting, or some other time.

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Perhaps a bigger question- who in your troop signs on requirements? For us, we want any scout that is Star/Life/Eagle signing off on anything up to First Class requirements.  Adults are a last resort for most requirements.

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HastTagScouts reminded me of another factor, how the troop is organized? Some troops have aged based patrols, i.e. New Scout Patrol (NSPs) , Experienced Patrol, and Older Scout Patrol; while others use Traditional Patrols, aka Mixed Aged Patrols. In My experience, NSPs focus more on advancement, whereas  Traditional Patrols tend to focus on skills. 

5 minutes ago, HashTagScouts said:

Perhaps a bigger question- who in your troop signs on requirements? For us, we want any scout that is Star/Life/Eagle signing off on anything up to First Class requirements.  Adults are a last resort for most requirements.

For whatever reason troops around here don;t like youth signing off. I.HATE.THAT. (emphasis) If there was one thing I could change in my current troop, is have more youth than the SPL sign off.

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3 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

HastTagScouts reminded me of another factor, how the troop is organized? Some troops have aged based patrols, i.e. New Scout Patrol (NSPs) , Experienced Patrol, and Older Scout Patrol; while others use Traditional Patrols, aka Mixed Aged Patrols. In My experience, NSPs focus more on advancement, whereas  Traditional Patrols tend to focus on skills. 

For whatever reason troops around here don;t like youth signing off. I.HATE.THAT. (emphasis) If there was one thing I could change in my current troop, is have more youth than the SPL sign off.

1000% agree.  I have barked at several leaders that object to youth signing for youth.  It's a requirement to reach Life you have to teach skills- why would you ever want a kid learning how to do that, only to do it once??? Seems insane to me.

We keep the crossovers in a NSP until summer camp, then integrate them at the stat of the next school year (that's based on we only have had 3-5 crossover the past few years- if we get back to having 6+, we'd probably leave them as a patrol). 

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4 minutes ago, HashTagScouts said:

We keep the crossovers in a NSP until summer camp, then integrate them at the stat of the next school year (that's based on we only have had 3-5 crossover the past few years- if we get back to having 6+, we'd probably leave them as a patrol). 

You may have read my feelings on NSPs on other threads. I am not a fan. Currently my troop is a one patrol troop, and hence use the Traditional patrol model. They placed 3rd overall at camporee, and that is with the patrol being DQed for one event. The two patrols that beat them were also Traditional Patrols.

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Thanks for the feedback. Love this site, very helpful. In our troop only adults sign off on requirements. But I read in the troop leader guide that the Scoutmaster decides who can sign off. I haven't mentioned it here before but I become Scoutmaster at the end of the year. One of the first things I intend to do is have youth sign off on Scout rank. Should open the gates. I was thinking about setting it to First Class and above could sign off on Scout rank. I would leave the rest to adults to ensure quality control, and, well also so that I'm not making too many changes at once. But I'm very open to ideas so you can influence me on that.

Edited by RainShine

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3 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

You may have read my feelings on NSPs on other threads. I am not a fan. Currently my troop is a one patrol troop, and hence use the Traditional patrol model. They placed 3rd overall at camporee, and that is with the patrol being DQed for one event. The two patrols that beat them were also Traditional Patrols.

I can appreciate your view.  NSPs can go in a bad direction, in a very short amount of time.  We're maybe a little non-traditional in how we view the role of TG.  To us, it is a short-term, temporary position.  Generally, we encourage the SPL to pick the scout the they see as their potential successor, and that scout may wear two hats for those few months if they are currently scribe or QM, if they are ASPL they may step down their duties as ASPL a bit.  Crossover for us is early March, and summer camp is the first week of July, elections are just before camp, with the new SPL/PLC taking over after camp is over.  At summer camp, its our expectation that all the "veteran" scouts will be looking out for the NSP kids.  We typically will have had 3 campouts with the new kids before summer camp, and I like to see the TG sort of step back a bit during the 3rd campout and let them see if they can find their way.  Then encourage the TG to regroup with them to ask them how they think such and such activity went, how could it have gone better, etc. Usually their first meal without a hands on instructor is a disaster, but once the have had the time to cool down and regroup with the TG, they begin to really storm and find their way toward a norm (or at least recognize how much more they need to learn to get to the norm).  Our troop had an adult implosion a few years ago that nearly killed the troop.  And they were adult run then, so it took a solid year and a half to regroup.    

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2 minutes ago, RainShine said:

Thanks for the feedback. Love this site, very helpful. In our troop only adults sign off on requirements. But I read in the troop leader guide that the Scoutmaster decides who can sign off. I haven't mentioned it here before but I become Scoutmaster at the end of the year. One of the first things I intend to do is have youth sign off on Scout rank. Should open the gates. I was thinking about setting it to First Class and above could sign off on Scout rank. I would leave the rest to adults to ensure quality control, and, well also so that I'm not making too many changes at once. But I'm very open to ideas so you can influence me on that.

Too much change can really take those changes a long time to fully execute.  My advice is start small- have it for Scout rank to start off with as you plan, then maybe have it be "former SPL/ASPL" can sign-off up to 1st Class for the next year after that, and within just a few years you should have a handful of "older" scouts modeling to the others how it should be done, where you could either let it be any Star/Life/Eagle, or just keep it that way.

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As you transition to having scouts having the authority to sign-off, I would hesitate using something as arbitrary as rank, or age as whether they may sign off. Instead designate those who you have determined understand and can demonstrate what "a scout is tested" is supposed to look like. This goes for adults too. I would not designate any adults until they demonstrated this understanding either. 

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We have a lot of members stuck prior to Scout due to this Cyberchip requirement.

  1. As an individual or with your patrol, use the EDGE method and to teach Internet safety rules, behavior, and “netiquette” to your troop or another patrol. You are encouraged to use any additional material and information you have researched. Each member of the patrol must have a role and present part of the lesson.

In general, the Cyberchip is the primary reason we end up with some backlog.   The other requirements are easy and can occur at nearly any outing.  Cyberchip also requires watching videos at home that tak an hour or so plus creating a contract with your parents.   To me, this should be a Tenderfoot or even Second Class requirement.    Let’s keep focus on basic scout skills and Patrol structure for scout rank.
 

When I’ve talked with the scouts, all already cover internet safety in school, and they said the videos are outdated and goofy.  The only valuable portion is going over the Troops electronic device policy.

Edited by Eagle1993
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Out of question, shouldn't all the crossover AoL scouts already have their cyber chip while in 5th grade from having done it in cub scouts? Its good for an entire year and can be recharged to be extended. It really should only affect scouts who join a troop with no prior scouting experience.

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11 hours ago, RainShine said:

In our Troop it takes months for the guys to get to Scout rank. I observe that the meetings are busy (which sounds good, but I will complain about our meetings another time), and no time is carved out for rank advancement conferences. Same is true on outings, not always. So at meetings we have closing flags then a bunch of guys come up wanting rank advancement. We have a boy, earned his Arrow of Light, crossed over in April, still no Scout rank. He's a clever fellow too, and I perceive he wants to rank up, just doesnt get the opportunities. All our rank advancement seems slow, even for guys that care.

You'll have to forgive me please. I'm fairly new, couple years in Scouting. When you have a keen boy with arrow of light, how long does it typically take for him to achieve the Scout rank in your troop?

him/her, sorry

It takes about a month. Most of Scout rank is for the scout to learn basic scouting things like the Law, the Motto, the Outdoor Code, the Patrol Method, etc., and to be able to explain these things.  Scouts who are gung-ho can read the Scout Handbook and knock these things out in an evening (assuming they can get the attention of someone to sign him off). Two requirements seem to be speed bumps for a scout working on Scout rank:

* 3b.  For a new scout patrol, the patrol members need to get together and talk about who they want to be. They need to pick a patrol name, decide on an emblem (patch), come up with a yell, and make a flag. This generally does not happen immediately, though we'll try to set aside time for the boys to do it within their first month or so.

* 6: There's 2 parts to this:1)  the "Protecting from Abuse" pamphlet and 2) the Cyber Chip.  As a troop, we do a Cyber Chip class in which we watch the NetSmartz videos, have roundtable discussions, and do a learning activitiy, so Cyber Chip isn't the speed bump in our troop. But we expect parents to help the boys complete the requirement, parents and scouts together need to look at that pamphlet, discuss how it applies in their family, mom and dad should help the scout work through the exercises, etc. As an ASM, I'll ask the boys if they looked at the pamphlet, talked to their parents, and did the activities. I will raise a couple of light questions about bullying or neighborhood safety, but just to make sure the boys do look at it and/or talk to their parents about it. It surprises me how many scouts drag their feet on getting this signed off because they haven't read the pamphlet and their parents haven't discussed the personal safety issues with them. Other troops might do it faster if they are proactive about discussing the abuse pamphlet. I'd be interested to hear experiences from others who have helped young scouts earn their Scout rank.

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2 hours ago, malraux said:

Out of question, shouldn't all the crossover AoL scouts already have their cyber chip while in 5th grade from having done it in cub scouts? Its good for an entire year and can be recharged to be extended. It really should only affect scouts who join a troop with no prior scouting experience.

One would hope.

Over the past several years, I've been the ASM who was tagged as the "First Class Emphasis" guy, so I work with the incoming scouts for the first year or so. With about 10 scouts per year, I guess that makes about 50 scouts I've helped on their initial ranks. I always ask if they did Cyber Chip in their Webelos den. So far, I'm all the way up to about 3 scouts who had done so and knew what it was. I keep dreaming that one year, we'll get a whole new scout patrol where everybody has a Cyber Chip card....it remains a dream.

We run a Cyber Chip class for the new scouts because of this.

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