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RainShine

on the trail to ... Scout?

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Also, the requirements for Scout rank say:

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All requirements for the Scout rank must be completed as a member of a troop or as a Lone Scout. If you have already completed these requirements as part of the Webelos Scouting Adventure, simply demonstrate your knowledge or skills to your Scoutmaster or other designated leader after joining the troop.


So the Scouts have to at least demonstrate their knowledge / skills after joining the troop.  The requirements are mostly similar (but not exactly the same) between the AOL Scouting adventure and Scout rank, but the standards are different ("Do Your Best" vs. passed as written).  If they are able to demonstrate their knowledge and skills, and if they are able to get the parent pamphlet exercises done, and if there are existing patrols (with flag and yell), then it is possible to earn Scout rank at the first or second troop meeting.  It typically takes more time to earn now that it is a rank - not just a joining badge.

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1 hour ago, mrkstvns said:

What I like about this is that it shows you are enabling your scouts to succeed. You aren't just saying, "OK, these kinds of scouts can sign off."  You're giving them some guidance on HOW to do it and what to consider.  That's what mentoring is all about.

Yeah. I guess it really didn't matter much exactly what I said. It was that I made a big deal about entrusting them with this responsibility.

I've had 2nd class scouts work on teaching new scouts (especially one's who didn't come up through Webelos) the Oath, Law, etc ...

By the way, our PLC is taking it upon themselves to arrange an evening to get everyone's cyberchip up to date. Now that we have several classes of scouts who understand what a roadblock it can be, they are beginning to help one another move along.

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As a relatively new Advancement Chair for our Troop, we've had some difficulty with the group of Scouts that crossed-over this past February / March with most not having earned their Scout rank yet.  What is particularly frustrating is the fact that most of those that haven't "ranked up" went to summer camp and continue to be active participants in Troop meetings and other activities (camp outs, Scouting for Food, Popcorn, hikes, etc...).  The root cause, as I see it, is still the Cub Scout mentality that they should have things signed off simply by participating.  They don't seem to grasp the concept that THEY need to approach the SM or ASM (or SPL or Troop Guide) to get tested and signed off.  I feel at times I'm talking myself blue explaining this to them.  The other leaders explain this to them.  I guess you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink...

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8 minutes ago, NDW5332 said:

As a relatively new Advancement Chair for our Troop, we've had some difficulty with the group of Scouts that crossed-over this past February / March with most not having earned their Scout rank yet.  What is particularly frustrating is the fact that most of those that haven't "ranked up" went to summer camp and continue to be active participants in Troop meetings and other activities (camp outs, Scouting for Food, Popcorn, hikes, etc...).  The root cause, as I see it, is still the Cub Scout mentality that they should have things signed off simply by participating.  They don't seem to grasp the concept that THEY need to approach the SM or ASM (or SPL or Troop Guide) to get tested and signed off.  I feel at times I'm talking myself blue explaining this to them.  The other leaders explain this to them.  I guess you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink...

I can assure you, you are one of thousands who have died on this hill :) The younger kids hear you, that I am convinced- caring about it, not so much.  My findings are that they are not so worried about it.  You have ~7 years to get to Eagle, anyway, don't you? Most are just happy to be having fun, and often glad to be away from the "structure" that sometimes shows up in the cub program, that advancement isn't their priority.  

Edited by HashTagScouts

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1 hour ago, NDW5332 said:

As a relatively new Advancement Chair for our Troop, we've had some difficulty with the group of Scouts that crossed-over this past February / March with most not having earned their Scout rank yet.  What is particularly frustrating is the fact that most of those that haven't "ranked up" went to summer camp and continue to be active participants in Troop meetings and other activities (camp outs, Scouting for Food, Popcorn, hikes, etc...).  The root cause, as I see it, is still the Cub Scout mentality that they should have things signed off simply by participating.  They don't seem to grasp the concept that THEY need to approach the SM or ASM (or SPL or Troop Guide) to get tested and signed off.  I feel at times I'm talking myself blue explaining this to them.  The other leaders explain this to them.  I guess you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink...

You are dealing with motivation and maturity. Also, young scouts aren't always confident with talking to adults. When the scouts find a need for for advancing, they will find the will. 

Still, there are some things you can do to build confidence. When we test and finish the new scout on the Scout requirements, we walk him to a list on the table where the scout request a BOR. He just puts down his name and rank for the BOR, then the BOR leader will find him to set a time and day. After he completes the BOR, the BOR leader will then show the scout how to personally ask for a SM Conference, where I, with a big smile, gladly set a time and date. That usually helps a lot. Starting by putting a name on the BOR list seems to be an easy start.

And watch out, when they do decide to ask, it seems to came all at once. 

Barry

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19 hours ago, HashTagScouts said:

The younger kids hear you, that I am convinced- caring about it, not so much.  My findings are that they are not so worried about it.

Kids not worrying about it, I can handle.  My own son was in this camp until recently.  It's some of the parents that are just outright indignant:  "My son shouldn't have to ask you to sign off on xxxx! If he was there and did it, you should sign for it."

I will say this about our Troop - I believe that we have some of the most flexible adult leadership.  Our SM has done Scoutmaster conferences at a McDonald's on a Sunday afternoon because that worked out for a Scout's schedule.  I was even able to set up a BOR for one Scout while he was at summer camp because he reached his time in a position of responsibility and we had enough adult leadership ready to make it happen.

Edited by NDW5332
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5 minutes ago, NDW5332 said:

Kids not worrying about it, I can handle.  My own son was in this camp until recently.  It's some of the parents that are just outright indignant:  "My son shouldn't have to ask you to sign off on xxxx! If he was there and did it, you should sign for it."

I used to tell new Scoutmasters that dealing with the expectations of parents is one of the more challenging parts of the job. They scoutmaster is firm in protecting the program, but also a good sales person of how it works. You will generally find the best scoutmasters have read and studied some of the writings of Baden Powell, William Boyce Bill Hillcourt and other founding scouters to develop simple word explanations for the virtues of scouting. Do a search on Baden Powell quotes to understand what I mean. At it's simplest, scouting build confidence by doing. The new scouts are simply new at doing and just starting to build that confidence.  

Barry

""We must change boys from a 'what can I get' to a 'what can I give' attitude." Baden Powell

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23 minutes ago, NDW5332 said:

...  It's some of the parents that are just outright indignant:  "My son shouldn't have to ask you to sign off on xxxx! If he was there and did it, you should sign for it." ...

Stand by your SM and TG. Don't waste time in explanations. This is how your troop runs, like most troops. Scout demonstrate skills to a leader, Scout presents his book to that leader, that leader signs off. It's the scout's advancement, not the leaders.

The boys know that. No further explanation necessary.

You're in the unfortunate position of needing to remind parents ... the scout has control of his advancement destiny. If the scout wants results, he'll take action. If he's not taking action, what does that tell you about his desires?

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1 hour ago, NDW5332 said:

Kids not worrying about it, I can handle.  My own son was in this camp until recently.  It's some of the parents that are just outright indignant:  "My son shouldn't have to ask you to sign off on xxxx! If he was there and did it, you should sign for it."

I will say this about our Troop - I believe that we have some of the most flexible adult leadership.  Our SM has done Scoutmaster conferences at a McDonald's on a Sunday afternoon because that worked out for a Scout's schedule.  I was even able to set up a BOR for one Scout while he was at summer camp because he reached his time in a position of responsibility and we had enough adult leadership ready to make it happen.

By far the biggest challenge- stay in solidarity to the SM.  That is very important when it comes to parents.  They will push- and often you'll hear them talk about "Eagle" in about every sentence they ever utter.  It is hard to sway their mindset.  At our recent parent meeting, I spent 5 minutes explaining to the parents that if it has been a year+ that their son has not advanced in rank, it is far more likely that the scout just hasn't asked anyone for signoffs, not for lack of the troop providing program needed for the scout to advance.  I gave them perspective to feel free to spend time with their son and his handbook, look at requirements, read the appropriate sections, ask their son questions (watch Youtube videos if necessary to understand the skills)- while we can't have parent signing off, they can help build the confidence in their son to come forward and ask for review/signature.   All testing/signoff is going to come from the troop, but if any parent is thinking we need to literally drag their kid to advancement, it isn't going to happen within our unit.  

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This is good input, thanks all. Fortunately we don't have any hot headed parents furiously coming at us to provide Eagle factory.

The reason I brought this up was to measure against other troops what is normal. I think in our case the troop doesn't provide what is necessary. Our Scoutmaster Corps is great and all but I think this kind of slipped over the years.

From what I've gathered, a normal AoL Webelo Scout could cross over and attain Scout rank perhaps in a few weeks, or in a month or two ...or three. That is not ever happening in our Troop, not even three months, never. 

As incoming SM, a priority for me is to break down any barrier to advancement, even for - perhaps especially for - the newest Scouts.

So I could bust down the blockades by:

  • having some youth able to sign off
  • a deeper bench of ASMs to sign off
  • carve out time in troop meetings and outings for the purpose of advancement conferences
  • provide instruction for the AoLs that have forgotten stuff

More advice on this would be quite welcome.

Edited by RainShine

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@RainShine, l agree that several months is too long. I also agree that finding more time to make this happen is also good. I'm just not sure about the details past that. Who is asking the new scouts what they would like to accomplish? And giving them some options? Play games, learn skills, earn a new rank? Typically they want to advance. Get them interested in taking ownership in their destiny. That's more important than when they get a rank, and the ranks will come from that as quickly as you might hope for.

Do the new scouts, or the scouts that might sign off understand the process? I'm guessing not. That's likely why nothing is happening. 

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1 hour ago, RainShine said:

...

So I could bust down the blockades by:

  • having some youth able to sign off
  • a deeper bench of ASMs to sign off
  • carve out time in troop meetings and outings for the purpose of advancement conferences
  • provide instruction for the AoLs that have forgotten stuff

More advice on this would be quite welcome.

IMHO - this is entirely a youth problem.  By now those cross-overs should be either their own patrol with an elected PL or in existing patrols with their established PLs. In other words, they ain't crossovers, they are first-years.

It's very simple. In the PLC, ask each PL how many of his boys have not earned scout rank. Then ask why. Then ask what he will do to change that.

Then at every PLC ask those same questions until most of those crossovers have advanced.

If all of the 1st-years are in one patrol, the other patrols will obviously have near zero who haven't earned scouts and the one patrol will have the large number. That's not an excuse. That's an opportunity to ask that one PL why, and what he will do to change that.

I never make a distinction between AoLs and never-cubs. I find it makes precious little difference in their rank advancement in the troop. All that matters is that each PL knows that you will ask "How many?", "Why?", and "What?"

If your PLC is working, expect them to be brutally honest if you're the problem. Obviously, if you haven't allowed them to sign off, then they should point that out. They may point out that their scouts are able, they're just waiting for an SMC. At scout rank, you don't even need 5 minutes for advancement conferences. What else are you doing that's so important that you can't have a conference with three or four 1st-years every meeting? Are these boys coming to campouts? You should be able to meet with them all between breakfast and lunch! Your PL's might not point these things out at the first PLC where you call them out on this, but by the time you ask those three simple questions at the fourth meeting, one or two of those PLs will say "Sir, we've done our job. We're waiting for you to do yours."

 

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