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RainShine

on the trail to ... Scout?

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3 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.

Theoretically, Webelos 2s/AOLs who Cross Over SHOULD (emphasis) be able to earn Scout after their very first Troop meeting. Here's why.

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Edited by Eagle94-A1
changed "at" to "after"
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1 hour ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

So yes, they SHOULD have Cyberchip.

Yes, they SHOULD.

In my experience, they usually DON'T.

Also, what they do for AOL requirement 3 doesn't necessarily carry over to the new troop.

We have Webelos bridging into the troop from multiple packs.  Sometimes a bunch come from one pack, more often, the new scout patrol has no more than 2 scouts coming from a given pack/webelos den.  So the scouts develop their own patrol identity:  new patrol name, new emblem, new flag, new yell.  That generally doesn't happen at the first meeting.

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13 minutes ago, mrkstvns said:

Also, what they do for AOL requirement 3 doesn't necessarily carry over to the new troop.

We have Webelos bridging into the troop from multiple packs.  Sometimes a bunch come from one pack, more often, the new scout patrol has no more than 2 scouts coming from a given pack/webelos den.  So the scouts develop their own patrol identity:  new patrol name, new emblem, new flag, new yell.  That generally doesn't happen at the first meeting.

Don't I know it.

My old troop had Cubs coming in from 2 different packs at one time. One pack had an outstanding program, and their Webelos were fully prepared, if not chomping at the bit to join a troop. Their WDL started off with SCOUTING ADVENTURE  so that A) to give them, and their parents, as much time to transition to Scouts and B) prepare them for the Webeloree Competition in March. The second pack did not have a mediocre program, still treated their Webelos as Cub Scouts incapable of doing things on their own. They were not ready for Scouts, and over 1/2 dropped within a year.

One good comparison between the two packs is watching the dens at Webeloree. First pack's den may struggle some, but you see them doing it on their own. Second pack's adults kept jumping in and doing stuff for them every time they struggled. Best comparison was a CASTAWAY WEEKEND with the troop, 3 weeks before Cross Over for the first pack, and 3 months before the second. First pack had their shelters either completed are almost finished before the second pack even started the single large group shelter.And then the parents were doing the bulk of the work.

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12 hours 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.

Well then, you better stick around because we have a ton of good advice. :)

My feeling about scout rank, especially for AOL's, is that it should be fairly quick. It's more a way to teach the scout about the advancement process because they already know the material. it's also a great way for the new scout to get to know his scout leadership. I'd say that only scouts should sign off on scout rank. Either his PL or troop guide, depending on how new scouts are incorporated into the troop.

Since you're going to be the new SM, please ask us a lot of questions about the patrol method and aims vs methods. This is really critical and our experience is that it's typically not very well covered in whatever training you might have.

Best of luck!

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13 hours ago, RainShine said:

...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.

Just a few thoughts....

  • See "Guide to Advancement" (G2A) for guidance on this (section 4.2.1.2 is very short, and there are other places in the guide that expand on discussion, or may outline other considerations (such as wrt. merit badges).
     
  • Allowing youth to sign off can be a good thing, but I wouldn't automatically let anyone of a certain rank or age sign off ---- I'd link it to the Positions of Responsibility so that scouts take responsibility for teaching and for quality.  My suggestion would be: JASM, SPL, Instructor, and perhaps Troop Guide.  G2A lists PL, but I don't recommend that because (especially in new scout patrols) the PL may be a very inexperienced scout with no knowledge of the subject he should be "testing".
     
  • Limit adults signing off as only the SM and Trained ASMs (other adults typically have limited knowledge of the BSA program, and requiring the training means any adult signing off has gone through IOLS, which teaches adults the fundamental outdoor skills that scouts are expected to demonstrate on all ranks up to First Class). 
     
  • Parents should not sign off rank requirements for their own son, regardless of position.
     
  • Only the Scoutmaster should sign off on Eagle requirements and requirements that involve Scoutmaster discretion (like using a leadership project in lieu of a Position of Responsibility) 
     
  • Possibly consider limited sign-off authorization for specific types of requirements: for example, let a trained Outdoor Ethics Guide sign off on any of requirements identified as "Outdoor Ethics" (and perhaps those identified as "Nature"). Similarly, it might be that you want to let scouts who earned Lifesaving MB sign off on water rescue requirements, scouts who earned First Aid MB could sign off on first aid requirements, etc.)  Not sure if this is logistically wise or overly complex, but it's a thought I've tossed around. I guess it depends on size of troop, leadership skill level of scouts and adults, etc. 
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9 hours ago, mrkstvns said:

Possibly consider limited sign-off authorization for specific types of requirements: for example, let a trained Outdoor Ethics Guide sign off on any of requirements identified as "Outdoor Ethics" (and perhaps those identified as "Nature"). Similarly, it might be that you want to let scouts who earned Lifesaving MB sign off on water rescue requirements, scouts who earned First Aid MB could sign off on first aid requirements, etc.)  Not sure if this is logistically wise or overly complex, but it's a thought I've tossed around. I guess it depends on size of troop, leadership skill level of scouts and adults, etc. 

I'd like our troop to make the transition to youth doing the sign-offs.  The question is which scouts and how soon?

None of our scouts are first class yet,  but different scouts have different skills.

Could the scout who did the Pioneering Merit Badge be approved to sign off on the knots?
Could the scout who did the Lifesaving Merit Badge be approved to sign off on the swimming?
Could the scout who completed the LNT trainer course be approved to sign off the LNT-related requriments?
Could scouts who have done the First Aid Merit Badge (or WRFA) be approved to sign off on the first aid requirements?
Could the patrol leader sign off on Scout Rank steps 1-5?

Or does this sound crazy, since none of these scouts are first class yet?

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9 hours ago, mrkstvns said:

has gone through IOLS, which teaches adults the fundamental outdoor skills that scouts are expected to demonstrate on all ranks up to First Class

One could wish.   But IOLS certainly did not do that.   

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8 hours ago, Treflienne said:

None of our scouts are first class yet,  but different scouts have different skills.

 

It might get too hard to administer something like what you detail, or too nitpicky. I might start slow. What's the hardest thing to sign off for from a time perspective (ie the holdup is seeing it demonstrated because you can't find the time to see it). Figure out a rule for that.

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10 hours ago, Treflienne said:

One could wish.   But IOLS certainly did not do that.   

That's too bad. It should have.

Here's a description of IOLS that I got off the web site for Baltimore Area Council ... it pretty much sums up what IOLS is intended to be:

 

IOLS (Introduction to Outdoor Leadership Skills)

This course is designed for Boy Scout Leaders: focusing on the basic outdoor skills needed for the Tenderfoot through First Class ranks.  The weekend camping course builds confidence in leaders new to the Boy Scout outdoor program and is a great refresher for experienced campers taking Scouts to the field.  This is the required outdoor portion of Leader Specific Training for Scoutmasters and their Assistants. This is also great supplemental training for Committee Members and Crew Advisors.  IOLS provides great additional training for Webelos Leaders taking their boys camping and anticipating their boys bridging to Boy Scouts.  All the basic skills are found in the Boy Scout Handbook.  Participants will camp out for two nights and need to bring a sleeping bag and tent.  

 

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11 hours ago, Treflienne said:

I'd like our troop to make the transition to youth doing the sign-offs.  The question is which scouts and how soon?

None of our scouts are first class yet,  but different scouts have different skills.

.......

The key here is really to match up the people in the troop who have the most knowledge of an area with the requirements they know the most about so that you can bootstrap your way up to developing a reasonable level of competency among the future "older" scouts (i.e., your leadership corps). Since you have a younger troop with nobody who is yet up to First Class, that might take a while....but it will happen.

Meanwhile...

Could the scout who did the Pioneering Merit Badge be approved to sign off on the knots?

That sounds like a reasonable match. I might also enlist his help in actually teaching the knots and lashings.


Could the scout who did the Lifesaving Merit Badge be approved to sign off on the swimming?

Hmm.  I don't know about that one, chief. I think I'd do something like go down to the YMCA and ask if one of their lifeguards can administer the BSA Swim Test, then I'd have the SM or ASM sign off on SC-5b and FC-6a. The scout who did Lifesaving could then sign off on SC 5a, 5c, 5d.


Could the scout who completed the LNT trainer course be approved to sign off the LNT-related requriments?

You have one of those scouts?  That's pretty astounding since it's usually older, higher-rank scouts who get the training...most councils have a minimum age for LNT Trainer courses (formerly 16, now its often open to 14 year olds). If you have a scout with LNT Trainer certification, definitely use him.  I would have him teach LNT Awareness course to the adults, to your troop leadership corps, and to offer it to all interested scouts (perhaps together with the Outdoor Ethics Awareness Award and/or Outdoor Ethics Action Award.  I would also have him sign off on ALL Outdoor Ethics requirements because he knows more about TREAD and other BSA OE initiatives than all your adults combined, more about conservation, etc. Have him teach skills to others and let him sign off on: Scout-1e, TF-1c, SC-1b, FC-1b, FC-9b and 9c.


Could scouts who have done the First Aid Merit Badge (or WRFA) be approved to sign off on the first aid requirements?

Sounds reasonable.


Could the patrol leader sign off on Scout Rank steps 1-5?

Well, as SM, you can make that judgment call, but if you go that route, I would use this as an opportunity to build troop leadership, so advise/mentor your PL ahead of time and help him do a good job of it. 

Or does this sound crazy, since none of these scouts are first class yet?

I like that you want to enable your scouts, so I'd probably give it a try....but do mentor your scouts, help them understand how to teach skills and accept their responsibilities with a modicum of seriousness, and make adjustments based on how it pans out with your troop.  Once you get a good experience base, get scouts up into the higher ranks, and get scouts with experience in Positions of Responsibility, you might want to revisit the sign-off policies to make it simpler and better aligned with more typical BSA practices.

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@RainShine, Even though you didn't say it, I figured your were an SM by the way you asked questions. (... If it talks like a duck ....)

To both you and @Treflienne, regarding youth sign-offs, the answer is now is the time to start. The question is how. Here's what we did:

We had the first-class scouts and the patrol leaders sit in the circle, and asked them what we should expect from a person who signed off in their book to have seen:

  • An argument that they did this here or that there was not enough.
  • A display of paperwork was not enough.
  • If you saw the scout demonstrate the skill in a "kinda sorta" way they day he was taught, that's not enough. If he did it partly (e.g., found 2 out of 8 controls on a one mile compass course) that's not enough.
  • Some time after he had been taught, if you saw the scout demonstrate the skill completely, smoothly and confidently, then you could sign off.
  • A signature in a book isn't just a check mark, it's a reminder for years to come of all the scouts who walked with that scout on his trail to first class.

This took all of 10 minutes. I then asked, "So, you guys ready to help some scouts master their first class skills! We're counting on you, and looking forward to see your initials in some books soon."

I then insisted with adult leaders that I did not want to see their signature in a book, nor did they want to see mine. I certainly have returned a book to the youth, saying "I'm sorry, I didn't see you perform that skill. Who among our first class scouts did?"

Now there are plenty of times when adults do sign off (conferences and boards of review especially), but we look for those youth signatures on most of the skill requirements.

Edited by qwazse
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14 minutes ago, qwazse said:

We had the first-class scouts and the patrol leaders sit in the circle, and asked them what we should expect from a person who signed off in their book to have seen:

  • An argument that they did this here or that there was not enough.
  • A display of paperwork was not enough.
  • If you saw the scout demonstrate the skill in a "kinda sorta" way they day he was taught, that's not enough. If he did it partly (e.g., found 2 out of 8 controls on a one mile compass course) that's not enough.
  • Some time after he had been taught, if you saw the scout demonstrate the skill completely, smoothly and confidently, then you could sign off.
  • A signature in a book isn't just a check mark, it's a reminder for years to come of all the scouts who walked with that scout on his trail to first class.

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.

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Going back to the Cyber Chip requirement, there is a change this year where a new preview adventure called "Protect Yourself Rules" can be used in place of the Cyber Chip.  So AOL Scouts who crossover this year might have earned this adventure instead of the Cyber Chip.  However, the "Protect Yourself Rules" adventure cannot be used as a substitute for the Cyber Chip for Scout rank, so they will have to earn it.

From what I have seen, Scouts who take longer than a month to earn Scout rank typically have difficulty with saying from memory:  the Scout Oath, Scout Law, Outdoor Code, etc.  Or they haven't done the Scouts BSA version of the pamphlet "How to Protect Your Children from Child Abuse: A Parents Guide" with their parent / guardian (the pamphlet for Scouts BSA is different from the one they did as Cub Scouts, because it is aimed at older youth).  If they haven't earned the Cyber Chip yet and they are currently in the 6th grade, then the holdup is usually getting them to do Cyber Chip requirement 2 (write and sign a personalized contract with your parent or guardian).

Edited by Thunderbird

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6 minutes ago, Thunderbird said:

Scouts who take longer than a month to earn Scout rank typically have difficulty with

For us the sticking points were

a) patrol identity stuff (name, yell, etc).   When a new patrol is formed it takes the patrol collectively a while to reach consensus on a good name.   So for a number of our scouts this was the sticking point.   (But scouts who joined later had this really easy -- the flag was already made,  the current scouts were really enthusiastic about their yell . . .)

b) the cyber chip -- scheduling the opporunity to teach other scouts

c) the cyber chip -- the contract with one's parents about electronics usage. 

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