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Unregistered merit badge counselors will be removed from Scoutbook on Feb 1. Merit badge counselor positions will no longer appear on unit rosters in Scoutbook.


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9 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

We had that problem with advancement reports. I know for a fact some SMs signed off for MBs I taught that their Scouts did not complete.

And you can't trust camp blue cards either.  

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I guess I wish that Summer camp was based on the adventure and fun rather than merit badges.  That is the difference I see with camps geared toward Troops vs. Crews.  The Troop camps talk about how aw

All units go through this. The definition of integrity in every unit is what the culture expects and practices. For your scouts to develop habits of making good decisions, they have to feel it's right

There is a famous statement, I forget who said it, but it goes something like "debates and discussion are intended for the purpose of learning, not winning".  I remember back when the BSA started

3 minutes ago, mashmaster said:

And you can't trust camp blue cards either.

What is the solution to the onslaught?  Other than gathering a group of like-minded leaders, with similar conscientious behavior, to scrub every requirement with a Scout to make sure they were done?

For many Scouts, Scouters, and parents, my simple standards of "What does the Handbook say?" and "What does the requirement say?" seem draconian...

A little over a year ago, when I found older Scouts were not adhering to requirements as written, I stopped all youth sign-offs.  (The were pencil-whipping, for various reasons...) Only ASMs and I can sign off requirements.   Advancement has slowed (no First Class in a year LOL) , but the "product" is much better.  Our Scouts know and can do more now.

And yet, in line with their "human nature", they still seek out the ASMs who are the most lenient, or dare I say, lax on requirements.

I find this character element of integrity the hardest to teach.

Our Boards of Review focus more on the Scouts' experience in the program and reflections on Troop leadership, rather than their co-equal task of "...determining if a Scout has met the requirements."

Esse quam videre

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2 hours ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

 Our Scouts know and can do more now.

And yet, in line with their "human nature", they still seek out the ASMs who are the most lenient, or dare I say, lax on requirements.

I find this character element of integrity the hardest to teach.

Our Boards of Review focus more on the Scouts' experience in the program and reflections on Troop leadership, rather than their co-equal task of "...determining if a Scout has met the requirements."

Esse quam videre

All units go through this. The definition of integrity in every unit is what the culture expects and practices. For your scouts to develop habits of making good decisions, they have to feel it's right when nobody is looking. The expectations has to be culture expectation. That doesn't happen overnight, cultures have to be formed. 

And it is the nature of humans to take the path of least resistance, so yes, human nature will seek the most lenient accountability. For both adults and youth. 

I think you are making a mistake taking scouts out of the process of accountability because you drew a line between youth and adults as if being an adult automatically makes us moral.  If your scouts are ever going to behave like adults, they have to be treated and respected as adults. Role modeling expectations is the best form of teaching.

The culture sets accountability, at all ages. As you stated, even the adults have different expectations of accountability. So, what's the difference whether the scouts or adults are lax. You have to figure out how to set accountability in the culture of the troop for everyone. Scouts must feel they are making the right choices. The moral choices.

But, everyone in your program must also feel their choices a practical results. I imagine your scouts and adults don't see the practical effects of the skills they are being tested on, so they are trying, get away with minimum expectations. Your program expectations set the practical expectations. A small example that pops in my head was I found our scouts really struggled with lashings. We rarely use lashings in the woods, so we started doing camp gadget competitions and requiring a lashed flag pole at every outing. It helped, but the reality is lashings are not really required in a duct-tape bungy cord society.  So, setting expectations can be a challenge. The expectation will be set from the lowest level of practical application.

Cooking is another example of expectations. We started requiring cooking at every meal to force the scouts to practice the habits of cooking. This culture makes eating without cooking pretty easy.

All that being said, attempting to raise expectations and integrity can easily cross the line of overbearing, condescending, or just plan boring. I learned that Scouting still has to be fun. Don't take away the fun trying to make scouts better decision makers. Add fun instead. I always took a box of Tootsie Pops to every campout. I ask the SPL to set it in middle of camp every morning with the conditions that each scout could have as many Tootsie Pops as they want provided they took only one at a time and that they put the wrappers and sticks in the trash. The SPL would remove the box if either of those conditions was broken. No lecture, just the consequence of making a bad decision. The box was removed within 15 minutes on the first campout. But, within three campouts, the boxed was usually emptied before being removed. .The culture changed to meet up with expectation because scouts developed better decision making habits.

I also carried candied Fireballs in my pocket and gave one out when I saw a scout perform a good deed. At first a few scouts would do a silly acts of good deeds in front of me just to get a Fireball. But eventually the troop, as a whole, saw me give out the Fireballs for recognition for real acts of living the Scout Law, they saw the expectation of good decisions. The behaviors grew more mature. The reward of feeling good for making good decisions eventually dominated the reward of candy. I always carried a few fireballs, but the habits of making good decisions continued when I wasn't around. Which was 99% of the time. 

In your attempt to raise the level of your scouts quality to your expectation, search for fun passive ways to give the scouts opportunities to feel good with making good decisions. Those actions will turn into habits. I found that cultural changes happen a lot faster than you would think.. 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad
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One item that my unit's exploring with the new Scoutbook change is the practice of having summer/winter camp or merit badge mills cross-checked.

I should start by saying my SM doesn't say no (any more) when scouts indicate they want to go to the merit badge weekends after it was pointed out that SM's cannot veto MBCs ahead of time. Still, he hates them with the passion of a thousand suns. Too many times he's asked scouts at the SM sign off what they did/learned and he gets blank stares.

What he is considering after I told him of the Scoutbook change, however, is that starting February 1 he is going to run the name of the MBC against Scoutbook. If they person's not listed, he's filing GtA 7.0.4.7 recourse claims.

That should end the practice of some of these camps/weekends of people who are not even registered as MBCs (or MBCs for that badge) from signing off.

Of course what I suspect will then happen is that councils and camps will just register all the camp counselors to be MBCs for all MBs offered, regardless of whether they are qualified or not.

Edited by CynicalScouter
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10 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

As you stated, even the adults have different expectations of accountability. So, what's the difference whether the scouts or adults are lax. You have to figure out how to set accountability in the culture of the troop for everyone.

That is the lament, brother... and why I just say I am only responsible for my own actions, not anyone else's

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3 minutes ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

That is the lament, brother... and why I just say I am only responsible for my own actions, not anyone else's

Every single person has a different set of standards, especially in moral decisions. And most people don't want the weight of being the person who sets those standards (expectations) on the group because that is a huge responsibility with a huge risk of hypocrisy.. But, by default, the SM usually is who everyone expects to set minimum standards of behavior. whether the SM realizes it or not. Everyone should be responsible for their own actions, but the truth is the SM is by default responsible for everyone's actions in the program. The difference between inexperienced and experienced Scoutmasters is the techniques they use to motivate everyone to live up (or sometimes down) to the their expectations. 

There were nights when the weight of being the SM kept me awake all night. But, I have no regrets, just wonderful memories.

I love this Scouting stuff.

Barry

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