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New Scoutmaster wants to award service hours to scouts that help in the ceremony of upcoming Eagle Scout Court of Honor.


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1 hour ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

Thing is, when a family strongly wishes to have their own "day", and then the event is not well-attended (because the Scout and/or family was not well-regarded), it does tend to make it sour for them.  You can lead the horse to water...

I was the worst at attending these - even as Troop Committee Chair.  There's only so many hours for volunteering and since so many of them were on a Saturday afternoon I was always doing something else.   In our troop of 50+, there might be 5-10 Scouts there.

To me this was another reason to do them at a Troop COH.  Better to have the whole troop there on a normal Scout night to see the event than the 5-10 that knew the Scout well enough to go to their special event.

 

Edited by ParkMan
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@Kamala ...  You can't find it in the Guide To Advancement because it's not a rule.  It's troop folklore and what others leaders have traditionally seen.  I myself do not like the idea of needing to u

File under: Why bean-counting of service hours should be stricken from all rank advancement requirements.

The Scoutmaster is right that he has the power to approve or disapprove service (for rank advancement, not for merit badges or Eagle), but if you're on the committee or a commissioner you should encou

3 hours ago, Kamala said:

... And then of course everything needs to be fair so scouts would want to know why they didn't get service hours for COH of any kind that they participated in.

This is not complicated. Stop worrying about service hours. The only reason BSA wants you to count it is so that they can for-sure-brag about the dollar utility of scouting to this nation.

The scout slogan is Do a good turn daily. If scouts are doing that -- and it sounds like they are -- then they've performed the requisite hours of service. If not, then no dog-and-pony show at an ECoH or clocking hours at some project will make a hill of beans difference in the youth's scout spirit.

Tell your boys to help the old folks in your life to navigate vaccine sign-up. I assure you that they will wind up putting in more hours than they need for any rank by the time everyone in their circle is dosed.

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A funny anecdote: we've been buried in snow here in NJ for a while.  We still can't meet indoors, so we'd planned on holding our latest COH at an outdoor amphitheater.  A few days before the COH, with the area still buried in snow, the SM called on the scouts to come help shovel the snow away from the benches and stage, and clear a couple paths to get into the area.

A bunch of scouts showed up and did the clearing.  The amphitheater is next to a nature museum, and the director of some of the children's programs there, when she found the area cleared, told our SM that with the area cleared, the museum could resume outdoor classes that had been halted because the area was inaccessible.  So... after the fact, he gave two hours of not-so-easy-to-get conservation hours to the scouts that showed.

Taught a lesson to a couple who needed the conservation hours, but couldn't be bothered to show up for what they thought was non-service for our own Troop.  🤣

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On 3/3/2021 at 9:40 PM, qwazse said:

File under: Why bean-counting of service hours should be stricken from all rank advancement requirements.

I upvoted this yesterday, but came back to it to add a comment. I agree - mostly. Service can be evaluated as part of Scout Spirit, and could be folded into the SM Conference.

At the same time, having specifics laid out helps in a couple ways. Some SMs may not be comfortable telling a scout he doesn’t think they have earned their next rank due to something that would be subjective.  What constitutes enough service?

It also gives a scout a concrete goal that he/she can plan for. Particularly helpful as they get older and may have a lot of obligations pulling them different directions. 

Side note: Our Troop gives bronze, silver, and gold challenge coins for service.  Many of our scouts earn the bronze level, 50 hours, by the time they age out. They don’t do it for the coins, but it’s a nice recognition.

Silver is 75; gold is 100.

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On 3/4/2021 at 12:34 PM, ParkMan said:

... I've never been a big fan of parents organizing an Eagle COH.  It forces parents to figure out how to put together an Eagle COH everytime and puts a lot of stress on them. In addition, that usually then adds yet another event to the troop schedule.  ...

 

On 3/4/2021 at 12:42 PM, Kamala said:

...  Usually we tag on an Eagle Court of Honor after a regular Court of Honor.  We usually don't have a problem with attendance.   The SPL I agree can help with this.    I have been in scouting now 20 years.  All the troops I have been in with my two sons, the Eagle Court of Honor was usually organized by the parent(s) with guidance from the scout leadership.

 

I've been to many ECOHs over the years.  My strong preference is to tack the Eagle recognition at the end of a normal COH.  It creates a strong connection between the scout's accomplishment and the troop.  Sets a great example.  If it's separate, it's not really a "troop function" and attendance is always poor.  Having ECOH in the normal COH, it's very well attended and adds to the celebration.  But then again, the Eagle portion is five/ten minutes not sixty minutes.  

Parent involvement / stress is much reduced as the main challenge is to invite friends and family.  

If parents ask what they can do to help, I suggest contributing a bit more food to help cover the number of invited guests.  ... Every one of our COHs is a meal in some way.  Potluck.  Grilled food.  etc.  First meal, then ceremony.   A few times, the parents volunteered to host the food for the whole COH.  Our scouts and leaders never said no to that.  :)   If asked what I liked, I'd say steak with a straight face ... then smile.   ...  Never got steak.   But always a good time and positive experience for the scouts.

Edited by fred8033
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Usually this is what happens but this happens to be for 7 scouts.   

Thank you all for your suggestions, sources of information and insight.  I really appreciate and I think I have enough information now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 3/4/2021 at 12:29 PM, InquisitiveScouter said:

Then I recommend you bring up the matter at the next committee meeting.  Express your concern that granting service hours to conduct or support unit-centric events may not meet the intent of service hours.  Explain you talked with District Advancement Chair (?) and they are in concurrence.  Discuss and vote.  Inform the SM.  SM is not a voting member of committee, but should give the committee his/her perspective.

Uh, that isn’t how it works. This is solely they SM decision under the G2A. You can console him, but not override him. This isn’t an advancement coordinator role or a committee topic. 

Edited by mrjohns2
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8 hours ago, mrjohns2 said:

Uh, that isn’t how it works. This is solely they SM decision under the G2A. You can console him, but not override him. This isn’t an advancement coordinator role or a committee topic. 

Sure it is...

In the extreme, yes, you can override the SM...by relieving them of the job.  Now, this case shouldn't get there, and can probably be resolved by talking it out with the SM and Committee.

The worst parts of this situation are 1.  that Scouts are caught in the middle, 2. SM has misguided idea of what constitutes service, 3. it sets a really bad precedent (the slippery slope), and 4. what about the Scouts who participated in the last COH or other unit function?  Where are their "service" hours?

Really hope this works out easily and well for you.  Please let us know how it goes...curious.

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3 hours ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

Sure it is...

You must not have read the same guides I have. The decision to approve rests solely with the SM. Yes, the CC could relieve them, but they cannot override them. It is not how the unit is structured. That is, unless you can point out where a) the committee voting process is a thing and b) the CC does more than support the program vs carting it out. I’m not saying you think they should, but the buck stops with the SM on advancement as long as they follow G2A. 

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42 minutes ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

@mrjohns2

OK, so do you think the SM is correct in approving "service" in this manner...whether he has "authority" to do it or not?

@mrjohns2 is pointing out where authority lies with approving the service hours.  Per GTA, that's clearly with the scoutmaster.  Whether he should or should not approve that type of hours is a separate qusetion.  Whether a BOR can reverse him is an extremely very ugly situation and usually only results in explicit damage.  

With that said ... once we get to the point of discussing who has the authority and how, we're way off the tracks.  As with many things in life, the best way to handle differences is by direct conversation.  Get to know each others views.  Repeat his words to him to see if you are really hearing him correctly and if he said it right.  Try to understand why he's taking tha tposition.  See if there is a compromise.  See if there is a way to accomplish each other's goals in a different route that creates common understanding.  

Even bringing before the committee often makes things too stressful and creates annimosity.  

And accept, you will not always get what you want.  You may need to look at the preponderance of the situation.  Is the SM generally doing right by the scouts?  If so, be thankful and support him.  

Edited by fred8033
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4 minutes ago, fred8033 said:

@mrjohns2 is pointing out where authority lies with approving the service hours.  Per GTA, that's clearly with the scoutmaster.  Whether he should or should not approve that type of hours is a separate qusetion.  Whether a BOR can reverse him is an extremely very ugly situation and usually only results in explicit damage.  

With that said ... once we get to the point of discussing who has the authority and how, we're way off the tracks.  As with many things in life, the best way to handle differences is by direct conversation.  Get to know each others views.  Repeat his words to to him to see if you are really hearing him correctly and if he said it right.  See if there is a compromise.  See if there is a way to accomplish each other's goals in a different route that creates common understanding.  

Even bringing before the committee often makes things too stressful and creates annimosity.  

And accept, you will not always get what you want.  You may need to look at the preponderance of the situation.  Is the SM generally doing right by the scouts?  If so, get out of his way and support him.  

Completely agree.  I was pursuing this as a question of first principles...  if it ever gets to that point, we have already all failed ;)

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6 minutes ago, fred8033 said:

With that said ... once we get to the point of discussing who has the authority and how, we're way off the tracks.  As with many things in life, the best way to handle differences is by direct conversation. 

I am happy to agree with you 100%. I do think the SM should not approve this. As a CC, if they approved before we could discuss, I would not “override”. I would, though, discuss with the SM or that it wasn’t a good idea. 

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