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Zahnada

Now, when did it actually work?

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I feel this conversation has gotten increasingly nasty and will continue along this route. Therefore, I intend to say my piece and then depart.

 

To start, Dan, I do not agree with what the scoutmaster of the troop has done by adding requirements to the Life Rank.

 

I feel that the people responding to this thread have been portrayed in a black-and-white manner. There's the staunch, immobile, program conservationists on one side and the anarchist, do-what-you-want, program tinkerers on the other.

 

Here's my view of this topic. The BSA program is wonderful and it has been proven to work in millions of cases. But, as I mentioned before, nothing man-made is perfect and the BSA is no exception. Part of our job as leaders is to constantly evaluate the effectiveness of the program we are giving the youth under us. Here are the steps I would use when delivering the BSA program.

 

1. Deliver the program by the book.

2. Evaluate the program's success (what criteria depends on what aspect of the program). For my previous example of JLTC, I and others evaluated that boys were not having fun and they were not effectively learning leadership skills. Something was failing.

3. Return to the program. Read the materials, ask the professionals for help. Do everything possible to make sure that what you're delivering is the BSA program in its entirety. Make sure the leaders are following it.

4. Evaluate again.

5. If you still feel that something's failing, try to nail down what the exact problem is.

6. Return to the program. Research that problem and ask the professionals again. Is there a solution to the problem within the program?

7. Experiment. Try something new.

8. Evaluate the alterations.

 

 

Naturally, #7 is what the forum is arguing about. I realize that it is a very slippery slope to change one thing and then change more. I realize that once you've fallen down that slippery slope, you're no longer giving the BSA program. However, as leaders we should always be evaluating and searching for improvement. Usually that improvement can be found within the BSA literature. Usually alterations are not necessary and should definitely be avoided.

 

97% of the time I would agree with Bob White that adults who alter the program are doing a disservice to their youth. However, as with the case of JLTC, I feel that the old program did them more of a disservice. The changes we made created a better learning environment and a more enjoyable experience for the youth. I'm rather vindicated that BSA has also chosen to rewrite JLTC and search for improvements.

 

Program changes should be small and rare, but good can come of them.

 

If anyone wants to discuss this with me further, please PM me. I have found that for the more tense topics, Private Messaging is often more productive and informative. There appears to be a battle commensing on this thread and I would rather remove myself now.

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"I see a big difference between a tweak to program elements (ie., mixed-aged patrols, which BSA rules do not prohibit), and adding to advancement requirements, which violates BSA rules."

 

So the marker we use is 'if it doesn't violate a policy then it is OK to change'?

 

That makes it OK to change not only the Patrol Method but ANY method since the methods are not governed by any policies.

 

So I could change the points of the Scout Law?

 

Drop Duty to God from the Oath?

 

I could change the Outdoor Code to say "I will trespass only when I want to." That doesn't break a rule.

 

We could eliminate using any advancement since the rules don't say you have to have an advancement program.

 

We can stop going camping alltogether because not going is not against the rules.

 

We don't need to promote a uniform, thats not against any rule.

 

We don't have to elect youth leaders, thats not against any rule.

 

We don't have to teach character, citizenship or fitness because that doesn't violate any rule.

 

So why worry about changing the Patrol method, it is no more or no less important than any other method and changing it doesn't violate any rules.

 

You worry because it is the methods that make scouting, scouting. When you change the methods you change the program, and it is our job to deliver it, not to change it.

 

 

 

 

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Zahnada

Seems like you are running away from something you started, whats up with that.

You asked for an example I gave you one, but you do not like it, I do not understand, why you asked for something, and than say you do not agree with something you asked for. Whats up with that.

 

Hunt

Where would I find these rules you are talking about?

 

OldGreyEagle

At this time I am not supporting the troop. I am still a registered leader, but not in good standing.

 

All

I am not asking if you support changes to advancement requirements. I am asking if you support tweaking the program of the BSA.

Or are you saying advancement requirements are not part of the program?

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"Zahnada

Seems like you are running away from something you started, whats up with that.

You asked for an example I gave you one, but you do not like it, I do not understand, why you asked for something, and than say you do not agree with something you asked for. Whats up with that."

 

Dan,

 

I would much prefer to hold these conversations in PM, but I guess I'll reply since you called me out in public.

 

To answer your questions, I am running away from something I started because it is no longer the thread I started. I'm perfectly willing to discuss my original question through PM. But now, things are so bitter that I feel any post will be ripped apart and criticized based on semantics or other non-substantive criteria.

 

As for your example of a program change, it is what I asked for. I did ask for changes that have worked, and in the mind of the scoutmaster in question, apparently it has worked. Never have I said that I would agree with all changes and support them. I do not like that change and I would never implement such a change in a troop or support such implementation. This is not contradictory on my part. I just evaluated the change and didn't like it.

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I often wonder how the new folks who join feel about the posters they find on these threads, and if they stick around or come back. Why would they?

 

I can't believe how adults act with each other, especially given the common interests. I love posting on a few different boards, but always refuse to get into a whizzing match. My time is too valuable, and life is too short.

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Tweaking the program and adding requirements are not necessarily the same thing. Mixed age patrols is tweaking the program. Adding requirements is forbidden by the BSA. If one is tweaking the program by adding requirements then that is a violation of BSA policy. Mixed age patrols is not a violation of any BSA rule, reg or policy.

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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I agree with Ed, using mixed age patrols is tweaking, saying only trained registered leaders are the only adults who can overnight with the troop is tweaking, saying no females on campouts is tweaking, having 15 scouts in a patrol because only half only show up at any one time is tweaking but adding requirements to the advancement process is wrong, having scoutmaster conferences that last hours with drills on knots is wrong and BOR's that redo each requirement is wrong.

 

I also know that no matter what I say, most troops will continue to operate the way they have always operated, some well and some not so well.

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Here is the BSA program. At least this is what I think of when I talk about he BSA program.

Ideals

Patrols

Outdoor Programs

Advancement

Associations With Adults

Personal Growth

Leadership Development

Uniform

 

So evmori and OldGreyEagle say it is okay to tweak the Patrol method but not the Advancement method.

Which other methods are open in your mind for tweaking? ANY or just the patrol method?

 

evmori as I asked Hunt when he said that changing advancement requirements are against the BSA rules, and you said, adding requirements is a violation of BSA policy, where are these rules/polices?

 

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I've been avoiding getting into this fray, but have finally decided to weigh in. After all, it's election day, and we should all have our say.

 

I agree with what Ed and OGE said in their most recent posts. In order to make the program succeed, we must occasionally "tweak" it to our specific needs. I'll give some examples from my troop in a moment.

 

Dan, there is a big difference between "tweaking" the patrol system because of individual troop concerns and rewriting requirements. The BSA has very clear policies regarding advancement and the process for going about changing those for pariticular situations (boys with disabilities, etc.). The BSA has no absolute requirements regarding patrol size. If they did, then my answer would be different.

 

Our troop started last year with 9 new first year scouts. They were not prepared for boy leadership. We had to introduce it to them over time. We implemented the methods to the greatest degree possible, and then have gradually built on them over time. We started with two small patrols (4 and 5 boys), in order to get them introduced to the patrol system. However, we did not have an SPL. For the first several months, our ASM acted like the SPL. PLs also had some of the SPL responsibilities (for example, they rotated opening and closing troop meetings between them).

 

Over time, we moved more and more SPL work onto the PLs. Until, this summer, the boys elected their first SPL. He just happened to be one of the PLs that had been doing much of the SPL work during the previous 6 months.

 

Now, did we "tweak" the program to meet our needs? Yes. Was it successful? IMO, Yes. Was it within the spirit of the Aims & Methods? IMO, Yes. Are the boys better able to run a quality boy-led troop due to being brought slowly into it instead of throwing them in over their heads? IMO, again, Yes.

 

I love this program and believe it is, by far, the best youth program available. I study and review the aims & methods on a regular basis. My opinions about how they should be implemented and how our troop is using them changes as I gain experience. A good leader needs to understand them and use them in every way possible. He also needs to adapt them to fit the personal needs of the boys and their particular state of development. We can do this without changing the "program". We have to do it without changing "policy" (i.e. advancement requirements).

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EagleInKY

Once again where would I find this policy (i.e. advancement requirements).

You are the 3rd person in this thread to talk about this policy.

I do not believe there is a policy.

 

It looks like you are saying it is okay to change the Patrol method and the Leadership Development Method, but not the Advancement Method?

 

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EagleInKY

Once again where would I find this policy (i.e. advancement requirements).

You are the 3rd person in this thread to talk about this policy.

I do not believe there is a policy.

 

It looks like you are saying it is okay to change the Patrol method and the Leadership Development Method, but not the Advancement Method?

 

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Now Dan, I and Ed never said we were doing away with patrols as a method of scouting. What was said, and I am sorta speaking for Ed, so Ed, if I am wrong. you may feel free to chastise me, what was said that the BSA reccommeds having patrols set up according to age. SOme troops have mixed age parols because they say it works for them, Backpacker amoung them I beleive, again if I am wrong, Backpacker one free shot that wont be edited, unless of course its vulgar, profane etc.

 

I dont see anywhere that Ed or I said that we would eliminate Patrols or change their structure of having members who elect a patrol leader and the patrol leader selects an assitiant. If anything I said leads you to beleive I dont think the patrol system is needed in boy scouts, please point out the post so I can either clarify what I meant or barbecue my shoe because if its in my mouth I want to enjoy it at least.

 

Now, as far as advancement rules go, in the BSA publication #33088D titled Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures 2002 Printing on the last paragraph of page three it states,

 

"No council, district, unit or individual has the authority to add to or subtract from advancment requirements"

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"... changing advancement requirements are against the BSA rules, and you said, adding requirements is a violation of BSA policy, where are these rules/polices?".

 

The rules can be found in the "Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures" publication #33088. Every troop should have one.

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Actually, what the SM training and the Scoutmaster Handbook say is "There are three types of patrols, Regular, New Scout, and Venture patrols. Which type and how many depend on the ages of the scouts, their interests, and their needs.

 

No where does the BSA recommend organizing patrols by mixed ages. It says similar ages and interests.

 

Does it violate a rule? No. Neither does not using the advancement program, not going camping or not learning the Oath or Law.

 

Like the Patrol Method these are not mandated by any policy, but it would not be scouting without them. If "tweaking is OK" then who determines what tweaking is and when it has gone too far. How many scouts will leave the program before someone tweaks it back into being scouting?

 

EagleDad in his example did not change the program he was working toward it. I don't think anyone has a problem with that. Others however know the program and work away from because they see a "better" way. I think lots of people have a big problem with that because it ends up chasing scouts away.

 

Still others refuse to even learn the program as if it is something they can make up themselves or stumble upon as they meander blindly through boring meetings leaving a trail of "former" scouts in their wake.

 

The best, most consistent way to have a good program is to follow the Scouting program. everyone nods in agreement and then several post "well here is how we do it instead".

 

Ed is fortunate that someone of OGE's abilities would speak for him.

 

BUT, Ed seems capable of speaking for himself. Let's hear Ed explain how his changes in the program have succeeded in his troop.

 

 

 

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Thanks Old Grey One. I didn't have the policy manual with me.

 

Dan, as quoted by OGE, the advancment policy clearly forbids what you are talking about. However, there is no such policy regarding patrol structure.

 

Tweaking the method may involve doing something like having an ASM do Scoutmaster Conferences instead of the SM. I know some troops do that because of their size. Some do not have dads do it with their sons. This is an example of tweaking, but still staying within the "program".

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