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lrwebb

First Class First Year

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I gladly admit to being an old Codger when it comes to the traditional Scoutcraft skills!!

I do see that new styled equipment may not require the same level of knowledge that maybe it once did. But looking back, once a tent had been used a few times, there was no need to keep tying knots.

I don't live very far from our primitive Council camp and very often do open it up when people want to camp there. There is a unit that seems to be there every time I seen to be there. They are not in the same District as myself, but I know the SM, in fact he was a member of the Owl patrol when he did his Wood Badge back in 1999, I was his Troop Guide. Without wishing to be unkind the guy is not the brightest light on the Christmas Tree.

This Troop is at camp a lot, but other then sleeping in tents and playing with the fire, they never seem to do anything. They are there so often, I very much doubt if they ever go anywhere else. While I'm sure this is or was fun and adventure for the little Lad when he first joined the Troop, I have to think that it must get old real quick. I know from comments that my son who will be 17 next month has made he thinks what they do is just boring and he makes a point of rolling the "r"!!

I really don't see that going away to sleep in a tent and eat outside offers the PL the opportunity to lead. If we are going to really make the Outdoors method work we need to ensure that the Adult Leaders have the skills. Sure if we have Scouts who have them, let them be involved with passing the skills on to the little Lads and the adults who may not have them. But somewhere along the line the Scout, be he young or old has to learn the skill from someone? If he isn't learning it from his Troop Leaders I think that's a shame.

I have always used the Troop meetings as the prep area for the big event the big event being the weekend activity.

I hate riding a bicycle, but if the PLC had a bike hike as the monthly activity, we used that a the theme for the month. We looked at road safety, maintaining your bike, reading a road map and the list goes on.

Camp gadgets are only boring if you sell them as being boring!! I have seen inter-patrol gadget building competitions result in some very ingenious contraptions and along the way the Scouts have used the knots and lashings that we practiced at the troop meetings.

If the day comes when we no longer use outdoors as a method of Scouting and there is no need to learn the outdoor skills, I think that they should no longer be requirements. But they are still required and as long as they are someone has to be able to teach them to our Scouts. Not just knots and rope, but all the outdoor skills.

If the Troop Leaders don't have these skills is it any wonder why a Scout doesn't reach Fist Class? Worse still we have Scouts that have been signed off as knowing this stuff when they have as much idea of what they are supposed to know as flying to the moon.

Eamonn.

 

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OGE,

If a Troop has an active program then the opportunity for advancement already exists therefore eliminating the need for FCE. Why not reinforce the existing program instead of creating a new one? That is actually my point.

 

Someone did post (might have been another forum) National had statistics to support FCE/FCFY. And if memory serves, the statistics were never posted.

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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>>Again do not assume that everyone misinterprets the information, manydo not. Some understand it and just choose to ignore it,. Some understand it but disagree and so they change it. Some do not understand it at so do not try to learn it. Not everyone who doesn't use the program incorrectly simply interpreted it wrong.

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I would ask why it has to be explainable in one sentence. Why can't it just be explained? Not evrything fits into neat one sentence packages.

 

Remeber that first year retention is only 1/3 of the problem. Webelos I to Webelos II transition and age 16 are the other two.

 

Even is more leaders used the New Scout Patrol and the 1st Class Emphasis program the membership dyke would still be leaking, it just wouldn't leak as fast and that in itself is a good thing.

 

I do not see how the membership loss proves that First Class Emphasis isn't working. In units that use it I see far better retention numbers. The fact that no enough leaders use it or use it incorrectly speaks more to a problem with quality leadership selection and quality leadership training at the local level.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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"If it were up to any of you and you wanted to explain the First Class advancement part of the program in one sentence to a New SM who doesnt have any scouting experience, what would you say? "

 

I don't think I can or could do it!!

I still get phone calls from new Scoutmasters with five or six years in asking how I would go about doing something.

Back when I was a participant at Wood Badge the catch phrase seemed to be "Check your resources" A new Scoutmaster might have people around him that know and understand the program and how it works or he might have to look for a mentor.

Some Leaders are happy to see the Scouts take part in a first year camper course at camp, where the Scouts cover the skills needed for First Class rank, while they tend to the fire all day!!

Some Scouter's will read the handbooks and go out of their way to follow what is inside. Others never open any of the handbooks.

My advise to any new leader would be to attend training's and ask lots of questions.

Eamonn.

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I said...

 

"I've got two minor nits and one major. First, your statement says "the troop's adult leadership". Where's the boy-run or boy-led in this?"

 

...and you replied...

 

"You need patience, the boy run part is coming but these are brand New Scouts. You cannot expect new scoputs to just crossover from 4 years of cubbing and begin to self-govern themselves in a program they do not even know yet..."

 

...and I think you missed my point. I was not talking about the brand new boys leading themselves. I was pointing out that your statement said that it was up to the troop adult leadership to provide the FCE when it seems that it ought to be the older boy leadership of the troop that does this. Like I said, it's just a minor nit, so no big deal

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So if FCE seems to be hard to understand why continue using it? Why not reinforce and improve the existing programs instead of one that seems to be tough to understand by the masses?

 

I still don't see the rush! A boy is in Boy Scout for about 7 years and we want to jam him through 1/2 of the ranks in 1/7th of the time he is in Scouting? And we wonder why they retain less!

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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>>Why can't it just be explained? Not evrything fits into neat one sentence packages.>I do not see how the membership loss proves that First Class Emphasis isn't working.

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but, couldn't that be said of all scout advancement? How does that get a leader any closer to using the program correctly? In Scout leader specific training we actually tell them how to do the program, and yet some scouters after years of unit experience, or even after giving service as a commissioner and trainer still do not use the program. I am unconvinced that one well shaped sentence is going to make a difference. We need to select leaders who 'want' to do the scouting program.

 

Look at units that use the NSP and 1st Class Emphasis and compare them to units that do no. I believe you will find as I have that the units using these tools are not the one contributing to the membership loss.

 

(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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I think this issue is a two edge sword, on the one hand it is good to provide the boys with the opportunity to advance as soon as they master the appropriate scout skills. On the other hand we all know there are some boys who do not catch on as fast and need more individual attention, and some who could care less about advancing. So I feel it is how this idea is handled, if the SM gets up and dictates to the troop that all boys will be first class in one year in this troop the ones who do not make it will feel like a failure and drop out, that is not what scouting is all about. On the other hand if we tell the boys the ultimate goal is to provide them with the opportunities to advance in their first year as far as they can, up to first class then those who only make it to 2nd class will still feel they accomplished something positive. Too many SM's run their troops like a military unit with a do or die mentality and thats what really hurts scouting and causes boys to drop out.

Positive Attitude and Program are what really determines the success of any scout troop.

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I'm with Barry. What is the point of FCE? To offer new Scouts the ability to advance! Doesn't the existing Boy Scout program have this already? Why do we need another program that is designed to do what the existing program already does? It would be better to focus on the existing programs & make them better.

 

What's the rush!

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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"So I feel it is how this idea is handled, if the SM gets up and dictates to the troop that all boys will be first class in one year in this troop the ones who do not make it will feel like a failure and drop out, that is not what scouting is all about."

 

While I realize there are leaders out there who do that, that sort of behavior is unrelated to the leadership skills of scouting.

 

"On the other hand if we tell the boys the ultimate goal is to provide them with the opportunities to advance in their first year as far as they can, up to first class then those who only make it to 2nd class will still feel they accomplished something positive.

 

Ltes see how the BSA talks about it in the Boy Scout Handbook, page 2,

 

" Let a First Class Scout tell you about his lates trip: I ahve been a scout for almost a year, and I have been on plenty of hikes and campouts."

 

Page 14

"Though you can advance at your own pace, active scouts usually earn First Class within a year of joining the troop."

 

Scoutmasters Handbook page 117

" Just as advancment helps unite the other 7 methods of scouting, completing requirements and moving upward in rank are natural outcomes of a troops regular activities.The more interesting the program offered by the troop, the better its record of advancement.

 

Page 15 (highlighted inset) First Class Emphasis

 

(Please read so as to save on my keyboard time)

 

 

 

 

 

 

(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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What's your point, Bob? If a unit has an active program & offers advancement opportunities, why even bother with FCE? There is no need! And if a unit doesn't have an active program & doesn't offer advancement opportunities, there is more wrong that FCE can help with.

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

 

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I see First Class Emphasis as a reminder to the adult leaders that the new boys in the troop have a goal of First Class rank, and that for the boys to reach their goal, the adults need to emphasize activities and opportunities for the boys to achieve it.

 

Are we setting aside time on campouts for boys to learn the skills they haven't yet been exposed to? Do the patrol leaders know which of the patrol members need which opportunities? As we hike down the trail do we point out plants and animals? Is a different boy serving as the patrol cook on each campout?

 

It's important that boys achieve the First Class rank, and it's important that the adult leaders emphasize it. FCFY is simply recognizing the importance of boys achieving the rank, and ensuring that we are enabling the boys to get there. If were doing everything right, this should take 12-14-18 months. If it is taking 2-3 years, then maybe we need to look at what were doing.

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