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hellomom

what does "6 months active in Troop" mean?

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Does this "active" need to be in 6 consecutive months?

 

My son is in high school and very active in Performing Arts. Sometimes rehearsals overlap with troop meetings. Since becoming a Life scout a year and a half ago he has: gone to one summer camp, gone on 8 campouts, attended JLT, served 2 times as aspl, 2 prep hike days for Philmont and 10 days at Philmont but has only attended about 50% (approximately 17)of troop meetings due to performances and rehearsals. He attends the meetings when he can, he has not just sat at home, and frequently eats dinner and changes into his uniform in the car if the rehearsal gets out in time.

 

At the same time he has had the lead in 1 play, and been a cast member in 1 musical and 2 dramas. He also is in chorus and is required to attend performances and has auditioned for and attended 2 All State Chorus conferences. He is active in the student leadership in his youth group and is taking honors/ap classes.

 

His Scoutmaster is considering whether or not to sign off on the "active in troop" requirement for Eagle until he goes on at least 3 campouts in a 6 month period and attends troop meetings. There are already conflicts between youth group, school and scouts that would preclude his attending 3 outings out of the 6.

 

My son really desires to attain the rank of Eagle and will do what needs to be done to appease this SM (the SM may allow him to do something additional like lead a JLT to replace a campout). I feel that he has been active and the SM is adding to the requirement, which goes against the no more no less. Do I misunderstand the requirement?

 

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This has been discussed many times in other threads, but here's my 2 cents.

 

It is customary to view the active part as being consecutive months, but the requirement doesn't actually say that, so in theory any 6 months will suffice.

 

There really isn't supposed to be a percentage assigned, but an expectation of being there half the time is not unreasonable. However, active is a subjective word, so lets look at what his SM is looking for. He seems to be looking for 50% participation. In the 18 months, your son has gone on 8 campouts, 2 hikes, a Philmont trip and a summer camp (I am assuming these are all separate events). That would seem to support the 50% threshold. Now, if your troop meets every week, he seems a bit weak on the attending meetings aspect (and I am not saying he doesn't have a good excuse ,somewhere in these threads is the story of a young man who held up for the "active" reason because he was attending an EMT course that directly conflicted with every meeting). In 18 months, the troop likely has had somewhere in the area of 72 meetings, probably more like 60-65 when you factor in holidays and summer activities. 17/60 is not a great ratio. I'm having a hard time seeing how he could have been an effective ASPL only being there less than 1/3 of the time. That all depends on what his duties are as ASPL, and that's not a question I can answer. If they are meeting twice a month, your looking more in the 30-35 meeting range, and now he's in the ballpark for 50%. That's still not a great percentage for a troop leader, but it does support the SM's aim.

 

You could appeal it, and you will win, as BSA basically has said that being registered is being active, but your son sounds like a go-getter, I don't think he will want to advance that way.

 

You don't say how old your son is, but if he is getting All-State Chorus invites, I'm guessing he is 17 or nearly 17, those honors aren't generally given to freshmen and sophs. Work with the SM and try to come to some accomodation. If your son is rational and calm about pointing out where he has basically met the SMs threshhold, maybe it will work out. It would be best if your son did this by himself, however, it will show a maturity that might carry some sway.

 

 

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Oh, this subject gets bantered around a lot. Based on your description, I would probably sign off on your son. It sounds like he's trying to be as active as he can, given a very active and balanced lifestyle. While we would all love 110% dedicated scouts who never miss a thing, we have to be realistic in today's over-programed world. Work with your SM and try to negotiate a reasonable compromise. Maybe your son can step up and help do something special, like organize an event for the new scouts coming up.

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Unfortunately, this is one of those "undefined" requirements that's left up to the unit leadership to interpret. I have seen interpretations anywhere from "name shows up on the charter" to "must attend 100% of all meetings and outings unless excused in advance", and all variations in between. If you do not agree with the SM's interpretation, you can politely appeal to the unit committee, and then to the District Advancement Committee. In my own troop, we do not penalize scouts for being actively involved in jobs, school or sports activities. But we do expect regular communication, attend what you can, and not to just "disappear" for a year. Of course, if the scout is elected SPL, the criteria may be a little different. You can't lead in absentia.

 

I will say that in my troop, your son would be a LONG way from being considered "inactive".

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I admire your son's level of activity and involvement in a variety of activities. Way back in the stone age in another life, I was involved in the high school drama department and know a thing or two about the expectations when there is a production being put on. Life often is about choices. As much as we may want to do it all, we can't. Look at it this way. Lets pretend that the school play your son was a lead in was performed each night for two weeks. Would he have gotten or retained the part if he showed up for less than 50% of the rehearsals and performances? He had to make a commitment as part of the requirment for getting the part. Why should obtaining his Eagle be any different. Does he want it for the prestige or because he believes in what being an Eagle is all about? If so, he needs to be willing to make a commitment. Older boys before him gave of their time and talent to teach him. Is it unfair to expect the same from him. Choices. Perhaps he could put some of the other activities on the back burner for six months and give scouting the same concentration he has the other activites. I don't mean that to sound mean. I really do admire your son's enthusiasm. He can play the field with many activities, but there are points where he has to choose one other others instead of expect people to bend so he can have it all. Just my two cents.

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The only problem I have with that response is that I thought that scouts were supposed to take the oath and law into the REST of their lives. That they should use what they have learned and basically share those values--integrate being a boy scout into other areas where maybe scouting and scouting values are not spoken of often. Isn't there a reason why boys are given so many years to "do" scouting "inch by inch". It seems that an Eagle by 14 is a whole lot easier than to integrate becoming a Eagle by 18.

 

I am just trying to understand the underlying goal of this requirement.

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What I mean is that it seems when boys are younger it is easier to be immersed in the troop and troop activities. If troops want, and I hope they do, older boys to stay involved, I would think that acknowledging the developmental and cultural (the high school vs late elem or middle school) differences and embracing them might enhance the character of a troop.

 

what do you think?

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We have an Eagle candidate who turns 18 next month. He became a Life scout when he was 14 and was very active for the next 2 years. The last two years, he has not been active except to finish up a few merit badges and his project. The CC didn't want him to advance because he has never seen the scout at any meeting (in the last two years). We decided the requirement as written was met since he was active 4 years ago, but not in the last 6 months. We have a a lot of Life's who get distracted when they turn 16 only to return later to finish up.

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The requirement states: "Be active in your troop and patrol for at least 6 months as a Life Scout." It does not mention a specific activity level. The requirement isn't about level of activity at all, its about timing and progression. It prevents any scout other than a Life Scout from earning the Eagle, and it requires the person to be a registered Life Scout for at least 6 months, so that someone could not get his Life Scout rank and Eagle rank in the same month. It prevents too rapid advancement while prodding those who are interested in advancing to Eagle to make steady progression and not spend 4 years as a First Class Scout before deciding to try to earn the Eagle.

It also prevents a person who quits at 14 after being a Life Scout for 1 month from joining back up 2 months before their 18th birthday to earn the Eagle.

 

Based on your son's activity record with the Scouts, I'd say he has met the requirements. Don't be afraid to talk to your District's Advancement Chairman, they are there to provide guidance on these issues and to try to ensure that rank requirements are being consistently applied throughout the district (and council). Sort of like a regional manager for a McDonalds, part of their job is to ensure consistency throughout the franchises.

 

CalicoPenn

 

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Your son would certainly be considered active in our troop too. I think your SM is wrong to place specific attendance requirements on your son. It is the SM that should sign off on it, but what do the other committee members think about it, including the troop advancment coordinator? We have viewed active as a relative thing. A boy like yours who is active in many other worthwhile things outside scouts is cut some slack. I read a posting some time ago addressing this same thing -- the activity level after the Life rank. The suggestion was to get it nailed down prospectively during the Life board of review, so that all concerned understood what activity level the Scout was going to be capable of in case it was going to diminish from what it had been due to band, sports, church activities, etc. It was good advice and we do it in our troop.

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Our council's annual University of Scouting was last weekend. One of the courses that I took was "District Eagle Scout Representative Training and Certification". This was a topic in the training. We were told that if the scout in a leadership position is not performing the duties of his position and the SM does not hold a SM conference with the scout at any time during the six month time period in an attempt to improve the scout's performance in the position, the scout gets credit for the time served in the position, even if the scout does not perform any of the duties in the position (!).

This puts the burden on the SM. One of the SM's jobs is to train and guide the boy leaders in their leadership roles. He/she does this through junior leader training programs and SM conferences that the SM can call at any time with the scout concerning the latter's performance.

That being said, "active" has a different meaning for every youth leadership position. An SPL making 50% of the troop meetings and 50% of the other troop functions ain't doin' his job. On the other hand, the Troop Quartermaster shows up for all of the campouts but less than half of the troop meetings and keeps the troop's camping equipment in good repair >is< performing the duties of his position. Whatever duties the Troop Historian is given, as long as he performs them to the satisfaction of the SM gets credit for the time given even if he shows up only whenever he is needed (which may be once a month!).

"Active" really means " active in the perfomance of the duties of the office".

Boy! Was this an eye-opener for everybody in the class. But, . . . that is what "active" means.

 

G.B.

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I'm in the same camp as SR540Beaver on this. It's all about choices. If he really wants his Eagle, he needs to make a choice. It's great that your son is so involved in so many things. But it's time to decide what is most important.

 

You won't find a definition of active in any BSA literature that I know of. It is up to each unit to determine what active is.

 

My son played football & was involved in stage crew during high school & remained active in his Troop. He wasn't at every meeting or outing but he did make time for Scouts and he earned his Eagle. He made his choice.

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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Ed, I would say you agree with hellomom more than Beaver. You said your son "wasn't at every meeting or outing but he did make time for Scouts and he earned his Eagle". That's what she is saying too. He comes as much as he can. Look at her numbers. He's gone on eight campouts, summer camp, two hikes and Philmont. This is far from an inactive scout. Heck, I've seen "active" scouts that haven't been that active, and they didn't have an excuse.

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OK. This Scout has been Life for 18 months (1 1/2 years). In that time he has attended 44% of the campouts (1/month) & 21% of the Troop meetings (1/week). Plus Philmont, JLT, etc.

 

What has he done as ASPL? How many PLC's has he attended? How many PLC's has the Troop held in these 18 months?

 

How has he shown leadership in the Troop?

 

Again, it's all about choices.

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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The requirement is to be active for 6 months, not 18, if the requirement was 18 months maybe there would be an issue. The scout has served 2 terms as ASPL, and would have had to be active to successfully have completed the terms.

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