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Attendance Requirements

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Kilo-Bravo-6 offers:


We use the requirement "be active in your troop and patrol for x months" to enforce an 80% policy. ...This is another of those spin off topics I think.


Yah, Ok, welcome to da spin zone :).


Now before we all start actin' like Elk in ruttin' season, I beg a favor. Before respondin' back and forth, first share with the group the following:


Does your troop have any attendance rules or expectations (and what are they?)?


If yes, what if any are the consequences? Can yeh give an example?


If no, how do you handle the inevitable "freeloaders" and poor examples that do crop up from time to time (and their parents)?


Honest as you can, how does that work for your unit? Both pluses and minuses, eh!

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We have a policy on the books that says any scout who misses more than 50% of meetings and camp outs may be excluded from certain "activities" that the troop holds a couple times a year, such as lock ins, bowling nights, troop night at the movies, etc.. These "activities" are generally highly popular so the feeling is, this is an incentive for boys to attend at least half the "regularly scheduled" events. Although it is on the books, and occasionally comes up for discussion, in two years I haven't seen it enforced yet. And I think it may be counter productive. If we have kids on the fence about the troop and then we tell them they can't come to their favorite activity of the whole year, well why would they stay? Alternately, if our meetings & campouts are that unappealing, then maybe something's wrong there.


We have no % rule for rank advancement.



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We have the policy that if you wish other scouts to attend and support your eagle project, you had better set a good example by showing up at the meetings and helping the younger boys with their advancement.


When the older scouts don't get the necessary eagle project help, too bad. Too often the hypocracy of their "leadership" is obvious to all.


Those eagle scouts who have remained active in the troop do not have any help from their friends in the troop. Those that don't have a tough time garnering a labor force from strangers.



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No we were discussing adding just such a policy when we were given a letter by our district advancement Chairperson that such requirements for "active" or " Scout Spirit" were expressly forbidden by National Advancement Committee. We have had more experience with an eagle candidate working very hard to keep younger scouts as far away from his eagle project as possible. Not asking openly for help but specifically recruiting the older scouts only. The younger scouts lack necessary skills and self discipline to be an asset to the project apparently. They just want to play and have fun. I was there the one day that younger scouts were and it was difficult for the older boys to keep the younger ones focused. Some of the adult leadership are upset with the eagle candidate in question because of this issue his attendance is spotty to meetings and events. He has sports commitments on meeting night. We are trying something with our non cooperative scouts requiring their parents to go on outings with them until their behavior improves. We will see how this works.


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I have observed in my own experiences and watching PLCs that generally attendance requirements are an easy attempt for lesser experienced leaders to fix difficult problems. But as the leadership gets more experienced and more skilled at their jobs, the attendance requirements go away.


Looking back on it, I dont have a problem with some level of attendance requirements for that reason (with in reason). Its kind of like developing a program using JLT. The BSA JLT (TLT) course isnt really all that good, but is a good start for new troops trying to bring JLTs into their program.


If our troop has attendance requirements, they were from way way back when. If they are still there, it is only because no one has taken the time to edit them out of the job requirements. Neither the adults nor the PLC have needed to use required attendance for a long time.




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Our Troop does not have any attendance requirements, at least not any tied to advancement (i.e., must attend XX percent of outings).


We used to for years, but I threw them out along with all the other by-laws two years ago. One thing I feel very strongly about is that you cannot motivate people through punishment or coercion (or at least that's not my method).


These days:


We expect Scouts going on an outing to be present at the Monday meeting just prior to the trip to finalize plans. If a Scout is not going to be there, we expect him to call his PL and explain his reason for the absence. We have not yet had to think of any kind of consequences for repeated absences, as it hasn't been a problem for a couple of years now.


For T-1st class, why would a Troop need additional attendance requirements? 2nd and 1st class each have an attendance requirement built in for advancement - going on a certain number of outings with the Troop. If a guy is not going on monthly outings regularly, he will just not advance as quickly as another guy who goes and does everything offered. So what?


It doesn't take long for it to become obvious who is just along for the fun and the ride. I have no problem with that, as long as he clearly understands that he WILL work (cook, clean, set up, take down) whenever he shows up for a campout. I do take the time to talk to the Scout and his parents if I see a pattern developing like that. I've only had two guys in the past two years like that and they both eventually dropped out because while they wanted the fun of Boy Scouts, they sure didn't like the work.


For Star, Life and Eagle ranks: In our Troop we expect those in a POR to actually DO THE JOB. Obviously, some PORs require more effort and presence than others. This is very clearly explained to anyone wishing a POR and it is then up to them to decide if they can fulfill the parameters of the job. We no longer give out POR titles just so someone can pass of the "serve in a POR..." requirement. We had elections a month ago and one guy was eager to run for SPL. When it was pointed out to him that SPL would take a lot of his time and effort he realized he couldn't do the job since soccer season just started and he would not be available much. Ah, thinking for themselves.


The consequence of expecting the guys in a POR to do the job was felt early this year. We had one guy who made Life Rank in 2004. He has been absent since then, showing up once in a while since last summer asking what he needed to do to "make" Eagle. Without going into great detail, this Scout did not recharter with us in February, 4 months short of his 18th birthday and did not earn Eagle.


By contrast, we have another Life Scout turning 18 this summer. A couple of years ago he, too, was largely absent. But something different happened to him. He ran for and was elected SPL. When he showed signs of becoming slack in his position we had a talk. No threats, no percentages. Just a chat about what he perceived his responsibility to the Troop to be. He served in that position for about 7 months and only missed one meeting night after our talk. He also started having PLCs (sporadically), something which we hadn't had in years. He is not so active with the Troop now since he's attending dual enrollment classes with High School and college, but he plans to finish his project this Spring and EARN his Eagle.


Sorry, it seems I was rambling a bit.



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Our "policy", if you want to call it that is essentially the same as jblake47's. It not written anywhere. We have not specific attendance requirements. But our experience is that those boys (and we have a couple) that only show up for the more popular outings and maybe summer camp don't advance. We do closely track the activity requirements for the lower ranks, and camping MB. Those that are not that active, don't typically advance beyond 1st class. That's the only consequence, and the scouts know and understand it.


It has been my experience over the last 5 years, that virtually all our Eagle candidates have remained active in the troop. Most have served as SPL. Several have worked on summer camp staff. Now we also don't run MB classes at troop meetings except once in a while. Maybe one or two a year. A scout would need to take the initiative to attend summer camp for several years as well as attend the district's MB University for several years, as well as obtain one or two MBs outside of those venues to approach Eagle and actively serve in a position of responsiblity for the upper ranks. How does a scout get into the position of working on an Eagle project without having at least the level of activity described above?






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Yah, Eagledad, exactly. When I was typin' the intro, that's exactly what I was thinkin' my experience was with different troops, but I couldn't quite put it into words.


I see attendance requirements (and other rules-based "requirements") come out when a troop is having some "issues" that they really need to get control of. The requirements are as much a form of "good communication" of expectations as anything - kinda like a way of saying "hey, we're really serious about changing this."


As they succeed at improving the troop culture and gain experience, the expectations shift from bein' rules-based to being more social-based. Partly that's the leaders' improvin', but mostly it's the kids and parents buying in and doin' their own "social enforcement." At that point, "rules" fade.


Da one troop I work with as an MC is a good example. They have two attendance rules:


1) 70% attendance for youth leaders/positions of responsibility. Enforcement by SPL conference, then SM conference, then removal. This was put in place by the SM after he got frustrated by spendin' a lot of time doing JLT/training only to have kids not give back. The rule helped get that under control, because it was a kind of communication the kids and parents understood. I can only remember it being enforced once fairly early on, where an SPL was showin' up for less than 20% of the events. I am sure nobody ever tracks the percentage - even then it was only computed after the fact to deal with a difficult parent.


2) 50% attendance for troop members. Can't say I know what the enforcement is; I think it's mosly PL conference, SPL conference, SM conference. I think they do drop kids from the roster at recharter, but only ones who've completely faded down to zero anyway. This is a PLC rule, after they got frustrated many years back with some kids who would "cherry pick" fun events and then blow off other events/service projects, usually at the last minute. They got that under control I guess, because I haven't heard anything since. I am certain nobody tracks the percent.


What happened is da rules were used for communication, perhaps with some exemplary enforcement right at the beginnin'. Then the rules just faded to the point where they are only "conversation starters" if they're mentioned at all.


Yah, dat's how some of us feel about most rules, eh? Useful for teachin' beginners, but then yeh have to move past 'em to Principles. ;)


What's important to me is that each troop have real expectations of boys. Whether they're conveyed in a rule or more informally, havin' those expectations, and living by them, is necessary for growin' boys.


Never seen a unit which uses letters from National or "don't add to the requirements" as a way of avoidin' having solid expectations be worth a darn.




As an aside, IMO it's time for Terry to retire or move to a different position. Da problem is that National advancement largely deals with complaints all the time. After a while yeh just start doin' things as a way to avoid the complaints. Kinda like grade inflation in schools. Yeh lose sight of the real-world things kids need to learn to succeed.


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Short answer, yes our troop does have attendance expectations. Long answer, well first lets look at what the requirements are that may pertain to attendance/participation with included editorial comment that I made and communicated to our Scouts and their families. As Scoutmaster, I run the advancement program for the troop and I feel it is important that I communicate my expectation to the boys.



Participation is essential to advancement and the requirements are clearly defined in the Boy Scout Handbook for the ranks of Tenderfoot through First Class Scout. Participation requirements for Star, Life, and Eagle are listed, but not as specifically defined. The requirements for these ranks are as follows:


Tenderfoot: Spend at least one night on a patrol or troop campout. Sleep in a tent you have helped pitch on a ground bed you have prepared.

Second Class: Since joining, have participated in five separate troop/patrol activities (other than troop/patrol meetings), two of which included camping overnight.

First Class: Since joining, have participated in ten separate troop/patrol activities (other than troop/patrol meetings), three of which included camping overnight.

Star: Be active in your troop and patrol for at least 4 months as a First Class Scout.

Life: Be active in your troop and patrol for at least 6 months as a Star Scout.

Eagle: Be active in your troop and patrol for at least 6 months as a Life Scout.


For the ranks of Star, Life, and Eagle a requirement of be active exists. What does be active mean? It goes beyond just being registered. It means that you are an active, contributing member of your Patrol and Troop. This requirement is explained in The Boy Scout Handbook by TO GAIN FULL ADVANTAGE of all Scouting has to offer, you need to be present when things are happening. Take part in meetings, in planning activities, and in the fun of adventures. If youre there, you can do your part to make your patrol and troop a success.


Maybe you are very active in the Order of the Arrow, attending all functions and even serving in a leadership capacity. Your unit leader may not accept that as meeting the participation requirement. Likewise, you may be serving on camp staff all summer and busy during the fall with the start of school, sports, and/or a job. But, if you are not being a participating member, leader and example in your patrol and troop, your unit leader may not accept your performance for this requirement.


So what do you do if life has you running a hundred miles an hour? Talk to your Scoutmaster. To avoid disappointment, find out what he sees as acceptable performance before you start working on these ranks. If necessary, use those leadership skills you're developing to negotiate an acceptable arrangement. You'll be glad you did!

Also, keep in mind that this time is your window to accomplish all the other requirements. You may wish to take more than four or six months to complete requirements, which is all right as long as you have time prior to turning eighteen. However, at the very least, it is imperative that you not delay in establishing AND writing down your plan to accomplish all the requirements.


Generally, to advance, you must participate as follows for the designated 4 or 6 month period:


Weekly Meetings: you must participate in more than half of the weekly troop meetings.

Campouts: you must participate in more than half of the campouts/outings.

Other Troop Activities (parades, fundraisers, service projects, PLC meetings, etc.): you must participate in at least half of these activities.


Again, if you cannot meet these participation requirements, for your own benefit, discuss your situation with the Scoutmaster in advance, not after the fact.


Again, the above is what we communicate to our Scouts. Do we have attendance requirements? The answer is no (because if we did, that would be adding to the requirements) but we do set a minimum expectation of 50% attendance.

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Sea Scouting does have as part of the Advancement requirements.

Ordinary requires:Attend 75% of the Ships meetings and activities over six months.

Able requires:Attend 75% of the Ships meetings and activities over one year.

Quartermaster Requires:Attend at least 75 percent of your ship's meetings and special activities for 18 months (including previous service of Apprentice, Ordinary, and Able).

To be very honest we are finding that these requirements get in the way and do more harm than good!!

Much as I hate to look for loop holes these attendance requirements have made us look really hard at what is a meeting? What is an activity?

We have a few Scouts who never ever miss anything. But we have Scouts who for one reason or another can't get to the meetings.

One girl has had driving lessons on Monday nights for the past six weeks. She will be away all Summer.She missed the Quarterdeck Training, due to something going on at her church.

Holding her back doesn't seem right to me!!

The Quarterdeck now lists what activities and meetings are "Ship" meetings and activities.

Of course some of our Scouts don't care much about advancing and that's fine.

I have set minimum numbers for events that I'm willing to attend. I'm unwilling to give up my weekend and drive several hundred miles for two or three Scouts. If they can find the needed adult leadership? The event can still go ahead. (Most times it doesn't!!)

Some people might think that this is unfair.

But even a weekend trip for me entails making sure someone is around for Her Who Must Be Obeyed, taking th time and spending the money to put Rory in a kennel and most times me using one of our vehicles.

Some events just fall on the wrong day!! Sadly the Japanese knot-wood service project that an outside organization planned is the day after the HS prom. The Scouts would have gone but the date just didn't work. Only 2 Scouts signed up.

Rightly or wrongly? I'm unwilling to give up an entire day for 2 Scouts.

At times I get peeved when the participation doesn't live up to my expectations!! That's when I try really hard to remind myself that it's their Ship.


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Unofficially 50% for the main troop and 70 % for POR, this sounds good.


My son and I (both ASM's) have been toying with presenting the same idea to the committee and the troop. We're 2 of the 4 main leaders.

The new SM has a lot of ideas for activities, almost to many to fit into a schedule. Luckily, he is with us on the idea.


I would like to see an unofficial attendance requirement. I agree with Acco. I would like to add to it that "If you are tied up in a sport, especially at the Varsity level, and you can't attend due to that sport/school activity, bring me a letter from the coach/ band director, etc, to that effect with a schedule attached." I've seen to many so-so scouts use the sport or other activity as an excuse for not showing up, knowing that their practice was over at 4 or 5 PM. If there are problems with grades, let me know. I might confirm it with your parents though.


I also let the Middle School and High Schoolers know that a lot of what they do in their classes can be used toward MB requirements if they think it out and plan accordingly.


Sometimes you still need to dangle a carrot to peak interest.

I would like to see our troop do a High Adventure trip every other year for the whole troop. On the off year have another trip for the scouts that meet certain requirements, 50% (maybe 70%) of the troop meetings, campouts, service projects, fundraisers. Bonus points for addition things, NYLT, Rel. Awards, Den Chiefing with the pack, being active with the Lodge or Chapter.


As my oldests HS Swim Coach use to say, "I know that you young adults have lives outside of the pool, at school, church, scouts, etc. I now that these will on occasion conflict with our schedule. That is why I have the COACHES AWARD. It is for those of you who make all the practices and meets, except when sick (needed to come from the parent). It is not to punish those of you that run into these conflicts but to award those of you who really make the effort to be here." My son never did receive the Coaches Award. One year was at an international youth peace forum, one year a national church youth convention, all four years blew off the Sat. practice for those that didn't go to an invitational for Klondike. Coach understood and Dave understood.

No reason we can't try the same thing. It's not a punishment, it's just awarding the scout that put forth the effort.

If you have a good program, they will participate.

Sorry for the ramble.


This weekend we're camping. Of coures there is a band function planned for Sat. We told the boys when it is over come on out anyway. There is know excuse not to. One of us four, whose son is involved is willing to drive them out. "See you about 5 PM. We hold dinner, can have some fun later and it will count toward Polar Bear."

(This message has been edited by ASM915)

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I knew this would get it's own thread


Does our troop have any attendance rules and or expectations? YES

(if so what are they) We expect a boy, in order to get the most out of the program, and in order to give leadership via his POR, to attend 7 out of 10 outings and 3 out of 4 meetings. Scouts that cannot manage this level of participation should step down from Positions of Responsibility and consult with the SM regarding their availability.


Now this lends itself to advancement, in that a boy must hold a POR for a defined period of time. In our troop, we expect the boy to fulfill his obligation to his position, and if he can't or won't, we ask him to step down. If he doesn't we remove him after a discussion at the PLC. If a scout has not fulfilled the requirements for "be active in your troop and patrol" and "serve actively for xxx months in on of the PORs" then he doesn't earn the rank.


The above items, 7 out of 10 outings and 3 out of 4 meetings is described as 80%. This is on a "most recent 6 months" calendar. If a scout has a school obligation that is unavoidable, he is excused, same with illness or family death. If a youth has unexcused absences, non-unit or extra scouting activities can be used as "makeup" attendance. Our high adventure trip during the summer for instance can take up a lot of slack. Attending OA functions, meetings, etc. can take up a whole lot as well.


I had one young man that was aging out and had finished his Eagle requirements. His attendance was horrible to non existent, so I made a deal with him.. He needed to give me 6 good months of involvement after his 18th birthday. He agreed and did. He still comes to meetings and he's almost 20. The rule works well to remind the older boys they have a responsibility to the troop, but the SM has discretion in all cases. This rule is rarely an issue, and when it has been, we've worked it out to the benefit of the boy and the troop.


I like Acco's reprint of his troops policy. Ours is similar, but takes up a lot more space so I won't waste that bandwidth...yet...


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I'm in a Council where we have the Tribe of Mic-o-Say.


The Chief (SE) and the Chieftains of the Tribe have defined standards of attendance. These standards apply not only for youth program members, they also apply to transitional (18-21yo) Scouters.


Don't meet the standard, ineligible to advance. There are waivers, they pretty much have to be for darn good reasons (the youth who spent 9 months in hospital and hospice fighting leukemia (and fighting it OFF) comes to mind).

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