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ScoutMythBuster

Real Rules vs Traditions

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No need to shout, ScoutMythBuster (typing in all caps is considered shouting in email/forum communications ).

 

I think yeh need to take a step back for a minute, and ask yourself what your role is as a district volunteer. I think you'll agree that da role of all district volunteers is service to the units in the district, individually and collectively. We district, council, and national volunteers don't work for da professional staff, and the unit volunteers definitely don't work for us. It's not our business to say what a scoutmaster should or should not do when dealing with a parent, and taking that approach isn't likely to get yeh anywhere useful. We give advice when asked, we give support when needed, we give options to consider, we provide materials and basic training in how to use 'em.

 

The SM can set da rules for his or her troop in this regard. So it's perfectly fine to say that a Den Chief must be First Class, or an SPL must be 14 years old. Look it up, it's right there in the SM handbook. Units can set eligibility requirements for PORs.

 

Now, what's not OK is if someone at the district or council level tells all the troops that their Den Chief must be First Class. Remember, our role at da district or council is service, not imposing extra burdens. Some young troop might need or want younger scouts to serve as den chiefs. Some SMs may have a great way of making it work in their unit. It's OK if a UC or trainer is asked for their opinion to suggest First Class as a good threshold, but not to claim it's a requirement for all units.

 

Dat's true for most questions that come up to the district or council level, eh? They are best answered by considering "how can I best support this fellow volunteer and his or her unit?"

 

Beavah

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Huh?

 

In acco's example, da SM was right. He recognized the problem, knew the parent, and responded in a way that the parent could potentially understand and appreciate. Yah, he could have said "the rule is it's my call as Scoutmaster and I say no." But that's not as kind as giving an explanation for why he is saying no... that her son will be better prepared for the role if he focuses his first year on being a Boy Scout and earning First Class, so that he is fully prepared to help support a den.

 

There was no deception. There was explanation. How a parent chooses to hear "no" sometimes is beyond our control. ;)

 

Where I agree with yeh is that a district should not tell a scoutmaster that he or she can't use an older Tenderfoot scout as a Den Chief. That's SM's discretion. But in service to the SM and unit, a district should never, ever tell a parent that the SM is "wrong" and must use such a boy if the CM or Den Leader requests.

 

Beavah(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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I'm with Beavah on this one. The SM's reply was based totally on the individual Scout. In no way, did I read that as saying "Scouts had to be First Class to be a Den Chief," but it was clearly "Johnny should be First Class to be a Den Chief."

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Labeling this "deception" seems a bit harsh. It doesn't sound like anyone was doing this on purpose but more as a result of not understanding or actually know the guidelines.

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I agree that deception is harsh, but that is what is said in the example.

 

And the SM is wrong. Not be rude? He lied, either by ignorance or an internal rule. He said it was a requirement. If it was an internal policy, he should have said it. But that is not what is implied. He said it was a requirement so he wasn't rude. So, instead of telling the mother politely it was not her position to ask and to take it up with the Cubmaster he made up a requirement. Remember, a Scout is Honest!

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Wondering if my post even was read..... Although the SM is not blameless it seems to me that the problem in Acco's example was a mis-communication between the SM and DL mother. The DL mom did not understand what was said to her. She is the one that is guilty of dispersing bad information. A take home message might be that Trainers need to clearly communicate that it is best to read and understand the literature rather than passing on hearsay.

 

With all due respect are you reading the same post as we are ScoutMythBuster?(This message has been edited by BrotherhoodWWW)

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SMB,

Please read the following part that you may have overlooked

 

He (SM) also feels that Johnny is not ready and has in the wings an older Scout looking for a POR who has already had den chief training. Not wanting to be rude he tells the mother, let's wait until Johnny reaches first class before we give him this type of assignment.

 

So where is the SM saying it's a rule in the example? MOM hears it as a rule, but that is not how it's presented.

 

In all honesty, the SPL, SM, CM, et al do not, repeat do NOT, need to give a reason for denying an POR to someone. All they have to say is "No." without any reason or explaining.

 

 

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Yes, I agree the mother misunderstood but I do not think the SM fully did this situation justice. It would not have been rude to explain to the mother the "order of operation". Who should ask, and maybe explain the why. Instead, mentioning rank; even though I agree with you he did not say it was a rule. It was implied from her point of view. When you are not clear about your reason for doing something it can be misinterpreted.

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Maybe I've been in Scouting so long, that when I hear the phrase, "let's wait until Johnny reaches first class before we give him this type of assignment," it means that Johnny needs to master the basics of Scouting, First Class, before moving to more advanced things.

 

Now I will say this, I had a hypothesis that at one time, First Class was required to be a DC. Looked online and couldn't find anything historical, although several troops, macscouter.com, and others do have First Class mentioned a requirement. Then I went to several of my books, includng my 3rd ed. SMHB, and no where does it have a rank requirement.

 

Now I admit I didn't follow protocols to get my DC. I had my eye on a young man, told the CM I want him, and then went to the SM. MY personal requirements for DC, stressing personal requirements, is that he has basic scoutcraft down pat (usually meaning First Class, but if I got a gung ho Scout who knows his stuff and isn't FC yet, I'll take him), is mature, can work with the kids, AND keeps his grades up in school. Minute grades falter b/c he is over-committed, I don't want him, or her if a Venturer. School is the most important thing IMHO.

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Mythbuster, unfortunatly with all the duties and responsibilities we put on Scoutmasters, one of their required job functions is not "be a walking encyclopidia"..

 

The scoutmaster will not know all rules verbatim and be able to regurgitate every one of them at the drop for each parent that asks a question.. He knows the basics of the scout program, he knows in the troop, with the boys at least he has the right to follow BSA rule to the letter, or tighten it up, but not weaken and delude it. But that the COR is King or Queen and their rules everyone as long as they too don't ignore BSA rules.

 

So what he tells a mother is his viewpoint on the situation. Can he stand there and rattle off the rule book, not unless you have an SM with a photographic memory. Doesn't matter, unless the rule book stated that the Den Chief must be Life scout, if he makes a rule for his troop that it must be First Class then that is now that troops rule. But he didn't even make it a rule in the example. But he could have, and that would have been fine..

 

The gray area happens though when the troop rules do stand long enough for the troop to not remember it as a troop rule, and those running the troop believe it to be a BSA rule. They can go on to become trainers or other district members and rattle it off as a BSA rule. This is where it is a problem.

 

That is why it is good for everyone to know and then review the BSA rules for themselves, or take training courses (which hopefully don't have trainers that have troop rules mixed in with BSA rules.) You always should figure out the BSA rules, but know and follow the troop rules, if your troop has added their own (or your councils rules which could also be added).. Then if your troop rules don't work anymore you feel within your right to take them out or change them.

 

We were in a troop as new parents, and got the troop telling us all sorts of very strict rules as policy.. Rules they should not have changed. For example, if you completed a merit badge but lost the blue card, you had to retake the MB again.. REGARDLESS of if it was properly logged at council, or your Advancment Chair or MBC could produce records for it. Many others like that.

 

We were shocked when we took training and found it to be untrue.. These type of rule changing was not good because they were adding to the requirements of a boys advancement.

 

Still even with this background history, I see nothing wrong with troops modify the BSA program to benifit their troop for their personal makeup. As long as you modify what you can, and don't tinker with what you should not, and don't disregard or weaken the BSA rules..

 

You have to know what is black & white and what you can modify, and allow the units to modify what they can.

 

In this example there was nothing wrong that I saw happening.

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And the SM is wrong. Not be rude? He lied, either by ignorance or an internal rule.

 

No the SM is not wrong nor did he lie. You really need to read what was posted before making statements like that ScoutMythBuster. And the deception is perceived because of a not hearing what was said.

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>>Now I admit I didn't follow protocols to get my DC. I had my eye on a young man, told the CM I want him, and then went to the SM. MY personal requirements for DC, stressing personal requirements, is that he has basic scoutcraft down pat (usually meaning First Class, but if I got a gung ho Scout who knows his stuff and isn't FC yet, I'll take him), is mature, can work with the kids, AND keeps his grades up in school. Minute grades falter b/c he is over-committed, I don't want him, or her if a Venturer. School is the most important thing IMHO.

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