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Hello there. My husband has been the SM of my sons Troop now for two months, gee seems like just yesterday he took over. LOL.


Anyhoo. The troop has gone through a rocky two past years, lost lots of boys due to the things going on in the troop and Council asked my husband to step up and be the SM. Originally, he was going to be an ASM, as my son joined the troop in March. But Council sees great things in my hubby, so they asked.


Had a committee meeting last night, part of the agenda was to talk about the CODE OF CONDUCT he wants put into place. The committee ripped it apart, does not see why they need one, dont want one. He has already talked with the committee chair in length about this issue and others with the troop. They are going to have one!


Then they talked about how active a scout should be with the troop. They have a couple of scouts that never show up for meetings because they "have a life" other than scouts. One of these that show up once a year for the past 1.5 years and says I want make Eagle, but I have a life, cant give much time to the troop. WHAT do you do with that?


My husband ran it by the boys two weeks ago and asked them what THEY thought Active in the TRoop meant and they gave him their answers. They said attend 50% of meetings, 50% of outings, 80% of court of honors, both troop and Eagle. The parents are in an uproar!!! "Their kids have so many other things to do, and besides, this is pinning them down and Forcing them to do something they dont want, and maybe they will bail". Well, gee, isnt it boyscouting? Am I wrong in thinking that the boy should make time for scouting as well as other things? Hubby wants to institute this and says the boys must abide by the %. What if he would say, 'try' to abide?


MY husband told them that they can come and go as their sports and other things need, but they still balked. ONe even said that they could not attend an Eagle COH this year because they had a bowling party that day. I understand boyscouting is not 100% in all of the lives and the attention ebbs and wains, but geesh.


Am I wrong in thinking they are not putting the scouting in the right perspective? And again, I am sure there are many perspectives.


My husband wants to do more camping with this troop, more outings. Right now they do maybe three campouts, one of which is in a condominium each year. HOw in the heck are these kids getting their ranks without camping? Once they start camping more, there goes the % if they dont show.


I am hoping that once the boys see how fun my husband is going to make the troop, that they will WANT to be at the meetings and outings.


Can you people tell me what your perspective on ACTIVE would be and how to institute it, if it all?


Coming from a Mom of a scout that belongs to a very broken troop.


Thank you kindly.

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It's treating a symptom and not the disease. The troop problems are caused by the program, not the "active" rule used by the troop. The disease is not camping and not having a strong / fun program. I am saying this because you indicated the troop camps three times per year.


Scouts invest their time where they get somehting out of it. And rightfully if the troop itself isn't "active", the scouts will find other places to spend their time. IMHO, you want to celebrate that and encourage scouts to explore all opportunities in life. For example, their high school bowling team awards dinner could very easily be more important to them then a troop COH. Just consider they probably have more bowling tournaments and trips than camp outs each year.


The advancement requirements have plenty of expectations of being "active". And having a POR requires the scout do something as part of their role.


I'd avoid the focus on defining "active" for the scouts because it's blaming the scouts for a troop issue. Also, "active" is difficult to fairly track and enforce.


And if your going to have a code of conduct, let the PLC write it and update it. It is a scout run program and they will do a fine job with it. :)(This message has been edited by fred8033)

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Yah, Robbin, hiya! Welcome to da forums, and thanks for bein' supportive of your husband's volunteering for Scouting.


In terms of "Codes of Conduct", I think most experienced Scouters would be somewhere between mildly and firmly opposed to 'em. In Scouting, we have a code of conduct already, eh? It's called the Scout Oath and Law. That's usually plenty. When yeh get down into tryin' to define this, that, and the other thing all yeh usually do is set yourself up for problems. Your husband (with your help!) should work to think about how he can frame whatever message about conduct he needs to convey in terms of the Oath and Law. That has the added benefit of makin' conduct somethin' that you are asking boys to rise to, rather than somethin' that yeh punish boys for.


As far as defining "Active" goes, the BSA does allow and encourage that, both for rank advancement at the higher ranks and for continued membership. To my mind, it's really just a courtesy thing, eh? If your husband is giving his time for free and has to be there for most of the events, then I reckon it's OK to expect the boys to be there for most of the events, just as a matter of courtesy. Families who want an occasional drop-in activity can pay full fare for that from some commercial outfitter.


What yeh describe as the boys' position is pretty typical. The youth want their fellows to be there. The youth leaders especially feel taken advantage of when they work hard and people blow them off.


What the boys propose is substantially less a requirement than any other youth activity for their age group.


What yeh describe as da parents' response is also pretty typical, eh? Here's the thing, though. Yeh just do it anyway. It will make your program stronger. You'll lose a few, but you'll also gain some as it helps your program improve. In a couple years, it will be a normal expectation and the griping will go away.


Now, there are smart ways and dumb ways to "just do it". Da dumb way is to just shove percentages at people. The smart way is to offer more advanced opportunities to boys who are frequent participants, more advancement, stuff that parents want to see in their kids. Parents these days are competitive, eh? If Billy is gettin' to do more than their Johnny, they're goin' to start makin' sure Johnny shows up. At the same time, yeh just drop low-attending boys from your roster. Quietly, gently, and firmly, one at a time. No more notices of events or phonecalls. If they show up for their one event per year, yeh let 'em know that you're sorry, but they're no longer registered. You'd be happy to have 'em back if they fill out a new application and meet for a Scoutmaster conference and a parent conference, where yeh get to welcome 'em back as well as lay out the expectations.


Of course, the boys can do the same thing, eh? The PLC might decide that PLs aren't goin' to buy food for guys who don't meet their attendance expectations. They can bring their own food and cook it themselves, and schedule their own hikes. ;) If yeh don't support the team, the team doesn't need to support you.


In other words, try to accomplish what you're doin' gently and personally, rather than ramming policies and codes of conduct through the committee.


It'll take yeh 3-6 years to "unbreak" your troop, because some things have to wait until new boys with new expectations replace old boys and their parents. Take the long view. But you're headed in da right direction.




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While I understand your husband's frustration with boys who are scouts on paper only, BSA says that troops can not set a certain % of activities to be met. I found this info. on BSA FAQ (http://www.scouting.org/BoyScouts/GuideforMeritBadgeCounselors/RankAdvanceFAQ.aspx)


It says: "The unit leaders are responsible for maintaining contact with the scout on a regular basis. The Scout is not required to attend any certain percentage of activities or outings. However, unit leaders must ensure that he is fulfilling the obligations of his assigned leadership position. If he is not, then they should remove the Scout from that position."


Also: "A Scout will be considered "active" in his unit if he is:

1. Registered in his unit (registration fees are current)

2. Not dismissed from his unit for disciplinary reasons.

3. Engaged by his unit leadership on a regular basis

(informed of unit activities through Scoutmaster conference or personal contact, etc.)"


So, a registered Scout is an "active" scout, but, if he still needs a position of responsibility to advance in rank, then he would need to attend some (or most, depending on position) meetings and activities in order for the SM to sign off that requirement.


You can also point out to the absent scouts that Scout Spirit is part of the advancement requirements, and if they consistently choose other activities (a bowling party?!) over scout activities, then that is not showing good Scout Spirit.


I know of a wonderful young man who was denied Eagle by his SM due to SM's view of the Scout not being active enough. This Scout had completed ALL requirements for Eagle, but because he was away from the troop (working at SCOUT Summer Camp!) the SM would not sign off on the requirement for being an active member of the troop! He tried to switch troops, but there was not enough time for him to be active in the new troop for the 6 month requirement. I wish this young man had pushed the issue, because he IS and Always will be, an Eagle Scout in everyone's eyes except that one SM.


Good luck with turning the troop around, but be careful to not add requirements above what BSA states.

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funscout - Your quoting the old policies that were updated in 2011 with a more nuanced approach. Check this http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/33088.pdf. See page 21. I don't think BSA encourages an "active" percent, but BSA does allow units to define a reasonable level of involvement.


Sorry to hear about your scout that missed Eagle. If it as you wrote, that's just mean. Especially considering how hard scouts work as camp staff and how little under 18 staff get paid. IMHO, camp staff is just slightly more than volunteer work. What a great way to tarnish the scout's experience in scouting. I wish he would have pushed it hard. I bet it would have happened but often 17 year old scouts have other priorities in life with school graduation, work and girl friends. Things like closing out their scouting trail can easily be set aside. Very sad especially when he had everything done.




Also Beavah had the better answer for code of conduct. Scout oath and law. The rest is how you present, teach and use it.(This message has been edited by fred8033)

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Yah, funscout, that old MB FAQ has been superseded by the new Guide to Advancement, eh? So that old (and mostly unintelligible) 3-point test is now defunct. Units can set their own expectations for Active in terms of advancement, so long as they are clearly communicated. Active=registered is not the BSA's position any longer.


"It is appropriate for units to set reasonable expectations for attendance and participation. Then it is simple: Those who meet them are active. (Guide to Advancement)


Of course, this applies to advancement only, eh? The unit is still completely free to set its own expectations for activity in terms of whether or not to continue a boy's registration, and to drop boys' registration for not meetin' the expectation. That's more what Robbin is talkin' about. They want to set expectations for membership, not just for advancement.


Again, though, I agree with fred8033. It's counterproductive to tackle this head on with a policy stick. Instead, yeh up the fun, activity, and challenge of the program and then set expectations based on that fun, activity, and challenge. Want to come on da whitewater raft trip? Yeh have to have come to the swim nights and the flatwater canoeing and the whitewater prep day. It's a safety issue. Says so right there in Safety Afloat. Want to come on da cool backpacking and climbing trip? Yeh have to have been to 3 out of 4 of the climbing prep meetings and the 2 orienteering day trips and the meetings on backpack packing. Want to get the 2nd class hike requirement done or the Tenderfoot gear and packing requirement signed off? Well, your opportunity was the backpackin' trip. So sorry yeh missed it. There will be another one in three months, and if yeh meet da participation and prep expectations for it, then maybe you'll get signed off then. ;)





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R., blessings to you. SM's spouse is the hardest job on the books IMHO.


For the Life scout, he needs to have a conference with him and ask, "What position can you hold for six months straight that will benefit your troop (or, your venturing crew, if you're in one). I'm looking for something that may take up 2-3 hours/week of your time. Something that, at your EBOR, if someone asks, you'll be able to answer with pride."


An important question to ask boys who "have a life" is "what can the troop do to be a bigger part of your life?" Maybe they could be the color guard at your sporting event.


I'm not a fan of percents. But I am a fan of "The troop commits to providing 30 meetings throughout the year. We hope to see you at at least fifteen. For the others, we would love for you to contact your PL each time and apologize for your absence." You then train your PLs on how to handle those calls (e.g., "Thanks for letting me know. Is there anything you'd like me to say at the PLC? Are you interested in X activity?")


Likewise for outings. The troop commits to scheduling 12. We want you to be at 4.


Around here CoH's wind up at inopportune times (depends on church availability, the families reunion schedule, etc ...). So make sure that 4/5 figure is reasonable for everyone.


Keep in mind that, collectively, boys can set unrealistic goals for themselves. So yes, "try" to abide and "we want" (rather than "must" and "we demand") are operative words.


Then at SMC it is fair to ask "I haven't seen you around much, so I'm not a fair judge of your scout spirit. Have you been showing it? If so how? Is there anyone I can call and talk to about your character?"


Basically, you want your husband's attention to be on the boys, not their stats.

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Here is another thing to keep in mind. Scouting will mean different things to kids at different times in their lives. Just like our hobbies and interests as adults wax and wane, the same is true for scouts and our kids. They might need a breather from time to time, or legitimately be really, really busy at some points in their lives, yet still want to feel welcome in "their" troop. What you need is a strong sense of identity, not an arbitrary threshold.


My son and his friends are good examples. His patrol are all late high school or just graduated. They've been the "leadership patrol" for the troop in the last few years, producing 4 excellent SPLs in a row (while helping to bring along younger fellows as PLs, ASPLs, and other troop leadership positions) and helping revive a troop that was previously in serious decline. With the exception of a couple of boys who joined for the first time as 15-16 year olds, the whole patrol will make Eagle, and all of them will age out of the program (a sign of success, in my view).


But in the last year or so, those same kids have been taking 3-4-5 AP courses each year, taking on leadership roles in other aspects of their communities (captain of swim team, captain of football team, lead role in community theater, etc), have jobs, etc. A couple are dual enrolled in college courses and must put more time into school work in November/December and March/April than most high school kids at that time of year. Oh, and they've also started a Venturing Crew.


Over the last year or so, several of these boys might not have met the % criteria your husband is proposing. Should they have quit scouts? Would they, or the troop, have been better off, if they had?




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"I know of a wonderful young man who was denied Eagle by his SM due to SM's view of the Scout not being active enough. This Scout had completed ALL requirements for Eagle, but because he was away from the troop (working at SCOUT Summer Camp!) the SM would not sign off on the requirement for being an active member of the troop! He tried to switch troops, but there was not enough time for him to be active in the new troop for the 6 month requirement. I wish this young man had pushed the issue, because he IS and Always will be, an Eagle Scout in everyone's eyes except that one SM. "


Maybe I'm missing something, but if he met all the requirements prior to turning 18, he should still be able to submit his application. There's an exception process that can be initiated thru the Eagle Scout Service at the national office if it's more than three months past his 18th birthday...



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The above advice is sound, generally speaking. But it took me less than a minute you read you post and with that level of understanding it's hard to get into specifics.


What these other guys are telliing you is your program needs carrot first with the stick coming later. Your husband seems to be going with the "shock and awe" approach. He may have good reason to do so and I'm willing to defer to his judgement. Perhaps he's decided the paper scout need to fish or cut bait. There is merit to that. In my experience, he's not going to change those Scouts, especially with their parents' attitudes. For as long as it takes these boys to make Eagle and finally drop out, he's going to be butting heads and frustrated with their attitude. The troop may very well be better off without them. But he needs to understand that is the approach he's taking.


My real concern has more to do with the adult politics. It is a curiosity to me that the "council" asked your husband to take over as SM. Councils don't do that. They generally avoid it like the plague. Unit leaders are recruited and appointed by the chartered organization. On the one hand, if you husband was recruited the the chartered organization and the Institutional Head (the head of the CO), the Chartered Organization Representative and (hopefully) the Troop Committee Chairman sat you husband down and said, "this troop is a mess. We want you to clean it up, get rid of the dead wood and make it something we can be proud of. You have our full backing to do what needs to be done to get there," you're still in for a rough go if it, but he ultimately have the backing of the right people. When the parents of the paper Scouts start raising Cain and calling for his head, he has the support of the CO to tell them to go pound sand.


On the other hand, if your CO is uninvolved in the troop ("we don't have anything to do with the Scouts, they just meet in our fellowship hall") and the committee chairman doesn't support him or has no spine; then let me be blunt and tell you you're screwed. His only real hope if turning around the troop is to do so from the bottom up, as Beavah suggests (but I think his 3-6 year time frame is optimistic). Meanwhile, he's going to have to hold his nose and deal with the paper Scouts. Frankly, I would get them to Eagle as quickly as possible, shake their hand, give them their hats and hold the door open. Guys like that can undermine a lot of good work by a lot of other people -- youth and adults.

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>>. So what is council or district doing appointing a SM?????


They cannot do it, Up to the Chartered Organization....>Meanwhile, he's going to have to hold his nose and deal with the paper Scouts. Frankly, I would get them to Eagle as quickly as possible, shake their hand, give them their hats and hold the door open.

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Thanks for the clarifications, and sorry for posting outdated information! Fred8033's link didn't go through when I tried it, but I'm sure I can find that info.


The scout I know who was denied Eagle is much older than my boys and was in a different troop, so I only found out about it years after the fact. Our troop apparently tried to help him out, but as a busy 17 year old who was working at camp, he must have felt he didn't have the time to pursue a challenge with Council. This young man has continued to be an awesome staff member at camp, so it truly is a shame that a rigid SM denied him scouting's highest honor. And back then, the information that I previously posted would have been in force.


I agree with LisaBob about the fact that many kids, especially high schoolers, do have lots going on besides scouts. We've had several boys who are in sports Fall, Winter, and Spring, are involved in band/choir/theatre, jobs, and also taking AP courses. We only see them a couple times during the school year and a little more in the summer, until sports or band practice starts up again. Most of them have stayed in till they turned 18, but only a few of them made Eagle. Despite not making Eagle, I know that those boys will always remember their scouting years with fondness. They were an asset to our troop over the years, despite not being able to be as active as some of the other boys.



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eolesen...not sure how old this young man is but if he completed all the requirements including his POR, he would not have needed to do that again at his new troop. Was there an issue on whether or not he had completed his POR??


If he completed all Eagle Requirements prior to his 18th birthday he is entitled to a BOR regardless if the SM signed off on it or not. Have him fill out his Eagle Scout Application and have him bring it down with any other documentation (project book etc) to his council office. Ask to see the Scout Executive and explain the circumstances.(This message has been edited by NACAP)

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