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sctmom

Who's responsible?

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Another thread has now started this thread.

 

In the case of new scouts going on a their first campout. Who is responsible for getting them signed off on requirements ---- the scout or an older scout or an adult?

 

My son can barely remember to take his homework to school, is he supposed to spend his camping weekend figuring out if he met a requirement?

 

He packed his bag with some guidance from me for the campout (yes, extra socks and undies are good to pack, just in case). No one said "hey let's see if these new guys packed right" when we go to the meeting place. There was too much havoc trying to figure out who was riding in which van and counting heads. The next day one adult is working with the boys to get some requirements signed off and says "Did you have anyone check you pack? Well, too bad, you should have had someone check it before we left yesterday. Guess you'll wait until the next campout (3 months from now)."

 

I see the same thing happening next time. Every body rushes into the parking lot, boys are putting gear in the trailer, we are all trying to count heads and get on the way, no body checks the packs.

 

So, who is responsible for "reminding" the boys to work on these things?

 

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Well, as I remember it, being responsible for ones own actions, needs, and schedules is something we attempt to instill in the boys who participate in scouting. That doesn't happen overnight, of course.

 

My policy used to be that New Scouts and younger Scouts were watched and "reminded" by older experienced Scouts, ASM's, and perhaps other interested and trained adult participants at first. As time went by, These new and younger Scouts were left more and more to their own devices to carry the weight of personal responsibility. Of course, that trail left plenty of room for error and failure on the part of the new and younger Scouts, but that's part of what it's all about in Scouting...learning through a little bit of failure...tempered on the part of those who watch with the knowledge of where we were, and how much of a hardship the lesson would present to the challenged Scout. No one was ever "set-up" for failure, but we did let it happen sometimes, even if we saw it coming, but knew that the circumstances did not involve safety issues, and could be remedied or present only minor discomfort to the Scout.

 

Readiness for camping, attending to sign-offs on advancement, and other parts of the Scouting program offer ample opportunity for Scouts to learn that responsibility by some failure, and by achievement, in a controlled environment. Later, as they become more adept at these skills, they are exposed to environments where that might not be as controlled, but only if and when they're ready...if we've done our jobs right.

 

Yes, there should be an element of watching and reminding in the beginning. But it shouldn't last long. Scouts need to gain an understanding of the personal responsibility thing and how it coincides with teamwork as soon as we can get them to. Older Scouts and adult leaders are part of the troop for that very reason.

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The Scoutmaster is responsible - he may delegate this job to a adult patrol advisor and then have his SPL or even a troop guide sign off on their requirements. Leaving something behind or not getting credit for something he finished is part of the learning process. Along the way they learn what they need an what thet don't and to be responsible first for themselves than latter for others as they grow into leadership.

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The Scoutmaster is responsible - he may delegate this job to a adult patrol advisor and then have his SPL or even a troop guide sign off on their requirements. Leaving something behind or not getting credit for something he finished is part of the learning process. Along the way they learn what they need an what thet don't and to be responsible first for themselves than latter for others as they grow into leadership.

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It is the responsibility of the SPL & the Scout's PL. The Scoutmaster should be the one who ensures the requirements are met through the SPL & PL.

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

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Sctmom,

 

In the Scoutmaster Leaders Specific Training, we teach the the adult leaders there is no need to remind boys to work on advancement.

 

Baden Powell described scouting as a game, "a game with a purpose". We plan ways to teach skills during meetings and outings, and then we create opportunities for the boys to use those skills.

We catch them using the skill correctly and then we sign the advancement.

 

We also encourage the scouts to work on things independently and bring us evidence of the requirement completion. Such as a knot board, or a photo of their meeting with the mayor, their SOAR certificate from school (thats a drug education program run by the police department), their gym teacher's signature on the exercise requirements. etc.

 

All adult unit leaders, the Troop Instructors, the Troop Guides, and the Patrol Leaders who are First Class and above, are trained on how to recognize advancement. Any one of them can sign the book. If we feel someone is not doing a responsible job of it we release them of that task.

 

This is the method that has been taught in scouting for decades.

 

Bob White

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Three months between outings is too long.

Unfortunately confusion does reign supreme on an outing because even if it's boy run it takes the parents responsibility to get there.(This message has been edited by Eman)

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sctmom,

 

Am I missing something here? Did I understand that the leadership in the troop did not sign off on a requirement because of the negligence of the leadership? I don't think any of the other posts respond to this issue.

 

Setting a process in place with the youth leadership and training the youth leadership to execute against that process is an adult responsibility. Monitoring the execution of the advancement process is an adult responsibility. As noted in numerous other threads, youth can sign off on requirements, but the unit as a whole has to have a coherent way of managing the process. If someone failed to check your son's pack and therefore he must wait another three months, it seems to me that your son is owed a separate session, however brief on this, if you desire it. It may be that the three months don't matter.

 

It is all well and good to say that we want the boys to be responsible for themselves, but parents in particular still have a responsibility to make sure that their sons are not shortchanged. Two years ago my son and another scout were cheated out of First Aid Merit Badge by the combined negligence of unit leadership and summer camp staff. I had not told my son that he had to check to make sure the blue cards were properly gathered at the end of the camp session because the whole thing was in the hands of the adults. So nothing is foolproof.

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Eisely,

No, you weren't missing anything, but I sure thought I was. Yes, it is wonderful to say "the boys are responsible for themselves". Yet, I was standing there when the boys were asked if anyone checked their packs. From the look on their faces (and mine), you could tell that none of them knew they should do this. We are talking about brand new scouts, many not 11 years old yet. None of this was discussed at the meeting a few days earlier.

 

I assumed someone (an older boy or an adult) would be in charge of doing that. But then again I'm surprised that teachers say they don't remind kids to turn in their homework. I was told to turn in my homework through 12 years of school and 4+ years of college.

 

They are still kids, and assume the adults will guide them. I understand them taking responsibility for themselves but that would be AFTER a bit of time and some reminders.

 

The reason for 3 months between campouts is that the one for April has been changed from a campout to a day outing (reason to me unknown). May is the annual fundraiser, so no campout. The next one is mid-June.

 

The new scouts haven't completed other requirements for Tenderfoot anyway. I had hoped they would have by now, since most have their Arrow of Light, most of the requirements are a repeat for them. If you go by the theory of they need frequent recognition, then this shouldn't be happening.

 

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Mom;

 

There's a lot of reasons why what you described can happen. Ultimately, I think the Scoutmaster's responsible for the program and how it's delivered. I certainly don't know your Scoutmaster and do not presume to criticize how he's doing his job. Having said that, if he's inexperienced, or your troop events/activities chair is inexperienced (or if the position's unfilled), or the new Scout patrol isn't used, or if there isn't a dedicated Troop Guide, or if the new Scout patrol doesn't have a dedicated ASM, or if your volunteer leaders just had a rare bad day, or any of a number of other variables exist, an opportunity to document an advancement requirement could be missed.

 

My advice is to chat with the Scoutmaster, and offer your help if you have time. If you have a knack for detail, he may really appreciate it.

 

One man's opinion: Aside from a competent Scoutmaster, I think any troop is fighting an uphill battle with their outdoor program if it doesn't have a good facilities/equipment chair, and a good events/activities chair. We are blessed with great people in both those positions. Our troop equipment is tight, and our facilities/equipment chair is seemingly a mind-reader. Many times, I've thought before an event: "Gee, I forgot to ask Matt to get..." and in the door he walks with exactly what I was thinking about...it's a little weird, actually. And, with a good events/activities person, things are planned so the mayhem's minimized at departure -- no chasing permission slips or tour permits, and he understands the need to plan events that facilitate advancement and the documentation.

 

Good luck with the next one; I trust this was not a representative sample...

 

 

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Bob writes:

"In the Scoutmaster Leaders Specific Training, we teach the the adult leaders there is no need to remind boys to work on advancement. "

 

So when to do you tell the boys this? What do you do with the boy that NEEDS reminding?

 

My son has a serious reputation at school about not completing school work. He's in 5th grade, going to middle school next year. The teachers keep saying "it's his responsibility". I've tried to make it his responisibility. But the fact of the matter is that he HAS to be reminded, at times FORCED to do school work. Geez, I have to remind him to go to the bathroom (no joke). He will suffer whatever consequences to not to school work -- silent time at lunch, no playing at recess, loss of TV & video games,etc. It doesn't help him remember. We have him write notes to himself, still he has a problem.

 

Guess what? He's not as severe about it as some boys. I think he's doing good at this age to remember his scout book for meetings, to have memorized the Scout Oath & Law. I can remind him of things before the meeting, but he honestly forgets in the excitement.

 

A question I think we all need to remember when working with kids about "remembering things" -- how often have you left the house and realized you forgot something? Forgot to pay a bill? Get to the store and forget what you were going to buy? Think of something on the way to work and once you get there forget what it was you needed to do?

Adults keep day planners and to-do lists and reminder gadgets on the computer. Reminders and doing it for them are not the same. Most of us have LEARNED how to remember or make notes, kids need that chance to learn this "responsibility" -- at their own pace.

 

::::stepping down off my soapbox::::

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Sctmom,

read past the part where I say we don'y need to remind them to where I say "We plan ways to teach skills during meetings and outings, and then we create opportunities for the boys to use those skills.

We catch them using the skill correctly and then we sign the advancement.

 

The people who need to "remeber advancemant" is us. As leaders we are responsible for making sure the program is a "scouting program". That means that as the scouts participate they advance. We create the opportunities to 1.learn the skill, 2. practice the skill 3. betested on the skill. But rather than a sit down classroom, we use the clasrromm of the outdoors to give the scouts a need to learn and demonstrate. Then we catch them in the act of scouting and sign them off.

 

The most important thing the scout has to remember about advancement is to participate.

 

Bob White

 

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Sorry I am late to the topic but would like to weigh in. Who's responsible? The Scoutmaster and Troop Leadership, including the Advancement Chair --- in my opinion. And I am the Advancement Chair for our troop. Yes, it is a 'boy run" organization but most of the boys do not have what I call the "plan ahead" gene fully developed, so it is up to the adult leadership to make sure that every time there is an opportunity to fulfill and advancement requirement, the boys who need to complete that requirement are checked out on it. At our March campout when we had a large number of boys working toward Tenderfoot, we got to the campground, had them line up in a row with their packs and we had the PLs and SPL go down the line asking them different questions about what they brought and checking out their packs. It took a little time, and we got them checked out on one more requirement. The key is, to look ahead and see what they are going to be doing and then make sure that 1) they know they have an opportunity to fulfill a requirement and 2) make sure there is sufficient leadership present to approve (sign off) on the requirement. You might want to find out who your advancement chair is and offer to help out. I like the job because it is an opportunity to guide the activities of the entire troop and at the same time you can work with individuals who may need to 'catchup' to their peers.

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Big Bump to Eman.

 

Three Months? They should be camping at least once a month (during times of appropriate weather). I'd be concerned if my troop had so few campouts.

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Let me explain the length between campouts. That is NOT usual for this troop. The one planned for April turned into a day long outing because of what the boys want to do (golf). Just found out some boys will campout that night if they want to. My son has chosen not to.

May is the month of the mega-yardsale fundraiser. Hard to ask parents and boys to give up a weekend for fundraising and another for camping, same month as Mother's Day and Memorial Day and end of school and baseball and soccer and........

Some of the adult leaders work nights and have to take a vacation day for things like campouts and yardsales, so 2 in one month is too much.

 

Thanks for the feedback.

 

The only months the troop doesn't camp is May and December. They are the most active troop in our area. That's one of the main reason we choose it.

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