Jump to content

1st Class / First Year follow-up

Recommended Posts

  • Replies 67
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Bob, this year my troop has about 45-50% FCFY it is because the kids do NOT show up for the outings and meetings. If you show up at least 75% of the time youll be FC. Now, maybe its different parts of the country, but my first year scouts this year just are not participating enough to make it. It has nothing to do with the program as Im running the highest Eagle rate and retention rate in my council.


Unless were just going to just sign off their requirements, theyre not going to make it. They have to earn it before I will give it to them. So, in my case (this year), the reason isnt because of the trainers or lack of opportunity or the lack of courses, its because these scouts are not participating because they have chosen not to.


As far as your judgment goes about my program, youre in no position to judge. So I would like to politely ask you from doing so in the future (thank you). I never once ridiculed your program nor have I ever made assumptions about your program. Ill standby my program, and as youve pointed out in many discussions, troops have different policies and BSA offers guidelines to follow.


In my unit you earn the rank and with it come the rights and privileges of that position. And yes, if youre not a certain rank youre not hiking in a patrol of scouts that are older and have hiked before. In our unit, you have to be FC before youre allowed to hike alone in a patrol. This is a rule that has been established therefore it applies to all. We dont hold kids back, we encourage them to FC. Some just refuse to do it and for this year its 45-50% of my first year scouts. Yes, they could complete those requirements as you mentioned with the FC patrol, but you know what, they cannot because they did not do it at least 5 times prior with everyone else. You see Bob; they didnt attend summer camp, prior weekly meetings, and prior trips. So, in a years time they missed out several times. Therefore they cannot hike with the FC patrol until they do the requirements. Again, this if our program and what Ive found to work.


As far as the Cooking Merit Badge requirements, it is our Cooking Merit Badge Counselor that meets the requirements, for cooking for more than one, as being completed by cooking for the troop. That is how that counselor chooses to fulfill the requirement (others may do it differently).


Kids not wanting to go on a trip Ive seen several times over 30 years, its not every camping trip nor does it happen yearly. But, in my council, you will have troops mention it. Looking at 217 units, with monthly campouts, youre talking about lots of youths and often kids dont want to go. This is no reflection on any of my troops, its just a fact.


If one of my SMs came into my office and said they had a 40% failure rate to FCFY, I wouldnt say well your program stinks or its your fault as you seem to imply. I would rather have retention, no where did anyone say in their posting that they had a retention issue. Instead, FCFY was discussed with different approaches. If it works for you Bob fine, it works for me sometimes, it doesnt work other times but we always offer it.


I thank you for your suggestions and welcome anyones ideas as to how scouting can be improved.


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bob, I want to thank you for explaining the First Class Emphasis program for me. I didn't understand it at first and even posted many questions about it. I know have a MUCH better grasp about it.


When shopping for troops I asked "do you use the First Class in First year program?". Was told YES. Well, no I'm beginning to see that is not exactly so. The troop is depending on all scouts attending Summer camp, taking the New Scout Program (which think they should) and attending EVERY campout and already knowing how to swim. The troop has about 50% of first year scouts drop out and about 40% more make First Class in First year because they have the most involved parents and they know how to swim. There is no plan of how to get them there. No one is following up on who is having problems. There are new scout patrols but the patrol method is only used for seating at troop meetings and tent arrangement and cooking at campouts.


My son is almost finished with his Tenderfoot rank and has a lot signed off on Second Class and First Class. I really doubt he knows how to pack for a campout. That got signed off at summer camp.


I'm going to start a different thread about getting "perks" for rank.


About all the comments of why kids drop out, Bob, you quote studies that show the number one reason is "boring troop meetings". That is my son's problem right now. For 11 year-old boys even the "work" part of scouting is fun. Planning your own menu for the weekend? What a blast! Learning how to tie knots? More fun than a barrell of monkeys. Working on a merit badge in a troop meeting, that is above your head and you are not interested? BORING!


Again, Bob, thanks for your posts and keep feeding us the info you have. I, for one, do appreciate you.


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks sctmom,

Glad I could help.



Your troop and merit badge counselor are violating the BSA advancement policies. "No unit or individual can add to, or subtract from, the requirements for any advancement beyond what is required in the handbooks of the BSA." As long as the scout follows the requirements as listed in the MB book you or the MB counselor cannot require him to cook for the entire troop. Besides not being a requirement it is not good camping. The largest group a scout should be dealing with is a patrol.


In addition, your requirement to attend summer camp is an advancement violation. The only attendance requirement you can place on a scout from Tenderfoot to First Class is to attend 10 troop or patrol activities other than regular troop meetings, 5 of which must be overnight campouts. Any other attendance requirements toward advancement is a violation of the BSA Advancement Policy and Procedures. That's not to say that you couldn't have a unit policy that a boy attends the meeting prior to a campout in order to attend (or a similar rule).


Scouting is more than doing stuff in a scout uniform, regardless how good you think the stuff is. Scouting is using the methods, and procedures of the BSA to achieve 3 specific goals. Just because a policy or procedure "works for you" doesn't make it scouting.


And I'm not saying do it my way . I'm asking that you do it the scouting way.


Bob White

Link to post
Share on other sites

Bob, maybe I should explain that the merit badge counselor allows troop cooking as one of the many ways to fulfill the requirement. I never said that it was the only way to do it. We offer Troop cooking, Patrol cooking etc. many opportunities throughout the entire year. Again, the same applies for summer camp. It is just one of the many ways to get FC it is NOT the only way in our unit.


So, Im doing it the scouting way all the way. Were neither adding nor changing BSA policy.


Were offering every chance to complete the FC requirements with every campout and or activity. If a youth fails to achieve FCFY its because they choose NOT to do a whole list of things and not just one time. So, when its time to participate 13 months later in a FC activity theyre not going to because theyre not FC. For example, one boy spent the summer playing baseball in a youth league, he showed up for 2 weekly meetings and did ZERO campouts, did not do Summer Camp. Nothing at all was done, I cannot make him FCFY now can I. Again, this year I can give you each of the 4 or 5 that joined after crossover, oh let me do that:


1. Scout played baseball, went to BB Camp. Since joining he has only attended 2 weekly meetings and nothing else.

2. Scout went to another state to visit his father per custody agreement. Scout has attended 4 meetings since crossover and nothing else.

3. Scout was in a car accident resulting in a badly broken leg. Out and unable to go camping. He has attended 3 weekly meetings since joining and now wants to play soccer in the fall therefore he wont be at any of the weekly meetings for a while nor any of the campouts.

4. Scout just doesnt show up. Doesnt think scouting is fun, was bored in Cub Scouts. Weve called and reminded him, never seems to make it to any of the meetings but I see him running around town prior and after. Parents are divorced and mom gives little support.

5. This scout may make it, he missed summer camp and one (maybe tw) camping trips where some items were covered, but if he goes on the next two hell have it.



Now the others are all going to make it. None of this because of any BSA policy or golden book not being followed or anything, it is just the way it is.


Thank you Bob for some ideas, but I cant think of a way to improve the above.


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

I know this is an older thread but I just now joined the scouter forums.


I appreciate everyone's dedication to the scouting program. And Bob & Ed are just 2 different people. I have seen both in my years of scouting in the mutliple councils I have lived in. Just realize you see differntly.


As for the subject at hand. I as of this week will be a Scoutmaster for the very first time. Though I am no where near new to scouting or leadership in the scouting program. For the past 1.5 years I have been working as an Asst. SM and directly overseeing crossing over and the New scout Patrol. I use the First Class empassis program that you speak about, but not because I knew it was a program. Until I read this I didn't know. We have had 100% retention and all so far have been 100% within the first 12 to 14 months of scouting. Some much earlier.

Our troop has used the New patrol no matter what the size even if it was 3 or 4. Amazing what it does for these boys. Synergy is the only word I can use to describe it. We had boys volunteering to be the troop guide. Even skip a merit badge class to work with the new scout patrol. The only reason we implemented this is from recomendations from our charter organization and from my experience as a boy myself. The troop I grew up in didn't directly use a new patrol but something very similar. they used the first class emphasis program. Every boy went through that program. Not 100% got FC by first year but it is was a very high percent. What is an amazing fact is that by boyhood troop is over 80 years old. And in the years since the implemented the focus on getting first class in the first year went on to get his eagle. In my 7 years in the troop that was 60-70% of the boys. So I agree this is important and for boys who didn't get it in the first year. It is running at 0%.


I know that not all will make it like Scoutpro has mentioned. Sports is a problem and if parents back sports over scouting they will be the one or two in the new patrol who don't make it.



Link to post
Share on other sites

ScoutPro's got a point. The bottom line, I think is that "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink". Here's a recent case in point for us:


August is a tough month for Scouting here. Monsoon season to begin with, so some very horrendous weather -- I'm not just talking rain, but torrential downpours with localized flooding that kills scores every year; not the safest time to be out in the backcountry. Also, most of our leaders participate in a 2-week training exercise in August that takes us completely out of the loop. Nonetheless, we have a monthly activity policy (camp/hike/day trip) that relates to the monthly theme the PLC selected at the program planning conference. August was Citizenship. Our outing was a trip to the Korean National War Memorial in Seoul. Huge, multinational, commemorates the sacrifices people from 17 countries made during the Korean War, etc. Excellent temporary DMZ exhibit with truce village mockups right now, too. Anyway, typical push, with permission slips, troop/patrol meeting emphasis, and so on. Guess who shows, or more importantly, who doesn't? We had all experienced Scouts, all 1st Class or above, who didn't need the activity for advancement. Not one first year Scout...go figure.


So, I guess the moral of the story is, you do your best, follow the rules, present the program, but it's ultimately up to the individual Scouts to motivate themselves to take advantage of it.


Here's a statistic to consider...there have been over 100,000,000 Boy Scouts, but the Handbook has sold only 60,000,000 copies. So, 40,000,000 boys have been in Scouting without a Handbook? What does that tell you?



Link to post
Share on other sites

Well KS for starters it means you have accidentally mixed statistics. The BSA has had over 130,000,000 members. That includes ALL scouting programs. The handbook statisic is for the Boy Scout handbook only.


I understand you frustration with your one event If however you had the same problem all year, I think you would agree that you would need to evaluate your planning, communications, youth input on activities, moral and a number of internal elements that could cause the problem or BE the problem. it seems several leaders are just quick to blame uninvolved parents and disinterested kids. Well kids don't come to us guaranteed to be interested. making and keeping their interest is our responsibility.


I accept that there are a lot of reasons why some scouts miss some events. but when lots of scouts miss alot of events the problem has always been in the unit program from my experience. If you are losing lots of scouts or not advancing at the pace outlined in the handbooks the problem is internal but the blame is placed often on the external.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...