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A question of Eagle Palms

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I'm a bit confused over your position concerning SM Conferences. To paraphrase what I think you said, because the SM didn't initiate a conference with this boy, it was the Scoutmaster's fault, and therefore, he should be awarded the Palm. If I have this right, and we apply the same logic to merit badges, if the Merit Badge Counselor doesn't initiate a meeting to review the work a Scout does (not the original meeting. We know the procedure is for the Scout to obtain a Blue Card and the names of Counselors from his SM. I'm talking about a follow up after the Counselor knows a boy was working on the badge), the MB should be awarded anyhow, because the Counselor was at fault for not providing the opportunity to meet with the Scout? I don't think this makes sense, and I don't think it makes sense in the case of the Eagle Palms. Do I think that the SM could have done more to provide this Scout an opportunity to meet? OK, I'll buy that. But I don't think his failure should result in a Scout receiving an award he did not earn. If he didn't meet all of the requirements, he didn't earn the badge. And if he didn't meet with the SM, he didn't meet all of the requirements.



I've come to have have a level of respect for your attitude about Scouting. Sometimes your ideas are good, once in a while they're not so good. But I realize that your heart's in the right place.


Given that, is it really Scout-like to call people names, especially fellow Scouters? Look, your feud is well documented. And sometimes your points are valid. But if others are like me, you negate any credibility you might have with people when you start off a post being unScout-like.


Do with this what you will, but I hope you consider softening your tone a bit.



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You cannot use the merit badge program as an example to support your opinion, it actually supports what I am trying to share.


The instructions for obtaining a merit badge specifically state that the Scout must contact the counselor. NO such stipulation is made for the scoutmaster conference or for boards of review.


If it were a requirement, it would have to be stated as such in the Boy Scout Handbook and it is not. To make it a stipulation with the unit is adding to the requirement and that is not allowed in the policies of the BSA advancement program.



You are confusing counseling with a SM conference. Counselings goal is to effect a change in a person. The SM conference is to gather information and better understand the scout. The SM is the one who benefits from the conference. It gives him/her additional information about the character, needs, and growth of the scout.


If I need information from you, I don't wait and hope you will call me, it is my responsibility to meet with you. The SM conference is no different, since it is the SM who needs the info, it is the SM's responsibility to make the vist happen.


As I said, my copy of the Advancement Policies manual is with one of my trainers. I expect it back soon and will post the related sections.


In the mean time continue to consider the question...If you are there to serve the scouts, then why are you making artificial requirements for them to come get you? Why not go to them?


Bob White



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Pardon me if I seem incredibly dense, I am still trying to assimilate all the details.


IF I accept that the SM is responsible for ititiating all the SMCs, several things must be true:


1) The troop's adult leaders have been in error for 30+ years (and counting - nothing's changed yet)


2) There would have been sufficient time between BORs to qualify this scout for the two additional palms, which was the main sticking point for the Board, assuming the SM pursued the scout on schedule every three months


3) We've been tremendously fortunate this never occurred before for any rank


National never did say where our fault lay, only directed us to do the SMCs and BORs.


As far as pursuing the scout (my words, I know), I believe several of us did just that as I stated in previous posts. The SM did not say to him, "OK, let's sit down and have a conference now while you're here." It seems to me you're saying that's exactly what he should have done. What he did do was remind this scout on several occasions that scout needed a conference and to see the SM at the scout's earliest convenience. As far as we could tell, July was convenient - and too late for obtaining another Palm before he aged-out.

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1) Don't worry you wouldn't be the first


2) My point exactly


3) That's true


"The SM did not say to him, "OK, let's sit down and have a conference now while you're here." It seems to me you're saying that's exactly what he should have done."



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Just thought I'd bump this up. I'd really like those references, since I've re-read the documents mentioned and still don't see what I guess I should.


To update:


The scout has received the 2 additional palms National directed us to award him. Not sure exactly who sent them, or who paid for them, since troop did not do either. His mother is still angry and upset, still calling Council Advancement, because we did not hold a COH to give these to him. Frankly, we were unaware that they'd been sent until Council informed us of the complaint yesterday. This young man quit the troop when he turned 18 six months ago, refusing an adult position in the troop. He also apologized for his parents' behavior. I regret his leaving. We never had any hard feelings toward him during all of this.


It was the opinion of both unit and District that the mother deliberately skewed the facts in her letter to National, leaving out pertinent data. National never did ask for our input (Council, District, Unit)to my knowledge. She also did not properly follow instructions National issued, such as the consecutive SMCs and then BORs. After being reviewed by District, and in light of the lad's already receiving the palms, troop committee decided to chalk all this up to a learning experience, and to let matters drop. There are no plans for a COH as far as I know, although I am not the Advancement chair.

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Just read the thread from start to finish for the first time. It sounds like a wild ride.


Given the thread on "when did you stop listing Eagle on your resume" it makes me wonder if Eagle Palms really make a difference in the long haul.


Of course, I once ran into a mother who was very difficult and pushed hard for her son to earn more palms to make his eagle "better." Ridiculous argument.


So I looked her in the eye and said, "Mom. Leave me alone. Bronze is enough for me." ;) Truth be told, I didn't even want to earn the bronze.

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This thread will hopefully serve as a lesson for others.


The scout did not quit the troop when he turned 18.

The scout ceased being a member in accordance with the membership rules of the BSA. He did not quit, he completed his scouting.


Lots of people do not accept the role of adult leadership.

There is no law saying that just because you earned the Eagle award you have to be an adult leader. Does he not have the right to choose when in his life he accepts that responsibility?


National did not by pass the the advancement steps.

The troop mishandled the advancement as was pointed out in an earlier post. The matter went into appeal and national rendered the decision as to whether the scout earned "their" recognition or not and decided, as predicted, that he had.


Lets teach mom a lesson by punishing her son.

But putting aside the fact that national has determined that a member earned the recognition the "troop" has decided not to present them formally. So not only are they unwilling to consider that they were in error, they have decided to continue to irritate the parents, and to punish the scout, even though he did nothing wrong. Any bets as to whether he will let his son be a scout someday?


Throw a pebble in the water and the ripples spread.

I'm sure the "troop" feels in some bizarre way they are 'upholding the quality and heritage of the Eagle Rank' they are in fact giving the program a black eye that could last for generations in this boys family. They have compounded their first bad decision by making yet another one.

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Brother Bob --


I have to admit that I agree with you, and beg you all to forgive my poor choice of words concerning the first two points. Of course he didn't quit - he "aged out". He also changed his mind about becoming an adult leader and about joining the Venturing Crew. I'm sure the continuing nastiness between mother and troop was a major factor in that mind-changing.


My troop ought to award the palms to this scout in a COH. Having lost the argument, we should be gracious, IMO. It's too bad that we didn't even know they'd been sent out to the family. They didn't come to us, nor were we aware they were sent out until the complaint was made.


I admit that I no longer admire the boy's mother. Not so much because of her rudeness to the adult leaders of this troop, but because of her displayed lack of ethics and integrity. I, for one can take the heat of an angry person. (After all, I used to work for the government. ;) ) I can't abide dishonesty.


I have always recognized that the scout cannot be responsible for his parent's actions. I know she embarrassed him several times. I still maintain a friendly relationship with the lad, as does one of the ASMs. I like him; I've always liked him, and he knows it. I regret that things have gotten progressively uglier, and here we stand at an impasse with no-one willing to admit where they might be wrong.


So teach me, by using the publications mentioned previously, where I was wrong. Use a PM or this forum. I need proof that no-one can refute, since I sit on a committee where I am the most novice member and several have decades of experience with scouting, along with shirts full of knots and the confidence that they're in the right. I want this thing to end, but in such a way that this will never occur again!


BTW, I'll not take you up on your bet. Time will tell. However, I wouldn't be surprised if in a decade or so his family has a new Cub.

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I am not avoiding your request I just want to give you the most accurate answer I can and my materials are still in the possesion of one of my training team members.


Two really big hints that the committee was in error has been given to you already. First, the BSA determined the committee was wrong and that the scout should recieve the award. In addition, after see the facts presented by you, without any input from the mom, It was clear to me that the unit was wrong and it seems I correctly anticipated nationals response.


If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck then it is probably a duck. Until


Never judge knowledge by counting knots.


"Scouting isn't what you 'think' it is, Scouting is what the BSA 'says' it is.

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""Scouting isn't what you 'think' it is, Scouting is what the BSA 'says' it is."


Oh my, oh my, oh my! I was following along with interest until I hit this sentence. Then I became very troubled.


Several years ago, at a conference at Philmont Training Center, the instructor said that "Scouting is a movement, not an organization." The difference is that a movement is a loose affinity group where an individual marches or walks along with the other members of the movement because of a general and personal acceptance of the goals and objectives of the movement for as long as they continue to subscribe to the goals and objectives of the movement while an organization has rules, membersihp requirements, dues, etc.


Perhaps a more accurate rendering of Bob White's statement is "the BSA isn't what you think it is, the BSA is what the BSA says it is." But "BSA" is not a synonym for Scouting, even in the US.


I would respectfully say to every Scout leader "You are Scouting." We often say that the youth member is the most important person in Scouting. And for a Boy Scout, he really doesn't care about and doesn't know about the National President and the Chief Scout Executive and the National Executive Board and the upcoming National Meeting and probably even about his local council. For a Boy Scout, Scouting is his Scoutmaster! For that Boy Scout, what his Scoutmaster says goes. Those of us who work with youth cannot, should not and dare not abrogate that responsibility of ours.

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Actually the the words that "scouting is a movement and not an organization" was introduced by Baden-Powell early in the program's development. He said in in reference to the fact that he never expected scouting to develop the way it did. He wrote what he hoped would be an entertaining and educational book to encourage boys into the British military. Within a short time it was an international activity that touched a special chord of enthusiasm in boys the world over. It was the boys who first started to meet in groups long before there was any superstructure to spread or maintain the program.


The movement concept was kept alive by William Hillcourt who often reminded professionals and volunteers that this was an ever changing ever evolving program to keep its methods and message relevant to today's youth.


My point was that the program is not what an individual says it is, or determined soley within the unit based on personal likes and dislikes. Nor is the program based on the myriad of rumors and folk lore that surround it. I would offer that the BSA is not the volunteers at the unit level. Certainly we are the necessary and hugely important delivery mechanism of the program. But we are not the BSA. The BSA is the representatives of the charter organizations and communities that use the program, who function at the various levels of scouting who determine, design, and support the units throughout the movement.


My comment was directed at the implication that some people feel they are experts at the program because they have a chestful of knots. That is not necessarily true. You can get all kinds of knots and never follow the BSA program correctly. You can chase boys from a unit by the score and still earn a knot.


The leader who knows scouting is the one who uses the methods of scouting and delivers the promise of scouting. You will know them by there actions, do not be deceived by a chestful of knots.


Those who entrench themselves within a unit and believe they can do whatever they like and call it scouting fool only themselves. Scouting is an educational process that uses specific methods in order to achieve goals. Those things are determined not at the unit level, but by the BSA. As unit leaders, we have a responsibility to learn and follow the program, not make it up as we see fit. No matter how many knots they wear.



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