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Advancement momentum or lack thereof

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Our troop has a problem that occurs almost every year. Our scouts do well with merit badges and advancement at Summer camp. When the Scouting year starts up in September, they are enthused and do fairly well. As the year progresses the momentum slows down, to when we reach spring time, it has slowed less than a crawl.


Any suggestions to maintain the momentum we have after camp and at the beginning of the Scouting year and keep it up all year?


BTW, we meet at a school, so weekly meetings are held September thru early June, but keep a gopod schdule of activities over the summer, and have at least one campout every month.





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Reading and Re-reading your posting the "Lull" time doesn't seem to be very long.

Not knowing what other activities the Lads in your troop are involved in I can't say that they are busy doing other stuff. I do know that the track team and the soccer team along with school plays and chorus keep my 15 year old busy especially when you add in homework and time spend doing non- scouting activities. Bottom line is that kids are busy.

At times I have a hard time remembering that while Scouts and Scouting are a very large part of my life, that just because he is my son doesn't mean it has to be a large part of his. At present he is far more involved with the OA then he is with his advancement. He is active with the troop and is the SPL.

Which of course brings up the subject of it being his advancement. I am 100% for the goal of First Class within about a year. But after that advancement is up to the individual. Of course a troop that has planned programs and offers the Scouts opportunities to try new and exciting activities will light the spark that will lead to or help lead to the Scout wanting too find out more and pursue the merit badge and in some cases the troop program may in it self cover all or parts of a merit badge.

We as adults in the program are here to serve our Scouts, we do so by being here to help and support them. If you feel that the troop that you are in is doing this and the Scouts are aware that Advancement is an individual thing. I wouldn't worry about it.


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I see the lull start as soon as Summer Camp is over. Unless someone organizes a "merit badge class" our guys rarely work on merit badges.


There are so many merit badges that they could earn just for being alive. Most are involved in organized sports but few have earned the Sports merit badge. We have a number of accomplished musicians but not one has earned the Music Merit badge. Honor roll students but none have the Scholarship meritbadge. I know of six guys who are taking photography in school but none are working on the Photography merit badge. Pets? Reading?


I'm not even looking at the guys investigating new fields like auto repair or traffic safety. I'm just looking at things that these guys could earn for activities that they already do now.


It's all rather sad but the apologist parents say, "well, they are already doing so much stuff that they don't have time to do the merit badges." That's like telling a carpenter that he'll get $100 if he calls 84 lumber at the end of the day and reports how many boards he's cut. You're doing the work anyway, why not get the award?


It's sad, so sad. It's a sad, sad situation. And it's getting more and more absurd.

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I know that I may be out of line, but somehow I can't see you not mentioning something to these Lads.

As I have posted in the past, I am not for Merit Badge Mills or Eagle Scout Factories. I do however think that if a Lad is covering the material that is part of the Merit Badge that us old people telling him so is supporting him.

As for the "Apologist Parents" I fail to see why they should have to be apologizing for anything.

The Merit Badge or Rank Advancement is down to the Scout. Sure the parent can guide and support but that's as far as it goes.


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"I know that I may be out of line, but somehow I can't see you not mentioning something to these Lads."


About once a quarter someone reminds the Scouts that there are many merit badges that they can be earning just for doing what they already do. Unfortunately, these guys don't want to work on any merit badge that they can't earn in an afternoon or at summer camp. I think that it is a cultural thing.


The apologist parents are the same ones that expect the adults to arrange merit badge sessions and to force Scouts out of Positions of Responsibility to make room for their sons.




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I'm not sure it's a cultural thing. Perhaps it's a lack of vision on the Scout's part.


Take the kid with the photography class as an example. He probably thinks he's doing higher level stuff than the merit badge and hasn't even looked at the requirements. Take a look at the requirements, then ask him some specifics about his class. When he realizes he's well on his way to completing the badge, he may take the bait and do it.



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E90: Regarding your lull - While it's not unheard of (some families schedule vacations to hit after summer camp and not conflict) and some school activities crank up in late July (band camp and footbal conditioniing come to mind) almost sounds like you're not meeting weekly during the summer?

I've seen that done by Troops composed primarily of older Scouts (read not attracting youngsters) but not always successfully. While flexibility is important, I think that some continuity in your program is important as well

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Since we meet ina school, we do not hold regular troop meetings during the summer however we do have activities planned:

Summer Picnic

Ball Game trip

Summer Camp Training Day

Summer Camp

High Adventure Trip

Family Campout


Our lull hits NOW in spring, not during the summer.




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When I took over as Advancement Chair, I set up a schedule for the boys to follow for reporting and advancing. (first week, bring books for updating and recording, second week, SM Review (if pre-scheduled), third week BOR (if pre-scheduled), fourth week, recognition) Then every Quarter we have a COH with the parents.


Maybe other things came into play but it seems like once the boys knew what to do, how to report it and who to report it to (teir advancements and MBS) they seems pretty gunho.


Out of a troop of 45, I have at least three or so advancing a rank in a month. As for MBs, what I did is create a notebook with all the district's MB Counselors put together and bring it to every meeting. The boys all know how to look their interest up and find the counselors they need. They also know that I know many people of the district, so they will ask me about people I would recommend.


In other words, I provide the tools, they proceed with advancement.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I agree with FOG that the guys do a lot of activities that could end up with a MB. Some of them are just not "into it" where they want the badge. The spring lull would be a good time to offer a programmed badge such as Family Life or Personal Management. Speakers can come to the troop and discussions can be had with all of those interested. The scouts still need to show all individual work but this can be done with the Meritbadge.com workbooks.

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I agree with FOG...it's cultural. We could name this generation "The Pamperedest Generation". Before everyone jumps on me with both feet, I will agree there are exceptions...but they are getting fewer and fewer. This generation wants everything spoon fed to them, and I see it every day. Who's guilty? We all are: parents, teachers, scouters, coaches, employers. We no longer demand that they be responsible and accountable. Didn't do your homework? We know you're awfully busy, so bring it in when by the end of the semester and we'll count it. Don't want to work on MB? We'll organize a class and tell you what to do step by step, so you don't have to figure it out. Filling out your Eagle application? I'll go to council for you and make sure your records are straight. In the absence of specific direction, they choose to do nothing productive.


My Dad was one of the Greatest Generation...a submarine sailor in the Pacific theater serving from 1941-1964. Half of his buddies didn't come home. What did he teach me?


If you want something, work for it.

If you want a gift, wait for Christmas.

If you want to make Eagle, you do the work, not him.

If you don't know what to do, figure out what the right thing is and do that.

Stupidity is painful...as it should be.

If you make a mistake, admit it, fix it, and move on.

Every bad decision has a bad consequence. Some hurt you. Some hurt others.

B's on the report card mean you didn't work hard enough.

If you want money, get a job...any job.

No job is beneath you if it needs to be done.

If you need to get to school, don't waste gas, ride the bus.

Play is what you do if the work gets done.

Until you graduate high school, school is your job.

Everyone needs to know how to cook, sew on a button, clean house, wash clothes, use tools, change their own oil and do a tune up, and take care of the house and yard. Before you leave home to get book-learnin'.


Dad passed on in 1995, but I still feel his guiding hand every day. I do my best to pass on the lessons of life to my own sons and Scouts, as I can think of no greater legacy to leave when I'm gone. They don't always like it and think I'm mean and unreasonable. I felt the same way at their age, but I am forever grateful. Thanks, Dad.


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In our troop there is a correlation between parent involvement and advancement. The parents are pushing, slightly. Sometimes all it takes is for them to remind the Scout to bring his book to the meetings. It seems once they realize they are a few badges away from Star or Life, they get more motivated about seeking out counselors.


We've found that badges not completed at camp seem to take forever to complete, even when there is only one requirement left to do. On the merit badges, I think it is important to sit down with Scouts individually and through a question and answer session, help them establish a strategy for earning badges. Make sure they earn some Eagle badges while doing fun badges, etc. In the end, it is up to them, I think that is the way it was intended.

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Frankj is right, for most (there are exceptions) boys it takes a little parent guidance (pushing) to get the boys to work on MB's. I probably wouldn't have made it to Eagle without my Dad's foot once in a while.


One thing we do is put the requirements for one merit badge in the Troops monthly newsletter and send a set home with the boys when we work on a particular interest during a meeting. As many of you have alluded to, I think many of the boys (especially the younger ones) don't know what the requirements are. By getting the requirements out to both the parents and boys, it has generated more interest in the boys, and a little more "guidance" from the parents.


Interestingly, I looked at my old merit badge cards and realized that most of the MB's I earned where done in the summer and fall. I think it goes back to how busy kids are during school. I guess in that respect things haven't really changed from the 70's.







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