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Lack of Leadership for potential Star Scout

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We have a boy who has fulfilled all the technical requirements for Star scount, but has so far shown a distinct lack of leadership and Scout Spirit. He's had to be disciplined a couple of times now for poor behavior, and he continues to be someone we must watch over constantly, to be sure he doesn't get out of line.


We have declined to promote him for our last Court of Honor due to these issues. We've put conditions upon him to participate more in assisting the younger scouts during First Class trail advancement, and to behave in an appropriate manner at all times. If he satisfies these conditions over the next couple of months, we'll reconsider signing off on his advancement.


Complicating the issue is his mother, who is pushing hard for him to become an Eagle Scount. I'm concerned about advancing him when we have this continuing discipline issue confronting us.


Question #1 - is do our conditions for appropriate behavior make sense?


Question #2 - would appreciate any comments on motivating this 'boy' to become a 'young man' and live up to the ideals of Scouting...












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You are required to be more specifc in your expectations. tell him in writing, which requirements he did not complete, what specifically he must do for completion, and the date he will be reviewed again.


The best thing you can do is for the SM to give him positive direction and specific and immediate reinforcement when he displays the appropriate behavior.



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What is this young mans actual leadership position in the troop?


Is he the Troop Guide, a Patrol Leader, or an Instructor?


If not, it sounds like you may be adding to the requirements for his rank.


Asking a First Class Scout to be more involved in the First Class trail of other boys sounds like it might be a little premature.

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CA - I believe what you are focusing in on is the Scout Spirit requirement, not the leadership requirement. If that is the case, you are certainly within your right (assuming you are the SM) to do that. I had a young man earlier this year that I did that very thing with. I held him back from 2nd and 1st Class due to unscoutlike behavior. I'm happy to say that he has made great improvement, although far from a "Normal Rockwell Scout"... I did approve his Scout Spirit for 2nd class in April, and his 1st Class in June. This past August, he was elected PL of his patrol. He's come a long way.


Here's my tips for you:

1) Meet with the parent(s). Tell them specifically what you are doing. I encourage you to take a companion along, such as the CC or an ASM. Ask them for help and support. Tell them that you want their child to be a success, but you need their help. Ask if there is any advice they can give.


2) Give the scout specific examples and the expectations you have for him. Explain to him that, just as in life, the bar raises at each level. The level of scout spirit exhibited for 2nd class is not the same as 1st class. I expect much better behavior from a Life scout than I do a Tenderfoot.


3) Meet regularly with the scout. Have Scoutmaster conferences whenever possible - once or twice a month. Give him specific examples of his behavior. When you see him exhibiting this behavior, quietly walk over to him, and whisper "This is an example of what we've been talking about". It's amazing how many boys don't connect the dots between actions they do and the feedback you give them.



Good luck. You will make a big difference in the life of this young man.

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I don't see any requirement for Rank Advancement that requires a Scout to help Scouts on the trail to First Class. In fact I think that unless he is an exceptional little fellow the expectation that you have is far too high.

Scout Spirit is always a tough call.

I do not believe that grabbing a kid and making wear a Scout uniform is going to turn him into a little Angel.

We are trying to help young people make ethical choices over their life time by instilling the values of the Scout Oath and Law.

I thank the good Lord that while my son is not a little Angel he is a good kid who really likes to please people. Which sounds great, but at times he uses the fact that people like him to "Pull a fast one". He is a kid and is a boy!!

While life would be a lot easier if there was some kind of yardstick or benchmark that we could use to measure Scout Spirit. Sad to say there is no such thing.

We need to work with each Lad as an individual. Each and every boy is a special case.

If he is failing to do stuff that is covered in the Scout Oath and Law. We need to have the Scoutmaster have a chat with him.

The Scout Oath says "... I will do my best.."

The Scoutmaster needs to find out if this Lad is really doing his best. Working with the Lad they need to set goals. These goals need to be something that can be reached.

As for everyone watching over him.

Please stop watching over him to make sure he doesn't get out of line. If you are looking for the bad stuff you sure as heck are going to find it.

Start watching over him to give him a pat on the back when he does things right. Each and every time he makes an ethical choice or decision we are making progress, so is he. Let him know that he is doing a good job.

As for his Mother, sit her down and explain what Scouting is all about. Tell her that Eagle Rank is something that her son has to want a goal that he has to set. Let her know that everyone in the troop is there to help and support her son in reaching his goal. But the goal is his and his alone. Make her aware of all the good stuff that her son does and is doing. I will bet she hears the bad stuff from others. Tell her that her son is working hard to do the good stuff more and more. You might also want to let her know that the Eagle Scout Rank is not easy and only 4 or 5% of Scouts reach it.

The Scoutmaster could use his Scoutmaster minute to reinforce living the Scout Oath and Law. Along with setting goals and reaching them.

As a group of leaders you might want to spend some time looking at the mission of Scouting and the words in the Scout Oath.

Scouting is a strange game even when you think that you have done your best it asks you to come back and do better.

I try and remember how I was when I was the age of some of our Scouts. I was wearing the Scout uniform but there are still people around who will attest that I was no angel. Still thanks to a lot of caring and loving people I made it to become a Queens Scout. I think if it wasn't for these people who cared I never would have made it.


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A couple of clarifications - thanks to Eamonn. The requirement about making him help with the first year scouts is probably out of line. Second, make sure to complement him when he does well, just as you need to pull him in line when he does not.



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Due to my attempt at brevity, I was probably too vague about the problem. I would like to clarify a few things...


I should first state that our troop tries very hard to focus on the positive with all our boys. We all agree that encouragement is the basis for good scouting, but that we sometimes have to set a standard for good behavior, and that is where this scout is a challenge. We have, and still do, always complement this boy when he is exhibiting good behavior.


In short, he's a poker, meaning he needles other scouts to get a rise out of them, which he then escalates into a verbal shouting match ( complete with foul language ), which he blames the other scout for starting. He also has a tendency to throw things, and has whacked is brother a few times while on outings. In one case, as Den Chief, he was leading his young charges during a campout, where they watched him pick a fight with another scout, again using foul language, which escalated into a pushing match, then was belligerant and combative (verbally) with our SM. He has had other, less serious, fits of bad behavior, all of which we have discussed with him and his mother.


Our wish for him to assist with First Class trail was for the purpose of showing leadership with the younger scouts, and to give him the opportunity to redeem himself in the view of the SM and ASM's. Our 'requirement' here, we felt, was in line with the "Demonstrate scout spirit by living the Scout Oath (Promise) and Scout Law in your everyday life." item in the Star Scout Rank Requirements.


We have discussed the applicability of the Scout Oath and Laws to his rank advancement requirements, and that is what we are monitoring very closely.


I appreciate the comments from EagleinKY - we've done some of those things, but not all, so we'll work along those lines to get this situation turned around.


Good idea, Eamonn, about explaining Eagle Scout in detail to the mother, I don't think she quite has the grasp of how much work is involved and how the desire has to come from the boy.


Thanks all for your insight.







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You can not make him a perfect scout in a few months. You must focus on a FEW items that can be fixed.


Pick SPECIFIC issues that you want him to focus on. 3-4 at most. If you give him too many, he will not be successful.


Give examples of the problem behavior and what it would look like if he did not do them. Put it in writting. Talk with him about it. Talk with his parents about it.


Since this is tied to scout spirit signature his behavior problem must be tied to a the motto, law, oath, slogan.


When he behaves like you want give him positive feedback.

When his behavior does not match your model remind him of your discussion.


Example: I'm not sure you can stop someone who likes to get into arguements to completely stop that behavior over night. But you might work on:

Swearing during an arguement.

Pushing during an arguement.

Disrespect with adults who try to stop the fight.


Have him work on those three items for the next 3-4 months and show improvement.


If he does, sign him off and then pick 3-4 more things to improve.


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Hey folks!!!!

pushing matches???

wacking people???

throwing things???

verbally belligerent towards leaders????

This one needs a committee-parent conference to see how or if this boy can/should stay in the troop, not advance towards eagle!

If any 'contact' is meant to be hurtful, advancement should be the least of this boys mom's worries.


S.M. should lay down the law to this one and fast!

and no, you are not going to 'change' the boy ove

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Poking & whacking? Not good.


Sounds like he needs a SM conference explaining that if his behavior doesn't improve (be specific)he will advance no further.


BTW, does this Scout have any medical conditions?


Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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I am a little confused here, and I am after a larger target, but I want to be sure I understand, so its not OK to push,shove, and strike people, right?

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In answer to a few questions:


Yes, we have had a parent conference where we indicated what was, and what was not acceptable behavior, and we indicated that he would not advance until it improved. He actually DID agree that his behavior was not acceptable, so that was good. We have seen some improvement, and that's been acknowledged and encouraged, but there is still plenty of room for additional improvement.


The scout has no medical conditions. He was formerly a Den Chief, but was relieved of his duties due to bad behavior ( see my previous post ).


thanks all







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"Yes, we have had a parent conference where we indicated what was, and what was not acceptable behavior, and we indicated that he would not advance until it improved."


Hi CA_Scouter,


Without specific expectations written out, in stages, I'm afraid you are setting yourself and this boy up for continued disappointment.


He did not become this way overnight, and will not be able to rectify all aspects of his behavioral issues overnight either.


For example, pick one or two points to be acheived for a period of time prior to Star Rank.


Then a couple more prior to Life Rank, etc...


No backsliding allowed once they have been met.


Praise EVERY TIME something positive happens.


Criticize privately EVERY TIME something negative happens.


Look for the small things continually that lead to the bigger issues. If you do this, you won't just be helping this boy, but all of them.


Hope this helps.

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Thanks, yes we did specify the behavior and expected areas of improvement, but did not write it up into a formal document. This would definitely help us to guage the boy's progress, and him too!




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