Please excuse me while I pull up my preaching stump.
Bill, let me say this up front... I'm not picking on you, or singling you out. But, I'd like to take your last post and relay some of my impressions, based on this board's history (and my experiences in Scouting, both as a youth and adult) and preach for a minute to all who may be interested...
DadScout wrote:Right, swimming MB hasn't been required for life saving since '01. .... The SM or AC should be aware before assigning it out.
I don't think Swimming MB has ever been a pre-req. for Lifesaving. Regardless, you can
earn Lifesaving before earning Swimming.
BTW... Here's another often misunderstood example, although First Aid MB is req. no. 1 for Emergency Prep., it none-the-less may be the last requirement completed. IOW, you can
complete all requirements for E-Prep., except for First Aid MB, and then, once completing First Aid, you can get them both signed off at the same time. (Well, within a matter of seconds. IMHO, Scouts should be allowed to take both these MBs simultaneously at Summer Camp. In fact, I believe that taking these two MBs together cumulatively
strengthens their importance.)
It really tears me up is when a SM (or his/her specifically appointed designee -- an ASM) refuses to give a Scout a BC.
Scouting is not without risks; but, the MB Program was designed so that each and every Scout may individually work toward, and succeed (or fail, and hopefully try again) at his own pace. Every time a SM refuses to give a Scout a BC, I believe he's actually cheating that Scout out of opportunities to grow! Examples:
- The opportunity to succeed where he not only amazes himself; but, the SM, too... even if the SM doubts the Scout's ability (at the time the BC was requested), for whatever reason(s); and
- The opportunity to fail... And, in so doing, he's cheating the Scout out of the opportunity to make the decision to keep trying, or give up. And, in the case of the latter, the Scout should be counseled to try again, maybe next year, or whatever. But, the SM needs to remember this and follow-up w/ the Scout sometime down the trail. (More on this, later.)
The Advancement Committee Guide - Policies and Procedures states, "One of the greatest needs of young men is confidence. There are three kinds of confidence that young men need: in themselves, in peers, and in leaders."
Can a SM refuse to give a Scout a BC? Yes. (I used to say no; but the latest edition of the SM's Handbook says otherwise. I may not personally agree with that; but, it is what it is.) But, IMO, every time he does, he is failing that boy on all three counts. [Just think about it from the boy's perspective when you're telling him he "can't"
do whatever.] If the SM feels the boy isn't ready, then he should counsel the Scout on ways to overcome the perceived concerns; it may be time; it may be strength; whatever. But, I say, ALWAYS give the Scout the BC and ALWAYS encourage him to try his best, even if it takes longer than, quote unquote, normal. Now, with that being said, I'd be remiss if I didn't say there may be legitimate times to say "No." I just can't think of any. Well, just one: Climbing and Rappelling. Although not specifically prohibited w/i the Climbing MB requirements, there are recent changes to the G2SS regarding Climbing and Rappelling, which must be obeyed. (See also, Climb on Safely
, No. 20-099 and Topping Out: A BSA Climbing/Rappelling Manual
, No. 32007.) Otherwise, I say, NEVER TELL A SCOUT THAT HE CAN'T !!!
And the SM should NEVER refuse to give a Scout a BC because he has too many open BCs. To me, that's just plain "adding to the requirements."
The AC (Advancement Coordinator, Troop Committee member), nor anybody else on the Troop Committee for that matter has any business handing out BCs. The only exception to this rule is the CC; and then, only in the SM's absence... and even then, it really should be another Unit Leader, which means an ASM, specifically designated by the SM. Two reasons:
- First, through a variety of sources, you'll find that nothing --and I mean absolutely nothing-- that's advancement related happens for any Scout w/o it first going through the SM... No one else, just the SM. Now, with that being said, the SM has the authority to (and usually does) specifically designate ASMs, or even Scouts, the authority to sign-off on certain advancement requirements. But, it's solely by the SM's authority or his/her appointed designees that ALL advancement occurs. The SM (or his/her designee) even selects the specific MBC to be used each time a BC is requested; and, he/she also contacts the AC to set up BORs.
- Second, it's not the Troop Committee's job to do ANYTHING advancement related with the Unit's Scouts, except conduct BORs. (Committee members may, of course, serve as MBCs; but, so can parents and ULs.) At any rate, the Troop Committee itself, as a whole, is not otherwise directly involved in a Scout's advancement. And, conversely, the ULs do NOT ever sit on a BOR. There's a reason for that... It builds integrity into the advancement process.
DadScout wrote:The outstanding (or taking too long) MB's only drive me crazy with my own sons. Two years to do Family Life because he kept failing to track his chores. Now 6 months running on Personal Fitness because he doesn't track the exercise...and he's on a school team the works out 6 of 7 days a week. It kills me, but it's his MBs.
I may seem hypocritical here, but I'll risk it... On the other end of the spectrum is the "hands-off" or, "it's-all-on-him-now" perspective. Listen, you're his Dad. There's absolutely nothing wrong with your giving him some parental incentive (i.e., a swift kick in the pants -- figuratively, of course), er, I mean mentoring.
Just as important as it is for ULs and parents to mentor younger Scouts, once a kid makes Star, or (especially) Life, if not already done, it's imperative that somebody ULs (SM and ASMs) and/or the Scout's parents sit down with the kid and help him make a plan, in writing, and stick to it, as best he can. There's absolutely nothing wrong with a Life Scout getting half a dozen SMCs; that's what they're there for... just one of many tools to help the kid get to the next level. If you want to help a kid who's struggling, but really wants to get over that last hump to Eagle, ask an ASM and a Committee member to volunteer to meet with the kid and one of his parents on a regular basis. Do that, in addition to your SMCs, and this kid will be more likely to gain the extra confidence he may be needing to make it.
Along those same lines, the vast majority of kids on the trail from Scout to First Class get most of their initial training (and mentoring) from their peers--their fellow Scouts, and Senior Scouts, too. Once a kid gets up into the Star and (especially) Life ranks, the number of available youth (peer) mentors usually dwindles to near nothing. And, in my experience, some Troop's adults also mistakenly tend to back off way too far; and, that's the real reason why most of them fall through the cracks. I believe this is exactly where we adults need to step up. We can blame it on par-fumes and car-fumes all we want; but, I don't think that's the real problem. Least ways, not most of the time. Just because a Scout makes it to Life, or is 16 or 17, does not mean he is no longer entitled to "help." No, we don't want to carry the ball for him. But, that's not what I'm saying... Let's face it; he's still just a kid. So many times, too many times, I've seen SMs leave their Scouts that have gotten over onto the "Life Scout for life trail" just hang in the breeze. Albeit, unintentionally... hanging, nonetheless.
On occasion, we'll hear about a Troop that has a much higher than normal (there's that word, again) Eagle rate. Some call them Eagle mills, or something like that. Well, maybe some are. But, I've seen some that were clearly not... All of their adults were well trained, and their responsibilities were spread out pretty evenly, and the lines of communication were pretty amazing. And, --here's the key-- the single most important thing a SM can do in making Eagles, it to initially get one or both of a new Scout's parents level of belief (not the boy's--there will be plenty of time for that, later) up to the total buy-in level. If the boy likes Scouting, he'll stick with it as long as his parent(s) support him, even if it's only moral support. If the kid doesn't like Scouting (typically, that would be the camping part), and some just don't take to it, then why press him to continue with something he doesn't enjoy. In such instances, he should always
first try another Troop. Alternatively, maybe when he eligible, he could try a Venture Crew. But, it's our job to redirect him, or to follow-up and offer him an opportunity to get back in at a later time.
Okay; I'm sorry... this was way longer than a minute.