Gary Rayson (garayson@NMSU.EDU)
Tue, 20 Aug 1996 10:56:52 -0600
> Scouts making it to Eagle should be able to tell you
> about what they learned as a Tenderfoot, or something about a merit badge
that >they earned last year.
Hi Tom! (and all the others following this thread),
It seems that the difficulty in this question of whether to "retest" or not
at the SM conference or the BOR is really a matter of "how" it is done. If
it is taken as an inquisition (sic) to be certain that this 17 year old
eagle candidate can tie _all_ of the knots and lashing he learn (probably
well) during his pioneering merit badge class at scout camp when he was 12
(or 11), then I strongly support the "rule" of no testing. If on the other
hand, if that same scout is asked about what he learned by earning the
pioneering merit badge that same summer, that I would support that level of
I agree with Tom that there are times when a member of camp staff "signs
off" on a requirement when he/she does not really know if each scout has
accomplished (note, I did not say "master") that skill. This, in my
opinion, is not a problem with the scout, it is a problem with the camp
staff, and the adult leaders who place undo pressure to "pass" as many
requirements for rank advancement as possible. Trying to "fix" the problem
at its result will not solve the problem. If a lowering of standards is
occurring, then efforts should be made in strengthing the "weak link", not
in interrogating the scout as he is trying to advance a rank.
As a part of my "other job" (that is the one that provides the paycheck), I
am involved in oral examinations of doctoral candidates. To be blunt, these
can make any BOR look like a cakewalk. Evenso, they are never an
inquisition. the questions asked are for clarification. Those of us asking
the questions have a well-founded faith in the abilities of our colleages to
have trained these individual in the skills that are implied by the degree.
If the candidate has not acquired those skills, he/she does not attempt the
examination (we call it a final defense of the candidates disseration or
thesis). If in situations where a great deal more is at stake that whether
a scout earns his first class rank this month or next there is generally an
atmosphere of civility, how could we ever consider subjecting a scout to a
more stenuous situation than a doctoral defense.
I have heard the argument that "life is tough and they [the scouts] should
learn to deal with it early." To those that would have that response I ask
"are YOU really happy at what you do or do you just 'get by'?" I am lucky,
I have a career an a vocation that gives me great personal pleasure
virtually every day. I would rather project the possibility of such a
state-of-being to young scouts than subject them to the dog-eat-dog
mentality that so often exists within our society. I would rather project
the existence of a supportive community than the one-up-manship rat race.
They will undoubtedly experience the later soon enough. Let them know
_about_ it with out forcing them to _experience_ it.
My appologies for having taken up so much "bandwidth".
YiS and Brotherhood
Associate Professor of Chemistry
New Mexico State University
Box 30001, Dept.3C
Las Cruces, NM 88003
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City