Re: Advancement signoff
George Crowl (WILLIAMM@ZIAVMS.ENMU.EDU)
Thu, 17 Oct 1996 08:58:48 -0600
You asked "Who can actually do the signing off ... on Tenderfoot
through First Class requirements?"
IMNSHO, I believe it ought to be primarily youth leaders, adults
only as a backup. There is method to my madness.
1. We are trying to teach boys skills. There is no better way
to master a skill than to teach it to someone else.
2. We are trying to teach boys leadership. Patrol leaders and
other older boys are encouraging younger ones to advance, and
helping them to do so.
3. We are trying to teach boys responsibility. They realize
they are responsible for the skills of the boys they teach. They
want to do it right.
4. I understand that the boys are supposed to run the program
with adult help when needed. This is something they can do, and
Now for the practical stuff. How do you make it work? If there
is not a "tradition" in your troop, consider having a conference
with your PLC and advancement committeeman, and have a discussion
of what you thing the advantages, disadvantages, and mechanics
would be. Then move incrementally to implement it.
What worked for me in my troop was:
If you were a First Class Scout or above and Patrol Leader, you
could normally sign off anything from Scout to First Class.
However, if you had barely passed your nature requirements and
had not improved, you were encouraged to let someone else with
more expertise do it!
If you had a corresponding merit badge (First Aid, for instance),
you could sign off anything in that field, even if you yourself
were not yet First Class.
More senior boys (Venture Crew, troop leadership, former patrol
leaders, etc.) were equivalent to patrol leaders.
However, you had to be approved by the Scoutmaster to sign off
advancement. This provided a quality control check before the
fact. My procedure was to go to a new patrol leader or other
candidate and say, "When one of your guys is ready to pass
something off, call me over. I want you to do it, but I want to
watch to see how you do it." Afterward, we would discuss his
standards and techniques, and I would clear him or give him
Elaborate schemes are hard to administer. In an average size
troop, the Scoutmaster is the best person to make this work,
pretty much on a personal and informal basis, within a set of
For example, I would often get a request from a Tenderfoot to be
allowed to pass off his new buddy he had just recruited on the
requirement for Totin' Chip. I would use the same approach, "Let
me watch...," and get excellent results!
Adults can be helpful when we are initiating this process, or
dealing with areas the boys are not expert in, or when the boys
are busy with other activities and don't have much time for the
aspiring Tenderfoot (summer camp, etc.). In a mature system,
they might be doing 20% of the signing off.
Does this help?
____'/____ George Crowl
VV / \ UU AA, X226
/318\ Cncl Tng Chmn
/ 402 \ Wood Badge CD
/W-CS-38\ Double Eagle & Bear
/ ||| ||| \ Clovis, NM
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City