Jumping from Scout to 1st Class
Barry C Runnels (Barry_C_Runnels@MMACMAIL.JCCBI.GOV)
Tue, 17 Dec 1996 10:51:43 CST
When we started our Troop three years ago, we had several questions about
the differences our Scouting experiences 20 years ago compared to today, OK
maybe 25 years ago but not 30.
Scout can start earning merit badges entering Scouts. Eagles by the age 14
and merit badge colleges? Why do we do it that way now? What was wrong with
the old way?
Here is what we learned:
1. It is very hard to keep 15 and 16 year old Scouts
around after they get their Eagle.
2. Create a program specific to their age group that
keeps them interested in Scouts, i.e. a Venture Program.
3. Once these guys get into their Venture Program, they
loose interest in the rest of the Troop.
They still help the Troop out if we push hard but in
our Troop they are less than reliable and they
don't understand why we want their help.
I will seek help from all especially from Scouts-L to help us in this area
but my real point here is I don't understand the changes. We really need
the help of the older guys. They need the experience of leading the Boy Run
Troop using what they learned from the previous years of experience. BSA
seems to have inadvertently discouraged this opportunity for the older
We have decided to prevent a Tenderfoot Scout from jumping to 1st Class
without earning the 2nd class. I will explain why by telling the story I
give to Webelos at a Arrow of Light ceremony.
A young Native American boys tells the Chief he is ready to be a Brave. The
wise Chief grabs a bow and shoots an arrow over the river, then ask the boy
to bring him that arrow. The boys takes a year to find it and returns the
Wolf arrow. The Chief takes a new arrow and at the point where the boy
found the Wolf arrow, he shoots the Bear arrow into a woods and again ask
the boy to bring him the arrow. After several years, the boy reaches the
top of the mountain to find his Arrow of Light.
The Chief knows what most boys don't, there is a lot to be learned by time
and experience that can not be taught by teachers. The boy may have the
skills to be a Brave, but he does not have the experience of life. The
Chief forces him to take that time. We want our Scouts to take at least a
year to get his 1st class. What's the hurry?
Merit Badges. Between Merit Badge College and Summer Camp, a Scout can have
his Eagle by the age of 13 if he tried hard. A Scout and a Troop can miss
the great experience of Scouting and the values a person can receive if
their focus is in the direction of speedy rank and not the fun of
responsibility, leadership, and the plan fun of camaraderie of other
Scouts. What's the hurry?
We have a new Star Scout who was the worst Patrol Leader I have ever seen.
I talk to him about it and the Scout agreed, but he got his Star and miss
the point. This will not happen again in this Troop. Live and learn.
We do not push earning merit badges the first year. We don't discourage it,
just don't push it. We don't push merit badge college. But most of our
Scouts will go. We look for Summer Camps that have other programs besides
the merit badge program. We are asking the Scouts this year to earn two
badges and do the repelling, canoeing, mountain biking, skeet shooting and
a lot more. We push the fun and experience It was so much easier when you
had to be 1st Class to earn merit badges.
BSA has made it so easy to advance in rank, that the Scout could miss the
real experience of Scouting. But even more, they could miss the fun.
We must make sure Scouts don't have tunnel vision for the Eagle. Each Scout
should have a rounded Scouting experience.
This Spring, three of our four Venture Scouts will get their Eagle. They
are counting the days. I know them well and I love them, I will miss them.
I love this Scouting Stuff
"Mighty" Pack 339
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City