Re: Inception of First Year First Class
Calvin H. Gray (405geezer@IGG-TX.NET)
Sat, 20 Dec 1997 12:01:37 -0600
Paul A. LaChapelle wrote:
> Does anyone remember when the First Year First Calss advancement program
> was initiated? Do troops find this to be a program that the boys can
The program was announced in 1989 and went into effect nationwide
January 1, 1990. I presented the new plan, which was called the Troop
Operations Plan, to our Troop Committee in November, 1989. Here is a
portion of the information I presented:
1. Nationwide, 40% of new Scouts drop out during their first year.
Why? Bored and/or confused during troop meetings and activities.
Harassment by older Scouts.
Lack of solid relationships with adult leaders.
2. In 1910, the first Scout manual contained about one typed page of
requirments to reach first class; by 1988, this had grown to almost
10 pages of typed requirments (Skill Awards + First Aid MB).
1. A new Troop Operations Plan was tested for 12 months in six BSA
Councils. 282 troops were involved.
2. The result was the first major change in the Boy Scout Program in
1. A program for new Scouts, using action-oriented advancment
requirments that are easily delivered through the troop program.
2. A new program for older Scouts, 13-18 years old.
1. A new advancment program to First Class, aimed at new Scouts.
2. A different patrol structure for new Scouts (the New Scout Patrol).
3. Enhanced program features for experienced Scouts.
4. New programs for olders Scouts, oriented toward high adventure and
sports (Venture Program & Varsity Program).
5. Elimination of skill awards effective January 1, 1990.
The New First Class Requirements:
1. Designed to provide hands-on experiences.
2. A progressive learning process where each previous rank's skills
3. Permits Scouts to work on requirements simultaneously.
4. No merit badge required for First Class.
5. Requires participation in 10 troop or patrol activities, excluding
troop and patrol meetings, 3 of which must include overnight camping.
6. More than 80% outdoor-related.
7. Requires participation in a service project for Second Class Rank.
Can the boys make First Class within a year? Normally, yes. But it is
very important that they be *active* with their patrol, especially
during the first 6-9 months. They have to go camping at least 3 times.
If they aren't active and don't go camping, they tend to fall behind
their peers in advancment and then begin to drop out.
Is the program perfect? Of course not, but I think it is better than
the old program which required Skill Awards in order to advance. There
has been a minor modification or two (adding additional first aid
skills) and removing the Varisty Program for older Scouts from the troop
and creating separate Varsity Teams.
Has the program resulted in significantly reducing the 40% first year
drop out rate? I really don't know; maybe someone else has more
information on this.
Calvin H. Gray
Scoutmaster, Troop 405
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City