Scouts-L Mail Archive for June of 1999: Re: Needed-Voices of Experience
Re: Needed-Voices of Experience
Tue, 29 Jun 1999 06:34:19 MDT
From: Ted Holz <UncleTed@TWCNY.RR.COM>
> While there are always exceptions, a Scout that is allowed to advance so fast
> will probably quit Scouting by the age of 15 because there are no more
> advancement possibilities.
I doubt that they are any more likely to quit than those who don't
advance quickly. In fact they are, to my experience, more likely to
stay around. Remember, something like 90% of scouts drop out by that
age anyhow (based on a rough memory of retention statistics I saw).
Besides, if they are looking for more advancement opportunities at age
15 they can migrate to a Venture Crew, which is probably better suited
for them anyhow.
> One of the purposes of the advancement committee is to manage the advancement
> program within the troop by making sure that as a Scout advances he has the
> maturity to handle the rank that he is trying to achieve. The mere fact that a
> Scout has completed the requirements to advance does not mean that he is ready
> to advance.
What happened to the "no more, no less" rule? If the boy has finished
the requirements, including showing scout spirit, then they are to be
passed off on the advancement. There is no maturity requirement -- so
long as whatever immaturity there is doesn't manifest itself as
unscoutlike behavior. So there is no basis to hold up the advancement
Furthermore, the purpose of the advancement committee (aka board of
review) is to make sure that the Scoutmaster Corps is properly
implementing the scouting advancement program and providing a quality
experience to the boys in the troop. I have seen nothing in any
literature (from any time period) which indicates any role other than
this. The reponsibility for controlling the advancement program is
with the SM and his assistants, who need to make sure that procedures
are indeed being followed.
> The BSA used to help manage the advancement program by requiring a time period
> between Tenderfoot, 2nd Class, and 1st Class. When they stopped using the
> handbook that had been written by Bill Hillcourt and switched to the "new
> scouting" with a flashy handbook they modified the advancement program and made
> it easier to advance. I don't believe they did the Scouts any favors when they
> did this.
Every now and again someone brings this up, and I have never
understood where they come up with this claim. I personally went
through Scouting in the 80s, with skill awards and 2 months between
each of the first three ranks. I made Star in right about 10 months
from joining (might have been closer to 11 given the accumulation of
days/weeks for actually getting the BOR). It really wasn't hard to do
with a little dedication. I got a bit lazy after that, and goofed off
enough that I only got Eagle at age 14 (one year for Life, two for
When I was going through, all that I heard was how going to skill
awards ruined the program. Everyone wanted to return to the "way
things were before". Looking at the current requirements, that is
essentially what they did. They took the main skills out of the skill
awards and spread them through the ranks. They also took out time
requirements in favor of activity requirements. BTW, the time
requirements for ranks was a fairly new addition to those ranks.
Not too long after the rank requirements changed, I did a study of the
requirements from when my dad was in (50s), when I was in (80s), and
the new requirements. In the final analysis, I decided that the
current requirements were actually in general harder than what had
been asked of the boys in either of the other two periods. With the
possible exception of the Morse code, I would rather do either the 50s
or the 80s requirements than the ones today (assuming I was trying to
advance quickly) -- if followed properly, the current requirements
also provide a more-rounded scout.
> By the way, I've been in this situation with my oldest son when he was
> advancing. He made Star fairly young and fortunately his Scoutmaster put the
> brakes on.
Actually, what if fortunate is that the SM putting the brakes on
didn't cause him to get frustrated and chuck the whole thing. The
heart of the scouting program is that there is a series of set
activities that everyone (with exceptions for handicaps) has to do to
get each level. This program is set out in advance, and each boy can
decide what pace they want to take for each step. If you start
putting up roadblocks, then a boy (especially a bright and motivated
boy) will see that you are changing the rules on him and will often
resent that fact. It is like he is being punished for being gung-ho.
Be VERY WARY of doing this to a boy.
> Gary Apfelstadt had said:
> > On occasion he has talked of taking two to three years after Life rank to
> > experience Troop activities, and to plan and complete his Eagle Project. I
> > am cuurently looking for Out-of-Council and Extra-troop-curricular
> > activities for he and I to attend, benefit from, and to kept the coals
> > kindled in his spirit.
> > Alas, a reflection of a scouting parent.
> > Alas, the parent of a kid with excellent attendance, and scouting skills.
> > Alas, a kid who can be a benefit for his fellow scouts and friends.
The only "alas" I really see here is "alas all boys are not so
motivated". This boy sounds like someone with a good solid plan and a
lot of maturity, who knows how to look at the long-term experience. I
wish him the best of luck.