scouts-l Mail Archive for March of 2000: Re: Encouraging advancement without doing the work
Neil Lupton (NeilLup@AOL.COM
Thu Mar 02 2000 - 13:58:27 CST
In a message dated 3/2/00 10:22:30 AM, mussler@SPOT.COLORADO.EDU writes:
<< Can you give me some - SM minutes? Words of wisdom for PLC? Anything? >>
My response to this will indicate how long ago I was a Scoutmaster but I know
the principle is the same.
I considered it to be my reponsibility as Scoutmaster to see that each boy
made it to First Class. After that, I thought it was much more their
So we structured activities so that the TF, Second Class and First Class
requirements got completed.
A couple of examples (granted, these were with old, old requirements, but the
principles are the same)
1) A requirement for 2nd class was 3 five mile hikes. I knew which boys
needed these requirements. So on the way into campouts, we dropped off
those boys on the road together with an older Scout 5 miles away from camp.
They hiked in and got one 5 mile hike. Then they started early on the way
out, we picked them up 5 miles out. Bingo, a second 5 mile hike. Two
campouts and the requirement was done. And I knew boys who had taken YEARS
to complete their 3 five mile hikes.
2) A requirement for 1st class was Signalling -- morse code or semaphore.
Boys hated to do this. So as summer camp, for the quiet time after lunch, we
had a signalling class for 45 minutes. Boys learned semaphore and were
required to be in this class -- until and unless they had passed Signalling.
There was a bit of grumping until I made it clear that all they needed to do
to make this class into free time for them was pass signalling. And we had
older boys ready to give the test at any time in that camp. So by the end
of camp, all of our Scouts except 2 had passed signalling.
3) At that time, one could not pass First Class requirements until one was a
Second Class Scout. We knew that we had a number of boys who had only one
or two second class requirements to complete. So we held Boards of Review
at camp. A boy could complete his Second Class requirements on Monday, have
his Board of Review Monday PM and then have 4 full days to work on and pass
First Class requirements.
The way the requirements are structured now is very different, but the same
a) The SM and adult leaders need to know and understand the requirements
backwards and forwards. They need to know exactly what they say and exactly
what a Scout must do to meet them.
b) I had a chart, particularly at camp, of each boy's advancement and of
exactly what requirements he had and didn't have. So did the boy's patrol
leader. I worked with the patrol leaders to make sure that each boy had
plenty of opportunity to complete each requirement. And as soon as a
requirement was finished, I wanted it marked on my chart. And I followed up
on the ones that weren't done.
c) We didn't regard advancement as something distinct and different from
normal camping activities, particularly in regard to advancement to first
class. You mentioned, for example, that you son needs animal tracking to
advance. Would it be possible, on your next campout, for you to identify an
animal track, then just happen to take a walk in the woods with him. You
stumble across the track, entice him to follow the track and he passes
tracking. No big thing. Similarly as far as your boy needing to run to
advance. Would it be possible for that to be an item between him and his
Patrol Leader. Maybe the first thing that he does at your Troop meeting is
go outside and run. Or else while everybody else is doing the game, he goes
outside with his PL and runs. When he goes on campouts, each day, he goes
out with his Patrol Leader and runs. No big thing.
As I see it, advancement shouldn't be something separate from other Scouting,
particularly advancement to First Class. Making First Class should be an
almost unavoidable outcome of being an active Scout in your troop because you
are building your program around the things needed to do to advance and you
are taking continual note when the boys do these things. I know for a fact
that the people designing the advancement requirements to First Class
specifically designed these requirements so that one could build their
program around them.
My experience is that words and exhortations won't do it. Careful planning
and continuously working the requirements by the Troop leadership will so
that the "default option" is to advance rather than not to advance.
Were we an Eagle mill -- nope. But we sure were a First Class mill and I
don't apologize for it.
It worked for us.