scouts-l Mail Archive for April of 2000: Scout Spirit and Advancement
Tue Apr 25 2000 - 10:17:41 CDT
>Until you know all the sides of the story, you can't really make a good
judgment >on what to do or how best to react.
>Once you do have the whole story or as much as you can get, then it may be
>time to talk about personal growth. What can the Scout do better? How can
>he improve? What can he do to communicate better? Likewise you may end up
>wanting to talk to the other leaders about whether they were too harsh or
>demanding, if that was the case. Could just as easily be that some of the
>other leaders have standards that are putting the bar too high.
Mike points out something that I wish was brought up more at training's. There
should be no surprises. The job of the adults in the Troop is to help the Scouts
build habits that lead to good behavior. It's a job that requires us to
continually work with the boys on a one on one basis. That being the case, a
Scout should never be surprised by the results of a BOR because he has been
guided in his performance with living the Scout Spirit in several casual
The other part of this I think needs to be taught better is working with
parents. I am always amazed at the number of parents on this list who are
surprised by the results of a SM Conference or BOR. We rarely see this problem
because we talk with the parents all the time. I love to brag about their sons.
While the Scouts unload the trailer after a campout, I am walking around
bragging and talking with parents about their sons triumphs and struggles in our
Troop. We only see these parent's sons for a couple of hours a week at best, we
also need their support and help.
As a SM, I have many small talks "conferences" with Scouts. Because of that,
rarely does a Scout, whom I feel is not ready, approach me for an advancement SM
conference. If one does, I lay out all the reasons in front of him of why I feel
he is not ready to sit in front of the BOR. I explain the BOR also has high
expectations and they may feel your not ready because... I agree with the folks
on this list that the SM signature is a signature of confidence. But sometimes I
allow the Scout to make the decision of whether I should sign his book. I want
him to feel and hold the responsibility of the BOR decision. I also work close
with the BOR and the parents of these Scouts so that what ever the results, the
whole experience is as positive and up lifting as can be. We try to prevent any
surprises. By the way, many times the parents come up with some great ideas of
how to deal their sons in these situations.
If the situation such as Kimberly's occurred in our Troop, and it has, I try to
pull the adults together and find out where we went wrong. Sometimes I am the
problem, sometimes it's someone on the BOR. It is a very humbling experience and
I find they haunt me for a long time. Who are we to force any boy to change?
Scouting should be a positive experience of the boy choosing to learn from
adversity and struggle. Our job is provide them opportunities to struggle and
guide them in their decisions. By the time they get to the BOR, they should be
well aware of the expectations for them. It should be their choice to pass or
If the Scout or parents are surprised by a failure at a BOR, then the adults
leaders of the Troop did something wrong. This is the time to sit down and
evaluate the Troop goals and their program to reach those goals.
I pray all goes well in your Troop, good luck Kimberly.