scouts-l Mail Archive for May of 2000: Re: Advancement as the Goal
Jim Miller Sr. (jjmsr@LSFCU.ORG
Mon May 08 2000 - 12:14:28 CDT
While I agree with a lot of what has been said on this topic, there are a
few points I would like to bring up.
1. In the current BSA program it is desirable for the boy to achieve First
Class in his first year - that is, after completing a year (meaning 12
months) in a troop, the average boy should be able to attain First Class.
It sounds like the parents in question have heard this somewhere and have
misinterpreted it to mean "the first program year before summer camp." In
my experience, most boys attending a summer camp with a decent "first year
scout" program, can achieve First Class shortly after returning from summer
camp if they have bridged from WEBELOS in the February-March timeframe.
2. PLC scheduling events that are just "fun" - all of Scouting should be
fun. After all, isn't Scouting just "a game with a purpose?" If the
learning that takes place for advancement is clearly distinct from what is
"fun" something is wrong with your program. Learning and advancement should
be natural outcomes of the fun things that make up the program. If the PLC
is scheduling a lot of "basketball" nights in the scout hall instead of
regular scout activities that are fun, then something is wrong and more
should be done which is more attuned to advancement. OTOH, if the
activities which the parents perceive as "just fun" actually develop
leadership skills, character development, and teamwork, then maybe this
needs to be explained to the new parents since they may not be "seeing the
forest for the trees" so to speak.
Advancement is not the goal, however, it is the means of measuring the boy's
progress toward the goal and as such should neither be over emphasized nor
casually ignored. The steps toward advancement should not be viewed as
isolated hoops to be jumped through but as milestones along the trail.
Jim Miller, Sr.
Northern New Jersey Council, B.S.A.