scouts-l Mail Archive for May of 2000: Re: Advancement as the Goal
Mon May 08 2000 - 13:40:33 CDT
On 3 May 2000, at 9:41, Chris & Paula Sheridan wrote:
> Is advancement the goal of the BSA program?
> Well, these very involved
> parents claim that it is their sons' desires (collectively!) to get to
> First Class ASAP. Therefore the parents of these dozen new Scouts are
> pushing the Troop to design the Troop meetings around advancement
> requirements to benefit their sons.
I am an ASM and have a first year scout in our troop. This past campout,
he had a Scoutmaster conference for his Tenderfoot. Naturally, I didn't
participate, so he was fortunate enough to get our Scoutmaster.
They had the normal conversation about what my son liked and disliked,
what he wanted to do, and set goals for his second and first class. The
question my son was asked after setting his goal was an eyeopener for
me and one I will now ask at all my conferences. "What will happen if you
don't make it?".
My sons answer at first was "I'll try harder" (Way to go buddy!) but when
prodded a little further, he answered "nothing". "Exactly right" said the
SM. The world won't end, scouts as we know it will survive, my son won't
be permanently scarred.
My SM's point, which he went on to explain, is that the scouts
experience, both the fun and learning parts as well as the fellowship, is
more important than the badge. Don't get me wrong, these have their place
too, but some boys are Eagles and some finish at first class or lower. One
accomplished a higher rank, but the other may have a deeper knowledge
of what he did complete. In either case, if he's happy with where he's at,
the program worked.
Maybe if a similar conversation took place with these parents, and I would
suggest a one on one rather then a group, this might help put things in
perspective. Encouragement, and even a little pushing, is a good thing.
However those of us who are adults or kids in adult bodies need to try to
make sure things stay "for the boys".
Dave "Baloo" Yanke
CM, DLC Pack 335
ASM, WC Troop 23
My son's ride to scouts.