Thursday, November 15, 2012

First Years

Clarke Greene takes on the "Scouts should earn First Class in their first year of Scouting" premise:
...All that being said I think that Scouts earning First Class in the first year is an important aspiration and one that should be promoted. A healthy troop that is delivering the promises of Scouting will have Scouts earning First Class in the first year pretty regularly not because it is something they specifically drive towards but as a natural result of the health of the program.

What’s left to us is to look at our troops and see if we are getting Scouts to this benchmark. If we aren’t, what should we start doing, stop doing, or continue doing to make it happen?
Once again, the case is very strong against marking off a checklist. Instead, provide opportunities for boys to do Scouting (i.e., a strong outdoor program, with a determined adherence to the Patrol Method. Let advancement take care of itself). I've written about this topic before.

Here's what the Green Book says about that:
Eleven-year-old Scouts participate in rank advancement. They are encouraged to achieve the rank of First Class before turning twelve years old.  (§6.2, ¶4)
Notice that it lays the responsibility at the boys' feet.  It's not the adults' job to drive them to a finish line (or worse, classes), and doing so is a surefire way to ensure they voluntarily leave as soon as they get the chance. Marking off a checklist will never be incentive enough for any boy to stay involved; however, participating with their friends in fun activities that they plan themselves will go long way toward keeping them active. That advancement requirements are completed in doing so is a side-benefit.

Prepared. | For Life.™

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