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Ask the Expert: The BSA’s ‘active’ requirement, revisited

Updated | May 7, 2013

Can a unit set attendance requirements?

Can Scouters mandate, for example, that Scouts show up for at least half of all meetings and outings?

When I first received this question in 2009, the answer was no. But that was back when Bryan on Scouting was called “Cracker Barrel.”

Times change. (As do advancement requirements and names of blogs.)

Today, the answer is yes — with certain limitations. Read on to learn more.

Here’s the Ask the Expert question I received last week from Keith Solberg of the Pacific Harbors Council:

I’ve seen my question addressed in Scouting magazine before, but I’m hoping that maybe it can be restated.

The 2011 Guide to Advancement states on Page 2, that advancement requirements cannot be added to or subtracted from by any council, committee, etc.

However, my son is in a troop where the committee thinks it’s appropriate to set attendance requirements.  They are using the excuse that they have the right to do so under their definition of what constitutes an “active” Scout.

In 2009, in Scouting magazine, Bill Evans, team leader of youth development for the BSA stated that troops cannot set attendance requirements. I tried to inform my committee of what was stated in 2009 and I was told that the reference was old and that requirements have changed. Help!

Thanks for the e-mail, Keith. I’ll give you the answer from three different sources. Same answer, just three different explanations.

The BSA’s Guide to Advancement

(Added May 7, 2013): The 2011 Guide to Advancement, which is the most-current as of this update in May 2013, states that units may add attendance requirements. One unit that contacted me requires Scouts attend 75 percent of all meetings and 50 percent of all troop outings.

That’s fine, but troops must use this three-part test for determining whether a Scout is “active.” The first two are required, while the third is an either-or proposition.

  1. The Scout must be registered.
  2. The Scout must be in good standing, meaning he hasn’t been dismissed for disciplinary reasons or deemed unfit to be a Scout by the council.
  3. One of these (1) or (2):
    1. The Scout must meet the unit’s reasonable expectations for activity.
      OR
    2. If a young man has fallen below his unit’s activity-oriented expectations, then it must be because of other positive endeavors— in or out of Scouting—or to
      noteworthy circumstances that have prevented a higher level of participation. In this case a Scout is considered “active” if a board of review can agree that Scouting values have already taken hold and been exhibited. This might be evidenced, for example, in how he lives his life and relates to others in his community, at school, in his religious life, or in Scouting. It is also acceptable to consider and “count” positive activities outside Scouting when they, too, contribute to his growth in character, citizenship, or personal fitness. Remember; it is not so much about what a Scout has done. It is about what he is able to do and how he has grown.

So a Scout who is active at his church or other positive uses of his time could qualify for an exception. The goal, as the Guide to Advancement explains, is for the board members to “satisfy themselves that [the Scout] presents himself, and behaves, according to the expectations of the rank for which he is a candidate. Simply put: Is he the sort of person who, based on present behavior, will contribute to the Boy Scouts of America’s mission?”

One more thing to keep in mind: Units may set expectations for uniforming, dues, or parental involvement — but these cannot be included in determining whether a Scout is “active.”

All of this is taken straight from the 2011 Guide to Advancement (PDF), which is quite clear on the subject and when exceptions should be considered. Take time to read this section, which starts on Page 21.

Scouting magazine’s Advancement FAQs

There’s even more insight in the magazine article we published in our March-April 2012 issue. The information there, which uses the newest requirements, should answer all of your “active” requirement questions. It states that units may set attendance requirements “so long as the standard is reasonable and recognizes the many worthwhile opportunities beyond Scouting.”

Chris Hunt, BSA Advancement Team

Just to triple-check, I checked in with Chris Hunt of the BSA’s advancement team. Here’s what he wrote:

The unit has always been able to establish attendance requirements, but in the past they could not consider them in the advancement program — even in adjudicating the “active” requirement.

This changed with the new Guide to Advancement. This is covered in detail in topic 4.2.3.1, which in summary says that if a Scout is registered, in good standing, and meets his unit attendance standard he is considered active. If attendance falls below the standard, there is a method to determine if he can be considered active in spite of this. This involves considering the reasons why attendance does not meet the standard, such as heath issues, or conflict with worthwhile affiliations outside of Scouting.

Real-time advancement updates

Be sure to follow the BSA Advancement Team on Twitter (@AdvBSA) for real-time updates and reminders.

Have a question?

Send me an e-mail. Be sure to include “Ask the Expert” in the subject line, and I’ll try to find an answer here at the BSA headquarters.

43 Comments on Ask the Expert: The BSA’s ‘active’ requirement, revisited

  1. Mr. Bubbles // April 30, 2012 at 4:17 pm // Reply

    starting to set quotas for participation gets in to a slippery slope. Pretty soon, you get groups that set events based upon their schedules, and don’t take in to account different types of other kids’ schedules. Then the diversity in the troop is gone. You just have the band, but no football players to play the game. I saw it happen with more than one kid. It’s a bad deal. Scouting is too big and important a learning opportunity to shut people out like that.

  2. Dee Berger // April 30, 2012 at 4:34 pm // Reply

    It has been our experience that boys who miss meetings and trips for other activities (sports, academics, etc) work hard to advance in spite of their attendance. And those that repeatedly miss meetings and outings out of laziness don’t really advance anyway. We have had boys who view Scouting as nothing more than a social opportunity – and they will eventually age out of the program. Some will argue that they waste our time, but I feel that if they are at a Scout meeting, then they are not out getting into trouble

    • Kristopher // May 1, 2012 at 11:25 am // Reply

      Dee – I have found that Scouts who are there for social reasons aren’t “out getting into trouble elsewhere”…often they are creating problems or getting into trouble in the troop instead. Always remember, that one of the methods of Scouting is the Patrol Method, and another is Adult Association. If the Scouts are not there to participate, they are not experiencing the Patrol Method, nor association with adults meant to help in their development. Baden-Powell stated that “The patrol method is not A way to operate a Boy Scout troop, it is the ONLY way. Unless the patrol method is in operation you don’t really have a Boy Scout troop.” Hence, if a Scout is not participating, he is not experiencing patrol method; therefore, he is really not doing Scouting. Much of the lessons learned in Scouting are learned through the interaction in the patrols…that is where the character, citizenship, and personal fitness (AIMS) development occurs. THAT is what makes Scouting different and so much more successful than other programs.

  3. WeblosRanger // April 30, 2012 at 5:20 pm // Reply

    If a scout is in a troop, a crew, and in OA, and events conflict, what does a scout do if the troop says the scout is not “active” when the scout is at a crew or OA event?

    • Kristopher // May 1, 2012 at 11:35 am // Reply

      WeblosRanger…First, if your OA Chapter is doing what it should, it should be informing the Scout that OA is there to support troops, not conflict. And, that a Scout’s first obligation is to his troop. This is one of the reasons there is no “Chapter Chief” office badge to be worn on a Scout’s uniform. Ultimately, a Scout is a troop member first. Second, if your crew and troop are in conflict too often, the chartered organization should be discussing this. Scouting is meant to work “together”. It should be rare that we are forcing a Scout to choose between units. Finally, the information on page 21 of the 2011 Advancement Guidelines manual clearly outlines how consideration should be given if a Scout fails to meet item #3 “The Scout meets the unit’s reasonable expectations”. There is an alternative test. It states that the Scoutmaster and Board of Review should take into consideration any “positive endeavors – in or out of Scouting – or to noteworthy circumstances that have prevented a higher level of participation.” It specifically lists mission trips, foreign exchange, but OA or crew participation would definitaely be a “in Scouting” endeavor that should be considered. Ultimately, we are trying to determine, is the Scout really “active”? Is he committed to Scouting? Is he living as a Scout?

    • scoutmastertroop1 // May 13, 2012 at 2:51 am // Reply

      In reality, boys will always have other things to do outside of scouting. Baseball, wrestling, football, fishing, time with parents, vacations etc. It can add up.
      I know that during certain parts of the year I have scouts who will be at meetings, but not any functions. Its just a fact of life.
      I also know that sometimes OA or Crews have big outings that take them away from Troop for preperation etc…. I have to let the boys grow. They make their choices.
      A troop run by a Patrol Leaders Councel, a Patrol led troop, will always recognize boys who are giving their all and those who are just farting around. The boys will handle it, and if they cannot they will bring it to adult leadership.
      Just remember: Boys don’t ruin scouting, adults do.

  4. Richard Molina // April 30, 2012 at 7:35 pm // Reply

    Active requirement
    Should be followed
    That’s why the B. S. A. Put them in place.

  5. 4.2.3.1. The guide to advancement says “The scout meets the unit’s reasonable expectations” If a unit does not have standards that are written and explained to the scouts, then it becomes confusing to all involved. If at a board of review the board does not feel that the scout has been active, the scout then should be able to explain why he feels he is active. It could be that he is involved with other activities that are scout worthy like religious activities or school activities. The board must take these into considerations.

  6. Attending other scouting functions is part of the ACTIVE aspects of scouting and no trained leader will hold that against the scout. To the contrary they encourage it. There are too few activities that will continually pull any scout away from the troop. Planning is the key but not the concern here. I have found that the lack of participation by a scout is outside non-scouting activities as well as parents that do not allow or encourage participation. The troop relies on participation of each scout so that troop activities are successful. I have yet to see any mention of teamwork or comradery. A scout that does not want to participate with the troop is selfish. They may have the rank but they in no way have the SCOUTING SPIRIT. Encourage them but do not make excuses or pander to them. Have them EARN advancement.

  7. CGreene840 // April 30, 2012 at 9:08 pm // Reply

    The rules are the rules and that’s that, thank you Bryan and Adv Team for your persistent efforts to settle this long-standing question.
    I personally have little sympathy for youth that blow off scouts for one thing after the other. If they were to tell their coaches, choir directors, band teachers, play directors, or team captins that they want to be on the team, but by the way they can’t come to practice, they’d get told to shove off. It’s an extreme privilege that Scouts can do just that to their units, and one I don’t understand myself, but there it is. They can and they do, and if National is ok with that, fall in line. The boys get their resume line, National gets its statistics, nobody has the nasty job of telling a kid he didn’t make it.
    I mostly blame parents. If a kid doesn’t have time to be a Scout anymore, fine, don’t be a Scout. But the parents won’t accept that; their angels have to be the star QB and the lead character and have a solo and be an Eagle Scout. The kids are suffering, and none of the programs get the best.

    • Thank you.

    • larrygeiger // May 1, 2012 at 11:58 am // Reply

      Scouting is NOT sports, choir, band, drama or sports. It’s Scouting. It’s different. It’s different for a reason. “extreme privilege that Scouts can do just that”? If you are having trouble and “don’t understand myself” then you probably don’t understand Scouting. It’s difficult for some folks to “get it”, but there it is.

      I wouldn’t be associated with a unit that heads down the path of “this unit is just like a sports team and we enforce a bunch of rules to make those kids fly right!”.

      “Nobody has the nasty job of telling a kid he didn’t make it”. I’m not sure what this is all about. I agree with Dee. Scouts who don’t really want to be there and who don’t want the program generally self select themselves out.

    • Larry Geiger // May 1, 2012 at 12:43 pm // Reply

      Scouting is NOT sports, choir, band, drama or sports. It’s Scouting. It’s different. It’s different for a reason. “extreme privilege that Scouts can do just that”? If you are having trouble and “don’t understand myself” then you probably don’t understand Scouting. It’s difficult for some folks to “get it”, but there it is.

      I wouldn’t be associated with a unit that heads down the path of “this unit is just like a sports team and we enforce a bunch of rules to make those kids fly right!”.

      “Nobody has the nasty job of telling a kid he didn’t make it”. I’m not sure what this is all about. I agree with Dee. Scouts who don’t really want to be there and who don’t want the program generally self select themselves out.

    • scoutmastertroop1 // May 13, 2012 at 2:59 am // Reply

      CGreene840: Slow down a second……
      What I have seen is that COACHES are one of the biggest culprits around when it comes to hogging kids time.
      Case in Point: 2 Years ago I had a boy, who was our SPL, come to me in tears. His soccer coach changed the date of a game to a weekend of the spring camporee, and this was his first big outing as SPL. He told the coach he could not make the game. The coach told him either your at the game or your off the team.
      When I spoke to the coach, as a professional, he couldn’t care less about the boys other activities or commitments. It was all about his (the coaches) winning record.
      When I spoke to his bosses, they backed up their coach. So again, it is usually a spot the boy is placed in by an adult.
      As Scout Leaders, we need to be prepared to go to war for our boys when they are being ABUSED by other adults.
      Yes, I considered the act of that coach to be abuse. He tried to make the boy choose between two of his most loved activities.
      Its sad, but as Scout Leaders there are times when we need to advise parents, advise coaches and be true leaders and step up to protect these boys from stupid adults.
      Boys don’t ruin scouting, adults do.
      There… I said it again.

      • We have all experienced the sports is #1 mentality. My son spent 4 games on the bench after a trip to Boundary Waters last year. The local 4-H agent told me he came to the realization that 4-H is a third tier organization. Kids will choose two other activities over 4-H and if they have nothing then they will attend a 4-H activity.

        IS BSA a third tier organization? Sports is #1 since it has mandatory attendance of practices and games and most are well known for using peer pressure to get kids to do them.

  8. Jason Dysart // April 30, 2012 at 9:53 pm // Reply

    there is another way to enforce the attendance and that is through the requirment of the leadership position we require our troop leaders to get credit for the month to be have 90 % attendance if the leaders arent attending the boys wont attend if you miss one metting a month that is 75% attendance. I do enourage other worthy activites but ask that if a boy is going to play Baseball or football ect that he not run for Patrol Leader, SPL or ASPL during tht time and he knows he can work on advancement when he comes back full time after the season.

    • scoutmastertroop1 // May 13, 2012 at 3:01 am // Reply

      Jason,
      Agreed. If a boy is going to step up and be a leader, then he needs to commit to the troop and attend 90% of all meetings and outings. Its what a leader must do.

      • I do not agree with that. Isn’t that telling them to pick? If the troop is trully a good unit they will work it out. Most of the boys in my troop are band and sports. Several boys do both and scouting. We as parents in the troop work together with the boys to make their scouting experiance a positive one. Even if they hold a leadership position. We use Scoutlander- E-Mail blasts – phone calls. My son is working at scout camp this summer and one of the weeks he is going camping with his troop. He is SPL and wanted to go with the troop because of it.The camp director is OK with this.Everyone needs to work together.

      • What that promotes is getting to eagle before your in high school and all the mandatory sports stuff begins.

        In JR High the kids will be in and out due to sports but it gets way worse in high school.

        Most of our kids either skip eagle or they get it early. Rarely see older kids in our troop because of high school sports.

  9. Stevie Funk -- den Leader, Pack 50 // April 30, 2012 at 11:28 pm // Reply

    We are a Cub Scout Pack in a small community whose numbers are dwindling. I think attendance requirements should be put in place. I find myself frustrated with Cub Scouts that continuelly fail to show up. My son and I show up to every meeting and outside Scout activity put on by the council. Moat of the time we are the only ones from our Pack to attend things. My son is the most decorated Cub Scout we have in our Pack, he finishes his Badge requirements months ahead of anyone. He has the goal of one day being an Eagle scout.

    • Stevie: I get your situation and I’m in the same boat. It can be frustrating. Of course in scouting until a kid gets his drivers licence it’s the parents failing to show up with the kid. In my den we had too many to start out with. But what can we do? We as den leaders can only make den meetings as fun as our imaginations allow. I think getting the parents actively involved and aware of how much scouting is changing their boys lives can get them enthusiastic. A lot of things have effected my dens attendance, illness (serious and otherwise), divorce, miscommunication, fear of camping (I was sad to lose that one). Just make it as fun as you can, remember a scout is Cheerful (doesn’t show frustration), and just know that in the time you are working with your son and the other boys you are making a difference.

    • Back when my kid was in cubscouts our elementary traditionally had an open house the night before school started to being in your backpack, etc.

      We set up a booth in the lobby right next to the JR football league. Kind of hard for a kids to say yes to scouts when foot ball adults are calling them pansies because they decide to sign up for scouts vs. football. They even encouraged the fellow kids to call them names. Saw it every year and in a small school it really hurts the scouting program.

      Lost more kids to football once they came of age to play. Most were fathers living life through their son’s.

  10. The problem with not setting attendance standards is that a Scout may have advanced but not worked as a team/patrol member. Scouting is a team effort as well as an individual one. Everyone needs to pull his or her weight. Why have campouts if several Scouts are going to opt out most of the time? The BSA is an outdoor organization, and we’re not teaching Scouts anything if we don’t demonstrate an appreciation for the outdoors and a good work ethic that planning and carrying out an activity requires.

    • In our troop, if only one boy goes on a planned campout then only one boy goes on a planned campout. The others have made thier choice.

  11. Certainly we, as Scout Leaders, would want all of our Scouts to be at every meeting and show up at every event. Reality however is something different. We live in a very busy world where we are “challenged” for our time. Our Scouts are no different with their extra curricular activities. Knowing that it is a competitive world the burden then fall on us as Leaders to help make our program as exciting, inspiring, motivating, and unique as possible so that our youth can’t wait until the next time they can get together. You can set rigid standards for attendance and pretend the rest of the world does not exist but I believe that in the end you would only be working against yourself. Set standards if you must but keep them attainable and flexible. Personally I like to call ours ” Expectations”, not rules, and encourage our Scouts to do their best to follow them.

    • Plans and activities are made to give them the opportunity to advance Each scout must make thier own choice.. As long as we coddle and baby them that scout will not grow to be the man we need. That scout will expect excuse after excuse to justify failure. You have proved my point with your response. thank you.

  12. Larry G, UC // May 1, 2012 at 5:40 pm // Reply

    One scout can have high attendance, blow through all the rank requirements and merit badges, and attain Eagle Scout by age 13 and then up and quit. It does happen.

    Another scout can have lower attendance, take his time, and finally make Eagle Scout just before turning age 18. It happens a lot.

    Both scouts probably attended the same number of troop meetings and monthly outings so it is arguable that they both got an equal amount out of scouting, were equally active, and had an equal amount of association with adults.

    What escapes me is the attempt at logic that suggests the scout who took until age 18 should be held to a different or higher level of attendance.

    Most of the time if leaders, including youth leaders, are offering a fun and exciting program the rest of the scouts will be there eager to participate. When a unit has attendance problems one of the problems is starting back at certain key leaders from their own mirror.

    Setting attendance requirements will not solve attendance problems. Make it too tough and scouts will vote with their feet unless the unit is the only game in town and then they will only tolerate it because they are forced to and then only for as long as they have to. Once they leave don’t expect them to come back and don’t expect them to bring their sons in a few years either.

    It is interesting to see how many adult leaders feel because they are “volunteers” that they can pick and choose how many and which unit activities they want to attend. Just because a scout joins a unit doesn’t exactly make him/her a conscript.

    Perhaps if a unit is going to set attendance requirements it should do so for both youth and adult members, remembering that adults are supposed to serve as good role models? Yet, how many adult leaders would cry foul if they were told their membership and position of responsibility would not be renewed for the coming year because their own attendance didn’t pass muster?

    Mr. Hunt was likely trying to be helpful when he wrote about “unit attendance standards”; however the BSA has not clearly defined how or by who (position) or whom (group of positions) in a unit has been granted the responsibility and authority to establish and set such a standard. At present there are a whole bunch of different unit level positions who all feel it is their personal responsibility to take such action yet there isn’t a single Leaders Manual or position description in the BSA that adequately addresses this fundamental gap between what is permitted and who is responsible.

    In a boy-led, boy-run, patrol method troop one can only hope that the authority to establish and set such a standard would be entrusted to the Patrol Leaders Council. Yes, for some that would be a radical thought to trust youth leaders to set practical standards for themselves. The reality is youth members are far more likely to comply with standards they establish for themselves as opposed to standards dictated to them by adults.

  13. Paul Mickle // May 2, 2012 at 8:41 pm // Reply

    The senior patrol leader with the rest of the PLs and ASPLs decided on our “active” requirement. 1campout every three months(they dont even have to be there the entire time) and 2 meetings a month(again they dont even have to make the entire meeting) then they are considered active. Still there are those who cant or wont do this. If you are in a POR the active requirement becomes much stricter. The Scouts decided this, they follow it.

    • Boy Run. Adult Heartburn when we are used as guiniepigs on campouts. Yours In Scouting.

  14. Bill in PA // May 3, 2012 at 10:10 am // Reply

    What I was afraid of with this change happened in ours and a neighboring troop. By putting this ability of setting active “metrics” at the unit level, I have already witnessed 2 instances of advancement denial that I am aware of (one in my own troop and one in a close associates). This is leading to some serious upheaval in both troops.

    Both troops are run by what would best be described as “tin pot dictators”, and this just gives these control freaks the kind of ammunition for control they love. In our particular instance the 50% metric was adopted, and because the scout (not my son if anyone is wondering, but a very dedicated scout who I have seen blossom over the years) missed 2 meetings and an overnighter within a 30 day period he was delayed advancement due to inflexiblility in this “Troop” rule. He had 100% the previous month, and 75% the following month. But because the BSA made such a vaguely worded policy, our “powers that be” proudly stated , “see, he didn’t meet the 50%”…..things got pretty heated.

    After raising a stink during a committee meeting about how they were totally misreading the purpose of the “active” rule, I was finally able to get it through some very thick heads. We will probably be replacing our SM and an MC in the long run over this and a few other failures to comply with various BSA policies, but this one was the icing on the cake.

    The BSA really should have thought about this rule a little better, and especially defining when “active” should be come into play and used as a determining factor in the first place. Instead, it is written in a vague fashion and can be interpreted and used negatively as I have seen.

    • Get the leaders trained. My experience finds that there is more to the story than a missed meeting or activity or two. By the way, last week our Board of Review, of which I am a member, rejected the advancement of 3 scouts to the rank of First Class due to improper uniform and lacking a leaders signature even though the scoutmasters conference had taken place. Last night those 3 passed. A fourth scout was rejected because of uniform. We stress uniform but let the chips fall when asked to advance and not in order. I will add that parents of the previous three were not happy. We are not here for the parents but for the boys. This is the only way to make the scout better than thier parents regarding this matter. Yours In Scouting.

      • Requiring a uniform violates the guide to advancement – It is a preferred item (See below). I personally disgree with this, but this is the advancement guidelines set by BSA. I will follow them. It’s not the uniform that make the scout, it’s the desire in the youth’s soul to be better that makes the scout.

        8.0.0.4 Wearing the Uniform—or Neat in Appearance
        It is preferred a Scout be in full field uniform for any
        board of review. He should wear as much of it as he
        owns, and it should be as correct as possible, with the
        badges worn properly. It may be the uniform as the
        members of his troop, team, crew, or ship wear it.
        If wearing all or part of the uniform is impractical for
        whatever reason, the candidate should be clean and
        neat in his appearance and dressed appropriately,
        according to his means, for the milestone marked by
        the occasion. Regardless of unit expectations or rules,
        boards of review may not reject candidates dressed to
        this description; neither may they require the purchase
        of uniforming, or clothing such as coats and ties.

        • We require the boy to wear a shirt to review or he is postponed till the following week. But we also make sure all boys have a shirt whether they can afford one or we give him a used one. Official pants not required. It a matter of respect for the program.

          Class A’s are required for Council/district events by the organizers. Patrol gets docked points in the competitions if they don’t have them.

          BSA may say they are optional but then they turn around and push the uniform at the events. If we ensure all boys have one one way or another then it just plain respect.

    • scoutmastertroop1 // May 13, 2012 at 3:06 am // Reply

      Bill in PA:
      Here is the solution: BOY LED TROOP.
      PATROL METHOD
      TROOP W.I.S.E.

      PATROL LEADERS COUNCEL run by the SPL with his ASPL, PL’s, Troop Guide, Troop Instructor and the QM.

      ADULTS are there to correct issues, offer advice and mentor, NOT TO RUN THE SHOW.

      I will keep saying it:
      Boys don’t ruin scouting, adults do.

  15. Todd Skiles // May 7, 2013 at 9:13 am // Reply

    Interesting to note that for the rank of Able, Ordinary and Quartermaster – Sea Scouts actually codify the 75% attendance requirement. The Yeoman is supposed to keep records.

  16. Regarding conflicts with sports/church/4H/. ..
    The easiest method to deal with this is an annual planning session. The troop leaders (adult and youth) sit down with the various calendars and PLAN the year. This is usually a skeleton that gets fleshed out throughout the year, but it also gives Scouts and their families a schedule to work around. This has helped us to avoid scheduling major outings during the tournament sessions of various sports and county and state fairs. It also gives the Scouts an idea of what to expect from the troop and to choose thier activities accordingly.
    Regarding the tag comment on who ruins Scouting: Amen!

  17. Scout Master J.R. // May 7, 2013 at 5:29 pm // Reply

    So to be “active and in good standing” in scouting doesn’t the boy also have to be current and up to date with dues? I know you cant keep a boy from earning the merit badges but if they are behind in dues can you not give the patch but still give them the credit for the badges earned? What is the best way to do this? Also other activities that give patches have to be paid for and if the boy is behind then who has to bear the cost? I am Scout Master in a fairly new Troop with not very many boys and money gets tight and I just cant see not giving the patches but also dont want to have to absorb all the cost out of my pocket either.

  18. Frank Dean // May 7, 2013 at 7:42 pm // Reply

    Our top scout ever missed 70 percent of meetings. He showed up for 5 to 10 minutes of them. Got what he needed self managed his requirements and then went to tutoring. He had a 4.O so I asked him what are you doing at tutoring. His reply teaching. Enuff said depends on the exact individual circumstance. Scouting is not about attending a meeting but about leading. Good Job Austin McCurry.

  19. Problem with not having attendance is the kid who cries athletic conflicts and his mother signs up for every merit badge to make sure he gets to eagle. You never see the kid unless he pops in for a board of review. that may have worked for the older son who moved into the area recently and claimed to have been more active in the previous troop. But now the younger son is following suit and that won’t cut it. Sorry you have to do the requirements and some of them require troop campouts, etc.

    Reminds me of the cubscout who claimed to have earned tiger cub early in the fall but the pack had yet to go to the required go-see-its. Hmmmm.

    We always thought it would catch up to them in boy scouts. Apparently they just keep on doing it and it is up to us to stop them in order to uphold the value of the badge and program.

  20. Bob Basement // May 9, 2013 at 10:28 am // Reply

    We require a 75% attendance for youth leadership for outings and meetings. If they fail that metric they are asked to resign. We have boys in band, wrestling and such and our election periods are such that they they are just prior to those seasons.

    I will generally ask them not to run or with draw if I know they are going to be too busy to do their job effectively.

    We require 50% attendance for general membership for the prior 3 months to be considered active.

    I will say that since instituting the policy our meeting attendance has been very good.

    Honestly it is kind of irrelevant…..Because that last minute eagle that doesn’t meet our attendance requirement will go cry to council or national and it will get over turned……..

  21. Here’s the kicker…All of the committee/board of review members are moms with sons that do not follow ‘active participation’. Are they going to tell their sons they don’t pass because they are not active? Of course not!

    • Wendi-I feel for you. I am sure you are trying to get more males involved in the troop but adding more leadership may help dilute the situation. Try requiring them to take the Scoutmaster training and IOLT. Maybe they will understand.

  22. scouting mommy // February 17, 2014 at 8:51 pm // Reply

    There are absolutely extenuating circumstances, and a scout should never be turned away. I have always said, the door is always open. It’s the ones who do not show up for any meetings, den or pack, or any scout related event , then right before B&G or Graduation, show up at the last minute with a ton of work completed. Unfortunately due to the amount of work involved with reviewing half of a years work at the beginning or end of a meeting, the book is looked over & signed off and advancements ordered. You can’t blame yourself as a leader, and you can’t blame the scout, it’s the adult partner’s responsibility. The sad thing is trying to explain to a scout that has excellent participation why he didn’t earn his badge yet while Johnny did, and he doesn’t even know who this Johnny kids is.

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