Scouting Forums

Putting the brakes on advancement

I have an issue, and I’d really like some advice on it…

We have a couple of scouts that have completed the technical requirements to advance (somehow), but aren’t demonstrating the maturity we’d expect from older, more experienced scouts. What tools have you used to get scouts to slow down before they hit the proverbial wall?

I just tell my Scouts they have plenty of time. They should slow down and enjoy the journey. Advancement will come along.

As long as they know the check points they must hit to earn Eagle before 18 and are progressing towards them, there is no need to rush.

If a Scout has completed all the requirements, I do not stop them or discourage them from advancing. It is not our role as leaders to put road blocks in front of Scouts. Our role is to teach, encourage and make sure they are learning the skills necessary to be the great adults we know they can be.


If a Scout has completed all of the requirements as written, then they should be allowed to advance. There are ways to check if the Scout is ready for advancement. They are the: Committee Board of Review and the Scoutmaster Conference. But if they are done and signed off. Then, the Scout is to advanced.
If the Scout and/or their Parent(s) or Guardian feel that the youth is being slighted then, they may take the issue to Council to have the denial overturned.


I’m not really clear on what you’re aiming for, @SteveCagigas. Are you saying that you have young (age-wise) scouts who don’t seem as mature as physically older scouts, and you’re looking to delay their advancement? I couldn’t get behind that, personally.

I would however, talk to the scouts either “formally” as part of a scoutmaster conference, or “informally” such as at a campout, to keep an ear to how they’re doing/feeling regarding their involvement in scouts. I would keep an eye out for anything that indicates that the scouts are being “pushed” to finish by someone other than themselves. If they’re clearly self-motivated, I would still give them the same advice that @edavignon mentioned, as well as pointing out that advancement is only a small (IMHO) part of scouting. I tend to give that advice to all of my scouts, so I wouldn’t feel like it’s singling-out the scouts for their age.

Some of the younger scouts I have known (either when I was a youth or now as an adult leader) have been really excellent scouts, and demonstrated the principles of scouting despite their young ages. Others, despite greater age, have been rather disappointing in their behavior/leadership/etc. I’d be less focused on the advancement side of things (i.e. slowing their roll to Eagle, so to speak) than about possibly helping them move forward on the non-advancement side of things (interpersonal relationship skills, get them involved in ILST, NYLT/NAYLE if they meet the age limits, OA etc) to help them see if there is something other than advancement they would like to focus on.

Just my opinion, and potentially worth what you paid for it. :wink:


Like I said, it’s a complex issue. Overall we’re a really young troop right now – we had 4 or 5 Eagle Scouts age out in the past 18 months, and now almost all the boys are 14 or younger. Several of them advanced when they probably shouldn’t have (that’s a separate issue that had to be handled…), and don’t have the fundamentals down, or the maturity to treat each other respectfully when they’re struggling.

Now I have a 13-year old Star Scout that fully expects to be a Life Scout by October that can’t put up a tent by himself, is uninterested in helping his patrol advance, or working with the PLC (he’s a patrol leader, by the way) to plan upcoming events, and expects his parents to handle the leadership part of his POR as patrol leader. I’d really like to slow him down to help him develop his skills more gently than telling him “you’re not working out as a patrol leader” or “you’re not demonstrating Scout Spirit”, so that the experience is positive, not punitive.

Did he advance to STAR with the same behavior for POR? If he did, then changing the expectations now is difficult.

I would sit down with him and explain what is expected as a Star Scout and then as a Life Scout. Discuss the importance of working with the PLC to plan activities and that he should be helping his patrol advance. Has he completed the teaching requirement for Life? If not, that would be a good place to start getting him helping others to advance.


Have y’all run ILST recently (and has he attended)? We haven’t done ILST ourselves in a while, and I can see from the actions/attitudes of some of the scouts in our unit (age-independent) that they would benefit from it. I’m trying to work out how to chop ILST into short-enough duration pieces to fit into our regular troop meeting structure so we can hit a larger audience with it. I know just discussing some of the concepts in it with our PLC has been beneficial (e.g. balloon demonstration of how the SPL gets overwhelmed, but more people juggling balloons helps) in getting more cooperation/volunteers.

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He did, and it was a struggle with him the whole time he was 1st Class. I sat down with him a couple of weeks ago to talk about what was expected of him as a Star Scout and as a troop leader. I told him we needed to lean on him, since he’s the senior scout in the troop for a couple weeks while the older scouts are at Philmont this week and next. We’ll see what this experience brings, but I’m still concerned. Instead of working with the other remaining patrol leaders to plan this month’s camp out, he’s got his mom doing it…

I suspect the teaching requirement is going to be a stumbling block for him for a while.

if mother is actually doing it you might need to get committee involved to insure YPT - and if he did not fulfill POR by Actively Serving don’t approve it - I have had to do that before.

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We did ILST last March (15 months ago), and he participated in it. Our SPL is planning to do ILST again this fall after school starts.

That’s what I’m thinking. I really want to get him to adjust his behavior before getting to the point of saying “You aren’t meeting the expectations for your POR.”

I don’t think there’s a YPT issue here. It’s more a matter of mom laying out all the plan for the campout, based on what her kids need to accomplish for advancement, instead of him pulling the other two patrol leaders into a discussion and saying “what do your patrollers need to work on at this month’s camp?”.

sigh You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make 'em drink.

So is it a Scout issue or a parent issue? Maybe help the mother understand the aims of Scouting and the need for the Scouts to fail and learn them

Maybe a little from A and a little from B… Mom still wants to operate like we’re a Pack of Cub Scouts. Scout is super-competitive (esp. with his little brother, who’s also in the troop), and only really interested in doing things to advance ahead of his brother.

We’ve talked to Mom before about it (even Dad has brought it up to her), and she’s trying to be better about it, but she’s still way to quick to jump in and engage, instead of letting her sons learn through failing.


We have some parents like this, and what’s been most successful is finding them specific jobs to do within the troop (committee role, ASM, etc). They’re so busy, they don’t have time to micromanage their own kids. Of course, that only works part of the time, because being a leader "is only an hour a week!"TM :rofl:

Yeah… Mom is already our advancement chair and outdoor activities coordinator…

I wouldn’t penalize the scout for mom being overactive. Scouts don’t get to choose their parents.

If he is not performing his duty as PL, do not wait until he has six months to spring it on him. Tell him immediately. Count time already served but discuss with the SPL about removing him from the position.


“Putting the brakes” on youth advancement because of personal bias is a very bad idea. Please do not consider that.

We are here to lift them up, not shove them down.


@SteveCagigas - you may want to read through and or listen to the podcasts here:

Everyone does scouting their own way. In the end it is about what the scout has learned from the adventure. I have a bulldozer parent who happens to be our activities/outdoor committee person. A single mom who refers to summer camp as sleep away camp…even after 4 years.

Please read the whole thread. I’m asking for advice, not criticism. I want these boys to have the chance to develop the skills they need, instead of racing to complete stuff and getting the big smackdown at the end.

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