Welcome! This forum has a treasure trove of great info – Scouters helping Scouters! Just a heads up, though - all content, information, and opinions shared on this forum are those of the author, not the BSA.
BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA

Scouting Forums

Star and life advancement requirements

“Any registered scout leader can sign off requirements in a scout book.”

This is not true. The Guide to Advancement specifically reads: “The unit leader authorizes those who may test and pass the Scout on rank requirements. They might include the patrol leader, the senior patrol leader, the unit leader, an assistant unit leader, or another Scout. Merit badge counselors teach and test Scouts on requirements for merit badges.”

Except for merit badge counselors who approve merit badge requirements, the Scoutmaster has sole authority on who in the unit may approve completion of advancement requirements.

3 Likes

It is true if approved. Also I was stating that once a requirement is signed off it cannot be revoked unless proper procedures are taken which i believe involves getting district/council/national involved.

1 Like

Jeremy and Christopher,

You are talking about 2 different things. Jeremy’s comment which Christoper referenced says (emphasis mine):

Any registered scout leader can sign off requirements in a scout book

Christopher interpreted this to mean the physical scout handbook. Christoper is correct that the Unit Leader (Scoutmaster) decides who may sign off requirements for the unit.

Jeremy’s statement is correct if you change in a scout book to in Scoutbook. Scoutbook allows any register leader in the unit with Full Control or Edit Advancement to approve advancement within Scoutbook. Unit leaders need to understand their role in the unit and not check the Leader Approved box in Scoutbook if that is not their role.

1 Like

Ed, Thank you for clarifying this point and good to see your comments in this forum. I miss the old Scoutbook forum. For this situation this involved the authority of who could sign off on a requirement in the physical book. The troop does not use the program fully. Those approved to sign off are the SM, all ASMs, and any scout 1st class or higher. The situation involved an ASM overruling a star scout by scratching over the signature then a new ASM knowing proper edge training was done signing off again.

In scheme of what I am asking, this point is one of the more trivial points. I am more focused on seeing if there is source material from BSA to justify withholding sign off of a conference participated in multiple times over multiple meetings and camp outs for a period of 4 months or at the very least get an understanding why this is going forth especially when there has been no guidance on how to fix that until very recently (at least this is believed by the scout in question so withholding what is planned til the resolution happens) . The other main points originally posted on, I also would appreciate some guidance to support the leader point of view whether its from GTA , other BSA lit, or training programs. Everyone has been outstanding in providing the right materials I’ve already known about in providing justification for signing off.

Thanks again

1 Like

There is no justification from the Leader’s point of view. Holding off on the scout advancement is narcissistic and sick

2 Likes

Resolution: SM Conference participation has been signed off as was scout spirit by the ASM who took over. It seems the ASM was focused more on the two getting to know each other than anything else to what had previously happened between scout and SM which worked out well and the scout greatly appreciated. The concern was in the vagueness in how long that would take especially for participating in more conferences which prompted my original questions. The BOR went as it should have with appropriate questions asked on unit health, scout likes/dislikes, and plans for working on Eagle. SM sat in as observer.

The outlook of the scout now within the troop has greatly improved from what it was before this winded process started back in late October mainly due having a meeting as suggested among all parties that included everyone figuring out the best way to talk with each other so communication doesn’t break down in the future with the scout (i.g. continue being vague v being straight to the point).

To share a few points raised in that meeting as suggested by many on here. CC was present: Written standard of process for higher ranks as far as who can do conferences, how conferences work, when book is signed off, etc are going to be laid out initially from PLC input then presented to troop committee. Before it was simply understood on who does what and this was appropriately passed down from older scouts to younger ones. We did not get a written rationale for this SM conference. Further the process of keeping the scout-leader-advancement records on the same page are being more formalized from the youth’s physical book to unit paper record and their digital troopmaster record (for those saying scoutbook does this yes but scoutbook isn’t being utilized that fully). Unit leaders made a point to tell everyone the accountability remains as it did on the scout to ensure everyone’s records are the same. This part has been emphasized before almost every time a new group of AOLS bridge into the troop.

Not resolved was the question or difference in opinion of what constitutes participation in a SM conference and when that would be signed off. Hopefully this is laid out in writing. Another point not resolved was of leadership not informing a scout of a deficiency until the end of a time period to earn rank whether it be leadership or scout spirit. This vagueness I argued ensured a scout did not know if he was lacking in fulfilling leadership responsibilities or showing scout spirit when nothing was being singed off. Reference for this set in 4.2.3.4.3 Meeting Unit Expectations which unit bylaws were cited showing leadership was specific (and the scout had completed for both POR he held-den leader and den chief) and in 4.2.3.4.4 Meeting the Requirement in the Absence of Unit
Expectations -“Even if the effort or results are not necessarily what the unit leader,
members of a board of review, or others involved may want to see, the Scout must not be held to
unestablished expectations.” To clarify, POR was signed off eventually in November along with MB work and 6 month being active with the appropriate dates given from last BOR for star but still no clear answer as to the expectation or standard for scout spirit or conference participation was given.

Thank you all for trying to help find a resolution to this by finding a written rationale for why the requirement for participating in a SM conference being signed off was being withheld. I truly believe coming to a situation from the other point of view helps to find a resolution that works for all parties involved.

Edit: after tonight’s meeting my son informed me the sm took him and the asm into a room to question him on how he got scout spirit signed off and on how he feels the need to find ways to get his advancement and program needs handled outside the troop even when he participates in every meeting and goes on all weekend activities. The term rogue scout was used for how the scout utilizes opportunities offered to him by friends in other units to do activities because he in turn can not offer those activities to his troop even if he recommended them at plc meetings. Odd turn of events and has left my son more determined to complete his eagle award.

5 Likes

I’m glad to see things are moving forward toward a more global resolution of the apparent issues, and that it sounds like the unit leadership is indicating that the goal wasn’t to obstruct. I think that a thorough review of the Guide to Advancement with the unit leadership would help them with improving the implementation of the program moving forward. For example, this excerpt from the 2019 web posting of the G2A describes scouts spirit:

Two sections down addresses positions of responsibility:

A slightly later section addresses the unit leader conference:

All excerpts are from:

ETA: Oops. Hit post a bit too early on that one. The missing excerpts have been added.

1 Like

I am truly sorry this happened to this Scout and sincerely hope he will continue on his journey to Eagle and not let this stop him.

2 Likes

CharleyHamilton During a discussion with those involved a thorough review as you gave was given especially regarding participating in a conference. The GTA sections you listed were already printed , highlight, and handed to each leader. No change in how they viewed how things were run.

I will add this after tonight’s meeting my son informed me the SM took him and the ASM of his patrol who did sign off on the remaining requirements into a closed door room to question him on how he got scout spirit signed off. He further questioned the scout’s need to find ways to get his advancement and program needs handled outside of the troop even when he participates in every meeting and goes on all weekend activities. The term rogue scout was labeled on to him for how he utilizes opportunities offered to him by friends in other units to do activities only because he in turn can not offer those activities to his fellow scouts in his troop even if he recommended them at plc meetings. Odd turn of events and has left my son more determined to complete his eagle award.

This comes back to seeing and knowing this problem exists whether from word of mouth or seeing it throughout online scouting resources such as this as from the link below and how often times when someone stands up for what is right it ends up the entrenched leaders “bully” those trying to improve something out of the unit, district, or out of scouting completely.

There is a rogue element in this troop but it isn’t a scout. I will reiterate my original advice. Run Forrest, Run!!!

Sometimes the best thing that can happen to a troop is for it to collapse under its poor leadership. Better to have no unit than a unit that leaves a bad taste in 50 kids’ mouths.

2 Likes

Kevin
We had a problem of youth signing off requirements for others when neither knew the material.
What we decided to do was have one side of the page be for youth (SPL, PL, TG) to sign off that the Scout was taught and ready to be signed off, and the other side is for SM and ASM to sign off that they have completed the requirement. This has worked pretty well.

3 Likes

I’m not sure what this has to do with my response to “The term rogue scout was labeled on to him for how he utilizes opportunities offered to him by friends in other units to do activities only because he in turn can not offer those activities to his fellow scouts in his troop even if he recommended them at plc meetings.”

1 Like

Was replying to a previous post of yours. It was on your method of signing off. Our Troop was a mess until we changed the process.
Didn’t get to this post yet. But, I’ve agreed with everything you wrote on this series.

From the very first post my thought was there was a need to start visiting other local Troops. This can’t be the only one around.
I completely agree. Run away, run away.

3 Likes

That being said, then i agree with you wholeheartedly. there is more than one way to handle signing off of requirements. If you can’t trust the leadership (either youth or adult ASM’s) then lock down who can sign off (or take a middle road like you guys did). Once you have confidence in the youth/adult leadership you can begin to loosen the reigns a little.

2 Likes

Unless your son is wanting to stand up to this SM - it is probably time for your son to join his friends in another unit. I really believe that if your son was one of my scouts I would ask him point blank if he wanted to remain with my unit. I would rather have a scout leave my unit than scouting.

I am completely open to any of my scouts participating in however many units that it takes to make their life.

5 Likes

I was talking about the physical scout book as well. any scout leader can sign off in a book as long as approved.

i agree with this statement

Please talk to your son about moving troops. I can see this SM making his life miserable and hindering his Eagle Project. It is very sad and I hope it doesn’t happen, but switching troops isn’t the worst thing in life.

1 Like

I agree that switching troops isn’t as big a deal as it is made out to be. Years ago, we had a rival troop whose scoutmaster was playing some games with signing off on eagle scout paperwork for a kid. He transferred to our troop because our scoutmaster agreed to work with him. When he arrived he had so much unexpected fun, the he promptly brought over 4-5 other kids of various ranks who spent the rest of their scouting careers with us.

maybe the best of scouting awaits your son around the corner.

2 Likes

100% agree!
As a 12 year old PL, I had times when i was not real thrilled with the leadership in my troop. The trigger for me was when I missed a meeting due to illness, and upon returning the following week, was told that I was being put on probation as PL because in my absence a scout in my patrol had behavior issues. This was a troop on a military base, and the SM looked at things as though we were a part of his military unit, rather than 11 & 12 year old kids. Since it was one of my patrol members who misbehaved, it was me who deserved to be punished, not the scout.
After much discussion at home that evening, I transferred to the other troop on base. Over the course of the next 8 years, I served as a PL, ASPL, SPL, JASM, and ASM in that troop, in addition to earning Eagle. I was elected to the OA more than 50 years ago by the scouts in that new troop, and look back on those years as among the best scouting years of a long association with scouting.
Your son may well have a similar journey. I know that if my scout were having similar issues with any leader in his troop, we would not hesitate to transfer.

4 Likes