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Scout Rank SM Conference


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#1 eagle90

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 09:00 PM

This is our first group of crossovers since Scout became a rank.  Does anyone have any suggested questions to ask the new scouts at their first SM Conference?

 

Dale


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#2 Adamcp

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 04:54 AM

I start by telling them what a Scoutmaster Conference is ("talking to you about your experience in Scouting"), and I explain that each Rank will have a Scoutmaster Conference, and every other rank from now on will also have a Board of Review.  I explain what that is, too. And then I tell them that the last step is to take your book to the Advancement Chair to have the info about their rank put into the computer.

 

Then I ask them about what they like about being a Boy Scout.

I ask them which of the Rank Requirements was hardest for them to do and what was the most fun. 

I ask them what they think about their patrol and how they think their patrol is doing.

I ask them what they think the Troop could change or what could make the Troop better.

I ask them about what they think about their Duty to God ("since all Scoutmasters are asked to talk about that in each SM Conference" - so they know it will come up again, and so they know it is important)

I ask them what their plan or hope is for Scouting (some say "Eagle", some say "patrol leader some day", some say, "going to Sea Base", some say "have fun and go on trips" - tells me a lot about the boy, but I am not pushing for anything)

I ask them what they like outside of Scouting, how they are doing in school, and if there are any really stressful things that are going on for them now.

We end on a positive note back on Scouting by talking about the next few activities and what they are looking forward to.

 

One of my favorite parts of being a SM.


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#3 Stosh

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 08:14 AM

When the boys cross-over as a group, the SM doesn't have the luxury of a sit down, one-on-one with the new boys.  I use the Scout SMC the same as I used to do the FT SMC.  It sets the tone for how the SM relates to the boy and his success in scouting.  I focus on the Patrol Method and that his PL should have all the information needed for him to do well in scouting and if not, come visit with me anytime there's a need.  (We don't generally have an SPL due to the fact we are a very small troop.  I review is progress and point out the good things I see him doing and (ignore the bad.  :) )  I always encourage them to step it up a notch for the next rank and maybe highlight a few of the things he needs to focus on that may be a little more challenging. 

 

All in all, if the boy doesn't walk away with a big grin on his face, I have not done my job.


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Stosh

 

There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#4 Col. Flagg

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 09:16 AM

When the boys cross-over as a group, the SM doesn't have the luxury of a sit down, one-on-one with the new boys. 

 

Curious, but why doesn't the SM have the time to meet with a group of new Scouts one-on-one? 

 

We've had as many as 26 new Scouts crossover. Each got the same personalized SMC. Yes it was repetitive. Yes it could have been done as a group, but it was far more effective one-on-one (well, two-on-one ;) ).


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#5 fred johnson

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 09:27 AM

I wish I could find the root document that we've learned from years ago.  It had a philosophy behind each SMCs for each rank.  Identified different purposes for each.  Here is an okay version from BSA scouting web site.

 

http://www.scouting....f/questions.pdf

 

There are lots of guides for SMCs and BORs.


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#6 DadScouts

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 09:51 AM

Ask them if they are having fun.  Yes or No and explore from there.  Encourage attendance at outings.  Lather Rinse Repeat.  (For Scout rank.)


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#7 mashmaster

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 10:20 AM

Adamcp covers most of what I talk about.  They are so nervous at Scout rank of the big-bad-scoutmaster.  My hope is that afterwards, they leave happy and knowing that I am there to help him succeed.  I try to focus on opening their minds to new possibilities,  focus on fun not requirements, and encourage them to grow as leaders.   

 

It isn't my first one on one conversation with them but they are more nervous and formal at the rank SM conference.  I do my best on campouts to pull boys away to discuss their current status and scouting experience.  For older ones, it is usually about leadership expectations (what it means to be a leader and how they can help the troop), for the younger ones it is building a trust relationship that we are there for him and making sure he is ok and having fun.  


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#8 Stosh

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 10:22 AM

Curious, but why doesn't the SM have the time to meet with a group of new Scouts one-on-one? 

 

We've had as many as 26 new Scouts crossover. Each got the same personalized SMC. Yes it was repetitive. Yes it could have been done as a group, but it was far more effective one-on-one (well, two-on-one ;) ).

 

One has to take into consideration the general "Hi, how's it going.  Welcome to the troop." that is kind of a requisite effort for the SM and a more "formal" sit down chat that is personal and is done, not because one has to do it, but because one wants to do it.  Many of the scouts are sensitive to the difference.  A time "just for me" is important and yes, it's a requirement, but it's the last requirement before heading into the BOR and I want the boys to know personally, that I have their back on being successful in scouting.  Not many boys think getting called into the "principal's office" is a good thing.  I want the boys to know that when things are serious (like advancement) it's a good thing to get called into the SM's office.  :) 

I have found I can't really do that when the boys first walk into the troop after cross-over.  That's why I like the Scout SMC, I have had a little time to watch and understand the situation the boy is dealing with.


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Stosh

 

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#9 Col. Flagg

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 10:39 AM

Not many boys think getting called into the "principal's office" is a good thing.  I want the boys to know that when things are serious (like advancement) it's a good thing to get called into the SM's office.  :)

 

I have found I can't really do that when the boys first walk into the troop after cross-over.  That's why I like the Scout SMC, I have had a little time to watch and understand the situation the boy is dealing with.

 

I guess we are lucky in this regard. The guys don't see meeting with the SM as a principal's office thing. We have the SPL talk to them first about their first SMC. We do an "intro" SMC where the SPL runs the discussion as a group with the boys, explaining what the SMC is for, etc. Then the SM speaks and tells the guys that they will be brought in one at a time to chat. Over the next week or so we roll the guys through. This seems to be received really well. Only once did a scout get concerned (special needs kid). Having his favorite doughnut at the meeting helped with that. :D


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#10 AltadenaCraig

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 11:14 AM

... but it's the last requirement before heading into the BOR ....

 

That's a common misreading.  As written, the rank requirement says "Since joining the troop and while working on the Scout rank, participate in a Scoutmaster conference."   As with all SMC's for this and subsequent rank advancements, the SMC can be held at any time during the period which the scout is working on his next rank.


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The woods are lovely, dark, and deep

but I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

 

—Robert Frost


#11 NJCubScouter

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 11:39 AM

That's a common misreading.  As written, the rank requirement says "Since joining the troop and while working on the Scout rank, participate in a Scoutmaster conference."   As with all SMC's for this and subsequent rank advancements, the SMC can be held at any time during the period which the scout is working on his next rank.

 

That is true, but I think most troops do them as the last requirement before the BOR.  I hate quoting the Guide to Advancement because I hate the bureaucratic numbering system, but section 4.2.3.5 includes the following:  "Ultimately, conference timing is up to the unit." 

 

As a separate issue, on the Scout rank, I think it should be remembered that the "new" requirements for Scout have been significantly expanded.  They go beyond what used to be considered "joining requirements."  I believe that almost of all of the expanded requirements are also included in the "Scouting Adventure" requirement for the Arrow of Light Award, so a crossover may be ready to pass Scout within  2 or 3 weeks.  On the other hand, someone who is joining a troop without having been a Webelos may need a substantial amount of time to pass the Scout requirements.


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#12 Stosh

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 11:52 AM

That's a common misreading.  As written, the rank requirement says "Since joining the troop and while working on the Scout rank, participate in a Scoutmaster conference."   As with all SMC's for this and subsequent rank advancements, the SMC can be held at any time during the period which the scout is working on his next rank.

 

:) and it's a common misconception that there is only one SMC, too.

 

As a boy led scouter, I do not get as much face time with the boys to really get to know the boys.  I interact with the boys, but not so much on the "official" level like their PL's do.  So I catch bits and pieces of time whenever I can.  I get in as many "SMC"s as I can hit and miss.  But the advancement SMC is focused on making sure the boy has done all that is required and that he is properly prepared for the BOR.  That way the boys don't get hit with any surprises once they go through the doors. 

Also the first time around sitting in front of 3-4 adults can be intimidating and a little reassurance from the SM that it's not as bad as he imagines goes a long way. 


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Stosh

 

There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#13 NJCubScouter

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 12:12 PM

:) and it's a common misconception that there is only one SMC, too.

 

Well, the same section of the GTA says: "Some leaders hold more than one along the way, and the Scout must be allowed to count any of them toward the requirement."  Which I think is kind of confusing.  Does it mean, for example, that if a Scout turns Second Class and then the SM has a conference with him, and then a few months later when the Scout is ready for his First Class BOR the SM says he wants another conference, the Scout can refuse to have the conference?  I don't know of any Scout who would refuse, but the language makes me wonder whether that is possible.  What probably happened is that in some troop somewhere, the SM asked a Scout for an excessive number of conferences for the same rank, and the Scout complained about it, so now we have a provision in the GTA that any SM conference may count toward the requirement.  


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#14 Stosh

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 03:23 PM

Over the years I have had a scout or two try and pull off the "we already had a chat" about his, but is your book signed off?  No, well then?  If he insists on having the book signed, I will sign. 

 

This happened to me twice, two different scouts.  Both times they came back to me after meeting with the board and needed some "clarification" on some of the advancement.  Along with an apology, we were able to get it all cleared up.  One of the things I do with the "official" SMC is make sure the book is up-to-date and it matches the advancement records online.  I see the book, the BOR sees the report and they don't always match. 

 

It is this kind of details I go over so the boy doesn't appear to be Not Prepared.  :)

 

My boys know the difference between a SMC and an Advancement SMC.  With the boy led emphasis, just sitting and chatting about scouts with the scout isn't checked off in the book.  But most don't want it marked for advancement SMC either.


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Stosh

 

There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)





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