What does ‘active in Scouting’ mean? Scouting, unlike many other activities, is not designed to monopolize our Scout’s available time. Beyond that Scouting considers Scouts being involved and engaged in their communities, families and schools as goal of the program.
Most of the other activities our Scouts involve themselves with do not reciprocate. Teams, bands, choirs, choruses, clubs, youth groups and many ot the other positive thing s a Scout can do outside of his troop may demand his attendance – they may have all or nothing at all policies. While I may think this is shortsighted on their part I can understand what a coach or director may feel this way – I have coached teams and directed plays too.
If you are having difficulties with your Scout’s level of participation read this excerpt from the Guide to Advancement 2011:
….it is appropriate for units to set reasonable expectations for attendance and participation. Then it is simple: Those who meet them are “active.” But those who do not must be given the opportunity to qualify under the third-test alternative above. To do so, they must first offer an acceptable explanation. Certainly, there are medical, educational, family, and other issues that for practical purposes prevent higher levels of participation. These must be considered. Would the Scout have been more active if he could have been? If so, for purposes of advancement, he is deemed “active.”
We must also recognize the many worthwhile opportunities beyond Scouting. Taking advantage of these opportunities and participating in them may be used to explain why unit participation falls short. Examples might include involvement in religious activities, school, sports, or clubs that also develop character, citizenship, or personal fitness. The additional learning and growth experiences these provide can reinforce the lessons of Scouting and also give young men the opportunity to put them into practice in a different setting.
It is reasonable to accept that competition for a Scout’s time will become intense, especially as he grows older and wants to take advantage of positive “outside” opportunities. This can make full-time dedication to his unit difficult to balance. A fair leader therefore, will seek ways to empower a young man to plan his growth opportunities both within and outside Scouting, and consider them part of the overall positive life experience for which the Boy Scouts of America is a driving force. ( 22.214.171.124 Active Participation)
This is smart and, more than that, it’s what Scouting is all about.
Am I frustrated sometimes when my Scout’s commitments conflict with our schedule? Well, of course I am. But I have evolved into a much happier, less frustrated Scoutmaster with the realization that what we are doing goes beyond the troop meeting, the patrol meeting, and the camping trip into the rest of the Scouts life.