A significant addition the Guide to Advancement walks us through the sometimes thorny issue of evaluating active Scouts. I have struggled at times, as have many of us, with judging how to interpret this requirement. The guide has made this process simple and clear.
Evaluating the ‘active requirement is a three step process:
1. Is the Scout registered?
2. Is the Scout in good standing?
3. Has he met the expectations of his unit?
The first two steps are pretty cut and dried. “Good Standing” means that the Scout has not been excluded from membership by the unit, council or national; all very rare circumstances.
Step three is also pretty simple. If your unit has a metric for activity (a percentage of outings or meetings for example) and the scout meets them you are done. If he does not you must have an alternative path to fulfilling the requirement that recognizes influences outside of Scouting. These are carefully described to recognize that Scouts are not able to control some circumstances. We are also required to recognize activities outside of Scouting that are cooperative with Scouting’s aims.
The end of the matter is that metrics alone cannot evaluate ‘active’; we are not in competition with school, sports, church and other worthwhile influences in a Scout’s life – we cooperate with them.
The National Advancement Team has gone to great lengths to set out a concise, definitive set of standards that put many of these things to rest. I applaud their efforts.
Attaching a number to active participation is a common practice; one that I do not advocate personally. Many find these kinds of metrics useful in evaluating a Scout’s completion of the requirement. I still think that the Scout himself is his own best standard. I ask if he thinks he has been active enough to fulfill the requirement and I ask him to support his answer. In my experience this is a more effective way to evaluate than applying numbers.