This post comes to us from another member of the Scout-L mailing list and republished with permission. The orginal thread is from Jan of 2010.
The orginal question aksed was:
Just looking for thoughts on incentivizing Scouts to do well in school. This year, especially, I have had too many boys who sign up for a outing and then the week before are held out as a punishment for bad grades. When I am aware of the issue, I have held Scoutmaster conferences and tried to light a fire, but I am looking for something that is more for the group and a little less "one more old person telling me I need to get good grades". Something to get the competitive juices flowing among patrols and the boys motivating themselves.
Joseph Durnal reponded
This sounds like an adult idea, not something that the boys are struggling with. I'd just plant a small seed on the subject with the SPL or patrol leaders, and if it is important to them, they'll come up with some good ideas.
Your question made me think of one of my scouting experiences:
I never really had a problem with grades, but I did have a problem in middle school (early 90's) with discipline in school. The good part was, my mom never took away my favorite activity, Scouts. I remember it well, near the end of 8th grade, I had just been elected patrol leader, needing just a few months as PL, scoutmaster conference and board of review for Star. The conversation went something like this:
SPL: I heard you got suspended again
SPL: My parents would ground me for months if that happened
Me: even from scouts
SPL: Do you think the scoutmaster would agree that you are showing
scout spirit by living the Scout oath and law in your everyday life?
Me: hmm, I guess he probably knows too
Me: I should probably own up to it anyway
SPL: good idea, and the other times too
Me: yeah, I've been suspended a lot
SPL: A lot of younger boys are starting to look up to you now
SPL: Do you think their parents would still let them come to scouts if
they were suspended?
Me: I don't know
SPL: probably not
SPL: you could probably be a better example
Me: I probably could
That was the last time I was suspended from school, my grades improved too, from, mostly Bs and a few As to mostly As with a B here and there. I guess I'll never know if it was because of that conversation, or if I was just growing up, but that conversation was part of my growing up, so, I give it some credit. I guess I'll also never know if there was any adult involvement in that conversation, but I know at the time, I never suspected it. Just an older boy that I looked up to letting me know that weather I liked it or not, I was becoming an older boy that other boys were going to look up to.
I am sure your creative juices are going now... you know where the comments go below ;)
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Scouts and Grades@Paula Hrbacek
In our area, there is a pizza place that gives you a free dessert or something if you bring in your report card and it has a certain grade average. (Pardon the generalities, but my children have graduated from college and it's been a while.) If you can find a restaurant like that in your area, you could have a report card outing and go to it as a group. Only the boys who have the grades are allowed to come. To avoid permission slips and field trip requests, make it a "Dad and Me" or "Mom and Me" event where the parent comes, too.
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