Friday, August 2, 2013

First Class After Eleven: Getting 12-13 yr olds back on track...

When a young man turns twelve and graduates from the Primary into the Young Men's program it makes his Scouting experience much better if he is already a First Class Scout.

The requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class form a skill foundation that allows a young man to take full advantage of the Scouting adventures that make up his Deacon's Quorum experience.

So what do you do with the young man who graduates from Primary and hasn't achieved the First Class rank? Here are five options:

 1. Dedicate 5-10 minutes (perhaps as a pre-opener) at each Troop meeting to work on one of the fundamental Scout skills. This will serve as a great refresher for youth who have already passed off these requirements, and will allow Scouts still working on these rank requirements to pass them off. In addition, this is a great opportunity for experienced Scouts to teach other young men (using EDGE).

 2. Have the young man attend the eleven-year-old patrol when they are working on a requirement he needs. Obviously this requires meeting times that do not overlap (and a humble young man).

 3. Dedicate occasional camp-outs for skills instruction. A round-robin of skills instruction can involve adult advisors and experienced youth as instructors. When done well, this can be a camp out that is much looked forward to.

 4. Assign an experienced Scout to the young man needing requirements. This buddy pair can work together during Troop nights, camp-outs, and in their personal time. The experienced Scout can be appointed as an ‘Instructor’ or ‘Troop Guide’, both positions that qualify as positions of responsibility for rank advancement.

 5. The young man can work on requirements at home, passing them off to an adult advisor when complete. Another adult could be assigned as a guide or coach. This approach could be used to help a young man connect with a parent, home teacher, or other adult.


  1. Or: 6. Remind the Patrol Leader that he has a patrol member that might need help learning some of the skills involved in scouting. Ask him what he plans to do about that. If needed, suggest the PLC plan campouts that use the skills taught, and prepare for the campouts by using the troop meeting planner to include instruction time.

    1. Absolutely! Using boys to teach boys is the best model we have!

  2. Shouldn't all troop meetings include skills instruction, regularly covering those basic Scouting skills? Shouldn't all troop campouts and activities actually use those basic Scouting skills? If you're not, are you really doing Scouting or are you just teaching merit badge classes?

    1. Tory, I'm not sure that the 'skills instruction' portion of a Troop meeting has to be the skills taught for Tenderfoot through First Class does it? I can see 'skills instruction' being any number of skills that might be part of merit badges.