Good grades or Scouting?

Question: Should I prevent my son from doing Scouting because he is getting poor grades?

Date: Wed, 5 Mar 2003 19:14:27 -0600
From: Cox SMTP central
Subject: Grades

I attended the first Troop meeting in a month last night (Travel for Company) and wondered (aloud) where everyone was. SPL and patrol leaders responded with "Home until grades improve." had this been 1 or even 2 boys I would not even have noticed but when 6 boys all have been "grounded" I was floored.

In one of the cases the boy spends hours working on scout projects and merit badges (Hear my prayers for more like him) in the rest scouting is a weekly 2 hours and 1 weekend a month.

I have not contacted the parents and am not sure if that is the direction to go or not. Hoping for some input from the list before taking this beyond my personal frustration. Ideas, experiences all inputs welcome.

Fred Kahle
ASM T606
Wichita, Ks.
Once a Fox (C29-00) Always an Eagle.(Aug 72)


Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2003 17:07:44 EST
From: GMarmet[at]AOL.COM
Subject: Re: Grades

"Home until grades improve."

Wow. This is one of those deep and tough topics. Is Scouting an extracurricular activity that is a pleasure for the boy to be denied if he has not earned it, or is Scouting just another learning situation for the boy that will form part of his character and development irrespective of his grades (don't tell him this, keep reminding him it is fun not school).

As a Scouter with 3 sons who have graduated (at 18 and as Eagles) from Scouting, I lean toward the second view. I believe that short of occasional scheduling conflicts (paper due tomorrow, big game tonight, etc.) Scouting is one of the tools for teaching my boys. When my wife and first started this adventure, we thought about using Scouting as a reward, but quickly came to realize it was too important to the our sons' development to treat it as a reward. We came to realize that Scouting was as important as religious schooling in making our sons. We would not say, oh your grades aren't good this past semester so you can't go to Sunday School. We did not say it for Scouting either.

What do you as a Scoutmaster do about this? Remember that there are parents who do not agree with me (and presumably you). They do regard Scouting as a reward for good behavior. I do not believe you convince them otherwise by simply calling them on the phone because of what your SPL has said. I do believe it is a good idea to push the idea that Scouting is just another form of schooling to your parents in parent's meetings. Don't tell the boys this. No reason to scare them.

In other words have parent's meetings with all the parents. Tell them these things (along with other things that will make the meetings worthwhile). Explain the concept to the ones that attend and pray that it will filter to the ones that did not. Do this more than once and keep at it. Remember that your parent mix can change every year and all parents need to hear these things.

Just my idea.

Yours in Scouting,

G. John Marmet, ASM
Troop 156, Glenview, Illinois
Northeast Illinois Council 129
Council website:
Brownsea JLT Cook 97-2002
Owl, C.19.96; Brotherhood, Lodge 40


Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2003 22:55:37 EST
From: "Robert \"Bob\" C. Warner"
Subject: Re: Grades

In a message dated 3/7/2003 4:49:40 PM Eastern Standard Time,
kahlecal606[at]COX.NET writes:

> "Home until grades improve."

Well, that was kind of my personal rule for my two sons also.=A0 Homework had
to be done and grades at least a B average.=A0 Both sons graduated from high school and both were Eagle Scouts.

No. 1 son was not with me all the time due to overseas assignments and I believe that hurt his grades do to the lack of learned discipline, but he graduated with a 3.0 and then graduated from Penn State.=A0 He is currently the assistant production manager of a high tech company and the father of 1.778 children.=A0 He was just elected as an elder of a large Presbyterian Church.

So I guess he is doing okay.=A0 And No.1 grandson was born on Scout's birthday and is a blond, blue-eyed munckin.=A0 His mom is a choir director, organist,

keyboard artist at one church and his other grandfather is the minister of another--so he is well-known and being well-spoiled.=A0 We will see how it all comes out because he is almost under the same spotlight as a PK.

No. 2 was into many activities played year round varsity and club soccer, active in church, in the advanced band, taking 3 or AP courses each semester, going to the Governor's School, and very active socially--but a self starter. Won the Athlete-Scholar award at a very competitive high school about every year and graduated 3rd in class with well over a 4.5 and two college courses each--in Physics and Calculus. He attends the number one rated college and is currently on a semester aboard at one of the top German Universities where all the courses are naturally in German.

So for me, the rule worked.=A0 But I might have been inclined to put limits on other activities before Scouting.=A0 Both boys knew I wanted to see they earn the Eagle rank, but there was never any demand or pressure. I simply told that they made choices and they would have to bear the consequences. No. 1 finished with 30 days to spare; No. 2 son, who is into JIT and also was not about to be outdone by his brother, finished with five days to spare--at the last possible regular Scout meeting--wasn't in his schedule to make an extra trip to see the SM.

So in a way I would support the parents, but also I would want to talk to them as a friend and to the Scout.=A0 Efficiently spend time is better than just a lot of time.=A0 It is often interesting to involve the parents in a time study of what is being done with the time between the end of school and bedtime--a little Personal Management, if you will, using time instead of money--and involving the whole family, if possible.=A0 Some parents help cause the problem. Meals not on time. No snack or such a heavy snack the boy sleeps until super and then eats a large, heavy supper. Noise in the evening and so fourth.=A0 Boys are not allowed to drive because of grades, but mother is always late meeting them because she is so disorganized--so the boys lose at least a 1/2-hour per day. And they don't use that wait time reading or studying because no one taught them to do so.

Bob Warner
Piedmont District Head MB Counselor
Unit Commissioner (Doctor of Commissioner Science, Triad Cluster)
Trained Trainer and District Viking (Training) Patrol
And Freedom Owl, NE-VI-8-32 (1985)


Date: Sat, 8 Mar 2003 23:27:30 -0800
From: Mark Liechty
Subject: Grades - Another point of view with older Scouts

I've followed this thread with intense interest and it seems to me that not enough play has been given to the possibility that Scouting "saves" a lot of kids who just don't deal well with School.

For a lot of reasons, including every possible bad influence except Drugs (they were there and got one of my brothers and several friends), I just did not care much about School.

My family did not have a push education as we knew we could not afford college and coming from a welfare neighborhood there were not a lot of role models that cared about education. The fact that I always kept my paying jobs and kept out of trouble with the law was a bigger concern.

Fortunately my scout leaders were always responsive and supportive and after a very traumatic summer between my Sophomore and Junior years I finally "got it" and realized that I was spending a lot more effort cutting class and making excuses than if I had just been there and done the work.

I'm proud to say I was probably the only one in my graduating class that went from a 0.5 GPA in the Second Semester of my Sophomore year to a 4.0 my senior year and an accumulative 3.93 GPA in College.

Had my participation in Scouting been taken away the story probably would have been far different.

The point is that while Scouting may be a reward for some kids it may be the saving grace for many others and denying access to a program that provides a good influence makes no sense to me.

Mark Liechty
Eagle Class of 82
Brotherhood Member OA

Date: Sun, 9 Mar 2003 06:22:08 EST
From: "John H. Yon"
Subject: Re: Grades - Another point of view with older Scouts


Let me echo that chorus. Although nowhere near a bad as your situation, I never went to any school more than two years in a row. This was partly due to desegregation, and partly due to moving. The constant thread of progress through all of my childhood memories was Scouting.

My most severe punishment over grades happened when I was in either sixth or seventh grade, and was our Troop's Quartermaster. I had avoided doing homework, and was quite capable of doing the work. I was allowed (required) to attend all meetings, but not allowed to attend outings. I missed two camping trips and a Show-and Do. As Quartermaster, I had to dress out in my uniform, go to the Scout Hut and check out the gear Friday night for the campouts, and then go back in uniform on Sunday and check the gear back in.

By my next report card, my grades had come back up where they belonged.

Yours in Scouting,
John H. Yon, District Commissioner
New River District, Blue Ridge Mountains Council
Southwest Virginia.


Date: Sun, 9 Mar 2003 19:49:15 -0600
From: Alan Subject: Re: Grades

This is just like the "No pass, no play" rule that has plagued Texas schools causing more dropouts than ever due to taking away the only interest that is keeping the student in school. "No pass, no play, dropout" becomes the theme. "Bad grades, no scouts" takes away the positive peer pressure and character training that would help instill good study habits and higher self-esteem. The BSA is an educational institution whereby the highest grade called Eagle Scout Rank carries such importance and weight that it guarantees higher salary in the military (and sometimes instant enlisted promotion), and employers think trusted management material when placed on an application. During my first professional engineering job interview, the employer actually told me that he normally would not interview anyone with a college GPA less than 3.8 out of 4.0, but because I am the only Eagle Scout applying, he would interview me and hire me.

Alan Schup
SM Troop 502
Longhorn Council


Date: Sun, 9 Mar 2003 16:55:29 -0600
From: John Teske
Subject: grades

My son had problems in school and didn't do very well. We discovered he had reading & dyslexic problems. His self esteem suffered until he got into Scouting where the "learning by doing" was just the right thing. He regained his self esteem through Scouting and began doing better in school. It's amazing what Scouting did for him!

John M. Teske, district adv. chair


Date: Mon, 10 Mar 2003 12:00:32 -0600
From: John Teske
Subject: grades

When my son was a sophomore in high school he ended up failing history. That was the summer he was planning on doing a Philmont Trek. We approached the Asst. Principal and he said there is a lot to be gained from such an experience. Within ten days he told my son that he had arranged it with his history professor to do the required work when he got back from the Trek instead of attending summer school.

My son came back from Philmont a changed young man. He had self confidence, esteem and worth like never before. It changed his entire academic life. Through Scouting he found architecture and now has a degree in it with a 3.2 average!

Thank God for the wisdom of that Asst. Principal!

John M. Teske


-----Original Message-----
From: Scouts-L Youth Group List [] On Behalf Of WAHowland[at]AOL.COM
Sent: Thursday, March 13, 2003 6:05 PM
Subject: Scouting vs other activities, was, ..and grades

<<< Obviously, parents will do whatever it takes to get their children to have good grades. But I have this one parent whose son plays high school football. During the past 2 football seasons his grades suffer. When I asked the parent if the son was coming to an upcoming campout, the parent tells me that he is banned from scouting until his grades improve. I then said to the parent that it appears to be football that is causing his bad grades and not scouting. So why not take football away from the boy. That conversation did not go very well. Since then, I don't get involved when a parent tells me that they are keeping their son away from scouting because of bad grades.>>>

Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2003 06:14:48 -0800
From: Raymond Betts
Subject: Re: Scouting vs. other activities, was, ..and grades

When it comes to sports, every parent thinks his/her kid will be the next Michael Jordan..... and will earn a gravy train for them.

Now look at reality. Unless you have some special physical traits the chances are that you will never play sports after high school.

Take Basketball for example. My son loves to play, has always excelled at it. His problem is that he is only 6'2" which is short when you get to college or pro. Add to that, there are less than 500 pro basketball players at any one time. How many people are playing at the high school level? 500,000. Divide it out and you will see the chances are slim and none and only if you have the height.

He could find a coaching job but he must have leadership skills to earn the respect of his players. Where does he get the leadership skills? From scouting, of course. He knows the difference between a good coach and a bad one. He also uses his leadership skills in working with his teammates. That's why he is the Captain of the team (elected by his teammates) in his junior year and was selected 1st team in his league.

I know several people who have sustained lifelong injuries from high school sports (knees especially.) My daughter's fianc=E9e sustained a knee injury that kept him out of the Air Force. He wanted to be aircraft mechanic but that dream was shattered one afternoon and two surgeries later.

Scouting and sports go together. A sport, by itself is usually a dead end for most high school players. However, most parents don't see it that way.

Ray Betts
Troop & Crew 196
Lake Elsinore, CA


Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2003 08:48:47 -0600
From: Barry Runnels
Subject: Scouting vs other activities, was, ..and grades

Hi all

Auntie Beans has some great comments. I would like to make two points about busy families and sports. We view our Troop as one of many activities for our boys. We don't ask them to pick one way or the other, but we do try to make our program as fun and exciting as the others. You will be amazed to what lengths families go to make sure their son gets to the campout during a soccer tournament. If our program is slow, then the activities are light in numbers. IF we are doing a good job, then we have the numbers. Families want what best for their kids, even the most competitive families will make sure scouts fit in their busy schedule if they feel scouting has value.

Second, I always finish my Scoutmaster Specific Classes with a SM Minute pointing out that a mother is always building a team. She is looking to build a man character from her son and there by building the best team she can to build that man. She wants the best teachers, the best ministers, the best coaches, and the best scout leaders. We should feel honored to be selected as part of her team. We should also honor the other members of her team. We are not in competition with the other team members. We are there to the best scouting has to offer her son. If we do the best we can, then that mother will do her best to make sure her son gets those values we have to offer.

Scouting is wonderful for boys and a boy run program gives them an outlet for their dreams that few other programs can do. If we keep our focus on building a quality program, the moms will make sure their sons are there.

Have a great Weekend.

Barry Runnels