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Recognition Programs for Young Men

Implementating Advancement and Recognition Programs
for Aaronic Priesthood Young Men

Advancement/Recognition Goals
Everyone
Eleven-Year Old Scouts
Deacons/Scouts
Teachers/Varsity Scouts
Priests/Venturers

     Advancement/recognition programs help young men to grow, achieve, mature, and develop a sense of competence, and in the case of Duty to God, to grow spiritually.  Advancement/recognition programs also serve as an indicator for boys, leaders, and parents that progress is occurring.
     But here is a caution-- Scouting is about BUILDING CHARACTER, PROMOTING CITIZENSHIP, and DEVELOPING PERSONAL AND MENTAL FITNESS. Advancement/recognition is one of eight methods used to achieve these purposes.  Boys get the most development when all of the methods are used effectively and in balance. We should NOT become lop-sided and emphasize only advancement (become an Eagle mill).

ADVANCEMENT/RECOGNITION GOALS:
1) Without exception, young men achieve Duty to God certificates and/or the Duty to God award by the time they are to advance to the next level of Priesthood.
2) Every young man has a good opportunity to achieve the Eagle rank.
3) The majority of young men complete requirements for the Eagle rank.
4) The majority of Varsity Scouts and Venturers achieve at least one recognition for each of these programs (Varsity Letter, Denali, Venturing Bronze, Gold and Silver, etc.).

EVERYONE:
--View the Young Mens program as a single program to help young men achieve Aaronic Priesthood purposes, including the advancement/recognition component, and work together to help every young man achieve his best.
--Utilize a single data base (such as is provided by the software program Troopmaster) to keep boy records complete, accurate, and timely, so that all leaders have the information needed to plan and manage the advancement/recognition component of the Young Mens program.
--Rely on the Troop committee to take the lead to provide ward Merit Badge counselors.

ELEVEN YEAR OLD SCOUTS:
--Run a program that results in almost all scouts developing scout spirit, enthusiasm for outdoor activities, and achieving First Class rank by the time they turn 12.
--Introduce the Merit Badge process to eleven-year old scouts by working on and helping them to complete at least one elective merit badge during the year.
--Promote participation in Merit Badge Pow-wows, where available.

DEACONS/SCOUTS:
--Promote Duty to God achievement. Some possibilities:
      
< Meet with boy and parents immediately after 12th birthday to give out Deacons guidebook and explain program.
      
< Keep up-to-date records of Duty to God progress for each boy.
      
< Meet again with the boy and parents about every six months to update records and encourage progress.
--Run a scouting program that results in the majority of troop achieving at least Life rank by the time they turn 14.
--Run a program that helps all scouts to become proficient campers.  Since so many of the requirements for the Camping Merit Badge are best met as a part of the troop's camping program, the Scoutmaster should probably be the merit badge counselor for that badge, with the goal that the large majority of scouts finish the Camping merit badge before they are 14.
--Make merit badge work an integral part of the activity program.
--Calendar to schedule an introduction to and work on the majority of Eagle-required merit badges, over a two year period.

Possible process for working on required merit badges in the troop

1) The troop Merit badge counselor for a particular merit badge is scheduled to attend portions of the troop meeting for several weeks. During this time, the counselor may:
Introduce the requirements for the merit badge
Work on specific requirements with the boys that lend themselves to group activity
Meet individually with boys to help them with specific requirements
Make appointments with boys to pass off the merit badge (some of this might be done during the troop meeting).
2) Boys who already have earned this merit badge could be used as instructors for specific requirements of the merit badge.
3) The counselor should be encouraged to keep a record of which requirements each boy has completed, and follow-up with boys from time-to-time to encourage them to complete the merit badge. See attached example.
4) The troop program should not move on until the majority of boys have passed off this merit badge.


--Keep accurate records of advancement, camp attendance, service hours, and leadership assignments for each boy, and use this information to make sure that no boy is kept from advancing by lack of these, especially leadership assignments that meet requirements for specific ranks.
--Periodically review advancement records of all Scouts. Look especially for:
      
< Scouts who have not yet achieved First Class (assign one of the Assistant Scoutmasters to work individually, or create
           a patrol of those needing this work, or possibly, have him meet with Eleven-year-old scouts to complete First Class
           requirements).
      
< Eagle Merit Badges that most of the scouts need (give priority to work on as a troop).
      
< Scouts who have not advanced for a long time (do board of review, meet with scout and parents, help him and his
           parents set goals, plan program events around his interests and needs).
--Schedule scoutmaster conferences and boards of review ASAP when a boy has finished the other requirements for advancement.
--Promote participation in Merit Badge Pow-wows, where available.
--Hold at least 3-4 courts of honor yearly.
--Troop Committee take as much of the burden for advancement work as possible: merit badge counselor recruitment, registration, and training (take the lead for the entire scouting program for the ward, cover at least all Eagle-required merit badges by ward members); schedule regular boards of review including those for scouts not advancing; maintain a merit badge library; keep advancement records; quickly research and document advancement status of new boys moving into the troop, obtain awards from BSA, help plan and put on courts of honor).

TEACHERS/VARSITY SCOUTS:
--Promote Duty to God achievement. Some possibilities:
      
< Meet with boy and parents immediately after 14th birthday to give out Teachers guidebook and explain program.
      
< Keep up-to-date records of Duty to God progress for each boy.
      
< Meet again with the boy and parents about every six months to update records and encourage progress.
--Run an advancement/recognition program that enables the majority of young men 1) to finish their Eagle, if not accomplished while a Deacon/Scout, and 2) to achieve at least one of the Varsity Scout awards.
--Varsity Coach is a Camping Merit Badge counselor.
--Use Varsity advancement method to promote advancement/recognition:
      
< Appoint youth Advancement Program Manager, and Advancement Advisor (might work well to have Coach or one
           of the Assistants fill this latter responsibility.
      
< Include Varsity awards and Duty to God in the focus of the Advancement Manager and Advisor, in addition to Eagle
           rank.
      
< Do Individual Advancements Plans.
      
< Have youth Advancement Program Manager and each Varsity Scout boy report on his advancement progress
           periodically in Team meetings.
--Hold quarterly Parents/Awards nights to give recognition to youths.
--Keep good records of advancement, camp attendance, service hours, and leadership assignments for each boy, and use this information to make sure that no boy is kept from advancing by lack of these, especially leadership assignments that meet requirements for specific ranks. Varsity Coaches should become just as knowledgeable and capable regarding scouting advancement as are the Troop Scoutmasters, plus know the requirements for Varsity letter and Denali award intimately.
--Periodically review advancement records of all Varsity Scouts. Look especially for:
      
< Varsity Scouts who have not yet achieved First Class (assign one of the Assistant Coaches to work with him
           individually).
      
< Eagle Merit Badges that most of the Varsity Scouts need (may work on as a Team activity, see process for working
           on required merit badge in the troop above).
      
< Varsity Scouts who have not advanced for a long time (do board of review, meet with Varsity Scout and parents,
           help him and his parents set goals, plan program events around his interests and needs).
--Schedule scoutmaster conferences and boards of review immediately when a boy has finished the other requirements for advancement.
--Consider establishing a monthly meeting (perhaps Sunday after church) for Varsity Scouts who need some extra individualized help to complete the Eagle (NOTE: we call this the "Eagle Patrol.".
--Encourage participation in Merit Badge Pow-wows, where available, as another way for Varsity Scouts to complete needed merit badges.

PRIESTS/VENTURERS:
--Promote Duty to God achievement. Some possibilities:
      
< Meet with boy and parents immediately after 16th birthday to give out Priests guidebook and explain program.
      
< Keep up-to-date records of Duty to God progress for each boy.
      
< Meet again with the boy and parents about every six months to update records and encourage progress.
--Run a Venturing program that enables 1) as many as possible of the young men to complete their Eagle rank, if not accomplished before age 16, and 2) the majority of the young men achieve one or more of the Venturing awards.
--As young men enter the Priests quorum and Venturing program, identify the status of their progress to Eagle and if eligible to continue (First Class or greater), work with them (and their parents) immediately on future goals and plans for advancement/recognition.
--Utilize the Venturing method to promote advancement/recognition:
      
< The Venturing Administrative Vice-President, with support from an Associate Advisor, to promote recognitions and
           awards.
      
< Include Eagle, Venturing awards and Duty to God in their focus.
--Schedule scoutmaster conferences and boards of review immediately when a boy has finished the other requirements for advancement.
--Hold periodic Recognition nights, at least twice a year.
--Keep good records of advancement, camp attendance, service hours, and leadership assignments for each young man, and use this information to make sure that no young man is kept from advancing by lack of these, especially leadership assignments that meet requirements for specific Eagle ranks and Venturing awards.
--Consider establishing a monthly meeting (perhaps Sunday after church) for Venturers who need some extra individualized help to complete the Eagle.
--Encourage participation in Merit Badge Pow-wows, where available, as another way for Venturers to complete needed merit badges.
--In the yearly Venturing program calendar, make sure to include activities that contribute to Venturing awards, such as the Venturing Leadership Skills Course (VLSC), advanced First Aid/CPR training, cultural diversity experiences, ethical controversies, and time for individual presentations/tabletop displays for particular requirements.