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  • LATEST POSTS

    • Update 10/21/2020: For the first time since the covid-19 outbreak, the Medici Museum has now reopened to the general public. https://www.wkbn.com/news/local-news/howland-art-museum-reopens-with-new-boy-scouts-exhibit-by-norman-rockwell/
    • Discussing policy implications? Sometimes it seems a bit more intense than that. Either way, it seems that just about every thread on this forum that goes on for more than a few pages follows a similar pattern. Start with a random topic. Talk about that for a page or two. Move off onto iterating between what was done wrong years ago and what should be done in the future until there are just a few people left and hope the thread dies before it gets personal. As long as people try and stay away from it getting personal it's fine with me but it just makes me wonder. My son had a soccer coach that coached a U18 women's team that went to national level competitions and did well. I'd never have known it if he hadn't told me. he just wanted the 8 year olds he was coaching to have fun and improve, to find a life long joy in a simple but really challenging game. What he wanted for the kids was very simple and everyone could get behind it. He never worried about the last game played or any past the next one. Good clergy are the same. To them it's all about the joy of life. I just talked to a scout for 2 hours about his experience as a scout so I could talk about it at his ECOH. At the end of the 2 hours I asked him what he got out of scouting. He said scouting reminded him of a quote which he kind of muddled through. I went and looked it up: He said scouting built his character because it was always there. If you had a problem to solve the oath and law were right there and you had to consider them. As a young scout he would ask himself what was the right thing for a scout to do, and then he'd try to do that. Years later he didn't need to ask himself anymore, he just knew. Then he asked me what I thought scouts was about and I told him he pretty much nailed it. That's the joy of scouting - watching a kid grow up. This scout also mentioned that there were a group of scouts that had a big impact on him, each in their own way. From my perspective, all of those scouts started off as really difficult. But they all grew up, just in time to influence this one scout to be a better person. My troop is by no means perfect. It has plenty of issues but for this scout and several others it worked well. Do any of the policy implications we argue about have anything important to do with what scouting is at it's core? Is the arguing about the trees pulling us away from the joy of the forest? People have different experiences and different opinions on what works. I understand that and it's great to hear from everyone. But maybe we go too far when we assume someone else should do things the way we do. Maybe we should just leave it at different people have different experiences based on trying different things, and just encourage everyone to have fun and find a life long joy in a simple but challenging game.
    • Ugh. None that doesn't involve adult intervention, which is why I asked about guard rails when trying to be youth led. To some degree I think the traditional scout leadership system rewards the more articulate, self motivated, Type A scouts. The standard answer you will often get is more adult training in the patrol method is needed in order to properly train SPLs and Troop Guides, but in my neck of the woods there are so many disconnects in that process that the scouts are simply gone. If you are seeing it I do think it's worth a discussion with your SM to try and get him to have a discussion with the SPL and follow that whole chain of command back down. Another option is to have a side bar discussion with some of the Type B scouts about how they can try to be more assertive. Maybe others here have better advice. I did recommend a book here in another thread that really opened my eyes to the problems these more reserved scouts face and about how their leadership value is often completely overlooked, particularly in scouting: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain. 
    • Wonderfully said.  I was writing a post, hit reply and saw yours.  You said it much more artfully than I did.  I feel like this is exactly the kind of issues we faced. Your post reminded me of a period where we have two Webelos dens of the same age in our pack.  One run by a very organized set of parents.  The other by a parent with a ton of outdoor experience.  My son was in this fellow's den.  One month we decided to hold a joint den camp out for the boys at that level.  In preparation the other den had all kinds of plans and schedules.  The den leader surveyed the site and was very well prepared.  My son's den leader (who had a lot of camping experience) instead focused on getting the boys to practice camp cooking in den meetings.  When we all got ot camp, both dens were starting breakfast meal prep - pancakes.  The other, super organized, den leader had her den up and going.  Yet, every parent was there with the boys at every step.  All the boys got to do was mix some batter and flip the pancakes.  In my son's den, the den leader said - OK boys, here's the box of pancake mix, some eggs, and milk.  Have fun.  The boys in his den jumped into action and did a fantastic job doing the whole thing. I share that story because nowhere, other than experience, would those den leaders have known how far to push the Scouts and make it work.  I'll guarantee you that my son's den had more fun.  But, this goes back to the problem of leaders just have no idea how to deal with the day to day decisions that make this all work.  How can Scouting effectively help prepare leaders so that they even begin to approach the boys correctly so that it stays fun and engaging?
    • The 18 to 24 month Webelos program is designed to be the bridge for Cub Scouts to prepare them for Scouts BSA. From my personal experience (back when Cub Scouts was a 3 year program), from completing the old Cub Scout Leader Basic Training ( CSBLT, a full day course covering ALL Cub Scout positions), and observation of those units following the program correctly, IT WORKS (emphasis)! What is suppose to happen is the Webelos Den Leader starts implementing elements of the Scouts BSA program, and starts having the parents back away and allowing the Cubs to do stuff on their own. The elected Denner is suppose to take some responsibility, hopefully under the guidance of a Den Chief, but if not with the WDL. WDL training goes over the differences between Cub Scout Dens and Webelos Dens and how the purpose is to prepare them for Scouts BSA. Webelos  Dens are suppose to do some things with a Scout troop, and hopefully develop relationships. While the CSBLT was longer, because it covered all CS leader position, IMHO it was better because it went into the details and differences with every role.  You didn't have to do training every time your den moved up, and redo sections you had already done previously. I do not know how it is with the current online format, but I have heard a lot of complaints about how it is hard to keep track of the various modules you need to do to complete the different training programs. Plus locally we have folks with internet connectivity issues making online training harder. Then you add in the human factor, I've already taken Den Leader  Specific Training, why do I need WDL Specific, they are still Cubs I know what I am doing attitude. Also you can add  the this is how I have always done it, it works and I am not changing attitude. Finally att some of the  the Cubs aren't ready for this attitude, and the transition doesn't happen like it is suppose to. Grant you this is anecdotal, but I will give you an example. One troop I was in had Webelos from 2 packs join with different mentalities. First pack started the transition process as soon as they became Webelos. They elected a denner who took on some responsibility,  did camping with a troop the both years, started doing things on their own without parents' help etc. They would allow Scouts to teach certain  Activity Badges, like Castaway By the time December hit of 5th grade, they were ready to go. The Cubs, and their parents joined a troop, and had no problems whatsoever. The Second pack would not begin the transition process until 5th grade, if then. Parents never did allow the Cub Scouts do things on their own. When Scouts offered to help teach skills, like Castaway, they were rebuffed by the parents. Both Webelos dens were invited to the troop's Wilderness Survival Camp Out so they could apply what they learned for Castaway. Den 1 planned to stay the nite, den 2 turned it into a day trip. Den 1 packed like they were taught, brought survival kits and the supplies they would need including food that didn't need to be refrigerated. Den 2 had the parents carrying a large cooler, and did not have everything they needed. Den 1 Scouts went right to it, building individual shelters, starting their fires, etc. In fact 2 of the Webelos had their shelters built, fires going, and cooking their lunch before the Scouts finished building their shelters! Den 2 goofed off, did not follow the directions of the Scout working with them, had their parents cook for them, and eventually had the parents build a group survival shelter right before they left so they could get it signed off. And I would not let anyone sleep in it if it was going to rain, because it was that bad. Den 1 Crossed Over January 2nd ( Castaway Weekend was after the last meeting in December, and they wanted the badge), and 4 years later all of them are still active. Den 2 Crossed Over in March, and within 3 months, 1/2 the den dropped out. Common reason was it was not what they expected. 4 years later, only 1 remains active. The only changes I would suggest, besides training, would be to make Scouting Adventure a Webelos Badge requirement instead of AOL. Get the Cubs, and more importantly the parents prepping for Scouting ASAP. This is a bit of a sore point for me because I am friends with one of the folks on the committee that came up with the original changes (If your Webelos like Castaway, You are welcome  ) , and National not only did NOT tell the committee the December 2016 changes were being made, they did not even allow the original changes a chance by changing the requirements 17 months after implementation. Anyone who attended the Roundtable sessions leading up to the changes knew the changes would require a lot more planning because 1) they were new, and 2) some of the requirement were much more involved. I know that my pack had attendance at those RT, and we planned for the changes. We had very minor problems implementing the 2015 program, and many DLs were not happy when the 2016 changes came about. Long story short, we kept our original program we planned, and kept the original 2015 requirements because it was not fair to anyone to change them mid year. Locally the packs that did not attend RT had major issues and were not prepared for the 2015 changes. I am told by my friend that a lot of Packs apparently did not prepare properly, and complained. Camping got cut because some councils apparently still have the attitude "Cubs don't need to camp." My council does not have a dedicated Cub Scout approved camp ground list. Closest we have is the OA's WHERE TO GO CAMPING book, that many packs use. Yes the youth need to do a better job communicating. I even see it with ILST Scouts. But the Webelos program as I mentioned above is suppose to give a taste of what lies ahead in Scouts BSA. Some of the issues DO occur at the Webelos level, and I have found if you talk to the parents then, it won't hurt as much when the Scouts are in a troop. DITTO! Being a Scouter is an art, not a science, it takes, patience, time, training, and teamwork to get the right balance between Interfering and Guiding. I have described being a Scouter as walking a tightrope, because it is. And I would make the tightrope Zing It, when it comes to my hoodlums. One of my mentors had would jokingly say, 'Is anyone dead? No! OK, is anyone going to the hospital? NO! then we don't have a problem."   I need some sleep will finish up tomorrow
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