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The Patrol Method

Lessons and questions of Scout leadership and operating troop program

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  • LATEST POSTS

    • Only because you'll be asking them
    • Is it true if I go to WB people will stop telling me to go/asking if I have been? 
    • How I learned to wash dishes as a kid was camping with the Girl Scouts: the three dishpan method, third pot containing a bit of bleach.  GS reinforced this when I took their leader training earlier this decade. Then I joined BSA, and bought the latest fieldbook being sold at the scout shop, and saw that it had (5th edition, p92) the bleach (or other sanitizer) in the second pot, not the third pot. It seemed a little odd, but I thought that I had better do things the BSA way now . . .  So my troop did this on their first outing. Then I saw that the BSA handbook (14th edition p308) puts the sanitizer in the third pot.  Makes much more sense, and I'd much rather the scouts do this.  Trouble is, my scouts aren't convinced and having conflicting literature does not help.  See, for example, Bryan on Scouting in 2017 https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2017/03/30/how-to-wash-dishes-at-campsite/ Do you a good reference to a public health department that mandates the sanitizer in the third and final pot?  Or to you have any BSA literature repudiating the former sanitzer-in-second-not-third-pot practise?  I'd like it to seem to my scouts more than just my arbitrary say-so in directing the scouts to follow one piece of scout literature versus another and put the sanitizer in the final rinse.
    • Hey @The Latin Scot ! I am glad you are looking into being a UC.  I think it is one of the best jobs in scouting for those of us who aren't needed in our own kids units.  You have gotten some great advice so far.  What I have seen of unit assignments is that there is a piece of advice passed through the commissioner corps that UC's should not be assigned to their "own" unit.  Different DC's seem to take this differently.  Sometimes it means not your son's troop, sometimes it means not the troop you grew up in.  I am of the opinion that it helps to be a little separated but not too much.  Try to look at yourself as a District scouter (enjoy those silver epaulets).  I have always had 2 or 3 units.  Sometimes I hike or camp with different ones.  At district and council events, the corps has started camping together, complete with our a big commissioner flag and over the top camp food.  
    • The SE was a decent guy.  He had "taken one for the team" by closing a camp in a smaller council in Ohio - a camp that BSA wanted closed and probably needed closing due to lack of a waterfront and adequate space.  His reward was to, largely, retire in place in our council with a higher salary.  (To his credit, he did emphatically put a stop to registering mythical units , and membership, a constant problem in BSA councils and in ours in particular - we had 30% fictional membership when he took over, and he took the hit on the year-over-year "decline" to correct the books.   But that seems to have been the last "hill" he was willing to storm.)  Membership and financing continued to spiral downwards.   Council now "serves" well under 5% of eligible youth.  The replacement SE, told that many Scouters found training to be of low quality, decided the "solution" was less training, but leaving the same awful training leadership in place  The emphasis of the couple in charge is on enlarging the "No" list, to the extent that we have fewer than a dozen "official" training staff in the entire council, so promised training is cancelled about as often as it happens.  No "other' training in four years (Fortunately the councils around us have strong "other" training.)  Promised Scouter training at summer camp canceled most weeks.  Most past WB Course and NYLT course directors and several dozens of other experienced trainers are, with one exception, uniformly "NOs", so they staff in other councils, areas, region, at Philmont, and in Canada but not in their home council.  So "less is more," and we are meeting that objective. This SE has set up "Service Areas" - like districts run by typical "professionals."   😡   "Roundtables" are 75% or more announcements or exhortations to give money/sell stuff/ patronize counsel profit-making activities, with predictable impact on attendance. ("Has your estate plan recognized your obligation to support scouting?") But what do we know? I am reminded of the debate at a National Jamboree between the "professional" "supporting" health and safety about safe dish-washing, the head volunteer Gold Hat having run off.  The "professional" had a BA and, doubtless, Camp School training.  On the other side was a fellow with a  Phd in Microbiology.  In later years, he was a top executive at the  World Health Organization, specializing in E. coli.  While in Switzerland, he was selected as a lecturer in biotechnology at the Haute Ecole Specialier.  The Camp hospital was filling with E. coli dysentery cases.  The Virginia Department of Health would come to threaten pulling the permit for the Jamboree over illegal dish-washing practices.  But what did Doctor  Horsfall know compared to a "professional."?  We WOULD put the chlorine in the second, and final, hot rinse! In the end, B.S.A. capitulated to the Health Department's ultimatum and distributed third washtubs to all Jambo troops for the legally required final, tepid sanitizing rinse - although it took over fourteen years to change official B.S.A. practices.  (Our two troops already had and were using the third tub and had no dysentery cases, mere volunteers us.  Horsfall had presented at our Roundtables years before, being from our area, so we knew the proper practice and ignored the Handbook practice.)  (Some printings of the 12th Ed. relapsed into error a few years ago, but it was corrected - all with no announcement.  The 13th Ed. is incorrect.  Like the incorrect illustration of the tripod lashing that has come and gone in BSA publications for almost sixty years, error has a high survival quotient [13th Ed. illustration is correct. 12th Ed. illustration is incorrect.].) We need all hands on deck for bare survival.  That necessity is not uniformly recognized, much less who the "top hands" are.  Until then, one can only prepare and hope for an opportunity to serve.  Oh, and give money. No list No. 147.    
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