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    • Out local Walmart lets us setup our homebase in their parking lot.  So if we get any money donations, we buy caned food from the Walmart and then add those to the food that we collected.
    • The fact that everyone, youth and adults alike, seem to have devolved into thinking that the rank-patch/merit-badge/etc. is the reward, rather than it being a symbol that they've mastered the material.   "I want to earn 2nd-class, because then my father will let me ..., but I don't want to have to learn all these stupid ...", rather than understanding that the learning itself is the reward. Couple this with the scouts who have advanced through this system of "first class first year!", and "Eagle by 14!" patch-bling-based "advancement" now being the senior scouts doing the mentoring, and you've got a perfect storm of scouts who have never been given a reason to appreciate actually having skills, being mentored by scouts who don't think that learning the skills is actually important for their mentees. I had the exquisite displeasure of having a recently aged-out "Eagle" scout in my GreenBar patrol, who could not set up his own tent, and (as close to verbatim as I can get) said "Why should I know how to tie the rope to this tent?  Knots are all the same, and they're all stupid".   He's the problem with skills instruction.  He may have the patch, but he's never going to actually be an Eagle, and everyone he "mentors" is going to be tainted by his horribly attitude. The same problem I have with committee members on graduate-student dissertation committees:  They're not willing to let the scouts "fail", and instead insist on "passing" them, despite the fact that "passing" someone who hasn't mastered the material, is a bigger failure than sending them back to actually learn and do it right.  This resistance to letting the scouts "fail" extends everywhere from places where the adults are actively evaluating the scouts in some fashion (for example merit-badge counselors), to where they're refusing to stand back and let a patrol struggle with their dining-fly, or cooking their breakfast, and instead the adults opt to jump in and "fix" things for them.
    • This discussion went so far off in the weeds that I'm not even going to look for the ball. Trust Game? Patrol Method is the trust game. It is the game for the purpose. Adults don't see it so much today because they don't allow the scouts to push it to the stress of scouts challenging each other. The four stages of team building are forming, storming, norming and performing. Forming is easy, throw a bunch of guys into a patrol. Storming is simply the stage where the members fall into agreement for their responsibility to the team for reaching the goal, or goals within the expected time fame. The goals should be strenuous enough to force members to understand the need of each member taking a responsibility. Done correctly, the scouts find themselves challenged with using the Scout Law because in most cases, pride has to take a back seat to accept the responsibility. Replacing pride with humility can be a struggle.  Nothing beat "expectations" and "time" for pushing scouts outside of their behavior comfort zone. Expectations and time became my favorite goto techniques to push scouts in growth. It was how learned. One example is in the old days, patrols were used to daily inspections. Those inspections require continued camp custodial actions. All tents are neat and tidy with all sleeping bags rolled and clothing put away in packs. Does anybody realize the challenge of that one task for this age group. We used to have reveille, which was early enough to make getting out of the sleeping bag hard, but a must because that meant the patrol had a very limited time to their cooking, kp, and tidy up each tent campsite required a full effort for the team. Failure meant a bad inspection score and maybe even dirty dishes for lunch. I didn't realize it then, but scouting taught me how to be organized, or suffer from pressure from my patrol mates. My kids laugh that I have a reason for when and how I do the simplist tasks just to be more efficient.  I like a discussion of ideas to amplify growth, but I think we need to keep it within of the normal troop program. Competition and building team trust are more difficult today because the culture today identifies stress of growth as a form of abuse. So, making this stuff fun is even more of a requirement.  But it's worth the discovery. Barry
    • The Scout shop is mailing me some patches to sew over the missing letters. This seems like it's definitely the easiest solution and doesn't require replacing the whole shirt  or sacrificing another perfectly good shirt for the fabric.  I actually have a friend with an embroidery machine who would have made the patches for me if they were no longer available, but I'm glad they are available.  Due to the placement of the new logo on the new style uniforms, I don't see replacing the old logo with the new one as feasible, unless there is some way to get all the red residue from the old letters off. 
    • IMHO, there will be a move towards a stronger association with the US Park Service which we already have a relationship - Scout Rangers. My $0.02
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