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  1. Equipment Reviews & Discussions

    Discussions dealing with equipment topics (tents, lights, packs, boots, stoves, etc.)

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    Tales of Scout cooks, prized techniques and yummy recipes for gathering around the fire.

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  • LATEST POSTS

    • If I were there, I'd use this as a reason to discuss resources.  "You're sharing a storage location.  You are anticipating acquiring some for the new troop.  Since you'll now have two troops sharing similar equipment in the same space, there are bound to be unintended issues.  People using the wrong gear, people returning that wrong gear in a less than clean state, etc.  You want to respect their equipment and get ahead of any issues here."  That sounds like a great premise for a meeting to me.   I know I'm answering this backwards.  We scouters seem to love to jump through hoops to get around dealing with difficult volunteers.  To me, I think you've got to fix this issue.  When you get cases like this, people are not on the same page and conflcits start to happen.  In the end - adults get in the way of good program.  I don't know how to solve this, but I think you've got to try.  
    • With the exception of the fact that we've got linked troops, this is the direction we are going - I think, perhaps, unfortunately quickly, and in a fashion that is going to cause us some unnecessary challenges  (we have one adult who is, shall we say, exceptionally dedicated to tearing the troops apart as quickly as possible, which I personally believe is completely irresponsible). One of the resources-based challenges to that, is that - and maybe this is actually the crux of the matter - we have a single equipment storage location.  As a result, there is "a pile of dutch ovens".  If the girls buy additional dutch ovens for their patrols, they're just going to go into the pile, and when the boys use and return them (as they did after this last campout, with 2" of water and leftover food in them), the girls are going to be furious. Maybe as equipment coordinator, I should just start spray-painting everything pink and blue...  I've been trying to figure out how to improve several things about our (boy's troop) use of the patrol method, and instituting some way of having distinct/protected patrol resources seems to be one of the unsolved issues that would help.  Maybe what this is trying to teach me is that having a "troop supply room" is the wrong approach.
    • 'schiff, I'm having a hard time finding your exact quote in the reference you cite. The closest I can find is three pages in ... More telling is what's missing in 21 pages of encouragement to commissioners: the word "Aims" the word "fitness" (note its absence in the quote above). I take the gist of this to mean that "attractive, effective program" sits beside the aims (by any other name), and that scouters should focus their day-to-day activities on those bells and whistles that "attract ... and provide the opportunity for [youth] to have fun." I personally disagree. I think youth are attracted to boots-on-the-ground adults who care if they grow up strong and good. In fact, the Aims could be two: "strong" and "good" and our scouters would be just as successful. But, if some marketer comes along and says "nobody's buying strong and good, the buzzword is leadership (or whatever the new buzzword is). I'll nod politely. And, if I never get the memo, I'll be as happy-go-lucky as @SSScout  for mostly the reasons he describes.
    • They also don't reference the Scoutmaster Handbook, the committee handbook, the Scout Handbook, PL Handbook, SPL Handbook...... and on and on.  Let's not get confused between the principles and foundation that has kept our scout program unique and exceptional for generations; and the supporting structure of process that holds it's members on a path toward a successful program. Because the program has been following the same basic plan of building character for generations, we have come to believe that it is strong as iron and will withstand the fire of ignorance.  However, not too long ago a member of this forum attracted a following through his charismatic dialogues for building men from boys. He seemed at first to talked the talk of scouting's values, and yet the more he talked, the more his extreme bitter anti-scouting diatribes leached into his posts. His elegant style fooled a lot of members who almost believed he was the 2nd coming of Badon Powell himself. And yet, three troops failed under his leadership in the short time he was a member of this forum. How many dozens of boys were driven away from scouting as a result of his self-serving narcissistic ideals of turning boys into men?  The ideals of scouting aren't made of iron, they are fragile and can shaped and bent to the wills of any ignorant or self-serving adult. Aims and methods are important because they are a rigid framework intended for building character. That forum member spoke many times against Vision, mission, Aims and methods because he felt they prevented adults from giving boys the total freedom of just going out in the woods and camping. He hated BSA training because the context usually ran counter to his way of raising boys. He ranted against adults coaching, mentoring , guiding and even teaching. I always wondered if he saw the irony of his anti-BSA fundamentals being the cause of his unsafe reckless approach to boys learning from their experiences, and the reason parents pulled their sons out of his troops. His example of ignoring the basic principles is the very reason to have a solid structure for holding adults with good intentions on a fixed direction.  Just how does a scout become a citizen of character and a leader of integrity when adults skip the steps between the Mission and the Scout Law? Is just going camping really all an adult needs to know?  We have seen in countless discussions that adults aren't very good at just letting scouts make decisions in their scouting activities. Imagine if we just let all the adults go at it any way they want like the forum member I mentioned?  I have to laugh; there was another forum member years ago who was also just as narcissistic as the member above, only in the opposite direction. He would blame just about all problems discussed here to adults not following the program. And, then he would list the documents and wording to prove his point. He believed every problems was caused by not following directions. While I believe his rigidness caused him to blow a gasket and get thrown off the forum, he was right most of the time. In most of our discussions, there is guidance for the adults in most situations. Adding "Leadership" to the Aims weakens the generations old structure of the program, but the greater harm is that it shows lack of faith by the professionals who have the responsibility to guard the program. There is nobody at the helm. Barry
    • Perhaps this is another example of the adults  messing things up for the kids, the Scouts.   Waaaay back when,  I was a Scout.... (yes, I was. Scoutson spoke up once, and said "Dad, school was much easier for you than it is for me. You had a lot  less history to learn....").  All I knew or cared about was the "Handbook for Boys"  (that was it's title.  Not limited to ONLY green shirted people....) and the "Scout Fieldbook".   I still have those tucked away.  I copied pages out of the Fieldbook for IOLS instruction. The skills, outdoor knowledge were the important things.  Learning to work together, to help organize efforts on camp trips came gradually. I even learned to get thru the times when the idiot rich kid said "no" when it was his time to wash dishes.... Our Patrol worked around him....  I had no idea that there were "methods" or "aims"  . My "goal" was to live outdoors for awhile and see how far I could hike with a pack.  I learned (experimentally !)  how to pick out a boot, which socks were better, how to strap loads to a packframe and NOT touch a canvas tent when it was raining.  "Handbook for BOYS"  not just registered, dues paid scouts...  How would we title it now?  "Handbook for Youth"?  Why did the title change?   What is the change?   Why the need to define EVERYTHING that is done as meeting an "aim"  or  using a "method"?   It is part and parcel for humans to teach and pass on to our youth that which we have learned so they won't have to discover it all over again.  Lighting a fire, weaving cloth,  blueberry muffins....  That is how we come to have Airbus A380's....  All true,  it does not explain  how we keep finding new ways to kill each other. But why do we seek to define and delimit everything that comes along?   WHY do we do Scouting the way Mr. B-P laid it out and not some other way?   The BSA way is very  similar to the South African Scout Association way . Do they also have "aims" and "methods" ?   Leadership?   The techniques can be taught, yes.  But like many other things, some folks have an innate talent, and some others allow those folks to lead (sometimes when they shouldn't be allowed to, but that's another discussion).  The motto on my RoundTable News reads "The Work Is Done By Whoever Shows Up.". This is the essence of Leadership. Not who is ASSIGNED to do something, but who is WILLING to do something.  Oh, sure, you can be co-erced into Leading (pay, Military authority, etc.), but right down to the Cub Scout Den of 8 eager kids whose parents refuse to step up and "lead" ,  it really comes to WHO is willing to DO IT.   If no one shows up.... Mr. Surbaugh, are you there?     
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