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    • There is a lot of great discussion going on.  I have always thought that our professionals should focus more on sustaining existing units instead of trying to create additional units that are likely to struggle or even fail.  I also think that scouting has become very corporate and in order to be considered successful every level in every program is required to achieve a numerical level that really has no bearing on anything.  The focuse has shifted from helping young people with positive development to making sure that the numbers are good.  Also, just because a council is struggling does not mean that the leadership is incompetent, it just means that they are having trouble in one area or another.  Perhaps local donors dont agree with direction the BSA is going and have decided not to give or to contribute directly to the unit.  Perhaps there just aren't enough people volunteering for whatever reason. Everything is theoretical because you can't tell people what they need to do, where to give their money, or what is good for their children.  It seems to me that the areas within scouting has become more of a regulatory and enforcement entity and less of a support system.  Strong units are going to continue to be strong even if we combine councils, do away with areas and sections and greatly reduce the national level professional positions. Struggling units will continue to struggle and some will fail.  Professional scouters really have little influence on the success or lack thereof of individual units.  It will always take a few parents or adults that are willing to give their time, effort,  and often times their money to make a unit successful.  Take those dedicated adults out of the picture and even the best units will collapse.  And after all, the unit providing the scouting program to young people is the foundation of this whole thing.  I don't know, but I would be willing to guess, that if the section, region, and national level of scouting completly disappeared the units would still be there with their trips and adventures with the help of local council service centers and camp rangers.  This is just my take on things and it will be interesting to see how close I am when this whole debacle comes to an end.
    • I agree online meetings and remote learning are no replacement, but I believe they are providing some semblance of normalcy, and as many troop parents have said, reducing mindless screen time.    We ran a PLC meeting on a conference line two weeks ago.  Small group and somewhat manageable, for kids who have never participated in a conference call!  We are trying our first 30 minute zoom Troop meeting on Monday, to introduce elections, next year's calendar, and to give brief speaking roles to some Scouts who are: (i) working on Scout/Tenderfoot with parents (and videotaping the oath, the law, knots) or older scouts who need EDGE teaching for advancement via facetime; (ii) scouts pursuing online Florida Council classes or (iii) independent MB study with local counselors.    I think it will encourage others to use the time purposely.   Tonight I introduced a Scout to a virtual Eagle Board of Review via zoom.  A first for every participant, but certainly one of the brighter moments I've had in the past few weeks.  Stay safe all.  
    • The city of Staunton, Virginia holds the noteworthy distinction of producing the first two Eagle Scouts in the state of Virginia three years after the incorporation of the Boy Scouting movement in 1910. The March 1913 edition of Boys’ Life, the national magazine of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), reported that ...read it
    • I have had a few ask Scouts ask about service hours, and conservation projects.  Every state has different shelter in place restrictions and each Troop operates in varying population densities.  Here, people are out walking their dogs at distance and the forest preserves are open.  Our Troop has done buckthorn clearing at a county forest preserve in our village with a cabin used by the cub scouts and girl scouts, and a subject of many recent eagle projects the past year.  If you can take a walk in the woods alone, I was thinking a parent and scout, at an arranged time, so as not to overlap with any other interested scouts, might clear buckthorn  in the woods, or move previously cleared buckthorn to a fire pit for later use, for an hour.   The nonprofit that owns the cabin, which is obviously now closed, was supportive.  
    • Been to Philmont twice.  First things first, your 18 year old is an adult, must have YPT and cannot tent with youth. Whether you have him play a youth or adult role is up to you and him, but he must always follow YPT. Just like if he was an over 18 participant on NYLT Staff, OA, or a Venturing crew.   In my 2015 trek, we had 5 adult males. 7 male youth. We had 2 adults share a tent. 2 went solo(one of our adults was 6'6, and we didn't have a two man tent that would fit him and another adult), and 1 adult shared a tent with his son. The 6 other youth split into two man tents. Don't break YPT with the tent situation, and don't over think it. My gut is Philmont would prefer adults to tent solo over youth tenting solo due to the buddy system.  I'd put the 6 youth in two man tents. I'd have the adult female sleep in her own tent. And have the adult men buddy up in two man tents unless the 18 year old or the adults are uncomfortable sharing a tent. In that case, you'd have two more solo tents. 
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