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  2. The Latin Scot

    Merit Badge Workshops and Universities

    I think it's entirely dependant on how each course is presented and how invested the boys are in the programming. When I was young, our district would put on a few MB days a year as fundraisers. Seating was limited to 8 boys a course (effectively a MB 'patrol'), and course teachers were highly qualified in their fields. Courses were also taught on-site; for example, I earned the Atomic Energy MB at the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant, and my MB Counsellor was an actual nuclear scientist who took us through the entire facility. It being an hour's drive away, we had to work out our own transportation, and we really needed to work closely with the counsellor to demonstrate that we understood the materials (which, being nuclear science, was NOT easy - it was one of the most difficult badges I ever earned). But WOW did we learn a lot that day! It opened my understanding to a whole world of science about which I had known precious little before, and I had a fantastic time. That day was a powerful argument in favor of the idea. Conversely, my first day as a Scout, the day after my 11th birthday, we went to a MB course nearby my home, where after 40 minutes I earned the Fingerprinting merit badge. Sure, I still remember everything I learned from the two requirements I passed off, but that isn't saying much. 40 minutes! It was a bit too easy perhaps ... So I don't think it's about the concept of MB universities itself, but how they are executed and how the boys interface with them that needs to be perpetually reviewed and assessed.
  3. HashTagScouts

    Merit Badge Workshops and Universities

    IMO, it depends on the badges being offered, and the structure (ie how many Scouts per each MB class). If the MB event is a whole day or two half days dedicated to Rifle Shooting, Shotgun Shooting or Archery, and on the same limits of the number of Scouts that is used at summer camp, then I see it as no different than summer camp. If it is First Aid, and again uses the same # of hours & Scout ratio as your summer camp would use, then I see no issue. If it is Personal Management, with 20 Scouts in the class with one counselor giving it lecture style, then I would absolutely agree with you, it is not an appropriate way to present that MB.
  4. qwazse

    Merit Badge Workshops and Universities

    Welcome to the forums! To the first question: it depends. To the second question: it depends. No MBU is identical to another. If the objective of self-reliance is undermined, you are correct. If the event helps scouts be more self-reliant you are on base. The justification for an MBU is simple: it introduces a scout to someone deemed most qualified to counsel that badge. Take, for example, motorboating. You might have a dad in your troop who takes his boat out once a month, or you might have a retired grandparent who built or tested racing hulls, or you might have the captain of the coast guard. When I attended our district's MB Pow-Wow as a scout, I got to meet the counselor of a badge I was interested in, do cool stuff, got his contact info, then follow-up with him at a later date to complete the badge. Partial completions on the day of the event were the norm. There are some things that are done much better in groups. For example an officer of the court might want to demonstrate a jury trial. Well, he/she could talk to the scouts and show video, or he/she can get twelve scouts to sit in the juror's box, listen to arguments, elect a foreman and deliberate. It's all in the details. And if your MBU is not attending to the details, then send your scouts elsewhere.
  5. HelpfulTracks

    Boys-only weeks at camp

    I am sure you camp would love to hand off that responsibility to you. My scouts want their showers. Maybe it is the 90-105 degree temps during the day, or being covered in sweat, dust, mud, blood and ticks. Maybe it is covered with the smell of horses or grease or insect repellent or fish. At night, there is a line for the showers so they can cool off from the 80+ degree temps and sleep. They adults usually can't get into the showers until well after midnight. I cant count how many times I have been to summer camp. I cannot remember a single week that we did not have 2-3 "scheduling" issues at minimum, double that number if there was a female leader along. Throw in a couple dozen female youth and I am sure the number of incident increases. As for portable toilets, a conservative estimate is about $2200 per unit for Summer camp duration, likely closer to $3000 given the amount of maintenance. Even if we only covered 1/4 of our camp sites and a hand full of program areas are talking $44-60K minimum for the Summer. And portables cannot be placed with the current bathhouses, because of terrain. They would need to be at or near the road, which makes them PUBLIC restrooms for all practical purposes. Scoutmasters round table at Summer Camp is usually full of trivial complaints, but often the biggest and most contentious issue is Scouts/Scouters using another units latrine facilities because it is closer and not taking care of them (i.e. the Troop has to clean other peoples mess). Oh, and who gets the portable toilets, the boys or the girls? That is a can of worms in and of itself. I am the first to step up when my daughter isn't being treated fairly. Well, maybe second, she is not bashful about sticking up for herself. But both she and I, as well as the vast majority or female Scouts and their leaders, understand there are practical concerns that need to be worked out, and most camps just are not there yet. And it will take time and money to resolve those issues. Is limiting weeks a perfect solution, far from it. The so called easy answers are just not that easy. But most understand we are working to get to a place where all Scouts have full access to our facilities.
  6. Good afternoon, I am trying to help our Second Class scouts complete First Class 4a , a one mile orienteering course. I have identified a few clubs that put on such programs, but there are some distance from us. Myself and another leader are discussing whether such a course could be laid out using a gps and compass, which the Scouts could then recreate. If anyone could point me to any resources on this subject, it would be much appreciated. Thank you.
  7. Today
  8. I saw a topic on this from 2002 but would like to re-open it as the issue seems to have gotten worse and not better. I am opposed to merit badge universities and one-day merit badge events. I think they focus entirely on the getting the badge and checking the box. I believe they violate the spirit and intent of merit badges in the following ways: A scout is to take personal responsibility for earning the badge The MB curriculum is designed to have the scout dive into the material and not just gloss over it. The MBU is less about accomplishment and more about just showing up. Logistically, it is almost impossible to actually test each scout individually. Part of the idea of earning the merit badge is learning to interact personally and directly with adults, both in taking the initiative to contact them and schedule appointments and demonstrate their skills. The scout is supposed to actually develop skill and knowledge, not just pass a test. Am I off-base? Is there really a justification for MBUs?
  9. fred8033

    Eliminate the Eagle application?

    I really meant this thread to be discussion on the assertion that we could eliminate the Eagle application. It's just not needed anymore. But ... you wrote "no text in the G2A showed hat it had to be completed and so we deemed it optional". I fear this is a stretch interpretation. The G2A flexibility is dealing with scouts that don't follow the required process and go off on a tangent. My interpretation is your district is using the BSA G2A remedy for a Eagle application defective situation as your district normal. (defective in that the scout does not submit a project workbook with signatures on the proposal and report). BSA does say ... BSA GTA 9.0.1.2 Prepare the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook ... "The most current workbook must be used. It can be found at www.scouting.org/advancement. The workbook shows the project proposal was approved ahead of time, and then properly accepted by all parties when finished." BSA 9.0.1.3 Complete the Application ... "Pay special attention to the following red-flag items. .... 6. Attachments: Service project workbook" BSA 9.0.2.0 The Eagle Scout Service Project ... "You must use the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook, BSA publication No. 512-927, in meeting this requirement." BSA GTA 9.0.2.8 Use the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook ... "While the use of the workbook is required" BSA GTA 9.0.2.8 Use the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook ... call out on page 70 ... "The requirement that Scouts use the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook means they must use the official document as produced by the Boy Scouts of America. Although it is acceptable to copy and distribute it, and even to transfer it to a different software platform or operating system, it must maintain the same appearance. No council, district, unit, or individual has the authority to require additional forms, or to add or change requirements, or to make any additions, deletions, or changes in the text, outlines, graphics, or other layout or informational elements of the workbook" I really don't think BSA could write it any more clear that the workbook is required. Not using it is a defective situation that BSA has provided remedies for supporting the scout. Now the scout can hand in a blank Eagle workbook except the signatures. The signatures are REQUIRED to prove the proposal was done before the project and the report signatures mean the project fulfilled commitments.
  10. carebear3895

    New Sex Abuse Charges

    See, that's where BSA confuses me. in the FAQ's of the barriers to abuse it says exactly that, but then a few questions down is says Lion/Tiger adult partners don't meet the two deep requirement at Den meetings. A straight up contradiction. What if a Den meeting is also a fundraising event? How do you know what events are and aren't OK to substitute a parent?! Sorry for Hijacking the thread.
  11. walk in the woods

    Girl Scouts vs. School Dress Code

    Not the GSUSA, but, an interesting take on the general topic, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/houston-high-school-s-new-dress-code-takes-aim-parents-n998041
  12. walk in the woods

    New Sex Abuse Charges

    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/lawyer-demands-boy-scouts-open-perversion-files-n997786 as it popped up in my Google news feed today.
  13. elitts

    New Sex Abuse Charges

    Except for the activities where a parent can substitute for a registered adult leader. (Currently that list includes merit badge sessions and fundraising events)
  14. ParkMan

    Eliminate the Eagle application?

    We determined in our district that the workbook is optional, but encouraged. We went round and round on it, but in the end no text in hte G2A showed that it had to be completed and so we deemed it optional. On a general Eagle application form - I don't think it's terirble that there is a specific form for this - even if the fields are redundant. There are a ton of times in life that Scouts will have to complete a form. They will also have to document successful completion of projects as well. Given the big deal that is earning Eagle, it doesn't see unreasonable that they have a form for this. I fully agree though that the form ought to be online so as to move it expeditiously through the approval process.
  15. Cambridgeskip

    Best comfort items & traditions for summer camp

    In recent years there have normally been several sets of "exploding kittens" floating round camp. I don't know if that has made it to your side of the pond yet. It's quite addictive We normally take a volley ball net with us as well and sling it up in a convenient spot (remembering to take it down at dusk. There was that one time.....)
  16. mashmaster

    Best comfort items & traditions for summer camp

    I remember my son's first summer camp experience. He was in a hammock overnight and some other scout got a food package from home. A racoon stole the package and decided to eat right under the hammock. Freaked my son out and the other scout was upset at the other scouts for stealing his food.....
  17. mashmaster

    Trailer Recommendation

    Our chuck box is a plastic tote from home depot 🙂 Advantage is light weight and you can hose it out when someone spills oil in it.
  18. Terasec

    Venmo

    if your going to use a service similar to venmo, you should have them use the service your bank uses each bank uses a different service provider for such when its your own bank theres usually no fees for you if your accepting someone elses transfer company you incur fee's you shouldn't have to incur fee's for such,
  19. qwazse

    Eliminate the Eagle application?

    @RememberSchiff we all know the whole point of the application and the workbook is to make life easier for adults. If we wanted to make it a better experience for the scout, these would be pages in his handbook, which he would fill out and submit personally, or ... take pictures of and send to council. They could also be fields in Scoutbook ... the whole thing (spare us the pictures) could be plain text.
  20. MacBrave

    Trailer Recommendation

    Yep, we have three of them. :
  21. qwazse

    Best comfort items & traditions for summer camp

    No joke. A friend was planning a mom's weekend away. They hiked into their site and before they finished setting up their tent, a bear lumbered in and made straight for the smellables which were sealed in a dry bag. They didn't even have a chance to get it out of their packs, he did that for them after tearing everything apart because - well, he couldn't smell exactly where the food was. There's no way he tracked them to their sight. He probably didn't even smell the food! He just knew to make for a campsite along a trail as soon as he heard weekend cars and motorcycles winding up the valley. Dinner was being delivered! If he waited too long it would be tucked up and away.
  22. mashmaster

    Trailer Recommendation

    Agreed, I am personally a fan of camping without trailers (other than our small 130# sailboats). I find that it helps keep extra crap from coming that isn't needed. All the scouts load everything into a backpack, a small cooler for the patrol and small dry food bag. Out entire unit can share a single chuckbox. I have seen chuckboxes for each patrol for some troops that are monstrous. A small stove, pot, pan with a few utensils will cook food just fine. If we are fancy we will bring a couple of dutch ovens. And for scouts that can't afford a backpack, there are older or ex scouts that loan or give them away if asked, goodwill has them, and even got great deals at REI garage sales for backpacks and tents.
  23. mashmaster

    Eliminate the Eagle application?

    The fault with that is the person on the board rather than the form. The conversation should cover the entire career in scouting. It sounds like the Advancement chair for your district needs to talk with the adults on the EBOR about what to focus on and what not to do.
  24. We have a marathon winner with similar rules. It is great for scouts on their 4th or 5th PWD that are bored with the other awards. Also, it’s great for those that just have slower cars and keeps them interested. We give the slowest car the “Es-Car-Go” award...
  25. RememberSchiff

    Eliminate the Eagle application?

    Maybe get two birds with one stone by adding on form: This form is to be completed by Eagle Advisor. If Eagle candidate has no advisor, this form need not be completed.
  26. fred8033

    Eliminate the Eagle application?

    I'm sad when I see that happen. Our current EBOR chair does a great job as keeping the focus on getting to know the scout. It's great to see that. I have seen previous EBORs have the wrong tone that really alienated people.
  27. fred8033

    Eliminate the Eagle application?

    I don't view the PDF workbook as a preparation for the real world. I view it as a constraint to control previous paperwork process abuses. Though it has hoops, the three page proposal s about as short as I've seen. The plan and report are pretty short too. The key point is the workbook is not the learning objective. The key is that the developing, planning and leading a project is the requirement. The paperwork is an enabler to the process, but not the requirement itself or even the core learning objective. I'd agree that an online system would be better. I'd be glad if we could upgrade. But still I'm happy with what we have. It's way better than the pre-2011 situation. And this PDF in a printed version could still be available for those scouts not fully online ... which is amazingly not as rare I I thought it would be.
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    • I think it's entirely dependant on how each course is presented and how invested the boys are in the programming.  When I was young, our district would put on a few MB days a year as fundraisers. Seating was limited to 8 boys a course (effectively a MB 'patrol'), and course teachers were highly qualified in their fields. Courses were also taught on-site; for example, I earned the Atomic Energy MB at the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant, and my MB Counsellor was an actual nuclear scientist who took us through the entire facility. It being an hour's drive away, we had to work out our own transportation, and we really needed to work closely with the counsellor to demonstrate that we understood the materials (which, being nuclear science, was NOT easy - it was one of the most difficult badges I ever earned). But WOW did we learn a lot that day! It opened my understanding to a whole world of science about which I had known precious little before, and I had a fantastic time. That day was a powerful argument in favor of the idea. Conversely, my first day as a Scout, the day after my 11th birthday, we went to a MB course nearby my home, where after 40 minutes I earned the Fingerprinting merit badge. Sure, I still remember everything I learned from the two requirements I passed off, but that isn't saying much. 40 minutes! It was a bit too easy perhaps ... So I don't think it's about the concept of MB universities itself, but how they are executed and how the boys interface with them that needs to be perpetually reviewed and assessed. 
    • IMO, it depends on the badges being offered, and the structure (ie how many Scouts per each MB class).  If the MB event is a whole day or two half days dedicated to Rifle Shooting, Shotgun Shooting or Archery, and on the same limits of the number of Scouts that is used at summer camp, then I see it as no different than summer camp.  If it is First Aid, and again uses the same # of hours & Scout ratio as your summer camp would use, then I see no issue.  If it is Personal Management, with 20 Scouts in the class with one counselor giving it lecture style, then I would absolutely agree with you, it is not an appropriate way to present that MB.  
    • Welcome to the forums! To the first question: it depends. To the second question: it depends. No MBU is identical to another. If the objective of self-reliance is undermined, you are correct. If the event helps scouts be more self-reliant you are on base. The justification for an MBU is simple: it introduces a scout to someone deemed most qualified to counsel that badge. Take, for example, motorboating. You might have a dad in your troop who takes his boat out once a month, or you might have a retired grandparent who built or tested racing hulls, or you might have the captain of the coast guard. When I attended our district's MB Pow-Wow as a scout, I got to meet the counselor of a badge I was interested in, do cool stuff, got his contact info, then follow-up with him at a later date to complete the badge. Partial completions on the day of the event were the norm. There are some things that are done much better in groups. For example an officer of the court might want to demonstrate a jury trial. Well, he/she could talk to the scouts and show video, or he/she can get twelve scouts to sit in the juror's box, listen to arguments, elect a foreman and deliberate. It's all in the details. And if your MBU is not attending to the details, then send your scouts elsewhere.
    • I am sure you camp would love to hand off that responsibility to you.  My scouts want their showers. Maybe it is the 90-105 degree temps during the day, or being covered in sweat, dust, mud, blood and ticks. Maybe it is covered with the smell of horses or grease or insect repellent or fish. At night, there is a line for the showers so they can cool off from the 80+ degree temps and sleep. They adults usually can't get into the showers until well after midnight. I cant count how many times I have been to summer camp. I cannot remember a single week that we did not have 2-3 "scheduling" issues at minimum, double that number if there was a female leader along. Throw in a couple dozen female youth and I am sure the number of incident increases.  As for portable toilets, a conservative estimate is about $2200 per unit for Summer camp duration, likely closer to $3000 given the amount of maintenance. Even if we only covered 1/4 of our camp sites and a hand full of program areas are talking $44-60K minimum for the Summer. And portables cannot be placed with the current bathhouses, because of terrain. They would need to be at or near the road, which makes them PUBLIC restrooms for all practical purposes. Scoutmasters round table at Summer Camp is usually full of trivial complaints, but often the biggest and most contentious issue is Scouts/Scouters using another units latrine facilities because it is closer and not taking care of them (i.e. the Troop has to clean other peoples mess). Oh, and who gets the portable toilets, the boys or the girls? That is a can of worms in and of itself.  I am the first to step up when my daughter isn't being treated fairly. Well, maybe second, she is not bashful about sticking up for herself. But both she and I, as well as the vast majority or female Scouts and their leaders, understand there are practical concerns that need to be worked out, and most camps just are not there yet. And it will take time and money to resolve those issues. Is limiting weeks a perfect solution, far from it. The so called easy answers are just not that easy. But most understand we are working to get to a place where all Scouts have full access to our facilities. 
    • Good afternoon, I am trying to help our Second Class scouts complete First Class 4a , a one mile orienteering course.  I have identified a few clubs that put on such programs, but there are some distance from us.  Myself and another leader are discussing whether such a course could be laid out using a gps and compass, which the Scouts could then recreate.  If anyone could point me to any resources on this subject, it would be much appreciated.  Thank you. 
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