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  2. No, this has nothing to do with the spl or SM. It has to do with developing teamwork and getting things done. Ideally, the patrol is self sufficient and needs very little from the spl or SM.
  3. fred8033

    BSA patrol method is lost in the fog

    So I'm rephrasing yours to say it's more like #1. To make SM / SPL job easier. No bigger concept beyond that.
  4. I use most of the FC skills on every camping trip except first aid fortunately. These are the basics. Often the doo-dads or other gear replace knowledge and skill, these are more often commonplace in car-camping trips. The other skills allow one to take less gear, venture farther from the parking lot and allow for the adventure. All of the ideas you presented are also cool, but next step types of things which are part of mBs. These are great, but should not IMO replace the basics. If anything, I would get rid of the allowing requirements to be "done at anytime while any rank". This would allow real growth in the skills, knowledge and mitigate much of the "one and done". The much maligned skill awards were better (belt loops excepted) at having scouts learn, practice and know the basics than the current one&done structure.
  5. Today
  6. I added a little section to my SM Specific class back in 2000 called "Signing off Bungee Cord and Velcro skills". My point to the class was that while the 1st class skills seem less applicable today (even back in 2000), they are still valuable for developing the skills of setting goals and developing a plan to accomplish those skills to set new higher goals (rank). Honestly Matt, I'm a little surprised that National in the last 19 years hasn't taken some of your suggestions for first class skills. Barry
  7. willray

    Camping MB and long-term camp

    Ah, I'm not dismissive of the blog, and I've certainly found lots of wisdom there. It is, however, a "one person's (well reasoned) thoughts" presentation, rather than policy, and to quote it as such would be a mistake. This would also not be the first time when it was either slightly oversimplified, or not-quite-right regarding actual policy. One of the more problematic examples is Bryan's muddying-the-water "clarifications" on 2-deep vs no-1-on-1 in https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2018/01/19/whats-the-difference-between-two-deep-leadership-and-no-one-on-one-contact/ , where he implies that there need to be at least 2 adults present to avoid "one on one". Absolutely agree. I'm not a Camping MBC, but for those badges where I am, I think it's important to understand what experiences the requirements are attempting to elicit out of the scouts. Ambiguity should not be resolved in terms of enabling scouts to skirt intended experiences by virtue of clever word interpretation. At the same time, word interpretation should not be used to bar a scout from counting an experience that was clearly within the intent. If I was a Camping MBC, I don't think I'd be telling a scout who went on 20+ week-long high-adventure backpacking trips "sorry, you can only count one of those - if only you had climbed in a car a day earlier on the others, they'd have all counted".
  8. qwazse

    First Class 1a - Troop Activities

    Short answer: BSA doesn't offer much in guidelines for a reason: it's a big country. Everything you mentioned is an activity. Certainly helping their fellow scouts do Eagle projects is an activity. Studying in school is not an activity. Going to church is not an activity. But ... Maybe a patrol decides to take a special class at school, or speak at an assembly about scouting, or the troop visits a church and participates in the service in uniform. They may throw on their uniforms and pay respects at the funeral of a departed scouter. Those would be troop/patrol activities. Now, you could split hairs. If the course is over a few weeks (e.g. swimming lessons every Wednesday) does that count as one or multiple activities? My suggestion: ask the scouts what they think. Whatever you do, don't take your cues from strangers on the internet.
  9. qwazse

    Camping MB and long-term camp

    @willray, I would not be so dismissive of Bryan's Blog, it is very much intended to be an official mouthpiece of the BSA, and Michael LoVecchio is no slouch. On the flip side, I agree that not everything in those blogs is signed off by every executive and council president. It's goal is to report from trusted sources. But, trusted sources don't know your scouts. And if you're the SM you're tracking so many things, you might be biased one way or the other towards a particular scouts unique experience. But, that's what MB counselors are for. They put some time in with the boys, read the requirements together, asks what they think about a particular log. (I'm a firm believer that a boy should present his own recollection of his camping career, and not depend on a troop database.) After dealing with lots of scouts, a counselor can be objective about these things and invest more time in an enriching discussion. For example, go down the list and ask the scout what he learned at each activity, what was the most challenging, which one he wouldn't ever do again, etc ... And I think that's the point of the requirement ... to have a number of diverse experiences of preparing, implementing, stowing gear, repeat so that the scout has something to draw on.
  10. I was talking to two nearly-18 Life scouts that are busting their rears to get everything done on time. As I was talking to them it hit me that a lot of requirements really don't make you a better scout. It seems to me that when I was a scout we honestly needed to know all the first class requirements in order to be good scouts. We needed axe and fire skills if we wanted to make a fire to cook our food. We used knots because we'd cut down trees and make stuff. Map and compass, absolutely. First aid, while not used every campout, was used. The tracking probably wasn't needed and while the plant and animal identification is nice, it's not really a core skill. For the most part it was all useful and we used it most campouts. That was a big part of the motivation to get things signed off. It made you a better scout. You were more useful to your patrol if you had those skills. Now, you don't need knots or fire or an axe for most campouts. Clips and stoves have replaced them. Map and compass is useful but in many places people aren't allowed off a trail and you don't have to go for a hike other than a few requirements. First aid is still good. On the whole, it seems to be a bit obsolete. Or at least less relevant than it used to be. Rank doesn't necessarily mean more useful to your patrol. It just means you have more things signed off. I thought back to @Kudu's comment about Free Range Kids and the pros and cons of lone patrols and "troops." The FRK idea is the parents train their kids to do something on their own and then the kids go do it, on their own. Would parents that want their kids to go off and do adventures consider First Class to be useful training? What skills would make a scout more adventurous? Here's my random list: How to make or fix your own gear (i.e., Macgyver skills). Making a backpacking wood stove. Taking care of cast iron cookware. Cooking a meal for 8 on your own with no help and from only simple ingredients (and buying the food on your own). Moving all of Orienteering MB into First Class. Making a survival shelter. Taking your patrol on a campout with the requisite planning and approval. Making a fire in a down poring rain. Making fire starters. Make a knife blade from 1/8" steel plate. Kill and clean a chicken, part it and then cook it (I haven't done all of these last two but it sure would be fun to learn). Or even just how to part a whole chicken. I would think that if a First Class scout could do these types of things they would have more confidence at being adventurous and trying new things. No describe and discuss, just do things that are beyond the usual plop camping and "plop cooking" (pre made meals). The goal would no longer be skills you can learn in a year. Rather, skills that would make your patrol more independent. Granted, there's no way the requirements will change but it's just a thought. Unless someone knows how to incorporate these ideas into their troops.
  11. willray

    Camping MB and long-term camp

    Thread necromancy here, just to point something out should anyone be searching for clarity in the future: The guidance is in a magazine. It is one person's opinion, it is not policy. Policy is in the merit badge book and requirements, and satisfaction of them is to be negotiated by the scout and MBC to the best of their ability. Personally, I think the guidance in scoutingmagazine is wrong, or at least incomplete. I believe the intent of the requirement is to say "we want you to go camping a lot, not just a couple long camping trips". I believe it is also trying to capture "typical long trips like summer-camp are a different kind of camping, and we don't want more than one of those counted". I strongly suspect the intent of the "50 milers are long-term camping" guidance, is addressing the "we want you to go on many different camping adventures", NOT the "summer camp isn't like real camping" aspect of the requirement. The way the guidance is written, if a scout went on a week-long camping trip every other week, every week of the year, every year that they were in scouting (not completely impossible, for a home-schooled kid, and I actually know some semi-nomadic craftsperson families where they actually come close to this), the "guidance" would result in them only having credit for 6 nights of camping. I really don't think the requirements were intended to tell that scout "really, you should camp less". Don't use the vagueness of the requirement to let a scout do less than the requirement intended, but don't punish a scout for doing more than the requirements either.
  12. carebear3895

    Flat Council Support fee coming to your unit?

    This is actually an interesting theory I have thought about too, but in a different way. I think one of the big reasons we are seeing the rise of "Mega Councils" (ie. Chicago, Michigan, St. Louis, Indy) is to create a larger corporate structure of Professionals to offset the lack of Volunteers in the BSA now. In a lot of places, DE's are just trying to keep afloat sinking Districts.
  13. A patrol is a good size for a scout to work with. Smaller and there aren't enough to get all the work done. Larger and it's too many personalities to work with. Also, try cooking for more than 8.
  14. I'm sure this has been asked before, but a quick search didn't turn up quite what I was looking for. Does BSA have any guidelines as for what constitutes "Troop Activity"? Obviously they spell out the requirement that the activity can't be a regular troop and patrol meetings. If there aren't any real rules, what does your troop consider an activity? In the thread about girls advancing quickly, one forum member posted a list of activities his troop as done since the beginning of the year, so that's helpful. It included some service projects. Our troop does service where the project is arranged by the service chair. Individual scouts who need help with their Eagle projects set up their own times and hours. Does your troop include Eagle project service as an activity? Any help is appreciated.
  15. PACAN

    Flat Council Support fee coming to your unit?

    It's time to revisit the franchise model so units have the option to choose which council they want to be in.
  16. mrkstvns

    New to this Forum

    Howdy, Lincon. Good to have you 'round. If your son is 7, you have quite a long Scouting trail ahead of you. Hope it's as much fun for your boy as it was for you.
  17. desertrat77

    New to this Forum

    @Lincon, welcome to scouter.com!
  18. Back in the '70's, the 400,000 acre Alpine Lakes Wilderness was indeed in trouble. After a dedicated advocacy push — which included presenting copies of The Alpine Lakes to every member of the Senate committee — a bill to establish the wilderness area managed to pass Congress. However, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Commerce, and the Office of Management and Budget all advised the President to veto the bill. The Forest Service even drafted veto language for him. Washington Governor Evans, a former Boy Scout, and champion of Washington’s wild places, managed to secure a meeting with President Ford. But along with it came some stern guidelines, “The President is very busy. You get 15 minutes — that’s it.” When Evans arrived in Washington D.C., he realized he was missing a key tool of persuasion, The Alpine Lakes book. He recalled that one of the Boy Scouts who had been in his troop was now living nearby in Maryland. It was worth a try. Evans gave his former troop member a call. “Have you got a copy of that book? Can you bring it to me tomorrow morning? I’m meeting with the President.” “Yes,” came the reply, “On one condition: you have to get the President to autograph it for me.” Equipped with The Alpine Lakes book, Evans walked into the President’s office. “I sat down with the President and then opened the book,” Evans recalls, “That 15 minutes turned into 45 minutes. Aides kept coming in and saying, ‘Mr. President, you have to get to the next meeting; you have to go.’ And he just kept leafing through that book, lost. You know he was an Eagle Scout, a hiker, a lover of the outdoors himself, and as a result, the Forest Service took a back seat, he signed the bill and Alpine Lakes was created." More details at source: https://www.mountaineers.org/blog/governor-evans-and-the-book-that-saved-the-alpine-lakes-wilderness
  19. A patrol is a means to efficiently rove the land, spy it out, and report what's observed. The concept is as old as the book of Exodus, at least. Moses was quite explicit as to the guiding reason for the Israilite's patrol of 12, of which Joshua and Caleb were distinguished members. The guiding reason for youth patrols is to fulfill the pinnacle scouting experience of hiking and camping independently with your mates. The point of multiple patrols is to enhance skill and enjoy the fellowship of reporting to one another and your SM, adult leaders and parents.
  20. Is there still a Roundtable Staff Scouter Training Award? I find it referenced all over the place, but only with the old style progress record, and nothing seems to say it was discontinued. Anyone know for sure?
  21. Lincon

    New to this Forum

    Hello everyone,, I enjoyed cub and boy scouts in the 90's. My son turned 7 last year, so we joined a local Pack here in Texas, and I joined the committee to help out. As a result, I'm always looking for ways to improve our processes and ensure the boys have a great time. I appreciate the wealth of information in this forum, and I'll probably lurk for the most part. Thanks! 
  22. @Kudu Glad you returned to our campfire!! I was going to answer a question in this subforum about Patrol Method and I was planning on trying to remember a lot of what you said about it over the years. I hope you have the time to comment on it, because you describe how it should work in a very eloquent and accurate way.
  23. BSA "Troop Leader Guidbook" has replaced the "Scoutmaster Handbook". The previous scoutmaster handbook talked of regular, new-scout and venture patrols. The new guidebook has changed tone with "mixed age" or "same age". I've always viewed "same age" as a slight and I prefer it to be called "same interest" or "same experience". The new guidebook says "historically patrols were made up of scouts of all ages and ranks". But I think that was not necessarily inferring "mixed age" in what mixed age patrols infers today. From what I read more and more ... my interpretation is current BSA doesn't suggest a best answer and doesn't have a best idea to use. Rather, BSA is suggesting rough ideas about how to justify organizing patrols. Beyond that, BSA just says it's important and wishes you luck figuring out their mess. So my questions .... What is the guiding reason to have patrols ? Make life easier for SM and SPL ? ... by dividing large group into smaller groups ? To train ? To distribute experience ? To be active together ? Obviously I'm strong on #3. If we fail, it's because we communicate "same age" patrols .... inferring they have to stick together or that same age has same interests. My thought is start them together as they will have strong similar interests when they join. (aka becoming a capable scout / first class) But let the scouts know they can switch at any time. My ideal is that scouts settle into their long term patrol fairly quickly and that's their patrol ideally for six plus years. But they switch patrols at any time at their choice. I choose #3 as I want to see that patrol going to the beach to compete against the camp counselors. I want to see that patrol organizing a unique special campout. Or see that patrol texting each other to go to the movies. Or .... IMHO, if you don't naturally socialize and hang with your patrol, it's not a workable structure. It's just their for training and then it's just a busy-work type of structure. So what do you think? Why patrols ? IMHO, BSA has lost sight of what they are trying to teach and no longer share a consistent idea beyond saying patrols are critical.
  24. MattR

    Merit badge sash

    I've been consistent. I haven't responded to either thread. Personally, I'd rather see the MB patches be small enough that 21 can fit on a uniform and then there's no need for a sash. But it is what it is and isn't worth the argument. Same applies to the other thread.
  25. ParkMan

    Flat Council Support fee coming to your unit?

    I really like our local DE - but have come to the realization that we don't really need as many of them as we have. In our area, our DEs largely offset the fact that our district volunteer teams have dwindled. Our district and councils could opreate at about a third the staff. So, rather than drive down membership by increasing costs to Scouts, I think it's time for councils to revisit the DE model. Let districts either shrink or deal with finding volunteers to make them successful.
  26. ParkMan

    Merit badge sash

    I don't really care if a Scout wears one sash or two. They could wear an orange uniform for all I care. What's important is the big picture. However, as we get into these topics, as a community we seem to take a wierd stance on these things. In the past week, I've commented on two topics. This one and the one on female scouts getting credit for past work. In the other topic, there was a decided group of Scouters who thought less of a teenager because she wanted to get credit for her Scouting experience as an "unofficial scout". She was deemed to not be Eagle worthy because Eagle quality people would never put their own needs ahead of others. Yet, in this topic, we seem to have no problem saying - feel free to break the uniform rules and show off your 100+ merit badges. As Scouters, I simply think we need to be consistent. If you've got an Eagle with 100+ merit badges that wants to run around with two sashes, shouldn't a friendly Scouter take him aside and say "you're blantatnly showing off here - as an Eagle Scout you ought to set a better example." If we want to respect that each Scout's journey is different and that they are welcome to some moments of personal pride, I've got no problem. Just seems that we as Scouters ought to be consistent.
  27. TAHAWK

    troop meeting structure/rules

    The democracy in our Scouting is not parliamentary. The Scouts in the troop elect the SPL, not the "MPs." So there are no votes of confidence in Scouting. The PLC may change the election cycle. If, as is supposed to be the case, a Scout spends the great bulk of his/her Scouting time in Patrol activities, missteps by the SPL are less critical.
  1. Load more activity
  • Posts

    • No, this has nothing to do with the spl or SM. It has to do with developing teamwork and getting things done. Ideally, the patrol is self sufficient and needs very little from the spl or SM. 
    • So I'm rephrasing yours to say it's more like #1.  To make SM / SPL job easier.  No bigger concept beyond that. 
    • I use most of the FC skills on every camping trip except first aid fortunately. These are the basics. Often the doo-dads or other gear replace knowledge and skill, these are more often commonplace in car-camping trips. The other skills allow one to take less gear, venture farther from the parking lot and allow for the adventure. All of the ideas you presented are also cool, but next step types of things which are part of mBs. These are great, but should not IMO replace the basics. If anything, I would get rid of the allowing requirements to be "done at anytime while any rank". This would allow real growth in the skills, knowledge and mitigate much of the "one and done". The much maligned skill awards were better (belt loops excepted) at having scouts learn, practice and know the basics than the current one&done structure.
    • I added a little section to my SM Specific class back in 2000 called "Signing off Bungee Cord and Velcro skills". My point to the class was that while the 1st class skills seem less applicable today (even back in 2000), they are still valuable for developing the skills of setting goals and developing a plan to accomplish those skills to set new higher goals (rank). Honestly Matt, I'm a little surprised that National in the last 19 years hasn't taken some of your suggestions for first class skills.  Barry
    • Ah, I'm not dismissive of the blog, and I've certainly found lots of wisdom there.  It is, however, a "one person's (well reasoned) thoughts" presentation, rather than policy, and to quote it as such would be a mistake.  This would also not be the first time when it was either slightly oversimplified, or not-quite-right regarding actual policy.  One of the more problematic examples is Bryan's muddying-the-water "clarifications" on 2-deep vs no-1-on-1 in https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2018/01/19/whats-the-difference-between-two-deep-leadership-and-no-one-on-one-contact/ , where he implies that there need to be at least 2 adults present to avoid "one on one". Absolutely agree.  I'm not a Camping MBC, but for those badges where I am, I think it's important to understand what experiences the requirements are attempting to elicit out of the scouts.  Ambiguity should not be resolved in terms of enabling scouts to skirt intended experiences by virtue of clever word interpretation.  At the same time, word interpretation should not be used to bar a scout from counting an experience that was clearly within the intent.  If I was a Camping MBC, I don't think I'd be telling a scout who went on 20+ week-long high-adventure backpacking trips "sorry, you can only count one of those - if only you had climbed in a car a day earlier on the others, they'd have all counted".
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