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Showing content with the highest reputation since 01/17/20 in Posts

  1. 8 points
    I'm sitting in Rwanda right now. I've been in Africa for 2 weeks. Some Safari but mostly I've been in poor areas. Over half the population makes less than $1.50 a day. That said, most people are quick to smile. I wave and smile at people and nearly everyone just lights up with a smile and waves back. In a way, it's part of their culture. But I've found it to be more than that. Some people I wave to are clearly down. Its not so much that they have little money but that they have little dignity. Many Rwandan children have been abandoned by their parents and are not in loving homes. Essentially, they are a burden on some other relative and they know it. Many parents are distraught over having to abandon their children. So what happens when someone smiles at these people? A smile says I'm happy to see you. That tiny bit of dignity can mean so much to someone that is down. I would look at adults, look right at their eyes, so they knew I was thinking of them, and I simply smiled and waved. Most would break out with a huge smile. It's as if I just affirmed that they were important. All of these interactions and I don't speak Rwandan. So when you see someone clearly having a bad day, try smiling at them. Let them know you're thinking of them. That's all a part of being cheerful.
  2. 7 points
    *sigh* The ultimate question is: Was the person who signed the Blue Card, Approved The Merit Badge, a bona fide registered in the Council Merit Badge Counselor when the card was signed? Make the phone call(s). If the answer to the question is "Yes", shake the Scout's hand and wish him well. If "No", then smile, hand him some more Blue Cards and give him a list of approved/registered Merit Badge Counselors for his desired subjects. See you on the trail....
  3. 6 points
    From my travels (six different councils), units that might be classified as "freeloaders" often have grounds for not supporting their council. Peel back the onion and these units make the following case: - Council pros who continually display a disinterested or antagonistic tone to units - Little/no communication from council; noticeable lack of interest in feedback from volunteers - Poor quality programming - Running substandard summer camps yet charging an arm and leg (cash cow) - Council pros bolstering a good ole boy crowd of volunteers at council and district level who display the same disdain for units - DEs who either can't or won't help units (I realize this is not always their fault) - Councils demanding financial contributions, or insinuating that they (council) deserve funds, despite poor support to units - Instances of conflict between the pros and the units In summary, these units have long memories. Yes, the unit owns 50 percent of the relationship but I have seen many an otherwise cooperative unit turned off by a heavy handed pro, or a distant/non-supportive council. Units vote with their feet and their wallets. That translates to attending out of council camps, not attending round table, declining FOS etc.
  4. 6 points
    I'll happily take a few more down votes from you, they are just internet points. You didn't answer my question. Do you care to address it? Let's first establish that as a registered leader, if the Scout's parents are not present, I am responsible for the Scout's safety and wellbeing when they are at a Scouting event. I can't compel any adult to do anything, but if I think there is a risk to a youth, I'll call out any adult out on their behavior, and I can verbally compel a Scout to do things if I think they are in danger. I'm obligated to. A couple scenarios, each of which you would say that as an adult I should do nothing, since it's not BSA property or registered volunteers. Note that many of these issues go away requiring the Scouts to use the buddy system. This is another pillar of BSA YPT training, on top of 2 registered adults, no 1 on 1 contact between youth and adults. A scout is on a camping trip with the troop at a State Park, where there are registered leaders and non-registered parents attending. The Scout mentions his cell phone died (this troop allows cell phones.) One of the unregistered parents mentions that they have a charger for that type of phone in their car. The Scout asks if he can borrow it, the parent agrees, and the two of them start to walk to the car, which is not far away, but is not visible to other Scouts and adults. I've been in this situation as a third party. I intervened, explained the rule, and went with them to the car. The parent was a bit embarrassed, but understood. It was just as much for protecting that parent's reputation as it was protecting the Scout. Bonus points because it covers the Troop and CO as well. The Troop is at a Troop meeting at the Charter Organization, a Church, so not BSA property. The meeting begins; one of the Scouts asks to borrow the keys to storage shed to get supplies for the meeting. You noticed on your way to the meeting that the facilities manager of the church, a non-registered adult was outside working at the shed. Been there, done that. Made sure the Scout took a buddy. Told them to not get in the away of the facilities manager.If they had taken an unusual amount of time to get supplies, I would have checked up on them. The BSA YPT rules do not have force of law, but they are not meant just to protect Scouts from registered leaders, but from an adult that may want to harm them or groom them during Scout events. The BSA or I cannot control what happens to those youth outside of Scouting, but while they are at BSA events, under my supervision, where their parents have entrusted them into my care, I am going to follow the rules, and if that means I have to instruct non-registered adults on the rules and interrupt things they might be doing, I've done it, and I'll do it again. These rules have really taken on new meaning to me after last year. Last year my former parish Priest was arrested by police after he had been having unwanted text message conversations with teenager parishioners, and being overly touchy and grabby in person. He was instructed several times by the auxiliary bishop to stop his behavior after parents complained several times over a few years, but he couldn't. Each accusation was forwarded to the county police, but there were no charges filed because nothing illegal had happened. After he moved to a new parish and had another complaint filed, The Archbishop finally got involved and put him on indefinite leave to get counseling. When that news broke and went public, an adult victim came forward with an accusation, saying that my former priest had raped him in the 1990s before he was a priest. The Catholic Church has very similar policies to the BSA, and they work when they are followed, when people are vigilant. Parents who had not taken Virtus training had enough exposure to its concepts to take their children's concerns seriously. Lay leadership of the parish who had noticed concerning behavior had also reported it. Thankfully enough eyes were on him that he didn't do anything.
  5. 5 points
    Allowing the CO to truly fully designate the Committee Chair to serve as the voting member could be one avenue to improve the system. Our CO in general is supportive of us, and wants to have the affiliation for their Legion post to the youth. However, their bylaws call for annual election and the current Post Commander becomes the defacto IH and COR. That person may not be the most connected person to the unit. If they want to designate the CC or even the SM to serve their interests as well as the units, let them do so. Otherwise for us, as i feel it is for many if not most, I have to chase them down to sign the application for the new ASM or Committee Member- who is serving the unit, not the COH really.
  6. 4 points
    Perhaps the Council and Districts need to get feedback from their stakeholders (Scouts, leaders, CO's) and figure out why folks don't participate in council activities. Leveraging a fee on folks who already do not participate is just going to make them mad, it's not going to drive them to participate. It'd just be viewed as a scalping maneuver. Which is exactly what it is. You can attract more flies with honey than you can with vinegar. Pros and District volunteers need to get out and meet the units, particularly the ones that do not participate, and build relationships and help those units solve problems. The participation and money will follow that relationship building.
  7. 4 points
    For me, it is really aesthetic. Not all unofficial flair will make an ugly/cluttered/ridiculous uniform; but UP approved uniform, in full compliance with the guide to awards and insignia, will almost never look too bad. I don't have much artistic or design ability, so I stick to a simpler uniform. I don't even like temporary patches much because they are either a pain to sew on and off or they are dangling things that can get caught on stuff. Same reason I don't like the powderhorn or emergency preparedness insignia- more stuff to catch, clang, remove before washing, and put back on after. Wearing medals is a pain. That's why square knots exist. They are tiny, unobtrusive, lightweight decorations that are harmonious with the uniform shirt design. Heck, I kind of wish they would bring back the old minimalist council strips for the same reason. I try to keep the uniform something that I don't mind wearing in 90 degree heat while doing physical work. It probably started as a youth habit because OA events frequently required a lot of physical work in full uniform. I say, if you look at the uniform and think it looks better with more stuff, no one is going to stop you; but I recommend a backpacking shakedown approach- 'is it worth it to me to carry this extra stuff all day?' For me, more stuff has always been more of a pain than its worth.
  8. 4 points
    RS, excellent point. Here's my hunch. Mr. Mosby graciously declined the CSE title to help assuage the hurt feelings that are no doubt percolating through the "commissioned BSA professional" corps as we speak. Some gold loopers knew it was potentially "their turn" to be in the running for the CSE job. Not only were they passed over, their whole world is about to change.
  9. 4 points
    My experience suggests that this was more common to do when districts were smaller and Eagle applications -- especially at age 17.9 -- were rarer. Then, registration constituted a handshake by the district commissioner, and an "until death do we part" phone list. Our council advancement chair does tell us that applications are flagged when the counselor has the same last name as the scout for too many MBs. Having MBCs registered is quite new, and the purpose of registration is for background checks, not Eagle applications. The "gate" for scouts is supposed to happen at the time of issuing the card. But even then, the GTA has allowed the scout flexibility to use an MBC other than the one suggested by the SM. And, until now, a scout has not had a good way of checking if an MBC is registered and YPT current. Most MBCs don't even know that they can check their own registration ... they might not even know about Scoutbook. So, in this case, there is no way of telling which counselor the prior SM or advancement chair suggested for each of these badges, no way of knowing if this counselor was registered and the paperwork got lost, no way of knowing if this person counseled any other scouts. The only actions are to 1) call the counselor, and 2) let the scout know that strangers on the Internet think his blue cards for these badges will get his Eagle application flagged. The scout needs a do-over. It's that simple.
  10. 4 points
    I certainly wouldn't phrase it as an accusation. I would simply tell them that certain questions are bound to be raised when the scout is up for eagle, and it would be better to organize the answers now, rather than putting them off until the review. Be Prepared.
  11. 4 points
    First question would be, is the person who signed all 9 cards a registered MBC for each of the MBs? It is amazing at times how many registered adults do not understand that just because they are an ASM or a SM, they are not automatically authorized to sign off on what ever MB they choose.
  12. 4 points
    Correct. The most often confused statement in YPT and the one so many Scouters feel they know, but it's not what they think From the BSA - FAQ on YPT - https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/email/campaign/Youth-Protection-FAQ_03-07-2018.pdf Effective June 1, 2018, adults accompanying a Scouting unit who are present at the activity for 72 total hours or more must be registered as a leader, including completion of a criminal background check and Youth Protection Training. The 72 hours need not be consecutive Note that they are referring to THE activity, not ALL activities. If they come to summer camp driving up Sunday, leaving Tuesday morning (48 hours), then come up Thursday night and plan to stay until Saturday for the drive home, the 72 hours would apply. Now - don't get me started on how Scouters may not understand the difference between 2 Deep Leadership and No One on One contact.
  13. 4 points
    I don't believe the 72 hours is cumulative over the scouting year, rather, it's per event.
  14. 3 points
    Absolutely true. Many volunteers WANT to be involved even if they don't have the skill. Districts rarely do the majority of their roles well. Way too consistently scouting under delivers it's promise. Scouting often does a really poor job of teaching leadership in a situation that is natural for teaching leadership. Aka pulling defeat from victory. There is not much a district volunteer can do to significantly drive membership. FOCUS ON DELIVERING THE PROMISE The promise of scouting is adventure, friendship and skills. That's why scouts get involved. Activities that scouts WANT to be involved in. Camp outs that are new and fresh. Adults out of the scout's hair so they can develop friendships with other scouts. The BSA "goals" inspire adults, not kids. The goals (physical fitness, citizenship, character, leadership, etc) are reasons the parents should support their kids in the program. The goals provide zero incentive for the scouts to be involved. Background - I remember my twelve year old son try to sign up for Philmont because his SM inspired the scouts showing his gear, pictures and the stories of adventure. He made it sound cool. ... Now if he would have killed all energy if he started talking about character, physical fitness, how to lead the others. STOP TRYING TO TEACH THAT WHICH IS HARD TO TEACH Scoutmaster minute (60 seconds) is about as much character and leadership training a young scout can take. The rest of the program should be about where are we going, what are we doing, who's bringing the food, what's the game, etc. My reasoning is that much of what scouting tries to teach is best taught by not teaching. Scouting is about learning by doing. Specifically, scouts will learn a huge amount about leadership by trying to get eight of their friends to agree on a menu plan. A very very few words of guidance by the SM goes a huge way. My suggestion is that we tell our volunteers to fully focus on delivering the promise. Adventure. Friendships. Skills. Let the "goal" lessons be learned naturally without setting up the scouts or explicitly trying to teach it. A few few few short words goes a long way. Baden-Powell said advancement was the natural result of being involved. My view is that the "goals" are the natural result of delivering our promise to the scouts.
  15. 3 points
    Being reverant does not pertain to a specific religion even if you are part of the majority. That must be nice. Scouting recognizes and respects believe in the religion of your choice which is bigger than a single religion. It is not arrogance, scouting does not pick which religion to follow and welcomes all. A religion is more powerful to those that follow it, I don't know or care what religion you are. I guarantee that people from another religion would disagree with your beliefs as the one true force. Today I attended the service at our Charter Org to show them respect and the sermon went on to call out how Jews in not a great light. Being Jewish, I stayed silent during the service but several other leaders came up to me afterwards to apologize for something they had nothing to do with. Just because someone is ordained, doesn't mean they understand that we are an interfaith program, including leaders like me that are not the same religion. I dedicate my many hours a week to the youth in the program not the charter org or their beliefs.
  16. 3 points
    I agree. And actually I go so far as to teach my own children to respect everyone - adults, peers, younger children, and even animals. Obedience comes into play when there is a superior. If your boss tells you to clean the bathroom even though your "job" is, let's say, a cashier and not a janitor, you should probably obey; the bathroom isn't going to clean itself just because the janitor called in sick. If an EMT shows up in a first aid situation and tells you to step back and let them take over, or "Hold this for me" or whatever, you obey because the EMT is the expert in the field and you may know something but you're not an EMT. Some random person off the street, however, would need to identify himself or herself as an authority before obedience should be conferred: "Step back, I'm a paramedic" or "Step back, I'm a cardiologist," or "Step back, I'm a midwife" - depending on the scenario. If the authority fits the case, obedience applies. If "Step back, I'm an auto mechanic" comes along, obey if you're trying to get a car started, but not necessarily if you're trying to stabilize a broken neck and you have Wilderness First Aid training but the Auto Mechanic clearly doesn't. That's the time for assertiveness and leadership skills, NOT obedience; I don't care how much older the Auto Mechanic is. Teaching our youth to know the difference is a very key element of their upbringing and Scouting offers a great opportunity for this. I once worked alongside another Troop committee member who described herself as "Obedient to a fault." She'd say things like "Council office said we can't do that" or whatever and I'd ask, "So, did you tell them this" or "Did you ask them that?" and she would always say no and generally I'd give them a call and politely talk the situation over and usually get a different answer. I remember her talking to me about how much anxiety she had about anything that could be perceived as second-guessing a peer, let alone an authority, and it always kind of stuck with me as something I wanted to make sure my kids would not grow up to be burdened with. While appropriate obedience is indeed a good skill, if we over-teach our children obedience, then we risk them growing into over-obedient adults who struggle with decision-making.
  17. 3 points
    Ah the old belief that only those who believe in a god can have values. Pray tell, which values are exclusive to theists? And among theists is there universal agreement about these values? That was rhetorical; the answers are None and No.
  18. 3 points
    Honestly I have never heard of the naming of top Scouts for units and councils. Must be a local thing
  19. 3 points
    I'm from Louisiana, we're good at throwing beads out quickly.
  20. 3 points
    Emphasis added. 1. Trust your gut. You have already identified what is most important to you. 2. That you are looking for a way to gracefully decline seems significant. I'd suggest, "I'm personally committed to [A, B]. Those are the things that I really need to be doing for at least the next couple of years." 3. Their response to whatever you tell them will be that the new position isn't really complicated and won't take much additional time, so you won't have to give anything up. I would suggest saying, "I know me, and to do it right, I would have to sacrifice something that I am already committed to doing. I just can't do that."
  21. 3 points
    Speaking for Scoutmasters everywhere, I am pleased to hear an ASM finally admit it. (I am watching the impeachment trial. Taking people's words out of context is apparently allowed this week.)
  22. 3 points
    I think we need to assume that those adult attendees (who choose to not register as unit leaders) don't want to be unit leaders. They don't want to supervise the youth at scouting events. They don't want to actively observe other adults and note YP violations. They don't want to study the rules. They just want to show up at the event to show their love and support for their kid. We leaders should not depend on non-volunteers to do our jobs. Let them just attend, and thank them for their support.
  23. 3 points
    There are a lot of variables in the openess issue IMHO. Sometimes the pro's know the issue will be contentious and they don't want to deal with it until they absolutely have too. I put the Philmont mortgage in that category. Selling a council camp would be another. While a volunteer council committee is suppose to approve these decisions, in reality most committees are "yes men" Another reason for lack of openess is to prevent people from finding out how screwed up things really are. And sometimes that lack of openess applies to the DEs. When I interviewed and looked at information at my job interview and first planning conference, a lot of things that another council did when I interviewed with them didn't happen. It was several months into the job that I found out the full extent of how screwed up the council was. Sometimes the lack of openess is because the professional does not have the capability to change things directly. They work behind the scenes to correct matters to the extent possible so that those parts of the movement that are working, that are making a difference, do not get damaged by the revelation of issues. Sometimes the lack of openess is the result of prior experience. I know one SE who as a DFS with 2 FDs and 12 DEsunder him that encountered a problem, revealed it, and fixed it. His reward: "promotion" to SE of a council of 1 FD and 4 DEs.
  24. 3 points
    Strongly disagree, I've raised my kids to do what they're told if it's a good thing, the right thing, and the smart thing. Neither rules nor authority are self justifying, they're means to accomplish ends, and if they're not accomplishing those ends they're due no great deference.
  25. 3 points
    My takes: peer to peer recruitment is practically dead Troops rely solely on AOL crossovers Packs keep dying off. Less Cub Scouts eventually mean less Scouts BSA Members Reluctance to recruit new members outside of Packs.