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Showing content with the highest reputation on 02/17/20 in Posts

  1. 4 points
    I've worked for DCs who were great leaders. They provided the correct sight picture, training, encouragement for UCs. Actively recruited UCs. Yet were constantly stymied because they were always short UCs, or those that were on the rolls fit in one or more of theses categories: - AWOL: performed no duties, never seen - Toxic: performed their duties, but the units disliked their high-handed/clueless approach and attitude. Several cordially dis-invited from any unit activity - Hapless: nice folks, they mean well, but provided nothing of value to the units and/or they rarely show up - Inert: neither toxic or hapless, they showed up to district stuff but wouldn't visit their units for any reason - Selective engagement: bad attitude, refused to do anything unit level, but loved to show up to district stuff, and anything related to WB or council As I've mentioned, I was in six councils during my military career. In five of these, I'd show up to a new duty station, call the local council and volunteer as a UC. This always led to a nice lunch or a cup of coffee the next week with a DE or district commissioner who was delighted and perhaps a little surprised that I volunteered. The real surprises happened when I'd visit units and do my best to convey respect, interest in their unit, and fellowship. Usual comments: "I've been an SM for X years and you are the first commissioner who has walked through our door." "We had a UC several years before but he was a complete jerk and we told him not to come back." "Frankly we loathe the district, they've been nothing but a thorn in our side for years." They were further surprised when I'd go camping with them if they were short an adult, wash dishes and have a cup of coffee with them around the campfire. ("A commissioner who actually camps...well now I've seen it all!") I realize it looks like I'm sounding my own horn but I mention these dynamics because what I did was not profound at all. The only thing that was unusual was that many UCs can't or won't do their job, regardless of training, leadership and motivation.
  2. 3 points
    Greetings: I'm a '06 Eagle and have been involved with a great troop in Chicago for the past 1.5 years now as a committee member. At first I was brought on as a database-management guy who would just keep track of all our electronic recording mechanisms (TroopTrack, uploading advancement to Internet Advancement, etc.) Now I've found myself as the Advancement Chair for what our chair has termed one of our big committees: Finance and Advancement. It's challenging because of the size of our troop, but I'm getting there. Because devoted Scouters can be found here, I am confident I'll find excellent advice, experience, and stories from these forums. Thank you for all you do and all you share. Yours, Daniel Robbin
  3. 2 points
    We need a way to measure or gauge scout-led, older scout enthusiasm, and things closer to the fundamentals. Not sure how but it would make a lot of things easier for everyone to see issues. Scouts, Scouters, Parents, District. Who is doing the cooking (and buying the food)? Who is deciding on the events and how well are they attended? I don't even know how to do that so I'm afraid metrics can get out of hand, kind of like uniform inspections. If it were part of the regular program, say start, stop, continue, and the troop regularly did this then it would be easier to find. We talked about this once before and I had said it's too subjective. I think a few people came up with good rebuttals. Rather than giving units a canned script, have the units work with the district to write one? The reason I don't want to be a UC is tracking things like advancement is just not interesting to me as I don't see the benefit. Figure out how to make it useful and I'd consider helping out.
  4. 1 point
    No! Not cooking Cub Scouts. Cooking for Cub Scouts. 😆 On family campouts do you plan a meal and cook it and at least make them try it, then have PB&J or something waiting in the wings just in case. By waiting in the wings, I mean have it on hand, but don't tell anyone about it unless a Scout just wont eat what is cooked? My plan for this month is to cook a dutch oven chicken spaghetti that I sampled at a UoS class. Its really filling and will be a good hot meal for the end of the day.
  5. 1 point
    I'm a SAHM and I married into Scouting. I used to work in tech as a Computer Engineer so I have history working with and mitigating the occasional male who is stuck in the dark ages where women were supposed to defer to all things. I'm type A, extremely organized, introverted, and run a large metro Cub Scout Pack as Committee Chair (large for our district, but not large compared to rural areas). I run it because my kind, Eagle Scout, extroverted, procrastinating, mild mannered, and wildly optimistic husband is magnificent as a magical Cubmaster but significantly less magnificent with logistics. I don't do Scouting because I love it. I do Scouting because I love my marriage, my family, and feel compelled to support my husbands passion while our children grow up in the Pack. I have a difficult council, but I have significantly reduced problems they create for us by replacing nearly all Council events from our calendar, hosting our own private campouts, and going paperless for applications. We are tech heavy compared to others, but I genuinely marvel at how much effort they spend getting things done like payments, communications, etc, versus our automagical setup. I rail against the vestiges of the male patriarchal setup in scouting, and do my best to protect my daughter and son from having to hear that it isn't a woman's/girls place to wear the uniform when out in public. I have pent up frustration because my husband feels pain when I have to rail at situations, so I look for another outlet. Based on what I've written so far this appears to be a place where I let it out, so I do apologize to anyone that this may have hurt. I am sympathetic. But I also came here for an unfiltered view of Scouting and to improve my Pack. I have dealt with infuriating situations and have a backlog to process. I'd very much like to hear about others experiences and techniques/tips for dealing with problems like: - children who are very eager to Scout, but their parents don't speak the language and no one we know does either - instant catch phrases to make angry men stop talking when out in public with children - transfer applications without using my council
  6. 1 point
    We tell the scouts their book is the record. When they tell us it's in the computer we tell them to ask one of the many adults that have access to the database to help the scout update their book. It doesn't take more than a few minutes. Often, someone in the BOR can do it right there.
  7. 1 point
    This is something I picked up in a UoS class. I went through the tasting line twice It really is a good hot meal that is going to be filling The best part about this is... you can prepare the noodles at home so they are ready to go. Maybe most importantly, you can use canned chicken or I am going to use pulled rotissiere chicken from Sams. No raw meat in camp. The recipe calls for at least part of a can of Rotel tomatoes. I am not sure how kids are going to react to a lot of Rotel. Anyway... here is its.
  8. 1 point
    A good UC/unit relationship requires openness on both sides. I wasn’t a UC, but I helped a few with my more specific expertises. Every SM has a different personality as well as an idealistic perspective of working towards their vision. I remember when our UC advised me not to go from 1 month PLC meetings to weekly PLC meetings. He didn’t have a good reason other than he had never seen it before. I didn’t take his advise. I was asked to help a new SM work toward a more patrol method program. One of my suggestions was let the scouts run the PLC meetings. He couldn’t believe scouts under 14 had the maturity plan meetings and campouts, so he didn’t accept my advice. Both troops in those examples were the fastest growing troops in the district topping out around 100 scouts. Just how hard do You think district is going to push the SMs when their unit is one of the five largest troops in the district? Our troop had the best and most experienced UC in the district and our families became good friends. He was a very successful SM with a Silver Beaver, but we didn’t agree on everything. Just like with patrols, sometimes you have to let the unit live with bad decisions long enough to find the humility to listen and change. From my experience of working with Scoutmasters, humility is hard to come-by. Barry
  9. 1 point
    Thanks Malraux. We worry about this constantly and mitigate where we can. Our community is very strong and cohesive, so inside the Pack we're good. We make all meetings and financials transparent, auto-transfer style, and online-accessible. I record and document everything. Neither my husband nor I touch cash. I'm always trying to unload some or all of my roles (event planner, meal plan, PR mgmt/recruitment online, plus traditional CC roles. Roles offloaded: Health form mgmt, new member coordinator, quartermaster, all den leaders, fundraising). In addition to open monthly committee meetings, once a year I make us all vote on positions again, but it doesn't yield much if any change. That said, we don't take input from members. All volunteers have complete domain over their roles. If a member has input, we encourage them to take over the role and improve it for all, or offer to support the person filling the role so they can be invited to share their opinion on that role. Nearly everyone contributes in some way.
  10. 1 point
    This is one of those quirky things that can be filed under "Oh, what a tangled web ..." If you think you have to ask the girls, why do you think you wouldn't have to ask the boys under the same roof? If you could ask the girls who would join the troop 7 years from now, what would their opinion be? My bet? They won't be bothered as long as their SM takes them hiking and camping every month of the year! Sometimes, when you get nods from your CO and the other troop's committee for your gut, and the council makes it work for them, you just go with it. I'm not trying to say the unit numbers aren't important to youth. They often are, and in situations like this someone isn't going to like whatever is decided. Part of scoutmastering is helping youth look past these sorts of things. The most important part of the uniform is not the number, it's the smile!
  11. 1 point
    Update Feb 14, 2020: Whitetails Unlimited steps up. The Clearfield County Chapter of Whitetails Unlimited will help the Bucktail Council recover after a recent burglary at its Camp Mountain Run Boy Scout Camp, announced WTU Field Director Clyde DeHart on Thursday. ... DeHart said Whitetails Unlimited will hold its chapter banquet next month, and it will raise grant funds that will help replace the firearms and bow that were stolen. Funds will also help increase the security of the camp’s storage area. “The boy scouts do a great job teaching firearm safety and skills every year,” he said, adding that “… we want to make sure they can continue their programs without interruption. “… Whitetails Unlimited has a long history of supporting responsible, safe youth shooting and firearm safety programs, and we’re proud to continue that tradition in Clearfield County.” More at source including banquet information: https://gantdaily.com/2020/02/14/whitetails-unlimited-to-help-boy-scouts-recover-after-recent-camp-burglary/ Scout salute to Whitetails Unlimited,
  12. 1 point
    So in looking at the design of the commissioner program, I would ask a few questions to start: Does every unit need the same level of attention and the same frequency of contact? If not, why doesn't the program design reflect variable levels of commissioner attention -- which would allow for fewer UCs? Wouldn't it be better for both the unit and the district to have multiple unit leaders and multiple district leaders who know each other rather than the district providing just one point of contact? Roundtables, camporees, training, and other district activities provide opportunities for many contacts and conversations between unit Scouters and district staff. Unit Scouters can find district staff that they are comfortable talking to and working with instead of having a UC assigned to the unit who they may not hit it off with. Is the District Commissioner making use of the information about each unit that is already available via My.Scouting and other reports? Information already available includes: unit roster; year-to-year membership changes; adult leader training status; advancement reports; and unit attendance at Roundtable, district events and activities, and summer camps. Regular review of that information by the District Commissioner or ADCs would allow them to identify various areas of concern and proactively assign the right people for follow-up with the unit -- without the need for a UC. Why should the district be responsible for recruiting manpower to monitor and report on the condition of a unit when the unit already has manpower and is in the best position to know its own condition? Each unit could identify a unit Scouter (such as the Committee Chair, an ASM, or the COR) who could serve as the liaison to the district, know who to contact with questions and problems, understand the various indicators of unit health, conduct unit self-assessments, and periodically report to the district on the unit's condition. The district staff could focus on providing proactive assistance such as more frequent training and better Roundtables, addressing non-routine questions and concerns, and responding to serious unit problems.
  13. 1 point
    I see...I think it's a great idea.
  14. 1 point
    Many people have personal and professional accounts. Not a problem for me.
  15. 1 point
    Well, although I want my daughter carrying her (currently Webelos) handbook with her to events where she might need it, I don't want her carrying it around everywhere. It's already falling apart. The back cover is ripped halfway off and there's at least one page in the middle that's missing entirely. I am buying her a book cover that's designed/marketed as a Bible cover. She picked something in purple, but there's a really nice one on Amazon that looks like a pair of boy scout pants - has pockets in front and even a compass attached to it. Almost all the reviews on it are from people who are successfully using it as Scouts BSA handbook covers. I'm sore about the going to only spiral bound books. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that in the next year before my daughter crosses over that they'll bring back the hardback as an option.
  16. 1 point
    Here is a statement of the theory: "The Unit Commissioner's Role A commissioner plays several roles, including friend, representative, unit "doctor," teacher, and counselor. The commissioner is a friend of the unit. Of all their roles, this one is the most important. It springs from the attitude, "I care, I am here to help,what can I do for you?" Caring is the ingredient that makes commissioner service successful. He or she is an advocate of unit needs. A commissioner who makes himself known and accepted now will be called on in future times of trouble. The commissioner is a representative. The average unit leader is totally occupied in working with kids. Some have little if any contact with the Boy Scouts of America other than a commissioner's visit to their meeting. To them, the commissioner may be the BSA. The commissioner helps represent the ideals, the principles, and the policies of the Scouting movement. The commissioner is a unit "doctor." In their role as "doctor," they know that prevention is better than a cure, so they try to see that their units make good "health practices" a way of life. When problems arise, and they will even in the best unit, they act quickly. They observe symptoms, diagnose the real ailment, prescribe a remedy, and follow up on the patient. The commissioner is a teacher. As a commissioner, they will have a wonderful opportunity to participate in the growth of unit leaders by sharing knowledge with them. They teach not just in an academic environment, but where it counts most—as an immediate response to a need to know. That is the best adult learning situation since the lesson is instantly reinforced by practical application of the new knowledge. The commissioner is a counselor. As a Scouting counselor, they will help units solve their own problems. Counseling is the best role when unit leaders don't recognize a problem and where solutions are not clear-cut. Everyone needs counseling from time to time, even experienced leaders."
  17. 1 point
    Oh, I think that most UCs ARE unobtrusive and helpful and do (or seek to do) good deeds. The real problem is that there aren't anywhere near enough of them. The single biggest complaint from units about commissioners is that they never see one.
  18. 1 point
    No scout is going to starve to death on an overnight campout, even if he consumes nothing but water the whole trip. If they are somewhat underfed because of poor planning or poor execution of their meal plans, that will give them incentive to do better next time.
  19. 1 point
    A frugal scout should also be able to find a local pizzeria whose dumpster contains several perfectly edible burnt pies. Free
  20. 1 point
    Drizzle olive oil onto wadded-up newspaper and put it under your charcoal chimney. Use that as your fire starter and you won’t need lighter fluid at all.
  21. 1 point
    Charcoal with lighter fluid in it seems to require more briquettes than the charcoal without. You can buy pre-formed parchment paper at REI and I'm sure Amazon.
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