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Showing content with the highest reputation since 01/22/20 in Posts

  1. 7 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
    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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 3 points
    Lean on the "modifications may be made" bit. When we had one female adult with a troop in one cabin, she'd have a bunk with a tarp hung for privacy ... adults on one wall, boys on the opposite wall. (I actually, slung my hammock outside that night, and that's what I'd likely do if I were the sole male in this situation.) All the youth will be fine in their yurt. The tenting scenario applies to the more typical situation where you have 2-man or 3-man tents. Basically, abusive situations seem to be more likely when pairs or triples are too far apart in age. That said, be prepared with a spare tent.
  7. 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.)
  8. 3 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.
  9. 2 points
    Consider the yurt a cabin not a tent. Whole troops with a full range of ages share cabins all the time. For the adults, do whatever separation makes everybody most comfortable, be it hanging tarps or the lone male sleeping in his truck.
  10. 2 points
    LOL - no. None of that. You are in uniform when you arrive at the course and you are in uniform for the closing ceremony/banquet. Otherwise in activity uniform (tshirts provided). No inspections and no playing games. This is all about the participant experience. There is a "songfest" during crackerbarrel one night but it is campfire type songs. There is no song for the course and the one you already know is not sung even once (at least on the 4 courses Ive been involved with). There are no totems. Crew identity is very down-played. There is a project similar in purpose to the totem (to accomplish something and build team espirit) and they often do get silly but on your terms. Full Disclosure - there really is nothing new here in terms of the leadership skills. But there is not supposed to be. This is about practical application of the skills you already learned (in WB). It is the context and environment to apply those skills that makes it great. Most things are scenario-based with discussion/debrief for most every activity. It is kind of like - if WB went for 6 more days. You know - by the end of WB there is less classroom and more hands on time. The patrol is very much on your own and is (usually) performing pretty well. If you went a few more days where you just did activities, as a group, where you needed to solve problems as a team - that would be helpful.
  11. 2 points
    That's nonsense. Most boys join scouting just to have fun. They neither know about or care about the details of the scouting program. It's only the most die-hard scouters (who eat, breath, and sleep scouting) who care to scrutinize and religiously adhere to every nit-picking detail of the program, making scouting activities boring and tedious for the rest of us.
  12. 2 points
    Well, Park, I'm with you on the spirit of fairness, but I sure wouldn't support any "rules" that are not in crystal-clear black and white. If it's in the merit badge requirements, great, then the "no more, no less" guideline applies. If it's in the BSA's official "Guide to Advancement", great, that's the rule that should be followed. Beyond that, it's a slippery slope that really shouldn't be defended. Scoutmaster (or committee) imposed "rules" or "policies" should be thrown out. In my years of scouting, I have yet to see ANY rule proposed or stated that has actually been a good idea. I'm not sure there exists a wise, fair "unit policy". There's a couple reasons I feel this way: * scouts and their families join scouting to get "the scouting program". The scouting program is defined by the National Council. Deviations from that of any kind dilute the scouting program and cheat the scout out of getting the same scouting program that thousands of other scouts around the country enjoy. * scouters should be there to help the scouts succeed. This is described in ILST, NYLT, Wood Badge, etc. as "servant leadership". The idea is that a high quality leader will "open doors and remove obstacles". ANY arbitrary rule is, by definition, an "obstacle", since no such impediment exists for most scouts in BSA...only to those unfortunate enough to have landed in the afflicted troop Unit policies are really contrary to the spirit of scouting. They're unfair, they're an unnecessary obstacle, and they sow confusion because they're inconsistent with national policies followed by better-run units.
  13. 2 points
    It still sounds like a bad idea. One of the time-honored "methods" of scouting is adult association. Staying within the same small circle of known adults severely limits a scout's opportunity to learn new ideas and experience different subjects with people who are true "experts" in their field. I would not let my kid join a troop that insisted on using unit-only counselors. Our troop does have a couple counselors who are real "experts" in badges they counsel....but we don't have 'em all, and I'm very grateful that there were fair-minded scouters in other units with the altruism to offer their expertise to all scouts.
  14. 2 points
    Agree with others. If you qualified for the grant, you keep it. BTW - this is different than in the Girl Scouts. In the Girl Scouts, units are owned by the GSUSA - so if they say turn over the money, then you have to. In the BSA, you are simply paying the BSA a fee and agreeing to follow some basic rules in order to utilize program and name. In the BSA you are a separate entity and so money you obtain like this belongs to your unit and your chartering organization. If you ask enough council/national people - someone will tell you that soliciting funds and applying for a grant are the same thing. But, they are really not.
  15. 2 points
  16. 2 points
    it doesn't depend on where the event is being held. It does depend on whether it is a scouting event. Every Chartering Organization agrees to "Conduct the Scouting program consistent with BSA rules, regulations, and policies." BSA has specific YPT rules, they're not onerous, they're not unreasonable, and they're not hard to follow or enforce. If you are participating in a scouting event, or any event outside your own home, you are implicitly agreeing to follow the rules of the event or to forfeit whatever right you might have to be there. You can't walk across the basketball court or join the team huddle when you're at a kids' basketball game, and no one needs a prewritten agreement in order to enforce those rules. A CO's responsibility is to ensure that BSA's rules are followed at any scouting event they're conducting. If there's anyone who is not willing to follow those rules it is the CO's responsibility to enforce the rules and/or remove the offender from the event. That's not a violation of anyone's rights, including the CO's. If a CO can't or won't do that then they should end their BSA relationship.
  17. 2 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.
  18. 1 point
    Does a scout have any say? Only so far as the troop follows his suggestion. But there's no reason in this story to think the scout on his own took some of the proceeds of his sales and gave or ordered the giving of those funds to anyone else. This is a news story that has two facts: 1) a scout sold $15k popcorn, 2) some portion of the money raised from those sales was used to help a local nursing home. There is a causative relation between the two facts: in order for there to be money to give to the nursing home there had to be a sale of popcorn. There's nothing inaccurate about the story as told, but in a local feel good news item of less than two minutes duration there's no time and no reason to walk through the obvious chain of events: 1) Scout sold $15k popcorn, 2) after paying council troop retainss $5k from those sales, 3) troop decides by whatever process they used (presumably including some input from scout and his family) to pass some of that largess on to nursing home. As a practical matter there's no other way for this to work. Unless the scout only accepted cash, or cash plus checks made out to him personally, the money from the sales all has to pass through the troop's accounts, and ultimately it's the troop writing whatever check or other form the donation took. It's just a pleasant little story to fill up one third of the time between two commercials on the local news broadcast and nothing more. Don't over think it.
  19. 1 point
    Short answer is NO. If the Scout sold Popcorn for his unit, all the proceeds go to the Unit. The unit, in it's wisdom, can allocate an appropriate portion to the Scout in the form of a "Scout Account" that may ONLY be used for Scout things. If the Scout raised the money for "Scout " support, he/she cannot send the money off to another entity no matter how worthy. It's got to be used for Scouty things, not personal things, not charitable things. The BSA has been all over this, the IRS has been all over this. The local Council should (if they have not been apprised of it already) should take this up and see what's what. As happens sometime, the news may not have the correct facts, only the slightly garbled ones. It also raises the "Not as a Scout" flag. BSA policy is clear on this too. The Scout uniform may not be used directly to raise money for any other organization. Not your church, not the Salvation Army (no bell ringing in BSA livery), not a worthy elder care facility. Sorry, ,,, Anyone have the Idaho Council Phone number?
  20. 1 point
    Age Guidelines The Boy Scouts of America has established the following guidelines for its members’ participation in camping activities: Overnight camping by Lion, Tiger, Wolf, or Bear Cub Scouts as dens is prohibited. Webelos dens may participate in overnight camping. Lions, with their adult partner, may participate in child-parent excursions, pack overnighters, and council-organized family camping. Tigers, with their adult partner, may participate in child-parent excursions, day camps, pack overnighters, council-organized family camping, or resident camping. Tiger, Wolf, and Bear Cub Scouts, and Webelos Scouts may participate in a resident overnight camping program operating under BSA National Camping School–trained leadership and managed by the council. Den leaders, pack leaders, and parents are expected to accompany the youth on approved trips.
  21. 1 point
    My thoughts the other day (in another thread) about having unit-only merit badge counselors doesn't sound so bad now, does it?
  22. 1 point
    Correct. I would also add the fact that the people giving the grant money did not intend for it to go to the council. You should use it for the purpose the grant was intended. It would be dishonest to do otherwise.
  23. 1 point
    I would first call the registrar for the council in which the merit badge was earned. They should be able to tell you if the counselor for the badges in question is actually a registered counselor.
  24. 1 point
    This falls apart on multiple levels. Uncle Jack, who has been taking his nieces and nephews to his favorite fishing hole since they could walk, is not going to stop just because they are now scouts. Bobby the babysitter with a driver's license is not going to stop driving the kids to events just because they are under the auspices of the BSA. And certainly not when she turns 18. Jane, who is in college someplace awesome to hike is going to invite her younger brother and scout buddy to stay at her dorm the night before some cool scouting expo on her campus. A half dozen boys are going to meet and apply their skills to spend a night in Gramp's' cabin near the state game lands. Gramp's will toss them the keys to the cabin and maybe the pickup to haul their gear there. That said, I think it's a really good idea to encourage parents to get a scouting.org account and take the youth protection training online. I usually tell them that they are better served when they know the standards we scouterr are holding ourselves to. Before departures, I'll have drivers circle up and give them a thumbnail of risk zone and buddy system. At camp, I'll have new adults gather by the moka pot and give the. A thumbnail YPT.
  25. 1 point
    I wouldn't single out BSA. Our society doesn't trust male leaders.