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Showing content with the highest reputation on 01/31/18 in all areas

  1. 3 points
    I'm optimistic. In our district, there is a very uneven distribution of scouts in troop. A few large troops (50+) and many smaller (~20) troops. The packs are the same way. What that tells me is that the scouts are out there and some packs & troops are better at attracting them than others. What I think is going on is that adult leaders are really struggling to figure out how to deliver a good program. The days of hanging out a "Scouts welcome" sign and getting a full pack or troop are gone. The proliferation of other activities has taken care of that. So, to have a successful unit today, you've got to run a good program. When I read threads like this one, I struggle with things like "scouting is supposed to be a challenge, and an adventure", "Scouting is a culture that challenges the masculinity of young men", etc. I've got absolutely no idea what that means. What are you supposed to do to challenge their masculinity? I've been a Committee Chair for four years now. I cannot count how many discussions we've had about "boy led", "patrol method", etc... Folks who have been doing this for over 10-20 years see those concepts and implement then differently. I was sitting at the Troop meeting the other night listening to some of our more active parents talking about how their kids hate troop meetings and are tired of canceled camping trips because the boys can't get them together. We're arguably one of the most successful troops in the district and one of the better ones in the council. We can't figure this stuff out. On top that, training is so basic no-one goes. Roundtable covers superfluous topics, so no-one goes. I've come to the conclusion that our problem isn't the boys or their parents, it's that we are getting so bogged down in stuff that we're forgetting how to run a scout program. Now that competition for their attention is tougher, it's more important that ever to be on our game. But, we're not.
  2. 3 points
    What to do with I&P is a perennial subject, including among the Moderators who have to deal with some of foolishness that goes on here. My attitude is that (as long as the owner of this forum wants to keep it), if you don't like I&P, you don't have to read it. That is exactly what it was set up for - to separate the hotly-debated issues from the everyday-Scouting stuff so that those who just want to read the everyday-Scouting stuff can do so unimpeded by the highly charged topics in another section. There is a big sign on it, written by Terry I assume (it was there when I got here in 2002), that says as much. I find it ironic that some people are arguing for the abolition of I&P, in I&P. Hello? McFly? And if anybody is arguing that I&P should go in order to save them from themselves (stop me before I post again!), that's not the business we're in here. If anyone is "addicted" to this forum, or anything else, there are places you can go for help with that. (Hi, my name is NJCubScouter... Hi, NJCubScouter! - or I guess it would just be NJCub, no last names.) Now, should there be an effort to calm things down in I&P, get people to tone down their posts, etc.? Couldn't hurt, but it's a difficult thing to achieve - partly because nobody ever thinks it is their posts that need to be toned down. The moderators do what we can.
  3. 3 points
  4. 2 points
    We still have a small issue with parents building the cars, but I have almost completely put an end to it. We allow the use of the "kit cars" sold at hobby lobby, etc. I would rather see a Tiger open one of the kit cars, assemble it, paint it, put the weight and stickers on themselves then to see a parent build the car for them. Lions and Tigers using kit cars are fine, by wolf they should be building their own. How I get parents to stop building the Scout's car? We host derby workshops, if the Scouts get to see other scouts building their own cars they encourage their parents to let them build their own. We encourage younger lion through wolf moms and dads to build their own cars and we will even supply them. I teach parents to build the same car as their Scout. This way the parent can make the large cuts on the body of the car, then demonstrate to the Scout how to do the finer things like sanding, polishing axles, etc on the parent's own car. Let the Scout do the same on their car. The Scout may not want to do everything like getting weight placement 100% correct. When mom's car is faster then next year the Scout will pay more attention. This works wonders. Some of our workshops are on weekends, some are during the normal Den Meetings, this way the Scouts get to see others building their own cars.
  5. 2 points
    Silly @desertrat77, Native Americans are not sophisticated enough to know when their culture is being appropriated. So their approval is irrelevant; others must be offended on their behalf. In fact the whole name of the organization is bad. Order of the Arrow? Arrows are sharp pointy things and an obvious slur on native americans, medes, saracens, and Tolkien elves. It is an honorary organization so name it the Order of the Garter once we start letting girls in. Should make the initiation ceremony a whole lot more interesting.
  6. 2 points
    There are plenty of scouting forums that ban discussion of the 3G's and politics and general. I don't mind that there's a mix of both. I'm trying to get my head around lots of things. Only some days is it the patrol method or scoutcraft. This week I'm dealing with a couple of young relatives (an their dad) who are about done with scouting because the SM vetoes the boys requests to camp every month, freaked out when the one 14 y/o boy wanted to spend the night sleeping out in 30 degree weather (south Floridians) , and avoids back-country like the plague. On top of it, the dad and I got skunked fishing this morning, so we had nothing to distract us from our little worlds of trouble! On weeks like this I don't enjoy hearing that someone like @Eagle94-A1 also has adults who refuse to deliver on the promise of scouting, so it's nice to have a forum that I can look to for a decent current I&P back-and-forth where I can simply up- or down- vote.
  7. 2 points
    I agree that these are the things we do today. My bigger point though is that I think the movement needs to regroup a bit. We're I in charge of things, I'd do three things: - clarify the program. There needs to be much clearer guidance on how to implement much of this stuff. There should not be arguments on wherther the scouts or the adults should buy tents. This kind of thing ought to be more clearly spec'd out. - improve the mechanics. Just about every troop has boring troop meetings. It's great that some troop has this figured out. It needs to get captured, distilled, and rolled out. Not the hokey program notes kinds stuff. But a real, simple recipe that even I cannot mess us. - improve training for volunteers. I'm not talking about the "so you're a new ASM class". There needs to be a real continuing education program for leaders.
  8. 2 points
    Problem with most bylaws is that they are usually adult rules forced on scouts without the scouts consideration. Your bylaw is an adult rule forced on adults. I am OK with that. In the big picture, adults don't trust scouts because they don't like failure. Failure in the adult world is a ding against pride and stature. In my Scoutmaster Specific class, I taught that not only is failure OK, but the more scouts fail, they more and faster they grow and mature. Adults need to learn how to embrace failure as a teaching partner. I also taught that if the scouts don't seek help or advice from the adults, they will likely not learn from any advice "volunteered" by adults. Failure is painful. Pain from failure is good because it drives the scout to seek (learn) a change that will ease the pain. Adults need to build a culture of developing the program to embrace failure and to wait patiently for the scouts to seek help and advice. When the scout wants to ease the pain of failure, he is very willing to seek a change. Barry
  9. 2 points
    With respect, I think this represents a disconnect as well. I've belonged to four different lodges, beginning as a new Arrowman in '76. All of them did their best to celebrate and give due credit to Native American culture. They prepared and performed in earnest. If a Native American nation does not want an OA lodge to represent their culture, that's one thing. Salute smartly and obey. (Edited to add:) But a particular Native American nation may approve of an OA lodge representing their culture. If so, should disapproving outsiders have the last say?
  10. 2 points
    The OA promotes cultural appreciation, not appropriation. There is a difference.
  11. 2 points
    Yes, scouting is supposed to be a challenge, and an adventure. That's how it was sold in the old days. That's how it was 10 years ago. It was the key to motivating the scouts. Make it a challenge, make it fun, train them for the challenge, let them be. Unfortunately things seem to be changing. There seems to be fewer scouts interested in a challenge, at least in my neck of the woods. We used to have 2 high adventure trips a year plus summer camp and all of them were always full. Now it's a struggle to fill one trip a year and summer camp is down. I'm the new district camping chair and this weekend is klondike. We have 38 scouts signed up, for the whole district! I used to have more scouts from just my troop show up. But it's not my troop because nearly half the scouts going to klondike are from my troop. And it's not just the scouts. I didn't really want to be the district camping chair. After 12 years as SM I just wanted a break. I'm the first to admit that someone younger and more enthusiastic would be better. But nobody else will step up. It's really hard to challenge a young man when this is the attitude. I don't know, maybe your point has already been made. We've lost. I don't know where that drive that wants a challenge comes from. Where a sense of adventure is born. I just don't see it often in the scouts today. The few I see it in are pushed down by peer pressure. Yes, kids these days are busy. They're so busy they can't even dream. Or wonder. Or imagine anything other than what's on their todo lists. Who knows, maybe national should add a first class requirement to discuss how much free time a scout has and track what he does with it for 12 weeks.
  12. 2 points
  13. 1 point
    I don't understand why you have two downvotes. You are speaking the truth.
  14. 1 point
    Amen to that. As some doubt that girls will meet requirements, I hope girls show how easy the requirements actually are and the bar will be restored to past heights.
  15. 1 point
    Hey now...we're not all that bad. Many of us like to poke fun at the Woodbadge cult, so that's a plus
  16. 1 point
    Agreed. We actually use the term "controlled failure". The boys get a chance to learn and grow in a controlled environment.
  17. 1 point
    Very little I learned earning Eagle prepared me to be an ASM. Sure understanding in general how Scouting worked and having good scout skills has helped, but my Scoutmaster training was an eye opener. Joining this forum and lifting best practices from others was an eye opener. Following Clark Green's blog helped me too. Wood Badge training. All those sources have helped me become a helpful contributor to my troop as an ASM more than being an Eagle.
  18. 1 point
    Barry- No, failure is an appropriate term. Scouting is supposed to be an experiment for the Scouts, a safe place in which they can test themselves. How else do they learn? It used to be that much of youth was a laboratory. We did stuff, lots of it undoubtedly unsafe and probably outlawed now, and we learned what worked and what didn't. Occasionally those lessons were accompanied by some injury. Broken bones generally heal, and eyebrows DO grow back... In the new childproof reality, that experimentation doesn't happen very often. As an aside, I used to work at a small private college. The school president always addressed the parents of the incoming Freshman class at the beginning of orientation. He started his speech like this: Your children will, at some point, fail at something, often spectacularly. This, in my opinion, is the best place in the world for them to do so. I feel the same way about Scouting.
  19. 1 point
    I'm still struggling with the "masculinity" part of the equation. For starters, I never felt like cultivating masculinity was ever a keystone of Scouting. The whole "turning boys into men" thing, I know that's the ultimate goal of Scouting for some folks here, but officially it's leadership training and character development, as it has been for ages. Two things that are gender-neutral and not dependent on masculinity to achieve. Masculinity isn't under attack as the author of the article in the original post suggests. It is being redefined, and I think rightfully so. The writer longs for the continuation of depictions of masculinity being portrayed by men, when that's just not reality anymore. Women are soldiers, firefighters, etc., and some of them are as tough as they come. So what if masculinity now extends beyond the image of the physically strong man covered in mud and scars? And are we really supposed to just keep pretending that only men can be masculine? Bear Grylls can send a woman survivalist ahead to scout locations for his show, taking more risks than him, but God forbid we put her on camera doing it. I guess I just don't understand what people expect to happen. Are we supposed to just go back to men only doing manly jobs and tell our daughters to just be teachers and nurses again? The genie isn't going back in the bottle on this one. Masculinity, to me, is in what we do, and not in who does it. What made the program ever seem manly, the adventure and the intense activities, the camping, the dirt and mud, the military-style aspects of the uniform, the ceremonies, etc., there is nothing happening that asks any of us to stop doing that stuff. Girls in the BSA aren't the problem, they're not even here yet. Although I'm sure in 10 years if things seem even less "manly" in Scouting, the girls will get all of the blame anyway. I'm hoping maybe some girls will come around to Scouting and show these boys how to be tough again.
  20. 1 point
    Okay, I'll be specific in this post. How is the OA disrespectful when some Native American nations approve of certain OA lodges using their traditions, garb, and ceremonies?
  21. 1 point
    Re the Eagle's nest, asking all Eagles to stand, etc: Maybe it's just me, but as the years slip by, I have become increasingly uncomfortable when I'm recognized for something I earned 40 years ago. There is no need to congratulate me, or pat me on the back. The new Eagle, other Eagles in his family, Eagles he climbed the trail with--great, put the spotlight on them. But random old dude like me? No thanks.
  22. 1 point
    I suppose that looked like I was bragging a bit. I'm definitely honored by them, but there's not really a set criteria for who gets awarded them so I don't take the mentor pins all that seriously. I know what I've done to support the various Eagle Scouts, and that's the real reward, is being part of a young mans Eagle Scout journey.
  23. 1 point
    We are doing sailing not diving this year so I agree completely with bsaggcmom :-) I think the sailing adventure says no watches :-) We are on a three hour tour.....
  24. 1 point
    Three generations of Eagle Scouts happened tonight.
  25. 1 point
    @Jameson76 like crunching the numbers on what works and what doesn't. It is an always moving target. @MattR I feel the change too with parents and boys....less want a challenge....but their are still some. I want to focus on them rather than water down the program too much.
  26. 1 point
    You need to evolve and understand what drives interest or what does not drive interest, Candidly that varies with your troop and particular group of scouts. On the Klondike, maybe it has become stale, perhaps it is what some long term adult leaders feel a Klondike should be. Get feedback on why they do not want to go and do a reboot of the event. With our troop (a large one) we have doubled our Scouts as outings in the last 5 years. Basically we looked at the data we had (what drew scouts what did not) then working with the TLC asked the WHY behind the data. Then we challenged them to plan and initiate what do you want to see. Basically we came up with some key elements No advancement / school type outings, too much of that M - F In the fall only SAT and SUN due to Friday night football Have a key activity, but also they do not want to over schedule, leave time for cards with friends Have levels of challenge (we do a biking on a rails to trail, some ride 25 miles / some 50 miles) Not too late on Sunday afternoons, school work beckons They challenged the troop leaders with some ideas, we worked with them on how to implement and they had ownership Beach / gorge exploration / ropes courses No district camporees (They were lame apparently) We had low attendance at the end of the school year outings in May due to exams, sports finals, etc. The TLC wanted to do a Lock-in. So we worked with the CO, now we do one from Fri to Sat morning. Huge participation. Some leave early, some come late. Video games literally all night, dodge ball and nerf engagements. Successful because that is what they wanted and we as leaders worked with them to bring it about We get really good feedback at BOR's and try to use that to improve the program. Still some work to be done on the meetings and scout instructors
  27. 1 point
    What I am starting to see is several dads who only had daughters volunteer to be leaders. One was a former ASM, Eagle Scout and OA member. He only had girls so stopped his involvement if BSA and is now interested in volunteering as his girls are getting involved. We are also seeing other parents volunteer as they are talking of having their daughters join. Right now we have the possibility of adding 26 scouts to our pack of 71 over the next 2 weeks. 4 are boys and 22 girls (2 boys joined along with their sisters). 7 of the girls are from a separate school who’s Pack is not adding girls at this time. So far, there are 5 new parents volunteering to be leaders in our Pack along with these 22 potential scouts. I don’t expect all to join right now, but it does seem that there are parents out there willing to volunteer along with having their daughters join. I will say adding this program midstream has been a lot of work, but I think it is helping us understand how we should add girls to our Pack Early on I was one concerned that we couldn’t do separate girl only dens due to volunteers. What I am seeing is that we should be able to maintain separate dens (with the additional volunteers I am seeing) and there are benefits. So, going into the fall we will be enforcing separate Girl/boy dens.
  28. 1 point
    I was speaking to the generalized "The OA is a horrible, disrespectful organization" argument, and specifically re any OA lodge's relationship to a particular Native American nation. Not of OA-unit relationships. Your unit is your unit.
  29. 1 point
    We like to have all the Eagles in the room join in a rousing rendition of the Big Joe Turner favorite "Flip, Flop and Fly"...tough to get the horns and saxophones coordinated due to practice time constraints, also the sunglasses and dark suits can be a sourcing issue.
  30. 1 point
    I have never been to Seabase. My son was but did the sailing adventure. Frankly I could not afford to send two boys and myself on all these expensive trips. As for a dive watch I have no idea. (My everyday watch is an old basic under $20 Casio. It has been around the world and on many adventures and I noticed my jeweler wore one!)
  31. 1 point
  32. 1 point
    The last year or two we have them come up and give unit and date. Nice to see the old-timers (I think the oldest was 1947) and the college students who came back for a buddy (their old uniform bursting apart). Then they are invited to sit in "the Eagles Nest" which is just the chorus area near the alter...it is actually kind of nice. I am lukewarm on the whole "reaffirmation" thing. But it is the Scout's ceremony. They should decide--or wrestle with their parents on the ceremony.
  33. 1 point
    I’m aware, but just letting others know that I’m not rushing or anything.
  34. 1 point
    As a SCUBA instructor I agree with @perdidochas. I recommend a watch with no less than 100m waterproof rating, 200m is better. I had a Casio as a backup to my dive computer for over 20 years. I now have Timex. A couple of things to keep in mind when shopping. 1) Can the buttons be pushed underwater? Some styles will flood if the buttons are used underwater. 2) Can the battery be changed by the local watch store/repair person or jeweler ? If the battery can't be replaced locally it can get expensive. Waterproofness (if that's a word) can be compromised when the battery is changed. Not an issue now but could be in the future. 3) Is the wristband long enough to go over a wetsuit top? Is it short enough to wear as an everyday watch? Band length can be an issue if it fits on land it may not fit over a wetsuit top. I have very slim wrists, to get something for daily wear I can wear it over my wetsuit. So I get around this by attaching it to my BCD on a chest strap. It's secure and easy to see there. For safe measure I work a tie wrap into the buckle so I don't lose my watch. 4) Can the face of the watch be read underwater and in love visibility? It does you no good if you can't read it. Is it big enough to see, but as above not so big that it looks/feels awful on land? 5) If it has a bezel (the rotating ring around the face) it should only rotate in one direction, counter clockwise. This is a safety feature. Counter clockwise will rotation will decrease dive time not extend it if accidentally bumped/twisted not increase it. This make your bottom time less in reality and less chance of decompression illness. Unless you are going to become or are an avid diver less is more here. Get what you can afford that does the job you need it to do. As beginning or occasional divers you probably don't need one of the $$$$ watches. $50-$60 should get you a really good beginning watch for your purposes and maybe a milkshake for after shopping. Happy Diving!! A little jealous as I sit here in the sub-freezing weather getting ready to shovel the driveway yet again.
  35. 1 point
    Pretty much any 200M watch is sufficient for Scuba diving. I wouldn't get less than 200m, because of basic ruggedness. Casio makes affordable ones.
  36. 1 point
    Exactly. Our local nation not only approves of what our local units have done, they help to train them on aspects of their culture so that dances, regalia and even words used are appropriate.
  37. 1 point
    One vision. Here's another, with Orson Welle's voice over. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBB06RLmCcU you can buy the DVD: https://shop.tcm.com/to-build-a-fire/089859822629 Klondike Derby preparations, anyone?
  38. 1 point
    For Scoutson #4 all the eagles were asked to sit in the seats closest to the center aisle. When he was asked to come forward all the eagles stood faced the aisle, and saluted as he walked by. It was especially meaningful as he has four older cousins and a brother saluting his achievement, and welcoming him into the "nest"
  39. 1 point
    What he means is, he doesn't want you to interfere with what he wants to do.
  40. 1 point
    Ouch. That's one of the biggest mis-steps a "leader" can do...
  41. 1 point
    This. If the tent is not their own, our Scouts take no particular care in how it is used, maintained and stored. It is too frustrating to see troop funds abused in this way, so we eliminated troop tents. Most of our Scouting families are well-equipped with their own camping gear, so it really has not been a problem.
  42. 1 point
    Sometimes the use of degrees seems like the Scouting equivalent of knots. Doctors I get. Pharmacists I get. Even lawyers I get. Professional certifications I get. But in general, if I see someone with "John Doe, BS, MBA" I think "Wow, look how many knots he has." In the consulting world it would just be saying "Look at me...I have an MBA." The irony is that most people do but don't put it down.
  43. 1 point
    I have some old versions of Boys Life which had patterns and directions for making your own tent. Of course if mom is sewing on their patches, then this would be a stretch. So much for boys learning to do on their own.
  44. 1 point
    It's not so much orchestrating the game differently, but allowing the freedom to experiment with decisions without interference of girls. I know from experience that the choices youth make will very greatly depending whether the opposite sex is within the vicinity. How many of us have watch our own children change their demeanor in some of the activities when we as their parents got near them? Same goes with Girl Scouts. Barry
  45. 1 point
    Yup. That and the hold back for liability coverage. Explains the increase in fees a great deal. Little having to do with delivering the program to kids; lots to do with CYA from over-investment in The Summit, under-collection of promised funds. Their liquidity is a joke. Looking at the revenue streams makes one wonder exactly how long they can keep this up. They need a serious revenue injection that doesn't come with a bunch of increased liability. Increasing membership is NOT that stream.
  46. 1 point
  47. 1 point
    Well, the requirements say "Play", not necessarily from memory. If they can read the chart, and do it well, they will eventually learn it by heart. Bugle only has five (or six, if youre really good), and most Scouts seem to learn it by listening. Buy the CD, if you will. In my experience, just PLAYING a bugle or other instrument is a chore. It never ceases to surprise me that the Scout will come to the MB session without a horn, and without even the ability to "buzz".
  48. 1 point
    Play Charge and have the troop run and take the COH room by force.
  49. 1 point
    Having had several kids on the autism spectrum in our unit, I have to say that having involved parents was key. Also, making sure several of the leaders are trained in how to deal with kids on the spectrum was also helpful. If you search around this forum there should be a thread about a pretty good video series put together by a member. This is the council but I don't see the video series they put together there. You can contact them and maybe they can share it with you. Here's another decent link.
  50. 1 point
    I would have him start attend their meetings now to observe and participate a little so the leader can adjust before he actually comes into the troop. Or what @RememberSchiff said
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