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Showing content with the highest reputation on 02/10/19 in all areas

  1. 1 point
    For the past few years, I've been teaching the Cyber Chip in our troop. Not necessarily because I like it, not because I think it's a particularly great program, or even because I think I'm uniquely qualified to do it ... I've been doing it simply because nobody else did it. I've taught the class several times --- most often for newly bridged ex-Webelos scouts who wanted to earn Scout rank. A couple times for older scouts working on Star rank or merit badges that required it. THOUGHTS ON MAKING CYBER CHIP WORK FOR A TROOP Here are a few of my experiences and observations: BE PREPARED ... TO EXPLAIN It should go without saying that you should know what you're talking about, but I underestimated the depth of content the first time and my classes get better the more I know. Understand the Cyber Chip requirements, but more importantly, understand the issues. At a minimum, I recommend looking at the links below (CYBER CHIP RESOURCES). The last link, for Media Smarts, was the most useful to me in this regard. NetSmartz has some good resources, but Media Smarts is geared more towards adults and the way we read. I found everything on their "Digital Issues" page to be particularly relevant. BE PREPARED ... TO UNPLUG Murphy's Law, being more like a Law of Physics than like a Municipal Ordinance, doesn't lend itself towards bending or breaking. If you think you'll just bring a laptop and view the required videos online, I can guarantee your class will be a failure. The first time I tried it I discovered that, 1: Nobody in our troop knew the password for the church's Wi-Fi, 2: My laptop's speakers can't be heard further than 2 inches from the screen when you have a group of 12 chatterbox boys in a room, and 3: Giving up on the church's Wi-Fi and connecting via a parents' AT&T Mobile G4 Internet is a great way to watch the NetSmartz actors doing "The Robot" (and taking 12 minutes to watch the 3 and a half minute video). My most recent classes have gone faster and more smoothly because I downloaded the videos as a zip file ahead of time and staged them on my laptop's hard disk. I also bought a pair of powered speakers and we project the screen onto the wall. Figure this stuff out BEFORE the class because Mr. Murphy WILL be lurking... BE PREPARED ... TO ADAPT Take point 4 in the "Announcing Cyber Chip" flier to heart --- adapt the class to your unit. As a matter of fact, take the whole flier to heart --- especially the part about incorporating games. If you STOP lecturing and START doing more games, the scouts will pay attention (and even look forward to re-doing the class in a year or two). The suggestion of "Jeopardy" is a good one. I've also had good luck using a "Family Feud" game ("we surveyed 100 cyberbullies and asked them....") Or you can stick to the "no more, no less" philosophy and just lecture them. Your choice. But the scouts already think Cyber Chip is boring. There's a good reason for this: it is. The material is not anything they really care about --- especially in an organization that sold them on the promise of "adventure". Spice it up and laugh with them and everyone will get through it. BE PREPARED ... TO ASK FOR HELP In another thread on this forum, a well-respected member suggested turning Cyber Chip over to the PLC and let them figure it out. That's a great suggestion! (If your goal is to just treat the Cyber Chip as another rubber-stamped check-off.) Be for real, the PLC members think Cyber Chip is as boring as the new scouts do. There's a reason for that. It is. If you can get older scouts to chip in, help them be successful. Prepare yourself very well in advance, have a lot of suggestions, and work with the teaching scouts to develop some fun approaches and strategies. The NetSmartz Mini-Activities document has some good games that scouts can lead themselves (I've had very good results with "Take a Stand", sometimes good results with "Simon Says", and dismal results with the other activities...your mileage may vary). BE PREPARED ... TO DISCUSS "POLICIES" Schools and school districts have already grappled with some of the issues around electronics and internet use.Take a look at 'em if you can. Cyber "policies" are very common and most make a lot of sense. They provide "rules of the road" for kids to know what is, and what is not, acceptable behavior online. Cyber Chip asks families to also set "rules of the road" and troops to set "rules of the road". - TROOP: Know the troop's Electronics Policy so you can discuss it (requirement 5 or 6, depending on age group). If the troop doesn't have a policy, sit down with the Scoutmaster and SPL and hammer one out --- BEFORE the class, so that nobody asks you to be untrustworthy and just rubber-stamp that you discussed what you know darn well you didn't. - FAMILY: You won't know what policies a family might set (requirement 2), but you can have a low-key group discussion about what rules the boys follow and what they think are useful/reasonable/effective. A good way to do this is to just think about the 6 basic questions a professional journalist asks about ANYTHING...."WHO", "WHAT", "WHEN", "WHERE", "WHY", and "HOW". Think about how those apply to games, apps, devices, content, etc. Keep in mind that all this changes every year. BE PREPARED --- TO RECOGNIZE Get the Cyber Chip cards and patches from the Scout Shop before the class. Have Scoutmaster sign the stack of cards. Hand these out as final step in the class....after all, the boys don't care about the boring material. They care about having the card so they can get a requirement signed off. SAMPLE COURSE OUTLINE Here's how I did my most recent class... ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION (~10 minutes, max --- keep it fast and focused) - Overview - Brief back-and-forth about what is Cyber Chip and what issues we should care about (Steer conversation towards overarching themes of "Stranger Danger" and "Cyberbullying" for younger scouts and about "Privacy" and "Reputation" for older scouts, while reinforcing "Stranger Danger" with room for scouts to introduce other issues of concern to them). Invite Scoutmaster, Committee Chair, or other adult to do this, but be prepared to wing it. - Policies - high-level, "rules of the road", families and troop have policies just like school does Troop electronics policy (invite SPL or Instructor to do this, but be prepared to wing it) Remember troop goal is more about avoiding distraction than safety. Elicit thoughts/feedback from scouts. - Family policies, (did scouts actually sign a document with parents? act shocked when nobody does, so pretend like you're winging it, though you know what kind of rules might be included based on who,what,when,where,why,how...elicit scout thoughts on each others' contributed "rules") VIDEOS (~15 minutes, total) - Format is watch a video then do a quick roundtable discussion: "Thoughts?" - TV / Computer / Projector is pre-setup and staged with appropriate videos from NetSmartz. For new scouts we use Grade 6-8 materials, corresponding to NetSmartz "Teens Talk Back" tag. Staged videos are: - "Friend or Fake" - "Teens Talk Back: Cyberbullying" -"Teens Talk Back: Meeting Offline For Star / older scouts, we use Grade 9-12 materials, corresponding to NetSmartz "Real Life" tag. Staged videos are: - "Survivor Diaries" - "6 Degrees of Information" - "You Can't Take It Back" or "2 Kinds of Stupid" TEACHING ACTIVITY / GAME Use game-oriented approach to teach skills. If you want to see how boring you can make the class, follow the requirement to the letter and let the boys use the EDGE method to teach other something about one of the issues. I did it that way once. Once. Games and fun are really the way to approach this requirement. This is one where you can definitely let the older scouts SPL/Instructors lead (if they want to --- I've had almost 40% success getting them to grab some ownership on this and to lead the games. Use "Jeopardy" or "Family Feud" for maximum fun, or one of the "NetSmartz Mini-Activities" . If you didn't work with the older scouts ahead of time to prepare them, don't count on making this activity work (it won't). WRAP UP Hand out cards and/or patches on the spot. Ask scouts to take turns reading off points of the "Internet Pledge". CYBER CHIP RESOURCES Cyber Chip Requirements https://www.scouting.org/awards/awards-central/cyber-chip/cyber-chip-requirements/ Announcing Cyber Chip https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/youthprotection/pdf/100-053.pdf NetSmartz materials for Cyber Chip https://www.netsmartz.org/Scouting With BSA’s new Cyber Chip, online safety’s the point https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2012/06/04/with-bsas-new-cyber-chip-online-safetys-the-point/ What’s your unit’s electronics policy? https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2012/03/14/electronics-policy/ Media Smarts https://mediasmarts.ca/
  2. 1 point
    Reading the article, and some others, possibly the dad encouraged him to do the protest. Certainly the young man and his family have every right to protest in whatever way they care to and wherever they might feel the urge. They have that right as a US citizen. The First amendment is in fact the first for a reason. I many not agree with his protest, but he does have the right to protest. The problem is that the Cub is in fact representing not only his pack, but his Charted organization, his district, his council, and the BSA in general. If he wants to protest the pledge of allegiance, show up as a citizen at the city council meeting, and kneel away. He chose to come to the event and lead the pledge as a member of an organization that basically works to help youth learn about and develop their duty to God, duty to country, duty to self. When representing that organization it is no longer just his protest, he is taking advantage of a spotlight not for him, but for the organization he is supposed to represent.
  3. 1 point
    I would agree with @HashTagScouts that the Venturing's organizers were playing the "have your cake and eat it too" tune. Their intent was clearly to cajole former boy scouts to pick up where they left off in rank advancement. (This, if I understand scouting history correctly, was a play inherited from the Explorer book.) One side-effect, as some troops began to micromanage every aspect of a scout's career, was that this policy could be used to entice dual-registered scouts in a troop to forget accountability to their troop-method SM's. This did not happen in my crew (my venturers kind of got the idea that I'd be the more demanding of skill mastery), but SMs made it quite clear to me that they were afraid it would. Venturers of years past had a pretty clear understanding that they could not earn merit badges if they were never in a troop. However, this caused confusion as well. I had one of my crew try to check out a sailboat at a council camporee only to be told she had to have earned Small Boat Sailing MB. She was an expert member of a sailing club! I happened to be walking by and was able to stick up for her and her Boy Scout buddy. Multiply that by 50K and you have a lot of venturers who were slighted for the lack of one little round medallion or another. However, the fact still remains that no rank (let alone 1st Class) was ever a qualification to earn any merit badge. So, without further clarification, this is one more place where somebody somewhere is going to manage to push applications through. Frankly, I wouldn't like it, but if I had a class of venturers who were obsessed with MB's and wanted to earn them all with no concern for rank advancement, I'd find a way to make it work for them. Then when they were adults, I'd lean on them to register as counselors for whichever one became their career/hobby.
  4. 1 point
    I was a UC several times, several locations. The most common response I received from units was shock. Shock that I actually showed up, visited with them, went camping with them (always offered, a few accepted), and that was a fan of their unit. Some units responded to this, others didn't. The latter usually had a longstanding, intense dislike for all commissioners in general, and nothing I did could shake them from that belief. Not that I blamed them. Rather, I sympathized with them. I recalled my days as an ASM and SM, and I felt the same way about most commissioners. Some were gold, most were all show/no go. Fancy uniforms, active in anything district or council related, pompous know it alls who had zero interest in unit level scouting. For the units that had challenges, I always drove away from each meeting with the thought "If I really wanted to make a difference for this unit, I'd resign as a UC and put in my app to be an ASM or committee member." All said, I believe in the commissioner concept. But the BSA would be better off having 2 squared away commissioners in a district who really care about unit level scouting than 12 who don't.
  5. 1 point
    All these years of training classes gives these folks who want to be commissioners something to do...instead of you know....commissioner stuff The commissioner program is great in the abstract. The actual process of a commissioner doing some action to support youth programming at the unit level is often not there. I have worked with 6 different units in 2 different councils. In my 30 plus years on adult leadership I think I have seen a commissioner twice actually in the wild (you know at a unit). I have seen many of them at council events, camps, etc hanging out...commissioning (I guess that is a verb) Sort of like with fundraising...Do we have commissioners so we have good Scout Troops OR do we have Scout troops so we have commissioners
  6. 1 point
    After college I moved out of state for 3 years, and while there took WB in 2015. It was fantastic and I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. After moving back, I have discovered how "cliquey" and odd the Woodbadgers are in my home Council. There have been a number of "local traditions" that distract from the course and I have a number of friends my age (late 20s-early 30s) that are so turned off by WB that they have no interest in looking into it. I was asked to be on staff for an upcoming course, and the SM is pretty serious about doing things "by the book" so I'm super excited!
  7. 1 point
    Rather than Woodbadge, lead a second summer camp or a longer term summer experience for the troop
  8. 1 point
    This is the line that troubles me the most. Exclusion is never "natural," it's always a choice. They could have chosen to ignore their perception of what is fair or not, and included him anyway, but they didn't - they chose to treat the boy differently. As soon as that happens, you're starting on a path to trouble. And it would seem that pretty quickly, they reached their destination.