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Showing content with the highest reputation since 02/16/19 in all areas

  1. 8 points
    I am Scoutmaster for a 22-member all-girl Troop that is "stand-alone" and not linked to an existing unit. In fact, we are the only youth program at the church that serves as our CO. I'm a 30-year Scouter and have done it all. I will observe that the girls attracted to our group represent a normal cross-section of girls in our city in terms of income, race and interests. 8 crossed-over from an all-girl Webelos den at anther CO, which they just loved. 5 came over from GSUSA for a variety of reasons. Two remain dual-registered. We have had four troop meetings, one day hike and go on our first camp out this weekend. We have a very full program outlined for the next 20 months. We have attracted a 15-person Troop committee and have a Scoutmaster staff of 7. I am here to tell you that even at this early stage I sense this is going to be a very successful move for the BSA. First, the Boy Scout program is working perfectly with the girls. They love it and as an earlier commenter forecast, they really like to "do stuff". Second, the parents are thrilled with BSA-style organization and program implementation for an all-girl program. The welcome from our community has been crazy-approving. Third, our district volunteer Scouters and fellow Scoutmasters of nearby all-boy Troops are thrilled to the point where they went out of their way to entirely outfit five of our girls from under-resourced families with gently-used uniforms, sleeping bags, packpacks, the works. The naysayers with the nasty blog comments have not in any manner impacted popular and supportive opinion in our local Scouting movement or city. The folks who departed after the membership policy changes are not taking people away because of the move to include girls. My experience is so counter to the things those folks have been writing over the past year that I am starting to conclude many must not be actual active Scouters -- I just have not experienced negativity and I would have noticed it. I believe that as long as the generally-smaller linked girl troops scale up quickly and the BSA does a better PR job when the financial restructuring is announced, we will be looking at significant growth that can reverse our recent membership losses. These conclusions are based on my experience in planning, organizing and now operating a best-practices Scouts BSA Troop for girls. We should do at least as good as the girl Cub Scout numbers.
  2. 7 points
    It’s almost official! My EBOR went fantastic, the scouter from the district was amazing. We talked for almost 2 hours about all different kinds of stuff and it was great! Thanks to everyone who answered my questions on here. My scouting journey has only just started. Now the final thing to do is to drop off the application at council to get sent to national.
  3. 7 points
    "You are no longer a Cub, you are now a Scout."
  4. 6 points
    JTE is definitely a corporate Lean type site measurement that was brought it. We typically get Gold status, but not sure it's something we focus on, but moving on... In JTE measurement the challenge I have is that Budget for the unit has the same equivalency as Short Term camping. A troop can be a Gold unit and in a year do only 4 short term campouts and going to summer camp. The JTE certainly does hopefully move units to do certain things, but clearly (IMHO) any unit that is "GOLD" should be camping 9 -12 times per year as short term, some of those campouts should be backpacking or hike in, they should be somewhat physically challenging and involve some HA type activity (kayaking, climbing, etc), and some of these should be 2 night activities. Rather than outdoor be only max of 20% (400 points max for #6 and #7, out of 2,000 max for the 11 items) that should be a much much larger component. Have a robust outdoor program or a unit is not "Gold". That simple. This is what can and should differentiate Scouting in the marketplace. On Mondays at school when a 7th grader is talking to friends rather than "I played 2 soccer games on Saturday", maybe a kid is telling how he went "hiking down in some gorge and was sliding on rocks into a pool of water and it was great!". That is what sells the program, not budgets, etc.
  5. 5 points
    Or most likely, the boots-on-the-ground don't give a rip over their respective organization's battle for brand identity. So, they are leveraging their collaboration to do good in the world.
  6. 5 points
    Urgh! Under the collar? What's wrong with you people?
  7. 5 points
    I wouldn't say I'm disturbed, but a bit disappointed. National sometimes has challenges getting the verbiage crystal clear on the first roll out. When the changes to the tenting rules and YPT were made in 2019, that language was updated to: "Youth sharing tents must be no more than two years apart in age." Which is clear, concise, and decisive. It leaves no room for interpretation. YPT is important and shouldn't have grey areas and interpretive "wiggle room" in it. I get it. National doesn't really have that much staff. Less than volunteers would think there are. Those folks are underpaid and overworked, and they aren't doing the work to become rich, but because they love and care about Scouting. I think it's important for both the pros and the volunteers to recognize in each other that we both love and care about this program, and that requires an extra dose of patience, some honest discussion and disagreement. Consider this, if the members of this forum, who are likely some of the most engaged and active Scouters in the country, are having these discussions and confusion regarding the rules, what does that mean for the typical unit?
  8. 5 points
    This reply doesn't really apply to the OP, but this is one of the few times where I disagree with malraux. At my first Blue and Gold as a CM, I went over to talk to the two Webelos dens who were crossing over that night. Most all the scouts were going to one troop. I asked the scouts why they chose that troop, and the general answer was that troop had the best game of all the troop meetings they visited. A year later I checked and 90% of those scouts had dropped out. I believe adults should have at least 50% participation in finding a troop. There should be a family discussion along with the Den Leader, but sons and parents have two different objectives for joining a troop. Both should be considered. While malraux gives a good example of why the parent needs to listen to the son, my experience is his example is generally the opposite. The Webelos doesn't see the whole program because he is focused on the few minutes of the visit. Make the choice a family decision, otherwise the risk are huge. Barry
  9. 5 points
    The BSA leadership really needs to separate out the LDS numbers. While it seems like Scouting is declining rapidly, I suspect much of that is around the LDS decision. Would be better to be more transparent here. Our district had steady membership the past two years.
  10. 5 points
    That was in fact the bet, that the girls will be a growth opportunity. All the chips for the future were put on G and the wheel was spun. Honestly the ball is still bouncing and we do not know if that bet will pay off. As was noted in the bankruptcy conversations several months back with the exposure on insurance, dwindling numbers, spending at the Summit, and unfunded pension liabilities the BSA needed more members. The registration fee went up significantly in 2017, so that was a lifeline toss. Recruiting more boys to the program has been a challenge. During his listening and speaking tours CSE Sourbaugh admitted as much, in that they were out of ideas, so heck fire, let the girls in. Possibly the program folks need to look at all the stem focus, continuing efforts by many well intentioned councils for more class focus activities (MB universities come to mind), and troops making Boy Scouts just more school and less adventure as possibly reasons for lower numbers. Adding more girls seeking outdoor adventure may nudge the organization back to it's roots, hopefully. The BSA can be great part of a well rounded youth's activities (sports, school, religious, hobbies being some others). There is a lot of outdoor adventure out there, it's where we can differentiate in a crowded marketplace for a youth's time and efforts. Rather than Scout Me In our marketing should be We Go Do Stuff. Let the program sell itself at the local level. Get away from JTE, uniform police, leaders focused on district/council and not youth and laser focus back to Scouting outdoor activities and youth (Cubs, Scouts BSA*, Ventures and Explorers) doing things. * really think changing the flagship program's name to a generic name was a monumentally bad decision...
  11. 5 points
    @ItsBrian enjoy your last day as a Life Scout! 😉
  12. 5 points
  13. 5 points
    Sorry, folks, I just found this thread, and feel I want to make a contribution with my own story. This is a story about the unseen, unknown fruits of your efforts over a very long time. But please excuse me if this seems like I am boasting, or tooting my own horn - I am typing this with tears in my (middle-aged) eyes, as this story chokes me up when I tell it (which is rarely). Bear with me, it is long: In 1978 I was a young Life Scout in my troop in Central NJ - chartered by a Catholic church in a typical NY suburb. Casting about for a suitable Eagle project, none of the "build a ____ at the park" or "raise awareness by ___" type projects resonated with me. I had already earned my Ad Altari Dei, and as part of that, my troop's advisor had us volunteer periodically at the Woodbridge (NJ ) Home for Boys in their Scout troop, working with boys who had Down's Syndrome and other handicaps. I enjoyed working with them, and felt moved to explore service to people with mental handicaps. I am not sure who brought it to my attention, but I realized that my church had a Sunday school program (called CCD- Confraternity of Christian Doctrine) for regular children, but nothing offered for mentally handicapped kids was available. So for my Eagle project I started a religious education program for these unserved kids. I advertised to families in our parish and surrounding parishes for children who could enroll, recruited volunteer teachers, obtained classroom space in the church school on Saturdays, and with the help of the John Newman society at Rutgers University came up with a curriculum and teacher training materials. We started in September with a dozen students and a 1-1 teacher ratio. I was one of the teachers. by the end of the year in June, we had about 20 students, of which half earned their first communion, and one was confirmed. You see, no one had made the effort to teach these children before. At the end of the year, I wrote that up for my Eagle project, and earned my Eagle rank a year later. I arranged for the nuns who ran the regular CCD program to maintain the program for handicapped children after I left for college. Payoff number one: In 1981 I graduated from high school, and went to college. I wrote my college admission essay about my CCD program. I was accepted to an Ivy-League school, and was placed in a class taught by the president of the college. I found out later that year that I had been admitted (despite only ranking in the top fifth of my high school class) largely on the strength of the CCD program and my essay - when he bragged about me in a letter he sent to our 10,000 alumni. Unexpected dividend! Payoff number two: About ten years later I go to a funeral of a family from church, and one of the parents of a student in my program comes over to my parents and relates how grateful their family was that I started the program (their daughter received her communion in the program). More dividends! Payoff number three: And why I have tears in my eyes as I type this: A long time passes. I go to work at one career, get married, have kids, switch careers, and find myself working back in my home town in 1997. I get introduced around to the new co-workers, nearly all of which are a good deal older than me. None of them do I recognize, nor do they know me. I sit down on a coffee break with a woman in her early sixties who somehow gets on the topic of the Catholic Church and it's shortcomings. She goes on and on, not even asking if I am a churchgoer or Catholic or anything, but then stops, and reconsiders. And she starts telling me that the only thing her church has ever done for her and her family was that many years earlier they started a CCD program for handicapped children - and her son could finally get religious instruction and not feel left out or shunned. Literally, that was the ONLY thing she thought her religion had done for her and she was quite adamant about it. She had no idea that I was the 16 year old kid that did that for her. I was floored, and still am, that something I did in Scouting had an effect on generations to come, and was thought of so warmly over so many years. Big time payoff number three! And a lesson I have never forgot about the power of Scouting to change lives. Thanks for listening.
  14. 5 points
    That's ridiculous. I run recruiting for my Pack and I'd quit the job in an instant if my district wanted that much control over how we recruit. Guess I'm lucky. My DE showed up at our last recruiting night and the only time he talked to me was to just say that he was impressed with what we were doing. Beyond that he watched from the sidelines and that's exactly where a district rep belongs at a recruitment event.
  15. 4 points
    Yep. Each patrol should have its own separate tent at some distance (at least 100 yards) from the others. This latter is with a view to developing the responsibility of the Patrol Leader for his distinct unit. --Baden-Powell, "The Object of Camping" In Scouts' camps the tents are not pitched in lines and streets as in military camps, but are dotted about, 50 or 100 yards or more, in a big circle round the Scoutmaster's tent. This keeps each Patrol separate as a unit. --Roland Philipps, The Patrol System, Patrol in Camp.
  16. 4 points
    I (electronically) asked my family and friends who have scout-aged kids whether they'd be considering continuing in scouting/BSA, regardless of what the church comes up with in terms of a program. The only two people who replied were my sister and my dad, neither of whom have sons in scouting anymore, lol. If what they said is any indication, there are still some families who want their sons to earn Eagle. Unfortunately, I think a lot of LDS troops looked at scouting ONLY as a path to Eagle, and know for a fact that more than a few troops never followed the patrol method well and did very few outdoor activities. I had really been hoping my brother (with two young sons) would chime in. I guess I'll have to pick up the phone. As for Venturing, too many don't even know what that is. We didn't, until I started searching for alternatives to Girl Scouts, which my daughter hated. My husband had met a group of Polish Girl Scouts, who lived in NYC, and was impressed by them. We looked into it, but she's have had to speak Polish - like that was going to happen! Eventually, we stumbled across Venturing. Last night, we were at a Board of Ed meeting for my daughter's swim team to receive an award, and I told two people - separately - that we had to leave early for a Crew meeting. I didn't really thing about it, but both assumed I meant rowing, and one of them is even our Committee Chair for our Troop. Our Crew was started by two or three dads who had boys in scouts, and they wanted something for their daughters. It's all-girl, and it's mainly camping and high adventure, so that's our draw. Even with Girl Troops starting, we're still drawing new girls. Perhaps because they're slightly older (14 v. 11), they like that we have one meeting and one trip per month, leaving them plenty of time for other things. We have two girls who are focused on advancing in the program, but none of the other 20-ish girls care at all. Goes along with what some of you have said.
  17. 4 points
    Well I guess that is a problem of itself. Every state has plenty of backpacking, so Philmont should not be the got-to for Scout Backpacking.
  18. 4 points
    The dissonance comes from a deep understanding that the newly imposed "minimum leader requirements" directly clash with what the majority of us were led to believe was "age- and program- appropriate supervision" required for an average patrol meeting/activity. When I was a scout, the appropriate supervision for a meeting was a patrol leader and an assistant. That continues to be the case, on some visceral level, for the majority of 11-18 year old boys in this country, and they will find ways to form their "patrols" outside of the auspices of the BSA. This is the crux of the problem. The core program at its best will ensure that adults don't need to be present at a gathering of Scouts or Venturers. The youth will maybe invite us join them for some brief opening, then we adults could literally go on an hour hike (most of us should) and come back for closing then get a re-cap from the officers regarding plans, questions, etc ... But, that ideal program butts up against the tragedy of a perverse and litigious society -- one which is setting a moving target as to how to defend against its worst actors.
  19. 4 points
    I don't have anywhere near the wisdom or experience of the people who have already replied on this thread (and I think you've had some GREAT advice) - but I do have a couple of thoughts. Give me a moment to tell you where we are and what we're doing, and then I have a few ideas for you as well. We have moved to a different Council entirely since my older kids were Scout age (my first two kids are adults now). So we started over entirely last year when my then 7 year old daughter joined a Wolf den. We signed up with what at the time was the only Family Pack in the area and it didn't work out due to major leadership conflicts mainly among the CC, the COR, and the CM. Earlier this Scouting year my daughter's entire den and the CM withdrew from the pack that we started with and convinced another small local Pack to open up a girl den for our (now Bear) girls; the boys in our pack just joined the existing den. The CM became ACM and that's where we are now. The now-ACM also has a daughter who is in Webelos. She's the only one in her girl den and I think there might be one or two in a boy den now that we've changed packs. I'm not sure exactly what they are doing with the Webelos program but her husband is the Boy Bear Den Leader and I'm the Girl Bear Den Leader and a Committee Member. What we are seeing is that there aren't any girl troops forming in our area of town other than the one we had major conflicts with in our former Pack. So even though neither of us has girls who are ready to join Scouts BSA yet, we are actively recruiting like-minded leadership and girls and are negotiating with a couple of possible COs to start a new girl troop. We are more than open to starting a tethered troop with a new CO, or join a CO that already has a boy troop, or start with just girls - but right now we have about half a dozen girls and a full committee ready to hit the ground running as soon as we have a CO. Personally, my goal in being involved at this level right now is to have a troop up and running with some experienced youth leaders already in place by the time my daughter crosses over in a couple of years. I also have a 4 year old daughter so I expect I'm going to have kids in Scouting for the next 14 years... maybe longer if they move on to Venturing like my oldest did when she (long story) aged out of Boy Scouts. So here's my thought for you - don't limit your discussions in your Pack to just "what troop should we be moving towards" but also "what can we as adult leaders do to create a successful program for our Bears to cross over into." Talk to the Troop's committee and point out that the SM really needs to be COR, remind them how important that job is, but also less critical that the COR attend all the camping trips and things, and see if you can nudge the current SM into the position he really ought to be holding and get new SMs in place for both boys and girls - possibly out of your active and enthusiastic Cub Scout leadership pool. See if you can recruit some more parents of Cub Scouts to step up and help pick up the slack in the Pack to free up some of your more experienced leadership to spend time with the Troops. Remind them that the goal of this is to create an exciting program for the kids to move into. Get them thinking forward. Oh, and make sure EVERYONE gets trained!! And if that doesn't work, either due to lack of volunteers or due to immovability on the part of the current Troop leadership, propose that you talk to other Troops in the area about a merger, and if that doesn't fly either, just take your family to a Troop where they are running a good program - and get involved there. If your COR at your current troop won't work to make a successful program now for the boys, don't expect them to do any better for the girls; better to get another organization with experience at running a *successful* Troop to charter one for your girls. Kids should never feel like Scouting is a drag. If your son is feeling that way, he needs to be in a better troop. You either create that for him where he is, or you move him to somewhere that it's already happening. Sorry that was so long!
  20. 4 points
    Thanks for the update. It's not surprising that the background check came back with problems. It was hard to imagine he wasn't avoiding it, with so much time having gone by and it was still not done. Hard to imagine someone isn't trying hard to avoid a background check when they act like that. This still seems like a massive failure at the district and council level to adequately support the Pack in this. You essentially had an unregistered, non-background-checked adult pretending to be a CM. And seemingly refusing to allow a background check. That should have been a huge red flag for everyone, all the way up the chain. And yet it took this long to finally resolve the matter, and only really because of what happened in the guy's personal life. While it is generally true that DEs tend to be slow to action with Pack affairs, preferring to let units and COs resolve these matters, in this case I would think that this would be the kind of thing that just had to be dealt with immediately. That a Pack was operating with a rogue CM, who clearly was causing chaos among the committee and Pack operations, with known past legal issues and refusing to take a background check, how they managed to let it go on this long is baffling. For all of the emphasis we get these days on YPT, that something like this was allowed to go on for so long just defies all logic. I still think someone (probably the DE in question) should be removed from their post for failing to adequately address this and protect the scouts in this Pack.
  21. 4 points
    UPDATE: The story has a happy ending. With the help and wisdom from people that read about the predicament faced by my sons, wheels became unstuck and the channels were cleared for them to proceed. My oldest son completed his Eagle Board of Review and his application for Eagle Scout is now at National. My youngest got his proposal approved, and his project was completed this weekend. Massive thanks to any and all who took the time to read and reply. My guys are invigorated, and once again engaged in Scouting!
  22. 4 points
    Uniform inspections... Once upon a time, I played trombone in the Purdue Marching Band. I had friends who were in ROTC. We would compare notes on uniforms, spit polishing shoes, creases, etc. I was once told about a ROTC company inspection. My buddy's squad was insistant that the inspecting Louie could NEVER be pleased, he ALWAYS found something to count down. So they picked one of their group and made sure everything was perfect. Pants pressed and draped just so. Shirt lined, tucked in. Buckle polished, nails trimmed, hair combed and slicked, hat just so, shoes spit polished so you could shave in the reflection. They CARRIED him to the armory, placed him in the spot and formed up around him. Wiped the floor around him, dusted off his shoulders, shoes, heels were even polished. The Louie was duly impressed and reportedly gave out his first ever 100%. When the company was ordered to march in review, the wax covering the "sample's" shoes popped off in one big flake.....
  23. 4 points
    While it's a shame they dropped it my guess is there might be some history behind the decision to not allow publicity for any outside group. Imagine the worst of groups that you'd clearly not allow. Now think of all those that you'd clearly allow. Now find the sweet spot in the middle where the school is just going to get a bunch of people angry deciding yes or no. That's likely what they don't want. They may like cub scouts just fine. How about having your son go ask the principal why they have that rule? Coach him to be respectful and that alone may just put a seed in the principal's mind to reconsider.
  24. 4 points
    A shirtless skinny pale geek type would be OK? Steve Rogers pre-serum?
  25. 4 points
    I was a Cub Scout earning AOL and a Boy Scout briefly in the early to mid 80s. We didnt have siblings tagging along nor did we have sisters doing the same stuff we were but not getting credit. So the girls have always been there reasoning has not been a convincing factor for me. I was against girls in Cub Scouts and Boy... Uhhh Scouts BSA. What's the logically next step for someone with my views on the subject?? Yep, I had a lenghtly discussion with my CM about laying groundwork for a female Troop in our area. My daughter is a 5th grader this year and a member in another national scouting organization. The have been working on their drawing badge. <eye roll> My daughter and one other girl want to camp and do outdoor things but no one else in the Troop wants to do those activities. So, they make posters and stuff at their meetings. With my training and experience I almost feel obligated to create the opportunity for my daughter and what I assume are other interested girls to have the scout experience they want.