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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
    We were coming back from an outing last week, stopped for lunch, saw the Girl Scouts were selling cookies nearby so we wandered over and bought some cookies, talked about our recent outing, heard about their projects, and we went on our way. The sky did not open, everyone was pleasant, and we ate several boxes of Samoas before we got back to the church
  3. 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.
  4. 7 points
    "You are no longer a Cub, you are now a Scout."
  5. 6 points
    Not a prize that I was looking for, but it's the world we live in. 😪 Just a reminder, folks: use that "Report" button for posts that seem a little "off". (Not off base - that could be my posts on any given day!) That just don't add up logically. Feel free to look at a user's other posts to see if they "hang together" like they are something that would come from a single scout or scouter. That's tough because we all have multiple positions, official and unofficial. This poster's give-away was when he/she/it reported volunteering in a BSA program, then started a thread purporting to be in a country that did not use that program. Didn't add up. I noticed the obtuse replies before I noticed that each reply had a quotation of an established forum member had links to vile content in it. Then, I clicked "report" for each similar post (i.e., all of today's from this one account). Thanks @John-in-KC for prompt action! I'm sorry for everyone else who got hijacked.
  6. 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.
  7. 5 points
    You've put your finger on a larger issue than boys vs. girls ... re: my comments at bottom. Bingo. Four years ago I'd just taken a troop that hadn't been to Camporee in over a decade. The PLC agreed to send one patrol as a "test", and our next-to-youngest patrol was registered. Our scouts took to heart the Campmaster's instruction to "enjoy the experience" and my ASM and I left them alone. Agreed, they weren't one-month-fresh, but they certainly were among the least prepared. This as opposed to other troops' patrols, which annually take the whole thing so seriously they hold "camporee-prep" campouts and the like. Result? Yep, our naive-but-eager scouts took top-honors, as opposed to the others which had been preparing for weeks. Was there an adult agenda? Yes: energy & enthusiasm (which to ParkMan's point could easily account for the girls' success). Is such an agenda proper? Personally I hope we can soon get passed all these "agendas" and get to what defines quality in scouting. Candidly I can't easily define such "quality" - Is it trail-to-first-class scout skills? Or energy & enthusiasm? Regardless, how should performance be fairly assessed & graded? I believe this is the crux of the matter.
  8. 5 points
    Then I misunderstood what you meant when you said " the boys aren't just competing against girls, but the adults as well." And "no hope because I've never heard of a new scouts doing so well so fast ...  " Either the adults tipped the scales, or they did not. So, you don't believe they tipped the scales? Fine. We agree. If they did not, then these particular new scouts actually did well. They either did well because they are endowed with gifts that boys could never possess. Or, they are really excited about the program, and practiced hard and looked sharp for the big game. I choose to believe the latter. Because if that's true then I can tell that losing patrol to start practicing for the win next year. If the former is true, then we are stuck with a "Sorry boys, there goes your safe space" whine that just smacks of defeatism. If all you are saying is that you find the biased hype aggravating, I kind of agree. I think 'Schiff points to it in the misconception below: They are no more "rookies" than any other newly formed patrol. Many have been working on skills for months or years. Some could have already been friends for some time. That friendship might have forged by one common interest ... They just love this scouting stuff.
  9. 5 points
    I had a girl troop last weekend at the camporee I was a planner for. They were full uniformed, excellent attitudes and were within the top three scores on every event. They also knocked it out of the park on the other optional point items and took home top troop of the district for the event. Definitely a big thumbs up from me on girls in scouting.
  10. 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.
  11. 5 points
    Urgh! Under the collar? What's wrong with you people?
  12. 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?
  13. 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
  14. 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.
  15. 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...
  16. 5 points
    @ItsBrian enjoy your last day as a Life Scout! 😉
  17. 5 points
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 4 points
    Well explained, willray. The navigation system in a car uses GPS, but it is not the same as a handheld unit that can give you a specific set of coordinates describing your position on the planet. Unfortunately, the whole topic of navigation is not well understood by most scouters. Even basic map and compass skills bewilder many leaders, never mind asking them to explain how to read a topographic map. I would like to see a good navigation class offered at my local University of Scouting. Lord knows I'm bored senseless by all the bureaucratic nonsense about the politically correct policy du jour and learning more about the irrelevant tangent award du jour. Basic OUTDOOR skills are painfully lacking in our council's University of Scouting. Navigation is just one of many useful basic scouting skills that scouters could use some brushing up on... I often find that my local REI has better, more useful "scouting" classes than the council training committee offers.
  21. 4 points
    Lesson there, at least for me , is not to give a Like , UP- arrow, Thanks, etc until more than an hour later so poster does not change content under ones nose. RS P.S. Also thanks to @ParkMan and @Sentinel947 for reporting the same problem with that same member!
  22. 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.
  23. 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.....
  24. 4 points
    The new program name is "Scouts BSA", but the Scouts themselves are just called "Scouts": Scouts BSA Program Resources: FAQ (page 10) Also the Guide to Advancement: https://www.scouting.org/resources/guide-to-advancement/mechanics-of-advancement/scouts-bsa/
  25. 4 points
    """Yes, the OA is a service organization. But there was a camaraderie in the work. Sometimes that "cheerful spirit, even the midst of irksome tasks and weighty responsibilities...." resulted in turning it to fun or even turning the task into a joke to make it more bearable. Sadly that is missing. When I was CA 10+ years ago. I suggested promoting the fun stuff as well as doing our own. We sent folks to fellowship and conclave. We had fun meetings and even did some special trips. Our work load didn't decrease, in fact we did a few extra community service projects. OA was getting back on track for a while in my neckof the woods. Eagle94-A1""" This isn't just OA, this is Patrol Method. I took this quote from the OA discussion, but Eagle94 is really hitting the idealism of the brothers in the patrol as well. The objective of the patrol is for the scouts Practice struggling, and come together with ideas so often that they can eventually read each others mind. They reach a place that being in the patrol isn't about scouting together, camping together, cooking together or even competing together, it's about being together. One poster commented that Arrowmen in his area didn't enjoy the program because it service wasn't fun. But that means they haven't come together as brothers. They were simply doing a task they were assigned. When the scouts start organizing activities to serve together, then the weighted task are easy, even fun. The 4 Steps of Team Development are Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing. The key step there is Storming because that is where the team members (Patrol Members) start to hold each other accountable for doing their part. It's called Storming because the members push back and forth until actions of humility bring balance. Humility is not a natural human action of young males because it exposes them to harm. Pride is their natural reaction because it's raises a barrier that protects them. The barrier also prevents the clay shaping bonding that forms a productive team. The members of a productive team develop a trust with the other members where they can let their guard down. Human instinct is to hold your weaknesses close to you. Once you build the trust with the other members of the team, a relationship builds where the members not only enjoy being with the team, but also liking themselves more as well. Team members use your best skills, and that feel pretty cool. So, how do we get the patrols to push to and through Storming part of the patrol method. Well, the more they struggle, they more they have to rely on the team the relieve the struggle. Competition is a really good method of applying stress into a team. But any struggle works. I found High Adventure Crews typically go through the Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing steps in just a few days because the trek is compact with struggles. Most High Adventures are both physically and mentally stressful through most of each day. There is very little relief until after the evening meal. Takes about 3 days to reach storming, then the rest of the trek to reach Performing. Crews are pretty bonded by the end of a trek. The natural leaders will stand out and the rest of the team does their part to support the goals and vision of the team. Most scouts of a crew never loose that bond even after they break up after the trek. I believe that preparing meals is the most stressful activity of a patrol on a normal monthly campout. Many troops like to make meals as easy as possible because there is so much stress. Pop Tarts for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and canned spaghetti for dinner with the adults cooking Sunday breakfast as the scouts break camp. Instead, encourage the patrols cooks healthy hearty breakfasts, hot lunches and complex hot dinners. Not only should they cook Sunday breakfast, but prepare lunch as well. Why are troops in so much of a hurry Sunday? Building teams takes time, troops should be using as much time as they can get. I also encourage competition as much as possible. Inspections are a wonderful application of stress because they forces the scouts to keep a neat campsite. While two scouts are cooking, the rest of the team has the task of cleaning up the campsite. A tent mate may have to role up his partners sleeping bag because he is busy with KP. Time is the Scoutmasters best tool for creating stress. When a patrol has less than an hour to get up, cook, clean up and get camp ready for inspection, they will generally come to troop assembly late until the come together as a team. I love "Time". I used it a lot. To build a team, the adults must push a program that forces the members of the team to function together. But most important, the program should apply enough stress and struggle to force the team to hold each other accountable. Once the members start lowering their guard with humility and accepting accountability, then they start to bond through trust. I enjoy watching mature patrols because their is no limits to their goals and abilities. Like the mature OA team, mature patrols are naturally servant oriented because they outwardly act toward the rest of the troop they way the act toward each other. No wonder new young scouts are naturally attracted to them. These patrols not only make hard work look easy, they also make it look fun. It's hard for the adults at first to push a program that challenges scouts to the point of storming because they believe the hostile actions toward each other are bad behavior. Truth is the Scout Law guides how to behave in stressful situations. Adults want scouts to feel that stress often so they can learn how to control their actions. As the adults guide the scouts to use humility in their behavior, they will quickly cross the line to Norming. And then it gets fun from there. I know, but I was bored with all the other discussions. So, I started one on a subject that is fun for me. Not that they aren't good discussions, they are. I'm just adding a little variety. Hope you don't mind. Barry