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  1. 11 points
    I had my ECOH earlier today (right as I got home from staffing a camp, I was and still am tired), and it was a great experience! I thought I didn’t want one at first, but now I realized it would’ve been a mistake if I didn’t. We had a dinner buffet and a cake. I was at camp, so I wasn’t involved in much of the rehearsals or anything but it went pretty good. I was shocked with the town officials coming and everything.
  2. 10 points
    No dog in this fight (BTW - do not support dog fighting but it's a great old expression) as our unit has eschewed any camporees, etc. The judging of "best" troop or "best" patrol at events when there are NOT objective measurements is suspect at best. Have a camporee competition where Scouts paddle a canoe out and back, lowest time wins, great. Tie 8 knots in a relay, lowest time wins, super. When you start adding mystery "Bonus" points for patrol spirit, team effort, appearance, etc etc, then the competition becomes no longer a competition, but an anointing by the camporee adults of who they think (or feel?) should win. The Scouts can see through this sham very quickly
  3. 9 points
    One thing I learned as a scoutmaster: get all the information before having an opinion. We don't have all the information. We can guess but won't help. Something else that has helped my sanity; realizing that eagle is nothing but a bauble at the end of a list of check boxes. While most scouts get what we'd like them to get out of it there are those that just see it as one big check box. I have a lot more respect for those scouts that volunteer to be SPL or PL because they know it's a job that needs to be done than an eagle scout that only held a POR long enough to get the check box signed off. I'm not saying just give in to the scout's desires and sign everything off as quick as they'd like. Rather, use eagle as a tool. Each scout is different and requires different tools to motivate them to do their best. I used to treat eagle like, well, how the BSA sells it. Consequently I would seek those scouts that would cut corners and make them go back and do it again. While a lot of scouts thanked me I also broke some rules in the process. I'm not sure it was worth it. The adult's job is to motivate scouts to do their best. The eagle bauble is just one tool to do that. It may have been better to spend more time developing other tools, such as teamwork within patrols, or having fun activities that develop outdoor skills. There's a lot of tension in this thread and it's just like all the other threads about advancement. Did the girl cheat? Did the leaders or parents grease the skids? Or was this just a really motivated scout? We really don't know. But the tension is going to do a lot more damage than the good that might come from making sure scouts don't cut corners.
  4. 9 points
    It may be encouraging to remember that while 2 years may sound like a tight squeeze, it's not impossible. Scouts have been doing just that for a century - starting at 11 or 12 and earning it at 13 or 14. If they can do it at such tender ages, I'm sure these young women will be even more capable of making it happen, what with their advantages of maturity, desire, and resources. I will express, however, that if a young lady joins a unit with the driving goal of earning the rank of Eagle Scout, she may have already misunderstood the purpose of Scouting. The goal of a Scout should never be "to earn one's Eagle." This overlooks the vast and myriad spectrum of opportunities which Scouting affords our youth, the real goals which are represented by the rank of Eagle Scout, but not beholden to it. Learning how to camp, learning how to vote, learning how to treat a wound. Learning first aid, and communication skills, and crafts and sciences and cultures, becoming invested in the world around them, and using what they learn to help others. Discovering for themselves the possibilities - and responsibilities - of the world around them. Above all, becoming, truly, trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. Those are the true goals of Scouting. So, if you want to give these girls the most that Scouting has to offer, make this focus on personal development your top priority, using the Path to Eagle as a means of organizing, focusing and measuring their personal progress towards becoming better people, but never sacrificing the structure and integrity of its requirements for the sake of "pushing through it." It's a tool towards preparing young people with the vital life skills and knowledge they will need to be effective and honorable adults, and if a Scout follows the advancement program faithfully and diligently, with the goal of absorbing all that they can from the program, then they will have achieved the real achievement of Scouting - becoming a good, moral, contributing part of their families and communities. So, I opine that the single best approach, FOR ALL SCOUTS, is simply to follow the program faithfully, intentionally, and sincerely, using advancement as a tool to help you organize your activities and measure your progress as you work to learn all you can in the time allotted you, but not allowing it to become the reason you Scout. Those early ranks teach the core principles and skills of Scouting. They are not designed for "young Scouts." They are meant for new Scouts, of any age, and they are intentionally designed to create the essential foundation of skills and knowledge espoused by this program. I have more respect for the First Class Scout who has truly invested himself in mastering the requirements of his rank than for the Eagle Scout who brushed through them just to get started on his leadership tenures. For these new Scouts, it's FAR more important that you focus on ensuring the early ranks are passed thoroughly than it is to "skip to the higher ranks." Besides, success at those levels inherently depends on whether or not the Scout has truly demonstrated his competence in the requirements leading up to First Class. It's wonderful that these girls are driven and willing to work. Your job is make sure that they are in Scouting to become Scouts, in the deeper sense of that expression. Working carefully, not hastily, towards Eagle will help them to get the most out of their experience. And even if they don't make it that far, such an approach will ensure they still reap the true benefits of the program for the rest of their lives. Good luck!
  5. 9 points
    Dear Friends, including Moderators: I agree with those who think we should mainstream discussion of Scouts BSA all-girl troops. Pigeon-holing us into a politics chapter continues a negative cast on a decision that, while not supported by all of our members, is actually working out quite well. We should not have to defend against negativism when what we really want to do is discuss how the program is best working in the new units. Please make the change. I've been the senior volunteer at the Unit, District, Council (major metropolitan) and Area levels, and served on national and council committees for over 30 years. I've formed over 20 units in my time. I "retired" from all of that and am now a Scoutmaster of a 25-member all-girl troop in an urban area with a committee of 15. I thought I had seen it all until we added these all-girl Scouts BSA units. In my opinion this is the best enhancement to our ability to serve young people over the last 20 years. I was on camp staff for a few years in my youth, and the kind of cutting and unrelenting negativism from those who do not appear to be on the front lines of this development sound like a Scoutmaster named Igor we saw during first period each year. He could never be satisfied with anything the camp staff did because "national" and the "council" had "ruined" the Scouting program of his 1940/50's youth. We had - gasp - propane in the patrol kitchens, were shifting to "ugly" tan shirts, and somewhere at some other chartered organization there were now girls doing things in Exploring. Yes, even though he had no obligation to involve himself with a female Explorer Post, the knowledge that a BSA group out there included young women had indeed ruined his experience of operating his all-boy Troop. Folks, there are always changes to our program and there will always be people who claim that those changes have ruined what was better or perfect before. In the 50's it was the - gasp - welcoming of African-American Scouts into Troops. Imagine that -- Scouting "ruined" way back then. These people will always be with us and there is nothing we can do about that. But there is one thing I have learned about this through my years as a Scout and my 30 years as a unit/council/national Scouter. It is the optimists and cheerleaders who make Scouting happen and will always be the future and leaders of our movement. I urge the moderators to begin a program thread on Scouts BSA implementation for girl troops and prohibit political discussions on that thread. Let's get on with helping the 1,800 new Scoutmasters, Troop Committee Chairs and Troop Committees out there. When was the last time we actually had 1,800 new Troops in this movement? Yes, it was back in Igor's youth -- in the 40s and 50s. I believe the good times are returning because now everyone is welcome..
  6. 9 points
    Barry: My effort is to create a positive, encouraging thread that highlights positive program activities about all-girl troops. Under the rules of this blog it is proper that off-topic postings are removed from a focused thread, and that is what happened here (and not at my request). Nothing aggressive about that. I look for the better side of people, like the overwhelming majority of bloggers here. My scouting bio includes AOL, Eagle, sea Scout QM, camp staff, vigil, unit leader, district Chair, Council President and Area President. Now I am focusing only on being a Scoutmaster. I have a child in our program, as do my three Eagle brothers. i fully support that the BSA is fully welcoming and my personal engagement has shown me that the decision on girls was the right one.
  7. 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.
  8. 7 points
    I wanted to share some success from this weekend. Since I joined two years-ish ago, I have been trying to effect a change in our troop to move towards the Patrol Method. I was accompanied by a very experienced ASM who joined in the spring. Together we've been talking to the SM about the Patrol Method, tag teaming him in small ways with encouragement etc that makes the SM more inclined to think Patrol Method. Stuff he already knows, but hasn't been doing. He and the "Wanna-Be-SM" have been making excuses about why they aren't doing the Patrol Method. Really stupid excuses like "but you know they won't do it" and other things. Yah, they won't do X when they know you will do it. Or the scouts tried to do X and then SM/Wanna-Be-SM barge in and take everything over, brushing anything the scouts have done out of the way. So this weekend the SM saw me talking with the new SPL. I was explaining basic Patrol Method stuff. I had his ear driving to the campsite too, along with the acting ASPL. The SM supported it for the first time I've ever seen. The wanna-be-SM also saw how the wind was blowing and stood back more than normal. It's a step in the right direction. Us adults talked Patrol Method at several points in the day. We started mentoring the scout leadership group (SPLs & PLs) in things they needed to know in how to lead their troop/patrol. We pushed the scouts back to their troop leaders to find the answers they needed. We let them make mistakes and work through them for the most part. Can't get all the adults out of their habits in a single weekend. All in all, a very nice and good step in the right direction. I'm hoping to keep that progress and will continue to do what I can to encourage things to the right direction. My next major goal is having a PLC without extra adults in the room trying to run things. Haven't seen a PLC in all the time I've been in this troop.
  9. 7 points
    You should probably ask the older scouts Mom as she obviously has set the rule.
  10. 7 points
    I was a Rifle Instructor at a Council camp. We had a scout who was autistic. He had a leader from his troop that came with him and helped him shoot. He didn't get the badge because his accuracy wasn't enough to complete the badge, but his leader and I made sure he had fun and the other Scouts were safe.
  11. 7 points
    This discussion is exactly what many experienced scouters on this forum predicted would happen. The non scouting public identifies Scouting only by the Eagle. And by golly the girls parents are going to get it for them. Greenbar who? Barry
  12. 7 points
    I think this is a grave disservice to any of your girls, or any Scout for that matter, to create a 2 year plan for them in order to earn Eagle. THEY ARE THE ONES WHO NEED TO CREATE THEIR OWN PLAN AS EACH INDIVIDUAL IS DIFFERENT ( major emphasis). Part of the journey to Eagle is the Scout deciding their own path, the Scout deciding what they want to do, the Scout deciding how they are going to achieve their goals. What have they learned if you hand them a plan?
  13. 7 points
    Five years, and I am still trying to sort out how leadership is in any way distinct from character development, citizenship, and mental and physical fitness.
  14. 7 points
    Well, then if the "Barriers to Abuse" are to stand and be considered rules, they should change to FAQ to read: Yes, 2 registered adults over the age of 21 are required at ALL activities. A stupid rule that is consistent is better than a stupid rule that's inconsistent with arbitrary exceptions. And at least with a consistent rule people can stop arguing about what the rule means, and start just deciding when they are going to obey it, and when the stupidity of it means that it will get ignored. The unfortunate thing about the stupidity of issuing rules that can't be obeyed is that all it really does is erode the credibility of the remaining rules along with the authority of the national organization to decide them.
  15. 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
  16. 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.
  17. 7 points
    "You are no longer a Cub, you are now a Scout."
  18. 6 points
    Just flew back from Philmont and boy are my glutes tired. This was our first trip and I’ll try to cover my personal gear, crew gear and my son’s gear. My Tent – Tarptent Aeon – Well, early on at Ponil, I forgot to pull out 1 stake, pulled on the tent and made a major rip where the mesh attaches to the Dyneema. Argh! Tenacious tape kept it usable, but it’s toast. I brought it because people said sites were tight. We had 3 advisers and I got to tent alone. Not true. I could fit my Duplex in every spot I put my Aeon. I planned to sell either the Aeon or Duplex, but now that decision is made for me. The Aeon is a good tent. However, at just shy of 6’3″ and 202 pounds (came home weighing 190) I just don’t fit in a 1 person tent. My shoulder would brush against the wall. Twice we had condensation and that meant a wet shoulder. Verdict: I will look at 2 person tents for the next trip. However, the Aeon is a good tent. Son’s Tent – MLD Duomid with Duomid Inner. Silnylon – This worked well for 2 skinny scouts. It was lighter than half a Philtent. Larger scouts will be cramped. It was all in 1 bag so his tentmate took more of the food to balance things out. Verdict: If you’re willing to make the purchase and scouts aren’t big, it worked well. I could sell it. My Backpack – Zpacks Arc Haul – This worked well. Our first food pickup was for 4 days. Packing everything in was a challenge for the crew. I took the crew tarp we brought, my tent and a Helinox Chair Zero strapped to the bottom. I didn’t anticipate taking the tarp and just barely had enough paracord to hold them. I’ll replace with longer cord. It carried well, was light and have only good things to say. The mesh pocket has 2 tears. Verdict: Will use again. Son’s Backpack – REI Flash 55 – I spent a lot of time shopping sales for fairly light, compact gear for my son. Others on the crew didn’t do as well. This pack only works if you have compact gear and don’t overpack. He used all optional pieces. Verdict: Very good pack at a good price. It is smaller than most scout packs, so you must have compact personal gear. My Sleeping Bag – Feathered Friends Flicker YF 30 – This is a hybrid quilt/bag. It has a full ziper and the foot box cinches closed. I assumed it was warmer in bag mode. It was warmer in quilt mode. I bought an attachment strap to keep it tight to the pad. In bag mode, the zipper was a cold spot, even with a draft tube. In quilt mode, this wasn’t an issue. It was varying degrees (pun intended) of cold every night. There were no hot nights. My sleep clothes (covered later) were not as warm as they should have been. Not the bag’s fault. Verdict: Unsure. I like the quilt. Perhaps 20 degrees would be better. Better clothes would work, too. Quality product. Son’s Sleeping Bag – Summit 20°F StormLOFT™ Down Sleeping Bag – I got this on sale. It’s not as compact as more expensive bags, but for a scout, it was probably the most compact, light crew bag. My son was never cold. Verdict – shop the sales and this is a good choice for scouts. My Sleeping Pad – Xlite long/wide – I’m tall and I’ve tried smaller pads. It’s impossible to sleep on them. This worked well. Verdict: Will use again Son’s Pad – Nemo Switchback – This is probably the best closed cell foam pad. Bulkier than inflatable, but no risk of holes. Verdict: Great choice for scouts. My Rain Jacket – North Face Hyperair GTX – Light, relatively breathable and kept me dry. Verdict: Love it! My Rain Pants – Montbell Peak Shell – light and did the job. Verdict: Use again Shoes – Altra Lone Peak 4 – Sigh, they fit great. No blisters or pain. Only 1 wet shoe water crossing and they dried quickly. However, after 2 prep hikes and 1 Philmont trip, the left toe kick is coming off. Verdict: Love everything but the durability. Will consider other options. Socks – Darn Tough – comfy and durable. Trekking Poles – REI Flash Carbon – worked well. Gaiters – Dirty Girl Skulls – kept debris out of my shoes and my socks less dirty. Use again. Watch – Garmin Fenix 5x – Gave poor numbers with auto pause on. Worked great with that off. Use again. Chair – Helinox Chair Zero – Used every day. Not good enough to nap in, but worth the weight on this type of trip. Use again, but keep eye open if something better comes out. Headlamp – Nitecore – Light, compact and charge lasted all week. Water Bottles – Smartwater – Multiple people in other crews saw how great it was to be able to fit 2 bottles in the side pockets rather than 1 heavier Nalgene. Great choice. Sleep Bottoms Warm – Odlo Light Merino – Too light. Mid weight would be better choice for me. Sleep Bottoms Light – Dutchwear Gear Shorts – Too cold to wear them. Sleep Shirt – Montbell Merino Wool Plus T shirt – Too cold to wear by itself. Very light, nice shirt. Sleep Hat – Blackrock Gear 950 Down – Light, compact, warm. Use again. Sleep Fleece – Kuiu Mountain Fit Hoodie – Should have noticed how short this fits. Poor fit and too light. Hood combined with the hat made for good earplugs. Will take a better fleece next time. Possum Down Socks – These were so comfy to put on at night. Definitely recommend. Ghost Whisperer Puffy – No hood version. This was just barely adequate. I would go with something a little warmer with a hood. The cold rain in the afternoon was not joyful. I’d put my raincoat on over this, but just was able to prevent shivering while waiting around the campsite. Crew Gear Tarp – Sanctuary Siltarp – We had 9 in our crew. At no time did all 9 of us use it. It was only used a few times. A full crew of 12 would struggle to fit under it. With trekking poles, it wasn’t really high enough. Attaching to trees (using twigs like the bear ropes) or finding a stick longer than a trekking pole made it more usable. It more than doubled in weight when packed away wet. Verdict: It worked but will re-evaluate, particularly if we have a larger crew. Pots – Boscovs 6 quart pots – Smaller than Philpots. For 9, only 1 meal came close to filling it. We only heated enough water for meals and washed with cold water as Camp Suds says is fine. Verdict: Use again Stakes – Groundhog Minis – Worked, but I hate the tops. They hurt your hand. We broke a LNT rule and used rocks to push, not pound them in. Probably use again. Stove – Xcelerator remote canister stove – Light and worked well. Use again. I hate white gas stoves. Bowls – Fozzils Bowls – These were crew gear. Light, cheap, compact and easy to lick clean. Perfect!
  19. 6 points
    If he is really into make lists and deadlines, then stop him from focusing on the RANK. Have him list the knowledge, skills and training he will need to reach each recognition point. Other words, I will camp and make my own tent on my first night under the stars by xxx, 2019. I will volunteer to make the menu and cook the food on the second outing by xxx, 2109. I will earn my whittling chip and fire making skills at next camporee which is on xxx, 2019. I will attend my troops leadership course on xxx, 2020. My first merit badge will be in xxx and will be done by xxx, 2020. He will (hopefully) quickly realize, that if he is involved; advancement happens........
  20. 6 points
    Welcome, @EagleDad79, to scouter. If you are the IH or COR, it’s easy. Find a new CM, train him, then have a big retirement party for the old guy, thanking him for dedicated and passionate service to the Pack. If you’re the Committee Chair, it’s time to have a business cup of coffee with the COR. Anyone else, and you bring your concerns to the Committee Chair.
  21. 6 points
    There are no BSA class B uniforms; there are, however, activity shirts. As much as I admire scouts who do all of their outdoor activities in ther field uniform, I've never found this a hill to die on. I've also never been thrilled with BSA's marketing material, so there's that.
  22. 6 points
    You are dead on right. An 11 year old is not the audience for the theory of learning. Rank and MB requirements should not say EDGE. Instead, say "Teach a scout" or "Show a new scout". As scouts mature and age, then NYLT can reveal that BSA's preferred teaching method is EDGE and here's how it works. Learning is a continuum. (leadership, teaching, etc). At the earlier levels, learning starts with doing. This matches Baden-Powell saying that advancement is the natural result of being active. So, learning EDGE should be a natural result of helping each others. At those earlier levels, we encourage confidence in their new knowledge and confidence in reaching out to help others. ... Plus, teaching EDGE makes the learning too dry and boring for the scouts. I think there is a corollary with teaching leadership. Troops would be more successful teaching leadership if they stopped staying they are teaching leadership. I cringe when I hear it. Plus, It kills the buzz and is clumsy and inconsistent at best. Rather, units should focus on a quality program. Then advanced leader training can explain the meta-learning objectives and methods such as leadership.
  23. 6 points
    I started backpacking in the '70s. There were plenty of funky, loud backpacks and tents. And the clothes! Remember the stars and stripes/red/white/blue external frame packs? I've always wanted one of those. But I digress. When I was backpacking as a scout back then and encountered other folks on the trail, be they earthy Ecology types, hippies, or Joe or Jane Citizen, not once, not ever, was there an issue about bright colors. There was always a sense of mutual respect and camaraderie, even for just a couple seconds in passing, or we might stop and visit a spell. Scouts, "squares" or the amazing hippies, we were all in the outdoors, enjoying life. So what has changed? As beneficial as LNT is, there are times I think some of the philosophies border on outdoor elitism. Humans and the Earth are more resilient than we give credit for.
  24. 6 points
    I met an Eagle Scout a few months back. Talked to him for a bit coming out of the hospital. He was 20 years old, about to marry his high school sweet heart and was enrolling in college. He wants to be a biomedical engineer. He lost both legs below the knees and part of his hand in Afghanistan. I assume from IED, he didn't say and I didn't pry. He did say he was an E4 and a squad leader over there. I couldn't imagine telling him he was not ANYTHING enough to be a full fledged Scout leader if he chose. Yet I have met fifty-something year old Scouters I wouldn't let walk my dog let alone depend on them to get my children back home safely from an camp out.
  25. 6 points
    This happens from time to time. Somebody not being allowed to hold their talking stick when and where they want to. @SSF Why don't you start your own topic of Abysmal Examples of Scouts BSA for Girls? That way you can have the moderators ding everyone who posts something positive. Then those folks can claim foul about being manipulated by elites. @Cburkhardt, you have gone to some lengths to reply to everyone who hasn't proffered the responses that you'd like to see. That's nice. But I will note that it only intends to invite equally long off-topic aggrieved retorts. It kind of defeats your purpose. We can still enjoy opposing views on this forum. But, going around raining on someone's parade is not the way to do it.
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