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

  1. 2 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
  2. 2 points
    Much harder for all scouts period. I'm always surprised by the major difference of difficulty of the eagle merit badges. Some are significant work. Some are almost automatic.
  3. 2 points
  4. 2 points
    You're going to need about 50 scouts to do this over the course of the year. With 40 scouts between the pack & troop, you'll probably want to ask each scout to sign up for 1 or 2 spots. That's not an awful burden to help fund the pack. But, I think my real question would be - do you want to do this? As I see it, your CO is basically asking you all to be more involved in the CO's success. We as Scouters are often commenting how uninvolved the COs are in our units. This strikes me as an opportunity to be more engaged with the CO. That can be a very good thing. My recommendation would be that you think of this as an opportunity to do regular service for your CO. Discuss with your leaders if they want to have an ongoing service project with the CO. Make it less about the money and more about the service and about being part of the CO's community. If you all decide to do it, I'd have an honest discussion with the head of the CO. Basically, explain to him/her how doing something like this monthly will become a significant task for you. Make sure he/she realizes that it will take some hard work on everyone's part to mobilize families (most of who are not members of the CO) to volunteer like this. Make sure that this is what he/she really wants you to do. I've found that sometimes these things seem better on paper that in reality and that often once people understand the real cost - they change their mind.
  5. 2 points
    I wore this patch on my uniform as a youth from probably 93-97, only taking it off to put on the JLT patch. Over those years I had pretty constant requests to trade it or sell it. To this day I think it's the coolest patch I've ever seen, although my opinion may be slightly biased. 😁 I check eBay for these periodically, and there are plenty of Allamuchy patches up for sale, but never this one. If anyone has one or ever sees one up for sale, I'd be interested in picking up an extra.
  6. 2 points
    My dad was an ASM and went to summer camp my first two years. I saw him at mealtimes and sometimes not even then. He had to have been anxious as heck when skinny shrimpy me did the mile swim and the Wilderness Survival overnight, but never showed it!
  7. 2 points
    So, if I understand that statement, any Sea Scout can earn a merit badge as long as they have First Class rank. They do not need to be part of a Scouts, BSA troop.
  8. 1 point
    Not harder for the scout who, 5 years straight, "forgets" to check in at the aquatics area to round out that last requirement his swimming MB partial.
  9. 1 point
    And several other merit badges. That's a big reason I tell scouts to do fun, outdoor-focused merit badges and leave all the boring, class-oriented merit badges to workshops or independent effort. In our council (maybe yours too), the spoon feeding has gotten so bad that council-run camps actually double-up merit badges *in a single session*. This lets them either: 1) lie about having done the merit badges, 2) deliver a horrible experience that inadequately covers the requirements, or 3) send kids home with huge numbers of partials. (This tends to be especially common with the classroom-oriented badges.) My disgust at our local council's program staff can not be understated.
  10. 1 point
    My gut feelings... Swimming over Hiking Swimming MB is 9 times easier than hiking. Absolutely true ... I'm surprised cycling isn't more popular than hiking. Cycling MB is fun and can be a great troop program. ... But there are many back-packing troops. Env Sci MB over Sustainability Env Sci MB is not exciting, but a "sustainability" MB sounds duller than dull. I can't believe a scout would ever choose it. Troops have a history of pushing Env Science MB. Sustainability MB is newer. Emergency prep over Lifesaving I'm always surprised Lifesaving is not chosen more. If you have Swimming MB, Lifesaving MB is just a little bit more ... aka easiest path And Lifesaving MB is useful ... aka something to boast about And Lifesaving MB is in the water ... aka fun. And Emergency Prep MB can be very dull ... aka painful And Emergency Prep MB has parts that are just out of date / old / not useful.
  11. 1 point
    I must say the cycling merit badge was fun though. 😀
  12. 1 point
    I agree. But open the communication channel and find a way to manage the scouts and their commitment. IMHO, the original poster's situation is like popcorn in reverse. Buying popcorn is really a donation with popcorn as a thank you. In this case, the church is is donating $1000 to the unit, but they want 250 hours of free labor in exchange. At that point, you can't call it a donation or gift.
  13. 1 point
    Events need to stay fresh. A fun once a year event done monthly can quickly become a drag with burnt out volunteers and burnt out scouts. Then mix in when the monthly burger night overlaps with summer camp or school break or a district camporee or ... IMHO, it's hard enough to run a healthy troop. I fear someone may have seen the scouts as free labor and thought "hey we give them $1000 per year". They don't realize it costs about $10,000 to $35,000 per year to run a strong healthy size troop and the troop has it's own program to run also. Plus, if $1000 per year breaks down to $85 per month --> then factor in two adults plus a strong mix of scouts so that it's scout led. How many hours? Assuming a three hour commitment (setup, cook, cleanup) for 7 people (two adults plus five scouts), then you are at 21 hours of labor with a $4 per hour return. ... not to mention shopping, etc... It quickly turns the good will donation of $1000 into a less than minimum wage job. I'd argue the scout unit should do it once a year to say thank you to the charter org. It's a good-will connection. Monthly though is a job that pays bad and will quickly wear out your scouts.
  14. 1 point
    This isn't a clear cut situation, much of it depends on the CO and the Troop leadership and membership. 1,000 a year no strings attached is generous. 1,000 a year to to staff the CO's fundraiser? Maybe still. It's definitely within the CO's rights to ask for assistance and make the financial support contingent on support for their fundraiser. Depending on the troop size, that money covers rechartering and dues. The free rider principle comes into play very strongly here. If it's the same folks running this event every time, and it's mandatory, you're going to have some ticked off families. Furthermore CO's don't like being taken for granted by Scout Troops, and Scout Troops don't like being used as uncompensated (or poorly compensated) labor. So here's the questions I have: How many Scouts in your unit? How many Scouts and parents does it take to staff this fundraiser each time it's put on? How many Scouts and parents will consistently show up to the fundraiser if they are scheduled to? How long is this fundraiser? It sounds like it's on a weeknight, so maybe an hour or two? That'd be ideal. Is the cookout scheduled at a reasonable time? Not too soon after school, not so late that your Scouts can't get their homework done? The dinner hour 6pm-8pm is probably ideal. How does your Troop typically get funded? Is it through fundraising? Or is your troop families well to do enough to just cut checks for everything? What other contributions to your CO does your Troop make? Does your Troop provide any other service to the CO? Or is this the first significant request they've asked for? Is there a significant amount of families that are members of this CO, or is it a "Community Troop"? Depending on the number of Scouts, that money could be $100 per Scout or it could be $1 per Scout. In my Troop 1k a year would be about $16.66 per Scout. That might be worth it if my (fictitious) son and I spend a few hours a year at it. But if it's an hour long fundraiser, 12 times a year, for $16 a Scout, I'd decline that. (Yes I know $16.66 for more than a few hours is not "minimum wage." There is some value in service to others that doesn't strictly add up in dollars and cents.) If the Troop can set up a rotation of Scouts and parents to staff where everybody has to staff the event once or twice a year, that can become a pretty reasonable fundraiser. So do a cost benefit analysis. How many Scouts? How many people are required? How long is each event? What is the dollars per Scout? If the money doesn't line up, maybe there is another project or service your Troop can provide for that money, or maybe you let the money go, and still do some smaller service for the Troop. Whatever you decide, supportive CO's are a rare gift, so don't throw away that relationship.
  15. 1 point
    Why is it a "dumb idea"? You detailed why going to camp was good for you. But what's so "dumb" about a parent or adult leader wanting to keep their distance from their own scout, especially the first year at camp?
  16. 1 point
    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.
  17. 1 point
    When my son crossed over, he went on 4 weekend campouts with the troop without me. I had signed up as ASM right away, but only came to meetings. I went to summer camp his first summer, but that was for me, not him. In fact, there was very little times we were together. I took a training class the first two days. Summer camp is the closest thing I have to a personal vacation, and I very much enjoy it.