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Showing content with the highest reputation on 03/06/19 in all areas

  1. 5 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.
  2. 4 points
    Some of my best Scouting memories have been helping Scouts to earn the Rifle and Shotgun merit badges.
  3. 3 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.
  4. 2 points
    We are giving consideration to that very idea with a twist under current rules. We are considering a Webelos-only cub pack for girls to link with our all-girl Troop. Same meeting times, girl den chiefs, participation in Troop activities when it makes sense under the current structure. Maybe this fall, but the following year if not then.
  5. 2 points
    As long as we're dreaming about changing national, here's another option for cub scout burnout: Take webelos out of the cub program. The first year of scouts could be mixed in with it as well. The idea is to have an intermediate stage between cubs and scouts. The only purpose would be to develop teamwork and start doing a consistent outdoor program. Adult led patrols would be fine. The mantra would be "as soon as you get to scouts you'll do this on your own, so learn." Before anyone says that's what webelos is supposed to be, I agree, but for the simple reason that a webelos den looks a lot like a cub den under the same committee with the same cub master, there's no push to differentiate the two. UK Scouts has 4 age ranges where we have 2. I don't think 4 is right for us, but 3 might be worth considering.
  6. 2 points
    One might go even further. Simply holding 9 - 12 camping trips a year might be insufficient if only say 10-20% of scouts are attending. Some percentage of scout-nights-camped would be a better pure metric to track.
  7. 2 points
    I'm sure litigation was the motivation, but we had a scout break his arm during an activity that we forgot to submit a tour permit. When I reported the incident and that we forgot the tour permit, the response was "No Biggy". I was told later that the professionals knew that any good lawyer could hold the BSA to their word of taking responsibility. I can see that you are skeptical of councils big brother approach to forcing units to follow a check list, I was too. But when I volunteered at the district and council level, I learned that more adults than you would think are very thoughtless of safety in their activities. At some point, it's not as much about litigation as it is the safety of other parents sons. It's great that your troop creates such a checklist for your activities, but I assure you, your troop is not the norm. Barry
  8. 1 point
    I like your idea. IMHO, it sounds like a great concept. IMHO, troops should offer a similar program for boys.
  9. 1 point
    This immediately came to mind.
  10. 1 point
    At some point it got back to parents that there was a rule, no first-year scouts allowed on the ballot. I have to imagine that just as easily it could get back to parents that SM recommendation is one of the several requirements (alongside rank and nights camping). This still feels like just a case of the wrong info being put out there. If it becomes known in the troop that the SM has to recommend a scout to get on the ballot, that's what will circulate among scouts and parents. The problem seems to be coming from the seemingly broad rule that scouts and parents think this SM created about first-years. It doesn't have to be that way, just make it known that there are 3 requirements to get on the ballot, and SM recommendation is one of them, equal to the other two. If there is sufficient time at a meeting when OA shows up to discuss the other 2 requirements, surely there is time to mention the 3rd one.
  11. 1 point
    ...and I'm imagining a "kinder, gentler" U.S. Marine Corps drill sergeant, telling a motivational story to a barracks full of privates who may not see the wisdom of rolling out of their bunks at 5am to do a 5-mile jog in the rain with full backpacks.
  12. 1 point
    I guess, but in our area OA suddenly shows up at a meeting to do the election. Oh we may get a couple days warning, but it's not like there are months of preparation and counseling before the election. I'm not even sure how parents find out about it. If I'm counseling any scouts about qualification, it's usually the night of the election because it suddenly came up. And as I said, when it comes to first year scouts, I counseled more parent than scouts. When did not getting elected become a bad thing? Not getting elected should be normal because it's a program for elite scouts. Or was. In my opinion, OA is only for mature scouts. Scouts should have enough maturity and knowledge of OA to counsel their parents about the program and process, not the SM. That much maturity and knowledge requires some scouting experience. And maybe that should be the standard SM response to parents, "Go ask you son. If he doesn't have a satisfactory explanation, then he's not qualified yet." Barry
  13. 1 point
    I think that's fine as long as that is communicated. Maybe this whole thing is just a failure of communication at some level. Re-reading the OP, it sounds like parents were under the assumption that to get on the ballot, a scout simply had to meet the qualifications, those qualifications seemingly being the more quantifiable stuff, rank and nights camping. If SM recommendation isn't viewed (or communicated) as a "requirement" to get on the ballot, it could just be a matter of making that clear. Again, if this is presented as "no first-year scouts allowed", that doesn't speak to the SM recommendation part of the process. That just makes it sound like the troop is adding a rule of their own, which hardly ever sits well with parents and leads to discussions/debates exactly like this one. Ultimately I think this whole thing could be put to rest with a clearer explanation of the ballot process. Don't say "no first-years", instead just say "SM recommendation required". The SM can then do whatever they want really in regards to their personal criteria for ballot selection.
  14. 1 point
    Contact your council to see if they have a Chair for International Scouting. Many do. Particularly this year as it is World Jambo year. If they have one, then they can assist you in connecting with Troops from other countries. If your council does not have one, then perhaps they can point you to another council in your Area that has such a position.
  15. 1 point
    Is it this? https://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php/International_Activity_Badge It's been replaced by https://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php/International_Spirit_Award
  16. 1 point
    https://www.reddit.com/r/scouting/ is full of posts from scouts from various nations saying hello.
  17. 1 point
    I was sitting with my 5 month old grandson and his beautiful mother last week just chit chatting about her new life experiences. In the discussion, she told me, "you are right dad, boy are different from girls, even at 5 months." Girls do have more freedom than ever to make their own choices, but our culture has overstepped it's bounds and force equality against nature. Nature always wins in the long run. Barry
  18. 1 point
    I still turn my collar under, just as I did as a youth member in 1968