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Showing content with the highest reputation on 03/07/19 in all areas

  1. 2 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. 1 point
    As a Scout I was drawn towards adventure and stayed for the community Service. The OA was a large part of what kept me in Scouts as an older kid. The Camaraderie that the Scouts had and the Leaders had along with the relationship with the community. As an Adult I want my Children to have access to that experience. I enjoy being a part of an organization that builds up the community and are role models for others to emulate.
  3. 1 point
    Howdy, ma'am. I think there's a lot of us here who are volunteering because we have scouts in the program. Lord knows, I could probably find a more dangerous use for that "1 hour a week"...
  4. 1 point
    You will find the OA is very accommodating to solo Scouts as well as groups. You should absolutely go. My son was the only one active from his troop at first, now other go as well and he is now Lodge Chief. He has made friends with hundreds of Scouts in the Lodge and in several other Lodges as well. Join your chapter meetings as well if they are active. Volunteer with the Lodge, join a committee and try different tings. Odds are you will find something you enjoy and can have a positive impact on the Lodge and Scouting. Most importantly, have fun, and don't worry about being solo or who else does or does not attend.
  5. 1 point
    Like I said to my kids ... go out there, have fun ... be sure to talk to strangers!!!! I wasn't that involved with O/A, but as I became an older teen I did a good bit of scouting stuff on my own ... that is, with guys who weren't in my troop. It's kind of natural ... expanding your circle of friends like that. It gets you ready for college or military life. Son #1 ... he did scouting with the guys and girls in his troop/crew (and really they were scouts/venturers from his school) or not at all. And, they were good kids mostly, and that worked out well for him. So, I can respect that feeling of "If I got good people who are building me up, I'm sticking with them." But Daughter and Son #2 really needed to branch out. So, they connected with many scouts who weren't in their neighborhood (or town, county, state ...). They still kept their school friends, but for scouting to work for them, they had spend time away from their unit. So, I can respect that feeling of "Maybe I should find more good people to build me up." So, I'd encourage you to set aside a weekend or two for events where you're the only one from your troop. Keep an open mind. If it suit for you, don't be discouraged. You'll still have your troop. But odds are you'll enjoy branching out. Rumor has it that scouts are friendly.
  6. 1 point
    Welcome @octo. You will find that much of your involvement with OA will be of a "solo" nature. That doesn't mean you won't find other members of your troop participating, but it would be a rarity that if you chose to be part of your lodge ceremonies team you would be with members of your troop, or if you ran for an officer position that you would have other members of your troop also on the same officer group. Look at the OA as the brotherhood of scouts, and consider it an opportunity to be around scouts from other units/backgrounds/interests to learn and form new bonds beyond those you have with just your troop members. As a youth, I wasn't a terribly active Arrowman, but I did form bonds with a few guys from my lodge outside of my troop. Today, as a dad and seeing things through my sons eyes, most of the strongest bonds of brotherhood he has made through the OA are with Arrowmen from other lodges, which is incredible to see as a parent - and such a unique opportunity that OA has given him as a youth. How many youth organizations can you think of that would allow you to have so many opportunities to spend time with youth from different towns/cities/counties/states on a semi-regular basis? I can appreciate that it may seem daunting to take that leap, but I say go for it! I hope that you find it rewarding. WWW
  7. 1 point
    Very fitting that the logo looks like a big, round ball. That's exactly how you'll end up looking if you sustain your habit of eating foods with palm oil (which is over 50% saturated fat).
  8. 1 point
    What is a Junior Scout and who picks him? I don't see the OP getting much support from Scoutmasters for his concern. The reason is Scoutmasters continually receive a lot of heat from parents for how they run the troop. Of course Scoutmasters can abuse the privilege, but they are the designated person to draw the line for minimum quality of a scout. The SM is the gatekeeper for keeping the program fair and equal for each and all scouts. If the SM is taken out of that role, then who sets the standard? As mashmaster points out, it will be the squeaky wheel parent of the week. Once the parents start setting the quality standard, all standards go away because each parent is only in it for their son. The only way an unsatisfied parent can change the quality of program for their son is to either switch to another troop or change Scoutmasters. I've watched parents do both and no matter what those parents choose to do, they are never satisfied. Of course the SM will listen to the parents concern, and sometimes the concern is valid and an adjustment is made. But, more often, the SM has to ease the parents concern and sell the program once more. I'm not sure which is better, I was Scoutmastering before email was a standard form of communication and on the phone every night listening to concerned parents. It's one thing to type a few words in an emotional haste and hit "Send", it's another to confront the calm tone of the polite human who carries the weight of a program that takes dozens of sons into the woods to build character, and then bring them home safely. Barry
  9. 1 point
    Personally, I have told scouts when they had the camping and rank requirements but not my approval. 100% of the time, the boys understood and agreed. 100% of the time I got an angry email from the parent. It was never a blanket statement of mine but each one on an individual basis. I have been called many names in those emails. And I still stand by each of those decisions. I also have never been a fan of "Scout of the Year" awards. Scouting is a personal journey and these awards imho tells a scout he is better than the other scouts which I disagree with.
  10. 1 point
    The existing Webelos program works perfectly. My spouse was the den leader for the 8 girls who gradusted into our troop and they loved it. My motivation is that we can easily have den meetings in a different room and this becomes a feeder organization for the troop. We meet on Saturday mornings, which was the same time we had our Webelos meetings. We would operate it as a pure Webelos troop and not a “young patrol”
  11. 1 point
    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.
  12. 1 point
    Interesting photos....I've always thought that Rifle and Shotgun were merit badges that really leant themselves to being taught entirely outdoors, but if you've got limited range time, then the classroom intro makes sense..
  13. 1 point
    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.
  14. 1 point
    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.
  15. 1 point
    @WAKWIB, I've been a trustworthy contributor (well, at least a contributor ), and have opposed @SSScout's motion. Hashing out how we help American boys mature in their faith is the program for some of us. @RememberSchiff's tagging is a good suggestion. We should use that more often.
  16. 1 point
    Added topic tags "Faith", "Chaplaincy" - the most we lowly Members and Moderators can do.
  17. 1 point
    First, I’m adamantly opposed to blanket rules. I prefer that each Scout be judged on his/ her attitude and accomplishments. However, one of the requirements for being on the ballot for OA is approval of the Scoutmaster. We do that because the SM should know the qualities of the Scouts in question better than anyone else in Scouting. OA is not a rank or merit badge where the requirements can be checked off. It is an honor, where first the Scoutmaster must approve and then the Scouts. I have watched thousands of Scouts go through Ordeal and some have been 11-12 years old. Most of those 11-12 year olds struggle, with great difficulty, with some or all of the test. Some are exceptional and go through Ordeal without issue. Those that struggled are most frequently sash and dash. I have often disagreed with SMs on Scouts who have been put on/left off the ballot, but that is the process, and their prerogative. Also, if a very young Scout is surprised or upset that they were not honored, it may be an indicator that the SM or Scouts made the right call. It would seem to me that OA is seen as a right rather than an honor by those Scouts. I have seen the same attitude with Vigil, “I’m Brotherhood, ive done my time, now it’s my turn to be elected to Vigil.” That is just not how it works. It goes counter to the concept of Cheerful Service in the midst of irksome tasks and weighty responsibilities, as well as being unselfish in service and devotion to the welfare of others. As I have told Scouts who did not make the ballot and those that did but were not elected, continue to work hard at providing cheerful and exceptional service to others and you will almost certainly get on the ballot and you will be elected. But if you chose to take it as a slight, then you will almost certainly not.
  18. 1 point
    One of the tenants of Catholicism is that each of us has an obligation to attend Mass on Sunday unless grave circumstances would prevent it. Going camping does not typically constitute grave circumstances, but Clergy can provide dispensation to miss mass. (Which is how practicing Catholics attend Philmont). Plenty of Catholics don't attend mass every Sunday, but it's a requirement of our faith and teaching of our Church. So it's less of the CO in that particular case trying to be "Imperial" and more of the CO and Troop Leadership making sure that the Catholic Scouts meet their duty to God. Maybe I'm biased, but I don't see why that's a bad thing. My own CO is a Lutheran Church. The leadership by and large hasn't been members of the CO. The church leadership views the benefit of hosting the Scout troop is that we'll provide them service, and hopefully through contact with their church, Scouts and their families will have a stronger appreciation for the Lutheran Faith and might consider joining. As a Catholic, there are parishes in my area that offer mass on Sunday afternoons, so being involved with the Lutheran Troop and still making Sunday mass was never a problem. I definitely have a better appreciation and respect for Lutherans and their church, even though I never converted. There's a difference between influence and proselytizing. Even in the case @qwazse cited, I don't think the Catholic Troop with a Jewish Scout stopping to attend Catholic mass is by itself an attempt to forcibly convert someone. Whether he sits quietly during the mass or sits outside on the front steps is fine. In my opinion that's not proselytizing. Proselytizing would involve me as an adult attempting to convince a Scout that my religion is correct and why they should believe what I believe. CO's have a lot of rights as far as religious practice in their units, but I don't think even @David CO is saying that the CO should be hunting to proselytize and convert Scouts from other denominations, but if a non Catholic Scout or family decides to be Catholic because of their relationship with the Church through @David CO Troop? I'd say that's fair game. The Troop should let all prospective members know about those religious practices. "Because we are Catholic, if we can't make it back home in time for mass, we'll stop along the way." "Because we are LDS, we only accept LDS members." "Because we are Muslim, we have designated times every day to pray."
  19. 1 point
    I like this one. Our pack is doing crossover this Thursday night, I may suggest that to them.
  20. 1 point
    BSA's highest dropout rate is with first year Troop scouts. And from my studies, those actually are in the first six months. In other words, if the new scouts are around after six months (after summer camp) they will likely stay with the troop several years. We found the number driver one of dropouts is the sudden jump from an adult culture to a self-independence patrol method culture. The drop out rate isn't something new, I found it a problem as far back as I could find records, 1960s. The problem is boys lack of maturity for the confidence of making a lot of decisions about their environment. They are simply scared of the dark. We helped our situation by assigning a new scout ASM with the new scouts. Since new scouts aren't used to boys nearly their age taking care of the their basic needs like food, sleep, and PROTECTION, they find themselves terrified of the troop program. The ASM is an adult who eases them into the boy run culture. When the new scout wants to ask an adult a question because they don't trust the boy leaders, they ASM helps them (and their parents) by taking them to the boy leaders and letting them answer the questions. As the new scouts grow to trust the boy leaders won't let them die from bear attacks at night, the new scouts get more comfortable with the program. They start making decisions like how to pack for campouts and how to wear the uniform. Small stuff in the big picture, but big decisions for new scouts. Summer camp is important for new scouts because the week long outdoor program is where they develop the routine of boy scouting and patrol method. It's also where new scouts can learn to enjoy their independence by going about their day without being told by adults what to do. New scouts should have almost NO guidance or help from adults by they time they get to summer camp. If new scouts leave camp feeling comfortable about camping outdoors and the general order of patrol method, they usually stick around. Parents often tell us their son came back from camp a much more mature person than the one that left. Boys like activities that makes them feel good about themselves and that is what drives them to stay in scouts. We found the key to fewer dropouts is access to an ASM (adult) until the scouts get used to boys running the program safely. About six months. Barry
  21. 1 point
    You probably already know this, but... I'd just make the conversation positive about what you and your sons want to see in a troop. This change is not really about what you dislike in the current troop. This move is about what you all want to get from Scouting and the difficult realization that you need to go somewhere else to get it. In an ideal world, the current troop would be providing this. It's only through painful reflection that you've realized you need to seek that elsewhere. If he asks why you cannot get that here, then by all means, give examples of how the move towards family friendly Scouting has hampered the ability to get that in the current troop. But I wouldn't start by criticizing the current troop.
  22. 1 point
    As an at-home CPAP user, I have to agree that providing the ability to use the devices at summer camp is ill advised. If you TRULY feel that your health would be compromised by not using the machine for the duration of your stay at camp, don't go. Many leaders don't subject themselves to potentially dangerous situations for a variety of limitations and health reasons, you can be in that group. No shame in that. If you are so acclimated to its presence that you cannot sleep comfortably without it, that's on you. You don't bring the adjustable frame Tempurpedic either, do you? If you want to have it to reduce snoring for the benefit of others, the issue of snoring at summer camp has been around as long as Scouts. If anything, it provides a relief valve by giving everyone the opportunity to give the snorer a good-natured hard time. If comfort is a goal, let's solve mosquitoes and sand in your shorts before electrically powered snoring relief. Life is about choices. What example is being set by this accommodation?
  23. 1 point
    I'll be blunt - if an adult can't go to summer camp for a week, or camp out for a weekend, without using a CPAP machine, then they don't belong in the woods with the Scouts in the first place. These machines are being used to treat something the doctors like to call "obstructive sleep apnea" and I like to call snoring. The medical community has come up with a new way to separate people/insurance companies from their money by declaring something that has been happening for millennia a "severe health problem". Severe? Deaths by sleep apnea are extremely rare - like immeasurably rare. Oh, the medical establishment will scare folks by saying that around 38 thousand people a year who die of cardiac issues (out of over 600,000 per year) also had sleep apnea and that points to a connection that mustn't be trifled with (yeah, and over 600,000 people who die of cardiac issues every year drink water - water must be a contributing factor in their deaths too) but does it really contribute (most people with sleep apnea apparently don't ever have cardiac issues) or is it a coincidence? Oh sure, a lot of people say they sleep better at night and I won't fault them for that but lets stop buying the "severe health problem" bs and just admit they're being used for this very reason, to sleep better at night. You can survive a week without using it. Otherwise, if we are going to insist that CPAP machines are being used to treat a severe medical condition, then a condition that severe that it requires the use of a positive pressure machine to keep folks breathing should be an automatic disqualifier for leading groups in to the outdoors - if your condition is that bad that you need a machine to keep you alive, then its bad enough to keep you home in bed. My recommendation? Don't spend any money on this - make the needed use of a CPAP machine at camp a disqualifying health event, just like you would keep someone with the measles or mumps from attending camp. And before anyone accuses me of not understanding what these machines are, I was on a hospital grade positive pressure machine for over a week after my lung biopsy - it was used to help inflate my lung (because they collapse like a balloon during a biopsy). A proper positive airway machine doesn't just keep a constant flow of air/oxygen going in to your lungs - it actually pumps air in - you know you have the real deal when you have a full nose/mouth mask pumping away on your face. These CPAP machines? They just take air from an external pump and let it flow through your nostrils at a steady rate. Know what else does that? An oxygen bottle with a nasal canula. The CPAP machines are just oxygen generating machines that leave out the oxygen generating part.
  24. 1 point
    In all honesty, if the adult can’t provide it for himself or pay for it himself to “rent” something, then he shouldn’t be using the camps limited funding for it which will take away from others and it’s not selfish, it’s just don’t go if you know the camp can’t accomdate.
  25. 1 point
    Three camps that I am aware of do not provide anything, nor do they allow running of cords for safety reasons. It was the same for Jamboree. Adults that require CPAPs are on their own to manage their needs. Frankly, I would not be in favor of camps redirecting funds away from programming for youth to these type accommodations.