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Showing content with the highest reputation on 03/11/19 in all areas

  1. 4 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
  2. 2 points
    I can be more disagreeable if needed… this might be a phrasing issue rather than a fundamental disagreement. I certainly plan on nudging my older cub on which troop to select, because I know which troop in the area runs the best scout led troop. Our pack historically has sent scouts mainly to a different troop, but that troop is on the decline currently. So yeah, I plan to have my thumb on the scale when it comes to picking.
  3. 2 points
    Is it a safe assumption on my part to guess that you've never taken NRA Instructor training? That can re-define 'boring' for you if you get a poor instructor. Ever handle a .50 BMG round? Know how heavy one round is? Want to carry 50 of them on a day hike? We pass inert cartridges of many calibers down the line. I've never seen a boy fall asleep when one of his peers chambers an 870. (Dummy practice rounds). How stupid are movie heroes who walk up to a confrontation with an empty chambered shotgun, anyway? And to the Hollywood intellects who cycle the action a second time a few moments later without having fired a round? Hey, are you going to leave that shotgun shell just lying on the ground? Aren't you going to need all your bullets for the next scene? That's litter. Pick it up! Give 6 or 8 boys practice/toy weapons and have them move about the room without sweeping anyone while the rest of the crowd keeps an eye on their muzzles. Musical chairs will never be the same. The purpose of firearms safety training is not to punish, but to prepare. Dazed bored boys are not getting the import of the training, so we make extraordinary efforts to keep them engaged and entertained. As for adult hot air? I promise you that I will never have to explain to the mother of a wounded scout that her son, Billy, was accidentally shot because Little Johnny did an inadequate job with EDGE while teaching Billy gun safety. Retraining Little Johnny and offering to refund her son's dues doesn't seem to be enough. Firearms are like nothing else we do in Scouting. One needs to recognize a higher responsibility; that there are even adults that should not be allowed to participate in gun safety training.
  4. 2 points
    I'm not overly concerned with the current size of the troop- you note that your 5 are about to cross over, and twelve is a decent size to reinvigorate. And, you also note that the Pack has picked up momentum on your watch. Big kudos to you for your hard work there. Not sure where you are located, but in SE MA, 18-24 kids in a pack and 12-20 kids in a troop is about an average size these days. Some good advice by others here. What I would say is that this quote from your post is your main focus right now: "The 2 scouter families (me & another mom/dad, 3 of us) can not physically, mentally or emotionally keep Cubs running, revamp the boy troop completely and start a female troop." You are spot on- you cannot do it all, or you are going to be a crispy critter. You need a meeting with all the parents from the Pack, and you just need to lay it on the line that you are moving on - and that the question is are you moving on the linked girls troop, the linked boys troop, or another CO altogether. And that if any of them can step up and take on the Pack, you are willing to stay with one of those troops. If that goes positively, then I would ask to meet with the parents from the troop with basically the same message. This current SM should actually be the COR (actually, I believe it is Legion policy that the current post commander is always supposed to be the COR, and BSA rules say that a COR can only have a dual position as CC, not SM). If you have at least two other adult that can help you and step up at troop level, I would suggest you become the SM of the girl troop, another parent become the SM of the boy troop (on paper at least), and you dual register as ASM in boy troop, and vice versa. Third parent dual registers as ASM to both. The group right now is small enough that you can meet at the same day/time, at least until you can get more growth, which should hopefully bring some more adult involvement. So long as you and the other adults that step up and help out have enough other support at home, you may want to just amp up outdoor campouts to 4 a year total (for now), and have 2 joint ones, and then give girl troop one of their own, and boy troop one of their own. That lets them feel they didn't "lose their troop", they are just helping out another unit get going. Tough situation, I wish you luck.
  5. 2 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.
  6. 2 points
    Did anyone really think we'd see that jump in less than a year? I certainly didn't. I always figured this was a 5-year minimum to get any real sense of how things would go. I never even looked at it as a "jump". It would always be a long, slow progression and a leveling-off after the early years of ups and downs.
  7. 1 point
    I would treat each situation uniquely and not try to come up with some comprehensive "policy." If someone is being dropped off and picked up that sounds more like someone joining as opposed to a guest who comes with another scout. Not sure whether your biggest concern is the membership or the direct costs to the unit for whatever activities they're participating in. I would separate the two ideas, membership and cost; have the parent fill out the application without asking for any money, it should only take a parent five minutes or less to do so either as they pick up or drop off. Once the application is compete then you can talk about arrangements for payment. If they're not interested in filling out the application even without having to pay then I think you can become more insistent that continued participation is contingent on membership.
  8. 1 point
    Thanks for the update. It's not surprising that the background check came back with problems. It was hard to imagine he wasn't avoiding it, with so much time having gone by and it was still not done. Hard to imagine someone isn't trying hard to avoid a background check when they act like that. This still seems like a massive failure at the district and council level to adequately support the Pack in this. You essentially had an unregistered, non-background-checked adult pretending to be a CM. And seemingly refusing to allow a background check. That should have been a huge red flag for everyone, all the way up the chain. And yet it took this long to finally resolve the matter, and only really because of what happened in the guy's personal life. While it is generally true that DEs tend to be slow to action with Pack affairs, preferring to let units and COs resolve these matters, in this case I would think that this would be the kind of thing that just had to be dealt with immediately. That a Pack was operating with a rogue CM, who clearly was causing chaos among the committee and Pack operations, with known past legal issues and refusing to take a background check, how they managed to let it go on this long is baffling. For all of the emphasis we get these days on YPT, that something like this was allowed to go on for so long just defies all logic. I still think someone (probably the DE in question) should be removed from their post for failing to adequately address this and protect the scouts in this Pack.
  9. 1 point
    I am always very flexible with things like this. I figure that our troop is essentially a big Scouting family and that eventually it will sort itself out. I'm always more concerned that there is some sort of family issue that they need some help with. But, If I eventually came to the conclusion that the family was taking advantage of us, I'd send them a quick email them that for liability reasons the BSA requires their youth to be a registered member of the pack or troop. I'd also tell them that we cannot process any awards for their scout until they were registered. Then I'd ask them to come in at the next meeting to get it taken care out. I think I had maybe one case in 10 years like this. What I did tend to have from time to time is were parents who were just not terribly organized. Remembering to do paperwork on time was a skill they didn't possess.
  10. 1 point
    For GSUSA whether shooting sports are allowed varies by council The Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts permits it: http://www.gscwm.org/content/dam/girlscouts-gscwm/documents/2018/Volunteer Essentials 2018-2019.pdf The Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts does not permit it: https://www.gsema.org/content/dam/girlscouts-girlscoutseasternmass/documents/volunteer-essentials.pdf
  11. 1 point
    it's impossible to know whether the CO's insurance is sufficient as it stands to cover the additional liability of having a scout unit, or any additional youth group or activity, unless you know what they were covered for before and what additional risk they may now be facing, or whether for some reason the current policy specifically excludes coverage for scouts or other youth groups. The BSA does provide, as it says on the web page, primary liability coverage for all COs. But of course the devil is in the details and the web page doesn't say what the limits of that coverage are. You or the Church should be able to get that information, but then it's up to the CO to decide if they believe that coverage is sufficient. I would certainly get the council pros involved in the discussion if you can, and I would try to get the Church and the insurance person to provide some details as to what and why they think they need additional coverage. If the Church is insistent on obtaining coverage it feels necessary in order to support the troop, it would certainly be appropriate to find out what the cost of that is and consider ways to help the Church defray the costs.
  12. 1 point
    Sounds like you're in a very tough spot. As much as I can appreciate the desire to start a linked girls' troop, if the current troop only has seven scouts and is on its last legs, will there be any benefit to having the girls' troop linked? It sounds like there's not really a functioning troop for the boys at all, and while that doesn't automatically mean the girls' troop can't work, it might be tough to get the troop to flourish when the other isn't. Also, only you and your own kids can decide, but think about what they hope to get out of scouting. If the best way to keep your son interested enough that you aren't dragging him through the program is to join another troop, then that might be the best choice. It's tough because in a way the other cubs who are crossing over appear to be reliant on you, but without some serious help and reorganization, it wouldn't be surprising if those who do cross over can't be retained. In your same situation, I might chose to look into a nearby girls troop that already exists for your daughter who has two years left for Cub Scouts, and put your efforts into making the existing boys' troop function for those scouts whom you've already recruited and been working with, and for your son who will cross over now.
  13. 1 point
    I personally have strong feelings on the correct wearing of the uniform, having been a scout on military bases while my father was in the service. We all had at least one parent whose uniform had to be perfect every day, and we followed that example. But when I see less concerned scouts I temper my reaction by remembering these words from the founder: “I don’t care a fig whether a Scout wears uniform or not so long as his heart is in his work and he carries out the Scout Law.” -- William Baden-Powell
  14. 1 point
    With the Den and Pack, the parents should be participating. I would have a simple discussion with them. Based on what you have stated I would tell them that their children are more than welcome to attend and participate but they need to be registered and have health forms A&B completed. This is a requirement for both safety and liability reasons. If needed, you can also find scholarships for them. Direct and simple usually works best.
  15. 1 point
    Hi @karunamom3, I'm really glad to hear your pack is at 18 active scouts - that's fantastic! I had a different impression before and am so very happy I was wrong. Amazing job!!! The pack and troop sizes I mentioned come from a simple formula - den and patrol sizes. Thet may seem like crazy numbers - but let me give a little context on how & why. When I was a Cubmaster (about 5 years ago), I learned that the best thing for us to focus on was Tiger recruiting and to strive for a full, new Tiger den every year. We did't just recruit Tigers, but it was our primary goal. We'd encourage scouts to invite their friends, sent out fliers, visited school open houses, had a join scouting afternoon at our CO, invited prospective scouts to a fun pack meeting, and put out yard signs around town. What that meant was 8 new Tiger scouts every year. With 8 Tigers it was a full, active, den and it wasn't too big to manage either. We found that there were always parents available in that size group to become the den leader and assistant den leader. It's a formula that's worked out really, really well. In addition to new Tigers, we'd also get enough other Scouts to fill in spots created by Scouts in other dens who decided not to continue. After a few years of this, we had full dens at every level. With a full den at every level, a pack would be 30-40 Cub Scouts. With a pack of full dens, we now had a very active pack. We had enough parents around to have an Assistant Cubmaster or two. We found that with minimal effort, one parent each year would join the pack committee. In our case, it's worked out well enough that we now focus on two new Tiger dens each year. We do this because we find that two dens at every level gives us some flexibilty in how we do programming. Our troop works much the same way. We focus on having enough crossover scouts each year for one or two patrols of new Scouts. A new patrol would be 6-8 new scouts. Over time that's 35-40 Scouts in the troop. We never set out to build a troop that size, it just happens over time - in fact we never talk about numbers in our troop recruiting. Troop recruiting is really not all that time consuming either. For us, it consists of: be active in the Cub Pack, invite the Webelos camping, and invite the webelos to visit one or two troop meetings. Basically, we just do what we do and find opportunities to invovle the Cub Scouts along the way. So, my projected pack & troop sizes are simply a multiplier of den & patrol sizes. One new crossover patrol each year - 25-30 scouts. Two new crossover patrols - 50-60 scounts. We are currently focusing on two new crossover patrols each year. I think we are at about 80 scouts in the troop today. If you stick with the troop, I'd encourage you to think about taking on the CC role. If the COR & current CC are taking a leave of absence, it provides a great opportunity. This will give you a clear position of responsibility from which to quarterback much of what happens. Annual calendar - totally appropriate for a CC to push for that. Decision on summer camp - the same. Theoretically, the Scoutmaster just works with the SPL and the Scouts. In an ideal world, the SM is driving decisions like these, but if your current SM is not, then the CC is in a good position to fill in the gaps. While you're faced with a weak SM, the troop committee can really provide the leadership to make sure that things get moving. For example - the activities chair is supposed to help with transportation, activity signups, camp reservations, and recruit additional adults to attend. So, ask the SPL for the list of where they want to go for the next 6 months and have the activities chair get to work. In our troop the scouts handle much of that, but while you're rebuilding let the scouts focus more on organizing themselves and making decisons. The adults can do the infrastucture stuff (like reservations and transportation) in a way that completly lets the Scouts be in charge, but leverages the adults to get things moving. Similarly - adults can make a huge impact on recruiting. Have a small group of parents figure out a recruiting schedule. Dates for the pack Pinewood Derby, Blue & Gold. Figure out some troop camping trips to invite Webelos to attend. Figure out when to have Webelos visit the troop. Again, let the Scouts make as many of the decisions and do as much of the work as possible. Adults are great at knowing what decisions need to be made, bringing them to the Scouts through the SPL, and then taking care of the follow-up during a rebuilding time.
  16. 1 point
    Your understanding of YPT is correct. However, she could save the $33 and register as a Merit Badge Counselor.
  17. 1 point
    Publicity. American Legion members, do they know? Cub parents, do they know? Community, is there a local newspaper? Churches? School backpack notices? It may not be September, but that does not mean you can't recruit. If you have two (2!) other adults that are Scout friendly ( and, I intend no insult to your heritage Scouter) and not on life support, you can find Scout families that want the Scout experience for their kids. Make contact with your DE. His pay scale depends on saving and creating Units. He/she can help with pamphlets and brochures. Set up a "Scout Me In" night at the Meeting Hall, publicize it well, and see what happens. Posters and pamphlets in the Library. Posters in the diner's window. Notice in the Church newsletter. A banner at an intersection. Talk to your Scouts, make sure they see Scouting as an "opportunity" despite the lack of activities. You need adult Scouter Leaders, for sure, but as has been said above, the activities bring Scouts bring parents bring Scouts. Get them together and make the offer. Here's a hike, here's the summer camp.... All you can do is try....
  18. 1 point
    This isn't your question but I thought I would share this. Our CC does not destroy any of the forms when they are outdated. She hand delivers those forms back to the parents. It may seem like a small detail, any of these forms could be photocopied or the details could be written down but I think it shows responsibility and accountability for the details entrusted to her. Maybe the parents care about the paperwork, maybe they don't, but they gave it to her and she gives it back so they can dispose of it instead of wondering or assuming that she did.
  19. 1 point
    Agree with what you say....BUT I also agree with carebear3895... Science and technology are a real part of today's world, and no kid growing up can "Be Prepared" without knowing how to deal with it. BSA's inclusion of merit badges in STEM fields is great --- it lets the boys who want to explore those fields do so. The Nova/Supernova awards are great too --- they help foster awareness of STEM and might also help a boy discover something he wants to pursue as a career. BUT I agree with carebear3895 because he is referring to "STEM Scouts", which is not a purely optional award within the normal BSA program (where the focus is still on outdoors). STEM Scouts is an entirely different beast in which kids never have to get out in the woods. STEM Scouts is a type of unit (like a pack, a troop, or a ship). They don't have to camp. They don't have to hike. They don't even have to learn about Environmental Science. It's indoors. It's academic. Instead of field green uniforms, they have lab coats. Instead of fun, they get extra science classes....YECH!
  20. 1 point
    1. Yes, venturing is dying. Which is incredibly unfortunate because I think it's the best program the BSA has to offer. When I was a kid, I heard so many other kids say "I quit scouts because I just wanted to camp and do fun stuff, I didn't care about the badges". Well that's exactly what venturing offers!! To make it even more gloom, every council has a "Camp Crew" where you register camp staff who are not involved in traditional Scouting. So the total number of actual ventures is even lower than the national report. 2. National BSA is making the same stupid mistake GSUSA is doing by focusing on STEM as opposed to the outdoors. The whole concept of "STEM Scouts" is idiotic. That's not why you join Scouting. 3. Surprised you can't even manage to hire a DE. Usually the problem isn't hiring them, its KEEPING them lol.
  21. 1 point
    Sounds like you have a passion for scouting but you should focus on the boys for now - If your son wants to go to a troop with fun activities let him, volunteer to be ASM for 2 years at your sons troop, recruit everyone of his friends out of the old troop. Just because the troop has been around for a while doesnt mean it deserves a charter. After 2 years take skills learned back to the girls troop which is the best way you can help your daughter.
  22. 1 point
    The choice of which troop to cross over into should be the choice of the youth, not the parent (though parents can guide that choice). If your son really wants to go to a different troop, then it isn't your job to change his mind. If the other troop is doing fun things with lots of youth, then it isn't your job to tell him to go with the boring troop.
  23. 1 point
    Maybe, but wouldn't that be like hiring consultants to teach us the Scout Oath and Law? Camp leaders, standing in front of 70 other counselors, senior Scout leaders, and campers, gave Vogel, the only black staffer, the “Evil Monkey” award. Apparently Courteous and Kind were not in camp that week. My $0.02,
  24. 1 point
    Final update. Thank you all for your input. The person in question has made things a bit easier for us. He has left the mother of the scout, so doesn't really have any interest/or need to be in our group any longer. IF he chooses to continue in the child's life, our decision has been made official. His background check cane back with several things in it. My COR asked someone who has been involved in our local scouting for decades. He stated with the level of his background check, first off, he would not accept it. Add that to he is not the scouts parent and no longer in the relationship there really isn't a need for him to be there. Therefore, we had a committee meeting, which it was decided that myself and the COR would send our emails if response to the scout executive, as requested, and they said they would issue the letter on our behalf to him. It just bothers me that our new DE kept fueling his fire so much through this, which I feel excalated it to this level. Again thank you all for helping me witg kind words of encouragement and advice.
  25. 1 point
    The first thing I thought of for historical trips in the Northeast is Boston. There is more accessible history in Boston then just about anywhere else on the planet. Boston National Historic Park is composed of eight historic sites in Boston. 7 of the 8 BNHP sites are located along the Freedom Trail, a 2.5 mile walking tour of 16 historic sites in Boston. Some of the sites on the Freedom Trail are Paul Revere's House; the Old North Church (you know - "One if by land, Two if by sea"); the USS Constitution (and what Scout wouldn't love to explore that old ship); Bunker Hill Monument and the Site of the Boston Massacre. Speaking of history trails in Boston, they have more than just the Freedom Trail. You can do the Black Heritage Trail; Boston Immigrant Trail; Irish Heritage Trail; Jewish Friendship Trail; Boston Women's Heritage Trail; Boston Chinatown Heritage Trail; Literary Trail of Greater Boston (lots of "old" authors come from the area); Innovation Trail and a likely favorite: Boston by Sea - The Maritime Trail. Within 5 miles of Boston National Historic Park are the following National Park Service sites: Boston African American National Historic Site; Longfellow National Historic Site (one of those "old" authors); John F Kennedy National Historic Site (birthplace of); Fredrick Law Olmstead National Historic Site ("founder" of Landscape Architecture and the designer of Central Park in NY City) and Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. 10 to 30 miles from Boston proper are 5 more National Park Service sites: Adams National Historic Park (TWO Presidents in one!); Saugus Ironworks National Historic Site; Salem Maritime National Historic Site; Minuteman National Historic Park ("Shot Heard 'Round the World); and Lowell National Historic Park (preserving the history of the Industrial Revolution). And these are just the National Park Service sites. The Boston Minuteman Council BSA operates a year round camp in Milton, MA which is within 15 miles of downtown Boston. I'm sure the council could point you to other nearby camping opportunities. CalicoPenn