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  1. 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!
  2. 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
  3. 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?
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 5 points
    Sloppy reporting (re: the name of both organizations) aside - This decision demonstrates why the argument "If Girl Scouts dont do things that girls want to do, then change the Girl Scouts" is not a solution. I am very sorry that the adults involved were more concerned about the business of scouting than about the purpose of scouting.
  7. 5 points
    "Leadership" is now included among four Aims of Scouting (up from the previously clearly understood three), which are prominently displayed in boldface on the face-page, along with the BSA Mission Statement, in the 2019 Guide to Advancement. The eight Methods of Scouting, though they remain unchanged, are not so highlighted and practically buried on page 11 of the GTA. Perhaps someone on the blog, preferably a professional Scouter can speak to this? I saw where some of this was discussed elsewhere in the topic "Whats in a Name"; however, the root of this change was never discussed nor was any official BSA policy change ever highlighted. I have to say I'm stunned at the lack of communication regarding an addition to the Aims (as well as the apparent subordination of the Methods). I've been championing three Aims and eight Methods over my 15 years of scouter-ship and I actually feel foolish that I wasn't aware of this change. If Leadership is truly now one of our Aims, I think National could start by demonstrating better care and concern over our cherished values ... either they mean something, ladies & gentlemen, or they don't. I remember when AYSO - recreational youth soccer - added a sixth philosophy "player development" several years ago. That change was communicated far and wide, up and down the structure, because everybody in that organization respected and cherished the core principles. Far from being nit-picky, or trifling, everything in my professional and volunteer leadership training - which is considerable - says that capricious or slight-of-hand changes to core principles are significant red-flags in an organization. I hold the BSA so very dear, I hope someone accountable can stand up and explain the change to our Aims and its unacceptably poor communication. - - Craig
  8. 5 points
    Not to be a downer here but one thing I don't hear anyone saying is that not everyone earns the Eagle Rank. I get the feeling that people are walking in thinking that every girl is going to earn eagle. Stats show that only 4 of every 100 Scouts earn Eagle. My Troop has been around since 1970 and has produced 82 Eagle Scouts. I have 23 Scouts in my Troop and it is hard enough to get the these guys the positions of Rank each year. I would recommend teaching the Program so they learn the skills and not be so worried about getting badges. Those will come but they need to do the work and learn the skills through First Class as they will be teaching the younger ones the skills. It won't look very good having a Star or Life Scout that can't tell you how to tie knots or treat water for drinking. The Scouts run the Troop not the adults.
  9. 5 points
    I've reviewed and signed 300+ eagle project proposals. I've been on EBORs and helped many scouts. My personal opinion is that all the requirement "hoops" are guidance to create a quality program. Focus on the quality and the program. Opportunities for advancement can naturally occur within that structure. Get these scouts out doing things. Camping. Volunteering. Exploring opportunities. There is no "ideal" scout path except individual paths that keep the scout active. Make sure these new scouts get a big activity every year. Maybe a few big/moderate activity every year. Each month should include smaller manageable activities / programs. Most importantly, let them set their journey and decide what these activities are. PLC consider rank requirements during annual planning. I've always viewed advancement as an individual scout activity (not a troop program), but the troop annual program plans should support / consider the concept of "first class in the first year". What I mean is that it's up to the scout to take advantage of opportunities and to drive their own advancement. But the PLC should create opportunities in the annual plan for scouts to earn first class and earn merit badges. For example ... the troop doesn't have to teach the biking merit badge and have structured meetings around the biking merit badge, but the troop could offer a bike camp out each year. It would address a merit badge, selecting camp sites, using taut line knots to secure tents, etc. Most importantly, these scouts do have that tight of a time line. The scout and the scoutmaster sit down in a SMC. Draft on a piece of paper a timeline of what needs to happen when. The SM should help the scout understand their path toward Eagle. Things that take time. Challenges. How to get some things done. Then, have the scout put the paper in their scout handbook. Maybe every few months the scout and the SM can chat about progress and how the scout is doing.
  10. 5 points
    There is a very balanced, intelligent article in Bloomberg today. It is, perhaps, the best factual and neutral piece of reporting on Scouts BSA I have seen in months. Just google Scouts and Bloomberg. Highly recommend it.
  11. 5 points
    As a former CC of a large troop, my opinion has evolved on this. When I started in the role, I would have said that bylaws are a useful way to make sure that everyone has the same sets of expectations. I realized that while what we do as a Scout unit is has a lot of details, it really is about Scouts interacting with people and be consitent in your dealings. If your leaders are generally pretty consistent in their approach, are open with communications, are empowered to make decisions that are appropriate for their role, and work collaboratively to solve problems, then bylaws are not really needed. Further, I'd argue that if you think the leadership team doesn't exhibit those behaviors, then as a Scout unit, they are probably better served addressing that instead of writing bylaws. It seems like many of the discussions that arise on this forum about bylaws usually come from some sort of contentious situation that has occured because people are not working together. Just my .02.
  12. 5 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.
  13. 4 points
    Posted on my Council FB page today.... Today the National Council held a press conference call to address the inaccuracies and mischaracterizations that were made in yesterday’s press conferences held in New York and New Jersey. Below is the transcript for your review. Prepared Remarks of Michael Surbaugh, Chief Scout Executive for the Boy Scouts of America I am here today to correct inaccuracies and mischaracterizations about our organization and the efforts we have taken to protect youth, which has been and continues to be our absolute top priority. First, I want to reiterate our steadfast support for victims of abuse. ▪ We are outraged that there have been times when individuals took advantage of our programs to abuse innocent children. ▪ We care deeply about all victims of child abuse and sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting. ▪ We believe victims, we support them, and we pay for unlimited counseling by a provider of their choice and we encourage them to come forward. In 2018, there were five known victims of sexual abuse in our Scouting programs at a time when there were 2.2 million youth in our programs. We steadfastly believe that one incident of abuse is one too many and we are continually improving all of our policies to prevent abuse. Experts note that among the general US population, one in six men have experienced sexual abuse or assault at some point in their lives. This is an unacceptable public health problem that must be addressed, and we seek to be part of the solution along with all other youth-serving organizations. Our volunteer screening database is a mechanism for keeping kids safe. Let me share with you the facts: ▪ ALL instances of suspected abuse are reported to law enforcement. We do not keep any reports of suspected abuse secret or hidden from the proper authorities. ▪ Long before there were smart phones, email, the internet, criminal databases, or other modern methods available to identify or track predators, the BSA took a vital step to help protect children from bad people by creating what is known as the Ineligible Volunteer Files, or the IV Files. Its purpose was to ensure that anyone seen as unfit to be a leader – even those not charged or convicted of any crime, would be removed and banned forever from our program. ▪ The creation of those files was just the first step in the BSA’s development of a comprehensive set of strategies designed to provide the best possible youth protection system. Today, record- keeping or databases such as ours are recommended by experts, including the CDC, as an important step in protecting children. ▪ While it has often been misunderstood and criticized, time and time again the IV Files, now called our Volunteer Screening Database, have successfully prevented potential predators from re- joining our organization and gaining access to youth. That is precisely why we have been maintaining these records since the 1920s. ▪ We have a very low threshold for removing someone from our scouting programs. Individuals are added to our Volunteer Screening Database based on suspected or known violations of our policies. They don’t need to have been arrested or convicted of a crime to be added to the database. This is because our priority is to protect kids, first and foremost, above all else. It is an ongoing tool the BSA uses to keep youth safe from potential perpetrators. I’d now like to introduce you to Dr. Janet Warren, a professor from the University of Virginia and a researcher and expert in sexual crimes against children. Dr. Warren has spent her career analyzing and profiling sexual offenders and serves as the University of Virginia liaison to the FBI Behavioral Sciences Unit. The BSA engaged Dr. Warren in 2011 to review the files maintained in our Volunteer Screening Database and analyze ways that the BSA could further improve its youth protection efforts. The BSA publicly released Dr. Warren’s first report in 2012. In our efforts to continually be on the forefront of youth protection, the BSA asked Dr. Warren to continue her work and evaluation of our database and barriers to abuse. She is in the final stages of that report. Dr. Warren has reached a number of conclusions as the work has progressed and we’ve asked her to be here today to speak to her work with us. Prepared Remarks of Dr. Janet Warren, Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences (PNBS) at the University of Virginia • Good afternoon. I’d like to speak about the body of work I have done for the BSA since my initial report in 2012 and provide context to some of the figures presented in the media. I reviewed full, complete and unredacted files from the BSA that have been commonly referred to as the confidential files, perversion files or, as the BSA now refers to them, the Volunteer Screening Database. My team of researchers analyzed the data to see what attributes, patterns or profiles could be gleaned from the incidents. We made several key observations and we are in the process of finalizing our work. • I’d like to share with you some of the most salient findings today. I anticipate being able to present the work in a comprehensive manner sometime this summer. • First, one of the key observations we made is that the data demonstrated that the Scouting program is safe and the BSA’s use of a database to prevent unsuitable adults from accessing children was cutting edge and it worked. Even through the years when there were no computers, the BSA’s efforts were effective in keeping unsuitable volunteers from gaining access to youth in the Scouting program. • The rate of incidence of reported abuse in BSA programs was far less than the rate of incidence in society as a whole. And the data shows that the BSA’s youth protection efforts since the 1980’s have been highly effective in preventing abuse. • Second, there is no evidence of a coverup by the Boy Scouts of America. • 100% of all cases reported over the last 50 years were reported to law enforcement. • Additionally, as experts in this area agree, there is no profile of an offender that can be discerned from the data. The research underscores the importance of moving beyond simplistic and overly inclusive explanations of child sexual abuse. • Finally, the research underscores the need for a national database to track persons unsuitable to work with youth, similar to the one the BSA has used for almost 100 years. Criminal records checks and sexual offender registries based upon criminal convictions are inadequate to protect against offenders who have never been arrested or convicted. Prepared Remarks of Erin Eisner, Chief Strategy Officer for the Boy Scouts of America ▪ My name is Erin Eisner, and I’m the BSA’s Chief Strategy Officer for Culture and People. I am also a mom of two Scouts. My son joined as a Cub Scout, and my daughter and I are thrilled that she is now a member of Scouts BSA. ▪ I’d like to pick up where Dr. Warren left off to discuss what we are doing to help keep kids safe, both inside and outside of Scouting. While our database has served to keep millions of children safe in our Scouting programs, we have learned a lot over the years, and we want to share that with other youth servicing organizations. We know that our policies and barriers to abuse can help prevent child sex abuse throughout our communities and across all organizations. ▪ Experts agree that one of the most effective ways to prevent predators from having access to children is to track data on those individuals who have violated youth protection policies or have even been suspected of violating those policies. Specifically, the Center for Disease Control looked at the issue of keeping kids safe in youth serving organizations in 2007 and noted that databases such as the one BSA uses are a recognized method of protecting children from predators. As you’ve heard today, the BSA has employed this practice since virtually the inception of our organization. ▪ We are eager to share the information contained in our database with other youth serving organizations. That is why we’ve advocated for and will continue to push for the creation of a national database to serve as a clearing house for all youth serving organizations. Our vision, and one shared by others working hard in this space to protect youth, is that all youth serving organizations would be required to track and document those adults who have harmed children or have been suspected of harming children and report this information into a national registry. Similar to the National Sex Offender Public Website maintained by the Department of Justice, our goal is the creation of a registry for those who seek to work with children. This would reduce the risk that potential abusers could gain access to children by moving or going to another youth-serving organization after being removed. We are working with other groups and organizations such as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the CDC to see how we can assist in this critical development. We’ve also called on Congress to partner in these efforts and to develop legislative mechanisms to facilitate this national database into a reality. ▪ We are optimistic about these efforts because we know they will make a difference – we have seen firsthand the impact they’ve had on our own organization’s steps to protect children. ▪ Children in our Scouting programs are safe today. Millions of children participate in and benefit from the character building and leadership activities in our programs – without incident. Parents can be confident in our program today and be proud of our efforts to protect children while they learn, have fun and experience Scouting as it was intended. I am confident in this. ▪ I am an Executive with the BSA but first and foremost, I am a mother. And my heart breaks for any child that has experienced the tragedy and trauma of abuse. If I felt, for a second, that Scouting was unsafe, I would not be associated with nor advocate for the BSA. To the contrary, I am confident in our program and confident in our efforts to protect children. My own daughter and son are both members of Scouts BSA and participate in Scouting locally in a dynamic and safe troop here in Dallas. I have no reservations about their participation and am excited to see more and more children, across the country, including record numbers of young women, be introduced to the Scouting program. +++
  14. 4 points
    News Story: How the Boy Scouts are Teaching Girls about True Womanhood BSA’s troops for girls are proving, ironically, to be a bulwark against the muddy seas of gender confusion. http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jenfitz/how-the-boy-scouts-are-teaching-girls-about-true-womanhood
  15. 4 points
    I know of boys young men who no longer have an interest in serving Scouting who are in the 18-20 year old range because the BSA no longer trusts them due to their age. We spent years mentoring and advising them. They have more knowledge, skills, abilities, and EXPERIENCE than some of the new Scouters coming aboard, but they cannot be utilized. Heck, they can no longer be MBCs except at a summer camp or merit badge college. All because of their age an the new YP rules.
  16. 4 points
    ASM patrol advisors...a horrible concept. For both scout and scouter. As I look back, I value my patrol leader experience (Stampeding Antelopes) because the adults gave me plenty of leeway to succeed or fail. And I failed quite a bit early on, sometimes in a blaze of glory. When I needed anything, the SPL was the one who chatted with me. This made me a better patrol leader and then a more squared away SPL down the road. ASMs? They were mysterious adults who camped with us and took care of stuff like driving, things we scouts couldn't do. They kept their distance, and on rare occasions, providing a joke, an encouraging word, or a kick in the pants as appropriate. The SPL and PLs taught scout skills, signed off requirements up to First Class, conducted boards of review up to FC (with no adult in the room), planned/ran meetings, etc. The scouts will never learn leadership with an adult hovering around. And no disrespect to NYLT et al, leadership can't be fully developed in a training course. It can only happen on that rainy weekend when everything goes wrong. And the 13 year old PL has to figure out how to salvage a burnt dinner, fix the leaking tents, settle a dispute between PL members, and keep morale high. The PL won't learn a darn thing with an ASM advisor hovering about.
  17. 4 points
    The scout leader certainly has the right to ban a skit. Just don't be surprised if the boys respond by refusing to do any skits from now on.
  18. 4 points
    Interesting you mentioned computers. When I first got into application development I received some sage advice. Others, as well as my own experience, have added to that advice over the years, for my own version of KISS. You can design and develop the most beautiful piece of software in the world, but if no one uses it, it is worthless. No one will use your software if it does not help them achieve their task easier, faster or or with less hassle than the way they do it now. If you don't talk with, listen too, or simply ignore your stakeholders, you are going to design things that make their job harder, slower and more of a hassle. Build only what you need to solve the problem at hand. Don't over engineer. Not every problem is a nail. SO put down the hammer and figure out the real problem. At some point, the list of problems will outgrow the solution. When that happens don't just keep adding on (iterating) the original solution, but stop and look for a better solution. That sentiment served me well, and it holds true for things other than software. In the last 4 decades I have watched many well meaning initiatives collapse under their own weight from failing to heed simple realities like the ones above.. Substitute GSS or even Scouting Program for the words software above. How much of the above list can be applied to our Scouting program? How far has it pushed us off course in our game with a purpose of developing character, citizenship and fitness. Maybe it is time we looked for better solutions before our program collapses under its own weight.
  19. 4 points
    All really good posts. I've helped several new troops get started and each one is a little different because of the skill levels of the adults. Remember, in a scout run program, adults have to learn more faster than the scouts if they don't want to get in the scouts way. The challenge is to give the scouts as much decision making responsibility as their maturity can handle without taking the fun out of their program. In most cases, the adults don't respect the abilities of the scouts, and the scouts don't understand the purpose of the program. I'm a big believer in the SPL and PL Handbooks because they help the adults and scouts learn the program together. Scouts learn to trust the adults when they feel they are a team. By the way, the troop may not be ready for the SPL yet, but the SPL Manual has a lot of guidance for a new troop trying to build inertia. Where adults have to feel their way is measuring the maturity of the scouts. 10 to 13 year old boys (not sure about girls) would much rather play Capture the Flag than plan the meals for the next camp out. Of course part of making decisions is doing the boring stuff, but it wears on the younger scouts quickly. I usually recommend just 3 or 4 months for the first couple of election cycles to prevent burnout. I assure you the an 11 year old doesn't mind handing over the responsibilities if they are truly making decisions for the group because it's hard, very hard. As the patrol and/or troop starts to get the swing of things, the election cycle should be extended to the normal program standard. As for the adults, the biggest challenge is allowing the scouts the room to make decisions, while giving just enough assistance to help keep the program moving forward. Faltering is when the scouts aren't having fun. There are no easy examples to know when the adults need to apply some subtle assitance to help the scouts. But, I recommend the SM monitor the young scouts enough to know when the fun is over. Scouts should look forward to coming back next week. If they don't, then likely they have max out and need some help. That being said, the biggest problem with new leaders is adult intrusion on the boys (umm, youth) program. For example, there is never a time an adult should stand in front of the group with the youth leaders unless the youth leader gave them permission for a temporary moment on the floor. When a scout stumbles, their first reaction is turn to the adult for help. And the adults reaction is to step in. When adults are out-of-site, they are out of mind. Scouts need to build the confidence of pushing on to the next item and go to the adult later for guidance when they have a moment. Adults should stand in the back behind all the scouts. I also suggest that adults never put the scout sign up first. It's the scouts troop or patrol, the youth leaders should always put the sign up first to control the group. If the adult needs the groups attention, they ask the youth leader of the group to get control for them, then patiently wait until the group is down to a quiet roar. The adult thanks the youth LEADER and continues. I've even done this during Scoutmaster minutes. By the way, when scouts felt the need to talk to their buggy during a SM minute, I took that as a cue that I need to improve my presentation. Adults should talk as little as possible. Words from adults are sleeping pills for young scouts. I have seen adults go on and on for 20 minutes just doing announcements. For some reason Scoutmasters need to feel important by talking and talking and talking (Practice making Scoutmaster minutes only 2 minutes long). I found that scouts don't start respecting the adult leadership until they have a need to ask the adults for help. Standing there watching chaos creep into the activities requires adults biting down on a stick, or a bullet for the squeamish, but scouts don't like chaos anymore than the adults. When the scouts come to the SM for help, they really want it and are ready to listen. As I said, how much guidance adults need to give to scouts of new program is challenging, but scouts do learn fast. So, adults need to learn the skill of backing up and giving more of the decision making to the scouts as they gain experience and confidence. Even 11 year olds with three months experience are more mature and need more room. It's much better for adults to let the scouts go to far to find their limits than to assume the limits and hold them back. I often say I made more mistakes as a scout leader than I did right, but scouts are amazing if you let them go to their full abilities. As for SPL or not, I agree with letting the scouts fill responsibilities as is needed. But, the handbooks suggest SPLs, so there is a balance of doing what is needed along with following a plan. The scouts will figure it out as they go back and forth. Barry
  20. 3 points
    I am saddened to see the way the necker has fallen from favor. World wide, it is the recognized symbol of the Scout, whatever gender. In the less fortunate areas, the Scout may have a special t-shirt and neckerchief, that's his uniform, but he will have the neckerchief. The Troop of my yoooth had designed it's own neckerchief, a big one, 30" on a side, bright red, with a custom patch that read "Troop 759 Always On The Go ! " with a pair of disembodied boots kicking up a cloud of dust. Us Scouts and our parents made sure of the truth of that motto. That necker is much faded now, with some holes and mended rips from being used in signal flag (wig wag?) and first aid practice, it is brought out to show at CoH's and such. The ESL necker of the 70's was a mistake, relegating it to the duty of fashion statement rather than proud symbol and practical emergency tool. I once found a Troop necker on the side of the road, discarded by a passing car, I believed, from it's location, not by accident. I took it home , cleaned it up and added it to my collection. Since it was a "Standard" issue BSA Scoutshop item, there was no way to trace it's source. I once worked at our church camp as the Handyman. I once came back to my cabin to find a Scout necker draped on the doorknob, "Troop 1, Lewes Delaware" on the peak. When I researched it, I could not find such a Troop. Another addition to my collection. People give me such things, items of curiousity . "It's dorky, it's uncomfortable, no one wears them, why do I have to, what's it for, I keep losing the slide, can I just leave it home,, , , , " is that what we hear? Or perhaps, thru the woods, we can hear the waving of wig wag Morse code?
  21. 3 points
    @The Latin Scot makes a correct point. When wearing the BSA Uniform shirt, there isn't a specified place for pins like that. @TAHAWK's point was that the BSA's aren't very uniform, depend on their date of manufacture and point of origin. My personal take. I wear my uniform based on the insignia guide, because as an adult leader, I'm supposed to model wearing the uniform correctly. My scouts frequently add various embellishments and such to their uniforms, and I don't discourage or correct them. If putting little pins and trinkets on their uniforms makes them more proud to wear the uniform, I'm not going to object unless it's something distasteful, which that pin doesn't seem to be.
  22. 3 points
    We use a local Frisbee golf course for this requirement. There are enough trees, washes, and other obstacles that the baskets/control points are out of sight and require the occasional boxing. If you want to increase the difficulty, you can give the scouts a map and a list of coordinates and make them determine the bearing and distance. The bearing and distance lists that comprise most scout orienteering courses aren't terribly useful in the real world. CalTopo is pretty nice. Store.USGS.gov has more data, but you'll either need a plotter or familiarity with Photoshop/Acrobat to print 8.5x11 maps.
  23. 3 points
    Scoutmaster Response on a Community Blog Friends: I post on a community blog in our metropolitan area that is viewed by a large number of parents interested in Scouting. A posting titled “Do you trust the BSA?” Started yesterday after the articles broke. Below is the post I made this AM: Scoutmaster’s Thoughts on Abuse I’m the Scoutmaster of the Scouts BSA Troop for girls in Washington, DC who has commented extensively on this site. You can read the previous lengthy postings if you are curious about how Scouts BSA Troop 248 for girls operates. As an initial matter, our majority-female Troop Committee and Scoutmaster staff strictly observe the current Youth Protection regulations of the BSA and the Episcopal Church. These are publicly posted on our Troop web site and are quite rigorous. I am happy to engage in a separate discussion string regarding how the system works and what those requirements are. I thought I would let the discussion play out a bit before I jumped-in to provide supplemental information. The postings so far demonstrate great concern about the numbers discussed in the media and this is good. Youth abuse is one of those topics where “we can’t allow a single instance” is really true. Most people reading this blog are looking for opportunities for their young people to have safe, fulfilling activities. Our society has consistent instances of youth abuse — that is just a fact. We look around us and see it occur in schools, churches and youth groups. Having been on the front lines of youth service organizations for a lifetime, my position is not to trust any organization — but to understand and, if appropriate, trust the individuals and ground level group. Always meet individually with at least a couple of the adult leaders to take their personality measure and understand how that group implements whatever youth protection rules apply to them. This includes teachers and coaches of school activities. Yes, most organizations have rules somewhere — it is the regular and transparent enforcement of those rules that counts in weighing the safety of your child. In our Scouts BSA Troop this plays out as follows. Each potential adult volunteer not only has to subject to a criminal background check and take the 2-hour youth protection course, but must also meet with us individually for at least an hour to explore the background, interests and motivations of the person. Each parent attends youth protection orientation and is required to discuss these issues with their own child. We check that this has occurred. Then, each and every activity is examined in advance to assure ourselves that we have the sufficient number of certified and cleared adult leaders to assure no child is ever alone without at least 2 leaders in proximity. Our notes to parents are replete with references to our policies and confirmation that we have arranged for sufficient youth protection coverage. This is what parents must come to an understanding of when evaluating the “trust” topic of this posting. The BSA has experienced instances of youth abuse as have schools, churches, athletic teams and other organizations. When I was a Scout in the 70’s, the only policy youth service organizations had was, I guess, whatever they thought made “common sense”. This usually relied on the individual leaders and parents to become aware of a problem and take action. That usually meant throwing the person out of the group, not letting the person back in and in limited instances informing law enforcement or the applicable child services agency. If we apply today’s standards and what we know now to that time, we instantly know more and different things should have been done. In the specific case of the BSA, back then the local-council leadership and employees were to evaluate the situation and if indicated took the above kinds of actions. If they took action, they reported it to the BSA national office, which put the person on its “ineligible volunteer” list. It is the unfortunate events combined with the existence and use of that list which has triggered the litigation we now see. While beyond the scope of this brief note, it is accurate to summarize that the BSA came to an understanding that it had to take a dramatically different approach in the early 1980’s, and began directly implementing better youth protection measures which are now considered the leading national standard. Instances of youth abuse diminished to a trace-level after that. Despite extensive measures, nothing will keep every evil perpetrator of this horrible crime from our youth service organizations, so there will be a low number of crimes that have occurred since then. Consequently, the names of reported individuals and the related incidents pre-date the change. Broadly-speaking, participants in BSA programs experience violations at a trace-level. Evil perpetrators know this and focus their criminal activities elsewhere where the is little or no vigilance. The BSA can, should and unavoidably will participate in providing a sense of justice to those who were harmed. It has been sued through the years and has paid millions in settlements when juries have found it did not sufficiently protect a young person. Now that states are eliminating the laws that required lawsuits to be filed within a certain time after the abuse event, there will be a cascade of lawsuits presenting allegations as far back as the 40’s. Most of the cases will relate to events from the early 80’s or before. The circumstance is that the sums juries will Award victims would vastly exceed by many factors the entire value of properties and endowments the BSA has, and the organization would cease to exist. The question therefore is: shall BSA programming be terminated and denied to current and future youth because of the incidents of the early 80’s and before? Some on this blog might be expected to desire this outcome based on a wish to eliminate this risk. Others have presented unrelated views based on recent membership policy changes or disappointment that the BSA is now offering programming to elementary-secondary aged girls. These other views have been vigorously debated on earlier postings, so I will not discuss those views. My judgement, based on direct experience, is that BSA programming is fundamentally safe, appropriate and popular with youth and parents and should be continued in its current safe format. There will be even more enhancements to the youth protection program as more is learned through the lawsuit proceedings and a likely financial reorganization bankruptcy filing. A financial reorganization bankruptcy is the best way to go in order to provide justice to as many as possible and in order to allow the BSA to keep what it needs to continue providing safe programming. It will allow everyone aggrieved to file claims on a national basis, have the BSA marshal assets to fund the claims, and keep only what it needs. It will cause more of the award amounts to go to more victims and substantially less to trial attorneys. The alternative is the termination of the BSA and payments a limited number who filed their lawsuits first. The BSA is a sound organization with very good intentions. We argue about its program because we value our children. This is good.
  24. 3 points
    As I am familiarizing myself with the rank advancment materials, one thing that has impressed me is that every rank along the way to Eagle is worthwhile for its own sake. So if an idealistic new scout says "I want to earn eagle" but ends up not doing so, then she still benefitted from as much of the journey as she did. Work on improving your physical fitness? Great. Learn to swim? Super. Try taking on a leadership role in the troop? Valuable experience. It seems to me that we should help each scout grow starting from where they are at -- but certainly not expect that all will have the desire, or the ability, to reach Eagle. Big difference from GSUSA where the "Journeys" are a prerequisite to working on the Bronze/Silver/Gold Award, and where the attitude towards the "Journeys" is sometimes hold-your-nose-and-get-it-over-with-it -- i.e. some do not see much value in those Journeys for their own sakes.
  25. 3 points
    The equivalent of "Class-A" in the military would be a blue jacket/red tie combo. The equivalent of military "Class-B" would be the field uniform. Then there's the BDU -- with no youth equivalent, and the fitness uniform (a.k.a. gym cloths) which would be our scouts' activity shirts. The boys' scout uniform should not be treated as an "indoor, don't get it dirty" piece of cloth. However, that ideal is undermined by the obsession with the "third world general" feel of the ODL design, the cost-effective alternative of imported t-shirts, the size of patches, and the rise of technical fabric for every type of activity. Maybe even the Army's sharp look of their "Class-B" uniform has this effect as well. The insignia guide doesn't help, as armchair wonks now feel free to criticize every image that scouting magazine posts of scouts and scouters in action with something non-compliant. A good scout uniform should look like it's seen a few campfires. Inspection sheets should probably include bonus points for stains and smudges.