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Showing content with the highest reputation on 05/24/19 in all areas

  1. 3 points
    I've been a leader for over 25 years now, and I've never seen a ceremonial UK flag disposed of or destroyed, but your right, the official flag protocol is burning, or cutting up. Most of us are just trying to make sure we put the UK flag up the right way, so we're not telling other ships we're in distress!
  2. 1 point
    But dear lord after 3x through ILST, they are so sick of it. we have had scouts refuse to take leadership roles because they didn't want to take ILST again. once that is removed, many of them are the best leaders we have ever had. Having them sit through classes like this over and over again is a great way to push kids out of scouting. They want to scout and have fun and they will lead. They go to school for a significant amount of time and they want scouting to be different from school.
  3. 1 point
    That my experience, it's not a theory for starting a discussion. Where did I say that? Often the older scouts encourage the younger scout to take on responsibility so the older scout has an opportunity to mentor. In fact, I often watch our SPL choose the ASPL and Troop Quarter Master for that very reason. Can a leader be anymore serving than that? Not in our council. Brown Sea (or whatever it was called) taught advanced leader skills beyond the handbooks in planning, meetings and working the group. District and councils teaching scout skills at advanced leadership courses makes no sense and are doing it wrong. There is not a power imbalance in a servant driven program. And successful programs are open for different ideas, dreams and ambitions. A program that forces scouts to different than who they want to be, it will find itself loosing scouts. This is the number one problem of programs that loose their scouts at age 14. But, ironically, you could observe several programs at once, you will find that the same age patrol type of troops struggle with keeping older scouts because the mature responsibility of role modeling and mentoring is encouraged. In general when scouts are brought up in a serving environment, older scouts will instinctively mentor. Again, that is my experience. This is where I saw a big problem with same age patrol. The scouts in same age patrol did not see a vision of mentoring younger scout growth. They saw a duty to do their stint, then move on. And that was it. As I said, that is why same age patrol troop struggle to get past age 14 in troops. Troops with mixed age patrol are far more likely to keep the older scouts because there is still challenges in the program for the maturing young adults. Call it what you want, it doesn't mater. What matters are role models are internal to the patrol to provide experienced knowledge and that doesn't exist in patrols where everyone has the same experience. OK, I'm not sure what you are picturing here, but I trust your are correct. We had another Scoutmaster not to long ago on this forum who liked to split hairs to be divisive. I don't see "teaching" and "doing" as two separate actions in the patrol. Like a neighborhood sandlot baseball team that practices the fun sport of baseball, a healthy patrol requires both. If there is a difference between you and I, it's where the definition of "good decisions" come from. Scouts have to be guided from a baseline of behavior to know the difference from good decisions and bad decisions. The SMs role is the gatekeeper of that behavior. In a program that uses role models to develop growth, the SM guides through the older scouts because, they are the role models to the younger scouts. The discipline of making good decisions has to start at the top and work its way down to be consistent through the whole program. You have seen me often say that the quality of a troop program is measured from the oldest scouts, not the youngest scouts. To me your struggle appears to be mixing older and younger scouts. You aren't alone. You might even be in the majority in this day and age. But, when adults start throwing out stuff like 16 year olds don't like to mentor 12 years olds and 12 year olds are intimidated by 16 years olds, I discard it along with older scouts need more adventure and only the popular scouts get elected. None of those fears work on me because I have the experience that debunks it. I have to stand up and bring balance to such ideas. You may not be a mixed age patrol kind of leader. It's just not in you to trust how the complexities of younger scouts learning and building confidence simply by watching older scouts. And even more perplexing may be the idea of serving others is one of the most important skills a scout can learn to be a great leader. Serving and role modeling go hand in hand. And, role modeling is instinctive behavior for post pubescent males. The biological phenomenon is a mystery to me, but I've seen the wonder so many times, I have have full faith in it. Personal leadership experience has very little growth value for boys 14 and younger. But get them to age 15 and Scouting is one of the best programs where adult scouts can actually express adult traits... if we let them. I'm not trying to convience you to change. I've been in enough of these discussions to know better. Your a fine leader and I have no doubt your scouts are getting a great experience. But I will be here to balance these discussions for sake of those who want to understand the whole picture. Those of us who present our opinions based from actual experiences are becoming fewer and fewer. I want to keep my experience alive for as long as I can. Barry
  4. 1 point
    We had one very eager to rank up. He was looking for a BOR and I asked about troop activities. He said he went on the raft trip, went climbing with the troop, did the five mile hike, and took a hike to an outpost, and had been to summer camp. I had to explain him that as all the list of activities; raft trip, climbing, five mile hike, and hike to an outpost; took place while at summer camp, that was only one troop activity...summer camp. Each thing he did while at summer camp was not in fact a separate activity. We discussed that the intent of the requirement was to have scouts be involved in the troop. He questions my interpretation and wanted to know if I was a lawyer. Told him I was not.
  5. 1 point
  6. 1 point
    Our troop slotted two months out of the year for patrol campouts. They were very popular for the scouts and adults who supported them. Fishing and hiking seemed to be the most popular theme. To further encourage patrol independence, they are asked to find their own rides for both scouts and gear for all camp outs. If they need additional space for gear, the PQM calls the TQM to reserve space in the trailer. If a patrol needs the troop trailer, they can request as well provided the driver and PQM have been trained and checked out by the TQM. I imagine insurance may have further requirements today. We also encourage patrols to travel independently from the troop (or troop trailer), but we found that some of the parks and camps don't like the groups checking in over several hours. Barry
  7. 1 point
    Excellent idea! i'd advocate for giving the award to the patrol that goes furthest "outside" the rut of whatever the troop's usual themes and sites might be...encourage the kids to think for themselves.
  8. 1 point
    Insoles help me. I wear Sole Reds now. I previously wore Superfeet Green which are popular. I had to experiment which gets expensive though less than a $400 custom orthopedic insert. This link will give you an idea of different brands. I have not bought from this online store. I buy Soles from local shoe store and Superfeet from REI. https://www.theinsolestore.com/backpacking-hiking-boot-insoles.html?foot_conditions=396
  9. 1 point
    Thanks, Hawkwin! It slipped my mind that girls could have been active as Venturers or Sea Scouts. Appreciate the reminder!
  10. 1 point
  11. 1 point
    Looking back, I can't recall very many scouts reflecting the leadership of their parents. Visa versa, some of our scouts also weren't a reflection of their really good leader parents. But, in most cases, the sons were remarkable reflections of their parents' character. Without getting into natural leadership (a whole different breed of leader), leadership skills have to be acquired one way or another. But what exactly is leadership? We push servant leadership in the scouting program, but what is servant leadership? I look back at two groups of recognized leaders in our troop that we guided to be servant leaders. I learned of the first group by a young proud freshmen scout one night at a troop meeting. We have three large high schools that feed our troop. One of those schools hands ballets to all 2000 of the students and ask them to pick the top 8 leaders of the school. Seven of the chosen leaders were scouts in our troop. The eight was a girl. I'm she would have been in our troop today.😎 So, how do high schoolers define leaders. Well, each of these scouts were active campers and experts with outdoors skills. Each had a reputation of trust and kindness toward all the scouts. Each were fairly quiet scouts, but more in the of a calm confidence, they weren't shy. They weren't braggarts, I never heard a single one of them mention their honor. Only the proud freshmen alerted me. They weren't silly, but more steady in their character. In my youth, these guys were top candidates for OA Arrowmen. Servants. At the same time, neither were they our top leaders. They all were good trusted leaders while on the PLC, but they weren't making a career of taking Positions of responsibility. They were scouts for adventure and the camaraderie of the patrol. I was quite proud, but not surprised. They were solid scouts. I learned of our other group of leaders one night when the district OA representative came to visit. We chatted for a while, but eventually I asked why his visit. He confessed that he wanted to see the program of the districts best youth leaders. His words. He said that scouts from our troop were well trained in running a large program. They we confident and skilled at setting goals and developing agendas to meet those goals. Our scouts were so accomplished with these skills, the scouts from the other troops elected them because they were intimidated. And it wasn't the same scouts, different scouts were elected each of the previous three years. I was to busy for OA, and frankly it wasn't the program of my youth, so I wasn't involved at all. so, I had no idea our scouts were so respected. Three of the 7 scouts scouts elected as leaders by their high school were also arrowmen, but none of them were the scouts the district rep was talking about. The scouts that where being elected leaders OA were had a differnt style than the scouts elected by their school. These had also been SPLs, ASPLS and Troop Quartermasters of our troop. These three positions are in our troop are very challenging and usually only taken on by the scouts who want and enjoy Positions of Responsibility. These guys also typically had the highest grades in school. As I said, we push servant leadership. Are they typical of servant leadership? I could go on and on, and on and on, bragging about our youth leaders, but these are two groups of leaders recognized outside of our troop. We weren't doing the bragging. Complete strangers were going out of their way to call them "Leader". They were recognized for their qualities. And yet, they were two completely different types of qualities. Are these qualities leadership qualities? More important to me, are their qualities the qualities of servants? My definition of servant leader is simply putting everyone else first, before ourselves. You know, the Scout Oath. That is all that we asked of all our scouts, leader or not. A servant leaders is just a by-product of a servant lifestyle. Quite frankly, I believe being a good servant is harder for followers than leaders. Leaders have one task of taking the Patrol to their goals. Followers have to question and trust the leader the whole way. Much much harder. So I find myself in leadership discussions always spread around the subject because I have witness so many good leaders of different styles. And this isn't just my opinion, this is the opinion of strangers out in the community. Their leadership styles are as diverse as the stars. I was the council Youth Leadership director, the head guy for Junior Leadership Training for all the council. I was the expert. And yet, all I can say that the one commonality for developing good leaders is let them make decisions based from character actions of being a servant. Or, follow the scout law. Teach you scouts to serve, and no matter their skills, I learned that they will be respected as "Leaders". This really is an amazing program. I love this scouting stuff. Barry
  12. 1 point
    Amicus is a good brand. MSR, too. Here's a good review of backpacking stoves.
  13. 1 point
    Great Question because so few troops look at their program in this way. They have expectations but don't really analyze why the scouts aren't meeting them. Instead of stepping back, reflecting and trying something new, they react by intruding and pushing. Now, I'm not saying adults should never provide input to boost the program, scouts simply run out of ideas. But, when a scout has to be continually told to wear his uniform properly, something is a miss. Scouts need self motivation to grow, not the threat of adult intimidation. The reason I rather used mixed age patrols instead of same age patrols is that we used both of them and the growth of scouts in same age patrols was unquestionably slower. We didn't care which style we used, we just wanted productive growth. We were able to observe the two types of patrols side-by-side and the growth of young scouts with continued older scout role models excelled over the new scouts who waited for Troop Guides and adults to push them along. So, we made a change to our program, a big change. We mixed the new scouts into the existing patrols as fast as possible. But we tried to evaluate every little part of our program like that. What worked and what didn't work. Maybe we were obsessive about it, I don't know. But we were doing something right, the troop grew from 15 scouts to 100 scouts in five years and we didn't even go looking for new scouts. And that was after loosing 50% of our new scouts the first couple years when we were learning. Yes, we live in different times. Youth today aren't used to disciplined structure that we were raised in, so they need A LOT more or different motivation to reach expectations. And frankly, different expectations. When I was a scout, my SM was a pilot. He challenged all the patrols to complete against each other in inspections, skills competitions, and living by the Oath and Law. The patrol with the most points in six months would get a plane ride. That was some motivation. As a pilot myself, I made the same challenge as my mentor, and while the patrols put in some effort, it basically fell flat. It's not that they scouts weren't willing to compete, they just weren't into the same challenges. For one thing, youth today are used to instant gratification. Six months turned them off from the start. Also, skills are boring. When I was a youth, knots supported everything from tents to camp gadgets. Today everything is held together with bungie cords. Yet, when the PLC came up with the idea of a Triathlon campout of hiking, biking and canoeing, through 16 different skills stations, ALL the scouts were all in. There was no plane ride for motivation, the pure fun of hiking biking and canoeing, (mostly biking) drew them to compete. That was not the adults idea, that was all scout. There is a quote somewhere by Badon Powell where he talks about the Scoutmaster being the older brother of the patrols. I think that is what he meant. Adults and older brothers think differently, have different motivations and different visions of adventure. The adults have to change hats and become big brothers to find the expectations that motivate today's scouts. I know that sounds simplistic, but if the adults don't find their motivation, the troop will struggle or become adult run. Side note: I got a call from the Pack of 30 Webelos that wanted to camp with us to see our troop in action. We knew nothing of this pack, but I told them about the Triathlon campout we were doing this weekend. However she would have to call the SPL because the PLC would only have 4 days to prepare for 30 Webelos and their parents to camp with us. I didn't know what the SPL would say, but he was up for it. The Webelos and their parents were so tired from Saturday's activities that they skipped Sunday breakfast to go home. We honestly weren't sure if they felt our troop was a bit too much and would join another troop. Silly us, all 30 scouts joined. I think the best answer is to keep trying. Find motivations that appeal to the scouts. I mentioned how our scout learned how to work together in breaking camp in one hour. The motivation was stopping for some junk food on the way home. It is as simple as that. But as I said, they not only broke the one hour goal, they got better and better to where 80 scouts broke camp in 30 minutes. Once they got inertia to work better as a team, they kept going. Not only did they break camp faster, they complained less and helped each other more. You have no idea how much the influences younger scouts. For the older scout to just walk over to help you fold a tent and them move on means so much to them. Those young scouts grow up to be older scouts helping younger scouts. Role modeling really works. I still am amazed by it. I didn't realize how big a deal the habits developed from breaking camp was until a trail guide we had on a backpacking trip commented that our crews were the fastest boy scout crews he had ever seen for breaking camp. He said the average crew took two hours where our took 20 minutes. He said our crews could sleep in a little the rest of the trip if we wanted because he would have to adjust his normal schedule. Using that reward was a shot in the dark. Yes, stopping for junk food became a bit of a tradition, but it gave us so many benefits that we didn't mind. I'm sure I will come up with a lot of other things we learned along the way. But, if you can start tuning into your scouts world and find what gets them excited, I think you are clever enough to use that leverage to your advantage. One other example, our scouts were pretty good at annual planning. Annual planning was one of the first action items for the PLC after elections. Well, these things always took about 8 hours because scouts loose focus. I don't remember who thought of it, but we decided to combine a lock-in where after the planning is done, the scouts do all-night video games with all the pizza they could eat. Wow!, we finished our annul planning "IN 3 HOURS". And they got better each time after. Imagine 12 months of planning in 2 HOURS. Did we adults see that coming, NOOOO! Not only did the PLC Annual Planning Lock-in motivate the scouts to be more efficient with planning, the PLC was the envy of all the scouts. Scouts ran for office just for Annual Planning night. Of course they learned that PLC works very hard and the lock-in was more of a reward than a carrot. I challenge any troop to run a better annual planning session. My advice is don't be satisfied with low performance. Keep trying new ideas. Some ideas stick, some don't. And respect your PLC as mature adults. If you respect them, they will work like the dickens for you. One example of that respect was a time I wanted to change our six month elections to one year elections. Every troop I visited with one year elections had very mature PLCs because the SPL had a year to lead. I learned through our own troop that the SPL needs about four months just to get his feet under him. That only gave us about 2 months with a productive SPL. Why not eight months instead. It made complete since to me. I proposed the idea to our PLC. I'm a pretty good sales man and can usually get what I want. But after laughing, they put the brakes on that idea. OK, another time. I spoiled my PLCs. Our PLCs averaged over 50 PLC meetings every six months, so I always had special treats waiting for them like cokes, chips, pizza. I respected their hard work, and they respected me by giving their best. If I look back at my scoutmastering experience as successful, it was only because of luck. I tripped over most of our good ideas. Barry
  14. 1 point
    Actually John, I think your reading is a bit off. I don't claim to be an expert but if you look at Sec 771 it says that no one can wear a military uniform unless otherwise provided for in law. Sec 772 then provides for the BSA to wear whatever uniform it chooses. So if the BSA decides to adopt the current uniform of the US Army, they are free to do so. They would, by my understanding, need to swap out all military insignia (including buttons on dress uniforms) for BSA insignia, but other than that the uniforms could be identical. In fact, in the early years, the uniforms were indistinguishable. During the First World War the BSA started wearing a distinctive hat emblem to make it clear to the public its members were not in fact soldiers. United States Code TITLE 10 > Subtitle A > PART II > CHAPTER 45 > Sec. 771. Sec. 771. - Unauthorized wearing prohibited Except as otherwise provided by law, no person except a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps, as the case may be, may wear - (1) the uniform, or a distinctive part of the uniform, of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps; or (2) a uniform any part of which is similar to a distinctive part of the uniform of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps TITLE 10 > Subtitle A > PART II > CHAPTER 45 > Sec. 772. Sec. 772. - When wearing by persons not on active duty authorized (j) A person in any of the following categories may wear the uniform prescribed for that category: (1) Members of the Boy Scouts of America.