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

  1. 4 points
    I was a Rifle Instructor at a Council camp. We had a scout who was autistic. He had a leader from his troop that came with him and helped him shoot. He didn't get the badge because his accuracy wasn't enough to complete the badge, but his leader and I made sure he had fun and the other Scouts were safe.
  2. 2 points
    Sad that parents or whoever had to escalate this to the broadcast news. Hasn't scouts been dragged through enough already? Doesn't the parent want his kid to stay in scouts? Now, their kid will be eternally known in their troop, in their district and in the local schools as the kid who dragged his own organization into the public opinion space. I trust the adults to treat the kid fairly, but the other scouts might not as much. I assume if a family does this, the family is planning to leave scouts. BSA and scouting and local volunteers bend over backwards to help kids with special needs. And, we've had lots of scouts with all sorts of issues. Now and then adults don't every situation well. Or specific situations get the better of the leaders. If this situation is as it was said, then the guy being paid effectively $ 2.00 per hour did not handle it well. And it's sad because it gives everyone a black eye after all the hard work put in. No scout should ever hear people asking if they are mentally disturbed. ... to be honest though, the rest of the story seems reasonable. ... RSO saying they've had trouble with kids like that is questionable depending on context? statement is ok if referring to screwing around or not sitting still or not listening or ... It's not ok if referring to autism ... even then it should be discussed quietly to the side with other adult leaders or camp staff. Not in front of the scouts. I've run BBGun and Archery ranges. I have asked parents to help kids who need a bit more focus. I've asked kids to step out because of their behavior. The point is I was responsible to keep the range safe. But riffle and shotgun are different than cub camp. And it needs to be the prerogative of the RSO. It's their neck if the range is not kept safe. My issue is I just never seen a scout leader or staffer use those exact words. As such, it seems like a very one sided representation of a bad situation. ... I have seen scouts use those exact words about each other. Usually, it's followed with some adult finding an opportunity to coach the scout. With that said, we've got multiple scouts in our troop on the autism spectrum disorder scale. Two of them ... depending time of day ... depending if they took their medicines ... I could see being kicked off the firing range because they can't sit still and listen. At those times, they will screw around and distract the others. The RSO needs to maintain control of the range and keep things safe. If the scouts are squirrel-ly or not listening or screwing around, they should be kicked off the range. It can be mater of factly handled and bluntly. ... But the issue is not the diagnosis. The issue is the specific timing and whether the scouts can participate safely.
  3. 2 points
    Well! Yes! The scouter was not confident with his skill in working this scout. Soooo, he should proceed outside of his comfort and possibly put others in the area in danger! It isn't just an issue with this particular situation at summer camp, I've seen it repeated several times over the years with unit leaders. Scouters (volunteers) only have so much experience for the different challenges that confront them. AND, I'm sure it's not the parents first time to run into adults who aren't comfortable working safely with their kids. So, who is responsible? Parents need to step up an expect to provide the assistance needed for the gap between the adults apprehension and their child's handicapped limitations. Two friends of mine became Scoutmasters just so their handicapped sons could have a fulfilling scouting experience. Barry
  4. 2 points
    I'm the ASM in our troop who guides the "first year" program and every year many of the new scouts and their parents ask for guidance around merit badge selection. It's not a matter of "telling" anyone what to take, it's a matter of helping guide them towards common-sense choices that really will meet the needs of the scout. Those choices are definitely going to vary from troop to troop and camp to camp. Our troop *does* incorporate much of the Tenderfoot -> First Class skills into its regular program, plus we add in activities specifically geared towards the new scout patrol (like a 5-mile hike, an orienteering event, a Totn Chip class, etc.) Because of that, our younger scouts don't really need the "First Class Emphasis" programs at summer camp. My recommendation to first-year scouts and their parents is what most folks here have said: * avoid the "classroom" merit badges and most eagle-required merit badges, but... * take Swimming MB (cools you off during the day, it's fun, and it prepares you down the road for Lifesaving and many of the aquatic activities the troop does) * focus on FUN, consider.... - a waterfront merit badge: Canoeing, Kayaking, Rowing are all fun and good choices for a first-year scout - a shooting sports merit badge: camp is an ideal setting and Archery and Rifle Shooting are ideal for a first-year scout * focus on something unique that isn't readily available in-troop or in our local community. Consider... - Horsemanship MB - a camp craft, perhaps Leatherwork or Wood Carving * don't overschedule: leave some free time each day to try something new or just goof off with friends
  5. 2 points
    I dont understand "required" merit badge statement. You have to have a total of 21 by the Eagle level. Some are specific to advancement, while others are open to a scouts interest. Therefore, all 21 are "required". So, ANY MB earned go toward the required 21. Interesting how adults put artificial restraints on a youth's path towards skills and leadership. I've seen thousands of paths, most lead to the same destination. Enjoy the scenery and hike at your own pace.
  6. 1 point
    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/07/big-in-peacekeeping-boy-scouts/590614/
  7. 1 point
    We do. That is where we send the computer nerds to get some POR time. Barry
  8. 1 point
    I know some counselors have rubber stamps with their name, address, phone on them. Some counselors also print info on stickers. Avery makes labels in dozens of sizes and styles. There are templates that can be downloaded for many of these, and they're easy to modify in Word or other apps to handle specific things (like list of requirements done, appropriately spaced for the lines on a blue card). I do like perdidochas' suggestion to let scouts fill in most of it....that works well for me most of the time. The only really bad solution I've experienced is Scoutbook sending me (the MBC) an invite to access some scout's advancement record....especially when he's never even bothered to contact me first to chat about what he's doing. IMHO, Inconvenient and gratuitous use of technology is not a step forward. Seems to me like Scoutbook's developers never actually observed MBCs or real scouts to see how "the process" works in real life...
  9. 1 point
    I'm all for safety, and anytime a range safety officer (RSO) feels they aren't equipped to meet necessary safety standards, they should indeed cease operations or limit a Scout's participation. However, this sentence in particular is especially troubling. "And he said that, 'Well he's not going to shoot on my range. We've had problems in the past with kids like that,'" James said. The RSO's concern was not based on anything this particular Scout did, but on the Scouter's prior experience with "those type of kids". That's a problem.
  10. 1 point
    My son just completed his first Boy Scout summer camp. earned swimming - and totally think that is a great 1st year merit badge is the scout is a decent swimmer. He also did Trail to First class. And he and the other boys in the troop who took the course loved it. Was it perfect, no. Was it enough to make them smarter and more confident in scouting, 100% yes. It is not the only time they will learn or tie knots, for example, but gave them a great foundation. He also earned Pioneering, which he did to be more confident in knots and so he would learn how to build structures. Loved it. We were advised to take a balanced mix at camps, and it worked wonderfully. He learned a ton, be became so much more confident outdoors, and left excited to be a scout. What else should a first year scout come away with? PS- but I like the idea of first aid next year.
  11. 1 point
    Update on construction of 2,800 acre Camp Strake which is near Huntsville, TX at edge of Sam Houston National Forest. Scheduled to open summer 2020. 28 acre man-made lake STEM center, 450 seat dining hall, 9000sq ft Grand Pavilion, total of 66 structures photos, including aerial photo https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/bizfeed/article/Construction-progresses-at-Camp-Strake-campsite-14063649.php
  12. 1 point
    Regarding First Year Camper programs, my council was spoiled for a long time. We had a retired Marine running our program. Firm, demanding, but fair. You having problems with something and needed extra help learning, he was there for you. Scouts who went through him learned something. I thought all FYC programs were like his. I was wrong. I have seen some great ones, some good ones, some not so good ones, and some pathetic ones over the years. I t depends upon the staff. You need phenomenal staff to run the FYC program because IMHO, it is the most important one. It is the program with the most impact, and has the possibility of either making or breaking Scout's interest in the program. @ItsBrian has a heavy burden as FYC staff to maintain.
  13. 1 point
    The current requirements for Eagle Scout, the highest rank in Boy Scouting, involve earning 21 merit badges including the 13 in this list[4]: Camping Personal Fitness Personal Management Swimming, Hiking, or Cycling First Aid Citizenship in the Community Citizenship in the Nation Citizenship in the World Cooking Family Life Emergency Preparedness (E-Prep) or Lifesaving Environmental Science or Sustainability Communication The above 13 are considered the "Eagle Required" badges. All others are "electives" and can be whatever the scout chooses. There are none required for advancement until Star and Life which require six MB (4 required) for Star and 5 MB (3 required) for Life, for a total of 11. Ten more must be earned for Eagle for a total of 21.
  14. 1 point
    Some of the trail to First Class programs at summer camp are good. A lot depends on the camp and the people teaching the skills. It's a good starting point for Scouts, but a good troop program will repeat a lot of the skills. IMO, this is a good thing, because many of the skills are perishable, so the Scouts need to keep repeating them, in order to retain the skills. We also recommend first aid and swimming. Keep in mind that Scouts also need 8 elective merit badges for Eagle Scout rank, so fun merit badges at summer camp will also help them with advancement.
  15. 1 point
    I agree with the Scoutmaster. Scouts should take as many fun merit badges as they can at summer camp. Yes, I would suggest swimming and first aid (not cooking, it's very involved, and cooking requirements used in cooking MB shouldn't be used for rank advancement, IIRC). That said, I think, besides for 17 year old Life Scouts, the book badges should be banned at summer camp--no Citizenship, Personal Management, Family Life, etc. should be taught at summer camp.
  16. 1 point
    My bottom line: we have no business telling a scout what MBs to take when. My advice to scouts: You need eight electives for advancement to Eagle, and 5 more for each Palm you'd like to earn. So rack those electives up as early and as often as your scout spirit emboldens you. If you happen to be interested in an Eagle-required badge, go for it. But never let a required badge get in the way of earning an elective of interest to you. Then, When you reach 1st Class, start picking the required ones that you feel ready to knock out for your next rank. If you haven't done so already, that's one a month for Star, one every other month for Life, and one a month for Eagle. That said, in separate conversations I tell the boys in our troop that when I collapse, I want as many scouts around me who know what to do to forestall my demise. So, 1st Aid, Lifesaving, and E-Prep are very high on my list of "to master as soon as you feel able". But that's got nothing to do with their advancement and everything to do with our survival when dark days arrive! Son #1 earned archery his first year ... and swimming, but that was a family imperative because we spend half our weekends on a Great Lake. Son #2 partial-ed in swimming ... because lightning disrupted every day they were to do surface dives. Seven years, and he never took the time to go and check that one off. Wound up Hiking the snot out of our county at age 17.8. In conclusion, @SteveMM your new scout (and his parent) was given excellent advice, and your son was given sub-par advice.
  17. 1 point
    Interesting. Camp Alexander in Colorado with an elev 8200 ft. has a heated pool. They also do a Polar Bear swim one morning in their small lake. We typically ask the camps we visit for a free Troop time at one of the ranges. They never turned us down. It's not for advancement, just troop fun time. Barry
  18. 1 point
    We are pretty much the same, but because we want scouts to actively use their independence to control their program, we don't tell them to ignore the summer camp first year program, we just ask that our Older Scouts sign off their books. That way the scouts have their independence and the troop protects the integrity of skills knowledge. Works pretty well. Barry
  19. 1 point
    I have yet to see good results from a 1st year scout program and they seem to teach the same things we do in our weekly program. We highly encourage scouts to take Swimming and FA their first year and the other 2 or 3 is based on interest. This allows them to complete requirements in 2nd and 1st class. Advancment is one of the methods and it should be encouraged but not dictated.
  20. 1 point
    Have fun and go do stuff. Oh, you have never fired a rifle, hey take that.
  21. 1 point
    If it’s a first year scout, I highly suggest the first year scout program at your summer camp.
  22. 1 point
    Why do parents believe scouts only have one summer camp to get their stinking badges. We don't need no stinking.......... If camp is fun, they will come. Swimming so the scout can attend water activities. Fun stuff for the rest of the week. Barry
  23. 1 point
    As an ASM and/or Advancement Chair I always advised camp is to be fun and outside. The only Eagle Reqd I suggested they sign up for was swimming because IMO summer camp is the easiest (logistically not reduced standards) place to earn it. And it is in the water. The rest should be fun fun fun. I would advise max out the waterfront (camp is usually warm so water is good): kayaking, sailing, boating, canoeing, etc (depending on what the camp has to offer. Or be at the range: rifle shooting, shotgun shooting, archery since approved Scout camps are usually the only places to do that. Or if they are into hiking, climbing, geocaching etc Be outside and active. Please please please avoid the citizenships or other classroom oriented badges--or those w/ a bunch of prereqs or (if accomplished correctly) have multi-week logs to keep so they are guaranteed to be a partial. to sum up: be in the water or at the range, be active and outdoors, be fun and hands on, and come home with a couple, at least complete to have the sense of accomplishment. I am in total agreement there is plenty of time for pure advancement (particularly the Uof Scouting, MB Days or one off MB classes that happen year round--particularly in the winter months) Especially for first summer camp experience. Trying to hook 'em for life, IMO camp needs to be an action packed adventure
  24. 1 point
    @ParkMan, I think the not-so-shot short answer is "no, and yes". The average troop is not designed to provide enough program for older youth. As you recount, youth are designed to provide program for their troop. Take, for example, the merit badge program. It was designed to exist outside the troop. Councilors were selected on a handshake from the district commissioners. The list was was typed and pinned to the bulletin board. Scouts read the list and told the SM, I'd like to take y MB from Mr/Mrs x. The MB program is a program for older youth to get outside the troop, meet folks in your community, and learn stuff. In doing that, boys would come back and enhance the troop program. Simple example, one day a year our troop would have a meeting dedicated to hobbies. Scouts would bring in or demonstrate their hobbies. In many cases these were related to the MB they had earned that year or were working on. I was nuts about model design and building -- ships mainly. Another scout made farm equipment models. I learned a lot about grading roads from him. I'd like to think scouts learned about nautical stuff from me. The next year, I took Photography at a MB pow-wow and after quality time in the darkroom with the counselor, learned enough about developing film to keep taking pin-hole camera pictures. My parents got me the equipment to temporarily turn the bathroom into my own darkroom. I then, for our council camporee, talked the SM into getting our whole troop to convert a long cardboard box into a mobile darkroom and learn to develop pinhole camera portraits (passport photo size). For one Satuday, it was probably the only 1-hour photo studio in the state! So, what about Son #1 and his scholar-athlete buddies? They rolled some duct tape and string and who-knows-what into a ball, pulled a decent stick from the fire pile, and defined imaginary bases around where the camp gathered for flags. The jaw of one parent of a particularly non-athletic, non-participating son hit the ground when he asked after his son and I told him, "Oh, he's playing baseball with the boys in their field of dreams." Over the years, advancement requirements have become more organization-serving (e.g., camping nights only count under the auspices of BSA, the recruitment requirements, activity attendance over skill mastery, insta-Palms for scouts who spend so much time in O/A, HA, or Jambo that they postpone Eagle Projects of fulfilling PoR's, etc ...). And that's a shame. When we try to make the troop the be-all-end-all of youth development, we miss the point. And we wear ourselves out in the process.
  25. 1 point
    Even the Fast Start video, the last time I looked at it, doesn't show the Committee, at Committee meeting, in uniform. Committee folks attending Program events (troop meetings, camps, etc) should be in appropriate attire for the event (a 20 mile bicycle ride calls for some form of Class B uniform; a COH calls for Class A). A business meeting, by and large away from the youth (possible exception being the SPL), I suspect most will be fortunate to have changed from work clothes.
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