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Showing content with the highest reputation on 11/05/19 in all areas

  1. 5 points
    I know we argue about Sports versus Scouting. I ran across this on another Scout Facebook page. It is long, but worthy of your reading. I attribute it to the name at the top. 'Nuf said... Brock Moore October 23 at 9:26 AM I promised myself years ago, every time I saw this I would re-post. Happens about twice a year. Rings true EVERY.SINGLE.TIME.... Here goes!!! Most people won't take the time to read this all the way to the end. I hope that you will. 17 INCHES" - you will not regret reading this An excellent article to read from beginning to end. Twenty years ago, in Nashville, Tennessee, during the first week of January, 1996, more than 4,000 baseball coaches descended upon the Opryland Hotel for the 52nd annual ABCA's convention. While I waited in line to register with the hotel staff, I heard other more veteran coaches rumbling about the lineup of speakers scheduled to present during the weekend. One name kept resurfacing, always with the same sentiment — “John Scolinos is here? Oh, man, worth every penny of my airfare.” Who is John Scolinos, I wondered. No matter; I was just happy to be there. In 1996, Coach Scolinos was 78 years old and five years retired from a college coaching career that began in 1948. He shuffled to the stage to an impressive standing ovation, wearing dark polyester pants, a light blue shirt, and a string around his neck from which home plate hung — a full-sized, stark-white home plate. Seriously, I wondered, who is this guy? After speaking for twenty-five minutes, not once mentioning the prop hanging around his neck, Coach Scolinos appeared to notice the snickering among some of the coaches. Even those who knew Coach Scolinos had to wonder exactly where he was going with this, or if he had simply forgotten about home plate since he’d gotten on stage. Then, finally … “You’re probably all wondering why I’m wearing home plate around my neck,” he said, his voice growing irascible. I laughed along with the others, acknowledging the possibility. “I may be old, but I’m not crazy. The reason I stand before you today is to share with you baseball people what I’ve learned in my life, what I’ve learned about home plate in my 78 years.” Several hands went up when Scolinos asked how many Little League coaches were in the room. “Do you know how wide home plate is in Little League?” After a pause, someone offered, “Seventeen inches?”, more of a question than answer. “That’s right,” he said. “How about in Babe Ruth’s day? Any Babe Ruth coaches in the house?” Another long pause. “Seventeen inches?” a guess from another reluctant coach. “That’s right,” said Scolinos. “Now, how many high school coaches do we have in the room?” Hundreds of hands shot up, as the pattern began to appear. “How wide is home plate in high school baseball?” “Seventeen inches,” they said, sounding more confident. “You’re right!” Scolinos barked. “And you college coaches, how wide is home plate in college?” “Seventeen inches!” we said, in unison. “Any Minor League coaches here? How wide is home plate in pro ball?”............“Seventeen inches!” “RIGHT! And in the Major Leagues, how wide home plate is in the Major Leagues? “Seventeen inches!” “SEV-EN-TEEN INCHES!” he confirmed, his voice bellowing off the walls. “And what do they do with a Big League pitcher who can’t throw the ball over seventeen inches?” Pause. “They send him to Pocatello !” he hollered, drawing raucous laughter. “What they don’t do is this: they don’t say, ‘Ah, that’s okay, Jimmy. If you can’t hit a seventeen-inch target? We’ll make it eighteen inches or nineteen inches. We’ll make it twenty inches so you have a better chance of hitting it. If you can’t hit that, let us know so we can make it wider still, say twenty-five inches.'” Pause. “Coaches… what do we do when your best player shows up late to practice? or when our team rules forbid facial hair and a guy shows up unshaven? What if he gets caught drinking? Do we hold him accountable? Or do we change the rules to fit him? Do we widen home plate? " The chuckles gradually faded as four thousand coaches grew quiet, the fog lifting as the old coach’s message began to unfold. He turned the plate toward himself and, using a Sharpie, began to draw something. When he turned it toward the crowd, point up, a house was revealed, complete with a freshly drawn door and two windows. “This is the problem in our homes today. With our marriages, with the way we parent our kids. With our discipline. We don’t teach accountability to our kids, and there is no consequence for failing to meet standards. We just widen the plate!” Pause. Then, to the point at the top of the house he added a small American flag. “This is the problem in our schools today. The quality of our education is going downhill fast and teachers have been stripped of the tools they need to be successful, and to educate and discipline our young people. We are allowing others to widen home plate! Where is that getting us?” Silence. He replaced the flag with a Cross. “And this is the problem in the Church, where powerful people in positions of authority have taken advantage of young children, only to have such an atrocity swept under the rug for years. Our church leaders are widening home plate for themselves! And we allow it.” “And the same is true with our government. Our so-called representatives make rules for us that don’t apply to themselves. They take bribes from lobbyists and foreign countries. They no longer serve us. And we allow them to widen home plate! We see our country falling into a dark abyss while we just watch.” I was amazed. At a baseball convention where I expected to learn something about curve balls and bunting and how to run better practices, I had learned something far more valuable. From an old man with home plate strung around his neck, I had learned something about life, about myself, about my own weaknesses and about my responsibilities as a leader. I had to hold myself and others accountable to that which I knew to be right, lest our families, our faith, and our society continue down an undesirable path. “If I am lucky,” Coach Scolinos concluded, “you will remember one thing from this old coach today. It is this: "If we fail to hold ourselves to a higher standard, a standard of what we know to be right; if we fail to hold our spouses and our children to the same standards, if we are unwilling or unable to provide a consequence when they do not meet the standard; and if our schools & churches & our government fail to hold themselves accountable to those they serve, there is but one thing to look forward to …” With that, he held home plate in front of his chest, turned it around, and revealed its dark black backside, “…We have dark days ahead!.” Note: Coach Scolinos died in 2009 at the age of 91, but not before touching the lives of hundreds of players and coaches, including mine. Meeting him at my first ABCA convention kept me returning year after year, looking for similar wisdom and inspiration from other coaches. He is the best clinic speaker the ABCA has ever known because he was so much more than a baseball coach. His message was clear: “Coaches, keep your players—no matter how good they are—your own children, your churches, your government, and most of all, keep yourself at seventeen inches." And this my friends is what our country has become and what is wrong with it today, and now go out there and fix it! "Don't widen the plate."
  2. 3 points
    I absolutely agree. The "outdoors" is BSA's big unique selling opportunity. It's debatable on BSA's track record with physical fitness, leadership and citizenship. BSA is generally really good, but those can also be addressed with sports, ROTC and other programs. But I really don't see a quality youth outdoor nature program other than BSA.
  3. 3 points
    This is a marketing message BSA is missing. Getting America's Kids Outdoors would be a great positive message to counteract all the negativity. Doing more to save local Council camps that are closing. Protect parks. Developing partnerships with conservation groups that are working to protect some of the species that are linked to our ranks, like wolves and tigers and bears. There is very little real or functional connection in BSA to conservation, wildlife, parks, etc. Our purpose is so muddled and we miss opportunities right and left to cast ourselves in a better light
  4. 2 points
    What is often missing in the rush to mBs via "colleges" or the like is the real benefit of the Adult Association method. The more personal the time spent with the youth, the more the adult assiciation as a method can be used to accomplish the aims. The biggest problem with the mB mills and the give-away mBs is they are an example of the opposite of our aims. Cutting corners and taking the easy way out is not ethical decision making. By focusing on advancement as the goal, handing out signed blue cards to scouts who have not fulfilled the reqs, showing scouts how to cheat the system and denying scouts the benefit of true adult association is the worst example we can provide the scouts. It goes against the very Aims of the movement.
  5. 2 points
    I agree. Summer camps have turned into MB mills, with many non-outdoor offerings. The scouts should be hiking, swimming, boating, and shooting. Either for the MB or just for the fun of it. Life is sedentary enough in 2019. Too many scouts sitting on picnic benches at summer camp these days.
  6. 2 points
    There's a strong push going on right now, led by me and another Committee Member, to limit our troop's participation in merit badge weekends to one per year. In previous years, we've gone to as many as three or even four in a calendar year. It's part of the reason we have some Scouts with merit badges wrapping all around their sash, but don't remember half of what they learned. Our goal is to replace those merit badge weekends with more traditional hiking, fishing, and camping trips. So far we're winning. Merit badge weekends are NOT needed. My son got his Eagle in early August at the age of 15 while splitting his free time with competitive travel soccer. He has attended exactly one merit badge weekend in his Scouting career.
  7. 2 points
    I am glad to hear of this direction. I do not think that these MB events serve anyone very much, except in the case of earning a small badge, like finger printing, which can normally be done in one sitting anyway. Certainly Eagle Required badges should require effort, accomplishment, and skill or knowledge acquiring. When I see thirty scouts come out of a First Aid badge class with a signed blue card at the end of the day, I am pretty sure they will not know a lot about first aid by the next camp out. But they will receive a badge at the next COH. And I have seen scouts learn to "work the system" in order to get badges by using the least amount of effort. I have seen indications that the scouts find out who will pass a requirement by sitting in a class and who will make the scout literally do the requirements. Two of the most important reasons to do merit badges is to find a life long interest, and for the scout to have healthy relationships with caring adults. I am not sure that the MB event format contributes to either of these things. So I am glad that BSA is tightening up these events.
  8. 1 point
    LOL! Our troop is camping this weekend too. Only the temperature is supposed to be in the low 20's Friday night!
  9. 1 point
    We have to separate the concept of "relevance" from the concept of being "worthwhile." Character education and skills training for youth today are certainly important -- worthwhile -- for the future, whether 5 or 10 or 30 years from now. But relevance is defined as related to or connected to the matter at hand. The matter at hand is the condition of youth and society today, now. To be relevant, Scouting has to be seen as a program that benefits participants almost immediately upon joining; those benefits to youth must be observable and understandable to the public; the program must be perceived as understanding and being engaged in today's world (not looking back to the past); and the program must not be perceived as being for a narrow or select audience or as having views or practices considered exclusive or offensive.
  10. 1 point
    MB Colleges cause a lot more harm that most of us realize. I found while on the District Committee that 70 Percent of our Troops used only Summer Camp and MB Colleges for a major part of their advancement program. They would look for opportunities through the Council for their scouts advancement. They got so used to these outside advancement activities that they lost the knowledge of running their own unit advancement program. One scouter on district made a proposal to change the District MB college. Up to that point, scouts showed up at 8:00 am and were not allowed to leave until 4:00 pm, even if they only wanted one or two classes. Lunch was provided. The proposed changes were having scouts show up to school the night before to speak to the counselors and determine the badges they wanted. They then would learn more about the badge from the counselor and learn when the counselor was making a presentation of the badge. The scout would then fill out the Blue Card with all the counselors information, and take it to their SM, who was probably in the building. The counselors, who attended training by the district the week before, were encouraged to not do one-and-done meetings, but instead arrange to meet the scouts for any required sessions even after the weekend. The scouts were not required to check in and only had to show up for the sessions they signed up for. Lunch was not provided, however, an enterprising person could make and sell sandwiches, chips and drinks. The district committee turned the proposal down because it appeared chaotic. It wasn't the way it was done before. I agree, you are presenting a good idea, but still forcing adult choices. Our troop gave the scouts the information and let them work out. Like OA and Venturing, we let the scouts do outside activities on their own. However, we did not accept any requirements that we signed by the counselor before the scoutmaster signed the Blue Card. We still required they follow BSA MB policies. It was more work on their side, but if they wanted to do the badges, they followed our policies, which were BSA policies. Of course we have our own advancement program and part of that was presenting two MB badges a month. And the scouts could do any badge on their own, so the MB Colleges weren't needed or used much by our scouts. Personally, I wouldn't mind MB weekends if they were done in such a way as to setting an example to the units of following BSA policies. At the same time, district could encourage better training for counselors and create a list for all units to use. Barry
  11. 1 point
    I like hearing about troops that provide in-house opportunities to help their youth --- after all, we're taught the importance of "servant leadership" so we need to do what the boys need. I like that you're not participating in more than one MB weekend per year, but I would be cautious about going overboard by making such a thing a "rule" or a "policy". Scout leaders should always remember to "remove barriers and open doors". If you implement a rule, you're doing a disservice to the scout who has a right to expect that you are following the "Guide to Advancement" and not just making up unnecessary rules that treat your own scouts differently from scouts in other troops.
  12. 1 point
    If there is a nudge from National to discourage or at least tighten up MB fairs, I'd say this is the most positive news I've heard in awhile. There are acceptable group settings to earn MBs at summer camp. Historically, these used to be primarily outdoor focused (rifle/shotgun/lifesaving/etc.). Many units didn't access to properties or equipment during the course of the year, so it was standard practice at camp. The MB fairs I see today are grand events, more spoon feeding than actually learning. The scouts go through the process and leave Saturday evening with MBs that used to require weeks of individual effort. And for most of the scouts, all they had to do was wake up, don their uniform, and get in the SUV. Everything else is scripted.
  13. 1 point
    Election Day, please remember to vote (Like) early and often.
  14. 1 point
    I had to look this up. I wasn't sure it was in the original paper. It was the same except for the bold font. Anyway, this reminds me of a discussion I had with a group of people that are going to Rwanda where my wife and I sponsor a kid to go to school. They were talking about different kinds of poverty. The Africans have a material poverty. Many advance Western countries have a community poverty. This paper spells it out. Something else we talked about was the best way to help the people in Africa. Surprise, surprise, a lot of ideas were similar to developing leadership in a scout troop. Don't tell them what they need. Help them find out what they need. Encourage them to solve their problems on their own, and don't jump in to save the day. One thing they did focus on a lot more than we talk about, was developing a relationship with the people you want to help. In fact that's the only thing we're going to do while there. Play with kids. Talk to parents. Enjoy their music. Letting them know they're not alone while solving their problems.
  15. 1 point
    Yup, that's some of the logic that the UC kept saying. I am not saying that big or small dens are good or bad. I am saying make what you have work with the kids and the parents you have and ignore the people that say, well, we always do it this way so you should too. And I disagree with your point. I never used parents to split groups apart. They were simply there for talent.
  16. 1 point
    I hope you find the right answer for scouting. I love the scouting program ... when it works. But if you don't find the magic, it's okay to look for alternatives. Your kids are only young once. Find the right answer to give the experiences to develop friendships and grow as a person. Scouting is a great program when it works. But don'[t chase windmills. There are other answers too.
  17. 1 point
    Funny thing this topic of recruitment. We were doing a compass course at a local park. One group was about 30 minutes behind schedule because two non-scout friends showed up riding bikes. They ended up tagging along and watching the Scouts do their thing. I am hoping one, if not both show up at the meeting they were invited to.
  18. 1 point
    The scouter's camp fire. Pull up a stump and join us.
  19. 1 point
    Scouters.com - Uniting Scouters Worldwide
  20. 1 point
    I recently sat on three Tenderfoot boards of review. One girl and two boys. Very impressive scouts, these three. The highlight question was "what do you like best about scouting?" All three brightened and said "camping!" Each in their own way, they articulated what they like about their first camporee. They mentioned the good points and looked back on the low points with humor. Collectively couldn't wait to go camping again. To me, this is what the BSA is all about.
  21. 0 points
    Front the Commissioners Facebook page: Dear Scout Executives, Over the past year, leadership of the national organization has been working tirelessly to empower our volunteers and staff to focus on delivering the mission of Scouting to more than two million young people, while also addressing our organization’s financial challenges. The work that each of us puts into this movement is vital, but to do our best on behalf of the Boy Scouts of America, we each must also look out for our own personal health. Today, I am reaching out to let you know that Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh is taking a medical leave of absence to focus on challenges that require his total attention. Although I know your support is immensely appreciated, I ask that you respect his privacy and remain focused on our mission of delivering a great Scouting program to youth and families in our communities. We wish him a full recovery. Given that this comes at an important time for our organization, National Chair-Elect Dan Ownby and I will be personally supporting the national professional leadership team. Within the next several weeks, the National Executive Committee will identify an interim leader for the national organization. Whether you come to the movement as an employee, a volunteer, a parent or a Scout, you quickly realize that we are all one Scouting family. As we look back on a year of exceptional milestones, from welcoming both boys and girls into Scouts BSA, to the once-in-a-lifetime experience of the World Scout Jamboree, this is a time for all of us to support each other, the organization and the movement. Scouting plays a vital role in our communities and in the lives of so many young people. Thank you for your support and all you do for Scouting. Yours in Scouting, Jim Turley ----- James S. Turley National Chair | Boy Scouts of America
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