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Showing content with the highest reputation since 12/20/18 in all areas

  1. 6 points
    Retired Maryland state trooper Russell Williams suffered a heart attack while Christmas shopping with his daughter. Troop 355 ASM Wes Thatcher responded and started CPR - chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth followed by two shocks from the mall's defibrillator before EMTs arrived. Recovered, Mr. Williams attended a Troop 355 meeting to tell scouts personally the importance of CPR training and thank scouter Wes Thatcher. Video and sources: https://foxbaltimore.com/news/local/miracle-at-the-mall-scoutmaster-meets-heart-attack-victim-he-helped-save https://foxbaltimore.com/news/local/christmas-miracle-boy-scoutmaster-saves-heart-attack-victim-at-white-marsh-mall Scout Salute
  2. 6 points
    Spot on sir! My triplets and I recently bridged over from Cub Scouts this year, and the former Scoutmaster was grooming me to take over the Troop shortly after he found out I was an Eagle Scout and had 10-years of teaching/applying survival and combat triage skills in the military (*BTW teaching scouts is waaaaay different than teaching soldiers... thank you Wood Badge for pointing that out!). To your point, you are absolutely correct. A lot of the parents tend to "helicopter hover" over their boys and some of the new scout dads don't really know that their sons can't learn to do for themselves if they are not given an opportunity to make mistakes (little life lessons - if you will). "Wow, you're cold and wet because you didn't put the rainfly on correctly? I bet you won't do that again... go grab some wood and make a fire to warm up." "There was a raccoon in your tent last night? Yep, you probably shouldn't have been eating food in your tent and leaving crumbs/trash everywhere." (true story too). As a new Scoutmaster, I've been really emphasizing on the Patrol Method... and I use "esprit de corps" to introduce that little bit of friendly competition between the patrols. Quite honestly, teaching the boys the patrol method and having the troop be "boy run" is the easy part. But... teaching the parents to sit back and watch the boys operate as a cohesive unit... that is definitely much harder to accomplish. Obviously, this is my first year as a Scoutmaster, but I am definitely looking forward to this challenge! Thanks for the post!
  3. 6 points
    I've been re-reading a history book, created over 15 years ago, outlining the rich background of Scouting in my area. In one particular chapter, the author highlights some pretty cool things that took place during the "Improved Scouting" years, despite the changes that the National Council, BSA introduced in 1972. Dedicated Scouters gave countless hours to mentor, guide, and teach countless young people how to navigate the world and society. This is exactly what each of us is still doing today! I think the general malaise I feel from reading some posts on this Forum is due, in large part, to the attitude that things aren't as good as they used to be. Well, no, some things are definitely different. However, some things are just the same and will be for many, many years. The Movement of Scouting will carry on even if the organization of Scouting stumbles from time to time. Our future as a Scouting Movement is as bright as we'll allow it to be. I look at my two-year-old son and see a future Scout just bursting with energy. He's already tramping the woods, picking up pinecones, marveling at the trees, and asking Daddy to help him light fires. He'd even gladly accept a pocketknife if I gave him one. 😉 The other day we stopped into a Scout Shop while traveling so Daddy could pick up some CSPs from the area, and my little one proudly told the Shop staffers "A...be a Scout!" It brought a tear to my eye. I realize controversy invites loads of dialogue and emotions run hot on different sides of the issue at hand. What I yearn for on this forum and in discussions with my fellow Scouters is talk of fires, pocketknives, OA adventures, camping, Merit Badge Counselor success stories, etc. So I challenge each of you to give the Issues and Politics forum a break for ONE DAY and come back to one of the other sub-fora, writing about some successes you've had recently and focusing on the bright future of Scouting.
  4. 5 points
    and a happy Festivus to the restuvus. I think we can dispatch with the airing of grievances, as the forum seems to do that weekly. Shall we move on to the "feats of strength"
  5. 5 points
    I think there is a tendency to reinforce negative thinking on a forum. Not necessarily because we're negative, but because the positive things are happening in our units, district and council, and we come here for support on the things that aren't going so well. I don't think this requires a whole new thread, but I'm greatly optimistic for my troop. The New Scoutmaster took over in May, and from May until now I've done my best to support him and pick up slack as he learns his role. I found out in November that I've been accepted to Graduate school, and that starts in January for me. I'll have classes in the evenings during the Troop meetings, so I'm going from 60 to 0 pretty quickly with Scouting and my Troop. I'm staffing NYLT this coming summer, but I'm not sure what my future in Scouting looks like beyond this summer. I will likely occasionally drop in on Eagle projects or Eagle Court of Honors. My program will take me about 2 and half years to complete, and afterwards I don't expect to return to "active duty" with my Troop. There will be several new classes of Scouts and parents that won't know me, and the current leadership I do know will be winding down their involvement. It'd be a weird time to jump back in. A few weeks ago I arranged a meeting with all of the ASM's, current Scoutmaster and the previous Scoutmaster. We talked about the Troop, the transition, what was going well, what wasn't. We also talked about our availability and interest for the 2019. The previous Scoutmaster and I are considered reserves going forward and we charted the exit for another experienced ASM who's son is almost aged out. We identified who would take over as Scoutmaster if something happened to our current SM (sons dropped out, job caused a relocation...ect.) That leaves us with about 3 active ASM's available for meetings and outings in 2019 with one other that exclusively handles high adventure stuff. We also identified a few potential candidates to become ASM's this year. Our goal with this is for the Scoutmaster to be able to focus on the Patrol method, while the other ASM's provide coaching to the ASPL's and other troop positions when needed. (We have about 60 registered Scouts.) In the past ASM duties were mostly ad hoc spur of the moment type stuff with some delegation from the Scoutmaster. Overall I'm thrilled, because I think the Troop has the adult leaders in place and the organization to really help our scouts take it's next steps into becoming more effective as a youth led troop and utilizing the patrol method. After years of pushing, things are starting to click on the patrol method. The Scouts had patrol leader elections last week, and for the first time in a long time we didn't have patrols merge, rename or significantly shuffle membership. I took a picture of the Troop and patrol flags last night, because it was the first time in a long time where the patrol identity stuff has stuck for us over a term (6 months) of life in the Troop. Short of the Scoutmaster or next SPL doing a 180 turn on the patrol method, it appears to be here to stay. (Note, we have to meet in the church's preschool room due to advent activities in the church fellowship hall, so enjoy the decorations in the background!) I'm proud of what the Scouts, ASM and current and previous SM have accomplished, the program we've put on, the lives we've changed. I'm grateful that the transition has gone mostly well, as we all know, it can be dangerous time for a troop program. I'm thrilled to see new parents step into roles on the Committee and as ASM's. I'm disappointed that for me, my time with my Troop has just about come to an end, but I'm optimistic that the Troop will continue to do great things for our Scouts and our community. I hope I've made a positive impact on the Troop, because it's definitely changed my life for the better. I know I'll continue supporting Scouting in different ways going forward, and I'm excited to see what my next chapter in Scouting will look like. Isn't that why we do all this after all?
  6. 4 points
    I so so like the statement. It's dead on right.
  7. 4 points
    Last night we held our final troop meeting for 2018. Ours is an LDS troop that will go out of existence one year from now. We used last night's troop meeting to motivate by highlighting the Scouting journey that lies ahead in 2019, both in terms of rank advancement and outdoor adventures. We anticipate up to 14 new Eagle Scouts in 2019 (in a normal year, it's just 3 or 4). We compared our 2019 troop activity calendar to a rock band's farewell tour schedule. We will be revisiting many favorite camping destinations from past years. As we moved month-to-month through the calendar, their excitement escalated to cheering as each new campout was revealed. Next summer we will attend two premier BSA summer camps, plus a backpacking trip. We unanimously agreed that our troop will go out with a bang - not a whimper. We will not just finish the race, but we will do it in style. How's that for some positivity?
  8. 4 points
    Really??!?!? Are you serious? If they changed the Boy Scout book to add some pictures of girls and changed some pronouns you would have went nuts claiming they “changed the program”. They are adding a girls book with picture of girls and adding “she” instead of “he”. They did this in a separate book so they don’t upset the existing boys and their leaders... and that is now an issue? WOW! Perhaps we need to add trigger warnings to any BSA announcements going forward so existing leaders can go to their safe spaces prior to hearing such things like there is a scouts BSA book with pictures of girls or uniform pants that come out and are sized for girls. Oh, the humanity! 😀 There is a lot to complain about but having a separate book (as long as gender is the only delta) makes sense given how they are introducing the program as non coed.
  9. 3 points
    Hello fellow Scouters and thank you for letting me join this forum! I wanted to share something with everyone that I recently created for a group of scoutmasters I met at a University of Scouting event here in the Omaha metro. When my boys bridged over from Webelos the former scoutmaster found out I was an Eagle Scout and military veteran, so he asked if I wanted to take the reins of troop since his sons had made Eagle scout years ago. While I have years of Scouting under my belt and years of experience utilizing my survival skills in Afghanistan, I was very nervous. Honestly, I didn't even know where to start. 1). I wasn't born in Nebraska and didn't grow up here, so I had no clue about the hidden-treasure campsites all of the others seem to know about. 2). Military experience does not somehow magically give someone the ability to train youth. 3). I was now responsible for the lives of 70+ boys during troop activities and campouts. All I can say is... wow! I was completely overwhelmed, so I went back to the basics. What makes the troop run? Answer... the Patrol Leaders' Council (PLC). How can I get 70+ boys on the same page? Answer... a strong Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) that has the Patrol Leaders (PLs) constantly using the Patrol Method. How can I ensure consistency? Answer... develop a Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) that acts as a sort of living-and-breathing pass down book of information. We had a closet of binders with all sorts of outdated information and, of course, there was the sea of online resources out there that was like trying to take a drink from a fire hydrant. That got me thinking about the next scoutmaster... the one after that... so on and so forth. I thought to myself... what is the most simple way to collect and share information? Answer... OneNote. It is a very basic, but very powerful (free) program management tool that is pre-loaded on all Microsoft machines, it is accessible online, and it can be accessed on all smartphones/tablets (it is available for Macs too). So, in keeping with the scouting spirit... I made a public version of the OneNote digital Troop Book I compiled for my Troop and I am wanting to share it with all of you. This is what the SPL uses to help run the show. Now, this is a public version that everyone can use to copy tabs and pages over to their troop's own OneNote file... but feel free to add tabs and information to this public version. https://1drv.ms/f/s!Alr8Y5Jfi-zJhJJB7gi6h9RKI_o-ug I know some folks aren't familiar with OneNote, or how to even copy pages from this public version to a private version for their own troop, so I created a sort of "how to" instructional video. Up front, I am not a professional narrator... and I was kind of just winging it... but here is the URL to the instructional video... https://youtu.be/bWdN0jjrnj8 Overall, there are a lot of changes happening in scouting... so our focus needs to be on delivering a quality training program to the scouts in our community. For those that are new to scouting and don't know where to start... I hope this helps get you on the right path.
  10. 3 points
    MattR The OA no longer exists. All vestiges of the OA need to be removed and packed away. Scout troops will only prosper if they have dynamic programs planned by the scouts, supported by the adults. Yes, the patrol method. Recruitment for the troops will come from packs that like your program. Word gets out. It always has. Friends of the scouts can be recruited as well. But don't promise them adventure, if all you do is sit through endless advancement classes. As far as service to our camps (like the OA used to provide), have planned and announced work weekends at scout camps maybe three times a year ought to do it. Open it to all scout members who have dads that will drag them out to camp and work. Should be fun. The spirit is gone. sst3rd
  11. 3 points
    Eagle, I recall the ISP well. I crossed over from Webelos to my first troop in 1974, right near the start. Ah, the anemic handbook...pajama-like uniforms...scouters and older scouts quitting in disgust...new Eagles upset over the overhaul of the Eagle patch, which went from the traditional design to the stark "chicken in the mess kit with red/white/blue grease".... My camping MB from '76 has the non-required border. I was in four different troops in the '70s. Military family. My various scoutmasters had their foibles but they all believed in getting the troop outdoors as much as possible. Especially our troop in Alaska. Minimum one weekend camping a month, no weather cancellations. Two campouts in December: the regular camping/backpacking trip, and one for the older scouts above the tree line with ice axes, crampons, etc. I'm rambling, but my point is there were enough traditional/outdoor-minded scouters back then to guide us through the ISP until GB Bill was called out of retirement to fix the mess. A troop that camps regularly is a troop that is alive. If there is no hiking, camping, backpacking, boating, and fishing, what is the point of all this? An agenda of exclusively attending meetings and classes and occasional car-camping will not sustain an organization like the BSA for very long.
  12. 3 points
    Yep, I remember. I had to earn first class the old way Morse code included. Took about two years in my triip as a rule. Im still very proud of my rectangular rank badge. As a den leader I took my cubs on short hikes and on a whim showed them some of the old trail signs we used to use. The ones using rocks, sticks, or even grass. They were just ecstatic , Super secret woodsy Scout signs! Yay! The lesson seemed simple. Give them what they want. So I started teaching more Woodcraft, edible plants, animal tracks, stars, tree identification they loved it. Crafts were reserved for cold rainy days. I have two sons who are both engineers and Eagles. They think the stem program is the dumbest thing scouting has ever done. But then they weren't Scouts in 73.
  13. 3 points
    I agree. I want my sons in scouts because of the outdoor aspects. Outdoors is the meat of the program. Arts, tech, STEM, leadership, etc can be explored in many channels (academic teams, robotic teams, etc). Outdoors is the special part. I view the merit badges and awards as a really good side dish, but it's not the meat of the program. BSA's competitive advantage is the outdoor program. Camping, hiking, cycling, shooting, etc, etc. For me as a parent, it's also the draw. I want my sons to be comfortable in parks, camping, etc. I really don't think they would grow that comfort and skill through my wife and myself. I view BSA as opening up many possible future experiences in their future.
  14. 3 points
    I'm with @skeptic: one law (as referenced in the Oath) with 12 points.
  15. 3 points
  16. 3 points
    I have a success story in the making! A female Webelos - the only one in her pack, recently visited my son's troop to satisfy one of her AOL requirements. She visited us from the next council and county over. As the den leader for my daughter's AOL den (in yet another council and county over in the other direction), we invited her join us at our den meetings. She earned her Looking Back Looking Forward elective with us at our last meeting and will be joining us tomorrow to satisfy Build a Better World #4 - when we are visiting with yet another local pack who has invited the local school board president. We are finding ways to make things work. It is a great feeling to know that our little act of kindness to her has made her feel a greater part of scouting. We are hopeful that if we start a troop in February that she will be one of our founding members. Me: "Valkyries Approach!" Den: "Lead the Way!" (Patrol Yell)
  17. 2 points
    After college I moved out of state for 3 years, and while there took WB in 2015. It was fantastic and I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. After moving back, I have discovered how "cliquey" and odd the Woodbadgers are in my home Council. There have been a number of "local traditions" that distract from the course and I have a number of friends my age (late 20s-early 30s) that are so turned off by WB that they have no interest in looking into it. I was asked to be on staff for an upcoming course, and the SM is pretty serious about doing things "by the book" so I'm super excited!
  18. 2 points
    The BIG Problem is ultimately the difference in desire. The adults want "Character Development". That's where the Goals came from. Eagle equals college scholarship, job advancement, higher initial rank in military. The BSA (Irving, Councils, Professionals) want "Numbers" (do they get a commission?). I think this is where the "eight methods " came from. Seems like all organisations want/need to quantify and define and list and point to. Last I was told, DEs are judged, not by the number of Scouts enrolled, but by the number of new UNITS. Where did that come from? The kids want the adventure and camaradarie , or they don't join. Or stay. Why join a group that wants to hike and camp and rock climb and canoe and get dirty if you don't (want to hike and camp and...)? And if you DO, why stay in a group that doesn't? STEM and Explorer posts not withstanding.... Can we say that the original Scouting (B-P, Seton, Hillcourt) that was "discovered" and chartered, was defined as #3 above with the assumption that #1 and #2 would follow almost automatically ? So how do we get back to land of Christopher Robin and Pooh ?
  19. 2 points
    Symbolism, ceremonies, and shifting societal/cultural values aside, there are two aspects of the OA's successful past that the BSA completely controlled, yet deliberately moved away from: 1. The OA was the society of honor campers (outdoor-minded first and foremost). 2. Inductees were few in number, thus keeping membership exclusive, a true honor to be selected. The first step must be a return to the original criteria--honor campers, few in number.
  20. 2 points
    No, the secret is to tear it down the binding. @Eagle94-A1, I wonder if the mystique of black robes or Native Americans is just a place holder for introspection about brotherhood and service. Isn't this really the motivation behind giving? We do it for a higher purpose, something bigger than we are. Without that motivation the service is just a job. I agree that the OA sort of morphed into cheap labor for the camps or putting on arrow of light ceremonies. It gets back to the same old thing. The scouts get a lot more out of something if they decide what it is they do. If the chapter advisor just gives the scouts a list of tasks they need to do then the mystique is gone. But if the scouts own their service, and it's at the district or council level, then I think it's a big learning opportunity. My guess is this is @LeCastor's point. It's not so much the OA as it is motivation for service. It takes brotherhood and a sense of something bigger than we are. This is something that gets lost in advancement. The guy talking in the video about doing your best and the scouts paying attention seems like such a small thing but it really brought me back to when I was tapped out. Maybe we need more discussion on how to do that.
  21. 2 points
    came across this on youtube, brought back a lot of memories especially with the clothing! Shows scouts using their mess kits to cook, open fire cooking, sharing the fire to cook individually, and more.
  22. 2 points
    Duct Tape, that video rocks! I agree, brought back a lot of memories. What struck me: all of the scouts were fully engaged. Whatever they were doing, they were doing it together. No one standing around, waiting to be told what to do. I also liked the fact that their patrol cooking was not "perfect." They were figuring things out as they went. I got a kick out of their "field expediency." Aluminum mess kit too hot? Run a stick through the holes in the handle. Forgot/lost your mess kit handle? Pair of pliers will do. I especially got a laugh at 6:34, the scout cooking vittles, over a fire, in a smoking cast iron skillet that was about as big as he was. But there he was, cooking confidently. Also got a kick out of the dirt and smoke and ash. The scouts were perfectly comfortable in the outdoors. They seemed happy. They were running their own show and solving their own problems and enjoying their own food. The patrol method!
  23. 2 points
    Outdoor Bird house: Natural wood, no finish. Check with your local Audubon, I predict they will say paint or oil can be off putting and even injurious to the bird tenant. Our natural Pine and Cedar houses hang on the tree limbs and are occupied by sparrows and House Wrens each year. You have to clean them out at the end of the season, so make them with removable floors or sides.
  24. 2 points
    These are still basically a thing, but published on the web. If I remember correctly, at one point (decades ago) they came as newsprint inserts into Scouting magazine and yoo got either the Cub Scout ones or the Boy Scout ones depending on your primary registration. The web site is https://troopleader.org/ and you probably also want to take a look at https://www.programresources.org/. If you look under "Program Features" on Troop Leader, you'll see what you're looking for, a resource for planning a series of weekly activities based on a theme leading up to a "main event," which is generally either a weekend day program or a weekend (overnight) program. For example, if you look at the Cooking Program Feature there's a main page, a section of helpful information (at the bottom of that page is a link to additional resources/references), a page with ideas and plans for the month's meetings, and then finally a page with three different "Main Event" ideas at different levels of complexity. Of course, you're not just supposed to follow these to the letter, but to use them (with the Patrol Leader's Council) to plan meetings and events that fit your program's needs. Edited to add: This page has a video and information discussing how they work.
  25. 2 points
    "Okay gang, here is the duty roster. We will be at the Muddy Creek campground next weekend, and you all know what that means. Hauling in the gear, water faucet is aways to carry, campstove is HERE (show map).. Everyone pick a job (pass the roster around). If you are on the campout, ya gotta take a job. "A Scout is Trustworthy", we all do a bit, it all gets done. Jake, are you coming with your G'dad? He camps with the adults, right? You want to cook or clean up? No, you don't get served personally, EVERYBODY pulls his weight in this Patrol. Don't forget the Patrol Pitch ! We can win the movie tickets if we keep our campsite looking good. … "