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  1. 8 points
    This could quickly turn into an I&P thread at this rate, but as a health professional, I am going to say that I also believe that the BSA should come out as pro-vaccination. High vaccination rates have kept these things from being an issue for a long time, but that may not be true for long. While I acknowledge that parents currently have a legal right to decide not to vaccinate, that doesn't mean that these families have a right to have their children around mine. Summer camps, winter camps, and all sorts of other BSA activities are high risk for disease transmission of all kinds.
  2. 8 points
    Absolutely. My comment here has some bolding for emphasis and clarity. As a lot of Wood Badgers in my area like to say "Feedback is a gift." I've actually really enjoyed this thread, because it gives me things to look for in my own Councils' NYLT and Wood Badge programs. Obviously not all these critiques apply to every Wood Badger or every Wood Badge program, but it's still great feedback. I obviously can't speak for every Council, but I think mine has a decent handle on some of these things with our Wood Badge and NYLT programs. I definitely do see some of these critiques in my council. To summarize: Lack of humility Being dismissive of non Woodbadgers/NYLT Treating other Wood Badgers poorly. Co-opting other events to do Wood Badge stuff. Frankly the youth don't care. I know I didn't when I was a Scout. Not "Walking the Walk" Hazing of participants. Stealing items, singing for lost items, talking smack about people. Inside jokes in public. -The Critter song, Beading ceremonies are examples of this. Not using the stuff taught in Wood Badge in their units. Any Wood Badge graduate who is not attempting to use the patrol method in their troop should "retire". Being one of those who just sits around at council/district events and act like an authority figure. Sales tactics Overselling/over pushing Wood Badge/NYLT. -Guilt tripping. Being secretive about the course vs transparent. It's a training course, not a secret fraternity. There are two different types of Scouters that dislike Wood Badge I think. Their reasons are similar, but not the same. Type one are the ones on this forum, are the kind that have been treated poorly by Wood Badge folks, and they have a the right ideas on how to run their troops anyways. Wood Badge is already preaching to the choir for them. So it's less about the material and more about the time the program takes, the fact they won't learn much from it, and that the Wood Badge folks in their area aren't good ambassadors for the program. The second type are folks who are out running their own programs, not a Scout troop. They look as Wood Badge as threatening because it'll contradict their own little fiefdoms. These folks are going to be really rare on a forum like this, because they already think they know everything. It's critical not to lump type 1 and type 2 together. Like most things in life, the way to fix the divide between type one people and Wood Badge is for us as Wood Badge folks to listen seriously to their concerns, and do our best to adapt our behavior. Ultimately, Type 1 and Wood Badge folks are on the same side. We have the same goals for the program, so to let a training course get in the way of that is really shortsighted. One of the best Assistant Scoutmaster I had as a youth never went to Wood Badge. He was to put off by the behavior of some of the staff. The best form of advertising of most things is for it to perform. For Wood Badge, that means that we're helpful to other scouters, we run our troops according to the principles we promote, and that we're humble, friendly and encouraging, vs acting like elitists. There's so much more I could probably say on this topic, but I don't want to make this comment even longer and harder to read.
  3. 6 points
    Make sure any milestone anniversaries fall at the same time as a High Adventure trip, that's a real crowd pleaser....
  4. 6 points
    You are a mandatory reporter. This crossed the line. If you are unsure whether it crossed the line, you need to report it and let someone else decide. That's the whole idea of mandatory reporter. Also, hesitation to report (for many different reasons) is often the reason previous abuse persisted for so long. You need to submit a report on this.
  5. 6 points
    When I take groups on day hikes or backpacking, if their preparedness is unknown I start with some 'creampuffs' and then progress toward the real deal. I confess that I was greatly heartened a couple of years ago when I overheard one of the hikers on the phone to mom, "Mom, I just got my ass kicked by a 67-year-old heart patient". Right on! They did just fine after that.
  6. 5 points
    I think "physically strong" is directly linked to "do your best." I'll re-share my favorite example of a scouter who was physically strong. I was a Tenderfoot. One of my SMs in AZ was a WWII vet. He lost a lung in battle (we learned this from his wife). Never talked about the circumstances. Never talked about his condition, or the war, ever. Never complained. Mr. P was elderly. He couldn't walk very fast. But he never missed an outing. Slept on the ground in a sleeping bag, in a canvas tent, every camp out. Even during those bone-chilling winter nights in the desert. He hiked with us. Yes, he'd have to stop and take more breaks along the way, but he still chugged along. We went to summer camp in the mountains. When it was time for chow, he'd start to the mess hall early. We'd always pass him along the way, but that was okay. His one lung needed extra time and breaks to process the thin air. No worries. He always arrived just at the right moment. Mr. P wasn't going to win a triathlon. But he always looked sharp in his uniform. He looked physically strong. And he was truly physically strong, to the extent that he was able. The scouts can detect in an instant if we are doing our best...or not.
  7. 5 points
    This has turned into a very interesting discussion. As a 3 beader and a staffer of both the old course and newer 21C course, I have a pretty good grasp of its pro and cons. I was also the Council Junior Leadership Training Chairman when NYLT replaced JLTC. The WB pinnacle training reputation came from the old course that was created to teach advanced teaching styles to experienced troop leaders, mostly Scoutmasters. Not only were participants expected to have troop leadership experience, they were also personally invited by their reputation. Not just any Scoutmaster was invited. That further influenced its superior reputation and the source of the elitistism. The old course was not designed to teach scout skills. The scout skills teaching sessions where only used to demonstrate new teaching styles. Now jump to the new 21C WB introduced in 2000. This course was designed for a completely different goal of teaching adults how to develop a functional unit leadership team. The course structure is misleading because the patrol/troop setting implies a troop leadership training program. However, the course is as beneficial for cub leader and venture leader as it is the troop leaders because the syllabus doesn’t get into unit specific training. WB is an advanced training course, but only slightly because adults only require enough experience to know their responsibilities of their positions. And that is only so they can create their Ticket Items. Personally I feel the new WB course applies best for new scouters, especially cub leaders. Troop and venturing leaders don’t have any advantage over cub leaders in the course today, so team dynamics development might as well start team as early as possible. In the early hey days of the old WB course, it was just an advanced course for troop leaders, mostly SMs. And it was typically only one a year course of four patrols. They added a couple more patrols if needed, but with typically only one adult attending from each troop a year, the elitism status naturally developed. Not because it was a pinnacle course, but because the graduates and staff really were the best trained and most experienced leaders in the BSA. Some folks naturally let that go to their heads. I have to laugh a little, at least a 3rd of our WB Course directors today are women. And many of them didnt have a troop experience. They are more of the Good o boys club than males in most units. Personally I think the present course has a good curriculum for today’s new scouters. The problem I see with it is the Patrol Method legacy. Most staffers don’t understand the courses objective of teaching team coordination and working toward mission goals. If the staffers don’t get it, the participants certainly won’t. I personally believe the heart of the course is the Ticket Items. The course sylibus is design to get the participants prepared for writing and working their tickets. But most staffs don’t see it that way. The course is two weekends long (1 too many), but working the tickets could takes several months, or even years. One issue I have with the course (also very common with NYLT) is the units aren’t encouraged to prepare their scouter for the course. So not only is the scouter on their own in many units, their effort isn’t appreciated when they get back from training. I changed that issue with the NYLT courses by requiring the SM to review and develop a plan to help their participant succeed. I think the unit leaders should be just as engaged for their WB participants. I’m glad to see ParkMan personally recruiting for his unit. One step more would be preparing the scouter for how their skills will be used when they come back, and provide a list of Ticket Items to help the scouter grow with the program. My only comment about the Beading Ceremonies is, as an adult leader of a youth programs and activities, I didn’t allow adult beading ceremonies in the boys program at Council, district, or unit level. I can’t think of anything more boring to force Scouts to endure. Sorry this is so long. Barry
  8. 5 points
    I won't take that much credit. I'm following the leadership of folks in my council. I'm trying to learn for when I get tapped to take on Scoutmaster at NYLT or higher level positions at Wood Badge. I've been turning down requests to volunteer at the district, but with my time in the troop starting to reach it's natural conclusion, I may pick up some district volunteering as a chance to keep involved while I'm working my MBA. So while I have good role models in those programs to learn from, people on this forum who have very different experience are important to hear from and learn from as well. This forum is such a wonderful opportunity to share those experiences. Scouting isn't a unique environment in regards to forming clicks or good ole boy (or gal) clubs. I saw it in college with fraternities and sororities. I've seen it with politics and religion. I've seen it in the workplace with gender or department. All this stuff creates a breakdown of trust between the in-group and the out-group, and that breakdown leads to contempt of those who are being treated as lesser. In Scouting if we're being treated as lesser while volunteering our time and talent, contempt builds pretty quickly. It's a natural human behavior to build sub cultures, to build in groups, special classes of peoples. In some organizations that might even be desirable, but in the Scouting, I think we can all agree it most certainly is not. I think the Scout Oath, Law, and Servant Leadership concepts are an obvious guidepost for us to measure our behavior. In NYLT (again I'm sure there was something similar in Wood Badge, I'm just not as familiar with the syllabus) there is a presentation about "Making Ethical decisions." It encourages the use of the Scout Oath and Law as a framework for making decisions and evaluating behavior. Is high pressure tactics, being dismissive of others without beads, making sexual innuendo around other scouters, teasing folks with inside jokes, public humiliation, and taking the spotlight away from other events to focus on themselves living the Scout Oath and Law? Most of us would say it's not. The problem with this approach is it requires either one of two things, self awareness, or somebody to buck the group think and call out inappropriate behavior. Given my (admittedly short) life experience I'm not holding my breath that folks will do either of those things because of the social costs. So it's important to build the right culture from the beginning. I remember one of my ASM's lectures from when I was a youth. I'd screwed up, put myself and others in danger. He told me "Having memorized and repeating the Scout Oath and Law each week is one thing, but understanding it and living it is the more important thing." He also gave me the typical lecture that "I was an older scout (I was 14 or so) and that other scouts in the troop were always watching me, and that they looked up to me and whether I believe him or not. " He was typically a pretty friendly easy going guy, so that particular adult correction stuck with me because of his sincerity and that fact he was expecting me to act like a leader and role model, not a dumb kid. This comes back to my earlier comment about being ambassadors for Scouting. One of my favorite compliments I ever receive is when a co-worker or acquaintance finds out I'm an Eagle Scout and goes "Yea, that's not a surprise." Some of it is probably because I'm a dork, I camp a lot, but also because (at least I think) I conduct myself with respect to others and integrity. My final thought (see @desertrat77 I told you I had a lot of long rambling thoughts on this subject!) is that sometimes we have to run into the metaphorical burning building. I encourage a lot of the type 1 folks to seriously reconsider taking Wood Badge. The course needs Scouters of your caliber and experience. Potentially in the future, it gives you the opportunity to help lead your council's WB or NYLT program to a better place if they're in sore shape now. If all the good people run away from Wood Badge, then only the self important good ole boys will remain. Easier said than done for me, because my council doesn't have that uphill slog to fight. But something for folks to consider. Like I said earlier, the council pros who oversee those courses in your council are responsible for the volunteers, their conduct, the outcome of the course and the culture that is being built there. Some folks on the forums here are probably old enough when the sex abuse cases for the BSA started getting press in the news and probably had a question asked of them. "How can you be part of an organization like that?" Why'd you stay? Because Scouting is important and worth fighting for. In my opinion a training like Wood Badge, that can orient newer leaders and refresh more experienced leaders is something worth fighting for. I think for once I'm out of two cents to give on a topic. @desertrat77 or @RememberSchiff maybe these last few pages regarding Wood Badge could be spun off as a new thread to the Training sub forum? I think we've(mostly me?) have strayed really off the original topic!
  9. 5 points
    Thanks! I really enjoyed Wood Badge, but I try to be open minded about where it can be better. I had "type 1" and "type 2" adults in my unit when I was a scout growing up. I jumped into Wood Badge at 22 mostly as a way to encourage our Scoutmaster to go. He needed it. It made him a better Scoutmaster, but it wasn't some enlightening experience for either of us. Good training, fun, I still keep in touch with many staff and participants from my course, but not anything the way some folks rave about Wood Badge. Still, I have a pretty positive impression of it. I don't even know if I was a Scout when that happened. I do know with the updates they are making to WB21, they won't require folks to retake WB to be "current." My expanded thoughts are more based around NYLT than Wood Badge, because I haven't staffed Wood Badge, but I think they apply to both. Selling the course I think folks sell Wood Badge pretty poorly. "It's a mountain top experience." "It's my Eagle", that sorta stuff. It sets folks up to be underwhelmed by Wood Badge. Hopefully it's good training. It should be fun. It should challenge us to improve our units and give us some ideas on how to accomplish that. It's not the pinnacle Scouting experience. Wood Badge is a means to an end, not an end unto on it's own. It's equipping us to help our youth have those great Scouting experiences. My "greatest accomplishments" as a Scouter were working with and coaching my Scouts. Seeing them grow, develop, learn and overcome challenges. That's both true for Scouts in my unit, and some of the youth I staffed with last summer at NYLT. Working with those youth has changed my life, more than participating in Wood Badge ever could have. There's some threads on this website about "Scouting Wins", "Scoutmaster paychecks." Those are the real "Mountaintop experiences" for a Scouter. We've all had those, Wood Badger or not. NYLT is a bit more of a pinnacle experience for Scouts because it's something really fresh to them. Most troops do not run the patrol method, as we all know. Scouts haven't likely experienced something like NYLT. I know when I was a Scout it really changed my perception of leadership from that of a boss or a taskmaster to that of somebody who is a servant leader who puts others first and helps them achieve their (and our) goals. If their troop is really adult ran, then it's also a fresh opportunity for them to see what Scouting is really supposed to be like. NYLT changed my perception of what Scouting was about, and kept me fully engaged when I was 16-17 and finishing up my Eagle. It motivated me to keep active and provide service to my troop vs just hunker down and work on my Eagle. I've caught my own Scouts doing the NYLT click thing. My troop has a Court of Honor in August. We sent 5 Scouts to NYLT this summer. We have our Scouts come up, be recognized for what summer camps, high adventure, NYLT things they did over the summer. My NYLT scouts talked about how much fun the course was, but they also decided to sing a particularly annoying song they learned at NYLT, that nobody else in my Troop knows. It wasn't quite the Critter song level of pain (because it was brief) but it definitely is a similar situation. Thankfully, my Scouts "walk the walk" from what they learned at NYLT, and it's made a strong difference in my unit. My unit has 4 scouts who have applied to be on staff, and two scouters from my unit going back to staff for 2019. I sell Wood Badge to Scouters through NYLT. I encourage them to send their Scouts to NYLT. I think the best place for this is at training events. Our NYLT youth staff are awesome, and help scouters teach many of our courses like UOS classes, IOLS, SM Specific, and even some skills training at Wood Badge. They staff many of our council and district events like camporees. Hopefully seeing these Scouts in action encourages leaders to offer NYLT to their Scouts, who often don't know much about NYLT unless a leader, parent or older Scout tells them. Then the sales pitch for Wood Badge is less about joining the WB cult and more of "If you're not sure how you can support and reinforce what your Scout has learned at NYLT, come to Wood Badge." I do think there is a place for silly inside jokes like the Critter song and other Wood Badge jokes, but they need to be used in their proper places and times, and should not be used to sell the program. Scouting about the youth, and Wood Badge and NYLT should also be about how we serve youth. They are for no other purpose in my opinion. Selling Wood Badge feels similar to me as religious evangelism. If I "walk the walk", if I'm friendly, helpful, courteous and kind, then selling the course to others around me should be pretty easy. No hard sales pitch needed. Without that personal connection, I might as well be selling cutco knives, or cable tv to people. How do you fix it? I honestly think it comes down to the pros shaping the Wood Badge/NYLT culture in their councils. They need to have folks who care about the participants more than themselves, who teach the material as it is in the syllabus (AKA give people what they paid for), but also get experienced and knowledgeable folks who can tie the material and simulations of Wood Badge to the actual thing in a unit. Then there's having the logistics aspects (FOOD) on point, and a trained staff that doesn't kill braincells via powerpoint. There is room in each course syllabus to add little local flavors to things, if those are things that further the goals of the course. I wish there was more skills training at Wood Badge, but that's beyond my scope of control, so I won't hold that against the current course. This is all predicated on a WB or NYLT staff having the right intentions. I helped my staff do interviews for our upcoming NYLT course. We had one Scout who interviewed, and much of the time he talked about how being on staff would benefit him, not how he'd help others by being on staff. Very similar to some adults who want to staff WB/NYLT staff so they can get their 3rd bead. The SPL for our course will pick his staff with his ASPLS, but I'll strongly encourage him to avoid folks like that. Yes being on staff will help the staffers, but that's a secondary effect, not a primary reason. The participants are the primary reason. If our course staffs have the right intentions, much of the rudeness, the lack of "walking the walk", and the special club nature of things should lessen. As I said in my earlier post. Humility, friendliness, helpfulness, knowledge are what we need out of WB or NYLT staff. By and large most of the staff I've worked with are those kind of people, but I also know a few staffers who were not. They were caught up in Wood Badge as an end, not WB as a means to an end. All of us as Scouters are ambassadors for Scouting, whether we realize it or not. When other people know we are Scouters, that colors their perception of Scouting. The same is true of Wood Badge. We are ambassadors for the course, and other people's perceptions of that are based of how we act and treat others. My council: My council NYLT and WB leadership has the right idea. They know that the courses exist to serve the units. Particularly NYLT has gone through a culture shift over the last 5 years as the folks who'd made it a good ole boys club have been put out to pasture. We've done quite a bit to break up stale cultures. Scouters can only be a Scoutmaster/Course director twice. Youth can only be SPL once. SPL's can only choose one staffer to be ASPL that they staffed with the previous year. We don't have as formal a rule on the adult side, but due to a shortage of adults volunteering for NYLT, we don't exactly need one. This has gone a long way to break up clics in our NYLT program. I'm not sure whats in place for our WB program, but I think it's similar. My council also doesn't allow a Scouter to staff Wood Badge and NYLT in the same year, in order to keep a handful of folks from controlling both programs. We're definitely not perfect, but I know things have improved quite a bit from where they were a few years ago culture wise. Another thing that helps in my council is we have an annual Wood Badge dinner. We pair it with a dinner at a NYLT development weekend. It serves a few purposes. It helps us advertise NYLT to troop leadership. It helps us recruit adults to NYLT staff (since most folks at the dinner are Wood Badgers.) It's also an opportunity to do a mass beading ceremony in front of people who won't be bored and it won't hijack another event. I got my beads there, because I knew my Scouts from my Troop wouldn't really care, and my Wood Badge Scoutmaster had a habit for being long-winded. We also do some silent auctioning of Scouting and WB items, the money goes to scholarships for NYLT and Wood Badge. Again, just my opinions and experiences, Feel free to agree or disagree. I like the feedback. As an ASM of program for an NYLT course this year, it gives me things to be on the lookout for in how we sell WB/NYLT and how we train the staff.
  10. 5 points
    Not all WBers are horrible. I've worked with many great ones over the years. My SM growing up was WBer. I do not know if he changed how the troop ran as a result of WB or not, but I can count on one hand how many troops I've been in or have interacted with over the years, that compare to my troop under his mentorship. One of my mentors as a 20 year old ASM was a 4 beader on the council level. "Sweet Old Bill" was one who guided and mentored. He listened to folks, why explained things needed to be done, and got it done. But most importantly, he listened to youth and adult alike, whether you had beads or not. And if there was a better way than the way he suggested, he did it the better way with no shame or embarrassment. It was done for the Scouts, and that is what mattered most to him. But to many WBers have negative attitudes towards non WBers. They do not value input because we don't have the beads. They do not value years of experience and training that some volunteers have because they don't wear beads. I've encountered that attitude in the 5 councils I've been in. I've had friends who have encountered that attitude. Many people on this site have encountered it. Sadly it is not a rare occurrence. And then their are the shenanigans and over the top beading ceremonies. Some of the shenanigans WBers do under current YPT guidelines IS hazing.While I may personally disagree with some of the things national now considers "hazing," i.e. cutting corner on the WHITTLING CHIP ( but not the Totin Chip), singing for lost items, some practical jokes, etc. This is done regularly at WB. I remember at one camporee with a WB reunion, one patrol stole another patrol's flag, and making them sing to get it back. I'm sorry, but we need to set the example even if we do not like the policy. Same camporee had an overly long beading ceremony many units started leaving before it was finished, including mine. We left at the 25 minute mark The beading ceremony lasted longer than the OA Call Out Ceremony.
  11. 4 points
    Maybe where you live. Where I live abandoning the NRA will have the same effect. It would be just one more step in turning the BSA from a national program into a big blue bubble suburban day care program.
  12. 4 points
    It is a parental issue as well. If I found out my son was in his underwear and threatening to teabag another person, I think any Scout organization punishment would seem trivial. I'd be almost as mad if I found out my son didn't try to defuse the situation.
  13. 4 points
    @Bside call your council’s Scout Executive. This is a significant issue and the ASM and CC should not address this alone. The chartering organization rep needs to know about this too.
  14. 4 points
    My thoughts... Regarding my scout son who is also special needs, I am always his Dad first. If he called me and described such events, I would have arrived with the police. After returning him home, I would have called my son's clinical therapist. I would focus on helping my son. If the SPL would do this to the Scoutmaster's son while the PLC watched in amusement, then they have no respect for that Scoutmaster. Still I would notify the COR , CC, and other ASM's and let them handle the matter from the Charter Organization and BSA standpoint. my $0.02 p.s. very sorry to hear about this
  15. 4 points
    My opinion: this WAS a sexual assault and YP issue. I would at least cover your own behind and make a mandatory report to your Scout Executive. Let him/her advise you as to your response. The fact that it was not a sanctioned Scout activity may or may not be relevant. At a minimum, I would remove the SPL from office permanently. The SE may remove his membership.
  16. 4 points
    It boggles my mind that anyone who has a daughter (I have two, both of whom are adults and moms themselves) would object to that requirement. Peoples’ energies should be put into finding more female leaders, not complaining about it.
  17. 4 points
    Thankfully, PowerPoint did not exist when I went to Wood Badge (kinda cause personal computers did not exist yet either) and there were a lot of outdoor skills in the course. We were in a primitive section of the council camp for a full week, and any comforts we had in our patrol site we had because we made them. As for the lengthy beading ceremonies we see at occasional Roundtables, they did not exist either. When I completed my ticket, I met with my mentor who gave me the beads, woggle, neckerchief, and certificate. I still have an old black & white photo of the very brief (only about 1 minute) presentation by that same mentor a year later of my third bead.
  18. 4 points
    Parkman, I understand how it can seem that the ridicule level is higher than deserved. But I can truthfully say the WB communities I've seen over the decades (several councils) have more than earned the criticism. It's not that it's an accepted practice so much as a frank assessment of how many WBers collectively act. Their condescending attitudes aside, when a group within the BSA feels it's their right to hijack any public event--camporee campfires, courts of honor for scouts, roundtables, etc.--to spend up to 45 minutes presenting a set of beads, that's the clincher. In front of a listless and often incredulous audience, the WBers sally forth with endless stories, critter songs, mutual-admiration, inside jokes and such, completely tone-deaf to how their actions are being perceived. Whether it's beading ceremonies, or the pushy sales presentations, or anything else discussed here, I consider it valid feedback. For good or ill. The WB community would be miles ahead if they tailored actions and attitudes accordingly. But no. Since the feedback comes from the Great Unwashed Non-Beaded Folks, it is discounted and ignored. Darn shame, because if the WB community a) toned down the braggadocio, and b) ditched the power point death march and focused on outdoor adventure (hiking, cooking, camping instead of sitting in a mess hall or at a picnic table), WB courses would have waiting lists of folks wanting to join. The ball is strictly in WB's court.
  19. 4 points
    I was a member of that first wave of recipients of the polio vaccine. Then shortly later, the Sabin vaccine. At school everyone got the Sabin vaccine. I remember it well. We all lined up and walked past the nurse who administered the dose. There was no choice and you had to be apocalyptically stupid to reject this somehow. The Salk vaccine was given at the public health department and I remember being taken there along with my sister. I had an aunt who contracted polio as an adult, and a friend in high school whose family had rejected it...and he was permanently handicapped from the disease. It was another case of the child paying the price for the stupid decision by parents. I always get my flu shot. And I have a very disparaging view of the anti-vax bunch. What they really are is 'anti-science'. That said, I suspect that summer camp has a much greater risk for something like norovirus than flu or measles. But that could be the result of residual herd immunity and that can change fairly quickly if the population doesn't maintain its vigilance against these things.
  20. 4 points
    So you have 11 Scouts and two patrols? You have one small patrol of experienced Scouts (sort of) and one small patrol of new Scouts? What you have is two completely different programs with a SM that doesn’t know how to run either. Of course the 2 smaller patrols isn’t the elephant in the room (SM with no experience), but I would personally start by mixing the two patrols together for one program. I think a small troop like yours is an ideal place for scouting. Actually perfect. Older Scouts run the program, which requires pulling the the younger Scouts along on adventures. It gives your more experienced Scouts a chance to show off some real scouting stuff. The problem is your troop isn’t doing adventures. Shake things up a bit; do a small hike at the next troop (patrol?) meeting. Show how to use the compus, stars, and gps. Stop at a local park and pull out the makings for s’mores from your backpack. Start a fire and enjoy the flaming marshmallows. Let the Scouts relax and laugh. This should be fun, so step back, watch and enjoy older Scouts and younger Scouts mixing it up a bit. i agree with the resources from the other posters, really good stuff. But I feel your SM is everwhelmed. I would call the DE or District Commissioner to find an old retired grey beard who would enjoy volunteering a little time. You don’t need him to lead, just support and build some confidence. Our troop came from your situation. Learning how to be a good scout leader is part of the fun. I made mistakes more than I did it right. But we had fun. fun has to start somewhere and I think it should be with adventures, not advancement. You can help, look for something, an opportunity, to take the Scouts somewhere fun. Anything, it doesn’t have to be outdoors. Call the SM and tell him you got some discount bowling tickets for Troop meeting night. It gives him a break and makes for a fun night. Then, everyone can re-evaluate how the meetings can change, at least a little, torward more fun stuff. I don’t know, just some quick thoughts. Barry
  21. 4 points
    I would add the Patrol Leaders Handbook; an edition printed prior to 1970. They are cheap on ebay, and provide concrete examples for an inexperienced PL to try.
  22. 4 points
    That may depend on where you live; in my area Wood Badge is promoted, advertised, even glorified ad nauseum, and for those who haven't taken it (myself included), there is often an uncomfortable amount of pressure to do so, as though one isn't a real Scouter until one has their beads. And the number of Scouters around here who do have them is very high; I've nearly been made to feel somewhat guilty at a few events for being as involved in Scouting as I am and yet not having taken the course. Nevertheless, I have never been one to acquiesce to peer pressure generally, and if I end my Scouting days never having taken it, I won't particularly regret it. But MAN - they push it hard here.
  23. 3 points
    Fifty years ago, the Oct. 21, 1968 edition of the Intelligencer Journal (Lancaster,PA) reported that the Boy Scouts of America voted to allow girls in Explorer troops (ages 14-18). Locally, the program got mixed reviews. Some students were enthusiastic about welcoming girls to science groups, dances and parties, but not sports activities or hiking. Explorers would admit girls “by special interest” beginning on Jan. https://lancasteronline.com/news/local/lancaster-that-was-doctor-delivered-baby-while-in-labor-herself/article_ac46279c-ba95-11e8-9c45-dbd83b22f3c5.html
  24. 3 points
    I agree 100%. The SPL was threatening to sexually assault the younger boy. I thought the 3 month suspension was too light, and I agree totally that another similar act should be dismissal. The rest of the PLC should be punished as well, as they either participated or didn't stop it.
  25. 3 points
    The requirements do not demand an open-water swim, though that's implied. The requirements do not demand a child use a certain stroke. The requirements also don't explicitly demand that the mile swim be continuous. So everything we see here, including doing the swim in stages, meets the letter of the requirements. So, yes, if a lap pool swim is okay with the aquatics counselor, then it's okay. Yes, there's a difference between swimming a mile in a pool versus swimming a mile in open water. But there is a far bigger difference between swimming a mile freestyle versus swimming a mile using a resting stroke. A boy who swims freestyle for one mile continuously in a pool is a far better swimmer and athlete than a boy who backstrokes and floats his way to a mile in open water. Remember Mao's swim in the Yangtze? 15 kilometers in one hour doing the breast stroke -- eight minute miles! That was an open water swim. But I don't think Mao earned the one mile swim badge. Current did all the work. I say whatever you decide a one-mile swim should be for your kid, go for it. The requirements are deliberately vague and open to interpretation. That's done on purpose. You, as a scoutmaster, merit badge counselor, or parent, are the person to set the standards. If you set low standards, your scout learns or achieves nothing except rank advancement or a patch. If you set high standards, then your child scout, achieves, and develops, even if they fall short of earning the patch. It doesn't matter what other people choose for their kids. What you choose for your kid is what matters. For my scout, I decided that a one mile freestyle-only swim in a lap pool with no gliding after flip turns (so swimming the entire distance) and no stopping is a high achievement for a 12 year old, worthy of the mile swim badge. Sure, it's not as challenging as an open water freestyle swim in deep water. However, if he backstroked or doggy-paddled on open water for one mile, I wouldn't let him have the badge. I don't consider resting strokes -- or incapable strokes -- to be swimming. But that's the standard I chose for my scout. I'm perfectly okay with different choices that people make and I'm happy with the reasons they make those choices. We just differ in our criteria. Folks who think the badge should require an open water swim, they're thinking about outdoor competence, survival, and skills. Great. Those who are okay with resting strokes, dog paddling, or staged swimming, they're thinking about developing character, self-esteem, and confidence. Great. I, on the other hand, interpret the badge as a continuous freestyle with no stops and no resting strokes. Pool or open water, I don't care. I'm thinking athletics, strength, stamina, fitness, and performance. Different set of criteria entirely.
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