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Showing content with the highest reputation since 09/21/19 in Posts

  1. 8 points
    At our school we have this poster which helps distinguish rude vs mean vs bullying.
  2. 7 points
    If you like good news, I have some to report. The patrols in our unit are much stronger now. I nudged a little, and the SM and ASMs were quite open to the changes. There was a reforming of the patrols along the lines of natural gangs I spoke of in my original post. The patrol with the older boys chose to keep their old patrol name. The patrol of younger guys created a new patrol with its own new identity. There is now no question who is in what patrol. No more going to the list at the back of the room to check. There is now a patrol meeting during each troop meeting. These are not very productive, perhaps, but the patrols meet separately during the troop meeting. We held a pioneering event with a competition, and the two patrols were 'against' each other. They used to create ad hoc teams for that. When planning for outings, each patrol does meal planning and tent arrangements separately. This used to be done as a troop. On Troop outings, the patrols are next to each other but separate. They used to be all mixed where-ever. The younger Scout patrol has met twice outside of troop events; once a service project, once to design a flag. Plus they have a patrol hike coming up. Its far from done. For instance, the other patrol has not yet had a patrol gathering outside a troop meeting or troop outing. Its too early to tell if this will help with the aims of Scouting, or if the boys are happier, or if its made anything easier. In fact it seems a little more work. But certainly the younger patrol fellows are more engaged in their own Scout destiny. As far as Scout-led, I don't know, there is still some adults taking over the meeting, and one of them was me. But there is less of adults planning for the Scouts outings. I think we're on the right path.
  3. 6 points
    While I appreciate your optimism I think this is simply naive. First, no matter what settlement comes out of the bankruptcy, it will be belittled in the MSM and progressive media as insufficient. The BSA will be portrayed as a greedy organization trying to short-change the victims by declaring bankruptcy. Second, I can think of at least 4 additional membership fights to come (in no particular order): Local option for fully co-ed packs and troops because separate but equal isn't working Mandatory fully co-ed packs and troops because nobody should be allowed to discriminate Removal of the DRP, changing of the Oath/Law local option to allow atheists, because it's already happening anyway Mandatory allowance of atheists and changes to Oath/Law because nobody should be allowed to discriminate One can imagine all sorts of additional issues the "cause" will take up: BSA isn't doing enough to recruit girls (or insert your favorite intersectional group here) BSA advancement structure is a remnant of the hierarchical male power structure and has to change BSA is still utilizing the Catholic Church (or Baptists or whatever) to deliver their programs, they haven't really changed at all BSA discriminates against "trans" by having boy/girl handbooks rather than using truly neutral pronouns language BSA discriminates against urban youth by having outdoor requirements (stop me if you've heard this one before) etc. The problem with "cause" movements is once they've met their initial goals, they have to seek out new targets or cease to exist. As long as the BSA is standing, it will be a target, no matter how many concessions it makes to the postmodern mob. Why do I believe the BSA will continue to be a target you ask? Here's why. Your discussion is a BSA redemption story, but, redemption is a two-part processes. The "sinner" has to sincerely repent, and, the aggrieved/offended has to sincerely forgive. An by forgive I'm not talking about "that's ok but hold a grudge" forgiveness. It's a "thank you for acknowledging the hurt, I believe you are sincere, let's rebuild our relationship without reference to the previous sin(s)" forgiveness. The current zeitgeist, progressive and populist, isn't exactly overflowing with that kind of forgiveness. Until that kind of forgiveness is available, donors aren't coming back, nor is membership, nor is "societal opinion" of the BSA. The BSA will probably survive, but, it will be unrecognizable.
  4. 5 points
    Maybe the BSA is playing 4 dimensional chess. See, if they get the rumor mill started that annual dues are going to $100, then announce an increase from $33 to $67, everybody will be relieved even though the dues doubled! Brilliant!
  5. 5 points
    This is where I'm at too. Parents in a pack or troop need to be able to trust the adult leaders to take their kids camping. Gender is secondary here. However, if the BSA really believes they need this rule, then I'd rather it simply say:
  6. 5 points
    The look and feel of merit badges has evolved quite a bit since scouting first began in the early 20th century. In the beginning, merit badges were embroidered on a square piece of cloth. Later, the edges around the embroidery began an inexorible process of shrinking, and being rolled up along the edge. It wasn't until the 1960s that merit badges which looked like the kind we give scouts today started to emerge, with no cloth background apparent and a neat twilled border all the way round. The different stages of merit badge evolution are identified as "Type A" through "Type K". Found this cool image on the 'net that shows how merit badges looked across the decades...
  7. 5 points
    A lady I know has a daughter who teaches at a small, indigent elementary school outside one the Navajo reservations in New Mexico. When I heard about the difficulties they have gathering resources and helping the children who attend that small facility, my heart went out to them. So when I heard they had almost no books in their school library, I put on a combined book drive with five other packs to collect gently used books they could enjoy and use for their education. I set a date for the book drive to coincide with our monthly pack meeting, and then sent information to everybody on every roster of every pack - every Scout was asked to gather and collect as many books as he could during the month leading up to the event. I also offered contest medals to the three Cub Scouts who collected the most books, and a pizza party to the den with the most (cost of the prizes = $25 total). At the combined pack meeting, the books were counted by helpful Boy Scouts as each boy brought in his box or bag or handful of books. The winning Scout brought in over 300 books, and in total we were able to donate more than 4,200 books to the school so that they could enjoy the benefits of a real, functional library. We took pictures of the Scouts and their collections, and then all the Scouts helped box the books and load them into the lady's truck. They were delivered the next week when she went to visit her daughter. In return, the teachers sent us wonderful letters from the school children thanking us for the books. All I did was then enter the appropriate information into the JTE website, and as a result, every participating Cub Scout, Scouter, and Boy Scout received a Messengers of Peace ring. It was simple, easy to organize, and had a powerful impact on both communities. I believe that's the spirit of the award.
  8. 5 points
    Here's my take on why. Back in the 60s most organizations were very top down. The Japanese took advantage of it using an American's idea, and started making better quality cars and electronics. They were hungry and more amenable to trying something new, like a more bottom up problem solving culture. The US auto industry eventually caught up. The BSA, however, hasn't. They haven't been hungry because there were always people around to make donations. Case in point: the failed idea that one can get eagle without camping. They had to bring Hillcourt out of retirement to fix that mess. There are no more Hillcourts. Scouting is still a good idea. It's the BSA that needs fixing. They have not adapted to anything other than push eagle and push membership, which is really just about money. While there are challenges there will always be kids that enjoy camping with their friends and parents that want them to learn responsibility.
  9. 5 points
  10. 5 points
    My son took Citizenship in the Community at summer camp, and ... sadly ... they "fulfilled" this requirement by showing the boys a video of a town hall meeting. One of the prerequisites was to do the public meeting visit in advance, so before camp my son and I attended a county school board meeting with him in full Class A uniform. A lot of the boys in the merit badge class at summer camp didn't do that pre-req, but were signed off after watching the video. I was pretty irritated about it. Watching a video is NOT the same as taking the time to go to the meeting and sit through all of the discussion. Not only is it lazy to just watch the video, going to a meeting in YOUR community is much more meaningful because the discussion will be about local issues.
  11. 5 points
    Several years ago, I sat in the leatherwork merit badge class at summer camp (as a Scouter). I had recently started leatherworking myself and wanted to see what they were teaching. The counselor was a Scout (not unusual at summer camps) and based on his knowledge, I'm not sure he did the merit badge himself. After camp I went to our council office and had a discussion with the director. I explained what I witnessed at the camp and this what he said. With some merit badge classes, the counselor is chosen by the process of, "whoever is not doing anything else at the time". That was even more disappointing. We then got into a deeper conversation about merit badges in general. I brought up the issue of the "Merit Badge" events and whether the kids were able to learn anything in the 3 hour classes. He said that kids today have a shorter attention spans and that most kids wouldn't go through the same process, I did as a scout, of finding a MBC and scheduling a time and actually reading the MB book before seeing the MBC. So they have to provide these opportunities for them. Fast forward a year and my son had turned 18 but I still wanted to stay involved. I decided to become a MBC for Leatherwork so I went to one of these events and assisted the MBC that was teaching the class. He actually had taught the class several times so I was looking forward to learning from someone that knew what they were doing. I was excited. The class started and after introductions he said, "I know what I'm doing because last night, I read the Leatherworking MB book 3 times". What? Sure he knew some of the basics but when asked some questions, he got them wrong. Then, on top of all that, they didn't even have any projects to work on. The had some suede mystery bracelets and leather lace. Nothing they could stamp on. So I went to the person in charge of merit badges at the event and told her the situation. She said, "there is nothing we can do about it now, so we have to use what we have". I explained that what they had was not enough to complete the merit badge and she said that the blue cards had to be signed. So I offered to run home and get some projects for the next class. I got back just in time for the class and offered to teach it while he observed and did all the paperwork. We were able to get all the requirements done but a few had to stay late to do it. So I've worked my way to be the "go to" person for any leatherworking. I've done some Cub Scout Day Camps and more MB classes. I did get them to change some things. We order the MB kits that come with everything they need to complete the class. Now the LW MB classes are 4 hours long instead of 3. I'm trying to get a helper in every class. Is it perfect? No. But we do manage to get all the requirements completed. Yes. Ideally, I'd like to spread the class over 2 days. This way the leather can have enough time to dry after dying. We can assemble the next day plus give them some extra time to stamp on some leather scraps just to have fun.
  12. 4 points
    Dodge balls, water balloons, and sticks, but only if sharp or if the scouts might point them at other scouts while saying pew pew.
  13. 4 points
    Yep. It's never been about gays or girls or atheists. It's a postmodern requirement to "deconstruct" everything that contributes to what they perceive as immoral power hierarchies. The BSA, by kowtowing, has signed it's own death warrant. They will drive traditionalists from the program and pin their hopes on people who would rather see it dismantled.
  14. 4 points
    I would take it one step further in why the ethical decision making will be tossed onto the scrap heap, and @Eagledad nailed it with the note of "challenging a scout". If we as leaders (adults, youth troop, youth patrol) challenge a youth on his decisions; not only ethical but practical ones on an outing; are we not potentially bullying the Scout into our way of thinking. The concept of bullying has evolved into one being made uncomfortable by someone else. I would also say that this statement while optimistic, is rose colored glasses. As BSA morphs from what is was to what it may become, it will be vastly different. The family camping aspect and recruiting of the family will be the end of traditional Boy Scouts Scouts BSA. As the expectation of the families that they will be all part of campouts moves into Scouts BSA the Webelos 3 concept will become less an anomaly and more of commonplace I would respectfully disagree with this. Membership is down and is about to be 20% down. Camps are being sold, staff is being laid off, fees are looking to double or treble, councils are adding fees on top of fees, marketing is non-existent, the main focus is on many things and NOT the core If you reference back to the October 2017 announcements, when they talk about adding Girls to the traditional programs Surbaugh basically states that BSA needs to expand and they are out of ideas, that the move is the hail Mary. Sadly I feel he is way out of touch with what successful units are doing to be successful, and is trying to be the socially aware organization that literally will not satisfy anyone. We have lost focus of the outdoor classroom concept, let youth work as a group and explore how to succeed, and possibly fail in relatively safe environment
  15. 4 points
    I am more of an optimist and I take longer view. Surbaugh is doing exactly what is needed and the BSA is succeeding. We will be much better-off. Over the past 25 years the BSA has faced increasing market competition in the form of the explosion of athletic and other options for youth and high-paying parents to choose. Simultaneous with that time, the BSA was made into a cultural punching bag when an internal group forced adoption of "don't ask don't tell" (DADT). For the first time in our history the religious dogma of certain entities was being mandated on many units which, until then, had no particular views on the social issues at stake. Overnight we went from be a society-wide organization thought to welcome everyone into something different. Our brand popularity plummeted and we began to lose significant numbers of units and membership. This was not the sole cause of the losses, but it changed our image across society just as younger and more socially-inclusive generations were starting to determine if their children would become affiliated with the BSA. So, what to do? It was clear that we were going to continue to rapidly shrink into a more specialized organization serving an increasingly single-minded and socially conservative population in the suburban areas. Or, organization-sustaining changes could be made, which changes would require breaking some eggs. Continuing our DADT policy for Scouts and adults was causing more-rapid shrinkage and increasing legal blockades to the formation and maintenance of units and council programming. We were just about to face local human rights agency administrative proceedings that would have laid waste to our operations. Eliminating DADT was the first action of what has become a multi-year work-out of the BSA. The second and much smaller step was dealing with the "trans" issues. Not much of a ripple happened when that was done. Incorporated into these decisions was the entirely-unstated recognition that we would lose numbers of our most socially and religiously conservative membership, and some of that is occurring right now. If you want to be in a boy-exclusive environment that excludes all but triune-believing Christian adult leaders, you can do so and that is fine if that is want you are looking for. In fact, those kinds of church-specific organizations have been around for decades and I applaud them for filling those youth service markets. These departing elements no longer exercised veto power over establishing all-girl dens and troops. So, the long awaited encouragement to form all-girl dens and Troop was announced to great success. We have credible numbers of these girl units already formed and forming, and now are concentrating on growing them from single-patrol appendages of existing boy troops into truly stand-alone (even if linked) and high-quality units. I am a Scoutmaster of a new Scouts BSA Troop for Girls and understand first-hand just how successful this is going to turn out. Now we are about to undergo the final "big step" in the work-out. We will file our financial reorganizational bankruptcy and get beyond the legal perils overwhelmingly caused by the Youth Protection fails of the 70's, 60's and before. That should be the final step and will be a difficult one for many of us. Why? Because it will offer detractors on the left and right an easy opportunity to tear at us to promote agendas. These detractors are generally not members or supporters of our organization but they have giant-sized and simplistic opinions about how we should teach ethical decision-making to young people. Why is this? Because we indeed are very good at teaching ethical decision-making through BSA programs to millions of children and these people are angry because we might not be doing their particularized bidding. The BSA is important because what it achieves is important and highly-valued. I look forward to getting past the bankruptcy because it will, finally, provide clear ground in front of us. We will be a bit smaller at first and will have shed some of our unneeded assets. Those who were harmed will have received a sense of justice. Our numbers will begin to swell as our then-new circumstances are recognized as a wonderful and open invitation. We will be … just fine. In fact … much better-off. We will continue to provide the ethical decision making education in our outdoor classroom that is in demand by families of boys and girls. We will once again be the large cross-society organization that welcomes everyone and is not perceived to harbor a political agenda. We will be Scouts and Scouters and can totally focus on what we have chosen as our avocation.
  16. 4 points
    The challenge may not be stay or quit, but get started. For current Scouts, if it gets North of $50 many will reconsider. For NEW members, especially Cubs, you need to sign up little youth PLUS yourself. Fee is $50, to sign up you, your kid is $100, plus uniforms, books, possible pack dues; you could be looking at $250 - $300 to get involved
  17. 4 points
    Sounds fair. I think there's another issue. Where does this drive for efficiency come from? Scouts are busy. Parents are busy. Everyone is trying to cram more into a week. Asking for more volunteer hours is like squeezing water from a rock. Unfortunately, scouting growth is kind of like a good loaf of bread, it takes time to rise. The longer it takes the better it tastes, and using yeast can really wreck it, not to mention make it less nutritious. (Can you tell I'm hungry?) I was surprised the first time a scout told me one of the best things about scouts is you can just hang out with your friends and get away from the rush. Not anymore. Yesterday I was talking to some random, older scout, at a camporee I was helping with and heard something similar. I regularly ask scouts what kind of events they want to see and this scout said, whatever, it didn't matter. And I asked him if he'd still have fun if the job was shoveling manure from a barn and he thought about it for a bit and said that if his friends were with him and there was music, he'd have fun doing that as well. Efficiency kills that motivation. Friendships don't happen in a time stressed environment. It might be better to focus on developing friendships rather than getting eagle quickly. I think most scouts get eagle because of external motivation but the reason they stay in scouts is internally motivated and friendships are most of that. I don't think many adults understand this. I say that fun is an important method in scouting. This past summer I saw a great example of leadership and now that I think about it it was really a case of one scout making it fun and friendly for all. He didn't even think of it as leadership. There might be some lessons in there. It's not servant leadership so much as just making things fun. Fun with a challenge, fun with a skill, ... fun with a purpose.
  18. 4 points
    When marshmallows are outlawed, only outlaws will have marshmallows.
  19. 3 points
    I started doing a Webelos/Troops acquaintance coffee gathering each Fall just to get the troops to themselves to the Webelos leaders. We gave everyone calling sheets so the Webelos leaders had number for when they were ready to visit. But, the visit was really intended to get the lesser experienced mostly female Webelos leaders comfortable with the more experienced mostly male intimidating Troop leaders. It was very successful. Leave it to free cookies, donuts and coffee to get adults standing around for an hour to talk. Barry
  20. 3 points
    Smoking in the presence of Scouts is unacceptable. Fine a new Leader.
  21. 3 points
    Staying warm in the tent....Hmmm. Not sure I have a "game" in mind, but I love being out in the snow on a beautiful winter day, and so I do have a few tips: * Remember to dress in layers when going out: wicking base layer, breathable insulation layer, waterproof/windproof outer shell but in the tent, remember that wicking is still important if you're too hot/sweating, and you really want adequate insulation (fleece and down feel warmest) * Pull clothes, hat, jacket into the sleeping bag a half hour or so before you get dressed and it won't feel like such a cold shock * Pack some of those Hot Pack hand warmers, they're good in a pinch if your gloves and/or clothing choices aren't serving you well * Hats On! Remember that much of your body heat loss happens through your head. Hats are important --- even while sleeping. Maybe especially when sleeping since nights are colder than days * Eat more fat. Your body's furnace needs fuel. * Carry spare socks and spare gloves and a spare hat: wetness is the enemy as much as the cold
  22. 3 points
    In my opinion, popcorn encourages hucksterism in scouts. The product is of dubious quality and outrageously over priced and most scouts know it. They hear the feedback from people who say they can buy better product at a fraction of the price and yet National keeps exhorting them to peddle it. In any other youth organization my scouts have been involved with, the fundraisers offered something of value that didn't feel dishonorable to sell. Don't know why BSA can't find another fundraising partner.
  23. 3 points
    If National registration was the "all-in" cost of Scouting, I could easily sell an increase to $75/year. But it's not. To most people all that fee gets you is your name in a database. Registration fees don't cover the cost of one badge or pin, much less a camping event. Anyone that has done an actual cost study on the true cost of Cub Scouting, knows that it already takes close to $200 to put a kid through a year of Scouting. That's just to run a bare-bones program for Cubs (no trips, no campouts, etc.). That's $600 in popcorn sales before we even begin paying for outings and adventure. Outside the cost of trips and camping, it's actually more expensive to run a Cub program than it is a Scouts BSA program. New neckerchief and handbook every year; the cost of 2 or so pins/beltloops each month and the cost (time or money) in planning fun pack meetings. The most complaints I get from parents are when their older kid crosses over to Scouts BSA and they start to wonder why they're paying more for Cubs than they are the older Scout. To top it all off, I'm still not sure why I need to pay national insurance fees on top of my own council's insurance fees. They say each council is a separate and unique entity, so why do I have to pay the insurance costs and abuse payouts for incidents that didn't happen in my council.
  24. 3 points
    Our troop is at the 8-month mark in doing exactly what you are now beginning. We are not linked and have a very supportive CO. We are not perfect, but I would say the reason why we now have 15 adult leaders and 30 girls is that a group of us developed a vision for an unlinked girl-centered troop at an early stage. The program and standards for advancement are exactly the same, but we were especially mindful of the schedule and other structural preferences of girls and their families in designing our troop operation. You can visit our site at http://www.ScoutsBsaDcGirls.org if you want to see our take on this. For instance, in our particular area we determined after surveying parents that twice-monthly Saturday morning meetings were better for scheduling and safety reasons. We also determined that our meeting could be longer (we go 2 hours), given the longer attention spans of girls at the critical 11-13 year-old ages. Another item you will face is that when you start, you will have all inexperienced girls at the same time. Our solution for this was to elect Patrol leaders but have the Scoutmasters provide more direct leadership for the first 4-5 months. After all, you cannot expect an inexperience 11-year-old to be an SPL and lead planning of a year-long program. You also need to generally assure that the early meetings and weekend campouts will be reasonably successful, otherwise you could have a mass exodus as parents and girls are disappointed due to disorganization caused by over-reliance on girl leaders who are just not ready. We were harshly criticized by some for taking this approach, but on the back side I can tell you that it was a very successful start-up strategy. We just elected our first SPL and she has now appointed her full compliment of troop officers. Our campout this last weekend was a bit challenging for them because for the first time they were really "in-charge" and the Scoutmaster Staff is now appropriately "advising". However, the girls are thriving in their leadership activities as a result. Include in your vision a good means by which to encourage good summer damp attendance. We sent 23 to camp this last summer and are now very advantaged organizationally as a result. Another thing we were harshly criticized for is that we do not do product sale fundraising, such as popcorn with our Council. We wrap the total cost of the annual program (except for summer camp and weekend campouts that are paid individually) into flat dues payments made each semester. We subsidize the dues payments of under-resourced families by having an annual fundraising reception our CO will conduct between their early and late church services. WE are also going to make a bulk contribution to our Council from these proceeds. This was in reaction to the survey of parents saying they did not want their girls or themselves engaging in product sales. Rather, all want to concentrate on program. After 8 months, not a single parent or Scout has complained about either our dues or our not selling items. These organizing tactics may or may not be appropriate for families with girls in your area, but they are examples of organizing things that differ specifically because in our particular market this is what these families want in a girl Troop. I think our having done these things explains the difference in outcomes between our troop and most of the other all-girl linked troops in our area -- most of which are functioning as single-patrol appendages to existing Troops. A new Committee Chair and her/his core organizing group should first figure out what organizing template works well for families in your area/market and structure your approach accordingly. Good luck with this very worthwhile endeavor you are starting.
  25. 3 points
    Officially....no. But personally I have seen them on the shirt collar flaps and never said a word. Seems perfectly acceptable to me.