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Showing content with the highest reputation since 07/19/18 in Posts

  1. 18 points
    Our family came terrifyingly close to tragedy last night. We were on our way home from a birthday dinner for my nephew when my cell rang and it was my oldest son, who had been in a car accident. He was still trapped in the wreckage. He had stopped on the Interstate for another wreck, and a youngster plowed into the back of his car doing at least 65 mph. I immediately turned around and headed his way and got trapped in the traffic gridlock, as we watched police cars, ambulances and wreckers try to get to the scene. Then got another call saying he was in the ambulance headed to the ER. As traffic began to move, we could barely recognize the remains of his Honda Accord sitting on the side of the road, the rear half of the car flattened all the way up to the driver's seat. The hospital was only a mile away, but being trapped in that traffic was one of the most agonizing hours of our lives. When my wife saw what was left of his car, she fell apart. Bottom line, he is alive and well, save for a nasty bump on the head and a concussion. We all fell apart when we realized that, somewhere in that twisted mass of metal and broken glass, is my 3 year old grandson's car seat. He had stayed home safe with Mom last night. In all, four cars were involved and everyone walked away. The state trooper who found us in the ER said it was a "Miracle" that he was alive. As far as we know, alcohol and drugs were not involved...it was simply a case of not paying attention. I asked if he was on his cell phone and the trooper said, "aren't they all?" The other driver was charged with reckless driving. As I recount this, the tears are flowing at how close I came to losing a Son. The Hand of God was surely upon him last night. Thank you, Jesus for protecting him and everyone else. Thank you Honda. Thanks for listening and letting me vent. God bless us, everyone.
  2. 13 points
    LOL..reminds me of the time when I was Cubmaster and a parent called to demand to know when meetings were going to start. I said, "as soon as you volunteer to become a Den Leader"...she got furious and demanded to speak to my "supervisor"...so I handed the phone to my wife.
  3. 11 points
    A patrol with two adults supervising it is no longer a patrol. It's a den.
  4. 10 points
    Follow-up: Assembly was this last weekend. My son went through Ordeal and did great IMHO. The old SM was there but didn't interact with him at all so that was perfect. Best thing of all, my son came home super jazzed about OA and Scouting. So it was a great outcome.
  5. 10 points
    As with any bully, the solution is simple. Ignore her. Do not respond to any of her emails on this subject. If she confronts you in person, simply tell her kindly and calmly "the issue is already decided." Do not offer up any other explanation, do not attempt to satisfy her demands, do not engage with her on this matter at all. She has absolutely no right nor authority nor legitimate reason to make any of these demands on you nor your son, so just let her scream and holler till her voice is hoarse and she collapses in frustration. These people always tend to dig their own graves, so don't waste your time trying to help with the process. DO make sure you are not condescending nor patronizing about it though; the more polite and civil you are during this episode, the more control you will have over the discussion. And your goal is to eliminate the discussion entirely. Kill her with kindness, and don't give her an inch. Sometimes, the biggest victories are won from the battles you choose not to fight.
  6. 9 points
    To coin a phrase...and try to refrain from saying this to everyone (though you want to) Boy Scouts (11-17 year olds) was NEVER intended in any way shape or form to be a family event or group. If parents feel the need to interpret it that way, they are missing the point. The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law. The aims are character development, leadership development, citizenship training, and personal fitness. The methods are Ideals; Patrols – The patrol method gives Scouts an experience in group living and participating citizenship. It places responsibility on young shoulders and teaches Scouts how to accept it. The patrol method allows Scouts to interact in small groups where they can easily relate to each other. These small groups determine troop activities through their elected representatives; Outdoor Programs; Advancement; Association with Adults – Scouts learn a great deal by watching how adults conduct themselves. Scout leaders can be positive role models for the members of their troops. In many cases a Scoutmaster who is willing to listen to the Scouts, encourage them, and take a sincere interest in them can make a profound difference in their lives; and Personal Growth While the family is a critical part of the youth and his identity, the goal of scouting at this age is to have them learn and grow on their own. They lead, they make their own decisions, they become a better person. They work with their peers (and that is good and bad) to do things. Also they are part of the troop and EVERYONE needs to follow the goals and traditions of the troop. If not then YOU have two choices; stay and endure or move on. Based on your input and earlier posts, you are a more patient person that I am. Good luck as you move on, there are many great Scouting experiences out there.
  7. 9 points
    Answer: !!!!!!!!!!!! NO !!!!!!!!!!!!! He should sew his own.
  8. 9 points
    Surely a parent that doesn't do everything for their child is just a Conditional Parent. Ian
  9. 9 points
    Many of us not wholly excited about the changes to the program are heavily involved in the program and have been now for many many (oh so many) years. We are running / working in our units day in day out, week in week out, monthly outings, Saturday night campfires, taps being played in the evenings, flag ceremonies, Courts of Honors, meeting with Scouts on advancement, running merit badge sessions, engaging the troop in high adventure, developing leadership among the boys, working to have them in patrols...all the scouting stuff one does out in the mud and the woods. We see the changes as fundamentally altering not the stated aims of the program, but the tenure and tone of the program. To believe that adding girls to the program and that tone and tenure of summer camps or outings if one is doing the Linked troop model, will be same as prior is to deny the obvious. I am not saying it will be necessarily bad, but it will be different from the program I grew up in and the program my son went through. That loss is what we mourn. At this point those of us not wholly excited can continue business as usual. Candidly I feel that in a few short years the separate boy and girl units or the linked models will give way to a full coed program. The pressure from aging girls (and their families) who do not have a unit to move to, or the one they start is new and inexperienced, so they will not be able to earn the Eagle will become a conversation about disparity and unfairness.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 8 points
    Focus on the first meeting, the first month and the first camp out. Everything will seem clearer after that. Start by focusing on the first meeting. Get the PL Handbook and SPL Handbook to plan the meeting. Basic meeting is Opening, Patrol Corners, Program and Closing. I typically ask the SM to play the part of the SPL (or PL if you wish) for the first meeting only to set an example and get the momentum started. Opening- SPL delegates scouts to run a very basic opening. Pledge, Oath, Law, Prayer, and quick Announcements. Patrol Corners - PL runs through a basic agenda of old business and new business. Since you don't have old business with your first meeting, your new business is announcing first camp out details; when, where, theme. Very basic. Program - Practice a skills for the camp out: setting up and taking down tents. Pretty much it for the first meeting. Game - Typically something that requires them to run and move around. Closing - retire the flag. A few announcements by the SPL, SM minute (practice this so you can get close to a minute) and dismissed. Of course the meeting will get more complex, but we are just trying to get the troop moving. Spend the next 2 or 3 meetings getting ready for the camp out; packing, food, clothing. Don't worry about advancement skills, they will come in time. Learn how to set up and break camp. Learn how to light a stove and set up washing tubs for KP. First camp out is basically the same thing. For program, teach skills they will need for camping and use those skills that weekend, like learning to start fires. Give the scouts the SPL and PL Handbooks and ask them to use them for the next meeting, camp out and other activities. Plan a planning meeting about three weeks in the future to plan the themes for the next three months of meetings and camping. Planning can get very complicated, so keep it simple, simple, simple and specific. Month two can be something like hiking and using the meetings to teach basic navigation, first-aid and proper hiking clothes. Then camp at a park where the scouts can do about a five mile hike with a lunch break in the middle. Simple program, but a lot for a new troop. Yet, it is very scouting. Make sure the troop meetings have at least 20 minutes of a FUN game. The campouts should have at least two hours of free time on Saturday. Don't rush Sunday, get up and cook a meal, church service (10 mins), an hour of advancement, a game, and break camp. Try to get home around or after 1:00 PM. Many troops hurry Sunday to get home early. I don't know way, but it hurrys the camp out and takes the fun out of Sunday. I advise new troops to elect the SPL and PL about every four months because it's a lot of work and burns out young scouts fast. Scouts this age don't enjoy leadership, so I let them do it only long enough to develop the program. I'm not a fan of cycling scouts through leadership for the experience because it is more often than not a negative experience. Leadership is for the maturity of older scouts. Many don't agree, but that is my experience. However, new troops don't have older scouts and need to develop a program for scouts to follow. The key is the adults taking up only enough of the slack to keep the scouts from burning out. And then stepping back as the scouts mature. Scouts will be mature by the next meeting and next camp out, so step back and let them do it. The adults aren't really leaders, they are mentors and guides. They should practice patience and waiting for the scouts to approach them. One way to understand that idea is for the adults is never to raise their sign up to quiet the scouts. Adults wait for the scouts to initiat the sign. If an adult has the floor for announcements or training and they need the scouts' attention, the adult asked the senior scout or leader to get the groups attention for the adult. That tends to remind the adults their place in a scout run troop. Ok, that is a lot to start. Barry
  13. 8 points
    Thank you @DeanRx I regret my assault on Surbaugh being a liar only because it diverted discussion away from my main point - that boys have now lost one of the few remaining programs tailored specifically for their needs. Schools judge boy behavior by the girl standard. Boys are treated like defective girls. Result: Boys earn lower grades, fewer honors, and are far less likely to go to college. Boys account for 70 percent of school suspensions. If these statistics applied to girls it would be seen as a societal crisis, but nobody cares because it is boys. With boys dropping out and girls racing ahead, just who will be the partners of our daughters to build the next generation? As boys fail, so does our collective future. I cheer on the opportunities and achievements of my three daughters, but it's my son who occupies most of my concern. He already struggles in navigating the world of women - at home (with his three sisters) and at school (with almost all female teachers). Scouting was his refuge to be a boy among boys, but no more starting February 2019. All of that is now sacrificed on the altar of inclusivity. It's terribly sad for me to see.
  14. 8 points
    There are few traits I would list as being utterly essential for a Committee Chair. Hopefully you find something on this list useful! - ORGANIZED Wow, how I wish our current Troop Committee chair possessed this trait! The best Chairs come into meetings with agendas ready, goals in mind, and a strict schedule they try to stick to as much as possible. They respect the time of the group, and work hard to ensure that meetings are productive, Scout-centered, and open to all interested parties. - POSITIVE The best Committee Chairs try to maintain a positive attitude during all activities and meetings, and they make a concerted effort to instill that same disposition in the Committee as a whole. They are diplomatic, tactful, and genuinely interested in hearing the thoughts and opinions of others. They refuse to let their position be used as a seat of power, but instead work to generate unity of purpose and action amongst the entire committee. They understand the importance of compromise, but still know when to be thoughtfully decisive. - COMPASSIONATE Most importantly, the most stellar Chairs that I have ever known always put others first. They are perpetually anxious to ensure that the boys in their unit receive the best program possible. They express gratitude for the work and efforts of others, and make sure parents feel welcome and involved. They know all the boys and leaders by name, and make it clear that they put Scouts before Scouting. They put long thought into how they can help struggling boys and families, and they are open to the feelings and concerns of everybody involved with the unit. They are openly thankful to the CO for all it does to support the unit, and regularly seek out opportunities to recognize those who help the unit grow and thrive. Obviously others may value other qualities in their leaders, but, these are a few character traits that I am deeply drawn to. Admittedly, I have only met one Committee Chair in my life who demonstrated ALL of these virtues - and that was my own Mother, who is deservedly a Scouting legend in our community. And MERCY did she accomplish a lot during her long tenure!
  15. 8 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.
  16. 8 points
    A side note on the importance of earning Eagle. When we went to Sea Base this year, 2 of our Eagles who just aged out went with us as adults. In the airport, someone noticed that one was wearing his Eagle badge and because of it, bought the crew a dozen donuts. So Eagle is all that and a box of donuts.
  17. 8 points
    Attention Richard B: I am one of those "old farts," first a district leader in 1962, red jacket and all. Council leader in 1964. You claim that, "The patrol method hasn't changed." Apparently, you don't know what the Patrol Method is. Here is what it is. "Patrols are small groups of Scouts [nb "Scouts"] who camp together, cook together, play together, and learn together. Patrols are where Scouts learn citizenship at the most basic level. They also take on responsibilities within the patrol, and learn teamwork and leadership." BSA July 29, 2018. "For a Troop to be successful in Scouting, the boys must live, move and have their being, in the Patrol." B.S.A., The Patrol Method (1938 ed.) at p 2 “[T]he Patrol must have a genuine life apart from the Troop.” John Thurman. Camp Chief, Gilwell Park, 1943-1969. Bronze Wolf (World Organization of the Scouting Movement) and Silver Buffalo (Boy Scouts of America “[The patrol members] interact in a small group outside the larger troop context, working together as a team and sharing the responsibility of making their patrol a success.”B.S.A., Scouting.org (2018)[emphasis added] “ Scouting happens in the context of a patrol.” B.S.A., Scoutmaster Position Specific Training syllabus (2018) “Patrols will sometimes join with other patrols to learn skills and complete advancement requirements.” B.S.A., Scouting.org (2018)[emphasis added] “Your Boy Scout troop is made up of patrols [nb "patrols, not Scouts], with each patrol’s members sharing responsibility for the patrol’s success.” B.S.A., The Boy Scout Handbook, 13th [current] edition at p. 25" "As a physical aid to help us remember the separateness of patrols, the patrols should camp 50-100 yards apart if at all possible – and apart from all adults." Baden-Powell, BP Outlook , “The Object of Camping” (October, 1909) “[T]he essential thing is that there should be small permanent groups, each under the responsible control of a leading boy . . . .” Hillcourt, William, The Patrol Method , B.S.A. (1930) Notice there is no mention of constant adult supervision. So, if you run BSA, we need changes in what we say BSA Scouting is and is about, especially in training.. In the name of "Safety" you presume to dictate the legitimacy of separate patrol activities - the essence of Boy Scouting. In reality, you are attempting to drastically change BSA Scouting and, apparently, know so little about the program side that you fail to understand what devastating changes you are proposing How do we develop leaders (an actual BSA Method) with adults constantly at hand "supervising"? (It was BSA Safety that kicked off YPT with the supposed rule [short-lived] that discipline was strictly an adult function. So we have seen Safety overreach before.) Where will units find all these extra registered Scouters when shortage of adults is one of our greatest handicaps? How many extra registered adults will it take? Who did the study? Where is the plan to acquire them? I was legal support for Risk Management at AT&T when it had 1,000,000 employees and operated the largest private fleet of motor vehicles in the world - larger than that of most nation states. My supervisor told me on Day 1 never to forget, in balancing risk and benefit, that there was a business to run. That seems to have been forgotten at Safety. "Hive" indeed. Once before, National ignored the "amateur" volunteers and forced implementation of the "Improved Scouting Program." Turned out that was not so great for those responsible when youth membership fell by about 1/3 and adult membership by about 1/2 (even using BSA figures). And this time, Bill cannot come back to pull the fat out of the fire. Buzz, buzz.🐧
  18. 7 points
    What we have here is a great opportunity for BSA to correct a bad branding decision. Who are Scouts BSA? The public doesn't know. It has no history, no identity. You have to explain it, and it goes something like this: "Oh, that is the program for young people age 11 to 18 that used to be called 'Boy Scouts.' It's just a name change for that program. The umbrella organization is still the Boy Scouts of America. The point is, it's really Boy Scouts, just with a new name . . . " Huh? What? You lost me at "program." If you stop calling the program "Boy Scouts," you're giving up more than a century of goodwill and American lore surrounding that program. The girls interested in joining aren't lobbying to join "Scouts BSA." They want the Boy Scout program. The program that is 118 years old. The program with the historic and highly regarded Eagle Scout rank. The one where you help little old ladies across the street and tie knots and go backpacking and climbing and shooting. The demanding program. They want to be "Boy Scouts," because that name -- those two words together -- has an iconic meaning that is separate and independent from the words themselves; and that meaning has nothing to do with gender. Because of what that name really means, girls don't care if they will be called Boy Scouts. They want to be Boy Scouts. If they had any qualms about that name, they'd join Girl Scouts. BSA can and should use this lawsuit as cover for changing its mind and going back to the "Boy Scout" brand for its flagship program. Dan Kurtenbach Fairfax, VA
  19. 7 points
    As a DL for a female den, I try to never use gender terms. My girls are "scouts." If I start to say, "hey girls" I quickly correct myself and call them "scouts." Using gender terms is a crutch I, as an adult leader, need to learn to overcome. No reason for either boys or girls to think of themselves - or to hear others refer them - as anything other than a scout.
  20. 7 points
    I guess they haven't heard, things have changed, and that's that.
  21. 7 points
    Just FYI, on Tuesday evening, I stepped down as Scoutmaster of my son's Troop to become the Scoutmaster of my daughter's Troop. It is a linked Troop (well, it will be on 2/1/19), using the same chartering org and Troop Committee. My wife is the ASM. I will be posting the heck out of this video and the other info on the new BSA branding site on local social media and getting articles in the local papers and school communication portals to recruit. I am also getting a head count from my DE of the Webelos 2 girls in all teh surrounding towns that don't have a planned Scouts BSA program for them to cross into, so we can go talk to them. These girls should have a Troop to cross into, and we're just the people to offer it.
  22. 7 points
    I have never really considered myself overly religious, but do consider myself to be quite reverent. I rarely attend church now, I have attended regularly in spurts over the years, but not now. I work with people of several faiths and beliefs and respect their customs. I am not closed to their thoughts or actions. I respect their needs to pray, say grace before meals, attend services,etc. I participate in such activities when I am with them but not usually at home with family. It was not the way I was raised or my husband. The Scout Law says be reverent not be religious. There really is a difference. I know several religious folks, very religious folks that aren't the least bit reverent. They have no use for anyone that isn't their religion, and they mock others for their beliefs. I'd rather be reverent than religious any day. The world needs way more reverence and maybe a little less religion. Or at least we need religions to teach its okay to be reverent.
  23. 7 points
    In my 25+ years as a Scouter, this has happened to me multiple times in multiple councils.I have encountered the attitude that because I don't have beads, I know nothing. It doesn't matter that I am a product of the program, or the training I've taken, or the training I've staffed. Heck it doesn't matter that folks are now receiving their 3rd or 4th beads for staffing the course I took and staffed back in the day.It doesn't matter what district and council programs I've worked on, staffed, or organized. Because I don't wear two beads, I don't know squat. I gotta laugh at some things so I don't get ticked off. Best laughs was one district committee I was ona 20+ years ago as OA Chapter Advisor. We were trying to plan something or another (old age getting to me), and I suggested solutions to some problems that were being brought up that I encountered running JLTC at the site we were going to use. I was completely ignored by the other planners except my friend, who was a 3 beader. When he made the exact same suggestions, everyone listened and agreed with them. Another time with the same committee, were were organizing another activity. This time they listened, but said what I was proposing was not feasible, it would never work, etc. My 3 beader friend was there and waited about 10 minutes before smiling at me, and gives them my proposal almost verbatim. Rest of the committee though it was sheer brilliance.
  24. 7 points
    I’m not a professional. I’m an old time retired scoutmaster with passion for the traditional patrol method program. I’ve been very critical of the recent changes, including admitting gays and transsexuals. Not because I have phobias, I believe I’m more compassionate for these kids. But National is putting volunteers in the position of encouraging behaviors that these youth may regret when they mature into adults. I don’t believe accepting girls 14 and younger is good for the program because it will take away from the boys at a National level. It doesn’t matter if some troops are totally male, National will have to direct the whole program as mixed genders. Girls and boys don’t mix well in a patrol method type program before reaching puberty because boys generally think in the big world picture while girls are very detailed oriented. Patrol method works for boys because they are forced to build habits of working details. Girls, by instinct, won’t let them do that without heavy adult interference. None of that works well in a patrol method program. But, I’m also pretty good at looking at things pragmatically. What I posted is an honest assessment of what I see coming based from observations of the program and National for the last roughly 50 years. Troops will become adult run after school camping programs and eagle factories. The addition of girls will bring in more adults without a scouting experience, and those adults typically push advancement the hardest over the other methods. They can’t help themselves; they don’t know how to do the other scouting stuff very well, but they know how to follow a checklist. It’s human nature. Barry
  25. 7 points
    When I was a bumbling, unmotivated Tenderfoot, I witnessed a scout receiving his medal at the end of a regularly scheduled troop court of honor. All of the merit badges earned at summer camp were presented (but none for me--I went but didn't earn any that year). Then the ranks...Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class. Fair amount of scouts went up and collected their new patch. Star...Life...only a couple of those. Then the new Eagle was called forward. The lights were dimmed. SM had some meaningful words. Medal pinned on scout. Mom's pin presented. New Eagle said a few words. Ten minutes max. No "Eagle Charge." No "marked man" recitation by the MC. No guest speaker. No form letters with stamped signatures from dignitaries. None of that stuff was needed. That ceremony was so meaningful I can clearly recall many of the little details vividly 40+ years on. I understand that this scenario isn't possible for the case at hand. But it could work just fine for others. It certainly bucks the modern trend for the coronation-style Eagle ceremony.