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Showing content with the highest reputation since 04/25/19 in all areas

  1. 6 points
    I started backpacking in the '70s. There were plenty of funky, loud backpacks and tents. And the clothes! Remember the stars and stripes/red/white/blue external frame packs? I've always wanted one of those. But I digress. When I was backpacking as a scout back then and encountered other folks on the trail, be they earthy Ecology types, hippies, or Joe or Jane Citizen, not once, not ever, was there an issue about bright colors. There was always a sense of mutual respect and camaraderie, even for just a couple seconds in passing, or we might stop and visit a spell. Scouts, "squares" or the amazing hippies, we were all in the outdoors, enjoying life. So what has changed? As beneficial as LNT is, there are times I think some of the philosophies border on outdoor elitism. Humans and the Earth are more resilient than we give credit for.
  2. 5 points
    Always time for good news: I had a great time at our camporee. The weather was great. The theme was Alien Space Crash. We worked into it some novel team work problem solving, first aid, a mile map and compass course, an old BP game (sneaking up on the blind folded scout), semaphores, first aid, some search and rescue, shooting tennis balls with a water balloon launcher, and a relay race through the woods (everything had an alien theme). That, and I got to make fun of myself channeling my inner Dan Akroyd with an aluminum foil cone head hat. The best part was that I saw a lot of smiles this weekend. I also stepped down as camping chair and may have found an organized replacement. The deal is they'll handle the mundane details and the asinine council if I keep helping with the fun ideas. How great is that?
  3. 5 points
    I wanted to brag on our youth in our Sea Scout Ship. For the 5th year in a row they we chosen for the national Flagship fleet as on of the top units in the nation. This year, they were on of the top 4 units in the nation. We were first but were listed second of the four units. So I think it was 2nd 🙂 The kids had an awesome time and love the program.
  4. 5 points
    Adults not ready to make the transition from parent to leader
  5. 5 points
    Camp song "Linger" Hmmm, I want to linger. Hmmm, A little longer. Hmmm, A little longer, Here with you. Hmmm, It's such a perfect night. Hmmm, It doesn't seem quite right. Hmmm, That this should be, My last with you. Hmmm, And come September, Hmmm, I will remember, Hmmm, Our Scouting days, Of friendships true. Hmmm, And as the years go by, Hmmm, I'll think of you and sigh. Hmmm, This is good night And not good bye. Hmmm I want to linger. Hmmm A little longer. Hmmm A little longer, Here with you.
  6. 5 points
    Sloppy reporting (re: the name of both organizations) aside - This decision demonstrates why the argument "If Girl Scouts dont do things that girls want to do, then change the Girl Scouts" is not a solution. I am very sorry that the adults involved were more concerned about the business of scouting than about the purpose of scouting.
  7. 4 points
    This is such a strange discussion to have from a scouter perspective. My boys are intrusive in so many other ways, that their colors are the least of my worries. One dropped wrapper or abandoned bottle is far more heartbreaking than eight bright shirts. Regarding bright tents (or any tarp, really), mitigate their impact by choosing a campsite sufficiently off trail. When I'm with my scouts in an area that allows canines, I blame it on my dog. I want him to have a spot where he can enjoy their patrol's company and not be riled by passing hikers. Even in a meadow, a bright tent 100 yards off does not stand out among tall grass and wildflowers. Furthermore, when scouts randomly disperse their patrol sites, and their tents within those sites, it takes some effort to get an idea of how many scouts are really there. One laurel thicket, and you will wonder where the boys are. Those tents might ruin someone's drone flyover video, but among patrons of wilderness recreation areas, those oversized mosquitoes are a hotly debated issue themselves. Generally in WPa, outdoors-men hang red flags over their occupied campsites and deer stands. Some properties require them to. It spares hikers like my crew from stumbling in. Once scouts master topo-maps, they know where the good campsites are. That bit of color helps everyone divert from someone's claimed sweet spot so that all may enjoy a peaceful day in the woods.
  8. 4 points
    All I need to say, if there was a google docs version I would probably get at least 2 hours of my life back due to Acrobat being outdated and a hassle.
  9. 4 points
    Posted on my Council FB page today.... Today the National Council held a press conference call to address the inaccuracies and mischaracterizations that were made in yesterday’s press conferences held in New York and New Jersey. Below is the transcript for your review. Prepared Remarks of Michael Surbaugh, Chief Scout Executive for the Boy Scouts of America I am here today to correct inaccuracies and mischaracterizations about our organization and the efforts we have taken to protect youth, which has been and continues to be our absolute top priority. First, I want to reiterate our steadfast support for victims of abuse. ▪ We are outraged that there have been times when individuals took advantage of our programs to abuse innocent children. ▪ We care deeply about all victims of child abuse and sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting. ▪ We believe victims, we support them, and we pay for unlimited counseling by a provider of their choice and we encourage them to come forward. In 2018, there were five known victims of sexual abuse in our Scouting programs at a time when there were 2.2 million youth in our programs. We steadfastly believe that one incident of abuse is one too many and we are continually improving all of our policies to prevent abuse. Experts note that among the general US population, one in six men have experienced sexual abuse or assault at some point in their lives. This is an unacceptable public health problem that must be addressed, and we seek to be part of the solution along with all other youth-serving organizations. Our volunteer screening database is a mechanism for keeping kids safe. Let me share with you the facts: ▪ ALL instances of suspected abuse are reported to law enforcement. We do not keep any reports of suspected abuse secret or hidden from the proper authorities. ▪ Long before there were smart phones, email, the internet, criminal databases, or other modern methods available to identify or track predators, the BSA took a vital step to help protect children from bad people by creating what is known as the Ineligible Volunteer Files, or the IV Files. Its purpose was to ensure that anyone seen as unfit to be a leader – even those not charged or convicted of any crime, would be removed and banned forever from our program. ▪ The creation of those files was just the first step in the BSA’s development of a comprehensive set of strategies designed to provide the best possible youth protection system. Today, record- keeping or databases such as ours are recommended by experts, including the CDC, as an important step in protecting children. ▪ While it has often been misunderstood and criticized, time and time again the IV Files, now called our Volunteer Screening Database, have successfully prevented potential predators from re- joining our organization and gaining access to youth. That is precisely why we have been maintaining these records since the 1920s. ▪ We have a very low threshold for removing someone from our scouting programs. Individuals are added to our Volunteer Screening Database based on suspected or known violations of our policies. They don’t need to have been arrested or convicted of a crime to be added to the database. This is because our priority is to protect kids, first and foremost, above all else. It is an ongoing tool the BSA uses to keep youth safe from potential perpetrators. I’d now like to introduce you to Dr. Janet Warren, a professor from the University of Virginia and a researcher and expert in sexual crimes against children. Dr. Warren has spent her career analyzing and profiling sexual offenders and serves as the University of Virginia liaison to the FBI Behavioral Sciences Unit. The BSA engaged Dr. Warren in 2011 to review the files maintained in our Volunteer Screening Database and analyze ways that the BSA could further improve its youth protection efforts. The BSA publicly released Dr. Warren’s first report in 2012. In our efforts to continually be on the forefront of youth protection, the BSA asked Dr. Warren to continue her work and evaluation of our database and barriers to abuse. She is in the final stages of that report. Dr. Warren has reached a number of conclusions as the work has progressed and we’ve asked her to be here today to speak to her work with us. Prepared Remarks of Dr. Janet Warren, Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences (PNBS) at the University of Virginia • Good afternoon. I’d like to speak about the body of work I have done for the BSA since my initial report in 2012 and provide context to some of the figures presented in the media. I reviewed full, complete and unredacted files from the BSA that have been commonly referred to as the confidential files, perversion files or, as the BSA now refers to them, the Volunteer Screening Database. My team of researchers analyzed the data to see what attributes, patterns or profiles could be gleaned from the incidents. We made several key observations and we are in the process of finalizing our work. • I’d like to share with you some of the most salient findings today. I anticipate being able to present the work in a comprehensive manner sometime this summer. • First, one of the key observations we made is that the data demonstrated that the Scouting program is safe and the BSA’s use of a database to prevent unsuitable adults from accessing children was cutting edge and it worked. Even through the years when there were no computers, the BSA’s efforts were effective in keeping unsuitable volunteers from gaining access to youth in the Scouting program. • The rate of incidence of reported abuse in BSA programs was far less than the rate of incidence in society as a whole. And the data shows that the BSA’s youth protection efforts since the 1980’s have been highly effective in preventing abuse. • Second, there is no evidence of a coverup by the Boy Scouts of America. • 100% of all cases reported over the last 50 years were reported to law enforcement. • Additionally, as experts in this area agree, there is no profile of an offender that can be discerned from the data. The research underscores the importance of moving beyond simplistic and overly inclusive explanations of child sexual abuse. • Finally, the research underscores the need for a national database to track persons unsuitable to work with youth, similar to the one the BSA has used for almost 100 years. Criminal records checks and sexual offender registries based upon criminal convictions are inadequate to protect against offenders who have never been arrested or convicted. Prepared Remarks of Erin Eisner, Chief Strategy Officer for the Boy Scouts of America ▪ My name is Erin Eisner, and I’m the BSA’s Chief Strategy Officer for Culture and People. I am also a mom of two Scouts. My son joined as a Cub Scout, and my daughter and I are thrilled that she is now a member of Scouts BSA. ▪ I’d like to pick up where Dr. Warren left off to discuss what we are doing to help keep kids safe, both inside and outside of Scouting. While our database has served to keep millions of children safe in our Scouting programs, we have learned a lot over the years, and we want to share that with other youth servicing organizations. We know that our policies and barriers to abuse can help prevent child sex abuse throughout our communities and across all organizations. ▪ Experts agree that one of the most effective ways to prevent predators from having access to children is to track data on those individuals who have violated youth protection policies or have even been suspected of violating those policies. Specifically, the Center for Disease Control looked at the issue of keeping kids safe in youth serving organizations in 2007 and noted that databases such as the one BSA uses are a recognized method of protecting children from predators. As you’ve heard today, the BSA has employed this practice since virtually the inception of our organization. ▪ We are eager to share the information contained in our database with other youth serving organizations. That is why we’ve advocated for and will continue to push for the creation of a national database to serve as a clearing house for all youth serving organizations. Our vision, and one shared by others working hard in this space to protect youth, is that all youth serving organizations would be required to track and document those adults who have harmed children or have been suspected of harming children and report this information into a national registry. Similar to the National Sex Offender Public Website maintained by the Department of Justice, our goal is the creation of a registry for those who seek to work with children. This would reduce the risk that potential abusers could gain access to children by moving or going to another youth-serving organization after being removed. We are working with other groups and organizations such as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the CDC to see how we can assist in this critical development. We’ve also called on Congress to partner in these efforts and to develop legislative mechanisms to facilitate this national database into a reality. ▪ We are optimistic about these efforts because we know they will make a difference – we have seen firsthand the impact they’ve had on our own organization’s steps to protect children. ▪ Children in our Scouting programs are safe today. Millions of children participate in and benefit from the character building and leadership activities in our programs – without incident. Parents can be confident in our program today and be proud of our efforts to protect children while they learn, have fun and experience Scouting as it was intended. I am confident in this. ▪ I am an Executive with the BSA but first and foremost, I am a mother. And my heart breaks for any child that has experienced the tragedy and trauma of abuse. If I felt, for a second, that Scouting was unsafe, I would not be associated with nor advocate for the BSA. To the contrary, I am confident in our program and confident in our efforts to protect children. My own daughter and son are both members of Scouts BSA and participate in Scouting locally in a dynamic and safe troop here in Dallas. I have no reservations about their participation and am excited to see more and more children, across the country, including record numbers of young women, be introduced to the Scouting program. +++
  10. 3 points
    Dry ice. Don't pack Friday's COH ice cream in dry ice. You will have concrete and not be able to eat it. Bicycle. Scout disassembled and had each of his friends pack a piece of it in their gear. Then it was reassembled at camp. Hard to hide.
  11. 3 points
    I'd really prefer my scouts wear bright colors, I suspect their parents would be more offended if I had to tell them we lost their kid in the woods and the forest green shirt we made them wear so they didn't offend the sensibilities of nearby hikers was making it harder to spot them.
  12. 3 points
    Your first statement is an impossible standard to meet. I'm an old straight white guy. Some significant portion of the population will be offended by my breathing. Your second series of examples are a non-sequitor. All the actions you mentioned show intention by one person to interrupt/disrupt the second person's experience. Intention is the key. Using a yellow tent has no intention to disturb. Beyond that, you started this discussion with an indirect ad hominem attack on anybody who might disagree by using words like clowns, garish, and serious. If you were serious about inquiry you'd have started with a question, not a statement of opinion.
  13. 3 points
    If you eliminated all bright colors from nature, you would loose hummingbirds, wildflowers, butterflies ... The very idea that somehow it's "disrespectful" to wear bright colors in the outdoors is rather silly. REAL nature is full of color. A group of boys in bright colors is no more "disruptive" than a cardinal in a tree. The world is full of bright and beautiful shades and hues, and none of those the boys may wear is going to detract from that - unless you choose to be bothered by it, in which case the fault is yours, not the shirt's.
  14. 3 points
    Oh, and I would have ONE signature page for the entire project.
  15. 3 points
    Well, almost. Last time I checked I was doing the labor AND paying for it.
  16. 3 points
    I should think that a scouter would be familiar with that concept.
  17. 3 points
    Although being an outdoor focused program is an advantage BSA has over GSUSA for girls interested in the outdoors, I think the real advantage BSA has that you're exploiting is structural. It's always seemed to me that GSUSA' s failure to build institutional knowledge and experience into its units was its real weakness. For most BSA units, hopefully including your linked troop, there is a cadre of leaders who have been with the program past the time when their own sons, and soon daughters, have aged out, and that experience is passed on and used by new leaders coming up. No leader coming up with their kids through the Cub program thinks they need to be THE person who understands how to take their troop into the outdoors a couple weeks after crossover. GSUSA's unit structure, at least as I've seen it from the outside, just doesn't provide anything like this. And this would matter whether you wanted to have an outdoors focused program or any other program focus..
  18. 3 points
    We rotate colors year to year. Sometimes more "earth-tone" other times more "loud". Each has its place. The "earth-tone" fits in well with LNT principles, but I like the loud bright "Hunter Orange" if we're in the woods during hunting season.
  19. 3 points
    It should only be allowed for Texas since all other states are irrelevant. 😉
  20. 3 points
    Folks arguing and debating the guides to uniform and what should and should not be worn (let's get a red epaulette thread fired up) is truly the definition of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Basically as @Double Eagle advised, we've got bigger fish to fry Wear the pin. Enjoy
  21. 3 points
    I am saddened to see the way the necker has fallen from favor. World wide, it is the recognized symbol of the Scout, whatever gender. In the less fortunate areas, the Scout may have a special t-shirt and neckerchief, that's his uniform, but he will have the neckerchief. The Troop of my yoooth had designed it's own neckerchief, a big one, 30" on a side, bright red, with a custom patch that read "Troop 759 Always On The Go ! " with a pair of disembodied boots kicking up a cloud of dust. Us Scouts and our parents made sure of the truth of that motto. That necker is much faded now, with some holes and mended rips from being used in signal flag (wig wag?) and first aid practice, it is brought out to show at CoH's and such. The ESL necker of the 70's was a mistake, relegating it to the duty of fashion statement rather than proud symbol and practical emergency tool. I once found a Troop necker on the side of the road, discarded by a passing car, I believed, from it's location, not by accident. I took it home , cleaned it up and added it to my collection. Since it was a "Standard" issue BSA Scoutshop item, there was no way to trace it's source. I once worked at our church camp as the Handyman. I once came back to my cabin to find a Scout necker draped on the doorknob, "Troop 1, Lewes Delaware" on the peak. When I researched it, I could not find such a Troop. Another addition to my collection. People give me such things, items of curiousity . "It's dorky, it's uncomfortable, no one wears them, why do I have to, what's it for, I keep losing the slide, can I just leave it home,, , , , " is that what we hear? Or perhaps, thru the woods, we can hear the waving of wig wag Morse code?
  22. 3 points
    @The Latin Scot makes a correct point. When wearing the BSA Uniform shirt, there isn't a specified place for pins like that. @TAHAWK's point was that the BSA's aren't very uniform, depend on their date of manufacture and point of origin. My personal take. I wear my uniform based on the insignia guide, because as an adult leader, I'm supposed to model wearing the uniform correctly. My scouts frequently add various embellishments and such to their uniforms, and I don't discourage or correct them. If putting little pins and trinkets on their uniforms makes them more proud to wear the uniform, I'm not going to object unless it's something distasteful, which that pin doesn't seem to be.
  23. 3 points
    We use a local Frisbee golf course for this requirement. There are enough trees, washes, and other obstacles that the baskets/control points are out of sight and require the occasional boxing. If you want to increase the difficulty, you can give the scouts a map and a list of coordinates and make them determine the bearing and distance. The bearing and distance lists that comprise most scout orienteering courses aren't terribly useful in the real world. CalTopo is pretty nice. Store.USGS.gov has more data, but you'll either need a plotter or familiarity with Photoshop/Acrobat to print 8.5x11 maps.
  24. 3 points
    Scoutmaster Response on a Community Blog Friends: I post on a community blog in our metropolitan area that is viewed by a large number of parents interested in Scouting. A posting titled “Do you trust the BSA?” Started yesterday after the articles broke. Below is the post I made this AM: Scoutmaster’s Thoughts on Abuse I’m the Scoutmaster of the Scouts BSA Troop for girls in Washington, DC who has commented extensively on this site. You can read the previous lengthy postings if you are curious about how Scouts BSA Troop 248 for girls operates. As an initial matter, our majority-female Troop Committee and Scoutmaster staff strictly observe the current Youth Protection regulations of the BSA and the Episcopal Church. These are publicly posted on our Troop web site and are quite rigorous. I am happy to engage in a separate discussion string regarding how the system works and what those requirements are. I thought I would let the discussion play out a bit before I jumped-in to provide supplemental information. The postings so far demonstrate great concern about the numbers discussed in the media and this is good. Youth abuse is one of those topics where “we can’t allow a single instance” is really true. Most people reading this blog are looking for opportunities for their young people to have safe, fulfilling activities. Our society has consistent instances of youth abuse — that is just a fact. We look around us and see it occur in schools, churches and youth groups. Having been on the front lines of youth service organizations for a lifetime, my position is not to trust any organization — but to understand and, if appropriate, trust the individuals and ground level group. Always meet individually with at least a couple of the adult leaders to take their personality measure and understand how that group implements whatever youth protection rules apply to them. This includes teachers and coaches of school activities. Yes, most organizations have rules somewhere — it is the regular and transparent enforcement of those rules that counts in weighing the safety of your child. In our Scouts BSA Troop this plays out as follows. Each potential adult volunteer not only has to subject to a criminal background check and take the 2-hour youth protection course, but must also meet with us individually for at least an hour to explore the background, interests and motivations of the person. Each parent attends youth protection orientation and is required to discuss these issues with their own child. We check that this has occurred. Then, each and every activity is examined in advance to assure ourselves that we have the sufficient number of certified and cleared adult leaders to assure no child is ever alone without at least 2 leaders in proximity. Our notes to parents are replete with references to our policies and confirmation that we have arranged for sufficient youth protection coverage. This is what parents must come to an understanding of when evaluating the “trust” topic of this posting. The BSA has experienced instances of youth abuse as have schools, churches, athletic teams and other organizations. When I was a Scout in the 70’s, the only policy youth service organizations had was, I guess, whatever they thought made “common sense”. This usually relied on the individual leaders and parents to become aware of a problem and take action. That usually meant throwing the person out of the group, not letting the person back in and in limited instances informing law enforcement or the applicable child services agency. If we apply today’s standards and what we know now to that time, we instantly know more and different things should have been done. In the specific case of the BSA, back then the local-council leadership and employees were to evaluate the situation and if indicated took the above kinds of actions. If they took action, they reported it to the BSA national office, which put the person on its “ineligible volunteer” list. It is the unfortunate events combined with the existence and use of that list which has triggered the litigation we now see. While beyond the scope of this brief note, it is accurate to summarize that the BSA came to an understanding that it had to take a dramatically different approach in the early 1980’s, and began directly implementing better youth protection measures which are now considered the leading national standard. Instances of youth abuse diminished to a trace-level after that. Despite extensive measures, nothing will keep every evil perpetrator of this horrible crime from our youth service organizations, so there will be a low number of crimes that have occurred since then. Consequently, the names of reported individuals and the related incidents pre-date the change. Broadly-speaking, participants in BSA programs experience violations at a trace-level. Evil perpetrators know this and focus their criminal activities elsewhere where the is little or no vigilance. The BSA can, should and unavoidably will participate in providing a sense of justice to those who were harmed. It has been sued through the years and has paid millions in settlements when juries have found it did not sufficiently protect a young person. Now that states are eliminating the laws that required lawsuits to be filed within a certain time after the abuse event, there will be a cascade of lawsuits presenting allegations as far back as the 40’s. Most of the cases will relate to events from the early 80’s or before. The circumstance is that the sums juries will Award victims would vastly exceed by many factors the entire value of properties and endowments the BSA has, and the organization would cease to exist. The question therefore is: shall BSA programming be terminated and denied to current and future youth because of the incidents of the early 80’s and before? Some on this blog might be expected to desire this outcome based on a wish to eliminate this risk. Others have presented unrelated views based on recent membership policy changes or disappointment that the BSA is now offering programming to elementary-secondary aged girls. These other views have been vigorously debated on earlier postings, so I will not discuss those views. My judgement, based on direct experience, is that BSA programming is fundamentally safe, appropriate and popular with youth and parents and should be continued in its current safe format. There will be even more enhancements to the youth protection program as more is learned through the lawsuit proceedings and a likely financial reorganization bankruptcy filing. A financial reorganization bankruptcy is the best way to go in order to provide justice to as many as possible and in order to allow the BSA to keep what it needs to continue providing safe programming. It will allow everyone aggrieved to file claims on a national basis, have the BSA marshal assets to fund the claims, and keep only what it needs. It will cause more of the award amounts to go to more victims and substantially less to trial attorneys. The alternative is the termination of the BSA and payments a limited number who filed their lawsuits first. The BSA is a sound organization with very good intentions. We argue about its program because we value our children. This is good.
  25. 3 points
    Encourage you to read your latest edition of Scoutingwire. You should have received yesterday. https://scoutingwire.org/ is where you can read the articles and Chief's corner. You can also sign up for it if for some reason you did not receive it directly.