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Showing content with the highest reputation since 09/23/18 in all areas

  1. 8 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 6 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
  4. 6 points
    Ian is absolutely right. There is reason girls come to us rather than girl guides, because they are getting something that they are not getting there. This is one of my favourite photos of this year, some of my girls in the Scottish Highlands back in April. Do these look like girls that want a watered down program?
  5. 6 points
    Barry, Gender dysphoriais an emotional and psychological condition experienced when a person's gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. It is a recognized condition. So to not support a youth with gender dysphoria will harm that youth. There have been some people who believe that some youth are being diagnosed as gender dysphoria who might not actually have the condition. One must be an expert to determine what is the appropriate diagnosis - something that adult volunteers are not able to do unless they are a child psychiatrist or psychologist. So to best support youth, we as adult volunteers should leave such determinations to true experts and support their conclusions. As to morality, I agree with others - whose moral standards do you use? The BSA does not prefer any religion and is, thus, non-denominational. As a Christian, I am not aware of a scriptural reference to people with gender identity issues. The BSA's stance seems well reasoned and the correct course for this time in history. In the future, there could be research that modifies what is best for a youth with gender dysphoria. At that time, the new policy might need adjustment. I doubt that will be the case but it is possible.
  6. 5 points
    We teach our scouts that leadership is not only about making good decisions, but taking responsibility, reflecting, and accepting the consequences from our bad ones. The scout in the first case, appears to be applying those leadership lessons, while the scout in the second case does not. Was it is his marijuana? And if so, he had it either to smoke or sell? If I gave a SM conference to the first scout, the discussion would be long and focused on what he has learned in scouting about being a man and a father. If I gave a SM conference to the second scout, the discussion be about the Scout Oath and Law. Both scouts need our kind and helpful support. My $0.02,
  7. 5 points
    Hey all, I attended a Course Directors Conference recently. I'm a backup course director for a NYLT course in 2019. One of the Pros from Irving was there so I was able to ask some of our favorite topics of conversation. I've figured we mostly had answers to these questions, but it's good to hear it straight out of the horses mouth so to speak. I've summarized his answers below. I was impressed by him. I was surprised National sent a pro from Irving out to Midwest on a Saturday, and he was at the event all day, and being available for 1 on 1 face-time. He had some real enthusiasm and energy. He was unapologetic about the changes to include girls, which was mostly preaching to the choir at a NYLT/Wood Badge CDC at this point. He said there have been about 40,000 girls into Cub Scouts this year. I'm not sure how that lines up with other numbers being reported. He also mentioned the program as "Scouts BSA" a few times, so I'm not sure when that nomenclature is going to take over. Q1. Asked about how the BSA decided on the two year separation rule in the recently updated YPT. 1 a.: Said the rule was created based on data provided by law enforcement, schools, incident reports from councils and information collected during calls to the Scouts First Hotline. I figured that was the case, so I'm glad there's some statistical backing to it. Q2. Changes to Wood Badge Syllabus, will those of us who took WB21 be expected to retake the new course? 2a. No. The changes are an update to the WB21 course, not a total rewrite. The material in the current WB is still useful and valid training, they're just tweaking it a bit. Other interesting tidbit is that there is an updated version of the "Time to Tell" videos in the works. I remember watching those back in 2005. He stressed to us that the next big focus of YPT is preventing Peer to Peer abuse between Scouts. National is pretty concerned about it. Most of our training and discussion about YPT focused on that peer to peer abuse aspect (maybe because we've had over a decade to figure out the whole adult to youth protection aspects of YPT.) Overall, the CDC was well done, and since it was my first one, I found it informative and helpful. I'm not sure I'll feel the same if I have to keep going to more of them in the future.
  8. 5 points
    Sadly, I've heard your view from scouts too. Add also discussions from them on why many different types of laws need to change. Laws on everything from liability to the oldest profession laws. ... I've always been amazed what we can overhear as adult leaders when you are good at blending into the background.
  9. 5 points
    I have been married going on 44 years. My wife once asked me "if something happens to me, would you find someone else?" My immediate response now would be "hell no!" She has some "liberal feminist" friends who behave worse than any of my horndog male buddies ever did but are staunchly in favor of hanging Kavanaugh out to dry. Why would I risk subjecting myself to that? Ladies, I'm afraid you've "screwed the pooch" this time...so take your pink hats and leave me alone.
  10. 5 points
    Two grandsons new in a cub pack. There are (horrors!) girls. No one seems to notice. They do stuff together. It's almost as if it's not unnatural.
  11. 5 points
    Goodness, if only there had been some advance notice of this deadline...
  12. 4 points
    That's good stuff. I might say that scouts become good decision makers by learning how to take responsibility for their bad decisions. This subject is not about the scouts, it's about the scouters. I have personal experience with the first scout, not the second. Ironically the 16 year old scout (my sons best friend since first grade) announced his situation to the troop at the end of a long day of his Eagle project. His parents showed up to support him, because that was probably the most difficult announcement of his life. That scout now has three kids all going to the same schools that he and my kids attended when they where their age. He has a masters degree in engineering and business. None of that really talks about his character, but without getting into long winded details, he set the high mark for taking responsibility of his bad decisions and is leading the life of an Eagle. I'm not going to suggest how all adults, much less Scoutmasters, should judge scouts when they make bad decisions. Maybe the problem with scouting today (and we talked about this many times on this forum) is we don't judge the other scouts enough in their early experiences to give respect. Did anyone ask the rank of the scout who helped the little old lady across the street? Is there honor in getting to 2nd class? I was taught in the early days (and experience has proven it) that only four percent of the population are natural leaders. Everyone else are natural followers. The average percentage of Eagles in the early days was about three percent of all scouts. Well doesn't that make sense? I have said that boys below age 13 aren't good leaders because they don't like it. But, there are those very few natural leaders that stuck out even at age 11. They are the 3 percent. The scout I mentioned above was not our best leader in the sense of taking charge and going forward. He was not our best SPL. He was not the troops best PL. He just didn't like being the guy in front of everyone else. But, he was a favorite to the young scouts because he had an abundance of patience and compassion. His friends held him in high respect because he was fair minded to his core. Adults held him in high esteem because he is even mannered, never loosing control and never backing off from a challenge. He was a very hard worker and seemed like a natural at everything. I called him Evinrude because he could push a canoe through the water like no one I had ever seen. All the adults liked him because he was that kid that we all wanted our kids to be like. Is he worthy of a good leader, or a really good follower? I honestly don't know, but I signed him off for his Eagle. Scouting is in the middle of big changes and I personally fear that the program is loosing it's foundation for existing. For all it's marketing of adventure, the primary reason for Scouting is character development. Plain and simple, at least for me. The only reason I hang around this forum anymore is to help the few scouters who want a values driven program. I want to help those scouters who want more for their scouts than just a camping experience and a badge. But it's not easy to be a moral judge of other parents' kids behavior. Sometimes we get it wrong. I confessed in my scoutmaster training classes that I personally did it wrong at least 50% of the time. If that is true, then how does the SM judge a scout to be a better moral and ethical decision maker? There is no easy answer; if we don't judge the scouts's decisions, then we aren't balanced mentors and our guidance is one-sided. If on the other hand we sometimes get it wrong, how does that work? How does one judge a scout with balance? How do we flawed adults hold the bar high enough to retain respect with outsiders looking in, and yet develop a decision maker who made a big mistake? There is no easy answer for me, I can only say that I had to work at being the best scoutmaster I could, one humble decision at a time. Barry
  13. 4 points
    Aye, in both cases some sort of overcoat would have been advisable.
  14. 4 points
    Question for the OP. Are the boys getting their work done? Is the troop running well? Have you had any actual reports of wrong doing? For 100 years our goal has been to get boys to work together to run their troops. Train them, trust them, let them lead is the catch phrase. Now we're being told adults have to intervene. There's no faster way to crush the spirit of a group of boys who have bought into the actual vision! The policy quoted above is technocentric and technophobic. Would we demand to see hand written letters between the scouts? What if they decided to use an encryption technique? Would policy dictate a key escrow service? If they all sit together at lunch should a scout leader demand to be invited or will we recruit teachers to spy for us? These are the policies that will change the BSA from a character development program into a adult driven camping club. BSA National needs to come down out of their ivory tower, fire all the professors and experts they've brought into their little echo chamber, and get back into the field actually working with boys.
  15. 4 points
    A Note, from a Moderator i still remember my Mom being my Den Mother. I remember a ton of old magazines we had in our hall closet, to support activities. I still remember The Law of the Pack, and later I remember learning the Scout Law. I remember being told as a Boy Scout the Scout Law was a positive description of who I should be. Boys like clubs. Boys like “no girls allowed” clubs. 8 year old boys aren’t always ready to mix with eight year old girls. Sometimes, a boy will get, shall we say, boisterous in telling that to a girl. may I submit a good path to deal with this kind of boisterousness is to simply ask the boy to recite the Scout Law, and then ask him if he was being friendly, courteous and kind? 99+ % of the time, he won’t be able to hold eye contact as he says yes. We don’t always need the big guns of youth protection. Sometimes, we need to remember Akela is there to show the way. YIS, ICS, IFAW, John
  16. 4 points
    Scramble like heck. Call your caouncil venturing committee. Let your DE know. Community college APO, church youth leaders. And ... GS/USA commissioners. You might get your leader, you might not. But you'll feel better trying.
  17. 4 points
    Most of the commentary seems to be on the wisdom or stupidity of the extension- but mostly how it affects an individual Scout. Either way, it does provide potentially a strong program gain. The new troops starting up will have a much better chance of success if they have a few "senior" girls in them. Always tough for leadership development when a new troop is formed from a den of Webelos. To get those girls, there would be opportunity particularly with current Venturers. While not every 17 year old girl will want to work towards Eagle, it does make sense that some of them would- and the troop will get some immediate needed leadership.
  18. 4 points
    Have fun. If the scouts are not having fun, they will vote with their feet. Keep the helicopter parents in the back and out of the way. Let the youth (with guidance and mentoring) select and be involved with activities that are engaging to them. If the program becomes more school and classwork to get to the vaunted Eagle rank, you will lose many of them Have fun, go outdoors and DO STUFF. Not for advancement sake, not to get this merit badge or that merit badge, because it is fun, challenging, and engaging. The advancement can be a byproduct of what is done, not the main purpose. Go hiking, go climbing, go canoeing, go boating, go through a gorge, go biking, play a wide game, do a lock-in with overnight video games and gym games. Did I mention facilitate HAVING FUN?
  19. 3 points
    Nothing stopping said parents from making that plan and putting it into action.
  20. 3 points
    Hi @shortridge. I was a scoutmaster for 12 years. The real question here, if I may be so bold, is will your wife be okay with all the hours? Scoutmaster conferences, eagle projects, packing for said trips, going to blue and golds, training, just spending time figuring out how to crack some nut. Those are some of the things you've forgotten. I'm sure there are more. Some of this has to do with the size of your troop as well as how many adults will actually help. We estimated 1 hour per month per scout in the troop is what all of the adults put in together. How much of that will people help with? How good are you at convincing others to help out. I didn't do so well at that but a bunch of adults did step up. However, there seem to be fewer helping out. And yet, I am really glad I did it. BTW, I didn't answer your question. I didn't really want to know.
  21. 3 points
    Maybe its just local conditions. I'm 25. When former Scouts visit our childhood troop, they say hi to me, and after observing they almost always joke: "Wow, things really haven't changed much." They're both right and wrong. I think the BSA as an organization has changed quite a bit. I feel like that pace of change has accelerated. But I still recognize the BSA from when I joined back in 2005. My Troop hasn't changed much from all these policy changes. Requirements change, uniforms change, membership policies change, but the core activities and methods of Scouting haven't changed in my little pocket of Scouting, and I'm going to my best to keep it that way. We all have breaking points and decision points for our membership. I won't curse folks on their way out. I won't hassle newer folks who are coming in fresh. God only knows when I hit mine. Whether it's policies we don't like, life circumstances, or just aging, we all eventually leave the program.
  22. 3 points
    “They have this range all set up where the boys can shoot an M4, M240, and M249. It maybe the first and last chance a lot of these guys get to shoot some of these weapons. They do have some bigger guns and they were telling them that if they want to shoot those, they have to join the Army,” said SM Murdock. What a great Scout outing. Thanks to US Army and SM Murdock. https://www.wibw.com/content/news/Boy-Scouts-shoot-Army-weapons-at-Fort-Rileys-32nd-Annual-Apple-Day--494075211.html Though I did not enter the military, Scouting ,and only Scouting, provided me some exposure to military - staying at USAF bases on Philmont trip, Air Force Academy, airshows, ship visits, range shooting...all great.
  23. 3 points
    If you do not attend a church, you could use a parent. My Scouts commonly use the troop chaplain. I used the facilitator that led the classes for my youth religious medal program in Scouts.
  24. 3 points
    I'm not sure I like the words "redundant or dumb" but there are just a lot of words in these policies. No slight to the lawyers among us but when things start getting into that much detail it sounds like there's just no trust between the SM and the scouts. Much of it is already in the GTA so maybe that's what DuctTape means by redundant. Also, so much of it just begs for more complex answers. It says there will be a uniform inspection at least once a month. What if there isn't? So what if there is? If a scout shows up in blue jeans then what? Is this really a policy or is it what the troop usually does? If it's not policy then remove it. The scoutmaster can remove a scout from a POR if he doesn't fulfill his position's requirements and there have been two meetings. And those requirements are specified where? It says the scout should ask for a conference at the start of the meeting for the lower ranks. Does this imply he'll get one? What if it's the week before a COH right after summer camp and 10 scouts ask for a conference? The SM is going to do all of them? What if the meeting is a bike ride to DQ? Is the SM still going to do all of them? Rather, I'd suggest writing a document that just describes how things work. Don't call it policy. Explain how the scout or a parent can get things clarified. As long as the SM and committee treat all the scouts the same and there are no surprises then nobody will complain. My troop has been around for 20 years and we have few policies. We do have a document that describes how things are done. To me it sounds like the real problem here is a lack of trust.
  25. 3 points
    While I firmly oppose BSA's girl decision, I strongly support kindness and sensitivity in personal interactions. Even though their Cub Scout Pack is at fault for breaking fundamental rules about mixed-gender Dens, a kind approach is still merited as the situation gets resolved. A Scout is friendly, courteous, and kind, and nobody should be made to feel like an outcast. First, I'd explain in the friendliest way possible to the girl and her parents that we are excited for her interest in Scouting. Then I'd also explain in the friendliest way possible that because we are a boy-only troop, we are not structured with the right organization and leadership to provide her the Scouting experience that BSA has designed for girls (providing as many or as few supporting details as they like). Finally, I'd offer assistance to help her find a girl-only troop or a linked troop in the area that *is* structured with the right organization and leadership to provide her that great Scouting experience (with an explanation about the rollout beginning in February 2019). If these good-faith gestures made in friendliness are rejected, it would seem clear to me that this girl and her family are not looking for a solution - they are looking for a fight.