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Showing content with the highest reputation since 09/15/19 in Posts

  1. 6 points
    With all due respect to National I call BS. The increased insurance cost isn't a surprise nor is the departure of LDS. This decision should have been made and announced months ago so units could plan and be honest with their parents. Instead they wait until after fall recruiting is done?
  2. 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...
  3. 5 points
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 5 points
    I must admit that I used to be much less concerned or even aware of my uniform in the years past. Having read TLS's posts over the years regarding uniforming and insignia has changes my viewpoint. I was not one to knowingly ignore the guide to insignia, I was instead simply non-chalant about it. TLS posts have been enlightening for me. The reminder of the uniform as a method, like advancement etc... really hit home. When we discuss the Patrol Method, we espouse the desire to reach the ideal. We do not chastise when we fall short, but instead recognize where we trying to improve to get closer to the ideal. If someone was to come to this forum and state how they refuse to use the patrol method, we would espouse the virtues of the method and how it, in concert with the other methods, IS Scouting. When discussing advancement as a method, we often use the phrase, "no adding (or subtracting) from the requirements". This protocol can be viewed as one of the base tenets of BSA advancement philosphy. One could also see it as a tenet of all BSA methods. I could go on with the other methods, however my main point is not that one method is more important than the others, nor is one inferior to the others. My point is that all the methods work together to achieve the Aims of Scouting. Willful disregard of the methods in part or whole only makes achieving the goals more difficult. We should strive for the ideal in each of the methods. So thank you to TLS for his years of posting in defense of the uniform as a method. It was not that long ago when I finally saw the light.
  7. 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.
  8. 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
  9. 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.
  10. 4 points
    When marshmallows are outlawed, only outlaws will have marshmallows.
  11. 4 points
    Interesting how, once again, the implication is that those who care about the uniform apparently 'don't have any adventure in their lives,' are 'uptight,' and don't enjoy 'the fun of Scouting.' These are, of course, rather outlandish suggestions, and they really have nothing to do with the topic of uniforming, but instead are probably meant only to distract from the underlying desires of those who wish to "put on what (they) want how they want," and brazenly ignore the policies and regulations that are actually meant to teach, unite, and fellowship the Scouts we serve and supposedly teach, ideas which clearly these ardent individuals do not yet understand. More's the pity, because they are depriving their youth of a teaching method that would make their Scouting experience all the richer for it. Also, please note that nobody claimed that criticizing others is a responsibility of leadership, nobody ever suggested that decorating the personalized red jacket was unacceptable, and nobody ever insinuated that those who do care are not "glad to see" those who don't. And certainly nobody was ever as melodramatic as to claim that these things kept them up at night. Yet note how these hyperbolic accusations are thrown into the discussion to make the idea of good form look bad. It suggests that those who care about it are critical and unwelcoming. Does this mean then that all people who are careless about the uniform are good and inviting? That's a broad generalization too absurd to take seriously. Too often when we can't make a valid point against a principle, we attack the character of those who espouse it. Yet the validity of the principle remains unchanged. Might I ask where you came up with those suggestions? Certainly I never recommended nor condoned such inexcusable behaviors, nor would I ever; to whose comments in this discussion then are your thoughts directed? It is a logical fallacy to assume, suggest or imply that those who care about proper uniforming don't care about those people who do not. That is unfair, illogical, and unwise. Interestingly, however, it's just as unkind and mean-spirited to falsely accuse one of such an attitude, as it would be live up to the slander. Now, having read the official Guide to Awards and Insignia MANY times, which is in fact the one OFFICIAL bar by which we should measure our uniforms (not the lazy output of photographers or marketing teams who are too ignorant to notice that their images reflect poor uniforming more often than not), one realizes that there is powerful pedagogy behind getting it right, and it's far easier to get into the spirit of Scouting when one complies with its ideology than it is when one resists. But that requires humility, and those who are obstinate about getting what they want or doing things their own way make for poor pupils - and sadly, they often pass that trait on to the Scouts they teach. Perhaps, though, if you would try it, you might finally understand. The old line is indeed true; "if any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine." But you've got to do it first before you'll get why it matters. And that means doing something you don't want because it's the right thing to do. Sure, getting the uniform right seems petty. But teach a kid to fix a patch or remove a pin now, and it'll be infinitely easier to help him to kick a habit or remove a bad influence later. If we as leaders can't get it right ourselves, we have no right to expect it of our youth.
  12. 4 points
    Perhaps CE will become a volunteer's position?
  13. 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.
  14. 3 points
    From what I have read, and been told, the answer is no. CSE Surbaugh mentioned how he had no children, do he could focus on his career. Many workers bees at National have little to no experience in Scouting, either as a youth or Scouter working with an unit. And those that have the experience tend to be ignored. I am told the head trainer has the job because of her PhD in leadership management, and has never been involved previously.
  15. 3 points
    The adults have a different agenda, or they are supposed to have a different agenda. I taught that adults are responsible for Character, Fitness, and Citizenship. Scouts are responsible for Patrols, camping, advancement, relationship with adults, growth in making decisions, decisions base from Oath and Law, leadership and uniform. Scouts don't have much of a problem with their responsibilities, it's the adults that can't seem to stay in their lane. So, to your point of the SPL driving a fun program; scouts know what fun is, so the scout should be driving the fun. You are right to question how we teach leadership. But I'm not sure about teaching the psychology or attitude of leadership is the starting place, even for adults. After experiencing life of working with youth, good leadership is best learned by watching good leaders. Of course the question is what are the qualities of a leader? I've come to realize that each SM has their own ideals of leadership, and most try to teach that those qualities to their scouts verbally. Ironically, what the scouts take away from their leadership mentors are the actions of their mentors, not the words. Scouts need less teaching, and more actions of application. The only adult course I believe that taught leadership specifically was the old Woodbadge, which ended in 1999. And that course was designed to teach advanced teaching skills, not leadership skills. BSA doesn't have a real leadership course today. And maybe that is a good thing. I used to believe that all people have some leadership abilities, but I've come to realize that only a small percentage of the population have good leadership abilities. The rest just have a few learned skills that they can apply in specific situations that they happen upon. So, maybe courses should focus on how to let the scouts work the program where leadership decisions are forced so the scouts can reach high goals and maintain an orderly culture by making decisions based on the oath and law. Where the adults fail today, as compared to my troop as a youth, is that they don't allow the scouts to work toward high goals that forces them to organize for success. I've use the example of Laser Tag a lot; I watched a group of boys who didn't know each other come together as a team in just a few minutes because they were highly motivated to be successful. The goals of success and motivation for success was so clear to each person in the group, that some members were willingly submissive to the stronger leaders, just so they could succeed. That is amazing to me. Imagine a goal so strong that each member of the group wants so bad that they go against their pride and humbly find their spot on the team just to so they could share in the team success. That is the instinctive description of a wolf pack. And how does each member learn the skills of leadership, by simply watching the leaders of their group. I've seen it, when the time forces it, even the submissive person will step up to lead because they have the knowledge. If the adults could get the scouts to that point, then the scouts would be ready for the next step of polishing their leadership, which then would be learning the psychology and attitude of leadership. That is where styles of leadership would come into play, and where the SM could show the advantages of servant leadership. But, in the real world most adults are a long ways from that point of leadership development. Pragmatically, I would happy to just see most SMs stand back and let the SPLs and PLs run the program. Barry
  16. 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.
  17. 3 points
    Actually, parent pins shouldn't be worn on the uniform, and there's really nothing to be gained by doing so. Let your child represent him- or herself in the youth uniform. You best represent the Scouts by being properly uniformed yourself, and part of that means remembering that parents' pins are meant for non-uniform wear. Nowadays, there are nice parent ribbons available at the Scout Store on the which you may place your pins, but again, those are not to wear on the uniform. In our troop, when we present our parent pins we remind them that while they are lovely reminders of their child's accomplishments, there is a proper time and place to wear them - as with all things. As an Assistant Scoutmaster, you should be particularly conscious of the way you wear your uniform. You set the model for the rest of your troop, so be sure you read The Official Guide to Awards and Insignia carefully, and follow it to the letter. Believe me when I say that being perfectly uniformed will set you apart enough already, but beyond that, simply being a well-uniformed leader will represent your daughter far better than any extra pins ever will.
  18. 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.
  19. 3 points
    The COH should be planned, developed, and executed by the Scouts. They run it, depending on the unit, CM's, ASM's and SM may hand out ranks and merit badges. Not sure what was covered under citations. If there was / is a concern with the COH, the TLC (formerly known as Greenbar) should address The separate ice cream social as a unit, that happened unbeknownst to the SM is a concern. Actually sort of rude. If there is a challenge with the SM and his actions (and he has been SM for what...6 months??) address with the COR and the committee, and the SM. Don't start a troop within a troop. It will not end well
  20. 3 points
    As I mentioned earlier, most of my MB's are for scouts in my own troop, so we have been associating with each other all along the way. I am also our district roundtable commissioner, and we offer MB's at most of our roundtables. Tonight was session #3 of 4 for a group working on Citizenship in the Community. The counselor has spent years developing the civics program taught in our state (I asked one of the scouts after session #1 how he liked it - he replied 'Man, that guy really knows his stuff!' He will end up not only earning the MB, but I am sure will benefit in the classroom as well. I had a group of scouts who spent the evening in a great discussion as a part of Scouting Heritage MB. Several were so into scouting history that they stayed for almost an extra hour going through the large collection of uniforms, insignia, and books that I brought with me. Plenty of adult association going on. Yes, there are the ones who feel that they have everything done ahead of time, and just want a signature, but I often find that they are not a 'complete' as they may think they are. In my Scouting Heritage group this evening, as we talked about the evolution of the BSA, I asked each of them how long we have had young ladies in scouting. Each of them had the same answer, less than a year. (Venturing is not big in our district, we currently have one chartered crew, and most folks do not realize they exist) Imagine the look on their faces to learn that girls have been a part of our program since Exploring went co-ed 50 years ago! Even the scout who does not think he needs more than a pen and blue card will usually leave having learned something new by the time we finish meeting.
  21. 3 points
    The delay maybe be from insurance pricing. Unless BSA is self-insured, we may be unable to get liability insurance in the future. If you were an insurance underwriter for BSA, how much uncertainty would be in your cost algorithms right now? If the liability costs of having men and boys in the woods has ballooned to what the lawyers have trolled up, what are the future costs of having girls in the troops with the 'Me Too!' movement?
  22. 3 points
    Update 9/18/2019: On Sept. 28, a Boy Scout Troop formed in Pawhuska, OK and chartered under the Boy Scouts organization in England, marks 110 years. At its Aug. 13 meeting, the Pawhuska City Council voted to declare Sept. 28 as a Day of Celebration in honor of this first troop. The celebration begins on Sept. 28 with a parade in downtown Pawhuska at 10 a.m. followed by a reception for the 96 Eagle Scouts from Pawhuska at the Pawhuska Community Center at 520 Lynn Ave. Troop 1 in Pawhuska had 22 members and was founded by the Rev. John Forbes Mitchell in 1909. “The story goes that when the Reverend came from England to Osage County on a mission trip, he sent back communication to England ... that there were some boys who were a little unruly. The response that came back to him was ‘start a Scout Troop.’ So, before there was the Boy Scouts of America, we had scouting right here,” Cherokee Council Scout Executive Philip Mba Wright said. The next year, in 1910, The Boy Scouts of America was founded. Thereafter, the troop in Pawhuska became Troop 30 under the Boy Scouts of America charter. Later, Troop 43 in Pawhuska was also chartered under the Boy Scouts of America. More details at source: https://www.miamiok.com/news/20190918/first-boy-scout-troop-in-america-celebrates-110-years
  23. 3 points
    This has the feel of waiting for another shoe to fall....
  24. 3 points
    Precisely! Same with Scout Handbooks for rank advancement. I can sign off a scout's completed work on any campout, high adventure base, road trip etc. No need to worry about flaky internet, lost cell signals, forgotten wifi passwords, dead batteries or all the myriad complications that can occur when scouting is actually an adventure. Let the advancement chair worry about Scoutbook! I don't want to even see it, myself....it's a messy complication that wastes my time.
  25. 3 points
    In #14, it mentions activities where participants shoot/ throw objects AT each other. In frisbee, baseball, etc, you're not throwing the object AT another player. You are throwing the object TO them. The goal is not to hit them with the object, but rather for them to catch the object. There is a difference in throwing something AT someone instead of TO someone. And yes, according to GTSS & YPT, if you are a registered leader, you'd have to cancel the sleep over if a 2nd registered leader is not present. Then consider the implications if your 8th grade son is in a Troop. Your 3rd grade daughter is in a Pack. Your son wants to have a Scout over for the night, but not as a Scout event. Your wife is not a registered leader. Since your daughter is also in Cub Scouts, you need to have a registered adult female present to spend the night also. Try running that one by your wife so that your son can have a friend over.
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