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Showing content with the highest reputation since 05/14/19 in all areas

  1. 3 points
    @Eagle1993, firstly congratulations! And thanks for stepping up for our youth. Start simple: Respect your SPL Make sure he has a leaders manual Let him know your expectations, they should include that he Has fun with his buddies Is a friend to younger scouts Shares plans and personal schedules with the ASPL Communicates, communicates communicates Respect his time: As you learn more about this scout, you can add or adjust expectations. Get in the habit of doing this every election cycle. At your troop's opening, expect scouts to line up by patrols. SPL takes roll call, by patrol. Each PL reports "All present", or "All or accounted for," or "# present or acounted for, # absent" Then, the SPL asks each PL to account for each absent but accounted for member. The PL with the least unaccounted absences gets the pick of next week's duties. Some duties that each patrol may request to be assigned for each meeting: Pre-opening activity/game Color-guard Clean-Up Song/Skit Program There may be others. For example with that large of a troop, should scouts be directing parking? Assemble PLC regularly We actually opted for 10-15 minutes after the troop meeting closes. Train the SPL to ask "What went well? Not so well? What should we do differently?" Ask if they need any help from the adults? Stay positive. If a patrol stands out for doing something we, thank that PL. Don't worry about higher level stuff like patrol corners, uniforms, positions of responsibility, camp set-up, patrol outings, etc ... until you hear from adults and see the youth perform. I'm suggesting that you start at meetings because that's where everyone is watching every week. How meetings run sets the tone for how every camp and activity will run, even if you haven't told anyone how you expect every camp and activity to run.
  2. 3 points
    Established Troop cultures are resistant to change because the older scouts just don't like it. And the more experienced adults aren't much easier. Change comes best from the younger scouts. You will have to be creative to keep enough of the older culture so the older scouts feel comfortable, but getting them to bend enough to start melding the younger scouts toward the new culture. You have to get very good explaining why your changes are good for the scouts to get the adults to try you ideas. Remember, their resistance is more of laziness of changing to new ways than not liking your ideas. But, they will find all kinds of reasons why your ideas aren't good. So, learn how to explain your goals and why your changes get you to those goals. It's the dark they resist. If you can paint a clear bright future, they will follow. Another way of getting the culture to change faster is to change the usual agenda. Go in and strive for new adventure: rappelling, canoeing, backpacking, and so forth. Do a couple of meetings outside or at a near by local park to change the environment. Get the older scouts and adults focused (distracted) on the new fun activities so they aren't resistant to the new ideas of patrol method. Even just having the Troop meet for bicycle ride for icecream can make a difference. Be creative. Think like a 13 year old boy. The culture changes will start out slow because humans are slow to see the purpose of where they are going. But, as everyone gets use to it, your program will pick up speed. So, don't get too frustrated with slow pace, just be patient. The momentum will pick up as everyone gets used your program. And, if you do a fun adventurous agenda at first, you will likely see your troop grow. Change is slow, but reputation move like the wind. That is another struggle we can talk about later. You are going on the roller coaster ride of your life. Savor it. Barry
  3. 3 points
    Start with your other adults. Get them on board with the idea or else they will sabatoge anything you attempt. Get PL handbooks, and SM handbooks and be sure the adults first understand their roles and how they fit in supporting the Patrol Method.
  4. 3 points
    My first reaction upon reading this was - huh? She's an American citizen. But, on reading a little more about her background and reflecting... Here we have a Scout who so loves Scouting so much that when she spent summers in Canada she joined their Scouting association. It reminded me of kids who transfer overseas and then join the local Scouting program. We had a Scout in our troop do that. We also have had a Scout from another country join our troop while living in the US. As I see it, at the end of the day, this is a program about helping youth to develop. Advancement is one method to help these young adults develop. For years, she wanted to join the BSA, but could not. So, she joined Scouts Canada when she could. Later, when she finally was able to join, people found a way for her prior Scouting experience In Canada to reflect her appropriate point in the advancement process in the Scouts BSA program. Maybe I've got a soft spot for those people with heart and spirit, but this seems like a pretty fair & creative solution.
  5. 2 points
    Changes to First Class and Scout rank requirements https://www.scouting.org/programs/scouts-bsa/program-updates/
  6. 2 points
    @Oldscout448 I sympathize with you. This is not the same program many of us signed up for. But there are some who are fighting tooth and nail to keep it the way it has been for as long as possible. But man is it frustrating. Parents are so focused on the recognition that they do not care about the experiences their child will have. Corporate hiring folks with academic credentials, but no real experience. But again, there are folks fighting tooth and nail. I think about you when I'm on the trail this weekend. Yep my new troop is going backpacking.
  7. 2 points
    @DoxManDude, welcome to the forums. No matter our position, the trick is to get it to be the youth's idea and go from there. You need to focus on priorities. Based on your description, here's where I'd rank things high vs. low: High You know native plants? Become a counselor for wilderness survival, plant science, environmental science, or nature. Think of "packages" of activities you can offer the boys, and give them your list on paper -- a copy for each patrol. Make it real formal and start with "Dear Patrol Leaders, I can offer you the following ... " When camping/hiking with the boys, pick some edibles for your meal or a snack. Asking your PLs, "What's the plan?" Is fair game. If the answer is nothing particular, informing them that, In the process of "you doing you", you are going to do X at time Y ... that's fair game, too. As an MC you sit on boards of reviews. Be asking scouts (especially PL's) what they'd like to do next. Ask PL's how their scouts are doing, and what was the last requirement that they taught and helped them sign off. Ask if there's a particular requirement that all of the boys need. Teaching scouts to teach. Ask the SM's if they have set aside time for teaching ILST trianing. Ask an older scout to lead each chapter. Provide Lunch. Get your committee in shape so they can pay for PL's to go to NYLT training. Low t-Shirts. Don't need them. You have field uniforms. Do you have a patch collection? Empty it by giving the scouts who show up in uniform to outdoor activities a patch from your collection. Reserve your best patches for the sharpest dressed scouts; and your very best for scouts with permanent stains in their uni or patches that look like they sewed them on themselves. National Trails Day. See above about giving them a list. But, respect if they've planned a different activity on that day. The same game. Some scouts pride them selves on perfecting one particular game. The important thing is: does it look like certain scouts are being left out? Do those scouts need a different game? Can you and another leader start one and play it with them until the boys start a round on their own? Bottom line: Actions speak louder than words, so speak loudly with your mouth shut.
  8. 2 points
    You might be surprised to learn that I think the desire by the girls is even less than "not that great". Based from my experience of life, I believe most of the Eagle push here is the adults. I don't have the experience of working with girls in advancement, but I have worked with them in competitive sports and their motivation to participate was more about fun than winning. The difference isn't obvious when the girls played girls, but quite obvious when they played the boys. Barry
  9. 2 points
    Organizations', plural: decades of GS/USA leaders who thought they knew what was best for all girls (and it wasn't Golden Eaglet or First Class) and BSA leaders who thought their girl-facing counterparts were right. That all leadership training (detached from the outdoors and patriotism) was leadership training and the youth would never know the difference. Bill Hillcourt pulled BSA away from that brink, but their was nobody to do the same for GS/USA. Thus was generated the vacuum that parents and empathetic scouters (and girls themselves) asked us to fill. But what I find quite surprising in the two Scouts BSA girl troops who I've met: the rush to Eagle is not that great. They just want to hike and camp and maybe fish. They want the chance to be nationally recognized, but I don't think any of them have earned 1st class yet. The leaders aren't high-speed low-drag people. They just got sick of the "tailored for girls" organization telling them "no, just sell those cookies" at every turn.
  10. 2 points
    A one legged Scouter at our Council Scout Show had a wooden leg loaded with unit brands, countless signatures, and many clever quotes burned in the wood. Pretty cool really, but I often wondered if that leg led to scouts getting patrol and troop tattoos. Barry Side note: My oldest son once mentioned an interest in a tattoo. I told him it was his decision, but it better say "Mother" if he hoped to ever eat dinner at our house again. Still no tattoo 15 years later.
  11. 2 points
    A woggle is a woggle. Part of the attitude of those adults that you had to deal with is part of what I have issue with woodbadge. Some people make such a big deal about Wood Badge that people that take the course are better scouters than others. Wood Badge is a good course, I know many people that have taken wood badge that take every short cut possible, and I know people that didn't that do more for scouting that is above and beyond what is expected. IMHO, the course has nothing to do about ones character and work ethic, it may just enhance the ethic on the good and bad side. I have recently stopped wearing my WB necker because of this attitude.
  12. 1 point
    I think that's the crux of the issue for me. We were told nothing was going to change program-wise and we have well documented rules for advancement. We were told no prior credit would be given. Then the exceptions started. Extensions for Eagle, waving the FC requirement for girls for the WSJ, etc. In this case the rules are being folded, spindled, and mutilated for one high-profile scout. It is embarrassing.
  13. 1 point
    Sorry to see you go. I just ran a camporee that was all patrol competition. That and making a fool of myself and the scouts had fun. So, it's not all bad everywhere. Anyway, take care.
  14. 1 point
    Alas, it's not just one troop, it's every troop in the district. I will go further: its the movement. Driven by the damned " stop any activities that have any possibility however remote, of resulting in a lawsuit" mentality that seems to have swept the nation. It's hard to blame National in all honesty, when you are bleeding millions in payouts and legal fees, you just have to do something to stop it. I am just not ok with turning Boyscouts into Webelos III, IV, and V.
  15. 1 point
    Regarding questions about a new Scout having Life rank less then a month after joining Scouts BSA, a Scout Executive explains it in the Tweet as "... progress from a foreign Scouting association is... applied to BSA requirements..." (For Ms Ireland I'd be curious if she meets the stipulation that "Youth from other countries who temporarily reside in the United States, or have moved here,..." Regarding other comments about lax application of advancement requirements for girls... After holding Unit, District and Council positions I've learned that lax application of Rank and Merit Badge requirements in my District is common. Alas, the BSA Councils and Districts have never done very good quality control with their franchisee, the Unit.
  16. 1 point
    I went from being a 17 year old JASM to an 18 year old ASM in 1971. At that time I was old enough to be drafted and go to Vietnam. I was old enough to vote in my first presidential election the following year. I was old enough to be invited to attend Woodbadge, when the age dropped from 21 to 18 the following year I was old enough at 20 to be invited to serve on Woodbadge staff. At 20 you are old enough to vote, to serve in the military, to do anything any other adult in the country can do (other than be president, but who wants that), but as of last year you do not count as part of 2 deep until you are 21. We have had 18 - 20 year old ASM's as long as I can remember, and they were no different than any other leader. To me, and most of the scouters I know, there is no realistic or logical reason for that to have changed.
  17. 1 point
    I'm betting 90% are paired with a pre-existing troop for equipment, committee and probably also a scheduled of activities and events.
  18. 1 point
    Sure, why not 🙂 Competition is good, and probably more importantly, an informed notion of what various people and units might think are reasonable expectations, wouldn't be a bad thing. I'll start. Our Girls' Troop first campout was last month, and they wanted to focus on outdoor cooking skills, so we threw them an assortment of interpatrol cooking challenges. Now before you say "they're girls, of course they're good at cooking!", I'd like to point out that A) My son, at 10-12, on pure skills, could probably cook circles around any of the girls in our Girls' Troop, indoors or outdoors. But, if it's not a prime cut of meat, something bizarre that he thinks is amusing to cook with, or something with exotic spices, he just can't be bothered. His patrol will probably be eating dry oatmeal out of packets and walking-tacos at their troop's upcoming competition campout. And B) a large fraction of the girls in our troop have never cooked with anything other than a microwave. The girls got a practice session during one troop meeting a couple weeks before the campout, where some of our Boys' Troop scouts showed them how to set up a stove, light charcoal and use a dutch oven, etc. I didn't get photos of all the meals, but here's a sampling of what they did (and no, the adults present didn't help them at all with any of this. @Kudu would be proud, we had 100-yard separation between the patrols, and the adults stayed out of their campsites except when they needed emergency help with things like putting out flaming frying pans they forgot on the stove 🙂 Best use of the color Red in a meal: Lunch was a Mystery Meal, based on a surprise bag of ingredients including Lettuce, Tomatoes, Bread, Cheese, Ham, Potatoes, Mushrooms, Celery, and a few optional "pick 2 out of the pantry" ingredients: That was a bit traditional - the other patrol... Broke the bread up and toasted it in a pan to made croutons, cubed and cooked the ham and potatoes, then melted the cheese in left-over milk from breakfast and made freakin cheesy-ham-and-potato soup, and a salad bar... For dinner, one of the patrols made crescent-roll calzones: I unfortunately didn't get a photo of what the other patrol did for dinner, or remember what it was, but I do know that the girls invited the PLC from our Boys' Troop (which was also camping at the same council camp that weekend) to judge their dinners, and after the dinner the Boys' SPL went back to their scoutmaster and, if I'm quoting him correctly, told the SM "We went over expecting to judge some hobo stew or something, and they served us an appetizer, and an entre, and a main dish, and a side salad, and a dessert! Now I understand why we suck". So, I'll stand by my belief that they did a decent job too. So... Who else wants to show off what their cross-over patrol(s) do for cooking, with no senior scouts or adult help, on their first campout, and first time cooking outdoors?
  19. 1 point
    Well I survived the first weekend of lifeguard training and have some nasty bruising to show for it. Now I just need to memorize everything in the American Red Cross Lifeguarding Manual and BSA Aquatics Supervision manual 😬
  20. 1 point
    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?
  21. 1 point
    I have gotten requests to talk to reporters about this on TV this morning. I very quickly turned them down about pointed them to the press release from BSA. We have to all remember, we do not represent BSA in any official manner but can do inadvertent damage to the program by talking about the issue publicly without any real in-depth knowledge and specific background/training in the domain.
  22. 1 point
    Realistically speaking, I have never seen uniforms being used a means of exclusion amongst Scouts - obviously, nobody is going to send a Scout home because he doesn't have a uniform. But as Baden-Powell put it in the 1908 edition of Scouting For Boys: The Scout kit, through its uniformity, now constitutes a bond of brotherhood among boys across the world. The correct wearing of the Uniform and smartness of turnout of the individual Scout makes him a credit to our Movement. It shows his pride in himself and in his Troop. One slovenly Scout, on the other hand, inaccurately dressed may let down the whole Movement in the eyes of the public. Show me such a fellow and I can show you one who has not grasped the true Scouting spirit and who takes no pride in his membership of our great Brotherhood. Also, from 1913: I HAVE said before now: “I don’t care a fig whether a Scout wears uniform or not so long as his heart is in his work and he carries out the Scout Law.” But the fact is that there is hardly a Scout who does not wear a uniform if he can afford to buy it. The spirit prompts him to it. The same rule applies naturally to those who carry on the Scout Movement — the Scoutmasters and Commissioners; there is no obligation on them to wear uniform if they don’t like it. At the same time, they have their positions to think of others rather than themselves. Personally, I put on uniform, even if I have only a Patrol to inspect, because I am certain that it raises the moral tone of the boys. It heightens their estimation of their uniform when they see it is not beneath a grown man to wear it; it heightens their estimation of themselves when they find themselves taken seriously by men who also count it of importance to be in the same brotherhood with them. Uniforms are not the point of Scouting, but they are certainly one of the symbols of this movement, and we want our young people to identify with that symbol. When youth look differently, they feel differently, and when they feel differently, they act differently. The more we can get them into their uniforms, the better. I feel that goes double for leaders.
  23. 1 point
    I don't recommend it. The hole will get bigger and ragged over time. Only reason I keep mine with the holes is that A) it is a reminder to me to ALWAYS keep safety #1 when on the range and not assume that everyone is listening and following instructions and B) to show shooters on a range what could possibly happen when they are not paying attentions and following safety rules. Yes, my Smokey Bear has holes in it from a rifle range. My fault and I was lucky. Thanks for the reminder, I got to pack that Smokey for this weekend.
  24. 1 point
    What I mean by character is the unchoreographed personality or natural presence with others. Leadership is simply the act of persuading others toward change. Natural leaders have the unusual skill to persuade followers toward change with little or no purposeful actions. Even their body language can be persuasive. Natural leaders aren't typically visionaries so they don't always standout outside their group. But natural leaders who are visionary can change the direction of history: Alexander the Great, Hitler, Gandhi. I learned the hard way that natural leaders do not work well in controlled environments because the restriction of freedom to act on their nature frustrates them. They flourish in true patrol method environments. Of course we all get frustrated with restricting our character or nature, but boy scouts is a supposed to encourage the actions of leadership. The problem shows up when adults are uncomfortable with scouts with ambitious visions. I'm not suggesting those adults are bad because all of us get uncomfortable with change outside our vision to some degree. It takes practice to deal with that part of us and how respond to it. It's that inner battle of pride vs humility that all us struggle with. Barry
  25. 1 point
    I've participated in a lot of leaders courses and many times the discussion comes up whether a non-leader (non natural leader) can be a good leader. I disagree that the BSA doesn't understand. I think they don't care, or even need to care. Experts say that only three percent of the population are natural leaders. That being said, should a program encourage a leadership experience for all or most its members? The program is what it is because it gives most member and opportunity to find if they are leaders, or develop and appetite to be a a leader and pursue getting the skills. This is where I disagreed with Kudu and the Baden Powell scouts (BPS). The SM in BPS selects the patrol leader leaves him there as long as he wants. The idea is to get the natural leader and encourage his gift. First off, there are very few adults that I think can select natural leaders without bias, Kudu was a minority. Of the hundreds of scouts I have worked with, I can only think of two I would call natural leaders. So who does the SM select then? But also I think that some scouts with good leadership potential would never get a chance. I had a scout who was shy because he had a stutter problem. In no way did show any leadership qualities his first year in the troop. By the time he left the troop at 18, he was one of the leaders we ever had. I'm not sure I want the BSA to give more in the leadership area. I find the more they give, the more limits they set. Everything about scout growth is 5 percent education, 95 percent experience. That is especially true with leadership. Troops just need to get more creative in finding ways for scouts to get responsibility experiences so the scout can find himself and build confidence. The leadership requirements leads many adults away from that because they feel all leadership should lead to recognized stature instead of just building confidence. Confidence is very powerful and we try help scouts build it even with the smallest of responsibility task in the patrol. Not to much, not too little. Let the scout get a feel for it and set a direction for his experience in the troop. Works quite well. Barry