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  1. 3 points
    The National Lodge needs tor to reevaluate the history and find a way to reinstate the mystique and actual "honor" in being a member. It has been beaten to death, but there need to be more actual limits on eligibility that make it less a "gimme". They sill have a purpose and in ur council do help, though, as noted, getting higher participation is difficult. But that has as much to do with the lesser honor issues than simply the over-scheduled lives of the scouts in general.
  2. 3 points
    A lot of what you do depends on your personality. I’m a big picture person and for me pack success depended on the den leaders. So I supported the den leaders by listening to them and helping get what ever they needed. Each has their own personality and style, so there isn’t a one size fits all answer. It sounnds like a lot, and can be the first month as everyone is starting. But if you nip problems in the budd, your pack will be on cruisecontrol by November. As for pack meetings, make them an hour of pure fun. Move announcements to a news letter and never go more than a minute without giving the scouts (and their siblings) an opportunity to jump, scream, yell, cheer and laugh. The more laughs the better because parents love laughing too. If you see scouts talking to each other because the are bored, then you are doing it wrong. So change that part of your agenda. One last suggestion; have the CC find volunteers for all the pack activities like Pinewood, Blue &Gold, and so forth by the end of September and have them report their progress every month. Barry
  3. 2 points
    Owls Are Cool: At some point in these kinds of dispute-prone circumstances a Scouter has to ask whether the potential task is worthy of what the Scouter brings to the table. You have energy, Scouting experience and a great heart. I cannot know if you are at the point where you need to ask and answer that question, but surely you have some local confidant you can download with. I think in your case the question is: "Is it better for me to exert the next 3 years of my volunteer time building a great new Troop at a different location without meddlesome interference, or is it important enough for me to spend the same amount of time salvaging an existing Troop through a series of managed disputes?" Said differently: "Why not start fresh somewhere else where I can immediately begin to implement great Scouting instead of delaying that time to a point when a series of disputes are mostly-resolved and troublemakers are mostly-gone?" I spend a good amount of time in my career circumstances dealing with unavoidable disputes and I am pretty good at it. However, I do not resolution of disputes to dominate my volunteer life. Earlier in my Scouting activity I did not ask that question as often as I should have. You have nothing you need to prove other than that you are a fine father who wants to assure a great Scouting experience for his son. If you determine to form a new Troop, do is with a fine spirit, providing compliments to everyone at the old Troop. It never, ever, helps to share what will be regarded as negative comments by those left behind. People on this post are never going to understand more than 20% of the relevant facts here, but I'm sensing that you might be holding on too-tightly.
  4. 2 points
    Sports teams usually have a much closer identification with their towns and schools than scout units have with their Chartered Organizations. As a result, the towns and schools come out to support the teams. This often makes kids feel like they are playing for the honor of their town or school. I think it was a big mistake for scouting to replace the name of the community (on the uniform) with the council patch.
  5. 2 points
    The best patrol names are those selected without any adult input whatsoever (and avoiding anything crude and inappropriate of course). But remember: if they choose a funny name that's a "joke", and love it, and use it, well, that IS the patrol method in action. That's not making a mockery of the patrol method - that's having the freedom to embrace it fully. That's EXACTLY what it means to have "pride in their patrols." That's what you want! A "good name" is a name the Scouts love and stick to. We have to let go of our adult points of view, and consider things from their perspective. Ofttimes the units with the silliest patrol names are those that are the most committed to the program; their patrol yells are loud and obnoxious, their dances are silly and long - and the Scouts LOVE SCOUTING. As committee chair, one of your primary duties is to protect the right of the Scouts to enjoy that freedom of how they identify themselves as patrols.
  6. 2 points
    Fair enough regarding the "professional" (white collar?) vs. trades professions. However, plenty of trades (most?) don't require a degree; the apprenticeship path is still the way to go. For those that do, a 2 year certificate/degree from a vocational school is still a fraction of the cost of even the lowest in-state University. I'd disagree on 2 points. The first is that nursing isn't a trade profession. Besides, I think it's all in our best interest that health care providers have a bit of formal schooling and education. Secondly, most vocational trade professions have absolutely zero degree requirements. You can go from apprentice to master craftsmen with zero formal education. This doesn't even take into account the entrepreneurial opportunities that abound for those so inclined.
  7. 2 points
    That's what the commissioner corps is for. Professionals won't touch unit problems with a 10 foot pole unless A) Youth Protection, and B ) Money is involved.
  8. 2 points
    All scouting is local and it difficult to know whats best in this situation. Allowing the PLC to make every decision can be a little difficult. If the PLC decides elections should be every 3 years, every month etc there mayy be more chaos than usual. In the OPs case I think its good he made changes based on others past experience and now should meet with the PLC to help them understand and to listen to any objections they have to the length of terms. My first week as SM the PLC voted to not wear uniforms (ever), changed the day we met and to only play dodgeball during our weekly meetings. At that point I decided scout-led sometimes needs the right guidance for better outcomes.
  9. 2 points
    Depends on the scope of the projects. If a project was about the size of an Eagle project, I'd poll my friendly Life scouts and see if any of them were on the hunt for a possible project they could lead for Eagle. Other projects, yeah, discuss with PLC and see if they're on board and willing to do it. In another thread, somebody mentioned having more scouts who wanted PORs than jobs to be filled. If I were in this situation, I might take one or two of those project requests and see if the project lent itself to a scout leading the project as a "Scoutmaster approved leadership project". (Note: the requirements allow this only for Star and Life --- not for Eagle). I don't know many scouts or troops that do this --- most older scouts fulfill their leadership requirements via the listed PORs.
  10. 2 points
    One of the hard parts of being a Scoutmaster is saying "No". And this is why,............................ But, offer to sit with the scout to hear what he learned from the course. I have had a several parents take their son our of our troop because I would not bend to the their demands. Barry
  11. 2 points
    Since all our soccer players were scouts, we tried similar ideas like this and the answer is yes, they did take charge because to not do so would be to loose. It was very much like sandlot sports. One of the players on my soccer team came from a traveling team who got to tour and play several teams in Ireland. They were beat every time. I talked to dad about that and he said the players in Ireland didn't have quite the personal skills of American players, but they were much better team players. The coaches in Ireland at that level have less personal time to coach, so the players have more freedom to make decisions. That freedom allows the players to be creative and adjust to match the competition. He said teams in America are limited by the creativity of the coach. Better teams in the US typically have better coaches. That may not be the case in Ireland. My dad said that before he was the SM of his troop during WWII, their troop would camp without the SM. They would then report to the scoutmaster the next week of their experiences and decisions and he would coach and mentor them from those experiences and decisions. Probably the perfect patrol method program. The success of our county has developed a culture with a layer of safety for our children that we simply are not willing risk. As a result, our youth require longer spans of life to reach the same level of independence and maturity than kids 80 years ago. Barry
  12. 2 points
    Our CO's Pack crosses over in late March / early April as well. From my my observation, the Webelos are eager to join a Troop and their leaders are ready to be done. Personally, I like that extra month to have those crucial consersations about summer camp.
  13. 2 points
    It was once the most prestigious group of any size within Scouting - the SPL/Silver Award/Eagle Scout Club. Your heart pounded as the Tap Out Team worked its way slowly towards where you stood in line at the campfire - to the beat of a drum. "Thump, thumpo, thump" - Gary got it! Is someone behind me, silently holding his hand over MY head?! Could I be an Arrowman? Leadership in Service.
  14. 2 points
    Well OA is an outside organization for scouts of a specific interest, specifically camping and service. It is (was) viewed as an honor organization because the members peers picked them out specifically, and theoretically, for the exceptional camping and service (character) skills. Of course "exceptional", as well as "camping" and "service" skills have changed over the years. I believe the reason the program appeals to older scouts today is because they have the maturity in those areas to plan, organize, and act with those skills. Something troops should be doing. That stuff is boring to young scouts. OA needs to have an appeal that is exceptional to the Troop program. In my opinion, scouts who want super doses of outdoors and/or leadership responsibilities would be naturally attracted to the program. Actually, I feel the program (at least 20 years ago) wasn't failing. It just appeared as failing because they were loosing a lot of scouts by filtering out those who weren't really interested in the OA activities. The recruiting is high because peers aren't selecting the scouts for their skills anymore, they are just picking them because they were next in line. The maturity requirements of the program drives immature scouts away, or the program reduces itself to a boring program to reach the immature scouts. Where I think OA is failing is the adults advisers don't have good vision for the program. Tehy don't encourage activities that develop above average skills. They don't understand the comradery of working together, so the work camps don't have enough personal social activities. There isn't enough of outdoors development mixed with the service. Arrowmen should practice outdoors a step or two above common troop camp outs. For example, a weekend campout without tents, without stoves, or common cooking tools. Canoeing to a work camp. Rappelling near a trail that requires repair. Camping where the end of the day brings the crew. They should be LNT experts. Arrowmen should hike in and hike out. Building exceptional skills builds pride, and it's just plain fun. A troop wanting to try something new like rappelling or canoeing should only have to go to their troop Arrowmen to ask "how?". Lead us. Character is developed through giving and serving. Service should be visible in the community as much, if not more by the district. Helping a poor family paint their house. Raising food for the local needy. If OA has a bad reputation of slave work, then that is because they aren't spreading their time in the community. Finding service projects is only as far away as asking a church for helping one of their members. Teams of two to five Arrowmen for helping build an wheelchair ramp can be done in just a couple hours. Imagine how many of teams of 2 to 5 scouts can be organized by each district. Arrowmen should be expected to be the outdoor experts because they are trained and experienced in most outdoor skills. Likewise, they should be experts in arranging and planning service activities because they do so much of it. How hard is mowing the lawn of a bed ridden elderly person. And, to me, Arrowmen should always properly wear the field uniform in all their activities. Elite scouts should set an elite example. They shouldn't have to wear the sash or patch to be recognized An Arrowmen. Their actions speak loudly. Their appearance is professional and confident. As I said, the problem I saw with OA lately is the lack of vision from the adults. No real expectations for honor campers and servants. They were just repeating what they always did. OA should be known as training for each units camping expert. Don't worry about the little newby scouts who aren't ready for OA, if the organization has a true reputation of honor, then they will be back. Something like that I guess. Barry
  15. 2 points
    Just the problem. It's not "elite." Not much of an "honor."
  16. 1 point
    The only reason I would have ASM assign to a patrol would be in an age based patrol and then only for the first months. In our troop the ASMs are given specific responsibilities - one is our adult QM who helps the QM purchase items (adults have credit cards). He also will help the QM set a goal for his 6 month term and to set goals per month. He then reviews those goals on a monthly basis. The other ASM helps with the logistics of the camping program when the committee has not provided what is needed and he also is my backup when I am not present. Both help keeping new parents from getting into patrol business or interfereing. IMHO being an ASM should be boring - The SM provides the vision for the program, the scouts provide the program based on that framework. The ASM assists the SM when needed. This opinon is based on a troop 18 - 50 scouts, more than that the SM will need more help.
  17. 1 point
    Why the OA matters to my son: 1. As a scouts ages, they relate less and less to the scouts in the unit. OA lodge gatherings bring youth in similar phases of life to together. Arrowmen talk about college, and other aspirations. It is not uncommon for the entire chapter to pile in one adirondack while at a lodge event, and talk until 3 AM. See #2 2. Brotherhood...not the recognition. 3. OA High Adventure programs. These programs are more affordable and much more accessible to middle class folk then the generic scout HA programs, and do not require adult (parental) involvement. The local chapter has meetings once a month, but they are a snore. Most of the active arrowmen are reliable participants at lodge and section events. Yes, there are many kids who go through ordeal, and they are done, but they are faceless unknowns that have marginalized themselves, and are not legit. They may be statistic on a computer spreadsheet, but if they are not attending chapter meetings, lodge activities, NOAC, and HA, then they are not really arrowmen. My boy is planning on going on a OA HA every year until he ages out.
  18. 1 point
  19. 1 point
    I agree, so our pack chose to rebel a bit to build community spirit. We bough custom unit patches like this (that's not our Pack/location though). The kids like them, and parents love them since their easier to sew than 3 separate numbers & veteran bar (and including the Established year instead of the veteran bar means they don't expire every 5 years).
  20. 1 point
    My post was an explanation for why youth choose sports over scouts. Not an opinion of what has more value. My point, not very clear, is that youth will go where they want to go and if sports is a better choice, than likely the scout program isn't keeping their interest. Barry
  21. 1 point
    If you and your son want to stay in this Troop and make any difference, Option C is the only way to go. Grab that CC seat and boot the troublesome parents to the curb.
  22. 1 point
    Ya, we had to step outside our district, again, to find a home. At least this troop (unlike her pack) is a much closer drive (less than 15 minutes). We were working on trying to start a troop in our home town but the leadership, both within the brother troop and the district just didn't seem to have any sense of urgency. It was May and they hadn't even set up an information night (and school is out in May) so we had to find a troop before summer if I wanted her to be at all active during the summer. She got to go to a 1st Class day camp with her troop and gets her Scout patch on Sunday. They went with something else - The Sea Turtles. She missed the meeting/camp out where they picked the patrol name. Her own fault for choosing not to go. The SM has indicated that patrol names will change over time. No idea what that schedule will be but I like the idea that they can evolve. Yep, and the existing leadership seems not only VERY competent, they also seem to be very like-minded. I have been very pleased with all of the leadership so far and the methods and techniques used that have been new to my experience. For example, the troop gives all new scouts a sold white neckerchief when they join the troop. They "graduate" to other neckerchiefs as they progress in ranks. I love that idea. I've not seen or been part of another troop that did that.
  23. 1 point
    4 month terms?!?! Now there's a BAD idea! The requirements for Life and for Eagle are to hold a position of responsibility for a 6 month term. Does that mean you don't advance past Star in your troop? Or does it mean scouts need to hold 2 terms to rank up? (In which case, you're effectively changing the requirement to an 8-month term.) 4 months is barely time to get in the groove of a new job, let alone to make a difference...
  24. 1 point
    It's great to reach out to this forum, but what you really need to do is talk to people in your council who have experience with canoeing and know your local waterways. A great way to get hooked into your local expert network is to get your scouts to organize some training outings as Tatung42 said. This sounds like a great goal for your Troop and will be a ton of fun. Just be methodical and do your due diligence as a leader.
  25. 1 point
    I just got back from a trek run by the summer camp we were at. It wasn't so much cooking our food (more like rehydrating) but it was a challenge that we all shared. In that respect it was similar to patrol cooking. Selling this idea of shared challenge seems to be harder now than years past. The response from the scouts was great, though. This was one of the best trips I've been on as the mix of scouts was about as ideal as one could hope for. Everyone was positive even though there was some suffering. (We even got a few frost points!) The teamwork was incredible and so the leadership required was almost trivial. Our guide did tell us that we were the easiest group to work with that he's had. It was the scoutmaster's dream. The adults did nothing. I was feeling a bit guilty because I wasn't doing my share.
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