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Showing content with the highest reputation since 08/10/18 in all areas

  1. 6 points
    IMO, every scout a swimmer should be program. Fix the problem, get it done (yes it is hard), and done right. My younger son nearly drowned at a pool (not BSA). He was underwater in the unmarked deep end of a new pool when rescued. I wasn't there for him (Dad wasn't there). Years of anxiety therapy ($$$) were needed before he would go near the water to just fish. He would take a bath but not a shower as he became terrified if his face got wet. We tried private swim instruction - myself, his older brother who was on a swim team, BSA, Red Cross, and the Y swim instructors without success. He was terrified. Finally, I found Angelfish which teaches swimming to special needs. It took them months just to build his confidence to float face down (eyes closed) and over a year to finally pass the BSA swim test, however he would not attempt Swimming merit badge. I would rather he earned Swimming MB than Eagle (if he does). He is on an outing this week which includes canoing and rafting, a first for him. I hope he can relax and enjoy the experience. I understand that some adults desire sheltered, unadventurous lives for their kids where they never need to swim, tie a bowline, hike uphill, camp in the rain, do CPR, secure a tourniquet, etc and will want a pass on learning such never-needed skills. That is not what the Scouting program is about. My $0.02,
  2. 5 points
    UPDATE: Guideline has been rescinded. BB Guns memo from A. Lambert 8-11-18.pdf Text is following August 11, 2018 Colleagues, It has come to our attention that a recent program change is causing some distress in the field. You are aware that this past May, a joint group of well-meaning volunteers and professionals recommended a change to the age-appropriate guidelines for shooting sports related to Tigers in Cub Scouts. Prior to this change, the use of BB guns was approved for use by councils or districts at their discretion, starting with Tigers. The change shifted the guidelines to allow the use of BB guns to begin with the Wolves and Bears. While we appreciate the spirit that brought this team to their recommendation, we are withdrawing the change effective immediately. The safe use of BB guns will remain at the discretion of the Council and for use in council and district program for Tigers, Wolves, Bears and Webelos. We encourage Councils to work with parents, staff, partners and Scouts to ensure that these programs are safe for our Scouts and that they have the necessary help and support to make our shooting sports programs successful and fun. You’ll see further information in next week’s Scout Executive packet. Please let me know if you have any questions. The program teams at the National Service Center stand ready to help. Al Lambert Assistant Chief Scout Executive National Director of Outdoor Adventures Boy Scouts of America
  3. 4 points
    @oldbuzzard If your troop and pack are determined to ignore BSA rules about girl membership, why not just buy a bunch of Eagle Scout awards on eBay and hand them out to any girl who wants them? Who cares if the girls meet the requirements - just do whatever you want (sounds like that's how you roll anyway, right?).
  4. 4 points
    I never knew of William Hillcourt growing up. Baden-Powell was the figurehead held up to us as Cubs and Scouts but most anything about him went in one ear and out the other of my self-centered teen-aged brain. Now the lives of Lord Baden-Powell and William Hillcourt are absolutely fascinating to me. Dedicating their lives to scouting, to the betterment of society from the ground up. There was a Scouter who had much the same brilliant impact on me as a Cub and then a Scout, and eventually sat across the table from me at my Eagle Board of Review. Jim McKellar, known to all in the local Scouting community as Grandpa Mac. He dedicated himself to the Boy Scouts of America under Troop #1 of Cashmere from his twelfth birthday on April 15, 1921, to his death on January 3, 1998. During this time he was the First Eagle Scout of Troop 1 in Cashmere, WA in 1929 and went on to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award in Scouting. He helped build the Cashmere Scout Building, established Scout Troops, trained Scoutmasters, and served on the board of Troop #1 for more than two decades. His writings have appeared in Boys Life and other well-known scouting magazines. “Grandpa Mac” lived by the words that he carried on a card in his pocket: “A hundred years from now I will not matter what my bank account was, the cost of the house that I lived in, or the kind of car I drove, but that the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.” A Quote many of you will recognize from Forest Witcraft, another great Scouter. Well it's only 27 years since I earned my Eagle and only 20 years since Jim passed, but his examples still live on in my memories and my approach to Scouting. Something else I recall about Grandpa Mac. If a Cub or Scout so much as looked in his direction at a meeting or jamboree, he would dole out this bit of string he kept in his pants-pocket and would give it a flick, tying it in a simple overhand knot with one hand. Then he would challenge the scouts to give it a try. Rarely would their whipping and slashing of the air produce much more than a gentle grin from Grandpa Mac. I've been practicing recently with a bit of paracord, still haven't managed it but a time or two...by accident.
  5. 3 points
    My scoutmaster always said if your scout book did not fall apart you were not reading it enough.
  6. 2 points
    I was talking with some friends last night and one recounted a story of a near drowning on a Girl Scout outing. I am sharing this only to emphasize why the BSA's (is that still the right abbreviation?) Safe Swim Defense guidelines are important and useful. Girl Scout overnighter at a campground, note, not a scout camp Most parents not on trip Pool with no lifeguards No one really supervising No swim test Do you see where this is going? My friend who is a lifeguard and swim instructor decided to rent a cabin at the campground and take the rest of her family. Her daughter in GSUSA tent camped with her troop. My friend was hanging out and drinking / relaxing. My friend was not in charge of this trip, not the leader, not the planner, just a parent who decided to come along for the ride. She was a little inebriated and talking to another adult when she noticed "grabby hands" in the pool and went over to tell the girls it's not safe, when she saw the terror in the girls' eyes. About 4 kids in the fray. One not a strong swimmer, pulling on the other kids. My friend tried a reach but could not reach, entered the pool, holding one side of the pool, grabbed two kids and got them out of the pool, the other adult helped pull the two girls out of the pool. I was kind of shocked hearing how this event was (not) planned, knowing at least some of the conditions for a BSA safe swim area. I am thankful for BSA's safety rules. Note -- Parents should ask questions about swimming safety, lifeguards and conditions on outings. Leaders, don't roll your eyes at that one.
  7. 2 points
    I would argue that you didn't invest spend money for a requirement. You invested in your scout learning to swim. This is also a break-down of the patrol method. The PL, with guidance of leaders in the troop should have made it a priority to help their buddy master those skills. But back to the OP ... it astounds me that someone thinks it's more important to placate parents by saying falsely that his scouts are first class. There's no shame in having a troop full of tenderfoot scouts. @ScoutTrainer, get in touch with your district advancement chair. I disagree with @walk in the woods. It is demoralizing to boys in neighboring troops (and they will get to know one another) when they hear that other scouts are skating by. Word should make it to the SM that future Eagle boards of review will be held at a local pool.
  8. 2 points
    I was there at the spring pilot course at Philmont, as a student. Here is what I recall: B & G + crossover at Lunch Day 1 I was told more topics taught by troop guide Ticket ideas due Day 2 EOD (9PM), Completed tickets turned in Day 3 EOD, Approved tickets returned Day 4. No other homework or late-nighters. Patrol Project was a 7-10 minute on what we got out the course. No PPTs. Day 5 in AM. It took us about 45 minutes to put it together taking and white boarding. Students politely challenged the lectures on occasions for the better. 5-hr outdoor segment run by local NYLT grads. Newton-car project replaced game of life. Nothing terribly stupid or silly. Did not overdue the patrol identity thing like you see from local wood badge grads. No Kudu horn blowing or axe-n-log displays. High caliber group of students and nat'l -level instructors Only brief movie clips to compliment presentations. No mention of folks having to retake the course...not a huge curriculum changes. Perhaps more info on evolution of teams and the leaderships styles best suited for various stages of development and situations. The program kind of assumed you knew about the history of scouting before, as well as the patrol method. One, patrol cooked dinner. Chow hall or sack meals rest of time. Slept indoors. Plenty of in-class patrol assignments & presentations. No artificially induced "stressing" events. Ton of valuable class participation by students. The five day straight, out of town, schedule worked the best for my work calendar. I was also strongly turned off by cliquish nature of my council's wood badge cult, and felt a higher-profile course had to be better than the local options. The added cost was well worth the valuable contacts and friendships I made at BSA-18-2.
  9. 2 points
    As a family of lifeguards and swim teachers, I am very concerned about aquatics safety. Does the committee chair know about this? If he does and doesn't care, I would call the District Commissioner and express your concerns.
  10. 2 points
    Clueless is am understatement. 16 for Venturing? 10 months to earn Eagle? Segregated patrols instead of troops (oops I forgot "Linked Troops"). And if members were so for it, WHY DON'T THEY PUBLISH THE ACTUAL TOWN HALL MEMBERSHIP SURVEY RESULTS? (emphasis)
  11. 2 points
    If I am not mistaken, the new rollout of girls in Troops does not start until 2019. This is not a good example to be setting for these girls wanting to become part of this program. It appears that from the top down in your Troop, you are telling these girls that if you don't like the rules or policies they don't have to follow them. Just make up your own. That is a very dangerous road to go down. What are you going to do when the first girl gets injured or files a complaint? They are not a registered Scouter. I am not sure the Charter Organization would like to hear that they are being put out there for potential lawsuits. Scary times these are.
  12. 2 points
    I have mixed feelings about bringing in girls early and going coed. I think that following the rules of separate troops and dens is good. I think giving girls experiences is also good. When you decide to skip the rules it gets a little confusing to go on your own. I think it's interesting that this CO said, "push the boundaries". I wonder what kind of CO would do that? I guessed this was in California, but it's in Minnesota, which is too close to home for me! If I had daughters, I think I would want my daughters in a troop that follows the program. Because if a CO is winging it, do they lack discipline across the entire program? Do they follow YPT and the guide to safe scouting? How do you know what program you are getting if the organization is making stuff up as they go?
  13. 2 points
    I have to agree with most on this subject. To say that the new scripts form National are ‘rather lame’ would indeed be a kindness. Any Scouts can perform these as written; there is absolutely no need for the OA to do these. The Crossover is essentially an infomercial/promo on high adventure camps that are so cost-prohibitive, most Scouts will never be able to afford to go. There are plenty of AOL/Crossover scripts out there on the internet that incorporate Native American themes. A Pack may choose to do any one of these. Most OA Crossover/AOL ceremonies, however, are written by the Chapters. We have/had a combined Crossover/AOL ceremony that was based on many of the local American Indian traditions including traditional songs, storytelling, honoring the parents, and a give-away. Our regalia was carefully researched and we even used a few words and phrases from our state’s original language in the ceremony. When a Pack requested our Chapter to do their Crossover/AOL, they got our ceremony – i.e. we essentially only do our ceremony, but if there are particular elements they’d like incorporated, we were usually able to work it in. Our Lodge has even been involved with sponsoring a pow-wow at which we would teach Native crafts to kids all morning while adults were preparing themselves for the Grand Entry. As many have said, if carefully researched and done correctly, it can provide for a very impressive experience for the Webelos (and observing Pack). That said, it just takes a few ‘bad apples’ to ruin it for the rest. I would be very curious to know exactly what the complaints were that they got from American Indian groups/Nations/Tribes(?) which prompted the drastic change in policy. I suspect that will never become “public information”. As to inconsistencies, see above – there are hundreds of such ceremonies; it is a rare thing to see any two Packs having the same ceremony (at least in my neck of the woods). I don’t see the issue here. It was always my understanding that, as far as the black robes are concerned, those were worn by attending spectators (Arrowmen) at the ceremonies whilst the Principals wore regalia. As a note – if native dress has been handmade, or even bought (providing it’s properly made and bought from a reputable establishment), it is never referred to as a ‘costume’; it’s either ‘native dress’ or ‘regalia’. To refer to it as such is considered insulting. I have to wonder if this is just a one-time thing, i.e. complaints with Crossover/AOL ceremonies from a particular American Indian group targeted at a specific Lodge/Chapter, and as a result Crossover/AOL ceremonies got revamped for everyone, or is this the beginning of phasing out the American Indian element of the OA? That’s a phenomenal amount of symbolism that will need to be reworked into new ceremonies and traditions (WWW, admonition, vigil names, lodge names, induction ceremonies, just to name a few). Someone had mentioned Chapters starting a “hire-out” type group as a sort of loophole around the rule. A group of youth who do Crossover/AOL ceremonies using American Indian symbolism, etc. Pretty much business as usual but “sans sash”. These groups would wear regalia and would not have or make any references to the OA, i.e. “Standing Bear Productions, LLC” as an official name of such an entity. Interesting idea, but not sure it would fly if the same mistakes are made that initiated the initial complaints in the first place. It also begs the question of whether Packs will be permitted to make any reference to American Indians in any of their ceremonies. As having A/I ancestry, I don’t have any issues with Chapters using regalia, etc. so long as it’s done correctly and with respect to the culture and people being emulated. That said, I have seen ceremonies plastered on YouTube that are just cringeworthy. I did not attend NOAC but would be interested to hear if this recent change was addressed and to what extent.
  14. 2 points
    In your case, the Moose Lodge signed the charter and committed to provide space. The church did not. I also know many churches are financially hurting right now. I'm surprised this is not happening way more often. We had a very similar issue and it resulted in our moving our charter. For us, one member of the church chartered the troop with the church. The church never really felt we were part of them. Rather they felt we were a community outreach / support effort by the church. Essentially, good will to the community. The church did not ask us for money. For us, we kept getting bounced around. The priority was with their internal groups first. Second were their initiatives and their directly supported programs. We were just a community good will program that received what was left. Our solution was moving the charter under the local school PTO. We rented space from the school district. Our cost though was $4 per hour. Sometimes we had to pay $12 to $16 per hour to get multiple gyms and a cafeteria. Our total space cost per year for school space was less than $300 per year. We just put it in our budget. The only hard part for us was making sure the boys did not bring pocket knives onto school property. We did not want our scouts expelled.
  15. 2 points
    I think it's clear enough. It is also the case that the decision about whether to accept work previously done is up to the counselor, not the Scoutmaster. An SM has no say at all in whether a Scout has successfully completed a merit badge, with that one fairly new exception for cases where it is clear that the counselor signed the card but the Scout did not actually complete the requirements. But that is not what is going on here.
  16. 1 point
    Exactly why skipping this particular requirement can have unintended and deadly consequences. I took longer than expected to reach First Class, precisely because when younger we did not live near enough to a pool to learn to swim. If it had not been a BSA requirement, I would never have bothered to learn; however, it was, and while it took a while, I did learn. I also earned my Eagle when there were not alternates to swimming or lifesaving merit badges. While I have never had to perform a water rescue, I firmly believe every Scout should know what to do in and around water.
  17. 1 point
    Our chartering church has experience fighting with National. Our home family church is the same denomination. We have had gay/trans leaders and scouts forever. We opted out of the gay ban and were a major force pushing our council to also opt out of the gay ban. For that I am grateful. My wife's church in NH just dropped their BSA charter. Our early 2000's outdoorsy church in Seattle had no scouts since 2 of our 4 ministers would be banned from contact with scouts for being gay. I am glad some liberal churches pushed through that culture war to allow a more inclusive movement.. But none of the CA or PNW councils chose to defy national, while Northern Star did. I suppose that could be a concern. But being a Scouting family, I can feel qualified to judge these things. I'm not making any troop decisions but I can recognize traditional scouting when I see it. Would I have made the same decisions...maybe... probably. But I can see YPT is being followed. We have emeritus SMs being written up in Scouting mag. We have camp volunteers in their 50th year at camp. When our younger 11-13yo scouts were planning their BWCA trip this year, we had another emeritus spry fit looking SM come in to talk about canoe trips and he started his talk out talking to the the younger scouts and the Webelos who we visiting by saying "I was sitting right where you were, I joined this troop as a Cub Scout in 1947..." While he went on to talk about staffing the Region X canoe base based solely on his troop canoeing experience, you could see the kids slowly doing the math and having their jaws drop. Maybe our troop is pushing things too much, but in 6 months it won't matter, and the question was what is your troop doing to prepare for coed Scouts BSA. That's what we're doing.
  18. 1 point
    Internally, I think the CO would just do whatever they do when terminating any other volunteer associated with their organization. The BSA does not impose specific procedures on the CO's for that. Externally, it would be logical for the CO, having removed a volunteer, to direct the CC to write a letter to Council informing them that the person is no longer affiliated with the unit and should be removed from the charter. (I don't think you get a refund though.)
  19. 1 point
    I think it is just one of a series of misunderstandings, in some cases by people who are paid to know better. If the first girls join Scouts USA in Feb. 2019, there is no way any of them can make Eagle in 2019. Unless time travel is invented between now and then. I know Iowa always wants to be the "first" in everything, but they are going to have to settle for a "tie" this time.
  20. 1 point
    Our commissioner asked if we were going to add girls to our troop and I said they needed their own troop. He said they could have their own patrol and I repeated the above. But, to answer your question, I think this is going to take some time to happen. I think there is interest for the younger cubs. Our troop has had nobody asking. There is one troop in our town that is all in, got an article in the paper, and has a couple of girls interested. It's similar to the number of boys that join after not having been in cubs, very few. I suspect this will all change in a few years as girls work up through cubs.
  21. 1 point
    We currently have six girls who are already meeting/planning. Active committee (setting up financials). SM is a longtime ASM who is easily the most skilled backwoods camper in the Troop! Also have an ASM lined up— 25 y/o, Venturer. They are ready to roll! We are recruiting the same way we recruit boys— word of mouth, mainly. Flyers. Community service events. I suspect they will be up to 10-11 girls by February.
  22. 1 point
    @oldbuzzard, asking for a rule violates my rule #1. But it might be necessary. Common sense suggests that the SPL or his Assistant should take sweep. When I guard a canoe trip, I do so from the rear. If a boat drifts behind without their buddy boat, we have words. We train our backpacking scouts to stop at intersections. If a scout has to fall behind (e.g. a boot is broken) a couple of SMs hike with him and the rest of the group has to leave trail signs. There have been occasions that the lead group takes the wrong trail. We don't follow-them, we wait. Or, of we think they'll get to the destination regardless, we leave our own signs in case they decide to backtrack. So many parents don't have patience for this, but to me this is what scouting is really all about.
  23. 1 point
    "Randy Woo (Randy Worchester) provided some information about the history of this special garment: According to several of the Philmont histories, the jac-shirt began with Dr. E. K. Fretwell, the Chief Scout Executive in Philmont's early days. In 1944, he brought up the idea of an outdoorsman shirt. He later sent a red shirt to Minor Huffman, Philmont's first General Manager. Fretwell had Huffman trace the bull in the tile at one of the entrances to Philmont for a patch for the red shirt. The first few shirts were made by J.A. Brewster of Camden, Maine. In August, 1946, Fretwell gave each of the regional executives a red shirt with the bull on it. The BSA partnered with Woolrich to develop several jackets, starting in 1949. The first jackets were green wool jackets designed primarily for the professional cadre to wear. It was called the "Scout Executive's Jacket" for several years. In 1952, Woolrich designed a jacket for Boy Scout professionals and volunteers to wear in green. Fearing complaints from the people behind The Masters® golf tournament, and because the BSA was moving toward a new "color scheme" to identify itself through, the BSA asked Woolrich to develop a unique jacket for it's Scouts and Scouters attending Philmont Scout Ranch and Explorer Base in the middle 50s. The red jac-shirt ("not quite a jacket, more than a shirt!") was developed, fielded, and everyone loved it from day one. The older versions -- and you can tell by feel -- are 100 percent wool. The new ones (developed in the late 60s) are wool and polyester blended (I think a 70-30 split...it is NOT 100 percent wool!!) and still there were one version made in the middle 70s which was 100 percent wool and Scotchgarded (tm), which gave it a different feel too. In 1972 (pay attention fellow collectors of Scouting items!! I'm looking for ONE OF THESE IN A LARGE OR EXTRA LARGE SIZE PLEASE!!), the BSA created a blue version of the jac-shirt originally for Exploring leaders. It was spun out at the 1973National Explorer Presidents' Congress (NEPC) along with a eight-inch NEPC back patch. The BSA was hoping that with the success of the red jac-shirt by the Order of the Arrow members (and now by National Eagle Scout Association members, both organizations "made" the red jac-shirt "theirs" for wear by their memberships), the blue one would do the same for the Exploring's youth. t failed. Explorers were not interested in wearing anything which "looked like Scouting" and this jacket was just dipped in blue dyes and the buttons were changed from red to blue. They didn't even bother changing the tag to add the Exploring "Big E". In 1975 and 76, the BSA tried to sell the jac-shirt to Cub Scouters, because it was the same color as the Cub Scout Blue uniforms. No dice. By this time, ALL Scouters wanted to wear the same "red jackets" made famous by those participating in Jamborees, in the OA or as NESA members. So, in 1976, the BSA said "no more blue jac-shirts!" and people like Mike Walton (who had the $40 back then to buy one but they ran out!) was out of luck (unless he or she runs across one in their size on eBay)! The jac-shirt is a durable thing....not very practical in the field -- I would have liked the BSA to develop one with reflective cuffs or a bottom edge so that Scouts and Scouters can be better seen in the dark in the woods....but hey, I don't develop the stuff..I just pester my wife enough to have her to break down and allow me to get it! *laughter* . . . In 2010, the BSA introduced an olive green jac-shirt which I am sure was not made by Woolrich™ -- this is a different design than the previous jac-shirts and little thicker. Some of the people associated with the military may recognize this version, as it looks very similar to a jac-shirt which was manufactured (under government contract by Woolrich™ ) for Soldiers in cold weather climates like Korea in the winter. Also unlike the current jac-shirts, a large version of the BSA's copyrighted logo appears on the left pocket in black. Several Scouters asked me "why olive and not red?" The BSA says that the olive jac-shirt better matches the "Centennial" (current) field uniform and pants better than the older red; and that eventually most outdoor items associated with the BSA will be using the olive color instead of the red. (It did not last long, as most Scouts and Scouters prefer the red color; so the BSA discontinued the olive green jac-shirts (they may be still be worn!) and contracted for a red version of this overseas-made jacshirt [sic].)" http://www.scoutinsignia.com/jacshirt.htm I want to add that the red jac-shirts just before the green ones were incredibly cheap - more like red burlap - shapeless. They were NOT selling. The quality of the green one was far superior. (Not that I dumped my red one. )
  24. 1 point
    The best way to promote the OA is not in having OA members just wear their sashes at other events. Its by having the OA DOING stuff at those other events, and wearing the sash while they do it. Have them be staff at camporees and cub scout events and the like. Have them have a nice exhibit/activity at the Scout Show. The point I was trying to make was that only those DOING stuff as an arrowman should be wearing the sash, not everyone.
  25. 1 point
    Blue jeans seems to be the norm around here. Same difference. Everyone has their own idea of what "uniform" means and it usually doesn't really mean "uniform" at all. Stosh
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