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Showing content with the highest reputation since 02/13/19 in Posts

  1. 3 points
    Being the only Scouts BSA Troop for Girls in the District of Columbia, we received plenty of local and even some national coverage of our opening. I'm frankly happy to simply move out of organizing and into operations at this point. On Saturday we have our second meeting, form into three patrols, elect leaders and get to the program!
  2. 3 points
    Nope, but that is my Wife, Daughter, fellow Scout and my District Executive with the hippie hair.
  3. 3 points
    One of our local troops has a hard rule on this: No parents at summer camp for any first-year camper. Doesn't matter the age, if this is the scout's first time at summer camp, no parent of that scout can attend. Of course with exceptions only for any medically required or otherwise necessary situations. But generally, unless a parent can show a real definitive reason they must be at camp, they're not allowed.
  4. 3 points
    I attended woodbadge out of council. My council had no STEM program when I went to woodbadge, and in fact, I did not even know that STEM in scouts was a thing. However, at woodbadge, they pushed STEM really hard. It inspired me for one of my tickets to started up a STEM program in my council. For the first year, STEM committee members from out of council came over helped me run successful council STEM events. They also helped me recruit interested adults in my council to serve on our newly formed STEM committee. Now 4 years later we are functioning completely on our own, holding several council wide STEM events each year, and have two dozen active super nova mentors. If I attended woodbage within my own council, I probably still would not even know that STEM existed in scouts, and I certainly could have never accomplished my ticket without the support from experienced STEM scouters from out of council.
  5. 2 points
    But they are very close. And the committee sits at the pleasure of the CO, not equal. Council does not like to upset COs because they would rather the COR be the bad guy with enforcement. Council will train and counsel COs, but they rarely wrestle with them. Barry
  6. 2 points
    Private Investigation firm hired by the Diocese of Covington released their report today. https://www.yahoo.com/news/report-covington-high-school-incident-225252440.html
  7. 2 points
    When my son crossed over, he went on 4 weekend campouts with the troop without me. I had signed up as ASM right away, but only came to meetings. I went to summer camp his first summer, but that was for me, not him. In fact, there was very little times we were together. I took a training class the first two days. Summer camp is the closest thing I have to a personal vacation, and I very much enjoy it.
  8. 2 points
    SPOT ON! And worse, we now have folks in key levels at national who have little to no experience in the program making policies and procedures. I am told the national director of training has 0 experience in Scouting as either a youth or volunteer, but has the position because they hold a PhD in education. Ditto program director, no expereince in the program. yet they are making policy. Another factor is online training. So much is being left out in order to make it convenient. has anyone looked at some of the Scouting Facebook groups and the questions being asked by "trained" adults? A lot of the times I am shaking my head because the answer to those questions use to be covered by basic training, and they no longer are. When you had real classes, you could could cover a lot more material and have expereinced Scouters helping you out.
  9. 2 points
    Up until the 60s (Bill Hillcourt), the BSA had visionaries and founders who when they spoke, everybody listened. We don't have that today. There really is no accountability because there isn't a vision to relate with. Oh, the BSA has their Vision and Mission Statements that hold many of us accountable, but I would guess 2% of scouters could even get close to repeating the intent, much less the words of those goals. Scouters work outside the lines today because there is very little instruction to describe those lines. And if they find themselves in trouble, they dig in because they invested so much of themselves into the role. Humility is rare in this culture. Barry
  10. 2 points
    10,000% agree! A scouter of any level who puts up barriers to a scout's advancement is just plain NOT a good scouter. No excuses. No if's and's or but's. The only reason a scouter should refuse to approve work done by scouts is because it doesn't meet the requirements. "No more, no less." works both ways. Scouters should not be putting up barriers by inventing garbage "rules", but by the same token, the scout should not be inventing shortcuts.
  11. 2 points
    We formed a Webelos den for Girls last year and used that to build a core group of 6 girls. As the year went along, we picked up 4 additional girls who were actually over-age for cubs, yet participated with us. They all came into our new Troop. The rest came from a combination of getting them to bring in their friends and two open house welcome parties we had in January. The parties attracted about 40 girls total (plus parents). The totality of that got us to 24 girls, and we probably will have 5 more yet to join from that effort. Adult recruitment was a bit different. We have 16 adults. We advertised two open community meetings in August and September to openly discuss the new program with adults. We recruited 6 volunteers from those meetings, plus they registered their daughter’s. We attracted 3 experienced Troop Scouters from other units in the area who were for different reasons wanting to move. 3 parents of the Webelos girls, including 2 Eagle ASMs joined. The balance were people that ended up joining through our church CO or other means. Almost all adults were recruited before the girls. We got them through YPT and some additional training last fall. A good additional tactic was writing a web site specifically directed to girls and parents of girls. It allowed us to direct parents to easily-accessed and comprehensive information. We also have our pay page on it: www.ScoutsBsaDcGirls.com. This new program, while new at the moment, does not sell itself. Successful Troops will do it the hard way by recruiting adults first, then going to the market with something specific to sell. In our case this consisted of a 20-month calendar of meetings and events posted to our site. Not being linked to an existing unit helped us avoid the mistake of opening a troop with insufficient volunteer resources. a few additional thoughts. This fall we are going to have another round of welcome parties. We intend to double membership and get to 50-60. We will have a welcome party at the start of race future semester. We will not do product sales. Our parents dispose it and our urban location makes door to door sales inadvisable. Instead, we fully load dues and will have an annual October coffee reception where we will raise FOS and funds to subsidize under-resourced girls. We meet twice a month for 2 hours on Saturday mornings. These decisions were made partly in response the the adult community meetings we conducted, which doubled as focus groups.
  12. 2 points
    You shouldn’t expect them to know it cold (ie, with no instruction), but it doesn’t seem reasonable to force a Scout to wait for instruction if he or she has already learned it. The method of learning doesn’t matter. I was a voracious reader as a kid, and devoured the Handbook backwards and forwards. Plus I darn sure knew those knots we’d been tying since Bears. If anyone had told 10.5-year-old me to come back and wait for a senior Scout or ASM to “teach me” how to tie the basic knots, fold a flag, identify poison ivy, or treat for shock, I’d probably have walked out in disgust. Kids learn in vastly different ways. Some learn largely on their own. If they can do the skill, they can do the skill.
  13. 2 points
    All I can say, is that I studied my knots at home then tied them for my PL at the next campout (not even the next meeting, those were for planning activities, reflecting on past activities or the nation's history, and playing pool, ping pong, or air hockey). The exception was the taught line hitch that I hadn't figured out, and the SM showed me how and set me to retying all of the guy lines around my tent. By the end of the day, my PL signed off. Really, a proper simulation is for the scout to go home and practice tying the knot in the shower with the lights off. That prepares her for her first rainy night insertion with just a tarp and parachord!
  14. 2 points
    This is really the only question you asked. I think if you dig a bit deeper you can find out where some of this comes from. There are a number of issues with advancement. The ideal model is it's a byproduct of doing fun and adventure, and the scout knows it solidly by the time it's signed off, or at least by the time they age out. All the rest of the rules are based on this and they work fine if this happens. Unfortunately there are things that get in the way and cause problems. Changing the time frame, which I believe is what you're talking about, is a crutch to manage some of these problems. Take for example the idea that a scout knows the skill solidly. How many scouts tie a bowline, get it signed off, and then forget how to tie it a week later? Probably most. One way to solve it is to have the scouts tie a bowline often. Have them teach it. Have competitions. That takes a lot of effort to set up. This also conflicts with the idea that the PLC gets to decide the calendar. Maybe they don't want to do competitions. That's usually because they don't want to admit they don't know the skills. The trick here is to use SPL whisperer skills. @Eagledad is the one that mentions these. I'm not a good SPL whisperer so I only got it to work with the good SPL's, but the idea is to convince the SPL and PLC they truly owns the program and the program includes knowing all those skills. It takes an SPL with a lot of humility if they don't know the skills. What this has to do with the topic of adults changing the rules is simple. What I'm mentioning here is not really taught to SM's in any training I've seen. It's not mentioned in any round tables. And yet, a lot of SM's understand that signing off on an eagle scout that doesn't know how to tie a bowline is kind of defeating the point. So they add testing before ranks, they change the definition of active or scout spirit. I've done some of these. I've even had scouts thank me because they had seen scouts in other troops that didn't know the skills. Anyway, the SM's aren't all bad. Some are, but most aren't.
  15. 2 points
    I run recruitment for my Pack and we did an open house with a camping setup back in September. We used the gym at our CO and set the room up with tables in a "U" shape. Scouts/families come in one door, proceed to table #1 (Pinewood Derby building demo), table #2 (fishing gear demo, with glass jar of worms in dirt, which was a huge hit), table #3, and so on, 7 themed tables in all and then a sign-up table at the end. In the center of the "U" of tables we had our indoor campsite. Tent, chairs, sleeping bags, fake campfire (foam logs and rocks made by a leader, fake flame on top with one of those light/fan fake fire things). We used an old tent because as expected, the kids wanted to climb into it and it took some abuse throughout the event. Overall it was a huge success. We doubled the size of our Pack that night. One of our district execs came out and he told me he's never seen a recruitment event like ours. The goal was to bring some of the "adventure" indoors, show families what we do, as best we can show it in a gym at night. I think it worked. I will plan a few things differently next time (I'd still like to figure out an easy way to serve smores without making a colossal mess), but we are already planning to repeat this event with the same format next fall.
  16. 1 point
    With the inclusion of female youth in the OA, I wonder if National has gone so far as to realize that if females choose to be on a ceremonies team, a few of the current names of Principals will need to be changed. I also wonder if it will be left up to local custom and tradition as to what specific roles female youth could take on? In my neck of the woods (northern New England), you can have a female chief (though rather rare) and medicine woman, but not a guide or guard. In some traditions, only males may be chief (the Lenape have such a custom), many have medicine women, a few have guides, but I don't believe any would have female guards. In case you were wondering - A chiefteness in Lenape (Northern Unami - the dialect the OA borrowed its terms from) is Sakimachque (saw-kee-MAWKH-kway). KH is like German 'ch'. 'kway' rhymes with 'day'. A medicine woman is Metewechque (m'-teh-WEKH-kway). The '-chque' ending is cognate to the Abenaki and Wampanoag ending -skwa. 'ch' in some Algonquian languages is 's' in others. Lenape '"chgook" is Abenaki "skog" - same word ('snake'). The -chque ending creates the female form, so to speak, of the word. It is not a word that can stand alone; it has to be attached to something. Despite this, the English took it to mean a generic word for "woman" and came up with what is now considered the pejorative stand alone term/word, "squaw". OK - History lesson done
  17. 1 point
    To explain a little more... The boys had this sprung on them. Imagine being told two weeks prior that oh, we forgot to mention it, but... we are essentially marrying you to a girl troop in two weeks in an arranged marriage. You have to share all the equipment and troop funds. Our boys, by the way, had an extremely good popcorn sale season and have typically had a very healthy bank account. On top of that, they are told, not asked, how they are going to mentor this new troop and invite them to events, along with sharing meeting space, which is already kind of tight. The adult leadership for the new troop so far consists of 3 female leaders that were formerly leaders of our boys and our SM will act as an ASM for them as well. Meanwhile, we are constantly worried about events getting cancelled due to not having two deep leadership signing up for things like camping. There was no real advertising of the girl troop. Yes, I know the CO owns everything. But a Scout is courteous. A bit more transparency and advance information (like we have a lot of parents concerned about dual campouts, the girls encroaching on activities that might ruin the male bonding experience, etc. -- none of this addressed more than two weeks in advance) would have been nice. Effectively, if you have your Scoutmaster telling you how you are going to welcome these girls, teach them skills, have them come to troop activities, etc. it is expected (and thus not really a boy troop decision). They are not being treated like just another troop in the local area where you see them from time to time. They are linked so tightly that they are nearly one.
  18. 1 point
    To my knowledge Chapter ceremony teams have not been disbanded - the Call-Out Ceremony is typically written by the Chapter, though a generic Call Out scrip is available through National. It' the Cross-Over / AoL Ceremonies that have been poo-pooed by National and replaced by an "official script"/"Ceremony". Maybe that's what you're thinking of??
  19. 1 point
    So, you're a teacher. If a student opens the book, during class, finds the answer to your question, and rattles it off right there, does he/she know the material? Can you strike that question off of your next quiz because the student answered it and the class was present to hear it? So, yeah ... a kid will need to demonstrate a skill more than once, with confidence, every time. For most, that takes a week. For some, that can take a while. I am asking scouts to tie their knots, now, next week, and two months from now. I'm asking them to be able to swim in a strong manner ASAP, the week after, and the month after. My PL's need to sign off when they are confident that that boy can be counted on for that skill. On some level, First Class is more important than Eagle. I want all my scouts to be first class ... all the time.
  20. 1 point
    Yes you're over thinking it. A check written to Troop 123, for $10 or $1000 is the same as a check written to ACME, a check written to CASH and handed to troop 123 is the same as a check written to 123 or ACME. Assuming that ACME is OK with it all. If someone wants to write a check, take it, write a nice note that says thank you for your donation of $xxx to Troop 123 on date XX/XX/YYYY. Send a note to your CO with copies of everything.
  21. 1 point
    Yep, over thinking. Any serious donations can/should be written to the Acme Group, and they (they !) are your charter org (speak to your DE) so what's yours is theirs and so they should give unto the Troop. If the donator is desirable of claiming the deduction, they should deal thru the CO, since the Troop is not the tax exempt entity, Most Troops just accept the donation, and hike along, since most folks aren't concerned so much about the legalities with tax deductions , " I was a Scout once, I don't really want any popcorn/wreath/carwash/sausage, here's a twenty." Good luck and good Scouting.
  22. 1 point
    I grew up in a unit that kind of shamed other units who allowed fast advancement. The unofficial troop talk was "Oh, yeah, so-and-so's troop is an Eagle factory, they let kids advance too fast." And my troop had a lot of older active scouts, which was nice, but I often wonder if we had it wrong, and should have been more open to allowing advancement at the pace that suited the scout. As an adult, I'm much more open to advancement being allowed at whatever pace suits the scout. What I learned after the fact about my unit as a youth and the other troops in town who had different advancement philosophies is that nothing really bad happened at the units that allowed more "free will" advancement. In fact, the scouts I knew who reached Eagle younger were a lot more likely to do additional things. Some took on other roles in the troop, one even went on to be a district exec. Of the guys from my troop who were doing advancement longer and later because of troop culture, not many are active as adults. In fact some I've spoken to have a sour view on Scouting today and won't put their kids in, in part because of their experience in our troop. I wonder if they had had more control over their scouting timeline and progress if the experience would have been different for them. I suspect a lot of scouts in units where they are hampered not by official requirements but more by troop culture requirements end up feeling frustrated with the experience, or with an overall negative view of their scouting days because of that. So as an adult and a dad of a scout, if my son were having these kinds of issues with troop culture dictating that he wait some additional time to get signed off on something, we'd go looking for a new troop. As a more general approach, I do wish the BSA would communicate more with units on the ground about this, as it does seem to be a common issue. Adding requirements or delaying sign-off is not approved BSA policy, and the only way it stops is if the BSA does something about it. We've seen too many cases where at the local level issues like this are brought up and nothing happens. The scout and/or parents just get labeled as "trouble" or "disruptive", and council rarely takes action. I think it's time for a more broad reinforcement of policy and encouragement of all BSA leaders to do the jobs we're tasked with doing. When a requirement is completed to the satisfaction of what is prescribed in the handbook, we should sign off on it. Period. No additional waiting, no delay. There is so much to do in Scouting, but the focus is so often on Eagle Scout, and it seems like the culture of some troops is to stretch the timeline in parallel to earning Eagle. The idea is something like "We want our Eagles to be 16 or 17." But then scouts just Eagle and age out. I'd really like to see more 14-15-year-old Eagles who then take a couple of years to do other things, earn other awards, take on other roles, etc. And by the way... the troop I was in as a youth, it's gone, closed up due to lack of interest/membership. The so-called "Eagle Factory" troop I mentioned, it's still around, vibrant and active in town. So on the longer timeline, in my personal opinion it seems to me like "free will" advancement is the better and healthier option overall in terms of maintaining an active unit and active scouting culture in town. Scouts are happier, have a better experience, and come back with their kids later in life.
  23. 1 point
    Average of 6.55 Scouts per unit. Trust they get to critical mass quickly. A Scout troop with less than 10 Scouts is hard to keep the momentum going.
  24. 1 point
    Quite right. My carrier evidently knows how much I enjoy reading other peoples' mail because he gives me PLENTY of it!!
  25. 1 point
    I believe there will be two types of family scouting adults: One type is the adult who wants a program that builds character for their kids along with the convenience of bringing the whole family. The other type wants an outdoor get away from the city for the weekend with the whole family. Both believe they are using the program as intended. Because National let "Family Scouting" out the bag, they gave parents permission to think of unit as family program, leaving them to build toward their interpretation. Council will be spending a lot of time sorting it out. Everyone likes to use countries outside the US as a models of success, but I'm curious if any of them use the program for family. Is there a model somewhere out their that we can can compare. Barry