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  1. 11 points
    I had my ECOH earlier today (right as I got home from staffing a camp, I was and still am tired), and it was a great experience! I thought I didn’t want one at first, but now I realized it would’ve been a mistake if I didn’t. We had a dinner buffet and a cake. I was at camp, so I wasn’t involved in much of the rehearsals or anything but it went pretty good. I was shocked with the town officials coming and everything.
  2. 10 points
    No dog in this fight (BTW - do not support dog fighting but it's a great old expression) as our unit has eschewed any camporees, etc. The judging of "best" troop or "best" patrol at events when there are NOT objective measurements is suspect at best. Have a camporee competition where Scouts paddle a canoe out and back, lowest time wins, great. Tie 8 knots in a relay, lowest time wins, super. When you start adding mystery "Bonus" points for patrol spirit, team effort, appearance, etc etc, then the competition becomes no longer a competition, but an anointing by the camporee adults of who they think (or feel?) should win. The Scouts can see through this sham very quickly
  3. 9 points
    Our shirts have an upside down camp map on the front. That way, they can lift up the bottom of the front of their shirt and have a camp map ready at all times.
  4. 9 points
    One thing I learned as a scoutmaster: get all the information before having an opinion. We don't have all the information. We can guess but won't help. Something else that has helped my sanity; realizing that eagle is nothing but a bauble at the end of a list of check boxes. While most scouts get what we'd like them to get out of it there are those that just see it as one big check box. I have a lot more respect for those scouts that volunteer to be SPL or PL because they know it's a job that needs to be done than an eagle scout that only held a POR long enough to get the check box signed off. I'm not saying just give in to the scout's desires and sign everything off as quick as they'd like. Rather, use eagle as a tool. Each scout is different and requires different tools to motivate them to do their best. I used to treat eagle like, well, how the BSA sells it. Consequently I would seek those scouts that would cut corners and make them go back and do it again. While a lot of scouts thanked me I also broke some rules in the process. I'm not sure it was worth it. The adult's job is to motivate scouts to do their best. The eagle bauble is just one tool to do that. It may have been better to spend more time developing other tools, such as teamwork within patrols, or having fun activities that develop outdoor skills. There's a lot of tension in this thread and it's just like all the other threads about advancement. Did the girl cheat? Did the leaders or parents grease the skids? Or was this just a really motivated scout? We really don't know. But the tension is going to do a lot more damage than the good that might come from making sure scouts don't cut corners.
  5. 9 points
    It may be encouraging to remember that while 2 years may sound like a tight squeeze, it's not impossible. Scouts have been doing just that for a century - starting at 11 or 12 and earning it at 13 or 14. If they can do it at such tender ages, I'm sure these young women will be even more capable of making it happen, what with their advantages of maturity, desire, and resources. I will express, however, that if a young lady joins a unit with the driving goal of earning the rank of Eagle Scout, she may have already misunderstood the purpose of Scouting. The goal of a Scout should never be "to earn one's Eagle." This overlooks the vast and myriad spectrum of opportunities which Scouting affords our youth, the real goals which are represented by the rank of Eagle Scout, but not beholden to it. Learning how to camp, learning how to vote, learning how to treat a wound. Learning first aid, and communication skills, and crafts and sciences and cultures, becoming invested in the world around them, and using what they learn to help others. Discovering for themselves the possibilities - and responsibilities - of the world around them. Above all, becoming, truly, trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. Those are the true goals of Scouting. So, if you want to give these girls the most that Scouting has to offer, make this focus on personal development your top priority, using the Path to Eagle as a means of organizing, focusing and measuring their personal progress towards becoming better people, but never sacrificing the structure and integrity of its requirements for the sake of "pushing through it." It's a tool towards preparing young people with the vital life skills and knowledge they will need to be effective and honorable adults, and if a Scout follows the advancement program faithfully and diligently, with the goal of absorbing all that they can from the program, then they will have achieved the real achievement of Scouting - becoming a good, moral, contributing part of their families and communities. So, I opine that the single best approach, FOR ALL SCOUTS, is simply to follow the program faithfully, intentionally, and sincerely, using advancement as a tool to help you organize your activities and measure your progress as you work to learn all you can in the time allotted you, but not allowing it to become the reason you Scout. Those early ranks teach the core principles and skills of Scouting. They are not designed for "young Scouts." They are meant for new Scouts, of any age, and they are intentionally designed to create the essential foundation of skills and knowledge espoused by this program. I have more respect for the First Class Scout who has truly invested himself in mastering the requirements of his rank than for the Eagle Scout who brushed through them just to get started on his leadership tenures. For these new Scouts, it's FAR more important that you focus on ensuring the early ranks are passed thoroughly than it is to "skip to the higher ranks." Besides, success at those levels inherently depends on whether or not the Scout has truly demonstrated his competence in the requirements leading up to First Class. It's wonderful that these girls are driven and willing to work. Your job is make sure that they are in Scouting to become Scouts, in the deeper sense of that expression. Working carefully, not hastily, towards Eagle will help them to get the most out of their experience. And even if they don't make it that far, such an approach will ensure they still reap the true benefits of the program for the rest of their lives. Good luck!
  6. 9 points
    Dear Friends, including Moderators: I agree with those who think we should mainstream discussion of Scouts BSA all-girl troops. Pigeon-holing us into a politics chapter continues a negative cast on a decision that, while not supported by all of our members, is actually working out quite well. We should not have to defend against negativism when what we really want to do is discuss how the program is best working in the new units. Please make the change. I've been the senior volunteer at the Unit, District, Council (major metropolitan) and Area levels, and served on national and council committees for over 30 years. I've formed over 20 units in my time. I "retired" from all of that and am now a Scoutmaster of a 25-member all-girl troop in an urban area with a committee of 15. I thought I had seen it all until we added these all-girl Scouts BSA units. In my opinion this is the best enhancement to our ability to serve young people over the last 20 years. I was on camp staff for a few years in my youth, and the kind of cutting and unrelenting negativism from those who do not appear to be on the front lines of this development sound like a Scoutmaster named Igor we saw during first period each year. He could never be satisfied with anything the camp staff did because "national" and the "council" had "ruined" the Scouting program of his 1940/50's youth. We had - gasp - propane in the patrol kitchens, were shifting to "ugly" tan shirts, and somewhere at some other chartered organization there were now girls doing things in Exploring. Yes, even though he had no obligation to involve himself with a female Explorer Post, the knowledge that a BSA group out there included young women had indeed ruined his experience of operating his all-boy Troop. Folks, there are always changes to our program and there will always be people who claim that those changes have ruined what was better or perfect before. In the 50's it was the - gasp - welcoming of African-American Scouts into Troops. Imagine that -- Scouting "ruined" way back then. These people will always be with us and there is nothing we can do about that. But there is one thing I have learned about this through my years as a Scout and my 30 years as a unit/council/national Scouter. It is the optimists and cheerleaders who make Scouting happen and will always be the future and leaders of our movement. I urge the moderators to begin a program thread on Scouts BSA implementation for girl troops and prohibit political discussions on that thread. Let's get on with helping the 1,800 new Scoutmasters, Troop Committee Chairs and Troop Committees out there. When was the last time we actually had 1,800 new Troops in this movement? Yes, it was back in Igor's youth -- in the 40s and 50s. I believe the good times are returning because now everyone is welcome..
  7. 9 points
    Barry: My effort is to create a positive, encouraging thread that highlights positive program activities about all-girl troops. Under the rules of this blog it is proper that off-topic postings are removed from a focused thread, and that is what happened here (and not at my request). Nothing aggressive about that. I look for the better side of people, like the overwhelming majority of bloggers here. My scouting bio includes AOL, Eagle, sea Scout QM, camp staff, vigil, unit leader, district Chair, Council President and Area President. Now I am focusing only on being a Scoutmaster. I have a child in our program, as do my three Eagle brothers. i fully support that the BSA is fully welcoming and my personal engagement has shown me that the decision on girls was the right one.
  8. 8 points
    At our school we have this poster which helps distinguish rude vs mean vs bullying.
  9. 8 points
    I am Scoutmaster for a 22-member all-girl Troop that is "stand-alone" and not linked to an existing unit. In fact, we are the only youth program at the church that serves as our CO. I'm a 30-year Scouter and have done it all. I will observe that the girls attracted to our group represent a normal cross-section of girls in our city in terms of income, race and interests. 8 crossed-over from an all-girl Webelos den at anther CO, which they just loved. 5 came over from GSUSA for a variety of reasons. Two remain dual-registered. We have had four troop meetings, one day hike and go on our first camp out this weekend. We have a very full program outlined for the next 20 months. We have attracted a 15-person Troop committee and have a Scoutmaster staff of 7. I am here to tell you that even at this early stage I sense this is going to be a very successful move for the BSA. First, the Boy Scout program is working perfectly with the girls. They love it and as an earlier commenter forecast, they really like to "do stuff". Second, the parents are thrilled with BSA-style organization and program implementation for an all-girl program. The welcome from our community has been crazy-approving. Third, our district volunteer Scouters and fellow Scoutmasters of nearby all-boy Troops are thrilled to the point where they went out of their way to entirely outfit five of our girls from under-resourced families with gently-used uniforms, sleeping bags, packpacks, the works. The naysayers with the nasty blog comments have not in any manner impacted popular and supportive opinion in our local Scouting movement or city. The folks who departed after the membership policy changes are not taking people away because of the move to include girls. My experience is so counter to the things those folks have been writing over the past year that I am starting to conclude many must not be actual active Scouters -- I just have not experienced negativity and I would have noticed it. I believe that as long as the generally-smaller linked girl troops scale up quickly and the BSA does a better PR job when the financial restructuring is announced, we will be looking at significant growth that can reverse our recent membership losses. These conclusions are based on my experience in planning, organizing and now operating a best-practices Scouts BSA Troop for girls. We should do at least as good as the girl Cub Scout numbers.
  10. 7 points
    By Larry Geiger on January 25, 2012 in Scoutmastership,The Patrol System Adult leaders often say things like; “I don’t override the boys decisions at all. ” “I asked them what they wanted to do.” “This was their decision.” What most of us fail to recognize is that many of these ‘boy led’ decisions were probably coerced, at least in part, by the presence of adults when they were discussed. It’s not that the adults shined bright lights in their eyes or twisted their arms behind their backs – it is much more subtle than that. When adults are present youth leadership – the Scouting way- is not happening. Say what? You mean when I am in the room listening and not talking I am somehow affecting the outcome of their decision making process? Yes! So I want to suggest that you lead by walking away. Let Me explain: When adults are listening, watching or talking Scouts are instinctively looking for the assent and approval of the adults. This is a result what they do at School and at home; listen to adults and seek their approval. So even if you say absolutely nothing at all your presence is somewhat coercive. It’s not that you are a bad person or anything – it’s just the way things are. So if we are not supposed to be around and not supposed to talk to them and not supposed to watch what they are doing, how do we do our jobs as adult leaders? Excellent question. We use very specific, scheduled, regular, and commonly understood opportunities to interact with youth leadership. Otherwise we leave them alone; alone enough that sometimes we cannot see them or hear them. I have found that one good opportunity to exercise this concept is when patrols go grocery shopping. The Scouts create a menu, estimate how much money they need, schedule a time and place, their parents drop them off and leave them to shop. No adult leaders or parents accompany them into the store. They work totally autonomously until they exit the store after successfully shopping and paying. Are you comfortable with doing something like that? What do you think would happen if you did? No adult is assigning, watching, checking, offering oversight or any other means of interference or intervention. Drop them off at the door and pick them up when they exit the store. Only the patrol leader works with his guys to get it done. A patrol leader given this opportunity is leading; if adults are present he is looking for their approval. In my experience his is true of all Scouts up to around age sixteen or so. Here’s a few of the times when adults and youth leaders talk with one another: 1. Occasional reflections with a senior patrol leader or patrol leader after a Scout meeting. 2. Scoutmaster Conferences. 3. Scoutmaster senior patrol leader two-minute chat before a patrol leader’s council. 4. Scoutmaster’s minute. 5. Troop Leadership Training. This is the Scoutmaster’s show. [BSA says the SPL should help lead the training .] 6. When a senior patrol leader or patrol leader walks over and asks the Scoutmaster a specific question or asks for help. [Note: "senior patrol leader" vs "Scoutmaster. How about "Senior Patrol Leader"?] Here’s times when you should refrain from interacting with youth leadership: 1. During patrol and troop meetings. 2. During patrol leader’s councils. [Even if they ask a question?] 3. During campouts. 4. During the troop annual planning conference. 5. During summer camp at meals/around the picnic table during the day/etc. 6. During patrol shopping trips. 7. During patrol and troop activities when a Scout is in charge. I cannot overemphasize how important it is to realize that when adults are physically present Scouts are looking for approval – not leading. Think about this, think about it a lot; When adults are physically present Scouts are looking for approval – not leading. Start observing how this happens and change the way you do things; I’d be interested to hear the results!
  11. 7 points
    A one time event, sure why not. Every campout? no way in hell.
  12. 7 points
    A lot lot lot of focus on Cubs. Looking on my council website; picture of a Cub, Lots of Cub Training, Lot of Spook-o-ree stuff. When they put in Tiger Cubs in 82, a good number of us thought that was a bit much. As many have noted, Cubs is less a fun program and more of a slog. We have had many boys over the years that bailed on Cubs / Webelos but came into Scouts. They were just tired of the same thing over and over. Input also is that 5th graders are not really into the family camping, they want to build fires and tell crude jokes The BSA's strength and distinction in the market place is the Outdoor Focus. If a unit does this, they will recruit and retain Scouts. The STEM stuff, Schools do it better. Duty to God, the Church youth groups likely has the better program. Leadership and independent thinking, learning life skills outdoors, yeah, THAT is what we do and what we SHOULD be focusing on. National is doing it's level best to limit the risk and activities, but many units plunge ahead. They have also WAAAAY over sold the Eagle rank. Yes it is good and yes it is a long term project, but that is not WHY we are running units, that is not the reason. Ranks advancement is a by product of good program, not the reason for it.
  13. 7 points
    While I appreciate your optimism I think this is simply naive. First, no matter what settlement comes out of the bankruptcy, it will be belittled in the MSM and progressive media as insufficient. The BSA will be portrayed as a greedy organization trying to short-change the victims by declaring bankruptcy. Second, I can think of at least 4 additional membership fights to come (in no particular order): Local option for fully co-ed packs and troops because separate but equal isn't working Mandatory fully co-ed packs and troops because nobody should be allowed to discriminate Removal of the DRP, changing of the Oath/Law local option to allow atheists, because it's already happening anyway Mandatory allowance of atheists and changes to Oath/Law because nobody should be allowed to discriminate One can imagine all sorts of additional issues the "cause" will take up: BSA isn't doing enough to recruit girls (or insert your favorite intersectional group here) BSA advancement structure is a remnant of the hierarchical male power structure and has to change BSA is still utilizing the Catholic Church (or Baptists or whatever) to deliver their programs, they haven't really changed at all BSA discriminates against "trans" by having boy/girl handbooks rather than using truly neutral pronouns language BSA discriminates against urban youth by having outdoor requirements (stop me if you've heard this one before) etc. The problem with "cause" movements is once they've met their initial goals, they have to seek out new targets or cease to exist. As long as the BSA is standing, it will be a target, no matter how many concessions it makes to the postmodern mob. Why do I believe the BSA will continue to be a target you ask? Here's why. Your discussion is a BSA redemption story, but, redemption is a two-part processes. The "sinner" has to sincerely repent, and, the aggrieved/offended has to sincerely forgive. An by forgive I'm not talking about "that's ok but hold a grudge" forgiveness. It's a "thank you for acknowledging the hurt, I believe you are sincere, let's rebuild our relationship without reference to the previous sin(s)" forgiveness. The current zeitgeist, progressive and populist, isn't exactly overflowing with that kind of forgiveness. Until that kind of forgiveness is available, donors aren't coming back, nor is membership, nor is "societal opinion" of the BSA. The BSA will probably survive, but, it will be unrecognizable.
  14. 7 points
    If you like good news, I have some to report. The patrols in our unit are much stronger now. I nudged a little, and the SM and ASMs were quite open to the changes. There was a reforming of the patrols along the lines of natural gangs I spoke of in my original post. The patrol with the older boys chose to keep their old patrol name. The patrol of younger guys created a new patrol with its own new identity. There is now no question who is in what patrol. No more going to the list at the back of the room to check. There is now a patrol meeting during each troop meeting. These are not very productive, perhaps, but the patrols meet separately during the troop meeting. We held a pioneering event with a competition, and the two patrols were 'against' each other. They used to create ad hoc teams for that. When planning for outings, each patrol does meal planning and tent arrangements separately. This used to be done as a troop. On Troop outings, the patrols are next to each other but separate. They used to be all mixed where-ever. The younger Scout patrol has met twice outside of troop events; once a service project, once to design a flag. Plus they have a patrol hike coming up. Its far from done. For instance, the other patrol has not yet had a patrol gathering outside a troop meeting or troop outing. Its too early to tell if this will help with the aims of Scouting, or if the boys are happier, or if its made anything easier. In fact it seems a little more work. But certainly the younger patrol fellows are more engaged in their own Scout destiny. As far as Scout-led, I don't know, there is still some adults taking over the meeting, and one of them was me. But there is less of adults planning for the Scouts outings. I think we're on the right path.
  15. 7 points
    I wanted to share some success from this weekend. Since I joined two years-ish ago, I have been trying to effect a change in our troop to move towards the Patrol Method. I was accompanied by a very experienced ASM who joined in the spring. Together we've been talking to the SM about the Patrol Method, tag teaming him in small ways with encouragement etc that makes the SM more inclined to think Patrol Method. Stuff he already knows, but hasn't been doing. He and the "Wanna-Be-SM" have been making excuses about why they aren't doing the Patrol Method. Really stupid excuses like "but you know they won't do it" and other things. Yah, they won't do X when they know you will do it. Or the scouts tried to do X and then SM/Wanna-Be-SM barge in and take everything over, brushing anything the scouts have done out of the way. So this weekend the SM saw me talking with the new SPL. I was explaining basic Patrol Method stuff. I had his ear driving to the campsite too, along with the acting ASPL. The SM supported it for the first time I've ever seen. The wanna-be-SM also saw how the wind was blowing and stood back more than normal. It's a step in the right direction. Us adults talked Patrol Method at several points in the day. We started mentoring the scout leadership group (SPLs & PLs) in things they needed to know in how to lead their troop/patrol. We pushed the scouts back to their troop leaders to find the answers they needed. We let them make mistakes and work through them for the most part. Can't get all the adults out of their habits in a single weekend. All in all, a very nice and good step in the right direction. I'm hoping to keep that progress and will continue to do what I can to encourage things to the right direction. My next major goal is having a PLC without extra adults in the room trying to run things. Haven't seen a PLC in all the time I've been in this troop.
  16. 7 points
    You should probably ask the older scouts Mom as she obviously has set the rule.
  17. 7 points
    I was a Rifle Instructor at a Council camp. We had a scout who was autistic. He had a leader from his troop that came with him and helped him shoot. He didn't get the badge because his accuracy wasn't enough to complete the badge, but his leader and I made sure he had fun and the other Scouts were safe.
  18. 7 points
    This discussion is exactly what many experienced scouters on this forum predicted would happen. The non scouting public identifies Scouting only by the Eagle. And by golly the girls parents are going to get it for them. Greenbar who? Barry
  19. 7 points
    I think this is a grave disservice to any of your girls, or any Scout for that matter, to create a 2 year plan for them in order to earn Eagle. THEY ARE THE ONES WHO NEED TO CREATE THEIR OWN PLAN AS EACH INDIVIDUAL IS DIFFERENT ( major emphasis). Part of the journey to Eagle is the Scout deciding their own path, the Scout deciding what they want to do, the Scout deciding how they are going to achieve their goals. What have they learned if you hand them a plan?
  20. 7 points
    Five years, and I am still trying to sort out how leadership is in any way distinct from character development, citizenship, and mental and physical fitness.
  21. 7 points
    Well, then if the "Barriers to Abuse" are to stand and be considered rules, they should change to FAQ to read: Yes, 2 registered adults over the age of 21 are required at ALL activities. A stupid rule that is consistent is better than a stupid rule that's inconsistent with arbitrary exceptions. And at least with a consistent rule people can stop arguing about what the rule means, and start just deciding when they are going to obey it, and when the stupidity of it means that it will get ignored. The unfortunate thing about the stupidity of issuing rules that can't be obeyed is that all it really does is erode the credibility of the remaining rules along with the authority of the national organization to decide them.
  22. 7 points
    We were coming back from an outing last week, stopped for lunch, saw the Girl Scouts were selling cookies nearby so we wandered over and bought some cookies, talked about our recent outing, heard about their projects, and we went on our way. The sky did not open, everyone was pleasant, and we ate several boxes of Samoas before we got back to the church
  23. 7 points
    It’s almost official! My EBOR went fantastic, the scouter from the district was amazing. We talked for almost 2 hours about all different kinds of stuff and it was great! Thanks to everyone who answered my questions on here. My scouting journey has only just started. Now the final thing to do is to drop off the application at council to get sent to national.
  24. 6 points
    From going through various forums and blog: The Don't worry be happy..."we have a benefactor who is paying the 2000 increase.....nothing to see here" The ones getting a council bail out or assistance vs the crickets The OMG...we are out of business. thanks BSA The WTH...how incompetent is national announcing this just before recharters. No Transparency with the risk analysis. A lot of folks concurring with this one. The look down the nosers ...It's only $5 a month or two cups of coffee, suck it up not knowing the individual financial situation of others or volunteering to pay it for them. The "it's a bargain" compared to sports ..of course never actually calculating the total annual cost of scouting and comparing apples to oranges. Probably a few others.
  25. 6 points
    You are dead on right. An 11 year old is not the audience for the theory of learning. Rank and MB requirements should not say EDGE. Instead, say "Teach a scout" or "Show a new scout". As scouts mature and age, then NYLT can reveal that BSA's preferred teaching method is EDGE and here's how it works. Learning is a continuum. (leadership, teaching, etc). At the earlier levels, learning starts with doing. This matches Baden-Powell saying that advancement is the natural result of being active. So, learning EDGE should be a natural result of helping each others. At those earlier levels, we encourage confidence in their new knowledge and confidence in reaching out to help others. ... Plus, teaching EDGE makes the learning too dry and boring for the scouts. I think there is a corollary with teaching leadership. Troops would be more successful teaching leadership if they stopped staying they are teaching leadership. I cringe when I hear it. Plus, It kills the buzz and is clumsy and inconsistent at best. Rather, units should focus on a quality program. Then advanced leader training can explain the meta-learning objectives and methods such as leadership.
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