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dScouter15

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About dScouter15

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  1. dScouter15

    Scout Leader Ethics

    Well, I'm not a lawyer, not even an armchair lawyer, so I won't attempt to get into a discussion of the relative severity of this alleged transgression from a legal perspective. I'll re-phrase my point: how do you want to be perceived by your fellow volunteers in this organization? And what are you really hoping to accomplish here? Folks, I'm telling ya... I know its popular on this forum to hypothesize about all the ways our fellow volunteers are criminals and everyone but you is liable to go to jail for something or another... And S915, maybe you would appreciate, after investing dozens of hours of time and stress and frustration into a volunteer activity, having someone come up to you and "diplomatically" let you know that you are in fact felon and draining billions of dollars from our national economy. But most volunteers, most people, really don't appreciate so much having others "adjust the magnet in their moral compass" or whatever. Those conversations are rarely helpful. Its likely that your peers' perception of you might shift into "oh, that's the gentleman or lady who thinks we're all going to jail for popping in the Finding Nemo DVD at our kids' sleepover." And the risk is that, gradually, over time, these volunteers start to get fed up with this, and move on from our troops, packs, and the BSA entirely. This might be one little thing to you, but to the guy you're going to lecture, it might be the straw that breaks the camel's back. Think about it... I mean, from reading the forums here and discussions like this one, you'd be convinced that our prisons would be bursting at the seams with Scout leaders. But most of us realize that in fact is NOT the case, and continue on doing the best we can, applying our own common sense and potentially slightly inaccurate moral compass... unless of course someone comes along offering to do a better job and share some of the responsibility... You might want to be prepared to make that offer, since clearly SOMEONE will need to take over this leaders' responsibilities, unless you think he can run the pack/troop remotely during his 6 year stint in Attica?
  2. dScouter15

    Scout Leader Ethics

    Just to play devil's advocate... Lets imagine for a second you're on the other side of this situation. (This is purely hypothetical, I have no knowledge of this particular situation, I'm merely offering this as a "walk in the other guy's shoes" moment). Maybe I'm a Scout leader who volunteered to help at this lock-in thing (presumably an overnight event?) So that means I give up a weekend night to supervise an undisclosed number of amped up boys on whose sugar high is competing with their fatigue. I need to come up with 12 hours of program to keep them entertained, figure out the logistics of reserving the facility, feeding the group, collecting permission slips, fielding phone calls and emails, etc etc etc. I have a bright idea that maybe if I can pop in a movie, that will cover a couple hours and maybe I can catch a few hours of sleep before driving home the following morning. Now maybe I'm not a particularly technologically literate person. I don't know the difference between Hulu and Youtube and BitTorrent. But I know that I can get movies over the Internet, so I ask my 14 year old son if he can help me out. He says "yup" and an hour later I have a DVD in my hand. Now maybe I was remiss in my responsibilities as a parent and should have grilled the boy on how he came up with this DVD, but frankly I'm just happy the kid agreed to do something for me without coping an attitude, and oh boy Mrs. Jones is calling here AGAIN to make sure that we'll have gluten-free free-range vegan organic couscous as a late night snack because anything eating anything else makes little Johnny Jones' armpits itch. So I slip the DVD into my overflowing box of supplies for this event, and move on to more pressing matters (like how the council office still can't find the tour permit that I already mailed in twice, or my assistant leader suddenly has to fly to Tajikistan that weekend and I need to find more adult coverage on short notice, and now my wife just got home from the grocery store frantic because they were out of gluten-free couscous and do I think hummus would be close enough to keep Johnny Jones' armpits comfortable?). So finally I get to the event, and we manage to pull it off successfully without any serious injury, just the usual "organized chaos" that is this "game with a purpose" that we all DO OUR BEST to deliver as best we can using only the gifts God gave us. Now, say after all this, a armchair-lawyer comes up to me to lecture me on copyright law and to notify me that that I committed a felony punishable by a $30,000 fine and 6 years in federal prison and whatever else your fellow armchair lawyers think you can do to me... I'd start to wonder how 6 years in the pen would stack up to another 6 years volunteering with an organization where this is the kind of "thanks" I get... I mean, where were you when I was corrupting, I mean babysitting, I mean supervising YOUR kid at this event? Yes, this is somewhat tongue-in-cheek. But my point is quite serious. This is obviously an important issue to you. And I hear you that you won't go into this conversation "guns blazing," and I'm sure you think you'll be very calm and reasonable. But for the guy on the other side of the conversation, this could easily be a "death by a thousand papercuts" situation. You're worried about copyright law, Mrs. Jones is upset because no, hummus is NOT an acceptable substitute for couscous and what was I thinking and how did I screw up such simple instructions, and Mr. Smith showed up an hour late to pick up his kid and I'M TIRED AND I JUST WANT TO GO HOME. Not to mention the actual problems like the kid who I suspect might be a victim of neglect, the kid with anger issues whose at the edge of being kicked out of the pack because we just can't find a way to keep everyone safe with him around, etc etc etc. Just take an extra second to decide if this is really an issue, in the great scheme of things.
  3. dScouter15

    "... last bastion of anti-gay bigotry ..."

    I'm strongly opposed to the BSA's position on these matters, but I'd also argue that the majority of the rank-and-file volunteers (even those who may support the policy for whatever reason) are not "bigoted" per se. That said, I did a spit-take while reading Beavah's take on this. Easily the most starry-eyed and revisionist "interpretations" of this issue I've seen yet... The BSA has a lot of strengths and positive program elements, but diversity is not among them.
  4. dScouter15

    Camp Medic Course

    Apologies if I jumped to conclusions - it just read a lot like an advertisement (cross posted to two separate sub-forums), and when combined with the fact that your username is an abbreviation for the group you're promoting... Anyways, sorry if my initial assumption was incorrect.
  5. dScouter15

    Camp Medic Course

    You wouldn't have any association with this group, would you? Your username looks awfully similar to an abbreviation of the organization's name...
  6. dScouter15

    Budget Airlines in USA

    Not sure what you're looking at price-wise, but connecting through Chicago might be a doable option if it's going to save you a lot of money (keeping in mind you'd need to factor in additional cost for ground transportation from Buffalo to your final destination.) I fly out of Chicago fairly often, and it's not too terrible finding where you need to go. You would need to change terminals after you clear customs, though. But I find Chicago OHare easier to navigate than Heathrow, anyway. But I echo the comment about leaving plenty of time for the layover in Chicago - I'd say allow at least 3 hours. So bottom line I'd still recommend the direct flight unless it's drastically more expensive. By the way, even if the airline doesn't offer a charity discount for Scouts, you could still ask about a group rate, which I think most airlines would be more likely to consider.
  7. dScouter15

    Budget Airlines in USA

    I apologize if this advice is unsolicited or unhelpful - but I'd strongly recommend trying to make a direct flight work, even if it works out to be a bit more expensive. Not sure where you're starting from in the UK, but I believe that there's some variety in carriers offering direct service to Toronto from various cities in England and Scotland. It may end up being more expensive, but at least you won't have to deal with going through customs/immigration multiple times, transferring luggage, worrying about whether a delayed flight will cause you to miss your connection, etc - and dealing with all that while exhausted, jet lagged, and shepherding a bunch of teenagers around. It will also allow you to spend more time Scouting, rather than hanging around airports :-). If a direct flight is simply too expensive, at least stick with a single airline (or partnered airlines or codeshares or whatever they're called) rather than buying a separate ticket on a budget carrier. That way you'll at least have a little smoother time checking bags, and in the event a flight is delayed or cancelled, you'll have at least a little easier time rescheduling and dealing with it. I often travel on the budget airlines domestically, and their service is usually at least not any worse than the "legacy" carriers - but I really wouldn't chance it for an international trip with Scouts. One of the problems is that the discount airlines often only service secondary, smaller airports for a city. So say you're international flight lands at OHare in Chicago, but the budget carrier services Midway Airport in Chicago, which is about an hour drive from OHare. Also, the budget carrier will probably want to charge you for checked baggage, which the bigger airlines will probably waive if you have an international flight on the same ticket. That said, some of the bigger budget airlines in the US are Southwest Airlines and JetBlue, though I'm not sure if they serve the Toronto area. It looks like WestJest and Porter Airlines serve Toronto airports, but I'm not sure if they serve wherever your international flight would go into. Not sure if you've seen, but the Wikipedia article for an airport usually lists the airlines and destinations that serve that airport, that might be a help in your research? All that said, I wish you the best of luck in your trip, it sounds like a great adventure!
  8. dScouter15

    Equipment on loan, vs. donations

    I'm not sure that "control" is a priority in and of itself; the priority has been being able to deliver a quality program to the youth at a reasonable price. Up until now, we needed to have some control over the equipment to achieve that goal, which is how we got to this point. Maybe we made a bad decision initially, or maybe we should have done things differently somewhere along the line. BD - Well, the scope here consists of some fairly large items - patrol boxes and cooksets for around 20 patrols, several dining flys, a large refrigeration unit, industrial stove and oven units, assorted electronic equipment (projectors, computers, sound systems), etc. Again, stuff that's been accumulated by several people over several years. Making the new guys buy their own stuff? Well, it might come down to that, but I worry that the cost will be passed along to the participants of the training program. Might not be any way around that, though.
  9. dScouter15

    Equipment on loan, vs. donations

    Thanks all for the feedback. Just to be clear, I'm not trying to do an end-run around anyone with regard to this equipment - In fact, I personally have some equipment "on loan" to this program, so it's not like I'm trying to find some kind of loop hole that will allow us to continue to use gear that doesn't belong to us. In fact, as much as I hope to not have to deal with finding a bunch of replacement equipment over the next few months, I'm personally somewhat sympathetic to the folks who are uncomfortable with continuing to lend us this equipment, so I definitely wouldn't hold anything against them if they do decide to take their gear and move on - but my hope is that we can find a better solution for everybody! Making a clear inventory of who-owns-what is a great idea, and something we've already been working on. This information has been shared with the "new regime" (for lack of a better term.) Again, not wanting to get too much into the politics and backstory, but I think the message that got across was that "maybe you could run, and even improve this program without the help of some of these people... but can you do it without any equipment?" Another part of the problem is that we're not just talking about a few individual pieces of equipment - not just one dining fly, or a cook set, or a projector. We're literally talking about roughly 75% of the equipment that is ESSENTIAL to running this program potentially all vanishing overnight. So, worse case scenario, we'd be looking at buying, building or borrowing several THOUSAND dollars worth of equipment. And while our current inventory has been accumulating over several years, we'd only have a few months to solve this crisis. I agree that the owners would be well within their rights to stop making their personal property available to, and I personally can understand why they feel driven to that point, it would certainly leave the program in a rough spot - but that might just be the cost of doing business. I guess I'm concerned about going forward - is the situation we're in now the lesser of all the possible evils? Is relying on "extended donations" preferable to soliciting the council for funds? Or donating the equipment directly to the council?
  10. The thread about ownership of OA equipment got thinking about a situation we're currently facing in my council. Background: For a particular training program, over the past several years we have accumulated quite a bit of equipment, probably worth a couple thousand dollars total. Reason being, the council wasn't interested in footing the bill for the equipment, and fortunately we have several committed volunteers who agreed to donate the equipment. The curveball is that the equipment wasn't technically "donated," but rather is on an "extended loan" to this particular program. So the equipment remains privately owned by various individuals, who agree to allow it to be used for this training course. The concern with donating it "for real" to the council is that the equipment would get "repurposed" for other programs, would get lost, get broken, etc. Since the council won't pay for the repair or replacement of the equipment, we'd be left hanging for our own program. So this seemed like the best solution to the problem. While this has worked fine for many many years, we're currently sliding into a situation where new people, new program, new ideas, etc and being introduced into the mix. Some of the "old timers" feel that this transition is being handled poorly. Long story short, I'm worried that we'll end up in an "I'm taking my toys and going home" situation, we're the program will be left without essential equipment - unless the current situation is handled with a great deal of diplomacy. I don't want to get into some of the background and personalities and debates about whether or not everyone is acting maturely - suffice to say, both "sides" have some legitimate arguments, but both sides have also slipped into some non-Scoutlike behavior from time to time. What I'd like some input on is the equipment and financial situation in general. I'm trying the current situation is a fair price to pay, or if we made some bad choices that allowed this situation to happen. Any thoughts or advice?
  11. dScouter15

    Humiliation as Fundraising?

    I don't think I'm so worried about one kid or another feeling humiliated - I would hope that if someone had feel that way, that I or another leader would have found out about it directly so that it could be handled. I don't think that this committee member's comment was triggered based on one specific kid. I think her concern might have to do with how the wider community would perceive our fundraiser - as in, passers-by may conclude that we're making money by setting our scouts up to be humiliated, and that's not the kind of "image" we would want the troop to have. I can kind of understand this thought process, but I don't think it's a big enough concern to cause us to cancel and event. I think Scoutfish is right - the kid on the seat ends up having more fun than the kids throwing the balls. Just wondering if anyone else felt differently :-)
  12. dScouter15

    Humiliation as Fundraising?

    A incident recently occurred in my troop that's somewhat related to the ongoing "hazing" discussion, but different enough that I thought I'd make a new thread. First, a little background. My troop has operated a dunk tank fundraiser for the past several years. Our PLC sets it up as a patrol competition - each patrol is given a time slot to operate the dunk tank, and there are some prizes given to the patrol that pulls in the most money, the patrol with the most "dunks," patrol with the goofiest costumes - stuff like that. Like I said, we've done this for several years, and it always seems to be an enjoyable event. Doesn't really make a tremendous amount of money, but the kids always look forward to it as a fun day. I've always helped out on the adult side for the past couple years, and we've never had any major problems. We also recently did our dunk tank fundraiser this year at a carnival last week. So at our committee meeting the other day, it was reported that we completed the dunk tank fundraiser, made a certain amount of money, and discussed whether to do it again next year. One newer committee member raised a point that maybe we shouldn't continue to do it as a fundraiser, since "there's better ways to make money than humiliating our kids." She left it at that, and I was surprised to hear it phrased like that. Her son had participated in the fundraiser last week, and from what I could see, had a great time. I tried to talk to the committee member after the meeting to see if something had happened to upset someone, but she said no, but just felt like there were better ways to make money for the troop. To my knowledge, we've never had a problem with a scout feeling "humiliated" by this fundraiser - participation is completely voluntary, so if you don't want to go in the dunk tank, you don't have to. Also the kids all seem pretty eager to take a turn in the dunk tank. So no issues that I know of. But, philosophically anyway, what the committee member said makes sense on some level. I could see how it might look like "humiliation," and I guess to some extent the idea of humiliation is why people would pay money to throw at a dunk tank. There's also an issue that some patrols (including the one her son is in) chose to wear their full uniforms in the dunk tank. So would anyone like to share any input here - is there any merit to this lady's concerns?
  13. moose - maybe the next time your troop does a swimming activity, you could get a group of scouts to wear different outfits made up of various clothing items (shorts/tshirt, jeans, other long pants, button down shirt, long sleeve tshirt, sweatshirt, etc). Don't ask anyone to buy or come up with anything specific, just have them wear a typical outfit that they would normally wear. Then have them do the jump in the water activity, and see how easy or difficult it is to stay afloat in different kinds of clothes. Maybe make it a game to see who can stay afloat the longest, or with the least amount of effort, or something along those lines? It seems having the scouts get familiar with survival swimming in typical attire would be a lot more useful than a requirement that has you go out any buy special clothes just to make the requirement work. If nothing else, it would probably be a fun and memorable activity for your troop.
  14. dScouter15

    Fundraiser/parking cars

    My troop has done a "sink a scout" dunk tank fundraiser for the past several years, and it tends to be very successful. It doesn't bring in a huge amount of money (our best year was around $1000), but its pretty easy to do and the scouts have a lot of fun with it. Its amazing how much money teenagers will spend to see their friends get soaked in the dunk tank. If you do choose to explore this possibility, here's a few tidbits my troop has picked up on: * Venue is everything. Dunk tank rental can be expensive, and when we first did the fundraiser it was at a church fair for our CO that only ran a few hours long, and we just didn't have enough time to make a lot of money. Lately we've been able to run it at a town fair that goes from Friday afternoon to Sunday evening, so we get almost 36 hours of fund raising time. Fortunately we have a big enough troop that we have plenty of volunteers to fill all this time. * Location Location Location. You obviously want a spot right in the middle of the action, but also remember to be near a water source (and give yourself enough time beforehand to fill the tank. It can take a few hours with a garden hose). Also keep in mind that you will need some kind of changing facilities close by so the scouts can change our of their wet clothes and into dry clothes. Our scouts also report they prefer being set up on a grassy area instead of asphalt or black top - a little easier on the feet. We've been able to setup in a school playground area, and use the school's locker rooms for changing. * The weather can be a factor. If its cold and rainy, the scouts might not be too enthusiatic about plunging into a tank of cold water. Or, if its too cold, it might not be safe to do it at all. Bad weather will also keep attendance at your venue down. Not much that can be done about that, but its something to keep in mind. Hope this gives you some ideas.
  15. dScouter15

    YPT Training for Youths

    A few clarifications: the youth camp staff in question are staffing a program that isn't covered under NCS guidelines. But, I will use the NCS guidelines as a reference. Also, as we all know, "training" is not the same as "presenting." I will of course follow any guidelines and training materials available from the BSA, and by no means do I want to "devise" my own curriculum. But, I think a huge part of effective training is knowing one's audience, and knowing how to convey the raw information in a meaningful and useful way. That's the topic I'm trying to drive at in this thread. Finally, ill advised or not, there does seem to be a push in some councils anyway to provide YPT training for den chiefs and other youth leaders. I'm not opposed to this idea at all, provided that it is approached intelligently, and covers information that is relevant to the youth members, and steers clear of irrelevant or unnecessary topics. That's another area that I'm trying to draw out via this thread.
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