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E V Augustine

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Posts posted by E V Augustine

  1. Unfortunately my troop has had to function on the basis of who has the assets in possession. The troop was chartered by a Catholic church for 71 years. The diocese closed the church as part of a consolidation program. A week or so before the official closing date the gear was relocated to a storage facility and the funds held in the name of the Troop remained. We were subsequently chartered by a parochial school formed in the consolidation. Now four years later the school trustees have decided we need to move before January 1, 2014. (Insert new thread here.) Its deja vu all over again.


    Fortunately the troop has access to a fair number of trucks, strong backs and a stronger sense of self-preservation.



  2. A request for an extension to complete Eagle requirements after age 18 mst be based on compelling reasons beyond the control of the Scout. Current advancement guidance finally memeorializes that the Scout is responsible for the information in the Handbook and presumably can read a calendar. The common sense concept expressed in multiple instances in the guidance cuts both ways. In 8 years as district advancement chair the vast majority of discussions I have had on this point boil down to the Scout's failure to choose working on things that will lead to making Eagle rank.

  3. You could look at Dolly Sods Wilderness Area near Laneville, WV. The National Forest Service and US Army Corps of Engineers have good information and mapping on their web sites.


    Dolly Sods is a plateau of about 50 square miles at about 4,000 feet elevation. Topographic relief is almost 800 feet in the southern valleys; 400 ft in the north. The trails are rocky. The vegetation is sub-Alpine with heather covered valleys in the north and bogs near the streams. Tree cover tends to be Spruce with dense canopy only in the valleys. A late October trip could very well experience below freezing daytime temperatures and snow brought in by 30 mph winds.


    All in all it is a great trip. Good luck.


    Eric Augustine, SM

    Troop 287

    Lakewood, OH

  4. Gentlemen,


    Before we can be accused of male centric responses; ie. taking care of one of our own, consider the consequences of "ta-ta" tapping reported to the police.


    The Scout Oath and Law have little currency in an arraignment hearing.


    Given that a Scout is thrifty, I have no funds accrued for BSA related legal defense. Consequently I would take all prudent action to limit my personal legal exposure.


    Given that its about $40k to the court house steps, as a volunteer adult leader why do I need to care if the perpetrator makes next rank or if he has a positive Scouting experience should I become a named defendant?


    You may wax prosaic about the Scout Oath and Law and national policy here, but that will not stand as defense in many legal jurisdictions.













  5. Scouters,


    Having served as District Training Chair during program years 2001 - 2004 I can assure you that council training record keeping has been abysmal. The SE authorized zero staff hours to record unit leader training credits. I had three Wood Badge beads before I was shown as trained on my unit roster.


    The current emphasis is Youth Protection Training necessary for renewal/recharter. All to be completed and recorded electronically through the national web portal. Absent electronic documentation the non-compliant individual is removed from the roster.


    Since the pilot top leader training program has been initiated it is possible to generate a "not trained leader" report through ScoutNet. The report shows training completed for the individual's current leadership position completed electronically. Seat in the chair training records are left to the vagaries of the local council.


    The next trick coming in 2012 is that top unit leaders have completed position specific training. (For you Ask Andy fans read as SM, CC and COR.) I doubt much attention will be paid to other than required training records.


    It is surprising what an $18.5 million judgment will do. There are unsubstantiated rumors that G2SS will soon require patrol outings to have two deep leadership and a tour permit. While the rumored action appears to be a near term solution to LDS Scout unit patrols setting the woods on fire it seems a cheap fix and limiting factor to the rest.


    Best advice is to narrowly construe current published national guidance and document everything else.


    Eric Augustine









  6. Eagledad (Barry),


    Things have changed. An $18.5 million liability settlement in April 2010. A May 24, 2010 memo making Youth Protection Training mandatory with an effective date of June 1, 2010 requiring submittal of proof of training to initially register, and automatic removal from the roster at recharter for failure to comply.


    Assuming the facts initially presented are accurate the youth committed an assault resulting in physical injury. Policy provides that the perpetrator be removed from the unit roster for disciplinary reasons and a YPT report be made to the Scout Executive. Then someone can sort it out.


    It would be easier if this were 1963 where the perpetrator might end up as the only guest at a blanket party on the next camp out. At that time most folks would have thought things worked out about right.


    Before we become too concerned about the perpetrator consider the lesson taught by how the incident is handled. Reportedly there are two units involved. Absent appropriate action perceptible to the youth members the conduct is accepted leaving the possibility for subsequent occurrences by the perpetrator, other youth and/or retaliation. In this case I would not forsake the ninety and nine.





  7. dhendron,


    Your most recent post indicates you've taken some action, but from from your statements it appears that you've not taken the notification steps mandated by Youth Protection Training. You are probably aware that YPT became mandatory June 1, 2010. Given this emphasis it would be best if you followed through with all anticipated notifications before the train leaves the station. Those registered leaders present at the incident may have personal exposure due to failure to notify particularly since the acts resulted in an emergency room visit.


    Although from your account it appears the Scout's parents are not overly excited I would remind you of the adage that revenge is a dish best served cold. Unfortunately I've seen lesser incidents (no physical harm) rise to civil and criminal action initiated by the Scout's parents.

  8. Scoutfish,


    You did not mention the brand you purchased. Lodge Manufacturing Co. has an excellent web site (http://www.lodgemfg.com/) that compliments their products where you can access information on use and care of cast iron cook ware.


    The odor you describe on initial heating was residual shop oil, a petroleum product, which should have been washed off with hot water and dish detergent before seasoning. Since you do not mention that anyone has keeled over yet the oven is probably OK now.


    There are two schools of thought on cleaning. Scrape the oven out and heat it burnig the residual food black, scraping it again, oiling it inside and out and reheating. A second method is to fill the oven with plain water and bringing the water to a boil until the food residue floats to the surface. Dispose of the water, oil the oven and reheat. The latter method seems to work best with pastry and tomato based sauces.


    Try using Crisco instead of oils. Yes, canola and peanut oils have a higher cooking temperature but the Crisco seems to penetrate more effectively. Melt the Crisco and apply it to the surface until it is shiny, not dripping, then heat to 300 - 325 degrees. The oven should not smoke. Excessive oil of any kind left on the oven may turn rancid.


    Good Luck.




  9. Untrained folks are conditionally approved and notified, again, of the training requirement indicating they will be approved on reciept of the training verification. New counselors are similarly advised then registered and run through the background check. The individual is finally approved and notified when everything is complete. Cumbersome at start up the procedure has a low error rate.

  10. moosetracker,


    Unless National modifies the input for the MBC code 42 roster to include updates from internet training reports it would be futile to track YP training status independently. It would require reconciliation of the adult unit and district rosters with the code 42 roster and one would still miss those only registered as counselors. Given the recent court decision I imagine the data management solution would be implemented sooner rather than later.


    The Greater Cleveland Council Advancement Committee has been requiring that MBC new applicants and renewals attach a copies of their YPT cards to their applications since 2009. Ensuring compliance is straightforward, no YPT no MBC. In this scenario compliance is required up front relieving the district chairs of an almost impossible record keeping and enforcement job. Some might view the practice as draconian, but individual compliance is a matter of 45 minutes on the internet.

  11. Serving as advancement chair I've been able to get text files from the council registrar for the MBC code 42 roster and unit rosters which are reasonably easy to format and upload to versions of Troopmaster district management software.


    The MBC roster is checked against the district list with edits returned to the registrar. Council maintains an MBC listing on the web site for those counselors who have expressly consented to the posting of their contact information on the Internet. The system works reasonably well.


    Training records are another matter. I've seen the not trained reports distributed at the district meetings and they are accurate to the extent the training was completed through the national web site. I've not yet seen a report addressing Youth Protection training status for merit badge counselors although I'd like to think it is possible to generate the report. Records for Scouters completing training the old fashioned way are sporadic at best. I did not show as a trained Scoutmaster until I had my third bead. With National's pilot program setting top leader trained status as a condition for recharter I imagine the data collection and reporting will improve.



  12. Basementdweller,


    Well spoken.


    I would suggest that you add a few more Good Old Boy activities:


    SM SMA Trained, Wood Badge, Red Cross First Responder, Red Cross CPR, Wilderness First Aid, Safe Swim Defense, Safety Afloat and Climb on Safely all completed in addition to the hour a week.


    Being admitted to the network is not tough. It is a stepped process of reliable participation, training and increasing leadership responsibilities. Kind of like what a Scout goes through in his time with the troop.


  13. As a guess I would say the transport authorizations/restrictions would apply to council and district events, including summer camp under the circumstances where a Scout leaves the event early. In an ideal world the scheduled drivers would be listed on a tour permit.


    At council summer camps the forms are turned over camp management. On early release the driver would complete a second form authorizing transport which is required by National Camp Standards. Since they've issued the forms they are stuck with matching up the names similar to the process at a school. I have difficulty thinking there is applicability on a troop event level as I do not need another job.

  14. Jeff,


    District Advancement and Recognition Chairs should be maintaining lists of merit badge counselors as well as the Council registrar. There are two types of counselors, those that teach only in their unit and those that will teach any Scout. Typically the array of badges covered is 85% of those offered. I would like to think getting the lists is only an email away.


    P.S. The Scout should probably be making the calls.

  15. In reading this thread I've noticed it has been stated a few times that all eligible boys in a ward are registered in the Scout unit and that the practice tends to overstate membership numbers. I can't help but wonder if that is the genesis of National Council's current definition of active.


    Thanks, I was beginning to feel like an artifact. The blue card system works because a written record is completed in triplicate at the time the work is finished by the people directly involved.


    In discussions with other district advancement chairs about conversion to a primarily electronic system the sticking point has always been what is the fail safe? As I had written earlier the Greater Cleveland Council does not require blue card submittal with the Eagle package, where others do. An earlier poster is correct in that the validation is done before the board is scheduled. I really am not arguing against a paperless system with appropriate safeguards.


    If there is a problem with merit badges on submittal for an Eagle board of review it is dropped in the laps of the Scoutmaster and district advancement chair to solve. The GCC districts maintain counselor rosters noting dates of service and merit badges authorized for years, in my case the records I was handed six years ago went back another five years for a current total of 11 years. It is a simple matter to check dates. In the case of out of council counselors, the code 42 roster is a national database and the council registrar has been responsive to those requests in providing contact information. Fortunately the few times these issues arose they were decided in the Scout's favor because the Scout's claim was verifiable.


    As for unit advancement coordinators checking the qualified counselor list that just means someone other than the Scoutmaster contacts the district advancement chair. Here the lists are distributed to the Scoutmasters for further internal distribution. Updates are provided as necessary. Usually they involve the addition of troop only counselors which are forwarded to the respective troops.



    As for a Scoutmaster or relative acting as a single source for requirement sign off there are probably terabytes of server space occupied by the argument. I do not imagine it will be resolved soon.

  17. evmori,


    The original post stated, "His Dad, the SM, Signed off absolutely everything the Scout did in scouting. Merit badges, rank requirements absolutely everything." So much for adult association, which in Scouting guidance assumes more than your father. Another perspective is that a merit badge counselor's qualifications are to have more than a working knowledge of the subject. Thinking about the range of skills necessary to competently teach 21 topics this dad would be a truly remarkable individual or he managed to get by the district advancement committee. Because the circumstances described are not expressly prohibited does not make it good practice. The post does not indicate the Scout was denied rank.


    A council requiring the submittal of blue cards with a candidate's rank application is a second means of verifying the counselors were registered when the merit badges were completed. An element not addressed by electronic databases. Obviously the council advancement committee and council executive approved the practice. Further, it is not unique among councils.


    Our opinions on the matter are irrelevant as neither of us serve in the Columbia-Montour Council.

  18. Brent,


    You're right the document hierarchy I cited is no longer in the advancement guide. Perhaps I've been around too long. However, given the Greater Cleveland Council still uses blue cards the practice continues as a means of verifying claimed badges in the event the question arises.


    Out of curiosity does the council directly input the merit badge data or does the unit still prepare and submit an advancement report? How are input errors on the camp report resolved?



  19. Eagle 92,


    The advancement committee guide still calls out the Handbook and blue cards as primary proofs. With regard to merit badges the stated order is blue card, unit advancement report, merit badge card. The blue card is evidence of personal contact between the Scout and counselor, the only two relevant parties.


    I am not familiar with units or council camps using computer print-outs in lieu of blue cards, so I can't really speak to what the primary documents are or what would be proof in the event questions arose. I would imagine some document has to be generated for data input unless the Scout's member number were tattooed on as a bar code then scanned as each requirement were completed :)


    I'm fairly computer savvy and found the more different people lay hands on a database the higher the error frequency. In my personal experience I had my third bead before council records showed me as trained for my unit position. I would not want to leave an Eagle candidate in those same hands.



  20. The requirement to bring blue cards to your Eagle Board of Review has been around for a while. I brought them to my board in 1970 and my home council, Columbia-Montour still requires it with the rest of the documentation. Obviously the task is not unduly burdensome. Failing to present the blue cards for a given board date just means the Scout is rescheduled.


    The blue card is primary evidence of merit badge completion. If the Scout, unit or counselor can produce a signed blue card the issue is settled, assuming the counselor was registered on the signature date. Electronic data is convenient but subject to compounded errors absent consistent oversight.


    To get back to the subject, if in fact a Scoutmaster/father did sign off on the significant majority of the Scout's requirements to Eagle it represents a failure in troop leadership.

  21. B,


    Good points I missed in the first read. I've not yet had a trained and competent youth or adult leader pull out of a high adventure trip raising safety issues. If that were to happen I guess my first response would be, "So who's your replacement?" putting the onus on the person backing out. Not quite Lyndon Johnson's version of moral suasion but I would not be bashful about asking it in front of an audience.


    As for filling a slot to get to a minimum number it comes down to marketing both in the troop and Scouts/Scouters outside the troop.




    Eric Augustine

  22. Beavah,


    We have not had a significant problem with cancellations. When they do happen we operate on the concept of sunk costs. Participant fees are collected in a timely manner and paid. Adults and Scouts canceling receive refunds only to the extent they are made to the troop. If there are flat fees portioned out among the participants the canceling party is only refunded monies to the extent they do not make others pay more. This is made clear up front every time.


    This is applied down to a Scout's share for the patrol food. So far we've had no complaints.

  23. The G2SS Policy on the Storage, Handling, and Use of Chemical Fuels and Equipment prohibits the use of homemade alcohol stoves such as the Pepsi can stove. It classes isopropyl alcohol, denatured

    ethyl alcohol, and ethanol as not recommended. Taken together one may purchase an alcohol stove and use it with the fuel it was designed for. In BSA's Scouting Community Richard Bourlon, BSA's safety director, indicated the policy change was due to "high profile" accidents involving alcohol fuel handling. From his comments the policy changes were not made on the basis of material properties like flash point, vapor pressure or combustion product toxicity relative to those of recommended chemical fuel.


    Ultralight backpackers may keep their Trangia stoves and/or purchase a Caldera Cone system which comes equipped with commercially manufactured can stove identical in configuration to one on http://zenstoves.net/Stoves.htm. Alcohol fuels used in accordance with the stove manufacturer's instructions.


    Recognizing that I could be accused of hair splitting, the subject revision seems to be a knee jerk response to bad press. It is easier to prohibit use of a device than motivate a volunteer population to effectively train existing safety practices.

  24. The merit badge process still includes how the Scout discuses the merit badge he wishes to attempt with his Scoutmaster and is then given the name of a qualified counselor by his Scoutmaster. In the circumstances stated in the original post the smell, not aroma, of home cooking is overwhelming. So much for adult association.


    In the Greater Cleveland Council blue cards are not presented at the EBOR. Were the circumstances known the issue would merit a few questions.

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