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Everything posted by Eagle74

  1. Knowing I probably shouldn't go there, I'm going to do it anyway. Rooster7, you mention balance. Now there's the key. Both men and women tend toward the ends of the spectrum; too "soft" or too "tough". Us guys tend to wear the tough guy personna to the detriment of some well-timed compassion or tend to make such a show of compassion that it's just not real - "see, I can be more compassionate than you can". Gals tend to have the compassion part right at times to the detriment of an occasional "just show some spine" or tend toward the "you can't see mine, but they're just as big as yours" extreme. Ahh, to simply strike a balance. (Don't look to me for the answer, I'm in the lacking well-timed compassion boat; but I'm trying hard.) Men and women are not the same. Not physically, not mentally, not emotionally, not biologically. (Now I really stepped in it) But . . . . recognize, accept, respect differences and learn to use the best of the differences. We cannot be each other, but we can certainly coexist to the benefit of both.
  2. Now darn it, Bob White, you did it again. One of these days I'm going get back at you for reminding me of my age all the time. (I'm sitting here looking at all of the ten days / ten nights segments I earned as a Scout.)
  3. ". . . Opting to attend an alternate activity in lieu of a scouting activity is not always failing to honor a committment." Agreed. Unless one has made a commitment by virtue of attendance, that others are depending upon. ". . . there may be a time when the youth does not wish to participate in a specific activity,for whatever reason, leaving the adult to either honor his committment and not spend time with his child or to excuse himself from his committment." As Bob White writes "life happens." The choice can only be made by you; it is an individual choice based upon your circumstances and priorities. How one makes the choice is what becomes important. I think there may be a difference in the way we see "commitment." If I commit to being one of two needed leaders for an activity, I feel that I have made a commitment that should not be broken, except under extenuating circumstances. If I decide that another activity is of importance and can find another leader to take my place, the "commitment" has been honored so long as it is not my attendance personally that is what is being depended upon. As an instructor, I have made a "commitment" that is dependent upon my personal attendance. Unless acceptable arrangements can be made to reschedule, or another equal instructor is acceptable, I am bound to honor my commitment. A simple indication of attendance is not necessarily a commitment. If one of several scouters attending an activity must be absent and by that absence will not be "missed", then no harm - no foul. The commitment only extends to making sure that absence will not creating a hardship. I am troubled by failure to honor a "commitment"; for instance, parent "commits" to driving scouts to an event and calls the morning of the event to beg off because of another "commitment." My answer is, find someone to take your place and your commitment has been honored. Knowing that things are not always black and white, I still have trouble understanding how one can have more than one (conflicting) "commitment" at the same time. On one of the other comments, my sons know that they are expected to keep their commitments as I do mine, but my commitments and priorities are not the same as theirs, and between the two sons there are differences. They need to establish a life of their own, with their own priorities and commitments. And they need to understand that while mom and dad love them very much and thoroughly enjoy being with them, there come times when our lives do not revolve around them. Sctmom, hurrah; it's a difficult thing to do sometimes.
  4. RE: #2 There is a fine line there between too much and too little; striking a balance is something dad or mom must conciously work at. I have seen both in my years as a Scouter. Too much attention to others at the expense of one's own son is one reason that results in early dropout for a Scouter's son. Sometimes we try too hard to avoid an appearance of "favoring" our own sons. As I wrote in the "Balance" thread, my humble advice is that you must, must, must, have a parent-child relationship with your son(s) during the Scouting experience. During the time that my sons are in Scouts, I am in scouting with them and there for them when needed. I allow them no more than anyone else, but give them no less. Another reason for early dropout is expecting too much. This is the "Scoutmaster's son should be better than everyone else" syndrome (best in competition, highest rank, most merit badges, highest leadership position, best backpacker, and on and on). My father and I had this relationship for awhile as soccer coach / soccer coach's son and it made both of our lives difficult. We were both very good in our respective roles as coach and player, but my oh my was it a tenuous relationship. I try very hard to balance high goal setting and expectations with realistic goals and expectations. If you have more than one son in Scouts, recognize and accept that they are individuals and often very different from each other. For me and my sons, it helps to use a team approach to our scouting life:  Contribute ideas and solutions  Recognize and respect differences  Value ideas and contributions  Listen and share  Ask questions; give and get clarification  Participate fully  Keep your commitments  Acknowledge / recognize a job well done Life's not always a bed of roses, but I think we're doing OK.
  5. I am thoroughly impressed and would like to sincerely thank those who have contributed to this thread. Unlike a number of other threads that sometimes degrade into hostile pettiness; causing me to occasionally wonder if I should even continue with the forum, the contributors here show thoughtful reflection on Scouting and service to others balanced by service to family. Thank you for allowing me to be "associated" with such a thoughtful bunch. My sons, both now in the troop that I am Asst. Scoutmaster for, do not expect any special treatment nor do I allow it. As KoreaScouter mentions, they do gain an advantage simply by association, since they assist me with tasks, know first-hand about many things, etc. The also have the advantage of access to me at home. My feeling about this though is that I give freely of my time as a Scouter and will not "disassociate" myself from my sons (and wife who is also actively involved with the troop). This is an advantage they gain because I am willing to give of myself not only for the sake of my own sons, but also other parent's sons. One regret is that when the older son moved into Boy Scouts, I stayed on as a leader with the younger son's Pack. I did not move into a leader role in the troop until the younger one also moved up. To me, while I knew that the older son would do just fine, I felt like I was in a sense picking one over the other. In looking back, I wish that I had done "double duty" if for no other reason than my own personal satisfaction. But the advantage was that there was no conflict for me as mentor vs leader and the older son had already established himself in the troop on his own terms (and did me proud). He has followed in his father's footsteps by attaining Eagle and having recently turned 18, is staying on as an Asst. Scoutmaster. The younger son has also established himself on his own terms and is also knocking on the door of Eagle. With pride I must say that my sons have allowed me to to fulfill my role as a leader for the entire group. But never forget that you can't ignore your own son or place him at a disadvantage because he is your son. Let him come to be on his terms, but don't be afraid to pick him up when he stumbles. Don't be afraid to give him the "advantage" of your knowledge and experiences. And don't forget to have a parent-son relationship during the Scouting experience. I have enjoyed the time spent with my sons and the special relationship established with them through the Scouting program. It has given me a deeper respect for them and who they are, and hopefully vice-versa. Wow, I think I just wrote a book.
  6. Add my vote in the affirmative column. In my line of work (fire & ems) we have switched primarily to digital, even for fire investigations that are prepared for legal proceedings. On the avocation side, I use digital extensively with results that equal or rival 35mm photography, except for very high quality applications. Digital's use in the professional world - encompassing all vocations - is gaining prevalence.
  7. Pretty much in agreement here. We allow anyone approved to sign off on requirements to instruct the TotNChip and FireManChit skills. That instructor then recommends to the Scoutmaster or Asst. Scoutmaster that the boy is qualified. Scoutmaster or Asst. is the one who signs off on the card, with the option of testing the boy's knowledge, skills and abilities. Taking (cutting off) corners - or revocation for serious offenses - may only be done by the Scoutmaster or Asst.
  8. OGE, I "feel your pain" re: medications. After all these years, I still cannot comprehend how some of these young men can be on so many medications. It's like a traveling pharmacy when we go on outings. Makes me wonder if my two, who are on no medications, are missing something.
  9. I was pack treasurer for about 6 years. Your resposibility should not be to determine how money is spent - beyond your informed input as "handler" of the funds. Rather your primary responsibility is keeping accurate and complete records of all funds coming into and going out of the pack treasury. You do have a fiduciary duty and I would recommend that your books be "audited" annually by another individual. I was able to use a friend who is an accountant and he donated his time. Policies and procedures for expenditure of funds from the treasury should lay on the shoulders of the Pack committee. As for expenses, our pack used the pack treasury only for pack related expenses - badges, pins, blue & gold, pinewood derby, raingutter regatta, etc. Most years, these expenses were covered by the proceeds of popcorn sales. All popcorn proceeds went to the pack and the scout bucks earned were used to reward the top 5 sellers. Annual member renewal was paid by the parent each year. One goal each year was to budget to enter the following year with enough cash reserve to be able to run for about one additional year without any income except member renewal fees. Takes a couple of years to get to that point and then takes a disciplined group to keep it that way. Dens were responsible for their own expenses including supplies, activity fees for den activities, snacks, etc. Our den had den dues of $5 per month. This more than covered the den's expenses and allowed us to buy Boy Scout Handbooks for each boy going on to Boy Scouts and have a "bridging party" with the left over funds. Hope this info is of some help. I understand your dilema, but think the committee needs to take a more prominent role in determining what is acceptable as a pack expenditure.
  10. Bob White: Thanks for the clarifications. I think we are in agreement. OGE is on the mark with having a system in place to find out why boys leave (and then not burying your head in the sand).
  11. So; if the parents and boys believe the Scouting Program to be of value - having come through Cub Scouts and all - can I assume that if they leave one troop due to a poor troop program, they end up in another troop with a good program? Similar to the way they switch soccer teams if they don't like the way a team is coached? If that's what's happening, there's a problem with your troop's program. If not, either your program is so bad that it gives the entire scouting program a very bad name (and won't survive) or it's time to look at other things. Yes, there will be a few who over the years will become totally disengaged from the entire scouting program due to a bad experience with one troop, but my personal experience is that more often than not, if they are interested in the scouting experience in the first place, they switch troops. Loosing some boys would be a clue (red flag) to examine your program, but not necessarilly a sign that yours is a bad program. I have on occassion, suggested to parent and boy that they try another troop. Some have left and then come back. Troop programs vary in our area - some place emphasis on high-adventure types of activities, some place emphasis on long trips, some place emphasis on advancement/merit badges, some (like ours) try to provide a taste of everything. Maybe another troop is a better match for the boy. Bob & OldGreyEagle, while I agree with your premise that a notable drop-out rate deserves, actually demands, a close look at your program, I think that your resistance to even acknowledge other factors hurts your stance. Using my two sons as a first-hand example; during the Cub Scouting age years not nearly as many competing activities presented themselves as when they reached Boy Scout age. My commitment to and firm belief in the principles that scouting espouses is what kept them in scouting rather than in soccer, baseball, swimming, chess club, climbing club, ski club, bowling league, marching band, pep band, girls, exploring, church youth program, and on and on at the expense of scouting. The fact that I was personally involved and thoroughly enjoy scouting certainly helped. One place to look is at the parents' commitment to the scouting program once all of the competing activities become available. In today's society, moreso than when I was a Boy Scout, parents think it much more cool (read self-satisfying for the parent) for their sons to excel in sports than in scouting.
  12. As I just finished planning for a Troop JLT campout this coming weekend, I couldn't help but think that some of what I think I'm hearing here is in conflict with the JLT principles of good leadership. If you haven't gone through the Junior Leader Training process, at least through the Troop JLT, I would recommend it. The canned program from BSA could use some work, but it is a good baseline. While we call them "rank" advancements, simply "advancement" or "skill" advancement might solve some of this problem. (Begs the question of how an organization with two "rank" structures within itself - "ranks" & "leadership positions" - can function effectively.) To me, a Scout of a higher "rank", simply indicates that the Scout has achieved a wider and more advanced array of skill sets. I see the higher "ranking" Scout's role as a coach, whose broader experience and knowledge (should) serve to have others learn from him. Leadership roles (chain of command, if you will) should come from within the leadership positions within the troop, regardless of "rank". Yes, a 1st Class Patrol Leader directing a Life Scout can create an odd situation, but this is a leadership in life lesson. The most experienced and trained individual is not always the "boss". Hopefully, the 1st Class Scout comes to understand that his role as a leader includes being able to utilize the knowledge and experience of the Life Scout to his advantage. Hopefully, the Life Scout has already learned, or will learn, that what he has to offer makes him a valuable member of the team and an asset to his patrol leader. Also, that if he selflessly and in a coaching manner helps that patrol leader along, the team becomes that much stronger. While beyond a thorough level of understanding for some Scouts, especially younger ones, this is a Situational Leadership lesson. Then again, I've taught this concept to even young junior leaders and have had them come away with a better understanding than some adults. Simply food for thought.
  13. OOPS! That should have been "justifiably proud." I wish I could be as justifiably proud of my editing skills!
  14. Spork & Scoutmaster 424: Off the topic, but let me be the first to welcome you to Peterloon 2002 at Camp Friedlander (Lower Craig area). The camp is in the community in which I live and work. As a Scouter - one who was a Scout that attended Camp Friedlander Summer Camp way back when - and Asst. Chief of Miami Twp. Fire & EMS whose area the camp is in, we are justiable proud of the new facilities. Wishing for you another great and safe Peterloon experience!
  15. Pardon my late entry into this fray, but on the original topic of smoke-shifters, I have this addition. As a leader of another troop years ago, we turned this one around. We actually had a smoke-shifter. We built one out of some sheet metal dryer ductwork. When a Scout from another troop would come to us asking for a smoke shifter (left or right) we would pull this contraption out and send him back to his troop with it. It had a swivel elbow and we explained to him that he could swivel it left or right to suit the need. It also had a small battery operated fan in the duct, with an on/off switch. We also told him to come back with it after presenting it at his camp. The reaction and look on his leader's or his troop's "experienced" scouts faces when he walked into his camp with it was always precious. (We'd follow him back to his camp at a distance and be near his camp when he returned with it, so we could watch the reaction) When he returned to our camp, if he had not already figured it out, we would explain how he had just turned the tables on his troop. We would also take a few minutes to explain that the whole thing was in good humor, to view it as such, and go on with life as these things would happen throughout his life. How someone handles these things, when not malicious, is a reflection on one's self. Those who can't in good humor laugh at themselves occasionally, live a much too serious life. Made a lot of friends with new scouts this way and every time I would see one of them at another event, they would usually say "Hey" and ask if I remembered them. If not, they would relate the story and we'd have a good chuckle together. Also made friends with other leaders who were able to laugh at themselves when they were "outdone" by one of their scouts. Over the years we also came up with sky hooks and a few other "inventions" and used them the same way. I guess the bottom line for me is to keep things in their proper perspective. If it's in good humor - keep it in good humor. Malicious, as in some snipe hunts or other "wild goose chases" I've seen in other troops, or when the good humor is no longer good humor, stop it quickly and turn it into a lesson. Sometimes this lesson is simply that people are different and that good humor to one, is bad humor to another - learn to recognize the difference.
  16. I was happy to see that people have mentioned the green tie. What's up with its disappearance, anyway? Still have mine and I always thought it looked nice for more formal occassions such as Scout Sunday, Courts of Honor, Awards ceremonies and such. For less formal occassions I prefer the bolo tie, but wear the neckerchief when wanting to blend in with the troop. The only problem I have with the neckerchief it that it is too short.
  17. Are these boys advancing (being channeled) into leadership roles or positions that reflect their knowledge and experience? Particularly those that have attained the rank of Eagle. Or are they still just one of the rest of the gang? Keeping these boys in a challenging role is an important part of their wanting to continue in Scouting. Whether it's as a Troop Guide, Jr. Asst. Scoutmaster, etc. or simply a recognized mentor for young Scouts, put them into a role that challenges them to take the next step in leadership and allows them to continue accomplishments of value to the troop and themselves. As for Eagles "gaining advantages" so to speak. I regularly interview candidates for fire and emergency medical positions. Having achieved the rank of Eagle usually gains them a point or two on the interview right off the top. I know that these folks should already have at least the very basics for the position even with no prior emergency service experience and they should have an aptitude for learning a wide range of skills. The potential plum is in how they answer the question "Are you still involved in Scouting?" A "Yes" gains them a significant advantage. This is the type of person I'm looking for. (Same goes for Girl Scouts) There is the "Trail to Eagle" and then there is the "Eagle Trail". 2% complete the Trail to Eagle. Fewer yet complete the Eagle Trail. That only begins upon award of the Eagle badge. Those that continue on the Eagle Trail demonstrate a deep understanding of the true spirit of Scouting. When I network (geez I hate that word) with other organizational and business leaders I never hesitate to remind them that these people are the potential golden nuggets that have the capacity to lead their organizations to a higher level and not to let them slip away without at least a good hard look during an interview process. Fortunately, I have yet to be let down.
  18. It may just be a piece of cloth with a bunch of pretty thread formed into the shape of a knot, but behind it is recognition of a job well done. Personally, I can take it or leave it because I have reached a state of self-actualization in my scouting life where I know what I have accomplished and am satisfied with simply knowing that "I did my best." Our adult leaders though, are a precious commodity and they appreciate recognition where earned, just as much as the boys do. I feel that recognition is the key to keeping them involved for awhile longer, even at times past the stage where their son is still in the program. Kinda like my feeling that "zero tolerance" in most cases is for "zero minds". If a leader has fulfilled all the working requirements of the knot, is not double-dipping, and is not asking for something for nothing (I have seen a few of these too) but is not technically in compliance because of wearing two hats, it's a shame that we cannot recognize the service with a knot. Maybe it's time for a "Two-Hat Knot" for those willing to fill a void when nobody else will. It could be designed as two knots on the same strip!
  19. Just had to add my two cents worth! On the original question; there is nothing that prevents a parent from being the counselor for his/her own son or signing off on rank requirements. From the ethics standpoint I personally try to avoid this for my sons, unless they are working on a merit badge together with another Scout or group of Scouts. If another counselor is available and reasonably convenient I have them go to someone else. Just gives me some backup to say that no "favoritism" was shown. Same with requirements. I usually have them demonstrate the skill and be signed off by one of the other leaders unless again the work is being completed together with others. If your troop has a limited list of counselors for the Scouts to go to, by all means don't put them at a disadvantage just because they are your son. I would hope that ethics of Scouting and Merit Badge Counseling apply in either case. Another good way for the Scout to retain his part of the "blue card", the merit badge card, rank advancement cards, etc. is to use the baseball trading card notebook pages. They fit perfectly and make for a tidy way to keep it all together. We emphasize to the Scout and parents that they retain all records in a notebook this way and bring it to all Boards of Review. Thanks to the thoroughness of our Troop Advancement Chairpersons through the years, there has never been a disputed piece of the advancement puzzle, but the Scouts are able to provide verification this way, if questioned. It also makes for a nice display at an Eagle Court of Honor or simply as a memento to stash away for when "Junior" has a "Junior" of his own.
  20. I feel the same way Bob. Apparently this came up a at recent Eagle Board of Review in our troop. No problems during this particular Board, but word from the District Advancement Chair was that something may be coming down the pike. I am trying to get additional info, as I was not sitting on the Board. The gist of it from those who were in on the Board was that it was, in essence, going to take membership in a church to get through the Eagle reviews. My personal feeling is that "membership" in a particular church is, in and of itself, no indication of duty to God. I have had the pleasure of knowing quite a few scouts who are not members of a church, do not attend church services on a consistent, frequent basis, but certainly live their lives in a manner that is most consistent with the Scout Oath and Law. I don't however, wish to start a thread on the merits or lack thereof on this point of view. Just wondering if anyone else had heard anything along a similar vein.
  21. Curious to know if anyone has heard any info regarding the "religious" reference letter for Eagle Scout candidates. Scuttlebut has it that it will be difficult to accept a letter for an Eagle candidate who is not a member of a church, synagogue, etc. I'm trying to figure out if this is something being cooked up at the district/council level or if national is pushing something. I have some very definite feelings about this, but am looking for any info that we are headed toward a stricter interpretation of "a Scout is Reverent."
  22. I anxiously await replies to this also. As my two sons went through Cub Scouts, I had to be careful to "play the game" right with my registration so that I could earn various knots. As with many of us, I wore more than one hat throughout my years as a Cub Leader. Fortunately, my Pack allowed me to register under the position needed to fulfill the letter of the law, while fulfilling the role of a second position. (I was a "Committee Member" for most of those years as Pack Treasurer, but registered through the years and served primarily as Den Leader, Webelos Leader, etc.) In some cases for other leaders, powers that be would vouch for service years for a particular knot so long as the same time period was not used for another knot. While not technically correct, I thought this was a fair and equitable solution. If the service was truly provided, why not recognize it?
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