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Everything posted by Eagle74

  1. Welcome River2K! I believe that you will make a fine Scoutmaster. "You must be willing to accept the simple fact that you have flaws and will need to work every day to become a better chieftain than you were yesterday." (Leadership Secrets of Attilla the Hun, Wess Roberts) You have taken stock of yourself; know your strengths and your weaknesses. Weaknesses are only weaknesses to those who do not acknowledge them or know them. Your strengths will complement other's weaknesses and vice versa. You say that you work well in the background. If your troop runs itself with a good program, that's where you'll want to be even though it might take awhile to get there. The most successful Scoutmasters that I have met work from that position - providing the vision, with the troop (boys) running the program to meet that vision. Assemble a good team (sounds like it's already in place) and lead on!
  2. ""When you are 45 you won't remember or care how you got your Eagle."" Can't speak for others, but I do remember and I do care. It is a personal sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that I feel confident in saying that I thoroughly learned and mastered all of the skills on the Trail to Eagle. And once there and on the Eagle Trail, I began to give back what I had learned and mastered so that others could do the same. I instill this same outlook on my two Scouting sons - one who reached Eagle and is now an ASM; one who is Life and within a couple required merit badges and project away from Eagle. They know that I would not accept mediocrity from them for the sake of advancement. It is a lesson that is lost on many in the rush to Eagle. ""I've spent days teaching them basic outdoor skills that should of been mastered at the lower ranks"" Key word being "mastered". Many will disagree with mastery of the skill, because the requirement doesn't say master the bowline, for instance; it says tie the bowline. (Can't add to the requirements - if the Scout can tie it, he passes the requirement, even if he can never tie it again. And once he's passed the requirement, you can't come back when he's a Life Scout and ask him to tie a bowline). Can't tell you how many Eagle Scouts I've run into that can't tie a bowline because they never mastered knot-tying skills; they simply learned it once so that they could pass an advancement requirement. My opinion is that it should be fair game to ask that a Scout be able to demonstrate or show continued use/ability of any/all of the skills that were required on the road to attaining his present rank - are these required skills not important enough to be of lasting value? The rush to Eagle doesn't account for mastery of skills. Eagle at thirteen; can it happen? Yes, but for me it is very much the exception. The understanding of concepts and not just rote skill demonstration, leadership, maturity of judgement gained in part by real life experiences, analytical decision-making and problem-solving are just not there yet in the vast majority of 13 year-olds. Are they there in a 16 - 18 year-old? Not always, but usually at least much further developed. Sadly, I see many young Eagles who are not (and cannot be) taken seriously as the leaders they should be because they have yet to master the things that attaining Eagle should represent. I must close by saying that a majority of Eagle Scouts that I have met through the years live up to the expectation of quality that comes with the title of Eagle Scout.(This message has been edited by Eagle74)
  3. Since the cat's out of the bag - the quote is commonly attributed to Socrates, but apparently there is no conclusive evidence that he actually said it. The Library of Congress notes that this quote is "attributed to Socrates by Plato" in a 1950's book the name of which escapes me. The quote may have come from Plato's Republic Book 4, where Socrates is quoted saying the following regarding things that he thinks have been neglected: "I mean such things as these: when the young are to be silent before their elders; how they are to show respect to them by standing and making them sit; what honour is due to parents; what garments or shoes are to be worn; the mode of dressing the hair; deportment and manners in general. You would agree with me? Yes." The Greek philosopher Plato studied under Socrates. Plato complained about the youth of the day, also. "What is happening to our young people? They disrespect their elders, they disobey their parents. They ignore the law. They riot in the streets inflamed with wild notions. Their morals are decaying. What is to become of them?" I think this is a direct quote, but can't find the reference at the moment. Here's another one: "I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words... When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise [disrespectful] and impatient of restraint" (Hesiod, 8th century BC). And who says we Scouters aren't well rounded in our education! My humble contribution - Scouting does "Round a Guy Out." Not exactly on topic, but one of my favorites: "There are many ways to measure success; not the least of which is the way your child describes you when talking to a friend." (Unknown)
  4. Silver-shark, there isn't a pat answer because the committee hasn't set a definitive policy. Oddly enough, we haven't had any Scouts transfer out to another troop; at least since I've been with this troop - about 6 years. There has only been one, but under slightly different circumstances. He quit, we re-registered him for another year out of his account funds, but he never came back during that following year. Subsequently, about 1-1/2 years later his family was moving and was going to have him join a troop in their new city. Parents were informed that the funds had reverted to the troop due to the length of inactive time (he was no longer a registered Scout). In fact, the funds from his account (a sizeable amount) had already been committed as part of the funding toward a new trailer. They weren't happy, but grudgingly acknowledged that we had followed our established and known procedure. My feeling is that we would hand over the account funds, especially if the boy was transferring to another troop. Could this be abused? Sure; if a Scout's family is on the ball, they could ask for the funds even if they never really intend to tranfer to another troop or if the boy just wants to quit. I'd be interested in hearing from anyone that has a policy covering this.
  5. Clarification: In my post I mentioned that funds in the Scout's account can't be used for food. That should have been food other than campout meal fees such as snacks. Our standard operation is that each scout going on a campout forwards $10 to the scout buying the food at the Monday meeting before the campout - they could in reality draw on the account; it's just less convenient. Silver-shark; some of the reasons you cite are why we have stuck with 100% into the scout's account for so long. Everyone pulls the same weight for troop needs through annual dues. The scout that "busts his butt" and sells a good amount of popcorn can make it through the year paying nothing or close to nothing out-of-pocket.
  6. Up til now, 100% has gone into the Scout's account (paper account - all funds are in troop treasury account). Scouts may draw on the account to pay for any activity fees, registration/annual dues, summer camp, etc. The funds cannot be used for equipment, food, personal items, etc. If the boy leaves the troop, the troop pays the following year's registration from the boy's account and holds the funds through the following year - just in case he changes his mind. After the following year, the funds revert to the troop's general account to be spent as the committee sees fit - usually for troop equipment. We have gone two routes regarding Scout Bucks ("Monopoly" dollars that can be used at the Scout Shop) given to the troop for meeting sales goals. Sometimes we use them partially to offset the cost of rank/merit badges and the rest as prizes to top sellers. Sometimes the troop retains all for offsetting rank/merit badge costs. The committee is currently considering a split between scout's account and troop treasury - 75/25, 66/33, etc., but not to exceed more than 50% to the troop treasury. Decision hasn't been made yet, but will be coming before this popcorn season starts. The nice thing about the current 100% is that the harder the Scout works at selling popcorn (or the harder mom and dad work or some combination thereof) the more he has in his account to defray his own costs. Some parents implore upon their sons that either they sell enough popcorn to pay for summer camp or they will have to earn it some other way - cutting grass, etc. A reasonable lesson in personal responsibility and working toward a goal. Also, the scout controls his own destiny. More sales means less out-of-pocket costs throughout the year. If you don't like to sell, fine, but your out-of-pocket costs are higher. The downside is that the troop either lives on it's dues of $42 (for the 2003 scout year)which has happened every year so far; or needs additional fundraisers to make ends meet.
  7. Two thoughts: Don't do the wrong thing for the right reason; Don't do the right thing for the wrong reason; Do the right thing for the right reason. Ever notice that the "Last-Minute Eagle" usually takes more than he gives. There is rarely a return on the investment for those who made it possible (here today, gone tomorrow).
  8. Thanks for the info, BW. I have read several articles about Mr. Cahill or mentioning his name; a dedicated and most respectable man.
  9. Eagle74


    To the troop from Maine that was making part of their return trip from the Albuquerue, NM airport on July 24 at about 1:00pm, you made us proud! Your entire troop was in full uniform and your behavior was Scouting exemplary. I noticed that your uniforms attracted many a friendly "Hello!", questions about where you were from, questions about where you had been, etc. In passing, I overheard one person say that ". . . that group of Boy Scouts over there are some of the best-behaved young men that I have ever seen . . ." I'm sorry that I didn't have time to get to know you and for the life of me can't remember your troop number. If anyone out there is from Maine and recognizes the troop I'm speaking of, please pass this AttaBoy along.
  10. I'll second what BW penned above. As the ASM for first-year patrols I run into this same or similar scenarios with some regularity. Usually, once the parents - who are accustomed to the Cub Scout way of doing things - get over the hump on the transition to the Boy Scout methods, they back off. A direct, friendly, but firm explanation works almost all of the time. One way that I have found helps this situation for my Troop Guides is to let them transfer the monkey to my back. I have instructed them that if a scout wishes to use an "alternate" method other than to "demonstrate", "do", "tell", etc. directly to the Guide, then it needs to be run by me first. Parents are made to understand that badgering or leaning on a Guide is not acceptable behavior; if there's a problem, I'm the point of contact. Many Scouts can legitimately use skills learned or demonstrated during other life experiences such as school activities, toward rank requirements. Most are OK with me asking who he did it for and how do I contact that person; or have that person send me a note saying that they have read the requirement and Johnny completed it. If that person understands the scout requirements and the Scout did them, great! A couple follow-up questions with the Scout such as briefly tell me how you did so-and-so and it's done. It's easier if you can make some contacts at schools, clubs, etc. beforehand. Establish a contact person(s), explain the requirement(s), and keep an open line of communication. When a Scout (or Scout Mom or Dad) says, "Hey, Johnny did this at school," all I have to tell them is see Mr. XXX, he can provide the documentation I need -or- Ok, I'll simply give Mr. XXX a call to make sure the requirements were met as stated in the book. For instance, some of our scouts can elect to have their swimming requirements completed at the local swim club with a note from the lifeguard to me that the requirements were completed. That's OK by me, but I personally have spoken with two of the lifeguards about what the specific requirements are. They know that if the scout doesn't pass the requirements as stated and intended, no note comes to me. The advantage for the boys is that if they don't pass, they have the opportunity to practice and retest at their convenience and however many times it takes to pass. I can't offer this kind of time commitment. Other examples would be that our schools have the DARE program in all of the schools so the 2nd Class requirement 8 is pretty much automatic if they show me their DARE certificate. If they participate in a flag ceremony at school or church, just give me a note or the phone number of someone with a position of responsibility in that organization. For some parts of Music Merit Badge a note or call from the band director is all it takes. Again, I have made contact so that he knows what the requirements are - even gave him a copy of the requirements which he keeps in his office. As for the "Johnny did this at home with me" approach, I explain to new Scout parents up front that part of the Scouting experience and growth process for their new Scout is being allowed to learn from/with his peers and more seasoned Scouts. I tell them that doing it at home with Mom or Dad tends to take away from the Scouting experience for both the new Scout and the seasoned Scout instructing him, who gains a sense of accomplishment and leadership by teaching the new Scout. Again, for some it's difficult to transition from the Cub Scout methods to the Boy Scout methods - adult run to boy run. Sorry for the length of this post. "Around the campfire" this probably could have been relayed more briefly.
  11. Does anyone know - dsteele this might be a good question for you - if BSA has ever considered allowing Red Cross certified lifeguards to "challenge" the practical tests for BSA Lifeguard and only have to go through the BSA-specific parts of the course? In other words if you already have Red Cross certification, and given you can satisfactorily demonstrate the lifeguarding skill set, you would only need to go through Safe Swim Defense, Safety Afloat, and any other BSA specific portions without having to spend time "redoing" the entire class. My older son, who is now an Asst. Scoutmaster assisting me with first-year patrols has the Red Cross certification. He would like to also have the BSA certification if for no other reason than just to have it, but is not about to go through another five days worth of all aspects of lifeguarding. Also, I fully agree that the G2SS outlines minimum guidelines, which is not the best position to operate from. One of my contentions is that a non-swimmer in a canoe, on any moving water and especially swift water, may not adequately protected by a lifeguard trained in a pool or lake. I have seen several certified lifeguards get into serious trouble in moving water where they ended up struggling to save themselves without having to worry about additionally saving a non-swimmer.
  12. This is on the public part of the website. I just tried copy and paste (or cut and paste) and it worked. If that doesn't work go to "firehouse.com" and look near the bottom of the home page for an article by Harry Carter. Can someone advise how to get a link to a url onto a post in the forums?
  13. Handled well and in a manner that should achieve the desired end result.
  14. Just thought this was interesting - a nice reference to Scouting. It's a long article, the body of which will probably be of little interest to most, skip down to the last couple of paragraphs. http://cms.firehouse.com/content/article/article.jsp?sectionId=5&id=14932 (may have to copy and paste in your browser)
  15. Man of Steele; personally have appreciated your insight into many topics in the forums. You bring thoughtful posts from a different perspective. Don't always agree, but then again, know that many don't agree with me either. For me, that's what it's all about - throw out your viewpoints and see what comes back (personal attacks notwithstanding). Find that I have changed my perspective on some topics due to insightful posts by others. My problem with some - emphasis on "some" - professional scouters is that they don't seem to remember that they work for us (volunteers) and indirectly, the youth in the program; it's a customer service thing. Our direct customers are the Scouts. Our job is to provide the resources, information and guidance needed to allow the Scouts to "do their job". The professional's direct customers are the leaders and other volunteers. I affectionately refer to the council office as the "black hole" sometimes - it seems that we feed things in, but nothing seems to come back out. That's part tongue-in-cheek, but also part reality. Just back from summer camp and have some topics to post as I get time - some observations and things that made me go Hmmmm?! Always good to come back and catch up on recent posts.
  16. OXCOPS, no arrows shot your way & none intended. It was a shot at the seeminly low priority your case received. The vast majority of police officers and Scout leaders wouldn't even think of becoming involved in this type of incident. But, it happens, and to be surprised that it does takes a certain amount of disconnection from reality. As I mentioned earlier I was directly involved in one sexual misconduct investigation with one Explorer Post. I have also been indirectly involved in two others due to the successful manner in which the first was handled. All three involved emergency services Explorer Posts. It happens and we need to deal with it.
  17. ""Well, I never heard back from the SE today. According to the secretary, he was "in a meeting for the rest of the day". I left a home and cell number for him to call and told the girl that it was a very important Youth Protection matter."" Maybe this thread and the one over in Issues & Politics re: police explorers (see the first sentence of my post there) are more closely related than we would like to think?
  18. This should come as no surprise to BSA unless somebody has their head buried in the sand. Background checks are not the answer as they are already done. I would be surprised if any of the involved officers had not already had background checks as part of their application to the force. Two-deep leadership is part of the answer. Many Police Explorers are involved in ride-alongs with a single (as in one) officer because most medium to small departments operate with a one officer per car.
  19. I am making no presumption of the guilt or innocence of the subject in "suspected", "potentially" (my words) improper conduct. Factual hard evidence appears to be lacking at this point, but the circumstantial and hearsay evidence is sufficient to warrant an investigation into the facts. My issues are: 1. There is a perception of improper supervisor/subordinate behavior. 2. There is a perception of a predatory behavior. 3. There is a suspicion of conduct in violation of BSA policy/standards of conduct. 4. There is a suspicion of potentially illegal conduct. 5. The program has been compromised whether or not any of the above points prove to be true or false. From my viewpoint, at the very least, the perception is as dangerous as the potential reality in these situations. Perception is fact to those whose perception it is, until they have something else more factual to believe. Yet perception is often difficult to change even when there is fact to the contrary - there is often a nagging doubt that remains. That is why I emphasized that an official investigation of the facts needs to happen immediately and discretion used as to who information is given to. From OXCOPS posts, this situation has already had a wide-ranging negative affect on the program and the people involved, on both sides. Once the ball has begun rolling, these situations are never clean and easy. But, if there is sufficient evidence of suspected misconduct (a sometimes difficult determination in itself) a timely, speedy factual investigation is best for all involved. "Nip it in the bud" whenever possible, for better or worse.
  20. More: http://www.hanscom-cap.org/cap/www/afo.html Look at the first photo.
  21. Meanwhile back at the ranch: "-The US Code does not address the positioning of the flag patch. It is appropriate to wear an American flag patch on the left or right sleeve. When worn on the left sleeve, the union would appear towards the front and the stripes would run horizontally toward the back. When worn on the right sleeve, it is considered proper to reverse the design so that the union is at the observers right to suggest that the flag is flying in the breeze as the wearer moves forward. - Since the law does not specifically address the positioning of the patch, a decision is left to the discretion of the organization prescribing the wear. As many states and cities have ordinances pertaining to the use of the flag, you may wish to contact the Attorney General of your state or the City Attorneys office regarding this matter. WEAR OF THE FLAG PATCH BY ARMY PERSONNEL. HQDA policy is that during joint or multi-nation operations, soldiers are authorized to wear the full-color U.S. flag cloth replica (approximately 2"x3") on utility and organizational uniforms. Wear of the cloth replica is at the discretion of the organizational commander. Soldiers are not authorized to wear the full-color replica upon their return to home station. The DA policy states that when the patch is authorized for wear, it should be sewn one half inch below the right shoulder seam. If a right shoulder sleeve insignia for former wartime service is worn, the flag patch will be placed one eighth inch below the right shoulder sleeve insignia. The cloth replica is worn so that the star field faces forward or to the flags own right. When worn on the right sleeve, it is considered proper to reverse the design so that the union is at the observers right to suggest that the flag is flying in the breeze as the wearer moves forward." The above information can be found in the link below (a page from the United States Total Army Personnel Command - PERSCOM website: https://www-perscom.army.mil/tagd/tioh/FAQ/FAQ.htm Another reason for what ASM514 thinks is a "backwards" display is that the field of blue should be closest to the heart. Think about it. I leave you now without further comment about baseless assumptions and juvenile behavior here, with my tongue bleeding from biting on it so hard. May God bless our men and women in uniform and return them safely to their families, friends, and associates.
  22. Do not wait. Call the Scout Executive, fill him/her in, and ask for a face-to-face with the SE or someone from council at a location convenient to you - your PD for instance. Or, call the Scout Executive and relate no more than you need to talk face-to-face with someone at council regarding a possible sexual harassment situation. Tell them where you are able to meet that is convenient to you. My experience says they will jump on this right now. If they don't; shame, shame. Do not wait.
  23. Posts above all offer good advice. Other than as Scouter reporting a case of suspected sexual abuse and/or sexual harassment (gender-based harassment for the PC) step to the side and try to let the "system" do its job. I can appreciate your position as a police officer. Fulfill your obligation as a police officer and use it to your advantage. Since the apartment is inside your jurisdiction (is the camp?) pass the information into the proper channels within your department and let Council know that you are doing so. Either the investigating officer should make contact with the Council or the Council should make contact with the officer so that everyone is playing from the same page of the same book. I went down this route once with an Explorer Post and Council had to sit tight while we conducted the investigation. Fortunately, the investigation went quickly, charges were filed and Council took definitive action regarding the status of the adult leader at that point. In the legal arena, Council will initially be in the same position you are currently in - they have an obligation to report suspected potential criminal activity, not conduct their own investigation. Report the circumstances, then stand back and let the investigation run its course. You may be of value as a witness if the girls under your charge have discussed this with you in your role as a supervisor and since you had a conversation with the mother of one. The rest - overheard girls talking - is hearsay, but together with the rest of the circumstances is more than sufficient to warrant an investigation. Do not conduct your own investigation, do not try to pry more information out of the girls and do not discuss the specifics or even generalities with anyone other than those charged with investigating the incidents. Keep a close eye on this guy. You would still have a duty to act immediately within the scope of your duties as a supervisor and/or police officer if you witness improper or illegal activity, or it is reported directly to you.
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