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Posts posted by eagle77

  1.   First off if started today it would be an indoor activity, most likely a video game to be played on X-Box or Playstation. You would not earn ranks but travel to different levels. Each level would give you different tools and things to use. HA would be easy too. Just try and climb or repel that rock face, any problems or you fall just respawn and start over. Some parents would love this. Just pay for the disk, all the equipment needed you earn or select as you go along. But the reason they'll love it most is Johnny is in the house and safe. Don't have to worry about getting along with others. Bet you BSA is already checking this out.

    • Upvote 2


    No age or rank requirements.  Expectation that the scout will give it his best effort and is willing to learn and grow.  SMs job is to mentor the new SPL.




    Interesting idea.  I like it in many ways.  I don't like it in others.  I need to think about this.  


    Positive is that each patrol gets an equal vote.  You don't have a large patrol out-voting a smaller patrol.  As such, it could be more fair.

    Positive is that it reinforces the role of a patrol leader and the role of the patrol leaders council.


    Negative is that it could move the selection of SPL into a more back-room approach like the old politics of 100 years ago.

    Interesting idea though with merit.



      Hence the name Senior Patrol Leader. As a scout for 5 years this was how our SPL was selected. This kept PL on there toes. Of course back then, at least in my troop the scouts had the control of their troop. New SM new policies. All of a sudden all kinds of elections going on at different times of the year. Little by little you could just feel the adults pulling more and more of the program into their area and away from the scouts.

  3. Sadly, I find that our troops don't reflect the ethnic make up of our towns.  From Jamboree to summer camp to council and district events, to anyplace you want to name it appears to me that BSA is not reflective of the ethnic diversity that makes up America.  BSA in fact disproportionately serves white youth.  


    We all know that BSA does not include a proportionate number of black inner city youth, but no one serves those youth proportionately; that BSA cannot do better than the rest of our society there is unfortunate but not unexpected.   My bigger concern is that BSA does not look even as diverse as our local middle class high schools --- not in the number of Asian-Americans, not, as Mashmaster noted, in the number of Indian-Americans, and not in the number of middle class African-Americans.


    I think at least part of this is our reliance on Churches as CORs, but I think there is more to it.  For some reason those families and those boys do not see either the value and/or the welcome in scouting that we want them to.


    I don't know the answer, but I think the problem is us not them.


      When BSA unleashed their "urban" program in 1972 they made a big effort at attracting inner city kids. I was in Philadelphia Council at the time and when we attended summer camp all you saw were, I hate saying this Black troops. They were out fitted in brand new uniforms and gear. Very few though really looked like they were having a good time. I think part of the problem pure and simple is history. Why are many of us in scouting? Why are many of the scouts in your troop in scouting? They either did the program themselves and passed it on to their children or had a family relative who did. I don't think the reliance on churches has anything at all to do with it. Minoritys attend church as well as whites. I think BSA has tried to make an effort to attract the others. How well and which ways is another discussion.

  4. @@eagle77 agree it's good feedback. Not grounds for a new SM.


    I still maintain kids need to be held accountable too.


      That's kind of the reason that the PLC at one time did the T-1st Class BORs. No good PL would want to hear any of the scouts in his patrol didn't know or couldn't remember something. That is why at meetings (both troop and patrol) PL's would work with the patrol members on advancement .  But I agree too that scouts need to be held accountable.

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  5. Right. And we've all seen kids who learn and use skills but then forget them. Happens all the time.


    Not the SMs fault. Where is personal accountability?


      Its not a matter of fault as much as what should be reported to him. Let's say 5 kids in the last 3 months have had problems with say knots. Well the Board should be letting him know that maybe we need to up the ante a little when it comes to this area. Acco is a little bold with "finding a new SM" but it should be used to help the SM know the weakness and strengths in say training or teaching and maybe a little adjustment to program.

  6. I may stand alone, but I think there are merits to having separate groups for boys and girls. Having co ed groups changes the dynamics.


     To a certain degree I feel the same. Problem is being seperate seems to be the "old fashioned way" look the Little League World Series last year, the girl from the Philly team, even though her team did not make it to the finals it was all the rage. Too much if you ask me. All the Catholic High Schools in my area that were once seperate are now co-ed except for the "Prep" schools. Now you have a female coach in the NFL, what the heck why shouldn't BSA jump onboard too.


    Bet those kids know video games better than their knots. What's the excuse there?


      Because they are playing it over and over. Why would I want a scout to learn a skill and never use the skill in the program? Since program is the SMs area he should be checking and making sure that the program calls for the use or teaching of the skills. The repetition is what keeps the skills fresh in the scouts mind.

  8. I've never seen a problem with legit counselors. Having fun at camp is what this is all about. One problem is there are fewer activities to do outside of merit badges, especially for older scouts. The result of this is fewer scouts are going to summer camp so they don't seem to be having the fun they used to. I'm hoping that if the scouts had to do all the reqs they'd have more fun. Maybe that's a bad assumption.


    I had a scout work at camp and he asked me to sign off on the merit badges he taught (camping, pioneering, and something else). I said great, it will be really easy for you to complete the MB with a regular counselor. He never did complete the merit badges. People say I shouldn't change the rules on merit badges but that assumes the Council is holding up their end of the deal.


      I agree it is about the FUN. I have heard from other leaders about getting older scouts to camp. The only time I have had any boys miss summer camp was one year two brothers who were on vacation and could not reschedule. I live in an area where there are plenty of camps and programs to choose from and I take full advantage of it. Every once in awhile I'l present a camp that's a little further away. Our troop is located just above Phila., Pa. One year I offered the boys the chance to go on a long summer camp. We went to Camp Bud Schiele in western NC the cost for camp, trans, and added meals was still cheaper then going 15 minutes away to our council camp and the kids had a blast!! By the time we were heading home some of them were even talking with a little southern drawl.


      Right after I have rested from camp I'm looking on line for places to go next year. Put all the info together and present it to the boys for them to choose. I know of troops that, even though they don't have to, go to the same camp year after year. Boorring. Some of the fun simply comes from the adventure of being someplace you haven't been before. I've had other SM in my district tell me that I should only go to out of council camps once in awhile. Well I tell them I answer to the scouts in my troop before I answer to anyone. If the boys don't want to go there then why take them?

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  9. Actually, in this case what I propose (or meant to propose) would work well. Go to the classes and learn what you can, but don't waste time discussing and sleeping. If the counselor is a good one like you had, do the fun stuff and get the most out of it. All that's really needed for fishing is catch 2 fish, release one, eat the other. The rest is discuss and explain. Having that signed off at home by a real counselor would be quick and easy and the scout would have had a great experience trying the different areas and casts.


    I don't know that I've ever seen a camp in my area where all the MBs were run by legit counselors. I don't even mind 17 year olds that are not official counselors but just enjoy the subject. I mention fishing MB because at the camp we just got back from there were 12 scouts in the class, the counselor had a bunch of boards with fishing knots on them he passed out, and 2 cords he passed around for each scout to try and tie the knot. So the boys spent most of their time waiting for a chance to tie a knot. They all got signed off (even though this is not even close to the req) and the scouts in my troop only completed one knot because I was there and helped them out.


    This is the majority of MBs that I see. The scouts know they'll be sleeping through the classes and even expect it, so when they get back to camp they just burn energy like crazy. Climbing, shooting, and aquatics are always good and that's what the scouts like. The worst ones are the outdoor skills like camping, cooking, and pioneering. The scouts don't cook. In pioneering they rarely do the splices.


    People mention confronting the camp director and bringing up the problems but that is just poring grief on the camp director. A good friend of mine was a camp director and that's all about juggling bailing wire and duct tape. The Councils are broke and there's no extra money for good staff or enough resources for merit badges. They're worried about the septic system and dining hall. That's why I'm trying to find a "chaotic good" solution to something well beyond what I can affect.


    Possibly I can work with the scouts and get them prepared for their MBs. Just knowing the requirements and which ones are fun, safety, or just blathering (and can be skipped till later at their discretion) might help them make their own decisions about what they spend their time on.


      I am not trying to be smart here. Just one question. Do you go through all of that when any of your boys go to see a MBC back home or just at camp? At camp the ASMs and myself will walk around to different areas and look to see what is going on. The most important thing is that the boys are enjoying themselves. Before I go to the leaders meeting at the end of the week our SPL sits with all boys and ask them if they had comments about the MB that they took. If there are any negatives or positives I will pass that along at the meeting. That is as far as I as SM can take it. Now just as we tell parents to look for another troop if unhappy with the one they are in, then maybe, if possible do the same when it comes to summer camp. You are really going to drive yourself crazy if you try to control every aspect of your scouts experience. Lets worry more on the ones that we have direct control over.

  10. The camp I have been attending has a rubber stamp icon that prints a report at the end of the week. No counselors are identified by name. They do five MBs for each scout and no alternative program except swimming lessons and first year scouts. Basically the camp is a MB university for the week.


     That's a shame. Everytime I see something like this I am so grateful that our troop is in an area where selection and variety exist.

  11.  What was even more surprising is the parents seemed to be accepting to it too. I'm sure they may have been a little more happy if they were to have earned Eagle, but all in all were just happy that their sons were having a good time and enjoying it. After aging out 1 boy moved away the other 3 would take part in the troop program while on summer break. Gave them ASM patches and had them do YPT it was great.

  12. I have no interest in playing bureaucratic BSA games anymore.  File all the reports you want.  Here's how we handle it. 


    When the sign up sheets for summer camp come out in late winter, I take the list of MBs offered and sit down with a big bottle of Witeout.  The scouts never see the MBs they don't see -- citizenships, personal fitness, communication.  Why the hell do you want to spend the afternoon sitting on your bunk writing an essay on your rights and responsibilities while your buddies are at the shotgun range?


    Our philosophy is summer camp is a time for the Scouts to bond, have a good time with their mates in a Scout-like environment and build memories.  I don't give a rat's rear if they complete a single requirement -- advancement is totally secondary.  That philosophy has been very successful for us.  .  Consequently, it the rule that our Scouts attend summer camp six, seven, even eight years, if their birthdays allow.  Obviously that means they STAY IN SCOUTING six, seven, eight years.  Routinely our scouts go to camp without signing up for ANY MBs or take their favorites over and again. A couple years ago our crew from Philmont landed about 11:30 Saturday night and didn't get home until after 1:00 am.  Yet they were all packed and ready to go to summer camp the next morning at 11 am.


      I had four scouts who aged out. One was Life the other three were Star. Not one single one of these boys had any interest in becoming Eagle. Sat and talked with each at different times the main thing that all four said was we are not here for the advacenment or rank we are just here for the adventure and good time. These boys also did very well at the different leadership positions that they held. All four never missed a summer camp or HA trip that we had while they were in the troop. .

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  13. I agree with this and I also agree with the idea that the BOR doesn't need any testing. But there needs to be testing somewhere, assuming the scouts truly own the calendar or else those activities will not be put on the calendar. If nobody in the PLC knows how to start a fire then who's going to suggest making an event that requires starting a fire? Teenagers don't like to admit they don't know something. I've tried cajoling scouts into these activities and it just doesn't happen. I finally told the scouts they need a challenge at every campout, there will be testing at every rank (but not BOR), so why not make events that teach the skills so the testing is a breeze? It works for my troop. And slowly the whole test thing is becoming less of an issue as the older scouts know the skills and they are the ones pushing the younger scouts to learn them.


      I understand what your saying. Scouts and at times their parents can be pretty picky about which trips they will do and which ones they won't. I have the SPL work with the PLC to do what they call skills trips. In fact every trip we do has some skill involved, but on general campouts they will work on more. Heck one Friday night as we were just getting ready to pack up for a trip the SPL pulled me aside and said something to me, I told him okay. He then went inside and told the QM to only issue Dutch Ovens and charcoal to the patrols. All cooking will be done with Dutch ovens this weekend. Well I don't know who was more taken back the scouts or their parents. Tell you what though we had some pretty inventive and tasty meals that weekend. I understand what others are saying concerning BORs it just is not the way the program is designed. Just keep the retesting out of the BOR.

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  14. @@eagle77, so trophies for everyone.


    I'm aware of what BSA says a BOR or SMC should be. They've become a discussion about nothing. And we wonder why we are churning out Eagles not worth the paper their written on?


      The discussion is about EVERYTHING. It's not a test for the scout as much as a chance for the troop to see where their program stands. What areas are we weak in, what type of leadership is working or not working. I've been an Eagle Scout since 1977 and I could still pass any type of "retest" you want to give me. The only area I'm weak on is the star constellations. The reason for this is not the fact that I had some SM that added to the requirements and retested me, but because I was made to use those skills and teach those skills time after time. Not pass some rank exam.

  15.  This is what BSA says a BOR should be

  Not a Retest or "Examination"

    Though one reason for a board of review is to help ensure the Scout did what he was supposed to do to meet the requirements, it shall become neither a retest or “examination,†nor a challenge of his knowledge. In most cases it should, instead, be a celebration of accomplishment. Remember, it is more about the journey. A badge recognizes what a young man has done toward achieving the primary goal of personal growth. See "Personal Growth Is the Primary Goal," It is thus more about the learning experience than it is about the specific skills learned. See also "Mechanics of Advancement: In Boy Scouting and Varsity Scouting,"

    A Scout must not be rejected at a board of review for reasons unrelated to advancement requirements. For example, he must not be rejected just because he did not bring his Boy Scout Handbook with him or because he was tardy for a board of review, but the reason for his tardiness may certainly be a topic for discussion. What Should Be Discussed

    During the review, board members may refer to theBoy Scout Handbook, Boy Scout Requirements book,Troop Leader Guidebook, and other such references. The Troop Committee Guidebook, No. 34505, has examples of appropriate questions. A Scout may be asked where he learned his skills and who taught him, and what he gained from fulfilling selected requirements. The answers will reveal what he did for his rank. It can be determined, then, if this was what he was supposed to do. Discussion of how he has lived the Scout Oath and Scout Law in his home, unit, school, and community should be included. We must remember, however, that though we have high expectations for our members, as for ourselves, we do not insist on perfection. A positive attitude is most important, and that a young man accepts Scouting’s ideals and sets and meets good standards in his life.

    A board of review may be conducted posthumously if all the requirements were met prior to the Scout's death. See topic for more information.

    A positive attitude is most important,and that a young man accepts Scouting's ideals and sets and meets good standards in his life.

    A board is not required to record “minutes,†but it is a good idea. Any such notes must remain confidential to the members of the board or to administrators with a need to know. They may be used in preparing a follow-up letter, should a Scout be turned down, and they can be helpful in an appeal process. In any case, once a review or appeal is completed, all notes must be destroyed.




      I am from the old days (40+ years ago) and never did I have to pass or be retested for my advancement. Never.

  16. Thankfully our BORs take on the mantra of "You learned how to add, subtract, multiply and divide in Third Grade, and you are required to continue using those skills from that point forward. You can't 'learn and forget' how to add, so you can't 'learn and forget' your first aid from First Class to Star."


    This approach has ensured that our scouts ALWAYS remember their core scouting skills. Parents or scouts that don't like that approach are free to find a paper Eagle troop. We don't roll out Eagles that can't apply first aid or tie their knots upon request. Why else are they in the program?


     I was at RT one time when this very discussion was going on. There were a few there that also used your reasoning to justify altering or changing the BOR requirement. The reason for learning and knowing the skills of T-1st class is because these are the basic skills needed to further you on in the scouting program. You learn them, you use them, and you teach them. They are the basis that will take you further into the MB program, backpacking, hiking, HA, etc. The yearly program of meetings and activities should include different areas of these skills. The repeated use and teaching of these skills is what ensures that our scouts ALWAYS remember the core skills.

  17. Yes, it's a Board of Review - Review, not Retest. 


    Does anyone know why we have a Board of Review?  It's part of Scouting History and it's tied in with how Troop Committees were recruited and operated through at least the 50's and into the 60's.  Nowadays, most Troop Committees are made up of parents of Scouts or former Scouts in the Troop, but that wasn't always the case (and for the most part, that wasn't the case until the mid 1960's)  Troop Committees used to be made up of leaders in the community and were recruited by a Neighborhood Commissioner (the precurser to the Unit Commissioner).  The Neighborhood Commissioner would approach leaders in the community- a school principal, the local pasto, the chief of police, the neighborhood eye doctor, the local insurance man, the president of the bank, the editor of the local paper, and other civic and business leaders to form a committee whose job was to support the Troop in delivering it's programing by helping to raise funds, obtain and store equipment, recruit SM's and ASM's, etc. (pretty much what the committee should be doing today).  The reason there were BOR's was two-fold - one was to give the Scouts an opportunity to brag about his latest adventures (and in the process, start learning skills that would hold him in good stead in interviews) to a group of important neighborhood leaders and the other was so that the committee could evaluate whether the unit they're supporting was delivering a good program.  There was no re-testing done - it was just listening to the Scout's stories and reviewing the successes and failures of the program.  Pretty simple - and it worked very well - and still does when done correctly.


      That is really interesting I had heard something like that but didn't know how far back it went.

  18. Stosh, I hear you but it used to actually be a Board of Review, not a Board of Kindly Discussion.  For nearly my entire Scouting career, youth and adult, that meant a review of the Scout's progress, skills, and suitability for the next rank.  The way modern "Scouts" want to treat it, you may as well not have it, just have a checklist and get the rank once you get everything checked since the Scoutmaster's Conference and Board of Review are no longer events to be passed but simply something to endure.


     Just because that was what was done in your troop does not make it right. I joined scouts in 1970 and for Tenderfoot - 1st Class i was reviewed by the PLC of the troop. Star - Eagle were adult. None of my reviews involved any type of retest or doing requirements over.  In 1972 they changed the name to Personal Growth Agreement. One part involved a discussion with the SM the other part was called a progress review. From the Boy Scout Hanbook. Progress Review: The progress review is done by your troop leaders. They will talk to you about your progress.They want to make sure that you have done all the things you were supposed to. This means that your book is signed and up to date. They will also want to learn what kind of scout you are. They want to help you become an even better one.


      The Patrol Leaders Council will review you for Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class. The troop committee will review you for Star, Life. and Eagle.


     The only difference that I had from this is my Eagle BOR was done on the district level and had 1 committee member from my troop. So nowhere in the handbook does it even say retest or redo. In my troop there was one way to fail a BOR and that was to not have your handbook or be unprepared. You would simply have to wait till next week.

  19. No, I don't consider partials "failure" and that is why I used quotations marks in the original.  However I have encountered some parents, and a few Scouters, who would view my son's time at camp as a waste since he didn't bring home and MBs. And one leader even used the "failure" term.


    Like you I want them to have fun and learn. I want to give them the freedom to do things, make mistakes, and grow physcially, mentally, and morally.


     My mistake. Those scouters and parents are the ones who don't get it. They are also the reason that many camps are more set today for MBs then for adventure. By this I mean very little open time at different activity areas. The fact that Torchwood had troop swim time surprises me most of the camps that I have been to have done away with that.In fact his camp sounds like a very good camp. Summer camp should be an oppurtunity for boys to also try new things. They don;t want to work on Rifle shooting MB but sure would love the chance to just shoot a little. But because of the number of boys taking the MB and needing to get their target shooting in many times there is very little time for the "I just want to check it out" scout. If that's the case then we are both on the same page with this.

  20. Maybe it's me, but this past summer I limited the scouts to no more than 5 MBs, with none after dinner except Climbing ( only time MBC could get there).  Camp we went to offers 6 classes before dinner, and only Climbing after dinner. Night time is activities AS IT SHOULD BE! ( emphasis, OK maybe a little shouting from the soapbox ;) ) They kids need some down town.


    And I strongly suggested that they take the last period of the day off since that was when free swim and the waterslide was available. No arguments there.


    As for not suggesting parttials, things I think they cannot complete, etc sometimes "failure" is a life lesson. My son took 4 MBs, didn't earn a single one. NOT ONE (emphasis again). Wasn't angry or upset, and don't think I wasted my money or his time either. He learned a lot, but more importantly HAD FUN! He even surprised me by looking out for the new Scouts.


    Best part for me was watching him grow up and take responsibility.


    Seriously, you look at partials as "success" or "failure"? MBs are complete and partial. I've had boys go to camp to do the "camp" requirements for a MB and come back and complete the written after camp, not because they failed at camp but because, and I quote "why would I want to sit at a table and write when there is so much more to do". The problem I think is many SM and leaders don't look at the boys in an individual type manner, what one boy may have no problem completing another may be overwhelmed. My goal as SM isn't to have boys earn as many badges as possible. My success or failure is that each boy had a fun and learning expierence.

  21. My "nephew" just came back from his first boy scout summer camp. He had a great time, and earned four merit badges: Swimming, First Aid, Geology and Archery. Now his troop prides itself and not being an Eagle mill, and the summer camp they attended (Wente Scout Reservation) prides itself on not being a merit badge mill (but they offer 53 merit badges?). So I asked him which merit badge he had the most fun with and he said Archery. I asked him what he did to earn the badge, and he talked about making an arrow (which he showed me), the target shooting he did, and then he said "they even showed us how to make a bow string." "Huh? You didn't make one yourself?" "No, that just showed us how to do it."


    Now (according to meritbadge.org), requirement 3c says: "Make a bowstring using appropriate materials." So I wonder, what other requirements were skipped? I'm hoping this was an isolated incident, but I think I'm going to be disappointed.



      Since I don't know your "nephew", his troop leadership, or the camp that he attended I do not feel qualified to comment there. What I will say is from my expierence in taking the boys to 15+ plus summer camps (22 summer camps altogether at 15 different camps) is be prepared to be disappointed. The main area that I look at are the MBs when camps started offering "first year programs" I looked at them too. For the most part I only found 1 camp that ran any kind of desent first year program. After a couple of years of that I talked it over with the PLC and they came up with a first year trip that we would do locally and have both scouts and at times adults work on T-1st class requirements this way we know what the boys can do. Now merit badges is a whole other ballgame. All camps I've been to pencil whipped these, some more than others. Do not get me wrong some camps try harder at having the scouts work and complete the actual requirements. They are the minority though in my research.


      I am not some hard*** but I do expect the scouts to do the requirements. For some badges that many might say aren't Eagle required or fairly easy who cares. On many instances I have talked with Progam Directors and asked them, What gives? I remember 1 guy who asked me to walk outside with him, well each of the areas had their directors and some staff to answer any questions. Well there was only 1 area that had any real number of scouters hanging around and getting kind of loud. He said that the waterfront area and the reason there are so many there is because they give out the most partials. He then said "How many weeks are you going to put up with that"? This is something that National needs to fix. Until National REALLY takes its advancement policies seriously why should we? (I mean this sacastically)

  22. I have no doubt you see it that way. If you resigned to stand up for your convictions I suspect there might be a few narrow-minded people who saw you in the same light. I would at least respect you for standing up for what you believe in. I wish you thought enough of others to be equally as tolerant rather than demonstrating your disdain for those who oppose your viewpoint. Sad.



    I don't know, nor do I really care, how the press will handle this. I suspect the left will call them bigots, much like our poster above. I suspect the right will applaud them for leaving and sticking to their beliefs.


    What will be interesting is 1) how many leave and 2) how many join as a result of this decision.


     You always refer to the membership numbers. I think BSA knew already they were going to take some kind of hit with this issue. I also think thats the reason they have dragged their feet for so long on how to address it too. Are they doing this because of outside pressure? Again I don't think that is the only reason. I think that they may also be getting pressure from within, by other religions that charter BSA units who do not believe that these people should be omitted from a program that they sponser units for. So BSA says those religions that liked the old way may continue with that and have our full support, those that don't are free to allow these members now and have our full support. I think it would have been better if all CO's religious or not have the "local option", but some have pointed out that there may be some legal issues concerning that.

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