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Posts posted by eagle77

  1. Stosh,


       Had to laugh, some of those things you have listed I was just talking to son about the other day. There is one for me that is not on your list, my parents would be in jail because my brother and I were "spanked" when we were young. Later they found a better way by grounding me or keeping me in the house. One TV, no cable, no internet, no cell phones, no gameboys, just books and your imagination. For some BSA is just another babysitting program, just something else for the kids to do.

  2.  Can't have that win win situation. Laws and changes are made I believe based on the necessity and pros and cons of said action. Problem is there are those out there that look at things different ways. Some would tell you that the womans lib thing was a total success and others that might say it didn't go far enough and still others that would blame it for the demise of the family unit. Its all according to where you stand and look at the implications from said actions. The other thing is how society works with and makes the adjustments to said changes.

  3. There are some of us who might say you were lucky that it didn't go the other way, 1 boy passed and the others didn't and those who didn't want to leave scouts too. I think in addition our job as leaders is to also teach our scouts about life. In life there are all kinds rules, laws, and other things that may restrict or even prohibit us from doing what we would choose to do. What about the rules that are set up for safety concerns? I have no problem with cutting the old chord and giving the boys some space, but I refuse to simply turn my back and say do what you want. Do not misunderstand me I agree with you, to a degree, but shouldn't we as leaders be helping them understand the actual concept of making choices and what's more living with the choices that we make?

  4.   I think part of the problem just stems from money. Look at what they did in 1972 when they actually took the "outing" from "scouting". National believed that they were losing money by not being able to attract inner city boys. So let's make it possible to earn Eagle and not have to do too much outdoor or a limited number of outdoor activities. Let's make it more cub scout like and add the skill awards, further expence for troops but a chance for National to make more money. Another part is how long it takes them to fix some of the mistakes that they made. Look how long it took to bring Camping and Cooking MB back to the required list for Eagle.


      Another part is the "selling out" of the Eagle rank itself. At one time being an Eagle was like having a Mercedes today it's more like a KIA. Instead of working on and improving it's program with some type of quality control (of both paid and volunteer leaders) they just ignore it and let it go. How many scouts do you think have left program because of poor troop or pack programs and simply don't return?

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  5. Arbitrary age restrictions are rather adult oriented contrivance anyway which calls them into question in a program that is supposed to be boy run,led, and decide in the first place.



       I somewhat agree with this remark. All of us can pick boys who can do things before reaching the approved age or those who even though they are within that bracket still would have problems or be unable to complete. It does take the indiviidual aspect out of this. Think in many cases this is set up based on averages, physical size or strength and  maturity. I have been the summer camp SM for my troop for over 15 years (even as ASM) and each and every year I would have at least 1 parent complain that I was not letting their son do a MB at camp that the parent wanted instead of what the scout really wanted or could handle. This is why I think it is so imperative that the SM sit down with each scout and discuss what they will be working on. Who else is going to have a better idea of what they should consider? The scout himself and the leader who has observed the scout in action. I DO NOT TELL them what to do, but give advice. If after the discussion they still want to do it so be it. (only had 1 scout with that and that was more mom then scout). As I see it he should be working on something that will help him advance, that he's interested in, challenging yet not over whelming, and simply something he should enjoy doing. 98% of the time the scouts and I just sit and talk about it for a few minutes and we're done, it's the other 2% that need a little guidence and that's what the SM is there for.

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  6.   I do remember at one time many of the camps in my area had first year scouts do Swimming MB, for those that could not swim they had instructional swimming. I agtree though that Lifesaving does require one to be a strong swimmer not just comfortable in water. I just think that instead of listing all the swimming requirements for second and first class as they do today, the first requirement at one time simply said earn Swimming MB which includes most of the basic water safety rules and rescues. It also gave the boys a little time to muscle up a little and maybe try Lifesaving their second or third year at camp which did away with little 11 year old boys signing up for Lifesaving the first year. Know some boys who had swimming but never had the strength or ability to complete lifesaving and just went on to do Emergency Prep.


      Remember when I was a kid I told my dad that next year I want to work on Lifesaving. He told me that before I even thought about that I needed to come up behind him reach my arms across his chest and carry him back and forth five times in our pool.. Now my dad was a city firefighter and he was tall, like 6'4" Every time dad was in the pool with me we would work on this. At the end of the summer he told me he felt that I now had the strength to do Lifesaving and asked me if I wanted to he would sign me up for the Red Cross lifesaving course at the local YMCA. After the 8 weeks of 3 hour classes each Saturday I had earned my Red Cross Junior Lifesaving Award. Back then this was something you could sew onto your bathing suit like the Mile Swim patch.

  7. Bad Wolf,

        Now I can agree with all that you have put down there. My problem was earlier it seemed to be a name calling type thing and I do find that to be very unscout like. Believe me I am not "thin skinned" , but it just seemed a little too far to the other side for my liking.

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  8.  I understood what you were saying, just don't agree with it. You do know that there are certain conditions out there that make it hard if not impossible for some of these folks to see there toes? Watched my own mother for years while I was young struggle with a weight problem, she joined clubs, counted calories, took long walks around the block you name it just didn't work. Never in my life though would I refer to her or anyone else like that as being "sub-par".

  9. Would you want a sub-par rifle instructor demonstrating poor firearms protocol teaching your scout? Would you want a climbing instructor who had no clue on how to climb or tie knots belaying your scout?


      Bad Wolf,

       None of these things have anything to do with there physical appearence. What only slim and trim leaders know or have any skill in anything? Being overweight means they have less knowledge? All I ask is that they have the required training or certification needed to teach a certain skill. I understand the physically fit idea, I just don't like the idea of pointing the finger and making fun of others. I know there are those out there like you that would like that height and weight chart used for high adventure put on the adult application. All I would expect is for these people to know the limitations that they physically have when it comes to doing certain aspects of the program. I know of people who fit the guidelines in weight and size and have also been pulled off of treks. So unless you can complete a Philmont Trek or maybe hike 20 miles on the AP or canoe 50 miles down the Mississippi are you fit to be a leader? Why stop there maybe their hair style or color is not of my liking, or maybe they have (God forbid) a tattoo. Some people feel these things may set the wrong example too.  Where do we draw the line?


       I was always told this was a virtual campfire and simply giving a hint that I felt what was going on was out of line for a scout. Same thing I would do if I was siting around a campfire with the scouts and they began to make fun of the people in the next site or even in our own site.  But I guess fat people are exempt from that respect too. I hate to say this because some people throw it out there real quick, but I felt what was going on was a form of bullying.Had a friend when I was in high school who was overweight and was insulted and teased merciless at times for his appearence well one day he decided to do something about it, got access to his father's gun and put a bullet in his brain. Oh and I was a good friend trying to get him to get in better shape and eat more sensibly, but in the end he chose his solution over mine. Maybe if he wasn't made fun of and teased so much he wouldn't have had to make the decision that he did. 

  10.  Guess all the slim and trim leaders were home on their Nordictrac or at the gym, good thing these leaders had nothing better to do then help out our youth. You know maybe some of these people could not do High Adventure, but that is not all scouts is about. I like to measure a person by the size of their heart not how tall and wide they are. Just to add I am in shape for my size and weight. I do however have an ASM who isn't and I wouldn't trade him off for anything.

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  11.  When I was a scout reading Green Bar Bill's articles in Boys Life was required of all PLs, SM would say if you want to know more about having a good patrol program this was the guy to listen to. One year my PL came up with the idea of maybe doing a "patrol merit badge" at summer camp. Nothing hard generally a handicraft, nature or scoutcraft badge that all of us would agree on.For the next four years we did this. It was fun and I think made our patrol even better. Tried to introduce this with the scouts in our troop, but its hard to do with todays merit badge mills. 

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  12.  Chief,

       I agree you do sound like my kind of SM. Problem is there are many more out there that do not know what the job of SM is. I've been to trainings where many have said that their job is to produce Eagle Scouts, and many of those base their entire troop program simply on advancement. Troop meetings are merit badge classes, POR are by patch only, and program is totally run by and chosen by adults. Oh and just to add something here many of them have leaders that have been trained and some even where "ye old beads".  So the idea that they simply did not know any better isn't always the truth. In fact the troop that we compete for new scouts has double the number of scouts as ours. Not because they run a better program but because they "produce" more Eagle Scouts each year then us. From my own expierneces I think there are more parents that only care that their son get Eagle then they do the quality of the program. Almost every time that I have tried to redirect a scout to the proper trail I have been called a"gate keeper" or "BSA harda**". I have been in Bad Wolf's situation many times and told to award MB or rank. Biggest problem is that National and local councils don't seem to care about the quality either. So then comes the question, if the owners of the program do not care, why should I?

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  13. mgood777,

       I don't use the NSP either but I do put them in with mainly middle age patrols. Generally at the Jan. PLC the SPL will discuss with the PLs how many boys are coming and where should we put them. I don't believe that as scouts these boys should be together with boys that they have been with in the same den for 4 years, I only try to at least keep buddies and friends together. I had one parent come up to me after their son had joined our troop and thank me for putting his son in a different patrol, it seems two of the boys that he did cubs with were a royal pain in the butt, wasn't to off base on that either. But they were glad their son was now in a patrol with his friend and away from the other two. I think what is really great is all you have to do is sit a talk with the boys and explain things and they are more then welcome to try and work it out. That worked way better then just dumping them in patrols and say deal with it.


        It's a shame the Leadership Corp. didn't work when you were a scout. I had one in my troop and I think it worked better to help retain older scouts then just push them aside. In my troop in order to be a member of the Corp you had to already be holding a leadership position (except PL) the basic members were the SPL, any ASPLs who wanted, quartermaster, scribe, librarian and den chiefs. You also had to be 15 or older. We did not do this yearly or every 6 month election stuff either. In fact until right before I aged out the SPL was not a voted on position but assigned by the PLC. Once you were assigned and excepted the job you could select 2 scouts to be your ASPLs. Come to think of it I think the only elected position we had was PL and if your patrol members were not happy with the job you were doing or you wanted to do something else the patrol would hold an election for a new PL.  You held the position as long as you did the job and wanted to do the job.  One of the main jobs you held as a member was to train someone at doing the position that you held. The scout who wanted to be trained at the job would also get credit and wear the leader patch for which he was being trained. In addition to troop acftivities we also did our own hiking and camping aside from the troop, I guess that's what they call a Venture patrol today. Some use the election system as a way of teaching how our government works. My SM used the work ethic type way, you need a POR then you compete with others for the spot, disregard the job or slack off and you will be relieved and another scout will be offered to fill your position. Found that to be more competitive then just being the popular guy. I sure miss the good old days when scouts could be scouts and adults didn't have to be there every step nof the way.

  14. Actually 4 patrols is what I was looking at first, but in my area the boys are really loaded up with other things to do and would then have to do the ad hoc type of patrol camping and really did not want to do that. With the 8 boy patrol even half of them could be absent and it could still function as a patrol. Believe me the first two years I had at least two ASM's that would question anything and everything that I allowed or expected the scouts to do. I was constantly being told they can't do this they can't do that. Finally I just told them it was not a matter of what they can do but a matter of actually letting them try.

  15. Stosh,

       I had 26 boys and selected 1 from each of the age groups. From what I saw as ASM I selected 3 boys that I thought really liked doing scouts. As they chose they would discuss with each other who the next selection would be. Two patrols would have 9 members and the one would have 8. That worked well because the ones with 9 were the 2 older patrols. There was 1 switch or trade but other then that all boys were happy with the selection. This was also done away from the adults, including me. We met inside while I explained what was happening the boys were outside. The former scoutmaster would assign boys to patrols and many boys were not in a patrol with his buddy or friends. He would say this will make them more friendlier with the rest of the troop. Don't know where he got that from. The other leaders were under the belief that you had to have older boys mixed with younger so they could teach and help them advance in scouts. The main reason that I was asked to be SM was because the former was more a part timer then full time leader. To me having patrol meetings at troop meetings is really patrol corners. As a scout I attended patrol meetings at others houses or even in the park when the weather was right. Each patrol was given their equipment and shown where they could store it. On campouts they would be assigned their own area of the camp and would then set up camp. Mind you all of this was done via the SPL and Pls. Some of the parents actually thought I was being lazy because I allowed the boys to do this, they all believed it was my job to do.I even went so far one time to reserve 4 sites at a camp for one of our weekend trips, one for each patrol and one for the adults. Only problem was the campmasters at said camp told me BSA policy said I had to have 2 deep leadership in each site (never heard of that before) I thought it was 2 deep just to be in camp. Their schedule or itinerary was of their choosing. Tried to get the boys to do things together outside of troop for hikes and things, just couldn't make it happen on a regular basis. Only time we did troop type cooking was on cabin trips, here each patrol would take care of (prepare and cleanup) from the meals that they selected to do.

       Need to explain something here too, the former SM was a PRO (God I hate that expression for a paid scouter) and this was his little camping club. Other then some of the basic leader training he did not push the ASM's to get further training, no one would attend RT, boys were leaders by patch only, and had little or no say about any part of the program. Same trips year after year at the same place. I guess because he was a PRO the others believed what he was doing was just what BSA wanted. I was the only leader who had been a Boy Scout. As time went on the friction between him and I got to be too much so I decided to resign and go to another troop. When a couple of the boys got wind of this they told the others and on one of our campouts came to me at the campfire and asked me to be their SM.  Even earning Eagle did surpass how honored  I was for these boys to ask this. The CM also told me he wanted and asked me to attend a committee meeting and explain to the committee what would I do as SM. The troop's IR was there and said that whatever the committee decided the CO would have no problem with it. By the end of the meeting i was the new SM.

  16.    The first thing I did when I became SM was to completely revamp or reform the patrols. I did this by allowing the scouts to actually select who they wanted in their patrols. I did this like a school yard choose up or draft. Selected a boy from each age group 15 - 17, 13 - 15, and 11 - 12. Yes there is an over lap that just fit with the ages of scouts in the troop. Each group would take a turn selecting from those not chosen. Did not tell them they could only select from certain boys, but from any scout in the troop. Low and behold the biggest age difference was 2 year difference and that was in the two middle age patrols. Our first year saw better advancement more participation and down right friendlier troop program. Only complaint came from adults both ASM's and some CM. Even after sittting and explaining why I did it this way, I just could not sell all of them on this. Well after a year the few hold outs finally admitted that maybe I was right.

       The problem I see today is that unlike the old days when for the most part scouts was maybe 1st or a 2nd activity that most boys did today it is just one of many. The stronger commitments required today for athletic, school, and other make the patrol method a very hard to run or maintain type of program. The parents who insist their kids try to do everything and not actually choose a couple really hurts the way that a patrol should actually function. Tried to introduce patrol meetings and patrol outings (before National discontinued them) but many boys simply said it was hard enough getting together for troop meetings and campouts.

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  17. MaDDoG,

        I wouldn't mind if they were done that way either. But for the most part they really are not. Let me give you an example. I had a boy go to one of these things he came back with some partials (which he should have for the badges he was doing) but he handed me a completed card for Coin Collecting. Well I simply asked him what cities are the US mints located? His answer was Seattle, Detriot, and a secret place because that one has no stamp on the coin. Our troop is located just 10 miles from Phila. and he didn't even know that the secret place was there. I then told him that he would have to redo the badge and that I would not approve this one. Well at the end of the meeting he told mom, who then called dad and as I was leaving they asked why I was picking on their son? Beleive me this was not pretty, the dad got in my face and mom was screaming at me. So I told them  chill out this was part of my job as SM. Needless to say one of them went to council and cnoplained that I was picking on their son. Luckily the person at council told them there was nothing they could do. So I blame parents and lazy MB counselors> Oh and let's not forget the lazy SM who don't check on how these things are being run. I for one never approved or annouce these things because the ones done by my council or district really are simple MB mills. Parents for the most part could really care less if the boy comes out of this program with any knowledge, just make sure they have that Eagle to put on their resume. The parents who do care are just gettting more and more rare, at least in my area they are.  Oh and this wasn't some 11 or 12 year old boy, he had just turned 15.

  18. AZMike,

      I understand where you are coming from and respect your opinion on it. One point that I would like to make is that as we continue to take away from the ingrediants that made scouting such a great program, we also change the way it tastes too. I live in Pa and have a whole new bunch of rules put in place to prevent or deter the man-boy thing. This will surely chase away any existing members and most likely many future ones as well. I think the one thing that all of us can agree on is the only way to eliminate that problem 100% is to shut down BSA completely. Like it or not some of these types of people will do whatever they need to to get what it is they want. I have many friends at home and work who are gay and don't agree or like many of the things that the LBGT do or are up to. All they want is to be able to live their lives just as everyone else.

  19.  Longtime since I posted here, but this is a very hot topic and I would like to give my 2 cents. I graduated into Boy Scouts in 1970, before the big change of 72 (which also saw some members leave). A few years later a new scoutmaster was assigned to my troop by our CO (Baptist Church) a couple months afterwards this man tried to make some moves on me. For what it's worth nothing happened, by him or by me. If I had a little more idea on how to handle it things may have been very different. One thing I new was if I reported what had happened my father would have been in prison when a graduated high school. I think one of the main reasons that I never reported it was because this guy was a Deacon in our CO. One thing for sure was what he did did not take away from my love of scouting and what it stood for, so I brushed it off earned my Eagle started my family and came back to BSA with my son. I stayed alot longer then my son and soon became scoutmaster of a troop and held it for 11 years. Finally though I had to really get out because of the politics both personal and scouting. Let's face it those of us who did the program or came in as adults cannot find anything else out there that offers so much as scouting. My problem though is for a country that claims to be free, we sure have a good deal of problems sharing good things with different types of people that live in the same country as us. Why shouldn't any young boy (or girl) be able to share and enjoy this? The idea that having a gay leader is going to teach me to look more at the football players instead of the cheerleaders is crazy. Like it or not unless you want to go and live off the grid sooner or later we all will meet or already have met OTHERS.

        We all can find good and bad deeds done by any group. I think though with the things that have been added to protect our scouts today are far better then what was in place when I was a scout. Some of these have also taken away from what scouting really was at one time. One thing for sure change is not easy and either way will hurt the program, but more importantly the scouts. I think the local option is a fair compromise.


    First off I think way too many leaders use the phrase "burn out" way too much. When really all it is is boring for them. When I first stepped up to the position of scoutmaster I felt that the first thing that I needed to do was sit with each group of boys (older, middle, new) scouts seperatly, each of these groups has different expectations and different interests. The last thing I would do is just write these older scouts because the dropped the ball. The way you come across here is just that. Believe me I'd bet these older scouts see or believe it too. You need to sit down with these boys and end find out what they are really looking for in scouting. Sometimes it could be just an easy fix in giving them their own trip, maybe something a little more challenging for them. Sorry but I don't believe in using the parents incentive of driving. Find out what their goals are and use them as a means to get better involvment from them. It may not work with all but I bet some of them may come around.

  21. Chazz,

    First off I see no reason why any young boy 11 or 12 would need to be at summer camp with a cell phone. Also I have been doing summer camp for the past 20 years and the first thing you learn is that once the boy has heard mommy or daddy on the phone you have lost him. Now no matter what he is going to want to go home even more. I have never seen a reason or need for cell phones at camp. I carry one for emergencies and have a couple of leaders who do the same, if there is some reason fror them to use it they will go off out of the view of the scouts.

  22. Baden,

    First off we have not gone to our council camp for 12 years. My observations are from doing summer camp at at least 8 different council camps either in our area (southeast Pa.) or outside. Plus the info I and the scouts have seen for other camps that we have For a long while there were way more out of council troops scheduled for our camp than in council. One of the big things that I have noticed at SM meetings at these camps is how wonderful these SM's think it is to have boys go to camp and walk out with a handful of merit badges.

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