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Eagledad last won the day on February 14

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About Eagledad

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  1. Eagledad

    New Scout Patrol

    This has to be watched in todays BSA of course, but I can recall only one situation where two scouts with more than two years difference in mixed age patrols tented together. The one situation was parents asking an older scout (16 years old) to watch their mentally retarded son. Barry
  2. Eagledad

    New Scout Patrol

    Sounds like you have a good feel for how a patrol should work. I have never understood the idea behind ad hoc patrols, in fact if only one scout in a patrol showed up to a campout, he was treated as a patrol. I am not a fan of NSPs, but agree that when the number of crossovers overwhelm a troop. it's one of the better approaches to getting new scouts up to speed. I am not a fan of new scouts taking on patrol leader duties because they don't have the maturity to learn and grow from the experience. We had better luck with assigning two TGs to a patrol and role modeling how the patrol leaders should work in a patrol. Also, two scouts don't burn out as fast. New scouts are high energy even for older scouts. I do agree with dividing and never found that to be a problem, we just simply asked the scouts which friends they would like to patrol with. Most have just one or two they really want to be around. If they understand a split is coming and you ask for their help, they usually figure it out. It's important to note that the BSA looses more scouts during the first 6 months in a troop than any other period of a youth career in scouting. The reason is the sudden culture change from an adult led lifestyle to an independent decision making lifestyle. While the appearance of independence is appealing at first, the sudden realization that their life is not only determined by their personal choices, but also the choices of leaders nearly their age. That means where they sleep, what they eat, and their personal safety in the deep dark scary woods is dependent on that 14 year old SPL, not the adults. We learned through the humility of loosing large numbers of new scouts that these young folks need an adult working close with the TGs. The adult is the safety valve for the both the parents and their new scout son. The parents and the new scout are advised to contact the adult (ASM) only when they feel overwhelmed. The ASM will however in most cases guide both the parents and the scout to the TGs. The main purpose of the ASM is to show trust in the scout leaders (TGs) and their decisions so that the parents and the new scout learn to trust the scouts. The ASM checks in on the new scout now and then and sometimes the parents to show they are somewhere in the background. They are always calm, work a smile, and never over reacts. They always seek out the counsel with the youth leaders. The youth leaders are truly the leaders, so just give them a chance. We found, and national data also shows, that if a scout makes it past summer camp without quitting, they will likely stay in the program several years. So, the first six months are critical. We found that the scouts were ready to merge into existing patrols after six months. The sooner, the better. NSPs don't have the experience or maturity to push growth in their patrol. Either the adults have to get more involved to push growth (which is counter to the patrol method), or the scouts get bored. They need to be fed with the experience of older scouts. I think you have a good vision of how to run your troop, but my experience is that you biggest challenge is selling the adults on it. Get tough and firm. Have a good reason for your ideas and then sell them on giving them a try. Fifty percent of Scoutmastering is working with the adults. And 50 percent of working with adults is being a good salesman, especially in patrol method troops. You're a big picture person, most adults are not. So, learn how to color your vision so they can see a picture of great scouts coming from your troop. I look forward to watching you grow. Barry
  3. Something I turned around when I was on District was what I called "stealth Scouting for Food". District (council) started streamlining the process by dropping off donation bags at the home mail box or door on Saturday and picking them up at the door the next week. First off, that requires TWO weekends of a unit agenda, not one. Second; the public never met any of the scouts during either days. We found that folks really enjoyed meeting our scouts when they went door to door asking for donations. The community got to actually meet and talk with the scouts. Our scouts introduced themselves with their name and unit number before asking for the donations. And we got a ton of donations. Units that went door to door increased donations 30 to 40 percent. Service projects should be planned so that the public personally gets to meet and observe scouts in action. I'm not sure why, but the Cub Scouts enjoyed the door to door Scouting for Food more than the Troop scouts. Maybe it has something to do with the cute shy 7 year old in a uniform too big for him holding a scouting for food sack half his height. But , packs that went door to door always came back with more donations than the cars could hold. Barry
  4. Eagledad

    Sleeping Bag and Pad

    I guess interim, but this was typical during my scouting years. I used a backpack and duffel bag on weekend troop camp outs and only the backpack on crew trips. I used the duffel bag for the pillow, non-mummy sleeping bag, camp chair, and a couple other items of comfort that I didn't take on crew trips. As you said, easy to transport and handle. I only used two duffel bags (no backpack) for summer camp. I also took a tote box for the Scoutmaster management stuff. But still easy to transport and handle. My ground pad for back country crew trips was a 3/4 length closed cell pad that was just long enough to cover from head to thigh. I use my coat or clothing for my lower legs. It wasn't so much weight that I was saving, but pack space. Inflatable pads are OK, but my 3/4 closed cell was half the weight and space. Of course that was 20 years ago. There is probably some new fangled something or other that is even lighter now. Ahhh technology. Barry
  5. I found that mothers are the hard sell. You will have to explain the reasoning to me, but moms are very skeptical that patrol method does anything toward character growth. So, I learned to develop my sells pitch to mothers. Still, in most cases, they weren't sold on Patrol Method until they saw the results in person. They were Type A converts that were so passionate of what Patrol Method could do for scouts that they went out and marketed the program to their packs. We never had to go look for Webelos visitors because they called us to get our moms off their back. I have several experiences like this. Two of those skeptical mothers became the two best CCs I ever knew. So, since you are a mother who has proven yourself on this forum a passionate believer of this program, you are probably the best marketer for your troop as well. Barry
  6. I like to tell this story to show the perspective of what Webelos are looking for; at our Blue and Gold of my first year as Cub Master, I asked our Webelos why they chose the troop they were about to join in a few minute at our crossover cerimony. They all said because that troop had the best game during their Troop Meeting. The Webelos leader told me six months later that only one of all those Webelos was still in scouting. Make no mistake about it, parents drive what the sons (and daughters) are looking for. I gave the example of scouts who bucked their parents opinion and joined our troop, but those stories are rare compared to the ones who obeyed their parents. Our troop grew from 17 scouts to 100 scouts in six years. That isn't as amazing as the fact that we average 28 new Webelos crossover scouts every year in a district with 22 troops. We could have been a lot bigger, but because we grew so fast, we had to relearn how to run a patrol method program every year for the first few years and as a result, we lost A Lot of scouts. That is why I know A LOT about working with new first year scouts. ANYWAY, we had huge crossover groups because we sold the Webelos Leader our program. If you sell the Webelos Leader, you sell the whole den because the leader will tell the parents where they are going. And one thing else we learned, if you sell one Webelos leader your program and they like it, they will sell the next year Webelos leaders. Once you get that going, you won't want have to market your program, they will do it for you. And I agree about putting it on paper, we develop a visitors guide that was all about the fun we were going have for the next 12 months. I would say that out of all the information that we gave visitors (Parents) to sway them toward our troop, a fun agenda was the top motivator. So, while you are developing patrol method program where the girls do all the planning, the adults need to push a fun fun program agenda. There are ways to influence scouts decisions without being intrusive to the patrol method program. Marketing is very important. Barry
  7. I think your problem is the Webelos parents, not their daughters. We had several parents that didn’t care for our more chaotic appearance, but their son Insisted our troop was the one they wanted. Are these girls at least visiting your troop? Barry
  8. Eagledad

    Chapter 11 announced

    I wonder if this could turn into an international virus (youthorgvirus). I'm sure the BSA is not the only youth organization with victims. Where there is a will, there is a lawyer. Barry
  9. Eagledad

    Commissioner role

    A good UC/unit relationship requires openness on both sides. I wasn’t a UC, but I helped a few with my more specific expertises. Every SM has a different personality as well as an idealistic perspective of working towards their vision. I remember when our UC advised me not to go from 1 month PLC meetings to weekly PLC meetings. He didn’t have a good reason other than he had never seen it before. I didn’t take his advise. I was asked to help a new SM work toward a more patrol method program. One of my suggestions was let the scouts run the PLC meetings. He couldn’t believe scouts under 14 had the maturity plan meetings and campouts, so he didn’t accept my advice. Both troops in those examples were the fastest growing troops in the district topping out around 100 scouts. Just how hard do You think district is going to push the SMs when their unit is one of the five largest troops in the district? Our troop had the best and most experienced UC in the district and our families became good friends. He was a very successful SM with a Silver Beaver, but we didn’t agree on everything. Just like with patrols, sometimes you have to let the unit live with bad decisions long enough to find the humility to listen and change. From my experience of working with Scoutmasters, humility is hard to come-by. Barry
  10. Eagledad

    Commissioner role

    Sorry, busy morning. I believe the DC is the most powerful and misunderstood volunteer position in scouting. Not only are they responsible for UCs (leadership), but they are also one of the Key 3 (vision).
  11. Eagledad

    Commissioner role

    I believe the DC is the most powerful and I misunderstood volunteer position in scouting. Not only are they responsible for UCs leadership, but they are also one of the Key 3 (vision). Barry
  12. Eagledad

    Commissioner role

    The best District Commissioner I knew gave his UCs 3 units. A successful one, a medium performing one, and a struggling one. The intention was to use the resources and experiences of the three to raise the performance of all three. But, they don’t have to fix all the issues they see; when I was the District Membership Chairman, the district learned that I had some ability for helping struggling unit adults leadership teams get back on track. So, I got a call once in a while by UCs who identified problems with their units leaders. I think a lot of UCs feel they have to fix every problem they find. More often than not, their time is better spent finding someone who is better for the job. Barry
  13. Eagledad

    Commissioner role

    Rarely do volunteer organizations function with the efficiency of a business because, well because they are operated by “volunteers”. This is by no means a criticism of desertrat, who I have a great deal of respect, but the performance of commissioners is directly under the management of the District Commissioner. The District Commissioner is also a volunteer. Done correctly, the Commissioners duties are not labor intensive. Barry
  14. The GSUSA scouts in our town follow the Boy Scouts every year at the local 4th of July parade and laughs can be heard through the crowd. What I've noticed in movies and TV shows is the girl characters in scouts (not necessarily GSUSA) are typically dressed like the traditional GSUSA scouts so that they are especially identifiable as girl scouts. One of my favorites are the scouts in the movie Dodge Ball. Barry
  15. I'm kind of a big picture person, so I don't look at national standards and flexibility as choices. I believe organizations need a consistent structure that doesn't change from state to state, or even from generation to generation. Scouts across the U.S. and their grandfathers should feel they come from the same program. But, my experience at the council level showed me that there has to be flexibility for different cultures and personalities of members. The education and experience of the average leader in a city is far different from the leaders 30 miles a way in farm communities. So there has to be flexibility for those two cultures to fit in the same program. And, after working at the Council to unit levels, I feel the flexibility is there. I certainly pushed the edges of program. One of the areas that a lot (A Lot) of leaders have complained about over the years is the Webelos program. Most of the critique is pointing the lack of flexibility of the programs for adventure, and lack of development for getting scouts ready for the Troop program. But, after several years as a user, I have always countered that the Webelos program is pretty good and very flexible. It does exactly what it needs to do for the maturity of Webelos ages. Scouts don't need troop program training, they need confidence development for self confidence. Where many Webelos leaders fail is in their lack of creativity for doing the Webelos Activities in the outdoors. I believe the troop leaders who want their crossovered new scouts with more troop experience are actually neglecting their new scout program. It's not the lack of skills that scares new scouts, it the idea they are going into the deep dark woods without the security of adults. The perspective of a new scout is that Patrols are just a bunch of kids, and that is terrifying to a young new scout who has had every decision of their security made by adults up to that point. They need some time to see that a patrol full of kids is a safe place. Where I struggle with National is the communication with the users of the program. I can give a lot of examples, but I will highlight my frustration with this example; During the time I was the Council JLT Chairman, I was invited to be on the National BSA forum to advise changes to the then JLTC course. The forum was advertised as an advisory forum to develop a new Council Level JLT course (NYLT). It was a very good forum with lots of good discussions. I was excited to see what was coming. But what National published was junior level 21st Century WB course. Now, I understand National's reasoning of taking what the adults learn from WB can be transferred to the Scouts. But the WB course isn't really a leadership development course, it is a team building course. Scouts need real leadership development. We could debate whether that is appropriate or not, but there was no discussion on the forum for such a syllabus. National ignored the recommendations from the users of JLT and implemented their own course. If National had any integrity with me, they lost it then. The same thing basically occured with the changes they made to the Tiger program in 2000. The recommendations we gave to National basically suggested less responsibility on the adults. National did just the opposite tripled the work on the adults. National wasn't listening to the users to the level of understanding the situation. So you see, National is not listening. Or if they are, they aren't showing it. I personally believe that the general structure of the BSA is very good. And it works successfully where I've seen it implemented as it was intended. I believe that the bad reputations that have developed were the result of National's drive for increasing numbers. I think to get the program back on balance, the program needs to be scaled back to the 70s program. Then tweak it for todays culture of youth. Barry