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Posts posted by Eagledad

  1. Hi friendlyduck


    Love to know where that name came from. You have hit a very soft spot for me. I have watched and studied the Webelos crossover problem for several years. The problem is Webelos are bored out of their minds and they think boy scouts will be the same. I learned the problem is a Cub Scout structure problem. Oh I know we have discussions about cub leaders and troops not doing their fair share and there is some truth to those statements, but my observations are the big problem is the complexity of the Cub Scout program wearing out the adults.


    We get about three years from the average volunteer. Not just scouting, but church, sports and civic programs all have the same human factor problem of three years and we want a break. After that, other motivations like passion, stature and personal goals have to keep us going. I found that most of the scouts who dont crossover know it in the middle first year of Webelos because their program is not fun even then. They finish the second year because it is successful ending to a lot of time in the program. Some blame sports, band and other activities, but I only found that to be an excuse for boys who werent having fun.


    See the average bear leader is a female and most of them started at Tigers. In their third year they are looking for a break or at least slowing down, but when they look at the Webelos book, they see a new aggressive program of camping in the hot and cold whether, sleeping in uncomfortable sleeping bags on the hard ground. The activity badges require lots of outdoor activities and transportation. The program is design more toward male type activities and that is uncomfortable territory. I found that most of these leaders told the pack to find someone else but as is common for those us who where pack leaders, no one else stands up. So the bear leader is stuck either disbanding the den and disappointing a lot of families, or continuing. These leaders try hard at first, but the 20 activity badges alone become overwhelming and after awhile the program goes down hill.


    I have tried a few ideas to solve the problem, but I learned from districts with a 80% or higher crossover is you have to monitor each den and identify the weak dens as quickly as possible. Then you need to go in and help the leader. I believe the Commissioner Corp is perfect for this. IF they could check on the Webelos leader maybe once a month, I think they could quickly identify the leaders who have a boring program. Then the Commissioner could seek someone to help, I think a nearby Troop. The troop could get a few of the scout to teach a couple activity badges and take some burden off the leader. They could take these Webelos on a campout with the Webelos parents and maybe even give the Webelos leader a day off. The troop will fill in the fun. There are other things that will help too, I believe a little more Webelos training to help them learn how to use the parents on the Activity badges or maybe have two hour and half meetings a month. But if we could just first identify these weak dens, we would be 80% to solving the problem. The other 20% is easy. I believe the Commissioners are the angles we need for these Webelos.


    Did that help much?




  2. >>Good role models for the BSA should be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. And no, I don't view "clean" as having a sexual connotation.

  3. Your SPL position has very little respect. It could be you or just bad leadership in the past that has set a pattern. It doesn't matter. What you need to do is start a trend back the other way.


    The suggestions from the list are very good. I will add a couple others.


    1. You need to come together with the minds. Sit down with your SM and suggest a day of talking with the PLC for about three hours. Talk about each persons responsibilities and lead into how the SPL works with the PL who works with the other scouts. If you see a problem, how will your guys deal with it? I never allowed my SPL to yell. That forced him to ask other leaders to do their jobs like quieting down the patrol, or leading an activity or just getting a patrol to come to the opening on time. Now you're getting everyone on the same page. Then talk about goals. Have the PLC set three goals. It's very hard to walk down a trail if you don't know where you are going. They could be a simple as making sure the meetings start on time and finish on time. Uniform goals or running a meeting without adults. That one may need a while. But set some goals that you and the PLC can measure. If all this sounds like a few hours of JLT, you are right.


    2. Start doing 20 or 30-minute PLC meetings each week before the Troop meetings instead of one three hour monthly meeting. I have found that one 3-hour PLC meeting a month doesn't work well for team building or troop management. To much time between delegating responsibilities and checking on progress. You have to practice something to learn something. Yes, a 30 minute meeting doesn't get enough done at first, but it will force you to get organized and build a good agenda before the meeting. And most scouts will like not having to sit during a boring three-hour meeting. A 30-minute meeting doesn't have time to get boring.


    3. Make and agenda for everything, especially PLC meetings. Most SPL performance start degrading when they try to remember what they are suppose to do instead of just looking at the agenda. This seems like a small thing, but I noticed our SPL wasn't getting through meetings about the time he started memorizing his agenda, or not even making and agenda. My experience is in most Troops, bad agenda practices are the number one problems with junior leaders. If you don't have an agenda, either the adults take over, or the whole program starts to suffer.


    Finally, sit down with you SM if you can and explain how hard it is to be corrected during a meeting. It's sets a tone for the whole troop and nothing like always looking over your shoulder. Make a deal with him. Explain you will come to him after each meeting after before you go home and take notes of his comments if he just leaves you alone to struggle during the meeting. If you start taking notes, his ego will give you some space. I know, I have been that SM.


    Don't expect big changes at first, nothing happens fast in a boy run troop. Look at yourself as the farmer plowing a field to start a new crop. You are trying to start new habits in the troop. What you do now may affect the troop for many years to come. Now that is cool.


    You came to a good place for advice, please let us know how it goes.


    I love this scouting stuff.




  4. I will start. I'm excited to learn what Bob White knows. I had a couple of talks with National and have a little insight, very little, but here is what I think your going to see. Not a whole lot of changes for JLTC. But more on Unit JLT. Truth is JLT is a SM responsibility and JLTC should be one step in the JLT experience. Somehow though, SM started using JLTC to do their training. As I said before, once the adult is taken out of the loop, he looses focus on the objective of development of leadership. Once a bad habit starts, it can only be changed by retraining. But once the SM started sending his scouts off for someone else to do the training, he did two things. He shifted off one of his primary respnsibilities, and he lost the one program that teaches Patrol Method. Over time, the replacement adults never learned the values of leadership development and we started a trend of building bad habits on bad habits.


    Our Council is developing a unit JLT program to give the units so that we can get adults back in the business of developing leadership, and at the same time, reinforce Patrol method everytime they run a JLT course.



  5. I had the joy of overhauling our Council JLTC program. Our program was suffing for reasons I can explain later. I am a little surprised by the focus on JLTC. I have a lot of experience in JLT and there are several points I think needed to be addressed. There is too much to address all at once, but I will start with a few points I think are important to JLT.


    1. JLT (Junior leader Training) is not needed much in a well run boy run program. A troop program was designed that the lessons of leadership be handed down to the scouts as they progress through their ranks and experience with the Patrol Methods. That being siad, JLT is required for weaknesses in the program. The point I am making is JLT should be dynamic to change and meet the needs of the programs, not repeated for the sake of everyone else does it. This is why I think the BSA JLT program fails after it's first run. It doesn't change, it's doesn'answer all the questios units have, and it becomes boring because of it.


    2.JLT is also a adult realignment program. Most programs start to struggle when the adults don't understand their roles in the boy run program. I beleive the need for JLT is required to teach adults boy run, patrol method and leadership as well as the boys. One reason JLTC is failing in the last few years is because the SMs are sending off their scouts to JLT training without a clue what the scouts learn or bring back. Once the scout is back in the unit, business is pretty much as usuall with the SM not allowing the newly trained lead to lead. While we made some dramtic changes in our JLTC (Junior Leader Training Confence), the biggest comments came from the units leaders who were forced to either attend three hours of training, or their scouts couldn't attend.


    3.JLT (Junior Leader training) should be a hands on experience, not a show to watch. We learn from our struggles, we only struggle in our experience. Don't you find it interesting that the students are in patrols watching the staff (PLC) act out the very skills the students are going to be performing when they go back to their troops. Our Council change the patrols to PLCs and each scout then became a leader responsible for the program. I can explain later, but my point is that JLT should be as hands on as possible.


    4. I have trouble with Wood Badge and JLTC. There is this long standing discussion of how to make one resemble the other so that the adults and scouts speak the same language. Wood Badge had to change because the adult leaders were going back and forcing the boys to run their patrols the same way as they experienced at Wood Badge. The failure in that is Patrol Methods is more a phylosphy than a model. But we didn't get that at Wood Badge. What the adults need to know for being a good Scout Leader is completely different from what a boy needs to know to be a good leader. IF adult taining and youth training continue to copy each other, boy run will fail. Scouting will turn into a camping club with adults telling boys how to act and dress. Troops will die at the age 14 and the BSA will try to save it with Venturing which will struggle because if you can't be a good unit leader in the troops, why would you be good in the older boy programs. We have to teach adults how to guide, coach and counsel leadership. If you want to talk the same language, great bring them to JLTC so they can get watch the boys in action. But talking the same language doesn't help much if the boys are not left to get hands on experience. WE have to teach adults on how to motivate the boys to ask the questions. Motivation comes from wanting to reduce the struggle.


    5. JLT starts the day the scout joins the troop and goes on at least until he leaves scouting. The skills required for leadership start with scout skills, but I have found that 90% adults don't know why or how. They don't know why we should tie knots in this bungee cord society, so they lead the scout in a class, teach a knot and give him a badge without the scout even seeing what happened. Adults need to understand how the Eight Methods gets us from here to there. My concern is National has lost this understanding as well and looks for band aids like JLTC to stop the bleeding. Only to find a new wound developing somewhere else like Eagle mills and inmature older scouts.


    OK, this is a lot, but I guess we have forever to discuss the JLT. It's one of my favorite subjects and I hope we can help SMs develop better and more fun training programs from the discussion. Sorry for the misspelling.


    I love this Scouting Stuff





  6. OK, the numbers can look concerning if you look at small part of the picture, and I am glad you bring the concern to the front. But homosexuality and activism are confusing to some. Enough so that some feel there are part of bad guys. This discussion was taking on two lives, what should the BSA do to marketing itself and why doesnt the BSA let those people in. I look forward to civil discussions in the future because I am very comfortable with our program. I am the JLT coordinator of our Council and I cant wait to have dialogue about JLTC because we turned it upside-down and I think you will enjoy hearing about it. But for my part on this thread, there are few other things I have observed that could make a difference.


    Over half of the Webelos in scouting dont crossover into troops. How much would I increase our program if I could grab another 25% of those scouts?


    The largest loss of boys in troops occurs in their first six months of troop experience. That is a lot.


    We are really lousy with the older boy program and I think getting worse. I have a lot of respect for the leaders of our program, but I dont think they understand the problem. If I could teach units to develop their program so that keep at least 50 of their scouts until they were lets say 17 how much better would that be.


    So what does all this mean, well two things for me? First if we are going to continually discuss gays in or out of scouting, we have to get the facts right. And if we are to market our program better, we have to start teaching the adults to do a better job. The first is a challenge because there are a lot of well-financed activist out there determined to force change on the BSA. The other we have immediate control over and this forum has so much power. Imagine, a place were we can each work together to improve our program. A place where we can act civil within the boundaries of the Scout Law and Oath. I have attended other forums and I know by the letters I receive that we can make a difference.


    So forgive me if I seem to make your awareness of the marketing problem seem small, it is not. But, I hope to encourage you to know that this one small group can push scouting to what Bob White described, a program where our sons can develop to make difficult decisions based from the character traits and habits learned in scouting. There are no other organizations that do as well as us.


    I dont believe in luck or coincidence, so I believe all of you have been chosen to be here. I honor you taking on the responsibility and helping my son.


    So yes, lets raise the concerns, but lets not forget the possibilities.


    I love this Scouting Stuff.




    Where do we talk about that JLTC stuff?


  7. I think both you guys are right. If the patrol doesn't see it as a problem, then it is not a patrol or leadership problem. But building habits toward good character are also the SMs responsibility and I would have a SM confrence with the scout to point out what I think he gains from making the extra effort. Guide him so that he sets a goal to reach then let him work toward the goal and counsel his performance to boost his confidence.


    At the same time, I work with the parent and guide him if need be to work with you as a team to help his son reach your goal. Usually if you approached a parent by pointing out the character values you are trying to build, the parent is excited to help. While the parent may not be the direct cause here, he is part of the problem. It's difficult to fix one without changing the other.


    Great responses, I'm learning a lot.



  8. Hi Sctmom, sorry I guess I wasnt clear. My typing skills need help. Actually I thought he was talking about allowing girls in troops. And it was the suffering and humiliation being inflicted on others that I felt was inappropriate. I made no judgment on the man or his ideals, only his behavior. We can be all kinds of people with all kinds of ideas, ideals and feelings, but it's our behavior that people see. That may not be important in many programs, but it's most important in the BSA. Our program is supported on the pillars of mentoring and role modeling of behavior. We talk about the bad example of smoking, drinking, cursing and even the way we dress. Is how we disagree with each other no less important?


    The average person between the age of 10 and 15 learn about 85% of their behavior from what they see from others around them. How you act in front of your scouts is so much more important than what you say.


    Le Voyageur appears so frustrated by the BSA policies that I feel his words were intended to hurt those who disagreed. Sure the BSA shows some intolerance, All organizations do to some degree. Without some kind of intolerance, we would only need one organization for everyone.


    If we start flinging arrows every time we disagreed with each other, how would we ever teach patience, diplomacy, pondering of thought and compromise of actions? He could have said I disagree and choose to leave and he would he have gained my respect for it? If the BSA has done anything well, it's that they show respect to those who disagree with their policies.


    All of us know of behaviors we feel are not appropriate or moral. That should not dictate the way we treat each other.


    A Scout leader is a mighty powerful influence to our kids. Choose wisely.




  9. Hi Mr. Floyd First off, don't show them the dark side of your moon. Ok, OK, just couldn't resist. I have so few pleasures in life.


    You leave a lot to our imagination. I would ask:


    How many adults have been trained?

    What are their goals for your scouts in this troop? Tell them yours, and will they except that?

    Do they know what the BSA's goals are? Do you?

    What does boy run mean to them, and ask for some exmaples?


    Give them your definition of boy run and give them some of your examples. Ask them if they will be excepting of your boy run definition and a program like it.

    Ask them how they deal with disapline? Tell them how you will deal with it in a boy run troop. Will they except that?


    You need to find out their motive to be in that troop, and why they want you. They need to hear your ideas so that they can decide if you're the right person. If not, you will be asking different questions a year from now.


    Good Luck, it was during my Scoutmastering that I learned to say "I love this Scouting stuff".



  10. Please forgive me for resending this reply. I sent it to a similar discussion last week and maybe a few didn't see it. I hope it suggest a few ideas that will help.


    The uniform gives identity. It is an equalizer in that everyone starts equal by wearing it. The poor are equal with the rich. The Catholic is equal with the Jew. A boy from California looks no different from the boy from New York. You wont have to feel intimidation to try looking as important as the other guy does. The uniform also gives self-identity. A scout can set himself apart from the other scout by rank, leadership, patrol and even elite organizations like OA. While we start out as equals, our character and personalities sets us on different paths in life. The patches on the uniform identify our goals, dreams, experiences and rewards. Each scout is an individual when he wears the uniform.


    The scout uniform gives a perception. An elderly womens car breaks down late at night in an unfamiliar part of town. Two boys approach her from opposite sides of the street. Only one is in a Boy Scout uniform. Who will she pick to ask for help? Why? Once while traveling to Backpack in the Pecos, we stop to visit the Santa Fe art festival. Our scouts asked for a break from uniforms but the adults wore theirs. Our scouts were very impressed when we adults were given free lunches by the venders. They said it was a way of saying thanks. But it was more than that, out of crowd of thousands of people, we were identified as people of higher respect. Its fair to admit your scout's friends in school may not be seen wearing a scout uniform, but if they were to ask the qualities of a scout, more than likely character, trustworthy, and leader would come up, even from their friends. The Boy Scout uniform is well respected by most all.


    The uniform is a tool to build character. Sit down with your PLC and ask them what is the proper uniform. As an adult, you do not need to answer, and in fact more than likely you would be wrong too. After the discussion has been beat in the ground, ask the SPL to read the proper uniform from his handbook. At another time, ask the scouts about making decisions, when is it ok to make good ones, bad ones and so on. Mention the saying of Character is what you have when nobody is looking. Ask the scouts for examples of that. Youre given the incorrect change at a store, or you see someone who needs help opening a door. Is it fair to say that we can develop the habit of making bad decisions as well as good ones? Yes, in fact that is our job is to practice good habits in the troop. If a scout decides to not wear the uniform described in the book, is that a good decision, or bad. What habit is he feeding?




  11. What does dad say?


    If this is not a religious issue, then it sounds like a parent issue. Maybe dad needs to understand more about the patrol method and practicing the skills learned from it. Teamwork teaches the leadership skill of working together to accomplish a task. As the Council JLT coordinator, this is a very important skill for when he gets into the PLC. The skill of completing a set goal is also very important for young scouts. If he doesn't learn it now, he will have a difficult time completing other goals in the future like Eagle. IF the patrol starts to see the scout as a goof-off or someone they can't count on, he looses respect in the patrol and is usually pushed back in responsibilities. Respect of being a good leader starts first with respect as a good follower. The scout needs to understand that. The dad needs to understand he gets that by spending as much time with the Patrol as he can get. Maybe it should be suggested the dad stay home a couple of campouts. I have made this suggestion many times when a scout seems to use the parents as a crutch. And if the scout does have to leave because of church, then there are other ways to ask him to do his share so that he learns the skills of leadership and character.





  12. I shouldn't even get into this, but you guys keep pushing that uniform button. Our troop is one of those that uses the OD BDUs as part of our uniform. There is a long story behind why, but once the PLC made the decision, I took a pair to Council and asked if there was any problems, No.


    Advantages? They have small straps on the hips and cuffs that allow them to adjust four sizes so your small son can still wear them when he grows into your big son. My son who is now 6 foot one wore his for four years before he handed them to me. They have great big huge pockets that almost replace backpacks. They fit better and don't have that alastic waist, look sharp and the only reason they don't look the same as BSA pants is because they have great big huge pockets. AND, they cost twenty bucks at our local surplus store. Some of our scouts have been seen wearing them to school.I told that the great big huge pockets are in style.


    Disadvantages? OK, I will have to think on that.


    But my last point is that no matter what kind of uniform the BSA designs or that your PLC chooses, many will still not wear properly or with pride when given a choice. Why, because we are all individuals and life as a teenager is questioning everything you don't understand.


    I posted last week on the Uniform thread, if you want the scouts to wear full uniform because you think it looks better, then you're doing it wrong. The uniform is a tool to build character, fitness and citizenship. If you can't think of a better reason for the uniform than it makes them look better, then you're not seeing the big picture. It's not your problem how he dresses, it's his. Your problem is guiding him to understand why a person should wear the uniform and respect it. For some it's easy on instant, for others it's gradual and slow. But once he gets it, he will wear it because he wants to.


    As I suggested last week on the Uniform thread, think of other reasons why a 14 year old boy should wear a uniform with pride so we can take that back to our scouts. I started with a few if you want to look back.


    So what do you think?


    Oh, oldgreyeagle, I don't think you're a fuddy duddy. I wouldn't allow that word in the troop.



  13. Our Pack was very big, so we only recognize Rank, arrow points, Activity badges, Tiger paws and religious awards at pack meetings. Everything else was presented by the Den Leaders at their Den meetings. We also put the scouts name with a list of all his awards in the monthly Pack newsletter.


    However in trade, our awards presentations were usually very exciting and fun for the scouts and families. I tried to create a new ceremony for each pack meeting so the scouts and parents never saw the same one twice. I learned the best way to keep everyones interest was involve the whole audience in the awards. Sometimes I would tell a story and every time I mentioned Wolf, Bear, Webelos or what ever the award was, the audience had to yell something like CRY OF THE WOLF, or ROAR OF THE BEAR!. Or they may have to yell the name of the scout who was receiving the award. There is nothing like watching the face of a boy hearing his name yelled out in honor by 150 people. For me, the two objectives were keep the ceremonies fun, and make the awarded scout smile from ear to ear. Sometimes I would spread the different ranks through the meeting. Start the meeting with a ceremony for the wolves, do the bears in the middle of the meeting and finish with Webelos and Tigers. Once a dad who was an Eskimo Indian lead everyone in a tribal dance when I was recognizing Wolves and Bears. Once in a while I gave all the brothers and sisters bells to ring when they heard a scouts name. Another time I gave them feathers to wear. It was great fun.


    While I was a Webelos leader, I wanted my scouts to get use to the way most troops present awards at the end of meetings, so I presented Activity Badges at the end of each Den Meeting with the parents watching. The scouts loved this because they didnt have to wait a month for the pins, and they could show them off at the pack meeting. The CM presented the cards to the Webelos so they were still recognized in front of the whole pack for their accomplishments. Those were fun days.


    I love this Scouting Stuff




  14. I am not going to say start your own unit because I don't like it when I suggest a need for something better and they blow me off by telling me to go out and do it. But that is what we did. We also couldn't find a Troop where the Three Aims were the adult goals and the Eight Methods were the tools to reach those goals. There wasn't a unit where individual growth was the primary objective.


    When the word went out that we were looking to start a troop, a worn out SM of a worn out troop asked us to take over. He had six older scouts left and some worn out equipment. We took the risk, brought in 12 Webelos and set out on the most rewarding path of our lives. Three years later, we grew to 80 scouts and a reputation of a fun boy run troop. We didn't dare advertise or go looking for new scout because we were bigger than we wanted to be. We also have a reputation of working with scouts with learning disabilities. We have had retarded scouts, Autistic scouts, lots of ADD, ADHD, and Ds I have not even heard of. The Scout with a bad heart defect was our first Eagle. Our Deaf scout was next.


    So it can be done. It requires adults who want to build Eagles from the inside out, who want boys to have fun on their terms not yours, who have compassion for their struggles, but the courage and the strength to hold them accountable to the oath and law. It can be done.


    I am not suggesting you go out and do it, you have Webelos right now who need your wisdom and experience. But you can be an alarm for something better. If there is a black hole out there for a new kind of program, someone will listen and eventually get sucked into the hole.


    As for your Webelos, while I was helping develop our new troop, I was also the leader of 17 Webelos. One of the parents of that group enjoyed our Den program so much he started a troop in his church and took most my Webelos. A challenging experience for me to say the least. Eight of those Webelos have earned Eagles and invited me to their COHs. Each one stood up and said that their path to Eagle started in my den. Each one asked me to stand with his troop leaders to be recognized as someone who made a difference in his life. I'm at a loss how to ease your pain of the troop, but I dont believe in luck or coincidences anymore because too many of them seem to come together with purpose. While right now it doesnt seem so, I think God has a plan and has honored you to be where you are at right now. Your Webelos are lucky because they have you as a den leader. For them, growing into leaders of integrity starts now with you, not later in some troop. They have a leader and mentor who gets it and knows what to do. They have a jumpstart, and possibly the only start in scouting toward growing into the man mothers want their sons to be.


    I am glad Eagle Foot is close so you have someone to talk with in person.


    I love this scouting stuff.




  15. I'm not sure the DE has that kind of power. She is part of the Key-Three, go ask your District Chairman and District Commish. If they don't know whats going on, then something isn't right. I would question why the DE has so much power on your committee.



  16. Good point. Our troop has done a few night Troop-o-rees under the James Bond and Star Trek themes. This is basically competing in camporee style scout skills at night. We invite a couple other troops. The events start after a campfire about 9:00 PM and finish about 1 or 2 AM.


    We have also did a Triathlon campout where the patrols had to ride bikes, canoe and hike to different events during the day. Our scouts say biking campouts are one of their favorites and our shotgun/rifle shooting campouts are always big. One Venture patrol did a backpacking trip that started from our church and ended five miles away at a local lake.


    I guess Chippewa29 is right, Fun adventures can be more of using the good ol imagination. Good post.



  17. I think you would be surprised. One of the adults in our Troop is the climbing/rappeling instructor at Camp Alexander in Colorado during summer camp. He lends himself out to any troop that wants to rappel but doesn't have trained adults. We don't see him much because he's busy pretty much every weekend with some troop from Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. We are in the same District as the unit in kwc57's pictures. I would venture to say at least half of the troops in our District rappel/climb at least once every two years or more. Just off the cuff, I can think of at least five that do it every year.



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