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Posts posted by Eagledad

  1. 32 minutes ago, elitts said:

    Yep.  That's one of the reasons I dislike SPL changes every 6 months.  Not that I don't think the elections should happen, I just like it when the SPL serves 2 or 3+ terms.  6 months is just about enough time to figure out what they are doing.  Even the boys think the times (3 I think) over the last 7 years where an SPL lasted more than 6 months were significantly better, though I don't know if they've actually made that connection.  They just talk about "Back when X was SPL".  Of course, most of the rest of the time were SPLs who thought it would be cool to be SPL or they wanted it on their college applications and they all wanted it to be over by month 3 when they realized it's a lot of work and not just "standing up front and telling people what to do".

    After the troop matured a couple of years, we didn't see anymore of the SPLs who just wanted the cool experience because the scouts saw how demanding the job was. Only the most ambitious scouts ran for it. In fact, the troop paid for the SPL's summer camp fees because he worked so hard. The SPL is the first into camp to sign the troop in, and the last to leave to sign the troop out. He attends all the adult meetings and makes all the decisions that don't require an 18 or older person. I learned that the other SPLs  in the camp recognize maturity because our SPLs were typically picked as the camp SPL. The SPLs are worn out by the end of camp. But, it is strangely an experience that is highly prized. One scout showed me his 18 month plan to be an SPL. And it was timed for the summer camp experience.

    Funny experience. The only time the troop ever left a scout behind at camp was the first summer camp of the new SM. He was just trying to be a good SM, but the SPL let him have it and taught the SM how to account for all scouts. If you were to ask me how the PLC accounted for all the scouts, I honestly couldn't tell you. They had a process tho.

    When scouts are given true responsibility, they take it very seriously. 


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  2. 3 hours ago, elitts said:

    Whenever one of the adults in our troop starts making noise about "fairness" because "What about kids who need a position to advance?" I make sure and remind them that other than for Eagle, they can substitute a SM approved project.  I think even among those who know it's an option, it tends to get forgotten about.  And when it comes to the Eagle requirement, well, there's nothing that says there can only be 1 Troop Instructor.

    I'm much more interested in allowing the SPL to put together a team that actually wants to do the job rather than picking scouts that the SM says "really need a position".  I had the same Quartermaster for 18 months (now he's the QM Emeritas and helping the newbie) and it was GLORIOUS.  By about month 8-9, getting ready for a campout was as simple as saying  "Everything all set? Need me to buy any supplies?" and then waiting for the answer.

    This is so good. Thanks.

    In general, scouts who are placed in leadership for  credit generally don't learn or grow at all. In fact, they will more likely dispise leadership. And, a lot of scouts who don't show any desire for leadership in their younger years will all of a sudden thirst for it in their older years. We all mature at different rates. We just need to let them choose when they are ready. 

    Oh, in our troop, past SPLs took on the Troop Guide role. I think it is because while they were ready for break from the very demanding SPL responsibilities, they still needed to lead and guide scouts. And, they are very good at it. 


  3. 3 hours ago, skeptic said:

    Some, especially we more seasoned individuals need some type of walking stick.  I now carry at least one hiking pole in my car for just general use in areas where I may be walking and need balance aid.  I actually always try now to have a set on real hikes, whether in the city, or more wild areas.  Again, balance at least, and often simply something on which to lean.  Now if I can figure a way to add a grabber of some sort, I will be set to do my civic duty and leave it cleaner than I found it.  And I can do it without a lot of bending.  On our beach cleanups now, I always use the grabber; even the cheap ones work well, though more sturdy one are better, other than heavier.  

    I'm wondering how to use the grabber to clean up after my dogs during walks? :huh:


  4. I agree with everything in elitts post. Still, there is also the risk of the SPL appoints a friend with no real desire to do the job. Giving young people the experience of responsibilities is tricky, and I found that whether they are elected, appointed or even volunteer, the real work of the SM is developing them to do the work. One of the reasons I don't like leadership as a requirement for advancement is that most people aren't leaders. That is my experience of life and Scoutmasting. So, what are we scouters to do? Well, I learned to encourage scouts to take the next step in their growth. If not the ASPL, how about taking care of the equipment. Or helping new scouts, or teaching or, or, or, and so on. 

    I do not like to brag, I just hate it. But, for the sake of this discussion, I will brag that our troop developed a culture of giving scouts opportunities to take the next step. I remember after one of our SPL elections, watching from the corner in the room the SPL immediately picked his replacement to be the next ASPL. Those two sat down and started writting down names of scouts who showed an interested in taking on other duties or responsibilities. They weren't picking their friends, they were putting scouts in positions of opportunity for growth.  That is the culture we developed, so the adult didn't need to be part of the process. 

    So, the burden of the SM is to learn from the process to see if the scouts are growing from it because it will turn into a culture. Scouts hate change and what they start now won't change without an interjection. If the SM observes the scouts not growing from the experience, he must interject and change it.  If the SM is working toward growth, then how the scouts get into positions of responsibility doesn't really matter all that much. 

    One last thing, I used to not agree with the Baden Powel Scouts approach for picking the SPL. The SM picks the SPL and leaves him there for as long as he/she wants. It bothered me that the scouts didn't pick their leader. But, as I found, only a small percentage of the population have leadership qualities. So, why not put them where they will grow the most and skip the part of them trying to get elected. The SPL still has to fill the other positions of responsibility, so that doesn't change. Each scout will get their chance to test the waters of leadership if they want. I don't know, I would like to give style of selection a try and see how works. 


  5. 41 minutes ago, mrjohns2 said:

    If you RFM, it says elect SPL and PL. PL appoints APL. SM chooses JASM if you have one. Most / all others are appointed by SPL. 

    As long as they can work together, I assume it is no biggie if we vote on all positions? Thoughts?

    In my mind, not a biggie if the process enhances the objective of growth. Many times however, these changes are done to make the program easier for the adults to manage. Meaning, more adult led. 

    Also, following published guides tends to prevent confusion down the road with big leadership changes. 

    I once observed a program where the SPL was elected every year instead of every six months. I found the SPL's more mature because they had six months to learn and six months to use what they learned. I proposed that idea to our PLC and I was voted down. Why change a good thing was their response. Our older scouts tended to age out, so I put them in pretty responsible JASM positions to achieve continued growth from a different approach. But, I still like that 1 year SPL program.


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  6. I didn't know about the LDS units, That makes a lot of sense. And, may also be why one year is used as the time limit. What I mean is I learned over the years that the majority of scouts who leave the program in their first year quit being active after summer camp. I started teaching that new scouts who stay active after their first summer camp will likely stay active for at least 3 years. 

    But, I believe summer camp caps off the scouts impression of his scouting experience determines his future in the program. Of course they aren't officially dropped until the signup a year later.


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  7. Thinking about the Chief Scout idea, I wonder if it should be a National authorization by an un-corruptible 3rd party. The scouter has to apply for it with a resume and proof of legitimacy. A national 3rd party could maintain quality control to hold the authorization's integrity. Maybe the authorization should only last while the scouter is registered.

    I would be interested in being part of something like that.


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  8. 3 minutes ago, InquisitiveScouter said:


    I had written quite a treatise to answer your request for requirements/duties/etc., but my scouter.com editor went wonky on me... I'll spend some time and write them again...

    Definitely should be a contributor to the Scout Handbook!  As a Scout's Scout, the Chief Scout would bring the eye and viewpoint of someone who has been "in the trenches" with the manual, and make it more approachable and readable.   (Should also contribute to MB's and awards requirements, where Chief Scout has particular knowledge first, and then from the viewpoint of the Scout's Scout for other MB's...)  I could give you many, many examples of this...

    Are we talking about youth or adult?


  9. 6 hours ago, RememberSchiff said:

    IMHO, it would be cool to encounter the Chief Scout, distinctly yet plainly uniformed, on the trail or at camp.

    One of my mentors ran into Bill Hillcourt on a Philmont trail. His crew invited Bill to stay with their crew for dinner and he told stories all night by the campfire. That experience motivated my mentor to become a SM at age 21 and he just retired in his 60s just a couple years ago. Pretty cool story.


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  10. Just now, MattR said:

    Our cub camp doesn't have showers. It is a 10 min drive to the showers at scout camp but all the water is turned off for all but summer so everyone brings their own water when they camp.

    Maybe the real rules, the ones in the inspection, are different.

    Our camps are Cub and Troop friendly, so this is new to me. Thanks.


  11. Hmm, well that seems like a ding against the idea of units running independently without the Council. Of course I come from a time of units required to use Tour Permits. The council has to approve all camp activities the units apply for. I liked liked Tour Permits because it provided a check list for units to verify they were prepared to travel and camp camp. I'm not sure what I think about a unit waiting for the approval of something they could do themselves. I'll have to think about that. Our pack and dens camped at many State Packs that met the criteria. 


  12. 3 minutes ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

    Barry, not speaking for @yknot, but in my experience with three different councils for Cub camping, when I asked about council approval for Cub camping locations, I had to school them on the requirement for council approval.  Then, they (usually the Council Camping Committee Staff Advisor) just told me to use the criteria on the form, and if it met them, we were approved (that is, the unit provides their own appraisal, even though this is prohibited.)

    So, your saying, the camp may have all the requirements for cub camping, it's just hasn't been officially approved for Cub camping by the council. Is that right?


  13. 17 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

    As for Councils not providing stuff, the #1 used camp over the past 20 years do not have showers, which was a requirement until recently, nor enough bathrooms. And my council never had a list of approved Cub campgrounds. So several packs used the OA's Where to Go Camping book to select campgrounds.

    Your number one used camp doesn't have showers? Is that not your Boy Scout summer camp?


  14. 8 hours ago, yknot said:

    I was surprised by something else in that link. Further down it talks about Pack overnight campsite approvals. I've been out of cubs awhile but that's new to me and to most of our area units evidently because most of the popular cub scout camping sites in use around here would not meet all the criteria on the linked appraisal form. 

    Seem pretty basic. What is not provided in your council?


  15. My dad was a 15 year old SM during WWII because there weren't enough men around. His dad (my grandpa) didn't want the job, but said he would sign everything required by the adult if my dad was SM. And they made that work for 2 years. My dad enjoyed being a SM, but regretted doing it because he wanted to get his Eagle and didn't have the time.

    Jameson said what I was going to say. I want to add, that stating something in writing usually takes out flexibility. How many discussions have we had on this forum of why Unit level restrictions and requirements for discipline or attendance tend to take away from the patrol method part of the program because they by nature take away independence of making decisions?

    I personally encouraged activities until we were told to stop. Laser tag is an example. 


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  16. 30 minutes ago, MattR said:

    For us it wasn't the freeze, it was the hawk. There's also an owl.

    Nice pictures, @InquisitiveScouter , did you take those? I'm thinking that was a long lens.

    I have a fish pond in my yard i keep open with an air stone. It keeps the fish alive and the birds happy. Which in turn keeps me happy.

    We have noticed an increase of hawks around here as well. A lot of them.


  17. 15 hours ago, MattR said:

    Building on @qwazseand @Eagledad 's comments, what if, rather than bringing in an oracle scout, consider taking the new troop - which is likely the size of a patrol - and putting it in the troop where the split would have come from for a year? Then split off a new troop with that one patrol. The new parents would also have someone to learn from as well.

    Not a bad idea, but adult personalities have to be just right.

    We have done something like this in troops that are growing to big and found that the coordination on the adult side can get complicated. The adults have to be willing to step back and learn. My observation is that one unit typically has weak adult leadership and they last about five years before merging back to the stronger unit. That goes for packs as well..

    We have discussed this idea from the district perspective and the complexity is finding a good troop to take the patrol with the idea the patrol and adults will eventually split. Unit leaders just don't think in that way, so a mediator is often needed to guide the process. And the question there is who is the mediator that all the adults will trust and follow. Most Scoutmasters have a bit of pride or arrogance that resist being lead to a specific way of thinking. It can work, but the mediator is the key.

    15 hours ago, MattR said:

    The comment from @T2Eagle is also good. How many units start off bad because they forget about fun? Rather than make a big plan for advancement I'd much rather ask the scouts what they want to learn. If the answer is how to make great pancakes (because they just torched the last ones) then there's a plan the scouts will get behind.

    I've told the story before of a call I got from a new SM of a new Troop asking how to keep the program fun after doing all the first class advancement requirements on their first 6 months of campouts. I suggested he let the scouts have 2 hours of free time after they finish their planned program and he balked saying that scouts could not do 2 hours free time without getting in trouble.

    Fun is a hard concept for adults who don't understand the scouting program. Adults like neat and orderly agendas that have measurable outcomes that tell them if they are succeeding or failing. Unfortunately first class advancement fits that mind set perfectly. Burnt pancakes is messy and means failure.

    The best way to get fun in the program is with experienced leaders. Which might take us back to the first point of finding a big brother to assign to the unit.

    15 hours ago, MattR said:


    @Armymutt , this is a hypothetical district. It has very few volunteers, no OA, and the DE is busy doing something else. Maybe the OA, as originally intended to bring ideas back to units, is an idea worth pursuing. I don't think districts currently help improve units as much as they think. The people best able to do that seem to be the ones in the thick of it. So I'd rather see units helping each other be the focus. To be honest, a troop needs 7 years of great ideas and then it can start recycling them. I'd think sharing ideas would really help units come up with more enjoyable calendars but every time I saw a roundtable ask units to share it's rather superficial.  If you saw the SNL skit called Man Park last week, that's what roundtables remind me of other than announcements. And the announcements don't really help either.

    I think units helping units will work if the district can build a culture for it. But, building a culture requires a good team with a common plan, and that is challenging for districts, especially a team for at least 7 years. There really aren't that many adults who are good team leaders, which is why so many  districts struggle in the first place. I could do it, you could do and I'm confident qwazse could do it. But, I'm not sure who else could do it.


  18. 3 minutes ago, johnsch322 said:

    No matter what the LC's offer was much to low and the and the BRG analysis of the LC's show that. On top of that the only people who will decide on the low ball offer will be survivors.  It is a far stretch of imagination that even 75% of survivors would vote yes and more that that would more than likely have to.

    Just for a little clarity, what is the difference between survivor and victim?


  19. InquisitiveScouter just showed a picture of my back yard. We very much enjoy watching the families of Cardinals and Woodpeckers repeatedly swarm our feeders each morning as we eat breakfast. However, we haven't seen as many of these families this year, as well as the songs from the Mockingbirds. Rumor is the lack of these birds in our area is the result of the hard freeze that dominated the US last February. Mother nature is usually pretty good at bringing balance. I have high hopes the families will overwhelm our feeders again soon.


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  20. Interesting reading of all the comments. I think we all agree that the cub scouts is complicated and requires a lot of effort. Some of that effort can be reduced and some of it can't. We can discuss some of those ideas if you want.

    But, the part of the discussion where scouting is not as high a priority  is something that might be identifying your program. Families set their priorities by the desire to attend the activities. I learned over the years that the more fun the family is having together as a whole, the higher those activities become on their priority list. I have seen this play out with pack meetings. As the pack meeting minimalized boring agenda items like announcements and long winded awards ceremonies, the the meetings gained more appeal to the scouts, siblings and parents. Also, as parents where included more in the activities like songs, skits and award presentations, they more the parents looked forward to the meetings. Finally, I found less is more. As we got better a running meetings, they became shorter and more efficient. Our 90 minute pack meeting was reduced to a 55 minute pack meeting. That is a huge difference for parents with 2 year old siblings. We found that by the end of the scouting year, parents were scheduling pack meetings as their family night together. Leaders tend to focus on entertaining the scouts, but when they include the scouts' siblings and parents, well the evening becomes a fun night for all.

    Pack meetings are just one example, but  it is an example of how den leaders can focus on being more fun and the pack can focus on adding family fun activities. We found by accident that our Scouting for Food Saturday was an activity the families enjoyed simply because we started the day with donuts, hot chocolate and coffee. Those little things made the work of going door to door asking for cans of food an annual fun activity simply by everyone getting together for hot chocolate and donuts . That success led us to doing a night of Christmas caroling. Parents are starving for activities where they can have fun with all their kids. Packs are the place to do that if the leaders can get a little creative.


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