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Posts posted by Eagledad

  1. 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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  2. 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.


  3. 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.


  4. 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?


  5. 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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  6. 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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  7. 28 minutes ago, qwazse said:

    My childhood troop had been started a few years earlier with help from the loan (donation?) of an SPL of the troop my SM was assigned to start as a member of the CO.

    So, instead of going to training. Training came to him.

    I didn’t appreciate it then. But now … Look at your top scout. Think of going to him/her and saying, “It’s time for you to finish your tenure in a unit of newbies down the road.”

    This is an idea we discussed locally many times over the years as a way of starting new troops. I think it would work well with two scouts and I would be willing to push it. Taking a scout on loan might be the one way I might even consider being a SM again. 

    But, I will reflect on the experience of one of the most popular troops in our district. The troop had, and still has, a long tradition of great leadership and a fun program. However, their was a time they two outstanding scouts who took turns for several years being the SPL and ASPL. They were natural scouts with charismatic personalities that everyone enjoyed being around. One of my WB patrol mates became their scoutmaster. He was a very smart scouter and found himself be pulled in many directions at the district and council level at this same time Because the two scouts had everything pretty much under control at the scout level, he left them to the program without much observation. And, the ran it well.

    The troop grew like crazy and the program's reputation of being fun grew even in the council. The SM was getting a lot of praise an pats on the back for the troop success. Until the two scouts went to collage. Then the truth came out and within a few months the troop program fell apart. Mainly because nobody really knew what to do. The adults were in the dark as much as the scouts. In short, the one basic flaw of the two scouts was they didn't leave any legacies to follow. They didn't train new leaders, and they didn't work along side the adults to continue the patrol method part of the program. Ironically, the SM was receiving top awards for his contribution to the the district and council. But, he realized that he missed out on the rewarding experience of working with older scouts to help continue the growth. The long tradition of the troops reputation weighed heavy on the SM, so he stepped aside after a few months and disappeared from the scouting. .

    I knew the two scouts well because they were my son's friends. They were just fun people to be around. But, the SM failed them and the troop because he didn't push growth of their experience and maturity in the program. In stead of being direct leaders of the PLC, they should have been pushed to be mentors and role models of Aims and Methods of Scouting. If the SM pushed and mentored growth of the two scouts, I think they would have then seen how leadership has to be continued into all levels of the program so new leadership blooms naturally. 

    I would enjoy taking a mature SPL or two and mentoring them to grow as they start the new troop. I can't imagine a more rewarding experience for both the scouts and the SM. 


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  8. When I was a trainer, I gave new Troop leaders the SPL Handbook and PL Handbook, and suggested they use those very simple handbooks to guide their program along side their scouts using the same handbooks.. I don't know if the BSA is still publishing those handbooks.

    In the pack, I highly suggested that the committee recruit an adult for every task and responsibility. Burnout is the number one problem with packs, so making sure everyone only has one responsibility helps reduce burnout. Our pack would even recruit parents for Blue and Gold, and Pinewood Derby at the beginning of the year so the committee could monitor and help them early if they needed help.


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  9. Ironically, our council developed a youth leadership course that was designed more like a business professional leadership course. The scout participants slept in cabins and meals were provided to them like summer camp. The scouts were arranged in groups of PLCs and had to develop the course schedule from the first moment they walked into their first class. The main objectives we wanted the participants to take home to their troop was a distinctive understanding of how a PLC planned and implemented patrol activities. 

    Many folks didn’t understand why we didn’t put the participants in patrols so they could experience Patrol Method. It was simple, the minimum age for the course was 14; most of the scouts had been experiencing Patrol Method for over 3 years. Plus, the course wasn’t teaching patrol level leadership, it was teaching unit level management of patrols based from the BSA SPL Handbook. The scouts enjoyed the more professional formate because they experienced the real challenges of responsibility (and humility) of planning campouts and activities.

    Scouts and Scoutmasters loved the course, but many adults were scared of the independence given to the scouts. So, NYLT replaced the course. And the scout participants, like WB adults, are back in patrols.


  10. 54 minutes ago, mashmaster said:

    Wood Badge attitude leaves a very bad taste in my mouth about it.  The amount of hype that people talk about it makes me not recommend it to other scouters.  It is a class on project management not scouting(I have been a project manager and had all this type of training outside of scouting).  I did have fun in the class with my crew when we weren't staring at powerpoint slides.  IOLS, OWLS, Sea Badge, and Powderhorn are all better than Woodbadge  (The difference is that all those focus on scouting).  Maybe it is my council, but the people selected for the course staffing is all political and they bounce around talking about how they are special because they are staffing WB.  I was asked once but was too busy working with the youth in the units I am involved with.  And the tickets...... don't get me started on the tickets......

    Anyway, welcome to the forum!  Have the 5 minute max ceremony at a district roundtable or district board meeting since those are where you are involved.  You should not be used as propaganda for WB. 

    I don’t agree it’s project management training, it’s team management training. The objective is to teach understanding of goals and vision, then build and manage the team of adults to work toward those goals.

    Personally I believe the tickets is the most important part of the course for two reasons: first tickets force the participant to focus exactly what their role is on the team. Second, the tickets are supposed to be practicing the expectations specific to their role on the team. Typically more than 50% of the course participants don’t know what they will be doing in the unit or team they are volunteering on, so if the course staff is guiding the participants correctly, they are helping to clarify to the participant their role as a volunteer. And the staff is guiding the tickets to be specific to the expectations of the participants role.

    woodbadge gets a bad name when the staff doesn’t understand the purpose of the course, or each other’s staffing roles in the course. So, they act out the course syllabus without defining why they are playing their roles. As a result, participants graduate without understanding how to define goals and vision, or how to build and mange the team to work towards those goals and vision. I can look at a participants ticket and see instantly if they know what they are doing. Each ticket item should relate to a specific skill for their one specific role. When a new Troop ASM creates a ticket to lead the planning of a camporee, I will have a discussion and likely prevent a terrible camporee. And what about the CM who couldn’t recruit leaders and was taking on Webelos Leader and Tiger Leader.  With guidance, her tickets worked toward recruiting and training so she could just be a CM and save her from a fast burnout. Possibly saved the unit from dieing.

    Maybe the problem is WB is complicated and requires more training for the trainers.


  11. 6 hours ago, elitts said:

    Nah.  He gets basically zero credibility in my book.  A fired/laid off person making lots of accusations and claims without any support or verifiable explanation isn't a reputable source..

    Agreed. The statements are way to over the top to be believable, especially for adults with several years scouting experience. 


  12. 6 minutes ago, johnsch322 said:

    BSA only started to get serious about youth protection policies when they started to get sued and lose. I didn’t say it wasn’t serious now but every program has room for improvement. 

    I don't know. We've had several discussions of improvements on this forum and nothing serious seems to ever materialize. And honestly, saying something can be improved without any experience or knowledge of it isn't firm ground to stand on. A better pragmatic discussion would be to learn how scouts got into situation where they were abused and then find solutions. Does registering every parent fix the problem? Fix any problem?


  13. 3 minutes ago, johnsch322 said:

    I am sorry I confused you. Glad you understood the overnight part. As far as litigation goes all I am saying is that only when litigation started did organizations get serious about YPT. Even USA swimming has tightened its controls only as a result of litigation. 

    So, what do you think motivated the BSA to create their youth protection policies they have now. What part of it doesn't appear serious?. 


  14. 1 minute ago, johnsch322 said:

    How about no non registered adults on any overnight campout? As the previous poster said how does litigation make it safer for I will ask you if there had been no litigation against youth organizations would it be as safe as an environment now or would we have less controls. I have experience with youth as my daughter was a competitive swimmer for about 8 years. 

    Umm, there was a lot said there, but its confusing. No registered adults overnight got it. I don't understand the litigation. I'm pretty sure the BSA has been involved with many litigation cases. What youth protection controls in competitive swimming do you suggest for the BSA.


  15. 1 hour ago, johnsch322 said:

    Which orginazation are you alluding to has 10 times the amount of abused youth. If you actually know of one and care about protecting youth please come forward and protect those youth. 
    I am pretty sure that no where have I bragged about how this case will make youth safer but now that you bring it up I will. And as for hard evidence I don’t think you need to be a genius to correlate stricter controls will make youth safer. I am sure all youth organizations are looking closer at their own programs with the litigation that has happened within multiple orginazations hence litigation makes all youth safer. 

    I'm curious, what controls do you think would make youth safer? Do you have experience with the program as an adult? I was involved with several youth program as a youth and adult raising kids, and none of those other program came close to the youth protection policies of the BSA. Since you mention stricter controls would make youth safer, I'm curious of the controls.


  16. My apologies, I can see my post was more direct and emotional than it had to be. Woodbadge is an honor of itself. I am a graduate and staffed two courses. And it's just a lot of fun. I don't want to take away from that at all. Scouts, however, don't have the experience to understand the passion that can come from the experience, so elaborate ceremonies intrude on their program. Scouts should respect efforts by other scouts and adults that improve their program. The recognitions should be planned within the context of the general audience. 

    I love this scouting stuff.


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  17. I can assure you that the creators and early graduates of Woodbadge never imagined doing beadings at scout functions. I'm not sure why Woodbadge should be promoted at Scout functions. It has  the appearances of being Ego thing. What exactly is Woodbadge promoting to the scouts that the other adult leader courses aren't promoting. I have lots of stories of fun scout lead functions being pulled down by the adult WB Beading. It's just plain boring. The adult simply completed an ADULT training course. That is it from the scout perspective and their parents is they are attending. Is that adult recognized at a scout function after completing each of their other adult training courses? If the unit wants to recognize an adult for completing a training course, have the SPL bring him up at the closing of a troop meeting and shake his hand, and then move on to the next agenda item.. That is it. 

    Do the beading at an adult training course. I did mine at Scout Leader Basic with my Bob White Patrol there to stand with me.


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  18. 12 minutes ago, johnsch322 said:


    Normally I would probably agree with you but this poster just previously to that post said

    "Is there any victims’ attorney out there who said they will take a CO off their list of intended targets if they drop a charter?"

    And not a big leap to connect:

    with survivors.

    So, I think you are only thinking in the perspective of sexual abuse. But, there are many actions in the outdoors that motivate litigation. Are we only talking about sex abuse here? That would be easy. But, I think, and please correct me if I'm wrong, but I think we are talking about all litigations at units. 


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  19. 42 minutes ago, johnsch322 said:

    What is it that parents want their pound of flesh for and what are they threatening litigation about?

    Anything. One parent threatened litigation because their son heard an adult use a cuss word. I know the parent wouldn't have gone through the effort, but that was how he motivated the troop to take some kind of action. Another parent threatened litigation because the SM didn't tell them that their son was caught with a Playboy magazine on a campout several months previous. That threat came after a meeting with the parents over their son threatening another scout with his pocket knife. The learning disabled scout has a lot of social issues that was creating a lot of concerns, so we asked one parent to attend meetings and campout to help us with their son. The parents use the troop as break from their son and did not want to attend meetings. Threating litigation was how ended the discussion with a "no". Ask a DE for examples, they have many. 

    My point is that quality of the CO or unit isn't really a factor if National is giving up their support of helping all units with litigation. No matter how the issue lays out in the end, I think the question is what is the added cost for a family to put their kids in scouting.


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  20. I'm a ;little confused on this. Whether the CO works closely with the unit or not, the litigation risks are the same. It just takes one disgruntled parent who wants their pound of flesh. Oh, I know a consensus CO will reduce the risk, but we had several parents pull the litigation card to get their way.

    So, is the real discussion here about the BSA shifting the cost of litigation insurance on to the unit? Anyone have an idea of that cost? 


    On a side note, I am not surprised that quazse's and Matts unit CO's work well with the unit, I found that good unit drive the CO's to work close with them. Not saying they weren't good CO's anyways, but good units can drive good relationships.

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  21. 5 minutes ago, fred8033 said:

    "I'd be tempted to say then" ... that you also know the other adult lives in the same house and provides common care for the children.  Most importantly, the mom knows this and has chosen this.  ...  Perhaps just ask for a simple handle written note from the mom. 

    I'm flipping back and forth on this one.  

    This is how we did it 20 years ago. I don't know how strict things are now, but often the single parent mother would provide a note giving the Cub leader or another parent trust and responsibility of her son on campouts.


  22. 10 hours ago, Armymutt said:

    Maybe it's normal now, but I don't remember any sex talk going on in my troop from 90-94.  There literally was no discussion of girls when Scouting was going on.  Seems really strange to me that this occurs now.  Even when we met international units that had girls, we just did our own thing.  Scouting was an escape from girls.  Our parents didn't "open the hanger doors" at dining outs, and we didn't talk about girls.

    I agree. My experience is that older scouts most of the time feel camping is relief from the stress of romantic relationships.. It's more often the younger scouts who have these discussions of curiosity and discovery. My wife had the same experience with younger girls. I belief the discussions are innocent and normal. But, they are alerting to parents, of which most leaders are. Anyone ever wonder how scouts think that tents are sound proof.

    Not that older scouts don't have the discussions. Even though older scouts have admitted to me personally of the relief of not thinking about girls, I have heard those discussions from them. But, they are less explicit about sex and more about comparing girls to other girls. Again, innocent and normal.

    But, to this discussion. parents take these things to the extreme like reporting the actions as harmful and predatory. That seems almost unbelievable, but parents will use whatever it takes to protect their kids. We had several parents over the years threaten litigation just to get their way in lesser situations.  That was 25 years ago. I can't even imagine what the atmosphere is like today with gay and transgender's rights. Add girls in the mix. It's not so much about sex, I think youth today feel they have more power to get their way. In the scouting program, "getting your way" conflicts with the learning that comes from the humility of making a bad decision. To be mentored requires a willingness to change.

    Then you read here of the idealistic dream of Zero Tolerance from adults who have never had to deal with parents that insist their kids are being abused from the other kids who talk of sex, curse and are of a different religion. I can't even imagine being a Scoutmaster today. It's not the scouts that scare me, it's their parents.


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