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Everything posted by Eamonn

  1. Eamonn

    Who Among Us Wears a Smokey Bear/Campaign hat?

    I hate hats and caps. Unfortunately I have to wear a ball type hat for work as it is part of our uniform. Fortunately a couple of years back we were allowed to wear wooly type hats that do keep your ears warm. I do own a campaign hat. Bought it on line. Can't help thinking it was from this site ?? Back in the day there was an area that you could buy stuff ? But maybe I'm wrong!! I have the BSA head band and seem to have lost the chin strap and rain covers. It has lived very nicely hanging in a press for a good number of years. Up until a few weeks back when I did the BP presentation at the WB instructional camp fire. Have a distant memory of my brother trying to clean one over a steaming kettle of water back when he was a Boy Scout in London. Can't seem to remember him wearing it!! Not long after I became a Scout the UK uniform went to a green beret, with a fairly large metal badge you push through. Then as now most of the time you will find my head cover pushed down the back of my pants !! Eamonn
  2. Eamonn

    Just got word....

    Have to say that this thread has got the little grey cells working. Thinking back to when the earth was young and I was a little fellow. I became a Boy Scout (And yes this was before the change in the UK and we became Scouts.) My aims were to do something with my pals, away from the watchful eyes of my parents and nosey neighbors and spend time away from the city. I remained in Scouts because I was having fun. Sure enough along the way, I picked up a fair amount of skills. I was very fortunate in joining a Troop that was very active and we were camping, participating in stuff that held the interests of the thirty or forty Scouts who were involved. When I aged out of the Troop, I became a Venture Scout. Mainly because my friends were involved. We were an all male unit. Interested in cars, girls, music and trying to just do whatever was fun. Somehow almost by accident I did manage to become a Queens Scout. Something that I'm more proud of now than I was then. I became a Scout Leader (SM.) At a very early age. Maybe way too early? I was very selfish had an ego as big as the great outdoors, but for all my failings I was very committed to Scouting, the Troop and the District. Flustering and ruffling the feathers of the old timers in the District was something that I enjoyed !! I wasn't married, didn't have any real hobbies other than Scouting, which gave me a lot of time to commit to the Troop, which had more money than it could ever spend, even with me making constant demands from the Group Committee. Due to me being so very selfish, I steered the PLC into plans and into doing the things that I enjoyed. My thinking being that if I was having fun and having a good time then it would follow that they all would have fun and everything would fall into place. From the start of my time as an adult leader, I didn't have much time and looking back was guilty of maybe being a little afraid of Scout parents. Sure if we had a new Lad join the Troop or cross over from the Pack, I would make sure to visit their parents at their home. Introduce myself, go over what we did and what was expected. But the last thing I wanted was a parent getting in my way or taking away from what I seen as a very important part of being a Scout. We held a Troop birthday party once a year made a few presentations, sometimes showed a move that covered some of the stuff we had done. Gave the parents a cup of tea, a piece of cake and I was happy to not see them till next year. The leadership of the Troop was myself and a Leadership Team of about eight adults who were all best friends all maybe a little bit nuts? But for the most part were as willing as I was to put the time in that was needed. There is no real way to measure the success of a Troop. But within a couple of years we were the Troop winning almost all the District competitions. We had a membership of between eighty and ninety youth members. (Boys). This of course fed my ego to no end. Getting used to Scouting on this side of the pond ( USA.) Wasn't easy. I didn't understand and maybe still don't !! The emphasis on advancement. The lack of outdoor activities that many or most Troops in the area where I live offer their Scouts. Sadly we have Troops that are happy to offer two or three weekend camp outs and a week at the same Summer Camp every year and think that this is Scouting. Worse still, at least to my mind is when I visit our Council Summer Camp and see Troops camping with more adults than there are Scouts. Parents who seem happy to buy a uniform shirt. Hang out by the campfires for a week and only leave to eat at meal times in the dinning hall. They say with age comes wisdom? I'm working on that one. I do now realize that parents have to be managed. Just having them around doing diddly-squat is not an option. However.. For a few years I served as the Skipper of a Sea Scout Ship. We had about a dozen male Sea Scouts and half as many female Sea Scouts. My experience with girls was next to none. Sure I'd had a few girl friends, and Her Who Must Be Obeyed falls into the category, but girls !! I wasn't sure about. As it turned out I had a wonderful time working with them. They seemed to really embrace what we were doing, picked up the skills a lot faster than the boys, even the Eagle Scouts !! But to make it all work we needed a female leader. The parents of the female Sea Scouts did seem to want their kids to be part of something that they had never been offered. They gladly served on the Ships Committee but trying to get them really involved and learn even the most basic of skills was just not going to happen. A couple were happy to go on the charter as Assistants and were even happy to participate in weekends away with the Ship. I of course was a true gentleman and did everything possible to ensure that they were comfortable and involved in as much as they wanted to be or as little as they wanted to be. But I couldn't help feeling that spending time on them was taking away from the time I should have been with our youth members. Am I a sexist? Lord knows that I have never thought of myself as one. I work with female Corrections Officers who are as good as the best male Officers. Maybe somewhere deep down I think that maybe I'm a little scared of parents? All this talk of family? Boy I'm not so sure about it! Lads join Scouts to do things away from their family. Scouts and Scouting does a lot to aid and help cut the apron strings. I look at my son. He is a lot more involved in doing stuff around the house than I ever have been. He runs the sweeper, does laundry and cooks meals for his wife and himself. While I admit that the laundry room is a place I hardly ever visit. Maybe the household roles as I knew and know them are changing. But a Mum leaving the family home with young kids at home to take the Scouts away for a week? I kinda think is a tall order. Are there some women who have and do this? Sure there are. I do think that we are going to go co-ed. The reasons why can be discussed at great length. My great hope would be that before we make such a big change, is that maybe we take a long hard look at the entire organization. There is room for improvement. There are things that clearly just don't work. Maybe now is the time for that "New Broom." Change and changes are coming. Not everyone is going to be happy. Some great adult members will opt to walk away. While that is a real shame, but maybe it is the price that we have to pay. I'm guessing that even after whatever might be coming?? There is a very good chance that very soon after there will be tweaks. Even before the tweaks Units and some CO will make their own tweaks. Seems to me and it is just my own personal opinion. That we are not heading in the right direction and something needs to be done. But hopefully whatever is done is done with transparency, careful thought and some understanding for the volunteers we have who do so much. Eamonn
  3. Due to a very hectic work schedule and overwhelming laziness, I have to admit that my involvement in Scouts, Scouting and this forum has fallen away over the past few years. Sure my name is on a few committees that do very little and only see my happy smiling face on rare occasions. I still do my bit with a few checks to support the cause. Every now and then my in-box lets me know that something is happening here on the forum and I look in, just to see what's going on. A few months back I got the wonderful news that my son and his wife are going to be parents and I was going to be the Grand-father of a little fellow who when he decides to arrive will be Rory James. Needless to say I'm over the moon. This will be my first grandchild and already I have been barred from buy him any more stuff .Her Who Must Be Obeyed holds the opinion that even the toddler sized North Face sleeping bag is a little over the top at this time. OJ, my son and the father of this little Lad to be, seems happy that come the time I will be there to help with ensuring Rory enjoys the great outdoors as much as I do and hopefully is active in Scouting. OJ has already taken steps to ensure that Rory has our great love of dogs by buying him a Saint Bernard. (And I get heck for a sleeping bag !!) Last month I helped out at a Woodbadge course that was being presented in the Council. My involvement was minimal, just working in the kitchen and doing the Baden Powell presentation at the campfire. This was the first really active thing that I had done for a long time. I had a really great time. By design I kept my involvement with the course to a absolute minimum. The last thing they need is any interferences from a old timer. However the crew we had working in the kitchen had a blast. There were only four of us. One was /is my best friend. He was my mentor back when I was a course director. We have been best friends for going on forty years and both of us can tell war stories about each other, till tears will run down your face. We both hold true to the idea that this really is all about the youth that we serve but that fun is a very important ingredient of what we do and how we do it. The other half of our kitchen crew were two young Lads who have been and are very active in our OA Lodge. At first they were a little unsure of the pair of "Old Heads". But it didn't take long till they felt comfortable enough to let their hair down and see that we all were no matter what going to get the job done while having a blast along the way. The second half of the course is coming up next month and I really am looking forward to it. The truth is that I never really knew how much I had missed the active part of being involved. I'm not sure if when the time comes Rory James will want to be a Scout or not? I kinda think that his Dad might do everything that he can to ensure that he will be. If he does decide that he likes it and wants to stick around, my guess is that I will at some level be there to help out where I can. By the time he is ready for Cub Scouts I should be retired with a lot more time on my hands. Needless to say, I'm very aware of all the good stuff that can come from being a Scout and I know that Scouts and Scouting has done a lot in making both my son and I the men that we are today. But my great hope is that Rory James has as much fun and as good a time as I have had.
  4. Eamonn

    To staff woodbadge or not

    Maybe I was lucky that I met my wife at a Scout Camp ? We still laugh that it was my sexy knees that attracted her to me !! One of the hardest things to do while serving in Scouting is to say "No". For many, many years Her Who Must Be Obeyed was a Scouting widow. There were weeks that I was attending some meeting or another almost every night. It got so bad that she started marking the nights and days that I wasn't around on a calendar. I was taken back and a little surprised. Sure I'd argue that I wasn't hanging around a bar (That didn't hold much water as I owned two of them !!) I didn't hunt, play golf or have a girl friend !! However it was true I was guilty of neglect. Things changed drastically when sadly she was diagnosed with cancer. I cut back a lot and surprise surprise, things still got done. The world still turned. As for "The Best" or the most rewarding ?? Each of us serves as best we can. When my son made it known that he would much rather not have me involved with his Scouting career and wanted to experience being a Boy Scout on his own terms. I felt a little hurt. But respected his wishes. I went on to serve at the District, Council and Area level. But if asked what the most difficult job in Scouting is? I very quickly reply Den Leader. God Bless them Eamonn
  5. Eamonn

    WSJ 2019 selection

    Much as I hate to admit it. Even though the site of the Jamboree is not far from where I live, to date I have not been there. To add to my ignorance I have to admit to not knowing anything about the 2019 event. I will however add my two cents. Back in 1975, I was one of the Assistant Scout Leaders for the Greater London Central contingent for the WSJ in Norway. Back then I was very young and think that my selection had more to do with not only my willingness to attend but with my being a very good friend of the son of the then County Commissioner. The event was being hosted by the five Nordic countries and we spent the first week in Sweden. The people who were doing the Home Hospitality were a church group who had little or no exposure to Scouts and Scouting. There was one very embarrassing night when we all gathered in a church hall and were expected to sing for the congregation. Not the type of thing a group of Lads from Central London and the East of London boys were really into !! I have to admit that the family that got stuck with me, were really nice. I learned a lot and the exposure to just the different attitudes made a lasting impression. We still exchange Christmas cards. The event itself seemed to go by very fast. A great deal of the time was spent visiting Scouts from different parts of the world. Inviting Scouts to tea and cookies (The County Commissioner worked for United Biscuits and we had an endless supply of biscuits /cookies.) There was a hike with mixed patrols Scouts from different countries. And of course there was a fantastic firework display. I was involved in two BSA National Jamborees at Fort AP Hill as Scoutmaster for one of the two Troops that made up our Council contingent. The Scouts who seemed to get the most out of these events were the boys who were willing to try new things and meet new people. Sadly the patch trading did become a bit of an issue, however after a few days the supply of patches started to run dry and even the die hard patch traders became more involved in what was going on around them. I had every intention of attending the 2007 WSJ. I was on the selection team from our Area Committee. My reason for not going was the cost !! Which for my son and myself would have been over ten thousand dollars. As a rule (But not always!) Kids who can find the cash needed to attend an event as costly as a Jamboree do tend to be the type that are really into Scouts and Scouting. It is worth thinking about and remembering that "We" never know what a boy or girl will take away from such an event. While we might like the idea that he or she will be a wonderful ambassador for wherever he or she might come from. The event is for them and not about being a advertisement for us. Selecting adult leaders can be a real challenge. In part because so few are needed. While maybe the easy path is to choose someone who has served in the past and done a good job. I would sooner offer the opportunity to someone new. I got a fair number of applications from older Scouters who seemed to want to add yet another Jamboree to their belt! Finding a youth leader who has the flexibility deal with both a group that needs to become a unit and what might be new and different circumstances than he or she is used to at home, can be hard. I'd be looking for someone that is very understanding, works well with youth members and has their respect. Eamonn
  6. Eamonn

    How to motivate the scouts to fundraise

    Much as maybe I hate to admit it, I'm a lazy toad! Many fund raising events depend on the parents carrying the load and doing the bulk of the selling and annoying family and friends. I hate being the pest, the person who people avoid because they soon learn that any meeting with me will mean that they will leave having departed with them being a little poorer than before.. I don't have the time or the inclination to be bothered with selling stuff, collecting the cash and sometimes feeling that I'm guilty of having ripped them off, selling stuff that is way over priced. My time is valuable and given the opportunity, I will write the check and pay what is asked. Back in the day. (Yes it was sometime back!) The Patrol Leaders Council would meet, as a rule sometime in September or October for a weekend and come up with their Annual Plan. Themes for each month were laid down, sometimes knowing what events the District had in store. Dates for what events were put on the calendar. A budget was made. This budget covered the easy stuff, things we knew that really didn't change that much from year to year. Some things were a little harder to estimate, such as transportation. But, by the end of the weekend we had a fairly good idea of how much it was going to cost each Scout for the year ahead. This cost became the "Magic Number". The PLC came up with what fund raising events they wanted to do. The families were given the Magic Number and the opportunity to just pay the cost, pay part of the cost and participate in the fund raising events or pay the entire cost using the fund raising events. As SM I didn't care jut as long as the money was in the Scouts Camp Bank Account. Any monies above the Magic Number were placed in the Scouts account. There were times when the Committee were a little unhappy with how high the cost was. But being as everything came from the PLC and going over the plan, as a rule they fell into line. The Panning wasn't easy, trying to steer the PLC into not going way over the top was sometimes a challenge, not wanting to step on their toes and take away from it being their Troop and them running the show. I will admit that a lot of the time I was guilty of push them in the direction that had more to do with what I wanted. However the trick was making them think it was their idea and that it came from them. I have never been a great lover of the Council Summer Camp, so coming up with an alternative event that they wanted to do was as a rule a wonderful way of saving a lot of money and often helped in buy much needed camping equipment. Having the PLC say what fund raising events we would do gave them ownership of the events. So while maybe the Mulch is a good and money making event, that has worked in the past? If the Scouts feel it is more of the same old same old and feel that it is being forced on them? They might tend to not be interested in it. (Of course I don't know if that's true or not!!). Having the Scouts being involved in every step of any fund raiser is very important. Having them make all the plans, making the flyers, organizing the transportation . There will be times when this fails and can fail badly. However at the end of the day, we are in the business of helping young men learn from things that work and do fail, the lessons are important and failure isn't always a bad thing. Eamonn
  7. Eamonn

    Please help?!

    The time, effort, hard work and sometimes personal treasure that so many volunteers willingly donate to serving the youth in the communities near where they live is something that has always amazed me. Thank you Cubmaster 35 for all that you have done and are trying to do to serve the youth in your area. Trying to understand and navigate your way through the workings of the BSA is a real chore and can be very frustrating, especially if you are not an old hand at this. In an ideal world everyone in the BSA would do what they are supposed to do, units would be set up as they are supposed to be set up. Much as we might not like to admit it, when things are done by the book, they work. While serving as both a District Commissioner and District Chairman one of my goals was to try and get the Chartering Organizations more involved in working with the units they chartered. I bent over backwards trying to get the Chartering Organization Representative to attend the monthly District Meeting. As District Commissioner I tried to ensure that the Unit Commissioners were meeting with the COR and report their findings to the Commissioners Meetings. A pet peeve of mine was how little involvement the Chartering Organizations were willing to have with their units. Another pet peeve was that District Executives were not doing their jobs. DE's are supposed to be meeting with the Executive Officer of every unit at least once a year and more often if there is any sort of a problem. As we all know we don't live or work in the ideal world. Many units and many Chartering Organizations have their own way of doing things and many set things up in a way that works out best for them. This isn't always a bad thing just as long and so long as it works. However when things go wrong it makes trying to sort things out very difficult. The removal of a volunteer by the BSA is not easy unless there is a very good reason. I'm not going to go into this, mainly because once again there are volunteers who have been removed for no good reason and this may have been not done as it should have been done! The removal of a volunteer by the Chartering Organization is easy. The Chartering Organization has every right to pick and choose who they will allow to serve or not serve in their unit. I'm not sure that I can offer any real help for the unit you serve or the Pack. In most cases I have found that Volunteers work best with other volunteers and professionals work best with other professionals. What you are dealing with is something that the professionals need to work on and sort out. In this case the professionals are the District Executive and the Executive Officer of the Chartering Organization. These two need to meet and see what can be done. It is my own personal opinion, which is of no real consequence that nothing will come out of this, but I am very often wrong. Maybe some good might come of it. Meanwhile you might want to meet with your Chartering Organization Representative and see if he or she can shed any light on the situation. If you have a Unit Commissioner you might want to have a chat with him or her if you don't a phone call to the District Commissioner might be worth while? Your Pack Committee Chairman might do his or her best to try and ensure that both the Charter Organization Rep. and a member of the District Commissioner staff are at your next Pack Committee Meeting. I have no idea what you might want to do next? While you say it is the Pack you started and I feel almost sure that you feel some kind of ownership, it is worth remembering that the Pack is not your Pack, you serve both the boys and CO. if you take the time to think about what your next move will be? Remember that doing what is in the best interest of the boys and the families of the boys should always come first. At this time you also serve the CO, doing what is the right thing to serve the CO is also important. While of course I'm not you! I tend to think that even after putting my ego to one side. I'd be looking for somewhere where my services might be needed. I would not in any way try and harm the CO. if I were to join or start another unit and some of the adults and some of the families were to follow, that would be their choice. Giving the professionals a little time to do their job and maybe if they opt to tell the Pack Committee what the cause of the problem is or was might make you see things in a different light. - Who knows. For the most part this problem is out of your hands. You may or may not ever know what the real problem was. But does that really matter? What does matter is serving the Scouts you have until you make up your mind what you are going to do and the only person who can work that out is you. As a little side note. If you look back over the years in this forum you might see that Beavah and myself have had our fair share of disagreements. Some have at times even been a little heated! As far as I know we have never met in person. I do however respect him and firmly believe that he has the best interests of both the youth and the volunteers at heart. While he is to my mind sometimes wrong and a little off base. He really isn't a bad little fellow. Eamonn
  8. There are parents and there are parents. We, who ever we might be? Never know who is going to step up to the plate. The really nice Selection Stuff that the BSA is good and given half a chance does work. However, here where I live the main criteria for a new leader is that he or she has a warm body. This begs the question: Are we asking the wrong people to do a job that they really aren't suited for? Put that aside. I'm guessing, I don't know! That should my son ever have a son, there is a good chance that this little fellow will join Boy Scouts and my son will tag along. OJ, my son is now 27. By the time his kid is old enough to be a Boy Scout, if all goes well?? He will be in his late thirties or early forties. Sadly he gave up a job he loved as a Para-medic because of the low pay and lack of any real benefits. He has a good job working for the local cable company. Which seems like a really good caring company. He has just built a house on four acres that I gave him. He has a fairly big mortgage which in ten years or so isn't going to seem as burdensome as it seems today. He has a nice car, even if it is an American car. I think he is not on any charter at the moment. He is getting married in June. His wife to be comes from a family with no boys. She has let it be known that she would prefer not to have any boys! Of course she is wrong!! I really don't see her ever being active in outdoor type Scouting activities but she might join a committee or that sort of thing. Should we be fortunate enough to be blessed with a Grandson! More then lightly I would get involved with his Scouting career. I'm nearly sixty now. I plan to split my time between living here and living in Ireland. So I would only be good as some type of an instructor. I'm thinking at seventy my hiking and cold camping days will all be a fond memory. OJ, is very involved in our local Volunteer Fire Service. He is an active fireman and maybe more active in the club. He organizes gun bashes, dances and that sort of thing. A big attraction is that there is a great group of guys that get along well as a group and the drinks are cheap. He really is a very likeable chap, people take to him and he has a way of seeing tasks through and getting the job done. Maybe not as I'd do them, but done never the less. This takes up a lot of time. How much time is spent doing stuff and how much time is spent in the bar? I don't know. I've only been in the club twice. So, should he ever get involved? What would we be getting? A 40 year old parent. Who should be financially secure (More so if I'm gone to the pearly gates!) An Eagle Scout. Someone with outstanding First Aid skills. Someone who has fairly good leadership skills. Someone who I think wants to "Pay back" Mainly pay back to the OA which played a far bigger part in his Scouting career then any Troop ever did. Most of his camping was car camping. A Troop with a big trailer carrying everything including the kitchen sink. I don't think his mapping and compass skills are that great. His rope work is fair at best. But he has a way of getting things done. I really think that come what may he is ever going to want to go on long hikes or take on unfamiliar country or take young Scouts that far from home. In my book he would make a fair ASM or maybe a great Committee Chair. He very nearly didn't become an Eagle Scout saying that because everyone was getting it, that it had lost its worth. Making the time? Will depend on what other things are going on. Lord forbid that he have a couple daughters! Or he takes on more responsibility in the fire department? He doesn't suffer fools and an idiot SE or DE might very well turn him off and he'd walk away. Chances are that should he return that he'd know as much as most of the other people around. I don't think we should be trying to "Speed up" We do need to try and get people in the right job. Train them for that position and make sure we are handling them correctly. I have never liked the idea of baby sitting a herd of parents. I much prefer a small Leadership Team of five or six active adults who are willing to devote the time and have the skills. If there are more adults who are willing to help. Find real jobs for them that they would be good at. Eamonn. '
  9. I'm wondering if anyone has tried stand-up Paddle Boarding? Next month we are touring some of the New England states. I have been looking at some of the L.L Bean Adventure School day long courses that introduce paddle boarding. In the past I have done a fair amount of kayaking and sea kayaking. I really enjoy being out on the water in or on just about anything that floats. My thinking is that where I live we have access to a lot of rivers and just spending a day out would be fun. It really doesn't seem that expensive. For about $1,000, I'd be ready to go. I'm thinking that some of the inflatable boards would be something that I could have in the trunk and wouldn't have that much hassle setting up. I would welcome any advise, wise words or hearing what your experience's might be. I'm not looking or thinking about a surf board. Maybe one that I could stow some gear on if I decide to take off for a multi-day trip? Many Thanks, Eamonn
  10. Congratulations. I agree very much that it is your ceremony and should be your choice. I can also see why having the ceremony at a more "Public" place might help promote Wood Badge and maybe make more people think about taking the course. So why not do both? There is no reason why you couldn't have the Winter Camp ceremony with your Patrol and then just for show do it again. Eamonn
  11. I don't know that much about who it is that decides who fits into which or what group. I'm thinking about the generation groups. I supposedly am a "Baby Boomer". Being that I'm very much on the tail end of the Baby Boomers, I'm not sure that I really fit in? Up until about ten years or so, maybe a little more? I never really gave much thought or never mind to these groups. Today there seems to be so many of them that I'm having a hard time keeping up and remembering who fits in where and what the characteristics are. While maybe I'm happy to disregard a lot of this stuff as just being gobbledygook and not that very important. I do however feel that those in the know, who very well might be a lot wiser and better informed then me, can and do know what trends are happening and sometimes what will happen. Of course it's easy to look back and say that such and such a group did this and had such and such traits and characteristics. It is a lot harder and maybe even not possible to come up with what the next group will do. Kids today have a lot more going on then I had. Old timers like myself can often be heard going on and on about how everything from TV to after school activities and high-tech has had an effect on why boys are not willing to spend time in Scouts and Scouting. How true this is or isn't? Is a debate that will go on for a very long time. I whole heartedly believe that given the opportunity most boys (And girls.) Do want to have fun, do want to try new and exciting challenges and sometimes like to be recognized for their achievements. Along with this they also like the idea of being somewhat independent. I also believe that Scouts and Scouting can provide all of this. Sad to say what gets in the way is adults. The media and the speed of the media has scared and frightened the living daylights out of many parents. Parents are uneasy about ever leaving their kid. I have seen Den Meetings where parents fill the room waiting till the meeting is over so as to take their kid back home. Summer Camp, where there as many "ASM's" As there are Scouts , because Dads are uncomfortable about leaving their kid for a week! For a while I have to admit I seen this as not being all bad. More adult / parent support was great when it came time to recharter. More adults meant more people selling pop-corn. More adults made reaching FOS goals a lot easier. Involved parents made transportation a lot easier. Sales of uniforms and fees to National? I'm almost sure were seen as not being a bad thing. National even made recruiting a whole lot of adults part of the long term plan a few years back. Sadly, it seems to me that we got it wrong. A good many of these parents were not volunteering to help the Troop or be of benefit to Scouting. They were there for their kid and their kid only. We as an organization were happy allowing them to tag along. The training's we offered never really gave them the tools or the skills that would benefit the day to day workings of a Troop. These parents were not by any means bad people, but they were happy to just hang around and do what was needed to protect their son and if possible have him race to Eagle Scout rank ASAP. While I can't back it up. In my opinion, we hurt the Scouts by allowing this. We didn't allow the Scouts the independence that boys of that age crave. We allowed people who didn't understand the big picture to make advancement the be all and end all of their sons Scouting experience. We allowed these parents to waste their time and very often the skills that they could have used if they had taken on / volunteered for something that they were good at or could have done well. It's hard to say or know what toll this took on families? I know of families where the mother became more and more upset about having her husband go off, waste family vacation time that she made it very uncomfortable for her spouse. The big idea of Scouting bringing families closer together was anything but true. What I fail to understand is how we and the people who have their fingers on what's happening missed this? In the area where I live Scouting is dying. A slow and miserable death. There are a few old timers who still serve Troops that in their hay day, these served 30 or 40 youth members. Today? Maybe half of that. Packs and Troops are so small that any sort of delivery of the program as it is laid out to be delivered, just doesn't work. and new recruits soon get bored and quit. We keep trying to recruit adults the way we always have. We expect them to take on the task just like we did and do things very much the same way. But this just isn't working. Many of the ex-scouts, now in their late twenties and early thirties lack the basic skills to help a young Scout work his way to First Class. We failed them. Worse still is that we are not doing anything new to find out what it is that they might be willing to do. We just keep on hoping that what we know isn't working will somehow fit the bill. Without adults who can master the basics and pass them on, we are very much lost. I just don't understand how we failed to see this coming. Eamonn
  12. Eamonn

    Why did we fail ?

    The little grey cells have been working! Like it or not, in just about any situation one option that you always have is to do nothing. Sometimes doing nothing is the best choice. - Not always but sometimes. For some little while now, here where I live Scouting is very much on the decline. Other then having the odd moan and groan when I meet other old-timers, I have done nothing. I think what might have really got me thinking was when in the obituaries the other day I read of the passing of a local Scouter who received the Medal of Merit a few years after me and I'd been on the selection committee that had recommended him. He wanted in place of flowers donations to be sent to the Troop that he had been involved with for a very long time. I went to the viewing at the funeral home and met Ben there. Ben has given his life to the Troop. Ben was one of the first guys who made me feel very welcome back when I met him in 1977. The Troop was at summer camp with about 50 Boy Scouts, along with five or six adults. At the funeral home we got to talking about the Troop Ben informed me that the Pack which had always been strong and fed the Troop was now gone and the Troop was down to only twelve Boy Scouts. He placed blame on the Pack folding on lack of interest from the parents and the loss of Scouts in the Troop on the boys, who he said just don't seem interested any more. I think the world of Ben He really is one of Scouting finest. He served the Troop as CC for eons. He served as my ADC Scouts when I was DC. When needed he would fill in as R/T Commish. And would help out with outdoor training. He has twin boys that are both Eagle Scouts and were the two that always seemed to get into more mischief then any others. I suppose that Ben is more old school then I am? He has no idea what Power Point is, doesn't own or want to own a computer. The Troop is offering very much the same program that it did when I first met up with them, all them years back. Without wishing to blow my own trumpet!! When I was Council Training Chair. I think that I did a good job. We trained a lot of people. While maybe the Cub Scout training's were not always the very best. The Boy Scout training's were outstanding. It seemed at the time we were dealing with groups that would in time be able to do the job that they had undertaken. I'd been on staff for some of the old Wood Badge courses which had been very much the old boy net-work. I'd seen more silliness and add on material that sometimes seemed more important then what was supposed to be presented. Scoutmasters Chairs that were carried everywhere he went. I spent half a day, bored to death hearing discussions about what length socks we would wear, only to find that we would follow the sock wearing of the SM. Like or hate the changes made to Wood Badge? In my book, if nothing else the changes did away with the silliness and did a lot to break up the good old boy net-work. My "Rules" for trainers were few. Know what your talking about. Don't waste time. Don't read the slides. Eat with the participants. If you don't know the answer? Say so. Present the material as it is written. I like to think that we did a fair job of brining new people on board as trainers. I was lucky in having a wonderful Quartermaster who went above and beyond. He had a way of making everyone feel welcome and useful. These guys and ladies that we trained should still be around. Where did they go? I really don't want to rehash the gay thing. But where I live, it really isn't a big thing. No one really cares or cared. Some people want to point the finger at the Council? They say that people got fed up being hounded for donations and having to sell stuff. I'm not sure. I do feel that if we keep doing what we are doing, we are going to get what we got! We need to ask the boys what they want to do? We might need to take yet another look at Cub Scouting and find ways to make it work with less adults. In my book we need to take less notice of advancement and place it on participation. We are only ever as good as our last meeting, we have to try and make every meeting great. Kids leave when they are bored. We can beat that! Eamonn.
  13. Speed up? Not sure I'm understanding. Scouts and Scouting is all about relationships. People who stay in the area where I live tend to hang around for a very long time. Most of the SM's have held their position for a long time. People who live in the area have a fairly good idea of what type of fellow he is. - We don't have any female SM's. The kinda get a feel for what their son is in for. I do realize that in different parts of the country this isn't the case and people are on the move a lot more. Different Troops have different ways of doing things. I have visited every Troop in my area. I know each and every SM. I believe that each and every one of them really does have the best intentions in the world. Still, having said that there are a couple of Troops that if my son was of Scout age, I'd do my best to have him shy away from. Each and every Scout needs to find his own way. Some will move along at a faster rate then others, some will "Get it" While others will be happy to hang back or just do the things that interest them. I'd rather have a Scout who is happy doing his own thing then a Scout who is being rushed through by a parent who really has no idea what we are about and only sees their son being an Eagle Scout. Rushed? I was a SM for a long time. My understanding of what we were doing, why we were doing it and how we should be doing it? Changed and grew over time. My understanding of what a PLC is really about changed. My understanding of even the basic stuff like the Oath and Law changed. I still struggle with what a youth led unit really is. When dealing with other adults, parents or leaders I share my understanding of how I see our vision and our mission. I hope that they see from my example that even if they disagree with me, that at least I'm trying and heading in the right direction. Parents and other leaders do I hope know that I want the best for their kid and the kids they serve. There are and have been people who just don't like me! While that's sad, it is understandable. Maybe Feedback is a gift is a phrase that has been over used? But Scouts return home and talk to their parents (Well some do!) I'm still very big on Reflections. Having people youth and adult being able to voice how they feel about what we have just done and how we are doing. It is also a good idea to take the time to stop and take time out by yourself and see how you think your doing. Maybe instead of rushing we need to take the time to slow down and see if we are offering what each and every boy needs. Eamonn
  14. Buying stuff is sometimes hard. Her Who Must Be Obeyed will not allow any ketchup other then Heinz to darken our refrigerator. Cheap paper towels are most of the time a big disappointment. I'm not sure why? But for some reason a little while back she bought a different brand of t/p. I wasn't happy. I kinda sorter believe that very often you get what you pay for. This isn't always true but even a frugal little fellow like myself who is sometimes called "Cheap"! Tends to avoid the really cheap stuff. I did when I was young dress in what was in style. A kid growing up in London can get teased a lot if it looks like he has allowed his parents to dress him. Back then to be with it entailed just about anything that came from the USA. Levi Jeans were a must, until bell bottoms and flared trousers made their appearance. Of course some things didn't really matter. No one cared what brand of undies or socks you wore. Most underwear came from a chain of stores called Marks and Spencer and unless you were caught wearing a string vest you were good to go, even Tighty-Whiteies were acceptable. My taste in socks was kinda loud. My older brother once said that his idea of Hell was being made to wear my patterned socks for eternity! But other then him, no one paid much never mind to my socks. I'm not sure when or why? But my white undies gave way to patterned and colored undies. Briefs gave way to boxer briefs. I tried boxers but never felt comfortable in them, maybe because of having so much time in my Tighty Whitey's? I never lost any sleep thinking about my socks or underwear. I sometimes got a little upset at the high cost of Scout uniform socks and did get upset when at the Jamboree I bought a pair of socks that cost over $16.00!! At Christmas we still exchange Christmas Stockings. These are as a rule filled with small but useful stuff , I can bet that there will be shaving cream some candy and socks and underwear. - Fruit of The Loom or Hanes. I don't think I bought underwear in years and had no idea what it cost. Today it seems that your undies are a fashion statement. Maybe because more time is spend in the gym -But I know only a very few people who go to the gym on a regular basis . The elastic band that holds them up needs to be at least two inches wide and have the brand name printed in big enough print that it can be seen from a couple of hundred yards away. I have no idea what "Charged Cotton" is? What was once known as Tighty has now become Compression and what I'd normally spend on a pack of four or five pairs now only buys one pair. I don't think that the day will ever come when I pay over twenty dollars for a pair of undies. Eamonn
  15. Yoga? No I don't think so. I m thinking that an inflatable board would be easy to transport. The idea of just standing on the river watching the world go by is appealing. I enjoy kayaking a lot but it can be a real chore and lately I'm finding that it really takes a toll on my back. Eamonn
  16. Eamonn

    The well dressed at what cost?

    I get a yearly clothing allowance for work, I think it's $400.00 a year It has always seemed a little sill, as we are provided with uniforms : Shirts, pants, jackets, hats and raincoats. The pants and shirts are made by inmates. Our uniform policy states that we are to wear white crew neck t-shirts and black socks along with black boots or shoes. I'm not a great lover of boots. For work I like Dr. Martin shoes. They are not the same quality as they used to be, but I'm unwilling to try anything new. I do have several pairs of hiking boots but often go for good quality leather shoes. This spring I bought a pair of low cut hiking shoes from Cabela's. They are supposed to be Gore-Tex lined. They weren't that expensive, about $90.00 They seem to be more like a heavy duty training shoe. So far I like them for walking the dogs so much so that I bought a pair of Keens in the same style. I used to buy a lot of stuff from L.L. Bean, but lately their stuff has got more expensive and isn't the same quality. I still like their sweat shirts. We have had a fairly hot summer and I've been wearing shorts a lot more. I like the cargo shorts with the extra pockets. Cabela's Guide shorts are not the greatest but I bought a few pairs when they were on sale. For messing around the house and yard I used to wear blue jeans but have found that 5-11 pants are more comfortable and dry a lot quicker when the bottoms of the legs get wet from walking the dogs early in the morning. They are about the same cost as a good pair of jeans. Eamonn.
  17. Eamonn

    Free Give-aways and Fundraisers

    Free? There is no such thing. We looked into a lunch box as a promotion tool for School Sign up Night. The idea being that we could fill the box with information and useful stuff. The cost was something close to about five bucks a kit. The hope was that a local philanthropist would pick up the tab. Sadly the old chap passed on before he could give his OK. - So it didn't happen. When I was Cubmaster we worked out what the cost per Scout would be and the parents were informed. They could participate in Fund raising events or write a check or mix it up. We didn't care how the cost was met. The main thing was having the funding so that the Scouts got a first class program. Eamonn.
  18. To be very honest, I have never had much time for Venturing. Maybe because I have been so involved in traditional Boy Scouting and the structure it just wasn't a good fit for me? I do believe that we do need something for our older youth and that was my reason for starting a Sea Scout Ship. Back then Sea Scouts were part of Venturing but we just didn't tell anyone! (Joke.) Some of the Venturing Awards were really good - I'm thinking about the Ranger Award. Some Councils have somehow made Venturing work and work well. - Sadly that isn't the case where I live. Without wanting to go into details there was at one time a lot of "Paper Crews" Crews that should have been in LFL but the LFL numbers looked better if they moved into traditional membership. While Sea Scouts and Venturing are not the same. Here are a few of the problems that I ran into. Without wanting to come off as being in any way sexist the truth is that girls of this age are far more advanced then the boys. Given just a little training they will leave the boys in the dirt. I didn't have any success recruiting younger youth. Most of our members (We had 27 Sea Scouts.) were aged about 16. The boys tended to be Scouts who had made Eagle but were interested in remaining in Scouting however what they were getting from their Troop was the same old same old and sad as it might sound some voiced the opinion that they were fed up looking after the little kids! Most of these Lads were active in the OA and many like my son worked at summer camp -This made planning a Summer event kinda hard. Of course when it came time for them to leave for college our numbers went down really fast. These youth are really busy. Trying to find open dates to do weekend trips / activities is hard. I'm not sure if it was just my group? But very often it seemed that no matter how enthusiastic they seemed for something at the time, if something else came along even at the last minute, the last minute event won out. These kids are broke. Being a young person today isn't cheap so the lightly hood of them having extra money is very rare and parents have reached their limits. Trying to help them organize fund raising events is hard because they are so busy or they just fail to turn up on the day. The boys are no longer cute and no one is going to buy stuff from them! It can be hard for them to accept new members. Sure they know it's a good idea but they very quickly form something very much like a family and close ranks. Many of the local Troops seemed to think that we were in the poaching business -This was never the case. My fears about working with girls were totally unfounded. I had only ever worked with boys, never had a daughter, but it was sheer joy. We camped a fair bit and did a couple of weeks Sea Kayaking down in Savannah Georgia, the girls were just as at ease with having no facilities as the boys were. One of my girls went on to serve as the Aquatics Director at our Council camp while one of my boys served as program director. I was very much for it being their Ship and us doing what they wanted to do. Some of the things they wanted to do were when they looked into the cost just too expensive. They talked about Sea Base but it was too much, even going white water rafting close to home was a bit too much. They enjoyed rappelling (I have all the gear.) Caving was always fun as was all night bowling and traveling down to go out with the Sea Scouts down in Maryland. Working with youth this age is a lot of fun and well worth the effort. We did close the Ship down once the membership fell below six Sea Scouts we just couldn't make it work at that time. Eamonn
  19. Eamonn

    You Are The District.

    Reading some of what has been posted about Councils and Districts has got the little grey cells turning over. I get it that many if not most people join a unit and that unit becomes home. Where I live most of the Troops have had the same SM for over ten years and many have had the same SM for far longer then that. Some have ASM's who were Boy Scouts in the Troop and have never moved far from home base. Their first and sometimes only loyalty is to the Troop. I also get that it's sad when the only time someone from the District comes out of the woodwork is when they are pushing FOS or that darn popcorn. But like it or not you are the District and you are the Council. Without you and people like you, there is no District and there is no Council. I spend a lot of my time serving at the District and Council level. Being that I live in my Scout District, that District was always my first love. I really wanted the Packs, Troops and Crews to do well. As a member of the District Key 3 I played a big part in setting the goals for the District, these goals had to be agreed by the Council, normally the SE. The membership goals were fairly straight forward. - Just end the year plus one in every section. (Sounds easy but we sometimes struggled.) The Finance Goal was sometimes a big bone of contention. In fact it was a fight between the then District Chair and the SE, over the finance goal that led to the Chairman who was and still is a very good friend of mine telling the SE to do something that I'm unable to post here and resigning that landed me the Chairman position. (I'd been very happy as Council Training Chairman.) There was as a rule other silly goals about attendance at different events and helping the Council meet its goals. My view was and still is that the most important thing in Scouts and Scouting is the program. I understood that a District Committee can't interfere with a Units program and there just isn't the man power to takeover even a struggling unit even if we were allowed. The District can support all the units. While I was very fortunate in having the worlds greatest DE. A woman who joined the Council when she was in her 40's and her only contact with Scouts and Scouting was that her son was /is an Eagle Scout. She was a single parent and thought that her son's SM walked on water. Supporting the units and keeping the SE at bay wasn't easy! The SE wanted budgets for each and every District event and hoped that we would make money on then all. He had a list of FOS goals, Family goals, Community goals, District Goals (Money he thought would come from the members of the District Committee.) Thanks to some really bad book keeping and Scoutnet all the budgets were wrong. I firmly believe in volunteers working with volunteers so I waited till a Council Executive Board meeting and I presented all these budgets to the Council Treasurer asking him if he could be so kind as to try and make some sense of them. Meanwhile I wrote budgets that had each event making one dollar. I met with the SE and explained all these FOS goals were just a waste of time. It was silly to ask District Committee Members to donate at the District level as many if not most would be donating in their units as part of the Family FOS. I asked him how much money he needed? I wanted just one goal. He wasn't happy but we came up with a number that I could live with. My aim was to try and raise as much from the community and lessen the burden on the volunteers. The area where I live is very youth and Scout friendly. I owned a couple of local restaurants and was fairly active in the local chambers of commerce, so I knew a lot of people. The DE went over all the past records of who had donated. It was funny, a great many of the local businesses were donating but they hadn't increased their donation in a very long time. I knew that just about every business was being hit by a great many local organizations for donations. My mail box was full of school teams asking me to buy an ad in their program booklet or the year book. Then there was the big organizations asking to help stamp something or an other. The DE had connections with the local Lions Club our District FOS Chair was in with the Elks and both of these were a great help in getting the ball rolling. I organized a kick off lunch on St. Patrick's Day (We always used that date.) By the end of the meal we were half way to our goal! The Council had a not very much fun $250.00 A plate meal of which about half went in the cost of the meal and other junk. I invited all the businesses that had donated to meal up at camp on parents night. They got to eat in the Scout dinning hall, take a walk around camp and stay for the campfire. We went way over the goal. In fact we were always worried that if we made too much the SE would keep raising it! We wanted to make sure that the community knew and was aware that Scouts and Scouting was alive and well in our area. Our local papers were great, they offered me a monthly column. We asked all the units to either contact the local papers or contact our District Committee Publicity Chair. She kept a wonderful scrapbook which she made sure was at the R/T Meetings. It was great we had photos of Cub Scouts washing fire trucks, with police dogs, Scouts hiking in the snow or camping. Supporting the units is hard. Some units will say that they don't need any support but even if that were true! These units can be a great asset at helping others.. I'll post more of that later. Eamonn
  20. Eamonn

    You Are The District.

    I really enjoy the time that I have spent and sometimes still spend doing Training. I think that over the years I've been involved in just about every Boy Scout and Cub Scout course that has come down the pike. Even the old Cub Scout Wood Badge! (I never staffed very many Venturing courses.) Our Council is part of a cluster when it comes to Wood Badge, we work with six other Councils. While it's nice to get to be at other camps and get to know adults from other Councils. There is something really great knowing that when you work with people close to home that you are helping the kids in your area and your community. It is also a wonderful ice breaker, the new guys and girls get to know people from outside of their unit and the District gets to know these new faces. It should be the time when the District gets to shine. Sadly even the best laid plans can go wrong. I was running one of the old Boy Scout outdoor fundamental courses. We had an older guy who had been active in our area moved away and then moved back again. He came back and volunteered as a Unit Commissioner. He did know a lot about Scouting and had the outdoor skills. He was always very well turned out in correct full uniform with a Smokey the Bear campaign hat. Other then the fact that he liked to go on a bit and seemed to think that anything and everything from days gone by was better then today, he was a nice enough fellow. His name was Matt. I had let Matt know that he had only so much time for his bit and that we were tight on time. So Matt get to do his bit. He starts off by saying "Let me tell you about my hat .." Twenty minutes later he was still going on about his darn hat! If I'd had a big hook I'd have gladly dragged him away. Kinda sad that my son never liked him because he'd be at every OA weekend telling his how much better things were tales. He lived alone and when he wasn't seen for a few days the police and paramedics were called in. My kid was the first paramedic on the scene. OJ felt really bad about having not liked him. When some of us are telling war stories Matt and "Let me tell you about my hat" and how mad I was comes up frequently. I'm betting that he is more then lightly up in Heaven wearing that hat. Eamonn.
  21. As you know I use it a lot. I never knew that BP used anything like it. I started using it after reading the books and later watching the BBC TV series Rumpole of the Bailey, by John Mortimer. Rumpole, is a crusty old British barrister. My little sister is also a barrister. I have a wonderful story about her getting an evidence tape caught in her home VCR (Pre DVD days) She was appearing in the High Court in Oxford She went to VCR repair shop to get the tape free, which took longer then she thought it would. Oxford is a pedestrian friendly town. She was seen running through the town, at full sprint with tape, deck in hand dressed in her wig and gown. She was on time and that day she was appearing for the Crown and she won. Eamonn.
  22. Eamonn

    You Are The District.

    By far the biggest challenge a District faces is recruiting the right people for the job. For a very long time in the area where I live Commissioner Service has been really poor. At a Philmont conference on Commissioner service the group was asked what our biggest challenge was? A District Commissioner from San Diego said that his was Scouting in a harsh political environment ! I said that it was the age of my Commissioner Staff. Some of the older guys were unable to drive at night! Without knowing what was going on in the units, it was hard to know what help they might need. Another challenge is trying to make volunteers understand how the organization really works and where the Chartering Organization fits in. I've had the situation where a group of adults wanted to remove the SM and came running to "The District" in the hope that he'd be given his marching orders. - It just doesn't work that way. Working with new Units has it challenges. But a lot of the time working with the better more established Troops and Packs is harder. Even with the most intentions trying to overcome the "We've always done it that way!" Is next to impossible to change. Rarely if ever do units ask for help. Sadly what can happen is that when a good unit starts to go down hill, no one notices until it is almost to late. My biggest challenge was trying to work around what the Council thought it wanted and be happy with what they got. I was very lucky to work with a brand new DE who knew nothing about the job. I feel very strongly that volunteers should work with volunteers and try and avoid working with professionals as much as they can. Some of the stuff that a District Key 3 deals with is stuff that many of the volunteers are unaware of. Some of the goals that DE's are given are not shared with the volunteers, which is really dumb. While I firmly believe that what happens in the units is the most important thing. This is where the rubber meets the road and from the Districts view is where most of the goals are met. We (The District) Want to help, but don't want to be seen as interfering. I would never, ever ask a unit leader to serve on the District Committee. My feeling was that he or she had enough on their plate already. Eamonn
  23. I haven't kept up with what National expects a Council Camp to be? Right now buying the land might seem like a wonderful idea. I'm feel almost sure that there is a group that is doing everything they can to keep this camp open. The really hard part is trying to look down the road and think what the future holds? What happens 25 or 30 years from now? Who is going to do the up-keep and maintain the camp? Is the goal to raise enough money so that there will be funding in some sort of an endowment fund, that will pay for the insurances, electric and water bills? What part if any will the Council play in this? Not to change the subject but... Many Councils will not accept donations of boats. The people who want to donate them expect to use the donation as a tax deduction. Many Chartering Partners want no part of boat ownership. This means that there are a lot of Sea Scout Ships who try to get 501c3 tax status. The paperwork and fees are horrendous! The reason why most Councils will not accept the donation is that the cost of upkeep is high and what happens when there are not enough youth and adult members using the donation? I tend to think that a small group of interested people who want to save a camp are asking for troubles, if not today, then in a few years time. I'm thinking that this isn't what you might like to hear? And for that I'm sorry. Eamonn
  24. Eamonn

    Just thinkin'

    One thing that is for sure about the Methods of Scouting is that just when you think that you have got it! Something will change and your going to have to start over. Sometimes this is because the boys in the Troop change. Sometimes new adults come along Sometimes you see that your understanding of what they really are all about changes. If things aren't changing? There is a very good chance that the Troop is in fact dying. As a Scout back in London, I never knew anything different then what is now called the Patrol Method. We cooked and ate as Patrols. We slept in six-man tents. In many Troops there was a good chance that once you moved from the Pack into the Troop and joined a Patrol, that would be your Patrol for as long as you were a Scout. The Patrols were made up of Lads of different ages, the older Lads were expected to look after and take care of the younger Lads. The older Scouts had the experience and the know how to do this. Looking back, I'm sure that this wasn't done out of love for these young Tenderfoots! It had more to do with Patrol pride and being better then the other Patrols. Back in 1977 after spending the summer working at a BSA Summer Camp. The BSA laid on a tour of the east coast. The Mayor of Philadelphia met with us and presented us with chips of wood from a beam of wood from the original Hall of Independence. I was interviewed by someone from the press. I made the big mistake of saying that I thought that American Boy Scouts were a "Bunch of Softies"! They arrived at camp where all the tents were set up (Didn't I know it. Every weekend I'd been part of the team that moved tents from one site to another) They ate in a Dining Hall, where all their meals were prepared for them. This story somehow hit the wire and I received letter from all over the world saying that I was wrong. I also wasn't a big hit with the guys who worked in the International Department of The Scout Association. While I no longer believe that our kids are in any way soft. I do tend to think that if an American Scout wants to become an Eagle Scout he can find an easy path. I am a Queens Scout and I'm very proud of it. As a little fellow, other then the memory of having to clean the outside of aluminum pots and frying pans used to cook over wood fires. I know that I had fun. Lots of fun. Many of the things I enjoyed as a little fellow I still enjoy now. It has been a very long time since I read Scouting for Boys. I do seem to remember that the Lads who went to Brownsea Island didn't cook or eat in Patrols. Eamonn.
  25. Eamonn

    Why did we fail ?

    There is another thread running at the moment about Training. I really don't want to tread on anyone's toes. But... It is a real shame when we waste peoples time. While on line courses are very convenient, I'm not that sold on them. But having sat through some really bad courses (Both in the real world and in Scouting.). I have to admit that having people give up their time only not to meet their expectations is a very bad thing. I wonder what might happen if we did away with the Commissioner Staff, Unit Commissioners, District Commissioners the entire Commissioner staff and replaced them with a District Training Team? These guys and girls! Might have a special talent which they could share one on one with adults in their District or maybe be called upon to work with a PLC and help them in the area that they are good at. I know that I might be wrong, but where I live finding U/C's is more then hard and other then bullying the people that they shouldn't be bullying to get charters in on time and doing FOS presentations which really isn't what they ought to be doing, they very often are of little use. These District Trainers really would be a friend to the unit and would wait till they were invited to visit. Each one would list what they are good at and a list like the District Merit Badge List could be made available. I know that when I started our Sea Scout Ship I felt overwhelmed and I'm thankful for the guys in Maryland who took me under their wing helping me find my sea legs. I was good with knots and working with rope, had done some sailing but I needed help with navigation. Spending a few weekends with these guys really helped me out and I was better equipped to do my job. Over time people would come to know which Trainers know their stuff and could avoid the less talented Trainers. Scouts and Scouting is all about relationships. I have a good friend who is no longer very active. He loves Backpacking stoves. He has a collection of just about every stove ever made. Spend a couple of hours with him and even if you think that you know a lot I'm sure that you would come away with something. He also knows a lot about the State Parks that are near and all the trails. I'm sure that without much prodding he's be willing to take a few adult leaders or maybe a PLC up the mountain for a weekend. Young people and younger adults want instant gratification. I get as big a thrill seeing an adult master a skill as I do seeing a Scout. Most of the adults that I've met in Scouting have very good hearts. If we can find a way of breaking down some of the barriers I feel that we would all be better off. Eamonn