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Everything posted by AlFansome

  1. Go to https://summit.scouting.org/en/Jamboree2013/Pages/Council.aspx and scroll down to "Webinars". Each month there is a webinar that contingent leaders can listen to and ask questions of National jambo organizers. The transcripts of these sessions are at the above link. They won't provide all the answers, but there are useful nuggets in there and (in particular) you can read leaders' questions and at least know that you're not alone in wondering what the deal is.
  2. FWIW, here's a longer article from a local magazine with some background from the family: http://www.diablomag.com/Diablo-Magazine/January-2013/Excluded/
  3. For the whole blog post from Rabbi Pruzansky, go here: http://rabbipruzansky.com/2012/11/07/the-decline-and-fall-of-the-american-empire/ Putting quotes around an incomplete and edited quotation isn't good form, in general.
  4. From the 2011 Guide to Advancement: Revising Merit Badges Through a process managed by the national Advancement Team, all merit badges are reviewed periodically to improve relevance, consistency, and requirement and content accuracy. Merit badge counselors, unit leadership, parents, and youth are encouraged to send suggestions or comments to merit.badge@scouting.org . All submissions are reviewed and considered as merit badges and pamphlets are revised. Feedback has been invaluable in correcting errors, updating material, and enhancing content. Alternately, write to t
  5. Registering seems a bit unnecessary, IMHO, since there's no major benefit and just hoops to jump through. However, our troop leadership requires YPT for any drivers on troop outings from the troop meeting point to wherever we happen to be going. It's been very well received by the parents with no push-back at all. It didn't hurt that the pack at our same school recently had a Den Leader arrested and convicted for child porn. It also helps to get the parents to understand what the leaders' restrictions are with regard to YPT and might open a few eyes if something were to be a bit off.
  6. Fred, Except for a couple of extra peices of paper, there's absolutely nothing in the BSA structure to prevent exactly what you suggest. A Chartered Org has complete control over which adults are in which positions in their units. If a CO wanted the same person to be the Committee Chair of all their units, then it's a done deal. If a CO wanted their COR to also be the Committee Chair of all their units, it's a done deal since a COR can dual-register as a CC or a Committee Member. The issue is that 90+% of all Chartered Orgs don't take the time to understand the program and actually
  7. Going back to Beavah observation that there are more Republicans in the House, yet more Democratic voters (and electors): Just an unsubstantiated (and unresearched!) theory: Maybe it has to do with the fact that Dems tend to (generally) dominate the large cities and perhaps are more "dense" with their voting and therefore tend to win those districts with 70-30 or 80-20 splits?? As a simplistic example, if you have 4 Democratic districts with 70(D)-30® splits and 8 Republican ones with 60®-40(D) splits, you get the same overall total vote totals, but twice as many Republican repre
  8. I know that California bashing is popular and all, but we here in the Golden State have solved the problem that you've mentioned. First, the electorate passed a proposition whereby the legislature doesn't create the congressional districts at re-districting time. An independent, bi-partisan, 8 member Redistricting Commission sets the final lines. The 8 members are randomly selected from pools of Democratic, Republican and non-affiliated nominees. A website with way too much gory detail is at http://wedrawthelines.ca.gov/. There were many court challenges which were eventually all re
  9. Instead of chanting for llama ads, you can simply click the little 'x' on the upper right of the banner ads that are most prominent on top and bottom of the page. (Note that some ads don't have this little 'x'). It will "mute" that particular ad. I clicked through about 6 political ads and haven't seen one since. After clicking the 'x', the Google service that provides these ads to the website will also present you with a link you can click that allows you to customize what ads you will see in the future (by topic). After all, the point of ads is to get you to click on them. If you ar
  10. Not sure if this counts as a "sponsor", but it's pretty close with regard to the Chess Merit badge: "The USCF (United States Chess Federation) provided the primary contributing writers for the Merit Badge pamphlet. They will be helping to promote the badge through communications with the Chess delegate teams (similar to BSAs National Committees and Boards) and e-mail blasts, plus website and "tournament news" announcements." BSA Supply Line, July 2011 There are certainly some badges that could benefit an outside organization (for instance, Geocaching can drive traffic and intere
  11. Implicit in Beavah's reply is the notion that being gay (and being honest about it) is not in keeping with the Oath (i.e. morally straight) and that being gay is somehow a bad example for other scouts and that homosexuality is a choice. (Don't mean to put words in Beavah's mouth...so correct me if I'm wrong). I think there's enough evidence that quite a few scouters don't hold Beavah's position to be true and therefore it's not cut and dry what the "right" thing to do is. As an example, my troop is in the same council as the scout that's all over the news. So far, a majority of ou
  12. Looks like 40+ Eagles from his troop and 180+ total are returning their Eagle medals in support: http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/10/09/14293913-gay-scouts-come-out-rally-around-teens-eagle-scout-bid I'm about 10 minutes from the Troop's town, so this has been getting quite a bit of play here locally and of course inside our Council as well. It will be interesting to see if there's a push in the council to take a position like the Northern Star council did. FWIW, the troop website has been taken down at this point, but it's an "interesting" troop on a couple of levels
  13. Where are the parents? Are they all in a big group in the back of the room? It's much easier to have the scouts sit in a horseshoe with all the activity happening in the middle, with you at the open end of the horseshoe. Parents should be sitting behind/near their sons. When you put "signs up", if the boys quiet down, but the parents don't, just say: "Boys please turn around and tell your parents to be quiet so we can continue with the meeting/get on to our next game/hand out some awards. Maybe they don't know that signs up applies to them, too." Parents will get the hint an
  14. Sorry, BadenP, but OakTree is correct. For every hour volunteered for an organization, Intel will donate $10 to the organization in question. (See http://www.oregonlive.com/silicon-forest/index.ssf/2012/06/intel_foundation_donates_22_mi.html and http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2012/06/12/intel-foundation-donates-thousands-to-nonprofits-including-sunnyvale-farm/) I'm a chartered rep for 6 units with 40 miles of Intel HQ and we typically receive these funds from Intel through the 501©(3) chartered org and pass them through to the units. Other funds come in through employee matc
  15. I'm COR for 6 units (2 packs, 3 troops and a crew). At the Council level, I attend the annual business meeting, where "votes" are held regarding next year's budget, required IRS mumbo-jumbo, and other mundane topics. These votes are really just rubber stamps, anyway, since there are never more than 5 or so CORs in attendance and it's the Executive Board members who dominate the meeting. Most of the real work in our Council is done in committee and the Board and CORs primarily follow their recommendations. BadenP is correct in that there is supposed to be one appointed COR per CO
  16. ...and just to make the swim check more stressful, try doing it at 7000' in the Sierra in a lake of snow runoff. Shivering kids does not a positive experience make.
  17. There's also a bunch of perturbed Scouters responding to an announcement of the same BSA document over on Facebook, too. Go to the Scouting Magazine page at http://www.facebook.com/scoutingmagazine (no login required to see the comments). The post went up today about 4 hours ago. (This message has been edited by AlFansome)
  18. Kayaking is listed as being available starting in May. All the info can be found at: http://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/merit-badge-calendar/
  19. There is trouble in the forest and the creatures all have fled...
  20. Beavah- I typically don't poke my stick in these types of fires, but it's not just stereotypically liberal areas in which PTA/PTOs are dropping charters. The Parent Of issue has gotten big enough to force National's hand, perhaps, or else risk having to move towards the GSUSA model of Councils/National owning and operating some/all units. From April, 2011: "Last month, the Missouri PTA issued a statement advising all of its 420 member units to cease hosting charters with the Boy Scouts because the agreements put them in legal jeopardy." Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/n
  21. For YPT certs that are lost or aren't provided by the applicant, our Council accepts a printout from the "Training Validation" screen in MyScouting. As long as you have a first & last name (that's unique enough to avoid matching multiple Scouters) or an e-mail address, you can typically look up anyone's YPT status. For continuing leaders that you have a member id for (and who have updated their MyScouting profile with that id), it's even easier to look up their online training history.
  22. Re: Northern California There are already plans in the work for a 2-council merger in the Bay Area. See http://www.boyscoutmerger.org/ for all the publicly available info. What's being presented is that the prime driver of the merger would be cost savings, which would lead to more DEs and field staff being hired with the cost savings. I could certainly see some more consolidation above and beyond that, though. If the above merger goes through, there are still 9 councils withing a 50 mile drive of my house in the east bay.
  23. IMHO, Lisabob is dead on with regard to the experience the scout gets in a group setting vs. a more individual experience. As an example, I was working on Personal Fitness with a scout today that I hadn't had much interaction with previously. As expected, it took a bit to get him to open up, but after 40 minutes of having an engaging two-way discussion, we had only gotten through the first 2 requirements. That kind of interaction isn't likely to happen in a group setting in the general case, which can cheat a boy out of a possible connection with an adult and out of a discussion that could
  24. When I took the whole family back in 2009, we flew non-stop into Albuquerque from Oakland on Southwest, did a full day there (which is enough in ABQ), then drove straight to PTC (about 2 1/2 hours as I recall with some geocaching along the way). After PTC, went back the way we came and spent a few days in Santa Fe with a side trip to Taos. We decided against Denver since the drive was longer, had already been to some of the sights in Colorado, and didn't want to fly United, which was the cheapest choice at the time. Totally enjoyable, no issues. Only negative was the car rental wa
  25. A quick google search of "grey paper laser printer" brings up the following, which may or may not be of help: From: http://www.poota.com/lpbook/10-chp10.html Grey Background If the page is contaminated with toner on the blank areas of the page the paper will have a faintly grey appearance. This is normally caused by excess toner because the print density setting is too high. Most small laser printers have a print density control, either a knob or a setting on the control panel. Try reducing the print density setting to remove the grey background. -- or -- From:
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