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Everything posted by allangr1024

  1. Are feeder packs for troops an official thing? In my council feeder packs are discouraged. But that does not stop troops from having VERY strong if unofficial ties to packs. So, for instance, if a den leader follows his son to a troop with the WEBELOS crossover, and becomes an ASM, he can go back to the pack and talk his friends, the new pack leaders, into encouraging the webelos to come to his troop. I asked our district volunteer in charge of Webelos crossovers how to find crossing over webelos and found out that I am supposed to recruit den chiefs, hold activity badge fairs, invite
  2. I did this last year with four scouts, and this year we will probably get 6. (Small Troop). I made the mistake of taking the boys to build a shelter of foliage late in the day, and we only had time for one before dark. This year I will do that in the morning and make sure everyone builds one. I wish I had time to show them how to make rope from tree bark, make beef jerky, cut poles and make a decent camp bed, but the one day is pretty full already.
  3. I wonder if the question is best understood in this way. The Webelos program and the Boy Scout program are VERY different. Cub scouts and Webelos require adults and parents to lead, as young boys are not capable. But in Boy Scouts the adults and parents are to take a step back from troop leadership and let the boys make decisions, since this is more age appropriate. I think the Scoutmaster ought to have a meeting of new parents, especially of cross over parents, and explain this. I would tell them "The boys are learning to stand on their own. You may come observe, but you may not i
  4. We are doing this at the end of the month. My pitch to the scouts: Assume you are stranded on a deserted island or lost in a forest. You have minimal gear consisting of a tarp, sleeping bag, knife, some tin foil and one matchless fire starter. I have my guys sleep in a tarp tent the first night, and then make a shelter from fallen trees and brush the next. I will show them how to make a ground bed from local materials. I have each scout start a cooking fire with at least three fire starters. We will have a sparking rod, magnifying glass, battery and steel wool, a fire piston,
  5. I did Philmont with my son in 2005. No trails I could reasonably get to in Oklahoma (even the ozarks in Arkansas) prepared my for the mountain hiking at Philmont. I realized I needed to get in shape after our crews first weekend backpacking trip. I started climbing the 15 floors of our building and up and down twice per day. At Philmont, I found that on a climb I could go for 10 to 20 minutes before I was winded. I was puzzled since I considered a 15 story building stairwell pretty demanding. One of the other dads figured that I was used to climbing 150 to 170 feet at a time, and that tha
  6. You may indeed hold a position in a troop and a position in a pack. B U T !!! I would recommend the guy who takes the Scoutmaster position be dedicated solely to the troop. He will be active, especially in the first year. Be aware that the Boy Scout program is very different from the Cub Scout program. The Cub program is very adult oriented with following Akela and the Webelos leader. But the Boy scout program is to be run by the scouts themselves, with the scoutmaster on the sidelines acting as a couch for the boy leaders (senior patrol leader, patrol leaders, ect) If he talks mo
  7. You know, leadership is such a subjective requirement. It is very difficult, if not impossible to define in terms of "having been completed". It is the kind of thing that they say about undefinable characteristics: "I cannot tell you what it is, but I can recognize it when I see it." Buffalo Skipper did not think the PL he mentioned did a good job as a leader. But the PL thought he did a decent job. Either one of them is right, or the other. But to these people themselves they are right. Can we define some metrics for the requirement of Leadership? I consider this to be in t
  8. For one Eagle court of honor, I got a power point presentation together of the first Eagle scout, Arthur Eldred. I found photos of him in his 1912 uniform the day he had his Eagle COH, of his Eagle medal, his merit badge sash, and a picture of him pinning an Eagle medal on his son years later. Arthur was the first Eagle scout, he won the first award for life saving, and was on hand to welcome Baden Powell when he came to visit in 1912. My point was that Arthur was just like any kid in my troop. He liked scouting; the camping, the outdoors, the swimming, the accomplishment. He was jus
  9. We have heard that national did a survey of scouts after the original switchback pants came out, and found that the boys thought that shorts that did not come below the knee where not cool. Current styles are to have the shorts come below the knee. So the new switchback pants do that. The new switchback zipper is not below the knee. In our council, as in many, you will see scouts and scouters mixing and matching new and old uniform pieces. They are all still good. All past uniforms are still "official" uniforms, even the heavy green shirts and red trimmed pants I wore as a kid. Yo
  10. I follow the blog of Jerry Schleining (Scoutmaster Jerry) of the Scoutmaster Minute, and love the descriptions of his troop activities, which usually revolve around a backpacking trip in the mountains of Oregon. He describes his troop as a "backpacking troop". He is fortunate to have such a beautiful rugged mountainous area close at hand. Here in the southern plains states, we have to travel at least 3 hours by car to get to the nearest mountains, in this case the Ozarks. I love backpacking, did Philmont a few years ago, and urge my troop to do backcountry camping as much as possible.
  11. Ok, for the totally inexperienced parent who wants to find a unit, you must first find your local council phone number. Use the Phone book or use this web page: http://www.scouting.org/LocalCouncilLocator.aspx Call them and tell them: 1) You are new and want to find a troop for your boy. 2) Get the troop or pack number of 4 or 5 troops or packs in your area along with the units address and phone number of the contact number, either Scoutmaster, Cub master, or person in charge of recruiting. 3) Call these contacts and ask to attend a meeting. Get meeting times and locations. A
  12. To a new leader I would say, read the scoutmasters handbook from cover to cover. Get to know the program. Especially the concepts of the Patrol Method and the Boy Led Troop. And I would encourage anyone starting out to refer to older scoutmaster handbooks, now out of print, but available on sites like EBAY. I got a copy of the 1962 scoutmasters handbook, and marveled at the stuff no longer found in the current version. Then I got the 1942 copy, and marvel at the stuff no longer found in the 1962 version. Knowledge is power.
  13. I think you did the right thing with the stove incident. If I had seen the stove like you did, and asked the PL if all is set with the patrol gear, and heard that answer, I would feel justified in letting them get through that incident by their own wits. I have found that a troop, though it deals primarily with boys, must make provission to deal with parents as well. This is not to say that we see parents as adversaries, but as partners together to bring about positive growth in the boys. To that end, I suggest that a troop committee person, who is on the same page as you concerning th
  14. I have a life scout who came to us as a star scout. He was a tough case, as his parents devorced, then his dad died, and his mom lost her job with the county. He did good the first year, advancing to Life and being elected patrol leader. Then he kind of went downhill. He started acting up in meetings, throwing rocks at people on campouts, and gaining a bad rep for disrespect in the troop. Unfortunately he is a leader of the pack, and the other boys naturally follow and emulate him. I sat down with him to discuss his behavior, and he asked me to tell his mother to let him quit sco
  15. I have worked with our troop for 9 years, 3 as SM. Our founding SM set up merit badges in troop meetings because that was the practice of the troop he grew up in (Eagle Factory). The boys in our troop new no other way. I stopped doing that when I got the job. I sat in on one class in our troop on Trucking, and I swear the boys knew no more about the subject after 2 weeks of the parent lecturing than they did before the class. I am not a fan of doing merit badges like the boys have to do school courses. We do one every once in a while when the SPL asks for one. If we do one in the t
  16. I have been doing this stuff for 10 years now. I took the basic course back when it was called "Basic Scout Leader Training", and then I took Woodbadge in 2001, the previous course, which I affectionately call "Woodbadge for the 20th Century". I wonder if the BSA will still consider me "Trained", even though I have not been through the updated courses. Last year I signed up for the Outdoor Leader Skills course, to see if I could gleen any new stuff about the outdoor program, and learn from others things I could present to my scouts. I was told by the course leader that this was the ve
  17. allangr1024

    New items

    I have heard a rumor that national did a survey of boys and found out that teenagers think shorts that do not reach below the knee are worn mainly by gays. The boys in my troop have expressed this as well. So, the new switchbacks and shorts are supposed to be sized so that they end below the knee. It may be an attempt to get the scouts to actually wear the uniforms.
  18. Our council bookstore has them backordered. I will see it in 2 weeks (at least).
  19. I sleep in a hammock on campouts with a tarp for rain cover. My scouts have asked if they can do that too. A hammock is a one person dwelling. I asked the district director of our district about the official BSA position, and he said there is no such "two person per tent rule" handed down by National. It seems such rules are generated on the troop level, where a scoutmaster can allow it or prevent it, on the basis of other scout practices and ideals. Is the buddy system good? Do we feel young scouts will feel comradeship if they share a tent? Will it bring the patrol together if the
  20. I have seen this happen in every scout in my troop (a small troop of 15) who makes it to age 16 and has not yet dropped out. Often it is the job, needed to support the car, but sometimes it is the girl. The relationship of these older teenagers to the troop changes. Sometimes the only reason they sign up for the year is to finish the Eagle project and rank. I have come to see that this is a natural consequense of the scouts age. If he joined when he was 11 or 12, he has been the program at least 4 years, is probably a life scout, has been on 30 camping trips, gone to summer camp 4 t
  21. I did a google search on "eagle project workbook word document" and came up with lots of locations to find the workbook in MS Word format. One entry was here: http://www.nesa.org/trail/18-936.doc On the google page, I right clicked the link and used the save target as option to download the document. You can open the document with MS Word, and fill out the form. You should be able to insert pictures, diagrams, text, and anything else you can insert into a word document. I do this with my scouts, so they can email me the workbook and I can comment on it with them over th
  22. A few years back at a council camporee with all the area units, the boys of a certain troop started running through the campsites, taking down troop flags and running off. It seems that this troops scoutmaster remembered a game years back where boys were encouraged to steal the flags from other troops at gatherings like this. So he unleashed his boys to go "play the game". Unfortunately on one else in the council had ever heard of this "game". I don't think the council professionals knew of it. So the boys made a ruckus and got a bunch of scouters mad at them. It tool some time fo
  23. A few years back at a council camporee with all the area units, the boys of a certain troop started running through the campsites, taking down troop flags and running off. It seems that this troops scoutmaster remembered a game years back where boys were encouraged to steal the flags from other troops at gatherings like this. So he unleashed his boys to go "play the game". Unfortunately on one else in the council had ever heard of this "game". I don't think the council professionals knew of it. So the boys made a ruckus and got a bunch of scouters mad at them. It tool some time fo
  24. I have a troop of 15 boys. That means I get 10 boys on meeting nights, and 6 to 8 on campouts. That is pretty consistent. It makes it difficult to do patrol method activities, as often we can get 2 members of a patrol show up for a campout. I would love to have a troop of 25 to 30 scouts. Someone suggested I send Den Chiefs to the packs to help with recruiting. What I found was that the boys who were interested came back and told me that they had no way to get to pack meetings, since the packs held den meetings right after school, and my scouts had no way to get there, since both M
  25. In my council, the BSA lifeguard course takes place at summer camp (an all week proposition) or at a 12 week course at a high school pool. I took it in 2003. When it expired, I asked about getting it renewed, and no one knew how it could be done except to take the course again. No one mentioned doing a retest. How does this happen in other parts of the country?
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