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Posts posted by fotoscout

  1. What they do not need is skills, skills, skills. Let them learn the skills when it is appropriate to learn them as Boy Scouts. Don't forsake the Webelos program or AOL in lieu of preparations for the BS program. Work the Webelos program, do your Activity Pins and let the boys succeed as Webelos.


    You want them to be comfortable at their very first Boy Scout Troop meeting. Concentrate on making that happen for them. Some of what they need for that to happen is in the AOL requirements. The rest is in what you teach them about the way a Troop operates as opposed to the way Cub Scouts operates. Spend some time with the Troop before your boys graduate. Of course this is very difficult if your boys will be going to multiple troops, but do your best to help the boys feel comfortable in the Troop environment (ie; with older boys around).


    Good Luck.

  2. The bottom line is that the boys like rules. Rules are the foundation that makes the Scouting environment possible. Rules are what make your troop meetings a comfortable place for the boys to be. Rules are what allow the parents to let their sons spend the weekends with you. Rules are needed.

  3. At one point in time the leadership of my pack (not chartered by a Jewish organization), was 75% Jewish. Although the percentage is lower today, much of the Packs work gets done by the Jewish families.


    Across our districts, many district scouter's are Jewish, fewer, but still some at the council level. The interesting thing here is that we are not in Jewish community, and the number of Jewish Scouts are far outnumbered by the non-Jewish Scouts.


    So when Mr. Korach asserts the the Jewish parents are not stepping up to take leadership positions, I would suggest that he take the same look at the non-Jewish community, and mixed community's. this is an across the board problem, not a problem that can be tagged to one particular group.

  4. For what it's worth here are my thoughts on the subject.....

    First, we have to accept the fact that when we talk about new membership, we really mean Cub Scouts. That's where the meat and potatoes or, bread and butter of BSA membership is. Virtually everyone in this organization comes out of the Cub Scout program. Forget about Venturing; forget about Explorers or Learning for Life, or even the Boy Scout program. Even the adult that gets involved after his son bridges to a Troop, ultimately comes out of the Cub Scout Program.

    Next, we have to forget the notion that advertising for new members will have any real results. Sure, we'll get some new members as a result of the advertising. But the numbers wont be that much greater than they would have been without the advertising.

    Now were back in the realm of reality and have the chance to start over. So what do we do?


    1. Assign district people to help the unit in their district promote themselves. Cub Scout and Boy Scout activities should flood the local newspapers and weekly publications of the religious based COs. All that good fun stuff we do should be constantly in the public eye.

    2. Weak units should be folded. I personally believe that this is where the vast majority of scouts are lost. Not only do we loss members as a result of these weak units, but we build a tremendous amount of ill will as a result of the weak units. People are no longer saying, It just wasnt my sons thing. They now say, all they did was run around like a bunch of lunatics. There was no control, and it was a waste of time. Very negative! And we all know that it takes 25 positives to counter 1 negative.

    3. Units should be required to submit yearly activity calendars to their DE. Yes, this would really put the DEs to work. This would provide an opportunity for someone (commissioner) to help the units that need help. We would be able to target those units that need help, but have not yet fallen into the abyss.

    4. District and council events should be promoted as the outdoor activity that many units dont do. Promotions should be direct to the family. This concept of promoting at Roundtable is worthless.

    5. Finally, mandatory training.

    So by now youve figured out that my concept of attracting new members is more of an effort directed toward greater retention. I recognize my Councils effort to do some advertising. But without other measures, we are back to square one.

    So thats my two cents.

  5. Although we have not seen the membership decline the many other councils have, our board has decided to put some money and effort into working this issue.


    On tap for us are some print adds, and TV slots (donated time). Of course bringing in new members is only a part of the larger membership challenge. I am interested in seeing what other things are being done to address this concern.



  6. It's no secret to any Troop that they will be receiving New Scouts in the Spring. Part of their program should recognize this, and plan for age appropriate activities in the Spring. Shame on the Troop that drags New Scouts along on activities that they are just not ready for.


    We bridge our boys in Feb.- March, so that they are ready for camp in July. Even then, some of the boys won't go to camp, and that's OK!!! The boys that do go to camp will have plenty of stories and have the others that did not go excited about camp for the next summer.


    But MOST IMPORTANTLY, some thought should go into summer camp and the New Scouts. Let's face it..... if you are going to a camp that's 250 miles from home, many of your new scouts won't be going.


    We are seeing more and more Troops planing two summer camp programs. One high adventure and the other more appropriate for the younger Scouts.


    It easy for us to focus on summer camp for the older boys. Everyone wants them to have a great experience, ie: a High Adventure activity, but too often it's at the expense of the younger scouts.


    This is the perfect occasion for you to do Summer Camp at your in-council camp. I am very confident that we will have 100% participation at Summer Camp this year. To do it we'll run two summer camp programs, one out of council and one in council, but everyone will go to camp, and that's what it's all about!!

  7. Take a boy that has come from a pack that doesn't camp and a family that doesn't camp. For him, the right thing to do, might be to sleep with dad for the first few outings. For virtually all other boys, I would stongly encourage them to sleep with their patrol buddy's.


    10/11 year olds who have camped before, should be more than ready to tent without dad. Just be careful who they tent with. The choice of tentmates is critical to the boy's successs.

  8. Take a boy that has come from a pack that doesn't camp and a family that doesn't camp. For him, the right thing to do, might be to sleep with dad for the first few outings. For virtually all other boys, I would stongly encourage them to sleep with their patrol buddy's.


    10/11 year olds who have camped before, should be more than ready to tent without dad. Just be careful who they tent with. The choice of tentmates is critical to the boy's successs.

  9. You should note that Swimming is a required MB for Eagle. If this boy is on the trail to Eagle, he won't get there very easily. The process to request a waiver is daunting and unmerciful. Only with proven, documented paper from medical professionals will the wavier even be explored.


    The fact that the troop committee took it so lightly tells me that the weight of this issue has not yet been brought to bear on the boy or the boy's parents.


    One of Baden Powell's underlining principles of Scouting is that "Every boy should be a Swimmer". Distict, Council and National Review Boards take this very seriously! Good Luck.

  10. Actually the voucher idea is not a bad one!


    Some camps provide the staff with 25% off vouchers so that they can buy extra uniforms at a reduced price. It turns out that the 25% ends up being the "Council Price" for goods bought through the National Supply Division.


    This could easily be extended as a reward system for popcorn sales.

  11. JD,


    Who are you trying to appease here; the boys, or the parents?


    Either way the situation is self explanatory to all, and if there are "hurt feelings" then the message is getting across. Simply remind the boys that awards are earned, not given away. If they want to go home with something, they have to do the work. Everything can be done at home. They just need to put the time in.

  12. Sounds like another BSA Soup Sandwich in the making.


    When we look back at what they've done with the Tiger Program during the past few years, it's not surprising that this would be the next logical progression.


    In all liklyhood, there will be a one year overlap during which time you can run the program either way. The revised books will of course be very late in making their way to the Scout Shop. If you do nothing but follow the current book, you will be OK. Don't make any assuptions! Just follow the book. If they introduce a new book mid year, they won't require you to redo all your work to date.


    I think the move to make the Tiger Program just like the rest of the CS program is a good one. But I do think that the Lion program is a bit much. There have always been the comparisons between the GSA Daisy Program and BSA's Tiger Program and it's become accepted that little boys are different than little girls and therefore BSA starts Tigers in the 1st Grade, instead of Kindergarten.


    The Lion program will require some very special people to pull it off and be successful at it. In addition, Cub Scout Leaders tend to burn out. We already have a shortage of CS Leaders, what kind of dynamic is this going to set up?

  13. acco40, you are in all likelihood correct that the BSA literature does not explicitly mention serving as a UC in your own unit.


    The chapter and verse cited by FScouter is interpreted locally as meaning that Commissioners cannot be registered at a Top Leader. Many of our Commissioners also serve as leaders and committee people in local units. In an ideal world it would be nice to have our commissioners focused only on commisssioner work. The sorry fact is that we just don't have enough good people to go around.

  14. This is very simple, everyone should follow the rules. You cannot be the UC for your own unit! End of discussion. There are no rules that say a UC cannot be associated with a unit, but you cannot be the UC for your own unit.


    On the other hand, maybe the unit should listen to this guy. Why does he feel the need to step in and provide his two cents?

  15. Newbie it happens like this.......


    - BSA gets in financial trouble

    - some large religious groups, who represent a large number of Charter organizations bail out BSA, of course there are stings (not visible strings)attached

    - concurrently, someone(?)donates land in Texas and headquarters leaves the Northeast.


    This is of course an oversimplification. There is a Newsweek article from about 5 years ago that does a very nice job of explaining the whole course of events. Sorry, I don't have the date of the article with me.


    A Church may be a better CO, simply because someone might care about the pack. However, the care may be as a result of some very parochial, or selfish reasons.


    Will they impose requirements on the leaders and scouts that will in the end, be unacceptable? More and More we have that happening in our area. The Church CO's have come to feel empowered and missionary in their role as CO. We now have units looking to get away from the churches and move in with the VFW, AL or some other non- denominational CO's

  16. Shutting out the Troop could ultimately lead to the end of the troop, which would only result in a bad situation for the boys. There is no reason to think that they have a bad program, just very bad "choices" by the leadership.


    These guys should be warned...once! They need to have their troop culture changed. If they don't change, they should have there membership revoked, and new leaders allowed to step in, or, Council should merge them with another nearby troop.


    Aggressive value based actions on the part of a CO or SE, go a long way. It doesn't have to happen too often for the message to get out!(This message has been edited by fotoscout)

  17. Here's another opportunity for someone to step up and show leadership.


    They want to go on a church outing to drink and play poker, that's fine; they want to go on a family reunion to drink and play poker, that's fine, a hunting trip with the buddies, that's fine, a long weekend to an out-of-town football game, that's fine.....BUT IT DOESN'T BELONG IN BOY SCOUTS!


    This is just some of the behavior that contributes to declining membership.

  18. Lisabob's comment about the politics of scouting is basically correct except that it needs to put into perspective. The politics of scouting is only important for the perspective new family OR the "highly principled or activist" type of Boy Scout. Everyone else doesn't care, they either agree with the BSA policies, or think that they are ridiculous and choose to ignore them.


    The politics of scouting does count when it come to fund raising. Much of the business and philanthropic community is very concerned about the perception of being aligned with BSA's politics. Consequently they avoid giving money to BSA at any level.


    I do believe that the politics issue contributes in some way to lost membership. I also think that the larger issue is simply one of weak leadership at all levels. The religious based CO's have hijacked BSA, National has not mandated training or specific program models, and the constant emphasis on new units rather than fixing the broken ones. These things are all a part of the larger problem.



  19. Scout Nut's solution is really the only way to manage it. Unfortunately, in my experience it leads to many problems with the kids, and your program.


    First off, when the boy misses meetings because of sports he (they)usually needs to be "reconditioned" when he comes back to the Den. These boys are always a distraction to the den when they return after missing a few weeks or a few months. It ultimately takes many weeks to get them back into the fold.


    Second, it becomes very difficult to setup a den project that requires two or three meetings to complete. Too much time is spent doing remedial work with the boys that missed the prior meetings. Ultimately the quality of the project goes down hill very quickly.


    The last problem is that the many of the "Sports Kids" loose the ability to function and interact in a peer group setting that is not either, on the field, or, on the court. We have had a number of these kids, and they have become nothing but trouble. Yes it's nice that they still want to be a part of Scouting, but at what price? Who gains, and how much damage does it do in the long run?

  20. OK I'll accept that they might not have some merit badges in Sept.


    But I won't accept that they don't have uniforms in September, Cub Scout Handbooks in September, and Rank Badges through February and March.


    As an update.. on monday the guy said he'd get more AOL's overnight and have them on Tuesday. I still do not have them.


    I can tell you all one thing that will come of this...Our camp will go out of it's way this summer to stock items from sources other than the National Supply Division!!

  21. Oak tree called it inexcusable, I call it unconscionable.


    The problem goes further than not having rank awards, although that is the most frustrating. The reason I went to the store yesterday was to pick up a new pair of uniform pants for my son. Guess what? No pants. On top of that, the counter guy needed to get beat up before he even offered to call the next closest scout shop to check inventory.


    If I'm the advancement guy, I don't want to, nor do I have the time to go to the scout shop 2-3-or 4 times to fill an order. If I'm an parent looking for uniform, I am not going to make 3 trips to the scout shop for a uniform. What absolute absurdity!


    Ok, I'm done venting.

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