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Fox 76

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Everything posted by Fox 76

  1. Venturing Age/Status Change Coming

    I wish the BSA would have come down firmly on one end or the other of this travesty. The compromise that was made has caused more problems than was meant to solve. They should have opened participation in the BSA program to all (up to age 18), or taken the other stance, and maintained the status quo that existed before the compromise. Personally, I would have equally respected either position.
  2. Boy Scout Brats

    Generally, I respectfully take an opposite view from the OP. My kids (now grown) and I were also involved in youth sports. I coached soccer and baseball for a number of years, and I have been an adult Scouter for more than thirty years. During the sports years with my kids, my observation was that kids in sports, especially the older ones, tend to be more competitive and egocentric than many boys who only do Scouting. Some have been downright rotten. It has also been my observation that it is usually a parent, screaming from the sidelines, who was behind that rotten behavior and sometimes even encouraged it. Some coaches, too many, foster a commando-like mindset in their young charges. Based on my experiences, many coaches are more concerned about stroking their own egos by reliving their lost youth than they are about teaching self-discipline, teamwork, and respect. I do not agree with the notion that kids in sports are: ".....far more well behaved, considerate and respectful than the Boy Scouts; it's not even a close comparison and I am referring to comparable age groups, 11-18 essentially." My personal belief is that the rivalry, competition and kick-butt attitudes (usually stoked by adult coaches and hysterical parents) that are often present in youth sports will drive away boys who may not fair well in team sports and sit out these events on the bench. More kids are forced to participate in sports by their parents than many people who have never coached may realize. Sports often turn out to be a humiliating esteem-buster for kids like these, especially when their more athletically talented team mates-or even worse, their coach-marginalize them. Scouting is usually an individual effort by the Scout. Yes, the Patrol Method has similarities to the team-concept behind sports. But the level of participation, and the satisfaction derived from it, is up to the individual scout. Have I seen Scouts over the years that I silently hoped would not return to the Troop? You bet I have. Did I, and the other youth and adult leaders in our Troop, try our best to work with them? You bet we did. Another poster raised a valid point: How well do youth-athletes behave when nobody is watching them? Not very well in many cases, quite badly in a few.
  3. Autistic scouts

    The Scout was not learning disabled. In fact, he was highly intelligent and was on the high honor rolls at school. What he had difficulty with, sometimes a lot of difficulty with, was social interaction. In any case, the situation with his Scouting experience concluded to everyone's satisfaction, and after a lot of unnecessary discomfort and upheaval, we all moved on. But I will never place myself in a position like that again, and as long as I'm on the Committee, I will endeavor to prevent any other adult leader from becoming embroiled with something like that. Basically, parents have to be forthcoming with us and help us deliver the program in the best way that we can for their Scout, instead of being mysterious and overly protective. If they won't, then I would say please take it on the road. As someone else mentioned, we are all volunteers.
  4. A change for good?

    The BSA’s proposed makeover of the adult bureaucracy behind the Venturing program won’t address why many Crews fail to attract and retain new membership and ultimately fold: Boredom with the individual Crew’s program, or frustration from a lack thereof. The problem is not with the Venturing Program as a whole. The problem lies with individual units, and what I perceive as a widespread misapplication of the program for the convenience of adult leaders. Some, if not most Crews are spawned by Boy Scout Troops, and are set up and run simply as an appendage of the Troop. Such an “attached†Venture Crew can serve as a surreptitious way for adult Troop leaders to, in essence, enroll their daughters in a Boy Scout Troop as, well..... Boy Scouts. That was my experience, and I doubt it's unique. A Crew like this won’t have separate adult leadership (“advisorsâ€Â); a separate Committee; or a separate program that would appeal to older, co-ed membership. In my particular case, they didn't even have a separate treasury or fundraising activities. Eventually, the Crew dwindled and appears to be on the verge of folding, not that it concerns me since we already left that Troop. Older youth who might have joined–and stayed with– Venturing because it supposedly promised a more “advanced†or "challenging" alternative to Boy Scouts will leave such a Crew when they figure out that they are just Boy Scouts with a different shirt.
  5. Autistic scouts

    We had a Scout in our Troop who was asocial, lacked empathy for others, and occasionally expressed unusual behavior or dialog. He disliked camping, and during a BOR he told us how much he hated all of the other Scouts in the troop. However, he functioned highly on an intellectual level. We never considered him to be a problem, and simply considered him to be somewhat droll. He was never treated any differently by the Troop leadership, until his father started doing Merit Badges for him, and we called them on it. Then it blew up in our faces. It turns out that he had Aspberger's Syndrome, a fact that was kept from us, and we were threatened with a lawsuit, etc. My point is that adult leaders have to be made aware of and educated about these things up front by the parents.
  6. Our district held the Klondike this past Saturday. Thirty Seven sleds entered, and all but one belonged to Boy Scout Patrols. A single Venture Crew was allowed to enter the Klondike and compete. Personally, I have some problems with this. As a seperate "more advanced" program, I think it would have been more appropriate for this particular crew to run a station for the younger Scouts, as our own Crew affiliate did, rather than compete against them. I see a general pattern in our district where Venture Crews are allowed to fully participate in all district and council wide events, which are usually competitive, as just another Scouting unit. Most of the Crews is our district don't actually participate in these events, but the same couple of crews show up most of the time. There was just one at this Klondike, and it is mostly girls. I have seen Venture Crews referred to as a great training resource in several threads, but I have never seen this concept in action. Late high school aged teenagers can't be really be compared with twelve year olds in a competition, can they? Conversely, our District has permitted a number of Venturing-only events, organized by Venture advisors, that exclude Scouts to take place on Council property, although at one recent "fellowship weekend," a last minute invitation was extended to Scouts who were Venture-eligible (probably due to a complaint, but not mine). To my knowledge, no Scouts took part. I am very interested to see how widespread this "good for these but not for them" method of Scouting is and how other districts address it, if at all. With the logic of the current policy, Boy Scouts should participate in the Cub Scout Eskimo Run as contestants. I'll admit that I'm not a big fan of Venturing, but this just doesn't seem right to me. I want to give it some careful thought because I believe it needs to be questioned.
  7. BadenP, I did not ask my question because I was worried about girls kicking boys butts. I asked because I don't think that a Crew's participation in the Klondike in this manner was appropriate. Since the girl/boy issue has been raised (sarcastically), I will only say that it is still called the Boy Scouts of America. No doubt someday the BSA will be called Scouting USA (tried unsuccessfully when I was a Scout in the seventies) or the Scout Association of the United States, similar to Canada or the UK, taking the gender reference out entirely. Scouting in the U.S. has been moving in that direction since the co-ed Venture program started. Some Troops are de facto co-ed already, where the co-ed Crew is basically just another Patrol in the Troop. The Troop that I left functioned precisely that way, but that's in another thread. Judging by a few of the replies I've received, it appears that I will have to accept that my opinions on Crew/Troop interactions are aberrant, if not downright blasphemous. I'll keep my head down on this and concentrate on helping my sons, and the other boys in our Troop, get all that they can out of Scouting.
  8. The crew is not all girls, it is mostly girls. In this case, I could see the difference between a 17 year old Scout and a 17 year old Venturer pretty easily. In any case, I realize my question is inviting considerable derision, and it looks like a hit a nerve or two. Never mind.
  9. There is a huge difference. To me, at least. But I'll throw in the towel here.
  10. Again, would it not have been more appropriate all around to let Venturers "teach" (as in running a station) than compete? Isn't demonstrating a skill to a group one of the tenets of the Venture program?
  11. Actually, no. They didn't "win." In fact, their behavior and skills were far from exemplary. They some lost points for their colorful language skills. I guess my original post might sound like sour grapes to some people. My point is that Klondikes are generally Boy Scout events, and if Venturing Crews can particpate, then it should be reciprocal if a Venturing activity is not age-restrictive per BSA Safe Scouting guidelines.
  12. Increasing Roundtable Attendance

    In nice weather, we have the last couple of Roundtables outdoors at one of our Council camps. It's a cookout/picnic, and everyone is asked to bring something. These are usually well attended. During the Holidays, the December Roundtable is a festive party, everyone is asked to bring some goodies. On the down side, our RT Commissioner likes to give a long subject lecture at the conclusion of business. It's late (around 9pm by this time), most people drive some distance to get there, so you can put together the rest. The number one reason I always attend is that I am the Troop CC. The secondary reason is the very pleasant twenty-two mile ride on pitch black, deserted country roads, listening to MY music (classic rock) on MY iPod connected to MY 1200W car stereo, sipping a fresh cup of coffee. It's forty minutes of pure meditation...........:-)
  13. Red Wool Jacket

    I have a new Jac-Shirt, on which I sewed all of my patches from when I was a Scout in the mid-seventies. I was approaced by our Unit Commissioner, who informed me that this would be okay IF the Jac-Shirt did not also have the BSA insignia on the front shirt pocket. According to him, that insignia makes it part of the uniform. Off it came.
  14. Pitfalls of Starting a Venture Crew

    qwazse, you are correct. My sons are not opposed to Venturing per se, and I'm not either. But the application of Venturing in our case was unacceptable. My older son hasn't been this excited about Scouting since he was a Wolf Cub, and he is at that delicate 14-15 cusp where Scouting loses so many boys. Did I mention that he belongs to a different Venture Crew? One that specializes in competitive shooting sports? It's co-ed, and that's fine with him. But Scouting still comes first.
  15. Girls under 18 serving on camp staff ?

    Just so I'm clear, we are talking about adolescent girls on staff, not adult women?
  16. Committee rules running amuck

    A little follow up on required training. I corresponded with our DE, who informed me that the only nationally required training at this time is YPT. He stated that some councils have adopted "pilot" programs that require IOLST for all adult leaders, and he said that National is heading in that direction.
  17. Girls under 18 serving on camp staff ?

    I see a lot of advocacy for co-ed Scouting, which I definitely do not support. That said, I'm all for it female youth staff, as long as the GSA accepts male youth and adults to staff its camp facilites as well. As far back as I can remember, there have always been female adult staffers at camp, who tended to be undeniably adult if not matronly. I will say that I am opposed to having female youth staff at certain BSA facilities, particullarly the waterfront. A 16 or 17 year old lifeguard may be sweet as pie and swim like Esther Williams, but the fact is that many of the boys will be distracted by her presence. Most will do what comes naturally, and that is act up with a lot of adolescent bravado. Go ahead and blame it on the boys, whatever. But it's called the BSA. If the desire is for a co-ed experience, form a Venture Crew and do it that way. Just my feelings on the question.
  18. Pitfalls of Starting a Venture Crew

    Well, we made the switch. My sons and I went around and looked at a few area Troops, this was a bit awkward for me since all of the other leaders know me and my affiliation pretty well. The first thing that struck me was how alike the other Troops were to each other, and how unlike our old Troop they were. That is to say, they were truly boy-run, well organized with no loud, long-winded adult lectures, and the kids seemed like they WANTED to be there and were having FUN. My older son chose a fairly large Troop (70+) with a good number of active ASM's and boys his age. They have a Venture Patrol (which he was put into) AND a co-ed Venture crew, which hardly interacts with the Troop at all. All of the boys in the VC are also active Scouts in the Troop, and the two groups have seperate activities. This is the way it's supposed to be! My son explained his POR dilemna to the new Scoutmaster, and he is going to be made a Troop Instructor for the first year Scouts. My younger son, who has been cooling off to Scouting, resisted making the switch but has changed his mind after two of his buddies also decided to make the move. As for me, I'll stay available to help but I'll watch from the sidelines for a little while, and see how it all unfolds. I was made to feel very welcome by the adult leaders, and they were happy to accept my transfer. Things are looking up!
  19. New Committee Chair Person

    I was a Committee Chair of a Troop, and pointed out to some of the other adult leaders that they were very wrong with one particular issue, and that was having our all-female Venture Crew tag along with the Troop on every outing. I can go on forever about how many problems this creates, but it's for another thread. Since it was becoming contentious and personal, and was threatening to "fracture" the adult leadership (to use the Scoutmaster's term), I resigned before things got really nasty. Our COR is basically a non-entity and has made it clear that he has complete faith in the adult leadership (the ASM's are two of the girl's fathers) and he doesn't want to get involved in any issues. The problem adults and he are also close in the church that sponsors us, so that was a blind alley. After I resigned, I had a long chat with our Unit Commissioner, who in turn advised the DE. These adults were counseled, but that's about the extent of it. I might be right, but I'll have to be right somewhere else. I guess the bottom line is to say t hat you should take the path of least resistance. Either convince your CC to resign, or you and your son should leave the Pack for greener pastures. It may be better for you and your son to not engage a moron like this, and simply move on. It's ultimately about the kids, not the adults.
  20. Committee rules running amuck

    moosetracker, is there something that specifically states that SAS/IOLST must be taken by SM's and ASM's? I was unable to get a firm answer from my council, only that it was "strongly recommended." We were actually going to use lack of training as a premise for dropping some inactive leaders, and several other adult leaders were adamant about dropping them when we rechartered. Frankly, it was more out of a personal dislike rather than a valid reason IMO. To avoid a big dust-up and all of the angst that would come with it, As CC I refused to drop these adults on that premise without a firm edict saying that the training was required, simply because I didn't think it was worth the hassle and bad feelings. But if it is REQUIRED by BSA, I would love to know about it.
  21. Committee rules running amuck

    One of the reasons I stepped down as Troop CC was because my INSISTENCE that all adult leaders take SAS/IOLST at their earliest opportunity was flaunted by a dual registered adult. We verbally agreed to the training policy in Committee last year, and that it would be Troop policy going forward. However we never let it limit the Boys. Several of us had the training, two junior ASM's took it, but one of the adult ASM's always had an out, like work. Understandable. He finally registered to take the course. However, our attached Venture Crew (he is one of the advisors) decided to host a "Venturing fellowship weekend" at the same time. He is blowing off the training again in favor of this event, with the full concurrence of the new Scoutmaster. Attitude is just as important as training.
  22. Pitfalls of Starting a Venture Crew

    Thanks quasze, more food for thought. My older son will be completing his tenure as SPL (a task which he performed quite adequately), but there has been no discussion about "where do I go from here?" I fifteen year old being lumped into a Patrol of twelve year olds is probably conuter productive. On the other hand, he has expressed interest to the SM in serving as a Den Chief to an area Pack. He has the Fast Start training, but the SM has remained mute. Sorry, but sharing a calendar and a program simply brings the whole conversation back to square one. One for the Troop, and one for the Crew.
  23. Pitfalls of Starting a Venture Crew

    moosetracker, thank you for your supportive reply. Yes, he will finish out his POR. Elections will be in a week or two. One of the unwritten "policies" in this Troop is that an incumbent cannot be reelected. I never agreed with that, but I never thought it was worth the argument. Another part of the problem with the current Troop leadership is a total lack of vision for the more senior Scouts, and my son has made it clear he has no interest in our attached Venture Crew. In fact, he actually joined a different Crew. A good thing to add to our shopping list for a new Troop would be available POR's. My younger son is also a "lame duck" PL, and although eligible isn't at all sure if he wants to run for anothe POR in this Troop. As part of my resignation, I am trying very hard not to let my own views taint those of my sons.
  24. Pitfalls of Starting a Venture Crew

    Well, since I resigned as CC the Troop has lost four boys (although I am in no way suggesting that this was caused by my resignation); our online Troop calendar has yet to be populated; our meeting attendance is way down; and my SPL son is adrift. An upcoming campout had to be cancelled because the current regime couldn't decide on a campground, and this indecision was very apparent to the boys. As CC, I think I had a moderating effect within the Troop program (I was very hands-on and pro-active), however my views on our Venture Crew were very strong and clearly against the grain. That was the main reason I resigned. However, the new SM, whose only son aged out several years ago, has succeeded in adding two more teenage girls to the Venture Crew in his capacity as Crew Advisor. The Venture Crew's online calendar IS populated, but with Troop events. I guess if you're a Scout, you have to go look at the Crew calendar to find out what's going on. His Daughter is the VCP, so I have to question his motives. The Troop was on a great roll for a while, but the incorrect application of the Venture Crew concept to this Troop is just wrong on so many levels. Our information exchange, which was thriving, has ceased to operate. The last time I checked, Scout Troops in the United States were not Co-ed (yet), so a group of older teenage girls essentially forming anouther Patrol within the Troop just might cause some problems, especially when their "advisors" play them off against the boys. This has happened several times in the past. When our sage Unit Commissioner, who is both an ex-SM and Crew Advisor (elsewhere) asked why I had resigned, I laid it all out for him. He met individually with the other leaders, and reinforced that Venturing is supposed to be a stand-alone program. They politley listened, but of course are under no obligation to comply with his advice. The UC also took the trouble to inform the DE, so I assume he thought it was important enough to discuss up the line. It is what it is, my belief is that this Troop is failing fast. I want my sons to get all they can out of Scouting, but it won't happen with this Troop. It's time for us to go elsewhere.
  25. Tin Foil dinner suggestions

    Try undiluted condensed soup in your recipes. We bought chicken legs & thighs, skinned them, added chopped veggies and a big dollop of Price Chopper condensed cream of chicken soup. Delicious! In another recipe, we used chopped meat, veggies, and a blob of condensed tomato soup. and added paprika. It made a very presentable goulash.
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