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fred johnson

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Everything posted by fred johnson

  1. fred johnson

    Committee Meetings

    Then don't call it a committee meeting. If you coordinate camping, email all the other parents that are part of the committee (or broader if you need fresh help) and say "Hello Troop Committee members, we have a campout coming up next month. I need to make camp commitments and put an agenda in place. Your help and suggestions are very welcome. If you want to help .... Let's meet." It's not a committee meeting as an immediate coming events planning. Share the <time>, <date>, <place ... some coffee places work well ... or libraries or ....> Then invite them to bring their topics if they have anything to discuss or share. Key point ... Avoid the politics and just get the work done you need to get done.
  2. fred johnson

    Committee Meetings

    CC is not elected. He's appointed by the COR. Your vote would only be a statement of who you support and could be very divisive.
  3. fred johnson

    Swimming Requirements for Rank

    Easily understood. Your words were very understandable. I'm just sensitive to the point.
  4. fred johnson

    GSUSA Near Drowning

    Interesting ... Alcohol ... Just says not in presence of the scouts. So adult leaders could have beer or heavy liquor in their tent or away from the scouts. So "slightly inebriated" may be valid.
  5. fred johnson

    Swimming Requirements for Rank

    Your job is to focus on your scouts in your unit(s). It is not your place to fix another troop. Even the district advancement committee doesn't have much power in these situations. The only power is really approving MB instructors and training. If you wanted to influence change, get to know and build a friendship with the scoutmaster. Also, feel free to chat hear in these forums about it, but be careful to not express or infer too much when in or among other scouters. Unit leaders making comments about each other's troops happens way too much and does not reflect good scout spirit. BSA advancement is not about mastery and we need to be careful using the term mastery. BSA advancement is about demonstrating and discussing, but "mastery" infers a higher level than found in BSA requirements. Swimming is the closest to mastery when it says demonstrate swimming in a "strong" manner. Cooking is a good example on the other end of the spectrum. Lots of cooking, but little requirement that the food tastes good.
  6. fred johnson

    Swimming Requirements for Rank

    I have a similar history. My first sons took a long time to earn the swimming MB. It was not a great experience. With my last sons, we spent six months with one and a fully year with the younger to pass the BSA swim test. It was weekly pool visits and working on little things. Putting head under water. Laying face down. Lots of getting comfortable. IMHO, taking my sons to the pool weekly and making small progress swimming was one of my best experiences as a father. I'm very proud of that time and my sons and I grew much closer during that time. I often had to hold my tongue as I could not understand why they would not put their head under the water. But one day they would put part of their ear under. Then one full ear on one side of their head. Then .... Each little achievement was exciting to see. BUT ... while I think the swimming MB is a critical one that really needs to be fully earned, I can sympathize with the quoted SM. So many parents inject themselves heavily such that it's just not worth it. I often see MBs and advancement as more negative with the scouts than positive. I've often seen it kill scout excitement. It's why I focus more on getting the scouts together and doing things and I focus much less on advancement. I make sure we help and our program covers all the elements needed for advancement. I also make sure we have chances to talk with the scouts about advancement. BUT, our focus is on being an active and outgoing troop and much less on an advancement oriented troop.
  7. fred johnson

    Membership Removal Procedures Booklet

    Oh. I'd fully recommend working with your registrar, your district exec or a member of our district committee. If you are dealing with a situation that needs detailed specifics and rules for removing a person, you need person-to-person advice. If you really want a document, I'd look at a few of the key documents open to everyone. BSA Rules and Regulations ... https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/membership/pdf/BSA_Rules_and_Regulations.pdf BSA District Committee operation ... Tells you about the district committee and who does what ... https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/commissioner/pdf/34739.pdf BSA Pack committee ... roles and responsibilities ... https://www.scouting.org/programs/cub-scouts/leaders/about/the-pack/pcomm/ I wish I could find more, but BSA has been changing their scouting.org web site. It looks good for marketing, but it's unusable for dedicated volunteers who want to navigate quick to what they need. It's good for the first time to show everything a novice might want to know exists. It's lousy for finding exactly what you know exists and you need.
  8. fred johnson

    Troop Meeting Spaces

    In your case, the Moose Lodge signed the charter and committed to provide space. The church did not. I also know many churches are financially hurting right now. I'm surprised this is not happening way more often. We had a very similar issue and it resulted in our moving our charter. For us, one member of the church chartered the troop with the church. The church never really felt we were part of them. Rather they felt we were a community outreach / support effort by the church. Essentially, good will to the community. The church did not ask us for money. For us, we kept getting bounced around. The priority was with their internal groups first. Second were their initiatives and their directly supported programs. We were just a community good will program that received what was left. Our solution was moving the charter under the local school PTO. We rented space from the school district. Our cost though was $4 per hour. Sometimes we had to pay $12 to $16 per hour to get multiple gyms and a cafeteria. Our total space cost per year for school space was less than $300 per year. We just put it in our budget. The only hard part for us was making sure the boys did not bring pocket knives onto school property. We did not want our scouts expelled.
  9. That's an issue between the scout and the MB counselor. The SM should have no influence on how it affects the badge. BC should have been immediately issued. The early SM signature is not about filtering or choosing the right counselor or doing some type of quality checks. The signature exists so that the scout regularly talks with his scoutmaster and so the scoutmaster knows about the scout's current activities. It is not meant to be a blocking step.
  10. Maybe the white card is different, but I doubt it. The BSA Guide To Advancement only documents the BSA blue card version and says it's the only official version. Beyond that, I think we are saying the same thing. The only difference is where you say the "SM can" hand back, I'm saying the process and blue card are designed so that the scout keeps his section after the scoutmaster signs it. There is no "SM can" as the scout should be controlling his advancement and keeping track of things.
  11. I'm confused. When done ... The MB counselor keeps his part and the scout receives two parts back, his part and the troop's part. When the scout gives it to the troop to record, the scout should only give the troop's part. The scout should always maintain control of his part. He should never give up that part as it's his proof he completed it. It protects him from troop screw ups. The troop still has their part to use to record advancement.
  12. Refer to BSA GTA Limited Recourse for Unearned Merit Badges To make sure we are saying the same thing, the scoutmaster does NOT to ask the scout to demonstrate a MB skill before accepting the badge. If the scoutmaster has a concern, it's address through friendly discussion with the scout, but not discussion such as "show me how to ..." or "how would you handle ...". It's discussion more such as "How did the MB counselor cover this requirement?" ... "I don't see how the MB counselor covered the meal planning requirement for the camping merit badge. Where was that covered in the summer camp course?" Qwazse's statement is clear when using "exceptional" ... i.e. rare. If we find ourselves too often wondering this, then we are off base with our roles and our emphasis on badges and ranks. Badges and ranks are the tool to create a positive outlook toward trying new things and growing skills. If we find ourselves wondering too often about did the scout really earn it, then we are creating a system that will poison scouts on the scouting program.
  13. The 2nd signature is not about "PREVENTING" anything. It's about allowing the scout to have a signature to show he really turned it in. It's like a carnival ticket where the customer gets one part and the sales booth as the second part. It's an accounting thing. IMHO, it's a broken process when the scout turns in his part of the blue card with the expectation he will get his part back at the court of honor. Rather, the scout should walk away with his part signed by the scoutmaster or designee as proof he handed it in. THE ISSUE IS ... what if it's lost in between when the scout hands it in and the court of honor? That's the reason for the scoutmaster signature. It's to have proof the scoutmaster really signed it to protect the scout against an adult losing it. When the scout hands in the badge, it should be signed at that moment by the scoutmaster/designee and the scout should be able to keep his stub.
  14. fred johnson

    Troop mascots

    I have a bag I bring with to summer camp that contains "decorations" for around my tent. Every day I put another one out. Slowly over the week, these decorations are appropriated by some of the more brave scouts and I find them in front of their tents. Not really mascots. More just fun silliness.
  15. fred johnson

    Denied a court of honor.

    We've done close to his scenario several times. We never lower the lights, but we often add a candle lighting or similar. Sometimes it reflects the three parts of the scout oath. The biggest benefit is the whole troops is there and I think that's the biggest benefit. Too many ECOHs have low attendance because of bad timing or yet another meeting for the week. I think there is nothing better than doing the MBs, then the lower ranks and then a special recognition for the new Eagle scout. All relatively fast and clean. Plus, all our COHs are pot-luck meals with the spring COH having the troop buy meat and grill outside for the potluck main course.
  16. fred johnson

    Summer Camp Merit Badge Questions

    Sounds right.
  17. fred johnson

    Summer Camp Merit Badge Questions

    If the scout has anywhere near 20 nights camping, the scout has helped a patrol setup a duty roster, create a menu plan, deal with gear, etc. It's part of scout camping. Scoutmaster's don't sign off on the camping nights. As such, why not trust a parent's word. I'd be tempted to trust it. IMHO, the counselor should be asking for a list or trust the scout. Plus, if I was the scoutmaster, I'd be sitting with the scout and asking him to tell me his camp outs to see if he's at 20 nights. There is absolutely no need to use a formal database. In fact, it's adversarial and subverts building a healthy relationship with the scouts. I'd be very careful taking this to the scout and asking him what he thinks. If there is fraud or just out write lying, that's different. But in this case, the issue is between a member of the troop committee doing advancement and the camp staff working as counselors. I'd keep it at that level and not make it an issue with the scout. Plus, I think it's inherently unfair to the scout. It's a major power imbalance. Even if the adult leaders think they are speaking nice, the scouts will take it harder than you think.
  18. fred johnson

    Denied a court of honor.

    Yeah. That sounds like the perfect ceremony. It's one I'd enjoy.
  19. fred johnson

    Denied a court of honor.

    I'm not against charges, but there is no official charge. The charge is whatever one wants to make it. I like the idea of another Eagle scout giving the new Eagle scout a charge: "... I charge you to undertake your citizenship with a solemn dedication. ... " Like what you have above. On a personal note, I just have never liked the adhoc repeat-after-me pledges. It just seems a bit over-the-top. My view is that the scout oath and law are official. The Nicene Creed is official for my church. The Pledge Of Allegiance is official for our country. "for me" ... pledges are pretty serious things. To adhoc create on the whim just seems wrong to me. It's me. 99% of the scouters are fine with eagle charge repeat-after-me pledges
  20. fred johnson

    Denied a court of honor.

    There are no such rules. There doesn't have to be a script. You could MC. It's just that it might look tacky if you are the MC of your son's event. It might take away from your son's experience. Similar, it probably will work better with a script. But there is no requirement to have a script. There is absolutely no formal structure that must be followed for an ECOH. The ECOH is a celebration for your son. So between his troop and you and him, find some way to recognize and acknowledge his achievement. IMHO, the best ECOHs are casual and less structured. The only structure that I like to see is a planned speech by the new Eagle scout thanking everyone who has helped them. And, maybe telling one or two ... APPROPRIATE... stories.
  21. fred johnson

    Denied a court of honor.

    This thread has gotten long. I've avoided commenting as I can't absorb 10 pages of content. My simple advice is hold your son's ECOH. It's your son's chance to shine. Invite or don't invite his troop. If you invite his troop, it's their choice whether to come. I've seen it done many ways. Even if it's just an open house grill out meal at your house. You could say we'll be grilling and socializing starting at 1pm with a special request that everyone is there at 2pm for a special recognition of your son earning Eagle.
  22. fred johnson

    Sloooooow advancement

    I'm glad to see the answers in this forum. It's the right answers. Too often advancement overshadows the other methods of scouting. I would like to say though it is a balance. Having fun and being active are the most important key points. But it is good to not fully let advancement sit. Ingraining the habits (earning MBs, doing requirements, asking for sign-offs) of advancement early is important as the scout will know what's expected. Ingraining the habits early is also important so the scout realizes the satisfaction and pride from having accomplished something significant The biggest reason to not fully ignore advancement is that sometime between 14 and 17, your scout will have done all the camp outs and it will start getting repetitive. It's important to have a driving reason to continue and something new to explore. Perhaps it's my troop, but I never minded the scoutmaster (or ASM) who with a smile would ask the scout to get his handbook and sit with the scout by the campfire in the middle of the day. Then, just chat and review what the scout has done. If there are things he can sign off, he'd sign off. I really like the idea that advancement is the nature result of being active. Sadly, too often advancement is perverted into a formal bureaucratic process that drains the life out of everyone. If your son is active as you say, he should be advancing.
  23. fred johnson


    Matt_theLife_Scout02, Are you a scout or an adult ? A few generic comments. No troop is perfect or can stay always close to perfect. The idea is to keep moving toward an "ideal", but while doing that provide great scouting experiences. Elections are key. Keeping them simple, open and fair is important. All positions including SPL are mainly about learning how to become a better leader. We adult leaders are spoiled when we have scouts in positions that they can naturally perform without help. It makes us look good. But in reality, we won't always have perfect scouts in each position. It's part of the troop's job to educate and help them learn and succeed. A key point to ask. Are you having fun with your troop or should you change troops?
  24. So true. Too much focus on creating the best scouting program. I swear 90% of the benefits of scouts is getting kids outside, camping and trying new things. There is benefit to having the perfect troop and the perfect boy-led implementation and strong advancement and good uniforming and ... but I'm not sure it out weighs the damage of over zealous adults.
  25. fred johnson

    Total Available Youth after Feb. 1

    For now ... I'd keep your numbers as if girls were not joining. It may spin the numbers, but at least it would start off on a positive year. Plus, you really don't know how the troop level will work in detail or how many will start. You don't know how many packs will run with the program. I'd look at previous year numbers and adjust for if you added or lost packs and troops. That's really it. I would definitely NOT adjust for TAY in any way at this point.