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fred johnson

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Everything posted by fred johnson

  1. fred johnson

    Walking out on merit badges

    The postings from Wisconsin Momma reminded me of a rule that I accidentally established with my sons and that I'm glad exists now. BACKGROUND: My sons signed up for a Saturday MB program. The two badges they signed up for "could" be interesting if done well. A morning MB. Then pizza. Then an afternoon MB. The guy teaching the morning MB had zero expertise in the topic. Nothing special. He was a college kid who signed up because they needed a warm body as the counselor. He had PowerPoint slides walking the requirements with bulleted text that looked pretty much right from the handbook. It was painful to watch. My sons wanted to leave half way through around an hour in. I told them to sit through it. At lunch time, we learned the same situation was going to happen for the second badge. ... we left. When I attend seminars, I often walk out of the room and change to a different session if the session I choose is lame or not useful. I told this to my boss and he was 100% okay with it. His comments were that if I'm not getting something out of it, it's a waste. Go switch and see if there is something else I can draw value from. NEW RULE: If my sons are having a bad experience, I'm okay with their leaving. If it's so-so, I ask them to stick it out as a good habit. But if it's just painful, I'm okay with leaving. I don't want them to waste their time. They just don't need any single MB that bad. For Eagle badges, they can always find another counselor or session. What do you think?
  2. fred johnson

    If men carry purses, what would be in yours

    No. Just no.
  3. fred johnson

    National, Religion, Membership, Oath and Law

    Threads like this always crash to the lowest base intellectual level after about two or three pages.
  4. fred johnson

    Summer camp - too many adults?

    It depends on the adults. Generally, I agree that 2 to 3 adults for 30 scouts is fine. AND, that ratio gives busy-body adults enough work such that they will more likely stay out of the scout's business. 4 is nice if you want to run errands or have a more relaxed week. Anything more is getting to be just too much. Essentially, adults want to show value by being involved and making a difference. In addition, it's extremely difficult to get a consistent leadership style / involvement out of eight adults. They will be tripping over each other. I often wonder if there is a scout summer camp that has a policy of adults may attend camp, but the troop camp shall only have two adult tents ... unless special needs exist. Any additionally needed adult tents will be located in camp site XXXX ... co-incidentally a ten minute walk from the scout's camp site. Or another idea is the camp "recommending" having two adults. Having more than three adults would create the expectation that the troop provides that number (above three) of adults to the volunteer crew performing service projects around the camp each day. Essentially, you want to bring eight adults? Great! Camp needs help and expects you to volunteer five adults each day to a service crew.
  5. fred johnson

    Scout Dishonesty During an Eagle Project

    "Lied to the committee" ... Sometimes it's a viewpoint issue and sometimes it's a shade of truth. Perhaps he meant he was about to do something and did not correct himself. Perhaps he thought he was correct but wanted to not emphasize something. Perhaps ... "Lied" is often thrown out too quickly and the situation needs to be understood better. Parent getting physical with troop leaders ... Yeah, this would be a stopping point for me. When that happens (or even close), trust is lost and safety is a concern. Perhaps time passing and tempers will cool. But if not, the family needs to go elsewhere. This is clearly one of my personal thresholds.
  6. fred johnson

    Advancement Charts

    I used BSA pre-made ones in three dens. Sometimes they worked. Sometimes not. It really depended on the dynamics of the den and our ability to stay organized. But generally, yes. I like them better than almost any other method. I also liked to have the cub check things off when we were able to do that. I like it when we used the books more and signed in the back and then kept the chart synchronized. I liked it mostly because it let the cubs see their own progress and where they were. I'm not sure now with it relative to ScoutBook, etc.
  7. fred johnson

    Sports focused town

    Personally, I'd make the decision based on what you think will make the best and most exciting, inspirational experience for your kids. If that's transforming your existing pack into a fresh, energetic, busy pack, then great. If it means joining another pack, that's fine too. A few notes Your kids are only young once and their time in scouts is short. Scouts is best with friends. Socializing and working together is a key part of scouting. It's not really scouting if your kid doesn't regularly interact with other scouts. You will spend a lot of energy fixing the existing pack. Cub scouts takes a lot of adult energy. You will need help. You won't succeed if others don't help. Driving a long way to another pack can be tiring and cause issues in itself.
  8. fred johnson

    Getting the Value and Pride back in Eagle.

    Yeah ... Three responses ... #1 The term rose colored glasses exists for a reason. The past is rarely as good as we remember it. #2 The issue is not a BSA thing and much more larger trends. Helicopter parents. Grade inflation. Building the resume. Legalism. Plus, schools and youth programs are much better now at teaching the basics that scouts cover and now makes scouts look fairly light weight. Better schools. Better exercise. Chasing achievements. #3 When I look at my oldest, I see a man who was very much burnt out on scouting when he was 18. Extremely burnt out. Now in his upper-20s, he wants to return to scouting and often channels the values of citizenship, leadership, physical fitness, etc. I was shocked recently when he was talking about whether the local scout camp could use some volunteer hours recently. I was wondering if this was my kid. I am glad to see scouts earn Eagle who may be tripping and falling over the finish line. It's not just for the strongest runners. To be honest, the strongest runners probably won't need the Eagle rank. But many of our scouts benefit when reflecting on themselves, their values and their values of how to lead their lives. IMHO, it's unproductive (politely said) to focus on who should earn it and let's focus more on helping every scout achieve it ... if that's their path and goal. Plus ... if you really want Eagle to be meaningful ... Get it off the college application check box. Stop ranking up enlistees because of it. Get it off the resume.
  9. fred johnson

    Reading the Scout HB aloud at meetings?

    I think this is key to making a good scouting program. Scouting isn't school. It's not pretend military. It's groups of kids that WANT to GET TOGETHER to DO THINGS. WANT <-- their choice GET TOGETHER <-- They want to see their friends DO THINGS <-- They want to do things with their friends. I really fear missing any piece of that. If we kill their want or their being together or doing things, then we damage the program. Our scouts have some great memories and most of those memories are from doing things together.
  10. fred johnson

    How will you talk about girls troops and packs?

    I'm finding everyone in the troops I'm associated with are pretty accepting of the idea and that it's just not that controversial.
  11. fred johnson

    Ad hoc girl patrols formed and compete in camporee

    I fear boys reflect the adults. Negative adults will create negative youth.
  12. fred johnson

    CSE Letter on GSUSA Infringements

    Class B girl-oriented patches should be fine. I see no issue with that.
  13. fred johnson

    Penn State Disallows Student Run Outdoor Club

    Sadly, this makes sense. Certain activities do have risk and need to be taken seriously by skilled people. PSU is paying for the insurance coverage. That coverage probably states that activities that can have risk will have skilled supervision. The only way PSU could satisfy that requirement is to have staff cover it. It's not any safer really, just a perception of safety.
  14. fred johnson

    Penn State Disallows Student Run Outdoor Club

    Wow. Just wow.
  15. fred johnson

    Do Your Scouts Use The Handbook Logs?

    The logs are a tool, not a requirement. Useful if the scout wants to use it. If they want to use it, great. If they can't remember, it's a great place to start listing what they've done. If not listed, then it's just a friendly conversation seeing if they have fulfilled the requirement. It's the camping and service that is required. Not the log. I like to think of it as keep the positive focus on the activities, not the paperwork.
  16. fred johnson

    Would you say anything

    I don't think it's unreasonable at all for a parent to pass a mild comment to the committee chair or the scoutmaster. On the flip side, don't insert yourself too much. They probably saw what happened and are trying to figure out themselves what should be done.
  17. fred johnson

    Penn State University Ousts Outing Club

    As said before, once sanctioned, it can be argued the university is at risk and potentially has liability. For example, the university would be listing the organization with contacts, etc. So what if someone gets hurt of victimized. It could be easily argued that by listing the organization (contacts, description implying a charter) and supporting the organization (meeting rooms, listing as a contact, etc) ... then, the university is implying the organization and it's leaders have been vetted and is following good policies and procedures. Sadly, I do agree. But then again, I'd argue football and many other sports should be community based and not school based.
  18. fred johnson

    Significant youth protection changes

    "Maybe we should find some other word than trustworthy, like honest or truthful, since nobody is considered to be worthy of trust anymore." I fear like all public discussion chains we've devolved.
  19. I've recently taken the updated YPT. It was very well done and I was impressed. I'm concerned though about two changes. One that we've tried to do as a troop and one that was a surprise. Scouts sharing a tent should not be more then two years apart unless they are siblings. We as a troop have always tried to do this. We viewed it as another imbalance of power situation. I don't think this affects my troop, but I'm wondering how troops that do mixed age patrols will succeed with this. Often you have scouts missing from the patrol. I don't think it would be unusual in a mixed age patrol to have scouts camping where there is no one within two years of age. It seems the only good conclusion would be that those scouts have their own individual tent. So this is do-able and a good change. Adults on a camp out longer than 72 hours must be registered as a leader (and thus also have completed YPT). This seems a big challenge that units will game. What if the scouts go on a long trip and some of the parents want to go or the spouse of a SM/ASM. Or if you need an another adult to come as a driver. This seems to be a hard rule to do smoothly and it also seems like it would affect the youngest scouts the most. Constructive comments and reflection would be useful. ... If you just want to complain about bad BSA decisions, just move on and don't post.
  20. I agree. It should be a simple thing reflecting "a scout is friendly". What happened is it was a time when the troop was into teaching lessons. Sometimes those lessons became forced. So I'm sure someone was explaining to the SPL how to make an example of someone. I remember when the SPL would not give it back. My son was looking at him like he was not a very honest or friendly person. It broke trust even then as he knew there was a reason it would not be coming back. The sad thing is before my son would go to the SPL's house a few times to socialize. He never went again after that. Maybe it's not the song thing that bugs me as the forced lesson. The great thing in scouting is learning from the natural results of your choices and actions and non-actions. A lot is lost when it becomes a forced trick with someone looking to make a point. Like the SPL who casually drops trash after the cleanup line has gone by to make his point.
  21. One of my older sons left something on the table. It was part of what he was bringing home as a carry item. But the SPL got it first and would not give it back. Only later as they were assembled to go home did the SPL bring the item up and say that my son left it on the table. He asked my son to sing for it. Watching the physical reaction of my son was very sad. Worse though was I saw him try something like that on someone else at the next camp out so he could do it to them. Perhaps the lesson was intended to be to take responsibility for your stuff, but he already knew that lesson. It's just he was busy doing another part of the cleaning at that moment. Instead, the lesson taught was to look for opportunities to knock the other guy down. To put rules ahead of compassion and friendliness. Because of that ... and knowing the personality of my youngest ... I told him that if it happened to him that he should acknowledge it's his. But if he's asked to sing or something else for it, just tell them to keep the object and he can keep his pride. I didn't want that son learning the lesson the earlier son learned. Yeah, I do consider that innocent singing hazing by my experience and by the definition of what it is. Is cutting a corner hazing? I can see both sides. I'd prefer to share the reminder to be safe. And, if he's not safe, don't let him have a knife.
  22. The article doesn't have a new viewpoint or any deep perspective. It's just re-hashing a summary of very high level issues. In some ways, it reminds me of political coverage when newspapers follow who's in the lead instead of following issues.
  23. fred johnson

    Significant youth protection changes

    Phone calls ... I'm surprised I did not consider the affect on phone calls. I try to have my wife in the same room, but sometimes I field calls while driving. I'm not sure how to work around this issue.
  24. fred johnson

    Chartered Organization not a Legal Entity?

    Band bosters too? This is different than my experience. It seems like the school district is taking on the audit and finance responsibility for each of the organizations. It really grows the scope and umbrella of the school district.
  25. fred johnson

    Significant youth protection changes

    The rule now says ... The new registration requirement (announced in the fall of 2017) was: "Effective for the 2018 BSA summer camp season, any adult accompanying a Boy Scout troop to a residence camp or other Scouting activity lasting 72 hours or more must be registered as a leader, including completion of a CBC and YPT, even if they are the parent of a youth on the trip." So I don't think a MBC registration would count. I think it means a leader in that unit or a leader in some unit. I'm not sure though. This is all new.