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fred8033 last won the day on November 7

fred8033 had the most liked content!

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About fred8033

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    Fred Johnson 2

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    Software Engineer

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  1. fred8033

    Appropriate Insignia UNDER Right Pocket?

    I've seen many worn on the shirt like the original poster. Mine have put them on the back of the MB sash. I'd like to say it's because of I'm a rule follower and I've read the insignia guide. I have read it. I like to follow the rules. But there is a more important reason. Sewing dozens of little segments is a lot of work !!!! What happens when they grow in size ? One mother said you cut that panel off the old shirt and re-sew it to the new shirt as a panel. My family is lucky to keep the main patches accurate over the years. Rank. Position. Misc. We'd never succeed keeping the huge panel of segments current ... in my house.
  2. fred8033

    What happened to meritbadge.org?

    I'll be very sad if it's the end of meritbadge.org. I very much enjoyed using the Wiki interface to look for scouting information.
  3. Kudos to my council - Northern Star ... centered in Mpls / St. Paul, MN. I listened to a presentation last night about pending district changes and re-aligning how the council / districts serve units. Re-engineering to serve units first. Re-aligning districts. Though few precise details were given, the right words were said and the presentation was very good. The timing was right to ease into a significant change. The right change processes seem to be happening. ... I trust the delivered changes will rise to the level suggested in the presentation. I'm proud to be in the council. I've always been extremely impressed with the council leadership and staff. My family and I are very lucky to be in such a great council.
  4. I agree, but I disagree on focusing on effectiveness, max class size or things like that. Rather, I'd want people to focus on making these as interesting as possible. For example, a merit badge class day on metal working better include most of the day working on metal. Bending. Welding. Etc. I remember an oceanography course that I wish my sons could have gotten in on. It had lots of kids in it. But it was led by an active duty submarine officer and an oceanography researcher who could talk real life. That was cool. IMHO, these classes have their place. But it should be done in a context that develops interest and definitely not death by power-point.
  5. fred8033

    What are the BSA priorities??

    I absolutely agree. The "outdoors" is BSA's big unique selling opportunity. It's debatable on BSA's track record with physical fitness, leadership and citizenship. BSA is generally really good, but those can also be addressed with sports, ROTC and other programs. But I really don't see a quality youth outdoor nature program other than BSA.
  6. fred8033

    Fee increase - observations

    You are right. Sometimes it's best to agree to disagree. Failures and problems can easily be re-created in a new form. Knowing what happened is critical to avoiding it again. Many projects in my career have had a close-out review. The term varies depending on the "type of" close out. Retrospective. Postmortem. Often, it's a required step in the project mgmt life cycle. I fully agree that should be done with the unit commissioner program. I fear we are mushing how to change with the fact that change needs to happen. Perhaps a retrospective on unit commissioner programs would help. I've been watching it for many many years. Sadly, I'm ready to jump to the conclusion that it can't be saved. We need to destroy it and create something new. But perhaps, it can be saved / re-engineered. The key point though is the unit commissioner service is not anywhere near a quality program in most districts.
  7. fred8033

    Have to find a new Pack... again. :(

    I hope you find the right answer for scouting. I love the scouting program ... when it works. But if you don't find the magic, it's okay to look for alternatives. Your kids are only young once. Find the right answer to give the experiences to develop friendships and grow as a person. Scouting is a great program when it works. But don'[t chase windmills. There are other answers too.
  8. fred8033

    Fee increase - observations

    Problems need to be understood so that we can move on. At some point though, we need to cut bait on a concept / structure / program that just isn't working 90% or more of the time. I'm sure there are some districts that magically make it work. But I've yet to see one in a really long time. From what I see is that unit commissioner is such a low involvement position that quality people won't stay in it and are then recruited into or find a better way to spend their time. I think the unit commissioner program is a direct reflection on BSA's bigger problem. The inability to cut programs that don't work and that hurt BSA's reputation as a quality program. Where is there the leadership to acknowledge the unit commissioner program is dysfunctional and needs to be disbanded. This would make room for new ideas that might work ... like a unit-to-unit mentoring program or a district unit triage staff.
  9. fred8033

    Fee increase - observations

    Not sure. I've been thinking about this for 10+ years. I've been a key unit leader for 18 years. Effectively never having seen a commissioner in action. Unit commissioners are supposed to be one per charter org (one pack, one troop, one crew). That can be 20+ commissioners in a district. You will NEVER get that many quality volunteers well coordinated doing the same function. A tight knit crew of experts to triage only those units needing help would be easier to staff as it would have a well-defined purpose and volunteers tend to stick around for that.
  10. fred8033

    Fee increase - observations

    I hugely agree. The unit commissioner program should be dissolved. I've seen districts so desperate to fulfill commissioner number requirements that any warm body is signed up. District committee staff. Former unit members with grievances or agendas looking for a title. No show commissioners. ... Sadly when they do show up, I've seen a few that over-step their boundaries. To be honest, I've NEVER seen a unit commissioner that really helps. If there is an issue, it goes to the district exec or a senior district staffer (district chair, advancement chair, etc). Here are two ideas I've had ... Create a mentor ship program where one unit can mentor another. Maybe as part of being a "quality unit" we ask units to send one unit leader to another unit where they might help mentor and send another to a unit that they might learn from. Some of the times I've learned the most are when I've attended a meeting of another troop and can learn how they function. Sometimes a camp out. Sometimes a committee meeting. Sometimes just a normal troop meting. Create a unit service committee on the district committee. Problem ... Right now, units have to work with district camping staff, advancement staff and others for info. Units work with their commissioners to hand in budgets, calendars, etc. Commissioners then pop in with advice, but really can't help. Short concept Triage to put the right people together. First point of contact Say a subcommittee of five members. One chair. Two for each "type" of unit. This eliminates looking for warm bodies or getting stuck with quirky or grievanced former unit scouters. Also, this could be a very meaningful role for the sage older scouter to volunteer in. It could be a key feature of the district commitee. And, it could protect and off-load work from the district exec.
  11. fred8033

    Fee increase - observations

    Hugely agree. I think BSA is close, but it needs to do something to simplify and get the adults to back off. Keep the passion, but let the scouts be scouts. This is huge. Of my hundred+ BSA training line items, I think very few were enabling. Though training is important, it's mentorship and experience that scouters need.
  12. fred8033

    Fee increase - observations

    Council bailout. thank goodness. $72 for yearbook. We only buy on their transition out of the school. ... high school graduation and completing middle school year. Just too much money and a real waste in hindsight. Most people never look at anything but they year they graduate. Even then, they take up significant space and are just weight to move around.
  13. fred8033

    What are the BSA priorities??

    Our individual experiences may vary, but statistical trends are pretty clear. Total number of licensed hunters/fishers has changed measurably down (some up, but mostly down) ... but "per capita", it's significantly down. Further, the "median age" shifted from mid 30s up into the 50s (my interpretation is those who learned to hunt/fish when they were young still hunt/fish). The median age is significant because it predicts the future. It reflects the pool of future hunters / fishers that will maintain the trends. https://www.outdoorlife.com/why-we-are-losing-hunters-and-how-to-fix-it/ Anecdotally ... yes I see some with ATVs, but I just don't see the kids regularly fishing / hunting. That has become "special events". It was a regular / recurring family activity throughout the fishing seasons. Now, it's more special events. Heck, I remember when school started that kids would talk about fishing plans etc. Now, it's all electronics.
  14. fred8033

    What are the BSA priorities??

    ... What causes scouting to struggle ... I think you have nailed it very well. Extremely well. BUT you also need to add in technology, competition and chasing resumes. People aren't hunting and fishing. People aren't gathering as families every weekend like they used to do. Technologies (phones, computers, cable, etc) are keeping people "inside". When people do venture out, all the other options have geared way up. All season sports starting at very young ages. "Traveling" sports. (what ever that really means). New leagues (Robotics and lego leagues). Finally, people are chasing line items for their resumes. I think all three of these have been big big factors. Gone is all the unstructured free time that could be leveraged for a scouting program. ... personal experience ... My oldest had 300+ nights of camping by the time he aged out. My youngest will have near 125+ nights camping even as a diabetic (and parents scout camping with a type 1 diabetic is stressful). But I've noticed in the 20 years that life has drastically changed. Gone are the days when the basement would fill with kids friends so they could "hang out". Now they all hang out together from their own homes. Troops that easily had 10+ camp outs a year now struggle to fully run seven. People are busier and often busier without adding to experiences. ... The biggest change (a good one) is my wife rarely goes out to shop anymore. Most things other than milk / bread / cheese are ordered online and delivered. Scouting has little value without strong "outings". Other outside opportunities easily replace MBs and meetings. IMHO, most of the scouting could be dropped with little notice ... except outing.
  15. I must admit I'm still confused. Paying victims from decades ago with non-profit money recently collected just doesn't make sense. Penalizing BSA using evidence that can be interpreted as well as a good system that was put in place decades ahead of current national standards. Penalizing BSA while leaving shielding organizations that have done much worse (parents, public schools, police, etc). I'm not blaming others. I just believe the BSA statistics are probably no worse than other organizations. Penalizing behavior from decades ago using today's knowledge is wrong when it was a society-wide ignorance. There is no "fair" in this situation. But correcting a wrong of decades ago by creating a modern-day wrong ... is wrong. IMHO, if anyone should be penalized, ... and I apologize if this is cold hearted ... but where were BSA's lawyers. BSA should have purged it's records decades ago. Nation wide, legal departments saw the trends in the 1980s/1990s for email and record systems to be used against companies in lawsuits. For at least the last twenty years, companies have aggressively purged email to prevent lawsuits trolling deep records. BSA should have clearly been more aggressive purging records ... before lawsuits became a possibility.