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Everything posted by fred8033

  1. fred8033

    Teaching basic overnight camp comfort - Suggestions?

    Memories Good set of sun glasses. Blocks the wind. Blocks the snow glare. Looks cool. My first winter camping experience I remember well. Our guides would ask the scouts if they were cold. If any said yes, we went on a 4/5 mile hike. Long hikes in winter boots is tiring. Very, very quickly the scouts learned to say NO to being cold. We went to sleep with the sun. I swear it was 5pm / 5:30pm and we were going to bed. We were very tired and worn out and slept until sun up in the morning. It was either keep moving or go to sleep. Fires for cooking. Not for keeping warm. The scouts all spelunked in their sleeping bags. Diving deep to avoid any cold. ... not smart ... breathing creates humidity = wet = cold My last winter camping ... -23 F. ... Very manageable ... I'm just too old for that now. ... Thank goodness for a really good sleeping bag. Suggestions Any outdoor game that helps demonstrate keeping warm. I remember using ropes once and playing human foosball.
  2. fred8033

    Why do patrols eat together?

    Eating together is critical to bond. Each patrol individually eating together is critical to forming and bonding as a patrol. Cook stations and eating areas need to be separated and away from each other. It's part of being a patrol.
  3. fred8033

    Building a Stronger Patrol

    I agree... we don't need to teach psychology, but we should somehow teach attitude / approach. I do agree with you. The best way to teach it is by example. I hugely agree with most of your comments. The one that I'd like to expand on is where the SMs sit back and let SPLs / PLs run things. My comment is driven by everyone learning best by example. If SM "sits back", it teaches SPLs / PLs, they can sit back. It teaches people can sit down when their job is done. My better thought is SMs and adults need to help each other and keep working so that scouts see that SM / adults help each other and help others. Leadership is never about "sitting back". If the SM sits back, then we are teaching our scouts they can sit back when leading or when others need help. Now there will obviously be lots of times where adults can sit back. But I think it's important that we lead by example. If we expect scouts to help each other, we need to help each other. If we expect scouts to bus / clean tables after meals, then adults need to do their share too. The key is we need to model the behavior we want to see.
  4. fred8033

    Building a Stronger Patrol

    So many good comments here. I fear to say I think the largest obstacle to patrol success is the passion adults put into the patrol method and scouting in general. In addition, I think it perverts the program; stresses the scouts; and saps the fun and excitement from the program. When I look at the requirements for a national honor patrol, I envision a set of friends getting out doing things. In the process of that, they help each other grow, plan and coordinate. And, they take pride in their friendship and identity as a patrol. Yes, modern youth protection makes this harder, but I think that's just an excuse. Patrols can still be active and do things if the adults learn to back off a bit. I think this is a great example. IMHO, I think it's the adults that love those patrol boxes. I'm not saying every patrol has to be a backpacking troop, but I think we force so much structure on the scouts that it saps their fun and energy. It would be an interesting troop if a new patrol would need to spend a few months assembling their own cook kits. Buying stoves. Visiting the good will for pans and utensils. Deciding how to pack and prepare the stuff. Each patrol could develop their own true identity. I hugely agree. It's good to have a central reason to have a camp out. But I also think it's absolutely okay to leave a large part of the time unstructured. Let the scouts have their free time. Let them take three hours for dinner if that's what they want. IMHO, it's in the unstructured time that the magic happens. Great comment. The best SPL I ever saw really focused on the scouts having fun and doing things. But it was not just a duty roster / camp schedule thing. He drove the scouts to do more and have alot of fun when doing it. The best SM I ever saw was calm, easy-going, mello and friendly to all scouts. He never got stressed or angry. He had a gift of knowing how to work with the personality of others. I often question how scouting teaches leadership. ... The above example is great. .... I have also flipped to focus on making scouting activities interesting, fun and new experiences and let scouts naturally learn during those activities. I say this because I think most adult leaders are not inherently gifted enough or trained enough to teach leadership. While servant leadership is important "as a style" of leadership, scouting misses big time on teaching the psychology and attitude of leadership. In fact, the only places I see scouting consistently give good leadership training is during the scoutmaster minute. I wish we'd advise scouters to forget teaching leadership at any other moment then during the scoutmaster minute. And then to use good, short, thought-provoking SM minutes. ... And I do mean "minute" ... 60 seconds.
  5. fred8033

    divvying up costs for meals

    That happened in the case I listed too. Without intervention, the patrol had about 1.5 to 2 large boxes of pop tarts for each scout in his patrol. They were very happy with that so they each kept their pop-tart supply. They had less use for pounds and pounds of meatballs, pasta, sauce, eggs, lunch meat, milk, etc. ... I think the scouts in question ended up sharing the pop-tarts with everyone at some point.
  6. fred8033

    divvying up costs for meals

    I think I agree with your thoughts. I'm just not sure on the remedy you suggest. ... and finding a remedy is a real hard problem ... here is the real case that happened in our troop ... The scout was buying for his patrol and had the menu for his patrol. He had around eight scouts. At the time, the target budget was around $12 per scout. $12 times 8 = $96 budget. ... Well, the scout was a bit of a space case and instead bought enough for all scouts in the troop. We were around 35 scouts at that time. I suspect the parents badgered the scout and decided to play it safe. Even then, they missed the $12 dollar budget per scout. Receipts were over $500. Should the scouts in his patrol pay the penalty and owe around $65 each for the food for the weekend? We ended up with adults buying and separating some of the extra food. Troop did reimburse high for that camp out, but it was more like $15 or so per scout. True beauty of patrol method is peer pressure if you can route the peer pressure to be positive and not just "roasting" ... but that does happen too.
  7. fred8033

    divvying up costs for meals

    Our troop is like many other troops. Patrols cook and eat together. Only required role in patrol is patrol master. The patrol picks the menu and gives it to one of their members to acquire. That scout (and parent) shops and brings food to campout. Scout (or if needed parent) submits receipt to treasurer. We reimburse or put in scout's account. Our troop has a camp out charge. Usually $20 to $25 for a standard simple camp out. Food + specific weekend costs + general troop overhead. It has been drifting up in cost lately. We usually don't charge for gasoline (and we don't reimburse). We don't subsidize campouts. Each event should break even on it's own ... generally. Of that, $12 to $15 is for food. $2.50 to $3 for each full meal. 3 Saturday meals. $1 to $1.5 for each cracker barrel. Two crackers barrels. $2 or so for Sunday breakfast. So that's $12 to $15 for food. A smart shopper will have scouts eating like kings for $10. A sloppy shopper can horribly overrun the budget. Always hard to figure out whether to penalize the scouts in his patrol for poor shopping or unwise spending.
  8. fred8033

    What constitutes a "public meeting"?

    It depends. What is a "public" meeting? The term public is not at all clear. If the meeting is announced, then it is public. HOAs are non-profits by default in many states. I researched Florida and another state. So a scheduled announced open meeting for a non-profit is not a public meeting? If not, then what is the boundary?
  9. fred8033

    possible fee increase coming

    This happened to our pack years ago too. Recharter fee changes announced in September are too late for the pack to budget and adjust. IMHO, BSA is dancing two sides of the fence. Sometimes chasing money directly from families. Sometimes chasing money from the units.
  10. fred8033

    Completed MB?

    "some". I've seen my scouts sometimes get incredibly great experiences with MB colleges and camps. There is no single statement of what is good or bad. IMHO, it's about the counselor enabling a great experience. If it's power point or just a MB counselor signing a blue card, it does not reflect well on scouting.
  11. fred8033

    Completed MB?

    I'm the opposite. I always end up wondering why I'm a MB counselor if the scout comes to me with everything done and just a sign off ... then I'm not counseling or mentoring. I'm just a pen. I prefer when I can work with the scout. Share knowledge. Share skill. Share experiences. In another words, if it's a cooking MB, I'd like to be there some of the time when they are cooking. If it's a canoeing MB, I want to be canoeing with them. I remember once doing the motor boating MB. He had everything done and there was no value I could add. He just needed a signature. Nice kid. Well prepared. I added no value.
  12. fred8033

    Completed MB?

    I'd strongly tone down the rhetoric. Lied? Deceptive? Fraudulent? Not a scout? Suspended? We can posture in closed doors, but we don't interact with scouts or their families in those terms. The original poster did not write your assertion that the scout said he didn't do the requirements. The original poster explicitly said the scout seems to think he earned it. Yes, the scout could not answer some direct questions, but many youth shut down when confronted. IMHO, friendly open coversation is acceptable. Calling the counselor and asking questions is acceptable. But there is limited recourse if a real authorized MB counselor signed it and the counselor thinks it's done and the scout thinks it's done.
  13. fred8033

    Completed MB?

    I would not differentiate that much between regular merit badges and eagle required merit badges. We naturally do, but the advancement rules apply equally to both. The scout has a signed MB card. You can provide feedback to the MB counselor and/or council, but it's not the scout's fault. Also, the MB card should have the MB counselor name, address, phone and email. Call and ask if you have questions. That's why the MB card has contact info. I would absolutely not consider the efforts of other scouts when deciding how to handle this scout. Advancement is an individual effort and should be considered individually. ... Plus, this scout will benefit as much as the effort put in. Receiving the MB patch is hopefully the minor benefit. Hopefully, your other scouts will benefit from the three months of MB work. But don't penalize the one scout because of the different path taken by this group of scouts. Also, it could be argued that three months on communications MB is over the top and not reflecting the individual independent requirements. For example, there is no requirement for a scout to listen to the five minute speaches of the other scouts ... or participate in any of the requirements of the other scouts.
  14. fred8033

    Annual Planning Conference question

    There is no perfect answer. IMHO, make the annual planning conference the best it can be. Get PLC commitment. Get troop member buy-in. Beyond that, there is no way to properly time elections and the annual planning conferences. Maybe don't ask the SPL to run it the week after he gets elected. Give him a bit of time to get ready.
  15. fred8033

    SM dividing the troop in need of opinion

    Good luck ! I do want to make a comment on ... "The communication block between SM and other leaders would be very nice and make everything so much easier but it is not needed if the scouts are empowered." I hugely disagree. There is nothing worse in a troop than mixed messages from different leaders. All adults in the troop need to be on-board with the SM vision, especially the ASMs. If you want to help "empower" the scouts, work with the SM and make sure he understands, agrees and shows some "buy-in". This may not be your situation, but I've seen adults clash and future problems develop because one or two adults are pushing change without good coordination with the SM and CC. The key point is ASMs are NOT junior SMs. The SM is the mentor / coach to the scouts. ASMs help the SM succeed at the direction and coordination of the SM. You wrote "I need to work on getting them". Actually, no you don't. That's the scoutmasters job. Build a relationship / friendship with the SM> It will make life easier.
  16. fred8033

    Council denies unit fundraiser

    My main point was I'd support the council, but supplementary unit fundraisers were unit business. I wouldn't waste much time asking permission to sell chocolate bars or wreaths or .... To your point ... I agree, but there is reality. The real change is the unit doesn't have to support FOS or promote it or hit FOS targets. ... BUT ... that doesn't mean the council won't do their own fundraising. Councils have lists of who gave in the past and lists of the current membership. I can't believe the council would not do their own FOS drive using that data. ... My real question is whether the district has FOS targets still. I'm betting the district still has to do business FOS. Maybe help with the family FOS.
  17. fred8033

    SM dividing the troop in need of opinion

    "it was very clear" ... I would not infer hidden planning or subverting efforts. When my sons did high adventure, ... as they left the high adventure ... they wanted to do more high adventures. They started planning and discussing during the hours of driving and flying. Wanting to do the next big thing is a natural result of a successful high adventure. I think they did something similar where they found the next big thing even before they got back. "every other year" ... From what I've seen of a successful older boy program, that's just not acceptable. That will give each scout one chance for high adventure. You will lose the older scouts. IMHO, the successful older boy program is more "every few months". A big summer event / trip (aka high adventure). Moderately big fall, winter and spring events. The real challenge is managing cost and adult time for these events. My view of a reasonable position ... The SPL and SM have responsibility to the troop as a whole. That is a commitment they make by having the role / title. Any single patrol can make alternative plans (aka older boys planning high adventure) ... BUT ... the SPL, PLC and SM have responsibility for the troop as a whole. IMHO ... you could have a 14 year old SPL and a older boy patrol that wants to focus on high adventures. There is no rule saying the SPL must be one of the older boys.
  18. fred8033

    SM dividing the troop in need of opinion

    You should discuss this directly and privately with the SM and the CC. As an ASM, you should be in tight coordination / discussion with the SM. It sounds like you are not. Perhaps he has a vision or plans that are not well coordinated between himself (SM) and the other ASMs. From what I read, a lot could be interpreted as a good program depending on other items. Personally, I would expect ... Older scouts need a more challenging program. Higher adventures. This often needs to be done separate from programs good for the 10-14 year old scouts. PLC and SM has a responsibility to plan a robust program for everyone. This may mean older scouts doing one thing and younger scouts doing others. It could even mean PLC asking each patrol to plan their own adventures ... it really depends. Personally, I've mainly seen older patrols add to enrich their experience, but leave the younger stranded without a rich program. CC and committee have responsibility to make sure PLC and SM are doing their jobs for the whole troop. And they approve the calendar. Not plan, but approve. Younger scouts do NOT necessarily need older scouts to "lead" them during camp outs, etc. Often the younger scouts grow the most by trying to lead without the older scouts around. Don't equate age with good leadership. IMHO, it sounds like you may just need to coordinate perception with the scoutmaster. He might also be looking to step down and the next SM to show commitment. Personally, this a good opportunity ... if coordinated well with SM and PLC etc ... to affect the calendar to put good ideas on for the whole troop (i.e. the younger scouts). ... It sounds like the SM essentially make the request ... I'd take him up on it.
  19. fred8033

    Help With Internet Advancement

    I agree, but my view is slightly different. Paper scout handbook is for the scouts. It's the best way for them to track, drive and own their advancement. Online tools such as internet advancement or the online scoutbook web site is for the adults and parents. The online scoutbook.com the best way for them to see BSA's official records. When the SM signs off a rank or receives a MB card, it should be entered by an adult into BSA's official records ... as soon as possible. BUT, it should be fully recorded in the paper scout handbook too.
  20. fred8033

    Help With Internet Advancement

    You MUST get their data online into BSA's systems. Most councils now do NOT enter paper advancement records. They don't have the staff. You don't need to load any partial or in progress items. It is critical though to enter earned badges/ranks/awards at the time they are earned (or at least before being awarded). The key point is you risk your scout's future if you don't keep their BSA records current.
  21. I am absolutely one who is tired of the evil middle aged white man argument. I find it hypocritically driven from hate and bigotry and dependent on simplistic lazy logic. BUT .... with that said ... some of the statements in the book are absolutely true. Scouts was absolutely a reaction to industrialization and trend of the population moving from the country into cities. ... Scouts was right in line with "Go west" quotes about maturing boys into men. The originally posted link has a link to a good article that rings true ... https://daily.jstor.org/go-west-you-nervous-men/ ... Warning ... the article does go off the rails raising topics such as "xenophobia and racism". My response is show me a culture in 1850s / 1900s that didn't have contempt for the outsiders. Adult men absolutely have romanticized boyhood. Before scouts in the country, boyhood was hard and families often focused on survival. Now, we often see adult men play scouts to revisit their childhood. I am sure it's part of the reason I enjoy the program. Sleep in tents. Eat off a camp fire. Laugh and look at the stars. ... flip side ... avoid home maintenance, get away from extended family relationships and issues, hide from being an adult. ... I do disagree that it was a reaction to the wars. But then again, I am sure war experiences drove Baden-Powell.
  22. fred8033

    Campout planning...who does it?

    The scout-led annual planning was one of our troop's high points for years. The idea was the SM worked with the SPL so that the SPL was ready to run the planning. Some of the prep was finding school and holiday calendars. Others were getting paper calendars, easels, tape and other materials. Then, the troop had last years annual planning goals and choices put up to the side. Then the troop would work through goal planning, idea generation and also then putting date and events on the calendar. The SPL and PLs would vote and coordinate. Often, any scout who wanted to attend could. But it was SPL led and PLs were the main focus. The SM sat in the back answering questions and being a friend to the SPL who tried to keep the meeting in control. IMHO, it was key that the SM had done this for 15+ years and knew a vision for annual planning and knew how to coach the SPL. When the scouts left, we had at least one copy of the 18 month calendar with weekends, tentative locations, events and activities. Also, service patrol. Program patrol. Themes. As quick as possible, the camping coordinator tried to get things reserved for as far into the future as possible. Usually 12 month reservations. Anything less than 10 months was putting things at risk.
  23. fred8033

    Compare Scouting vs Sports ?

    I agree ... We were better with <city> troop <#> Problems ... many of our troops pull from multiple cities. Personally, I don't see it as a big issue if my kid was in a neighboring city troop. It would be interesting ... Metropolis Troop 5. identifying troops would be harder. Data input would be harder and would always require city and state.
  24. fred8033

    Changing Election Policy midterm

    I'm with you. No policy necessary. I've seen thoughtful practices such as new SPL is really elected a two year position. Six months of incoming ASPL. Then 12 months SPL. Then outgoing ASPL for six months. But even with those thoughtful practices, I prefer none. IMHO, the best is to keep it simple and keep the adults in the back of the room. At annual planning, schedule elections twice a year. As close to just over six months as possible. I liked how our troop did it for years. An ASPL scramples to find paper and tears it into election slips. SPL asks for nominations. Each nominee accepts or rejects and/or gives a reason why they want the job. Our troop had SPLs often for 12 or 18 months because the boys would re-elect the SPL until the SPL didn't want to be SPL anymore. SM was always ready to coach a new leader.
  25. fred8033

    Compare Scouting vs Sports ?

    "professional life" ... I was differentiating with trades. Trades can provide good income to raise a family. But, trades still mostly require a two year degree (or more) that directly targets the skills to be used. IMHO except for technical degrees (sciences, math, engineering, etc), the general college degrees rarely directly help professional careers ... except to get hired. I've seen many many well educated high school graduates that I consider as well suited for most professional jobs.