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fred8033

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Everything posted by fred8033

  1. fred8033

    Committee voting

    WOW !!!! I remember those videos. For years, we used a VHS set of BSA tapes that taught annual planning. The scouts laughed at how antiquated they were, but they really helped structured a good training session. Not sure why we stopped using them. I think we could not find a VHS player or something one time. That annual planning session was a high point.
  2. fred8033

    Committee voting

    If it were my troop .... I'd want the scoutmaster to let the treasurer and committee chair know before major purchases. Not for approval. More to be polite and considerate. Annual planning should setup the budget and expectations. From there, don't nit-pick the SM. He's a volunteer. Tents will last longer than the scouts. As such, I would "guide" the scouts as it will be a long-standing decision ... mainly because you want all the tents to match and have interchangeable parts. We used to use the base Eureka Timberline 4 tent (with vestibule). Never had trouble with wind if it was properly staked down. We've now switched to the Eureka Timberline 4 "OUTFITTER" tent. The lower rain fly is critical to keeping the tent dry. The base version rain fly just is too short. The new base version zipper is too fragile for the scouts (old version from years ago had a great zipper). We've always looked for deals. This is a $399 tent, but we've never paid more than $220. Always be on the hunt for a sale. IMHO, having a standard troop tent is important. It helps set the personality of the troop. It helps let scouts room with other scouts instead of just their friends.
  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. fred8033

    Kudos to my council - Northern Star

    I've read and learned a lot about scouting. I've never heard of the neighborhood commissioner approach. When did that change? For the last 20 years, I've only seen rather ineffective commissioner corps.
  5. fred8033

    Kudos to my council - Northern Star

    http://www.northernstar.org/units-first Still impressed. Scouting structures have shown their age for a long time and have screamed to be re-engineered.
  6. fred8033

    What happened to meritbadge.org?

    I'm sad. I always found the Wkik site as the most useful way to find information. It was a great resource.
  7. fred8033

    Changing BSA's Image

    I fully agree with the exception that we should stop talking about "scout-run". "Scout-run" should be for the adult training and part of the internal philosophy of training. But for the "scouts", I just don't think they really care at all about "scout run" or "adult run". They want adventures and to hang with their friends. Beyond that, "scout-run" is an argument 98% involving only over-passionate adults. I fully agree with the ideas of "scout run". I just think the results of our obsession with it is part of the reason we have an image issue.
  8. fred8033

    Did BSA "Abandon" LDS?

    Latin Scot ... Very well said. Well written. Very considerate. I do take issue with BSA not standing on principle. BSA's has always promoted that scouts need a faith component. The "principles" of that component comes from the families and the charter organisations. Did BSA remove membership restrictions for BSA as a national entity? Yes. But that really reflected the "principles" and "values" of the charter organizations and families. BSA has been asking these charter orgs for a long time to give their facilities, money and time to support BSA. The trouble is many charter orgs do not support what many (not myself though) would argue are anachronistic values. Removing the membership restrictions lets families and charter organizations define the principles. It was the right and only thing to do.
  9. fred8033

    Did BSA "Abandon" LDS?

    "Where" ? It's about resolving the contradiction between "charter orgs" and BSA. Who defines sin ? Most of our charter orgs are churches who specialize in defining right and wrong. The trouble is not really BSA's membership as much as how publicly the issue is debated right now.
  10. fred8033

    Did BSA "Abandon" LDS?

    Agreed. It often felt like a square peg for a round hole. Never really fully matching. It was more LDS used BSA as a youth program as the program was 70% matching. It seems more a left-over relationship from the 1920s-1960s. But as society evolved, the LDS faith development program needed something else. I don't view it as LDS strong arming or BSA leaving LDS. Rather, society changed. LDS could have chosen to use BSA within the context of LDS but instead decided it was finally time to create their own branded youth faith development program. It may have a huge financial impact, but it should not be surprising or even debatable. The program and needs drifted apart over many decades.
  11. I did not know that, but it could be BSA admitted girls but at a lower level (volunteer and paid leaders, but not participants). I still would argue that there is a reasoning / logic link between the two.
  12. The Jaycees. ... What's sad is that the local Jaycee organization is now gone. Was that due to the court ruling? Or society trends? Not sure. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roberts_v._United_States_Jaycees I always thought the Jaycee case was similar to the Boy Scout case.
  13. I remember researching and reading on this as it was fascinating. I always wondered if this case would be decided differently now ... or differently depending on the mix of the Supreme Court (which has recently gone conservative again). I reference the membership rules for a local community organization. I'm trying to remember the group. Not the Lions. ??? ... I can't remember the name. Back in the 1980s they did not admit women. Then they were sued and lost. It bounced different levels up the court system but they did conclusively lose in the end. The argument was was the organization was mainly a civic organization and there were laws to promote non-discrimination. As such, there was strong interest in the state to see that such civic organizations did not discriminate. I always wondered if BSA could have lost as BSA serves far more in the civil role than a religious role. Thus it could have been strongly argued that BSA had to not restrict membership. ... BUT units could have been restrictive, if the charter was a religious organization, as you can't force a religious organization to violate it's own fundamental tenants. My oldest son entered 1st grade right after Dale v BSA concluded. Our family has seen the membership ranks dwindle drastically. ... BUT ... I don't think it's all Dale v BSA. Some yes, but I think the larger issue is the change in society. In the last twenty years, society has drastically shifted what's ok / not ok. Habits and tech has also drastically shifted. It's clear Dale v BSA has affected our access to schools. That has hurt recruitment. BUT, I think there are other larger factors happening at the exact same time. The old "perfect storm". .... Sears recently failed. It could be argued Sears failed to stay current and significant to the current generation. I really hope BSA does not go the same way.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
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