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Greg Nelson

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About Greg Nelson

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  1. Greg Nelson

    Win All You Can

    Wealth can't be created???? You're joking, right? What did Bill Gates do? Did he go out and mine $30 billion worth of gold? Did Henry Ford rob banks to make his vast fortune? Let's tie this in to two of the most popular starter merit badges - Leatherwork and Basketry. Wind the clock back 100,000 years to two guys - Hunter and Gatherer. Hunter kills animals and makes blankets and pelts. Gatherer takes reeds and weaves baskets and chairs. By trading with each other, both Hunter and Gatherer have access to the goods the other can produce. If Hunter goes and kills Gatherer, he can take Gatherer's store of goods, but will lose access to the continued stream of wealth Gatherer will produce in the future. Scale this up times a billion with millions of possible occupations, and you have today's society. Every morning you or I wake up is another opportunity to create wealth out of the efforts of our minds and/or bodies.
  2. Greg Nelson

    Hollywood scouts

    Surprisingly, the series South Park, which in general is just a steaming pile of garbage, has had several Cub Scout-themed episodes with reasonably fair and accurate (but highly exaggerated) renditions of Cub Scout uniforms, events, leaders, and boys.
  3. Greg Nelson


    Well, the original post is over the top, but it's hardly worthy of the immediate dismissal it has earned. Quote: If you don't like fundraising, don't do it. Nobody's forcing you and certainly not the BSA. You don't hang out much in my neck of the woods. There is ENORMOUS pressure from the professional Scouters to sell popcorn and hold FOS presentations. In my experience, the BSA absolutely DOES coerce you to fundraise. We had an FOS presentation a few months back that, to me, bordered on fraud. All sorts of false claims that FOS money went to pay for this and that for the boys. He took credit for a lot of activity - district training, day camp, Camporees, OA activities - that are self-funded and 100% volunteer staffed. From where I'm sitting, the only "benefit" our unit gets is our DE. And what does he do for us? 1) Nags us to sell popcorn. Council gets 42%, we (the unit - that is, the boys) get 28%, the customer gets a ridiculously over-inflated price. 2) Gives a FOS presentation. Or, as I like to call it, begging for your salary. In our council, if a DE can't raise money, he is shown the door after a year or two. Look, I understand that the council needs money to operate and to maintain the council camps. But don't imply that FOS money is spent on activites for the Scouts. Because, at least in my district, it is not.
  4. Greg Nelson

    My first real parent dilemma

    We had someone with a similar attitude a few years back. (Raising a lot of funds, then thinking that translated into having veto power over the pack calendar.) It never got to the type of situation you're in, but it was sure annoying. If I were a DE, and received a bizarre request like this (move my son's money, but keep my son in the same pack), that by itself would lead me to assume the person isn't playing with a full deck, and to more or less disregard anything she had to say. So I doubt the DE is thinking you're a spendthrift. I would stick with the "suck it up" plan unless she becomes disruptive to pack operations.
  5. Greg Nelson

    fake dog poop

    Now that I understand what the product is, I find it a lot less funny. I first was picturing your standard fake dog poop - put it on or near someone's tent, call their attention to it, get the desired reaction, then pick it up - momentary chuckle, no harm, no foul. Instead, this kid stunk up someone's tent for the whole night. In short, he intentionally ruined someone else's camping experience. I think switching tents for the evening would be a good start for punishment.
  6. Greg Nelson

    Any Cobra Yells??

    The boys of my Webelos II den are the Cobras. We use pretty much what you already proposed- "CobraSSSSSSSSSS", ending it with a little "zing" sound and a hand gesture of a cobra striking its prey. Works for us.
  7. Greg Nelson

    Frustrated Tiger leader

    I think you're right, Fast Tracks is the way to go. Parents who won't lift a finger for their kids. Been there, done that. You have to lay down the law right away in the first couple of meetings, or they will continue to treat you like a personal babysitter. You might need to be downright cold about it. At the Tiger level, you are NOT supposed to be putting together all the meetings. It's supposed to be a shared leadership situation. Take those Fast Tracks plans and print them off. After the next den meeting, send the kids off to play in the backyard and spread the plans out. Tell the parents - each of you needs to take (one, two, whatever) of these plans and be responsible for making it happen. If they start making excuses, cut them off and ask them , "OK, then, look around and decide which one of us should do your share of the work on top of our own share." Yes, I used pretty much that exact line back in my Tiger days. That dad was extremely hacked off at me - but he did his share of the meetings. (He did them pretty poorly, but the kids didn't really mind, and his own son was very proud of his dad - an important side effect.)
  8. Greg Nelson

    Lame Duck Webelos

    This is the time they should be using to shop the prospective troops they may join. All troops are slightly different and multiple visits and even a camping trip help the prospect get to know the rest of the troop. I would forgive the poor pack event attendance if they were exploring the next step. Thank you, scotteng!! This is EXACTLY the situation I am in. When the Webelos boys have their own den campout coming up, and are getting invites to troop campouts as well, I can understand the limited interest in coming out to a pack family campout that will have lots of parents and even more 1st and 2nd graders. When they've just visited 2 troops, getting to talk with an active duty serviceman at one and seeing a cool camp cooking demo at another, showing up to a pack meeting with a bunch of younger kids becomes pretty "dorky" in their eyes. I'm guessing that's a leadership and program problem. They don't see the fun or their parents don't see the purpose in having them at the events. Sounds to me like all the advancement got done before these boys were qualified to move up. Did you reserve some program for them until it was time to go? Boys can be astute: If you're selling eyewash as program, they'll know. I'm not sure why I deserved these snarky comments. I'm not having a problem getting the boys to turn out for den events, and we still have plenty of things to do, both advancement work and "just for fun" things. Last time I checked, pack meetings were not hotbeds for Webelos badge work. In fact, that's probably one reason their parents don't make it a priority to show up. Putting together a pack meeting that is interesting and fun for all the kids from ages 6 to 11 has always been a challenge.
  9. Greg Nelson

    Lame Duck Webelos

    I have a group of 5th grade Webelos. They are already lame ducks. I find it difficult to get them to come to pack events, campouts, etc. They are more than willing to turn out for den outings and campouts, but are looking to ditch their kid brothers as much as possible. As a cubmaster, I wish they'd have more ownership in the pack. As a den leader, I think the separation is a good thing. If they are looking back towards the pack, rather than ahead towards Boy Scout troops, we aren't doing our job. I think "good bye and good luck" (good riddance?) is exactly what we should do with boys when they complete the Arrow of Light. Give them a year or two to develop as Boy Scouts. Then bring them back in as Den Chiefs if they want. I don't think having "Super-Webelos" hanging around the pack is a healthy situation.
  10. Greg Nelson


    Every time I see questions like this, (one common one is - "What should I bring to a party whose invitation states, "No gifts, please") I always wonder, "Why not respect the person's stated wishes?" I can completely relate to the original subject. I do not need or want any recognition for my financial contributions to my unit. I would be highly irritated if my unit spent money on me instead of on activities for the boys. I detest all manner of Scout doodads. The only suggestion so far that I would have any appreciation for would be a (simply) framed picture of the boys, preferably in action.
  11. Greg Nelson

    Webelos craftsmen projects

    For the non-wood projects, we did: Leather luggage tags - stamp, stain, stitch Wax candles - melt and mold Vinyl records softened and shaped into bowls Duct tape wallets - fast, easy, and fun (Make-up project) Foamboard dice tower Plans for those last 3 are available online. The dice tower is particularly cool, but takes more time - probably an at-home project, rather than a den meeting project. For wood, we had the kids saw a yardstick into pieces and make a picture frame out of it. It's a good non-trivial project, since the kids have to design it themselves in terms of the lengths needed. Yardsticks are cheap and easily sawn. The other project was a reflective road sign, which I wouldn't recommend. For the display, we did a rocket derby display - one coat hanger part, one piece of wood - drill a hole, bend hanger, and paint. You could combine the display with one part of Forester - get some lengths of wood used for home construction and cut into fairly rectangular parts. The kids can assemble and ID 3 different pieces for Forester, then stack, stain, and glue them to make a PWD display for Craftsman.
  12. Greg Nelson

    Iggle required merit badges, which would you add?

    (Disclaimer: I am not an Eagle Scout. I hung around for the camping.) I know I'm going to be in the minority here, but here goes. Add badges? I would GET RID of several of the required badges. Right now, the merit badge program is not what it could be. From the kids' viewpoint, there are two types of merit badges: 1) The GOLDEN Eagle-required badges; and 2) The worthless filler badges. In many troops, just about every kid earns the required badges, and then chooses the easiest possible other badges (Basketry, anyone?) The result is very little diversity among the Scout experiences for Eagles. What should a merit badge be? It should be an opportunity for a boy to experience in-depth learning and practice in a field of interest to him. It shouldn't be some drudge he has to slog through to get his Eagle. I've seen some postings in this thread along the lines of "We need to require Badge X because Scouting is supposed to support Aim Y." Well, the program as a whole should be doing that. Now, a kid with a strong interest in American government should be encouraged to work on Citizenship in the Nation. Should every kid? Not unless you have Boy Scouts confused with 8th grade Civics class. Scouting should provide things that can't be found in school, not be more of the same. Cooking badge? Every Scout on a campout is going to have to learn how to cook if he wants to eat. Only the kids with a strong interest should go the extra mile and earn the badge. Off the current list, I would keep or toss: Keep: Camping, Cycling OR Hiking OR Swimming, Emergency Preparedness OR Lifesaving, First Aid Toss: Communications, Environmental Science, Family Life, Personal Fitness, Personal Management Toss 1 of 3: Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the World - Have kid choose two. (If it were up to me, I'd toss all 3, but there are realities of serving our Chartered Orgs.) The number of badges should stay the same, maybe even go up to 24. But the kids should be able to choose much more freely than they can now. Looking through the historical requirements for Eagle, the method they used in the 50s is appealing - groups of badges (Outdoor Sports, Conservation, etc.) from which the boys had to choose. If I really could get rid of all the blah blah book learning badges, I'd add two more athletic/outdoor badges (Backpacking, Canoeing, Fishing, Rowing, Shooting, etc.), two conservation/nature badges (Bird Study, Fish and Wildlife Management, Plant Science, Environmental Science, etc.) and two career or life skill badges (Electronics, Farm Mechanics, Home Repairs, Woodwork, Dentistry, Engineering, etc.) But these would be wide open choices among 10 or 20 badges each. (This message has been edited by Greg Nelson)
  13. They haven't started training yet? And they aren't training backups? You should be thankful your nephew is missing this trip.
  14. kahits: It does seem that kids without active parents tend to get jobbed in situations like this. And the "We need someone ...." speech, given to a group where the boys already know who's in "the insider group" and who's not, could be intimidating to a Scout.
  15. The lynch mob is out for blood today! Folks, let's keep in mind - these troop leaders are Scouters, just like you and I. Until I have clear evidence to the contrary, I'm going to assume they are doing things as best they can. Clarifying my earlier post: A typical car can seat 4 comfortably and 5 not so comfortably. Pickups can carry more gear, but less people. So my earlier post was assuming the troop was going to need 4 vehicles. Two drivers per car is not G2SS policy, and would be unreasonable. Speaking of unreasonable, the troop should rent a van or take the train, rather than use private automobiles? I'd hate to stand up and make that announcement to the troop families. "Well, Matt's dad and Andy's dad were going to drive for free, but in order to make room for Jimmy and Johnny instead, we're going to rent a van. That means all the boys have to pay an extra $100+ for the trip." It isn't all that clear just what the signup procedure was. Were these boys already set and training, only to have two dads bump them? That would be bad, but it might be necessary to get the needed transportation. (If they think they need 4 leaders, I'm not going to call them liars.) Or was this just a "who wants to go" list, not yet finalized? Lots of folks have asserted that it's the Scouter's job to make room in cases like this. Really? No matter what? No matter the cost or the hassle factor? What if you had a crew size of 12 (10 kids, 2 adults) and 11 kids who wanted to go? Do you put a fake moustache on one of the kids and claim he's an ASM? I wasn't at the troop meeting, and neither were you or anyone else on this board. But the fact is (in the opinion of the Troop leaders, who I am assuming are doing their best to put together a successful trek), they had to cut two boys who had wanted to go. Flat-out telling the boys the truth and asking if anyone wanted to volunteer to back out seems a very reasonable way to handle the problem. Sure beats the SM choosing who gets the boot.