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Greying Beaver

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  1. Greying Beaver

    belt

    This may not be the official use for the belt hook that is supposed to be for a pocket knife, . . . but it seems to me that the unofficial use is the remove it from the belt, tie it onto a 4' length of string. It makes a great cat-toy. =>! g.b.
  2. I had to laugh at your posting. The "critter stuff" is part of the fun that keeps on going after you get your beads. You will be surprised at just how often you speak at a TC meeting or Roundtable meeting and find yourself calling up something from your WB coursework. So now, brother Bear, . . . . My wife, "Cutest Bobwhite" said that she is so small and flies so fast that you won't see her poop on your head (She says that a lot.). One of my scouter buddies is a Eagle and says that he will steal your supper and . . . (see above.). Me? I'm a Beaver. I'll just show up and fix things so that your property gets declared a wetlands and then you have have a federal governmental beaurocricy(sp?) make life so pleasant. See? Isn't this fun???? Good luck on your ticket work. Get it done and over with a.s.a.p. -g.b.
  3. When B-P was asked, "Be prepared? For what?" He answered, "Well, for anything . . . . " Here is an excellent example of what he meant, when the SM needs to guide the PLC in a more positive direction, and what gran'ma meant when she said, " Got company coming? Put on a big spread." The Unofficial Modus Operendi of the Boy Scouts of America is " If you're not having fun and you don't have food, you're doing it wrong." Make that " . . . enough food . . . ." Try this and start now: Have one of your ASM's visit the pack's Webelos den(s) at their den meeting. At least one of the parents of each of the boys will be there. Have the ASM explain to the parents about the Patrol Method and the boy-led unit concept. Two or three visits will go a long way towards having the den migrate to your troop. BTW - Tell the parents that they will be welcome on campouts and that they will be eating with all of the other adults ;-) -g.b. This is an excellent example of a "boy-led" troop. Good job!
  4. Well, . . . lets see, . . . other than making firebuilding (All you get is two (2) wooden matches, remember?) a requirement for the Scout rank (If that scout in North Carolina had had a small box of matches in his pocket - like we did when I was a scout
  5. " . . . cots for each boy . . . ."? For a weekend campout?! Whatever happened to a groundcloth and sleeping bag? I sense a troop that camps by the Troop Method. The only concession to the Troop Method that our troop uses is a large gas burner to heat water for the three-pot method of washing dishes and larger pots to accomodate everybody on the campout. We also have the highly-coveted position of "Gnome" who sits by the pot with the soapy water and inspects every pot, pan, plate, cup, and fork/spoon to insure that they are cleaned and wiped clean before being put in the soapy water. It helps keep the soapy water as clean as possible and usable for both Saturday breakfast and Saturday supper (Friday supper is brought from home; Saturday lunch and Sunday breakfast are not to require cooking.). That frees up a lot of time for advancement and skills classes. Except for campouts on private property where ground fires are allowed by the owners, we do use propane gas stoves, one per patrol. A patrol chuck box, one for each patrol, a dutch oven per patrol, and a propane gas lantern (Eveybody goes through a safe skills session for the stoves and lanterns!), and that is about all troop gear that is brought on a campout. Now we have a big storage room filled with program- and advancement-related equipment, but those are brought on an as-needed basis. Knowing which boys need what requirements worked on and what other equipment needs to be brought gives the PL'sand TG's a reason to be on top of what is going on in their patrols. The only other concession are a couple of big(!) dining flys, one for the "Rocking Chair Aviators" and the other just to be . . . uh. . . prepared (Yeah! That's it!). Tents? We like to sleep out under the stars regardless of whatever anybody says. Our groundcloths are 10'x 8' plastic tarps with the sleeping bag laid out along one of the 8' edges. If it rains, the rest of the tarp gets pulled over the sleeping bag and the scout/scouter in it. The moms have a 4-person tent where they change. Finally, we try to keep it down to two large ice chests for the entire troop. And the personal gear goes on top of the troop gear in the troop's trailer that is rarely more that 1/4th full. -g.b.
  6. I have taken our council's course qualifying me to chair Eagle BoR's. From what you have written, I would have no problem with your son's service project as it stands. It appears that the teacher might be trying to change the rules in the middle of the game and get more from your son's project than was originally agreed. Get the teacher to sign off on the project's completion a.s.a.p. and hold the BoR. Then pull out all the stops at the Eagle Court of Honor! -gb
  7. . . . Whew! Okay, two-deep leadership is in place; now they need to go to work on the buddy system. That being said, I'll bet that they had a great time and have a bunch of great stories to tell. Besides, they weren't really lost. They knew exactly wherre they were all the time. They were "right here" all the time. I am very happy that they were found in good health and appearntly, good spirits
  8. John-K.C. - We Beavers are a rare breed in deed. As soon as I have climbed to the top of my beaver lodge (waddle-waddle-waddle), I shall stand in for my fellow "First(
  9. Oh, for crying out loud! That soft whirring sound that you hear is Bill Hillcourt spinning in his grave. "Green Bar Bill" was asked by the National Council to revamp the BSA program back in the 1920's. One of the first things that he did was eliminate almost all of the hatfll of awards (medals, tokens, etc.) for completing advancement requirements. Learning the Oath and Law is a requirement for AoL, The den leadre's job is to modivate the boys, not dangle carrots in front of them. Scouting doesn't work that way. Congratulating the forst boy to recite the Oath and Law is an occasion to praise him in front of his peers. That shoud be reward enough.
  10. Now just whose pockets are being lined in this situation? Show'em the door and get back on sound financial footing a.s.a.p. This is what happens when parents do not take an active part in the organization. Seen it happen in BSA units, too.
  11. Call your District Advancement Chair. Tell him/her what is going on. Call you Districe Commissioner. Do the same thing. This is not the way to run a troop advancement program. Last resort: Find another troop in a big hurry. GB
  12. Unfortunately, . . . "Active" means "Annual registration fee paid." As long as the registration fee is paid before the troop re-registers, the youngster is on the troop charter. There will be those boys who are registered, not take part in any patrol or troop activity, but when it comes time to sign up for summer camp, they come up with the money and show up are the date, time, and place to leave for summer camp . . . in uniform. They go, have a good time, finish a rank, or earn a couple of merit badges, come home and disappear until the next summer camp. The extreme of this is a parent who appears out of the blue with checkbook in hand, his son is not registered with the troop, and writes out a check for the total the cost of registration, troop dues to date, and all camp and transportation costs. And he threatens to make things ugly if his son doesn't go to camp (This actually happened about four years ago.) The end of this story was that the boy was miserable at camp and was never seen again, but the father had insisted that the boy have a summer camp experience, like it or not. The father as correct, and dead wrong for doing it. Like I said, "Active" means "Paid up".
  13. Hi, Seed. No, you can't be fired. National Supply has coulotts for women leaders. If your local scout shop does not carry them, ask them; they can be ordered for you. Takes about a week, maybe less.
  14. Agreed. Our district is changing its format this year to get away from virtual patrols at camporees. One course for NSP's and another one for regular patrols. I have judged events at camporees and have seen these virtual patrols come up to me with at least three different patrol patches on their uniform sleeves. Yeah, right. Different courses for NSP's and regular patrols. That is the best way to build patrol spirit instead of putting the emphasis on winning at all costs. G.B.
  15. Hi SWScouter. The content of my posting was a quick overview of LDS scouting in my part of the swamp. My UC Basic course was presented at an LDS church by an LDS scouter wearing silver loops. Of the 12 who took the course, only three of us were not LDS'ers. We were the ones in the uniforms that had not been bought a few days before the course. We had knots, flaps, and beads; they didn't. There was a section on the buddy system and 2-deep leadership on outings. That is presented in SM Fundamentals. So why at UC Basic? I spoke to the trainer after the course. The LDS church is very upset about what happened last summer out in Utah. Scouting is their official youth ministry program. The buddy system is not normally used because the troops are small, and 2-deep leadership is not observed for the same reason. The LDS has a long history of "changing its spots(blacks were not allowed to join the LDS church until a few years ago; now they are - go ask an LDS'er.)". The national LDS church leadership is worried about their congregations losing charters if anything like last summer happens again. An Eagle Scout is an Eagle Scout. The LDS'ers know not to mess with requirements, especially for Eagle. Then they would lose their charters and they know it. Should there be a designation as "LDS Eagle Scout"? It would make a good topic, but I ain't goin'there. Not me. You first. And a WB'er is a WB'er. It, like the ranks system are national programs. LDS'er have to venture "outside the community" to go to WB. If you know WB'ers who are LDS'ers, good on them. They have bought into the program and not just doin' as their Bishop told'em to do. The latter is too often the case and the LDS scouting program is the poorer for it. G.B.
  16. Yes, congratulations. You will be surprised at how many times you will use the material presented in your scouting life, and your life outside of scouting ass well. Welcome, brother bear. Greying Beaver
  17. Telemonster, you have found yourself in the middle of the problem. First, you were "called" after prayerful consideration by the Bishop. Did you really have the option to refuse the call? Betcha didn't. See if the LDS'ers have SM Fundamentals and the Outdoor Experience Training to get you "Trained", then take the SM Fundamentals course outside "the community" and compare how the programs differ. Second, find out who paid for the boys' registration fees. It may suprise you. Yes, the boys are required to join. But see how many are active and how many are just in the charter. Yes, when a boy in an LDS troop truns 14, his is moved into the congregation-chartered Varsity Team. Just when the boy is in a position to start being a leader, he is moved to another organization. That,in effect, makes the troop a superantinuated Webelos den where the adult are still in charge of the program. Yes, the program as set up by the LDS'ers is part of faith-based youth training. Yes, the program as set up by the LDS'ers is designed to make it very possible for the boys to make Eagle before he turns 14, and the pressure to have it done by 14 is trememdous. That means a 2-year merit badge program to get the Eagle-required merit badges finished before they are 14. Some of the merit badges are designed to be more challenging and more appropriate for 15-, 16-, and 17-year old boys. If you are wanting to make the changes that you have listed above, you need to get in front for the Bishop and stay there. You want to repeatedly bring up what happened to those scouts who were killed and injured out in Utah last summer. Most, if not all, were LDS'ers. Those were tragic examples of the short-comings of the LDS scouting program (No two-deep adult leadership; no buddy system; relatively little camping experience; weak in basic outdoors scout skills; untrained adult leaders; and have you ever seen Wood Badge beads on an LDS scouter???). You are going to be swimming against a very strong current. I am not down on LDS scouting. LDS units make up 30%+ of all BSA units but only 11% of the total membership in BSA. Small units to be sure. My son-in-law is an LDS'er who made Eagle just before he aged out. His parents were frantic. He married our daughter instead of going on his 2-year mision. That is another story. Be very careful in what you say and what you do. It can get "real ugly real fast". Please keep us aprised. G.B.
  18. Our council's annual University of Scouting was last weekend. One of the courses that I took was "District Eagle Scout Representative Training and Certification". This was a topic in the training. We were told that if the scout in a leadership position is not performing the duties of his position and the SM does not hold a SM conference with the scout at any time during the six month time period in an attempt to improve the scout's performance in the position, the scout gets credit for the time served in the position, even if the scout does not perform any of the duties in the position (!). This puts the burden on the SM. One of the SM's jobs is to train and guide the boy leaders in their leadership roles. He/she does this through junior leader training programs and SM conferences that the SM can call at any time with the scout concerning the latter's performance. That being said, "active" has a different meaning for every youth leadership position. An SPL making 50% of the troop meetings and 50% of the other troop functions ain't doin' his job. On the other hand, the Troop Quartermaster shows up for all of the campouts but less than half of the troop meetings and keeps the troop's camping equipment in good repair >is< performing the duties of his position. Whatever duties the Troop Historian is given, as long as he performs them to the satisfaction of the SM gets credit for the time given even if he shows up only whenever he is needed (which may be once a month!). "Active" really means " active in the perfomance of the duties of the office". Boy! Was this an eye-opener for everybody in the class. But, . . . that is what "active" means. G.B.
  19. Go for it! But use the Patrol Method. Let the PLC put together a list of movies that they submit to the Troop Committee for approval. The PLC decides from the list edited by the Troop Committee. This would be a great alternative to a regular troop meeting on the meeting nights during a holiday when a lot of the guys would be out of town anyway. Most movies run about an hour and a half, so do troop meetngs. And if the chartering institution has a big-screen television and will make it available to the troop, hey, bring pillows and spread out on the floor. And don't forget to invite the parents. In scouting, if you do not have food, or you are not having fun(preferably both), you are doing it wrong. Pass the popcorn and coke, please. G.B.
  20. What a collection! I feel like I'm a junior in high school again. "Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road" put The Kid on the floor in laughter. Back then I was a long way from being . . . Greying Beaver.
  21. Ft. Carson, CO or bust! H.Q., 10th Special Forces Group and H.Q., 3rd Armoured Cav Rgmt. Very cool in the summer. What more could a young man ask for?
  22. Our son aged out of the troop we are registered with a year ago. I am still on the troop committee and go to TC meetings. Boy scout troops are dynamic beings. They change with the people that are currently in them. Boy, has our troop changed! Anyway, about two years ago, the troop started having merit badge classes during troop meetings. The skills presentation part of the meeting went the way of the doo-doo bird in a hurry. Then came camporee. Not surprising that our guys did very poorly in all of the scouting skills competitions. Last place in one; next to last in another; last place in the next. And I mean last place overall in the district. But, hey, our guys were completing merit badges like crazy. Then it happened. At a TC meeting several months ago the ASM brought up the troop's terrible showing at camporee, and we needed to get back to having skills demonstrations to prepare for camporee (It's in March.). Two of the TC members were in favor of maintaining the merit badge classes for the higher rank advancement requirements. Debate insued. I had been keeping my mouth shut on this one. Then my Wood Badge beads started feeling awfully heavy. So I waded into the fray. I pointed out that not having skills presentations at troop meetings short-circuits the purpose of having a troop meeting in the first place, and short-changes the boys by eliminating the responsibility of putting together a skills demonstration. We have six patrols and a monthly calendar of topics for the months. It is published as a email sent out to the families' email addresses. The patrols have six months(!) to prepare demonstrations that could " . . . end up on Broadway.", to coin a phrase. But no. They don't even try to put on a demonstration. At the same time, merit badge classes at troop meetings short-circuits the merit badge program and one of the methods of scouting, "Adult Association". You know, where the boy gets the name of the counsellor, calls him/her on the telephone and starts the process. You could hear the air molecules bumping into each other it got so quiet. I told the SM that he needed to have a SM's Conference with the SPL to get the demonstrations going. He and the SPL had a little chat. It did no good. Fortunately, we have had an SPL elections since then; the new SPL is trying to get skills demonstrations going again. But troop meeting merit badge classes is a powerful narcotic, very powerful! The boys "earn" merit badges, get closer to the next rank, and who cares how the troop does in scout skills demonstrations at once-a-year camporees? Do not fall into the merit badge class trap. Tell your SPL's what can happen, none of it any good in the long run. Sign me . . . Not the most popular guy on the troop committee, G.B.
  23. O.K., My turn. My information comes from my son-in-law who is an LDS-er (our family is not), the District Advancement Chair who works at the local scout shop, the Council Eagle Application screener who is also my WoodBadge T.G., and part of the Venture Advisor Training taken at Philmont Scout Ranch on dealing with LDS-sponsored units back in 2004. A lot of what has been said in the previous postings is true, even some of the information that was considered to be false is true. I guess that it would be best to break everything down into catagories. 1. Adult Leadership. Adult leaders are "conscripted(That is exactly what it is.)" by the stake(congregation)'s bishop(pastor) after the bishop's prayerful consideration as to who should be the next SM. National average for service is suppose to be for a year. National average actual length of service is between 7-to-9 months. It was rare for a newly assigned-by-the-bishop SM to go to any BSA leader-specific training. These leaders are given a handbook and a SM's handbook and are expected to make the program as outlined by the LDS church work. The LDS-ers use the scouting programs as part of their priesthood development program that is found in all LDS congregations. Two-deep leadership is rarely used and the Buddy System is also rarely used (More below.). The week my wife, Cutest Bobwhite, and I took Venture Advisor Training at Philmont, was also the week that "Scouting in the LDS Church" was presented. The LDS'ers refused to socialize with those of us "outside the community (of LDS'ers)". They were all but segregated in the tent city and all but segregated themselves from everybody else. Cutest BobWhite and I tried to strike up a conversation with an older LDS couple before breakfast one morning. We got their names, where they were from, and my, isn't the weather wonderful here. My son-in-law's mother is like that whenever we see her out shopping. His father is far more open and we have discussed those things of common interest at length(scouting and our granchildren), but he, too, can be stand-offish at times. LDS unit leaders never appear at our district's RoundTable meetings. LDS unit leaders never attend any training sessions, none. 2. The LDS boy scout program. Every boy in every LDS stake is a registered boy scout in the age-appropriate unit. The stake pays the registration fees for every boy, active or not. Ah-Hah!!. That come to a large chunk of change, don't kid yourself. Every stake sponsors a pack, at least one troop, a (Varsity) team, and a crew. Their Webelos program is two years long, with the boy being assigned to the troop when he turns 11. When he turns 14, the boy is assigned to the Varsity team. When he turns 16, he is assigned to the crew. When he turns 19, he is presented with a bicycle, a bicycle helmet, a name badge with his name and the title "Elder" on it and shipped to a location in another time zone to start his 2-year mission. The boy is expected to have finished his Eagle work when he turns 15 and no later than 16. Woe be the LDS scout who does not have his Eagle by 16. My son-in-law finished his Eagle work just before he turned 18 and it was an "issue" in his home with his parents. The stake was putting pressure on them. 3. Camping. It is a sin to "labor" on the Sabbath. To the LDS chrch, "labor" includes being in a situation to not attend an organized worship service, like being on a camp-out on a Sunday. Most LDS-sponsored units will leave for camp on a Friday evening, spend Saturday night at camp, get up very early to get home in time for worship service. On average, LDS troops spend about less than 1/3 the time camping that a non-LDS-sponsored unit. That is why LDS-sponsored units rarely if ever go to the national high adventure camps, like Philmont, because of the "laboring " restrictions. Carrying all of one's gear on a backpapcking trek is a sin because one is carrying all of one's belongings on one's back on the Sabbath; it is a day of rest. My son was on staff at Philmont last summer and added that because of the tight schedule that the trek crews are on, space and facilities are not available to allow trek crews to "lay-over" an extra night at any of the back-country camps. LDS troops are, on average, much smaller than non-LDS units. National average is around eight(8). As pointed out above, the boys are divided into same-age troops. The troops are led by the adults. Patrols are administrative units only. It is rare for an LDS troop to have two patrols. Yes, SPL's are elected, but SM's run the program. Please, don't tell me what is going on in you district or council. These are numbers gleaned by National. There are the exceptions to every rule and extremes in every average. Because of the small number of boys in a unit, the Buddy System is not seen as being needed; everybody goes everywhere as a group (The troop being an extension of the community.). Two-deep leadership is not used because the SM is seen as being in charge of a relgious group. 4. The LDS church and the BSA. Remember that each LDS stake(congregation) pays the registration for every boy in the stake, active or not. That is between 11 and 12% of total registration monies sent to BSA. Because of that the LDS church and the BSA had fallen into a kind of informal agreement: LDS'er pay cash for all uniforms, literature, etc., and do not fiddle with the requirements for rank anvancement, especially for Eagle; BSA pretty much lets LDS-sponsored units run the program pretty much as they please. Ten percent of a budget is still . . . ten percent of a budget. That was until last summer. My Unit Commissioner Basic Training was held at an LDS stake "parish hall" last October. Of the 15 in the class, only three of us were from "outside the community". We stuck out like sore thumbs. Our uniforms had been through the washer many times, Our's were decorated with knots, O.A. flaps, WoodBadge beads, and our troop numbers had 25-year tabs above them. One of these LDS'ers had never seen WB beads before and asked mey what they were. The other twelve had uniforms that were so new that they hadn't been through the washing machine yet . . . and already had the UC patch sewn on the left sleeve! Guess how and why they were taking UC training! They were from Troop XXXX at such-and-such stake. The training was by-the-book. But there was a very strong emphasis on getting other parents involved in unit operations, on troop and patrol organization, how the Patrol Method works, Two-Deep Leadership and the Buddy System, how they work and why they are mandatory on troop outings(!). That should tell anybody what is going on now and what had not been going on in the past. And don't look for the LDS church to sever its ties with BSA; The Eagle means too much to them. They don't want give up the Eagle's reputation . . . outside the "community". I have pontificated long enough. I shall go back down into the ol' lodge now and chew on a twig. -G.B.
  24. That is exactly what to do and how to do it.
  25. It's not that ticket items are kept private. It's that they are geared to help your unit from your position in the unit at the time when the ticket is written. I did mine as a member of the troop committee attempting to get parents more active in the troop. Why? The troop was having a problem getting more/enough parents to be more active. Simple. Anybody who goes through WB/21st Century will be given the same assignment for their ticket. Cutest BobWhite, my wife, did the same thing for the Venture crew that we were also working with at the time. Three years after the fact, the troop has active parents thanks to the annual influx of New Boy Patrol boys and their parents. Some are more active than others. And as far as the crew is concerned, that group of youngsters from three years ago have all gone off to college save for our son, but enough boys in the troop are trying to gather the "critical mass" needed to get the crew rechartered and going again. Both the troop and the crew are sponsored by the same church, as well as the feeder pack. Scout units are dynamic and cyclical things. They change all the time, sometimes so slowly that we the adults do not realize that change is occuring. But you never stop earning those beads. You use them all of the time. Those beads give you credence when you speak. They make you "M.O.C." so to speak. Your Troop Guide will give you all of the direction and guidance that you will need to fill out a ticket that will be both challenging and rewarding. Good luck and keep us posted. -G.B.
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