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Gurnee Bruce

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About Gurnee Bruce

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    Gurnee, Illinois
  1. Gurnee Bruce

    Camping Merit Badge TOBAL

    Ok, how about this monkeywrench. Our troop's understanding, from a council advancement chair, is that a scout may not begin counting camping nights until they have actually begun work on Camping MB - you know, SM has signed the blue card to begin. This rules out any camping nights that have occured up to that point. It also makes all the new parents (and some ASMs) to want the new scouts to immediately begin the badge when joining the troop so they can begin accumulating nights.. Are we being mis-informed about the actual requirement, or does the scout indeed need to wait until he starts "work" on the badge to begin counting the camping nights? Most of the troop leadership would rather hold back - let the scout work the foundation camping requirements first and then as a First Class scout begin the MB in earnest. It seems also that counting nights for both T-2nd-1st ranks and MB nights too is a little like letting a single action count for multiple requirements which also seems to defeat (or water-down) the actual goals that the requirements are designed to achieve. Help?
  2. Gurnee Bruce

    Can a scout get service hours working a fundraiser

    Thanks, all, for you good counsel. I think I like the comparison of the time spent helping the troop with time spent doing one's chores. As a responsible member of the troop or the family one is expected to perform certain duties that benefit the group as a whole. It seems that the concept of "service" as used in the BSA points more outward from our organization toward the benefit of others around us. In this sense, it seems quite acceptable to tell the boys that this is simply a duty that the troop needs their help with (like cleaning up after a camping trip or meeting). I also see that this is not a committee decision, but rather strictly for the SM to decide using his best judgement.
  3. Our troop has an annual fundraiser involving the sales of fresh popcorn and drinks at the village "fair." All proceeds go to the general troop fund, none directly to the scouts (or their accounts). Since they don't "profit" individually, should the scouts get credit for service hours for the time they work at the fundraiser, or does the fact that their work is helping pay for their badges, camping supplies, etc. negate the "service" aspect of the event? My inclination is to give them credit for the hours worked, but then too I make lots of mistakes! I will bring this to our committee, but maybe there is already precedent or regulation one way or the other. The question was originally posed from a parent to our advancement chair who then brought it to me (CC). Ideas?
  4. Is it ever proper for a member or members of the youth leadership (Troop PLC - not talking Cub Scouts) to attend a committee meeting? I don't have my committee guidebook with me and I don't remember reading a rule. I've heard arguments on both sides - some say flat out "no" youth in these meetings while others believe a delegate from the PLC should really attend every one. Could the answer lie somewhere in middle? I like the idea of having the PLC aware of what the committee is working on but understand that occasionally there might be sensitive discussions that need to remain at the adult level. Your thoughts o' wise ones?
  5. Gurnee Bruce

    Christmas vs Holiday party

    Quick wrap-up on the party. It happened last night, it was wonderful. We had a great turnout, enjoyed some fabulous dutch-oven desserts, played games, listened to Christmas carols as performed by our troop band and welcomed some Webelos who will be joining next month. The scouts put together a very nice program. My "complaining" parent was a no-show, although I would certainly have been the first to welcome him with outstretched arm. The scouts made frequent sarcastic references to the term "holiday party," but I think that this was fostered not by my own situation but moreso by the huge restrictions that have been placed on our public schools about religious displays (we can no longer have Christmas carols played from our school bus radios - that kind of stuff). At the close of the party we distributed gifts to the boys from the committee and I wished all a Merry Christmas, which is what I do at this time of year. I also advised my COR, the church pastor, about the parent as you reminded me above. His response was simply "It should be fun no matter what you call it." As always, all of your comments have been very helpful to me and I'll certainly stay tuned.
  6. Gurnee Bruce

    Those red berets

    I don't know what sparked this conversation but I do fondly remember the berets. In my troop the envelope hat was all we had up to that point - even the berets offered more protection and they did look really cool (of course they didn't slip under the web belt as nicely). At the '74 Jamboree (only one I've been to) we went to see Bob Hope and the audience was nothing but a vast sea of red - awesome. But I don't miss the sock garters. Side note - last summer my son went to Jambo and came back with a 1974 walking-stick medallion for me. Every now and then they can really surprise you! Now I need a walking-stick...
  7. Gurnee Bruce

    Christmas vs Holiday party

    Dan - you ask a valid question. The CO is a Christian church. Most of our troop are not members of the CO, nor is the perturbed parent. I have not brought this up to my CO Rep but your question reminds me that I should (I am CC). Thank you.
  8. Gurnee Bruce

    Christmas vs Holiday party

    Well "politically correct = wimping out" doesn't really help much, does it? I'm looking for advice, not barbs, ok? I already feel like crap about this and I need to know if made the wrong decision in the first place by using the "holiday" word. I'll take it from your comment that I did.
  9. Gurnee Bruce

    Christmas vs Holiday party

    So, I ask my son to create and email to the troop a flyer for our annual party. I called it a "holiday" party - maybe I've been desensitized or grown accustomed to the politically-correctness that has become so all-pervasive. Our troop, as far as I can tell, happens to be all Christian, but we have invited Webelos that I don't know yet. I get a response from a parent basically saying I've totally offended him. I told him in an email: "We have invited guests to this event and I don't want any to feel excluded if they don't happen to be Christian. I'm the one that termed it a 'Holiday Party,' not (my son). "I know that the 'politically correct' have done their very best to pull Christ out of Christmas, but in this decision I guess I'm guilty too. If you have been offended then I apologize and still hope that you will come and celebrate with us." After reading my response his reply was that he was indeed very offended and that if it weren't for his "calming force" wife he would have pulled two kids from the troop. I've spent half the day shopping and cooking for this event and of course feel like I've been shot in the butt. Can I get some thoughts on this? I'm waiting for him to call me back and discuss, but I need to learn more about how you guys would face this situation and what I might have done better in the first place. Thanks, and Merry Christmas!
  10. Gurnee Bruce

    what happens at 18?

    So I've got a scout in the troop that received his Eagle rank just before turning 18. Now, at 18, he's convinced he cannot wear the uniform or participate in troop activities (like our popcorn fundraiser) because of his age. A senior committee member who I have great respect for says that the age is not an issue until we re-charter in February. Of course, the scout's advancement is over, but is there any problem encouraging his participation in the troop without his having to re-register immediately as an adult?
  11. Gurnee Bruce

    What would you do?

    The only thing I might add to this discussion is that we should take a closer look at Ralph. He sounds like he might be the guy who really needs our help - the symptoms make me think of boys I've seen who for whatever reason seem to have such a lack in self-confidence that they must act out, often against those they most envy. Is it fear, or a learning disability, or just an inability to work well with others? Hopefully your son will find another meaningful role in the troop, but as stated before, if he'll focus more on the Oath and Law and stay that way then only good decisions will be made.
  12. Gurnee Bruce

    Push Ups

    This has been a fascinating read. Seems like there are a few cross-threads going on. My thoughts... I believe that the pushups are simply a neanderthal, "knee jerk" reaction to a bad decision that a scout made. I like the term "consequence" better than the term "punishment." I challenge you to NOT take the easy way out (pushups) and instead to find a way to turn that bad decision into a learning experience. Otherwise the cycle will not be broken. I reject the notion that since it was ok for us as kids that it's ok for our kids. Don't we want better for our sons and daughters than we had? I haven't touched on BSA policy here - only what I believe to be common sense. I guarantee you that the day I see my son doing pushups for some goof in the troop that decides to demonstrate his superiority will be the day that that either that goof or I leave the troop.
  13. Gurnee Bruce

    Temporary insignia part 2 - jackets

    My bad - had the guide in the car and didn't even think of checking. I think the Jambo patch is fine, as long as it's the only one? Our council has a neat patch for Jambo that would look great there, too.
  14. My two cents... You can't modify or make your own requirements, and these are all valid youth leadership positions. So, make the best of it. Challenge the scouts to bring new ideas to the positions. Our troop is over 90yrs old - we could go through six historians if we just have them start scanning old documents and taking digital pictures of awards and building troop histories. The librarian can stay on top of new MB or other advancement changes each year and present them to the troop. It's up to us to make the positions valuable and let the youth earn the pride of accomplishment. And, be sure you're mixing up the position-holders. Don't let that same scout be librarian for two years - work with the SPLs to be sure that scouts do get placed into more hard-core leadership positions as part of their well-rounded scouting adventure. Rock on.
  15. Gurnee Bruce

    Temporary insignia part 2 - jackets

    Right now my son is the only one in his troop wearing temp. insig. on his sash, but I think it will start something good. Today's question is regarding same on scout jackets - "back in the day" when I was a youth (early 70's) we wore patches on the rear of the red jacket only, the front was reserved for the standard BSA patch and the Philmont Bull. Any such rules around today?