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Everything posted by HICO_Eagle

  1. Mine, and all the other adult leaders and pretty much every scoout in my unit feels he is not a good scout as he is not there, he shows no leadership, no responsibility, he makes some commitments and then blows them off. To pass this kid along to eagle would be an insult to every kid who actually did the worka and EARNED IT. The rank is the highest one scouting offers and to cheapen it and give it to kids who really do not desrve it waters down it's value and cheapens the BSA. highcountry, in this case you're covered. The Scoutmaster Conference prior to him seeing a board of review requires the SM to certify the Scout demonstrated Scout spirit. You seem to indicate that he hasn't shown Scout spirit. Now, to cover yourselves and make sure he can't complain about you sandbagging him by telling him about his failure to demonstrate Scout spirit in time to correct it, you should have a Scoutmaster's Conference with him and tell him his problems so he has time to correct it. I had to do this with a Life Scout who frankly disappointed me at Philmont. We convened an emergency SM conference with him, myself, the TCC, his father and another father to discuss the issue. We told his father about the issue before the conference and then asked him to NOT get on his son's case (he was one of the classic fathers who was harder on his son than any other boy). Honestly, the boy didn't get it after 35-40 minutes. He kept saying how things were going to change when he was Eagle and I finally got blunt and told him that not only wouldn't I sign off on his application if it were in front of me that night but the troop committee would fail him on his BoR if it was held that night. He finally got the message and I'm told (I had to move shortly after we returned from Philmont) not only reformed but was a model Scout through his 18th birthday and beyond -- and yes, he made Eagle. The Scout spirit provision is one of the catch-alls available to you before advancement to ANY rank -- just make sure you cover yourself by 1) giving the boy a chance to fix the problem and 2) documenting his failure to live up to the Scout spirit.
  2. Wow, a LOT of discussion on this. I wouldn't go with an arbitrary attendance percentage threshold. Heck, even when I was Scoutmaster I missed a large number of meetings when work had me traveling. I think the key is whether or not the Scout is filling his leadership position. If he is, he's active even if he has to do it all outside meetings or activities -- for instance, meetings could conflict with athletic team practice, activities could conflict with varsity games but he could be filling his responsibilities as Instructor by meeting with Scouts privately to help them advance. If he just flat doesn't show up or do anything, he's inactive. If he's borderline, the SM and committee should be meeting with him to see what's up. We sometimes have a tendency to make things more complicated than they need to be.
  3. Wow, I missed the bit about the ban on simulated weapons, guess I should be checking G2SS more regularly but I really wish National would put these things out for discussion before issuing their edicts. Irving seems to be emulating the nonsense out of DC more and more every year.
  4. My current unit is chartered by the UMC but they are largely uninvolved with the unit. Our finances are completely separate except for the short period many many years ago when we had a troop vehicle that was getting insured through the church.
  5. I used to keep 2 short sleeve shirts, one pair of shorts and one pair of pants plus 2 different leather belts and 3-4 neckerchiefs. I got the second short sleeve shirt so I could stay well-groomed through a week-long summer camp. For a while, I was splitting time between troops in two different states so I transitioned to using beige Velcro to mount my council strip, troop number, position patch and lodge flap. This had the added benefit of letting me swap patches between uniform shirts and remove the patches before putting the shirts in the laundry (I find they do much better when handwashed as needed). I just ordered 2 more short sleeve shirts and a long-sleeve as well as 2 more pairs of pants and a pair of shorts because ScoutStuff.org had them on sale and I wanted more in my closet for posterity in the event National actually makes the Centennial uniform permanent. I wish I had my old ODs like some of the scoutmasters at camp when I first became an ASM but lacking that, I will proudly wear the heritage of the OdlR uniforms.
  6. ""Training should be mandatory! " Of course it should. It's the best way to provide the proper program." I'm sorry, I don't believe that. Adults and Scouts should be encouraged to get training where they are deficient but I would rather have an involved adult who lacks formal training than have adults (or Scouts) pull back and not get involved because they "don't have the training" and don't have the right timing to get that training. One of the biggest problems I see right now is this management philosophy that places such a huge value on documented training instead of looking at the program itself and seeing if it's healthy. In fact, I'll argue whether the training itself even leads to a proper program given the most recent changes in how patrol method is taught or the new editions of handbooks that have lots of great graphics at the expense of the material they used to contain. "As a UC, I get questions all the time from my units where the answer is in the training." Which is a great example of when to encourage use of the formal training system. There are lots of adults who have no background in Scouting and can benefit from some of the training -- and lots of adults for whom the current training programs are redundant and superfluous. I think we'd get far better response to the training programs overall by looking at how a unit is functioning and then pointing out to the committee and SM/ASM how certain courses would help them. If the course isn't needed except to check some block then don't waste their time with it. "But the bigger problem of requiring a trained leader in order to recharter is the record keeping. How does that get resolved once and for all when a very trained cubmaster can't get his ScoutNet record to reflect he is trained after 5 years." Perfect example of the current philosophy that is more concerned about recordkeeping than actually doing the program. I wish I could read through some transcripts of the discussions that have led to some of the changes in the past 5-10 years because I'd really like to understand what they were thinking. I am not at all convinced that many of the changes instituted in the last 5-10 years have been productive or helpful for the program.
  7. Wow, this just adds to my frustration with National. I realize the lawyers are just trying to help preserve the program by avoiding lawsuits that could cripple or shut it down nationally (and I realize there are groups out there that would just love any pretext to do so). On the other hand, this is just more evidence that our society has lost its strength and stamina. Just 100 years ago, the age when Scouting started, boys the age of our Scouts were frequently men of their house, earning (or supplementing) their families' keep. We had plenty of unsupervised or relatively unsupervised outings (even at official functions like Camporees) and they helped us to grow -- at one point, an Eagle Scout matriculation rate of nearly 50% in a troop with barely a dozen scouts and sparse adult leadership. How do we bring these things forward to the CSE and company in Irving?
  8. Kittle -- I'll add my perspective as a childless 20+ year Scouter. There shouldn't even be a question in this matter -- go to resource camp with your son. Presumably we are in this activity for the boys, not our own egos. Yes, you may learn some things at Woodbadge that will make you a better scouter but more importantly, the boys in your troop (and your own son!) need you at resource camp. There will be other opportunities to do Woodbadge when your son is more independent, doing his own things -- there won't be nearly as many more opportunities where he ASKS you to participate in something with him.
  9. This kind of garbage is why I find the training mandated by National to be rather worthless. They keep trying to sell official training as improving the program but I find much of it to be worthless to me (or worse than worthless when they spew stuff that's flat out wrong as you cited). Any training -- mandatory OR recommended -- should offer some kind of benefit to the trainee. That benefit can be personal (education or growth) or administrative (improve understanding of how the council or national operate, reduce chances of lawsuits, etc.) but there should be a benefit. Handing out wrong information is about as far from beneficial as you can get.
  10. My current unit has an excellent relationship with its unit commissioner but I've always been a little unclear on the benefit to the unit. In times and units past, I never ever saw a unit commissioner, this guy shows up 4-6 times a year (sometimes more) but I'm not really sure what he DOES. Having those materials online is a huge help so I can look and figure out what he's supposed to do and try to use him most effectively.
  11. So how do we express this displeasure to National? I can't find any way to provide feedback to National on scouting.org -- they seem to want all contact to go through the Council but there's no way to see that Council is passing on comments or critiques.
  12. Thanks for the list Kudu. I won't say I agree with all 86 reasons (I don't) but I sure empathize with a ton of them! I am in Scouting as an adult to payback what I got out of it as a boy but I have to say the changes I'm seeing out of National or even my local Council drive me nuts. I want to think they are making these changes with the best of intentions but I really don't like a lot of them. The Eleventh Edition of the Scout Handbook is so bad I'm thinking about running to the thrift stores to find copies of the Tenth Edition or earlier and buying them up to hand out. So many ridiculous new training mandates (don't get me wrong, a lot of it is great for the adults who weren't Scouts as kids but it's superfluous and annoying for for someone with 35 years of Scouting behind him or who is taking YPT and SSD for the umpteenth time). To answer the original question, I've seen a number of reasons leaders quit. Sometimes they feel they owe the time they spend on Scouting to their own families. Sometimes their leadership style doesn't mesh with the troop committee or the boys or the charter organization. Sometimes they are burned out by Council/Committee/Boys/FoS/Roundtable/etc. You/we can't do anything about the Scouter who quits to spend more time with his or her family -- and probably shouldn't -- but sometimes the committee should examine its own ego. I just heard from SM at a troop where I assisted many years ago. He's getting on in years but recently had a large portion of the troop depart to form a new troop. They left nearly overnight without advance notice and the stated reason (they apparently didn't even have the cojones to do it in person so they left voice mail or a note) was that they didn't think they could get much from an SM with physical infirmities. No, I guess they or their boys couldn't get much from someone with 50+ years of experience because he was no longer able to backpack 10 miles. (tongue firmly in cheek) I almost wish I were back there to help him rebuild the troop again but my current troop needs me -- I'm just glad for them (and Scouting) that HE hasn't quit ...
  13. I can see some people misunderstood what I was trying to say. I'm not against training, far from it, many of the adult leaders I see today don't have any background in Scouting and need some. However, what I AM against are mandates that are redundant or can be and frequently ARE counterproductive (IMHO) by driving away adults who would otherwise help with the program. Yes, I know that I'm technically grandfathered for NLE (or TIS) and SM Specifics because I had SMF but there's nothing definite about that listed online -- and honestly, however they want to repackage the training, there hasn't been anything new on building a one-match fire in many many decades. First Aid treatments change but I find I actually keep on top of those changes better than the FA merit badge does which means I have to teach the BSA book method and then supplement it. When we change Tech Orders in the military there are change pages or summaries so you can quickly determine what the changes are and whether refresher or update training would be advisable. The quote on Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills comes directly from the BSA online training site -- it's "required ... for all Scoutmasters, assistant Scoutmasters, and Varsity Scout coaches." Not recommended, REQUIRED. That was the statement in TDC that REALLY set me off. I took TDC specifically because I had the time to do so and I'm always seeking to improve my own skills but I have found very few of the BSA courses to be terribly productive for someone who has already spent considerable time in the program. Even when I took SMF, the only part I found productive was discussing different approaches to troop programs with other troop leaders -- and I got far more by having the same discussions with other scoutmasters during morning coffee minutes at summer camp. I'm not saying I'm God's gift to Scouting but with 30+ years as a Scout and Scouter, can't I at least just take a competency exam so I can apply that time to my Scouts instead of a redundant training class? Don't get me wrong, I think all of the training should be offered and a lot of it listed as "recommended" -- but IMHO National needs to think very long and hard before they label a course mandatory or required and virtually everything that IS mandatory or required should have a means to do a check ride or place out of it.
  14. This sort of relates to a posting I just made in the training forum but in my opinion, we are hurting for willing volunteers. I would much rather try to fix a leader's shortcomings or make up for them in other ways than drive off someone who is willing to put the effort out. How many smaller units that have generated countless Eagles (or better yet, MEN who became productive members of society later in life) would have folded if they had held out for fully trained leaders with the background and time to commit in this vision of a perfect leader? I know I for one would never have gotten my Eagle because never once in my career as a Boy Scout did the SM have the time to get all that training. Heck, we were lucky back then if the SM had time to spend all week at summer camp with us! I think the bottom line is that the leaders are there to serve the boys, helping them on their journey to manhood. Any leader who is willing to help that progress should be welcome even if s/he is incompletely trained, doesn't have time to participate fully, etc. Any leader that is blocking or retarding that progress should be helped and encouraged to help rather than hurt the boys -- and only removed if they are recalcitrant or unwilling to address that problem. My experience is that most SMs/Committee Chairs/etc. know when it's time to step aside -- and probably know it sooner than the Troop Committee is willing to admit. The only experience I had where someone flat out didn't have the temperament to be SM didn't have to be asked to step aside, he quit (albeit very loudly, in the middle of the meeting and in full view of the Scouts). This led to my "temporary" reign as SM which was finally terminated by permanent-change-of-station orders.
  15. I took my council's Trainers Development Course recently and was both pleasantly and unpleasantly surprised by some of the changes in training. First, I'm very happy with how National has implemented some of the courses as computer based training that can easily be done at your own convenience. Second, some of the new courses look very good. I can think of several of our committee members who will feel much more comfortable with things like the Board of Review training. On to the gripes (of course there are gripes ...) 1. I was apparently overseas and therefore not involved in Scouting when National transitioned from Scoutmaster Fundamentals to New Leader Essentials and Scoutmaster Specific training. I had been unable to locate guidance anywhere online to tell me how SMF translated to the new training. The council briefer on the new training curriculum was trying to say I should WANT to be trained with the most current info -- really, I love doing one-match fires with the boys but why do I have to demonstrate my ability to do knots, cook over a fire, perform First Aid requirements through the First Class requirements, etc. again and again? 2. The new "mandatory" training courses includes Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills, "the required outdoor training for all Scoutmasters, assistant Scoutmasters, and Varsity Scout coaches". Oh, come on! While I recognize there's always something new to learn (and am happy to do so), being REQUIRED to take yet another course on BASIC outdoor skills after learning, doing and TEACHING outdoor skills for 30 years is a bit annoying. Who at National dreams this stuff up and are they really that divorced from unit leadership? 3. This led me into a ... discussion ... with the training coordinator who repeated the mantra that we should WANT to be fully trained, that we wanted to give all boys 100% fully trained leaders. Nice philosophy, especially for larger units with a couple dozen active adults to cover all bases, but it doesn't work out well for smaller units in my experience. Every additional requirement will become another excuse for one of the other adults to not get involved, leaving the same 3-4 dedicated people doing everything. Honestly, I'd rather reach 4-5 times as many boys and have their parents involved at whatever level they feel comfortable with than burn out the few adults who can or will commit to all these new mandates. We had another animated discussion about the TDC's view of a chartering organization's level of involvement in the unit (down to selecting unit leaders) but that's probably more appropriate for another forum. So ... am I a stick-in-the-mud, hopelessly out of touch -- or are there others who are as frustrated as I am with National's current mandates WRT training?
  16. Thanks for the information. I was unaware of that change. I will still render the Scout salute when I am on a Scouting activity but will now use a proper salute instead of hand over heart on non-Scouting occasions.
  17. I have two different class A shirts. The one that I bought for my Eagle Court of Honor (and still wear today) has a lot of my older activity patches going back to my Cub Scout days. Back then we had a circular activity patch with arc strips for various summer camp sessions, camporees, etc. and it can be a conversation piece. It also has an older multi-colored ASM badge. The second class A shirt is more "modern"; I use temporary patches in hangers on that one when I want to show one off.
  18. Deleted duplicate entry(This message has been edited by HICO_Eagle)
  19. I actually don't have a problem with electronics on Scout activities including camping or even hiking as long as the Scout exercises judgment and courtesy. What I have problems with are 1) BSA uniforms made in a Communist country 2) Unnecessarily expensive changes when some of my boys have been and are having to live frugally 3) Visine changes to the uniform (getting the Red out) 4) Possible misrepresentations in Scouting magazine Let me explain the last point first. The article I read in Scouting said these changes to the uniform, including changing the colors of numerals, badges and shoulder tabs from red to sage green, were requested by the boys. In nearly 30 years of the "new" uniform, I have NEVER heard a single boy say they wished the troop numerals or Trained badge were green. I DID hear (probably even said) the shoulder tabs should have been green instead of red when the new uniform was first introduced -- but haven't heard that comment in over 20 years. I DID hear complaints about the red-striped socks, desires for more or bigger pockets, etc. but nothing about the color of troop numerals. Obviously I'm not keen on removing decades of heritage by changing the troop numerals for no good purpose and the purpose of changing these colors hasn't been explained well at all unless you buy the story about boys requesting it. There are some things I actually like about the uniform design but I view them as unnecessarily expensive changes when some of our Scouts are fiscally challenged (low income single parent families). I already had shirts and convertible pants from REI or other sources that had many of the features that have been folded into the Centennial uniform -- but I can afford these clothing items, not all my scouts can. I'm still waiting for the wear reports on the stitching for those bellowed pockets that will just encourage teenage boys to throw more heavy things into their shirt pocket. Last -- but not least -- I refuse to buy a Boy Scout uniform made in a Communist country. Whoever thought this was a good idea needs to have their head examined. That's right up there with the time I went to a military exchange to purchase a new US flag for my mother and could only find ones made in the PRC.
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