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Everything posted by HICO_Eagle

  1. As has already been posted, carrying a firearm is a violation of the G2SS. Having said that, this is just one of many points where I disagree with the G2SS. Frankly, I don't much care for the G2SS -- I recognize the need for it in today's litigious society but many of the points in it are just ridiculous. I laughed for years when it prohibited anything resembling a firearm while the top prize for selling popcorn was a marshmallow shooter. I will still argue bitterly with the morons who want to eliminate "no adult" patrol campouts as they were some of the best campouts I ever had as a Scout. I'm worried about those of you who are so paranoid about someone carrying. You've shown you're reacting with emotions rather than knowledge or reason. You DO realize that people with CCW permits have some of the lowest crime rates of any demographic? That CCW holders frequently save lives? In most cases, I wouldn't want to carry anyway but because of the G2SS, I am PREVENTED from doing the most I could to protect my Scouts in an extreme circumstance. Be prepared. Yeah, right. Some of us camp in areas where there's :::shudder::: wildlife. You know, like mountain lions and bears? Our first response to seeing said animal (like the mama bear and 2 cubs that invaded our campsite last summer) is to carefully move back away from the animals so as to not be threatening. It was too late to return home but luckily the boys were able to sleep in a room in the camp master's cabin while I slept in my vehicle. Having said that, I would have liked something more than my Buck 110 or Leatherman available if worst came to worst.
  2. Its not really the amount of the registration fee which really isn't an unaffordable number but rather that there is one at all. Anyone who goes through this process every year knows just getting any amount of money out of people is a challenge and in some units takes months. What I believe is that most people simply don't get any benefits from giving national this money. Their units certainly get no benefit, none of this money goes to unit camping/activity fees. For the occasional scout/leader who may attend one or 2 events a year they simply get to be subjected to fees they don't want and an onerous amount of paperwork. Most people don't SEE the benefits but that doesn't mean they're not there. I probably complain about National as much as anyone but the registration fees go toward providing the support network from council, insurance for participants and leaders (my umbrella insurance policy costs me far more than registration fees), infrastructure to select/edit/provide program materials and patches and other stuff, etc. There certainly are alternatives to this flawed bsa system. Many of the meetup groups I attend have no fees, and zero paperwork. And some of the national outdoor organizations i belong to require a small payment similar to this mainly to afford the group mailings. Yep and Meetup doesn't provide much to the groups other than a website and e-mail notification (the groups themselves will pay registration fees to Meetup to get services like automated attendance. Yes eliminating the annual recharter mess will allow in some who are less committed to attend program functions, but at least then there is no barrier to entry or exit. Really? If $20/yr is a barrier to entry on this program then it's not something you really value. That's about the cost of 3 movies (matinee showings, no snacks) -- AND councils usually have programs like Scoutreach to offset those costs for the truly unfortunate. Sorry, I think there are far more societal barriers to participation like the active aggression from the ACLU, NEA and other liberal activist groups. I don't think we can or should blame participation drop-off on registration costs.
  3. Lots of things you could do: - compass - headlamp or flashlight - tent light - first aid kit - hydration bladder or water bottle(s) - fanny/lumbar pack - TrekTek tee shirts - hiking pole (especially the plain ones he can stain and carve and personalize himself) On the higher end, - tent - sleeping bag - backpack - hiking boots Be careful on the last four. The tent you buy now may not be well designed for the activities he gets into later (backpacking tents are usually not good for winter camping and vice-versa); same goes for sleeping bags. It's easy to outgrow backpacks and hiking boots -- lots of my Scouts find the backpack they bought at 11 is too short and outside adjustments a few years later and of course boots may not last that long.
  4. All my boys know who Mike Rowe is by name. I don't even have to mention the television show. He'd be a great choice but probably not politically correct enough for the current crowd in Irving.
  5. FScouter said: "That over the last 5-10 years merit badges contain "politically correct fluff"... Anyone?" No, I said that National has issued politically correct fluff over the past 5-10 years. I think some merit badges have been watered down but I'm including things like the new bilingual medical form, changes to the Guide to Safe Scouting, etc. in the list of politically correct fluff. If the Sustainability merit badge turns out to be more marketing for "green" garbage then I'd add it to that pile.
  6. Stupid move. Cub Scouts had its own traditions and migration to the new oath and law when Cubs bridge over helps provide a mental and emotional demarcation. They aren't Cubs anymore, they're BOY Scouts.
  7. National's track record the past 5-10 years doesn't give me a lot of faith that this badge won't be some politically-correct fluff. It's too bad because the concept of sustainability fits right in with the traditional Scout focus on Conservation but it's a term loaded with socio-political context in contemporary society. Having said all that, I'll reserve judgment on the merits of the badge until I see specifics on the curriculum.
  8. Thanks for the info. I have been incredibly frustrated by the extreme stupidity of many recent changes and wondered who got to have a voice on them and how I could express an opinion when it counted -- before lunacy was inscribed into formal final edicts. I'm happy to sign up and I'll be happy to be one of their official thorns in the side -- and they can compile a file on my membership number the size of Encyclopedia Britannica if they wish.
  9. ANOTHER flipping change to the form? That makes 3 changes in a row that IMNSHO haven't helped at all. There are times when gridlock is a good thing -- and right now, I'd rather have some gridlock at National than most of the changes we've received in the past 3 years.
  10. I'm with Scoutfish here. You were right (IMNSHO) up to the point where you decided to print the flyers and contact her boys and parents on your own. I don't know why the CM wasn't prepared for Back to School night but she may have had her own plan for recruiting. I call foul if her thought was just that she's overloaded and doesn't want to deal with more kids as CalicoPenn intimated in his second sentence but she may well have had her own plan to give boys in district A the chance to join. Of course if she DID have her own plans she could well have responded to your message but that has no bearing on whether you should have directly contacted the parents and boys in her Pack. I would expect my DC to act through my UC. I wouldn't expect the DC to avoid his/her own acquaintances or act as if he didn't know what was going on but s/he really shouldn't be forming unit activities directly. Recruitment is important and this CM may be dropping the ball on it but that's for the Unit Committee and CO to address with her.
  11. Maybe I missed something since I didn't read this other thread but I broke it down just like Scoutfish. Bluejacket didn't go around the CM and doesn't appear to be trying to set the Pack's program. He invited some families he knows from school while at school to an event he's talking at. The CM's reaction sounded to me like classic control freak. From his (admittedly one-sided) description, the Pack didn't decide on the program, the CM did. SHE felt the event he was speaking at was too expensive and didn't give anyone a chance to participate on an individual basis. Having said that, I think he should honor the CM's request to not contact people in the unit other than her EXCEPT for his personal acquaintances. She is nuts if she thinks he shouldn't inform people he knows from associations outside Scouting. IMO there's nothing wrong with him meeting with the CO since they recently changed leadership and may not be acquainted with their duties and responsibilities or what the Council or District have to offer but he shouldn't ask them to circumvent the CM in distributing information -- fine if they decide to do so themselves but he shouldn't prompt it. There are definitely some egos stroking themselves here and it's not just Bluejacket or his CM.
  12. I would like to explain how it came to pass that I got fat. Ladies and gentlemen, I got fat as a public service. When I was a child, my mother said to me, "Clean the plate, because children are starving in Europe." And I might point out that that was years before the Marshall Plan was ever heard of. So I would clean the plate, four, five, six times a day. Because somehow I felt that that would keep the children from starving in Europe. But I was wrong. They kept starving. And I got fat. So I would like to say to every one of you who is either skinny or in some other way normal-- When you walk out on the street, and you see a fat person, Do not scoff at that fat person. Oh no! Take off your hat. Hold it over your heart. Lift your chin up high. And in a proud, happy voice say to him, "Hail to thee, fat person! You kept us out of war!" (From: http://www.elyrics.net/read/a/allan-sherman-lyrics/hail-to-thee-fat-person-lyrics.html)
  13. I'm with bacchus on HOW to respond to them but I've got another question for them: Why don't these people put half the energy they use in defaming and harassing Scouting toward creating their own youth group that does what they claim they want?
  14. Can you be removed? Yes, but not unilaterally by the SPL unless your troop committee has set specific rules that probably violate national guidelines. Personally, I would bring this up in a PLC attended by the SM but try to do it without seeming argumentative. For example, you could ask for advice on how to deal with the situations the SPL is using as a pretext as well as suggest the PLC codify rules that would explicitly state what was expected of the various PORs and when people would be replaced.
  15. At risk of resurrecting a zombie thread, I have always had problems with our troops' "no electronics" policy -- and in fact, the troop has relaxed the policy in recent years. I would rather teach the boys about appropriate use of electronics or any other piece of equipment than just ban them but the biggest problem I had with the policy was that I felt like a hypocrite when enforcing it. When I grew up through Scouting, our troop/patrol frequently brought along small boomboxes and pounds worth of D-cell batteries. We packed that extra weight along because it made camp more pleasant (none of us could play an instrument or sing worth a darn) but we didn't get so lost in the music that we neglected chores and we knew to turn it off when we wanted to observe the wildlife. We also had plenty of hikes and even campouts where the adults only contact was to drop us off Friday night and pick us back up Sunday. Six of us out of a core eight made Eagle and I've been active in Scouting for 22 of the 25 years since I graduated from college (1.5 years at a remote assignment overseas and 1.5 years in the National Capitol Area Council where none of the troops near me seemed to need any additional adult help). I just don't see how an electronics ban helps anything (nor do I see anything but legalistic BS behind the changes to GtSS). Today, I instruct the boys that they shouldn't be using their iPods on trail because they need to be aware of their surroundings and able to hear trail commands but I have no problems with them using them in their tents. One boy wanted me to let him use his iPhone to take notes of a lesson I was about to instruct and then transcribe his notes to his notepad; I pointed out his notepad was in his tent 12 feet away and doing the iPhone thing seemed like just an excuse to play with his toy -- he agreed and fetched his notepad. I not-so-humbly submit that decay of the patrol method has nothing to do with iPods or other electronics and everything to do with improper teaching, societal "correctness" and a decay in truly understanding the essence of Scouting at National and Council levels.
  16. "2) I remember the days when units only gave awards only at COHs. I know things have changed, but if this is an older unit, traditions die hard. " When would this have been? My troop in '79 was handing out awards as soon as possible after they were earned, just retaining the pocket cards for recognition at the CoH.
  17. My response is an unequivocal yes. Whether or not your council FOS uses the camp to further their propaganda, most Scouts benefit from having access to a real Scout camp. There are things you can do with a long term camp that the council knows it can make long range plans for. There are things you can't plan on doing at a state park and in fact in today's age you can't even count on getting taxpayer-funded facilities with the ACLU attacking BSA every chance they get.
  18. I'm with SR540Beaver. I hear you (or Tico Perez) about 100% training requirements coming but frankly it's a stupid policy with a stupid approach to training. All IOLS has been for the SM/ASMs of our troop has been a ridiculous waste of time and administrative headache. I understand some people need it -- heck, I support the class being offered and highly encouraged, I just think it's ludicrous to make it mandatory when you have recently graduated Eagles or adults who have spent the better part of a quarter century or more living, breathing, teaching Scout skills. All the computerized recordkeeping that National can dream up is adding little to nothing to the program.
  19. Thanks Seattle. I agree, council and the units themselves may know they're weak but not necessarily HOW weak or specifically which areas could use improvement. I am probably one of the worst offenders on this board for complaining about National and new requirements or new paperwork but it just seemed to me that some of these posts were a little off-base. When we discussed JTE at my district's Roundtable last year we specifically noted that this was intended both to motivate units and identify specific areas of improvement that National thought was important.
  20. Sorry, I'm with Beavah on this. I don't think YPT or YP standards discourage or prevent pedophiles; if they did, we should have had ZERO cases since YPT was instituted. These people are sick, pure and simple. Sandusky got away with what he did for as long as he did because people were willing to turn a blind eye, not because some rule or other does or doesn't exist. YP standards mean I have to meet with Scouts to work on merit badges at the public library instead of my house and I no longer get asked to drop them off at their homes after the meeting or campout but I have yet to see any proof that they really have done anything to protect the boys.
  21. Eamonn, there's hope for all of us. Christmas season always started for me with my father's reel-to-reel tapes first thing in the morning every morning and the first song up was Andy Williams singing "Happy Holidays" so it never felt like Christmas until I heard him singing. Maybe that's why Christmas seemed so lackluster this year -- no music in the house! I liked John Denver and the Muppets but that was just one Christmas special, Andy did new ones every year. I like the Nook Tablet and the Nook Simple Touch. Having them is SO much better than carrying the 2 or 3 paperbacks I'd take on a weekend campout as a boy or the half-dozen or so I'd take to summer camp. I like having my merit badge worksheets, recipes and training materials at my fingertips in something I can throw down in my cargo pockets and being able to read in the tent at night without a booklight. Yes, the boys now have never known a time without Internet but they DO know times when they're unconnected because we limit that stuff on activities. In fact, I'd say the adults are worse than the boys about this -- especially at summer camp. Thankfully, dinosaurs like us are around to see that their training includes being effective and enjoying life even without batteries.
  22. Irsap -- I've been away from the forums for a while but I'm sorry you feel you have to defend yourself and other adult leaders who were never Scouts. As you say, NS leaders are in demand because we don't have enough involved leaders period. I think nearly all (if not all) of us recognize someone doesn't have to have gone through Scouting as a youth to be a good Scout leader. Both of my scoutmasters growing up were non-scout leaders assisted by a couple of recently graduated ASMs. Had the SMs not given what they could of their time and organizational skill, the ASMs could not have spent time teaching us scout skills. A rather large percentage of us in that troop made it to Eagle "despite" having non-Scout scoutmasters. Some of the best adult leaders I've known have been women -- who by definition couldn't have been Boy Scouts as youth. On the other hand, it is a truism that NS leaders don't have Patrol Method ingrained in them (truthfully, many prior-Scout leaders don't either) or are lacking in other bits of "the Scout method." I laugh a bit about EDGE because I don't really see anything new in it except the fancy acronym but it follows the basic method I learned to teach anything so I don't mind using the acronym. I think where you see prior-Scout leaders perhaps seeing problems or taking offense is when we have to take time-wasting mandatory "training" because it's presumed we don't know basic First Class skills or when we see some of the traditions and heritage slip away because someone who wasn't a Scout is in a position of power in the district, council or board of directors and decided to leave his or her mark. Personally, I am thankful for every adult that gets involved in Scouting regardless of whether s/he was a Scout as youth, especially at a time when American traditions like Scouting are under siege by the forces that wish to change American society radically.
  23. I'm not a fan of JTE -- as was said, I don't like "grading" units. However, I think a lot of you are taking this the wrong way. The point of JTE as I understood it was partly recognition of those units who have a superior program but also to help the District and Council identify which units may be having a tough time and target them for fixes or improvement before the units approach collapse. A unit which is performing on all cylinders is obviously not going to learn much (if anything) from this. Congratulations, you don't need help, you know it all. The 10-20% that get Bronze -- or worse, don't even get Bronze -- can identify what they need to work on. Believe it or not, some of the adult volunteers weren't Scouts as youth and haven't spent decades working in Scouting -- they want their boys to have as much opportunity to excel as we do. I think National is placing too much emphasis on computer records and metrics. It smacks to me of the professional educators (as opposed to actual teachers) or bureaucrats but let's not dog them just because people at the top of their game learn little from this exercise.
  24. IMO, the lawyers and the professional "educators" are the ones taking the fun out of Scouting. Can't do this or that unless you have permission slips, tour permits, abide by G2SS and have everyone "trained". I detest a lot of the policies instituted by National in the past decade but I realize tort lawyers have driven most of them. In the end, I just convince myself that it's all for the boys and grin and bear it.
  25. For simple active use, I like the canvas convertibles, especially since they're not made in the PRC. I took a pair with me to Argentina and Antarctica because I wanted the utility pockets. For ceremonial use, I prefer the ODLs or the olive-drabs of the 60s-70s. I liked the style and ease of storage of the flight caps. Yes, they don't give much sun protection but I grew up in a warm sunny climate where we generally didn't wear headgear anyway so didn't notice the lack of shade from the flight caps. Can't stand the Centennial uniform and won't be buying one unless I pork out and can't wear the many ODLs I bought on clearance.
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