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hopalong

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About hopalong

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  1. hopalong

    Picky Eaters and Restrictive Diets

    Basementdweller, there is always more to a story in terms of interpersonal dynamics, systems, and processes, but the one thing we DON'T have is a parent dictating a menu in any fashion. These menus are always boy planned, boy shopped, and boy prepared. Submitted to the SPL for approval. We do have one momma who would like to see the boys mix it up food wise, choose other fruits than grapes and apples, but at this point she is saying that it is because her son suggests that change for every menu plan and is always shot down. I also sit on rank BOR's and hear one of our gluten free kids say the other boys tease him about his "special" foods. I have the SM laugh when he tells how his son refused to eat the first class meal that a gluten free kid prepared because he likes "real" plancakes so the SM's son left the patrol site at meal time, begged some food off of another patrol, and then walked around the campsite eating the other food. The SM didn't redirect his son on this and so none of the other ASMs did either. SM came to the committee asking us to come up with a plan for dealing with these food issues because he doesn't know what to do. At least SM sees there is an issue and he asked for help when he didn't know what to do. Does he really want help or is he just making an appearance of wanting help? Don't know. Maybe a small group of adults can look at this and put together a recommendation for how the troop addresses the issues in general and keep our focus on the patrol method. So, yes, we have other issues. And one of our issues may well be that the boys, as you mention, just want to take the easy way out and prepare the same menus. Maybe education about how tasty a veggie meal can be. Maybe too much prep work in a veggie meal as Beavah suggested. Perhaps we need to change how meals are budgeted. Right now scouts are given a budget of $2/meal/kid and they have to feed everyone within that. I just took a look at the outings list for this weekend. One patrol of five boys has two regular diets, one milk protein allergy, one vegetarian, and one gluten free. Not sure how I would cook for these boys. These boys are 11 yrs old. Since the grubmaster had to have someone drive him to the store and buy the foods, I'm asking his momma what the meal plan was for this trip and to ask her son how the planning for that went. Grubmaster happens to be the milk protein allergy kid. If we don't know how it's currently happening, we don't even know if we have an issue. We also have an iron chef patrol competition coming up. Not sure what the mystery ingredient will be, but my guess is it will be a meat rather than an eggplant or even a form of fish. I'm a strong supporter of the patrol method. Meals are an important part of that. Food issues like intolerance, allergy, and even philosophical choice are a reality. Ways to deal with them can range from it's your problem to how can we work together. Forum responses here have been very helpful. Regarding the PLC, I'm seeking information from them. Can't imagine it is a good idea to try to come up with a policy/guideline for something that may impact them without seeking information from them first. They may have a totally different take on the issue than the SM. I don't really know what will happen with the recommendations we put forth, but we will recommend they go to the PLC for comment/feedback and are not just implemented by adults.
  2. hopalong

    Picky Eaters and Restrictive Diets

    Twocubdad, just meant to say that the special diet kids have no better idea of how best to resolve this than the regular diet kids. Take any one of them and ask them to accommodate the different diet needs of the patrol and the "deer in the headlight" look shows up. Just saying they are all on equal footing with their skill set to resolve this. I think they can do it, just need to know they need to and that there is guidance/support available for how to work it out. Very easy to resort to a majority rule approach rather than cooperative, and that results in potato chip sandwiches. As you said, it is asking a lot of the boys. I agree this would be best handled by our best patrol method leader, but he has not yet been willing to take it on. Basementdweller, that is what the SM wanted to do, but has realized that with all of them in one patrol they would be all able to eat fruit, vegetables, and rice. Not sure it is right for everyone to share the extra expense burden of a special ingredient, but also not right the other way for the scout who can't eat the menu to bring his own and pay for what the others are eating. Tampa Turtle, I'm hoping that with a bit of encouragement and support, the boys will see they can work this out. Even if they can't fully resolve it, perhaps improve the situation. I asked our SPL if I could have a few minutes on their PLC agenda next meeting to gather some information about what this issue looks like to them. Is it an issue? The SPL is a vegetarian and on the PLC we have at least 1 gluten free boy, perhaps 2. Hopefully will be able to get a snapshot of the issue from them.
  3. hopalong

    Adult QM?

    Engineer61, I believe the SM's words were "I need a new Klondike sled and I need it soon because practice starts in 3 weeks". He went on to elaborate that there would be two teams and now there was one sled because the boys burned the old one six weeks ago and nothing was done about it and said there's going to be a patrol without a sled. Bottom line, IMO, was that the owner of the problem is the group that burned the sled, but it was brought to committee as "our" problem because of the way the SM views the Adult QM's responsibilities. Funny part was that this adult wasn't able to attend the mtg. Do I need to say the Adult QM badly wants out of the job? Eagle732, the SM loves being in that position. Works hard, but is a "my way or the highway" kind of guy. No one is doing a good enough job other than him. Offending a lot of adults who are trying to help. qwaze, this sounds like what we need to do. Put the responsibility for equipment back on the scouts and have an adult be the advisor. Is consistent with the feedback most on this thread have given.
  4. hopalong

    Picky Eaters and Restrictive Diets

    Basementdweller,to answer your wondering out loud, 9 out of 40 boys have special diets. Makes us special. We have four patrols (age grouped), so each of them has two special diet kids at least and not necessarily the same special diet. There is probably one scout that is a parent issue - claims boy has various sensitivities, but boy wants regular food and eats it if parents aren't supervising. One scout is new to the troop, but his milk protein allergy is Dr. verified. The other 8 have been in the troop for several years. None of the regular diet boys really want to have to deal with the special diet needs because it is "more". Got to respect that it really is work for them. Can't say that the special diet kids have any better insight or plan for dealing with this. That's where the demonstration of good things to eat despite a special diet might be very helpful and adults can assist with this. Was also why I pondered the value of pulling the gluten free (or vegetarian) kids out just for the purpose of cooking. Takes away from that part of the patrol method, but has some positive benefits.
  5. hopalong

    Picky Eaters and Restrictive Diets

    Tampa Turtle, great idea for the individual bringing his food to have/present a meal plan. Agree with the potential for increased junk food. Also have seen that the scout bringing his own food doesn't eat as "well" as the others because cooking gear/time may be limited. He's preparing his own and may opt for the quick and easy way - have seen some of our vegetarian scouts do this. Live on trail mix for the weekend. Gluten free kids also have brought quick thing. That doesn't give the other scouts good examples of eating well as a vegetarian and so no learning occurs as has happened in your case. Also doesn't advance the cooking skills of the individual scout.
  6. hopalong

    Picky Eaters and Restrictive Diets

    Basementdweller, um, well, no good answer here. I personally think this belongs on the SM side, but am also not one to believe everything has to be divided into strict sides. SM is annoyed at the problem (problem = scouts and parents complaining), says the SM side is very overworked, and can't deal with it. SM's attitude is that he doesn't think regular diet kids should have to eat special diet foods at all unless they want to. I'm heading up the sub-committee, asked for ASM's, and none have responded. So, bigger issues that may throttle any attempt at improvements. Operationally, there is one ASM assigned to mentor each patrol so MY personal bias is that it belongs there, i.e. mentoring the patrols around meal planning and cooking and working together. The only policy that may be needed is something that gets the ASM's all on the same page with how to handle this and gives them some support, i.e. something that says this is how we handle it in our troop. ASM's are probably where the education is needed re the variety of special diet options/meals/menus. I came here to challenge my personal bias before setting out on the task. All of the responses have been helpful and given me "food" for thought. :-) At least three of the special diet boys are on the PLC right now, so seeking information from them at a meeting re how this is going for them and what they feel they need is a great idea. Ideally, that would again come from SM side, but the SM wants it to come from the committee side, likely because it involves a "policy". Don't know if SM feels he needs a policy to get the ASMs on board or if they'll dismiss it as irrelevant because it came from committee. Remains to be seen. Lisabob, agreed. Balance is good. Working together and respecting others is very good.
  7. hopalong

    Picky Eaters and Restrictive Diets

    IM_Kathy, more great suggestions. Really mixing it up to challenge each patrol to cook a different type of meal. Challenging for sure to get the kids to operate outside of their comfort zones. Especially if part of scout camping to them involves a particular meal that they may feel they have to give up to accommodate someone else. Bottom line is getting the majority to change up their way of doing things to accommodate the minority. The minority will be very happy indeed, but the majority also needs the opportunity to be equally as happy and have their needs/preference met. Just because the meat eaters can eat meatless dishes, doesn't necessarily mean they should be required to. Would be akin to requiring the veggies to eat meat dishes, no? Some flexibility on the part of all is needed. Gluten free/celiac and allergic kids are a different story. We definitely need to ask the PLC how they feel these diets are best handled. It is a complex and personal issue for all.
  8. hopalong

    Picky Eaters and Restrictive Diets

    Lisabob, Your points are well taken and you have great suggestions. You are correct that there is the quick and easy way where the adults take care of it and the harder way where the scouts sort it out. The harder way does require adult monitoring, modeling, and leadership. A troop cookbook is a great idea. If I'm not mistaken, even our gluten free kids could eat the recipe you posted on the no meat thread.
  9. hopalong

    Picky Eaters and Restrictive Diets

    Lisabob, I agree with your concerns. What we're doing now is that each patrol works it out. We have vegetarian kids eating potato chip sandwiches because the rest of the kids in their patrols won't agree to things like cheese for sandwiches and the veggie kids who are vocal get voted down. Yes, they could bring their own cheese. The non-veggie kids want to be able to not have to cook two different items - one with and one without meat. They're tired of mac & cheese. Then there are the gluten free kids who can eat the meat, but no gluten so only rice or rice noodles and thickened sauces ONLY if they're thickened w/o gluten ingredients. Some of the kids really pay their own way and object to paying a higher grub fee (in addition to objecting to the food) so that everyone can eat the same thing. So while they're trying to carry out the letter of the patrol method, it isn't having the desired result of unifying the boys as a part of the patrol. The result is our regular diet kids resent the restrictions of the special diet kids and the special diet kids don't feel part of the patrol at meal time. Bringing their own food addresses the resentment issues, but doesn't unify the patrol around cooking/meals. Special diet kids will always be preparing some portion of their own meal, feeling left out of that process anyway, so there isn't unification. If they prepare as a part of a veggie patrol, for example, at least they would be a part of a group. The question arises that if they have to prepare their own food as individuals, do they also have to help w/ the patrol food prep and clean up their cook gear and the patrols? If they are going to have a hot meal, they may even have to wait until the rest of the patrol is done cooking or we're looking at some creative way to share the equipment so everyone can eat at the same time. Not shooting down your recommendation because as I said I share the concerns. I believe that if you have special diet needs and go to Philmont, you are welcome to bring your own, so that is definitely a precedence within BSA. That is really the easiest, cleanest option. Looking for an approach that supports the patrol method AND meets the needs of the individuals, to the greatest extent possible.
  10. hopalong

    Picky Eaters and Restrictive Diets

    Twocubdad, it is a challenge and for at least one of the gluten free kids it is a family choice. We're seeing more and more families in our area choose gluten free because they "feel better". One of our steps is going to be to stress to parents that any medically necessary diets need to be listed on the med form. Our boys are in age similar patrols. It works out very well, except for the meal issue. I'm wondering what it would be like to do as you say for meals only. The gluten free kids plan their meals together, but tent w/ their regular patrol. Same for the vegetarians. They would probably eat better and the ill will that you point out, Nike, between the diet needs/regular diet kids, would be reduced. The eating together portion of the patrol method would be lost, but good will increased? Would give the special diet kids a chance to get creative within their diet restrictions. Those with the severe allergies could continue to do as they do since it works for them. Perhaps the policy we come up with needs to be more in the form of general guidelines such as having the patrols regroup for meals around diet issues and having the goal of keeping kids safe while finding a balance between the needs of the many and the needs of the few. Listing a few options for how this can be carried out so the troop can flex the method as needed. One question...if we have a vegetarian leader...would it be a bad thing for them to be in the food patrol with the vegetarian boys? Is that crossing a line or is it being flexible to meet a need? Would probably have to combine other regular eating patrols as well or we'll have to come up with gear for two more patrols for cooking. Finding a place where everyone can eat out is a whole 'nother story. At that point, the troop stops where the severe allergy kids can eat safely and everyone orders something or the severe allergy kids pack a lunch.
  11. hopalong

    Adult QM?

    Thanks, all, for the replies and insights into how you're handling QM. Twocubdad, there are definitely other issues, including the fact that the SM allowed the boys to burn the old sled in Nov because it was too heavy for them and they wanted a new one. His style is more of ordering/demanding rather than requesting and that causes its fair share of issues. Routinely says that if we want to replace him, to "go ahead". Sigh. Your responses have given me some ideas for approaching the Committee Chair. Will ask a bunch of questions about how we got here to make sure I understand issues and approach a suggestion that we return as much as possible of this to the boys with some mentoring. The gear is stored between a storage unit and trailer, so there will definitely be an adult role in this. Which "side" they come from doesn't really matter. Just need to keep adult responsibilities to a bare minimum.
  12. hopalong

    Picky Eaters and Restrictive Diets

    Glad to see this thread. I've been tasked by our Committee to have a group of parents come up with a "policy" for how to deal with the range of allergy/intolerance/preference issues for food. Would like to have a policy that allows it to be dealt with at the patrol level, but the impetus for the policy seems to be that the patrols are not handling it well. So, fix it with a policy, right? :-) My hope is that in the process of trying to come up with a policy, we will see that it should be handled at the patrol level. In our troop of 40 boys, we have at least three vegetarians, at least four gluten intolerant, one milk protein allergy, one boy who's mom has him avoid so many foods we can't keep track (and he doesn't want to eat this way), and another scout with severe (anaphylaxis) allergies to four foods. The severe allergy scout is a 16 yo Life Scout and handles his foods well and independently. The milk protein allergy scout is 11 yo and his father is an ASM who accompanies him on each outing. These severe allergy and milk protein allergy scouts bring their own substitute foods rather than take a chance. They also pay the grub fee just in case there is something on the patrol menu that they can share in. This works well for them and their families. Parents of our other seven special diet kids dislike this approach and want to make sure the patrol meal is edible by all OR pay only for what their scout will eat from the patrol meal. One issue comes up when the scouts who are on the special diet don't follow it and eat what they haven't paid for, resulting in the other patrol members having less. Another issue comes up when the patrol just doesn't want to have to eat that yucky food that the special diet kids eat. This is especially true of our vegetarian and gluten scouts. When one of our gluten kids did his 1st class patrol cooking requirement, some of his patrol members scrounged food off of other patrols because he didn't "like" what was being served. Since the menus are planned by the patrol and approved by the SPL, it seems to me that intervention to correct the "issues" should be at those level. Am I on the right track?
  13. hopalong

    Adult QM?

    I have been a committee member for about 3 years - transferred to a new troop about a year ago where I am a committee member. We have a SM and six ASMs and 40 scouts. In this new troop there is a Committee member (not me!) who is assigned to the position of adult QM. This seems very odd to me. The Troop has minimal equipment, which is stored off site from where we meet. It is the responsibility of the Adult QM to make sure that the equipment is inventoried and in good repair, to purchase whatever the SM wants purchased, and to pull from the storage locker whatever the Troop needs for an outing IF the Troop is not departing from the storage locker location. What I've observed happening is the SM attends the Committee meeting and expresses his frustration that equipment is not repaired, is missing, needs replacing, didn't get pulled, etc. and complains that the adult QM is not doing his job. I have been wondering why those who use the equipment are not responsible for at least reporting of status of the equipment after every use. And why is a committee member pulling equipment? I can't see the benefit of a Committee member having to go and inventory and inspect equipment after every event. At our most recent meeting the SM announced to the committee that he needed us to get him a new Klondike sled within 3 weeks. Most of the committee was befuddled. I think they probably didn't really know how Klondike sleds were obtained. I chimed in and asked him if he was seriously asking the committee to build him a sled. His response was that we needed to find him someone to do that. The way this worked out was the SM told the Committee Chair which ASM to speak to. I shared that the specs and materials list are on line w/ our Council. The Chair went to the ASM and asked him to please coordinate building a sled. The SM and the contacted ASM have scheduled a day to build the sled. I'm shaking my head wondering why this is so convoluted. I can certainly see the SM coming to the committee saying he needs approval to purchase materials to make a sled. I'd like to propose to the Chair that if an Adult QM is needed, the role is more appropriate on the SM/ASM side rather than the Committee side. Since I am not SM/ASM trained, I want to be sure I'm not missing something about how a Troop best operates before I make this proposal. Does anyone else have an Adult QM on the Committee side? Does it work better than it seems to be working for us? Any feedback is appreciated.
  14. hopalong

    What is program and what is not?

    Sorry for the confusion. My role is CC. I have been in the Pack a total of six years, with 2.5 as secretary and since May 08 as CC. We do have a mess. I am considering having the Commissioner staff come in to help us sort this out, but not sure if it will be beneficial. Our Pack has a history of doing things its own way, as opposed to the BSA way. For ex., training wasn't considered necessary. I served as Secretary for 2.5 years without ever registering as a Committee member because I was told it wasn't necessary to register. Den Leaders were told they could go ahead and serve for a year without training and so most did. Den Leaders were not allowed to attend Committee meetings when I first joined the Committee. Our Chartered Org serves in name only. We even provide our own space. When asked to take on the CC role (there wasn't anyone else), I knew I had to register and then figured there must be training for the role, so I sought it out by contacting the Council. Our Pack was circling the drain when I took the role. I have not pulled it back alone. Committee members have become excited about having a more active Pack. We recruited more boys and parents and we're trying to turn it around. Bob White, I understand we need a team effort and that is my goal. We have just now gotten all direct contact leaders trained to position and have two new committee members who need to attend training. You list program leader separate from Cubmaster, etc. Who would this be? We are turning our entire paradigm around here. Training is a good, desirable thing. Quality Unit is something we hope to earn and we're talking about it to Leaders. We have people stepping forward to help. We haven't really participated in Council events for several years until this year. We have been jumpstarting a dying Pack. A legacy of our Pack history is that our Cubmaster doesn't believe it is necessary to attend Committee meetings or for the Den Leaders to meet. They've never had to before, right? SctDad, you are having a planning meeting. I would like to see our Pack do this. Is it led by your CC? Do your other Committee members attend? Do your committee members deal with issues such as advancements and budget at a separate meeting? CubPack 28, thank you for examples you provide. What you describe is what I believe we need to move toward for these activities. ScoutNut, thank you for the description of the monthly leaders meetings. Alone, this would go a long way toward solving many of our issues. I assume you cover all Pack related issues in this monthly planning meeting, as opposed to separating out budget or other issues for the committee members to deal with separately? Your description of all of the leaders pulling together is where we want to be by May. In May, we have a new set of committee members taking over. We will have a new Cubmaster who has already been to training and wants to do the job well, as opposed to scraping by. We hope to have Den Leaders pulled into the team effort. Thank you all for your feedback. Further suggestions on how to get to where we need to be is also appreciated. Getting our Cubmaster to buy into the change to Leader meetings and getting Den Leaders to attend an additional montly meeting will be my first challenge, although the Den Leaders may welcome a format for support and planning. I can't help but think they feel like they've been set off alone.
  15. hopalong

    What is program and what is not?

    Try as I might, I can't seem to condense this post. I am looking for advice on how other Packs discriminate between what is program and what is not program, particularly in the case of activities that are not Den or Pack meetings. Our current situation is that the Committee has planned and been responsible for everything that is not Den meeting, by default. This discrimination would relieve the Committee of many responsibilities that seem to be program. I've taken on the PC role this year (have six years in the Pack and 2.5 on the Committee as secretary) and wish to bring our Committee and program people more in line with a BSA model. I don't expect that I can make a complete transition, as I have only one year to do this (son ages out), but we have great new leaders coming in next year (including Cubmaster and Assistant CM) and I would like to get this new direction started for them. I have been to Pack Committee training and attend roundtables. I've read the position descriptions, duties, and responsibilities. I've read the Cub Leader Handbook. I speak to the DE at Council very often. I have sought advice from our COR (very supportive). What I am unable to find are concrete examples of the implementation of these position descriptions. This is particularly necessary when implementing a change. What I have found in speaking to leaders of other Packs is that it is not uncommon for the Pack Committee to run program. Some concrete questions: What pieces of Pinewood Derby, Raingutter Regatta, family camping, outdoor outings that fulfill rank requirements or electives, Christmas party, Blue & Gold, and Graduation are program and should be planned by the Cubmaster/Den Leaders? What pieces are Committee? What roles do the Cubmaster/Committee play in promoting and getting Scouts to Council events such as Cuboree, Day Camps, etc? Who finds adult leaders willing to attend? Right now, every detail of every activity that is not Pack meeting or Den meeting falls to the Outings Chair. (Pack Meeting has fallen to Advancements) You can imagine why no one is willing to take this on (position is vacant for five years now). As a result, it all falls to the PC and of necessity, the Committee pulls it together and hopes that the Den Leaders and Cubmaster attend. PC members arrange and lead all activities during the event. We have monthly Pack Committee meetings. The Cubmaster has attended 2 of 7. There are no meetings of Cubmaster and Den Leaders. I assume the Cubmaster would schedule routine meetings with his Den Leaders so that they can plan program pieces for these activities. My goal is to set parameters for the Cubmaster and Committee to work effectively together by clearly identifying some Pack level specific areas of responsibility, as it relates to traditional non-Den meeting activities, for each. As we currently are, the Committee doesn't have time to deal with Committee issues such as fundraisers because we spend so much time on program. Any suggestions are appreciated.
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