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Everything posted by Hunt

  1. There simply is no rule prohibiting scouts from wearing uniforms while performing Eagle projects. In my opinion, this is a rather far-fetched extrapolation from the idea that the Eagle project is not a BSA activity, per se. While it is primarily an activity done for the organization benefitted, it is clearly also a BSA activity, since int is planned according to BSA critera and approved by BSA representatives. On the other hand, requiring boys to wear uniforms in order to get advancement credit for working on an Eagle project is, in my opinion, unreasonably adding to the advancement requirements. The sensible approach is the one practiced by essentially all the units I've ever seen: don't wear the uniform for heavy work, but wear it for public contact. (Insurance really has nothing to do with this; wearing or not wearing the uniform will not affect whether insurance will cover the activity.)
  2. Ed asks a good question, which you didn't answer, Merlyn. Was the soccer clinic open to all kids? Because if it was, I'm not exactly sure what your objection is. Are you saying that no membership-restricted group should receive a grant to fund a nonrestricted activity? Plus, I have to add that if the soccer clinic was in fact open to all kids, to accuse the council of trying to defraud the public is a lie.
  3. The rosters that we received with our recharter did not include these ID numbers. The only document that I have ever seen them on is the ID card. We had to call the service center to get an ID number for a boy who needed it for his Eagle application, and who could not find the ID card. So you might want to suggest that the boys write the number down in a safe place at home, especially if they are planning to carry the card around with them.
  4. "Maybe we should think about a way to diversify scouting to accommodate different groups of people." We already have it. It's the natural variation in units that comes from sponsorship by different COs, and from the "character" that units take on over time. Already there are troops that lean toward what you describe as "red" or "blue." And yet there is still enough common ground that those troops can all wear the same (or at least similar) uniforms, meet at a Camporee, go to summer camp, earn the same advancements, recite the same Oath and Law, etc. If somebody really wants an organization at one of the extremes, he or she is free to start it and call it something other than Scouting. To put it another way, I think it is highly unlikely that BSA will experience a schism, whether it retains or changes its membership policies. What could happen, I think, is that rather than splitting down the middle, most of the middle would stay in and one extreme or the other would split off.
  5. I suppose there are people who would be more comfortable in one or the other of the extremes that Pappy describes (although his description of what the Red State scouts would be like is a bit different from how I would put it). Personally, I would find either extreme undesirable.
  6. Judge X was trying a civil case between two corporations. Before the trial, he called the lawyers for the two sides into his chambers. On his desk were two envelopes. "Gentlemen," the judge said, "I have had a shocking experience. In this envelope that you passed me, Mr. Jones, I find five thousand dollars in cash, and a request that I decide this case in favor of your client. In this envelope from Mr. Smith, I find six thousand dollars in cash, and a similar request on behalf of his client. How do you think I should deal with this outrage?" The two lawyers were silent. "It seems to me I have only one choice," the judge continued, "I am going to return one thousand dollars to Mr. Smith, and decide the case impartially" Here's another: A doctor, a banker, a stockbroker, and a lawyer were longtime golf buddies. The banker died suddenly, and the other three went to his viewing. Afterwards, they went out for a few drinks. "I felt so strongly about our friend," the doctor said, "that at the viewing I put my Rolex watch worth $2000 in the coffin with him." "That's nothing," said the stockbroker, "I was so grief-stricken that I put my platinum cigarette case worth $5,000 in the coffin with him." "You guys are both pikers," said the lawyer. "I was so moved that I put into the coffin my personal check for $30,000."
  7. I'm reasonably happy with the four remaining leading candidates, because my first test of any candidate is: "How likely is it that this person will wreck the country?" I don't think any of them are likely to wreck the country--they're all smart, not too nutty, reasonably well connected to other leaders, etc. I thought Giuliani had a greater prospect of wrecking the country, so I was glad to see him drop out. While I thought Edwards himself was OK, it is very likely that his wife will die in the next four years--a trauma the country doesn't need. Paul and Kucinich are too nutty, and Huckabee may also be a bit too nutty. Thompson himself wouldn't wreck the country, but it might wreck itself while he slumbered.
  8. I guess I'm just more cynical about human nature. I think a lot of people, even professionals, will choose not to "get involved" unless they have a legal duty to report (and probably immunity from liability for reporting).
  9. I have to agree that I have rarely (if ever) in the real world heard a discussion of whether a particular unit was more rule-bound or more laissez-faire. When I do hear criticisms, it tends to be that the unit is an "Eagle Mill," or that it doesn't support the district and council by selling popcorn or attending the local camp, or that it's too small, or too big, etc. When I hear a troop being praised for having a "good program," that usually refers to its outdoor program. When I read articles in the paper about a unit, it's either (a) some beneficial project it did or (b) the number of Eagles it produces. I think something that goes on here that doesn't happen as much in the real world is delving more into the behind-the-scenes elements that make a program or less effective. In the real world, we're more likely to discuss how the mosquitoes were at the camp this summer.
  10. I share FireKat's perplexity at what to do when kids show a lack of manners, and we have only limited contact with them. It seems to me that a friendly reminder with an explanation is the best approach is such a case, i.e., "It would probably be a good idea to throw those packets in the trash, so we don't give extra work to the custodians who have to clean up this room after us. We'd like them to have a good opinion of the Scouts." versus "Hey, throw out your trash! Don't you know that it's rude to leave it there?" In both cases, you're conveying a clear message of what is polite, but the second message will probably just be interepreted as an adult exerting authority. (To relate this to courtesy on the forum, I would just say that it's always better to explain why you think something is the better approach.)
  11. I think the magic words here are "group of older boys." I can tell you that at least where I live, there is no way that parents would allow younger boys to camp overnight without adult supervision. My observation is that parents (around here, anyway) are anxious about letting 13-year-olds go to the mall without adult supervision. A lot of the parents are anxious about letting their boys camp overnight WITH adult supervision. I should note that this isn't primarily about trusting the boys--it's fear of crime--probably exaggerated and unrealistic, but it is what it is. In the case of my son's troop, there aren't enough older boys currently to make up a patrol of boys old enough to do this, anyway. I think if the 14-16 year olds in the troop wanted to camp out overnight without adults, both the leaders and the parents would probably think it was safe--but they aren't all in a single patrol.
  12. You know, I often hear this statistic that the public's opinion of Congress is lower than their (very low) opinion of the President. But what does this mean? Does it really mean that their opinion of Congress has declined since the Democrats took over? Or does it just mean that people have generally lost faith in Congress? I would also point out that although people think Congress is awful, they usually think that their own Representative is good. (That's what people think about doctors and lawyers, too, by the way.)
  13. One small advantage of having a Crew affiliated with a Troop is that both can get in the lottery for High Adventure locations.
  14. "Let's face it, most citizens will report anything they find genuinely disturbing without the need for any legal requirement that they do so." Although I agree with a lot of what you say, I'm not so sure I agree with what's stated above. I think I do want some people--people with training--to know that they have a legal responsibility to report.
  15. "If this comes to pass, mine will go into a 401K." You can't do that--it would be unpatriotic. You have to spend the money on something that you wouldn't otherwise buy. That is, if you get any money. The House scheme only gives anything up to certain incomes (I think $150,000 for a couple), which lets out a lot of the middle class. The Senate is looking at a plan that would give $500 to more people. It will probably have to be worked out in a House-Senate Conference--if the whole idea doesn't just disappear.
  16. Perhaps another way to state what I think Beavah is getting at is that in any system of reporting, the risk of false reporting is a cost. That risk--and that cost--increases the broader you make the duty to report, and the more untrained people have an obligation to report. Let's imagine that a law is passed that requires you to call the police if you have a reasonable suspicion that somebody is breaking into your neighbor's house. If you don't report, you can be punished. I think this will result in a lot of false reporting, when the neighbor's son comes home in the middle of the night, when the UPS man comes, when the neighbor's dog inexplicably starts barking, etc. While there might be more accurate reports, you have to ask whether the increase in false reports are worth it. And while this is not really about BSA's YPT requirements, it can be about state laws that apply to us as youth leaders.
  17. Hunt

    Semi Custom Patches

    It's great if BSA has decided to issue a blanket waiver for shops within the council--but that info needs to be pushed to units so they understand what they can and cannot do. Of course, I'm confident that 9 out of 10 (or maybe 99 out of 100) units know nothing about this and have their T-Shirts with BSA logos made at the local shirt shop with no license fee paid, because the info about the restriction wasn't really pushed down to the local units, either.
  18. My son's unit has some of these "rogue" characteristics. They stem, at least in part, from a conflict that occurred a number of years ago. In fact, there are no longer any boys in the troop who were there at the time, and only a few adults--but the hard feelings remain. (But things have improved somewhat, as the cast of characters at district and council have also changed.) I think that some of the "rogue" characteristics (like going to an out of council camp and relying on fundraisers other than popcorn) can become entrenched as a troop tradition. For example, my son's troop has been going to the same out-of-council camp ever since he has been in the troop (and long before), and nobody wants to change. Similarly, the troop has been doing the same (very successful) fundraiser for years and years, and it would make little sense to drop it and switch to popcorn sales.
  19. I think it should be added that there are some scouts who are not ready to take responsibility for taking their meds at the right time. Some of these kids function well enough to go to summer camp without a parent, but they still will need somebody to remind them to take meds and to insure that they do. The issue, of course, is whether anybody is willing or able to assume that responsibility.
  20. I suspect that many, probably most, COs rely on the existing unit leadership to recommend new leaders and do nothing more than sign the applications. This is probably particularly true in the case of a CO that has a constantly changing membership (such as a PTA that may change its leadership every year). I agree that the ideal is a CO that is really involved and actually helps you find leaders.
  21. I'd be interested in hearing how folks working with small troops go about finding, recruiting, and approving leaders. In many of the small troops I've seen leaders are often parents of scouts who have stepped into those roles, often without a lot of scouting background. In many cases, they remain as leaders after their own sons age out, and eventually are replaced by parents of current scouts. I'd be very interested in hearing success stories of recruiting adult leaders who were not family members of scouts. I'm not suggesting that there is anything wrong with the parents who step up as leaders--most of them do a good job, get trained, etc. However, they are somewhat transitory, and you may find yourself in a period where there really isn't a great candidate among the parents. (For example, we have a fair number of older parents who are willing to help, but aren't really capable of hiking, backpacking, etc.)
  22. Hunt

    Semi Custom Patches

    BSA really needs to craft a blanket "small order waiver" to address this problem. A unit that is trying to have 10 shirts made should not have to deal with a $250 registration fee for the local shirt shop. The waiver could include guidelines on what is acceptable. I agree that BSA needs to control and protect its trademarks and copyrights, but it should place that interest after the best interests of unit programs. (I feel BSA is making the same mistake by limiting certain publications to print versions, in particular the merit badge pamphlets.)
  23. Hunt

    Camo Neckerchief

    This has come up several times, and there doesn't seem to be any explicit BSA rule against camo clothing. However: 1. Some Scouters firmly believe that there is such a rule, and will react negatively when they see the camo. Some of these people might be camp directors, and they might even have a camp rule against it. 2. Some people argue that camo is inappropriate for Scouts because it suggests either military or hunting.
  24. I don't think this nitpicking is too bad as long as it isn't mean-spirited. I've rarely seen a photo of Scouts or Scouters without at least some minor uniforming flaw--indeed, it's almost inevitable since some of the rules are pretty arcane. Case in point: the Tot'n Chip patch, which is shaped like a pocket flap, but can't be placed on a pocket flap. Why is it shaped this way?
  25. It's awfully hard to diagnose problems when you can only get a few glimpses through a periscope. However, I will make a few observations: If the SM founded the troop, he probably has a good relationship with the CO, and you're not likely to be able to get him removed over management style. If he's "ruling" the troop and making all the decisions, you really have only two options---try to work with him to persuade him to let go a bit, or go elsewhere. And going elsewhere is not necessarily a failure--it can just be a recognition that you don't fit with this SM's style.
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