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jackmessick

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  1. Local Scouters here keep telling me that pioneering projects that are towers cannot have people on it any higher than 6 feet. I have looked in the latest edition of G2SS and it still only has limits on Monkey Bridges, as to length, diameter rope, number of people on it simultaneously, what it crosses (if anything). Besides out of their own minds, does anyone know where this rule, if it is true, comes from?
  2. jackmessick

    Archery Merit Badge

    You should also check with the city/town/county in which you are camping to see if they allow bow and arrow shooting. Many cities ban the use of Archery tackle and equipment within their city limits. If this was a District or Council event, you would likely need a National Camp School certified instructor in shooting sports, or the Archery USA trained instructor, but Guide to Safe Scouting only requires that you follow the "Sweet Sixteen of Safety," which is outlined in the G2SS book.
  3. jackmessick

    Camping Merit Badge Req 9a

    The phrases about a tent you have pitched and even that it must be a Scouting trip have been added in the last 30 years to clarify this requirement (That they must all be Scouting trips was actually added within the last 10 years). so the spirit of the requirement, since Summer Camp is usually 5 or 6 nights, is that the other 14 or 15 nights camping must be short term, overnight, 2 night, 3 night, or 4 night trips. I have given grace to some Scouts, crediting one night of camping for things like the second year of summer camp or for NYLT, if they are otherwise close. But, totally by the book, I am probably doing wrong with that.
  4. Over the last three months or so, the philosophical differences between the Troop Committee and myself as Scoutmaster are apparently widening, to the point where I do not believe I fit in with the direction they want to take the troop. The committee members and parents are focused on earning merit badges, in my opinion to the point where they consider it an aim and not a method. This gives little or no chance for boy leadership to develop, which I have been trying to move the troop toward, as we are still adult-centered more than an "ideal" troop would be. Also, I am concerned that this is turning the troop in to a "Merit Badge Factory." Boys earned certain merit badges earlier this year. When I went to those Scouts (chief among them the Troop Committee Chairman's son) to have them instruct in skills related to that badge, their response was to flatly refuse, saying "I don't know how to do that." The subjects were simple things like basic first aid, square lashings and shear lashings. If adults are brought into instruct in merit badges all the time, it becomes more like "advanced Cub Scouting" or "third year Webelos." If this continues, I see myself leaving my Scoutmaster post, probably at the end of January due to commitments I made on behalf of the troop. I just don't believe they want a true Boy Scouting program anymore. I have tried to communicate this, but I am not getting through effectively. What should I do?
  5. jackmessick

    800 Pound Gorillas

    Living in eastern Idaho, I am in a minority compared to all the LDS Scouters as an evangelical Christian. There are some reasons why LDS units will not participate, which took me a few years to find out the scoop. LDS units use the Scout program as their male youth program. Thus, they prefer even more division of youth members by age, as the Scout program also includes religious instruction. This is why you have Varsity Scouting in the first place. They have Scouts aged 12 and 13, Varsity Scouts at 14 and 15, and Venturing for 16 and 17. Most LDS Churches in my area also have an "11-year-old" Scout troop with its own Scoutmaster (although I believe it is not really a separate chartered unit). Until the 1940's or 50's, you could not be a Scout until you were 12 in any troop, and the LDS kept that rule. LDS boys, at a young age, have responsibilities every Sunday in the church. Thus, if an event lasts until Sunday, they will not attend that event. So, unless you tailor the event to have some kind of an end on Saturday afternoon, they will not be there. We have a Winteree that mainly ends the competitions on Saturday afternoon, so that the LDS troops can at least win some awards. They go home, and the non-LDS units continue the event. Everybody leaves happy. Summer Camp in Idaho and Utah runs from Monday to Saturday just for that reason. Youth Jamboree attendees actually have to get a special dispensation to go, since the Jamboree takes place over more than a week. LDS adult leaders have a high turn over rate (1 to 3 years). That position is given to a certain position in the church bureaucracy, so when the male adult leader leaves that position, he leaves the job as Scoutmaster. These adults have varying degrees of committment to Scouting; some just play basketball every week, others actually run a true program. As you can expect, there isn't much experience out there with some adult leaders with that kind of turn over. There is a movement to change that, but LDS leadership is not quite on board with that. LDS churches each have to run their own Pack, Troop, Team, and Crew. They are not allowed to merge at the Ward level, yet. This means that the children in that church are the only ones in that pack, troop, etc. Thirty years ago, when people were having big families, this still could mean at least small to moderate sized packs and troops. But even LDS families are not as big as they used to be. We have troops that consist of three boys in my home district. So much for the patrol method. I have heard that they are re-thinking this policy, but it is dictated by churchwide leadership, not to be altered by the local church leaders. An LDS troop does not have elections. Leadership is appointed based on the position the youth has in the church's young mens' association. LDS troop are also fully funded by the local Church, unlike most other troops that need to have fundraisers. But a church leaders' idea of "fully funded" depends on his interpretation. Sometimes they will only pay for the boys to attend the Klondike Derby OR the Spring Camporee OR Summer Camp, which means a pretty limited Scout experience. I think this is rare, though, to be that limited. But it has happened. Finally, some kept bringing up the euphemism that the LDS church would leave Scouting if units were allowed to "set their own criteria" for selecting adult leadership. I am assuming that this person really meant that the LDS church would leave the Scouting movement if openly homosexual leaders were allowed. And they probably would. But so would many churches.
  6. jackmessick

    Veterans Day Parade, & Parades in General

    Find the person in charge of the ceremony, and see if they somehow can be involved in laying a wreath, or raising the flag at the ceremony. I was amazed at how happy and excited the American Legion and other veterans groups were when I spoke up and volunteered some troop members. Sadly, it appears that the audience for such events is ever shrinking, in spite of two wars currently on-going. Anyway, some of the vets offered to help train the Scouts to "do it right." I never saw my Scouts more committed to doing a flag ceremony correctly. The hard thing was finding the person in charge of the ceremonies. Check with your local American Legion Post, or any of the retiree associations.
  7. jackmessick

    Adults wearing uniforms to boost ego?

    My version of the latest Scoutmaster's Handbook recommends that Scoutmasters limit the amount of badges placed on his uniform, to maintain an uncluttered appearance. I suppose there is a point to that. I have a number of s/s shirts for summer camp that have just the basic CSP, numerals, position badge, and my Eagle knot. Since I have to hand sew, it definitely encourages me to limit the number of badges. That being said, I don't think there is anything wrong with wearing everything you are entitled to. Not everyone who does that is necessarily a egotist, probably not even the majority who wear every knot they have earned are. Get to know the person first before judging them. I do have a "Court of Honor" l/s shirt to which i am thinking of adding my Scouter's Key, Training Award, District AoM, etc. It might highlight to the boys that adults earn awards. Our current Troop Committee Chairman works hard at Cub Day Camp, has attended summer camp and Council encampments with us. I am happy to see her in a Uniform with her Chairman badge, as that is the "official" position she fills, even though she does a lot more (a LOT more). However, our previous TCC's never got involved at that level. None of the previous ones ever desired to wear the uniform. I expect most don't. But there are a few who love Scouting and continue involvement with youth, even if their current official position does not necessarily require it. I remember our previous CSE had a HUGE number of knots on at least one of his uniform shirts. Yet, he was a pretty humble and quiet guy.
  8. jackmessick

    Safely mounting patches

    I have used these display cases for a number of years. They do not damage the emblems. Some may consider your badges "sewn" or "used" and no longer "mint." They are pricey, but offer a nice and safe method of display at Courts of Honor, etc. http://www.streamwood.net/scripts/prodList.asp?idCategory=45
  9. jackmessick

    Dutch Oven Heresy

    When I was a Scout in New England, we NEVER used charcoal; there was so much wood around, we didn't need to spend the money for charcoal. For estimating the amount of coals to put under and on top, we used the TLAR method (TLAR = "That Looks About Right") Of course, thirty-five years ago, we didn't have tables that indicated how many charcoal briquettes equals how much in temperature. Once I got back into Scouting, in Idaho, firewood is so scarce here that you can never rely on having enough, so we always pack charcoal.
  10. jackmessick

    More uniform changes and new BS HB

    Although I came in during the "red and white" days as a Cub Scout and a Scout, I think they should go back all the way to the 1930s when the background for the Cub Scout blue uniform numerals was blue with gold numbers. The whole idea in the uniform change was to subdue the "garishness" of the uniform. It seems to be the best rule would be tan-background numbers on tan shirts, and blue-background numbers on blue shirts, like the 1930s. And like Explorers of the 1940s, have a dark green background with brown numbers for the Venturing uniform. Or pick a color that is a little more visible. Maybe gray numerals to match the trousers. Our troop got a troop numeral patch with the city underneath from a patch company with the new numeral colors. I saw this 30 years ago done by a troop in Connecticut when BSA made the switch from community strips to council shoulder patches. Thought it would be a good idea--as many say, everybody wants to know where you are from, and usually they want to know the town. jack
  11. jackmessick

    Philmont training center patch

    I received both the participant badge and the Boy Scout conference badge (course was called "strictly for Scoutmasters"), but I went the first week of PTC being open. I believe that was done in previous years as well. Either they ran out, or as a previous poster said, they eliminated the Divisions, and thus eliminated the badges. But that doesn't seem likely--I mean, there just pieces of embroidered cloth...
  12. jackmessick

    Rank Badges versus Rank Pins

    anarchist: I agree that Scouts all should know how to sew. After the first change in temporary patch when I was a Scout, my mother left it to me to sew badges onto the uniform, which I did for the next 12 years for the rest of my time as a Scout and then as adult Camp Staff. But does anyone know how to instill the need for the skill?
  13. jackmessick

    Rank Badges versus Rank Pins

    The "them" referred to in the opening line above refers to the plastic rank badge holders.
  14. jackmessick

    Rank Badges versus Rank Pins

    Part of the problem is that the local Scout office sells them, and I have gotten the complaint "the boys advance too fast, although generally i have only seen them advance through the early ranks at a 4 to 6 month rate." I am thinking I could take off points on a uniform inspection, and maybe mention something in our monthly newsletter. Do any of you think it would be a good idea to prevent him from participating in a flag ceremony because of the plastic badge holder. And i do find it curious that the badges are now strongly controlled, but the pins, which are valid substitutes for badges, are not controlled at all.
  15. jackmessick

    Rank Badges versus Rank Pins

    Part of the problem is that the local Scout office sells them, and I have gotten the complaint "the boys advance too fast, although generally i have only seen them advance through the early ranks at a 4 to 6 month rate." I am thinking I could take off points on a uniform inspection, and maybe mention something in our monthly newsletter. Do any of you think it would be a good idea to prevent him from participating in a flag ceremony because of the plastic badge holder.
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