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About jeff-o

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  1. Our troop families don't have much money. Therefore, the only items we collect money for are annual fees ($12 or so) and summer camp ($175). The Scouts do good with their fundraisers in the fall and spring and raise enough money to even cover camping food fees. We usually camp places where its free or very little to pay to camp. Many Scouts also earn enough to pay for summer camp as well. It can be done!
  2. I've often heard it mentioned here about "passing" and "failing" ranks. At the same time, I've heard that the "Scoutmaster Conference" is just a conference -- and it "has" to be signed off when they meet and have the conference, and no SM can ever refuse (or should refuse) a conference. To me, this is sort of conflicting. On one hand, we have a program of advancement that's based entirely on individual scout achievement. But on the other hand, there are "approvals" of things like the scout oath and law. Do we, as Scoutmasters, actually have the authority to reject requirements that the scout has met (according to the scout)? For example, say a scout has completed all the requirements for Second Class. He's 11-12 years old. He has physically completed requirements #1-10. They appear for signoffs on the Scoutmaster Conference and the "Demonstrate Scout Spirit" requirements. Oh, and they're a real slacker. They've gotten in trouble before for stealing at campouts. They've been sent home from a campout for bringing some prohibited item. They start fights a few times a year and are instigators. They stay in line enough to not get thrown out, but not much more. They have been talked to a number of times and given behavior-type goals to meet. They meet some of them, but not others. So, they sit down, and they give concrete examples of demonstrating living the scout oath and law -- leaving out any of the problem times. What do you do as a Scoutmaster? Does the Scoutmaster have the authority to say, "Sorry, you're not living up to the oath and law?" From what I've read here, it seems the majority opinion is tell him, "Gee, you're not doing so good. But here you go, you get to advance because there's nothing I can do to stop your advancement." And sooner or later, this same Scout makes it to an Eagle board somehow before he is arrested. So bottom line, how do you prevent a scout from advancing if they're not living the oath and law, but they are meeting the basic requirements -- especially if there is an appeal process that will stop any attempt to refuse advancement?
  3. I don't remember way back when. In the Scout book today, it shows a small star that goes around the patrol patch for honor patrol.
  4. We started with almost the same thing, just over a year ago. We had 6 Webelos cross over at age 11 (all with arrow of light). In my mind, we're on a 4-year plan to get the troop completely Scout-run. Why? Because they don't have any older scouts to model themselves after, so I have to teach them while letting them lead. I spent the first couple months showing them how scout meetings go, following the guide in the SM handbook, including the suggested outline. After that, we elected a patrol leader (one patrol, no SPL or anything yet). Then, for the next month, I worked with the patrol leader until we got to the point where the patrol leader was responsible for openings. After a few months of games, we are now to the point where each month (at our PL Council meeting -- which is everyone staying 15 minutes after the regular meeting) we get one volunteer to handle the gathering game, and another to do the meeting competition game. At the August planning session, we did similar to Mr. Irish, in giving them a lot of ideas and voting on the next year's plan. They picked the theme for each month and we've been following that since last August. They have helped pick and decide locations and activities for campouts, but I have generally followed through with details and specifics for them so far. Since that time, we've added two more scouts who are now a bit behind the others in advancement. Not enough for another patrol yet, but to the point where the "older" ones can teach basic skills to the others. So patrol time is now planning campout menus, duty rosters, and teaching basic scout skills to one another. The patrol leader is only 12 now, so he's not completely setting patrol meeting agendas, but we're working to that point. Next Spring we expect to get a full patrol from our feeder Pack. Then we will have two patrols and scouts with 2 years of experience. Not quite enough for a guide, but maybe, we'll see. In another year after that, only after a 3rd patrol shows up, will we likely add a SPL and leadership corps -- again, we'll see. My main idea is the slowly give more and more control over to the scouts. And oh yes, let them fail. Our first campout I let the scouts pack the patrol box. They forgot a spatula. Its fun trying to cook hamburgers on a open fire on a grill with no spatula -- and they haven't forgotten one since that time. They plan the meals, they pack, the prepare. I'm only there for suggestions and to keep them safe at this point. I figure in a couple more years, they'll be able to do all the campsite planning and I'll have even less to do!
  5. Perhaps this thread can be moved to debate, as it appears to me to be just people complaining about others' beliefs now, and has nothing to do with BSA policy?
  6. Yes. Should. Our recent DE looked at me like I was from Mars when I asked for such a list. About 6 months ago one person showed up at round table with a ticket to make such a list. No progress so far. I think the only way a list will appear is if I personally make it (which I'm trying to find time to do). And yes, I want to see lots of adult interaction. And yes, the scouts absolutely make the call to the few merit badge counselors we have set up. Heck, we have our scouts even call the chair of the troop advancement committee (sounds impressive, but, well) to schedule board of reviews for first class and above ranks (to increase adult interaction). So yes, I know what we have isn't great, and I'm working to make it better -- but its not there yet. Just letting people know that sometimes you'll see a signature all over the place just because no one else will do it.
  7. Just to pipe in on this thread, realize that each scout unit is going to be different. For example, our unit struggles to get two adults to show up for a campout. As the Scoutmaster, I'm always there, but no other adults will step up and volunteer to be consistent, so each campout has different adults there (but we always manage to get two). So, just imagine what merit badge counselors are like. Yes, its mostly me. I've managed to get a couple adults to sign up for one merit badge, but that's it. And yes, I've asked district for help. We're a new troop with just 8 registered scouts, but on most of the blue cards, that's my signature -- because I'm not going to delay allowing a scout to earn a merit badge because I can't find someone else to be counselor. Yes, I know its not great, and yes, I'm asking in all sorts of directions for counselors -- but also yes, most of the merit badge my son has earned (except those from summer camp) are signed off by me. Hopefully that will change when we add a few more scouts in the fall and next year's crossover!
  8. As others have mentioned, get the Scouts to make the selection. In our August planning meeting last year, the Scouts decided they wanted to do two service projects in the coming year during camp outs. The first we completed a couple months ago -- the scouts camped on a trail in a national park and spent Saturday clearing the trail and re-blazing the trail. We had full attendance -- and the Scouts selected the project.(This message has been edited by jeff-o)
  9. Again, good ideas discussed here. Here's a couple things our troop has done recently: 1. Bird Study. During the August planning meeting, the scouts selected Bird Study as the "theme" for this month. So, this month, during the 15-20 minutes of instruction time of the troop meeting, I have showed them pictures of birds, showed them how to identify birds, and discussed bird calls. And I've pointed out there is a Bird Study merit badge for anyone who is interested. As a result, the scouts had a great time trying to remember the specific types of birds (NORTHERN Cardinal? Why that's just a cardinal!), and zero have asked about or tried to complete the merit badge. We all had fun. 2. Two first-class scouts are showing interest in the First Aid merit badge. They have both said, "Gosh, I can do all this. All I have to do is show it to the merit badge counselor?" They are going to be taking the next couple of meeting's instruction time to show other scouts their First Aid skills. So, yes, we're working with merit badges in troop meetings, but they're not classes, no one is getting anything for just showing up (I tell them often this isn't Cub Scouts where that happens), and the scouts are driving what we're doing. I think we're doing it "right."
  10. And if you do go for the new unit, please do get the den leader and Cub Master specific training. There's some things you described that should never happen in cub scouts. For example -- any camping trip with any Cub Scout absolutely requires parents to attend (or designated guardian). Cub Scouts is supposed to be a family activity, not a babysitting service.
  11. Get out now. And yes, if you haven't been, get training yourself and join up with another unit.
  12. Its supposed to be a bird. What is it, really? A deformed smurf dog is my guess.
  13. I'm right there with you, twocubdad. When I look at the Scouting schedule, its a maximum of one day a week and one weekend a month. That's it, there's really no more time. And, if you don't want to attend something, there's no punishment, no being held back, nothing. I compare that to just about every other recreation and school event that requires 2-4 nights a week, many, many weekends, and severe punishments if you miss any practice, event, or game. Scouting is pretty easy on the schedule comparatively.
  14. And the line I have used many times: "Scouting isn't for everyone." If the boy hates going outdoors, he's not going to be happy in scouts! If the boy doesn't like to get dirty, he's not going to have much fun. If the boy doesn't like physical contact and male competition, he's not going to enjoy his scouting experience.
  15. No idea which was first. Most memorable was cycling. I was about 14 years old and planned that 50-mile bike trip with my best friend. We rode bikes all over the place for that badge. That was just darn fun.
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