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Everything posted by Jerry

  1. Jerry

    Neckerchiefs for Adults

    I've been told at times that adult scouters aren't supposed to wear neckerchiefs, but at a recent Scout Sunday, I couldn't help but feel somewhat underdressed with such a naked neck. So what's the actual word on this? Can an adult wear a troop neckerchief? What about the Eagle or NESA neckerchiefs? Would these be appropriate for an adult Scouter to wear at formal activities (Courts of Honor, Scout Sundays, etc,) or are they like the Eagle badge, and only allowed for youth Eagles? The Scoutmaster's Handbook and the insignia guide seem a little sparse on this issue, so any thoughts would be appreciated.
  2. Thankyou Bob White for demonstrating the awsome power of assumption. I did address Annalisa's question some time ago, but did so privately. Anyone who's followed other recent threads already knows my views on women in scouting and I didn't feel the need bore everyone by repeating myself.
  3. Annalisa was first to go on the offensive? Please read her first post and tell me - what about it was even remotely confrontational? She had a question, and she provided us with basic background information so we could know the context of her question. Now look at Bobwhites initial response. He begins with the telling, with all due respect, a comment that invariably precedes criticism. He then questions the purpose of her thesis, how she intends to conduct her research, and even goes so far as to suggest that her work is inappropriate for a doctoral study. And for all the feathers he ruffled, his questioning did NOTHING to facilitate the discussion at hand: the pros and cons of women in scouting. If I came on this site and asked for a good place for my troop to camp, would you ask if Id had my permission slips filled out? If my membership was current? If Id taken Scoutmaster training and if I had enough gear for everyone? Thats essentially what Bobwhite did he used this womans question to pry into things that had no relevance to the discussion and were certainly none of his business, and in doing so he managed to distract this thread from the original question and thereby deprived Annalisa of a valuable resource. Nice job, Bob.
  4. "Where did I lecture her? Did I not support her efforts in obtaining her PHD? Did I not offer my opinion at the outset that the BSA program did not treat women differently and that it was individuals who did but not because of the BSA?" Her question wasn't about whether or not the BSA treated women differently - it was about whether or not female participation was a good thing. But rather than offering any insight into this simple issue, you chose to bombard her with questions about her intentions. Yes, you supported her efforts to get a PhD. You ALSO suggested she "redirect her doctoral efforts." For a guy asking so many questions, you certainly seem to think you already have all the answers. Why on earth would you make such a suggestion based on such limited information? "My experience (and I shouldn't have to apologize for having experience) made me ask questions about her thesis. And why can't I ask her a question, she got to ask me one." Do you answer everyone's question with a question? She was looking for information - all you did was regurgitate the rule book and question her motives. So why'd you post at all? "And doesn't it strike you as curious that she should have determined the length of the thesis before she has completed the research or worked it to a completion." Sure, that's odd. Maybe she was approximating. Maybe she's a very precise person. Maybe it's not any of our business how long her thesis is (gee, how wide will her margins be? what font will she use...) If you have reasonable suspicion that she's a fraud looking to use our input against us in some vile scheme, then share with the group. Otherwise, curious remains simply that: curious (and still not worth worrying about.) "I don't think my questions were out of bounds oor difficult to answer." Nor were hers.
  5. "What makes 20 pages such an attractive number?" Geez Bobwhite, nitpick much? The woman asked for some opinions - her reasons for the length of her thesis, what she hopes to accomplish, and her previous research really aren't any of your business. Maybe she has an alterior motive, maybe not. All we know is she came to this site for help and you opted to question her intentions, methods of research, and even lecture her on the purpose of a PhD thesis. Just because you know the system inside and out is no excuse for the level of rudeness you've demonstrated here. You may have been a college Dean, but unless you happen to be HER Dean, the specifics of her thesis are none of your concern.
  6. "My experience with female bans has shown me three troops that pass a sexist message on to the boys. I have seen the results stick with them into young adulthood." I feel bad for those boys. But saying an all-male troop is by definition sexist is no different that saying that one with female leadership is full of pampered momma's boys - both statements are sometimes true, and both are often false. Others have stated far better than I could that male campouts aren't about chauvinism, just a desire to do guy things with guys. I can't imagine why this is so hard to understand.
  7. "Fact: BSA allows female leaders. Fact: the CO can pick and choose the leaders of units they charter (with in BSA guidelines, i.e. age requirements, etc.). Fact: the boys can think or desire anything they want. Opinion (mine): The boys should have no say on who or who does not go on their camp outings. " The BSA does allow female leaders, I don't think anyone denies this. But it's also been established that a charter organization is well within BSA rules if it chooses to exclude female leaders. We can argue forever about whether a troop is better off with or without female leadership (and indeed, my answer would change depending on the needs of the specific troop,) but the fact remains - a troop with female leaders is within its rights, and a troop that excludes females IS ALSO within its rights. So from a rules&regs perspective, this argument seems over long ago - only nobody wants to admit it. From the other perspective, well, I don't see how anyone is going to convince anyone of anything.(This message has been edited by Jerry)
  8. Sctmom asks "What about the boys who have no problem with mom along?" If a troop is going to adopt a policy only when EVERY BOY agrees... well, do I even need to finish that thought? The best we can do is determine what the majority wants (within reason - and many of us still feel that a male-only outing is within reason.) If you and your son don't care for a policy legitimately adopted by a troop, if you've voiced your opinion and the troop shows no desire to change, then yeah, LEAVE. Find a troop or organization more to your liking. They can go about their business and you can go about yours. Some people really need to stop forcing change on others to fit their own interests.
  9. Redfeather, maybe the fact that your observations and experiences differ from my own underscores the logic of allowing a troop to decide it's own policies. If your scouts choose to have women on campouts, who am I to tell them they're wrong? On the other hand, if a troop want's a "male-only" campout, and if they have the necessary male leadership to do so, then that also is their choice.
  10. "The scouts do not see the undercurrents that have been stated here and won't unless we, as adults, show them." Sorry Red Feather, but I have to disagree. As a former scout, and as stated by other former scouts on this very thread, many scouts DO see these undercurrents, and DO prefer a male-only outing.
  11. "Air mattress who gives a rats butt! If you are worrying about matching sleeping bags (probably bought them on sale and got a good deal, but whatever you do, do not look for the positive) and air mattress you probably do not get the program either. " Dan, you really need to keep threads separated - I do quite enough to get myself into trouble without people taking my posts out of context, thankyou. My matching camp gear comment was under an entirely different thread, and was merely a personal opinion that it's a little creepy when a family shows up looking like the bobsey-quadriplets. It was not a criticism of the parents, the scouts, nor their understanding of the program. Regarding air matresses (I believe I specified motorized air matresses,) yes, I feel that a parent who brings too many luxeries on a campout not only doesn't understand the joys of camping, but makes it difficult for leaders to encourage boys to partake in a genuine, outdoors-roughing-it experience.
  12. Jerry

    Those darn parents

    I've seen this one at a few outings: The entire family comes along (Mom, Dad, Scout, and younger sibling.) They all have matching sleeping bags, matching airmattresses (complete with battery operated air pump,)matching ponchos, and matching reclining camp chairs. Now, with the exception of the motorized mattresses (which set a bad tone when trying introduce scouts to the joys of "roughing it",) there's nothing wrong with their choice of equipment. But the whole matching thing - does it strike anyone else as just a little, well, creepy?
  13. ASM1: your concern that I might be afraid of being "shown up" by the females could't be more off the mark. We had one godmother accompany our troop once, and she kept up the with the menfolk admirably - running through the brambles on compass courses, trying (successfully, I might add) to start a fire without matches, and sleeping in the dirt. Alas, she was only visiting for the one campout. If more of our moms were like her, maybe I wouldn't be such an advocate for the male-exclusive campout. Instead, we have moms with motorized air matresses, moms that are afraid of squirrels, and even a mom who wanted some of the boys to fan her on a hot day. While this last example is particularly innappropriate, they all serve to illustrate the amazingly un-guylike atmosphere moms bring to a campout. Heck, event those that try to stay out of the way still manage to act like, get this, MOMS!
  14. Bravo Youngblood for stating a truth that is so often dodged in the name of political correctness. Why is it such a terrible thing to have quality time exclusively amongst males? It's not that we want to talk about things that women shouldn't hear or do things women shouldn't see, it's just that hanging out and "being guys" is tainted when moms are around. I'm sure a group of girlscouts would feel the same way about dads tagging along on their own camping trips.
  15. Jerry

    Good Grief!

    That was my response to the thread titled, "Am I out of line on this one?" I wanted to go off on a bit of a tangent, so figured I should start my own thread rather than pulling the original off-topic. So here's my thought: Isn't there something wrong if we can't trust 12 BOY SCOUTS to go on a short bike ride alone? Shouldn't the be ready for emergencies and such? I'm not suggesting that people are wrong to want adult leaders present, I know my own troop isn't ready to do anything without an adult, and that's what drives me nuts. Does anybody out there have a troop of Boy Scouts that come even close to living up to the ideal? Boys that could organize a campout, plan and cook the meals, set and break camp, and handle emergencies BY THEMSELVES??? Or is that just a pipe dream?
  16. Make a fuss!!! Our troop has 3 Life Scouts about to become Eagle. They've all been allowed to slide since day one, and they expect to slide through Eagle. They meet the bare minimum requirements on paper, but none of the adults (save their parents) feel any one of them has actually earned Eagle. Problem is, it's too late. One of the parents is willing to sue if necessary (he's done it before,) and the others would fight as well. Had this bad precident been nipped in the bud when they were tenderfoots, maybe we could have prevented this bad situation from occuring. Alas, few of us were involved with this troop back then, so we've inherited the lax standards of those who came before us. Deal with it now before you have an 11 year old demanding an Eagle Board of Review.
  17. Jerry

    Am I out of line on this one?

    Ozemu said, "Me thinks that adults are almost irrelevant to prevention and completey irrelevant to first aid if they don't have the training." I'd say you're half-right. From what I've seen, an adult who's there to "be the adult," and who has no training or understanding of scouting is actually WORSE than no adult at all. Reason is, they assume that since they're the adult, they know better. I've seen adults break up the patrol method when it was properly working, I've seen them teach unsafe toten'chip methods, and I can only imagine the damage that could be done by a panicky parent with no first aid knowledge. I know that lots of troops have a shortage of adult leaders, but I can't help but cringe when we invite a parent with no scouting or outdoors skills out into the field and establish them as an instant authority figure.
  18. Jerry

    Good Grief!

    Speaking as a former scout (and not as a current leader) I think too much adult supervision stifles the adventure of the program. I'm not suggesting that a group of boys should go out on a high adventure activity such as rapelling or white water rafting without adult supervision. But a day hike or a bike ride? Geez, boys do that all the time by themselves anyways. How can we claim we're teaching them self-reliance if we're going to constantly supervise them on activities that as "civilians" they could do without supervision? Surely we should be able to trust a Scout patrol to independently bike along a known path from a preapproved starting point to a preapproved destination? Adults would see them off and adults would meet them at the end. The time in between is what really counts, and I think the experience is more worthwhile if they truly do it on their own. Adding "an extra measure of safety" is a slippery slope. We can always add a little more, and each time it whittles away just a tiny bit of what makes this program great. Finding the proper balance between safety and adventure is tricky business.
  19. Jerry

    Good Grief!

    I've yet to take the Scout Safety course, so my knowledge of 2 deep leadership is limited. However, I would argue that a competent scout patrol should be capable and allowed to do things without an adult. That aside, however, I felt the orignal concerns posted weren't about BSA policy, but rather about the boys' ability (knowledge of first aid, ability to perform in an emergency, etc.) I'm sorry to say that my own troop is NOT ready to perform on their own. I see from Quixote's thread that his troop's adults don't feel their own troop is ready either. So I'm asking, is this normal? Or are there still troops out there that are ready to perform. If there are lots of troops out there that depend on their adults for daily operations (rather than simply to meet BSA policy) then doesn't that imply there's something wrong with the troop?
  20. Jerry

    Why can't people just ASK where the patches go?

    I had the privilege of pinning the eagle medal on one of our scouts this week. As I did so, I noticed that he was still wearing every one of his rank patches from tenderfoot on. His mom had merely sewn them on top of one another (rather than the more traditionl approach of removing the old ones first.) As a result, his life patch appeared to be half an inch thick. Compared to some of the other infractions I've witnessed, this one was pretty minor. But it was certainly the most unusual.
  21. Please pardon the length of this story, but it's a very big decision for me. I'd value any feedback or words of wisdom. My son and I started scouting together about a year ago. The troop we chose seemed well-meaning and eager to do scouting properly, but none of the adult leaders had been scouts as boys, and none of the boys had ever had "proper" scouts to look up to. So everyone was pretty much winging it as best they could. They were eager to sign me on as an assistant scoutmaster, what with my own scouting experience (I was an Eagle) and also because I'm a good deal younger than the other adults, so they hoped I might be able to "bridge the gap" between the adults and the leaders. So far, I'm not too sure of the bridging-the-gap notion, since the boys quickly learned that I had no intention of being "one of the guys" and helping them slack on requirements, uniforms, behavior, etc. But I do think I've been able to put my scouting experience to very good use. I've found ways to encourage uniforms, increase patrol cohesiveness, and most recently, we've managed to help our SPL understand his role better, so youth leadership is finally starting to be utilized in practice. I'm very excited about the troop's progress, and have a list the length of my arm of things I'd like to try next to help make the troop function as Scouting intends, and make the boys less dependent on us adults. I'm having a great time, but there's one problem. My own son is NOT enjoying this troop. He has very few friends, and his patrol is effectively down to only 3 boys. Finding friends outside his patrol isn't much better, since he's a quiet kid in a troop of alpha personalities that tend to get into bit more trouble than he's comfortable with (they're mostly good kids, just too unruly for his taste.) At least one other boy has already left for this very reason. He was initially very interested in scouting, but is rapidly losing that interest, and I fear that keeping him in a troop he doesn't like will drive him away from scouting altogether. Granted, the troop's improving, but by the time it's able to create a true scouting environment, I worry he'll have already moved on to other things, or be too old. And even so, that doesn't mean he'll get along with the other kids any better. So what do I do? Changing troop's doesn't guarantee improvement, and I hate the idea of leaving when I'm needed (our Scoutmaster is very overworked, and desperately needs experienced assistants.) I feel like I'd be abandoning our current troop, but I need to put my son's interests first. Thoughts?
  22. Jerry

    Should I change troops?

    Thanks for all the feedback thus far. I clearly have plenty of work ahead of me. To answer some of the questions that've been asked: Yes, the other leaders have been trained (our scoutmaster, in fact, has been to woodbadge.) This is a good group of people who are very dedicated to the ideals of scouting. Their only difficulty is transmitting those ideals into the scouts themselves, who'd rather just play basketball or gameboy. The older boys have little interest in true scouting and so the younger boys, who DO wish to be scouts, are floundering from a lack of proper example to follow. These are the problems we're dealing with, and I do feel we're making progress. I'm just concerned it won't be fast enough to salvage my son's interest. To answer another question, no, my son was never a Cub Scout. Most all of the other scouts were, and have been together for some time. This was a factor that hadn't previously occurred to me, so thanks SST3RD, I'll have mull that one over before deciding on any new troop. As to discussing this issue with my son, I have and will continue to do so. He admits that he doesn't like his troop, and he's stated that he will never go to summer camp again due to issues that occurred within the troop this year, yet he'd rather stay than go through the effort of finding a new one. I'm being very careful not to cross that fine line between encouraging him towards what I think is best for him and pushing him into what he doesn't want to do. But that's a larger issue that certainly goes beyond the scope of this forum.
  23. Jerry

    How Many Uniforms?

    Anyone ever try velcro? I spotted a scouter last weekend who used it for the patches he needed to change frequently. Might be worth a shot.
  24. I'm pretty sure that the Eagle square knot is to be worn INSTEAD of the eagle badge, and that adults aren't meant to wear the eagle badge at all. If anyone knows different, let me know.
  25. Yes, GWB did get arrested for DUI. But he didn't run for president that very afternoon. Redemption takes time, and it's simply not possible for a 17 year old boy to redeem himself of a DUI before his 18th birthday. He could stay active in scouting, perhaps go on to be a brilliantly effective scoutmaster, but he shouldn't make eagle. The board would be awarding him based on the ASSUMPTION that he was going to do better, and that doesn't fly. Just an opinion.