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About JimFritzMI

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  1. They did announce the new SM. I really have only seen at troop activities a couple of times, so I really have no idea at this point where he is headed, we will see. I do have the time and certainly would some day like to at least be asked to be a SM; however, I don't think it will be happening with the troop, as I am not a member of the CO. I would like to say, once again that I really appreciate everyone's advice. Thank you.
  2. I don't remember any lines on da form about whether the boys could still tie knots after a sign off, which seems to be what JimFritz finds most objectionable about his current unit. You still don't get it. Yes, I do have a problem if a scout never really learned a knot, and can't tie it 6 months later; however, the problem here is that the scout never, ever learned to tie the knot in the first place. The meeting went better than I thought it could have. The COR, which in this case is also the CC was in complete agreement that what I was saying is how the troop should be functioning, especially since it has grown, and continues to grow so much. He acknowledge, not in so many words, that this is a BSA troop that the church supports, not a youth outreach program that calls itself a troop. Big load lifted. Imagine that, the COR wants things to be done the BSA, it apparently has just been an issue with no one being able to make it happen. It's looking bright. One last question though, tonight at the committee meeting the current SM announced there would be a new SM starting shortly, as the current one is having time constraints put upon him. After talking about this, I find that the SM is changed almost annually, has anyone else seen a troop that operates this way? It almost seemed like the CO looks around it's membership to find someone to do the job for a year. It seemed odd to me, maybe it is more commonplace than I think. All I do know for sure, is now I have to get to know yet a new SM, and learn how I can work with him to accomplish the changes.
  3. I'm off to the meeting. I'll let you know what happens. Thank you all for you input. I appreciate it very much.
  4. "Wow. So now, according to Jim, we are all bigots" I can see that asking for comments and voicing one's own opinion, may get me into hot water on here. So be it. Maybe, I am not communicating well, I certainly have been misunderstood on some points. Thank you Moose for helping me see that. I have taken in everything everyone has said, and realize this is not going to happen over night, it may take years. So be it. I don't want to attack the scouts for having not earned an award. I don't want to attack the leadership for letting requirements being marked off that weren't earned. I want to help the boys learn how to whip and fuse rope, so they know how, and can teach others as they come along. It seems there is this mystique about whipping a rope, at least in this troop. It isn't mysterious, it isn't even hard to learn. However, I do understand how it can seem that way when you have a troop where no one has ever seen a rope whipped before. Nothing, I ever learned as a scout or scouter is magical, or mysterious, but if there wasn't anyone there to teach me I would be overwhelmed. There is no maliciousness coming from the current leadership, I really don't know what it is, and I don't care. Does it really matter why the scouts weren't being taught properly? I don't think so. I think the important part is that they start being taught properly. I would like to ask this though. Somehow some of you feel, at least I think you might, that I want to come in and aggressively rant and rave. Slash and burn the current ways of doing things. I never meant to imply that. Yes, a lot of things need to change. However, I would be a complete idiot to for one second believe that many things could all change at once. Or to believe that I could change anything by alienating or blaming the current leadership. Everyone here seems to have agreed that it needs to change, that the scouts really need to do the work. It also seems that quite a few of you have been through this before. I know my father has, he was a SM for over 30 years, he gave me his opinion and prefaced it with the same advice he repeats every time I ask for advice. "Here is what I think, but go find some others and ask their opinions." I'm asking. Yes, we have established telling them that they are wrong and what they need to do to fix it won't work. But hasn't anyone here seen a troop turn around, if so, what would you say was some of the tactics that caused this. Please share.
  5. VigilEagle04, I miss spoke it was the Unit Commissioner I spoke with. And I did not do it to complain, I was hoping to gain some support. I was always taught the the UC was there as your first stop in seeking help outside the troop for any problem with the troop. The only reason I mention him, is because I thought this is where I should go, and I wanted to explain that I had tried that route.
  6. It is a great book, isn't it shortridge. I would have to say though that my favorite is the field guide. Specifically the one from the late 70's, I'm not sure of the edition. I still have one, but I completely wore out the first one my dad gave me when I was 8. I'd take my book, my knife, a 3/4 axe, some food, and as much rope as I could get away with and head to the woods and spend all weekend there. If I could find a job where I could do Scoutcraft all day every day, I'd quit my current job tonight. With the knowledge in that book you could just plain survive, I love it.
  7. "JimFritzMI's new emphasis on being strict about testing and ranks?" Beavah, possibly I don't understand, but are you condoning giving rank advancements to scouts who blatantly haven't earned them? I agree that I need the right approach. That is why I am here. I don't need someone telling me to give up on them, I am not going to do it. I don't need someone telling me to shut my mouth and keep quiet, this is even less likely to happen. Knowing what I know, this troop is promoting scouts down the road to the rank of Eagle who have not earned it, there are only two actions that I can take as I see it. 1) Walk away, and by doing this accept that being an Eagle is meaningless. I mean if all you have to do is show up and pay your dues, what does it mean? or 2) Do what I promised I would do when I took the scout oath, and do my best to help this troop. Once again I am looking for advice in approaching the leaders and parents in the committee meeting. I already have talked with the scouts on numerous occasions, they want the change, they are willing to work at it. The scouts themselves have told me the reason they don't go to the camporees is that they do so poorly, and who wants to go to a competition that you aren't prepared for, over and over again. I just want to come away from the meeting Thursday, with at the very least tacit approval so I am not banging my head against the wall.
  8. "Well, he could just read the Boy Scout Handbook..." I'm not sure if that was one of the suggested text mentioned in the SM specific training session. I'll check my notes. If it was, I will definitely think about borrowing a handbook and reading it. ROFL I'm sorry, I don't mean to be a smart aleck. I'm just amazed how many haven't ever read the handbook. Given, that a high percentage of scouters have had children involved in scouts, presumably they have one in the house.
  9. 1) Am "I" trained? Yes I have gone through the training several times. The first time was "a little over" 20 years ago, after turning 18 I didn't want to leave scouting. I served as an ASM for 6 years, and always kept my training up to date. I wouldn't even want to think about counting all of the round tables, or the countless lessons I've learned from the many other scouters I have had the privilege of knowing. Most recently I have gone through all of the training classes again, when I was asked to be an ASM on the charter. Yes, all of the training classes even though the outdoor training doesn't have to be renewed, I felt after 14 years some things might have changed, which indeed they have. 2) Have I only been involved as a scout? No, I've had 11 years as an active scouter before my son joined this troop. Of which 6 years were very active, I was at that time both an ASM and worked at 2 different BSA summer camps through 5 seasons. 3) Am I judging the leaders on their experience? No, I am not judging the leaders at all. I couldn't fault with someone for not knowing how to do something that was never shown to them. How does a scouter know to use the established fire pit, and not to make a new one, unless he has been taught this. I am judging the experience that the scout are receiving. I am forming this judgment based on my son's experiences, the experiences of some of the other scouts, and my own observations, and comments from a few of the parents. Try explaining to a parent why "we" say he knows how to do things that he says he has never even done. 4) I am sorry, if anyone got the impression that I didn't understand what was going on with this youth, I did and do. Also the first incident was not a physical one at all. My comments which weren't appreciated were not made at the time that incident happened. It was made after the fact when we were trying to bring the problem to a conclusion. I'm sorry if you don't understand that a scout or any child will never completely trust you if they don't feel that you understand them. This is a fact, that anyone dealing with children should understand. If you are incapable of empathizing with a person, especially a child they will not take your counsel seriously. 5) I have never stated or inferred that I am a better scouter. Only that "WE" should be doing things differently. The BSA way. The way that we are taught in the BSA training courses. 6) Yes, maybe my son would like his experience to be as great as the one I have told him stories about. However, the complaint, the one which started this all is that he has now on several occasions had rank advancement requirements signed off, and he knows he has not met the requirements or even come close. For example, "Demonstrate how to whip and fuse a rope", fusing was explained but not demonstrated, whipping wasn't even discussed, and he never even touched a rope. So how did demonstrate anything? He didn't. All of this has been confusing to him, and why I have become involved. He wants to "Be Prepared". Besides all of that he is quite confused at how doing this fits in with many of the points of the scout law. 7) I would love to talk with the SM and the ASM more, however they seem to be quite busy. In fact I took time off and went to summer camp with the troop this past July, specifically to try and do this. However, the SM was actually in camp only about a third of the week. When, I did get to talk with him, he said I should bring it up with the PLC, end of discussion. However, I know from experience that without the SM's support change is extremely hard to accomplish. 8) I thank everyone for their answers. I appreciate it, I really do. I think, I may have to move on. I certainly don't want my son or anyone else's son experiencing scouting this way. Maybe, this is one of the reasons why troops now have such a hard time retaining scouts. However, I am going to try and help this troop first. I just can't, in good conscience, walk away without at least trying. It would somehow feel like walking away from a drowning man, who was beyond my reach without even looking for a stick. I know you might say this isn't my problem, but then whose is it? I know I might not succeed, however, I'd rather try than just give up. 9) The treatment of atheist and homosexual scouts was brought up. On that matter all I can say is that when I started reading about their treatment by BSA it truly made me sick, then sad, then angry, and finally determined to help facilitate change. It's contrary to everything I was ever taught as a scout to be a bigot. It's contrary to what I believe it takes to be a scouter to be a bigot. I now wear a "Scouting for All" knot, right next to my Eagle knot, and will continue to do so until forced to take it off. I would like to add, that of everyone who has ever asked me about the knot, a few now wear them, a few more own them, and I have had a very nice informative conversation with all but one person who has asked me about the knot. 10) I would like to add, and I do this last so it will stay with you, that this troop has immense potential. I'm not just a concerned father with complaints, I'm a very involved (at 90% of the meetings, and only missed one event this year, etc...) ASM who is constantly signing the praises of this troop to anyone and everyone who will listen. I never bring up a needed change without starting off with the strong points. We may have had next to the lowest marks at everyone of the stations at the past Klondike, but you know what, we dominated the sled race. I mean "DOMINATED IT", second place was nearly 14 seconds behind us, and we were using a shoddy, ill made borrowed sled. One of the biggest reasons I feel I need to stay with the troop is that it is made up of a great bunch of boys. They want to do better. They want to be the best scouts they can be. Maybe not all of them, but most of them. That's what matters, to me at least, they want to be lead, they want to be taught. They want to be Eagle scouts.(This message has been edited by JimFritzMI)
  10. First of all I would like to clarify that my son is willing to leave if and only if the troop is presented with the option of running properly and will not or can't do that. He doesn't want to leave, he has made friends here, he has become invested in the troop; however, he does want to earn his Eagle, he doesn't want it given to him. Second, I have only 10 months experience with "this" troop, yes. However if you add all of the active years of every adult leader, committee member, and parent together, they would have less than half of my active experience with BSA. I love BSA, being an Eagle is a huge part of who I am whether or not that is right. The current leadership acknowledges this, many of them have thanked me for becoming a part of the troop. Something I actively tried avoided at first, as I wanted my son to make his own decision about scouts, just as I did when I was a kid. As for not using the program the way I would, this I can understand. My way, and the way I was taught isn't the only way, it's not even "the" right way. However, I'm not talking about over emphasizing one area, I'm talking about completely ignoring core aspects of scouting. Stating they use the Patrol method, to help with surveys, but acknowledging that they don't even know what it is, what it's for, or how to do it. When I said playing games, I didn't mean minor team building or skills building games, I am all for them, I believe in them whole heartedly, I meant they show up, start playing dodgeball and 1.5 hours later they go home. At the first meeting that I attended from start to finish, I found they were using the troop flag as well as the American flag to designate the side boundaries of their dodgeball game. It stopped immediately. After counting to 10, I sat them all down, and they listened to a very serious speech about what the flag means to me personally. When I approached the current SM and ASM about it, they sort of shrugged it off, because boys will be boys, besides was it really that big of a deal. I left that night determined to educate them, or leave. I do have an additional question now. Quite a few of you have made it clear, that the CO can do what they want. Is there no quality control in BSA any more? It used to be, that if an entire troop of scouts who were quite apparently not worthy of their rank across the board kept advancing, the council would step in. I can't say it was common, as I was only witness to it once, and heard of it happening in a neighboring council again, years latter. If there isn't any kind of standard, then what does it mean to be an Eagle? Does it mean anything more than saying I received a participation award?(This message has been edited by JimFritzMI)(This message has been edited by JimFritzMI)
  11. I'm prepared to go to a new troop if that is what I am asked to do. I have talked with my son about this and he doesn't want to stay, even though he has formed some great friendships, if it doesn't change. I don't want to leave though, because as I see it this troop needs me and others to help them to fix the many problems. I see this as "our" problem, and will up until the point that I am asked to leave. I know why the troop is the way it. I know that it is wrong. I don't care about that. I just want to see the scouts get the program I was so very privileged to participate in. I want the boys to get the chance to learn to lead, to learn what working in a group truly is. The only thing they currently know about the Patrol method is that if asked about they must say that they use it. I am just very apprehensive about the reaction I am going to receive. I realize that I will have some support in the committee meeting, as a number of other parents have brought many of these concerns up as well, and I know some of them will be there. However, I just wonder if the established leaders will see it as me trying to help or not. I guess only time will tell. By the way, Crew21_Adv if they were working on merit badges with no meeting structure I would be tickled pink. The problem is they are usually working on their dodgeball and football skills.
  12. They aren't old entrenched scouters at all. The SM has little more than a year as a scouter, and well less than a year as a scout many years ago. The ASM has only slightly more experience as a scouter, and neither has fully completed the training to call themselves trained. They believe since it is supposed to be youth led, that they should stay completely hands off, only none of the scouts has every even seen a real scout meeting. Heck when I came along they played games 5 nights out of 6. As far as not knowing all of the circumstances actually I know them a little better than either of the other scouters, as I was the one to interdict in both instances. However, I am empathetic and sympathize and talk plainly trying to relate to the scout on his level. This is contrary to the everything is love, and simply control yourself point of view. The reason I was asked to stay out of it was because I expressed that I understood how he felt and understood why he wanted to punch the scout who was provoking him. Apparently that was wrong of me to say. I actually think it was exactly what the boy needed to hear at the time, especially since I did understand, and his biggest problem is he feels marginalized and left out because he is so shy. I am glad to hear that they don't have the right to take the rank advancement away, I didn't believe it was right. As far as the CO using the BSA program, I understand and agree. However, this troop's usage makes the term "major departure" look trivial. I am going to just have to push ahead. I can't and won't stand by while boys have requirements signed off, which they can't even explain, let alone demonstrate. I mean how would you feel, if you had a troop where no one could tie basic knots (taut line hitch, clove hitch, etc...), whip a rope or properly stake a tent. I'm not talking some of the scouts, I'm talking all of the scouts, including scouts who have earned the rank of Eagle. Or should I say have been presented with the rank of Eagle. How about when a scout who just received his Life rank, explain to a younger scout that he only needs to learn enough to get by, that no one really expects him to remember how to do these skills beyond the signing of his blue card. Would you feel the need to stand up and say that things need to change, even if you knew it would make you unpopular?
  13. I need some help please. I am an ASM to a new and struggling troop. Beyond that I have only been involved with the troop since my son joined 10 months ago, however I have been involved in scouting off and on for almost 30 years, and I am an Eagle scout. Just some background it doesn't really have any bearing on the issue. Anyway, has anyone here ever heard of a SM taking a rank away from a scout because of an incident. The incident wasn't that grave, the scout in question has some emotional issues, lost his temper after a great deal of provoking, and slightly struck out at someone. No one was hurt, in fact it really wouldn't have been very memorable at all except this boy is very, very quiet and reserved and it surprised everyone. True, the fact that this scout was pushing another should not and can't be tolerated, I believe the punishment is inappropriate, and quite possibly against the rules. I blame this incident on myself (I was an adult leader in camp that week) and the other scouters that were there. It was our responsibility to prevent it from escalating this far and we failed the young man, at least in my opinion. I should have spoken up even if the more senior ASM didn't want my input. Although he has been with the troop longer, and is a member of the CO (a church by the way), there is no doubt in my mind I have much more experience as far as scouting goes, and should not have acquiesced. Anyway my question is this, does the SM have the authority to take a rank away from a scout? I can't believe it is so, not for something like this. I would approach the District Exec; however, he is a "huge" supporter of the SM, and when I have approached him in the past he has ignored my concerns. In a few days, at a committee meeting, I am going to be bringing up a large amount of changes that need to take place for this troop to even approach doing things the BSA way. The troop has always viewed itself as a youth outreach for the church, under the guise of boy scouts, however at this time less than 30 percent of the troop are members of the CO. Should I bring this up? Did the SM have the right to take away a rank from a scout? What do you think? Please help, I myself feel isolated and just want the troop to be the best it can, or at the very least function as a BSA troop. More importantly, though, I feel like this action was the worst possible, especially for this particular scout.
  14. ScoutNut, true not all past presidents have, but the past three have. I seriously hope you're not saying that taping an appearing on the View, and a fund raiser are more pressing than the National Scout Jamboree in this our 100th year anniversary of Boy Scouts of America.
  15. I think we can all agree: 1) That it wasn't due to security issues. It has never been a problem for past presidents. 2) He wasn't able to schedule it far enough in advance. Come on, how long have we been planning this momentous event. 3) There wasn't something more pressing, such as a national emergency. Really a taping for the View, and a fund raiser, really? So how many of you think it was political? Is he trying to sheepishly snub our bigotry? If so, I really wished he had the cojones to say so. I must admit I was, am, and hope to be in the future a supporter of President Obama's. However, I am severely disappointed in this action of his. So much so, that I finally got off my duff and created an account to post this message. And, yes, I am a scouter, a proud scouter and father of a scout. Oh yeah, and I once was, and still am an Eagle scout.
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