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About Jim_C

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  1. I have been contacted by two Webelos II Den Leaders asking if it's alright for the Webelos Scouts in their dens to join the local Boy Scout Troop in December. That is, they don't want to wait until the more customary and traditional February graduation. I recall that very recently the National Council reworded the joining requirements for clarity but I have tried to retrieve that information and cannot find it. I went to the BSA website and it says something to the effect that ... Boys are eligible to enter Boy Scouting if: They have been awarded the Arrow of Light and are at least ten (10) years old, or, they have completed the fifth (5th) grade and are at least ten (10) years old, or, are eleven (11) years old but not yet eighteen (18). Is that definition the current policy of the BSA? or is there a newer one? YIS, Jim Costello, Unit Commissioner, Great Sauk Trail Council #255, BSA, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  2. Jim_C

    Too many positions for one leader?

    You might make a great Unit Commissioner (UC), but you need to devote a great deal of time to it. In Unit Commissioner Basic Training we spent some time explaining to new UCs that you should not be registered in other Scouting positions. Why? Because if you are doing the kind of professional job it takes you simply won't have enough time for anything else. Why not wait until you own boys have graduated out of the various unit programs before undertaking such a big job. I know from experience. YIS, Jim Costello, Unit Commissioner, Great Sauk Trail Council #255, BSA, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  3. Jim_C

    A modest proposal on "Class A" Uniforms

    Fellow Scouters, The Scouter Dress Uniform (blue blazer, gray slacks, etc., etc.) is rarely worn. Certainly most Scouters do not bother to purchase the component parts as they would rarely have opportunity to choose to wear them. However I have a full "dress uniform" for optional wear as required. As a Council Past President, I have a number of opportunities to be more or less "properly clothed" in such attire. The occasions that I normally choose to be arrayed as such include National Council Annual Scout meetings, Council Annual Recognition Dinners and Meetings, Boy Scout Sunday Services at my church. Some of these occasions offer receptions, etc., where alcoholic beverages may be offered, in which case I wouldn't be caught dead in a field uniform. The dress uniform is often used by me in making presentations and cases for the several United Way Allocation Boards where we are requesting considerable funding for Scouting also when calling on significant community and business leaders where we are seeking considerable financial or other support for our Scouting program. So, I believe, there is a place for this uniform, but mostly, I wear a full field uniform. When acting as a Unit Commissioner I prefer to wear the "plain" shirt, i.e., no square knots, jambo patches, etc., so as not to intimidate anyone of the Scouters I serve but instead to serve their needs first. I have several uniforms with all the "bells and whistles," but they are only worn at the proper time and place. YIS, Jim Costello, Unit Commissioner, GST Council #255, BSA, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  4. Dear Scouter Friends, Thanks for the replies so far. What I understand is: 1. There are alternatives to the First Class rank swimming requirements, but 2. The unit needs to seek approval from the local Council Advancement Committee first. Can you cite the printed BSA reference pamphlet or manual so that I might read the exact wordage on this issue? That's the part that I will most need to pursue the issue in the boy's interest further. YIS, Jim Costello, Unit Commissioner, GST Council #255, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  5. Fellow Scouters, I'm a unit commissioner. I have a young Scout in one of my Troops who is handicapped as a consequence of MD. He can manage only to jump into water and make his way to the side of the pool. He cannot swim the distance required to pass the swimmers test. Can someone point me to the published text within the BSA that would deal with his handicapping situation. He's really trying to do the same things as the rest of the Scouts (who do not have any handicapping conditions). He wants to progress in the ranks but will not be able to pass the First Class swimming requirements. His Scoutmaster has asked me to advise on any alternate requirements which may apply. Thanks. Yours in Scouting, Jim Costello, Unit Commissioner, Great Sauk Trail Council, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  6. Jim_C

    Troop Committee - ASM conflict

    BSA policy is pretty clear on who can hire and fire unit leadership. It is the unit committee chair's job. Period. But, that said, it's not the answer to interpersonal relationships. If the conflict is unresolved within the unit (the best solution), you can rely on your Commissioner to advise on the situation. Normally, the Commissioner is on the outside of the "forest" and can usually see from a fair distance as to what is really happening. Why not ask his/her advice in this case. Yours in Scouting, Jim Costello, Unit Commissioner, Great Sauk Trail Council, Ann Arbor, Mich.
  7. Jim_C

    Sm or ASM signing off on own child?

    As a parent of two (adult) Eagle Scout sons, I was either the SM or the SA during their sojourn in the Troop. At that time, I also had developed some wisdom with respect to other's "appearance is reality." I chose not to sign off on my own sons' advancement requirements nor their merit badges (of which I was a registered, qualified counselor). The purpose of merit badges, IMHO, is for the youth to develop the skill AND to meet other adults outside their own small circle of acquaintances. My sons on several occasions have thanked me for taking this approach stating that they developed new interpersonal skills and have become adept at "public situations" involving other people especially new situations. I'm glad to see the results that I can demonstrate here and I'm proud of the fine gentlemen each has become. YIS, Jim Costello, Assistant Council Commissioner (and Council Past President), Great Sauk Trail Council #255, BSA, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  8. Jim_C

    Help..I'm new and things are a mess

    Clearly this "mess" should be referred to a Commissioner, be it a Unit Commissioner assigned to your Pack or the District Commissioner. It is his primary job in Scouting to "help units succeed." I find it really difficult to understand why a professional Scouter (the DE) would be resistant to starting a new unit. New units are one of his "critical achievements" and his compensation is, in part, tied to creating successful new units. As a Commissioner myself I'd love to delve into this situation but, of course, it requires local assistance. Starting a new unit has a set of regular, sensible steps that keep you on track to success. You can read all about it in the BSA publication: New Unit Organization Process, No. 34196. You can't materially err in following the step-by-step process outlined in this publication. It's available from your local Council service center. Keep in mind that it's the professional Scouter's job to help THE VOLUNTEER. They work for YOU and not the other way around. YIS, Jim Costello, Assistant Council Commissioner, Great Sauk Trail Council #255, BSA, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  9. Hello, Fellow Scouters, The forum is quite new to me but Scouting is not. I'm 64 years of age and joined when I was 8 as a Cub Scout. Many gallons of water have passed under the bridge in those years and I've witnessed many changes in the program, the uniforms and the needs of kids. But the core principles have not changed and I like that. When I tried to "fill out" the profile page I was not successful. I always got an error page following the submission and can't figure it out (given my relative lack of computer fitness); so I gave up on that. If anyone can help me with this part of the website, I try to follow your directions. Meantime, I'll introduce myself by saying that I did my youth Cubbing, Scouting and Exploring in the Philadelphia/Valley Forge area. But, like many folks, during my (other) career I moved to Massachusetts and Michigan where I live and Scout these days. My current registered positions are Unit Commissioner, Assistant Council Commissioner and Executive Board Member in Great Sauk Trail Council #255, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Another interesting (at least it is to me) mix of Scouter-like things that I'm doing is serving on the Grand Lodge of Michigan, F&AM, (the Masons), Masonic Scouter Award Committee whose job it is to promote and pass on qualifications for one of the new Community Organization Awards of the BSA: the DANIEL CARTER BEARD MASONIC SCOUTER AWARD. This committee has expanded well beyond its original purpose to include a new EAGLE SCOUT COMMENDATION AWARD which is available for a small fee ($20) to compliment any new Eagle Scout in Michigan. The award consists of a Cerficate of Commendation from our Grand Master as well as a pin on medal that the new Eagle Scout can proudly display on his uniform. Still another activity that we are newly promoting to the Scouting family is the MICHIP program. MICHIP is an acronym for Michigan Child Identification Program. This program creates an identification kit for parents that will help law enforcement people help to locate any missing child. The kit includes a permanent "bite" panel, a DNA cheek swab, a still picture and a taped DVD interview with the child. Of course it is hoped that any parent will never need to use the recorded information but, in that event, it is readily available and can be posted to the Amber Alert system within hours. We would like to make this program available at larger Cub/Scout events such as Cub Resident Camp/Cub Day Camp, etc. Hope to talk to you all later, YIS, Jim Costello, Council Past President, Great Sauk Trail Council, Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Residence: Fowlerville, MI)
  10. Jim_C

    Local Tour Permits

    Our Council's Executive Board (Great Sauk Trail Council #255, Ann Arbor, Mich.) has established a "simplified" policy. All travel activities within the geographical Council boundaries do NOT require filing a Local Tour permit. However, outside of Council trips do require Tour Permits up to the nationally established 500-mile limit. If the Scouts are travelling with their own parents, the Local Tour permit is required. Reason: It is a Unit activity and the Unit will be held liable by the courts in the event of some untoward incident. This allows the Unit to carefully consider adequate auto insurance, legal drivers and seat belt requirement, etc., of ALL participants. YIS, Jim Costello, Executive Board Member and Council Past President