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jmcquillan

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About jmcquillan

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  1. jmcquillan

    God OR Country ?

    If memory serves me correctly, in the time when the words "under God" were added to the Pledge, this country was not far removed from victory in war, and our President was Eisenhower. The addition of the words was originated by the Knights of Columbus, I believe, but the follow-up was by the leadership, Executive and Legislative, of a nation very thankful for having succeeded in their efforts during the war. Remember that during that time, the predominant religions of the country were Christian or Jewish, and the words were added, I think, in as generic fashion as was understood in that day, and as a way of recognizing that a diety, undefined officially but known to all of that day, had played a great part in guiding the nation to the successful conclusion of the war. That being the case, it has always been my understanding (by way of my upbringing and childhood), that God (the one of your choice) had played his part, that he had guided a grateful nation to victory, and that by doing our "duty to country", we were, in fact, doing our "duty to him (God of choice)". Acting and behaving in a fashion that followed his guidance, whether doing duty to country or going to church, no matter the religion, he was satisfied with us. Thus, the two have, for me, been inseparable and equal. My faith in my God (even though for years not practiced by regular church attendance) is the same as my faith in my country. The two exist side by side and always will. And even though the fervently religious might argue that He holds the "power" over us, and therefore reigns supreme over us, I would argue that He's all too happy to see us doing our duty to country as our duty to him. Today, as the variety of religion has advanced many fold over that of the late 40's and early 50's here, I would still argue that the words "under God" can be read as "under your God"...whatever God or Gods that might be. Ultimately, if there is, indeed, a God above, I believe that He or She is one, no matter that multitude of names we humans give to Him/Her. The end for all of us will be at the same gates, whether Pearly or not, and that diety will be waiting. Our many eyes on this planet see in many colors and ways. And my vision of my God is certainly not the same as that of the other gazillion people that inhabit the planet with me. That He/She knows. And that He/She accepts and expects. Thus, for me it is a wonder that the words "under God" have stirred such contraversy. For in each of our visions of God, the words "under God" could certainly be read as "under My God, and under Your God, too". If only we made the effort to see it that way...
  2. jmcquillan

    Statement of Faith

    Rooster7 said: "I don't think it would be appropriate if the Scoutmaster lectured the Scouts and their families as to the significance of those differences." Good point, and one that I always tried to keep right up front in my mind, for I knew no more than the rest of the crowd about the differences, and was always learning myself. I never pretended to minister to the troop. That was, as still is, beyond me.
  3. In Scouting we already have a method by which we, as Scout Leaders, should be teaching manners. It's known as "setting the example". That should be sufficient.
  4. jmcquillan

    Statement of Faith

    If asked to lead a prayer... I usually found a way around it, for in my troop, the circumstances that NJCubScouter eluded to were real. We had Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, and two Chinese families (I admit to never really knowing what faith they held). I was never comfortable with a generic format with such a variety. My appreciation for the depth of belief and the differences between us all lead me to using that variety as a learning experience and tool for all in the troop. If asked to plan for a prayer at whatever troop function we had, I would always seek out members of each faith the troop had, and ask that each provide us with a prayer specific to their faith, short, but specific. And prior to any of my volunteers speaking, I would remind the gathered throng that the prayers we were about to hear and partake in, were a reminder of the very differences between us all, and that we should all listen, and hear as best we could, the words spoken. From time to time, I would ask one of the volunteers to talk about what the prayer meant in his/her own faith, so that those of us unfamiliar with that faith might glean a little more understanding. I was always just a little amazed at how far that simple method went to promoting a better understanding and tie between each of us. If asked to lead a prayer, and asked to be generic under those circumstances, I never could do a good job. So I chose a different road.
  5. jmcquillan

    What would you do?

    At the very least, have him clean up his own mess...i.e. consequences for ones actions. I might side with sctmom but for the thought that "punishment" might over-ride lesson learning by some degree. Knowing the boy and the circumstances would attend to that issue, though. Did he know right from wrong? Was this a prank? Was this done with malice? I assume he doesn't do this at home....
  6. From memory here, I don't have my book at the office... The SM is charged with performing that task, and no other, unless specifically charged by the SM due to extenuating circumstances (like illness and immediacy of need). That's why they call it the SM conference. Although I will say that in my time, I did have need to ask an ASM to fill in for me when circumstances prevented my attendance. But in each of those cases, the ASM asked had formerly been SM of the troop, and our philosophies were pretty much identical, so I felt quite at ease asking him. Again, just from memory...
  7. jmcquillan

    How Do You Stop a Runaway Troop?

    Bingo, OGE. You hit the nail squarely on the head. Controlling a troops growth can very much depend on whether your troop is the "only game in town". A troop really doesn't want that if there's a large pool of potential Scouts. We faced that years ago in our troop. There were, and still are, two troops in town. Ours was growing leaps and bounds. From what we heard from the in-coming parent corps, our troop had the structure and program that parents were hoping their kids would pick. Obviously, they did. Our numbers climbed while the other troop in town stayed stagnant for a while, and then started to decline. Nothing we could do made a difference. We feared stepping on toes by going to the other folks and trying to help them out with suggestions. We did try making those suggestions as "asides" during conversations with the leaders at summer camp and roundtables, but almost all our help fell on deaf ears. We were becoming overwhelmed by our own success. We never had more than 7-8 boys per patrol, but we had a lot of patrols. And we kept our head above water, and kept the program up, too. But we saw problems if things didn't change. The numbers were too big. At cross-overs, we'd usually get all but one or two boys from the two large (100+ Cubs) packs in town. Then, out of the blue, the leadership in the other troop began to change. The new leaders got themselves trained, (a blessing for all), and they started to become active in their program, and their interactions with the Cub Packs. They even came forward and asked us for "suggestions". We breathed a huge sigh of relief, and the floodgates opened. When they realized that we were in fear of becoming the only game in town, and that we were hoping, praying actually, for an equal split at cross-over, they really set to working with us to get their own troop up to par with ours. And it worked. Since that time, both troops have been able to maintain their own, the cross-over split is usually 50-50, or 60-40 one way or the other. And the retention in both troops is remarkable. Of course, if you're the only troop in town, then, as others have indicated, working with your Council to get another troop started may be the best route.
  8. I came home from my second tour in Vietnam with a few missing parts, and 2 Purple Hearts. That effort and sacrifice might have meant more, and might have been more tolerable, had the Commander in Chief had the slightest bit of sincerity in his concern for the troops he sent forth. eisely, you probably understand more than some. A deep sense of sincerity towards ones position and responsibilities shows forth without effort. And that's one thing that I like about GWB. There's no show there. It's real, and it's deep. He may be far more of a religious man than some who have occupied that office, and that's alright with me. Somehow, the old hurts seem a little lighter for it.
  9. jmcquillan

    Hatchet or just ax

    One of the visible trademarks of Scouting has always been that of self-sufficiency in the boy. The ability to survive in the wild using the skills he learned in Scouting. Although the ax and hatchet are only small tools that do only one job, it's kind of sad to see them being left on the wayside as not necessary any more. With all due respect to the leave no trace and environmental movements, I still like to see the boys learning the old ways, how to do things with their hands, without electricity, without buttons to push, without the things we take for granted as necessities today. Having to build a fire or shelter using hand or woods tools may not be something everyone has to, but I think it's a skill still worth knowing and understanding well. The lights may go out someday, the gas may run out someday, even if only for a little while. Or the boy may be one of those who is lost in the woods and has only his wits and tools with him. I'd rather he know how to use them, and therefore will never look upon them as eventually disappearing.(This message has been edited by jmcquillan)
  10. jmcquillan

    Hatchet or just ax

    Woods tools all have their place, and as long as their use is taught, observed, and checked correctly and frequently, there should be no reason to eliminate any. Eliminating one is doing ourselves no favors. Teach it right and make sure it's being used correctly is the better way. With regard to fears that the blade may come in contact with the fingers of the other hand, I'd say that's a sign that they're not being used right. The fingers of the other hand should be nowhere near the point where the blade impacts the wood. And, unfortunately, there are no devices of protection for the hands like boots for feet. And even boots on feet will only slow the blade, not stop it. Steel toed boots will stop or deflect the blow, but only if dead-on. Leather is no fool-proof protection against the blade of an ax, or the chain of a saw. Woodsmans competitions at any level less than adult require the use of armor over the boots, but that would be costly and hardly easy to provide for Scouts in all circumstances, even if it provided the best protection. Hands don't have that option at all. There are Kevlar gloves and gloves made with a core of stainless steel wire under a fiberglass yarn on the market, specifically made for protection against cuts, but not direct puncture or blade impact.
  11. jmcquillan

    square knots?

    CubsRgr8
  12. jmcquillan

    Square Knot Earned?

    That is incorrect information. See section I of the Guide to Safe Scouting under "Youth Protection and the Adult Leadership" Again...I stand corrected. Hey, give the guy the patch, and the credit due for a job well done, if, indeed, he's done the job well.
  13. jmcquillan

    Square Knot Earned?

    If this fellow is serving as a Cubmaster, he's registered with his "primary" position being Cubmaster, not his "only" position. He should have dual-registration showing that he serves as the Tiger Den Leader, too. If he was registered as a Tiger Den Leader first, then he's probably dual registered. If so, that record should show his time in position. Use that argument, along with the other eloquent arguments you've stated here, and write a letter to, or call, the chairman of the "Council" Training Committee. Your District Chair sits on that committee, as do the other district chairs, and hopefully that whole committee should be able to "see the light". This is not a time, nor is there ever a time, in Scouting, for adult leaders to be this, how shall I say this...anal...in their interpretations of the guidelines. Being registered in one "primary" position should not block the possibility of deserved recognition for efforts put into another. Case in point...your District Training Chair likely serves in another position with a troop. Which is his primary? Does he feel that he should not be eligible for any recognition for his efforts and energies spent in the other? If he does, he's really only hurting himself, and obviously, others. It's rather simple really, and you've hit the nail right square on the head. He deserves it. But, before you go swinging the bat, try to see what registrations he has, when did his Cubmaster registration became his primary, was his Tiger Den Leader registration still in force and stay in force when he took on the Cubmaster position, too?
  14. jmcquillan

    BOSTON BOY SCOUTS PROMOTE DIVERSITY

    "I guess the people of Boston (or at least some of them) are liberal in this respect." One must remember that the Greater Boston area is, indeed, a bastion of liberalism, and more Democrat than Republican in a big way...but we have a Republican Governor...go figure. If a conservative point of view or policy is to be taken to task, it will happen here...for better or worse.
  15. jmcquillan

    SPL Elections

    I always encouraged the PLC to set election guidelines that did not permit on Scout to serve consecutive terms. They've gone along with that, because they all would like a shot at the position themselves someday. They do, however, allow for a Scout to be re-elected to a second term after he's sat out for one term.
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