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Everything posted by JMHawkins

  1. Ha. Yes, good point. Just like BSA prohibiting laser tag. Nothing to stop a bunch of guys - who happen to also be members of Troop 123 - from playing laser tag on their own, so long as their parents agree. Shoot, after laser tag, they might even go camping with sheath knives and home-made alcohol stoves. Or maybe help out around the house by using a cordless drill or wheelbarrow. The sad thing is, BSA could have fought against the overlawyering that's at the heart of the risk-aversion in society. "How are kids ever supposed to learn to do anything if people get sued for letting th
  2. I'm pretty much with Stosh on this. The whole point of the program is to give the scouts experience being responsible for themselves and their fellow "citizens." Adults carry so much inherent authority in a boy's routine world, our very presence can cause them to go passive and wait for an adult to tell them what to do. By the time a boy joins a troop, he's had five years of Elementary School to learn how to do what he's told in a group setting, and another 7 years of Middle+High School if he needs extra practice. He doesn't need Scouts to learn how to follow someone else's rules. He nee
  3. ~~Or does your statement assume adults are around and just in the background?/b> Or possibly it assumes BSA could change some of its rules?
  4. Kudu, is this course for the Adults or for the Scou...er, ha, Trailmen?
  5. The SPL should run the PLC. The PLC "runs the troop" and "running the troop" should mostly consist of coordinating between Patrols. Which are run by the PLs. I'm partial to the idea of an ASPL being the PLs primary "coach" for helping them learn their job. That's the ideal anyway. Usually it falls short, maybe by a little, maybe by a lot, depending. But the more we can push things in that direction, the better the results. As to "Rules", I'm not partial to them. Sure, there need to be some, but the fewer arbitrary "Adults said..." rules, the better. We struggle with thi
  6. Iron Chef is one of our troop's favorite outings. We use an off-season council camp and get a building with some table space - something like a craft lodge. Friday night, Scouts arrive, set up camp, have a campfire, etc. Saturday we have volunteers from the families show up to teach various culinary skills. It's one of the few adult-led instruction activities we have. Patrols rotate through three stations in the morning (about a half hour to 45 minutes each), learning things like proper knife skills, preparing a whole chicken, mixing sauces, making stocks, spices, baking, etc. (all the
  7. Well guys, it's been fun. Thanks for all the advice I've gotten over the years. Keep doing your best to do your duty, all of you are making a difference in young men's lives.
  8. Oh dear. Not that I should be complaining about the free ice cream, but I am not a fan of the new website.
  9. I'm just thinking that A Scout is Courteous has taken it's hits over the past 20 years and probably will continue to do so for a few more. Toleration is based heavily on respecting others, their beliefs, their choices, and their privacy. I give that courtesy and expect it in return from others. This is one of th most worthy comment made on this thread, or perhaps any recent thread. Thank you. Courteous is underappreciated today.
  10. Does anybody think its units like this that drive kids out of scouting less than anything that comes out of Irving? Scoutdaddy21- Its really your sons battle, you should talk to the scoutmaster about advancement, on a troop level, not just about your son. You should be ready to take over as Advancement Chair as the reason the jerk is such a jerk is because he doesnt think anyone else would do what he does Surprise him I agree with this, though Standard Disclaimer #1 applies, namely: parents should give unit leaders the benefit of doubt and not leap to conclusions about motiv
  11. I think the local option will not be satisfactory. Parties on both sides want the BSA to be a conduit for disseminating their practice of morality qwazse is absolutely right about this. Now, on the one hand, there's an argument to be made that's exactly what you should be doing if you have a the proper morailty, since BSA is in the business of disseminating proper morality. But I disagree a bit there. I think BSA technically isn't in the business of disseminating morality. It's in the business of "preparing youth to make good ethical and moral choices." It's hard to prepare someone t
  12. Because he's not confident, he's also apt to avoid da task. Not good at firebuilding? Fall back and let another boy do it. Not good at compass work? Follow along with a patrol mate and fake it. Yeh never can be retested, eh? So yeh aren't likely to be put in a spot where yeh individually have to perform da skill on your own. I see this all the time. The same handful of truly proficient scouts build the fire, cook the meal, etc., for the guys who don't have the skills. I mean, after all, we teach them to be helpful, right? Now, as SMs, we hold up those proficient scouts as great guys, b
  13. I can hardly complain if National does with membership decisions exactly what I think they should do with Advancement and Saftey, namely leave it up to the units. They've done a terrible job centralizing everything else, so I say let the COs make the call.
  14. For these near misses, can we just send in a photo and general description of each boy in the troop? Proactive reporting would save so much time! Just mention you drove to the trailhead on a public road. The near miss there probably dwarfs anything that (almost) happened on the trail. Seriously though, I think structured interviews of a stratified random simple of unit's across the nation will be more effective and accurate. If the objective is getting information out to other unit leaders about things that can go wrong, this would be great. My insurance company sends me a q
  15. There is one clear message coming from Merlin, and that is, when making decisions like this, make them based on what you think is right, not based on what you think will please other people, because other people will always find something to complain about.
  16. Attitude to government. It seems there is a massive difference here between USA and Europe. You seem to see government as something imposed upon you to be kept as small as possible and not as something useful. In Europe government is generally seen as the servant of the population... Well, yes. America was largely populated by people who weren't happy with the, ah, "service" provided by European governments. They figured they could do better on their own.
  17. You can shour all you want, if you end up with an Eagle that can't tie knots, its a program thing In part the shouting is out of frustration that nobody seems to be listening. Here, I will walk you through it: Step 1 - Yes, if you have Eagle Scouts who can't tie basic knots, it is indeed the result of a poorly run program. Step 2 - The program will ultimately be run according to what the local adult volunteers in the unit this is right. Step 3 - Many local volunteers have very little previous Scouting experience. Many other have only experience with poorly run units.
  18. At least I don't understand a scout not knowing his knots because of something National does BECAUSE NATIONAL TELLS THE UNIT LEADERS NOT TO BE VERY STRICT ABOUT TESTING THE SKILLS! I'm shouting in case maybe the loud voice will get through the wall of denial that seems to exist around this point. Not every unit has a SM with twenty years of old-school scouting under his belt. Not every unit has a commissioner who can steer them towards a good program. A lot of units have a handful of well-intentioned volunteers who were never Scouts as a youth, and who's only understanding of the
  19. We talk abour the horrors of an Eagle who can't tie a square knot like its his fault. He learns the knot and then its the duty of the unit's program to give him oppturnities to tie knots and teach and use them No, you misunderstand. We talk about the horrors of a program that encourages everyone to sign off on every step with the least possible level of skill demonstrated by the Scout. It is exactly this sort of sub-par program that leads to Eagle Scouts who can't tie a square knot, and we're not blaming the Scout, we're blaming the program encouraged by National and the "don't add to
  20. For the "homework" merit badges, something we should realize is that kids do a lot more homework in school these days. I think the biggest problem with the homework MBs is they are a departure from the highly effective spirt of Scouting that produces learning as a byproduct of Scouts doing things they are interested in doing. The most effective Citizenship MB is "Citizenship in the Patrol" where they learn all about leadership, followership, elections, due process, etc., all while they think they're just having fun with their friends. PS: wasn't the First Aid MB a requirement for Firs
  21. I think we've discussed this before but the trouble with the word "mastery" is that it is very subjective and has led to "Scoutmaster gatekeeper abuse" in the past. Oh fer cryin' out loud, not the dreaded "Scoutmaster gatekeeper abuse" boogeyman. I would suggest that 99.9% of all allegations of "Scoutmaster gatekeeper abuse" fall into one of two categories: 1 - clueless parent unhappy that their precious little one was actually held to a standard and asked to accomplish something instead of being recognized just for showing up and breathing. 2 - a poor choice for a Scoutmaster
  22. I think this is the most fundamental of all philosophical questions - where do we draw the line between our own selves and our community. And I don't think there can be one answer, because all of us different when it comes to our need for community and our need for space. So I think a decent society needs to find a way to accomodate, and not force everyone into one bucket. There are people who are profoundly miserable if they are not allowed to stretch, the strive, to take risks and seek rewards. These people are okay with the risks and with accepting high degrees of personal responsib
  23. I said long ago that anyone who earns the NOA is a very well rounded scout and has sampled, in a very complete manner, what scouting has to offer. I presented it to the troop maybe a year ago and they are working on it. Right now they are a pioneering merit badge away from camping and hiking merit badge away from the camping and hiking segment. a couple are a mile swim away from the aquatics one. We have one guy with the Camping segment (1 gold device and closing in on his second), and two more guys who are a group first aid kit (last Firat Aid MB requirement) away from joining
  24. Of course Beavah, Tyrants always argue they are protecting the greater public from the menace of a select few. So do reasonable public officials. That's the path to power for the tyrant, the illusion that they're nothing more than reasonable public officials. There's no difference in kind between the actions of a decent governmetn and a tyranny, it's only a matter of degree. Decent governments imprison people (criminals). Decent governments demand money from the citizens (taxes). Decent government place restrictions on people (laws and regulations). Tyrannies do nothing different,
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