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Joe MacDoaks

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Everything posted by Joe MacDoaks

  1. Joe MacDoaks

    Letter to absent Scout

    I have a Scout in my Troop that is a Life Scout. He is about to turn 17. I have not seen this Scout at a Scout function in about a year. I have talked to this Scout on the phone and asked him to comeback to meetings and he has said he would but I still have not seen him. I occasionally see his parents and they tell me he wants to work on his Eagle Project, I have not seen a proposal for a project yet. Parents assure me that son wants to earn Eagle. I want to send this scout and his parents a letter telling them that Scout will not be retained on the roster if he doesn't start participating in scouts now. My CC is friends with the family and doesn't want me to send the letter. He says he will talk to the Scouts father. In the letter I have drafted I request a meeting with the Scout and his parents so that we can work everything out. This boy only needs four merit badges and his Eagle project to meet requirements for Eagle. He was an SPL after he made Life. Should I send the letter with out CC concurrence? I have tried to lay the facts out in my letter. I don't feel that I have any other way to get through to this Scout.
  2. Joe MacDoaks

    Letter to absent Scout

    We are small troop that has one big fundraiser a year that raises most of our money for the year. This Scout participated in this fundraiser last year and I haven't seen him at a Scout meeting since. I kept the scout on the roster since he worked at the fundraiser and since he had assured me that he would be coming back to meetings. I have invited him to campouts and other activities. I have called him and asked him to come to scouts, he said he would come to the next meeting and he didn't. I have talked to his parents and they have said he would be attending meetings and working on his Eagle project. He does work but, he works at a family business. I do believe that the Scout is still kind of upset about not getting his Eagle with some of his older friends. I also think he liked our old Scoutmaster more than me. What I don't want to have happen is to have this kid come to me in nine months and have him expect to get his Eagle. This scout has met all requirements for Eagle with the exception of earing 4 merit badges and his Eagle project. He was SPL for a year as a Life Scout. He has been a Life Scout for about three years. This Scout liked being SPL but he didn't want to run for another term. This Scout doesn't like taking direction from the scout picked as SPL after him. The scout asked me to make his JASM and I told him that with a small troop like ours I didn't really see the need for this position but, I would consider it once he made Eagle.
  3. Joe MacDoaks

    Please remember June 11

    Please remember the Scouts that were killed last June at the Little Sioux Scout ranch. Starting Sunday the Mid America Council will be having Pahuk Pride (NYLT) at the Little Sioux Scout Ranch. This week of training will be the anniversary of this tragedy. Many of the people that will be putting on this training are people who were at Little Sioux last year. My Son will be there going to NYLT, he almost went last year but had a conflict and couldn't go. I know that nothing will happen, but I would like to ask that everyone keep the Scouts attending this year and last year, the Leaders attending last year and this year, and the families of the boys that died at Little Sioux in their Prayers this next week.
  4. Joe MacDoaks

    Hung, drawn and quartered!

    My Troop is at the Southern tip of my District. Most of the Troops in my District are at the Northern end of our area. Most of our district events are help even further north at a Council property. I would have to travel over two hours on a Friday and set up camp in the dark to attend our fall camporee and then have the longest drive back home on Sunday. I have a choice of camping in several different areas within 30 minutes of the town I live in and I don't have some manscout checking all of my paperwork and telling me how great it is to be all together. My District also likes to schedule a bunch of things together, camporee one weekend and merit badge college the next weekend, University of Scouting right after that. I have to choose what I can go to and I can't go to everything. When it comes right down to it I would rather camp with my troop closer to home and be able to spend a little more time working on scout skills that spend a whole weekend with a bunch of man scouts and planned out activities with a long drive there and back.
  5. Joe MacDoaks

    Bob Birkby

    Bob, Birkby, The author of the last three editions of the Boy Scout Handbook, is going to give a talk in my area in a couple of weeks. Have any of you ever heard him speak and is it worth going to hear him? Thanks for your reply.
  6. Joe MacDoaks

    Bob Birkby

    I looked at his web site and I think I will go to his talk, it's free and it's close by. I will let you all know how it was after I go.
  7. Joe MacDoaks

    Tornado hits scout camp

    This camp belongs to My Council. My son almost went to this camp but he decided to go to our regular camp to finish up some merit badge work. I have seen several people I know on news reports tonight. All I can ask is that we all pray for these Scouts and their families. My wife is not happy about our son going to camp next week. He says he wants to go but, I can tell his Mom doesn't want him to. I have always felt our Council has poor procedures for weather emergencies at our Council Camps. After my first year at camp when a wall cloud came through and we had no area for shelter, I have always made my scouts find a place to go in our camp site in the event of a weather emergency. I told my son to get under the tent platform and to cover his head with a blanket or pillow. Like most camps our camps have few buildings with basements.
  8. I have an individual in my troop that wants to count service he performs at Church as his community service for rank advancement. The individual acts as a Cantor, Altar Boy, and helps a Sunday School teacher with her preschool class. None of this service is required. Other boys that go to this individuals Church don't think this is fair but they don't perform these activities either. I am inclined to accept it since it is not required. What do you think?
  9. Joe MacDoaks

    13/14 Year Old Eagle Scouts

    I think it all depends on the boy. I have seen 13 year old boys that are good natural leaders and would make fine Eagle scouts and I have seen 17 year old eagle scouts that are not good scouts. I would much rather have a boy work hard for three or four years and make Eagle than have a boy drop out and then come back and expect you to bend over backwards to help him get his Eagle at the last minute. But, when all is said and done your Eagle is what you put into it. If you got all of your merit badges the easy way and didn't grow and take advantage of leadership opportunities, you got what you wanted but you didn't get what you could have had. I think you have to look back after many years and see if you actually earned your Eagle and decide what it means to you. Was it worth it and did you do your best or was it just handed to you because your were there. That is for you to decide, no one else.
  10. Joe MacDoaks

    Acceptable Community Service

    I really appreciate all of the responses that I have received. I have decided to accept the helping with Sunday School service and plan on telling the scout that the other service is more along the lines of his normal Christian duty. I see the Sunday school as a project, he wants to help other kids become more spiritual. I am baseing this on Altar Boy and Cantor not being a project but a normal duty that someone would provide. This Scout is one of my better Scouts. He always comes to meetings and he rarely misses an activity. He has more Community sevice hours than you can shake a stick at. He is a great kid. He will probably be one of those 14 year old Eagles that so many people don't seem to like. This scout is also a Den Chief and he also helps with our Distict WEBELOS lockin, he has taught the Geolgy pin for the last two years. I don't think he will be wanting for service hours. Thanks for all of your help.
  11. Joe MacDoaks

    Old advancement records

    I had an adult that was in the troop that I am Scoutmaster for ask me a question about advancement records. The records that he is interested in are from the 70's. Our troop records from that time were destroyed in a fire at a previous Scoutmasters house. How can I get an advancement record from this time frame from national. I am specifically looking for a date that someone was advanced to Eagle Scout.
  12. Joe MacDoaks

    Acceptable Community Service

    Gold Winger, I can agree that that Cantor and Altar boy may not be appropriate but helping with a Sunday school class for a whole year does seem to fit the bill. It has a begining a middle and an end. The individual isn't required to plan the project only participate. It is a long term commitment, a whole school year. It is a project to teach a group of kids about God. The Scout has to act as a role model. He is doing this because he wants to. Since this has an end I can agree with it being a project. I don't see this as being any different than helping with a bike safety rodeo.
  13. Joe MacDoaks

    Old advancement records

    Who do you contact at National for a records check? This is further complicated by the fact that the Council that this individual was in has had its boundaries changed and our Troop is now in a different Council. This is specifically related to an individual that tells me that he completed all of the requirements for Eagle back in the 70's but did not have the dates for three merit badges, he had lost the blue cards. When he asked the Scoutmaster for the dates he said all of his records were lost in a fire and he did not have the dates. The individual tells me that he wrote a letter to national telling them what happened and then never heard anything from them. Out of the blue he gets a call from NESA the other day asking for information for the Eagle directory they are putting together. He tells them that he did not make Eagle and they tell him he did and give him a date that seems like the correct date to him. I am just trying to help him solve a mystery, is he an Eagle or not. This is further complicated by the fact that the Scoutmaster has passed away.
  14. Joe MacDoaks

    Special Needs Scout

    I recently got a new scout that is a special needs kid. Most of my older Scouts know him and get along with him ok. I can tell from working with him that he is going to have problems completing many of the requirements in the scout book. We spent about 30 minutes trying to tie a square knot. His mother tells me he can't tie his shoes and he can't swim. I don't think I will ever have to worry about him becoming an Eagle but, I would like him to advance as far as he can. What advice do any of you have for advancing this kid. I have never let a requirement slide for another kid. He either knew the requirement or he didn't. I don't think this is practicle for this kid. What leeway do I have for saying this kid has met the requirement to the best of his ability?
  15. I try to communicate with parents as much as I can. I tell scouts to let their parents know about activities that are coming up. I have a calendar that goes out a year in the future for events that I know about. I send notes out for important activities, like summer camp and COH. I frequently call the SPL and ask him to call all the patrol leaders and let them know about upcoming activities and to communicate this to the scouts in their patrols. Tonight I got a call from a parent that said she didn't know anything about a court of honor tommorrow and that she didn't have time to make anything. I told her to come anyway. She told me I don't communicate well enough with her. She remembered the note I sent home about a month ago but, she said she didn't remember she had to bring something or that the COH was set for Sunday. I pulled up the note and looked at it and it said what you needed to bring and when the COH was. I just feel over worked on this. I am being asked by my CC to send notes home with the scouts after every meeting, to have a calendar for the year, to have an e-mail list and to send updates, and to call people everyone myself since some boys don't call everyone in their patrol. I told my CC that this is just to much for the SM to have to do. I don't mind that the boys sometimes don't find out about stuff from other scouts. I think it teaches them to pick a better patrol leader. I also think that if I tell the scouts something at a scout meeting it is their responsibility to let their parents know about it. When I was a scout my SM never called my parents and we never got notes or calendars for the year. What is a reasonable amount of communications from the SM to parents?
  16. I keep seeing where people post that a Scout could be denied his Eagle because he got a merit badge from a MBC that was not registered. I don't see how this could happen. You never enter who the MBC is when you make an advancement report. The only record is the blue card. I have never seen blue cards checked for a scout. My Council doesn't even use blue cards at our council camp. The SM gets a print out with requirements that are met at the end of the week. No blue card is ever signed at camp. You enter the information off of the print out for your advancement report. Also, with people moving around the way they do, what if a boy moves from one council to another council. Are you going to deny a boy his Eagle because he lost a blue card when he moved? Most scouts don't keep up with blue cards any way. I find Boy Scout record keeping to be a joke. You need to make sure a boy has the correct time between ranks and that he has the proper number of merit badges for his rank but, that seems to be about it to me. You only neeed to do this because the information is readily obtainable from the entry of your advancement reports. Everything else is icing on the cake. So has any one actually had a boy denied Eagle because he got a merit badge from a MBC that wasn't registered?
  17. Joe MacDoaks

    Problem with scouts not awarded merit badges

    Some camp merit badges are done well and some are done poorly. I provide feedback on the ones that are done poorly and they usually seem better the next year. I also try to attend each merit badge class at least once during camp to see how it is going. I also talk to the boys in the evening to see how they like their classes. Even though I have seen some classes that I didn't think met all of the requirements, I believe the boy should get the badge if all of the requirements are signed off. The scout has no control over the quality of instruction he receives. If the troop is unhappy with the quality of merit badge instruction they should find another camp or volunteer to counsel merit badges at camp.
  18. Joe MacDoaks

    Moral dilema

    I took over my sons troop just before summer camp. At our last court of honor before I became scoutmaster the old scoutmaster told two boys that they had earned the rank of star. He had not done a Scoutmaster conference or a board of review because he never did these things for any advancement. He also told me at one point that one of these boys had earned a merit badge and that he was going to enter it for the boy. These items have not been entered but, the boys, the troop and all of the parents believe that the boys have these ranks and badges. I am at a point that we have to have a court of honor and I have to enter merit badges from summer camp. I would have done this earlier but I have been waiting on the old scoutmaster to get records up to date. We have talked about this several times and he keeps telling me that he is going to enter this information. I am at the point now that I am sure he isn't going to enter the information. My question is what would you do? Would you enter the information and consider it stuff that was done on the other scoutmasters watch or tell the boys that they have to redo the requirements. You have to also understand that every boy in the troop that earned a rank under the old scoutmaster never had a board of review except for boys getting Eagle. I work in a highly requlated environment where my signature means a lot to me and where I can sign things that can affect my company a great deal. My signature is precious to me and I am reluctant to just give it away. I am also reluctant to make a child suffer or become discouraged because of an adult who doesn't feel rules apply to him. We have started doing boards of review for rank advancements since July but, we have not gone back to do them retroactively for past advancements.
  19. Joe MacDoaks

    Moral dilema

    Our old scoutmaster stated at the last court of honor that two boys had both achieved the rank of star and that he had just not submitted the paperwork. The two boys both consider themselves star scouts and so do their parents. The scoutmaster also stated in front of a group of people that one of the boys had earned the camping merit badge but that he had not entered it. I am sure that this boy did meet the scoutmasters expectations for earning this merit badge as he has a brother that is a year younger that has the badge. I have told everyone in the troop and all parents that we will be following exactly what is in the book for advancements. I have gone over the advancement requirements for each rank with the boys and told them that we will follow them. We have had boards of review for rank advancements and I am doing scoutmaster conferences. Going foward we are fine. I have heard some complaining from parents and scouts but, I have not had anyone quit on me because of this. I think everyone in the troop is tainted to some extent, even my son. He has two advancements that never had boards of review. I asked the SM and the CC about this and the SM said "BOR is a waste of time. Boy always passes so I just stopped doing them" CC said we can make changes when old SM retires. We have changed but, we are not going back and requireing BOR for all scouts that have previously earned a rank. Only difference with these two boys is that advancement was a verbal and not entered. I have told my son that if he becomes an Eagle he will need 22 merit badges as the one merit badge he earned from old SM didn't cover all of the requirements. He seems OK with this. I expect more from my son than I do from other kids and I don't expect them to do the same thing.
  20. Joe MacDoaks

    Moral dilema

    We enter all of our advancement and merit badge information on the internet. The only rank advancement forms we turn in are for Eagle scout. All merit badge information is entered on the internet also.
  21. Joe MacDoaks

    Mutiny

    Some of my scouts have come to me and asked if they can pick a new SPL. They say the current SPL is too bossy. I have told them that they picked the SPL, not me, and now they have to live with the decision. They hold elections in Febuary. Our old SM used to pick the SPL and the current SPL is the first one that was elected by the troop. Any advice?
  22. Joe MacDoaks

    Mutiny

    The only time I would remove a boy from a leadership position is if he was a danger to other kids safety. In this case I have a bossy scout that likes to be lazy. He makes sure everthing is done but he doesn''t do anything himself. He likes to sleep in and he doesn''t help with doing any physical work. He says that doing his duty roster and other items is enough. I don''t agree with him and I have told him that privately. I don''t try to undermine him and I have told him that some other scouts feel that he doesn''t carry his weight. He disagrees. I have found this to be a common condition when counseling employees at work. It''s very hard to judge your own performance. Everyone thinks they are doing a good job. As a veteran I know you can''t run a troop like a military unit. Even though my scout troop as a child had all military leadership, it was not run as a military unit. And I am happy it wasn''t. I am not sure about picking leaders every six months. When do you pick them? I wouldn''t want to have new leaders before summer when we are engaged in most of our activities. I would feel that the boys that were not a PL or SPL during the summer would have missed an opportunity to be a leader over more activity. I really believe a year is a good length of time. I really feel that leaving the SPL in place until his term is up is the best thing to do. I do think I will ecourage the PL''s and ASPL to give him some polite feedback on how they think he is doing.
  23. Joe MacDoaks

    Mutiny

    I''ve been working with all of the scouts on leadership. My scouts seem to think that scouts is the military. I keep hearing "you have to do what I said I''m a higher rank" I tell them that if a scout isn''t in your patrol and you aren''t in a position of authority over that scout you can''t tell him what to do. You can make a suggestion and you can let his PL, the SPL, or me know. We are having our first non troop method campout. All of the patrols will be cooking for themselves. This should be interesting.
  24. Joe MacDoaks

    Unplanned activity

    On Labor day my sons troop put out American flags in our town. We got done early in the morning and one of the leaders suggested that we take the boys that showed canoeing on a local river. We decided that this was a good idea so we let everyone go home and ask their parents if they could go and we met at the river at 1PM ready to go. One parent asked about a week later why their son wasn''t invited and I told her that this was a spur of the moment decision and that we only asked the boys that had come to flags in the morning to go. I explained that we have two canoe activities planned in the next month and that he could go on those. She insists that her son should be called for all activities. I reminded her that he had been called for flags and that he failed to show up. I told her that you can''t pick and choose to only go to the fun activities. She doesn''t seem to like my answer. Am I wrong, should I have offered the same invitation to the boys that didn''t show up that was offered to the ones that did?
  25. Joe MacDoaks

    Unplanned activity

    Well we went on one of our planned canoe outings today. We had good participation. Only two boys that don''t have the canoeing merit badge were no shows. One boy was sick and one doesn''t really like the water. We had 5 parents go along and my scout who caused all my problems came along. He had a good time and he has come to a few activities that were work related since Memorial Day. I think that missing a fun activity made him show up at work activities incase we do an impromptu activity. We did all of the water requirements for the canoeing merit badge. This was the first time my ASM and I ever counselled this merit badge so we were happy to have two Scouts along who just took the merit badge at camp this summer. We watched a canoeing video at our meetings and we have been working on all of the other requirements at meetings. Two more weeks, if the weather is good, and we are back on the river.
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