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Everything posted by jtswestark

  1. To add to Engs point LL is certainly not the only youth baseball game in town. Im not familiar with Pony, but I grew up playing in Hot Stove which has their own national tournies and is still very popular. My sons league was USSSA - which is becoming a national youth sports powerhouse along the lines of what AAU used to be (not sure if any AAU leagues exist anymore.) The non-LL leagues move the pitchers mound back a few feet at each age group so that you dont get a the equivalent of a 140mph fastball bearing down on you from an over aged kid. Much safer and better development for high school ball. So make sure you are looking at youth baseball as a whole and not just one segment of LL. I would bet that LL numbers are shrinking because of it's rules. We commonly lose boys for baseball season. Travel teams are killer for Scouts, except for those units that like to take the summers off. Rec soccer is in the fall in the north, unless they are playing travel/indoor/spring year round and youre probably going to lose that kid anyways.
  2. What would holding a BoR accomplish? Drag in a number of adults that may or may not even know the kid for the purpose of what? That would be no different outcome, maybe worse, than what was done to this young man. I have to 'mostly' agree with Papa and Twocub on both of their posts. The SM only added to the commotion by holding his closed door meeting and all the effects of it. Those waiting outside with nothing to do the angst of 5Ys son and many others. That just adds to the mishandling of all this. But if there was this much to do about it, I dont think you can ignore it. Yes, we have a duty to protect our youth, but there also is expected to have some judgment in not over reacting to youthful games. Maybe this SM doesnt have a good feel for that and wanted some witnesses for his inquiry. One other adult wouldve been plenty for that, but its easy to see how additional adults can force their way into situations. Preventing him from running for SPL was a ridiculous reaction if that was the reason. Summer Camp is apparently over and going back to the CD at this point wouldnt do much other than chalk it up to experience, unless there is more to the story. I truly cant see any beneficial punishments coming to the boys involved in this interaction. Youre kidding yourself if you think you can stop boys from accusing each other of being gay when no adults are around.
  3. After "passing the test", give them NEED to use it. Absolutely! The regular program is what is going to make the Scouts proficient in their knowledge, not a one and done approach. A PL can sign off on a skill, but the T-2-1 needs to utilize that skill on many campouts and games/events the Troop/Patrol should be taking part in throughout the year, year after year. When we were first working to get the troop out to do some hiking, when one of my PIA parents recognized the distance met Camping MB req #9B2. Almost instantly there was a rumbling in her sons patrol that half werent going as theyve already done that requirement. Thanks for that one, Mommy. Once you can get your Scouts and parents looking beyond that perspective, then your Scouts are becoming proficient in many ways without even realizing it. I dont really see a dumbing down of Scouting going on in the requirements, but I have seen a dumbing down in the lack of program. Initially, we as adults leaders can improve that by giving our boy-lead units some guidance on their planning. Eventually, they take over completely and determine their own program to do these things. If we let them, that is.
  4. Thanks for reminding me... with school starting back up soon, need to read up on that water-boarding trick.
  5. Frankly, this inquisition, as described, borders on sexual harassment itself. I can't imagine what would make any leader that it is part of his job to inquire into the sexuality of a youth member. Fantastic comments, all, additional kudos on your son. I truly hope he gets no spin off effect for being a good friend. How dare these adults do this to a young man. Ill never understand why some adult leaders think they are trial judge and jury in areas they have no authority. Where was the accusation? What were they basing all this upon? Unless there was a solicitation/incident or outright statement from the young man, there is nothing to do here. And if there were, the YP training certainly specifies what they should have done in contrast to this. Im not a lawsuit kind of guy, but agree with Calico, there should be some serious heads rolling over this. This is bad for the unit, for Scouting, and certainly this young man. I might go to the CC first, but getting the SE involved would be a fast coming on my phone call list. And we wonder why we get bad press on the 3Gs.
  6. Last summer I was unable to attend camp and found it very interesting how many facebook posts that had nothing to do with Scouts from the guys in camp. They hadnt cut the strings loose and were still conversing with girlfriends, buddies, family, and people that had no idea they were even at camp. We gave the same rule to the boys that the adults had for a long period - we didnt want to see the phones, dont want to hear your conversations, and dont want your nose buried in it. The older guys seem to get it. Their batteries will die out if they go at it too much and we haven't seen the survival chargers, yet anyways... We too had a 2nd year Scout struggling with homesickness and was on the phone with Mom quite a bit at night. But he also had another weight on his shoulders - that of Dad just having left for a long tour in Afghanistan. Hes worked through it and is hopefully starting his Eagle project this fall yet. Doesn't appear to be any life long damage.
  7. Are we expecting more from that adults than we train? Should we expect more from the adults than we train? Many of us that were involved as kids in Scouting have taken a nice long break in between that time and before our own sons were ready to join. Many of those skills were long lost and had to be relearned. I wasnt out doing lashings or working a compass while I was busy building a family and profession. So even those of us that have come back still take some time to brush off the rust. And yes, there were things we werent proficient in that need to be learned better to teach and make sure our Scouts know better. Especially if were supposed to be experts on all topics. How difficult has it proven to get leaders to come out for the SM specific training? How difficult is it to get a full roster for Woodbadge? How much are we expecting from an adult that are also trying to keep a balance life with other respects on top of the multiple hours a week and 11 months of camping? We can have the highest proficiency requirements in the world in all areas of the Scoutcraft we want, but who is going to teach it to that level and who is going to test them? Its not going to be us part timers.
  8. It should follow Camping MB I completely agree with that being a pre-req. I am surprised to read here of so many first year Scouts taking Wilderness Survival. I would not allow younger guys to take this before Camping MB and certainly not first year Scouts. Because of that, it ends up being at least 3rd or 4th year Scouts taking it on.
  9. Eng is right. The two battles I see with a kids time that kills Scouts: sports and school. Sports: every program a kid gets involved in today has to give 110% of his time to that one program. The days of a three sport athlete are gone in the school districts Im familiar with since the coaches expect (and get if the kid wants to actually play) a year round commitment to their sport. Band is a close second, we would lose half our troop each fall during football season to marching band requirements. School: challenges and demands of more school work being done at home than before. Competitions for class rankings, home work in advance placement classes.
  10. Sad to read. I visited a camp here in Western NY this summer, arriving about 6:30pm on a Tuesday. It was just plain awesome to see the waterfront PACKED with boys canoeing, kayaking, fishing, swimming at that hour! (granted, it was 90 degrees, which is pretty rugged to the locals up here). Why would you want to restrict open program time at a Scout camp!? Makes no sense.
  11. I don't understand this sniping at jtswestark, and I find this lack of decorum embarrassing. A scout is courteous, for Pete's sake. Thank you Garrison. Sadly, it happens because people can hide anonymously behind handles and aren't held accountable for what they say. Small minded people only see their own way and any other way MUST be wrong. If we were sitting around a real campfire where we could look each other in the eye a fraction of the insults would be tossed that are. Anyone thats been in Scouting for any period of time will have their share of real disagreements. But theres always a point at the end of the conversation where we can agree to disagree and shake hands as fellow Scouters. Wish that would happen here more than it does. I don't know how long you've been on this forum. I've come and gone a number of times over the years mainly because I get tired of this kind of garbage. Its easy to recognize that I have better things to do with my time with my family, Scouting, and my work than defend myself and my track record to such moronic statements. That is what kills the resource pool of a forum and drives away much of the breadth of input from so many different and valuable posters. That said, it used to be worse on here than it seems to be today. A couple of the worst offenders dont appear to be active anymore, thankfully. When I feel myself getting sucked into this kind of crap, I know its time to go camping with some boys and get back to why I love Scouting. Youd think a Scouting forum, of all places, would be somewhere we could constructively discuss different points of view and perspectives without having to even reference the Law and Oath.
  12. All great points, Scoutfish. But also note that back in the day, we got away with many more things than kids can today. Those days are over. Nobody wants to be that person that looked the other way and couldve stopped or corrected in some way an unacceptable behavior. It was posted earlier on this thread. We all have seen young people raked over the coals for mistakes that back in the day wouldve been written off as boys will be boys. Nobody is looking the other way anymore. In fact, they look very closely. They recall when reading a newspaper article about a new Eagle they once knew and unapologetically post on an internet forum how much they still despise him. *Thats* what the kids need to understand today, that there are people out there that are going to nail them not because its the right thing to do, but because they feel its their duty. Kids today arent going to get the chance we did to learn from our mistakes and turn out just fine.
  13. BP, this is the last time Im going to bother responding to your childish statements. The stat was 95% of Scouts that reach First Class make Eagle. That means, the bulk we lose are lost before they get to First class, the balance of the 5% have decided for whatever reasons that it wasnt for them. I dont really care how that filters down to you as an eagle mill. As usual, you love spouting out national stats with no documentation. Care to provide one now for your statements? Come spend a weekend camping with my unit. Come spend a month at meetings. Come sit through a PLC. Meet my Scouts and challenge them all you want. Until you put up, please shut up.
  14. jts The fact you state that 95% of your 1st Class boys makes Eagle, IMO, is a serious indicator your troop is indeed an Eagle mill, that percentage is way too high above the National average. Or it means we have an incredible quality troop. As usual, you jump to conclusions you know nothing about.
  15. Absolutely bring it up. Sooner the better. A SM conference would be preferable to me, but at a BOR would do as well. But they may not have the relationship the SM does and the effects of that could go either way. Depending upon the severity of it all, I'm not sure I would decline the BOR approval, or Scout spirit by the SM... maybe ask him to reflect upon his behavior being what he would think suits a Star/Life/Eagle Scout? That with much browbeating may be enough to make him reconsider advancing for a while. If he doesn't, then maybe I'd tell him to think about it for a few weeks and lets get together on XX date to discuss further. Drinking is a whole nother topic and should be brought to the attention of his parents and may warrant not approving his advancing - as in not living the Oath and Law. Pretty hard for even a helicopter parent to argue... I sent a message to one of our aspiring Life Scouts about a message he posted on FB and that he is friends with people that may sit on his Eagle board. He proceeded to lock out any adult friend from seeing his posts. Very tricky
  16. I've been down a very similar path... married parents wanting to be ASMs and committee members and on and on... Chalk it up to experience, it happens to everyone I think if they're around long enough, sadly. Addition by subraction is what you need to keep reminding yourself, don't beat yourself up over it and move on. What I'd do is tell the boys about them leaving your unit and if they want a new counselor you'd be glad to give them one. Considering the volume of MBs Junior has earned, I'd really question the quality of counselors they are. But you have to feel that one out. So let the boys make the call. Take the high road and keep the disagreements between the two (three?) of you between you.
  17. There is a lot of talk about #of eagles, #advancements, MB earned I dont have a problem with talking about those numbers at all. I can say 95% of our First Class Scouts have made Eagle. Weve had 17 Eagles over the past 10 years, with about 5 more in stages of finishing projects / waiting on EBOR. I commonly would come back from summer camp to report the number of merit badges and advancements earned. Does that make us a mill? Of course not, it means Ive taken a few minutes to look at some numbers. Now, if I start using that as a metric to improve upon thats a different story. Continuous improvement in specific areas should still be part of the upcoming goals for any unit. But adjusting program to affect the wrong goals even through good intention is what you need to keep an eye out for.
  18. What a great luxury to have Moose! My experiences is there aren't enough MB counselors on the roster to support many boys to be picky only using someone you know, much less the quality of EXPERT that some here demand.
  19. We're all suckers, aren't we!? That's what makes it all fun, but you have to learn/know when to say 'no'. I learned a little too late and had other spin off issues because of it - so don't let that happen to you! Enjoy the ride, this Scouting thing is great!
  20. Thanks Venividi, you say it more succinctly than I could I was just passing on what I saw year after year many fantastic young men giving it their all in trying to put on a successful camp program. It just kills them to go through all that to have a SM come down on them for trying to do their job. Or getting called names like Eagle Mills. They have passion for what they do, because they certainly dont do it for the pay. Ive personally stepped in to stop a SM dressing down a young staffer, it was awful and happens all too often. Ask a veteran staffer what he really thinks about SMs off the record and youll hear horror stories that would make any of us blush.
  21. Back in the day I was a competitive swimmer and the mile was a nice warm up and a neat patch. The camp had a 20 yard pool so it was nice using the walls for flip turns. Did it all five years I went to camp. Back in those days it was simply swimming a mile and wed do it Saturday mornings before lunch and going home. When I came back to Scouts we had a new camp with a wonderful lake and bulkhead area quartered off in 25 yard sections no walls to push off on. Have to go down on Monday to do mile, the next day mile at our leisure and in the bulkhead area, with a counter. Bulkheads stink as theres no walls to turn on and push off, so each 25 is from a dead start in the water. On Thursday eve, we did the whole thing out in the open area of the lake, they have buoys posted in mile sections, so four times out and back and you were done. Much better than in the bulkhead! Did it most years I was in camp. Id drag one or more kids with me I knew were swimmers and harass them about getting beat by their old fat Scoutmaster. It was good to get a homesick kid out there to count for me, made him feel a little privileged, especially if he was a little scared of the water. Drawback is it takes a lot out of the boys, and may bring on some meltdowns. My sons first year he talked three of his buddies into doing it and they all four made it, but each crashed that night.
  22. Great discussion it looks to me that people are saying why not? to a lot of non-campish merit badges. The bottom line is if its done properly, just about any MB can be a summer camp MB. My camp offers 39 different MBs this current summer for 53 separate classes, in fact most of what you suggested Calico but a few like Horesemanship, SCUBA, WaterSports, Whitewater that we dont have the facilities or equipment for. Capital plans in the short term future will address some of those. They have a complete staff of around 70, Id guess. They offer 6 required for a whopping 10 classes (FA, Camping, Swimming, E Sci, E Prep & Lifesaving) no Citizenships or Personal Fitness this year, but yes Communications (grumble). Home Repair popped up good for camp maintenance! Ha! Plus Radio, Energy, Fire Safety, Scouting Heritage, Woodwork, to name a few. Honestly, I have no problem with that offering and would bet thats not far from the norm of most camps (but I get called a lazy SM for taking my Troop to a merit badge mill). Anecdotal stories can show all kind of hair brained events seemingly going on everywhere, but please - the sky is not falling, Scouting is not being turned over to helicopter parents, 13 year old staffers (CITs have to be 14 and fulltime have to be 15), or any other whacko theory that flies all over the forum. Most camps they have much more going on than just merit badges at their camp. It's not like they're sitting in classes all day, every day. A strong camping program otherwise will keep Scouts engaged and active in a Scouting environment they can't get anywhere else. Not bad for a week compared to many other youth camps. Even a bad week at camp is better than a good week at...
  23. BadenP We can all agree to disagree without using the garbage you spew. I know its a stretch for you, but please at least TRY to act like a Scouter. Your personal attacks show you as much less than that.
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