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Everything posted by KoreaScouter

  1. When we cold-weather camped in Korea, the only thing we nixed were air mattresses and cots. Some Scouts (older and long-termers) sprung for thermarest and had no problems. And, many younger Scouts used the closed-cell foam -- they were readily available at the military clothing sales stores, and not expensive. Either work fine, as long as your son follows all the other great advice here. One additional thing I did, right before lights out, was shove a Hershey bar at each Scout, before they tucked in, and told them to eat it before they went to sleep. Our Troop would also put a cup
  2. I've seen this from both sides, as a Cubmaster and later, as a Scoutmaster. I've found that dropouts were minimal when the Troop had an active First Class First Year program that included a dedicated ASM for the New Scout Patrol, a hyper-emphasis on summer camp for the NSP, and a Troop Guide who's respected among the other older Scouts, a good teacher, and has a union-steward mentality toward the NSP's care and feeding. When any of that's deficient or missing, attrition starts going up. It's not easy to judge a Troop based on meeting visits. That's a part of the overall picture, but I'
  3. One advantage of Boys Life going into the home is that if the unit follows the program recommendations in the Council calendars, Roundtable planning guide, Program Helps, etc., there will be program-related articles for the boys each month, that tie right into their unit program/theme, and in turn, their advancement. Even if the unit program doesn't follow the calendars lockstep, if the boys save the magazines, they'll come in handy eventually. My son's 16 and can't advance any further; he's not interested in any more MBs, but reads and saves his BL each month, for the game reviews, ad
  4. Radmom; Just one piece of advice from an old 2-time cubmaster: avoid felt at all costs. It's not durable, and when you have to wash the vest (and you will), it'll self-destruct. I'd also recommend a pocket or two if your seamstress is "ambitious". KS
  5. MinnSM: I apologize in advance if this comes off as harsh, but here goes: First, I wholeheartedly endorse CalicoPenn's advice: if there's been a BOR, appeal right away. The circumstances of the BOR weren't optimal, but at least you have something to appeal. Second, get a copy of the BSA Advancement Committee Guidelines. It's a full size booklet, meant to be snapped into a 3-ring binder. Your council service center should have them on hand, but probably not in the Scout Shop -- go back in the office and ask; they cost a few bucks. Now, consider yourself tongue-lashed. I'
  6. The assumption is that you have the necessary outdoor training for your program level. For Cub Scouts, I would think that BALOO would be the minimum necessary. Depending on the setting in which your council holds their WB course, your actual nights outdoors may vary from just several to virtually the entire course. There have been numerous other WB threads in the forum. I suggest you dig them out and read through them; you'll probably find them helpful. KS
  7. Little KS did his 5th grade science project on "What makes a PWD car go fastest?". He got about 30 kits, and configured them differently. There were blocks, wedges, paint, no paint, max weight, weight out of the box, weight in different places, polish, lube, polish/lube, no polish or lube, and so on. The pack left the track up after pack PWD, the school let him have cafeteria access, he made up worksheets, and we spent the entire next day running the test cars (and a control car). Here's what his experiments revealed. 1. Shape doesn't matter. Blocks and wedges with all other thi
  8. I've got three North Face 20-degree synthetic fill bags -- got 'em overseas for a song about six years ago. Good for spring and fall in Korea, too cool for winter, and too hot for summer. Haven't used them at all in Hawaii. Also have a few of the military OD green down-filled mummy bags, two cold weather, and one extreme cold weather. They're okay for most winter weather, but the extreme cold is very bulky, and if it gets wet, it's a 3-man lift. I also have a couple of Coleman 40-degree cheapos, bought originally for sleepovers, but in Hawaii, we actually use them a lot for real c
  9. The lyrics clearly indicate you're SUPPOSED to sing it before you earn your beads ("...I'm going to work my ticket if I can..."). Now, I was admonished at a District Dinner some years ago that we Wood Badgers shouldn't sing it in a group where non-Wood Badgers were present...they might be offended. We did, and they weren't. KS
  10. I consider "stage mothers" (and, to be fair, fathers) to be a pain the neck sometimes, but in the balance, I also consider them to be a "good problem". At least they're: 1). There 2). Involved I've known many boys in Scouting whose parents have never looked between the covers of their Handbooks, don't help with anything, and are MIA when their sons are recognized at a COH. That's a heart breaker, because you know that Scouting likely isn't the only part of his life his parents aren't involved in. Coincidentally, or maybe not coincidentally, those boys tend to advance far slowe
  11. As a former SM, I would have more confidence in the putting green project if the nursing home in question would allow non-residents to use it when it's completed -- making it more of a "community" project. That said, my opinion wouldn't matter much if the District/Council Advancement Committee still had a problem with it... KS
  12. Maybe I'm missing something, but everything Lisa mentioned as an area for improvement in her initial post is covered in our training and in the mainstream BSA pubs (not the arcane stuff that us unwashed volunteers can't readily get our hands on). Communicating with new parents? Look at the recruiting section in the SM Handbook -- it gives an outline for a new parents orientation. New Scout transition? That's in the SM Handbook too, and in the SPL Handbook, all laid out under the First Year program, and so is the older Scout relationship, the advancement program, etc., etc. The
  13. I believe external motivation will only overcome inertia as long as it's applied. Remove it, and friction will again take over, sooner or later. Self-motivation is the only type of motivation that can sustain itself. The trick, in my opinion, is to match opportunities with the Green Bars' inclinations to act. I've found that this almost never happens without coercion at antiseptic monthly PLCs. Conversely, I've also found that it can happen almost spontaneously if we meet/plan at the end of an event, sort of like an enhanced reflection. For example, carving out a half hour with the
  14. If your PLC uses Troop Program Features when they do their annual Program Planning Conference, they will select 12 monthly themes for the upcoming year, either straight from the book ("shrink-wrapped", I believe it's being called), or tailored to fit the unit, the environment, the resources, District/Council calendars, etc. By definition, they should pick and choose, because there are 36 monthly themes, and only 12 months in a year. Unlike some on this thread, every unit I've been associated with uses Troop Program Features, even if we modify them to substitute certain interpatrol activi
  15. In my experience, "tent lines" are sometimes necessary when you're compelled to use a troop camp site that's too compact for the "willy-nilly" method. Tent lines also help channel traffic, etc. Tent lines aren't the only way, of course, but they are one way. And, you can still use the patrol method while doing so, and allow younger Scouts to select patrol camp sites, even if it's just which row they're going to use, the line alignment, and the spacing/interval -- it's all attention to detail. It's optimal if all the tents are identical, but even when they are, it works best to at least
  16. It took just a couple of weeks to notify me that my completed ticket was approved. What took a long time was to actually get the ceremony scheduled, with the presentation of the certificate, pocket card, beads, woggle, and neckerchief. It felt like months... KS
  17. Ours are quarterly. They begin with a potluck dinner (in fact, I think it's a state law in Hawaii that any gathering of five or more people has to have food served). The Scouts go through the serving line by patrol, with their families, in an order determined by the SPL based on their appearance (the Scouts, not their families). While everyone's eating, we show a DVD with pictures and videos from the last quarter, set to music. Because we have a large Troop, we usually get right to business after everyone eats. The committee chair usually presides, unless a Scout working on Communicat
  18. How was it discovered? What would the lad have done if it wasn't discovered? How is it obvious that he doesn't have his heart in the program and is being pushed by mom/dad? I guess my point is that I don't know the boy. Are there any among us who haven't done things we're not exactly proud of, that if given a mulligan we would have done differently? Things that, fortunately for us, did not knock us down so hard we couldn't get up? If it's likely the Scout made his mistake with incredibly bad timing, but it was otherwise an anomaly, you know that better than anyone. Let him explain it to
  19. Here's another technique: the Troop Committee plans and executes the whole thing. SM and SPL sign cards and offer congratulations, and that's about it. Committee chair is the MC; Advancement chair has advancements arranged for CC. Other committee members (and some drafted parents) set up and serve the pot luck. For once, the boys are "off duty"; all they need to do is enjoy their accomplishments with their friends and family. Our COHs are a tribute to them; they're treated like honored guests. We have had COHs planned and MC'd by Scouts to meet their Communications MB requirement, bu
  20. Another Palm requirement is to make an effort to demonstrate leadership, or words to that effect. Impossible to do if you're not there in the first place. I agree with EagleinKy -- you have to lay out expectations ahead of time, and (and this is a big "and") during that three month period, if the SM doesn't believe the Scout is meeting the requirements, to give real-time feedback to that effect. KS
  21. We have Scouts who wear the standard red neckerchief (by default, our Troop neckerchief since we haven't designated any other), the standard bolo, the Eagle bolo, the 40 knots neckerchief, nothing around the neck, and so on. Of course, the usual assortment of slides. In other words, our lads look just like the photos of Scouts in the Handbook, PL and SPL Handbooks, every issue of Boys Life, etc -- look for yourself. I wouldn't push... Of course, I encourage all of them to be in as complete a uniform as possible for their BORs. To their credit, they understand how important it is t
  22. If we have fewer than four boys from a patrol going on a campout, the PLC will look at combining them with a similar small group for menu planning/duty roster purposes. To be sure, an adult leader could insist that small group remains autonomous, with their own dining fly, patrol kitchen, and so on. But, we don't do that -- we let the Green Bars figure it out, and they do. Personally, I find it amusing that some of us assume that imposing small-group hardships on a patrol will result in successful peer pressure to get more boys from the patrol(s) on a given campout. It just doesn't w
  23. The Cubmaster serves at the pleasure of the committee/CO. If they're not "pleased", they can remove him from the position by verbal notification. You don't need a smoking gun, or a list of "exhibits" as evidence, either. If you do this, though, make sure you have a replacement on deck. When I was a Pack committee chair, we had to remove both a Cubmaster and treasurer within the space of a few weeks. A little turbulent, but best for us in the long run. Good luck KS
  24. As a counter to what the author of that article witnessed, or thinks she witnessed, at Arlington, I can only point to the Memorial Day Good Turn that Aloha Council sponsors each year. On that Sunday, 3000 Hawaii Scouts in field uniforms attend an outdoor ceremony at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, aka The Punchbowl. After the ceremony, these Scouts fan out and decorate over 40,000 graves with American flags and flower leis in preparation for the actual ceremony the following day. Boys will often pause to read the names, what war they fought in, when they died, and figure out
  25. In our Troop, we leave it up to the Green Bars to decide when Scouts are ready to move to an experienced patrol, and which one they'll move to. I'm not exactly sure how they do it, or in what forum. All I know is that the SPL will usually come up to us after a standup PLC or a campout, or a COH, and say something like: "...Martini and Rossi are ready to move, and they're going to the Hawks...". Troop Guide and PLs already know, and the Scouts do, too. All we have to do is fix TroopMaster. We don't have this in a written policy or flow-charted or anything -- it just happens. The Green
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