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About KurtB

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  1. KurtB

    Do Patrol Boxes Work?

    Rich, I just sent you a PM, but in case you do not get the message, I figured I would post here as well. I would love a copy of the plans for the Patrol Box. The current design that our Troop uses cannot be carried by less than 4 new scouts. Needless to say, the last Scoutmaster that designed them severly over engineered them. Please send it to the email address I sent in the PM. Thanks, Kurt Bimler ASM - Troop 111, Elgin Webmaster - Shabbona District - Three Fires Council
  2. KurtB

    Watching from a distance

    Being a former Cubmaster of a Pack "in transition" there was always something that needed to be done, and limited resourced to get it done. That took away a lot of time from my son. One of the things that I worked hard to do early on was getting a solid group of parents and Den Leaders that understood the program and would "run with it" in my absence. When my son became a Webelos, there were 4 kids in his den. My wife was their den leader, so by default, I was the de facto den leader as well. Knowing that the other dens were running smoothly, and when I planned a Pack campout there would be enough hands to help out, gave me a lot more relaxing time to spend with those 4 boys. I would not trade the memories of the 18 months spent with those 4 boys for anything. Probably my best day as Cubmaster however, was the day I realized that the pack could run itself with just my guidance, instead of having to "do it all". It was then that the real fun with the boys could begin. At that point, I started doing a lot more "watching from the shadows", both literally and figuratively. Now as an ASM in his troop - watching from the shadows is just part of the job. Kurt(This message has been edited by kurtb)
  3. KurtB

    Why, tell me why?

    Daddy_O, Don't confuse Cub Scout rank badges with Boy Scout rank Badges. Cub Scouts is an age based system. The emblem on the hat of a cub scout is not the rank the scout has earned, but rather a representation of the program level they are assigned due to his age (or grade in school). A Wolf becomes a Bear when 2nd grade is over (or June 1st according to ScoutNet), not when they have earned their Bear badge. A Star Scout becomes a Life Scout after all of the requirements have been completed. Even if it takes 5 years. As for the reason for multiple hats? National i$ the only one with that an$wer, but I am $ure it ha$ to do with $omething fairly obviou$. My son wore his Tiger hat about 5 times the year he was a Tiger. His Wolf hat about the same number of times. I don't think he even owned a Bear hat. If he did, I don't remember seeing it very often. As a Webelos Scout, he wore the Webelos hat all the time - partially because I made him wear it. Now he is a Boy Scout and his troop does not require hats, though he does wear the new Boy Scout hat because he likes the way it looks. Kurt
  4. KurtB


    My son and the rest of the new scout patrol were working on their flag and yell the other night. Don't know how the Wolf patrol came up with it, but their yell is "We like pie!"
  5. KurtB

    Troop Calendar

    I like all of the ideas. As I figured, there would be a lot of different ways to do the planning. Our troop is small, and we solicit input from any scout that has an idea for something that they would like to do. The concern with the Webelos recruitment, is one more of the impression that it gives the parents. When sitting around a camp fire in late October with the parents, and a Webelos Mom asks what is planned for the next few months, it is hard to answer "I don't know, because it has not yet been planned." For those that understand the way our Troop operates, this answer may not be a big deal. To a Webelos parent that comes from an environment where the calendar spelled out 12+ months in advance (as most Packs in our area do), they take away the impression that the Troop is not very organized. Keep in mind that for a Pack calendar, October is only about 2-3 months into the "scouting year". This troop has run a recruitment campout the past couple of years. I attended last year's campout as a parent of a Webelos, and as the Cubmaster of the pack. I had not joined the Troop, and my son was still figuring out where he wanted to join. After the event, when I was talking to other webelos parents from other packs, the number one complaint that I heard was the appearance of "disorganization". Some of it I was able to explain away as "boys learning to lead", but other things, I simply could not. Of the 15 boys that were at the campout, 2 joined the troop. The troop does run a 6 month election cycle, that closely relates to the PLC planning meetings. The troop is made up primarily of what I would consider younger scouts, as many of the older scouts split off and formed a Venturing Crew about a year ago. What I think I would like to see is a plan similar to what Eagle92 spelled out. At least the tentative dates are set for months 7-12. Then the PLC can finalize the dates & locations as the calendar progresses. Currently, two times a year the PLC is just starting to plan for an activity 2-3 weeks before it is supposed to happen (When I say planning, I am talking about selecting a weekend & a campground - not deciding on activities). What is that teaching them? Eagledad, I think they get a lot of practice at "short term" planning, because they are only looking 6 months ahead, there is no long term planning. High Adventure is never going to happen, unless it can be planned & reserved, in 6 months. There are District/Council level events that the troop should be thinking about, but because they are more than 6 months away, they are not even on the radar. When the 6 month cycle for those events finally come up, the PLC will have less than 2 months to decide what they are going to do. Just thinking via keyboard...which sometimes leads to rambling, and poor spelling...
  6. How far in advance does your Troop plan its calendar, and more importantly, when is it planned? Currently, the troop that my son just joined only plans about 6 months in advance, and tonight it just set the dates for the activities through November. In October (or November) at the monthly PLC meeting, they will December - May. In my eyes, this is nuts. The PLC has decided to plan a campout to recruit Webelos in October, but the Troop will not even be able to provide the new scouts & parents with a calendar of upcoming events, because the calendar has not even been planed. Please convince me that this is not normal, and let me know how your Troop does it.(This message has been edited by kurtb)
  7. KurtB

    New Scouts & Merit Badges

    More great info. I love this place. Lisabob - Thanks for asking you son. Sometimes I miss the obvious. Now to track down some more of those 3rd and 4th year scouts that are still active in a Troop to get their feedback. John - I understood your first post. I like seeing the progression, and how one will feed the other. Now to run off to the store to return the Nuclear Science and Composite Materials books...just kidding.
  8. KurtB


    F*!^$ ... sorry, that was a different thread...
  9. KurtB

    New Scouts & Merit Badges

    Thanks everybody for the suggestions. If anybody has anything else to add, I am listening. John - thanks for the specifics details on how the Swimming, Camping & First Aid badges fit directly into the requirements of T-2-1. mn_scout - I like the idea of bringing it up at the 'Scout' level conference with the new boys. They should have their conference tomorrow night with the Scoutmaster, so it will be interesting to see if it is discussed.
  10. We recently added 3 brand new scouts to our Troop. I am also new to this branch of the program. I understand that a majority of the new scout advancement will be geared toward reaching 1st Class. However, are there any particular Merit Badges that should be "suggested" to them to begin working on? I would think Camping would be a good start (as they will hopefully be doing a lot of it), but are there any others that may be considered the "standard" starting badges that will also fit into the work they are doing toward 1st Class?
  11. 5 years is a long time - for both the scout and the adult. My son just bridged over to Boy Scouts yesterday. I was the Cubmaster/Assistant Cubmaster of the Pack for 4 of the 5 years, and a very active parent in his Tiger Den (the original den leader wanted to quit before she ever started). My wife was his den leader from Wolf through Webelos II. I helped her as much as possible, while still leading the pack. Also in those 5 years, the entire Pack committee went through a transition, there were problems with one of the other Den Leaders which led to her dismissal from the Pack, and other "transition" and "growing" problems. Not to mention the work that I have done on the District Committee over the past 4 years. I would be lying if I did not say My wife and I are exhausted and feeling burned out. But the program is not really about the adults. I have a limited amount of time to spend in the life of a child - so I am going to give it every minute that I can. If the Webelos program is done for what it is - a transition to Boy Scouts, by the time the boys are ready to move on, they will no longer think of what they are doing as "arts and crafts" time, which is what a lot of the Tiger-Bear ranks seem to be. Give the Webelos ownership of their den, and they will want to continue on to Boy Scouts. There is no need to further "distance" the cubs from Boy Scouts. The Webelos program already does that to a great extent. By having the boys do more activities with Boy Scouts, and having less "cub scout" oriented den meeting, the boys already see themselves as moving from one program to another. Early on in my son's Webelos den (the "Blazing Buffalo Wings"), the "adults" lead the program. Making sure they did what they needed to do to earn the Webelos badge. By the time the last 6 months rolled around, my son's den planned the calendar, and led the activities. They were doing as much or as little of what they wanted to do. I am looking forward to Boy Scouts. The troop that my son bridged into is more than willing to accept adult volunteers. But as a guideline, they encourage those adults that were extremely active at the Pack level to take a break and refresh. It also helps out the troop by giving the current troop leadership a chance to "train" the former Cub Scout adults on the way a Boy Led troop operates. Something that can be hard for those of us that have been "in charge" for 4+ years. Kurt(This message has been edited by kurtb)
  12. KurtB

    How Many Uniforms Do You Have?

    2 "half uniforms" - complete from the waist up (so far). 1 shirt with the Cub Master POR. 1 shirt that was just purchased for Troop Committee POR. 1 Uniform with District Committee POR (still to be purchased) I just finished up my "Cub Master" role with my son's Pack this past Sunday, so the Cubmaster Shirt will be officially "retired" (and it needs it after 4.5 years of hard use). The Pack Committee considered the scout pants "optional" (which is a different discussion all together) so I never purchased them. Still have to purchase the "bottom half" of the "Troop" uniform (the scout shop was out of stock when I purchased the shirt) and a second complete uniform for my District Committee work. Kurt
  13. Facebook has been a good way for me to catch up on a lot of High School and even a few College friends that I had not seen/heard from in many years. That said, I try to limit my friends to those that I was actually friends with (physically or virtually). I have gotten a lot of requests from people that I knew in high school (but in name only). Would I accept a request from one of the scouts in my sons Troop? Sure. Would I initiate it? I don't think so, though I have never really thought about it. For a lot of kids, Facebook is nothing more than a giant popularity contest, and being "over the top" is just one way to get more "friends". Kurt
  14. KurtB

    Bear Req or Elective

    "They don't need it as a requirement, but all four have odd numbers of electives. Bears can use extra requirements as electives." ...as long as they did not use achievement #6 as one of the 12 achievements required to earn their Bear badge.
  15. KurtB

    BS Leaders wearing Cub Scout Leader Knots

    There is nothing in the insignia guide that will tell you in what order to arrange the knots, or the required placement for fewer than 3 knots (other than they are placed above the left pocket flap). I would give you "chapter and verse" but I don't carry my insignia guide to work with me most days. Most commonly I think you will see 2 knots centered over the pocket flap. One of the leaders that would come in contact with from time to time did not center his 2 knots, and if anybody asked about it would just tell people either "I hate to sew, and this way when I earn my 3rd, I don't have to re-sew anything", or "That spot is a reminder to keep working at it until I earn another knot". Kurt