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00Eagle last won the day on July 9 2013

00Eagle had the most liked content!

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About 00Eagle

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    Electronics Engineer
  • Interests
    Alpha Phi Omega Scouting and Youth Services
  • Biography
    Eagle Scout and APO brother. Occasional scout leader and APO staffer. Former Council Jewish Committee chairman.

    In semi-retirement due to burnout.
  1. I've seen a few oddities where one town was deemed an "island" of one district ("District A") surrounded by another district ("District B"). The charter was held by a church in that town and there were no other charters in the town. The troop actually met in another town within the contiguous boundaries of District A which is why they did the boundary shift. If your chartering organization serves a wide area spanning council boundaries and just has a mailing address in XYZ territory, this is more likely to be workable. BTW is this a Jewish unit? 613 = the number of commandments in Jewish law, which is why my Jew-dar perked up.
  2. A funeral home two towns over charters a troop.
  3. 00Eagle

    Den Names

    Jedi Mind Trick I learned from our last SM, who learned it from another SM...: Never offer the scouts an open choice like that. If it's time to pick a new troop t-shirt design and you need to pick a color, SM says "alright scouts Red, Green, or Blue." The scouts settle on a color rather quickly. Next year change the color choices slightly. "OK scouts last year's shirt was Red, do you want Gray, Blue or Green." We do patrol names similarly: when the patrols are reorganized (we always seem to have two) the scoutmaster picks 6 new patrol patches. Patrol A picks from three choices, Patrol B picks from the other three.
  4. An old English scout (parent of one of my cubs when I was in college) told us* that a popular scout fundraiser was called "Bob a Job." The English shilling (£0.05 in old money) was called a "bob." The fundraiser was basically going door-to-door to hire yourself out to do an odd job for a shilling which you then donated to your troop. I believe it was phased out many years ago due to youth protection concerns. Perhaps @@Cambridgeskip and @@ianwilkins and our other British posters can comment *=an old Bear requirement was to talk to some one who used to be a scout and learn how things were then.
  5. YES!!! The BSA has no problem issuing a training syllabus for a course. But not everyone is a skilled presenter, and worse, even if you can present, it doesn't mean you can turn a syllabus into a presentation. I'll give ILST as an example. An SM's supposed to do ILST once a year for his junior leaders. It's supposed to be a prerequisite for NYLT. Unfortunately, there are several problems: Not every scoutmaster knows of this (and worse some aren't "fans" of NYLT either) It's not a JTE requirement Not every scoutmaster is a gifted presenter All BSA gives you is a syllabus. No scripts, no slide decks (that may be a good thing though, it avoids death by Powerpoint). Videos like in Scoutmaster Specifics would be helpful. There should be a University of Scouting-type course to specifically teach Scoutmasters how to do ILST. Of course that means you need another syllabus :-(
  6. STOP! You tell them "I will help you make it happen." Your PLC should be the voice of the change. If you wanted to impose stricter uniform standards on the troop you could have used Jedi Mind Tricks and asked the PLC "What can WE do as a troop to encourage wearing of the uniform?" and guided them to better uniforming. As it turns out, they want more uniforming already so the same question (with out mind tricks) can be asked. See what the scouts come up with. My current troop has used a scout-originated, scout-conducted uniform inspection at the start of each meeting. Points are tallied and a prize awarded at the end of the year. This really helps, our scouts even wear single-badge or empty merit badge sashes since a sash adds an extra point. Once they have a good idea (or Scoutmaster/Jedi Master Yoda has steered them to a good idea [while letting them think they came up with the idea and OWN it]) let them announce it to the troop. Not you. You should only be speaking for the 60 seconds necessary to deliver your Scoutmaster's Minute.
  7. That's not a bad idea. I already mentioned being a commissioner to a pack and a troop. The troop's SM and ASM wore the Expedition Hat ("Indiana Jones") for "undress" occasions (regular meetings and outings) but had bought campaign hats to wear to Courts of Honor. "Cool," I thought and got a used one off of ebay. Wore it to the pack's Blue and Gold dinner. Word got back to me third hand that maybe that was a little over the top.
  8. Yup, we were the DE's volunteer henchmen. Every district problem: FOS, membership, etc. was brought up at commissioner meetings. I think some councils (Cradle of Liberty is one) started assigning Quality Unit Executives to districts to act as paid commissioners, I guess freeing the actual DE up for fundraising and boy talks.
  9. I don't think training will help, only experience. National likes to think that anyone can be trained as a commissioner and visit units and fill the 1:3 ratio. In reality, unless you're experienced as an SM/ASM you don't know what to look for. I relied on what I saw in my two troops growing up and two troops I helped in college to know what was right/wrong and what worked/didn't. I've seen solid patrol method (patrol competition, patrol chuckboxes, patrol offices filled and functioning [the patrol grubmaster would actually buy the food the patrol picked, the patrol QM kept track of and maintained the equipment in the chuckbox]) and no/little patrol method (RED FLAG: the troop has two patrols but lines up in a single line in rank order for opening flags without a patrol formation). Might work. I think all of our solutions rely on actually having enough volunteers around. Let's take an example under the current rules. A pack has an assigned unit commissioner and the commissioners and pack leaders determine the pack has a recruiting problem. The UC reports this to the DC as expected. Ideally, the district has a membership guru: someone who can help this pack with recruiting, maybe the district vice chair for membership. Either the guru mentors them on how to conduct a successful recruitment and/or the DE goes into the school for a "boy talk." But something's supposed to happen. I've heard of cases where a district had a great motivational speaker who could go into a parent meeting of a failing unit and motivate the parents to step up and fill vacant leadership positions, saving the unit. Not every district has one of these people around. If commissioners can connect units to district resources great, but if there are none, what's the point of having commissioners.
  10. I agree it's broke until all of the stakeholders can agree what the commissioners should do. What the BSA wants: a dedicated corps of volunteers carrying out the Unit Service function of a local district. National wants at least one commissioner for every 3 units and wants the commissioner to hold no other role in scouting. They want the commissioner to act as a coach and mentor and to uphold BSA standards but not quite at a "council cop" or "uniform police" level. Commissioners are supposed to visit their assigned units once a month (not necessarily in person or at a unit meeting) and report on them as well as assist with re-chartering. BSA has not changed the unit to commissioner ratio or visit frequency to reflect the availability of electronic communications. What the district wants: to make JTE goals by having enough visits logged into UVTS even if they have to dual-hat commissioners, assign unit leaders/assistants as commissioners to their own units, or have commissioners serve more than 3 units. Also they want to use the commissioner staff as the DE's henchmen and round out volunteer shortages in the other district service areas (membership, finance, program) even to the point where commissioners are tasked with making FOS presentations to their own units (VERY BAD!) or at least What the commissioners themselves want: varies. Stick around and serve after "retirement", have coffee at roundtable with the old guard, help units, volunteer in a minimal commitment position, etc. What the unit wants: IT DEPENDS. Make the council guy go away, we don't need to see him. We need a commissioner now (when they really need additional adult leadership)! and everything in between. When they can get all that straightened out, maybe we can fix the problem. Being a commissioner should be a calling, not a Wood Badge ticket item to do for a year. BSA should get rid of the ego-stroking associated with the position. Eliminate the statements on how commissioners are "commissioned officers" of the BSA and wear a "wreath of service," the "commissioning" ceremony mentioned in the training guide, and the whole "Doctor of Commissioner Science" nonsense. Fix/eliminate emphasis on unneeded metrics from unit and district JTE. A commissioner shouldn't need to beg or encourage a unit leader to fill out a JTE form. A unit leader shouldn't have to rifle through mounds of paperwork to compute advancement statistics, especially when council has those numbers, but does not provide them in a timely manner. Re-charter should not be so complex that you need a commissioner to help you through it. Change the commissioner structure. Have "visiting commissioners" (generalists) that actually make the bulk of the unit visits. They can make in-person visits once every 4-6 months and should serve maybe 12-15 units (too high?). They can report up to the ADC or DC on any problems observed and any problems or concerns the units self-report. An action plan can be developed, the commissioner can visit more frequently and a "targeted" commissioner can be assigned. "Targeted" commissioners do not routinely visit units. They specialize in a specific area and are assigned when needed. Target areas can include membership (recruitment/retention, Webelos transition), cub scout program (bad outings, boring pack meetings), boy scout program (outdoor program weakness, patrol method weakness), and parent involvement/leadership recruitment. Add a skilled diplomat who can address units with infighting or turmoil, assign mentoring commissioners to units with new leaders, and continue the practice of assigning new unit specialists to recently chartered units. Let commissioners find a role that suits them. MY EXPERIENCE I was a commissioner from late 2011 to late 2013. I managed to annoy one pack (or one leader*) to the point of removal. My bad! I tried to "coach" too much when they were already highly-functioning. I had no mentoring from an ADC and did not heed the low-key warnings the DE was giving me. Actually showing up every month to a meeting was too much for them. Yet I was highly successful with the one troop I was assigned. They had a severe leadership shortage/parent involvement issues. Both my "coaching" and presence were welcomed and I even took the troop to summer camp as commissioner (backed up by a 19 year old college scouter) because the SM and First ASM were taking the older scouts to Philmont and couldn't cover both. Eventually, I got co-opted as their second ASM, but was asked by the DC to remain as their UC. I have no desire to serve as commissioner again unless the role is redefined. After taking a couple years off I'm only Troop Committee (and help Alpha Phi Omega chapters with scouting involvement *=the pack trainer, who was really the power behind the throne and had the DE's & DFS's ear
  11. @@Krampus you're not from New Jersey are you? My Wood Badge Scoutmaster is big into horror films and monster movies and was talking about the Krampus and doing "Krampus Night" years before the recent film was announced.
  12. I hadn't seen the code list, but knew it had to exist. It's how they report chartering percentages nationally, e.g. this many Elks lodges, this many Catholic parishes,... So I googled for it.
  13. Who knows. I'm sure a resourceful DE can figure it out if he smells a new unit and new members.
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