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MaineScouter

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  1. MaineScouter

    HELP! The STAR... what does it mean?

    Thank you, DAVE, for you help in this matter. I'm sorry I called you Dan. I couldn't remember what "D" stood for, I was sure it was Dan. I should have taken the time to go back through some of your posts and look for your first name. The ones I saw were signed DS. Thank you to everyone else who contributed to the information about the Star rank... AND to everyone that made it very clear that our Troop has major training issues. I fully intend pursue it. I appologize for all the complaining I did about our SM. YIS, MaineScouter
  2. MaineScouter

    HELP! The STAR... what does it mean?

    Okay, I "should" have said, "The SM accepted 6 months as Troop Bugler for Requirement #5 for advancement to Life Scout, even though the scout (his nephew, the CC's son) never bugled for the Troop." (Bugler IS on the list of positions of responsibility) Yet he did not accept 6 months as APL because he felt that particular scout did not display adequate leadership qualities in his position during that time. The scout was not granted a SM conference and was asked to complete 4 more months as APL, attend summer camp and complete 3 weeks as a CIT. Even though an ASM DID sign his handbook as having completed this particular requirement in May, the SM did not accept it. THEN, once the SM conference was conducted (July 30th) his BOR (Aug. 20th) denied, or continued they would say, his advancement pending the current "star symbolism" question. He will repeat his BOR on Sept 10th. WHEW! This thread has definately reached the end of its lifespan. I hope that the Archivist is able to find an answer and that Dan posts it. It will be much appreciated. MaineScouter
  3. MaineScouter

    Troops that do Whitewater Rafting?

    Yeah, they must be two different companies. The one I found is in Caratunk. That's about 4 miles south of The Forks on Rte. 201. It would mean a longer bus ride to the dam, but not much longer. I'm looking forward to seeing their video. Besides the river trip they also have a heated outdoor pool, game room, indoor climbing wall (they run a youth program every night for two hours, only $9 each) and they have a cafeteria available. Camping is $7 each and includes the full use of all their facilities. The day trip is $59, wetsuit/paddle/helmet/guide/lunch and instruction included, minimum age is 12 to raft. I've done the Kennebec twice and the Dead once, but that was BK (before kids). Time to go again! MaineScouter
  4. MaineScouter

    HELP! The STAR... what does it mean?

    "On the other hand, leadership maturity is not and should not be a limitation working toward rank and advancement. [snip] Training is needed along with a little coaching from some experience adults. " Barry, I sure wish we lived closer to each other. I'd invite you to give my Troop "a little coaching." Your statement about leadership maturity not being a limitation toward rank and advancement... what is that based on? This is similar to what our SM terms "ready" to advance. The quiet, polite, non-assuming boys get advanced quickly with no regard to actual leadership. One quiet 12 yr old boy used his position of Troop Bugler to advance to Life, even though he never bugled at anything! The more rambunctious, out-going, in the middle of everything boys are told they have to wait. When asked about it, the SM says, "When he learns to focus/pay attention he can advance." It doesn't seem to matter if the boy has all of the requirements signed off in his book. He has to meet the SM's personal expectations first. He is especially hard on the ADHD/ADD boys. This topic is being covered at the next RT. He better be there. MaineScouter
  5. MaineScouter

    Troops that do Whitewater Rafting?

    Thanks, Saltheart. I just got off the phone with the general manager of Downeast Adventure Bound. They specialize in youth groups. Is this the same company you used? (Downeast in both names) They have separate facilities for youth and adult groups. The youth side of it is non-alcoholic and geared toward kids/families. They also offer help with the Whitewater Merit Badge. He's sending me a video by priority mail so that I can show it at our Scout planning meeting Wed night. Can't ask for more than that! MaineScouter
  6. MaineScouter

    Troops that do Whitewater Rafting?

    "As with many New England troops, we head north to Maine, and raft the Kennebec, Penobscot, and Dead rivers with a commercial rafter. The one we use has been catering to Scouts for many years..." Saltheart... can you tell me the name of the rafting company that your Troop uses? Our Scouts are having their year-long planning meeting on Wednesday night. I'd like to suggest that they consider a whitewater rafting trip in the spring this year. I've personally been on three of these trips here in Maine, but I'd like to know which company caters to Scouts best, and why you like them more. This would be our Troop's first rafting outing. As the adult who suggests the idea, I could very well end up as the outing coordinator for this trip. I'd appreciate any advice or information. Thanks! MaineScouter
  7. MaineScouter

    Really annoyed with our Adv Coord.

    Laura, I agree with Eisely. In our Troop, we insist that one leader be responsible for each outing. This is a parent, a committee member or ASM that is going on the outing. He/she is the "tour leader" and is responsible for overseeing the outing from start to finish. We have one committee member that handles "just" the permission slips and tour permits for trips. The treasurer handles any money issues (collection and payment of fees). We have a parent that 9 times out of 10 volunteers to do the food shopping and takes boys with him to help them meet advancement requirements. The Scouts are responsible for menu plannning/shopping lists, equipment, leadership on the outing, patrol activities, etc. Committee members help handle the behinds the scenes arrangements, such as transportation, reservations, planning fund raising if necessary, etc. In other words, the work is spread out and it's not the same people every time. The decisions are made in a committee meeting as to who will do what. Announcements are made at the end of Troop meetings when we need parent volunteers. We seldom have to cancel plans due to lack of help. The last cancelled trip was due to lack of interest by the scouts themselves. The cancelled trip was a high adventure canoe trip in northern Maine. Not enough older boys wanted to go. Good luck, Laura, in getting this mess straightened out. And remember, so long as you're doing everything... they will let you. I know it's difficult if you think the boys won't get to do something, but make it clear up front that someone else needs to start pulling their weight and then let it happen. If the Troop misses out on an outing because of it, it will get the parent's attention. There's nothing like telling "drop-off/pick-up" parents that the Saturday campout is cancelled because we didn't have enough drivers and adult leaders to go. MaineScouter
  8. MaineScouter

    HELP! The STAR... what does it mean?

    "Now that the requirements are being interpreted to be "open book" . . . who knows what will happen. " What does this mean?
  9. MaineScouter

    HELP! The STAR... what does it mean?

    Late last night (early this morning?) I read some of the older threads and especially enjoyed the discussion on the "right" age for a boy to earn Eagle. I had to laugh, our Troop leaders (SM and ASM) feel that 14 is too young for LIFE. That's one of the things going against my son and the other boy trying to make Life. My son was 14 in March, the other boy turned 14 in July. I honestly feel that was the major reason for delaying their SM conferences. He wanted them older. The only 12 yr old I've seen get Life in our Troop is the SM's nephew. Other than my older son, who was 25 days shy of 16, the boys I've seen attain Eagle are doing it within 4 to 6 weeks of turning 18. I think someone coined that "deathbed" Eagles. My son has 5 weeks left to completing his last MB requirement necessary for Eagle. It will probably be a year or more before the SM will approve an Eagle project (he will be 15 1/2 then). It took my older son 8 different proposals before the SM would sign his Eagle project application. He had his heart set on doing a health fair concentrating on heart health and blood born pathogens, plus a community blood drive (he plans a career in the medical field). No way would the SM sign it. Another project he proposed was to map each cemetary in our town to locate all the Veterans and then mark them with flags every Memorial Day/Veteran's Day. Our Town Manager asked for help doing this... before we lose our Veterans and don't know where the graves are. SM said no, it wasn't a "lasting project", i.e. it wasn't a construction project, something you could put a plaque on. The SM then took that idea and used it for his Wood Badge community project. My son ended up building log dugouts for a girl's softball team. Now, you tell me, does that project compare in regards to service to others? Yes... the soap opera continues. The more I read on these forums, the more I realize the changes needed in my own Troop. A new SM would be a great first step...
  10. MaineScouter

    HELP! The STAR... what does it mean?

    "MaineScouter, I might be missing something, but if your husband is the assistant committee chair in charge of Board of Reviews, why don't you just go to him with your concerns? " You're not missing anything. He knows my concerns, believe me. This is not the first time we've had this "discussion"... or should I say, disagreement. His point of view is that the SM is not doing his job... the boys are coming to the BOR without the skills necessary for advancement. His belief is that they (the BOR members) aren't doing the Scout any favors by advancing him. So they "check" each boy at the BOR. Map orienting, knot tying, 1st aid, you name it... if it's been a requirement in the rank the boy is going for OR in a previous rank, they could ask for a demonstration/explanation. If the boy fails to demonstrate whatever it is they ask for, he is told that he did not "fail" the BOR, but that he has been continued and must return and demonstrate whatever it was he couldn't do for the BOR. My husband does not see this as testing or retesting, nor does he see a "continued BOR" as a failing BOR. He says they do it to ensure that each boy has the necessary skills for each rank. He believes this is the SM's job, but since the SM isn't doing it... the BOR will. See what I'm up against? The SM has actually sent boys to a BOR and told the BOR members what they should ask the boy to demonstrate so that they can hold him back and make him learn it. Pretty unbelievable, huh? MaineScouter
  11. MaineScouter

    HELP! The STAR... what does it mean?

    "One thing that is helpful is to get your hand on questions appropriate for board of review. Some troops will assemble examples. [snip] "Mr. Star" should not be asked to do another board and the boy should be given another board asap. An apology would be in order also. " The men on his board DO have a list of appropriate questions for a BOR for each rank. When my husband was CC he printed many off the internet and made them available to all Com members. They didn't bring them or use them. An apology?? Haahaahahaahahaahahahaa Sorry, but you don't know these guys. I'm "lucky" to be able to wear the uniform and call myself part of the Troop instead of being relagated to baking brownies for the next fund raiser. Can you say, "good ole boys?" The other only women in my Troop are the CC, Treasurer and Secretary and those are all new since May. I'm the only one that works directly with the boys in meetings, campouts, and as a MB counselor. I have more training than any other member of the Troop (my choice, by design). It's uncomfortable at times but I refuse to let them drive me out by their attitudes. Boys need good female role models as well. I AM pushing for a change in the SM conference and BOR procedures. In addition to the Distrist Advancement Chair I'm going to invite the District Executive and Council President to our committee training session. My son has asked me to not make waves until he has his Life, though. He said, "Let me just get through this last BOR and then you can go crazy." I told him I would but that I felt it was important for the boys coming up behind him that we "do this right" from now on. He agreed. Twocubdad, I agree with your answer. But I also think it will be an eye opener if my son can go to his BOR with a detailed history of the Star badge. I'm looking forward to hearing what the Archivist finds out. As for the delayed SM conferences, that's wrong. I think it comes from boy's meeting requirements too quickly for the SM's comfort. He's not using his conference correctly, if you ask me. HE should be making sure that a signed book reflects a skill learned, not the BOR. So instead of dealing with what the SM thinks is a boy who hasn't really learned something, he delays the conference with vague excuses about "readiness" and instructions to "demonstrate readiness" before you ask again. At least we know what's wrong and what needs to be changed. MaineScouter
  12. MaineScouter

    HELP! The STAR... what does it mean?

    "(An example of the "not a good idea" category, in my opinion, would be the CC being the sister of the SM. I almost fell off my chair when I read that they are TWINS -- not that that makes a difference once you know they are brother-sister, but it just makes the whole thing that much crazier. I am half-expecting MaineScouter's next post to involve the circus going through town and an an elephant stepping on the troop trailer...) " No elephants but how about this, our CC's husband is our Council President... and BIL to our SM, of course. Step on one toe around here and you get the attention of the whole Council. In the defense of the committee, we did discuss whether having the SM's (twin) sister as the CC would be a conflict of interest. In the end, no one else wanted the job and we went with it. She was the Pack CC for a number of years and had a lot of experience. So far it's been working. The response I get to the suggestion that we some BOR and SM conference training NOW will be the first "issue" that the committe has had to deal with, though. We shall see.
  13. MaineScouter

    HELP! The STAR... what does it mean?

    "BRIDGEKEEPER: What... is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow? ARTHUR: What do you mean? An African or European swallow? BRIDGEKEEPER: Huh? I-- I don't know that. Auuuuuuuugh! " LOL, I guess my son should have answered, "Which Star rank, the one from 1911-1924 or the one from 1924 to the present?"
  14. MaineScouter

    HELP! The STAR... what does it mean?

    Just so all of you can appreciate how absurd this whole situation is, let me explain a little about our Troop. My dh is the past committee chair, he is now the assistant committee chair in charge of Board of Reviews, what else? It was my DH that started the trend toward "testing" at board of reviews because at the time we had a SM that didn't care if the boys learned anything or not. He didn't follow BSA regulations on anything and would send boys for BOR's that hadn't even completed all of the requirements for the rank. We eventually got him replaced by the current SM. Now get this, the current committee chair is the SM's twin sister. If I call her and complain about the BOR process/SM conference issue, I'm shooting myself in the foot at home and pitting her against her brother. So what did I do? Shot myself in the foot and did it anyway. I'm waiting to hear back from her now. MaineScouter (whose Troop experience is beginning to sound like a really bad Soap Opera)
  15. MaineScouter

    HELP! The STAR... what does it mean?

    "I wonder if they even know the answer? " My son told me he asked the BOR member that asked the question what the answer was... he man said he couldn't remember, but knew it was something scouts should know!! That's why we were so driven to find the answer... we felt stupid! LOL The symbolism of the 1st Class badge is clear, but none of us in our family had ever heard of the star meaning anything. (Dh and older son are both Eagles.) This has certainly been a learning experience in more ways than one. MaineScouter
  16. MaineScouter

    HELP! The STAR... what does it mean?

    "Whoa! Six months to get a Scoutmasters conference?? And this other boy, EIGHT months and counting! That is just wrong. Now, just to make sure, did these boys actually go to the Scoutmaster and say "I need a Scoutmaster conference"? " Yes, they both went to the SM on numerous occasions and asked. They were both told that they "weren't ready" to advance. Both were finally told that they needed to attend Summer Camp in order to "demonstrate their readiness" where they fulfilled the positions of PL and ASPL (they were BOTH positions, each). Both boys also spent several weeks as CIT's at camp this summer. My son asked for a SM conference at camp (the week there with his troop) and was told to call the SM at the end of summer after he had then completed his weeks as a CIT. The SM told me this, not my son, so I know he was asking. Both of these boys are 14, but small for their age. They often have to prove themselves to the SM and ASMs. Neither will quit, though, as they love being Scouts and are determined to make Eagle one day. You don't EVEN want to know what it's like to get an Eagle project approved by this SM! We could start a whole new thread with that one... MaineScouter
  17. MaineScouter

    HELP! The STAR... what does it mean?

    The reaction to this question and my son's BOR as made it very clear to me that our adult leaders simply must be made aware of the proper (BSA) way to conduct a BOR. I just got off the phone with our District Executive... who expressed very similar reactions to my story. I am now going to place a call to our Committee Chair and ask that she give some time at our next meeting for our District Advancement Chair to discuss how to do board of review. Luckily, the Adv. Chair lives right here in our town and has a personal interest in our Troop (one son is an Eagle, the other Life). I know he'll be willing to help. Thanks again for your help and support. MaineScouter (a firm believer that if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem!)
  18. MaineScouter

    HELP! The STAR... what does it mean?

    Thank you, everyone, for your insightful, timely and supportive responses to my question. I agree with all of your answers and comments regarding his BOR. You are especially right about not requiring knowledge that isn't part of the rank requirements. I'd completely overlooked that fact. Our Troop does need help with the BOR process. (understatement of the year) Surprisingly, one of the men on my son's BOR just stepped down as our District Training Chairman. You'd think he'd have known better. We'll get through this. My older son achieved his rank of Eagle last September, just days before his 16th birthday. He hasn't voluntarily been back to a Troop meeting or campout since. It's easy to see why. MaineScouter
  19. MaineScouter

    HELP! The STAR... what does it mean?

    Barry... thank you SO much! Yes, it's a very strange question to ask a Scout at a BOR. You're not the first person to comment on how "tough" our Troop can be. Heck, it took my son nearly 6 months since completing the Life requirements just to get a SM conference! Another boy just got his SM conference for Life on Wednesday night. He's been waiting since early December! His BOR is in three weeks and he's scared to death. I would be, too! These two boys are both sons of very active Scouters (an ASM, a committee member and a former commmittee chair) in the Troop. I think they are being held to a higher standard so that the other parents can't say they had an advantage based on their parents. They are both sons of Summer Camp staff, too... so they had a an "advantage" the other boys didn't, according to the SM. It's tough. I've offered to transfer my son to another Troop in the area but he wants to stay with the boys he started with as a Tiger Cub. I understand that but things are harder than they certainly need to be. Again, thanks for taking the time to find an answer! MaineScouter
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