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Everything posted by MaineScouter

  1. A quick question... when you guys refer to "the blue card", are you referring to the application for merit badge card that the boy fills out and the MB counselor signs? In our Council, the cards are yellow, not blue! The cards are turned in "whole" as well. I'm one of the few MB counselors I know that keeps "my" third for my records. I've always had my sons tear off the "applicant's" third and keep that as well. Only the first third, the actual application, is given to the advancement chair for processing. The rest of the Troop's MB cards go to Council whole. The Troop still fills out paperwork by hand, not computer. When my older boy became an Eagle, they just made sure that his application mirrored the Council's record for dates the MBs were earned before it was sent to Texas. He said the only question he got at his BOR about MBs was which one did he learn the most from. MS
  2. I can't believe no one has even mentioned REAL baked beans that don't come in a can! Here's a recipe I use: Maine Baked Beans 1# dry beans (2 cups) 2 Tbs sugar 1 tsp salt dash of black pepper 1/2 tsp dry mustard 2 Tbs molasses 1/2# salt pork about 2 1/2 cups boiling water Soak beans overnight in cold water. Drain beans and place in pot. Mix all seasonings together and stir into beans. Don't use too much molasses, it can make the beans harden as they bake. Add boiling water (enough to cover beans). Score salt pork, wash in hot water and place on top of beans. Cover. A low temperature is needed (250) for about 6 hours. Do NOT stir while baking, but check occasionally to make sure the beans remain covered in water. I start testing for "doneness" around 3 or 4 hours in... you never can be sure of the age of the beans. The newer the beans, the less they need to cook. MS
  3. I believe Lil is wearing her uniform, like FOG said, because she was asked to wear it. The contestants were told that they were being taken out for "publicity shots". The lawyer was wearing his Armani suit, the SM was wearing her uniform. Lil's bio is mostly about her being a SM... thus the uniform. Let's face it, CBS knew what they were doing. They've got people watching Survivor that would never have watched it otherwise! I have to say, of all the people there, I'd rather being wearing what Lil has on than what anyone else is wearing. She's the only one who has a hat, her shirt (although not the most comfortable shirt) dries fast and will probably last all 39 days and she just might be the only woman there wearing something UNDER her clothes. That uniform sure beats the skimpy sundresses the other women were wearing. LOL As far as representing BSA, do you feel that the lawyer is representing ALL lawyers? I don't. I'd love to see Lil do well, because she's an older female (like me!), but I doubt that she will last one or two more council circle trips. Why? Her personality. She's not connecting with anyone. She's not part of the "group". She isn't fitting in. But, we'll see! MS
  4. I am also a Family Life MB Counselor. I use the MB book. Everything, and I literally mean everything, you need is in that book. Remember, "no more, no less" when it comes to the MB requirements. Requirement #2 is my personal favorite: List 10 reasons why you are important to your family. That one, for some boys, is the hardest thing to do. It's amazing to watch a boy's face as he realizes that he IS important to his family. Gives me goosebumps! MS
  5. The "Troop with which I was affliated" was close to failing 7 years ago due to lack of interest by boys and adults. My oldest son crossed over almost 6 years ago. When these Webelos joined it doubled the size of the Troop, from 8 to 16. This past year the Troop registered 56 boys. The thing that's made the biggest difference, I believe, is that the Troop starts recruiting the Webelos early. Our town only has one Pack and one Troop. The Troop invites all Web II's to go camping with them in October. The Troop is a large part of the AOL/crossover ceremony... Each new Boy Scout is welcomed with a new neckerchief/slide and is greeted by the SM and about 20 Boy Scouts. The Troop usually does a Scout Law candle ceremony. The younger Cubs see this each year and look forward to the time when they are welcomed into Boy Scouting. In our case, the boys hear "when you join the Troop", not "if you join the Troop." So get out there and start recruiting those Webelos now! And, for what it's worth, 56 feels too big to me. 21 sounds just right. MS
  6. These Survivors didn't get to take a luxury item... only the clothes they were wearing. I'd want to be dressed like a Scouter... lots of layers, good boots and socks, zip off pants and of course, a hat! On the preview, I saw one man jump overboard in a shirt and tie. Many of the young women had on short sundresses and sandals with heels. LOL I'll be watching. Hope Lillian does well. MS
  7. While camping this weekend I realized the one thing I don't go camping without... my indiglo watch. I'd be lost if I couldn't see my watch in the night (without using a flashlight and waking everyone up). The temperature dropped to about 40 on Saturday night... knowing it was only a couple hours to daylight made the cold bearable. That, and my dog who was cold, too. 90# black labs are WARM! MS
  8. I think if you had a SM and CC who believed it was "their Troop" you would more easily see the importance and impact of this question and understand that it's more than semantics. Last week the SM had a closed planning meeting. He took the boys and "Assistant Scoutmasters only" into another room and shut the door. Although I know, according to BSA, he can't exclude me as a parent and a committee member, he did just that. Closed the door in my face, as a matter of fact. I turned to the CC and she said, "It's his Troop. He can do that if he wants." I sent my "resignation" letter to the CC, SM, ASM, UC and committee members about 5 minutes ago. So, my answer to the question, "Whose Troop is it?", is "Not mine anymore!" MS
  9. Personally, I say yes. Our Council says yes (they even stood up at a RT and offered one as an Eagle project!). Our SM says no. The Adv Chair/NESA chair (same guy) says no. My son submitted a project to both of them that included a blood drive within a health fair that focused on blood born diseases and issues including bone marrow screening/matching. His plan was to hold an information fair in his community with the focus on donating blood/education. He planned to arrange for volunteer drivers, door prizes for people who donated, educational booths (diabetes, bone marrow issues, AIDS, hepatitis, etc.), snacks (he wanted to ask a GS Troop to help with this)... I think his proposal was about 8 pages long and very detailed. He couldn't get it approved without going over the head of his SM, and since the man who was responsible for Eagle BOR's wouldn't accept a "blood drive" project, he figured he better not push it. This Scout plans to become a doctor and wanted to make his project reflect that. I think it's a shame that these adults didn't recognize this and try work with him. Now, they LOVED the project he ended up doing... building log dugouts for a softball field in town. Any "construction" project gets instant approval. One of the objections these men had was that a blood drive/health fair wasn't "lasting" and my son wouldn't have anything to "hang a plaque on" after it was completed. My other son is just beginning to think about his project. I'm encouraging this son to consider a "construction" project. However, he's leaning toward something like collecting used eye glasses to donate to those in need. His second idea is calling the local Ronald MacDonald House to see if they need anything. If they do, I hope it's bookshelves! jk MS
  10. My pet peeve is people who don't take responsibility for their actions. They have a million reasons why something happened, but they never point a finger at themselves. "It's not my fault" syndrome. This also applies, in particular, to parents who enable/encourage their child to not accept personal responsibility. It's always the teacher's fault, or the leader's fault, or the other kids' fault, or the school's fault why little Johnny failed at something. This really drives me nuts! MS
  11. NJ, you asked what I do for YPT. I go out to the Units to provide YPT. It is offered and it is strongly encouraged that adults get their training at RT. However, not everyone can make that day/time. When a Troop or Pack needs this training, I take it to them. To me, it's not as important where they get it, but THAT they get it. When I hold a YPT training for my Troop (usually after we get our new scouts and again right before summer camp, plus another in the Fall to catch new registering adults) I let the Pack know about it. This June I had the CM call and ask me to run it again... he had parents signed up to go without the training. I did two or three sessions that month. I don't know if there are others like me, or not. I started this about 9 years ago. We've since had many personnel changes at our Council. No one says anything, though, when I show up for more cards and registration papers or when I return the forms to Council. We have an Assistant District Attorney in our Troop. His job is to procecute child abusers. My best training sessions are when he shows up. MS
  12. I had been to two, maybe three, Eagle COHs before my son's COH. It wasn't until HIS that I found out the cards people were giving the new Eagle had money in them! I had always thought a congratulations/wtg/good job/well done card was appropriate. My son got nearly $400 at his COH. I was... well... speechless. At the next COH I attended I put $15 in the card. MS
  13. "In Scouting we do not think in terms of 'punishment' for that is beyond our realm and station. We do, however, think in terms of discipline,..." In my mind, it's not even discipline... it's consequences. Maybe that's because I see discipline as a "shaking finger in the face" kind of thing. There are times when Scouts need consequences. One instance comes immediately to my mind. On a campout in which Webelos II's were invited (prospective Boy Scouts!), an older Scout actually punched a Webelos Scout in the stomach during the closing ceremony. That Scout was called before the Committee and they "suspended" his membership in the Troop for three months. He was not allowed to come to meetings, go on campouts or count that time toward his next rank advancement. After the three months were up, he came before the Committee again to discuss his future with the Troop. They invited him to return to the Troop. He did, and he made Eagle. He never had an issue like that again. Maybe some of you would consider that a punishment. I'm not sure the Scout did. I don't think he would have come back if he felt it was just punishment. I think he felt it was a fair consequence. And, yes, the boy who got punched DID join the Troop (parents had confidence in the Troop Committee because they were dealing appropriately with the incident) and that boy went on and became an Eagle. As for using the word "but"... don't use it! "But" is an eraser word. Everything that came before is erased. "You really did a great job building that fire. I like how you used plenty of dry tinder and only needed one match! BUT, next time, build it somewhere else." In a boy's head, he only hears, "Next time do it better." Separate your praise and your criticism. That way, they both get heard.
  14. "The District is not a place to hang your hat, more a place to put your car in overdrive." Eamonn, I agree and I appologize if my message implied otherwise. I started with Cub Scouts 10 years ago where I gave 100% of myself for 7 years. 5 1/5 years ago, when my older son joined his Troop, I also gave 100% there (did double duty with the Pack/Troop). For the last 4 years I have devoted my time and energy to the Troop Committee, MB Counselor (3 required), YPT trainer and our local Boy Scout Camp. I have NO interest in being a Scouter in name only. I have a passionate commitment to this program. If I "hang my hat" at the District or Council level, you can be assured that they will get a volunteer who helps in every way possible. I'm in a sticky situation in our Troop and I've made the decision that I need to leave. If I stay involved I will put my son's relationships with the SM/ASM and advancement at risk. I recently read the thread written by the father whose entire family was told to leave the Troop. I can easily see that happening to us. If I stay, I'll have to keep my mouth shut regarding training, procedure and policy... I don't think I can do that. Suggestions for training have been met with a "mind your own business and let me decide/handle it" by the CC. The SM adds to the requirements of rank advancement and with-holds conferences at will. I'm told he can do that, it's "his Troop." ASM's and adults not registered with the Troop are sitting on BOR's, restesting Scouts and with-holding advancement because the boy doesn't know obscure trivia questions. I'm told, "That's how we do BOR's, it's how we always done them, it's how we will continue to do them." When I ask why, I'm told "because the SM is sending us Scouts without basic skills." Hello??? So talk to him. Can't, he won't like being criticized. I ask that the Troop at least TRY to move toward a boy run Troop. I'm told, "The SM runs his Troop the way he wants. Our boys aren't ready to lead themselves." What's the most popular reason for a boy not getting a SM conference or advancing at a BOR (besides knot/map skills)? He doesn't demonstrate leadership skills. BTW, this Troop is the one where the SM and CC are twins. If I didn't have a son in this Troop I would be the proverbial squeaky wheel and I wouldn't stop until everyone at least knew how it was supposed to be done. New parents are joining and learning from the existing leadership. They are not encouraged to seek training. The current leadership, including the SM/CC/and all ASM came after I did. They have turned it into something it should not be. The last parent I came into the Troop with when our older boys joined just resigned as Advancement Chair. I wish my son would change Troops, but that has to come from him. He's talked about it and I offered to help him find a new Troop when he was ready. I'd like to see him "vote with his feet" and find a Troop where he is encouraged to think for himself, make decisions and actually learn some leadership skills. He is 14 1/4 and so long as he doesn't have to demonstrate any more skills or answer more trivia questions, he just might be a Life Scout now. We have to wait and see if the Adv Chair agrees to put him in for it. Yes, his book is signed and dated... nevermind, it's just another example of how it "doesn't" work here. Now you know why I'm looking for a new "job" in Scouting. MaineScouter
  15. "You could end up where you're going, or you could end up in New Jersey, and we wouldn't want that.) " Now, why wouldn't we want me in New Jersey???? Right now, it sounds like heaven to me. Can't I come?? I haven't been this discouraged about Scouting in my 10 years as a registered Scouter. The idea of finding someone who followed BSA training and actually delivered a bit of the program seems an impossibility at the moment. I have sent an email to my DE. I think he must be on vacation because he's never taken this long to get back to me. I'll try again next week or give him a call. I'll volunteer at the District level if he has a need. He's been trying for years to get me on the District Activities Committee. If you were part of my "star" thread then you know that I have to tread very lightly. My SM is the BIL of the Council President... and the CC is married to the Pres. Anything I say to the DE about why I'm leaving my Unit will most likely get all the way back to the SM. I don't want my son to suffer. This SM is a pro at holding a grudge against a boy. MS
  16. Paul, here is a link to the company we buy our gift axes from. They are a Maine company (literally right in our backyard) and they make a great product. I would suggest that you call them and ask about engraving. I know they have the fleur de lis on file from us. I faxed them one from a clip art and their graphic artist created our engraving. We paid the initial set up fee (can't remember what it was) but now it only costs an extra $3 to get it on any handle. Oh, we get the "Hudson Bay," in case you're wondering. Check out the gift packages, too. http://www.snowandnealley.com/ MS
  17. I heard from my UC this morning. He says that I can register as just a MB Counselor (no other registration needed), as a Council Member at large, or the usual way, with a Unit. I want to be registered as an adult scouter as well as a MB Counselor so I will most likely go the Council Member route. As I said before, I also do Youth Protection Training for Troop and Pack adult leaders. I'm not sure I could still do that if I registered just as a MB Counselor. Anyone know for sure? MS
  18. I am seriously considering making a change to my registration and becoming a District Scouter instead of a Unit Scouter. (FScouter assured me that this is possible, if it's not, what are my choices?). My question is to anyone with experience as a District Scouter... are there any major disadvantages, other than the obvious one that I won't be part of a Unit? Staying with my current Unit is simply no longer a viable choice for me. I do have many Scouter buddies in other Troops that would welcome me, but until/if my son decides to join a different Troop I'd prefer to hang my registration at the District level. I would want him to choose a new Troop based on his needs and interests, and not just go where I was. I'm really not interested in us being in different Troops, either. I would transfer my membership to his new Unit when transfering him. Experience... suggestions... advice. All needed and accepted. MS
  19. Final update, I promise! Tonight the member of the BOR that asked my son the Star question caught up with him on the way out of our Troop meeting. He casually asked him what the two white stars on the Star rank stood for. My son replied TRUTH and KNOWLEDGE. He said, "Good. You've passed. Let Mr. So-n-so know." ALL THIS RESEARCH AND STRESS FOR THAT??? I guess he must have rethought his original question. Or, maybe my discussion with our DE and CC had a trickle down effect. This kind of stuff really irks me. Oh, on the way home my son asked me if he could change Troops. Surprise, surprise... I told him I would discuss it with his Dad. He said that several of the other Scouts have been talking about switching to another Troop. If they go, he says he wants to go with them. MS
  20. Thanks, FScouter... I originally thought I'd discuss my "issue" and then ask my question. Instead, I ended up just asking the question. I'm glad to know that I can register as a District Scouter, though. Thanks! MS
  21. hi guys... me again. This time I have a "technical" question. I am a MB counselor and a YPT administrator. I must be a registered adult leader with BSA to perform these functions. Do I have to be registered with/through a Unit, in particular a Troop, or can I register through my Council and not be part of a Unit at all? I have sent an email to my UC but I know you guys will respond much faster. Our Troop registration is next Wednesday. I need to know by then. MS
  22. This is one of those situations that, if you haven't been in it yet, you will be, so pay attention (no pun intended). RAF, I think you have a situation that needs to be addressed and not just left to the boys in his patol to deal with, as this is about more than just who has to tent with this boy. I am a parent of an ADHD son, a special ed teacher AND a past/present leader of many boys with this disorder. I had a "Bobby" in my first Webelos den. After a week of residential summer camp I had one scout left... "Bobby." The rest, including my son, quit and absolutely refused to be part of it anymore. "Bobby" was physically and verbally explosive as well as hyperactive. I went to the CC and CM and told them I would not sacrifice scouting for 5 boys for the sake of one. I insisted that "Bobby" be moved to another den or offered the Lone Scout program in order to save my den. Heck, there wasn't going to BE a den for "Bobby" if they didn't do something. No other leader would take him unless a parent agreed to attend meetings/outings with him. They wouldn't. He dropped out of scouting (AND public school). I felt bad, but not THAT bad. This is an extreme case. But I tell about it because you might be headed in that direction. This boy's behavior HAS to be addressed or you risk losing other boys and your program will suffer. One possible solution would be to insist a parent come on campouts and tent with "Bobby" if he can't tent responsibly with other boys. Our Troop has done this with several Scouts. Eventually, the boys get older and most of them end up being able to tent with other scouts. Scouting/camping is a privaledge, not a right, we tell the boys. If you can't behave responsibly on a campout (keep your hands to yourself, contribute and participate) then you can't go. I suggest you have a SM conference and/or BOR with this Scout and clearly define your Troop's behavioral expectations. Be blunt so there's no gray area or misunderstandings. Tell him he is on notice and may attend the next campout. IF he does not behave according to the Troop's "rules" he will not be able to attend subsequent campouts without a parent (and must tent with that parent) until he demonstrates he can follow the rules. Put this all in writing and discuss it with the boy's parents. These boys need lots of structure and clear expectations. The other boys in the Troop need to know that every boy is held to same behavioral rules, regardless of "diagnosis." This advice is all reactive due to the circumstances. In order to be proactive, our Troop has developed what we call a "Code of Conduct Contract." Each Fall, at registration, every Scout and his parent/guardian must read and sign a conduct contract. Our expectations are clear. The last line reads: "I understand that if I fail to uphold this contract, consequences will result and I could be asked to leave Troop #__." Then the Scout signs. For the parents it says, "My son and I have read this contract and understand what is expected of him as a Scout in Troop #__." After which, the parent/guardian signs. I'd be happy to share it with anyone interested. MaineScouter
  23. At his Eagle ceremony, my son gave his SM an engraved Snow & Nealy camp ax. The head was engraved with the BS fleur de lis (spelling?) and our Troop number. This is what our Troop also presents to the summer camp SPL if the boys earn Honor Troop there. When our last SM resigned he was presented with an LLBean fishing net because he is an avid fly fisher. MaineScouter
  24. Question for large Troops: We have 8 patrols in our Troop. When we go camping not all of the boys go. We combine partial patrols but still end up with 5 or 6 patrols (6-8 boys in each) on a campout. Each patrol has its own patrol box with all the cooking equipment and their own food (all patrols use the same menu on campouts). We do not have a D.O. for each patrol, or enough FIRES usually for each patrol if they did have a D.O. They do, however, each have a propane stove. I would love to do more D.O./fire cooking, but it doesn't lend itself to multiple patrols easily. For those of you with large Troops, how do handle multiple patrols (5 to 6, plus the adult patrol) cooking at once?
  25. 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
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