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MattR last won the day on March 4

MattR had the most liked content!

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About MattR

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    I try to be cheerful, it's all I'm paid

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    Scouts. Why else would I be here.
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    Born and raised. Now old.

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  1. MattR

    Handling THAT kid joining

    The problem won't be this scout (if he is a problem), the problem will be the other scouts not doing anything about an issue because they don't know how to deal with it. Then it festers and gets bad. Rather, there needs to be a way to bring up issues. Review, thorns and roses, whatever you want to call it. I'd say you need to keep a sharp eye on that process as well. Ask the leaders how the new scouts are doing. If you can catch any problems early it will be much easier to deal with. The goal isn't no problems, the goal is everyone learning from their problems.
  2. I wish someone had made this clear when I started as SM. Now, it's what I did anyway, but I always felt like I was doing something wrong. @willray, I agree with this. There aren't many scouts like this but there are a few that figure out that since you won't discipline them so there are no rules. I suppose some of them are around because they have to be. The rest read Machiavelli. Anyway, sometimes negative consequences are the only thing that motivates people. You still need to be fair and up front about it, but there needs to be a line.
  3. Competitions are good for some things but a competition for doing the right thing? Competitions encourage scouts to figure out how to cut corners and be more efficient. People try to figure out how to use the rules to their advantage. That's where the phrase game the system comes from. Putting someone else's need before your own has nothing to do with this. I'd suggest not having any rules. Not a certain award. Not a fixed list of good things to do. Rather, get all of the adults involved. When they see a scout do something impressive, reward it. It could be a thank you. It could be addressing them Mr/Miss <last name>. It could be buying them an ice cream at the trading post. It could be giving them some candy. It could be nothing more than pulling them off to the side and saying they've grown a lot lately and you see it and appreciate it. As @Eagledad said, it's about growth and not a specific activity. And every scout will grow differently. One scout being Courteous might be a cause for a huge celebration where for other scouts it might just be not much more than a nod. Think about it, it's hard to measure how good a person is so how can anyone define what the recognition should be? Besides, if someone knows they'll get a Jolly Rancher if they teach a scout how to start a fire, what happens when you run out of candy? They stop helping? If so, they've learned nothing. A bit of randomness is closer to real life. Not only should all of the adults be involved, I'd suggest getting the scouts involved as well. Ask the PLC, or the older scouts, if there are other scouts that should be recognized. And encourage those scouts to do the recognition. Make it part of the culture of the troop.
  4. MattR

    Look what I found.

    That brings up a bunch of questions. What's the history of the forum?
  5. MattR

    BSA definition of the Patrol Method

    I have a different view on this topic. It's not malice so much as simple incompetence. We were trashing the GSUSA model of units for a lack of permanence and lost knowledge but it looks to me like there's a loss of knowledge in the BSA due to corporate structure. Where I'm getting this is what I've seen locally and it's possible I'm missing something, but let me explain. I'm so frustrated with my council that I turned in my resignation last night as camping chair. While I'd really enjoy to keep working on the camping committee making fun programs for scouts, I just can't deal with the council anymore. Anyway, I think my frustration comes from the same thing that's keeping patrol method from being described anywhere. Look at the advancement model in the BSA. Everyone comes in as a DE and gets paid peanuts. So automatically it cuts out a lot of people that might be good and enjoy it. I've known a few good DE's that quit because they can double their salary. At the same time, DE's are not paid based on unit quality. They are paid on numbers. Besides, many have no experience in scouting so this idea of Patrol Method is foreign at best and unimportant. At the same time the structure within the BSA is very top down. The word from above is get numbers so that's what they focus on. The idea of helping or supporting units is secondary to numbers. Next, all hiring is internal. We have a CE that should be fired for incompetence and it can't be done. I suppose the board of trustees could fire him but it's just a good old boy network. Pay your $5k and you're on the board. Whether you know anything about scouting or not. Anyway, even if the CE were forced out the next one has to be hired from within a limited group. There's no option to hire from the outside. I can imagine that a retired VP from a local company could fix the mess in 30 minutes a day. The real money comes from making it to national so one has no interest in supporting those below, it's all about who's above. As for this thread, patrol method is not an issue for the DE's. Most DE's don't have any scouting experience, they aren't measured on quality of units, and once they move up a level it's even less important for them. By the time they get to the point where they're writing the manual this idea is long gone. Back in the 70's when Hillcourt was pulled out of retirement to fix things the problem I described above was already in place. It just took another generation to set it in stone. What Hillcourt really needed to do was change the culture at national. I have no idea how that can be done.
  6. MattR

    Neckerchief Slide

    I used to take white leather boot laces, color one end red and the other blue, and very carefully tie a woggle so the top layer was red, the middle white, and the bottom blue. I gave those to eagle scouts at their ecoh.
  7. MattR

    How tight are your scouts?

    When I was a scout we didn't have collars. So when I came back with my son and we suddenly had collars I thought the same thing. But, being a frog boiled in cold water .... While there are rules that say anything goes as long as the whole unit agrees, I agree with you. If there's one thing on the uniform that says scout it's the necker.
  8. MattR

    Neckerchief Slide

    A 1" piece of pvc pipe, a bear-like thing made from a bucket of craft stuff you have in the basement, and a hot glue gun ....
  9. MattR

    2018 Membership numbers are in

    Hmm, now that you mention it, that explains a couple of crews in my town. And when the scouts of those parents left, the crews withered. This is the same problem GSUSA has, no sustainability. That means every unit starts over, loss of knowledge. How many 25 year crews are there?
  10. MattR

    Cub Scout Red Vest & BSA Policy

    Welcome to the forum, @seanonymous
  11. MattR

    2018 Membership numbers are in

    Here are my guesses. 1) Going on an adventure is not the attraction it used to be. Maybe it's too scary. 2) Teamwork and leadership skills are sorely lacking, so they're afraid to do things on their own. 3) Too many scouts want dessert for every meal. i.e., can't wait for the payoff. 4) Pushing oneself is not the attraction it used to be, at least for teenagers. Or maybe they just feel too much external pressure to succeed. 5) Too much screen time? 6) Lack of adult volunteers and/or critical mass. I listened to a group of young scouts talk while I drove to a campout this weekend. On the way up they could only talk about video games. I couldn't take it anymore and finally asked them what else they did. They mentioned other organized activities (sports, band, martial arts). I finally asked them what they did for fun that wasn't organized. One scout had no answer. One mentioned wood carving and a couple of other things like that. One felt a bit embarrassed and came up with some things he had talked to his dad about. This is so different from when I was their age. We made model rockets, planes, boats, etc, explored the nearby woods, played games at night, went fishing, played pickup sports, made radios, and the like. My guess is these scouts have also done some of these things but it's a bit odd that when I asked them what they did for fun they really didn't have an answer. And nobody said that video games are fun. Is it that video games are just a way to create dopamine and sate their brains? Three scouts is not definitive but I see a lot of other youth that sound similar. Many are over scheduled and don't have time to just explore their own interests. The idea of elite sports in middle school is so far from the reality of my childhood. If a kid has to decide what sport he wants to play by the time they're 13 then there's not much time for exploring or just making decisions. Granted, most parents don't buy into this but it does say something about our culture. I wouldn't write off scouts, but scouts needs to adapt. I'm not sure what that means. If I did then my district would be doing great right now.
  12. MattR

    How many freebie meeting visits?

    I suppose it depends on intent. If all these parents do is drop their kids off and pick them up, then they certainly aren't participating. We had a scout that was too young to join but was the only AOL scout in his pack, so he unofficially joined us a couple of months early. His dad was with him at every event and he kept wearing his webelos uniform. He did every event, including campouts. So, two very different situations. I'd say you need to talk to the parents and be courteous, but blunt. Something else to consider: Are their children enjoying the program? Do they really want to be there? If so, my guess is the parents are embarrassed about something but like the program. If not, could just be cheap baby sitting.
  13. I thought we were trying to play down the whole shooting thing.
  14. MattR

    Attending Events Solo

    Welcome to the forum, @octo. Assuming you have time to be both SPL and join the OA, then go for it. I would assume many scouts go to OA events solo. Are you active in your chapter activities? You can meet other scouts there that might be interested in going to lodge events.
  15. I'm not convinced the 11 year olds should be pulled from the scout program. But 3 years would give that age range more time in a program of it's own. I believe most of the UK Scouts age ranges are 3 years. They also have more flexibility as to when scouts move up to the next level. Maybe that would be better. I tell you what, since the ink isn't dry on this change let the 11 year olds decide what they want to do. They can stay with the Webelos or move up to scouts. Let them bridge over when they're mature enough.