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Everything posted by MattR

  1. This was not a GSUSA decision. Just that of some local council (or whatever the equivalent is). That said, the local GSUSA entity is likely about to lose some girl scouts.
  2. MattR

    knot-awards q

    I think you just need to talk to someone a bit more practical. As a scout, in 1975, I was an ordeal member of the OA. When my son, in about 2004, was an ordeal candidate I decided to get my brotherhood. There were no written records. I sent the council email just to make sure and they said "you're kidding, right? If you say you did your ordeal then you did your ordeal." My guess is the chain of command in a volunteer organization is a bit lax compared to what you might be used to in the army. BTW, I was in the Transatlantic Council and so most of the volunteers were in the army, and they still didn't worry about some lost documentation.
  3. MattR

    A scout learns...

    A Scout Learns ... ... Iteratively. For those that are familiar with computer science, the BSA uses a waterfall model of advancement. It's not: A scout learns A scout is tested A scout is recognized It's more like: A scout learns, a scout is tested, a scout forgets some of it, a scout might be recognized, a scout is challenged, a scout relearns, a scout fails at the challenge, a scout learns again, a scout forgets, a scout is asked to teach it, a scout panics and relearns it... All we really want is for a scout to understand, after 7 years, that if they don't make the loop the right way the rabbit will tear the hole and the tree apart.
  4. MattR

    Tenting: 2 years apart

    Use their school grade?
  5. It's always fun to read something that just flat out does not fit in to the usual ideas. I certainly don't know how many kids are confused about their sex but my guess is every kid is confused about how they fit in. And the beauty of scouts is everyone is welcome. The only expectation is to try.
  6. MattR

    Orieneering Course 4a First Class

    Google Earth is also a useful tool. Plot points and then use the ruler to get exact distance and bearings between points. Just verify the course. Little rock outcroppings, as seen on the computer, might be really steep and large to cross. Just sayin'. The scouts weren't so happy on that one. But we did talk about how to go around barriers.
  7. MattR

    Hello from Columbus

    Wow, that's a big challenge. Good for you. Words to an 11 year old aren't nearly as powerful as actions. Don't spend too much time talking. Rather, have an activity. Set up something in a park. Bring gear to look at. Have a slide show of trips you've been on. If they're enthused about adventure and camping then you have something much more important than merit badges. If they're having fun then they'll stick around and learn what we want to teach them. That's the goal. With that said, you can make the merit badges part of the fun and adventure. Do a bunch of fun stuff and then tell them what they've completed and what's left to do to get the MB. A few will take you up on the offer. Then, at the court of honor, award the merit badge to the scout in front of the entire troop and tell him he did a great job. That can be more motivational than you talking about how important a MB is. With regard to the wealthier families and the poorer families, it's important to treat all the scouts the same. In this case some scouts need to earn the money. So make all the scouts earn the money that's spent. It would be a great lesson for all. Best of luck and keep us informed.
  8. I had a scout wake up when he turned 16 and decided he wanted to get eagle. We talked. I explained to him all the tight time lines. Then I let him be. He worked his butt off. Alas, he didn;t pay attention to one of those time lines and he missed it by about a month. Had I the time and was a bit more organized I would have reminded him but I was quite busy as well. I felt bad. I know he felt bad. But he was also quite honorable about it. I was impressed. I told him if he ever needed a letter of recommendation I'd write him a glowing one. He took me up on that. I think he's in med school or something. Bright. Talented. A bit disorganized. But he'll make the world a better place. He was also one of the best SPL's we've ever had. Bottom line, give them some encouragement but let them be. They need to figure this out. They need to want it. They need to make it happen. But they don't need to get it. @Cburkhardt, I've seen plenty of people that try to solve every little problem for the scouts. Half my time spent at eagle projects was always grabbing parents aside and telling them the scouts need to find the problems and solve them because that's where the learning occurs. It's the learning that we're after. The rank is just a carrot for the scouts.
  9. Well, you got me there. My troop guide, or whoever signed off on my ticket items, didn't really care. He was actually the one staff member I wasn't too impressed with. In hindsight the ticket items could have been more related to what I was hoping to learn but, as the saying goes, we don't know what we don't know. I could see how the ticket could make the program. I have always been at the stage where 3 meals a day is appealing.
  10. MattR


    Isn't that the definition of a dress uniform? But I completely agree. Too much bling, not enough field.
  11. What is the advancement program/model you use? If it's just the written list of requirements in the handbook then it's easy for a new ASM to say just sign it off and move on. On the other hand, if the list of requirements is part of something larger then that's what the new ASM needs to read. In this case ensuring that the older scouts will be teaching the younger scouts the skills will end up solving a lot of these problems. If you have to teach other scouts how to tie a bowline or start a fire you really have to know it. Starting off there are no older scouts so the scouters have to prime that pump. They should explain to the scout getting signed off that they need to know the sill well enough to teach it to someone else. It's a lot different to say "show me how to tie a bowline" and "teach me how to tie a bowline." Unfortunately I feel your pain. All I can say is remember that scouts is a 2 steps forward 1 step back type of activity (hopefully with a lot of fun in there as well).
  12. Hi @SeanK. Welcome to the forum. The best thing I got out of WB was the enthusiasm of the staff. Unfortunately, the rest of it wasn't what I was looking for.
  13. MattR

    Wow! FAR beyond mere Eagle...

    Search "fatberg." Feed Me! Seymour!
  14. MattR

    ONE-POT DINNER: Chili Mac

    Sounds good and easy. I like mixing my own spices. If you do a search on chili spice recipe there are plenty of ideas. Here's the first one I found: INGREDIENTS 1 Tbsp chili powder 1 tsp ground cumin 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper 1/4 tsp garlic powder 1/2 tsp onion powder 1 tsp salt 1/4 tsp approximately freshly ground pepper It also said leave out the cayenne if you don't want it spicy.
  15. MattR

    Scouts in schools in the UK

    As usual, it probably depends more on the adults running it. If they read what you wrote and say "huh?" you've got a problem. If they say "we were scouts and we loved it and we're hoping to apply youth led to learning history and science" then I'd say give it a try. Who knows, maybe they'll come up with a fun way of learning way too many centuries of history. My teachers could take fascinating history and turn it into a bore because all they cared about was how much material they covered how efficiently.
  16. I can't imagine it would help. They would make it so convoluted and then we'd argue about what they meant. Maybe I'm naive but it sounds fairly simple. Make it fun. Competition is the ultimate in SMART goals. Make sure some scout skills are involved but not too much. Sounds like these other guys failed at making the competition measurable.
  17. We don't really know the details of how the patrols that Sablanck saw were brought up with the idea of scout led, what their parents were like, what the events were like, or how they were judged. So, lots of room for everyone's opinion. I can certainly see a perfect storm that ended up with a new troop winning the big prize. First of all, the older girls that joined in February are an unusual group. They're hungry for scouting and likely more driven on average than the current scouts. Next year there will likely be few older girls joining. This was a one time thing. Second, there may be hungry parents as well, that don't know about patrol method and are pushing more for winning the competition than anything else. Any new troop could have this problem. So, scouts hungry to show their ability and parents that only see competition and advancement. And it's just as likely that I have it all wrong. In the meantime, I had talked to my troop guides about having a program put together for the new scout patrol. Just have a bunch of plans for meetings and campouts in place that they could grab. Well, life has been busy lately and I didn't ask about how things were going. I figured they would forget about everything. Lo and behold, I showed up late to the meeting and the troop guides had pulled their patrol away from the main event and did their own thing. That was really cool to see. It was a 2 steps forward kind of day.
  18. MattR

    My new Scout's going to camp but freaking out

    I agree with small steps. Also, be okay if the small steps work but the final big step doesn't. Is he making friends in the troop? And maybe they live close by? Invite them over and do something fun. Have a sleep over at your house. Hopefully that will lead to a sleep over at the other boy's house. Go with him on weekend campouts. If you have to, go with him to summer camp (but don't tell him that now). You want to be firm with him and that's great, but maybe start with some little things to be firm with so you'll have a history to show him that he is getting better at this independence stuff. Is it possible that part of his pushing back has to do with your viewing him as "needing" this? Maybe he doesn't see the whole of you, including the part that wants to see him grow. Maybe he just sees the "mom is gonna make me do this and I have no idea why because I'm scared." Respect his fears. I'm not saying give in to them, just let him know you understand how hard this is for him. Ask him what the baby steps are. If he sees progress and you helping him with it then he'll listen to you, and that's all any parent wants. If you don't believe me wait until he's a teenager.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. MattR

    Look what I found.

    That brings up a bunch of questions. What's the history of the forum?
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.