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Everything posted by MattR

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. MattR

    Look what I found.

    That brings up a bunch of questions. What's the history of the forum?
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 ....
  8. 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?
  9. MattR

    Cub Scout Red Vest & BSA Policy

    Welcome to the forum, @seanonymous
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. I thought we were trying to play down the whole shooting thing.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. As long as we're dreaming about changing national, here's another option for cub scout burnout: Take webelos out of the cub program. The first year of scouts could be mixed in with it as well. The idea is to have an intermediate stage between cubs and scouts. The only purpose would be to develop teamwork and start doing a consistent outdoor program. Adult led patrols would be fine. The mantra would be "as soon as you get to scouts you'll do this on your own, so learn." Before anyone says that's what webelos is supposed to be, I agree, but for the simple reason that a webelos den looks a lot like a cub den under the same committee with the same cub master, there's no push to differentiate the two. UK Scouts has 4 age ranges where we have 2. I don't think 4 is right for us, but 3 might be worth considering.
  16. MattR

    How the Inuit work with kids...

    My approach has evolved as well. I don't know that I've ever shouted at scouts other than when they were in a safety situation, so my comment was more about getting angry with the scouts. There were certainly those scouts that got under my skin and it was usually because they were extremely self centered. A few of them grew up and all was forgiven. I had a few apologize. I've never gotten angry at scouts that at least tried (well, there were a couple of safety situations, like almost burning down a historical building). I slowly came to realize that the anger comes from the conflict between my expectations and reality. My expectations have tempered. The anger can still show up but now it's a big red flag that tells me to stand back and think about it. For the most part, the only time I get angry now has to do with communicating with scouts outside of meetings (well, not being able to communicate outside of meetings). The good news is I have plenty of time to get over it. At meetings or campouts pretty much anything can happen and I've likely seen something similar before. Sometimes I show disappointment. Usually it's roses and thorns. The roses are "wow, that's great, how did it go for you?" and the thorns are just matter of fact - "this is what I saw, what did you see?" and then the important part "why?" Last night the why resulted in the scout telling me his secret email address that he checks at least daily, as opposed to the one that the troop has that is never looked at. I suspect this has something to do with mom reading all his email. I'll just call for now on. Back to the expectations vs reality. The major source of my grief was wrapped up in advancement. For all the reasons we've beaten to death I used to fight against them all. Now, advancement is as important to me as the uniform. I like it. When it's done right it's great, but it's hard to do right so I'll just do my best and ignore the rest. To me, watching a scout take ownership or responsibility is a much more worthwhile endeavor. Many scouts will do this. Nearly every scout that sticks around till they're 18 will get there. As for the OP, umm, I just told a story? Actually, stories are a very time proven method for teaching subjective matter. The Bible, the arts, history, case studies in law. Unlike science and math, where there are definitive, provable rules, much of life's lessons are subjective and examples are a better way to get across an idea than making a generic statement of supposed fact.
  17. MattR

    How the Inuit work with kids...

    Yelling is fine, as long as you do it where nobody else can hear you. Think about it. In your eyes someone screwed up and now you're angry. The anger is real, denying that is just hiding it. Best to let it go. Getting mad is a good way to dissipate that anger before you can talk calmly. That you can do around anyone.
  18. MattR

    EBOR complete

    Congratulations! BTW, photocopy your paperwork before you submit it. You don't want to collect all those signatures again. This is your last lesson in Be Prepared.
  19. MattR

    School Newspaper

    While it's a shame they dropped it my guess is there might be some history behind the decision to not allow publicity for any outside group. Imagine the worst of groups that you'd clearly not allow. Now think of all those that you'd clearly allow. Now find the sweet spot in the middle where the school is just going to get a bunch of people angry deciding yes or no. That's likely what they don't want. They may like cub scouts just fine. How about having your son go ask the principal why they have that rule? Coach him to be respectful and that alone may just put a seed in the principal's mind to reconsider.
  20. MattR

    PW Derby Car from past year

    Welcome to the forum, @Pixie
  21. MattR

    Why was Jamboree Split in 1973

    For those of us that live in the West and really don't want to fly to the Bechtel Thingy, it would be great to have two jamboree sites.
  22. MattR

    Bear Grylls is new World Scout Ambassador

    You're right. He is a TV personality. And every parent in the UK has heard of him, and knows he's associated with UK Scouts. Ergo, every parent in the UK knows about UK Scouts. That's marketing. Add the occasional times Princess Kate does things with scouts and their marketing program is working and it's cheap. They don't need any ads. Scouting is all about people so the idea of using people to advertise it just makes sense. Compare that to the BSA. The one person in the BSA you think of is ... the CSE? and everyone knows his name, right? The only time he shows up is when some social hot potato is being bandied about. Have you ever seen him camping? Then there are all the ads the BSA puts out ...? The entire BSA marketing program consists of hoping local newspapers send photographers to pinewood derby races or scouts going door to door collecting food with their uniforms on. But most local newspapers are cutting staff. In other words, there is no marketing program and the local volunteers are expected to do the work. I agree that Grylls made a mistake and it doesn't look good, but I wouldn't throw the baby out with the bath water.
  23. MattR

    Merit Badges of Yore...

    My impression is a bugle is a trumpet without any valves, same notes if you don't hold down any keys. Not sure what this has to do with anything. Everyone used to have metalwork but then they added some forge requirements and it got dropped. I must admit the forge would be way cool. Maybe a glass making merit badge with a big honkin kiln. I would sign up for that. I could also use cement working. My driveway is cracking and the price to replace it is nuts. If I could just do one slab at a time... or better yet, have some scouts do one slab at a time.
  24. MattR

    Scouts and UFOs

    But only in those states where it's legal.
  25. MattR

    Wilderness First Aid Pin

    It needs an "Un" rocker to put in front of the "trained" portion, to be put on after their certificate expires. It's great they are taking it. Good luck suing someone that's not making any money off of it.