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Everything posted by MattR

  1. Hi everyone, There was another request for a sub forum today and I'd like to suggest another way of doing this. The problem with sub forums is it's slower than you might think to set them up (mainly because the moderators can't set them up). Further, while there are several sub forums many are not used very often. At the same time, the advantage of sub forums is that you can quickly find threads that you're interested in. Here's a suggestion on how to get nearly the same benefit as a sub forum with little help from the moderators. Any thread can have tags added to it (and moderators can retroactively add tags to any of them). Not only that but you can create searches of threads based on tags. Also, there are things called Activity Streams that can help. An activity stream is just a way to search all the threads. The unread content button just invokes an activity stream that searches for posts that you haven't read yet. What's nice is you can create your own and you can create them to search for threads with tags. For example, you can go to Feed -> My Activity Streams -> Create New Stream and create a stream that searches for new content having the tag "linked troop" in it and takes you to the first unread post when clicking on the title. Once you create it you can find it under the Feed->My Activity Streams. You can also make it your default stream (go to it and click the check mark next to the title.) If you want to edit or delete an activity stream that you created, go to it and then click the trash can or pencil next to the title. If you think a past thread should have some tags added to it then let us know, we can do that. If we're suddenly feeling like we're adding the same tags over and over again it will be much easier to get a sub forum created. If you want to give it a try I'm willing to help. @RememberSchiff, @John-in-KC, @desertrat77, @NJCubScouter, @LeCastor
  2. MattR


    I understand the phrase teachable and, more importantly, unteachable. It has little to do with gender. There's an ASM in my troop, male, that just can't let go and allow scouts to learn the hard way. It was incredibly frustrating dealing with him. We'd talk, agree how to do things, and before you know it he chucked the whole thing and did things himself. It was easier, more efficient, nobody would be inconvenienced, if the scouts just didn't have to take responsibility. He's great at doing committee stuff and the only reason I didn't remove him. But ASM? Ugh. As for the phrase teachable female that @qwazse used, given the context of starting a girl's troop, a female SM sounds smart to me. From what I've seen, teachable has more to do with how much outdoor experience someone has. Someone that is comfortable with multi day, bring your gear, cook your food, deal with the weather, get used to the stink type of trips can easily grasp the idea of learning things the hard way because they did learn all that the hard way. The hardest to deal with are those that only do outdoors for a day trip. They think they understand but they always have a shower and warm bed to get back to. Again, independent of gender. For people my age there are a lot more men than women that do this. But for the younger moms of cub scouts, we're finding it less out of balance. The sad thing is that fewer adults of either gender, at that younger age, are volunteering. That is the nut that needs to be cracked in our district. There is another type of multi day experience I see that is just as good and a lot more girls do this than boys. I've mentioned this before but I've worked with youth that do year long exchange programs in foreign countries. I listened to the adults that run it and they would fit in with a troop with no problem at all. A 100 yards? Try 10,000 miles and you can't talk to your kid for a month, much less see them for 10. That's where I first heard the phrase SIU (suck it up). It's the equivalent of Do I look like your PL? It's an adventure. BTW, they do like Boy Scouts because they know what they're getting. However, there's an aspect of this saga that has nothing to do with this. Namely, why in the world did the SM let these parents take over the troop? Granted I did not read a lot of the many threads that compromise this story and I may be missing something, but it just goes and goes and goes. I had a dad that was at least as obnoxious as these parents and I ran him off. It took a month but it worked. And so did 2 other SM's. The council eventually told him his son had to be in lone scouts.
  3. I guess it depends on who is teaching the course and where they put the emphasis. Some of those topics do sound like a lot of fun. Besides, just because the email said "kayaking" it doesn't mean they're going to talk about what everyone does at summer camp. In another thread someone mentioned kayaking the Apostle Islands (oh yeah, that was you ). Maybe they'll talk about that. I'd think they would if they can find someone to cover that section. Have you ever considered helping teach that course?
  4. MattR

    Bike-o-ree idea

    Biking is fun. That said, with 200 people doing it at the same time there are issues. You do want some training about riding in groups on roads with cars. If not around cars then off road. You don't want everyone doing the same ride at the same time (but by patrol, staggered would work). I have noticed that a lot of scout's bikes are in poor shape. Bad brakes, rusted chains, derailleurs miss aligned. A great opportunity to learn some bike maintenance before the campout, and it would also help sell the campout.
  5. @Eagledad said, in another thread about an SM that has run amok: And @fred8033 brought up: It took a while to realize that working myself out of a job was key. Given that being an SM is an on the job learning experience, what's a good way to provide useful feedback to these leaders? The commissioners, I suppose, are somewhat in a position to do this but it's not official. I don't know if that's the right word but the commissioners I worked with were never really interested in doing anything but answer questions. Someone that knows everything will never ask. Someone that feels like they're supposed to know everything will also not ask. I don't want a bureaucracy of paperwork and testing created, but just a way for leaders to learn from their mistakes in a non threatening way. Come to think of it, isn't this exactly what the scouts should be getting for leadership training? I think I would have really liked that.
  6. MattR

    Texas Chili

    Those mid westerners might not know beans about chili but they know cold, so they might not be that far off. Besides, I married a mid westerner so I have to be kind to them. Either way, I think I'll try your recipe. What do you do when you don't live in Texas and don't have 18 chili powders to choose from? My local grocery store has "chili powder." This is kind of like curry. Hmm, maybe that's why those mid-westerners add underwear, they only have one chili powder! Got any chili powder recipes?
  7. I'm not sure people have changed so much as the technology has made "think first, open mouth second" harder to do. Remember the old days when we had editors for newspapers? Now it's a bunch of kids/folks with cell phones posting on social media and the news media playing catch up. There is a lesson in here for our scouts. Those two stars on the scout badge mean something important.
  8. An old copy of the Handbook for Patrol Leaders. And by old I mean a printing stemming from the 1929 version (eg, 10th printing is from 1941). Also, an old copy of the Handbook For Scoutmasters. I just have volume 1 but the original printing is from 1936. These books are dripping with enthusiasm and common sense. Hillcourt wrote them both (and likely the 2nd volume for SM's). For more information about Hillcourt, go to the home page.
  9. MattR

    Recruiting for council training committee

    I knew there was a catch. But back to your JLT course. How did you come up with a course that, I assume, was not in compliance with the standard JLT at the time? Or was it in compliance. I always wonder about that with training. I mean, the idea of having the scouts create their own training sounds great and also not at all what the syllabus suggests. Or maybe I'm missing something.
  10. MattR

    Recruiting for council training committee

    If a volunteer asked me I'd say yes. Well, wait a minute. What does the council training committee do? (and that is pretty much how I get involved in everything, jump in and then start asking questions.) I'm already on a council committee (camping) and I never go to the meetings because they're always the same night as my troop's meetings. As far as I can tell they don't really have much of an impact because they can't control any money. They create lists of things to be fixed at camp and lists of fantastic ways to spend all the money the council doesn't have.
  11. Those stories are great. I saw one about a guy that completed eagle and then promptly went off to WWII. Something like 10 years ago he finally received his medal. I've told a few scouts these stories because they think there's a time limit on that because they mostly have been fighting with time limits to get everything done in time.
  12. I see both sides of this discussion. Nobody wants to volunteer if they're going to be tested and quizzed and have to fill out reports. The other side is we have little improvement in scouters, a few that bring horror stories to this forum, and a continual erosion of the methods of scouting. There is always a tension between a teacher and student. What one wants and needs is not always the same thing. The same thing applies to SM and scout. But there's no teacher for the SM as student. (I suppose it should be the commissioner but in reality it isn't.) But maybe the teacher-student dynamic is the wrong one for a volunteer organization. How about the ideal SM-scout dynamic? It has to be fun for the scout. It has to give the scout more responsibility as he can handle it - what someone called distancing or working oneself out of a job. The scout should also be given bigger challenges so things don't get stale. The SM should also have fun and be fulfilled while working with the scout, so he wants to keep volunteering. So, how about showing the SM how to do this by putting him in the position of youth and having a mentor work with him? Keep it fun. Keep it challenging. Give the "youth" more responsibility as he's able and willing. Cheer him on. Celebrate the wins. Help them through failures. And, getting back to what @qwazse said, start with a giant carrot. (How to make round table fun?) Maybe the best way to remove the really bad apples is to worry less about them and work to improve those in the middle. Make it easier for scouts to walk to the better troops.
  13. Well, long story short, once upon a time I told someone to put the gun down. He said why, it wasn't loaded. I replied that I was taught to always assume a gun was loaded. He said, let me show you that it isn't. It was. That grumpy old RSO I had as a scout just might have prevented a disaster many years later. Knowledge is a good thing.
  14. @dkurtenbach, this is probably the closest to what I was thinking about. A bit vague but a place to start. The sad thing is I'm on the district committee and my sense is the commissioners are mostly fighting fires. Financial irregularities, people not getting recharters done in time, CO's enacting revenge on SM's. They don't have time to improve the quality of units and there aren't many of them. But I agree that there is no formal method to continuously improve quality. That's what JTE is supposed to be but it seems to miss the mark. @Chris1, while that's not the case in my district (SM's are not to be recruited for anything) I can see it happen. What is it about being an SM that can trash humility? Does every volunteer organization have this problem? Others that I'm involved in don't, but that's just my small sample. @David CO, good point, but most CO's I see know less about scouting than the SM. My guess is you are on the CO side of scouts and you're the only person I know of in that position that takes an interest in how scouts work. It seems to me that positive reinforcement for the SM would come better from someone that understands scouting. I hate to say this but for an organization that prides itself on leadership development, it doesn't really work for their own volunteers. The BSA tends to lean on training as opposed to on the job improvement. Training is one and done. Continuous improvement gets much less emphasis. Just to be clear, I have no dreams of changing anything at national but it would be nice to create a round table topic that I could get the bulk of SM's and ASM's to go to.
  15. MattR

    On making a graceful transition ...

    You have color coded tabs? In a neat organized binder? Do you have any idea how the rest of us get things done? Your scouts are going to be in great shape! Seriously, you obviously care. But now it's time to take care - of yourself.
  16. MattR

    My kids love scouts, but....

    Welcome to the forum, @RookieMom. Sorry it had to be under such circumstances. To answer your questions: Yes, and find another pack. The transfer cost is $1 and fill out a form. 13 is a really small number. I don't know where you live but if there are more packs then go check them out with your kids. If there aren't other packs then talk to the Chartered Org Rep and your committee chair. The cubmaster reports to them. If he can't control the scouts then there's an issue to be solved.
  17. MattR

    What's in a name?

    https://www.scouting.org/training/training-updates/ It took a while to find it. Kind of sad that the aims don't tend to make it on the front page of the website.
  18. MattR

    What's in a name?

    They're scouts. I doubt they'll smell sweet.
  19. MattR

    Irate potential cubmaster

    "The possession charge"? Why is he CM if he hasn't passed a background check? That's a non starter. Your posting is rather confusing so I can just assume this is really bothering you. I do understand. Yes, you need to get the council involved. If the DE doesn't respond then move it up. Call the Council Exec. If you're afraid of this meeting for your safety then cancel it. If you're afraid because of the confrontation then just talk to everyone and make sure you all agree to help each other out. Be brave. The bottom line is if the CC and CM don't get along then the pack will fail. You're the CC and you decide who the CM is.
  20. MattR

    What's in a name?

    I don't see the benefit of engaging Monkeytamer. It was his first post and he implied he wants to get out of scouts before girls are allowed to join. Which is less than 3 weeks from now so I doubt he'll be around much longer. The issues being brought up on this forum do not match my experience locally. Everything I've heard from local troops are that whether they do or don't want girls they either will or will not create a girls troop. That's the end of the discussion. So I think these people that say they have to leave before girls join are not that common. What's probably more common is a mix of opinions in each troop. And those that are upset will leave. Those that stick around are going to make themselves miserable.
  21. Sounds like a great trip. The idea of a high adventure trip over winter break is great. I'm sure everyone has lots of great memories. Congratulations to whomever set it up. The only shocker to me: They spent all that effort building a quinzee and didn't sleep in it? And then they complained about how cold it was? Quinzees are nice and warm inside, probably what the scouts are used to (34, 35 degrees). As for snacking all day I've not heard that. We eat 4 big meals a day and throw in some snacks. Certainly we eat a lot, probably twice what we usually do, but we only snack when we feel like it. I mean, if you learn to listen to your body and eat when you need to it all takes care of itself.
  22. MattR

    dyslexic scout

    Welcome to the forum, @goldnloks
  23. MattR

    Words of Wisdom to Youth Chapter Leadership

    How to motivate a scout? To do service? It has to be internal motivation. Here's an idea. Google calls this intrinsic motivation. Below is the first thing that popped up on Google: (just swap scout for student, scouters for educators, and OA for education)
  24. MattR

    Mess kit cooking

    Try a steel pan for a fire. They're relatively cheap, can handle the fire, and do a great job spreading the heat. We bought some for our troop and chucked all the misc crummy pans with junky worn coatings. They should be oiled and not cleaned with soap, but a little soap is okay. They're heavier than aluminum but lighter than cast iron.
  25. I think the challenge here is to find someone that can talk to the SM calmly. This sounds more like the SM wanting to save face than any troop policy. BTW, if it is a troop policy is it stated somewhere? My guess is the reason for saying no multiple projects on the same day is that scouts shouldn't share a project. Sounds fair to me. But just ensure they really are independent.