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Everything posted by MattR

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. MattR

    dyslexic scout

    Welcome to the forum, @goldnloks
  4. 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)
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. MattR

    Life to Eagle Tracking

    Welcome to the forum.
  8. No, the secret is to tear it down the binding. @Eagle94-A1, I wonder if the mystique of black robes or Native Americans is just a place holder for introspection about brotherhood and service. Isn't this really the motivation behind giving? We do it for a higher purpose, something bigger than we are. Without that motivation the service is just a job. I agree that the OA sort of morphed into cheap labor for the camps or putting on arrow of light ceremonies. It gets back to the same old thing. The scouts get a lot more out of something if they decide what it is they do. If the chapter advisor just gives the scouts a list of tasks they need to do then the mystique is gone. But if the scouts own their service, and it's at the district or council level, then I think it's a big learning opportunity. My guess is this is @LeCastor's point. It's not so much the OA as it is motivation for service. It takes brotherhood and a sense of something bigger than we are. This is something that gets lost in advancement. The guy talking in the video about doing your best and the scouts paying attention seems like such a small thing but it really brought me back to when I was tapped out. Maybe we need more discussion on how to do that.
  9. MattR

    videos of scouts cooking

    Oh, sure! I just said they'd be better because I have a fire pit in my backyard that's very efficient. Very little smoke. Little ash. Easy to start. Something similar would be good. I'm not sure what a good size would be but that one looks great. The gas stoves are a pain when they get cold or there's dirt in the hoses. Getting the scouts to cut wood for a fire would be much better all the way around.
  10. MattR

    The Scout Law; One or Twelve?

    It's really just a test of your cheerfulness. Let's face it, this is a silly thing to point out to anyone.
  11. MattR

    videos of scouts cooking

    We never had patrol boxes. We divied up the gear before the campout and everyone took their share. Other than that and fires the movie looks similar to my troop now. I tried ditching the patrol boxes to no avail. The portable wood stoves would be better than a fire pit or a gas stove.
  12. In my defense, my grandmother used to make fruit cake. It was horrible. Most likely because she had a cast iron pan that, in hindsight, was rancid. I vow to try making one next year.
  13. MattR

    Wood Badge and Part C

    Places like Walgreens have blood pressure machines. Go there once a week till you're bored with it. A) you'll find out what your bp really is and B) you won't worry about it at the doctor's office. A long time ago I was severely stressed about something and my bp was up some 30 points over normal. The lesson was work on the stress, not the number.
  14. MattR

    Cleaning/ Duties

    That's why you want to wash dishes in cold weather - use hot water.
  15. MattR

    "Train Them, Trust Them, Let Them Lead"

    More adults to help.
  16. @ParkMan, there's some training I took, whose name shall not me mentioned, that covered how to do this. It's more about people than any area. @SSScout is interested in marketing and has good ideas. I'd try to pave the way for him to succeed. @Cambridgeskip wants to help promote units on the internet, so I'd ask him if he'd be willing to give a talk at roundtable about that. @Eagledad likes the patrol method, so I'd ask him if he'd be interested in developing some training for patrol leaders, SPL's and SM's. I'd ask each person on the committee what their ideas are for their area. Creating an encouraging, successful environment for volunteers is probably the key. The dynamic at our district committee meetings is there's a ton of stuff to do just to keep up with awards, filling empty positions, dealing with rotating DE's, etc, that asking people what they'd like to do more of always runs the risk of "you can't ask that person to do more because his spouse is already annoyed with the time spent on scouts." I'm not saying don't do this, just understand the real world issues people are up against. So, I would not focus on scout numbers, I would focus on volunteer numbers. BTW, 10 years is too long (Timely goals?). I'd set a goal of increasing the number of volunteers at the district by 30% in a year. Make it a welcoming place where people are successful. Have enough people to cover the basics and do the extra things that will start helping units put on a better program. Believe in that and the scout numbers will take care of themselves. That's the vision I'd promote.
  17. MattR

    New Scout Troop

    Lots of good ideas here. Other ideas: The first campout, if there's snow about, can be a hike instead. Rather than leadership, I'd start with teamwork. The idea is you do something for your patrol and your patrol can depend on you. If everyone does that then things are sweet. Once everyone understands teamwork leadership is much easier to grasp. The scouts don't know what they don't know, so when they're coming up with ideas add some that they can choose from. Or help them find them. Another important idea is to review how things went after the event. In particular, if there were people problems then that is a good time to solve them. Most kids think solving people problems involves going to an adult. In scouts we want the youth to understand how to do it. Don't solve problems that they know how to solve. Corollary: If they don't know how to solve a problem, help them learn. Finally, have fun. It's important to develop a good relationship with the scouts so that some day, when you have to tell them something they don't want to hear, they'll listen to you. Let us know it works.
  18. Then start writing. Seriously. You know it. You enjoy it. You want to share it. I mean this in the most respective and appreciative way I can. Write something that we can point people to. Write something that will not only explain how to do patrol method but why. One of the problems with the usual writing is the authors are trying to keep things short and not get into too much detail. The result is overly vague and not useful. It also has no emotion. We all get goose bumps when a scout first conquers his fears and starts leading his patrol. That needs to be conveyed in order to get someone to understand why. It does not come across in a description of ethical decision making. You have tons of stories and those stories are what grabs people. It's passion that turns people, not claptrap written my committees. And don't tell me that it's all out there because if it were then we wouldn't see someone, like NotEagleDad, write something like: I knew this other guy on the forum, I forget his name, but he always used to end his posts with "I love this scouting stuff." That's what we need more of. There will always be bad stuff, there's little hope in ending that. But it's the good stuff that will change things. In fact, I love this scouting stuff would be a great title, rather than something that contains the word manual.
  19. MattR

    Cleaning/ Duties

    This scout won't listen to scout leadership or adults. In other words, he just doesn't understand teamwork. I don't know his age but my guess is he's 11 or 12? One option is, on the permission slip, have a copy of the scout oath and law. Explicitly state that if a scout does not follow this then they will be sent home. Since grandpa is there it won't be a problem. The important part is that you follow through. Another option: I've never done this before but you're welcome to try. Before the next campout tell everyone in the patrol that without teamwork they may as well be in cub scouts. Ask them who wants to be in cub scouts. Hopefully none of them say they do. Tell them that there are problems with this patrol not acting as a team. Stop the scouts if they point fingers or mention the problem scout's name. Explain to them that you'll be watching along with the SM or SPL or ASM or just someone outside of the patrol. Then tell them if there are any scouts that aren't team members carrying their share of the work then they will be put in a troop den. They will camp with the adults. For this campout the adults are going to eat something special. Breakfast is hard boiled eggs and a slice of cheese. Lunch is split pea soup and white bread. Dinner is canned spam and white rice. Hopefully you'll never get to dinner. Oh, and the cub scouts will be washing all the dishes. The cub scouts will also be working on advancement. That's the bad cop stuff. Find a good cop that tries to encourage encourage this scout. Show him how to have fun while washing dishes. Talk to him about what happens when nobody wants to do their part. Tell him all the adults really want to see him succeed and move back to his patrol. Hopefully, when he does, congratulations from all the adults is in order. As far as grandpa is concerned, that's something the SM has to deal with. Grandpa needs to learn about how scouts is done in your troop. I hate to say this but when the parents aren't in the picture then maybe grandpa is part of the problem? Sounds like a guy with a heart of gold that has trouble setting boundaries. Just a hunch, though, I don't know the whole story. Either way, someone has to talk to him and you're not that someone.
  20. MattR

    Per WSJ -BSA may declare bankruptcy

    Our CO made a new requirement that any adult that does any event with us that requires a permission slip (just about everything but meetings) has to have a background check. They pay for it. It's easy to do. That's how you keep the CO's comfortable.
  21. MattR

    And so it begins

    Those that make a big deal of refusing to say God in the pledge of allegiance bother me as much as those that say I'm going to burn in hell for not accepting Jesus. I like my spirituality, my religion, my sitting on a rock and just soaking up the beauty of the outdoors. And I also believe it has made me a better person. So I think it is important and yet it has to be done right. What is it about religion that encourages better character? For me it's time spent praying/thinking/discussing what the best of mankind can be. I have no idea why but when I spend the time doing this it just makes everything better and calmer, makes me more empathetic and wanting to help others, makes me think about situations I'd rather not. This, more than anything else, encourages me to be a better person. I think of character as a muscle group and the term use it or lose it applies. Training is important and we have to put time into it. I see the person that meditates daily as being more empathetic than the person that goes to religious services twice a year and calls it good. So rather than ask what is your duty to God I'd rather ask how do you practice and train your character. Yearly? Weekly? Daily? Reps and sets? We can't really tell a scout he's doing it wrong but with all the other points of the scout law it's simple enough to prove to a scout that he can improve. The other day I saw something on the internet about a "dopamine fast:" For one day, no food, no work, no entertainment, no hard exercise, but you could write and think about your life. The guy that wrote this and all the comments sounded like he had invented the greatest thing since sliced bread, but this is surprisingly close to what Yom Kippur is. Take out the no food part and it's surprisingly close to the Sabbath. I suspect this guy has no religious beliefs, based on some crudity in his descriptions. But he independently found what people have known for a long time, character takes time.
  22. MattR

    As we approach 1 Feb 19...

    We've tried high adventure as bait and it didn't do what we'd hoped for. Another thing I have noticed is scouts that don't have a couple of good scouting friends by the time they're 14 won't last. And those friendships take time to develop. I don't think the scouts are so much against the OA as they just don't see making friendships. Walking into a new group of scouts when you have friends in your troop that you're used to is a hard sell. My guess is that when the OA was highly respected a scout would just suck it up and make it work. Then the friendships had time to develop. I have no idea how to raise the level of respect for scouts in the OA. My troop is brutally honest about who they elect. The scouts that are elected do have the best character. It is not a social thing at all. But once they're elected, something is missing.
  23. MattR

    As we approach 1 Feb 19...

    Just a thought, but does part of the demise of the OA have to do with poor leadership skills of the scouts? I look at my local chapter's OA and the scouts that show up are good scouts, but they're all shy, timid, not ready to take charge. If they had confidence in how to get things done there are adults that would like to help them out. Instead they're kind of waiting for someone to tell them what to do. The result is any other scout that comes to check it out doesn't really see a reason to stick around. Would leadership development within OA help?
  24. MattR

    Linked troops share bank account?

    If your treasurer is any good it's possible to have multiple accounts under the same bank account. A troop should likely have multiple accounts anyway so adding another set for a different troop shouldn't be too hard. We have an account for HA, summer camp, gear, etc. It ties to our budget.